Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society
Minute book 2
23 September 1791 - 7 November 1792
Minutes of the Aberdeen Medical Society. Includes signatures of Presidents and members of the Society at the beginning of the volume. The minutes sometimes contain copies of letters to various Professors or Surgeons inviting them to become honorary or extraordinary members and copies of their replies. For example, the minute of the first meeting held in April 1792 includes a copy of a letter from John Murray, Assistant Surgeon in the 42nd Regiment, in response to his election as an extraordinary member. Sometimes dissertations were delivered in Latin (see minute of 31 May 1792). In the minute of the 19 June 1792 it is recorded: 'It is with pleasure that it is here inserted that the members now shew [sic] a much greater facility in speaking Latin extempere than formerly'. A summary of the contents of the volume is as follows:
23 September: Bilious fever
President: J. Smith; Proposer: George Rose
A motion proposed by McGrigor was passed regarding the presentation of a surgical subject after the medical subject for each meeting had been discussed.
McGrigor proposed that Dr. Gregory, Professor of the Practice of Physic at Edinburgh, be admitted as an honorary member, 'and wished that the Society would determine it immediately as Dr. Gregory passed through the town on his way to Edinburgh in a few days'. The motion was opposed and an extraordinary meeting called for the next day. [An honorary diploma was presented to Dr. Gregory at the meeting held on 7 October]. The minute also records some donations to the Society.
21 October: 'Critical Days'
President: Mr. Ogilvy
Includes list of donations to the Society.
28 October: Camphor
President: Mr. Williams
Various individuals were proposed as honorary members at this meeting including Dr. French. It is noted in the minute: 'This gentleman upon its being mentioned to him that his election was to come forward - declared his intention of having no connection with the Society'. Also contains list of donations to the Society including 'The Edinburgh Medical Essays', Volume 6, donated by McGrigor and Rose.
Election of honorary and ordinary members.
Copy of letter from Dr. Skene to McGrigor thanking the Society for electing him an honorary member and offering his best wishes and support to the Society. An anatomical description of ethinoid and sphenoid bones was also provided by J. Smith.
26 November: Intermittents
President: Mr. Allan
Proposal to change time of meetings due to clash with Dr. French's Chemical Class.
New resolution regarding annual award of silver medal to the author of the best dissertation on a given subject.
List of donations to the Society (also see minute of the 3 January).
Other subjects discussed at meetings include synochus (7 October) and gout (14 October).
7 January: Incubus
President: Mr. Williams
It is noted at this meeting that 'the books of the Society were all present in the Library and consisted of about 160 volumes'. A copy of a letter from Kenneth Bayne regarding his election to the Society is also included as is a list of donations including 'Regulations of two Medical Societies at Edinburgh' by James McGrigor.
9 January: [orteological] description of ospalati or _ given by Mr. Bannerman.
To check above terms
14 January: [Sivans].
President: Mr. Grant
Note of presentation on the neck and regulations regarding a Censor, rule no.6 stating that 'the persons exercising this power shall be called Presidents of the Medical Society, the person appointed to deliver the Discourse being called the Speaker...'.
20 January: Iron
President: W. Roughredge
Same subject as above presented due to absence of President. Also includes list of donations.
Books given out.
4 February: Hydrothorax
President: G. Kerr; Speaker: Mr. Nicoll
List of donations to Society and list of regulations of the Committee of Friends to the Medical Society.
3 March: Sulphur
President: Mr. Kerr; Speaker: Mr. Roughredge
10 March: Digestion
President: Mr. McGrigor; Speaker: Mr. Hendrie
17 March: Diarrhoea
President: Mr. McGrigor; Speaker: Mr. Young
24 March: Theory of Fever
President: Mr. McGrigor; Speaker: Mr. Thompson
No date: Pulse
President: Mr. Kerr; Speaker: Mr. McKinnon
List of donations.
No date [April]: Gonorrhoea
President: Mr. McGrigor; Speaker: Mr. Allan
14 April: Hydrothorax
President: Mr. A. Smith; Speaker: Mr. Kerr
Note of donation: 'Lind on the Scurvy'.
Discussion of laws and subsequent decisions. It was agreed that 'the names of all our members shall be printed after the laws and in the end of the pamphlet a catalogue of the Society's books'. 'Preparation of part of an intestine' donated to museum.
23 April: Gleets, Chancres, Bubos
Various individuals were proposed as honorary and ordinary members including P. Copland, Professor of Natural Philosophy at Marischal College. 'It was agreed that the Secretary should agree with Mr. [Lorimer?] for the Execution of a Seal for the Society'.
Dr. Livingstone [sic], Honorary President, made his first appearance and in the discussions which followed provided an example of a case of a sailor admitted to the hospital in 1789 'with a white swelling of the joint of the knee'. It is recorded that Dr. Livingston 'expressed the greatest satisfaction at finding the Society conducted on such a plan...he was convinced that the Society since its first commencement had made advances as rapid in every respect as those of any other Society which had subsisted only for the like time. He also declared his intention of enlarging the place of meeting' (due to the number of members and increase in the size of the Library). A copy of a letter is also included in the minute from Andrew Duncan, Editor of Medical Commentaries who notes that he would on occasion be willing to include accounts of cases from the Society's records in the medical commentaries. Note of individuals elected honorary and ordinary members: Mr. Copland, Professor of Natural Philosophy at Marischal College, Mr. J. Beattie, Dr. Robertson, Mr. Rose, Mr. James Skene, Mr. McAskgill and Mr. Caie. Agreed to change day of meetings to Tuesday. List of donations to Library.
Letter from Professor Copland thanking Society for electing him as a member: 'I approve much of the Institution, thinking it an excellent means of exciting a spirit of enquiry and emulation among the students, in the objects of their studies...'. 'Mr. Mcgregor this evening acquainted the Society, that an early departure from this place would prevent his future attendance, with his best wishes for the success of an institution whose interests it had always been his ambition to promote, he declared his place of President of the Society vacant...' (Mr. Kerr also stood down as President). [A dissection of a dog was carried out on the 9 May, when a list of donations to the Library was also recorded. The extraordinary meeting called on the 10 May was to elect new Presidents. At this meeting, McGrigor was elected unanimously an extraordinary member.]
Noted that Mr. R. Smith, apprentice to Dr. Robertson, who was proposed as an ordinary member, was rejected due to his age (he was fourteen).
Mr. Nicoll presented a discourse on marasmus.
Mr. Grant delivered a discourse on 'Medical Electricity' (2 pages). Donation: 'A heart elegantly injected with wax, from R. Harvey Esq.'.
Mr. Henry delivered a discourse on suderifics (1 page of notes on discussion which followed: 'Most of the members appeared to be of opinion that in fevers suderifics much more frequently did harm than good'. Also note of discussion which followed miscellaneous subject: 'The use of cold bathing'. A list of books donated to the Society is also recorded.
A substantial list of donations is recorded in the minute including Cullen's 'Materia Medica' from Mr. Davidson, Surgeon in London, 'Memoirs of the Academy of Science at Paris' from Mr. McGregor, London and 'Robertson on Fevers' from Mr. Forbes.
It was decided at this meeting to begin the repairs of the hall immediately and a committee was duly appointed to oversee this. It is noted that the heart of a whale had been procured for dissection. The whale had been 'caught off the broad hill by some salmon fishers'.
Discourse on hydrocephalus (2 pages). Two dissertations were delivered, one on the extraction of teeth and the other on amputation.
'This evening the Society met in the Hall now fitted up for their reception. It appeared to be very commodious and gave the highest satisfaction'.
Discourses on diarrhoea and fistula lachrymalis.
Discourse on dyspepsia (1 page). The President gave a speech on retiring from the Society: 'He concluded with admonishing the whole Society to beware of theory - and pay the chief attention to facts'.
'Bibliotheca Anatomica' (3 volumes) donated by Professor Copland.
1 volume (0.04 linear metres)