The Pharmacopeia Extemporanea
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Before I ventured out into the Practice of Physic, I made a vast Collection of Forms of Medicines out of Books, Physicians Bills, and Communications, and then compil'd a Manual out of all; not to transcribe Receipts out of, but to use for an Assistant to my Memory and Invention.
Accordingly, in the course of my Business after, I never kept precisely to any Composition; but still vary'd Prescripts as Indications requir'd: Saw and Tasted every thing I order'd; observ'd its Effects and Defects, and constantly amended all I dislik'd.
By this means my Forms perpetually altering and increasing, I ever now and then wrote them out again, and so new made my Book six or seven times over.
Now it chanced (which I never published before) that a certain young Gentleman, a Batchelor in Physic, having gotten one of these, and copy'd it out, carried it into Holland, and there dying, left it.
This unlucky Accident troubled me extremely, for I knew not into what Hands it might fall; and perhaps the Dutch might print it upon me rough as it was.
To prevent this, I went over it once more, and selected such a Body of pleasent, safe, effectual, regularly Compos'd, and easily procur'd Medicines, as might answer most Intentions of Cure, usually occuring in Practice. To which I subjoin'd Scholia of Virtues, Reason of Operation, Manner of giving, Doses, &c.
And so having made it a thorough new Work, and hoping it might prove of some service to Beginners, publish'd it in Latin. And as that edition sold off, put out a Second, a Third, and a Fourth; still amending and adding every time, and never meant it should come out in English
But such is the unfairness of the Age, that several Translations of it were abroad, in order to be printed without my knowledge. And at length, when there came forth an Advertisement in The Post-Man, September the 18th. 1708, that 'twas going to the Press in the company of some other Pharmacopaeia's on Michaelmas-day next, I had no remedy but to do it my self.
This Relation may stand (I think) for an allowable Apology to satisfy a reasonable Reader, why at first I publish'd my Pharmacopaeia? and why now in English? I was forced to it, and I meant a publick Good.
As to the Performance of this Edition, I have alter'd the places of the Medicines, to bring 'em into English Alphabetical Order; have added some new ones; and made (as I hope) considerable Improvements in the Scholia.
If any dislike my Language, and say I have fill'd it full of hard Words; I confess I have so, and that partly upon direct Design, that I might involve, and keep my self close from being searched and rifled by every illiterate Quack and busy Gossip.
And partly upon necessity; for Philosophy and Physic are not so naturalis'd yet, as to speak plain English, and therfore me must let 'em keep to their own Greek and Latin Terms, and many time Expressions too. And did we not so, we shou'd be not only ridiculously singular, but also less understood. And those those [sic] that are so mean, that they can't apprehend the Language I write, ought not to read it, nor dabble in Physic.
For they shou'd know, that 'tis not this, no, nor the best Collection of Receipts that ever was, will, or can be writ or printed, that can alone make a compleat Physician, any more than good Pencils and Colours alone can make a fine Painter.
And The Present State of England will inform them; That by the Law of England, if one who is no Physician or Surgeon, or not expresly allow'd to Practise, shall take upon him a Cure, and his Patient die under his Hands, This is Felony in the Person presuming so to do.
Pharmacopeia Extemporanea 1710