PRINGLE, JOHN. 1707-1782. Autograph Letter Signed ("John Pringle") to an unnamed recipient, but likely David Erskine, Earl of Buchan, in response to an inquiry "concerning disability,"

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Lot 163
PRINGLE, JOHN. 1707-1782.
Autograph Letter Signed ("John Pringle") to an unnamed recipient, but likely David Erskine, Earl of Buchan, in response to an inquiry "concerning disability,"

US$ 1,200 - 1,800
£ 920 - 1,400
PRINGLE, JOHN. 1707-1782.
Autograph Letter Signed ("John Pringle") to an unnamed recipient, but likely David Erskine, Earl of Buchan, in response to an inquiry "concerning disability," 2 pp, folio, September 29, 1777, foxing, margins trimmed, folds.

"As to my inquiries concerning disability, they have gone no further than to learn that mankind in general are right-handed; and not only in such parts of the globe that have been the most frequented, but likewise in the lately discovered islands in the South Sea. I had also some notion that cattle were more disposed to begin their movements with the right foot than the left; but there I stop; nor have I any notion how your Lordship has been able to turn this subject so as to answer any philosophical point that remains as yet undiscussed. Assuming however that Your Lordship may be thinking of publishing something upon the question, I heartily wish success to the undertaking; & Your Lordship may be assured that I shall not fail to be one of your earliest readers here." Erskine, the 11th Earl of Buchan, was an antiquary and frequent correspondent with scientific and literary luminaries. In his essay "On the Varieties of Men" (The Bee," June 12, 1793), he makes reference to Pringle's response here, as well as to a similar letter from surgeon John Hunter (dated December 18, 1778, at the New York Academy of Medicine). Pringle's primary work was his 1752 Observations on the Diseases of the Army. "This watershed work has probably not received the credit it deserves. Like his countryman James Lind, Pringle had quickly recognized hospitals as the chief cause of sickness and death in the army. His chief contributions were the first scientific account of epidemiology in the field and prevention of cross infection" (ODNB 45, pp 398-400). See Garrison-Morton 2150, 2156 and 5374. See Grolier Medicine 73B. Accompanied by a copperplate engraved portrait by William H. Mote, after a 1774 oil painting by Joshua Reynolds.
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