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Letter 4589

Jenner, William to Darwin, C. R.

14 Aug 1864

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    CD's urine sample was probably alkaline when passed. The deposit was phosphate of lime. Prescribes a new antacid and continuation of podophyllin. He can judge CD's state as described by his letter.


8 Harley St. W

Augst. 14th. | 1864

My dear Sir

I had the sediment examined: it was phosphate of Lime— I suppose the urine was alkaline when passed. I think it would be well to try some other antacid than chalk. ie to omit that for a time— I enclose a prescription for a combination of antacids— I would also advise an increase in the Lime & the omission of the Colchicum— Continue the Podophylin—

I do not think any advantage would be derived from a visit— I have now seen you often enough to judge well of your state as described by letter—

Yours very sincerely | Wm. Jenner.

Charles Darwin Esqre.

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 4589.f1
    Emma Darwin may have taken this sample to Jenner when she visited him in London on 5 July 1864; his most recent visit to Down was on 22 May 1864 (see `Journal' (Correspondence vol. 12, Appendix II)).
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    f2 4589.f2
    Emma Darwin's diary (DAR 242) records that CD `left off chalk' on 16 August 1864. Jenner had prescribed a combination of antacids, including chalk, limewater, magnesia, and carbonate of ammonia, when he began treating CD in March (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 13 April [1864] and n. 6, and letter from Emma Darwin to W. D. Fox, [6 May 1864]).
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    f3 4589.f3
    The enclosed prescription has not been found; however, Emma Darwin's diary (DAR 242) for 17 August records `began bismuth &c.' Bismuth was used to treat gastric acidity and dyspepsia (see Beasley 1865, pp. 131--4, and Royle and Headland 1865, pp. 185--6). CD's new prescription for antacids may also have included potash (see letter from William Jenner, 9 November 1864 and n. 4).
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    f4 4589.f4
    Preparations made from the seed and root of Colchicum autumnale were used as a purgative in the treatment of gout (see Beasley 1865, pp. 185--9, and Royle and Headland 1865, pp. 636--8). Emma Darwin's diary (DAR 242) records that CD began taking colchicum on 24 March 1864. See also letter from William Jenner to [W. W. Baxter?], [after 7 May 1864?].
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    f5 4589.f5
    For CD's use of podophyllin, see letter from E. A. Darwin to Emma Darwin, 30 [March 1864?] and n. 4, and letter from William Jenner to [W. W. Baxter?], [after 7 May 1864?].
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    f6 4589.f6
    Jenner had visited Down on 20 March, 10 April, and 22 May 1864 (Emma Darwin's diary (DAR 242)).
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