The New Zealand Evangelist
The following anecdote is from the pen of Dr. A. Clarke, and related in his autobiography.
A. B. and his wife C. B. were members of the Methodists’ Society, Portsmouth Common; and in decent and respectable circumstances. C. B. was frequently troubled with indigestion, and consequent flatulencies. A female neighbour said to C. B., “There is a very fine bottle which has done me much good, and I was just as you are; and I am sure it would do you much good also. Do try but one bottle of it.” “What do you call it?” “Godfrey's Cordial.” “Well, I will try it, in God's name, for I page 383 am sadly troubled, and would give any thing for a cure, or even for ease.” A bottle of this fine spirituous saccharine opiate was bought, and was taken secundum artem; and it acted as an elegant dram! “O, dear, this is a very fine thing; it has done me good already; I shall never be without this in the house.” A little disorder in the stomach called the bottle again into request: it acted as before, and got additional praises. By and by the husband himself got poorly, with a pain in his stomach and bowels; the wife said, “Do, A., take a little of my bottle, it will do you much good.” He took it; but then, as he was a man, it must be a stronger dose. “Well, C., this is a very fine thing, it has eased me much.” Though the wife was not cured, yet she was very much relieved!. So bottle after bottle was purchased, and taken in pretty quick succession. The husband found it necessary also to have frequent recourse to the same; and now they could both bear a double dose; and by and by it was trebled and quadrupled; for former doses did not give relief as usual: but the increased dose did. No customers to the quack medicine venders were equal to A. B. and his wife. They had it at last by the dozen if not by the gross! Soon scores of pounds were expended on this carminative opiate, till at last they had expended on it their whole substance. Even their furniture went by degrees, till at last they were reduced to absolute want, and were obliged to take refuge in the poor-house. Here they were visited by some pious people of the Society—saw their error, deplored it, and sought God for pardon. A good report was brought of this miserable couple to the Society; it was stated that they saw their folly, and were truly penitent; and it was a pity to permit a couple, who, in all human probability, had much of life left before them, to linger it out uselessly in a wretched workhouse. A collection was proposed for their relief, among the principal friends; it was productive, for a considerable sum was raised. They were brought out, placed in a decent little dwelling, and a proper assortment of goods purchased with the subscription already mentioned, and they were set up in a respectable little shop. Many of the friends bound themselves to give A. B. and his wife their custom:—they did so, and the capital was soon doubled, and they went on in religious and secular things very prosperously. Unfortunately the wife thought her indigestion and flatulencies had returned, were returning, or would soon return; and she once more thought of Godfrey's Cordial, with desire and terror. “I should have a bottle in the house; surely I have been so warned, that I am not likely to make a bad use of it again.” “C., I am afraid of it,” said the husband. “My dear,” said she, “we have now experience, and I hope we may both take what will do us good, and that only.” Not to be tedious, another bottle was bought, and another, and a dozen, and a gross; and in this way they once more drank out all their property, and terminated their lives in Portsmouth Common Workhouse.
The reader-may be astonished at this infatuation: but be may rest assured the case is not uncommon: Daffy's Elixir, Godfrey's page 384 Cordial, and Solomon's Balm of Gilead, have in a similar manner impoverished, if not destroyed thousands. On this very principle they are constructed. They are intended to meet the palate, and under the specious name of medicines, they are actuallv used as drams; and in not a few cases engender the use of each other. Thus drops beget drams, and drams beget more drops; and they, drams in their turn, till health and prosperity are both destroyed; and, I may add, the soul ruined by these infernal composts.