An Essay on Fevers (1757 edition)

An Essay on Fevers (1757 edition)

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Huxham, John.


This major study by John Huxham (1692–1768) presents some of the most important medical problems of the mid-eighteenth century. Initially published in a small edition in England in 1750, the book went through several editions incorporating small changes or additions, until 1782. The 1757 edition has been chosen for reprinting, since it is almost identical to the first edition of 1750, except for the addition of the "dissertation on the malignant, ulcerous sore-throat" which is a classic of medicine in itself.


An Essay on Fevers is listed in Leslie Morton's medical bibliography as being "Huxham's best work. He was well known in the west of England and wrote important monographs on diphtheria and on Devonshire colic." This statement does not take into account the fact that he was a fellow of the Royal Society of London, a winner of that society's Copley medal, and a fellow of the college of physicians of Edinburgh. His observations on diphtheria, "nervous fevers" (typhoid and typhus), scurvy, and intermittent fever (malaria), and his contribution to the treatment of malaria, command high respect, as Dr. Saul Jarcho has observed.


In his comprehensive new introduction to this reprint edition, Dr. Jarcho points out, "it is reasonable to surmise that the usefulness of Huxham's essay was due to the fact that over all the world and in almost all centuries fevers have been the commonest physical affliction of the human race." The study will be of interest to epidemiologists and to historians of medicine and public health.