Paris: Quillau, 1742. 8vo. [viii], xx, 298 pp. FIRST EDITION IN FRENCH. Without the engraved frontispiece. Woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces, and 2 folding tables. Contemporary mottled calf, worn, with gilt lettering and decoration on spine, which is very worn and chipped, marbled endpapers, hinges starting and very weak; interior good. Item #16545
First edition in French. This fine work on the history of medicine, originally published in 1732, is divided into five sections, starting from the Greeks (heavier on Hippocrates), to the Romans, and to Arab practitioners through the Restoration, and on to the present time (with an emphasis on English medicine, especially Sydenham and Harvey). The last section contains the author's plan for improving the work; perhaps the reason for the blanks bound into the book. Of interest is Clifton's comparison of ancient and modern medical practices, raising issues such as why the ancients used bathing and exercise so much more than the moderns. Among his many topics, Clifton relates the need for observation, and discusses materia medica, methods of cure, and inoculations. In addition, he here states that Hippocrates had anticipated Newton in his idea of the system of gravitation.
Clifton (d. 1736) received degrees from Oxford, Leiden and Cambridge. He was a successful physician who practiced in London, physician to the Prince of Wales, and a Fellow of the College of Physicians and the Royal Society. He wrote on physiology and medical history, including translating Hippocrates into English. He ultimately left London for Jamaica where he lived until his death.