Cullen

The Consultation Letters of Dr William Cullen (1710-1790) at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

 

[Case ID:56]: Case of Anthony Chamier, who suffers from a general 'languor' or weakness and which unfortunately proves fatal. After consulting Cullen in Edinburgh, Chamier travels south to London, via Buxton and Matlock, keeping Cullen informed of his failing condition along the way.

The case of Anthony Chamier, (1725-1780), demonstrates how the linking together of related documents physically scattered across the archive enables a Case to be read sequentially as an unfolding personal narrative; in this instance a journey in search of health. The patient was a well-connected London financier, government official and member of parliament. He was a founder member of the Literary Club, and Samuel Johnson and Sir Joshua Reynolds were frequent visitors to his house at Epsom in Surrey.

When Chamier consults Cullen in person at Edinburgh in August 1780 his main symptom is severe stomach pain. Acting on Cullen's instructions he then travels south to Buxton and Matlock in Derbyshire to take the waters, before reaching London (his usual place of residence), but with a view to then spending the early winter with his wife at Brighthelmstone (Brighton) where, on Cullen's recommendation, he planned to consult Dr Pepys (though he considered himself Cullen's patient). Cullen had planned the route to enable Charmier to be in the vicinity of Tamworth at the time of what proved his re-election to Parliament.

From Matlock on 27 September Charmier writes to Cullen that 'my looks are said to be much improved; my sleep is quieter, and before I rise it seems that I have alacrity and vivacity; but I have no sooner been put to the task of bearing my own weight, than all is gloom, languor, and sloth.' But as reported by his travelling companion, one Andrew Harrison, the very next day Charmier suffered severe pains for which he sought advice from the eminent Litchfield physician and poet Erasmus Darwin. But all was in vain: Chamier died in Savile Row, London, on 12 October 1780. An autopsy was immediately performed on the body and the results forwarded, in a letter dated the very next day, to Cullen by Chamier's nephew John Deschamps (1754-1831). Chamier was then buried at St James's, Piccadilly.

Documents in this case

8 document(s) found in this case.

DOC IDSummaryDate
[DOC ID:1014] 
Reply 'For Anthony Chamier Esqr', conveying '[o]ur chief view to recover this' regarding his 'general loss of tone'. Chamier's subsequent letters written as he travels south towards London via Buxton and Matlock imply that these may be the directions given at a personal meeting he had with Cullen before leaving Edinburgh. 30 August 1780
 
[DOC ID:1913] 
Letter from Anthony Chamier, when staying at Buxton, concerning his own case - a fatal stomach complaint - as he continues to travel south from Edinburgh. 10 September 1780
 
[DOC ID:1022] 
Reply 'For Anthony Chamia [Chamier]'. Cullen is 'heartily sorry to find you have so little recovered'. 16 September 1780
 
[DOC ID:1919] 
Letter from Anthony Chamier, concerning his own case. 27 September 1780
 
[DOC ID:1924] 
Letter from Andrew Harrison, concerning the case of Mr [Anthony] Chamier who is travelling south from Edinburgh to London (and Brighton), via Buxton and Matlock on Cullen's instructions. Contains notes from Chamier's apothecary who reports that Dr Erasmus Darwin from Lichfield has recently seen Chamier in person and prescribed. 1 October 1780
 
[DOC ID:1030] 
Reply 'Anthony Chamier Esqr' 5 October 1780
 
[DOC ID:1031] 
Reply 'For Anthony Chamier' 9 October 1780
 
[DOC ID:1930] 
Letter from John Deschamps, reporting the death and autopsy of his uncle, Mr Anthony Chamier. 12 October 1780
 

People involved in this case

8 found.

PERS IDFull Name
[PERS ID: 3066]
[PERS ID: 514] Mr Anthony Chamier (Charmier, Chamia)
[PERS ID: 2910] Mrs Chamier (Charmier, Chamia)
[PERS ID: 1] Dr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID: 846] Dr Erasmus Darwin (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID: 515] John Deschamps (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID: 847] Mr Andrew Harrison (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID: 845] Dr Lucas Pepys (Baron, Sir Lucas Pepys. )

Unique Places linked to this Case

9 found.

TypeSpecific Place Village/Town/City (aka) Region Country Continent Confidence
SpecificCullen's House / Mint Close Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain
Place Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe inferred
SpecificSt James's London London and South-East England Europe inferred
Place Buxton Midlands England Europe certain
Place Matlock Midlands England Europe certain
Place Brighton (Brighthelmstone) London and South-East England Europe certain
Place London London and South-East England Europe certain
Place Derby Midlands England Europe certain
Place Lichfield (Litchfield) Midlands England Europe certain

Places and role of place

16 found.

TypeRoleSpecific Place Village/Town/City (aka) Region Country Continent Confidence
SpecificPlace of WritingCullen's House / Mint Close Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain
PlacePlace of Writing Buxton Midlands England Europe certain
PlacePlace of Writing Matlock Midlands England Europe certain
PlacePlace of Writing Derby Midlands England Europe certain
PlaceDestination of Letter Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe inferred
PlaceDestination of Letter Matlock Midlands England Europe inferred
SpecificDestination of LetterSt James's London London and South-East England Europe inferred
PlaceTherapeutic Recommendation Buxton Midlands England Europe certain
PlaceTherapeutic Recommendation Matlock Midlands England Europe certain
PlaceTherapeutic Recommendation Brighton (Brighthelmstone) London and South-East England Europe certain
PlaceMentioned / Other Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain
PlaceMentioned / Other London London and South-East England Europe certain
PlaceMentioned / Other Matlock Midlands England Europe certain
PlaceMentioned / Other Brighton (Brighthelmstone) London and South-East England Europe certain
PlaceMentioned / Other Derby Midlands England Europe certain
PlaceMentioned / Other Lichfield (Litchfield) Midlands England Europe certain