Proceedings and report of a special medical board appointed by his Royal Highness the Commander in Chief, and the Secretary at War, to examine the state of the hospital at the military depot in the Isle of Wight.

London, printed for L. B. Seeley and C. & R. Baldwin, 1808.

8vo (215 x 135 mm), pp. iv, [3]–72, 65–83, [1, blank]; modern cloth-backed boards.

£675

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First edition. An account of the investigation into the medical practices of Robert Jackson, physician and head of the depot hospital on the Isle of Wight. It examines hospital conditions, common diseases suffered by soldiers, and treatments typical of the Napoleonic era, as well as giving an insight into the administration of the army medical services at that time.

In 1795 Jackson had been appointed physician by the Duke of York, Commander-in-Chief of the army, without the consent of the Army Medical Board, who as a result resented the physician. ‘An epidemic breaking out at Parkhurst, I. of Wight, the Medical Board reported unfavourably on Jackson, but the C. in C. ordered an inquiry by a board of Medical Officers into Jackson’s administration of the hospital, and he was triumphantly vindicated’ (Drew, Medical officers in the British Army 1660–1960 I pp. 72–3). The medical officers appointed for the task were Sir John Macnamara Hayes, Dr John Hunter (author of a number of works on tropical diseases), Dr John Weir (first Director-General of the Army Medical Board), and Dr. George Pinckard (founder of the Bloomsbury dispensary). They issued this account of the proceedings after criticism from Jackson, who had resigned his post and returned to private practice, and Dr. Thomas Keate, Surgeon-General of the Army Medical Board who felt the enquiry had been insufficiently rigorous.

Jackson later encountered Keate on the street and assaulted him with his cane for which he was imprisoned for six months. Following the Walcheren fiasco and the resulting abolition of the Army Medical Board, however, he was appointed Inspector of Hospitals and in 1819 ‘went to Spain and Gibraltar to study Yellow Fever and to the Levant to study the Plague. Jackson was a good classical scholar, and was proficient in French, German, Spanish, and Italian, and had some knowledge of Gaelic, Arabic, and Persian. He was the author altogether of 23 books and pamphlets’ (Drew p. 73).

Only two copies found in COPAC and OCLC, at the British Library and the Wellcome Institute.

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