The prospect of invasion

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:
The prospect of invasion

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The final chapter of the book focuses on fears about the importation of yellow fever from the West Indies during and immediately after the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. It argues that fears about the arrival of disease were bound up with fears about a French invasion and the permeation of revolutionary ideas. Attempts to guard against yellow fever using quarantine thus acquired additional meanings, and the doctrine of contagion on which quarantine was based was staunchly defended by the conservative political elite and senior members of the medical profession. However, many colonial practitioners challenged the theory of contagion and the system of quarantine, some equating these with tyranny and oppression, professional and political. Although they made little impact upon official doctrines, this chapter shows that colonial practitioners had begun seriously to challenge the authority of the Royal College of Physicians.

Keywords: commerce; French Revolutionary Wars; invasion; Napoleonic Wars; quarantine; Royal College of Physicians; yellow fever; West Indies

Chapter.  15619 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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