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WALLACE, James Robert.

The Consumption of Opium in India:

A Critique of the Memorandum presented by Sir William Roberts ... as Medical Member of the Late Royal Commission on Opium. Reprinted after revision from the "Indian Medical Record."

Published: Calcutta: Office of the Indian Medical Record, 1895

Stock code: 81994

Price: £650

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Offprint, first thus. Uncommon, OCLC lists just 8 copies world-wide, including 2 in BL. Trained in Ireland, Wallace (1856-1903) was editor of the Indian Medical Record, and at the time of the Commission had been practising medicine in India since 1872, most of that time in private practice in Calcutta. A witness to the Commission, Wallace gave strong evidence debunking the idea of the efficacy of opium as a prophylactic against malaria; “His experience in the eastern part of the country, especially Calcutta, convinced him the two capabilities were distinct; pain relief simply was not another way of referring to disease prevention” (Winther, Anglo-European Science and the Rhetoric of Empire, p165); and in the present publication presents persuasive arguments from the Commission’s other witnesses against “the theory of ‘profound constitutional difference’ or ‘exceptional tolerance’ in the adult natives of India and their children [which] is omnipresent in Sir William’s Memorandum”. The overall perception arising from the report was that the “consequences of opium consumption in India were not that different (or even perhaps less severe) than the serious alcohol problem faced by the UK at the same time” (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Century of International Drug Control, p30), ignoring the problem in China, and effectively undermining the work of the anti-opium campaigners.

Octavo. Sewn in the original printed blue paper wraps. Housed in a black cloth solander case with red morocco label to the spine. Some soiling on the wraps, spine a little split, light browning, but overall very good.

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