[Page iii]


IT was neither Thirst after Gain, nor the Desire of Applause, but the Welfare of Mankind alone, which excited me to publish this Essay. I have therefore frankly and ho­nestly laid before the World such Observa­tions as may, I hope, be of Service to my Fellow Creatures.

I Have, however, always observed, that when a Treatise or Essay upon any of the liberal Aris and Sciences makes its first Ap­pearance, it gives Employment to Cavillers. Horace, in the following Lines, distinguishes a Critic from a Caviller, and candidly de­clares, that he is not offended with those lit­tle [Page iv] Faults, which may be imputed to Inad­vertency, or to the Imperfection of Human Nature:

—Non ego paucis
Offendar maculis, quas aut incuria fudit,
Aut humana parum cavit natura.

A Caviller, on the contrary, being on all Occasions more attentive to what is wrong than what is right, is jealous and cautious in bestowing Applause, but rather wants, by his shrewd Observations, to acquire a pretty Figure to himself. The Truth of it is, there can be no more a perfect Work in the World, than a perfect Man. To say therefore of any Performance, that there are Faults in it, is in Effect to say no more, than that the Au­thor of it is a Man.

[Page v] I Would not however be understood to insi­nuate, that the following Piece is in any De­gree as perfect in its Kind as Man could make it. I am sensible, that, like other Arts, the Faculty of writing well is only to be ac­quired by writing much. If any thing is here taught that may be useful to Mankind, the candid Reader will, for its sake, excuse Faults of Method, Stile and Expression: But if I have inculcated any Mistake that may be of pernicious Consequence, let the Publick be set right, whatever Opinion they may afterwards entertain of me.

I Must not omit this Opportunity of re­turning Thanks to my learned and worthy Friend, Dr. A. Spencer, of Philadelphia, (who is justly recommended by the famous Dr. MEAD, and several eminent Gentle­men of the Faculty in London, as a most [Page vi] judicious and experienced Physician and Man-midwife) for his Trouble in revising this Essay, as well as for embellishing it with some curious and useful Observations, which he would not suffer me to point out to the Reader.

Tho. Cadwalader.


To which is added, An Extraordinary CASE in Physick.

PHILADELPHIA: Printed and sold by B. FRANKLIN


[Page iii]


I HAVE long been of Opinion, that 'tis the Duty of Physicians frankly to com­municate to the World, any particular Me­thod of treating Diseases, which they have found to be successful in the Course of their Experience, and not generally known or practised by others. By this the Medicinal Art has been, and may still be greatly im­proved. Many are the Advantages the pre­sent Age reaps from such a disinterested Conduct in our Predecessors; and where we have freely received, surely we should freely give.

[Page iv] THIS has induced me to write the fol­lowing Essay on the Dry-Gripes, and to re­commend a Method of Cure which appears to me to be drawn from the Nature and Cause of that grievous Distemper, and which has approved itself to me by a very extraor­dinary Success.

AND tho' the Method here laid down may be new to the Generality of the Profes­sion, it has been practised some Years, with great Approbation, by several Gentlemen of distinguished Characters in Philadelphia.

FROM their Judgment of this Me­thod, as well as my own, I am inclined to hope the following Piece may contribute, in some Degree, to the Welfare of Mankind. With this View I h [...]e caused it to be print­ed, and submit it to the candid Considera­tion of the Publick.

[Page v] I Must not here omit acknowledging my­self particularly obliged to my learned and worthy Friend, Dr. A. Spencer, of Phi­ladelphia (who is recommended by the famous Dr. MEAD, and several eminent Gentle­men of the Faculty in London, as a most ju­dicious and experienced Physician and Man-midwife) for his Trouble in revising this Es­say, as well as for embellishing it with some curious and useful Observations, which he would not suffer me to point out to the Reader.

Tho. Cadwalader.
[Page 1]


THE European Physicians give an Account of a Disease similar to the Dry-Gripes, calling it Cholic [...] Pictonum, because most frequent at Poic­tiers. They are both attended with exces­sive griping Pains in the Pit of the Stomach and Bowels, which are much distended with Wind; violent and frequent Reach­ings to vomit, sometimes bringing up small Quantities of bilious Matter; at other times there is a Sensation, as if the Bowels were drawn together by Ropes; great Costive­ness, and frequently a continual Inclination to go to Stool without voiding any Thing.

[Page 2] The Ducts which open into the Inte­stines, and excern a Mucus to moisten and lubricate them, are obstructed and glewed up with a Viscosity not easily resolvable; and through the whole Course of the Di­stemper, the Faeces are extremely dry and hard, in small Lumps like Bullets. The Intestines are drawn up towards the Back with almost continual convulsive Twitches. The Pains are frequently so sharp, that the Patient will fall on the Floor, and cry out violently in the greatest Agony.

The Alcaline Acrimony impacted on the Stomach and Intestines, is so great in ma­ny Cases, as to communicate its malign In­fluence to the whole nervous System, cau­sing violent Convulsions, which are very dangerous Symptoms; tho' I have known many recover after having a Number of them. But if the excessive Pain continues any considerable Time, the Peristaltic Mo­tion of the Intestines becomes inverted, and the Iliac Passion ensues.

This sore Malady usually degenerates in­to the Palsy, and a Deprivation of all Sort of Motion in the Hands and Feet.—Doctor Willis conjectured, that the Transition of a [Page 3] Cholic to a Palsy, was a Sign that the Morbific Matter was transmitted not by the Arteries, but the Nerves, and that its Seat was not in the Coats of the Intestines, but the nervous Plexus of the Mesentery; which is very sensible, and obnoxious to an Afflux of Humours of the nervous Kind. But this Remark of Dr. Willis can on­ly relate to the Hysteric Cholic, which sometimes counterfeits the Bilious; being accompanied with a Pain about the Scro­biculum Cordis, the Region of the Stomach, and a little lower, which is followed with a Vomiting of Humours of a green or yel­low Colour, and a great Sinking of the Spi­rits; after a Day or two the Pain goes off, but upon the slightest Commotion or Per­turbation of the Mind, it soon returns again. In this Case, neither Cathartics nor Clysters have any Place, as they exasperate the Dis­temper; so that this Disease seems to pro­ceed rather from the Disorder of the Spirits, than the Fault of the Humours. Physicians, therefore, ought above all things to be cau­tious, that they mistake not the Diagnostic, by imagining that the Symptoms which attend Hysteric Women, do arise from [Page 4] such Distempers as they frequently counter­feit.

The remote Cause is supposed to be an obstructed Perspiration, by being too much exposed to a moist Night Air, and cold raw Winds; hard Drinking, especially Drams or strong Punch; and Want of a good Di­gestion, which renders the Chyle crude and viscid; but the proximate Cause is an acri­monious Bile.

It is, indeed, the Opinion of several in­genious and worthy modern Authors, that this Distemper is caused by taking large Quantities of Lime-juice; but I must beg Leave to differ from their Sentiments in this Case: For seeing the Humours which vel­licate and fret the Coats of the Stomach and Intestines are intirely alcaline, Acids must be (and Experience confirms it) the most effectual Remedies. Thus the Negroes, in some Parts of the West-Indies, ease their excessive Pains in the Dry-Gripes by eat­ing Limes, or drinking the Juice. It has likewise been observed, that since the Peo­ple of America have drank Punch with more Water (which moistens the Faeces, and dilutes the acrid Salts of the Bile) and made [Page 5] of old Spirit (which has less of the hot fiery Particles than when new from the Still) yet with much more Lime-juice than for­merly, the Dry-Gripes is not near so com­mon as before this Custom prevailed.

In all Kinds of Diseases it is absolutely necessary to know the Cause; for other­wise to attempt a Cure, is like a blind Man shooting at a Mark; the Remedies in one Case being directly opposite and destructive in another. Thus if a Fever, proceeding from a hot, inflammatory, alcaline Cause, be treated with a hot Regimen, and not with an acid cooling One, the Patient must inevitably perish; but, on the contrary, if Acidity is the Cause (as it commonly is in Children) the alcaline Method is to be pre­ferred. As therefore a Physician, not care­fully regarding the Symptoms and the Cause of a Fever, may prove the Destruc­tion of the Patient; so in all Cholics the Symptoms and the Cause are to be princi­pally regarded; and for want of a nice and exact Attendance thereto, a too general Me­thod of Cure very seldom meets with Suc­cess in either Case.

[Page 6] But before I enter upon the Cure of the Dry-Gripes, Humanity obliges me to ob­serve, that the Persons who are most liable to it are generally lean, and much emaci­ated, by their excessive Perspiration in the West-Indies; and consequently the aque­ous Parts of the Blood being thus evaporat­ed, the saline Particles must necessarily be­come exceeding acrid. The Method, there­fore, to prevent this Malady in such Con­stitutions, is obvious, viz. To abstain, in the West-Indies, and in Summer on the Continent, from Drams and strong Punch; salted and high seasoned Meats; immode­rate Exercise, which raises Sweat; and pro­fuse Venery: To rise early in a Mornings; to take Chocolate for Breakfast and Sup­per; make frequent use of Broths and boiled Meats, emollient and acid Herbs and Fruits; dilute plentifully with tepid, small, and subacid Liquors; and when costive, to take a small saponaceous Purge, so as to procure one Stool a Day.

The following Method I have found, by many Years Experience, successful in the Dry-Gripes, and were it more generally [Page 7] practised, I believe the Lives and Limbs of great Numbers might be saved.

To mitigate the Violence of the Pains, and prevent Vomiting, I order,

Opii, Grana una vel duo, sive Laudan. li­quid. Sydenham. Guttas triginta, quadra­ginta, vel quinquaginta, et repetend. pro re nata, in majori vel minori Dosi, donec Aeger se sensit in statu tolerabili.

If the Vomiting be so bad that the Sto­mach can hardly retain any Thing, the following Powders scarce ever fail of suc­ceeding:

R. Tartari Vitriolati, Grana decem; Olei Cinnamomi Guttam unam. M. F. Pulvis sumendus in Haustu Theae Menthae omni (vel secunda quaque) Hora.

The Vomiting being stopped, I have Re­course to the following Prescription, till three or four Stools are obtained:

R. Cremoris Tartari Grana triginta; Olei Caryophyllorum Guttam unam. M. F. [Page 8] Pulvis sumendus in Haustu T▪heae Men­thae (vel Decocti avenacei) omni Hora.

As an obstinate Costiveness, and most vi­olent Pain of the Bowels, are perpetual Symptoms in this Disease, Opiates are to be administered through its whole Course at proper Intervals. When, therefore, the Pain is very excessive, I give Opiates even at the same time with the purging Powders, that the Pain may be rendered tolerable, that a Relaxation of the Intestines may thence fol­low, and that their Peristaltic Motion may become constant and regular, and be nei­ther interrupted nor perverted.

Every Pain acts as a Stimulus, or rather, a Stimulus excites a Sense of Pain: But eve­ry Stimulus provokes the Fibres to Contrac­tions, and, if violent, throws them into Spasms. When, therefore, a Cholic Pain is very vehement, the Intestines are in some Places affected with Convulsions, and are as if bound hard with a Swathe; insomuch, that unless the Pain is lulled asleep, neither the Faeces nor Wind can be transmitted downwards: It is for this Reason, that eve­ry violent Cholic Pain is almost always at­tended [Page 9] with a great Costiveness. It is, there­fore, very rational to add Anodynes to Pur­ges in very vehement Cholics; nor is this any new Practice, seeing the most experi­enced Riverius, in Capite de Dolore Choli­co, prescribed Aloes Drachmam unam, Scammonei Grana sex; to which he added two Grains of Opium, and in one of his Observations even five Grains.

This Course, steadily pursued, gives sometimes three or four Stools in Twenty-four Hours; but if no such End is obtain­ed, as it often happens (especially if the Di­stemper is of long Standing) I order the Ab­domen to be cherished with an emollient Fomentation, and that more particularly when the Belly is very tense and hard, or excessively contracted by a Spasm: For the Fomentation penetrating the Integuments of the Abdomen, softens and relaxes the too tense and rigid Fibres. I have often expe­rienced the good Effects of the following Fomentation:

R. Florum Chamaemeli Manipulos tres; Ra­dicis Althaeae, Seminum Lini et Faenu­graeci, ana Uncias tres; Capitum Papa­veris [Page 10] albi Uncias quatuor. Cum Aquae et Lactis recentis, ana Q. S. Vase de­coque clauso.

But I am apt to believe, that far better Effects might be expected, if the Patient made use of a Semicupium prepared from the same Ingredients. Every One who has observed the very happy Effects of an emol­lient Bath in Nephritic Pains, will very rea­dily agree to what I say.—I have, indeed, frequently seen the most cruel Nephritic Pa­roxysm suddenly vanish by the Use of a Bath only, when neither plentiful Bleeding, nor Opiates given freely, gave the least Re­lief: Nay, I have learned, by many Expe­riments, that nothing conduces so much to ease the Pain, and send the Stone down the Ureters, as a warm and emollient Bath.

I am likewise of Opinion, that it would very much conduce to a speedy and perfect Cure, if the Patient, through the whole Course of the Distemper, made frequent use of oleaginous Mixtures, which would not only lubricate and relax the Intestines, but also, by sheathing the lixivial Salts of the Bile, prevent their Points from acting [Page 11] with so much Force and Energy upon the Stomach and Intestines. For in this Dis­temper, the Secretion of the acrid Salts of the Bile, in the Hepatic Glands, seems to be in an over Proportion to the oily Parts.

Where there is no Vomiting, and the Pain not very acute, the Powders of Crem. Tartar may, after giving one Opiate, be used as directed, without any Delay. The Effects of which, after some Time, will be a sensible Perception of the Pain falling gradually downwards, from the Pit of the Stomach towards the Rectum. When, therefore, the Pain is settled in the lower Parts of the Abdomen, you may, in case the Patient is uneasy for want of a Stool, prescribe the following Purge.

R. Cremoris Tartari Drachmam unam; Radicis Jalapii Grana sex; Olei Cary­ophyllorum Guttam unam. M. f. Pul­vis sumendus in Haustu Decocti avenacei secunda (vel tertia) quaque Hora.

If this does not, in six or seven Hours, procure a Stool, I order an oleaginous and emollient Clyster; which not only lubri­cates [Page 12] the Intestines, but also softens the in­durated Faeces.

When the hardened Excrements are car­ried downwards, the Patient begins to break Wind backwards, which is sometimes ex­ceeding offensive. In the first three or four Stools, the Faeces are often very faetid, and abounding with a ropy viscid Substance, re­sembling membranous Filaments.

It is a necessary Caution not to be too hasty in gaining a Passage thro' the Body; for if larger Quantities of the same Medi­cines, or others more stimulating, should be given, you will be often foil'd in your Ex­pectations, and make good a common Say­ing, The more Haste, the worse Speed: For sharp stimulating Purges and Clysters have very bad Effects on the Nerves in this Dis­ease, and endanger a Deprivation of Motion in the Patient's Limbs.

Tho' the Patient generally recovers upon procuring a free Passage through the Inte­testines, by the prudent Use of the already mentioned Medicines; yet it is necessary to keep the Body still temperately open for a Week, or more, by the last prescribed Purge; to which may be added Calomel. [Page 13] Grana sex: For otherwise the Patient be­comes very costive, and the excessive Pains return, by the acrid Humours perpetually flowing into the Intestines.—But if not­withstanding all this the Pains should re­turn, which perhaps may be owing to a greater Degree of Viscidity in the Fluids, I have known a Dram of the Tartar. Solu­bil. taken every three Hours to perfect the Cure; and when that failed, the following has generally succeeded:

R. Aquilae albae Grana sex; Conservae Rosa­rum rubrarum Q. S. ut fiat Bolus omni Mane et Vesperi sumendus donec Ptyalis­mus excitetur lenissimus.

The Calomel, by its Gravity, and the acid adhering to the metalline Part, attenu­ates the Fluids, and forcing open the secre­tory and excretory Passages, answers the Intention in such obstinate Cases.

When Convulsions happen, strong Sti­mulants are to be avoided; but Anodynes generally relieve, with the Method already described.

[Page 14] In this Distemper the poor Patient being desirous of a Moment's Ease, even at any Rate, has too commonly a Recourse to Drams, and other spirituous Liquors. But tho' a Moment's Ease may, by such Means, be obtained, yet the Disease is more strongly rivetted, the Pains return with double Force, and all the Symptoms are vastly ag­gravated.

The proper Drinks in this Distemper are, Water-Gruel, Barley-Water, and such o­thers as are of the demulcent Kind; which dilute, obtund and dissolve, the acrimoni­ous Salts of the Blood.

Till the Stomach and Intestines have per­fectly recovered their proper Tone, the Pa­tient is very liable to a Relapse, either by taking Cold, drinking too freely of spiritu­ous Liquors, or not keeping strictly to Ali­ments which are light and easy of Digesti­on: To strengthen, therefore, the Stomach and Bowels after the Patient's Recovery, I order the following Medicines:

R. Elixir proprietatis Guttas sexaginta, ter de Die sumendas in quovis Vehiculo.

[Page 15] Vel,

R. Corticis Peruviani Uncias duas; Radi­cis Serpentariae Virginianae, Florum Cha­maemeli, ana sesquidrachmam; Radicis Gentianae, Corticis Aurantiorum, ana Drachmas tres; Radicis Rhei Drachmas duas. Infundantur cum Vini Maderensis Libris quatuor. Capiat AEger Uncias duas ter de Die.


R. Saponis Veneti semiunciam, Extracti Gentianae, Chalybis cum Sulphure prae­parati, ana Drachmas duas; Pulveris Radicis serpentariae Virginianae, Aloes, ana Drachmam unam; Syrupi Zinzibe­ris, Q. S. ut fiant Pilulae mediocres. Capiat tres omni Mane et Vesperi.

To compleat the Cure, let the Patient, as soon as able, use constant and moderate Ex­ercise on Horseback, than which there is not a better Thing to strengthen the Visce­ra and Intestines; for the Fibres of the Me­sentery and Intestines having been with the long Pains much weakened and relaxed, are by this Means brought to recover their proper Tone, and reassume their former Os­cillations, [Page 16] so as to shake off and expel the morbific Impurities: For riding on Horse­back, by the very frequent Jogging of the Body, gently shakes the whole Abdomen; and, therefore, by a continual Pressure and Agitation, it throws off whatever adheres to the Intestines, overcomes any Lentor re­maining in the small Vessels, and very much promotes the Circulation of the Blood thro' the Mesenteric Vessels, and little Branches of the Vena Porta, where the circulating Fluids move the slowest. Hence this Exer­cise, by its almost continual jolting of the Body, dissolves the Blood, concreted partly by the Force of the Disease, and partly by its sluggish Motion in those Parts; opens the Ob­structions formed in the Hepatic, Pancrea­tic, Mesenteric, and Intestinal Glands; and greatly contributes to the Action of the Spleen, which is assisting to that of the Li­ver. Lastly, as it is evident, from many Experiments, that Perspiration is very much increased by Riding, it is of vast Advan­tage not only in this, but in almost every Chronical Disease, by driving the noxious Humours from the Center to the Circum­ference, and expelling them through the [Page 17] Ducts of the Milliary Glands. Riding on­ly, has indeed restored many, on whom the most operose Medicines have not had the least good Effect. Let then the Patient enjoy Health by Riding, and daily acquire Strength by this noble Exercise.—The Use of the Flesh-Brush, and other Frictions, are likewise necessary, especially about the Joints and Limbs, which will promote a brisker Circulation of the Fluids in those Parts. In fine, every Thing is to be used which will increase the Elasticity of the Fi­bres, attenuate the Fluids, and promote a good Digestion.

If this Disease is complicated with any other, the Judgment of the Physician may then vary the Method, according to the different Circumstances of the Case. Thus when the Dry-Gripes is only the Symptom of a spurious, intermitting Fever, the Pe­ruvian Bark, prudently administered, is then the only proper Remedy: For the spurious Intermittents create a great Varie­ty of direful Symptoms, their true Cha­racteristicks being disguised under the Ap­pearance of some other Distemper; as enor­mous Vomitings, griping Loosenesses, Cho­lera [Page 18] Morbus, Cholics, pricking Pains in the Side like a Pleurisy, Ophthalmies, Apo­plexies, Pains on one Side of the Head, or Hemicranies universal or particular, Spasms or Cramps, Nephritic Pains, &c. also Pains like those of Women in Labour.

The Bark is certainly a most noble Re­medy in many Cases; and notwithstanding some ingenious Gentlemen have pointed out a Way to answer all its Uses by other Re­medies, endued (as they say) with as good, if not better, Properties; yet I believe, eve­ry Practitioner, who has had a thorough Ex­perience of its Efficacy in many Diseases, will readily acknowledge, that nothing has hitherto been discovered equal to it: And that late Discovery, in the Philosophical Transactions, of its most admirable Effect in Mortifications, may be sufficient to convince such Sceptics, that their darling Hypotheses not agreeing with Facts, are but Cobweb Schemes, calculated rather to amuse, than to establish a solid and lasting Practice.

All Hypotheses, unless they agree with Facts, are delusive and vain; and I believe it will be readily granted, that had the Writers of this and former Ages confined [Page 19] themselves more to practical Observations, some Diseases, now the Opprobria Medico­rum, would have been better understood, and perhaps as easily cured as an intermit­ting Fever by the Bark judiciously admini­stered.

What I have said is not to derogate from the Theory of Physick, which is founded on Facts and proper Observations; and by which every particular Distemper, with all its Symptoms and Accidents, may be ac­counted for; because it is impossible for any Man to judge from such and such Symptoms, what the Method of Cure ought to be in this or that Disease, unless he has an Idea of the Causes and Manner of their Production. A true Physician, therefore, goes always warily to Work, and proceeds upon a just and solid Foundation; for he first gets a Knowledge of the Seat and Cause of a Disorder, and at these he levels his Prescription. If the Case proves obstinate, he augments the Force of his Medicines, and varies them as Circumstances alter, without acknowledging an End to his Art, where the Disease is curable: For he has always some promising Remedy in Reserve, [Page 20] and can, from Rules of Analogy, directly attempt the Removal of Diseases unseen be­fore. A Person, on the contrary, who is ignorant of the Animal OEconomy, and the many other Requisites in Physic, is puzzled and confounded at every Accident which turns up, and a new Case throws him quite out of his Biass; for having but few Remedies to trust to, he directs them at all Adventures, without pursuing any form­ed Design, or without regarding the Seat, the Cause, or Stage of the Disease, and the Circumstances of the Patient. If happily his Medicines succeed, it is well; but if they fail, he is at the Extent of his Cord, he has done his utmost, and your Case is desperate: But thrice happy is the Patient, if he escapes without having either his Con­stitution or Life destroyed, through the Pre­tender's Ignorance and Rashness.

I shall now after this Digression give a few Cases of Persons who have been under my Care, to illustrate the foregoing Me­thod of curing the Dry-Gripes.

[Page 21] CASE I.

A young Man, of eighteen or nineteen Years of Age, having been seized with the Dry-Gripes, was treated in the usual [...] with strong stimulating Purges and [...] ­sters, for about a Week before I was called to his Assistance; but instead of relieving him, they had strongly aggravated all the Symptoms. At my coming he had a rack­ing Pain in his Stomach and Bowels, and such frequent Strainings to vomit, as to cast up every Thing he took. His Pains were sometimes so exceeding sharp, that two or three Persons could scarcely keep him in Bed; and after every such sharp Fit, he could not see for near a Quarter of an Hour. As, therefore, Opiates could not be kept in his Stomach, I ordered him to take the already mentioned Powder of vitriolat­ed Tartar every Hour in Mint-Tea, which always suppresses the Vomiting, where A­nodynes fail.

After taking three Doses his Stomach be­came so well settled, as to take the follow­ing Draught.

[Page 22] R. Aquae Menthae Uncias duas; Laudani liquidi Sydenhammi Guttas quadraginta. M. f. Haustus.

About an Hour afterwards I prescribed the Powders of Cream of Tartar; and at the same time ordered his Abdomen to be well fomented with the Fomentation.

After using the Fomentation, and taking several Doses of the Powders, the Pains fell down into the lower Parts of the Abdo­men; I, therefore, ordered him to take the purging Powder with Jalap every two Hours in any Vehicle.

But after taking three of those Powders, he became so impatient for Want of a Stool, that I ordered the following Clyster:

R. Decocti communis pro Clystere, Uncias duodecim; Electuarii lenitivi, Drachmas sex; Tartari solubilis Drachmas tres; Olei Cham [...]elini, Syrupi Rosarum pal­lidarum, ana s [...]squiunciam, Olei Bacca­rum Junipe [...] [...]illatitii Grana decem. M. [...]. Enema.

[Page 23] This operating three of four times, brought away a large Quantity of Excre­ments.

To keep him tolerably easy the Ano­dynes were repeated three of four times every Twenty-four Hours, tho' in smaller Doses.

To keep his Body temperately open, the last Powders were continued five or six Days. At length, by the Assistance of the Elixir Proprietatis, and the bitter Infusion, he was perfectly recovered.


An old Man, near Seventy, was seized with this Distemper about a Month before I was sent for: He had no Vomiting, and his Pains, tho' very sharp, were not so a­cute as usual.

I gave him, as soon as I came, Opii se­squigranum, and afterwards the Powders of Cream of Tartar. Next Morning I was sent for very early, and found him in a Convul­sion; but as it went off, I repeated the O­piate, and continued the Use of the Pow­ders. In the Evening of the following Day, [Page 24] the Pains being removed to the lower Parts of the Abdomen, I ordered a Clyster, and by observing the Method mentioned in the last Case, he got well in a few Days.


A Man, about Twenty Years of Age, was attacked by the Dry-Gripes above three Weeks before I saw him, and had taken (as I was informed) during that Time, near Twenty Purges and Clysters. The Pains were excessively sharp in the Pit of the Stomach, as well as in the Intestines; and he was frequently so convulsed, that two or three Persons could scarcely keep him down. He was once so distracted with the Violence of the Pain, that he was with Difficulty prevented from throwing himself out of the Chamber Window.

I gave him Liquid. Laud. Syd. Guttas quinquaginta, which in a few Hours abated the Violence of his Pains. In short, by pursuing the Method already laid down, he got the better of the Disease in about three Days Time. But his Stomach and Bowels were so very sore afterwards, that he could [Page 25] hardly suffer any Thing to touch them. This indeed I have commonly observed, where the Pains have been very violent.

It is needless to recite any more Cases, these being sufficient to give a perfect Idea of the Modus Medendi to Practitioners.

I shall now, to shew the pernicious Con­sequence of giving Quicksilver in this Di­stemper, relate the Case of a Person in one of the Hospitals in London.

A Man about forty Years old had the Dry-Gripes several Weeks, before he was taken into the Hospital. He had continual Reachings to vomit, and violent Pains in his Belly, which was prodigiously swelled and hard. The Physician attending the Hospi­tal prescribed very frequently Clysters and Purges of Aq. Purgant. cum mana, et Sal. mirab. Glaub. and other Remedies. At last, when he found the Patient not in the least relieved, but rather worse, he ordered him to take Six Ounces of Quicksilver at a Time, which was repeated, till the Quantity amounted to 18 Ounces. This Method, however, was so far from recovering the Patient, that the Symptoms increasing, he [Page 26] died after enduring the most racking Pains, for the space of eight Weeks.

Having open'd his Body, the next Day after his Death, I found the Intestines very much distended with Wind, but little or no Excrements. In his Stomach, which was very much contracted and shrivel'd up, I found fourteen Ounces of the Quicksilver he had taken eight Days before, mixt with about half a Pint of viscid Matter.

Hence we learn, how long Quicksilver may remain in the Stomach, especially when the Fibres have lost their proper Tone; since in this Case the contractile Power of of the Stomach must have been exerted with a prodigious Force, in order to have thrown such a Weight from the Bottom of the Sto­mach over such an Ascent as the Pylorus.

As some Persons have a great Opinion of the Use of crude Quicksilver in curing the Dry-Gripes, as well as many other Disea­ses, I shall here, to shew how unphiloso­phical such Gentlemen are, give you Dr. Quincey's Reasoning upon the Article of Quicksilver:—‘It is (says he) frequently talked of indeed, as good in some Affec­tions of the Bowels; but there are very [Page 27] few Instances of its Use in such Cases. Nor can that at all appear reasonable, which is commonly reported of its quick Passage through the Body; for the Argu­ments which the Favourers of such Re­ports make use of, are quite against them; that is, its prodigious Weight: For when it first comes into the Stomach, it cannot but fall to the Bottom; which is so much below the Pylorus, that a vast Force must be required to throw it over into the In­testines; and when it comes there, by their manifold Convolutions, it very fre­quently must ascend, and particularly while it passes the Colon: So that it is hardly conceivable, how a Body of so great a Weight can be lifted over so many Ascents, as it necessarily comes at, be­tween the OEsophagus and the Rectum.

If Dr. Quincey's Reasons are convincing, how much stronger must be the Objection against the Use of Quicksilver, in Cases where the Stomach and Bowels are relaxed and weakened; the Fibres being then cer­tainly less capable of exerting their con­tractile Force to raise any Weight; which is certainly the Case, when a Person has [Page 28] laboured under such a violent Distemper as the Dry-Gripes for a considerable Time.

I have seen in England two Instances of the Success attending the Method here laid down for the Dry-Gripes in the Cholica Pi­ctonum, arising from the Fumes of White-lead; which gives me Reason to hope, that by a farther Trial of it in Europe, it would be found as beneficial in the latter Distem­per, as it is in the former.

We frequently observe Persons in the Dry-Gripes to lose the Use of their Limbs (the Ancles and Wrists becoming exceeding weak, and the Balls of their Thumbs sink­ing) either by the Acrimony of the Hu­mours, or the Use of strong Stimu­lants; by which means the fine nervous System being wounded and debilitated, the Equilibrium between the Solids and Fluids is destroyed.—In such a relaxed State of the Solids, the Blood must necessarily become viscid; for the Fibres having lost their ela­stic Force, the Circulation of the Fluids is diminished, and consequently they run into preternatural Cohesions. The giving, there­fore, a greater Degree of Fluidity to the Blood, and a proper Tensity or Springiness [Page 29] to the Fibres, is absolutely necessary, to make all the regular Secretions and Excre­tions; for otherwise some Parts of the Bo­dy will want a suitable Supply of nutritious Juices, while others are overloaded with a viscous Fluid.

All Persons of weak, relaxed Nerves, should avoid a moist and foggy Air, which would necessarily render their Fibres still more lax and flaccid* but let them reside in a cold, clear Air, which will give a greater Degree of Tensity and Elasticity to the Solids. In such Cases, the Air of some Parts of North-America is far preferable to that of England, which is much moister, and more foggy than the former. On this Account it is, that Chronical Distempers are more frequent and obstinate in England than in North-America.—But when they are in a cold Climate, they ought not to tarry too long in the cold Air, for fear of [Page 30] chilling their Blood; and it would be of Service to such Persons to wear the follow­ing Plaister on their Ancles and Wrists du­ring the cold Weather:

R. Emplastri Oxycrocei, Galbani, ana Un­ciam unam; Opii, Camphorae, ana Drachmas duas. M. f. Emplastrum.

The Opium and Camphor, by the Sub­tilty of their Parts, are very penetrating and attenuating; and consequently will be the Means of preventing a Lodgment of viscid Juices on the Joynts; but the Plai­ster ought to be renewed every Eighth or Tenth Day. The Linimentum Paralyti­cum, which is well known in England, ought likewise to be well rubbed in, down the Back, and on the Limbs, twice a Day. It is a most excellent Composition, and and were its great Efficacy in these Cases more generally known, it would be deser­vedly esteemed, as a most noble Topic in a relaxed State of the Nerves.

The Foods which they cat should be nourishing, and easy of Digestion; for where the Fibres are weak, the Aliments [Page 31] ought to be such as are easily converted in­to Animal Juices, and will give the least Resistance to the Action of the Solids; Viz. New-laid Eggs, Jellies, Chickens, Lamb, Viper-Broth, &c. All subacid Liquors are best, a [...] Rhenish Wine, Madera Wine, in which Rattle-Snakes are infused; sour and weak Punch, made with old Spirit, &c. But both Meats and Drinks are to be ta­ken only in small Quantities at a Time, tho' oftener than usual; for hereby the In­convenience of a disordered Stomach will be avoided, and the Digestion rendered much lighter, and far easier. But, above all Things, let them take care to chew their Victuals thoroughly, with a sufficient Quantity of light and well baked Bread; for, according to the Arabian Saying, He that does not take care to chew his Victuals thoroughly, hateth his own Soul. It is from the Neglect of this Duty, that frequently and Indigestion arises, which creates Cru­dities, and a vicious Chyle; which is the Forerunner of the Destruction of the whole Animal OEconomy.—The Stomach may be called the Kitchen of the Body, whose office is to digest and convert the Aliments [Page 32] into a laudable Chyle; the more, there­fore, the Food is attenuated and divided by Mastication, so much the easier it is for the Stomach to perform its Office. Tempe­rance is, indeed, the greatest Preservative of Health; for it prevents all Superfluities, and neither overloading nor straining the Vessels, enables Nature to exert herself with the greatest Force and Vigour. Cupping, Bleeding, Blistering, Purges, Clysters, &c. are seldom of Use, but to the Slothful and Intemperate; and are, for the most part, only Expedients to make Luxury consistent with Health. The Bodies of such Persons as indulge themselves in all Sorts of Ali­ments, without regarding either the Quan­tity or Quality, become frequently full of crude and vicious Humours; which, insen­sibly increasing, at last begin to putrify, and grow malignant. Upon violent Exer­cise, therefore, or the slightest Excess of either Heat or Cold, Moisture or Dryness in the Air, or any little Inconvenience ari­sing from the other Non-naturals, a Dan­gerous Inflammation often ensues, and vents itself in acute and mortal Diseases: For no Persuasion can prevail with some Men to [Page 33] use purgative Evacuations to disburden op­pressed Nature at proper Seasons, or before the Disease begins to gather Strength; flat­tering themselves that all is well and safe within, as long as nothing appears outward­ly, or is felt by them to the contrary. He, therefore, that is desirous of preserving his Senses and rational Faculties in the greatest Perfection, and of being able to act with a sprightly Vigour and lively Apprehen­sion, must beware of spurring Nature on beyond her Craving.

Lastly, Let such Valetudinarians use the Flesh-Brush, moderate Exercise, without raising Sweat, and frequent polite and chearful Company. Music may likewise be of great Service in such Cases; for every Stroke of a musical Instrument causes an Undulation of the Air, which giving some Degree of Concussion to the Fibres of the Body, without overstraining them, produ­ces a brisker Circulation of the Blood; and consequently invigorates the Nerves, and lessens the Viscidity of the Fluids. The extraordinary and almost incredible Effects of Music in curing the Bite of the Taran­tula, the World is no Stranger to. If these [Page 34] Advantages from Music were more particu­larly considered, it might perhaps be applied to very noble Purposes, and not (as some imagine) to enervate the Mind; for as a distempered Body is often the Cause of a disordered Mind, it may, by acting on the Solids, be the Means of regulating our Pas­sions, and bringing our Minds to a proper Degree of Calmness and Serenity. Thus Saul, who was without Doubt of a melan­choly Disposition, frequently soothed his troubled Mind, and raised his drooping Spirits, by the Force of David's Music.

I will now subjoin a few Forms of Me­dicines, which I generally make use of in a relaxed State of the Nerves, but more espe­cially in Autumn, when we are most sub­ject to the Diseases arising from a debili­tated Fibre; for in that Season of the Year, our Bodies being relaxed by the Heat of the Day, are more liable to the Mischiefs of the sudden Coldness of the Evenings, Nights and Mornings. Besides, Sanctorius has ob­served, that from the Autumnal Equinox, to the Winter-Solstice, our Perspiration is, one Day with another, about one Pound less; and this Diminution is still so much [Page 35] the more, as our Vessels have been more relaxed by the Summer's Heat; for they then cannot with Force enough propel the contained Fluids, which consequently must every Day contract a greater Degree of Lentor and Viscidity.—It is, therefore, no Wonder, that many unwary Persons are la­bouring under Diseases in Autumn, seeing their Humours are then more than ordina­ry acrid, as well as their Perspiration very much diminished.

It is, therefore, evident, that the Pro­phylactic Method in that Season of the Year, is to strengthen the Fibres, and pre­serve a proper Fluidity in the Blood; that the ordinary Perspiration may be kept up in a proper, constant, and uniform Man­ner.—The following Medicines answer such an Intention in this Climate, and act as Al­terants; for every Thing which does not operate in the first, but farthest Passages, the Physicians commonly include under that general Appellation. I think, how­ever, that a few gentle and proper Purges ought first to be taken, in order to evacu­ate the redundant acrid Bile, which kind [Page 36] Nature frequently endeavours to do, by Di­arrhaeas, Choleras, or Dysenteries.

R. Corticis Peruviani semiunciam; Cam­phorae Grana triginta; Olei Cinnamomi Guttas octo; Syrupi Zinziberis Q, S. ut fiat Electuarium. Capiat quantitatem Nucis Moschatae omni Mane et Vesperi.


R. Conservae Absinthii Romani, Corticis Peruviani, ana semiunciam; Chalybis Tartarisati Drachmas duas; Pulveris Zedoariae Drachmam unam; Galangae minoris Scrupula duo; Olei Cinnamomi Guttas octo; Syrupi Zinziberis Q. S. ut fiat Electuarium. Dosis eadem.

Or, if a liquid Form is more agreeable, two or three Spoonfuls of the following may be taken once or twice a Day.

R. Pulveris Corticis Peruviani Unciam unam, Radicis Rhei Drachmas duas; Baccarum Juniperi, Corticis Aurantio­rum, ana Drachmas tres; Radicis Ser­pentariae Virginianae, acori veri, ana Drachmam unam, Cochinillarum Grana triginta. Macera per Triduum in Vini Maderensis libris duabus▪ Cola.

[Page 37] Vel,

R. Pulveris Corticis Peruviani Unciam u­nam; Radicum Rhei et Acori veri, Cin­namomi, ana Drachmam unam; Corticis Aurantiorum Drachmas duas; Cochinil­larum Grana triginta. Macera per Tri­duum in Vini Maderensis Libris duabus. Dein Cola.

The Ingredients joined with the Bark in these Tinctures give an agreeable Warmth and Scent, which is very grateful to a Sto­mach weakened and palled by a Fever and Medicines. The saline and resinous Parts of the Bark, being intimately united with the Liquor, are thus given with much greater Advantage, than can be by giving it in Substance: For when it is given in the finest Powders, which can possibly be obtained from the Mortar and Sieve, it is yet too coarse for a weakened Constitution, and therefore frequently brings on a Diar­rhaea by its Stimulus; but in Tincture or Decoction, it is too fine to give any Di­sturbance in the first Passages, and not on­ly passes, by the common Course of Cir­culation, much farther, but gives a more uniform and general Contraction to the de­bilitated and relaxed Fibres.

[Page 38]


THE following Account being at­tended with some very uncommon Circumstances, I thought it would not be improper to make a full Enquiry in­to the Particulars, of which I was first in­formed by several Persons of Credit.

The Wife of one B. S. who had been a healthy, lively Woman, and the Mother of two Children, was seized, in the Year 1738, with a Diabetes, and the usual Symp­toms, viz. a frequent and copious Dis­charge by Urine, a gradual Wasting of the Body, a Hectic Fever, with a quick, low Pulse, Thirst, great Pains in her Shoulders, Back and Limbs, and Loss of Appetite. She continued in this Manner two Years, [Page 39] notwithstanding the Use of Medicines usu­ally prescribed in such Cases, but much emaciated. She was then attacked with an Intermitting Fever, which soon left her; and after this the Diabetes gradually de­creased; so that in a few Months she was intirely free from that Disorder; but the Pains in her Limbs still continued. She re­covered her Appetite very well, breathed freely, and her Hectic Fever was very much lessened, tho' she sometimes had Exacerba­tions of the same. About the Beginning of Winter, 1740, she had such a Weakness and Pain in her Limbs, as to confine her to Bed altogether; and in a few Months af­terwards the Bones in her Legs and Arms felt somewhat soft to the Touch, and were so pliable, as to be bent into a Curve; nay, for several Months before her Death, they were as limber as a Rag, and would bend any way with less Difficulty than the mus­cular Parts of a healthy Person's Leg, with­out the Interposition of the Bones.

The 12th of April, 1742, she died, be­ing then near the Age of Forty; and, hav­ing the Consent of her Friends, I had the Curiosity to examine the Body. Upon rai­sing [Page 40] the Cutis, I found the Membrana Adi­posa much thicker than I expected in a Per­son so much emaciated; the Sternum and Ribs, with their Cartilages, very soft; and all the cartilaginous Productions of the Ribs on the Left-side doubled over one another, about an Inch long, in this Form Z, but flatter. Upon raising the Sternum, I found the Lungs adhering very close to the Pleu­ra on each Side, but more loose and flac­cid, and much less in Size than usual. Her Heart was of the common Bigness, and upon viewing her Liver, I found it at least a third Part bigger than ordinary. Her Spleen was about an Inch and a Half in the longest Part, and about a Quarter of an Inch thick, and the Intestines were very much inflated.

She had Appearances of several Anchylo­ses formed in the small Joynts, viz. carpal and Metacarpal Bones, &c. which had been without Motion for several Months; but upon laying them open, I found they were only like a thin Shell. The cartilagi­nous Epiphyses of the Bones were intirely dissolved, and no Part of the Heads remain­ing, but an Outside, not thicker than an [Page 41] Egg-shell. Upon making Incisions in her Legs and Arms of five or six Inches long, I found the outer Laminae of the Bones soft, and perfectly membranous, about the Thick­ness of the Peritonaeum; and containing (instead of a boney Substance) a Fluid of the Consistence of Honey when thick, and of a reddish Colour, but not at all disagree­ble to the Smell. There was, however, an Appearance of Bones near the Joynts of her Legs and Arms, tho' in part dissolved; but what remained was very soft, and full of large Holes, like a Honey-comb. The Bones of the Head yielded easily to the Pressure of my Finger. It may seem surprising, that those Parts of the Bones, which are the most compact and hard, should be dissolv­ed, while their Heads, which are more spongy and soft, had not altogether lost their Substance.—She was, when in Health, five Foot high, as I was informed by her Husband; but having measured her after Death, she was no more than three Foot se­ven Inches in Length, tho' all her Limbs were stretched out strait.

Quaere. Whether a corrosive, acid State of the Fluids, might not have been the [Page 42] Cause of this uncommon Dissolution of the Bones? For had it been an alcaline A­crimony, I am of Opinion, those Fluids, so long extravasated, would have arrived to a great Degree of Putrefaction, and con­sequently must have been extremely offen­sive to the Smell, as is usual in other Cases proceeding from such a Cause.

Supposing therefore a corrosive, acid State of the Fluids, to have been the proxi­mate Cause; Quaere, Whether an alcaline Regimen, timely pursued, would not have been the most likely Method to have suc­ceeded in this poor Woman's Case?

The END.

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