Timely Prescription for Valentine’s Day

Some handy advice today comes as a handwritten “receipt” or “medical recipe” to cure love by Thomas Hodgson, Chaplain of Queen’s College, Oxford and Sub-Rector of Bletchington (also known as Bletchingdon).  This note [Biomed Manuscript Collection no. 5.101] was acquired recently from Douglas Stewart, an antiquarian bookseller in Australia.

“Take 3 Ounces of the Powder of Sense; 15 Grains of the Spirits of Reason; 5 Drachms of the Juice of Discretion; mix these with 2 Ounces of the Syrup of Advice; the best you can get; & 3 or 4 Spoonfuls of the cooling Water of Consideration; make this into Pills; take 3 at Night going to Bed; & three in the Morning; continue it as long as you find Occasion.”

A handful of manuscripts with similar titles and tongue-in-cheek purpose appeared in England throughout the latter half of the eighteenth century.  Mr. Hodgson apparently was elected to the Chaplain post in 1755, according to The Letters of Richard Radcliffe and John James of Queen’s College, Oxford, 1755-83.

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