Punch,  34 (1858), 7.

A Good Opening for Quacks



News-Commentary, Drollery; Advertisement, Spoof


Crime, Disease, Medical Practitioners, Commerce, Quackery, Charlatanry

    Describes the case of John E Stephens, a former Army surgeon and manager of the failed London and Eastern Banking Corporation, who failed in his attempt to secure the adjournment of a bankruptcy charge against him on medical grounds, as he was unable to produce a medical certificate to confirm his 'nervous suffering'. Points out that Stephens was not allowed to certify his own illness and suggests that he should have escaped the bankruptcy charges by disguising himself. Expecting similar cases of bankrupts who claim to suffer from 'malades imaginaires'. Suggests an 'opening for the Faculty of Quacks, who will not be deterred by any squeamishness of conscience from furnishing false evidence to support a patient's plea for the adjournment of his case'. Presents a fictional advertisement from a 'RETIRED PHYSICIAN' offering to supply medical certificates to those facing trial. It boasts that 'The Physicians, having mastered the slang of the profession, can couch his statements in such highly scientific verbiage, that he will warrant that their genuineness will always pass unquestioned'.

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