Thoughts on economics and liberty

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:

Brief biography:,_1885-1900/Maclean,_Charles


Summary – from James Lind Library:


1796: Dissertation on the Source of Epidemic Diseases/ Calcutta or 1797:  Dissertation on the Source of Epidemic Diseases” (1800 edition available)

1797View 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,’

1810On the state of vaccination in 1810.

1810A View of the Consequences of laying open the Trade to India,’

1817, Pamphlet (38 pages): Suggestions for the prevention and mitigation of epidemic and pestilential diseases, comprehending the abolition of quarantines and lazarettos

Version 1 (google books) – always use this, as other versions are incomplete | Version 2 – and Version 3 – both these are missing pages 474 and 475]

1817 & 1818 Results of an Investigation Respecting Epidemic and Pestilential Diseases Vol. 1  (1817-492 pages) | another version. Volume 2 – of 1818 – Wellcome have digitised at my request. [Title page at Lind Library]

1818: ‘Practical Illustrations of the Progress of Medical Advancement during the last Thirty Years,’ .

1820Specimens of systematic misrule; or, immense sums annually expended in upholding a single imposture, etc

1820: The Triumph of Public Opinion, being a Standing Lesson to the Throne, the Parliament, and the People ; with proposed Articles of Impeachment against the Ministers in the Case of her Majesty.

1819-20: Summary of facts and inferences, respecting the causes, proper and adventitious of plague, and other pestilential diseases; with proofs of the non-existence of contagion in theses maladies:

c.1821-24Obligations of Governments to Abolish the Laws of Quarantine

1823 book: Remarks on the British Quarantine Laws: and the so-called Sanitary Laws of the Continental Nations of Europe, especially those of Spain [Also here]

Maclean’s petition to the parliament

1824: Observations on quarantine : being the substance of a lecture, delivered at the Liverpool Lyceum, in October, 1824

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,’

Also search:

Note: It appearse that he published a book in 1823, “The appeal of a freed Spaniard” – for which he wrote a foreword

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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