Sir John Floyer

Floyer, Sir John, “Advice to a Young Physician”, introduced and edited by Denis gibbs and Philip K. Wilson (York: William Sessions Limited, 2007)

We now drink too much of fermented liquor, eat too much flesh and sal meats, unwholesome diet, corrupt waters and smutted coarn, which has a putrid smell. They now cause some epidemical diseases. And all our plants are too crude in cold wet summers. Some diseases are consequents and punishments of unlawful pleasures, as the pox; or of luxury, as ill digestion, rheumatism, gout, stone, and dropsy. These are the common effects of passions: hysteric and hypochondriac cases and madness. 35

Though some physicians may value themselves for poetry, languages, travels, cuyriosities in anatomy, and botany, and chymistry or philosophy, all wise men will think these nice studies impertinent to the cure of diseases for which end they ask the physician’s advice. 52

We ought not to use blisters, cupping, bleeding [or] vomits upon all occasions as some do, but to try the gentler methods of diet, exercise, [or] hot or cold baths by which the old physicians cured all their diseases and prevented them; and when they cannot cure, to try the greater remedies, vomits, strong purges [and] salivations; and, at last, to come to issues, blisters, cuppings, punctures, incisions and cauteries. 61

The physician ought not to undertake incurable diseases: cancers, old dropsies, leprosy, the stone in the bladder, epilepsies after age. 62