Wednesday, 28 November 2012

6th March 1765

A Quire of Paper 10d
2 Boxes Scotch Pills  which Mr William Newton Bot. me in London 2/-

A Quire has been totally overtaken by Continental paper sizing (foolscap was so much more romantic than a4!)

But it was somewhere around 24 sheets...

Scotch Pills are much more fun!

They were a "patent medicine"  - According to a paper published by the Reading university - Most such medicines were only secret, not actually patented and  Dr Patrick Anderson's Scotch Pills first appeared in the 1630s (don't click the link unless you want the whole 33 page pdf downloaded).

Everyone was not convinced of their efficacy. The Country Housewife's Family Companion  of 1750 contains the information
"Too much Physick does Harm.--A physician said, It washes off the mucus of the guts, and then the meat passes too quick through them, because they are deprived of their retentive quality. I am credibly informed, that a gentlewoman in Staffordshire took the Scotch pills so frequently, that they occasioned this misfortune and killed her."

And Thomas Rowlandson credited his dentist with selling Scotch Pills

the Poster on the wall reads 

"BARNABY FACTOTUM. Draws Teeth, Bleeds & Shaves. WIGS made here, also Sausages, Wash Balls, black Puddings, Scotch Pills, Powder for the Itch, Red Herrings, Breeches Balls, and small Beer by the maker. IN UTRUMQUE PARATUS."

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