Description

    [John Q. Adams]. Two Letters Regarding John Quincy Adams' Stroke and Eventual Death. Includes:

    Dr. Jacob Bigelow Autograph Letter Signed. Two pages of a bifolium, 8" x 9.75", Barlow, March 15, 1847. A letter to Dr. Thomas, summarizing his treatment of Quincy Adams after the latter had a stroke and was unable to walk (occurred in November 1846). In full:

    "The friends of President Adams request me to write to you the mode of treatment which has been pursued in the care of his late paralytic attack. Understanding that such a communication would be agreeable to you I now state that no very active treatment was presented to in his case. In consideration of his advanced age, he was not bled, leeched, nor blistered. A free cathauter [sic] was given, principally infusion of Senna, evaporating lotions were applied to the head, & warmth to the feet. A liquid farinaceous diet was adhered to until his appetite became decided, when a gradual recourse was had to animal food & bread. In a few weeks wine & ale to which he is accustomed, were cautiously allowed. The bowels were regulated by injections, and at times by infusion of Rhubarb & by compact extract of [illegible]. This, I think comprehends all the treatment of any infection. In the possible event of another attack, I should handle him gently, believing that nature & a good constitution, will be likely to do more for him, than the appliances of art".

    The second letter is one page of a bifolium, 8" x 9.75", Washington, February 21, 1848. The unknown author describes the events following Adams' fatal stroke, in full:

    "7:30PM - Dear Wife, I am now writing in the Room of the Speaker - he's on a cot bed entirely insensible, he breathes tolerably easy and may continue some time. His family are here. Mrs. Adams when she came in and saw him swooned but soon recovered. His physicians have been in constant attendance since he was first taken. I have agreed with my colleagues to stay until 10 o'clock when some of them will return and spend the night. It is a solemn scene but is not unexpected by me nor was it by him. He stated but a few days since that he did not expect to live to the end of the session but he may yet revive.
    8:30PM - Mr. Adams is a little more comfortable. I am now going home".

    Adams had suffered a stroke in 1846, and was partially paralyzed for a number of months. After rest and the above treatments, he made a full recovery. Less than two years later, on February 21, 1848 he had a fatal stroke on the House Floor after giving an impassioned speech. He was moved to the Speaker's Room (now converted to the Lindy Claiborne Boggs Congressional Women's Reading Room), where he was made comfortable. He lapsed into a coma that night, and passed away on February 23, 1848.

    Condition: Both letters have light toning, a bit darker around mail folds. The writing is clear and bold.


    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Archive - Letter/Photo (view shipping information)

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    October, 2017
    19th Thursday
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