The following Account of the Matlock Water is extracted
from Pilkington's View of Derbyshire.
" ACCORDING to Dr. Percival, Matlock
water is grateful to the palate, and of an agreeable warmth, but exhibits
no marks of any mineral spirit, either by its taste, sparkling appearance
in the glass, or with syrup of violets. It is very slightly impregnated
with selenite or other earthly salts, and of this its comparative
levity affords also a further proof. It weighs on\y four grains in
a pint heavier than distilled water. The precipitation of a grey powder,
by adding a solution of silver in aqua fortis to the water, renders
it probable that a small portion of sea salt is contained in it.
" Dr. Pearson says it has been reported to contain in a gallon
of water forty grains of sediment, which is called nitre, alkaline
earth, and sea salt. He observes himself, that it is impregnated
with rather more fixed air than Buxton water, and that a pint weighs
eight grains heavier than distilled water.
" I found that with syrup of violets the water at the spring
upon the hill was turned greenish ; and therefore
conclude, that it conclude that it contains a small quantity of
fossil alkali. Upon the addition of galls and Prussian lixivium
no change whatever was produced. That it contains calcarious earth
will not admit of a doubt. This is manifest from the copious precipitate
which takes place upon adding the fixed vegetable alkali, but more
especially from the large quantity of this substance which is deposited
in the kettles and other vessels, in which it is usually boiled.
On pouring vitriolic acid on a small portion of sediment, collected
in this manner, a very strong effervescence ensued.
" In respect to the temperature of the Matlock water, it is
found that Farenheit's thermometer rises in it to 69 degrees at
the spring, and 68 in the bath.
" Dr. Percival observes, that Bristol and Matlock waters appear
to resemble each other, both in their chemical and medicinal qualities
In hectic cases, hæmoptoes, the diabetes, and other disorders,
in which the circulation of the blood is quick and irregular, he
apprehends Matlock water on some accounts claims the preference to
that of Bristol. For as it is not sensibly impregnated with a mineral
spirit, it should seem less disposed to quicken the pulse, and may
therefore be drank in larger quantity.
" Since Dr Percival made his observations on the impregnation
and uses of Matlock water, Dr. Francis Armstrong, physician at Uppingham,
in the county of Rutland, has addressed the
public on the same subject. He says, I have taken great pains to
examine particularly into the properties of Matlock springs, and
may with truth assert, that they are of the same nature with the
Bristol water, equal in some cases, and preferable in many. Nor
do I think that the air of Matlock is in the least unfavourable
to consumptive patients, where the lungs are not injured in such
a manner, as to render a recovery very doubtful, either from the
use of medicine or water ; nor have I in my whole practice, had
the least complaint of this inconvenience from any of my patients.
" I ordered a most amiable lady last year to drink the Matlock
waters, in a confirmed phthisis pulmonalis, and in such a situation,
that I must own I never expected to see her return. Being greatly
interested in her preservation, I gave her full directions how to
proceed. With much difficulty she reached the place. The company
in a very uncandid manner, cried out, " What a cruel physician,
to send the lady so far from home to die !" I saw the lady
but three days before she left home, otherwise she would have visited
Matlock much sooner. She strictly persevered in the rules laid down,
and in a fortnight was able to dine in public; in six weeks was perfectly
recovered, having got rid of her cough, and being greatly increased
in her muscular habit. I visited her on her return, and had I not
acquainted with her before, I should not have known her. She has
continued well ever since, and I hope will for many years, as a blessing
to her young family, and a comfort to the best of husbands.
" I hope I shall be excused reciting this case, it being
one, amongst many, in which I have experienced the good effects
of this water; and indeed patients, whom I have sent to Bristol,
and who have returned, benefited in some measure, have afterwards
been restored to a perfect and lasting state of health, from the
use of Matlock water.
" I have in the course of seven years, sent a great number
of patients to Matlock, and in cases where medicine had not the
least prospect of being serviceable ; all of whom have had perfect
and lasting cures ; and I may with truth declare, I have not failed
in one instance. However contrary to the opinion of some my practice
may be, I have, after repeated trials, found, that in many cases
much advantage has been gained by the administration of medicines
in conjunction with the course of water-drinking; being well-timed,
so as to act in an uniform manner, they had excellent effects,
the water being greatly assisted In its operations.
" I perfectly agree with Dr. Percival, that a larger quantity
of Matlock water may be drunk at a time, than of ally other mineral
water I am acquainted with, owing to the entire absence of any mineral
spirit; yet it is always adviseable to begin with small quantities.
From the want of mineral spirit it is less apt to throw the circulation
of the blood into irregularities, or quicken the pulse ; and therefore
it must have the preference to Bristol Water in phthisis pulmonalis,
fluor albus, &c. In all these, I have
experienced the most happy effects from it, as well as in hectic
and low fevers, in hysteric and hypocondriac affections, in a profluvium
or deficiency of the catamenia, in bilious disorders, in constitutions
debilitated by long and severe vernal and autumnal intermittents,
in disorders arising from long residence in hot climates, in broken
constitutions brought on by hard and habitual drinking, and in weak
and depraved appetites.
" The value of this communication would have been much increased,
if Dr Armstrong had favoured the public with his general treatment
of the patients, who have been fortunately under his care. He appears
to lay considerable stress " upon the use of medicines in conjunction
with the course of water drinking. Perhaps the hint which he has
suggested, may be sufficient for the use of gentlemen of his own
Various theories on the cause of heat in the Matlock water, have
at different times come before the public; but none of them satisfactorily
account for the phenomenon, which induces me to omit them all.
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