uncourteous as to refuse to purchase one of his packets? Lest any of us, however, should be too tenacious of our money to part with it on these considerations, he had one other motive which did not fail to do the business; this was by persuading us that there were the seeds of some malignant distemper lurking in every one of our bodies, and that there was nothing in nature could save us but some one or other of his medicines. He threatened us with death in case of refusal, and assured us with a prophetic air that without his physic every mother's son of us would be in our graves by that day twelve-month. The poor people were infinitely terrified with the imminent danger they found themselves under, but were as much pleased to find how easy it was to be evaded; so that, without more ado, every man bought his packet, and turned the doctor adrift to pursue further adventures.


The scene being now removed, I was at leisure to reflect on what had passed, and could really have either cry'd or laugh'd very heartily at what I had seen. arrogance of the doctor and the silliness of his patients were each of them ridiculous enough to have set a person of more gravity than myself a-laughing; but then to consider the tragical issue to which these things tended, and the fatal effect so many murthering medicines might have on several of his majesty's good subjects, would have made the merriest buffoon alive serious. I have not often observed a more hale, robust crowd of people than that which encircled this doughty doctor, methinks one might have read health in their very faces, and there was not a countenance among them which did not give the lie to the doctor's suggestions. Could but one see a little into futurity, and observe the condition they will be in a few months hence, what an alteration would one find! How many of those brawny youths are already puking in chimney corners? And how many rosy complexioned

girls are by this time reduced to the paleness of a cockney?

I propose in a little time to make a second journey to this place in order to see how the doctor's physic has operated. By searching the parish register and comparing the number of funerals made weekly before the doctor's visit with those which have followed, it will be easy to form an estimate of the havoc which this itinerant man-slayer made in the space of two hours. I shall then proceed to compute the number of quacks1 in the three kingdoms, from which it will be no hard matter to determine the number of people carried off per annum by the whole fraternity. Lastly, I shall calculate the loss which the government sustains by the death of every subject; from all of which the immense damages accruing to his majesty will evidently appear, and the public will be fully convinced of the truth of what I have heretofore asserted, viz. that the quacks contribute more towards keeping us poor than all our national debts, and that to suppress the former would be an infallible means of redeeming the latter. The whole scheme shall be drawn up in due form and presented to the parliament in the ensuing session, and that august assembly, I don't doubt, will pay all regard thereto, which the importance of the subject and the weight of my argument shall require.

Methinks the course of justice, which has hitherto obtained among us, is chargeable with great absurdities. Petty villains are hanged or transported, while great ones are suffered to pass impune. A man cannot take a purse upon the highway, or cut a single throat, but he must presently be called to answer for it at the Old Bailey, and perhaps to suffer for it at Tyburn; and yet, here are

1Cf. Tatler, 240, and Spectator, 572. The latter by Zachary Pearce is largely similar to Defoe's essay. Defoe had reason to know about the subject, as his Review was filled with quack advertisements.

wretches suffered to commit murthers by wholesale, and to plunder, not only private persons and pockets, but even the king and the Exchequer, without having any questions asked! Pray, Mr. Mist, what were gibbets, gallows, and whipping posts made for?

But to return to Doctor Thornhill. I have had the curiosity to examine several of his medicines in a reverberatory, reducing compounds into their simples by a chemical analysis, and have constantly found a considerable proportion of some poisonous plant or mineral in every one of them. Arsenic, wolf's-bane, mercury, and hemlock are sine quibus non, and he could no more make up a medicament without some of these than remove a mountain. Accordingly as they are variously mixed and disposed among other drugs, he gives them various names, calling them pills, boluses, electuaries, etc. His pills I would prescribe as a succedaneum to a halter, so that such persons as are weary of this troublesome world and would willingly quit it for a better, but are too squeamish to take up with that queer old-fashioned recipe called hanging, may have their business done as securely and more decently by some of these excellent pills. His bolus, too, is very good in its kind; I have made experiments with it on several animals, and find that it poisons to a miracle. A moderate dose of it has perfectly silenced a bawling dog that used to disturb my morning slumbers, and a like quantity of it has quieted several other snarling curs in my neighbourhood. And then, if you be troubled with rats, Mr. Mist, there's the doctor's electuary is an infallible remedy, as I myself have experienced. I have effectually cleared my house of those troublesome animals by disposing little packets of it in the places they frequent, and do recommend it to you and your readers as the most powerful ratsbane in the world. It would be needless to enumerate all the virtues of the doctor's several medicines,

(M 249)


but I dare affirm that what the ancients fabulously reported of Pandora's box is strictly true of the doctor's packet, and that it contains in it the seeds and principles of all diseases.

I must ask your pardon, Mr. Mist, for being so grave on so ludicrous a subject and spending so many words on an empty quack. Mr. Mist, Your humble servant, Philygeia.

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HERE are several persons who have many pleasures and entertainments in their possession, which they do not enjoy. It is, therefore, a kind and good office to acquaint them with their own happiness, and turn their attention to such instances of their good fortune as they are apt to overlook. Persons in the married state often want such a monitor; and pine away their days, by looking upon the same condition in anguish and murmur, which carries with it in the opinion of others a complication of all the pleasures of life, and a retreat from its inquietudes.

I am led into this thought by a visit I made an old friend, who was formerly my school-fellow. He came to town last week with his family for the winter, and yesterday morning sent me word his wife expected me to dinner.

I am, as it were, at home at that house, and every member of it knows me for their well-wisher. I cannot, indeed, express the pleasure it is, to be met by the children with so much joy as I am when I go thither. The boys and girls strive who shall come first, when they think it is I that am knocking at the door; and that child which loses the race to me runs back again to tell the father it is Mr. Bickerstaff1. This day I was led in by a pretty girl, that we all thought must have forgot me, for the family has been out of town these two years. Her knowing me again was a mighty subject with us, and took up our discourse at the first entrance. After which, they began to rally me upon a thousand little stories they heard in the country, about my marriage to one of my neighbour's daughters. Upon which the gentleman, my friend, said, "Nay, if Mr. Bickerstaff marries a child of any of his old companions, I hope mine shall have the preference; there is Mrs. Mary is now sixteen, and would make him as fine a widow as the best of them. But I know him too well: he is so enamoured with the very memory of those who flourished in our youth, that he will not so much as look upon the modern beauties. I remember, old gentleman, how often you went home in a day to refresh your countenance and dress when Teraminta reigned in your heart. As we came up in the coach, I repeated to my wife some of your verses on her." With such reflections on little passages which happened long ago, we passed our time, during a cheerful and elegant meal. After dinner, his lady left the room, as did also the children. As soon as we were alone, he took me by the hand; "Well, my good friend," says he, "I am heartily glad to see thee; I was afraid you would never have seen all the company

1 Swift borrowed the name from a locksmith's sign, and Steele adopted it because, from Swift's use of it, it was sure to gain "an audience of all who had any taste of wit".

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