Experimental Essays on Medical and Philosophical Subjects. David MACBRIDE.
Experimental Essays on Medical and Philosophical Subjects.

Experimental Essays on Medical and Philosophical Subjects.

London: T. Becket and T. Cadell, 1776.

Octavo, two folding tables and four folding plates, modern brown morocco.

Malt for scurvy

An important work, including Macbride's essay "On the Scurvy". The author's "Malt" was one of the main antiscorbutics used on Cook's voyages, although it has since been proved to have little effect. Macbride is best remembered for this work on scurvy, which extends the theoretical work of John Pringle. Macbride argued that the disease was related to the loss of fixed air (carbon dioxide). As a cheap and accessible source of fixed air, he recommended the use of infusions of malt - "worts" - taken from the liquid remaining when malt is suspended in water. The solution was tested with some apparent success by his brother Admiral John Macbride on HMS Jason and, despite less tangible results on the voyages of Wallis and Carteret, Macbride's Malt was one of the main treatments taken with Cook on the Endeavour. Cook was so taken with the Malt that he continued to use and value it during his second voyage, leading Lloyd and Coulter to comment that 'contrary to general belief… Cook's voyages delayed rather than hastened the introduction of the true cure of scurvy' (Medicine & the Navy).

An important work, including Macbride's essay "On the Scurvy". The author's "Malt" was one of the main antiscorbutics used on Cook's voyages, although it has since been proved to have little effect. Macbride is best remembered for this work on scurvy, which extends the theoretical work of John Pringle. Macbride argued that the disease was related to the loss of fixed air (carbon dioxide). As a cheap and accessible source of fixed air, he recommended the use of infusions of malt - "worts" - taken from the liquid remaining when malt is suspended in water. The solution was tested with some apparent success by his brother Admiral John Macbride on HMS Jason and, despite less tangible results on the voyages of Wallis and Carteret, Macbride's Malt was one of the main treatments taken with Cook on the Endeavour. Cook was so taken with the Malt that he continued to use and value it during his second voyage, leading Lloyd and Coulter to comment that 'contrary to general belief… Cook's voyages delayed rather than hastened the introduction of the true cure of scurvy' (Medicine & the Navy).

David Macbride (1726-1778), a chemist and physician, entered the Royal Navy after an apprenticeship with a civilian surgeon. He served as mate aboard a hospital ship and then surgeon during the war of Austrian succession (1741-1748). His seafaring experience enabled him to make a careful study of scurvy, and was the catalyst for his lifelong search for an effective antiscorbutic. After leaving the navy he set up as a surgeon and accoucheur in 1752, 'but bashfulness limited his practice for several years' (DNB).

This is the third and final edition of a work first published in 1764. All editions are now quite rare.

Blake, p. 281; Partington, III, p. 143; Wellcome IV, p. 5 (first and second editions).

Price (AUD): $2,250.00  other currencies     Ref: #3702873

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