As a maritime trading nation, the issue of quarantine was one of constant concern to Britain. Whilst naturally keen to promote international trade, there was a constant fear of importing potentially devastating diseases into British territories. In this groundbreaking study, John Booker examines the methods by which British authorities sought to keep their territories free from contagious diseases, and the reactions to, and practical consequences of, these policies. Drawing upon a wealth of documentary sources, Dr Booker paints a vivid picture of this controversial episode of British political and mercantile history, concluding that quarantine was a peculiarly British disaster, doomed to inefficiency by the royal prerogative and concerns for trade and individual liberty. Whilst it may not have fatally hindered the economic development of Britain, it certainly irritated the City and the mercantile elites and remained a source of constant political friction for many years. As such, an understanding of British maritime quarantine provides a fuller picture of attitudes to trade, culture, politics and medicine in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
av John Booker
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