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)

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,’

1810:  On the state of vaccination in 1810.

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

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

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,

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.1821-24:  Obligations 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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