Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

as imported, and feels the genial beam and favour; while the mighty metropolis, like one vaft munificent dunghill, receives them indifcriminately to her breast, and supplies each with more than native nourishment.

In other countries, the phyfician pretends to cure diforders in the lump; the fame doctor who combats the gout in the toe, fhall pretend to prescribe for a pain in the head; and he who at one time cures a consumption, fhall at another give drugs for a dropfy. How abfurd and ridiculous! this is being a mere jack of all trades. Is the animal machine lefs complicated than a brass pin? Not less than ten different hands are required to make a pin; and shall the body be set right by one single ope

rator ?

The English are fenfible of the force of this reafoning; they have, therefore, one doctor for the eyes, another for the toes; they have their fciatica doctors, and inoculating doctors; they have one doctor who is modeftly content with fecuring them from bug-bites, and five hundred who prescribe for the bite of a mad dog.

The learned are not here retired with vicious modesty from public view; for every dead wall is covered with their names, their abilities, their amazing cures and places of abode. Few patients can escape falling into their hands, unless blafted by lightning, or ftruck dead with fome fudden disorder: it may fometimes happen, that a ftranger, who does not understand English, or a countryman who cannot read, dies without ever hearing of the vivifying drops, or restorative electuary; but for my part, before I was a week in town, I had learned to bid the whole catalogue of diforders defiance, and was perfectly

acquainted with the names and medicines of every great man, or great woman of them all.

But as nothing pleases curiofity more than anecdotes of the great, however minute or trifling, I muft prefent you, inadequate as my abilities are to the fubject, with fome account of those personages who lead in this honourable profeffion.

The firft upon the light of glory is doctor Richard Rock, F. U. N. This great man is fhort of ftature, is fat, and waddles as he walks. He always wears a white threetailed wig, nicely combed and frized upon each cheek. Sometimes he carries a cane, but a hat never; it is indeed very remarkable, that this extraordinary perfonage should never wear an hat; but so it is, he never wears an hat. He is ufually drawn at the top of his own bills, fitting in his arm chair, holding a little bottle between his finger and thumb, and surrounded with rotten teeth, nippers, pills, pacquets, and gally-pots. No man can promise fairer nor better than he; for, as he obferves, 66 3 Be your disorder never fo far gone, be under no uneafinefs, make yourself quite easy, I can cure you.”

The next in fame, though by fome reckoned of equal pretenfions, is doctor Timothy Franks, F. O. G. H. living in a place called the Old Bailey. As Rock is remarkably fquab, his great rival, Franks, is remarkably tall. He was born in the year of the Chriftian æra 1692, and is, while I now write, exactly fixty-eight years, three months, and four days old. Age, however, has no ways impaired his ufual health and vivacity, I am told he generally walks with his breaft open. This Gentle. man, who is of a mixed reputation, is particularly remarkable for a becoming affurance, which carries him

gently through life; for, except doctor Rock, none are more bleft with the advantages of face than doctor Franks.

And yet the great have their foibles as well as the little. I am almoft afhamed to mention it. Let the foibles of the great reft in peace. Yet I muft impart the whole to my friend. These two great men are actually now at variance; yes, my dear Fum Hoam, by the head of our grand-father, they are now at variance, like mere men, mere common mortals. The champion Rock advises the world to beware of bogtrotting quacks, while Franks retorts the wit and the farçafm, (for they have both a world of wit,) by fixing on his rival the odious appellation of Dumplin Dick. He calls the ferious doctor Rock, Dumplin Dick! Head of Confucius, what profanation! Dumplin Dick! What a pity, ye powers, that the learned, who were born mutually to affift in enlightening the world, fhould thus differ, among themfelves, and make even the profeffion ridiculous! Sure the world is wide enough, at least for two great perfonages to figure in; men of science should leave controverfy to the little world below them; and then we might fee Rock and Franks walking together hand in hand, finiling onward to immortality.

Next to thefe is doctor Walker, preparator of his own medicines. This gentleman is remarkable for an averfion to quacks; frequently cautioning the public to be careful into what hands they commit their fafety; by which he would infinuate, that if they did not employ him alone, they must be undone. His public fpirit is equal to his fuccefs. Not for himself, but his country, is the gally-pot prepared, and the drops fealed up, with

proper directions for any part of the town or country, All this is for his country's good; fo that he is now grown old in the practice of phyfic and virtue; and, to ufe his own elegance of expreffion, "There is not fuch another medicine as his in the world again."

This, my friend, is a formidable triumvirate; and yet, formidable as they are, I am refolved to defend the honour of Chinese phyfic againft them all. I have made a vow to fummon doctor Rock to a folemn difputation in all the mysteries of the profeffion, before the face of every Philomath, student in aftrology, and member of the learned focieties. I adhere to, and venerate the doctrines of, old Wang-fhu-ho. In the very teeth of oppofition I will maintain, "That the heart is the fon of the liver, which has the kidneys for its mother, and the ftomach for its wife." I have, therefore, drawn up a difputation challenge, which is to be fent speedily, to

this effect:

I, Lien Chi Altangi, D. N. R. P. native of Honan in China, to Richard Rock, F. U. N. native of Garbagealley in Wapping, defiance. Though, Sir, I am perfectly fenfible of your importance, though no stranger to your ftudies in the path of nature, yet there may be many things in the art of phyfic, with which you are yet unacquainted. I know full well a doctor thou art, great Rock, and so am I. Wherefore I challenge, and do hereby invite you to a trial of learning upon hard problems, and knotty phyfical points. In this debate we will calmy investigate the whole theory and practice of medicine, botany, and chymiftry and I invite all the

* See Du Hald, vol. II. fol. 1. p. 85.

philomaths, with many of the lecturers in medicine, to be present at the difpute, which I hope will be carried on with due decorum, with proper gravity, and as befits men of erudition and science among each other. But before we meet face to face, I would thus publicly, and in the face of the whole world, defire you to answer me one queftion; I afk you with the fame earneftness with which you have often folicited the public; answer me, I say, at once, without having recourse to your physical dictionary, which of those three diforders, incident to the human body, is the most fatal, the syncope, parenthesis, or apoplexy; I beg your reply may be as public as this my demand.* I am, as hereafter may be, your admirer or your rival. Adieu.

LETTER LXIX.

TO THE SAME.

INDULGENT

NDULGENT nature feems to have exempted this ifland from many of thofe epidemic evils which are fo fatal in other parts of the world. A want of rain but for a few days beyond the expected season in China, fpreads famine, defolation, and terror, over the whole country; the winds that blow from the brown bofom of the western defert are impregnated with death in every gale; but in this fortunate land of Britain the inhabitant courts health in every breeze, and the husbandman ever fows in joyful expectation.

* The day after this was published the editor received an answer, in which the Doctor seems to be of opinion, that the apoplexy is inoft fatal.

« VorigeDoorgaan »