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Disease, War, and the Imperial StateThe Welfare of the British Armed Forces during the Seven Years' War$
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Erica Charters

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226180007

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226180144.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

The Royal Navy’s Western Squadron:

The Royal Navy’s Western Squadron:

Trials, Innovation, and Medical Efficacy

(p.120) Chapter Four The Royal Navy’s Western Squadron
Disease, War, and the Imperial State

Erica Charters

University of Chicago Press

This chapter provides a detailed examination of the Western Squadron and the Navy's medical board -- the Sick and Hurt Board -- during the Seven Years War. It begins with a discussion of the health of seamen and the obstacles to maintaining it during the Seven Years War, and continues with an examination of the Western Squadron and the limited effect that fresh victuals had on rates of sickness in the fleet. The chapter concludes with an examination of the correspondence of the Sick and Hurt Board during the years of the Seven Years War, establishing that its medical research into cures and preventatives for scurvy other than fresh vegetables was not evidence of ignorance or negligence, but instead reflected what was achievable within the constraints imposed by long excursions sea and the practical demands of naval administration. Its detailed examination of naval medicine establishes the scientific nature of eighteenth-century medicine, especially in response to the challenges of war, highlighting the institutional strength of British naval medicine as a forum for research and innovation, particularly for medical trials.

Keywords:   Western Squadron, Royal Navy, scurvy, medical trials, Sick and Hurt Board, naval medicine

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