SHORT, Thomas, M.D. Discourses on Tea, Sugar, Milk, Made-Wines, Spirits, Punch, Tobacco, &c., with plain and useful rules for Gouty People. London: Printed for T. Longman and A. Millar, 1750.
8vo., contemporary calf ruled in gilt to boards and spine; five raised bands; red speckled edges; pp. [iv], iii-vi, [iii], 2-424, [vi]; the boards rubbed to extremities, particularly so to the bands and spine edges; with a little loss and small worm hole to foot, and bottom left hand corner showing through to boards; internally generally clean, upper hinge just starting, with endpapers creased and lacking rear paste-down; a few finger marks; worm holes affecting the bottom corner of the final few pages (not text); a sound example.
First edition, with advertisements both to facing title page and final page as called for.
The 18th century was a progressive time for medical theory, and the virtues and vices of certain food and drink was often discussed and debated. Short was one of many of these theorists, and in this little volume provides his insights into the cultivation, preparation, history and benefits of tea as well as its disadvantages, which include tremors, shaking and tickling coughs. He goes on to discuss sugar, milk, and several different flavours of wine, including birch, gooseberry, orange and raspberry, before concentrating on punch, brandy, rum, cyder and other spirits, and tobacco. Finally, he considers both cold and tepid bathing in mineral water and springs, before ending with his directions for 'gouty people'. Remedies depend upon the type of gout, but range from Chamomile flowers, Lavender, Rhubarb, Nutmeg, Orange Peel, Cochineel, Cardamoms, the wrapping of limbs in flannels and, of course, Laudanum.
Thomas Short was an English physician, epidemiologist, and medical historian, best known for his extensive writing on population theory and the history of disease outbreaks affecting England. He was educated in medicine at Trinity College in Oxford before publishing, in 1728, works on the negative health effects of obesity. He wrote extensively on descriptions of sixteenth century influenza pandemics in Europe, their pathologies and recorded treatments, and his works were read by contemporaries such as Benjamin Franklin. He was 60 when Discourses on Tea was published, and in the same year New Observations, Natural, Moral, Civil, Political, and Medical, on City, Town, and Country Bills of Mortality appeared, his first publication where he focused his demographic interests, discussing how diseases affected and altered populations. This was the checkpoint in his literary career where he became known for his writings on population theory.