Important acquisitions

Institutes of health.

Author Roberton, John.
Title Institutes of health.
Imprint [London]. Printed for J. J. Stockdale.
Date of Publication 1817
Language English
Notes The Scottish physician John Roberton (1776-1840) was a radical and controversial figure in the medical profession. The true extent of his medical qualifications remains in doubt. He started off as a general practitioner in Edinburgh who specialised in sexually transmitted diseases. In 1809 his first major work, advocating the founding of a medical police force, "A treatise on the medical police, and on diet, regimen, &c." was published in Edinburgh. In the same year he was expelled from the Royal Medical Society for disgraceful conduct and moved to London in 1810, where he published his most famous and controversial work on reproductive system "On diseases of the generative system" the following year. Owing to his reputation and the somewhat sensational nature of the work along with its explicit illustrations, Roberton had some difficulty in finding a publisher for the work, eventually turning to John Joseph Stockdale, who himself had something of a reputation for publishing risqué material. Stockdale guaranteed the salacious reputation of the work when over the next few years he published further editions (sometimes under the pseudonym of Thomas Little), himself interpolating still more sensational illustrations, with a fourth edition appearing in the year of the present work. Having ostracised himself from the Edinburgh medical fraternity and fallen foul of most of polite society, Roberton's published work was aimed at the general public who were not put off by poor reviews. "Institutes of health" was written with the same readership in mind and published by Stockdale, but has absolutely no salacious content. The author stresses his belief that the medical writer should be of service to the wider community and notes that the work has been divested of 'professional obscurities and unnecessary technical terms' in an effort to make it more accessible. Divided into seven chapters, Roberton warns against the dangers of excess in all areas of life, with sections on the perils of excessive drinking and eating, including a section on dangers of indulging in draught London porter and ale prepared for pot-houses (pubs) which Roberton suspects is adulterated with "other deleterious substances". He concludes with a section on the use of mercury for the treatment of liver complaints.
Shelfmark AB.3.210.50
Reference Sources Bookseller's notes. Wikipedia.
Acquired on 08/10/10
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