"Survey return from Angus Macintyre"
Angus Macintyre was a church minister in Kinlochspelvie.
Kinlochewe (also known as Kinlochspelvie) was a quoad sacra parish in Torasay (also known as Torosay) parish on the Isle of Mull in the historic County of Argyle. In 1871, the population was 388. For information on main industries, see the entry for Torasay.
1. How many Medical Men practice within the Parish of Kinlochspelvie?
There is no resident Medical man – the Medical man of Salen (25 miles off) comes sometimes but very seldom to see a few paupers – and when he is sent for by others – very often it is impossible for him to leave other patients. - He has to be sent for sometimes to places 12 & 15 miles beyond his residence.
2. The Names and Addresses of these.
The name of the medical man above alluded to is Mr. Duncan McColl Salen by Aross – a most skilful [1 word illegible] practitioner.
3. Has the number increased or diminished of late years?
Diminished – I never knew of a Medical man being resident in the Parish but once – But I remember that a few years ago there were several medical men in the immediate neighbourhood – now there is none.
4. Have any left the Parish since you became connected with it? If so, for what reasons?
One left it five years ago after being resident here for about two years. – He was unsuccessful in farming – but I am sure he would not have left the place if he could live in it by his profession
5. Is there any complaint among the people of inadequacy in the supply of Medical aid?
There are many complaints –
6. Do you know of any cases of protracted suffering, or of injury by Accident, such as might have been alleviated had proper advice been at hand?
I do of many; and I know that Dr. McLean has often while resident here, been the means of saving many lives
7. To what extent is the deficiency of qualified Practitioners made up by the efforts of other parties?
There are two men in the place who can bleed2 – but they have very bad lancets.
They have often done much good, and I do not [hear] of a case in which bleeding was resorted to which a medical man did not approve of bleeding.-
I supply the poor with medicines from my own chest, and as the “vis medicatrix naturae”3 is remarkably strong in the people I have seen very wonderful recoveries. My own advice is often asked but when a medical man is at hand I never interfere.4
8. Does your experience enable you to suggest any measure – of general applicability – such as would be likely to relieve to some extent the evils (if they exist) of deficiency in the supply of Medical aid?
I often thought that if a medicine chest such as I have seen in sea-going ships were placed under the charge of the minister with a book of Direction such as I have seen along with these chests much sickness might be prevented and cured. I have known much severe sickness arising from the want of a dose of medicine
9. What Heritors5 are resident, either generally or occasionally, in your Parish?
There is none at present – the proprietor of this place is in in India
I may remark that the population with the exception of two or three families are of the very poorest description -. a medical man has very little encouragement to visit the place.
Minister of Kinlochspelvie
Manse of Kinlochspelvie by Oban6
8th April 1851
The printed letter to which was subjoined the accompanying Queries arrived in my absence and at a time when there was affliction in my family. Consequently the letter was mislaid and it was only the other day I laid my hands upon it.
I am exceedingly sorry that so important a letter should have so long remained unanswered but I have no doubt that the circumstances I have mentioned but will be considered an ample apology.
I shall be happy at any time to answer any Queries that the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh may propose upon the subject of their letter, and if they would give a supply of the common medicines I have no doubt that in the absence of a medical man the much suffering might be prevented.
My own means have been considerably taxed in the way of giving medicine to my poor parishioners – and not only medicine but food for the nourishment of the sick.
With much Esteem
Yours very truly
1. The name has been covered by a piece of card used to repair damage to the manuscript.
2. Bleeding, or bloodletting, is the withdrawal of blood from a patient to prevent or cure illness and disease. This was a common medical practice in the 1800s, dating back to antiquity, and was often carried out by unlicensed healers as well as qualified physicians.
3. “Vis medicatrix naturae” (literally "the healing power of nature", and also known as natura medica) is the Latin rendering of a Greek phrase attributed to Hippocrates.
4. Written in the printed query box.
5. A heritor was a landowner, under Scots Law, whose holdings were sizeable enough for them to be liable for the payment of public burdens such as Poor Law rates, road and bridge assessments and the church minister’s stipend.
6. Written on a separate sheet of paper.