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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 33

Note for Third Edition

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Note for Third Edition.

From many kind congratulatory letters which the issuing of my pamphlet has called forth, I have great pleasure in selecting the following. Being highly important, both from the eminence of the writers and value of the practical hints contained in them, I give them entire :—

From Dr. Lyon Playfair, Professor of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh.

'14 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh, Nov. 9, 1867.

My Dear Sir,—I have read your Sulphur pamphlet with so much interest, that, though personally unknown to you, I cannot refrain from writing to you. Sulphurous acid, as a disinfectant, is among the oldest used disinfectants. Ulysses employed it to purify his mansion after he slaughtered Penelope's suitors. It seems to act in two ways:—(1.) By killing fungi and infusoria; (2.) By producing ozone during its own oxidation in the air, and thus acting also in the manner of Condy's fluid, though in a much weaker way.

'In the first action it is only excelled by carbolic acid, which, however, does not appear to have the second power.

'In pursuing your inquiries, I would venture to suggest that you might sometimes with advantage add carbolic acid, but not in too large quantity. About 5 per cent of carbolic acid to 95 per cent, of the true sulphurous acid in its watery solution, appears to increase largely its destructive effect on the lower forms of organic life, without destroying the indirect oxidising agency of sulphurous acid. Although the latter is used in chemistry as a deoxidiser, I need scarcely say that I am not writing in ignorance when I still ascribe to it the reverse effects also.—Yours sincerely,

'Lyon Playfair.'

From Dr. Joseph Bell, F.R.C.S.E., Lecturer on Surgery, Assistant Surgeon, Clinical Wards, Royal Infirmary, and to the Eye Infirmary, and late Demonstrator of Anatomy in the University of Edinburgh.

'5 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, November 11, 1867.

'My Dear Sir,—Though I am personally unknown to you, your name is so familiar that I cannot feel myself a stranger, and take the liberty of writing you a few lines.

'I have just finished the perusal of your most interesting pamphlet on Sulphurous Acid, and write to thank you for it most heartily.

'We have been working away with Dr. Dewar's plan a good deal; and for my own part I am thoroughly convinced that it is a most important addition to the surgeon's weapons, as a most agreeable dressing for wounds and ulcers, and, as an almost miraculous means of relief in all cases of croupy throats, laryngitis, and cynanche tonsillaris,—I have great faith in it.

'The cases which have impressed me most, however, have been :—Three very chronic and well-marked cases of lupus non exedens of the face—one of twenty years' standing—have been cured by it, and it alone. The patients come either to my house, or to the Thistle Street Dispensary, march in, get a few whiffs of spray over the face, and march out again with great delight. Professor Syme has, you may be aware, trusted for many years, in cases of mentagra and the chronic scabby sores of the face, to a lotion of acetate of lead and finely powdered sulphur in water.—Excuse my troubling you, and believe me to be yours faithfully,

Joseph Bell.

'Dr. Pairman of Biggar.'