Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Health and Medicine at Sea, 1700-1900

Health and Medicine at Sea, 1700-1900

David Boyd Haycock
Sally Archer
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 243
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Health and Medicine at Sea, 1700-1900
    Book Description:

    Maritime medicine, together with its links to the development of empire, is a burgeoning area of historical interest and enquiry. This book, based on extensive original research, explores the history of health and medicine in maritime and imperial contexts in a key period, reflecting the growing professionalization of medicine at sea from the establishment of the Sick and Hurt Board to the end of the Victorian era. The chapters, written by leading experts in the field, are grouped around two central themes: Royal Naval medical policy, administration and practice; and health and mortality relating to the migration of peoples across the globe, including slavery, emigration and indentured migration. The book will be of interest to a wide range of historians, particularly those working in the fields of maritime history, the history of medicine, and the history of colonialism and imperialism. David Boyd Haycock was Curator of Seventeenth-Century Imperial and Maritime History at the National Maritime Museum, 2007-09, and has held research fellowships at the University of Oxford, the University of California, Los Angeles and the London School of Economics. He is author of William Stukeley: Science, Religion and Archaeology in Eighteenth Century England, which is published by Boydell and Brewer. Sally Archer is at the National Maritime Museum. CONTRIBUTORS: Erica M. Charters, John Cardwell, Mick Crumplin, Pat Crimmin, Mark Harrison, Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Ralph Shlomowitz, Simon J. Hogerzeil, David Richardson, Robin Haines, Laurence Brown, Radica Mahase.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-732-5
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    Sally Archer
  5. List of Contributors
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiii-xiii)
  7. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xiv-xiv)
  8. Introduction: Health, Medicine and the Maritime World: A History of Two Centuries
    (pp. 1-18)
    David Boyd Haycock

    The two centuries between 1700 and 1900 witnessed profound changes in Western medicine, and the period covered by this book (which principally focuses on the experience of Britain and its empire) can be chronologically bookmarked by two key moments: the foundation of Greenwich Hospital in 1694, and the foundation of the London School of Tropical Medicine in 1899. Yet despite the recognition of the need for greater palliative care which led to the establishment of a hospital for old and invalid seamen at Greenwich, in terms of medical history, the eighteenth century began with an air of uncertainty, disagreement, doubt...

  9. 1 ‘The Intention is Certain Noble’: The Western Squadron, Medical Trials, and the Sick and Hurt Board during the Seven Years War (1756–63)
    (pp. 19-37)
    Erica M. Charters

    The Royal Navy’s importance to British victories during the Seven Years War, Britain’s first global war of empire (1756–63), can hardly be overstated. Triumphs such as Quebec in 1759 and 1760 and Havana in 1762 are best described as amphibious operations. Indeed, as Richard Harding defines amphibious warfare in the eighteenth century as ‘a mode of action in which a military force, capable of being fully maintained at sea, is dispatched to accomplish specific objectives on enemy territory’, it is difficult to find a military action during the war that was not at least dependent upon naval power.¹ Closer...

  10. 2 Royal Navy Surgeons, 1793–1815: A Collective Biography
    (pp. 38-62)
    M. John Cardwell

    Great Britain emerged from the great wars against Revolutionary and Napoleonic France between 1793 and 1815 as the world’s foremost maritime and imperial power. Its ultimate victory in a struggle of unprecedented intensity owed much to significant advances in naval health.¹ Despite recognition of the seminal nature of this revolution, relatively little is known of the approximately two thousand surgeons who realised it through the daily care of the Navy’s seamen and marines, often under the most adverse conditions.² Much of what has been written about the surgeons of the Georgian Royal Navy has been impressionistic in nature, given the...

  11. 3 Surgery in the Royal Navy during the Republican and Napoleonic Wars (1793–1815)
    (pp. 63-89)
    Michael Crumplin

    In 1540 Henry VIII granted a charter that joined the Surgeons’ Guild and the Company of Barbers. William Clowes (1543/4–1604) – one of the most eminent, innovative and controversial members of this amalgamated Barber-Surgeons Company – served as a military and naval surgeon from 1563 to 1588, and he constantly strove to improve the low standards of surgical treatment that he observed in the services. But over two hundred years later, there still remained concerns over the standard of surgery in Britain’s armed forces. Three months after the Battle of Camperdown in October 1797, John Bell, a master Edinburgh surgeon serving...

  12. 4 The Sick and Hurt Board: Fit for Purpose?
    (pp. 90-107)
    Pat Crimmin

    The Sick and Hurt Board (formally titled the Commissioners for taking Care of Sick and Wounded Seamen and for the Care and Treatment of Prisoners of War) had first been created during the Dutch Wars of the mid seventeenth century. Fresh commissions were formed at the beginning of the succeeding wars, and dissolved at the peace. From 1715 the commissioners (there were only two) were members of the Navy Board, who were assigned these additional duties, though there was little work for them to do in these years of peace. It was not until 1740 that a new commission was...

  13. 5 An ‘Important and Truly National Subject’: The West Africa Service and the Health of the Royal Navy in the Mid Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 108-127)
    Mark Harrison

    At the end of the Napoleonic Wars the health of the Royal Navy was a matter for celebration. Two decades of reform in hygiene and victualling had conferred great advantages on the British during the recent wars with France.¹ As head of the Naval Medical Board, the physician Gilbert Blane presided over most of these initiatives.² Yet, in his view, there remained much to be done: a sentiment echoed by the vast majority of naval surgeons. At the conclusion of the wars, the most pressing issue in the medical realm was the health of impressed men. Some former naval officers...

  14. 6 Mortality and Migration: A Survey
    (pp. 128-142)
    Hamish Maxwell-Stewart and Ralph Shlomowitz

    When the convict John Popjoy was disembarked from the transport vesselLarkinsin 1817 he was found to be tattooed on his right arm with the verse ‘Rocks, hills and sands, and barren lands, kind fortune set me free, from roaring guns and women’s tongues, O Lord deliver me’.¹ There is much evidence to suggest that the emphasis of this talismanic tattoo was misplaced, for shipwrecks were comparatively rare events: of 337 convict voyages to the colony of Van Diemen’s Land in the fifty years between 1803 and 1853, only two were wrecked. Nevertheless, in the age of sail, a...

  15. 7 Slave Purchasing Strategies and Shipboard Mortality: Day-to-Day Evidence from the Dutch African Trade, 1751–1797
    (pp. 143-171)
    Simon J. Hogerzeil and David Richardson

    Ever since British abolitionists first highlighted the issue in the 1780s, the mortality of enslaved Africans in the Middle Passage from Africa to America has been a preoccupation of scholars studying the Atlantic slave trade. Following Curtin’s pioneering work on the epidemiology of the slave trade in the late 1960s, discoveries of new shipping data have allowed major strides to be made in tracking long-run trends in slave mortality.¹ Such data have also been used to evaluate possible causes of shipboard mortality of slaves. Historians now tend to give less credence to the impact of crowding of slaves on board...

  16. 8 Ships, Families and Surgeons: Migrant Voyages to Australia in the Age of Sail
    (pp. 172-194)
    Robin Haines

    In the first decades of the nineteenth century, the newly formed colonies of Australia eagerly sought immigrants to exploit their rich natural resources, and looked to the mother country for their recruits. The importation of labour from the northern hemisphere required considerable sums of money, however. From 1831, each of Australia’s colonial governments funded immigration from the sale of land to well-off settlers, the proceeds of which were earmarked for recruiting suitably qualified emigrants from Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales. The occupations in greatest demand in Australia were shepherds, herdsmen, agricultural labourers, rural tradesmen such as fencers, ditchers, well-diggers, carpenters...

  17. 9 Medical Encounters on the Kala Pani: Regulation and Resistance in the Passages of Indentured Indian Migrants, 1834–1900
    (pp. 195-212)
    Laurence Brown and Radica Mahase

    During the nineteenth century, over one million migrants left the Indian sub-continent to cross theKala Pani(‘dark waters’) as indentured workers for the tropical colonies of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. For many of these migrants, the voyage marked a profound rupture with the social and cultural worlds which defined their lives in India. Emigration across theKala Paniwas seen as breaking Hindu prohibitions, resulting in the migrant’s loss of caste.¹ In early 1898, as he was just about to board the shipAvonheading to Dutch Surinam, Munshi Rahman Khan observed how caste, class and religious...

  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 213-220)
  19. Index
    (pp. 221-230)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 231-231)