200 years of the JP RSS

Most Publicised Statutory Declaration

Ric Carlyon - Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In all the years JPs have been taking Statutory Declarations, perhaps the most publicised was taken in the early 1900s, that of Mrs Ellen Carter of Dunedin. The declaration was part of a long, rambling column in the Otago Daily Times on 18th November 1905 advertising a proprietary medicine, Clements Tonic. 

 The distinctive brown bottle... some also had the embossed notice 'remains the property of Clements Tonic"

The article began relating the many years of suffering poor Mrs Carter endured including melancholy, upset digestive organs, sleeplessness, back ache, neuralgia, restlessness, morning sickness, flatulence and palpitations of the heart. A more comprehensive catalogue of ills is hard to imagine, but help was at hand! As might be anticipated in such an advertisement, we were told that “a friend”, per chance, suggested taking Clements Tonic. “Had I not taken it, I don't believe I would be here now, for Clements Tonic was the only thing that saved me, and you may be surprised to hear I had only taken two bottles of that medicine when I began to get relief”, Mrs Carter declared, “two bottles, mind you, gave me more ease than all the medicine I had paid for over many years, and the best of it all was that I got stronger and stronger as each bottle was emptied… the pains and stiffness were gone. I believe Clements Tonic put ten years on to my life!”

Mrs Carter's endorsement of the fine product is followed by the Statutory Declaration.  

I, Ellen Carter, of 56 Dowling Street, Dunedin, in the Colony of New Zealand, do solemnly and sincerely declare that I have carefully read the annexed document, consisting of three folios, and consecutively numbered from one to three, and that it contains and is a true and faithful account of my illness and cure by Clements Tonic, and also contains my full permission to publish in any way my statements which I give voluntarily, without receiving any payment and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true, and by virtue of the provisions of an Act of the General Assembly of New Zealand, intituled "The Justices of Peace Act, 1852." 
(Mrs Carter’s signature is reproduced)

Declared at Dunedin this twelfth day of March, one thousand nine hundred and three, before me, (signed) R. CHISHOLM, J.P.'

Footnote: Clements Tonic, a formula devised by Frederick Clements in Australia in 1886, is still available today more than a century after Mrs Carter found so much relief. Press publicity in 1919 maintained the preparation helped recuperation of those affected by the Influenza Epidemic. Clements produced several editions of cook books which proved popular in Australia and New Zealand. 

The Clements Cookbook appeared for several decades from the early 1900s

Well-publicised claims over the years show Clements has so many applications. Parents say it calmed student's nerves before examinations leading to academic success while and a pigeon fancier swore by its benefit given to his birds before a race. Advertising switched to lengthy campaigns on television in New Zealand in the 1960s.. "without Clements you only feel half alive!"
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