Moffet.   Thomas     - The very rare second edition.
Health's Improvement:
OR, RULES Comprizing and Discovering the Nature, Method and Manner Of PREPARING all sorts of FOODS Used in this Nation. Written by that ever famous THOMAS MOFFET, Doctor in Physick. Corrected and Enlarged by Christopher Bennet, Doctor in Physick, and Fellow of the College of Physicians in London. To which is now prefix'd A short View of the Author's Life and Writings, by Mr. Oldys. AND An Introduction, by R.James, M.D. LONDON: Printed for T.Osborne in Gray's-Inn MDCCXLVI.
12mo. 1fep. Title page. On verso Imprimatur. 2p Epistle. 2p The Table. (1)viii-xxxii The writings of Dr Moffet. (1)2-66 Introduction. (1)68-398. 1fep. Full contemporary dark brown calf with nice patina. Sometime sympathetically relaid spine in dark calf with blind tooled lines and dark red label with faded gilt lettering. Slightly age browned throughout but overall a very nice copy of the second edition of 1746.
- Very unusually, this second edition is printed ninety one years after the first edition of 1655. Thomas Moffet, (born 1553, died 5 June 1604), was an English naturalist and physician. He is best known for his Puritan beliefs, his study of insects in regards to medicine (particularly spiders), his support of the Paracelsian system of medicine, and his emphasis on the importance of experience over reputation in the field of medicine. Muffet was born to Thomas Moffet in Shoreditch, London. From the ages 8 to 16 years, he attended the Merchant Taylors' School. The following year, in May 1569, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, however he only stayed there for two and a half years. In October of 1572, he transferred to Gonville Hall. He continued his education there until his graduation the following year, in 1573, when he received his Bachelor Degree. Afterward, Muffet studied medicine with Thomas Lorkin and John Caius. Three years later, he began his Master's program at Trinity College, at which point he was expelled from Gonville Hall. In Spring 1578 Muffet boarded with Felix Platter, chief physician of Basel, where he adopted the Paracelsian system of Medicine. In 1579, he was awarded his MD from Basel with a censored version of his thesis, entitled 'De Amodinis Medicamentis' (1578). The year after receiving his MD, in 1580, Muffet studied silkworm anatomy in Italy before finally returning to England. That December, he married his first wife, Jane, in St. Mary Colechurch, London. Two years later, he was recognized as a qualified physician by the College of Physicians in London. This was not expected, as Muffet was a strong advocate for the Paracelsian system of medicine, which was not widely respected by the medical community. Two years later, in 1584, Muffet finished his 'De jure et praestantia chemicorum medicamentorum'. This document is said to have anticipated Bacon's emphasis on the advancement of learning. That same year, Muffet wrote a letter attacking the London College of Physicians for Papist influences seen through the lens of his own Puritan beliefs. The following year, however, he was admitted to the College of Physicians, becoming a fellow in February 1588. Later that same year he published his 'Nosomantica Hippocratea' advocating support for the work and writings of Hippocrates. Nine years later in October 1597, Muffet was elected as a member of Parliament for Wilton. Three years later in 1600, Muffet's wife, Jane, died. He married Catherine Brown that same year. Four years later on June 5, 1604, Thomas Muffet died at the Bulbridge Farm, in Wilton, Wiltshire. His work on nutrition was collected in print in his book 'Health's Improvement' which was designed more for the layman than for contemporary medical professionals. It is the first work with a list of British wildfowl, recognizing for the first time the migratory habits of many of them. First published in 1655 even later than Moffet's 'Theatrum Insectorum'. Robert Lovell's 'Panzoologia' is supposedly indebted to Muffet's descriptions of birds from 'Health's Improvement' and of insects from 'Theatrum Insectorum'. This is somewhat highlighted in the first recipe on page 245; Moffet describes being shown a dead flying fish from the West-Indies by Sir Francis Drake. Drake describes their taste as good and tender similar to herrings. Further in page 245, Lobsters are described as Marine Locusts. An unusual and interesting book of the time about all kinds of animals, fish and foodstuffs.

click on image to enlarge
Information

Antiquarian category
ref number: 11162