Tröhler U (2003). Charles MacLean (c.1766-1824).

© Ulrich Tröhler, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM), University of Bern, Finkenhubelweg 11, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland, Email:

Cite as: Tröhler U (2003). Charles MacLean (c.1766-1824). JLL Bulletin: Commentaries on the history of treatment evaluation (

(based on Stephen L, Ree S, eds (1908). Directory of National Biography, Vol 12. London: Smith, Elder etc., p 645.)

Educated as a physician, Charles McLean entered the service of the Honourable East India Company in 1788, and in this capacity undertook several voyages to the East and West Indies. He returned to Europe in 1804, but deserted this post after some years and continued his travels in Europe and the Levant.

He was an avid anti-contagionist pamphleteer and fought bloodletting and quarantine, bitterly opposing regulations introduced by the Tory government (which did not help his promotion prospects). He was a lecturer on diseases of hot climates at the East India Company in London.

Both socially and with his reformist political and medical ideas, MacLean was a typical representative of the British medical “arithmetical observationists and experimentalists” of his time, albeit more in theory than in practice.