Cullen

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

 

[ID:2727] From: Mrs Margaret Bell (Bethune) / To: Mrs Anna Bruce (Bruce) (of Kinross & Arnot) / Regarding: Governor Charles Bell (Patient) / 17? July 1785 / (Incoming)

Letter from Margaret Bell to Mrs Bruce of Arnot, concerning the case history of Mr Bell – his bouts of gout and kidney complaints, and his treatment. She mentions that the local physicians and surgeons are not available at present. Dating is approximate: she begins it on the Saturday and writes a postscript on the Sunday, possibly the same day as ID 2664. Possibly incomplete.

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Metadata

FieldData
DOC ID 2727
RCPE Catalogue Number CUL/1/2/1767
Main Language English
Document Direction Incoming
Date17? July 1785
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 Margaret Bell to Mrs Bruce of Arnot, concerning the case history of Mr Bell – his bouts of gout and kidney complaints, and his treatment. She mentions that the local physicians and surgeons are not available at present. Dating is approximate: she begins it on the Saturday and writes a postscript on the Sunday, possibly the same day as ID 2664. Possibly incomplete.
Manuscript Incomplete? Yes
Evidence of Commercial Posting Yes

Case

Cases that this document belongs to:

Case ID Description Num Docs
[Case ID:1817]
Case of Governor Charles Bell, whose condition is diagnosed as gouty and nephritic.
3


People linked to this document

Person IDRole in documentPerson
[PERS ID:5646]AuthorMrs Margaret Bell
[PERS ID:5644]AddresseeMrs Anna Bruce (of Kinross & Arnot)
[PERS ID:5645]PatientGovernor Charles Bell
[PERS ID:678]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr John Govan (Gowan)
[PERS ID:3999]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryMr Robert Arnott
[PERS ID:830]Other Physician / SurgeonDr Robert Menzies (of Dura )
[PERS ID:5646]Patient's Relative / Spouse / FriendMrs Margaret Bell
[PERS ID:5643]Patient's Relative / Spouse / FriendMr Thomas Bruce (of Arnot)
[PERS ID:5644]Patient's Relative / Spouse / FriendMrs Anna Bruce (of Kinross & Arnot)

Places linked to this document

Role in document Specific Place Settlements / Areas Region Country Global Region Confidence
Place of Writing Cupar (Coupar / Coupar of Fife) Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain
Destination of Letter Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain
Place of Handstamp Cupar (Coupar / Coupar of Fife) Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain

Normalized Text

[Page 1]
Saturday Night ––


A thousand thanks my Dear Madam for
your kind letter. I shall try and be more explicit in this letter
than my last neither Dr Govan nor Mr Arnot are in Town
(Dr Menzies we selldom see) but Mr Bell thinks with
his help I may be able to give Mr Bruce a ↑more↑ particular
account of his care than any other Person can do as its
been so much the object of my attention for this six year
past –– Mr Bell has been subject to Fits of the Gout for this
twenty years past and never was three years without having
a regular one in his Extremities. He had two very severe
ones since we were married the first continued six months and
was in his Feet in the second which was two years ago the
Pain was mostly in his arms but in both these Fits
he was violently attack'd with the pain in his kidney
which carried the pain ↑of↑ from the Extremities and after
passing some very gross water which seemd to be mix'd
both with purelant and
Gouty matter; he began to
recover – Since that last Fit he has had nothing of the
Gout
except sometimes Flying pains in his Arms, but
Felt constantly that Heavy dull Pain in his Loins
(that is Certainly the proper word) he Generaly got
some Ease when his water was thick and white and was
always in greatest pain where it was clear and high Coloured



[Page 2]

There never was any applications or Sinapisms applied to
his Feet or hands farther than keeping the, very warm when
he Felt any degree of pain, nor was [that?] parts of the place
where he feels the great torture ever Bled with Leeches
or Cupped. He never complain'd of thirst (less I believe than
any Person so subject to Feverish Fits) till within ago
this month when he has a greater desire for Liquids
which he imputes to ↑the↑ quantity of Laudanum which he
obliged to take fifty or sixty drops every Night. It never
was supposed his Liver was touched his Colour was
always remarkably ↑fresh↑ and nothing of the yellowness
which attends that Disease
. He has got poultices
and Fomentations applied to his Loins which gave
him a little temporary releif There is ↑no↑ doubt that
there is an ulceration in his kidney but its supposed there
is also a mixture of Gout in it as that disease in him
had always such a Tendency to attack his Loins ––
He was in great use of taking the Bark but since
the pain in his Loins was so severe he thought it
[increasd?] it. He was advis'd to mix some nitre with
it but the Bark would not answer in any shape.
The oil of Castor was orderd as good in Nephritical
Cases
but he Could not Bear it on his stomach
tho mix'd with spirits. The Alcaline Draughts
he has found most service from as they cool him


[Page 3]

to {illeg} he has those Feverish Fits which still combine
to Distress him, but indeed he has been very few Days
free of them for this several years he generaly gets a
Sweat every morning and when it and the Effects of
the Laudanum
wears off it leaves him so exceedingly
low
and debilitated that he is obliged to have recourse
to wine tho a very small quantity of that he thinks
augments his pain but some cordial is absolutly necesary.
He has all his life been one of the most temperate
men in the world Both in eating and Drinkin[g]
I dont think there has been any other medicine
tryd with him except different sorts of Physick
to Contract
the Effects of the Laudanum and has
found Soluble tartar answer the Best the most of
his nourishment at present is from strowberries
with wine he has a dislike at every thing but vega¬
tables –– I hope my Dear Madam from my two letters
Mr Bruce will can form some idea of my Dear Husbands
situation He begs his most Grateful thanks to him
and says he has a greater desire to hear his ↑own↑ opinion
than any of the persons he mentions, but if nothing
similar ↑to his case↑ has occurd to him – he will not give him
Mr Bruce the trouble of Consulting any of the Physicians
but make some of the Gentlemen that was attending


[Page 4]

him write them, but I wish you had told me who you
hold in the greatest Estimation as it would have stren¬
gth'd my Confidance ↑much↑ – God Bless you and never never may
your Heart be torn with such anguish as your Miserable
Friends is at present.

with much affection yours
M.B.

Sunday morning Mr Bell has complaind much
this night of pains in his Gout Feet. Dr Govan
has just come in and has orderd sinapisms to
be laid to them –––– Mr Bell Lungs are though[t]
to be perfectly ↑good↑ and he has not the smallest difficulty
in Breathing
––


Mrs Bruce of Arnot
Edinburgh ––––

Diplomatic Text

[Page 1]
Saturday Night ––


A thousand thanks my Dear Madam for
your kind letter. I shall try and be more explicit in this letter
than my last neither Dr Govan nor Mr Arnot are in Town
(Dr Menzies we selldom see) but Mr Bell thinks with
his help I may be able to give Mr Bruce a ↑more↑ particular
account of his care than any other Person can do as its
been so much the object of my attention for this six year
past –– Mr Bell has been subject to Fits of the Gout for this
twenty years past and never was three years without having
a regular one in his Extremities. He had two very severe
ones since we were married the first continued six months and
was in his Feet in the second which was two years ago the
Pain was mostly in his arms but in both these Fits
he was violently attack'd with the pain in his kidney
which carried the pain ↑of↑ from the Extremities and after
passing some very gross water which seemd to be mix'd
both with purelant and
Gouty matter; he began to
recover – Since that last Fit he has had nothing of the
Gout
except sometimes Flying pains in his Arms, but
Felt constantly that Heavy dull Pain in his Loins
(that is Certainly the proper word) he Generaly got
some Ease when his water was thick and white and was
always in greatest pain where it was clear and high Col.



[Page 2]

There never was any applications or Sinapisms applied to
his Feet or hands farther than keeping the, very warm when
he Felt any degree of pain, nor was [that?] parts of the place
where he feels the great torture ever Bled with Leeches
or Cupped. He never complain'd of thirst (less I believe than
any Person so subject to Feverish Fits) till within ago
this month when he has a greater desire for Liquids
which he imputes to ↑the↑ quantity of Laudanum which he
obliged to take fifty or sixty drops every Night. It never
was supposed his Liver was touched his Colour was
always remarkably ↑fresh↑ and nothing of the yellowness
which attends that Disease
. He has got poultices
and Fomentations applied to his Loins which gave
him a little temporary releif There is ↑no↑ doubt that
there is an ulceration in his kidney but its supposed there
is also a mixture of Gout in it as that disease in him
had always such a Tendency to attack his Loins ––
He was in great use of taking the Bark but since
the pain in his Loins was so severe he thought it
[increasd?] it. He was advis'd to mix some nitre with
it but the Bark would not answer in any shape.
The oil of Castor was orderd as good in Nephritical
Cases
but he Could not Bear it on his stomach
tho mix'd with spirits. The Alcaline Draughts
he has found most service from as they cool him


[Page 3]

to {illeg} he has those Feverish Fits which still combine
to Distress him, but indeed he has been very few Days
free of them for this several years he generaly gets a
Sweat every morning and when it and the Effects of
the Laudanum
wears off it leaves him so exceedingly
low
and debilitated that he is obliged to have recourse
to wine tho a very small quantity of that he thinks
augments his pain but some cordial is absolutly necesary.
He has all his life been one of the most temperate
men in the world Both in eating and Drinkin[g]
I dont think there has been any other medicine
tryd with him except different sorts of Physick
to Contract
the Effects of the Laudanum and has
found Soluble tartar answer the Best the most of
his nourishment at present is from strowberries
with wine he has a dislike at every thing but vega¬
tables –– I hope my Dear Madam from my two letters
Mr Bruce will can form some idea of my Dear Husbands
situation He begs his most Grateful thanks to him
and says he has a greater desire to hear his ↑own↑ opinion
than any of the persons he mentions, but if nothing
similar ↑to his case↑ has occurd to him – he will not give him
Mr Bruce the trouble of Consulting any of the Physicians
but make some of the Gentlemen that was attending


[Page 4]

him write them, but I wish you had told me who you
hold in the greatest Estimation as it would have stren¬
gth'd my Confidance ↑much↑ – God Bless you and never never may
your Heart be torn with such anguish as your Miserable
Friends is at present.

with much affect yours
M.B.

Sunday morning Mr Bell has complaind much
this night of pains in his Gout Feet. Dr Govan
has just come in and has orderd sinapisms to
be laid to them –––– Mr Bell Lungs are though[t]
to be perfectly ↑good↑ and he has not the smallest difficulty
in Breathing
––


Mrs Bruce of Arnot
Edinr ––––

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