25th May 2023
Notes on Charles Maclean, the greatest public health scientist in human history
c.1766-c.1824 (“he … died at some point in late 1824 or early 1825“. Alex Chase-Levenson, in his 2020 book, The Yellow Flag, claims that Maclean “died in poverty in 1829” – that is almost impossible, since Maclean was prolific and there is no written work since after mid-1824. Alex notes that the government provided “a grant to his widow from the Literary Fund”).
[his handwriting sample]
This 1952 article, Politics, Economics and Medicine: Charles Maclean and Anticontagion in England, is the only journal paper (of 1952) I’ve come across that doesn’t libel Maclean at every step and even ends with a wry, semi-positive comment about him. It is also biographical.
Brief biography: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2646604/
Summary – from James Lind Library: https://www.jameslindlibrary.org/articles/charles-maclean-c-1766-1824/
1796: Dissertation on the Source of Epidemic Diseases/ Calcutta or 1797: Dissertation on the Source of Epidemic Diseases” (1800 edition available)
1797: View of the Science of Life, co-written with his colleague, William Yates,
1804: ‘An Excursion into France,’ &c,
1806: ‘The Affairs of Asia considered in their Effects on the Liberties of Britain’
1810: ‘Analytical View of the Medical Department of the British Army,’
1817 & 1818 Results of an Investigation Respecting Epidemic and Pestilential Diseases Vol. 1 (1817-492 pages) | another version. Volume 2 – of 1818 – is not available online. Wellcome have said they might digitise it. [Title page at Lind Library]
1818: ‘Practical Illustrations of the Progress of Medical Advancement during the last Thirty Years,’ .
1820: ‘Specimens of Misrule,
Maclean’s petition to the parliament
1824-25 (~500 pages): – 2nd edition in 1824 Evils of quarantine laws, and non-existence of pestilential contagion : deduced from the phaenomena of the plague of the Levant, the yellow fever of Spain, and the cholera morbus of Asia.| Another 2nd edition of 1825
Never published: ‘The Archives of Health,’
Note: It appearse that he published a book in 1823, “The appeal of a freed Spaniard” – for which he wrote a foreword