Boston: Printed for the Author, by E. G. House, 1822. First edition, one of three issues printed from the same standing type. 12mo, original calf, red leather label, gilt lettering, [1-4], -182 pages. Frontis portrait. A little worn; some light foxing, with a little heavier foxing to the frontispiece; small tear from the blank lower corner of one leaf; a very good copy. Item #18993
“The Narrative was published seventeen years after Thomson’s decision to abandon farming in order to take his system of healing to the people. It thus represents Thomsonian doctrine in its maturity, and was doubtless intended by the author to be one of the mechanisms by which he might safeguard his system from the depredations of competitors and imposters” (Atwater). The first substantial work (preceded by pamphlets) of the reforming botanic doctor Thomson (1769-1843), which in its numerous editions over the next decade or so was sold as a sort of licensed system of botanic treatment; as noted in the ANB, “Although Thomson’s system proved to be no more beneficial than heroic medicine, its acceptance by a significant portion of the general public caused many physicians to rethink the advisability of relying to such a great degree on bloodletting and calomel, methods that did far more harm than good. Thomson’s greatest contribution to the advance of American medicine was the role he played in helping to rid the medical profession of these deleterious practices.” Atwater notes three issues of this 1822 first edition: one with 180 pages, another with 182 pages (as here, with additional leaf of testimonials), and a 204-page issue with the addition of the introduction of the New Guide (as noted on the title page), which per the preliminary advertisement here, “will be completed in the course of two months, and those who have purchased rights, or may purchase them, can have this and the narrative bound together, or separate, as they may choose; or if they purchase the narrative now, will be supplied with the book of practice when completed.” Atwater 3485 (this issue).