Letter 0030

Victor Ferguson to Hans Sloane – October 19, 1699

Item info

Date: October 19, 1699
Author: Victor Ferguson
Recipient: Hans Sloane

Library: British Medical Library
Manuscript: Sloane MS 4075
Folio: f. 122

Original Page


Victor Ferguson (d. 1729) was a physician of Newtown, near Belfast (Toby C. Bernard, A New Anatomy of Ireland: The Irish Protestants, 1649-1770 (Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2003), ch. 5; “Fergusons of Belfast” URL: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~colin/FergusonsOfIreland/Belfast.htm).

Patient Details

  • Patient info
    Name: N/A Victor Ferguson
  • Description

    Suffered a lientary (form of diarrhoea) on December 9, 1698, which became dysenteric. He was very ill, but recovered. In February, the piles affected him and a tumour arose on the inside of his anus. By April 25th, seemed well, but started to develop a tumour in the muscles between his navel and stomach (five inches long, flat and schirrous). During summer, felt well, apart from stomach.

  • Diagnosis

    He diagnosed himself with a tumour on anus preceded by piles. He thought the tumour caused either by an ill humour or from mismanagement of the piles.

  • Treatment
    Previous Treatment:

    Self treatment for the anal tumour: injections of "detersives and bals: sulphur." For the stomach tumour he applied "Emple Deroigo" and as much mercury as he dared. For the stomach illness he treated daily with unnamed medicines and by staying away from purgatives and electuaries.

    Ongoing Treatment:

    Sloane's prescription dated Oct. 31 noted: "vomit. can. oxym. sal. vitriol. bitter chalybeat. tinctur l steel. Bathe of spaw."


    He noted that his self-treatment prevented a fistula. However, he continued to have diarrhea. He also developed a tumour in the muscles between the pit of his stomach and his navel which was five inches long and flat and of a "shirrous nature." The treatment for his tumour dissolved it though he still had a disordered stomach and anorexia. His treatment gave him little respite and his appetite was beginning to fail and his digestion is still out of order. He was now "only skin and bone." He could drink no liquor except claret and even the gentlest purgative hurt his stomach and did not help at all: "the body of of my stomach is thickened by humours, which casts out a spurious juice causes a weak and bad digestion, and corrupts the very Chyle itself."

  • More information
  • Medical problem reference
    Stomach, Tumour, Haemorrhoids