C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Quacks pretend to cure other men’s disorders, but fail to find a remedy for their own.


Take the humbug out of this world, and you haven’t much left to do business with.

H. W. Shaw.

Out, you impostors, quack-salving, cheating mountebanks! Your skill is to make sound men sick, and sick men kill.


We do not think it necessary to prove that a quack medicine is poison; let the vender prove it to be sanative.


  • From powerful causes spring the empiric’s gains,
  • Man’s love of life, his weakness, and his pains;
  • These first induce him the vile trash to try,
  • Then lend his name that other men may buy.
  • Crabbe.

    When a man puts on a character he is a stranger to, there is as much difference between what he appears and what he is in reality as there is between a visor and a face.

    La Bruyère.

    Nothing more strikingly betrays the credulity of mankind than medicine. Quackery is a thing universal, and universally successful. In this case it becomes literally true that no imposition is too great for the credulity of men.


    “To elevate and surprise” is the great art of quackery and puffing; to raise a lively and exaggerated image in the mind, and take it by surprise before it can recover breath.


    Heroes have gone out; quacks have come in; the reign of quacks has not ended with the nineteenth century. The sceptre is held with a firmer grasp; the empire has a wider boundary. We are all the slaves of quackery in one shape or another. Indeed, one portion of our being is always playing the successful quack to the other.


  • Void of all honor, avaricious, rash,
  • The daring tribe compound their boasted trash—
  • Tincture of syrup, lotion, drop, or pill;
  • All tempt the sick to trust the lying bill.
  • Crabbe.

  • No class escapes them—from the poor man’s pay
  • The nostrum takes no trifling part away;
  • Time, too, with cash is wasted; ’tis the fate
  • Of real helpers, to be called too late;
  • This find the sick, when (time and patience gone)
  • Death with a tenfold terror hurries on.
  • Crabbe.

  • I have heard they are the most lewd impostors,
  • Made of all terms and shreds, no less beliers
  • Of great men’s favours than their own vile medicines,
  • Which they will utter upon monstrous oaths;
  • Selling that drug for two pence ere they part,
  • Which they have valued at twelve crowns before.
  • Ben Jonson.