Surely a Remedy Worth Having!
One of the particular joys of reading through eighteenth-century newspapers is finding advertisements for various ‘quack’ remedies and patent medicines.
This one, from The Norfolk Chronicle for 17th March, 1781, really wins the prize! What about the introduction? “The Whole Man from his Birth is a Disease”. Won’t that cheer you up? Still, imagine being freed from depression caused by “Ebriosity” (presumably drinking too much) and “horrid Thoughts”, as well as “Decay of Nature, Barrenness, and debilitated Cases” (whatever they are, they sound very nasty!).
That is without the additional benefit of being freed from “Gleets and Seminal Weaknesses” brought on by “a secret Venery” (to you and I, chronic inflammation and discharge caused by gonorrhea and caused by indulging in secret nooky).
The Whole Man from his Birth is a Disease
Nervous Disorders, Lowness and Depression of Spirits from Ebriosity, or otherwise, Palpitations of the Heart, Giddiness in the Head, horrid Thoughts, Startings in the Sleep, Dimness of Sight, Pains in the Back and Head, trembling of the Hands, Decay of Nature, Barrenness, and debilitated Cases effectually cured by FREEMAN’S Grand Restorer of Human Nature, Commonly called Forthergil’s CHYMICAL NERVOUS DROPS.
Even those of either Sex, who through Ignorance have polluted themselves by a secret Venery, and brought on Gleets and Seminal Weaknesses, may have their Constitutions strengthened by a proper Use of this Remedy, which Hundreds, both old and young, who were emaciated, can testify.
It may be had in Bottles of Half a Guinea, Seven Shillings, and Three Shillings and Sixpence each, at the Author’s House, No.1, New Buildings, Middle Row, Holborn, London, and Mr BOOTH, Bookseller, in the Marketplace, Norwich.
Three shillings and sixpence (17½p), perhaps £20 in today’s currency, is quite a stiff price though. The ingredients, whatever they were, doubtless cost less than a tenth part of this.
Note also that it’s being sold by a bookseller. This was very common and is something I have my 1760s character Mrs Crombie suggest to Mr Ashmole Foxe in the second book of that series, “Dark Threads of Vengeance”.
Fixes gleets and seminal weakness? Wonder if it was also good for ED? Nice to know snake oil salesmen have a long, if not reputable, history!
This is fascinating William and very funny although I do feel sorry for anyone afflicted with Decay of Nature, the mind boggles.