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:

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The Conclusion emphasizes the importance of Britain's tropical colonies in the reform of British medicine. Although colonial practitioners portrayed themselves and their practices as distinct from those in Britain, they used their experience to establish themselves at the heart of British medicine. They were able to do so in a variety of ways, by utilizing formal professional networks, by cultivating distinguished patrons such as Sir Joseph Banks, and by connecting with other reform‐minded practitioners in Britain and its Empire, many of whom happened to be religious Dissenters. Through these avenues, and through medical practice in fever hospitals and elsewhere in civilian life, former colonial practitioners profoundly altered the theory and practice of medicine in Britain. They contributed to the emergence of a more empirical and experimental form of medicine grounded in natural history and aided by clinical and post‐mortem observation.

Keywords: clinical medicine; colonies; Dissent; empiricism; experiment; hospitals; natural history; networks; patronage; reform

Chapter.  2361 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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