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February 2018 Book of the Month

This month’s book of the month is a delightful small tome from the British Library. First published in 1750, The Old Man’s Guide to Health & Longer Life is a lifestyle guide to living to a ripe old age, written at a time when passing your fiftieth birthday was considered an achievement.

Naturally, in 1750 health care had some more alarming advice which is published in the book, warning you to avoid vegetable and the pine-apple for example, but some genuinely good advice serves even for today. Below we explore three different pieces of advice from the book

  • Diet

John Hill advises that not one specific diet is suitable for all gentleman, thus he lays down general rules to pursue. A ‘lighter diet is more proper for aged persons than young’ thus one should avoid heavy meats such as beef and pork. Whereas lamb, veal, pig, chickens and tame rabbits are ‘very excellent food for old persons’. Hill goes on to advise us that ‘aged people’ should only eat one solid meal a day (at dinner) and moderation is the rule of health.

  • Pain management

Naturally the older gentlemen will feel pain but Hill helpfully provides us with the best course of action. Obviously, the first step is bleeding (we assume with leaches!) with abstinence from hot foods and this will usually provide the cure. If those leaches fail then within two days a vomit 'will be proper' with a gradual return to a normal diet.

  • Fresh Air

John Hill tells us that ‘nothing contributes more to health and long life than pure and good air’. Hill then muses that it is odd so many live in London where neither of these qualities are present! Much discussion is made of the choice of air, valleys are best where the air in the warmest. It seems Hill is advising gentleman to enjoy life in the country to enjoy long life!

To learn more about the teachings of John Hill and to preserve a good constitution, 18th century wise, you can buy the book online.