Authorised form of nameChisholm; Colin (1755 - 1825); surgeon and medical writer
Dates1755 - 1825
Place of birthInverness, Scotland, United Kingdom, Europe
Date of birth1755
Place of deathSloane Street, London, England, United Kingdom, Europe
Date of death1825
Dates and placesBurial:
St Luke's Church, Chelsea, London, England, United Kingdom, Europe (8 February 1825)
OccupationPhysician; plantation and slave owner
Research fieldMedicine
King's College, Aberdeen (MD 1793)
Military surgeon to British forces in the American War of Independence; practiced medicine in Grenada (1783); published essays and papers on various subjects in the 'Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Review' (1786-1817); purchased a cotton plantation in Demerara (now part of Guyana) (1790); treatise on the causes and nature of disease (now recognised as Yellow Fever) in the West Indies, with observations on the island (1795); Surgeon General to HM Ordnance, Island of Grenada (1796-1798); attached to Ralph Abercromby's expedition of conquest in the Caribbean; spent five months in the Virgin Islands (1797); Inspector General of Hospitals, Grenada (1798-1800); retired to his estate in Demerara (1800-1803) which he later sold sometime after 1818; set up medical practice in Bristol
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election24/11/1808
Age at election53
Other Royal Society activitySubmitted a couple of medical and anthropological papers for possible publication (1809)
RelationshipsParents: William Chisholm and Janet Mackintosh
Married: Elizabeth Cooper
Published worksRCN: 33216
RCN: 33217
General contextChisholm wrote his account of a 'pestilential fever', now known as yellow fever, based on observations from Bolama, now in Guinea-Bissau, and identified the cause of the disease as contagion. This theory was considered contentious at the time and the debate around yellow fever continued into the 19th century.
Chisholm is listed as the owner in 1818 of a plantation in Berbice, British Guiana [Guyana], which held a total of 114 enslaved people for labour.
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; Wikipedia; UCL LBS; ODNB
'Colin Chisholm MD of Bristol', on Legacies of British Slave-ownership database [; last accessed 16/12/2022]
Curtin, P D. 1964. 'The Image of Africa: British Ideas and Action, 1780–1850. Vol.1.' (Univ of Wisconsin Press)
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA3254
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1808/07Chisholm, Colin: certificate of election to the Royal Society
AP/7/6Unpublished paper, on pygmies by C [Colin] Chisholm8 January 1809
AP/8/6Unpublished paper, regarding nervous phenomena by C [Colin] Chisholm22 April 1812
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