Quotations and Authors:

I am most apprehensive about Miss Howe. She has a confounded deal of wit, and wants only a subject, to shew as much roguery: and should I be outwitted with all my sententious boasting of conceit of my own nostrum mongership–[I love to plague thee, who art a pretender to accuracy, and a surface-skimmer in learning, with out-of-the-way words and phrases] I should certainly hang, drown, or shoot myself.

Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9) Richardson, Samuel 1748

Square was rejoiced to find this adventure was likely to have no worse conclusion; and as for Molly, being recovered from her confusion, she began at first to upbraid Square with having been the occasion of her loss of Jones; but that gentleman soon found the means of mitigating her anger, partly by caresses, and partly by a small nostrum from his purse, of wonderful and approved efficacy in purging off the ill humours of the mind, and in restoring it to a good temper.

The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling Fielding, Henry 1749

—-O my lord Verulam! cried my father, turning from Hippocrates, and making his second stroke at him, as the principal of nostrum-mongers, and the fittest to be made an example of to the rest,
—-What shall I say to thee, my great lord Verulam? What shall I say to thy internal spirit, –thy opium, –thy salt-petre, —-thy greasy unctions, –thy daily purges, –thy nightly clysters, and succedaneums?
—-My father was never at a loss what to say to any man, upon any subject; and had the least occasion for the exordium of any man breathing: how he dealt with his lordship’s opinion, —-you shall see;
—-but when –I know not; —-we must first see what his lordship’s opinion was.

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Sterne, Laurence 1767

As I had lived my usual time among the great, I submitted to my fate without murmuring. A black velvet coat and waistcoat, my near neighbours, were taken down to give physical dignity to a young fellow who had newly commenced quack-doctor; and found out a nostrum to cure distempers which never existed. This suit had once adorned a genius of the same profession, whose extraordinary operations in Moor∣fields, had made him the envy of all Hatton-Gar∣den. Doctor Bialini, the original wearer, was quite an Esculapius in his way; he was unac∣quainted with every principle in surgery: but hav∣ing as much courage and impudence, as ignorance, he boldly undertook the most difficult operations. When he happened to divide an artery in the cure of a scratch, it was all very well; and he had discovered by experience, that diverting the dis∣temper to the nobler parts, was an infalliable cure, for inconsiderable ailments. He couched for the cataract, and where he cured one by chance, he made twenty totally blind, beyond all possibility of recovery. But success did not always attend his adventure; a young lady of great family ap∣plying to him to be eased of a troublesome pain in the head, he gave her such a dose of his cathartic pills, that she expired under their operation. The friends of the deceased accused the doctor of mur∣der, and left it to his choice either to take a dose of his own cathartics, or leave England to return no more. As he knew the merit of his medica∣ments too well to chuse the first, he returned to Italy, to exercise his honester occupation of a tay∣lor. His solemn habiliments were now disposed of to his successor in fame, Mr. Perron, who had been educated a cobler, and on the merit of being twice salivated, advertised to cure a certain distemper in all its extensive branches. The regular surgeons have had no reason to complain of his success; as he has greatly increased the business of the faculty, by confirming the disease, and ruin∣ing the constitution in every patient he undertook to cure.

Miscelanies in Prose and Verse Chatterton, Thomas 1778

Blest, (rather curst) with hearts that never feel,
Kept snug in caskets of close-hammer’d steel,
With mouths made only to grin wide and eat,
And minds that deem derided pain, a treat,
With limbs of British oak and nerves of wire,
And wit that puppet-prompters might inspire,
Their sov’reign nostrum is a clumsy joke,
On pangs inforc’d with God’s severest stroke.

Poems Cowper, William 1782

Towns from a nostrum-vender get their name,
Fences and walls the cure-all drug proclaim
Plasters and pads the willing world beguile,
Fair Lydia greets us with astringent smile,
Munchausen’s fellow-countryman unlocks
His new Pandora’s globule-holding box,
And as King George inquired, with puzzled grin,
“How–how the devil get the apple in?”

The Poetical Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Complete Holmes, Oliver Wendell ~1830 – 1894

Meanwhile her uncle urged her to visit, to comply with the frequent invitations of their acquaintance. This she evaded doing. She could not be cheerful in company; she felt she was observed there with more curiosity than sympathy. Old ladies were always offering her their advice, recommending this or that nostrum; young ladies looked at her in a way she understood, and from which she shrank. Their eyes said they knew she had been “disappointed,” as custom phrases it; by whom, they were not certain.

Shirley Brontë, Charlotte 1849

‘I hope,’ he answered: ‘I am come to think
That God will have his work done, as you said,
And that we need not be disturbed too much
For Romney Leigh or others having failed
With this or that quack nostrum,—recipes
For keeping summits by annulling depths,
For learning wrestling with long lounging sleeves,
And perfect heroism without a scratch.

Aurora Leigh Browning, Elizabeth 1856

“Absolutely; in the sense of having no interest of my own to push, no nostrum to advertise, no power to conciliate, no axe to grind. I’m not a savage–ah far from it!–but I really think I’m perfectly independent.”

The Tragic Muse James, Henry 1890

It might be supposed that native missionaries would prove more indulgent, but the reverse is found to be the case. The new broom sweeps clean; and the white missionary of to-day is often embarrassed by the bigotry of his native coadjutor. What else should we expect? On some islands, sorcery, polygamy, human sacrifice, and tobacco-smoking have been prohibited, the dress of the native has been modified, and himself warned in strong terms against rival sects of Christianity; all by the same man, at the same period of time, and with the like authority. By what criterion is the convert to distinguish the essential from the unessential? He swallows the nostrum whole; there has been no play of mind, no instruction, and, except for some brute utility in the prohibitions, no advance. To call things by their proper names, this is teaching superstition.

In the South Seas Stevenson, Robert Louis 1896

The doctor here will bear me out that on one occasion I tried to kill him for the purpose of strengthening my vital powers by the assimilation with my own body of his life through the medium of his blood–relying, of course, upon the Scriptural phrase, ‘For the blood is the life.’ Though, indeed, the vendor of a certain nostrum has vulgarised the truism to the very point of contempt. Isn’t that true, doctor?” I nodded assent, for I was so amazed that I hardly knew what to either think or say; it was hard to imagine that I had seen him eat up his spiders and flies not five minutes before. Looking at my watch, I saw that I should go to the station to meet Van Helsing, so I told Mrs. Harker that it was time to leave. She came at once, after saying pleasantly to Mr. Renfield: “Good-bye, and I hope I may see you often, under auspices pleasanter to yourself,” to which, to my astonishment, he replied:–

Dracula Stoker, Bram 1897