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PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
THE distinguished favor with which this book was received by the public, and especially by the Harrogate Visitors, is in itself sufficient proof how much such a work was wanted.
The treatises already in existence were either obsolete in date, or so technical in their composition, as to be almost useless to the general reader; and what the invalid visitor required was an intelligible treatise on the various waters and their uses, which might enable a person of common education and plain understanding to form a tolerably accurate idea of their nature and effects. This was not to be had until the publication of the "Medical Guide."
Since its appearance, however, two other essays upon the Mineral Waters of Harrogate have been published -the one in language professed to be popular; the other avowedly addressed to the profession, and appropriately clothed in all the dignified mystery of technical
composition. Upon the merits of these productions, the profession and the public to which they are severally addressed must decide; but I must claim for myself the credit of having been the first medical practitioner, who supplied the Visitors of Harrogate with any popular information upon the qualities of the waters, the mode of using them, and the diseases in which they are beneficial.
Not only was a work of this kind required for the accommodation of the Visitors, but also by the interests of the place itself. The most extraordinary ignorance prevails with a large portion of our countrymen respecting Harrogate. To give one out of many instances of this, which have fallen in my own way, I present the reader with an extract from a tale in the New Monthly Magazine for September, 1842, page 190, entitled "The Five Incumbents." It runs thus: "Dr. knowing that unless he was stimulated to exertion he would wear away his life, in despite of a strong constitution, in this monotonous imbecility, recommended change of scene and air. Instead of allowing his mother to convey him to the warm and relaxing air of Devonshire, he insisted on her seeking the cool and bracing air of the Northern Coast. By easy stages they reached Harrogate, and before they had been there many weeks a decided improvement in the invalid was manifest.
"He sought the companionship (of whom think you?) of the Fishermen! and after awhile hired a little vessel
in which he spent his days in sailing about and fishing (not in Mr. Gordon's Lake) but off the Coast!!"
So here we have Harrogate, being a good half hundred of miles distant from the ocean, represented as a seaport or fishing village-and that not in an obscure publication, but in one of the first provincial periodicals of the day, in an article written by Hewlett, edited by Thomas Hood, and published by Colburn.
If men whose business is literature, and whose daily employment is reading, evince such ignorance of the locality and advantages of Harrogate, what must be the case with the generality of the people in London and the larger towns of Great Britain? How important, therefore, to the interests of the public as well of the place is it, that correct popular information upon these subjects should be extensively diffused. I am quite convinced that Harrogate wants nothing but this, and the lapse of a few years to become a magnificent town-in short "THE GREAT WATERING-PLACE OF GREAT BRITAIN." Its natural advantages-the purity of its atmosphere-the number and variety of its waters adapted to almost all chronic complaints-its central situation -the delightful scenery of the neighbourhood-the increased and increasing facility of travelling-the enterprising spirit of its inhabitants-and above all the circulation of books calculated to bring these before the public-all tend to this one consummation. This I hope I shall live to see, and to enjoy the proud thought,
that I have contributed, however little, to its accomplishment.
The hurry in which the last edition of the "Medical Guide" was brought out, necessarily left it with many inaccuracies both of the pen and the press. These have been carefully revised in the present. I have met with nothing in my practice or my reading materially to alter or modify any of the opinions expressed in the last edition; but the reader will find additional matter in this, and some alteration in the arrangement of the work.
The vapour and fume baths, and their application in various diseases have been noticed, and the supplementary remarks on diet and exercise, which were before necessarily very brief from the limited space at my command, have been extended and rendered more complete. It is my wish to shew my gratitude for the very favorable reception this little work has met with, by making it more worthy of public approbation.
North-street, Ripon, April, 1847.