Directions for Miss McDonald

[ Directions for Miss McDonald ] John Marshall

Contributor Role
Contributor Name
John Marshall

Date: There are two parts to this document: the directions, dated 16 July 1782, and the letter from John Marshall to Miss McDonald, dated 23 November 1782, that accompanies the letter. | 1782/07/16 to 1782/11/23

Publication Format


barley water
tamarind water
elixir of vitriol
tincture of red roses
leaves of red roses

St. John's Island
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island

Source: Macdonald Family (St. Peter’s) Papers
Institution: Prince Edward Island Public Archives | Reference: Acc2664


This two part document is Accession 2664, no. 42, pages 1-6.  The directions, page 1-2, are in a different hand than the letter. This appears to be because the directions are a copy of the original; the text suggests both are by John Marshall. Miss McDonald might be Helen (Nelly) McDonald.  A letter from John MacDonald to his sister Nelly, dated 12 September 1789, makes similar suggestions (see "Remedy for Stomach Ailment" by John MacDonald, Acc. 2664, no. 16, p. 10).

All uses of this image other than research or private study require written permission from the Public Archives and Records Office of Prince Edward Island.


Directions for Miss McDonald.

1. Coolness, quietness and rest seem to be absolutely necessary at present.

2. Your diet should be cooling and slender: sage, salep, Barley or rice

boiled, with milk: gruel, Panada, weak broths, ripe or prepared fruits

are proper. -- 

3. Your drinks ought to be mild, subacid and opening: Whey, Buttermilk

Barley or Tamarind Watter, milk and Watter c. & are well adapted.--

it is to be observ'd that they are all to be drunk cold and rather in

small quantities at a time; these and drinks of a similar kind may be 


4. A few Medicines may be necessary, for which reason for which reason two

or three that experience has pointed out as the most effectual in such cases

are sent.

If the spiting of blood be not now very considerably lessend it will be neces

sary to take fifteen or twenty drops of the Elixir of Vitriol in a glass of watter

twice or thrice a day.

     If you are not warm or feverish, yet at the same time pass

restless Nights, after bathing your legs in a deep bucketful of luke warm

watter for half an hour it will be necessary to take about twenty, or twenty five

drops of Laudanum going to bed, in a cupfull of any of your common 


     The Laudanum may be occasionally repeated with or without the 


     Of the bark as much as will lift upon a shilling may be taken three or

four times a day in a little new milk.

     Your bed room ought to be cool large and airy the bed curtains should

never be drawn close, A Matress is preferable to a Feather bed, you should sleep

likewise with your head considerably raisd.

     If ever you should be come hot and feverish, and your breathing considerably affected

it will then be necessary to lose a little blood from the arm if your strength can possibly admit

of it.

     Upon the whole till such time as your complaints have for a considera

ble time left you your diet ought to be compos'd almost entirely of milk and 

vegetables, and you will then be plase'd to return to your former method


of living by degrees, and all violent exertions must be carefully avoided, in 

the mean time grief must not be indulg'd but a change of ideas attentively 

courted. amusements where theres little or no exertion required are the most

suitable &c. &c.

     At this distance it is probable some circumstances may have escaped

us. The genl scope of the treatments however being pointed out Miss 

McDonalds goods sense will easily supply All wants

     That she may be speedyly restored to her former state of health

is the most sincere wish of

Halifax 16th July. 1782.




                     May I hope you will 

do me the justice to believe, that it was

with real concern I heard of your relapse.

    You must not however [ ] young

to despond. Perhaps, without much

difficulty you can assign a sufficient


     As the same ground now must nearly 

be again travelled over, I have therefore

put you almost the same Medicines


as before.

     The Elixir of Vitriol you will be 

pleased to use as formerly directed.

As the Nitre, you may take

about a quarter of an ounce in a day

in any of your ordinary drinks.

     A tea cupful of the Tincture

of Red Roses may be taken 

two or three times a day.

     The Tincture is made by infusing

in a stoneware vesel for four or five

hours, an ounce of the dried leaves of

Red Roses, with fifty or sixty drops

of the Elixir of Vitriol, in two pints of 

boiling water. Afterwards the Tincture

is to be strained, and sweetened with sugar.

     I am sorry I could not at present


send you more of the leaves.

     Cold air, Acids, and Aliments

of the laxative and less nutritious

kind must always be duly attended

to. -- If hot and feverish, bleeding will

no doubt be advisable.

    The patient must be regulated, and

any violent exertion must be carefully

shunned. By way of exercise, sleighing

may be tried.

     The inferior extremities must be kept 

comfortably warm by additional cloutting 

of the woolen kind.--

     Close stoves are dangerous, --Open fire

places are much safer.

     I have already had the honour

to write you so very fully on this subject,

that the preceding is intended


merely as a kind of recapitulation

    [ ] at a loss, I must therefore

beg leave, to refer you to my former

letter. -- By attention and perseverance,

I make no doubt, but that you will 

not only recover health, but likewise

confirm it.

      If however, at any time, you 

may think I can be of further use

I beg you will freely command,

Dear Madame,

your most faithful

humble servant,

John Marshall

Halifax, 23rd Nov. 1782.

May I hope you will do 

me the honour to present my best respects

to Mrs Calbeck.

"A nutritive meal, starch, or jelly made from the dried tubers of various orchidaceous plants, chiefly those of the genus Orchis; formerly also used as a drug" (OED). (Also salop, saloop)
"A dish consisting of bread boiled to a pulp in water, sometimes flavoured with sugar, currants, nutmeg, or other ingredients" (OED).
"Somewhat or moderately acid; somewhat sour in taste or flavour" (OED).