EDWARDS, Edward.


EDWARDS, Edward. The Cure of All Sorts of Fevers.

London, Printed by Thomas Harper, 1638.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. [8], 53, [3]. Roman letter, diagrammatic layout. Decorated initials and ornaments. Very light browning. A good copy in half calf over marbled boards, spine gilt, Fox Pointe bookplate to front pastedown, early ms ‘4’ to outer margin of title, faint early pen trials to E3.

First edition of this handy compendium in English of the causes and treatments of all kinds of fever. Nothing appears to be known of the (Welsh?) physician Edward Edwards, with a final ‘imprimatur’ from the Bishop of London after the text was examined and approved by the physician Alexander Read. This manual begins with a preface warning the reader against ‘impostors’, and ‘petticoat’ physicians and surgeons who are ‘gossips’ ‘who being frequent among sick folks, and hearing the advice and counsel of the learned and expert physician prescribing many fit things to his patient', prescribe similar remedies to patients, for money, without adjusting the remedy to the individual or the illness. The five parts discuss the nature and number of fevers, the inflammation of the spirits caused by fevers (without putrefaction), the ‘fever putrida’, and the ‘fever hectick’ (caused by unnatural heat). The whole work is presented as a series of charts illustrating the taxonomy of fevers, from general to specific, e.g., tertian, synochus putrida, ‘fever causon’ (‘the hottest burning fever continua’), epiola, lyparia, etc. Each chart provides a definition, taxonomy, the causes, signs, prognostic and cure. Several of the fevers mentioned seldom appear in manuals of general pathology, and if they do, not in such detail. Edwards highlights the fevers that were most dangerous and often led to death, making his charts interesting evidence for our knowledge of mortality causes in C17 England. The section on ‘fever pestilence’ lists as causes ‘God’s hand to punish sin’, ‘venomous ayre’ and ‘corrupt air/bad humours’, the prognostic being ‘death for the most part’, except in very few cases, and the cure being ‘submit thee to God, acknowledge your sins with hearty repentance’, as well as ‘order, diet and physical exercise’. A fascinating work, unusually structured and detailed.

ESTC S100248; STC 7512; Krivatsy 3601; Not in Wellcome, Osler or Heirs of Hippocrates.
Stock Number: L4317 Categories: ,