Via Recta AD Vitam Longam. Or, A Treatise wherein the right way and best manner of living for attaining to a long and healthfull Life, Is clearly demonstrated and punctually applied to every age and constitution of body. Whereunto is annexed by the same Authour, A very necessary, and compendious Treatise of the famous Baths of Bathe. With A Censure of the Medicinall faculties of the Water of St. Vincents-Rocks neer the City of Bristoll. As also An Accurate Treatise concerning Tobacco. - Tobias Venner 1650 - Printed by James Flesher, London - Much Enlarged than the former Impressions. A finely bound copy of the most comprehensive set of 17th century works on health and nutrition, by the pioneering Somerset physician, Tobias Venner (1577–1660), in which he described how hygiene, diet and environment can influence health, and stresses the benefits of sleep and regular exercise. Bound with his important early treatise on the effects of tobacco. Venner could certainly claim to have discovered the right way to a long life: he died at Bath on 27 March 1660 at the grand old age of 83, when life expectancy at the time was 35, and was buried in Bath Abbey.

‘Venner agrees that water may be suitable as a drink in tropical countries, but not in England. He gives the names of the various wines sold in England during the early part of the seventeenth century, and recommends to avoid excess, but to drink wine ‘
ad hilaritatem’, up to the ‘merry’ stage [Simon]. However he believed it unsuitable for younger men because it “stimulates them like madmen unto enormous and outrageous actions.” Venner also cautioned against drinking water conveyed through lead piping and advocated cleaning of the teeth to prevent decay.

This 1650 edition includes an enlarged version of
Via Recta as a well as the second part, first published in 1621, in which he describes the benefits of sleep and regular exercise. Venner claimed that bathing in Bath’s thermal springs would “make slender such bodies as are too grosse.” “Let those that fear obesity … come often to our Bathes. For by the often use of them … they may not onely preserve their health but also keepe their bodies from being unseemingly corpulent.”

Also bound with this edition is Venner’s famed ‘
Accurate Treatise concerning Tobacco’, first published in 1621. Although he recommended tobacco to improve digestion, Venner personally disliked its “detestable savour” and his observations on the adverse effects of smoking are remarkably close to those of modern medicine: “It dries the brain, dims the sight, vitiates the smell, hurts the stomach, destroys the concoction, disturbs the humours and spirits, corrupts the breath, induces trembling of the limbs. It desiccates the windpipe, lungs and liver, annoys the milt, scorches the heart, and causes the blood to be adjusted.” [Gibb]
  ‘On graduation from St Alban’s College, Oxford in 1599, Venner returned home to Somerset to establish his practice. By the time he obtained his medical degrees in 1613, he was already spending summers in Bath, where the city’s thermal spa enjoyed a reputation for the treatment of illness, and the annual influx of visitors ‘taking the waters’ provided a lucrative market for physicians.’

Provenance: Charles Purvil (?) with his inscription stating ‘
his book 1710’ , J. Cuerden with his signature dated 1727, and Swift with his signature dated 1825 to the title page.

Reference: Simon,
Bibliotheca Vinaria 187. Ken Gibb, Special Collections and Archives, Cardiff University Library. Bitting, Gastronomic Bibliography 476. Simon, Bibliotheca Gastronomica 1531.

Quarto (Binding size 19 x 15.5 cm. Page size 18.4 x 14.3 cm) pp. [2 (modern free endpapers)] [2 (front pastedown with previous owners signatures is retained now as a separate sheet)] [2] [1 (combined title page] [1] [2 (Introduction to the ‘post Civil War’ edition. Initialled Bathe, Feb.10.1649)] [2 (Regulae quindecim ad vitae conservationem saulberrimae. - 15 rules in Latin for a healthy life)] [6 Index to all parts].

Via Recta AD Vitam Longam. (pp. 1-342)
1. Sect. I - The Nature and Choice Of Habitable Places.
20. II - Of the divers kinds of Bread.
28. III - Of the divers kinde of Drinke.
64. IIII - Of the Flesh of Beasts and Fowle.
98. V - Of Fish.
115. VI - Of Eggs and Milk.
128. VII - Of Sauces and Spices.
148. VIII - Of Fruits, Roots, and Herbs, that serve for meat, and are usually eaten.
223. IX - Of the manner and custome of Diet.
Pages 267- 277 - On drinking
295. X - Of sleep and Watching.
313. XI - Of Exercise and Rest.
321 XII - Of Excretions.
327. XIII - Of Peterbations, or Passions of the minde.

The Baths of Bathe (pp. 343-93)
[1 Title Page - The Baths of Bathe: or, A necessary compendious Treatise, concerning the Nature, Use and Efficacy of those famous Hot-Waters. Published for the benefit of all such as yearly, for their health, resort to those Baths.
With an Advertisement of the great utility that cometh to mans body, by the taking of Physick in the Spring, inferred upon a Question moved, concerning the frequency of sicknesse, and death of people more in that season, than in any other.
Whereunto is also annexed a Censure, concerning the Water of Saint Vincents rocks near Bristoll, which is in great request and use against the Stone.
- To. Venner. 1650. Printed by James Flesher for Henry Hood, London
.] [1 To the Reader] 345-67 (The Baths of Bathe), 368-75 (Taking of Physick in the Spring), 376-93 (The Water of Saint Vincents rocks near Bristol) [1].

The taking of the Fume of Tobacco (pp. 395-417)
[1 Title Page - A Breife and Accurate Treatise concerning The taking of the Fume of Tobacco, Which very many, in these dayes, doe too too licenciously use. - To. Venner. 1650. Printed by James Flesher for Henry Hood, London] [1] 397-417 [1] [2 (modern free endpapers)]
  Finely bound to style in recent full calf, spine tooled in blind and lettered in gilt, boards panelled in blind with corner motifs.   Condition: Very good, title page with slight chipping to edges, some toning to pages more so to outer borders, in fine binding.   Ref: 108490   Price: HK$ 8,000