Observations on the Diseases of Seamen.
Joseph Cooper, ( 1789), London
8vo. 21 cm. xv, (iii)-vii, 560, 4, xv, 20 pp.
Blane had a long and distinguished career as a Surgeon in the Royal Navy, and served as Admiral Rodneys physician to the fleet in the West Indies in 1779-1783. This text is based on actual observations that he made in that capacity. It was first published in a very abbreviated from in 1780, then in this substantially enlarged form nine years later. Blane notes all diseases that might occur in the fleets, and provides insight into shipboard life. A final edition of his book was published in 1799, the same year in which Blane drew up the rules which became the Quarantine Act. He was influential in furthering Linds ideas on the prevention of scurvy and, as the DAB notes, hardly any department of state failed to resort to Blanes advice on one occasion or another. He was made a baronet in 1812, and became one of George IVs physicians. “With Lind he stands predominant in the history of naval medicine.” – Garrison & Morton 2158. See also Lloyd & Coulter vol. III, and DAB vol. 5. This book has an interesting provenance. It was owned by an American naval surgeon named George Brush. According to Hammersly p. 108, Brush entered the service as Assistant Surgeon in 1861 and passed Surgeon in 1872. His ownership stamp is on the title page. Prior to that, the book was owned by General Sir George Balfour, a British Army officer. His bookplate is on the front pastedown, along with a fine binder’s ticket of Thomas Condie, Philadelphia (See Spawn, “American Signed Bindings” #251), and a Philadelphia bookseller’s blind stamp on the front blank. Bound in contemporary tree calf. Backstrip laid down, with red spine label.