Physician to the Fleet

January 2011
14 black and white illustrations
248 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843836049
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
BISAC BIO008000, HIS027150, BIO017000

Physician to the Fleet

The Life and Times of Thomas Trotter, 1760-1832

Brian Vale, Griffith Edwards

Details Thomas Trotter's important contributions, as a naval surgeon and after, to the eradication of scurvy and typhus, to the study of addiction, and to improved health and safety in mines.
Thomas Trotter, after studying medicine at Edinburgh, began his naval career as a surgeon's mate in 1779 and saw continuous service up to the peace of 1802, rising as a result of great abilities and the right patronage to become Physician to the Channel Fleet, and being present at the great battles of Dogger Bank in 1781 and the Glorious First of June in 1794. As Physician to the Channel Fleet, he was a major player in the conquest of scurvy and the control of typhus and smallpox in the navy. After the peace he settled in Newcastle where he produced pioneering work on alcoholism and neurosis, as a result of which he is regarded as one of the founders of the field of addiction studies. This book provides an intimate account of naval life in the great age of sail from the perspective of a surgeon, describing the impact of Enlightenment ideas and new medical techniques, and showing how improved health was a crucial factor in making possible the British fleet's great victories in this period.

BRIAN VALE is a maritime historian, whose books include Independence or Death: British sailors and Brazilian Independence (Tauris 1996), A Frigate of King George, Life and Duty on a British Man-of-War (Tauris 2001) and The Audacious Admiral Cochrane (Conway 2004). GRIFFITH EDWARDS, Emeritus Professor at King's College, London, is one of the country's leading experts on addiction. His publications include Alchohol: the Ambiguous Molecule (Penguin 2000) and Matters of Substance (Penguin 2005).

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Table of Contents

The Edinburgh Experience
Medicine at Sea
HMS Berwick
Surgeon of a Slaver
Northumbrian Interlude
Recalled to the Colours
The Royal Hospital, Haslar
Physician to the Channel Fleet
The Conquest of Scurvy
Shore-based in Plymouth
Honours and Half Pay
Married Life and Civilian Practice
An Essay on Drunkenness
A War of Pamphlets
A View of the Nervous Temperament
Physician as Poet and Playwright
Thomas Trotter and the Great Theatre of Life


As expected from Boydell, the book is well-produced and illustrated. ANNUAL BULLETIN OF HISTORICAL LITERATURE

The authors' evident enthusiasms and meticulous scholarship will surely encourage maritime historians, particularly those interested in naval medicine, to search out this book. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MARITIME HISTORY

A well-written and well-paced book that is essential reading for any historian of Nelson's Navy. MEDICAL HISTORY


[The authors] must be commended for their excellent contribution to furthering our understanding of this period. Their well-written and superbly researched biography will be welcomed by scholars and students of naval history, medical history, slavery and the Atlantic World. THE NORTHERN MARINER

A core addition to any history collection with a focus on medicine or military. THE MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

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