‘Accidents of the air’: Sydenham and Boerhaave in the tropics

Mark Harrison

in Medicine in an age of Commerce and Empire

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199577736
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595196 | DOI:
‘Accidents of the air’: Sydenham and Boerhaave in the tropics

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Chapter 2 shows how British practitioners, many from Dissenting backgrounds or trained at the University of Edinburgh, sought to apply the insights of Sydenham and Boerhaave to their work on disease in the tropical colonies. Again, it stresses the centrality of place and climate to their understanding of disease and the vital part played by morbid anatomy. The chapter traces a number of important intellectual networks, spanning both the East and West Indies, and Britain and the American colonies. Some of these were Dissenting networks which linked surgeons in the Army, Navy, and East India Company to figures such as John Fothergill and Benjamin Rush in Britain and America; others were more formal, such as the Royal Society of London and ties to universities such as Edinburgh.

Keywords: Boerhaave; climate; Dissent; Edinburgh University; Royal College of Physicians; Royal Society of London; Sydenham; tropics

Chapter.  8538 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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