To John Fothergill4
Draft: American Philosophical Society
Tuesday morning, [October, 1757?]5
I took the 30 grs. of Comp[oun]d Powder of Contrayerva6 you prescribed, and had a good Night.
But I have had all Day yesterday, a Giddiness and Swimming in my Head, which, every time I rise up, or turn suddenly, makes me stagger a little.
I hear a humming Noise in my head, and seem now and then to see little faint twinkling Lights. And my Head feels tender.
Will Abstinence be sufficient to remove this Disorder: or do you still advise Cupping, and any thing farther, for Your affectionate Friend9
4. Dr. Fothergill was BF’s physician in the protracted illness here described.
5. As BF told DF November 22 (see below p. 272), his illness continued for about eight weeks. While this draft is not fully dated, the similarity of the symptoms to those he described to his wife suggest that it was written during this time, perhaps in October 1757.
6. Counter herb; antidote to poison; specifically, a tropical American aromatic root used as a stimulant or tonic.
7. Ammonia water made from shavings of the horn of a hart (deer).
8. To cup: to bleed for therapeutic purposes. BF later reported to DF that he had been cupped on the back of the head during this illness.
9. What may be parts of the initials “BF” are faintly discernable in a torn corner of the MS.