Cullen

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

 

[ID:1999] From: Mr William Duguid / To: Dr William Cullen (Professor Cullen) / Regarding: Mr William Duguid (Patient) / 7 April 1781 / (Incoming)

Letter from William Duguid, a Glasgow merchant (associate of John Wallace of Cessnock), concerning his own case. He contracted a venereal infection (named as syphilis in Doc 4647) in September 1779, for which he underwent mercury treatment. He now suffers from numbness in the legs and feet, difficulty walking, and sometimes 'deafishness' and confusion.

Facsimile

There are 6 images for this document.

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Metadata

FieldData
DOC ID 1999
RCPE Catalogue Number CUL/1/2/1076
Main Language English
Document Direction Incoming
Date7 April 1781
Annotation None
TypeAuthorial original
Enclosure(s) No enclosure(s)
Autopsy No
Recipe No
Regimen No
Letter of Introduction No
Case Note No
Summary Letter from William Duguid, a Glasgow merchant (associate of John Wallace of Cessnock), concerning his own case. He contracted a venereal infection (named as syphilis in Doc 4647) in September 1779, for which he underwent mercury treatment. He now suffers from numbness in the legs and feet, difficulty walking, and sometimes 'deafishness' and confusion.
Manuscript Incomplete? No
Evidence of Commercial Posting No

Case

Cases that this document belongs to:

Case ID Description Num Docs
[Case ID:1326]
Case of William Duguid who has had extensive treatments for a venereal infection (named in one letter as syphilis) but whose current disorders are attributed to a nervous weakness of his lower spine. He later develops a bony 'excrescence' on his shin.
10


People linked to this document

Person IDRole in documentPerson
[PERS ID:78]AuthorMr William Duguid
[PERS ID:1]AddresseeDr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID:78]PatientMr William Duguid
[PERS ID:3744]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryMr
[PERS ID:1]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID:3743]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr
[PERS ID:3742]Patient's Relative / Spouse / FriendMr John Wallace (of Cessnock)

Places linked to this document

Role in document Specific Place Settlements / Areas Region Country Global Region Confidence
Place of Writing Glasgow Glasgow and West Scotland Europe certain
Destination of Letter Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe inferred
Mentioned / Other Aberdeenshire East Highlands Scotland Europe certain
Mentioned / Other Cessnock Glasgow and West Scotland Europe certain

Normalized Text

[Page 1]
Sir


In the Month of September 79 I
unluckily got a venereal Infection that in about
Twenty four hours appeard in a running that
was pretty violent
, I instantly applied to
my Surgeon who in less than three weeks had
seemingly cured me; when immediatly a small
dark brown spott
appeard on the back part of
my Nutt
which I showd him, –– he applied a
very small bitt of Mercurial Salve which next day
brought off the skin from the Spott & he treated it
as a Shanker it was touchd with Caustick once
or twice, kept clean & soon heald up, but
in two or three days after broke out again; he
assured me it would do well again instantly
or in a week which I credited till the prepus
swell'd exceedingly & he being much engaged at
same time otherways rather neglected it –– I
changed my Surgeon, the new One in two or



[Page 2]

or three weeks cured me by Fumigating the
Part three or four times a day
by means of a
Pyramidicall sort of white Iron Tube placed
on a plate of Iron nearly red hott on which
a red powderd substance was consumed ––
At [same?] time that I underwent a Course of
Mercury
so farr as to affect my Mouth pretty
strongly during the three weeks of Fumigation
I afterwards drank about a Dozen Bottles of
a decoction of his preparing, When I thought
myself perfectly well & he assured me I was
so –– I continued to all appearance
well in every respect nearly three Months
when I had a disagreeable feeling in my throat
I showd it to him & another surgeon who told
me it was merely the Effect of a Cold, It did
not go off & I applied to a Phisician, who
was of same oppinion with the Surgeons, he
orderd me to be bled repeatedly, physic'd often
Leeches applied severeal times, but still the disorder
increased, till it grew so bad as to hinder me


[Page 3]

from swallowing anything
but with exquisite
pain, I was then blisterd twice very strongly
the last time when the Blister came off the matter
under it stood like the substance of a Jelly that
it was cutt off for the healing plaister to be put
on
. After five weeks Confinement & heated
in the way I have mentiond, I was putt on a
Course of Mercury
& salivated very [severly?] ––
After a Confinement of Ten weeks I at last got
out –– during the time I had no other complaint
nor eruption of any kind but my throat ––


I never was fond of Malt liquor till then
that I had exceeding good common ten penny
beer (10d per Scotch Gallon) which I used when
freed from every restraint as to food to drink
a Bottle of every day at & after dinner, whether
it hurts me or not I am incertain, I was in
a few weeks taken with a totall want of Appatite
for Victuals
, what I ate was mostly thrown
up again in the Course of an hour after eating it

with a disagreeable Cough which it excited by
laughter or any tickling in the throat immediatly



[Page 4]

brought on the disgorging –– A ride to
Aberdeenshire recoverd me a good deal I
had the Curiosity to weigh myself when I went
away & when I return'd in three weeks I was
three pounds heavier –– I had been ––––
A Twelve Month had now passed since my
first Complaint & I thought myself in a
pretty good way of recruiting as did my
Physician & Surgeon –– About three weeks
afterwards say October last, I had a cold
disagreeable Numbness
in my Soles, To
remove which I ↑got flannell shirts,↑ bathd my feet frequently in
warm water at bed time wore warm stockings
& cork & other thick soled shoes which till this
day I Continue to do, the Numbness notwith¬
stand of every precaution & Care I took to keep
myself from Cold increased, advanced to my
ancles
& upwards to my knees, by degrees
my Groin when it affected my Urinary
evacuations a good deal
& the Anus so much
that when I voided in that way I was scarsely
sensible of any feeling there
, the last case is all{illeg} (↑gone↑)
but the first is increasd to that Degree that I am


[Page 5]

I am many minutes 10 to 15 ↑at pott↑
before I can
do anything –- For these three months past
my Walk is very tottering I cannot go with any
Degree of security without a Cane, & very uns
unsteady with it – My head is much confused
atended with a Deafishness at times, I have
rode a good deal of late & used a flesh brush
at my
feet knees & ancles with very little if
any Success some days I am much easier
& less crampd in my motion that at others
I have scarse any pain except sometimes
in
the Bladder after making water. I have
all my life had a good flow of spirits & they
are not much if any thing impaird &
I have never been accustomd to complain
till the time I have mentiond –– I lately
got some Cold which made my Bones ach a
little for three or four days but ↑have↑ got better of
that Complaint – I have still my Physician
in pay but wish to apply to you for advice
Your long Experience –– but I need pay no
Complaint (↑Compliment↑) of praise ––




[Page 6]


I have told you my Case as nearly as I can
recollect but intend seeing you in person


As I have the Charge of a Considerable house
here my time is not easily or readily in my
own Command so that I have interim
thrown this together for your perusal till
I see you which I think will be tomorrow
so soon as the Fly arrives from this at Edinburgh ––
I think about Six o'clock, & would wish to
return on Tuesday –– but if you advise my
making a longer stay I shall not hesitate to
do so ––––My Benefactor John Wallace Esq
of Cessnock With whom I have the honour of
being connected in Trade desires me to offer
you his best Compliments.

Glasgow 7th April 1781

Mr Duguid ––––
April 1781.
V. XIII. p 12. &c.

Diplomatic Text

[Page 1]
Sir


In the Month of September 79 I
unluckily got a venereal Infection that in about
Twenty four hours appeard in a running that
was pretty violent
, I instantly applied to
my Surgeon who in less than three weeks had
seemingly cured me; when immediatly a small
dark brown spott
appeard on the back part of
my Nutt
which I showd him, –– he applied a
very small bitt of Mrl. Salve which next day
brot. off the skin from the Spott & he treated it
as a Shanker it was touchd wt. Caustick once
or twice, kept clean & soon heald up, but
in two or three days after broke out again; he
assured me it would do well again instantly
or in a week which I credited till the prepus
swell'd exceedingly & he being much engaged at
same time otherways rather neglected it –– I
changed my Surgeon, the new One in two or



[Page 2]

or three weeks cured me by Fumigating the
Part three or four times a day
by means of a
Pyramidicall sort of white Iron Tube placed
on a plate of Iron nearly red hott on which
a red powderd substance was consumed ––
At [same?] time that I underwent a Course of
Mr.
so farr as to affect my Mouth pretty
strongly during the three weeks of Fumigation
I afterwards drank about a Dozn. Bottles of
a decoction of his preparing, When I thot
myself perfectly well & he assured me I was
so –– I continued to all appearance
well in every respect nearly three Months
when I had a disagreeable feeling in my throat
I showd it to him & another surgeon who told
me it was merely the Effect of a Cold, It did
not go off & I applied to a Phisician, who
was of same oppinion with the Surgeons, he
orderd me to be bled repeatedly, physic'd often
Leeches applied severeal times, but still the disorder
increased, till it grew so bad as to hinder me


[Page 3]

from swallowing anything
but with exquisite
pain, I was then blisterd twice very strongly
the last time when the Blister came off the matter
under it stood like the substance of a Jelly that
it was cutt off for the healing plaister to be put
on
. After five weeks Confinement & heated
in the way I have mentiond, I was putt on a
Course of Mercury
& salivated very [severly?] ––
After a Confinement of Ten weeks I at last got
out –– during the time I had no other complaint
nor eruption of any kind but my throat ––


I never was fond of Malt liquor till then
that I had exceeding good common ten penny
beer (10d pr Scotch Gallon) which I used when
freed from every restraint as to food to drink
a Bottle of every day at & after dinner, whether
it hurts me or not I am incertain, I was in
a few weeks taken with a totall want of Appatite
for Victuals
, what I ate was mostly thrown
up again in the Course of an hour after eating it

with a disagreeable Cough which it excited by
laughter or any tickling in the throat immediatly



[Page 4]

brought on the disgorging –– A ride to
Aberdeenshire recoverd me a good deal I
had the Curiosity to weigh myself when I went
away & when I return'd in three weeks I was
three pounds heavier –– I had been ––––
A Twelve Month had now passed since my
first Complaint & I thought myself in a
pretty good way of recruiting as did my
Physician & Surgeon –– About three weeks
afterwards say October last, I had a cold
disagreeable Numbness
in my Soles, To
remove which I ↑got flannell shirts,↑ bathd my feet frequently in
warm water at bed time wore warm stockings
& cork & other thick soled shoes which till this
day I Continue to do, the Numbness notwith¬
stand of every precaution & Care I took to keep
myself from Cold increased, advanced to my
ancles
& upwards to my knees, by degrees
my Groin when it affected my Urinary
evacuations a good deal
& the Anus so much
that when I voided in that way I was scarsely
sensible of any feeling there
, the last case is all{illeg} (↑gone↑)
but the first is increasd to that Degree that I am


[Page 5]

I am many minutes 10 to 15 ↑at pott↑
before I can
do anything –- For these three months past
my Walk is very tottering I cannot go with any
Degree of security without a Cane, & very uns
unsteady with it – My head is much confused
atended with a Deafishness at times, I have
rode a good deal of late & used a flesh brush
at my
feet knees & ancles with very little if
any Success some days I am much easier
& less crampd in my motion that at others
I have scarse any pain except sometimes
in
the Bladder after making water. I have
all my life had a good flow of spirits & they
are not much if any thing impaird &
I have never been accustomd to complain
till the time I have mentiond –– I lately
got some Cold which made my Bones ach a
little for three or four days but ↑have↑ got better of
that Complaint – I have still my Physician
in pay but wish to apply to you for advice
Your long Experience –– but I need pay no
Complaint (↑Complt↑) of praise ––




[Page 6]


I have told you my Case as nearly as I can
recollect but intend seeing you in person


As I have the Charge of a Considerable house
here my time is not easily or readily in my
own Command so that I have interim
thrown this together for your perusal till
I see you which I think will be tomorrow
so soon as the Fly arrives from this at Edinr ––
I think about Six o'clock, & would wish to
return on Tuesday –– but if you advise my
making a longer stay I shall not hesitate to
do so ––––My Benefactor John Wallace Esq
of Cessnock With whom I have the honour of
being connected in Trade desires me to offer
you his best Compliments.

Glasgow 7th April 1781

Mr Duguid ––––
April 1781.
V. XIII. p 12. &c.

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