KEATE, Thomas.

Observations on the Fifth Report of the Commissioners of Military Enquiry.

And more particularly on those parts of it which relate to the Surgeon General.

London: J. Hatchard, 1808 Stock Code: 144132
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First and only edition of Keate's justification of his conduct against what he considered the unwarranted criticisms of the commission. Uncommon, with less than a dozen copies located institutionally world-wide. An excellent copy with an attractive provenance, coming from the Mount Stewart library of General Charles Stewart, 3rd marquess of Londonderry, pencilled press marks to the front pastedown.

Keate was elected surgeon-general to the army in 1798, became examiner of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1802, and was master 1802, 1809, and 1818. Keate "was an excellent surgeon, and was the first to tie the subclavian artery for aneurysm. But he was unpunctual and negligent of his hospital duties... and wrote little on surgery. He published... several controversial papers, the chief being Observations on the Fifth Report of the Commissioners of Military Enquiry; the report censured the medical board for showing a lack of proper control, for irregularities in promotion, for making new and unnecessary appointments, for waste and extravagance, and for opening general hospitals unnecessarily. Keate had carried out his duties with success but blame had nevertheless fallen upon him. The board was dissolved in 1809 and Keate was retired with a small allowance. He then complained of how his public duties had interfered with his private practice" (ODNB). Keate had become regimental surgeon to the foot guards in 1778, and was also inspector of the regimental hospital system until his election to surgeon-general, his understanding of the army's medical requirements was undoubtedly better grounded than those of the members of the Army Medical Board whose experience covered "merely London hospital work" ("Military and Naval Hospitals", in The Hospital 9 December 1893). Keate died in Chelsea Hospital in 1821.

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Quarto (252 x 209 mm). Contemporary green half calf, brown daubed paste paper boards, black morocco label to the spine, edges sprinkled brown.


Spine just a touch sunned, very light shelf-wear, pale toning to the text-block and the very occasional spot of foxing, ?bound without half-title, a very good copy indeed.


Wellcome III, p.380


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