Addition (written 2006) by David McNeel.
I stumbled across your excellent essay on Anne Finch and Lady Montagu. Thank you very much...it is very informative and thought-provoking. I was intrigued by the reference in Finch's Tunbridge Wells fragment to "Old Brown." I had been reading the letters of Sir Thomas Browne and noticed that he recommended Tunbridge waters for a melancholy patient. It seemed unlikely that his letters would have been known to Anne Finch but I decided to poke around a bit and found a listing for the following book. It is undoubtedly the "old Brown" Finch refers to.
Here is the bookseller's description:
BROWNE, DR.[JOSEPH], - An Account of the Wonderful Cures Perform'd by the Cold Baths. With Advice to the Water Drinker at Tunbridge, Hampstead, Astrope, Nasborough, and all the other Chalibeate Spaws ... To which is prefix'd a letter from Sir John Floyer, in answer to one of th London: Printed for J. How ... and R. Borough, and J. Baker, 1707. First Edition. 12mo. Lacking A1 (blank?). , 144 pp. Later quarter sheep and marbled boards. Rubbed, edges of final three leaves wormed in margins, not effecting text. "... the Luxury and Delicacy of the present Age, which may be attributed, in a great measure, to the Modern use of the hot Regimen, which, as you have so justly observ'd, has increased with the Interest of Foreign Trade, which has introduc'd Tobacco, Tea, and Coffee, with all the Brandy, Spirits, and Spices. And the causes of all our Rheumatisms, Defluctions, Intermitting-Fevers, &c. are chiefly owing to the late Practice of Drinking hot Liquors, and the pernicious use of Flannel and Woollen Shirts next to the Skin ..."
To counteract this, Browne recommends a regimen of cold baths and offers numerous case studies in support of his claims.
The work enjoyed a certain vogue, with a second edition appearing the same year. The long-term influence of Browne's work remains to be studied; indisputably, the notion that cold baths fostered character and health influenced the later history of the English nation, with many of its prominent men educated at boarding schools, where the customs of cold baths and flogging were only recently and reluctantly abandoned.