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Two page handwritten letter, dated November 26,1858, from J. R. Thompson of Thirsk, England to David Birrell, concerning Birrell's recent trip to Scotland, and the recent news of the 1858 Bradford Sweets Poisoning:
My dear Birrell
Your letter dated 2nd Inst. (?) I duly received and with much pleasure heard of your safe arrival at home.
I am very glad you so much enjoyed your trip to Scotland and that you were so fortunate as to meet with agreeable companions on your voyage across the Atlantic. I have no doubt trip would do you much good after your hard study and confinement in London.
The plan you adopt in America of learning Prescription Books with the Physicians is quite novel to me, and appears to be rather good.
I don't know whether you receive the Pharmeceutical Journal or not- so I may perhaps be excused from a alluding to the subject of the "medal"(?) offered at the close of the session. I was the successful candidate in the class Chemistry and Pharmacy, the medal is beautifully executied by Wyorn(?) of the Royal Mint; there is also a certificate which accomplanies it.
Yorkshire, may I say England, has, within the last few weeks, been startled by an awful tragedy which occured at Bradford. The following is a breif history of the event-
A confectioner of the nae of Riel (?) was in the habit of making cheap peppermint Lozenges and in order to accomplish his purpose he mixed with the sugar [...] an arhite(?) known in the trade by the name of "deff" (it is sulphate of lime- (?) of Paris). A few weeks ago Reil having occasion to make some of the Lozenges, sent his workman to a druggist who was in the secret for ome of the "deff," but the druggist was ill in bed and the young man who had only been in the establishmen about three weeks did not know anything about it, so he communicated with his master, who wished the person to wait till he could personlly attend, this the confectioner did not wish to do, so the young man was directed to a certain cask in the cellar. Unfortunately, there were two casks, out of one of which he took 12" (?) of a white powder supposing it to be the arhile(?) he required.
In due course this with other ingredients was manufactured into between 40 and 50 pounds of Lozenges some of which were sold to the public in the ordinary way, until they began to produce their sad effect. The white powder proved to be arsenic.
Between one and two hundred persons were made ill and I believe 10 or 20 lost their lives by this sad mistake, and but for the prompt measures taken by the authorities to prevent more of the Lozenges being sold and warning the people of Bradford and neighborhood from eating any they might have in their possession, the accident would probably have been more serious in its effect. Most of the Lozenges were recovered.
Poor Morris of 17 Bloomsburg Sqr. died about six weeks ago. I shall be at all times glad to hear from you and hope that if you have anything of a Pharmeceutical interest you will not omit to acquaint me of it.
Wishing you every success in business.
Believe me Dear Birrell,
J. R. Thompson
|Extent of Description||Two 9"x7" sheets of blue/gray paper, hand-writing on both sides|