Medical snippets #8: A drunken apothecary

‘And yet notwithstanding that Petrus Apponensis, the Conciliator tells us a Story of a drunken Apothecary, who blundring in the night between sleeping and waking, and mistaking a Pot of Quicksilver for the Botle, drank his last in a too hearty draught of it; though Penzettus tells us of a Silly Chymist, who trying some curious Experiments upon Quicksilver, and keeping it close shut over the Fire for some Weeks, did upon the opening his Vessel take such a strong Whiff into his Nostrils, that he sunk down dead immediately, without speaking one word by way of repentance of his Folly; though Fernelius tells us another lamentable Story of a Painter of Angiers, who had thumm’d the Cinnabar so carelesly in his Drawings, that it got in at his Fingers ends, made the Articles Paralytick, thence run to his Wrists, so to his Arms, and at last into his Stomach and Head, and made him a most miserable object of pity, and at length dispatch’d him into t’other World; though he and divers others do muster up a whole bed-roll of Ill Accidents from an indiscreet use of Quicksilver different ways; yet I cannot think it so Intrinsecally and Essentially a Poison, as some of them would thereby insinuate.’

Walter Harris, Pharmacologia anti-empirica: or A rational discourse of remedies both chymical and Galenical. Wherein chymistry is impartially represented, the goodness of natural remedies vindicated, and the most celebrated preparations of art proved uncapable of curing diseases without a judicious and methodical administration (1683)

Balliol College Library shelfmark: 905 d 4 (4)