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Observations on the diseases of the army in Jamaica; and on the best means of preserving the health of Europeans, in that climate.
London, G. Nicol, 1788 - 8vo (210 x 125 mm), pp. xv, [i], 328; half-title present; contemporary tree calf, spine gilt; an excellent copy, from the library of the Earls of Macclesfield. First edition. 'The dreadful mortality, that has always accompanied military operations in the West Indies, in consequence of sickness and disease, renders every attempt to point out the causes of such calamities, and the means of obviating them, an object worthy of the public attention. In treating of this subject, I have confined myself to an account of those things only, that fell under my own observation. This I have not done, as undervaluing the work of others; but from a conviction that in physic, as in all other branches of natural knowledge, he who shall content himself with narrating what he has seen, will perform a work more likely to be useful towards the improvement of knowledge, than if he endeavoured to add to the value of his own labours, by collecting the opinions of others, which there is some danger of his mistaking, or misrepresenting' (preface). Hunter's Observations proved a valuable contribution to the study of tropipal medicine and reached a third edition in 1808, as well as a German translation in 1792. John Hunter (1754-1809, not to be confused with his namesake and fellow-Scot, the famous surgeon) was appointed physician to the army in 1777 and was superintendent of military hospitals in Jamaica from 1781 to 1783. In 1787 he contributed a paper to the Medical Transactions of the Royal College of Physicians on the cause of the 'Dry-belly-ach' of the tropics. This extended Sir George Baker's earlier discovery that lead in cider was the cause of the 'Devonshire colic' to include rum that had been distilled through a leaden worm, which, Hunter observed, 'had been the cause of "Dry-belly-ach" in the troops in Spanish Town and Kingston, Jamaica, during his time of service there. Hunter's principal work, Observations on the diseases of the army in Jamaica, appeared in 1788. This provided an amplified account of the "Dry-belly-ach" and it included a copy of Benjamin Franklin's letter of 1786 on the subject of lead poisoning. Hunter's Observations also dealt with yellow fever and other diseases of the troops, as well as briefly with some of the illnesses which afflicted the indigenous population' (Oxford DNB). Blake p. 226; Ragatz p. 374; Sabin 33918; Wellcome III p. 318. [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: C R Johnson Rare Book Collections (PBFA)]
Last Found On: 2014-09-24           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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