Cullen

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

 

[ID:838] From: Mr Charles Broughton / To: [ADDRESSEE UNKNOWN] / Regarding: [A matter not directly regarding a patient] / 7 October 1772 / (Incoming)

Letter (printed) from Charles Broughton advertising the efficacy of an ointment for swellings and ulcers. "Circular" printed to resemble a handwritten letter with professional endorsements. Refers to advertisement of a particular case in 'last pages' of the 'Public Advertiser' for June 26th and August 7th (1772) but these have not been found. Cullen purportedly sent him a case to treat.

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Metadata

FieldData
DOC ID 838
RCPE Catalogue Number CUL/1/2/105
Main Language English
Document Direction Incoming
Date7 October 1772
Annotation None
TypePrinted
Enclosure(s) No enclosure(s)
Autopsy No
Recipe No
Regimen No
Letter of Introduction No
Case Note No
Summary Letter (printed) from Charles Broughton advertising the efficacy of an ointment for swellings and ulcers. "Circular" printed to resemble a handwritten letter with professional endorsements. Refers to advertisement of a particular case in 'last pages' of the 'Public Advertiser' for June 26th and August 7th (1772) but these have not been found. Cullen purportedly sent him a case to treat.
Manuscript Incomplete? No
Evidence of Commercial Posting No

Case

Cases that this document belongs to:

Case ID Description Num Docs
[Case ID:392]
Cases communicated by Charles Broughton, a London surgeon, who sends Cullen letters detailing the successful use of his proprietary ointment that is supposed to cure tumours.
8


People linked to this document

Person IDRole in documentPerson
[PERS ID:359]AuthorMr Charles Broughton
[PERS ID:710]Other Physician / SurgeonBaron Thomas Dimsdale
[PERS ID:1]Other Physician / SurgeonDr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID:3709]Other Physician / SurgeonDr James Carmichael Smyth (Smyth Carmichael)
[PERS ID:359]Other Physician / SurgeonMr Charles Broughton
[PERS ID:522]Other Physician / SurgeonSir John Pringle
[PERS ID:607]Other Physician / SurgeonMr William Sharp
[PERS ID:610]Other Physician / SurgeonDr Richard Huck Saunders (Huck)
[PERS ID:707]Other Physician / SurgeonDr John Fothergill

Places linked to this document

Role in document Specific Place Settlements / Areas Region Country Global Region Confidence
Place of Writing 71 Aldermanbury London London and South-East England Europe certain
Destination of Letter Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe inferred

Normalized Text

[Page 1]
London October 7.th 1772
Sir


I beg leave to inform you that by means of some external applications that are sent to me from abroad
for my tryal and approbation, I have been enabled to under very essential service to many Individuals labouring under
indolent Glandulous Swellings, and foul ill conditioned Ulcers, with Carious Bones, which have resisted all other
means of cure. --- I have now had four years experience of the applications; which indeed were half
that Time in my possession, without making any use of them, from a prejudiced incredulity as to their
containing any useful properties. --- I wish now the candid Gentlemen of the Faculty as also the
Public, should be made acquainted with the success attendant thereon; and which is most clearly exem¬
plified by the subsequent living and indisputable Facts and cases; in the performance of whose cures
such eminent medical Gentlemen in London are alluded to, as are above every Temptation to deceive or
extol the Remedy beyond its Merits. ---


I purpose at my leisure to publish a more circumstantial detail of my cures, which are too particu¬
lar, as well as numerous to be contained within the narrow limits of a Letter: and shall therefore content
myself with selecting a few that are most worthy of notice. --- The younger the Patient, and the more
recent the Disease (cæteris paribus) 1 the cure is the speedier; nor do I pretend to ascertain any fixed Time
for curing; being quite at a loss to guess to what degree the Habit is loaded with the particular Humour
or Virus. -- The Ointment which is the Principal of the applications causes no pain, and can be
applied on Linen to the diseased Parts by any Person. It must cover the Tumour or Ulcer & be spread
the thickness of a Shilling piece, with a Wooden or Bone spatula, and renewed twice a Day. Many of
my present Patients live at considerable distances, two of whom have received their cures from me whom
I never saw. -- The Unguent either disperses by exsudation or suppurates: this happens according
to the Patient's Habit being more of less disposed to Inflamation: it cleanses and heals foul Ulcers of
Bones: generally causing Glandular Tumours which tend to suppuration to break themselves (which
I always advise) seldom needing the aid of the Lancet or Caustic -- a very desirable acquisition to
tender Infants. -- I have likewise remarked that those Abcesses which have been opened by either
of the above ways are more tedious to heal and generally leave unseemly Scars. ---


Notwithstanding the Application is Topical, I am fully perswaded from my experience of it, that
its Operation is diffused in the Constitution, so as to assist powerfully in eradicating the Disease and
check the Hectic symptoms which proceed from a purulent diseased Habit. -- Vide cases 1.st 2d and 3.d
where little or no Medicine was administered. It is therefore highly probable that this Ointment by
Absorption conquers the Disorders by some specific Operation, in the same manner as the Mercurial
or Sulphur Ointments act specifically on those Diseases to which they are particularly adapted. ---


1.st Case. In September 1768 I took under my care a Girl aged 7 with a dreadful Spina Ventosa
of her right Hand, had seven Ulcers from which there issued great quantities of foetid Matter, and the
Carpal Bones were enlarged and Carious, as also the fore Finger of her left Hand. -- The Hand was con¬
demned to be Amputated at S.t George's Hospital; and during her cure (which was 40 Months in com¬
pleating) she had 18 different Tumours & Abcesses. -- Most of the eminent Gentlemen here saw her
before I set about her cure -- She was then a Mass of corruption, and is now perfectly well -- her Hand
and Finger useful and strong -- She took a Purge now and then, and a Tincture to keep her Body open:
Her Indigence not admitting of Air, Exercise, Bathing, or proper Food, which might have expedited her
cure. --- In March 1769, & in the course of the Year 1770, I took under my care 15 Persons
all of them afflicted with Tumours and Ulcers in different Parts of their Bodies ) 2 & had been attended by able
surgeons without much Benefit (most of them had been years at the Sea) They have all received their cures
and I can easily satisfy any Enquirer by means of those Gentlemen who recommended them. ---


Case 2.d In April 1771 I was applied to for a child in the city, aged 3, and met Dr. Fothergill, this little
One had so many Tumours & Ulcers, inflam'd Eyes & scabby Head, that the Doctor said he scarce ever saw
an Infant of such tender Year[s?] so much diseased. -- He took the Medicines 3 Weeks and I compleated
his cure with the Ointment in 7 Months; and has remained well ever since. ---


Case 3.d In April 1771 I was requested to call on a Gentleman aged 22, who had Tumours & Ulcers
for these 12 Years past; had been under the direction of Sir John Pringle, & Dr. Huck. Dr. James C. Smyth
had also seen him. -- I wish'd this melancholy case to try the Powers of the Ointment solely (unassis¬
ted with any internal Medicine) which effected his compleat cure in 11 Months. -- He had been twice
Salivated and had taken Quantities of different Medicines & been years at the Sea. ---


Case 4th. In February 1772 Dr. Huck sent me a Boy aged 5 with a diseased Ancle -- The surgeons at Greenwich
& also of 3 different Hospitals gave their Opinions that it must be cut off. -- That they judged too pre¬
cipitately is very obvious, for he can walk (without support) on thatFoot & I am hopeful he will receive
his perfect cure --- A similar case is sent me from Edinburgh; Dr. Cullen had charge of him there. 3


This spring 1772 I engaged in the Cures of three Gentlemens children - the Honorable Baron Dimsdale, Dr. Fothergill
& Dr. Huck direct the Internal Treatment and they all express their satisfaction at their Patient's several amendments
& I believe their cures will take place before the Year expires. --- Only two Children have died (that were afflic¬
ted with Ulcers) under my care these four years they were far advanced in a Hectic before I saw them.


Case 5.th I am at this Time assisting with my Unguent a Cancerous Patient (who has already received advantage)
whose grevious case is inserted in the last Pages of the Public Advertiser for June 26.th & August 7. 4 'Tis of four Years
standing, 6 Inches in length & three in breadth and has been seen by Dr. Huck & Mr. Sharp. ---


Whether my Attempt in this case proves succesful or otherwise, I shall with equal candour & readiness
acknowledge --- Aiming to convince but never to mislead. ---


NB. The first, fourth and fifth cases may be seen by anyone

I am most respectfully yours
Charles Broughton
No. 71 Aldermanbury

Notes:

1: Translates as "all else being equal".

2: This closing bracket appears to have no opener.

3: No firm evidence of this case has been traced, but it is possibly that of the brother of Dr John Gilchrist of Dumfries, who was treated with Broughton's ointment (See Letter ID:912).

4: The Public Advertiser issued in London for these dates in 1772 does not obviously include any accounts of the case being referred to here.

Diplomatic Text

[Page 1]
London Oct.r 7.th 1772
Sir


I beg leave to inform you that by means of some external applications that are sent to me from abroad
for my tryal and approbation, I have been enabled to under very essential service to many Individuals labouring under
indolent Glandulous Swellings, and foul ill conditioned Ulcers, with Carious Bones, which have resisted all other
means of cure. --- I have now had four years experience of the applications; which indeed were half
that Time in my possession, without making any use of them, from a prejudiced incredulity as to their
containing any useful properties. --- I wish now the candid Gentlemen of the Faculty as also the
Public, should be made acquainted with the success attendant thereon; and which is most clearly exem¬
plified by the subsequent living and indisputable Facts and cases; in the performance of whose cures
such eminent medical Gentlemen in London are alluded to, as are above every Temptation to deceive or
extol the Remedy beyond its Merits. ---


I purpose at my leisure to publish a more circumstantial detail of my cures, which are too particu¬
lar, as well as numerous to be contained within the narrow limits of a Letter: and shall therefore content
myself with selecting a few that are most worthy of notice. --- The younger the Patient, and the more
recent the Disease (cæteris paribus) 1 the cure is the speedier; nor do I pretend to ascertain any fixed Time
for curing; being quite at a loss to guess to what degree the Habit is loaded with the particular Humour
or Virus. -- The Ointment which is the Principal of the applications causes no pain, and can be
applied on Linen to the diseased Parts by any Person. It must cover the Tumour or Ulcer & be spread
the thickness of a Shilling piece, with a Wooden or Bone spatula, and renewed twice a Day. Many of
my present Patients live at considerable distances, two of whom have received their cures from me whom
I never saw. -- The Unguent either disperses by exsudation or suppurates: this happens according
to the Patient's Habit being more of less disposed to Inflamation: it cleanses and heals foul Ulcers of
Bones: generally causing Glandular Tumours which tend to suppuration to break themselves (which
I always advise) seldom needing the aid of the Lancet or Caustic -- a very desirable acquisition to
tender Infants. -- I have likewise remarked that those Abcesses which have been opened by either
of the above ways are more tedious to heal and generally leave unseemly Scars. ---


Notwithstanding the Application is Topical, I am fully perswaded from my experience of it, that
its Operation is diffused in the Constitution, so as to assist powerfully in eradicating the Disease and
check the Hectic symptoms which proceed from a purulent diseased Habit. -- Vide cases 1.st 2d and 3.d
where little or no Medicine was administered. It is therefore highly probable that this Ointment by
Absorption conquers the Disorders by some specific Operation, in the same manner as the Mercurial
or Sulphur Ointments act specifically on those Diseases to which they are particularly adapted. ---


1.st Case. In September 1768 I took under my care a Girl aged 7 with a dreadful Spina Ventosa
of her right Hand, had seven Ulcers from which there issued great quantities of foetid Matter, and the
Carpal Bones were enlarged and Carious, as also the fore Finger of her left Hand. -- The Hand was con¬
demned to be Amputated at S.t George's Hospital; and during her cure (which was 40 Months in com¬
pleating) she had 18 different Tumours & Abcesses. -- Most of the eminent Gentlemen here saw her
before I set about her cure -- She was then a Mass of corruption, and is now perfectly well -- her Hand
and Finger useful and strong -- She took a Purge now and then, and a Tincture to keep her Body open:
Her Indigence not admitting of Air, Exercise, Bathing, or proper Food, which might have expedited her
cure. --- In March 1769, & in the course of the Year 1770, I took under my care 15 Persons
all of them afflicted with Tumours and Ulcers in different Parts of their Bodies ) 2 & had been attended by able
surgeons without much Benefit (most of them had been years at the Sea) They have all received their cures
and I can easily satisfy any Enquirer by means of those Gentlemen who recommended them. ---


Case 2.d In April 1771 I was applied to for a child in the city, aged 3, and met Dr. Fothergill, this little
One had so many Tumours & Ulcers, inflam'd Eyes & scabby Head, that the Doctor said he scarce ever saw
an Infant of such tender Year[s?] so much diseased. -- He took the Medicines 3 Weeks and I compleated
his cure with the Ointment in 7 Months; and has remained well ever since. ---


Case 3.d In April 1771 I was requested to call on a Gentleman aged 22, who had Tumours & Ulcers
for these 12 Years past; had been under the direction of Sir John Pringle, & Dr. Huck. Dr. James C. Smyth
had also seen him. -- I wish'd this melancholy case to try the Powers of the Ointment solely (unassis¬
ted with any internal Medicine) which effected his compleat cure in 11 Months. -- He had been twice
Salivated and had taken Quantities of different Medicines & been years at the Sea. ---


Case 4th. In Feb.y 1772 Dr. Huck sent me a Boy aged 5 with a diseased Ancle -- The surgeons at Greenwich
& also of 3 different Hospitals gave their Opinions that it must be cut off. -- That they judged too pre¬
cipitately is very obvious, for he can walk (without support) on thatFoot & I am hopeful he will receive
his perfect cure --- A similar case is sent me from Edinburgh; Dr. Cullen had charge of him there. 3


This spring 1772 I engaged in the Cures of three Gentlemens children - the Hon.ble Baron Dimsdale, Dr. Fothergill
& Dr. Huck direct the Internal Treatment and they all express their satisfaction at their Patient's several amendments
& I believe their cures will take place before the Year expires. --- Only two Children have died (that were afflic¬
ted with Ulcers) under my care these four years they were far advanced in a Hectic before I saw them.


Case 5.th I am at this Time assisting with my Unguent a Cancerous Patient (who has already received advantage)
whose grevious case is inserted in the last Pages of the Public Advertiser for June 26.th & Aug.t 7. 4 'Tis of four Years
standing, 6 Inches in length & three in breadth and has been seen by Dr. Huck & Mr. Sharp. ---


Whether my Attempt in this case proves succesful or otherwise, I shall with equal candour & readiness
acknowledge --- Aiming to convince but never to mislead. ---


NB. The first, fourth and fifth cases may be seen by anyone

I am most respectfully yours
Charles Broughton
No. 71 Aldermanbury

Notes:

1: Translates as "all else being equal".

2: This closing bracket appears to have no opener.

3: No firm evidence of this case has been traced, but it is possibly that of the brother of Dr John Gilchrist of Dumfries, who was treated with Broughton's ointment (See Letter ID:912).

4: The Public Advertiser issued in London for these dates in 1772 does not obviously include any accounts of the case being referred to here.

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