Reported 280 Years Ago (May 15 1739): Medicine for the stone is now on sale in Belfast

The front page of the Belfast News Letter of May 4 1739 (which is May 15 in the modern calendar)
The front page of the Belfast News Letter of May 4 1739 (which is May 15 in the modern calendar)
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From the Belfast News Letter of May 4 1739 (which is May 15 2019):


Just Publish’d, Price 6d. half-penny,

AN ACCOUNT OF THE Success of Mrs. Stevens’s MEDICINES

For the STONE; in the CASE of JAMES KIRKPATRICK, Doctor of Divinity, M.D.


I. His Case before he took the MEDICINES.

II. His DIARY, while he was using them.

III. Observations upon their Operation.

IV. Directions to such as intend to use them.

Belfast, Printed and sold by JAMES BLOW. And by the booksellers in Dublin, Corke, Londonderry, Limerick, Waterford and Newry. [Gallstones can be agony even today in the 21st century, with advanced pain relief. It is no surprise then that in the 1700s there was keen interest in any possible cure. Mrs Stevens’s cure was huge news across Britain, but also in Ireland, as this advertisement shows. Meanwhile, as the news report from London below shows, there was scepticism about the cure too]

LONDON. April 24

The dislike of the surgeons to the publication of Mrs. Steven’s medicine for the cure of the stone, causes a great deal of discourse in the coffee-houses about town; but the debates are generally, by the advocates for it, reduced to the following quick conclusion: If not serviceable to the publick, ‘twill be no prejudice to the gentlemen of the faculty: If of no prejudice to them, why are they so clamorous against it?

LONDON April 26

Yesterday the right Hon. Sir Robert Walpole was so much better, that he got out of bed, and sat up for several hours.

Yesterday the right hon. the earl of Anglesea set out with a great equipage, from his lordship’s house in Grosvenor-street, for Ireland.

Sunday being Easter-Day, the same was observed at court as a high festival, when the knights companions of the most noble order of the Garter, Thistle and Bath, appeared in the collars of their respective orders: at noon his majesty, his royal highness the duke and the princess Amelia, Caroline and Mary, preceded by the heralds and pursuivants at arms, and attended by several of the nobility, went to the chappel-royal and heard a sermon preached by the rev. dr. Gilbert, dean of Exeter sub-almoner to his majesty.

After diving service his majesty, the duke and the princesses received the holy communion from the hands of the right rev. dr. Edmund Gibson, lord bishop of London.

The same day their royal highnesses the prince and princess of Wales receiv’d the holy communion from the hands of the bishop of Oxford at St. James’s church. [The estranged king and Prince of Wales are again apart at a key point in the calendar]

Yesterday the workmen belonging to the new intended bridge at Westminster, were entertain’d at dinner on the first new Pier. [This was the first Thames crossing east of Putney in centuries]

On Monday last Sir Michael Newton’s horse won the contribution Purse of 1000 guineas at Newmarket. The race was over at three in the afternoon, and a groom belonging to lord Halifax arrived in town the same night at half an hour past nine with the news.

New-York, Feb. 5.

On Friday last a sloop arrived here from St. Christopher’s and Eustatia in 18 days.

The yellow fever continues at St. Christopher’s, and has swept away great numbers.

HUNGARY. Belgrade, April 8.

The contagious distempers which still reign’d in several places in this kingdom have almost ceas’d, so that we flatter ourselves to be rid of them in a very little time; but we hear that this distemper makes great havock in the enemy’s territories.

They write from the frontiers, that the Turks having sent from Widen to Orsova a great number of barks laden with all sorts of provisions and warlike stores, above half of them were lost by a sudden blast of wind.

Some days ago a labourer cleansing a ditch at Scarbright in the parish of Baddow, near Chelmsford in Essex, to his great surprize perceived money to fall upon his spaid from the side of the hedge, and on further inspection, found buried under a tree a quarter of a peck of half-crowns, shillings, and six-pences, of queen Mary’s, queen Elizabeth’s, and king Charles the first’s coins; since which the said place hath been visited by several curious persons who have found there many other pieces of antiquity.

‘Tis remarkable that the neighbouring people used to report that the said place was haunted.

Chamberry, April 6, O.S. On the 29th ult. a fire happened at Aix la Chappelle, which reduced the greatest part of that town, so much celebrated for its waters, to ashes.