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The Gentleman’s Farriery : or, A Practical Treatise on the Diseases of Horses : Wherein the Best Writers on that Subject Have Been Consulted…, by J. Bartlet

Book #71: The Gentleman’s farriery : or, A Practical treatise on the diseases of horses : wherein the best writers on that subject have been consulted…, by J. Bartlet (1767).

John Bartlet, alongside other writers in the Cherry Collection such as Henry Bracken, was a popular farriery writer in the 18th century. The Gentleman’s Farriery alongside his other works such as Pharmacopoeia Bartleiana went through several editions.

The following piece was written by University of Guelph experiential learning student Devon Sherwood about The Gentleman’s Farriery:

“John Bartlet, unlike contemporaries such as William Taplin, insists on the rejection of farriery. Instead, he believes that each man should possess his own knowledge of the treatment of “maladies of horses and men” through experimentation and the “dissection of morbid bodies.”[1] In his slightly later publication, The Gentleman’s Farriery (1770), he discusses the current focus on rationality in medical treatment. Bartlet focuses on the reasoning behind dosage, and the harmful effects of some medications.[2]

Instead of focusing on the treatment of symptoms, the author considers preventative measures, such as diet and housing, as well as “general” purges and diuretics, used to flush the body and dilute the blood.[3] Bartlet does note, however, that “no evacuating medicine has a power of felecting [sic], or feparating [sic] the bad from the good.”[4]

Most significantly, Bartlet discusses the theory of humours, and notes that it has been misunderstood and misapplied in medical texts.[5] In his opinion, humours are found naturally in the body, and in illness become unbalanced, causing symptoms such as swelling.[6] Therefore, they are indeed connected to disease. Other theories relating to war wounds are also considered, such as the belief that the fire from gunshots and gunpowder remained in the skin, and must be treated as such.[7] Instead, Bartlet assures the reader that “The fire, fuppofed [sic] to be left in the part after injuries of this kind, is nothing more than the inflammation,” and that “the whimfical [sic] notions and conceits concerning fire remaining in the burnt parr [sic], is extremely abfurd [sic].”

[1] J. Bartlet, The Gentleman’s Farriery: or, a Practical Treatise on the Diseases of Horses, 7th ed. (London: J. Nourse, 1770), iv, xii.

[2] Bartlet, The Gentleman’s Farriery, xiv, 1.

[3] Bartlet, The Gentleman’s Farriery, 36, 39.

[4] Bartlet, The Gentleman’s Farriery, 198.

[5] Bartlet, Pharmacopoeia, 213.

[6] Bartlet, Pharmacopoeia, 213.

[7] Bartlet, Pharmacopoeia, 251-2.

Unfortunately, a 1767 version of this work has yet to be digitized. Explore a 1754 full-text version of this book here.