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


[ID:3699] From: Dr William Cullen (Professor Cullen) / To: Dr / Regarding: Mr Sandilands (Patient) / 10 June 1774 / (Outgoing)

Reply 'Do. Sandilands, Gulielmi Cullen & Johannis Steedman M. D. D. Consilium', in Latin. Cullen and Steedman provides advice and a prescription for the 'noble youth', Master Sandilands, who has a growth on the right side of his ribs and skin eruptions. He has been treated with mercury, but the doctors do not think his case venereal or phthisical. He is advised to take the waters at Barèges in France.


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DOC ID 3699
RCPE Catalogue Number CUL/1/1/4/24
Main Language Latin
Document Direction Outgoing
Date10 June 1774
Annotation None
TypeScribal copy ( includes Casebook Entry)
Enclosure(s) No enclosure(s)
Autopsy No
Recipe Yes
Regimen Yes
Letter of Introduction No
Case Note No
Summary Reply 'Do. Sandilands, Gulielmi Cullen & Johannis Steedman M. D. D. Consilium', in Latin. Cullen and Steedman provides advice and a prescription for the 'noble youth', Master Sandilands, who has a growth on the right side of his ribs and skin eruptions. He has been treated with mercury, but the doctors do not think his case venereal or phthisical. He is advised to take the waters at Barèges in France.
Manuscript Incomplete? No
Evidence of Commercial Posting No


Cases that this document belongs to:

Case ID Description Num Docs
[Case ID:442]
Case of Master Sandilands, a "noble youth" with a growth on the right side of his ribs and skin eruptions.

People linked to this document

Person IDRole in documentPerson
[PERS ID:1]AuthorDr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID:1352]AddresseeDr
[PERS ID:1334]PatientMr Sandilands
[PERS ID:1]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr William Cullen (Professor Cullen)
[PERS ID:1333]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr John Steedman
[PERS ID:1352]Patient's Physician / Surgeon / ApothecaryDr
[PERS ID:714]Other Physician / SurgeonBaron Gerard van Swieten (Van Sweten)
[PERS ID:1333]Supplemental AuthorDr John Steedman

Places linked to this document

Role in document Specific Place Settlements / Areas Region Country Global Region Confidence
Place of Writing Cullen's House / Mint Close Edinburgh Edinburgh and East Scotland Europe certain
Destination of Letter Bourdeaux France France Europe inferred
Therapeutic Recommendation Barèges France France Europe certain

Normalized Text

For Master Sandilands
of William Cullen and John Steedman M.D.D.

We have examined and consider with the utmost care the symptoms from which
the noble youth Master Sandilands is afflicted.
We find them to be as follows.

1. A Tumour at the Ensiform Cartilage of the
right side and at the upper margin of the false ribs,
which is barely visible when standing, and which actually
is prominent at the right side and
rather visible.

2. Some pustules which pass away into scabs,
and which occupy mainly the chest, shoulder and face.

This tumour is neither hard nor as if it contains liquid,
it is soft and neither painful under pressure
nor with any movement of the body. It is not sufficiently clear to us whether the affected part has been covered by dressings,
but we infer that it was in dressings because a few weeks ago it had been
accompanied by some inflammation of the skin.

The Tumour being now not accompanied by any inflammation
or pain, we do not think any medicine of service. But if any remedy seems to be
necessary, we know none more suitable
than those which contribute to dissipate his other disease,
and these remedies we shall indicate soon.

Regarding the pustules which afflict the face:
these are thought, by some, to depend upon
the taint in the blood and humours; nevertheless,
our opinion is that this is less plausible, and that
frequently we have observed young men afflicted by
pustules of this kind for several years,
intermittently recurrent, inasmuch that in the periods of health
they were completely free of them.

Thus, to prevent the disfigurement of this
noble youth, many remedies have been exhausted. Since
we do not wish him to be harmed, above all
we cannot approve the heavy, or frequent, use of mercury.
Since it seems insufficiently certain that there is a taint in the blood,
and since young men with this kind of disease
are impatient, and escape from any remedy,
we have considered what can put this disease
to flight with the greatest efficacy,
and we will indicate it now.

1. He is to take two pints a day
for a month of the decoction prescribed below.

2. After he has taken the decoction, every third or fourth night
he should take one teaspoonful or half an ounce
of the Solution
of Corrosive Sublimated Mercury
, prepared according to
Baron van Swieten's directions.

3. Towards the end of September he may seek out the hot baths in
. He may employ the baths at the maximum temperature only,
and may drink the waters also, but only moderately; and he may do both
for one month.

With respect to diet, being a young man and of sanguine temperament,
we wish him entirely to refrain from eating meat,
because of the heat of the country to which he is now proceeding;
so as to be sparing in the use of
animal food.

Exercise riding either in a chaise or on horseback can
be of good service, but bodily exercise
of a more strenuous kind will be hurtful.

Although we have prescribed to Master S. the solution of mercury,
we do not think he is affected by any venereal taint,
and surely we do not think that he is affected by
any taint of this kind.

Besides what has already been said, we do not perceive
any other symptom of disease in this excellent youth, and we
are glad to say that we think he enjoys
a perfect health. During the winter we have noticed
a recurrent troublesome cough, but
without any signs of incipient phthisis,
always ceasing with the the Spring and better weather;
therefore, we judge it to be not worthy of attention.

Edinburgh 10 June 1774.
For Master S.

Take two ounces of Sarsaparilla Root and one to two drachms of Mulberry Root peel. Cook down from three to two pints of boiling water, adding towards the end two drachms of grated wood of the Sassafras Root and an ounce of grated Liquorice Root. Strain and label.

Diplomatic Text

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Do Sandilands
Gulielmi Cullen & Johannis Steedman M.D.D.

Examinavimus & qua possumus cura perpen¬
dimus symptomata quibus afficitur genero¬
sus Iuvenis Ds Sand.s. Ea esse invenimus.

1.o Tumorem a dextro latere cartilaginis ensi¬
& ad marginem costarum notharum su¬
periorum, qui erecto corpore vix apparet, in
dextrum vero latus reposito prominens et satis
notabilis fit.

2. Papulas quasdam in crustas abeuntes quæ
pectus humeros & præcipue faciem occupant.

Tumor iste nec durus nec quasi intus humor
esset, mollis est neque pressione nec sub quævis
corporis motu dolet. In tegumentis an in quæ¬
vis parte his subjecta positus sit nobis non sa¬
tis constat sed in tegumentis esse eo conjici¬
mus quod paucis ab hinc septimanis inflam¬
cutis aliqua comitata erat.

Ad hunc tumorem nulla iam inflammatione
vel dolore comitatum nulla medicina opus esse
censemus. Sed siqua fortasse remedia necessa¬
ria esse viderentur nulla magis idonea novimus
quam quæ ad alterum eius malum profligandum
mox indicabimus.

Quod ad papulas faciem infestantes attinet;

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eas a sanguinis & humorum labe aliqua pendere
nonnulli fortassis opiniarentur quæ tamen O¬
pinio eo minus nobis verisimilis est quod
adeo sæpe Iuvenes [acmen?] nuper adeptos huj¬
usmodi papulis per annos aliquot subinde
recurrentibus laborasse novimus qui tamen
interim sanitate alias prorsus illibata frueba¬

Ideoque ad deformitatem hanc tollendam
iuvenem egregium multis remediis lassari: for¬
tassis lædi nolumus et præ cæteris mercuralium
aut nimium aut frequentem usum probare non
possumus. Cum tamen sanguinis labem qualem
cunque abesse non satis certum videatur et cum
juvenes hujusmodi malo laborantes plerumque
impatientes esse et ad remedia quælibet temere
confugere compertum habeamus quæ ad hoc malum
fugandum maxime efficacia fore censemus nunc

Imprimis decocto infra descripto ad lbij
in die utatur per mensem

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2do Cum decocto utitur, simul tertia vel quarta
quavis nocte cochleare unum sive semunciam solutionis
Mercurii corrosivi sublimati
ad normam Baronis van
Swieten præparatæ sumat.

3tio Versus finem Septembris petat thermas des
. Utatur balneis maxime temperatis tantum
et ex iisdem bibat etiam sed modice; quod utrumque
per mensis spatium faciat

Quod ad diætam spectat, ab esu carnium
illum iuvenilem et temperamentum sanguineum
tum ob calorem regionis in quem nunc proficissitur,
volumus omnino ut victu ex animalibus parcus uta¬

Exercitari cum vel rheda vel equo vectum ad
salutem multum conferre potest sed a corporis exerci¬
tatione quavis vehementiore lædi periclitatur –––

Etsi solut. Merc. Do. S. præscripsimus illum labe
quavis venerea
affectum esse nequaquam putamus

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nec quidem istius modi labe unquam affectum
fuisse nobis ullo modo constat.

Præter jam dicta aliud morbi symptoma
in optimo iuvene non percepimus et illum
sanitate integerrima frui cum gaudio
existimamus. Per hyemem tussim aliqam ei
subinde molestam fuisse accepimus sed
cum ea sine illis phthiseos incipientis indiciis
esset et vere et meliore calo semper cederet
eam ideo nulla attentione dignam esse censemus

Ed.r 10 June 1774.
Pro. Do S.

Rad Sarsap. ℥ii
Cort. rad Mor. @ ʒi @ ʒii
Coque ex Aq. lbiii @ lbii additis sub finem
Ligni rad. sassafr. ras. ʒii
Rad glycyrrh. ras. ℥i
Cola et Signa


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