REMARKS ON THE COMPOSITION, USE, and EFFECTS OF THE EXTRACT of LEAD OF Mr. GOULARD, AND OF HIS VEGETO-MINERAL WATER.
By G. ARNAUD, DOCTOR in PHYSIC and MASTER in SURGERY, The only Person authorized to sell this EXTRACT, composed by Mr. GOULARD himself.
Plumbi cum corpore humano Sympathia.
LONDON: PRINTED for the AUTHOR in CHURCH-STREET. St. ANN'S SOHO, and sold by P. ELMSLY, Successor to Mr. VAILLANT, Bookseller in the STRAND.
ON THE EXTRACT OF LEAD.
IT is not my intention here to descant on the praises of Mr. Goulard's remedy.* That is already too well known throughout Europe, to want any assistance from my pen. My views coincide entirely with those of the author, in endeavouring to bring it to still greater perfection, by considering it with more preciseness both as to it's composition and use. To be ignorant of these would be a fault, willingly to conceal it's superior virtues, would be an injury to society, and a mannes of proceeding very different from the author's, who has published all his knowledge on the subject without reserve.Page 4
This medicament, justly looked upon by those of the faculty, who are free from prejudice, as the best and most universal topic in surgery, may very properly be substituted in the place of all others generally prescribed: it will frequently prove efficacious when the rest have failed, and will repair the disorders they have brought upon the constitution.
I don't pretend to mention this medicine as a new discovered one, on the contrary, we have received it from antiquity, known by the name of Acetum Lit•argiri; but by its having been ill made, mal-a-propos applied, and prescribed in improper quantities, it was for some time out of repute, and with∣out the assistance and the vigilance of Mr. Goulard's speculative turn, who has had re∣solution enough to stem the torrent of opposi∣tion, this remedy, like many others, by having been improperly made and as improperly ad∣ministred, would have fallen into the pos∣session only of the quacks. For want of proper vinegar the basis of this medicine it frequent∣ly deceived the practitioners, who, from not knowing its properties and the real method of composing it, entirely laid it aside. But it has of late been too minutely considered to be any longer neglected, and is now looked upon, by the impartial part of mankind, to be one of the greatest ornaments of the dis∣pensatories, as well as the most efficacious re∣medy in surgery. It is then to Mr. Goulard, a Page 5skilful surgeon of Montpellier, we owe its re∣vival; which could never have been effected, but by a man of his eminence, and like him ex∣empt from vulgar prejudice, which has hither∣to laid to the charge of this salutary remedy faults, from which the experiments of many famous in their profession are now endeavour∣ing to clear it in favour of mankind.
When this extract is made with natural vinegar, and the strongest which can be pro∣cured in the south of France, where nature in favourable years, and in particular can∣tons, furnishes this vegetable liquor with more virtues, than any art of the vinegar∣makers can possibly endow it with, it possesses all the dispersing, cooling, and resolving qualities proper for dividing the glutinous stagnated matter in the obstructed vessels; it relaxes them when too much contracted, and restores to the solids and fluids the proportion of circulation necessary for preserving the animal oeconomy in a state of health. The common vinegars, owing their strength to sal armoniac, to pepper, and the dung of the feathered kind, which can't fail of robbing this extract of the qualities ne∣cessary for its perfection, as do likewise other factitious vegetable acids, such for example, as are brewed in England, and in the nor∣thern countries, under the appearance of vine∣gar. The latter, 'tis true, tho' not capable of injuring the constitution, act as stimula∣tors to the stomach; but this property is not Page 6sufficient to perfectly dissolve the lead, or to impregnate these metallic particles with the particular qualities they acquire by the ad∣dition of tartar natural to those vinegars, which are made with the strongest wines.† I shall not here enter upon the bad qualities which may be conveyed to lead by the in∣gredients Page 7made use of in the composition of factitious vinegars, which are brewed ac∣cording to every one's particular recipe. The best argument in favor of the extract of Saturn, made in particular parts of the south of France, and against any other extract made with common vinegars, is, that the tartar of Languedoc has the preference in chymical processes, some of which are in vain attempted without it. Another argument still more cor∣roborative is that, at Montpellier alone good verdigrease can be procured, on account of the singular property of its vinegar, and for some other concurrent and unknown reasons, which help to dissolve the copper the basis of the above drug. For the same reason we may be induced to think that the tartarous particles of the wine of that country, being refined by its change into vinegar, may contribute more efficaciously to dissolve the lead, which experi∣ence daily proves. Common vinegars help only to divide it in parts, some of Languedoc pro∣perly elected dissolve it so thoroughly, that without any sediment it preserves its weight, a certain proof that it incorporates itself more with this species of vinegar, which no doubt must render it's effects more efficacious. It is certainly owing to this, that the medicine we speak of possesses cooling, dispersing, re∣solving qualities, and by no means a repelling one, as has been hinted by certain people. This requires an explanation, which will be Page 8easily understood by the meanest capacity, as I shall endeavour to express myself in the plainest terms.
When the lead is divided only, it's parts are too gross and ponderous to remain sus∣pended in the vegetable liquid its vehicle; this causes it to subside: on shaking the bottle, they again incorporate with the liquid, with∣out suffering a diminution of their volume; this volume by preventing them from penetrat∣ing to the vessels tho' the pores of the skin causes them to remain in the tissue of those parts, and, by stopping up the passages of perspirati∣on, gives rise to what is generally termed re∣pulsion. But, when the metal is so far dissolved, as always to remain suspended in the vegetable liquid, its parts are so fine and so far attenuat∣ed, as not to be discernable thro' the most per∣fect microscope; they then easily penetrate the pores of the skin, follow the course of the perspiratory vessels, and put in motion the inspissated and stagnated fluids, which they again return to the road of circulation. When the metallic particles act thus, the aquatic vehicles, with which they are combined, loosen the skin, which was before in a state of too great tension, whilst the spiritous ones re∣store to the vessels that elasticity of which they had been deprived. Thus a resolution of the hu∣mours is effected by means of transpiration and circulation: but a wise and cautious prac∣titioner must always attend to the progress of Page 9the complaint, when either putrefaction or a degree of malignity is apprehended; and care should be always taken to mix this with diges∣tives, for critical discharges, as by abating their heat it will prevent the neighbouring parts from being affected, and secure the patient against a too copious discharge which fre∣quently attends these cases.
The comparison made between the ex∣tract of Saturn, and its salt, commonly called the sugar of lead, will be found unjust, when we consider, that the latter is made with vinegars of all sorts of wines, and that those of Switzerland, which produce the greatest quantity of this sugar, are made of wines very little impregnated with tartar, and that too of an inferior quality. But after all, this very sugar of lead, which is quoted as a proof of the repelling quality to be found in our medicine, is it not made use of by the ablest practitioners, both as an internal and external medicine? if so, with how much more confidence may we make use of Mr. Goulard's extract, properly made, in the above circum∣stances? A practice of fifty years, has suf∣ficiently convinced me of its superiority over the sugar of lead, which I have known fail, when the other has always answered my in∣tentions.
Such, as are thus disposed to criticise the most approved remedies, won't give themselves time to reflect, that an accidental failure of Page 10success might be owing to this extract not having been properly made in its commence∣ment, or succeeding processes, to its having been given in too great a quantity, or ap∣plied cold, as indeed the author sometimes recommends with a view only to the tempe∣rate climate he writes in: thus have these people been induced, without having any regard for themselves, to confirm the opinion of the vulgar, who generally attribute the death of the patient to the last remedy, and thus shamefully take advantage of this fal∣lacious argument to cry down the good effects of the extract of Saturn, and to extol reme∣dies at best uncertain, often fallacious, and which custom alone, the tyrant of the mind, authorises the use of both against reason and experience. Many examples might be brought to refute what persons, otherwise respectable, have thought proper to advance to the pre∣judice of this remedy; but I will refer the reader, to many observations given by the author in his treatise*, and to take into con∣sideration here the first paragraph of the third Formula, page 208, on the inefficacy of the poultices generally prescribed.
The proofs I have given of the necessity of procuring the best vinegar, and the rules I shall lay down in the sequel, for the better making and using this extract, having been Page 11approved of by men of knowledge and rank in this country, ever intent on means to assist the poorer part of mankind, have induced me to procure a quantity of it from the foun∣tain head itself. I have applied to Mr. Goulard for this purpose, to whom I have likewise communicated my thoughts on the farther improvement and use of this remedy, which I have the satisfaction to know entirely coincide with his. This concurrence of Ideas, which originally sprung from a fifty years ac∣quaintance, having been fellow-students to∣gether, has induced me to imitate him on other occasions,* and has been the means of his allowing me to be the sole vender in this country of the extract he himself made†.
This topic, which properly speaking is an universal chirurgical medicine and easily pro∣cured, has this triple advantage over others. First, it costs but little; secondly, it is pre∣pared in an instant; and thirdly, it may easily be conveyed from place to place.
Whoever is provided with it may prevent the bad consequences of bruises occasioned either by a fall or blow; it prevents an echymosis, or extravasation of blood, the general attendant of fractures and dislocations, Page 12till proper assistance can be procured to dress the patient secundum artem; in these circum∣stances it should be made use of in the begin∣ning, as it is a known remedy against inflam∣mations and mortifications, the general atten∣dants of these complaints. I shall not enter into a detail of the other disorders it will relieve, but shall refer the reader to Mr. Goulard's treatise; I shall only lay down here some few rules for its use, drawn from experience, which have met with Mr. Goulard's appro∣bation, both as to that and its composition.
I. Every one is sufficiently acquainted with the powerful effects of vegetable acids, and particularly those of vinegar in regard to brass, to deter him from making this extract in vessels of that metal. No precaution is suf∣ficient to prevent the vinegar from imbibing some of the copper; it is therefore much more adviseable to make use of vessels made either of glass, earth, or pewter. I should have been much more uneasy about a gentleman's servant, who had swallowed by chance, the 8th of December last, a certain quantity of the vegeto-mineral water, had not I been very sure that the extract had not been made in a brass kettle. I assured the master in answer to his letter, that no bad consequences would ensue, but that it would be adviseable to order the patient to drink some warm water.Page 13
Copy of Mr. **** Letter.
One of my servants has swallowed, by accident, some of the vegeto-mineral water; are there any bad consequences to be appre∣hended, and what is best to be done? It hap∣pened about half an hour ago. I am, &c.
The day after I received the following.
I have the pleasure to inform you, that my servant is perfectly well to day: he felt last night some pains in his stomach, which the warm water removed, but no stitches, no cholicks. I am &c.
II. The external qualities, which charac∣terize the true original extract of Saturn, consist in its colour, its smell, its weight, its consistence, and its taste: its colour is that of orange, its consistence a little sirupy, its smell empyreumatical, or of burnt sugar, its weight a third part more than that of the vinegar; so that a phial, which holds three ounces of vinegar, ought to weigh at least four ounces when filled with the extract; the Page 14thickness of this medicine may be as great a defect as its lightness: for, if it weighs more or less than it ought, it cannot but deceive in regard to the proportions made use of, and not answer to the directions given. See p. 8.
III. When bad vinegar has imbibed as much lead as it can possibly dissolve, the super∣fluous metallic particles are observed to sink to the bottom of the bottle, such extract, im∣properly called so, is but an imperfect division of the lead, which must be rejected for the reasons mentioned in page 8.
IV. From this mixture of lead and vine∣gar is produced a water called by the author vegeto-mineral; and this water is endowed with excellent virtues, when made use of in lotions, fomentations, injections, and baths, and in the different formulae described by Mr. Goulard, in his cerate, poultices, po∣matums, liniments, plaisters, &c. but the water, of which the vegeto-mineral is com∣posed, ought to be particularly considered in its own natural state, before it is made use of to form this medicated water. Every species of water is not proper for this use. Rain water, when purged and filtered, and that of rivers, whose bottoms consist of either sand or gravel free from mud, are to have the preference, especially after having been purified either by standing some time, or filtering through proper paper; spring and pump water being impreg∣nated Page 15with gypsous or selenitous particles, give rise to a new change of the metallic ones of the lead; and thus a white precipitate is formed, which will by no means incorporate with the water. "These effects, says a clebrated chy∣mist*, are owing to a separation of the vitriolic acid of the selenites from the earth, to which it was joined, which now mixes with the lead of the extract of Saturn, and thus forms a vitriol of lead. In that instant the vinegar mixes with the earth of the selenites, and they form together an acetose-calcarious salt; so that at the same time a new dissolution and a new combination are effected. Thus the medicine is by no means that of the vegeto-mineral water, but a mixture of vitriol of lead, acetose salt, and brandy. On this occasion the vitriol of lead seems to descend in form of a white powder, tho' it is in reality a saline matter dissoluble in water; the reason is, that it can∣not be dissolved without difficulty, and that there is not a sufficiency of water to dissolve the whole quantity collected: the remainder of the water contains in dissolution a small quantity of this vitriol of lead. In fine, if you add to the precipitate a large quantity of boiling water, the dissolution is perfect; which proves, that this precipitate is a saline sub∣stance." From this argument, founded on Page 16natural philosophy, and confirmed by the experiments of all who make use of water not properly purified, may we not conclude that we have no reason to be surprised that this remedy has sometimes baffled our endea∣vours? is it not, on the contrary, a subject of astonishment, that notwithstanding this ac∣cidental defect in its composition it has so frequently been crowned with the greatest success? In fine, the water, which dissolves soap the most effectually, is to be preferred, tho' it will be proper first to purify it well. When the extract is thrown into improper water, it whitens it only for a time, and then falls to the bottom, without being able to mix per∣fectly with it afresh; this water becomes curdled, and like sour milk; and in this state it is by no means to be made use of, as not at all likely to answer our expectations. To this we may ascribe the want of success, which serves to prejudice many against the remedy, and to please others, who are by no means its friends for want of being better acquainted with it. When proper water cannot be pro∣cured, care must be taken to distil others, if opportunity serves. This may be easily done with the common alembic, taking care to throw away some pints of the first distilled, as it is frequently liable to be foul, by the uncleaness of the head of the still: you must likewise take care to leave about a quarter of it in the still, before you have finished Page 17your process, to prevent the rising of any of its heterogeneous particles. But in case of necessity, where proper water is not to be had, any kind of water may be used, taking care to boil and filter it thro' paper which is not stiffened, till some of the best water can be procured*.
V. Nothing is of greater consequence in prescriptions, than the ascertaining the just proportion remedies of this kind bear to each Page 18other: I think the author has rather neglected in regard to his. Looking upon it himself as a topical one only, he has been little anxious about the quantities used in lotions, poultices, &c. for common cases; nor is it indeed very material, but when particular cases occur; such as inflammations of the eyes, ears, throat, and of other parts endued with no less a de∣gree of sensibility. The author seems to have mistaken the quantity of extract proper for the occasion, see page 204. where he says,
The indefinite measure of a glass of water gives here an equivocal sense. It is always improper to prescribe a remedy by measure, when it is to be used with circumspection. Nothing can be ascertained by a glass of water, a coffee spoonfull, or drops. These measures contain more or less according to the different places they are used in, and drops may vary according to the consistence of the ex∣tract. As all measures then vary, and ever Page [unnumbered]
ENGLISH and FRENCH WEIGHTS compared.
N. B. The Troy Ounce is also frequently divided into twenty Penny-weights, each consisting of twenty-four grains.
N. B. In the Fractions of Grains I have taken the nearest that could be expressed by single Figures, in those of Avoirdupois Drachms I have made Use of Decimals.
But let us now return to the method of prescribing the extract of Saturn, and again resume our subject, from which this episode has somewhat hurried me. I shall then make use of the weight, generally known by the name of Troy-weight. The proper and ge∣nerally Page 21prescribed quantity of extract to a bot∣tle of pure water,* is two drachms (five penny weight) if the extract is well made, which quan∣tity will make about a hundred and ten drops. Now, if we suppose the bottle ought to weigh twenty-nine Troy ounces, and a glass of water to weigh about three ounces, the quantity of extract, according to the proportion given by Mr. Goulard, would exceed, or at least be equal to that of the vegeto-mineral water prescribed by him for common uses, when, on the contrary, the quantity ought to be diminished considerably. So that I would recommend, in inflammations of the eyes, to put only two drops of the extract to every ounce of water, and the same proportion to be observed in all cases, where the sensibility of the part is equal∣ly delicate, especially since Mr. Goulard has brought his extract to so great a degree of perfection.
The method of counting the drops is to have a cork bored from end to end, through which pass a tube about the size of a small quill commonly called a pinion; this quill must be cut off at both ends, like the obtuse end of a tooth-pick; and of the two extremi∣ties of the tube thus cut, one enters into the bottle, and the other remains on the outside of the cork. By inclining the bottle down∣wards and putting the end of the fore-finger Page 22upon the aperture of the tube you may let the drops fall at pleasure, one after the other.
Mr. Goulard does not recommend his po∣matum in opthalmies, and I think with great reason; greasy and oleagenous substances are always dangerous in inflammations of the eyes, and erisipelatous complaints, though they are equally adviseable for those of the ears: he ought to have recommended the frequent washing the eyes, externally with the vegeto-mineral water, and keeping a bolster constantly on them, well wetted with that water. This I have constantly practised with success, but you must be careful always to add some brandy, and even that which is camphorated. This omission, on the part of the author in his first prescription, gives an air of obscurity to the last part of his second paragraph, by putting you in mind there of the necessity of making use of brandy in the second prescription, as well as in the first; a circumstance he has entirely omitted. Let it be remarked, that camphorated brandy on all occasions is to be preferred to the non∣camphorated, as I shall endeavour to prove in the following article.
VI. It is my opinion, that in the cases, in which the author recommends the use of camphire, one of the most antiphlogistic, and antispasmodic medicines in physic or surgery, he does not pre∣scribe it in large quantities enough. Camphire is one of those medicines we use too sparingly, Page 23not being sufficiently conversant in its effects, which are always wonderful, whether made use of externally or internally. I would re∣commend a work of Mr. Pouteau, intitled, Melanges de Chirurgie, which would con∣vince any one of the good qualities of this drug. I know an English gentleman, who not only preserves himself from, but cures himself of many complaints by the use of camphire, of which he takes inwardly a large quantity; and always carries about him a box of it. When I make use of this with the extract of Saturn, it is in large quantities, and with some precautions different from those of Mr. Goulard. If it is given in small quan∣tities, it has no effect; when mixed with po∣matums, cerates, liniments, it is obliged to undergo the heat of fire, by which means the volatile parts of it are evaporated; what re∣mains of them, insensibly passes away, so that in a few days none is left. Whenever the vegeto-mineral water is made use of, I would recommend the same quantity of campho∣rated brandy, as the author prescribes of that which is not camphorated. This campho∣rated brandy should be kept in a bottle well corked; you must be careful likewise to fill it up now and then, and see that the camphire you make use of for this purpose is not too airy, but that it is fresh, oily, and of a strong perfume.Page 24
VII. Mr. Goulard recommends the vegeto∣mineral water to be warmed only during the winter, and to make use of it in summer in its natural state. This distinction may be a very just one at Montpellier, and in other warm climates; but in England and other cold countries it is absolutely necessary al∣ways to warm it, otherwise the metallic particles are not so thoroughly divided; and by the water's being impregnated with the vegetable parts only the repelling proper∣ty, with which it is reproach'd, only re∣mains; the same may be said of all cold wa∣ters, they act as repellents, by causing too great a tension in the fibres they ought to relax, and the colder they are the greater is their repelling power; but when warmed, they are of a moistening, relaxing, softening and resolving quality. But particular care must be taken not to exceed the dose above pre∣scribed in inflammatory cases; Mr. Cosmond a celebrated surgeon has well observed that the leaden particles, when introduced into the vessels in too large a quantity, irritate and force them so considerably, as frequently to add to the complaint, instead of relieving it. This is a fault that many, who are ignorant of the effects of this remedy, frequently fall into; and often blame the medicine, when them∣selves are only in fault.
In cases, where the lymph only is affected, the same precaution is not necessary, as a Page 25drachm or two of extract more may be safely added to each bottle of water.
VIII. Such, as are little versed in the know∣ledge of the medicinal virtues of metals, are very apt to make cosmetic pomatums with the vegeto-mineral water. These have fol∣lowed the errors handed down to us by our ancestors, who have made use of lead under various forms; others did use such as magis∣teries of pewter and bismuth, &c. which have rather served to destroy the beauty of the skin, than to preserve it; the reason is evident: these metals, by infinuating themselves into the pores, there depose some of their par∣ticles the most divided, and by first opening, and then filling up these pores spoil the finest features.
These metallic particles become of a black dye, and plainly shew a leaden colour, which can be concealed only from the eye, by the application of a white wash composed of the same drug, which by plaistering over the sur∣face of the skin add to its deformity. The author of these remarks begs leave to caution the fair sex from trusting to these pomatums, the composition of which is a secret, the bet∣ter to conceal the known poison they are fraught with, which for a short time appears to answer their intentions, only to give the deeper wound afterwards. Time only can re-establish nature, and the use of the poma∣tums described by the author in his Treatise Page 26on Ruptures, p. 138, by leaving out the gold and the saffron, the first making the skin black, the other yellow. This pomatum, without altering the skin, softens, and nourishes it, preserves its transparency, destroys tetters and redness, fills up wrinkles, and repairs all da∣mages done to it, either by the use of other pomatums or paint. This pomatum is infi∣nitely superior to that of Saturn, or the cerate for removing the piles, for the scalding of the skin, and to remove the spots, which re∣main after the small pox, if applied to it some time after the eruption.
IX. I must here add, that the pure liquid extract of Saturn,* mixed with double the quantity of oil of turpentine is the most sovereign remedy known against a sprain in a horse, by rubbing him with this liniment, as soon as the accident happens, taking care to keep the part well covered, till you have got him home to the stable; if he should still continue lame, or appear in pain, you must rub him again, before he grows cold, and repeat this every four hours, keep him well cloathed, and allow him but half his usual quantity of food, and give him warm water with some bran in it to promote perspiration: it seldom happens, if these rules are attended to, but that the cure is compleated in four-and-twenty hours.Page 27
COPY Of the POWER granted to the AUTHOR of these REMARKS, to provide the PUB∣LIC with the original EXTRACT of LEAD.
I The under writer, counsellor to the KING, and perpetual MAYOR of the town of ALET; lecturer and demonstrator royal in surgery; demonstrator royal of a•••omy in the college of physicians; fellow of the royal academies of sciences in MONTPELLIER, TOULOUSE, LION, NANCY; pensioner of the KING and of the province of LANGUE∣DOC for lithotomy, and late surgeon to the royal and military hospital in MONTPELLIER, do hereby certify that, in consequence of the friendship which has subsisted these fifty years past between Mr. GEORGE ARNAUD my fellow student and myself, I do pass my word by this present, and engage myself to supply the said Mr. G. ARNAUD, doctor in physic in the university of TUBINGUEN, anci∣ent member of the royal academy of surgery, lecturer and professor of anatomy in the col∣lege of surgeons at PARIS, and in LONDON Page 28as one of the corporation of surgeons of the city, to supply, I say, the said Mr. G. A•∣NAUD and him only in ENGLAND with a su•¦ficient quantity of my extract of saturn mad• by myself, in the best manner I am able, i• order to be distributed by him, or those com∣missioned by him, over all the dominions •• his BRITISH MAJESTY; promising beside• to supply with the same no other in ENGLAND as long as he shall continue to sell that I have sent him, or shall continue to send him, to confirm which I do put here my hand and seal, this day being the 2d of March, 1770.
Page 23, line 21, after Left, read But whenever, &c.