SIXTEEN years have now elapsed since the first edition of this Book made its appearance. During this period the Author having been in constant practice, has taken occasion to improve several articles, which were with less accuracy inserted in the more early impressions. For this he has been censured by some, but the more candid and discerning must approve his conduct. It would be unpardonable in an Author to suffer an error in a book, on which health and life may depend, to stand uncorrected; nor would it be much less so to perceive an omission, and leave it unsupplied. His improvements, however, are not the result of mercenary views. The same principle which prompted the Author to write the Book, will ever induce him to improve it to the utmost of his power.
THE Author has indeed to regret, that the limits of one volume preclude many interesting observations, and likewise deprive him of the pleasure of inserting a number of very useful remarks made by his learned and ingenious friend Doctor Du PLANIL, of Paris, who has done him the honour of publishing an elegant translation of this Work, in five volumes octavo, accompanied with an excellent commentary.
THE improvements of the later editions are chiefly inserted in the form of notes. These are intended either to illustrate the text, or to put people on their guard in dangerous situations, and prevent fatal mistakes in the practice of medicine, which, it is to be regretted, are but too common in this metropolis.
SOME attention has likewise been paid to the language. Where that was either inaccurate, or obscure, as far as was practicable, it has been corrected. Indeed, the Author has all along endeavoreded to observe such simplicity and perspicuity in his style; as might enable the reader clearly to understand it. A circumstance of the utmost importance in a performance of this nature.
ALTHOUGH the DOMESTIC MEDICINE was never intended to supercede the use of a physician, but to supply his place in situations where medical assistance could not easily be obtained; yet the Author is sorry to observe, that the jealousies and fears of the Faculty have prompted many of them to treat this Work in a manner altogether unbecoming the professors of a liberal science: notwithstanding their injurious treatment, he is determined to persist in his plan, being fully convinced of its utility; nor shall interest, or prejudice, ever deter him from exerting his best endeavours to render the Medical art more extensively beneficial to MANKIND.
BUT this illiberal treatment of the Faculty is not the only thing of which the Author has cause to complain. By some of them his Book has been served up mangled and mutilated, and its title, type, size, &c. so closely imitated, that purchasers are misled, and frequently buy these spurious productions instead of the real one. That a needy Author, incapable himself of producing an original work, should prey upon another, and that a mercenary bookseller should vend such productions, knowing them to be stolen, are things not at all to be wondered at: but that all this can be done with impunity, shews that the laws of this country respecting literary property, are still in a very imperfect state, and stand much in need of amendment.
LONDON, Nov. 10, 1785.