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


People [PERS ID:472]

First NameThomas
Middle Name/Initial(s)
Last NameMutter
Maiden Name
OccupationMinister (Presbyterian)
Medical Professional?Unknown


Birth (year) 1710
Date of death (year) 1793


Doctor of Divinity and Presbyterian minister of the Old Church of St Michael’s, Dumfries from 1764 until his death on 25th December 1793. There is a memorial tablet in the church. The living was a Crown settlement with a stipend of £200 per year. He was married with five daughters, including Isabel (Bess). Mutter gets a mention in John Mayne’s Scots poem 'The Siller Gun' (1777; expanded editions to 1836), celebrating the 1777 revival of a local shooting contest first instituted at Dumfries by James VI. In a passage recounting the civic dinner we hear how, ‘Arriving in an unco flutter,/ The coffee-cups began to clutter;/ But first, Mass John, grave Doctor Mutter,/ Wi' pious care, 
And a' the zeal that Grace cou'd utter,/ Preferr'd this Pray'r ...(Stanza xxvi). In a footnote added to these lines by the poet in 1836, Mutter is described as having been ‘a gentleman of distinguished talents, of great eloquence as a preacher, and eminent as a theologist.’ His self-published Sermons appeared in 1791 (copy in NLS). In 1780, after suffering from ‘a palsy’ (stroke), Mutter was under the immediate care of Dr John Gilchrist. Writing to Cullen in May 1780 Gilchrist describes Mutter as being ‘for a long time past of a corpulent, and very sluggish habit; pretty much given to study...’ Gilchrist also indicates that Mutter had consulted Cullen for another complaint some years earlier, though no correspondence has been traced. By late October 1780 Mutter has recovered his speech and is mobile enough to plan to ride to Edinburgh to see Cullen in person. He lived a further 13 years.

Cases that this person appears in:

CountCase IDCase Name
1Case 9Case of Dr Thomas Mutter who has suffered 'a palsy' (stroke).
2Case 811Case of Mrs Gordon who has a serious 'visceral obstruction' which Cullen thinks may be a tumour, ovarian in origin.
3Case 965Case of the Reverend Burnside who is left weak from a history of headaches and attacks of sweating.
4Case 1031Case of Miss Balmain who has long been delicate and is advised to travel to Galloway via Moffat (see earlier consultation as Case 802).
5Case 1107Case of Mr William McDowal [McDowall, McDouall], who has a chest complaint and spits blood.
6Case 1279Case of Mr George Mackenzie staying near Dumfries, who has a cough and spits blood. He travels abroad where he dies.
7Case 1945Case of a daughter of the Revd. Dr Thomas and Isabel Mutter at Dumfries who has pains in her side which the local surgeon terms hysterical. Cullen thinks she is just rather delicate.
8Case 2059Case of Mr Mackenzie whose complaints may be venereal in origin.
9Case 2506Case of an unnamed female, "Miss ---- Junr. (Junior)". Cullen thinks her case phthisical.