Clutterbuck's Lectures on the Practice of Physic and the Materia Medica

  • Reference
      GB 133 MMM/23/1/21
  • Dates of Creation
      n.d. [ca. 1807-1856]
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 volume, 138 folios Front board is loose

Scope and Content

The manuscript contains notes from two separate courses of lectures given by Henry Clutterbuck (1770-1856); the first are on the practice of physic and cover ff.1-93, and the second are on the materia medica and cover ff.97-136.

Up to and including lecture 25 the practice of physic lectures are clearly marked and numbered, after this point there are only occasional attempts to mark the beginning of a new lecture. The contents are as follows: (0) Introductory lecture, (1) identification of and causes of disease, (2) disparity between symptoms and findings on dissection, and disease caused by disordered action, (3) varieties of disease, (4) of the pulse, (5) morbid state of the pulse, (6) pulse continued, (7) veins & absorption, (8) inflammation, (9) effects of inflammation, (10) of the general disorder occasioned by inflammation termed by Dr Cullen pyrexia [fever], (11-15) theory of inflammation, (16) treatment of inflammation including regimen, abstinence, and blood-letting, (17) blood-letting, counter irritation, purging, and cold, (18) counter irritation and narcotics, (19) treatment of specific inflammation, (20) theory of dropsy [oedema], (21) treatment of dropsy, (22) diseases of the nervous system, (23-24) physiology and diseases on the brain cont., (25) differing nature of the brain to other organs, inflammatory fever, malignant or putrid fever, and low nervous fever. The subjects covered in the rest of the lectures, in order, are as follows: of specific fevers-intermittents and remittents, detection of disease in early stages, of chronic affections of the brain - apoplexy [stroke], of paralysis, of epilepsy, of hysteria, of chorea, of tetanus, of mania, and books recommended by Clutterbuck, on diseases of the circulatory organs, diseased state of the heart, chronic carditis, blood vessels, diseases of veins, of diseases of the organs of respiration, the lungs, diseases of the air passages, catarrh, obstruction of air, of pleuritis [pleurisy], of pneumonia, of phthisis [tuberculosis, pulmonary], diseases of those organs whose office it is to supply the body with nutrients, odontalgia, tic douloureux [trigeminal neuralgia], diseases of the tongue, diseases of the salivary glands, diseases of the fauces, of the oesophagus, of the stomach, cholera morbus, of dysentery, of gastritis, of dyspepsia, of enteritis, colic, of worms, of haemorrhoids, of diseases of the liver, of calculi in the biliary ducts, of jaundice, and of the spleen.

The notes of lectures on the materia medica are clearly numbered throughout, with 10 in total. There contents are as follows: (1) introductory lecture, (2) operation and classification of medicines, (3-5) stimulants, (6) sedatives, (7) sedatives cont. and narcotics, (8) narcotics cont. and evacuants, (9) evacuants cont. and cathartics, (10) cathartics cont., diuretics, diaphoretics, and emmenagogues.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Clutterbuck was born in Cornwall on 28 January 1767 and began his medical education as an apprentice to Truro-based surgeon James Kempe. In 1788 he became a student at the United Hospitals of Guy's and St Thomas's where he studied under the likes of George Fordyce, William Saunders, and Henry Cline senior. On 7 August 1790 he passed the exam to enter the Corporation of Surgeons and established himself in general practice in Walbrook, City of London. Between 1794 and 1806 Clutterbuck published the Medical and Surgical Review.

In 1802 Clutterbuck decided upon pursuing a different line of medicine and set about to qualify as a physician. He went to Edinburgh first before transferring to Glasgow where he graduated with an MD on 16 April 1804. Later that year he returned to London, settled in private practice again, and took the exam to be admitted as a licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians on 1 October 1804. First, however, he had to pay to disenfranchise himself from the Corporation of Surgeons.

The year 1809 saw Clutterbuck elected as physician to the General Dispensary in Aldersgate Street at which point he then began lecturing in the theory and practice of medicine and the materia medica. In 1826 he transferred his lectures to the newly founded Aldersgate school of medicine, and a number of his lectures were subsequently published. Clutterbuck also attended a number of other dispensaries in addition to the Peckham Lunatic Asylum. He was long term member of the Medical Society of London where he served at times as librarian and council member as well as president on three different occasions. He did however lead a group in 1809 that protested against the presidency of the Medical Society of London being perpetual and made other points of principle by resigning from the Aldersgate dispensary when governor tried to remove voting privileges from physicians and also declined a fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians on the basis that many worthy individuals had not been elected.

Clutterbuck was run over in the street on 8 March 1856 after leaving a meeting of the Medical Society of London and died some weeks later at his home on 24 April 1856.


G.C. Boase, 'Clutterbuck, Henry (1767-1856)', rev. J.M.T. Ford, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 1 July 2016]. 'Biographical Sketch of Henry Clutterbuck, M.D.', The Lancet, 1850, 56(1407), pp.212-5.