Towards the end of 1900 Major, now Lieutenant Colonel, W. J. Buchanan, then as now Editor of the Indian Medical Gazette, asked me to write some notes on the History of the I.M.S., to form the first article in the Gazette for January, 1901, the first number of the new century. I did so, and in so doing I realised how little I knew about the subject. Since 1901 I have contributed a historical article to the January number of the I.M.G. each year. Nearly all of these articles are embodied in this history, in most cases with considerable additions and alterations. I am indebted to Messrs. Thacker, Spink, and Co., Calcutta, for permission to make use of these papers.
In a work of this kind there must be many errors, both of commission and of omission, I hope chiefly the latter. I am conscious that there is a good deal of repetition in the book. The same facts have, in several cases, been given more than once, as they seemed to be required, to make the account complete, in more than one place, e.g. under Early History, and again under Rank, Pay, &c.
The record of the deputation of Surgeon Robert Adams, of Bombay, to attend Haidar Ali, and of his service of over five years in Maisur, came to my notice too late to enter it in its proper place, in Chap. II, European Surgeons in the Service of Oriental Potentates. It seemed to me a matter of too much interest to omit, and the only way to include it was to put it in a supplementary chapter. Various other points, of less interest, which were either omitted, or found too late to enter in their proper places, have also been given in Chap. XLV, Addenda.
Some of the original documents now given have, as far as I know, not been published before, e.g. the Cornwallis regulations of 1788, and the Minute of the Medical Board in 1796 on the Military and Civil question, a Minute the arguments of which are as forcible and as appropriate to-day, as when they were written, over a century ago. Part of Dalhousie's Minute of February, 1856, on the I.M.S. is given in Dr. George Smith's work, Physician and Friend, but the greater part of it I have not seen before, except in the original manuscript.
This work does not profess to be a general history of India,