Cullen

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

 

[ID:2085] From: Dr John Gilchrist (of Speddoch) / To: Dr William Cullen (Professor Cullen) / Regarding: Mr Gilbert Gordon (Collector Gordon; of Halleaths and Lochmaben) (Patient) / 1 November 1781 / (Incoming)

Letter from Dr John Gilchrist of Dumfires, concerning the case of Mr Gordon of Halleaths, who has returned from consulting Cullen in Edinburgh. He outlines his case history, including previously consulting Cullen for gout c. 1769-71, and ophthalmia. He has taken the waters in Gilsland. Electrical treatment has not made any significant difference to his paralysis, and he is managing his continence problem. Gilchrist reports on the temperature of Bath spa waters.

Facsimile

There are 4 images for this document.

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Metadata

FieldData
DOC ID 2085
RCPE Catalogue Number CUL/1/2/1161
Main Language English
Document Direction Incoming
Date1 November 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 Dr John Gilchrist of Dumfires, concerning the case of Mr Gordon of Halleaths, who has returned from consulting Cullen in Edinburgh. He outlines his case history, including previously consulting Cullen for gout c. 1769-71, and ophthalmia. He has taken the waters in Gilsland. Electrical treatment has not made any significant difference to his paralysis, and he is managing his continence problem. Gilchrist reports on the temperature of Bath spa waters.
Manuscript Incomplete? No
Evidence of Commercial Posting Yes

Case

Cases that this document belongs to:

Case ID Description Num Docs
[Case ID:1354]
Case of Mr Gordon, who obtains an electrical machine to treat the pain and weakness in his lower back and stomach region, a condition considered almost paralytic by his local physician Dr John Gilchrist.
7


People linked to this document

Person IDRole in documentPerson
[PERS ID:115]AuthorDr John Gilchrist (of Speddoch)
[PERS ID:1]AddresseeDr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID:168]PatientMr Gilbert Gordon (Collector Gordon; of Halleaths and Lochmaben)
[PERS ID:115]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr John Gilchrist (of Speddoch)
[PERS ID:1]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID:178]Patient's Relative / Spouse / FriendMrs Margaret Gordon (of Halleaths)

Places linked to this document

Role in document Specific Place Settlements / Areas Region Country Global Region Confidence
Place of Writing Dumfries Borders Scotland Europe certain
Destination of Letter Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain
Mentioned / Other England Europe certain
Mentioned / Other Annandale Borders Scotland Europe certain
Mentioned / Other Bath South-West England Europe certain
Mentioned / Other Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain
Mentioned / Other Gilsland North-East England Europe certain
Mentioned / Other London London and South-East England Europe certain
Mentioned / Other Halleaths Lochmaben Borders Scotland Europe certain
Place of Handstamp Dumfries Borders Scotland Europe certain

Normalized Text

[Page 1]
Dumfries November 1. 1781
Dear Sir


Yours which I had the pleasure to receive last post, con¬
cerning Mr Gordon of Halleaths, calls upon me immediately to
write, not only to acknowledge this letter, but your former one,
concerning the same patient, which I received by himself, on his
return from Edinburgh; and which I delayed acknowledging till I
saw if any thing satisfactory could be said about him –– You
are so obliging as to make apologies for the length & minute¬
ness of your letters, but I beg you to be assured that these are
by no means necessary, for the more particular you are I
shall always be the better pleased, well knowing that large
experience alone can properly regulate, or ascertain many things
to practice; –– so far at least as they can be ascertained.


Having never writ you on the subject of Mr G. I shall shortly
submit to you what has occurred to me about him. –– The notion I have
all along formed of his present complaints, since their first appearance, which
was about March last, has been very unfavourable. He has been, for a
great part of his life, such a valetudenarean – You was consulted about
his gouty complaints twelve or fourteen years ago – Of late years I have
had him several times under my care, and, for the most part, have been
not a little perplexed with him. Two different times, when keeping his
supposed gouty habit
in view; – and in the treatment of symptoms, which
seemed to be merely of a nervous kind, not attended with any appear¬
ances whatever of an inflammatory diathesis; – all my measures were
disturbed, once with the unexpected occurrence of an ophthalmia, so
acute, and of such long duration, as almost to threaten him with the
loss of
an eye; – at another time, with the attack of an angina
hardly less violent. –– He has been a man of extreme liveliness, and
of much sensibility; –– and his spirits have been often much depressed
from different causes of anxiety, and agitation of mind, to which
in the course of his affairs he has, for a long time, been more or less sub¬
jected. –––– Considering all these circumstances, – when his present complaints
made their appearance, I could not help dreading that, in a constitution thus
variously debilitated
, they were the beginning of a serious paralytic Disorder,



[Page 2]

and wished him soon after to have taken a ride in to you; which however
he put off at that time, and made an excursion with some friends into Eng¬
land, where, of his own accord, he drank the Water of Gillesland, which I
never thought of advising. ––


The occurrence of acute inflammatory symptoms, as mentioned above, at
a time when the general ailments were strictly and considerably nervous,
is certainly not common, at least to such a degree. –– Something of the same
kind I thought very observable in the two or three first months of the
present disease. After the paralytic symptoms had made a considerable
progress, and the use of stimulants seemed to be absolutely necessary,
I was, as in former instances, disconcerted by his being attacked with
frequent and severe febrile paroxysms; – not indeed preceeded by any
obvious cold stage, but giving an excessive degree of heat, lasting for
a great part of the night, with a very quick and full pulse; – and
terminating in profuse sweats. – These attacks however never did him
any of that service which fits of fever excited in paralytic cases have
been supposed to do.


If the above ideas of this case be reasonable, and founded on just
observation we will not wonder, I suppose if our most powerful remedies
should fail us. A few days before I received your last I saw Mr Gordon
for about an hour in my way home from a journey in Annandale;
and found him situated very much as when he left you. The electri¬
city has been used
very regularly and completely, and he has been
using the Guajac. &c – He is now pretty free from any general disorder
or uneasiness except what low spirits occasion. Tho' the power of re¬
taining his urine & stools is certainly better than it once was, yet all
that can be said is that when he has warning which he commonly
has, he gets them managed. – In recovering the use of his limbs he
has made no progress whatever; – and, upon the whole, Mrs Gordon in¬
formed me that, from the first, nothing had done him any material service
I transmitted your last in course of post to Halleaths, and think it
probable that Mr Gordon may take a ride in here soon, when we will
concert matters in proceeding according to your directions with a
trial of warm bathing; – particularly in raising the heat to as great
a degree as he can bear it. –– By an account which I procured in
London from a good hand of the temperature of the Bath waters, the



[Page 3]

heat on the surface of the Great Bath, which must be when the wa¬
ter has been some time exposed to the air, is marked 105. Nearer the
bottom we would suppose it higher, for at the Spring I see it is
in most accounts reckoned 118 or 120. –– Yet 105 I believe is
amongst the highest degrees that the human body has been found
capable of bearing with tolerable ease.


I will take care to inform you when any thing
worth communicating occurs, and in the mean time
am with the sincerest regard

Dear Sir
Your faithful & obedient servant
John Gilchrist.


I hav[e] been prevented from finishing and sendi[ng]
off this letter, a post longer than I intended.




[Page 4]


To
Doctor Cullen
Physician
Edinburgh


Dr Gilchrist
Concerning Gordon of Halleaths
November 1781.
XIII p. 161

Diplomatic Text

[Page 1]
Dumfries Nov 1. 1781
Dear Sir


Yours which I had the pleasure to receive last post, con¬
cerning Mr Gordon of Halleaths, calls upon me immediately to
write, not only to acknowledge this letter, but your former one,
concerning the same patient, which I received by himself, on his
return from Edinr; and which I delayed acknowledging till I
saw if any thing satisfactory could be said about him –– You
are so obliging as to make apologies for the length & minute¬
ness of your letters, but I beg you to be assured that these are
by no means necessary, for the more particular you are I
shall always be the better pleased, well knowing that large
experience alone can properly regulate, or ascertain many things
to practice; –– so far at least as they can be ascertained.


Having never writ you on the subject of Mr G. I shall shortly
submit to you what has occurred to me about him. –– The notion I have
all along formed of his present complaints, since their first appearance, which
was about March last, has been very unfavourable. He has been, for a
great part of his life, such a valetudenarean – You was consulted about
his gouty complaints twelve or fourteen years ago – Of late years I have
had him several times under my care, and, for the most part, have been
not a little perplexed with him. Two different times, when keeping his
supposed gouty habit
in view; – and in the treatment of symptoms, which
seemed to be merely of a nervous kind, not attended with any appear¬
ances whatever of an inflammatory diathesis; – all my measures were
disturbed, once with the unexpected occurrence of an ophthalmia, so
acute, and of such long duration, as almost to threaten him with the
loss of
an eye; – at another time, with the attack of an angina
hardly less violent. –– He has been a man of extreme liveliness, and
of much sensibility; –– and his spirits have been often much depressed
from different causes of anxiety, and agitation of mind, to which
in the course of his affairs he has, for a long time, been more or less sub¬
jected. –––– Considering all these circumstances, – when his present complaints
made their appearance, I could not help dreading that, in a constitution thus
variously debilitated
, they were the beginning of a serious paralytic Disorder,



[Page 2]

and wished him soon after to have taken a ride in to you; which however
he put off at that time, and made an excursion with some friends into Eng¬
land, where, of his own accord, he drank the Water of Gillesland, which I
never thought of advising. ––


The occurrence of acute inflammatory symptoms, as mentioned above, at
a time when the general ailments were strictly and considerably nervous,
is certainly not common, at least to such a degree. –– Something of the same
kind I thought very observable in the two or three first months of the
present disease. After the paralytic symptoms had made a considerable
progress, and the use of stimulants seemed to be absolutely necessary,
I was, as in former instances, disconcerted by his being attacked with
frequent and severe febrile paroxysms; – not indeed preceeded by any
obvious cold stage, but giving an excessive degree of heat, lasting for
a great part of the night, with a very quick and full pulse; – and
terminating in profuse sweats. – These attacks however never did him
any of that service which fits of fever excited in paralytic cases have
been supposed to do.


If the above ideas of this case be reasonable, and founded on just
observation we will not wonder, I suppose if our most powerful remedies
should fail us. A few days before I received your last I saw Mr Gordon
for about an hour in my way home from a journey in Annandale;
and found him situated very much as when he left you. The electri¬
city has been used
very regularly and completely, and he has been
using the Guajac. &c – He is now pretty free from any general disorder
or uneasiness except what low spirits occasion. Tho' the power of re¬
taining his urine & stools is certainly better than it once was, yet all
that can be said is that when he has warning which he commonly
has, he gets them managed. – In recovering the use of his limbs he
has made no progress whatever; – and, upon the whole, Mrs Gordon in¬
formed me that, from the first, nothing had done him any material service
I transmitted your last in course of post to Halleaths, and think it
probable that Mr Gordon may take a ride in here soon, when we will
concert matters in proceeding according to your directions with a
trial of warm bathing; – particularly in raising the heat to as great
a degree as he can bear it. –– By an account which I procured in
London from a good hand of the temperature of the Bath waters, the



[Page 3]

heat on the surface of the Great Bath, which must be when the wa¬
ter has been some time exposed to the air, is marked 105. Nearer the
bottom we would suppose it higher, for at the Spring I see it is
in most accounts reckoned 118 or 120. –– Yet 105 I believe is
amongst the highest degrees that the human body has been found
capable of bearing with tolerable ease.


I will take care to inform you when any thing
worth communicating occurs, and in the mean time
am with the sincerest regard

Dear Sir
Your faithful & obed servt
John Gilchrist.


I hav[e] been prevented from finishing and sendi[ng]
off this letter, a post longer than I intended.




[Page 4]


To
Doctor Cullen
Physician
Edinburgh


Dr Gilchrist
C Gordon of Halleaths
Novr 1781.
XIII p. 161

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