Monday, December 12

From the Medical Journal 4

John Downie, aged 26,
Marine; headache

Taken ill 15 Nov’r at Cove,
discharged to duty 25 Nov’r.

This is a coltish drunken fellow of such a ghastly wretched appearance in general that it is a difficult matter to ascertain at anytime whether he is in health or otherwise especially if it is convenient for him to affect indisposition - which is very often the case. He has been bred a butcher and from the facilities of his early years he has acquired habits that are in some degree rare - he can imitate with the greatest possible exactness the howling of a pack of hounds, the crowing of a cock, the bellowing of a bull, cow or calf and a number of other animals. On account of these curious qualifications he is often solicited by his shipmates to give a specimen of his talents and a glass of grog is of course the reward. I presume he has been drunk in consequence of something of this kind and has affected sickness to avoid punishment. He says his head aches

I have given him an emetic and will stop his grog till he is better.

 Originally Recorded by: Mr. Thomas Simpson, Surgeon, HMS Arethusa, 1805

Thursday, December 1

From the Surgeon's Personal Log 7

It has been miserable and cold for some weeks now, with fat, heavy snowflakes falling several days this week. I have begun to notice the sniffles and coughs among the men that accompany said weather.

Yesterday, while the Midshipmen were about their lessons on deck, I took note that not a one wore their scarves or gloves even though I could very clearly see their breath in the frigid air. I stopped and scolded them every one saying, "Gentlemen, it is too cold to be on deck without the proper cloathes. I demand that you go below and wrap up proper."

The Lieutenant giving the lesson agreed and sent them all down immediately to get more properly attired.

We have been in and out of Halifax and the North American Station for quite a while now, and so I have taken up my copy of Turnbull's 'Naval Surgeon' in an effort to keep up the health of the men in this part of the world. While Turnbull does not specifically cover the maintaining of the men's health in the North American Station, he does have some suggestions on the High Northern Latitudes which at this time of year, do bear some similarities. Given the cold and wet of this current latitude, and Turnbull's suggestions, I shall make the following recommendations to Capt Freymann:

  • That all men's clothing should consist of the warmest flannel covering as can be procured, especially whilst on deck. Each man should wear a proper scarf, gloves and shoes which has them.
  • That there be a weekly increase in the amount of meat in the diet of the men as stores can afford
  • That an increase in the amount of spirituous liquor should be allowed, with doses of citric acid properly mixed in with the allowance to prevent Scurvy.