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BELLEW, Henry Walter.

The History of Cholera in India from 1862 to 1881

being a Descriptive and Statistical Account of the Disease as derived from the Published Official Reports of the Several Provincial Governments during that Period, and mainly in Illustration of the Relation between Cholera Activity and Climatic Conditions. Together with Observations on the Causes and Nature of Cholera.

London: Trübner & Co., 1885 Stock Code: 82407
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Carefully researched Indian epidemiology by an exemplary Anglo-Indian official

First edition thus of this important contribution to the literature of the disease. The conclusions of this substantial work, based on painstaking statistical surveys, are considered among the best-judged of the period, and remain epidemiologically sound.

"The almost invariable validity of Bellew's general statements on locality and climate has been conceded by all subsequent observers" (Pollitzer, Cholera: Epidemiology, WHO Bulletin, 16, 1957, p. 784). Two portions of this work had first appeared separately: that relating to the Punjab, where Bellew had been sanitary commissioner, in Lahore, 1881, and a study of Bengal, Calcutta, 1884.

Bellew had an extremely distinguished career. He "served in the Crimean War during the winter of 1854-5, and on 14 November 1855 was appointed assistant surgeon in the Bengal medical service, becoming surgeon in 1867 and deputy surgeon-general on 14 November 1881. He went to India in 1856, and was at once appointed to the corps of guides on the Punjab frontier, but was soon afterwards ordered to join Major Henry Lumsden on his mission to Kandahar, and he was serving in Afghanistan during the Indian mutiny" (ODNB).

Subsequently he was with the Ambela (Umbeyla) Expedition due to his knowledge of Pushto, of which he wrote a grammar and dictionary (Peshawar, 1867). He provided medical services to the diplomatic missions to Seistan (1871) and Yarkand (1873-4), before being made Residency Surgeon in Nepal (1876) before becoming Chief Political Officer at Kabul (1878-9). He retired with the rank of Surgeon General in 1886.

"Bellew belonged to the school of Anglo-Indian officials who helped to build up and consolidate the British empire in India by acquiring a thorough knowledge of the natives' habits and modes of thought. He was passionately fond of oriental studies, and acquired languages with great facility the numerous works he wrote, and the services he rendered to ethnography, grammar, and lexicography deserve grateful acknowledgement. As sanitary commissioner of the Punjab it was his custom to visit even the small and remote villages, while in the larger towns he would assemble the members of the municipality and explain to them in a familiar style the advantages of vaccination and the necessity of using pure water and of practising general cleanliness. He published in Punjabi a small treatise on vaccination, and such simple notes on cholera as could be easily understood by the people. As an explorer his gift of observation supplied minute and interesting information about regions that had been either unknown or but little known before he visited them ; while as a political officer and representative Englishman on the Punjab frontier he gained in the highest degree the confidence of the native rulers as well as of their subjects" (DNB).

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Octavo. Original black close-diapered cloth, title gilt to spine, single fillet panels in blind to boards, brown surface-paper endpapers.


9 maps, 1 with spot-colour, many tables to the text.


Slightly chipped at spine ends and with a short split at foot of spine at front joint, corners worn at tips, light marginal browning, ink-stamps of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to the half-title and title page, very good.


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