Welcome to all my new readers, thanks to the unexpected success of my previous post! Thank you for your comments and I hope you enjoy what you find here.
There were obviously no blogs in the eighteenth century, but there were still ways of obtaining information. Take the following two letters, found in the miscellaneous papers of Sir John Evelyn of Wotton, a British politician and grandson of the famous diarist:
Moorgate Street, Sept 17 1747
Upon reading your advertisements of to day I
there in found an advertisement for a receipt for one
who hav lost their speech by a cold in which case
I was in my self not long ago and after trying a
great many things the following was the only restoring
medicine that I met with and now I can speake as well
as ever I could in my life. Take two or three handfulls
of bran put it into 3 pints of spring water let it
boil gently till there is near a pint consumed then
strain it of and add some figge sliced with a penny
worth of stick liquorish sliced or minced then boil it
up together strain it off making it a constant drink
till it performe the cure which if its taker affects
will be after drinking about two quarts. So wishing
the person may find the same benefit as did your
and the Publicke Friend
Another letter in a different hand:
Sept the 15th 1747
Observing in the daily advertisements
of this day, an advertisement, desiring
that if any person, who had lost their
voice by cold, so as to be reduced to
whisper, had found relief by any method
or medicine, they were desired to send
the prescription to you.
A person who had lost their voice
for 4 months, so as to whisper only,
was cured by the following remedy.
Barbados tar, dropped into powder of
liquorice, begun with five drops, &
increased it, by one at a time to ten,
and took that quantity twice a day,
morning & night, washing it down, some
times with a little hysop, & sometimes
with penyroyal water, sweetened with
syrrop of capilare, if it should heat
to much, as in some constitutions it may
it must be left of, it is a slow remedy
but if any can be cal’d sure it may
the person cur’d, had more properly an
extinction of voice then hoarseness, for
they could not form a sound higher
then the softest whisper, & after about
three months use of the above medicine
had the voice perfectly restored, of a
sudden, & tho subject to illness of the
lungs never lost it afterwards.
Upon the truth of this you may depend.
These letters were with a collection of other remedies and physician’s prescriptions, and it can be assumed that Sir John or one of his family had lost his own voice and had advertised in a newspaper or pamphlet to see if anyone could recommend a cure. It’s interesting that they both contain liquorice, which is still used today in commercial cough syrups.
Source: British Library 78529. Evelyn Papers. Vol. CCCLXII.