HUXHAM, John. Observationes de Aëre et Morbis Epidemicis Ab Anno MDCCXXVIII. ad Finem Anni MDCCXXXVII. Plymuthi factae. His accedit Opusculum De Morbo Colico Damnoniensi [with] Volumen Alterum, ab Anni nimirum Initio MDCCXXXVIII ad Exitum usque MDCCXLVIII
Venice, Apud Laurentium Basilium, 1764.
FIRST VENETIAN EDITION. 8vo, 2 vols: I) ff. 4 (half title, frontispiece with a wind rose, title, dedicatory letter to Sir Hans Sloane and ecclesiastical license for printing), pp. xxx (prolegomena), 161 (text), 38 (opuscule on a case of colic disease spread among the Damnonian Britons, i.e. the indigenous of the Roman province of Damnonium, modern Devonshire and Cornwall, with capital Exeter – “Anno MDCCXXIV”), ff. 3 (index); II) pp. xx (title and preface), 208 (text and final index). Small vignette on title pages. Roman letter, some Italic, sporadic Greek, diagrams, Arabic numerals and astrological symbols. Very lightly age-yellowed, or slightly spotted, only on margins and some initial and final leaves. Generally very fresh and clean, printed on very thin paper with deckled edges, some gatherings still uncut. Bound in contemporary pasteboards. Left joint of first volume split. Gatherings stitched, two double sewing supports visible. Early ink title and library numbers (275, 276) to spines. An excellent copy.
John Huxham (1692–1768) was an English surgeon and doctor notable for his study of fevers. In 1750 he published on the topic, receiving the Copley Medal for his contribution, just a few years later. Huxham attended Exeter academy, the university of Leyden and then finished his M. D. in Rheims. He started a medical practice soon after in Plymouth. In 1723, James Jurin, one of the secretaries of the Royal Society, asked for volunteers to keep daily records of their observations of the weather including readings of the barometric pressure, temperature, rainfall, and direction and strength of the wind. Their observations were to be submitted annually to the secretaries of the society for collation and analysis. In 1724 Huxham began to keep such records and, from 1728 on until 1748, he noted monthly the prevalence of epidemic diseases. These records he published in these two volumes. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1739.