WHO is a quack? One would think that there where there are so many this question need scarcely be asked; and yet there is not a term in the English language so little understood, or so often misapplied. The regular faculty call all vendors of patent medicines, all practitioners who have not received a collegiate education, and all who differ widely from them in practice, quacks; but they are often wrong. A quack is one who professes to possess more knowledge than he really has, and promises more than he can perform; but he who knows how to cure one particular disease, and actually does cure it, who promises and attempts no more, is no quack, all the colleges in the world to the contrary, notwithstanding. All knowledge is not got at school; nor can a diploma make a savant of an idiot. Learning is knowledge; but all knowledge is not learning. The celebrated “Red Bottle Doctors,” of Hertford, England, altogether eclipsed all their neighbors of the regular faculty; and yet they never went to school. They were farriers, — men of strong minds and sound practical sense; and they judged rightly, that what was good for horses might be good for men! — we say rightly, because they were eminently successful in their practice. The most valuable discoveries have been made by uneducated people. Little children discovered the telescope, an untutored Indian the Peruvian bark, a soap-boiler the iodine, and a shepherd navigated Noah’s ark.
There are other than medical quacks, a plenty of them. The teacher who pretends to teach a hundred different arts and sciences is a quack; the lawyer who predicts the result of a case without hearing the evidence is a quack; and the preacher who preaches that his is the only true way of salvation, is a quack.