Of the Gout/Preface
AM sensible of the boldness of the title-page and at first sight it will hardly be excused from the charge of great pressumption. The smallness too of the volume which promises so much, whereon an infinite number of tracts has been wrote, seems insufficient to any great discovery: and where authors hitherto scarce durst pretend to a remedy, without imputation of quackery. But so it is, that at length, if I am not mistaken, Providence has put into our hands a perfect cure for this dreadful hydra. And if we be wise and temperate; as often as its snaky head repullulates, so often shall we be able to cut it off with great safety. However, I am fully satisfied, that I have ground enough for this publication, and should think my self inexcusable, if I did not do it. Those that find benefit by this remedy, will, I hope, make suitable returns to God Almighty for it.
That the size of the book is little, is owing to the cure. For 'tis not much to purpose, to trouble the publick with copious theorys, long cases, and pompous nicetys upon a disease; if we can but cure it. I have indulg'd my self no further liberty in speculation, than might be useful to discover the nature of the distemper; whereby we may better treat ourselves in a fitt and out of a fitt, better know how to prevent or protract its returns, or moderate them when they come. I hope the world will not receive this work with less candor, because I don't give them a recipe of the remedy here recommended, which I do not know my self; and which in all right reason ought to be the property of the Inventor.
I saw no occasion to alter any thing in the letter which I published last year. Because there were but very few copies of it printed; as it is a necessary part of this discourse, I reprinted it, that they may be bound together. And if I should hereafter trouble the world upon this argument again, from longer experience, I hope it will not be without emolument. My sole purpose in the affair is to benefit mankind, if I am able. I have before now refus'd the honers and profits of the profession of physick, and don't seek them at this time. And reputation is a thing no farther useful than as it may give an authority to us, whereby we can better induce the world, to persue what is for their own good.