Saturday, December 24, 2011

Medical Essays and Observations, Vol. V, Part 1

Almost 300 years old.
"... Revised and Published by A Society in Edinburgh ... Printed by T.W. and T. Ruddimans ... M.DCC.XLII" (1742) is probably my favourite antique book.  That's right, it was published the same year that George Frederick Handel's Messiah was performed for the first time ever (in Dublin, no less), and Benjamin Franklin invented the Franklin Stove.  Originally "For Tony", it was given by him to my mother, and then by her to me on Christmas 1987.  The Preface: "A Society being formed in this Place for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge, in which all the Branches of Medicine are included; and the Members of our Society being adopted into this new one, the Design of publishing more Volumes of Medical Papers was dropt some Time ago.  It is now at the Desire of the Gentlemen of this new Society that we cause this fifth Volume to be printed, which is so much enlarged by the Papers which they generously furnished us from their Repository, that we are obliged to divide it into two Parts.  The first of these, containing the Register of the Weather, Account of epidemical Diseases, Papers on the Materia Medica, Chemie, Anatomy, Animal O Economy and Surgery, is now in your Hands, Hands thro' the Impatience of the Booksellers, who would not delay the Publication of this Part till the second, containing the Papers on the Theory and Practice of Medicine, the Improvements made elsewhere, List of Books published, and Nouvelles Literaires, was also printed, tho' it is ready for the Press."  And so on.  My favourite article?  "XXIX. Artificial Passages for natural Liquors, by Alexander Monro P.A. p.403".