Medical snippets #26: That violent conflagration of the blood

‘As Feavers of this kind are not only caused by a matter different from what causes Periodicals, but also have as great a disparity in the manner of admitting that Matter into the Blood; so we cannot expect, when we see that Matter discover it self in various Symptoms; but that the cure, both of them and the Feavers they depend on, ought also to be varied accordingly. Our chiefest aim being in these, to allay that violent Conflagration of the Blood, ere the over-boiled Serum inflames some noble Part; which is to be done, either by visible abating the quantity of the Turgent Liquor by Phlebotomie, or by giving libertie to its most Transpirable parts in plentiful Sweats; either of these Evacuations being more proper (especially in the beginning of the Disease) in these sorts of Feavers, then any Ejection of the grosser Excrements; the last rather freeing the Blood of these Fermentative Particles, that are the common causes of Periodicals, then of those Extraneous Bodies, that incite it to the irregular Motion it suffers in a Synochus.’

Pyretologia, or A history of feavers. Composed according to such use of the parts, circulation of the blood, and the various offices both of the lympid liquor, and nervous juice, as have been the happy discoveries of modern anatomie. Together, with a more particular description of the uses of the spleen and pancreas; as also of the manner of natures proceeding in the several motions of fermentation, and ebullition, then hath been formerly divulged (1674)

Balliol College Library shelfmark: 300 i 13 (4)

Medical snippets #25: Men also are liable

‘Though the Disease called Hysterica Passio, be by almost all Authors treated of as only peculiar to Women, and proceeding only from the distemperature of the Womb; yet (as I have before observed) it may, upon grounds drawn from Reason and Experience, be very truly affirmed, That Men also are liable to most of the Symptoms of it, and that even in Wmoen they are often caused when the Womb is not in the least concern’d in the guilt. And the reason, why this Sex is more frequently than that other, afflicted with this Malady, may very well be ascribed to their more delicate constitution, and soft texture of their nervous parts, whereby they become more liable to convulsive motions; and upon the vellicating and twitching of any one part endued with exquisite sense, to have Convulsions communicated to the whole nervous System from whence the whole frame of the Body is put into disorder; as we see Clocks and Watches, whose Springs and Wheels are contriv’d with too subtil and nice workmanship, are oftner in fault, than those of more plain work.’

George Castle, The chymical Galenist: a treatise, wherein the practise of the ancients is reconcil’d to the new discoveries in the theory of physick; shewing, that many of their rules, methods, and medicins, are useful for the curing of diseases in this age, and in the northern parts of the world. In which are some reflections upon a book, intituled, Medela medicinæ (1667)

Balliol College Library shelfmark: 300 i 14 (1)

Medical snippets #24: An excellent aperient medicine

Crocus Martis cum Aqua is made by exposing Plates or Filings of Iron to the Rain or Dew, until it hath contracted a Rust, which collected is called Crocus Martis cum Aqua, or ferri Rubigo. This Crocus consisteth of the sulphureous, saline, and terrestrious parts combined together; yea indeed it is the very substance of Iron, having its pores much opened by the Dissolvent or Saline parts of Water; which not only maketh its Pores more open, but by combining with it maketh this Crocus an excellent Aperient medicine, whose Deopilative virtue chiefly dependeth on this Salt.

The Sulphur of Iron being retained in this Preparation renders it a fit ferment for blood, whose active Principles are weak and faint: And the Saline part (being exalted by That of the Dissolvent Water that much laxeth the body of Mars) renders it a good Aperient in Obstructions, as of the Liver, Spleen, Mesentery, Lacteal vessel, or Womb with its coherent parts.’

Samuel Derham, Hydrologia philosophica or, An account of Ilmington waters in Warwick-shire; with directions for the drinking of the same. Together with some experimental observations touching the original of compound bodies (1685)

Balliol College Library shelfmark: 300 i 12 (3)

Medical snippets #23: If thirst be troublesom

‘’Tis also less beneficial for the Patient to drink the Water in the Bath, and contrary to the rules and directions of intelligent Physicians; but if thirst be troublesom, somewhat may be taken to allay that, and half an hour before rising a quantity may be drank, and the rest in bed, if occasion shall require; otherwise to set aside some time for drinking alone, and never, during that time, to use the Bath at all, is what may give both Uses due liberty to exert their operations, and not cramp or supplant one another, as they often do when made use of together. […]

The best time for drinking is in the morning early, from the Pump, at the place it self, if it may be, otherwise, if near, at home, very warm, with a quarter of an hours walking after every Pint or Quart, at utmost; arising from three to six pints, four to eight, or five to ten, as the Body will bear, for no set gage can be given; and the best Rule is, that it ought to be taken pro Tolerantia, every one as they are able to bear, without ingurgitation, or relucting again.’

Thomas Guidott, A discourse of Bathe, and the hot waters there. Also, some enquiries into the nature of the water of St. Vincent’s rock, near Bristol; and that of Castle-Cary.To which is added, a century of observations, more fully declaring the nature, property, and distinction of the baths. With an account of the lives, and character, of the physicians of Bathe (1676)

Balliol College Library shelfmark: 300 i 11 (4)

Medical snippets #22: Fresh gales of air

‘Which puts me in mind of what great relief I have seen instantly given to Hysterical Patients in acute diseases by allowing them fresh gales of air. […]

And within these few dayes discoursing with the learned Doctor Bradey, Master of Caius Colledge in Cambridge, and an eminent practiser in this Town, upon this subject; he was pleased to acquaint me with a very notable observation in confirmation of this assertion, viz. in a Patient of his, who being very highly Asthmatick and Hysterick, and thereby necessitated to keep her bed six winters together, found constant and speedy relief in the paroxysms of the foremention’d distempers, by undrawing the curtains of her bed, putting out the fire in her chamber, and letting in air; and that which was very remarkable, was, that in the greatest of her extremities, if the wind lay in the window, and the casements were opened, she found so great advantage thereby, that not content with what passage Nature had made in her nostrils for air, she would dilate them with her fingers, that it might be more plentifully conveyed to her Lungs.’

Charles Goodall, The Colledge of Physicians vindicated, and the true state of physick in this nation faithfully represented: in answer to a scandalous pamphlet, entituled, The corner stone, &c. (1676)

Balliol College Library shelfmark: 300 i 13 (1)

Medical snippets #21: Over much drinking of brandy

‘Pains in the Head through Heat, are often caused through the immoderate heat of the Sun, or by standing near great flames of Fire, through hot Baths, and violent Motion, strong and hot Scents, and many times through hot Distempers, sometimes through over much drinking of Brandy, and other strong and hot Spirits, and also by drinking of Wine; especially that which is suffisticated; and sometimes this Disease is caused through furious passion, anger, wrath, &c. […]

The Cure of which Disease may be performed as followeth. The Patient ought to forbear all sorts of Meats that are of hard digestion, and Milk, and all such Food that fume up into the Head; also let him abstain from Carnal Copulation, trouble of mind, malice, anger, wrath, and let his Body be kept open with the following Glister.

Take Mallows, Sage, Strawberrie, and Violet-leaves, of each one good handfull. Being Cut and Bruised, Boil them in one Quart of Water, to the consumption of half, then strain it, and add thereto of the Lenitive Electuary one Ounce and a half, Diacatholicon one Ounce, Oyl of Lillies and Violets, of each six Drams, Sal Prunella one Dram; mix them well together, and give it to the Patient Glister-wayes.’

William Sermon, A friend to the sick: or, The honest English mans preservation. Shewing the causes, symptoms, and cures of most occult and dangerous diseases which afflict the body of man. With a particular discourse of the dropsie, scurvy, and yellow jaundice. And the most absolute way of cure. Whereunto is added, a true relation of some of the most remarkable cures effected by the author’s most famous cathartique and diueretique pills, wherewith was cured his late Grace George Duke of Albemarle, &c. (1673)

Balliol College Library shelfmark: 300 i 13 (2)

Cataloguing Crouch: detective work

Much of Nicholas Crouch’s library exists as bound volumes which include between two and fifty distinct bibliographic works. These Sammelbände have been kept together in Balliol College Library since at least 1799, shelved among other tract volumes with varied provenance. Within this collection, Crouch’s books are frequently easy to identify due to his meticulous hand-written contents lists; other typical stylistic features of a Crouch binding are described here.

Many of Crouch’s donations to the college were recorded in the Library Benefactions Book, which provides a list of 319 volumes acquired by the library upon Crouch’s death in 1690. However, we know from comparing the records in the Benefactions Book to the items catalogued so far that not all of Crouch’s books were bequeathed at this time. In particular, many of the Crouch volumes composed of 16th century texts are not listed in the Benefactions Book.

Crouch’s name and bequest are recorded in elaborate calligraphy (Balliol College Library Benefactions Book, page 194)
Crouch’s name and bequest are recorded in elaborate calligraphy (Balliol College Library Benefactions Book, page 194)

At present we don’t know precisely when these unlisted items arrived in the library. A small gift of two volumes is recorded in 1656 as ‘P. Fronseca Metaphysica’, but other than this we haven’t found evidence of additional donations from Crouch. One possibility is that Crouch was also purchasing texts for the college library, and that certain volumes were chosen by him but not intended for his personal collection.

From the descriptions, around half of the Crouch items listed in the Benefactions Book appear to be Sammelbände. These volumes are frequently listed as ‘A Collect. of Tracts’, followed by a description of the first (or ‘ye 1st’) item in the volume.

Many items in the Crouch bequest are listed as ‘A Collect. of Tracts’; others are entered under author and title (Balliol College Library Benefactions Book, page 195)
Many items in the Crouch bequest are listed as ‘A Collect. of Tracts’; others are entered under author and title (Balliol College Library Benefactions Book, page 195)

The remainder of the Crouch books are listed under author and title. These works are scattered throughout Balliol’s collections, frequently uncatalogued. Because they contain only a single bibliographical item, they lack Crouch’s distinctive contents lists and are often more difficult to definitively identify.

One characteristic of many of the Crouch volumes catalogued so far is an early shelfmark in the style:

[format] [capital letter] [number]

These shelfmarks appear to be inscribed in Crouch’s distinctive hand:

Shelfmarks side by side with Crouch MS
(Balliol College Library shelfmarks 910 b 8, 300 i 9, 905 c 1, 915 c 7)

Seeking out these shelfmarks will allow us to confirm the Crouch donations recorded in the Benefactions Book, and to identify volumes not listed there. The shelfmarks may also give us clues as to how Crouch arranged his personal library. It’s estimated that there are between 100-200 Crouch books to be located in this way. These volumes will be gathered together and catalogued as part of the current project, and kept with the Sammelbände. In this way, the majority of Crouch’s library will be reunited for the first time in 300 years.

By Lucy Kelsall
Project Cataloguer