The surgeons mate or Military & domestique surgery. Discouering faithfully & plainly ye method and order of ye surgeons chest, ye vses of the instruments, the vertues and operations of ye medicines, w[i]th ye exact cures of wounds made by gun-shott, and otherwise .. The cures of the scuruey…

London, printed by Rob: Young [J. Legate? and E. Purslowe], for Nicholas Bourne, and are to be sold at his shop at the south entrance of the Royall Exchange. 1639.

£10,500

FIRST EDITION thus. Folio. pp. [xl], 26, [viii], 27-98, 141-275, [xiii], 301-412, [xii]. (-)1, A⁶ + (-)2, B⁶, (B5+[pi]1), C-F⁴, G⁸, H-O⁴, P⁶, 2A-2R⁴, [par.]⁶, 3A-3O⁴ 3P-3R². 5 leaves of plates (2 folded). Roman letter, some Italic and Gothic. Engraved title, bordered with portraits of famous doctors, the authors portrait below, 4 engraved plates of surgical instruments, one folding letterpress table, woodcut of Mercury on Ll3 recto, full page engraved frontispiece portrait of Charles I on horseback, woodcut alchemical symbols in text, large floriated initials, woodcut headpieces, typographical ornaments, ”Viaticum,” “Of the plague”, and “A treatise of gangrena” with separate dated title pages, with imprint “printed by E.P. for Nicholas Bourne”, pagination and register continuous from “Viaticum”, this copy with an extra ‘Epistle Congratulatory’ to Sir Christopher Clitherow, Governour of the Company of Merchants of London, inserted in first quire, not mentioned in ESTC, but as copy in Kings College London. Early autographs, repeated, of Jonathan and Thomas Paddy on fly and at head of t-p. Light age yellowing, water staining to upper margin, with small tears, outer blank margin of engraved title torn to plate mark and restored, small tear in blank of frontispiece restored, light waterstaining in places, occasional thumb mark, stain or spot. A good, crisp copy with good margins in contemporary English calf, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, spine with blind ruled raised bands, head and tail chipped, joints worn, all edges red.

A good copy, unusually complete, of the second edition of ‘The surgeons mate’, the first edition to include all Woodall’s works. John Woodall (1570–1643), a contemporary of Harvey, was an English military surgeon in Lord Willoughby’s regiment in 1591 and later first surgeon-general to the East India Company in 1612, and surgeon to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital from 1616 to 1643. He was also a Paracelsian chemist, businessman, linguist and diplomat. This edition of the Surgeon’s Mate was made required reading for all naval surgeons in the Company. He made a fortune through the stocking of medical chests for the East India Company and later the armed forces of England. The Surgeon’s Mate was the standard text to advise ships surgeons on medical treatments at sea and contains an advanced view on the treatment of scurvy. The first edition was published in 1617. This 1 second edition has the addition of the ‘Viaticum, being the Pathway to the Surgeon’s Chest, intended Chiefly for the better curing of Wounds made by Gunshot; A Treatise… of that most fearefull and contagious Disease called the Plague and A Treatise of Gangrena… chiefly for the Amputation or Dismembering of any Member of the mortified part.’ Woodall provides an extensive inventory and description of the medicines and their uses, of the instruments that the chest of the Surgeon’s Mate should contain, and those that ‘one Barbours case…ought not be Wanting… if the Surgeon’s Mate cannot trimme men.’ He devotes pages 160-176 to ‘the scurvy called in Latine Scorbutum.’ His therapeutic section considers treatments for a variety of symptoms and complications for associated conditions. His preface includes in part the remarkable statement.“[W]e have in our owne country here many excellent remedies generally knowne, as namely, Scurvy-grasse, Horse-Reddish roots, Nasturtia Aquatica, Wormwood, Sorrell, and many other good meanes… to the cure of those which live at home…they also helpe some Sea-men returned from farre who by the only natural disposition of the fresh aire and amendment of diet, nature herselfe in effect doth the Cure without other helps.” At sea, he states that experience shows that “the Lemmons, Limes, Tamarinds, Oranges, and other choice of good helps in the Indies… do farre exceed any that can be carried tither from England.”. These observations anticipated modern knowledge of the properties of vitamin C in regard to scurvy, and of the unstable nature of this vitamin when stored. A good unsophisticated copy of this important and most interesting work, often incomplete.

ESTC S95910. STC 25963. Wellcome 6775; cf. Garrison and Morton 2144. Osler 4273.  Lowndes 2987.

L2161

Print This Item Print This Item