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title:“George Mason to Martin Cockburn”
authors:George Mason
date written:1784-1

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:05 a.m. UTC
retrieved:March 2, 2024, 7:11 p.m. UTC

Mason, George. "Letter to Martin Cockburn." The Papers of George Mason. Vol. 2. Ed. Robert A. Rutland. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970. 791-92. Print.
Recipient's Copy, Mason Papers, Library of Congress; Tr, Bancroft Letterbooks, New York Public Library, New York, N.Y.

George Mason to Martin Cockburn (January 1784)

[January 1784?]
I am very sorry to hear the flux has broke out in yr. Family, & I really believe it will become general thro' the Country, especially if this damp Weather continues-much longer. By what I can judge from this Disorder among my People, you may expect it will prove very tedious, not less than two or three weeks before a perfect Recovery; tho' the violence of it may be pretty well over in seven or eight Days. I send you some Garlick, tho' I shou'd relye more on Tar Water, to prevent Infection; however both, or either, may be used. I think much depends upon a Vomits being administer'd as early as possible, & after one intermediate Day, a Purge of Rhubarb, which I shou'd prefer to any other—in giving the small Doses of Ipecacuanna afterwards, the quantity must be regulated by the Effects upon the Patients Stomack; they not being intended to vomit, or at least very little. If you use Conway's Medicine, attention shou'd be had to its effects not to check the Evacuations suddenly, & the Milk shou'd be mixed with no more at a time than is wanted for 24 Hours at most, as it will be apt to turn sour; you may easily proportion it to any Quantity, & I shou'd not chuse to give it, 'til a Vomit & Purge had been first taken; with these precautions it succeeded very well with. my People—Boil'd Milk & Water (about 1/4 Milk) with a toast in it, weak Mallow Tea, and now & then a little weak Toddy or Grog, with a Hot Iron quench'd in it, will be proper Drink—thickned Milk, or hasty-puddin, wth. a good deal of Butter in it, rice-Milk, boil'd Barley, panuda, or any thing of easy digestion, proper diet; or sometimes boil'd Milk & Bread, mixing about 1/3d. water before it's boil'd. If after four or five days, the Purging & Pains still continue violent, a small Dose of Diascordium, Gutta vita, or liquid Laudanum at Night, might be of Service; but opiates shou'd be given wth. Caution. A spoonful of the Decoction of the common black Snake Root, given now & then occasionally, will ease the griping; but shou'd not be so strong as to raise a sweat. I am Dr. Sr. Yr. affect.
Conway's Rect. for the Flux
Take of White Oak Bark, 2 Handfuls, flowering Ash, & pear Tree Roots, of each one Handful, Bark of Dogwood Root half a handful, root of cros-wort, one handful, wild Indigo Root half a Handful; put them all into one Gallon of Water; boil it gradually to half a Gallon; then take out all the Roots & Barks &c. and add a Pint of new Milk, & a small Slice of rusty Bacon; boil it gently a small time, pour it into some Vessel to cool, & bottle it for Use. Of this Decoction give a Wine Glass full three or four times in 24 Hours, if the Patient is a grown Person, & less in proportion to Children.
N. B. the Rind, or outer Bark, shou'd be carefully shaved off the White Oak Bark &c. & only the clean inner Bark used.
As G. M. does not know either the flowering Ash, or the crosswort, he has generally substituted two handfulls of the Sweet Gum bark & used one handful of the wild Indigo root, instead of half a Handful directed in the Receipt.

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