12 Annotations

steve h  •  Link

Speaking as a sufferer from gout, I can attest that it can be almost completely debilitating. It's caused, we now know, by the buildup of uric acid crystals in joints, giving an almost unbearable pain. Fortunately, modern medicine can handle it, but at Pepys's time there were only ineffective folk remedies, including eating lots of cherries(not easy to find most times of year in 1660).
Gout has been called "the disease or kings" or "the patricians' malady". It seemed to have a connection with high living. Gout can be aggravated by alcohol, and certain foods (shellfish, beans) can make it worse. But my experience is that there is no easily identifiable cause for most attacks. Gout tends to get progressively worse with time, and can cause deformation of joints, most usually the toes or other [parts of the feet.

Famous gout sufferers: Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Johnson, Kant, Gibbon, Jefferson, and Milton. Milton reportedly told a friend that if he were only free of gout pain, blindness would be tolerable.

A book on the history of gout:

Charlezzzzz  •  Link

Gout has been called

Charlezzzzz  •  Link

"He died, 1686, of gout in the stomach."
I wonder what this "gout" could really have been -- something truly painful, I suppose, since gout in the joints can be amazingly painful. Perhaps it was cancer?

vincent  •  Link

google gout for ones favourite remedy
a )Treatment of Gout
Therefore the following foods which are high in Purines should be restricted or avoided:
Offal foods such as liver, kidneys, tripe, sweetbreads and tongue. Excessive amounts of red meat. Shellfish, fish roe and scallops. Peas. lentils and beans. Alcohol intake should be reduced. Two glasses of beer a day or less is sensible. On special occasions you can drink more. Weight loss may be very important. Medication for high blood pressure may need to be altered.

It seems to say , the 17C diet was not an ideal eating style.

Ruben  •  Link

John in Austin  •  Link

Sir John Falstaff:

"A pox of this gout! or, a gout of this pox! for the one or the other plays the rogue with my great toe."

King Henry VIII, Part II

netta murray goldsmith  •  Link

If anyone has more suggestions on what 'gout of the stomach' could have been, I would be glad to hear from them.I keep on coming across references to it e.g. in Trollope's Phineas Finn where two minor characters expire because of it. For what it is worth I would not have thought it was cancer as 18th century doctors, let alone 19th century ones could diagnose that

Mary  •  Link

gout of the stomach.

There is an interesting site at www.antiquusmorbus.com/English that suggests explanations of many antique medical terms, including gouts of all descriptions.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Mary your gout ref. could not be summoned; but here be OED oldest ref:
Gout OED: I. 1. A specific constitutional disease occurring in paroxysms, usually hereditary and in male subjects; characterized by painful inflammation of the smaller joints, esp. that of the great toe, and the deposition of sodium urate in the form of chalk-stones; it often spreads to the larger joints and the
internal organs.
The name is derived from the notion of the ‘dropping’ of a morbid material from the blood in and around the joints.
a. OF. goute, goutte (F. goutte) drop, gout: L. gutta drop, in med.L. applied to gout and other diseases attributed to a ‘defluxion’ of humours (see Du Cange).]
c1290 S. Eng. Leg. I. 360/39 bare cam a goute In is kneo, of Anguische gret..So longue, xat is kneo to-swal.
c. falling gout, epilepsy. Obs. [med.L. gutta cadiva or caduca: see Du Cange.]
Stomach Gout may be an Ulcer;

pedro  •  Link

Cure for gout?

JOHN HILL educated as an apothecary, had lived in good style on the malice and fear of the community, he now found resources in its credulity. He brought out certain tinctures and essences of simple plants, sage, valerian, bardana, or water dock, asserting that they were infallible panaceas for all the ills that flesh is heir to. Their sale was rapid and extensive, and whatever virtues they may have possessed, no one can deny that they were peculiarly beneficial to their author, enabling him to have a townhouse in St. James' Street, a country house and garden at Bayswater, and a carriage to ride in from one to the other. The quivers of the epigram writers were once more filled by these medicines, and thus some of their arrows flew:

In spite of the efficacy of his Tincture of Bardana, which Hill warranted as a specific for gout, he died of that disease on the 21st of November 1775. The following is the last fling which the epigrammatists had at him:

'Poor Doctor Hill is dead! Good lack!
Of what disorder? An attack
Of gout. Indeed! I thought that he
Had found a wondrous remedy.
Why, so he had, and when he tried,
He found it true the doctor died!'
(Book of Days)

Mary  •  Link

gout/Antiquus Morbus.

Indeed, the www.antiquusmorbus.com address does seem to have ceased to work, but if you simply Google for 'antique medical terms' you will find that this site appears and can then be searched for specific ailments. Not an elegant way of getting there, but apparently reliable.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.