Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton

Cures for Venereal Disease

Virtually every single issue of every newspaper throughout the eighteenth century has advertisements for curing venereal disease. The following are representative examples.

2-5 January 1702
Mr. Nedham surgeon, who is daily successful in curing the venereal disease speedily, takes away all the sores, scabs and pains after a particular manner beyond any thing yet generally known or usually practised, and where all common methods of practice shall fail.

His Antivenereal Antidote, a pleasant, gentle medicine, which, without the least sickness or hindrance of business, soon cures a clap or running of the reins [discharges from the kidneys], speedily takes away all the heat and pain, in making water. Price 3 shillings the pot, with printed directions, Sold at his house in Great Southampton-street in High Holborn, near Bloomsbury-Square; at the Blue Balcony Rayls with a Golden Head thereon, being over the door; where he is constantly to be spoken with all the morning. [English Post]

7-9 January 1702
Our old physitian Dr. Case, who hath so publickly made the world sensible of his speedy and wonderful method of curing the Grand P[ox], his knowledge extends much further by his spagyrick [alchemical] art to cure the dropsie, and no money before the cure is perfected; and also rheumatisms, agues, fevers, gripes or convulsions; your leprosies or scurvy spots shall be extirpated, your children cured of bursten bellies, and worms destroyed; the Deaf shall have their hearing and the blind the sight; the grand Enemy to Nature shall be destroyed if you come in time, I mean the consumptions, with all its attendances, as coughs, hoarseness, pthisick, spittings, weakness, want of appetite, by my medicines and directions, tho’ the afflicted lives miles distance. From my home at the Lilly’s Head over against Ludgate-Church, within Black FriersGate. [English Post]

10 June 1708
The Charitable Surgeon: Or, The best Remedies for the worst Maldies, reveal'd. Being a new and true way of curing (without Mercury) the several degrees of the venereal distemper in both sexes, whereby all persons, even the meanest capacities, may, for an inconsiderable charge, without confinement or knowledge of the nearest relation, cure themselves easily, speedily, and safely, by the methods prescrib'd, without the help of any physician, surgeon, or apothecary, or beingt expos'd to the hazardous attempts of quacks and pretenders. With a new discovery of the true seat of claps in men and women, different from the commonly receiv'd opinion of authors. And a peculiar method of curing their gleets and weaknesses, whther venereal, seminal, or otherwise: With some pertinent observations relating thereto, never before taken notice of. Likewise the certain easy way to escape infection, tho' never so often accompanying with the most polluted companion. By T. C. Surgeon. Printed for E. Curll at the Peacock without Temple-bar, price 1s. sticht, 1s. 6d. bound. (The Daily Courant)

30 December 1708-1 January 1709
Marten’s Appendix to the Sixth Edition of his Book of the Venereal Disease, lately publish’d; being a new system of all the secret infirmities and diseases, natural, accidental, and venereal, in men and Women, that defile and ruin the healths of themselves and their posterity; obstruct conjugal delectancy and pregnancy; with their various methods of cure. To which is added, something particular concerning generation and conception; and of miscarriages in women from vener[e]al causes, the like never done before. Useful for physicians, surgeons, apothecaries and midwives, as well as for those that have, or are in danger of falling under any such impure or defective indispositions. With a farther warning against quacks, and of some late notorious abuses committed by them, who they are, that people may avoid them. By John Marten chirurgeon. Printed with the same letter, on the same paper, as is his Book of the Disease aforesaid, that those who please may bind it up with that. Sold by S. Crouch, in Cornhill, N. Crouch, in the Pultry, J. Knapton and M. Atkins, in St. Paul’s Churchyard; P. Varenne, near Somerset-House; and C. King, in Westminster-Hall, and John Isted, at the Golden-Ball against St. Dunstan’s Church, Fleet-street. Price stitch’d 1s. 6d. [Post Boy]

25 August 1716
I JANE SMITH, living at Mr. Rowbery’s in Temple-Street in White-Fryars, (where I have dwelt these ten years) had the secret disease [venereal disease, specifically syphillis] in such a deplorable Condition for a year and a half, that I was all broke out from head to foot, and become such a sad spectacle, that I was even frightful to look at; and not only weary of my life, never expecting any cure, but even thought of nothing but perishing and rotting by it: I was advised by a friend to take of the specifick remedy recommended by Dr. Chamberlaine, and mentioned in the Practical Scheme of the Secret Disease and Broken Constitutions; and by taking only a few times of it, I am now perfectly cured, not only to my own, but also the great astonishment of all who knows me; and I am ready (either my self, or my mother with whom I live) fully to satisfie any person about it. Witness my hand this 28th of June, 1716. Jane Smith.

The scheme is given gratis in English and French at Mrs. Garway’s at the Royal-Exchange-Gate; at Mr. Cooper’s a toyshop near Hungerford-Market; and up one pair of stairs at the Sugar-Loaf a confectioner’s shop, over against Old Round-Court, near the New Exchange in the Strand. Note, at this last place is also given gratis, The Essay on external Appended Remedies, dedicated to Dr. Chamberlaine and the Royal Society, occasioned by the great Increase of late years in the Bills of Mortality, of children that die of their teeth. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

29 May 1725
THE famous Italian BOLUS [large round pill], has so great success in the cure of the venereal disease, that not one of the great numbers that daily take it miss of a perfect Cure; and though so very cheap as 2s. 6d. each, yet four polusses [large pills] never fail to root out and carry off the most malignant, virulent, and obstinate kind of the venereal disease, without confinement, or making your case known to any; which, if it fails to do, the money is returned. This great medicine likewise destroys mercury and carries it out of the body, and thereby relieves those unfortunate persons who have fallen into bad hands in former cures. Is to be had only at the Flaming Sword the corner of Russel-Street, over against Will’s Coffee House, Covent-Garden; and if sold at any other place is counterfeit. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]

31 July 1725

W. Rayner, Surgeon, living at the Blue Posts in Preston’s-Yard, the lower end of the Minories, the name Rayner and golden Ball hanging over the gate, near Little Tower Hill.

Hath a speedy and safe cure for the pox or clap [veneral disease], with all its various symptoms, by his famous chymical drink, being pleasant in taste, yet effectual in curing that dangerous disease, which has been the ruin of hundreds by falling into unskilful hands. I cure (under God) the most inveterate pox, in 3 weeks at farthest, as ulcers in the throat, lost palate, sinking in the nose, phymosis, paraphymosis, shankers [veneral ulcers], pocky warts, buboes [swellings in armpit or groin], or swelling in any part. If your body be full of ulcers and scabs, in a few days I remove all those heterogeneous particles, taking away all pains in the head, shoulders and shin bones, so that this salubrious liquor restores the body to perfect health. They that have made tryal of it wonder at the cures it performs. Those who have newly got a clap, may entirely depend on a cure, by taking two or three doses of my venereal pills or bolusses, without hindrance of business, or it being known to the nearest relation or bedfellow. I shall not use many invitations, but rather leave you to make experience, which is beyond all argument. In a word, let your condition be never so bad, distrust not, for I promise very fair, no cure no money. I do any thing in surgery. My pills and bolusses are useful for sea or land, which I have always ready by me. Note, There’s a light at my door in an evening. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]

11 September 1725
WRIGHT’s Diuretick, or cleansing Tincture.
Which urinally discharges all the fæces or putrid relicks of the Lues Alamode [syphillis], or venereal infection, and causes its concomitants, the wretched train of that complicated distemper, as a mucous, filthy, sanious matter [puss] lodg’d in the reins [kidneys], or spermatick parts, which either cause a sharpness in the urine, or too frequently provokes it. This relick is discoverable, partly by the subsequent symptoms, viz. by a debility or weakness of the back, a fætid nauseous, and averting smell of the urine, with a purulent matter, or seculent sordes [foul scum], residing at the bottom, or flying in it, with variety of figures. Farther, this tincture especially carries off all relicks of the venereal disease, after ill managed cures, not only cleansing the urinary passages of all sand, gravel, films, or membraneous pellicles, &c. but after a singular efficacy, invigorating the reins, restoring them, and all their genital parts, to their original tone and use, though the misfortune and decay be of the longest date, with an equal success in each sex. To be had for 10s. per bottle, with directions for its use, only at his house, the Golden Head, and Two Lamps in Bell-Savage Yard on Ludgate Hill. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

5 March 1726
All that are distressed to the last degree with the French disease, or any symptoms of it, and try’d salivation, the specifick, and arcanum, and all the diet drinks, with all the other mercurial slipslops, and tired with taking medicines to no purpose, may have a fair, speedy, cheap, and safe cure: A clap or running of the reins [kidneys; i.e. discharge] is cured in a few days, without hindrance of business; and so private, that the most intimate cannot take notice of it. Note, Those that live in the country may send and be furnish’d with six doses for five shillings, that cure all symptoms of the French disease, rheumatism, or scurvy and will do you more service in all the aforesaid distempers, than any 12 doses sold in England.

To be spoke with at the Golden Ball in Three Faulcon Court in Fleet-street, almost over against Water-Lane. Advice in all distempers gratis. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Cures for Venereal Disease", 18 November 2001, updated 13 March 2007 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/venereal.htm>

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