Letter 1707

William Derham to Hans Sloane – November 8, 1710

Item info

Date: November 8, 1710
Author: William Derham
Recipient: Hans Sloane

Library: British Library, London
Manuscript: Sloane MS 4042
Folio: ff. 203-204

Original Page


[fol. 204]
Sr Upminster Nov 8 1710
I give you many thanks for your wch I recd
Yesterday. I intended to have waited on you this day, but
the great danger my wife is in prevents me. She was
on Fryday night seized wth a violent pain under her Collar
bone, wch went under the right breast, accompanied wth a small feavr next day. She was blooded ξ x,the first of wch was fizy, the last not so, no great cough Her pain continuing very acute She was blooded ξ xii on Sunday, & no fize. On wch the pains removed from her breast to her Thighs &c. Her pulse was low & quick, but she was droughty,
yet her Tongue moist, & not very white; but no sleep. Last night her pain returned into her breast, & not a wink of sleep, more feavourish, very faint & weak. I forgot to tell
you yt in ye afternoon yesterday she had 4 or 5 loose stools, & is still griped in her Guts, but no stool all night. She was blooded ξ x This morning at 5 of clock, & her blood all very fizy, & worse them at all her Tongue is dryer, she was droughty, & her cough encreased: She raises crude tough, phlegmatick stuff reddish as if intermired wth blood. I suppose I judge her case peripneumonick. I beg the favour of your best advice, the life of the best of wives being concerned, & you being the person she pitched upon for directions in her dangerous case. I have not time to ansr your kind Ld particularly, only I will go over myself (wn I can) & view what occasion for Timber, and assign it Culverwell. I had like to have forgotten to tell you she
lay in about 9 weeks since, had a good time, but no fluxes
since, nor I believe wth child, but they have dodged about her this fortnight, & she had the piles 3 or 4 days since. Her Legs & arms swell a little especially about the joints. She took a gentle vomit on Saturday, wch worked well. She hath used some pectorals as far as her avertion to Medicine would permit: & now follows Ol. Lin: wth pector. Syrups & Sal Prunel. Also Drops of Sal Armen. the testaceous powders, & a Decoct: of Red. Gram: ras: l.l. passal: Li-
quorish oz. I am in greatest hope
Yr much obliged humble servt
Wm Derham

Derham was a Church of England clergyman and a natural philosopher, interested in nature, mathematics, and philosophy. He frequently requested medical advice from Sloane, and likely served as a physician to his family and parishioners (Marja Smolenaars, “Derham, William (1657-1735)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/7528, accessed 7 June 2011]).

Patient Details

  • Patient info
    Name: N/A Anna Derham
    Gender: Female
  • Description

    Mrs Derham was 'seized with a violent pain under her Collar bone' that traveled down to her right breast and suffers from a slight fever. She has no cough. The pain moved from her right breast down to her thigh. She had a 'low and quick" pulse [...] she was draughty, yet her tongue moist, and not very white; but no sleep.' The pain again moved from her thigh to her breast, she did not sleep, and became 'very faint or weak.' She had '4 or 5 of loose stools'. Derham does not believe her to be 'with child'. She had 'the piles 3 or 4 days.' Her 'legs and arms' are swollen.

  • Diagnosis

    Derham believes she has a 'peripneumonick' case.

  • Treatment
    Previous Treatment:

    He bled her three times and found her blood to be 'fizy' the first two times. He bled her three times on Sunday as well, but her blood was not 'fizy'. He bled her this morning and found her blood to be, again, 'fizy' and her 'Tongue is dryer.' She remains 'draughty' and her cough was acting up, accompanied by the expelling of a 'crude tough, phlegmatick stuff reddish' in colour that he believed to be laden with blood.

    Ongoing Treatment:

    Derham continues to administer 'pectorals' as far as her 'avertion to medicine would permit.' He is going to give her some 'Syrups and Sal Prunel Also Drops of Sal Armen... and a Decoct: of Red: Grom: ras: Cob. opassul.'

  • More information
  • Medical problem reference
    Pain, Blood, Breasts, Coughs, Fevers, Inflammations, Lungs, Stomach