Three sick books: iii) Sick Book maintained during service as Ship's Surgeon on HMS Edgar and HMS Romney, with title ("Edgar's Diary of the Sick"), daily entries recording those in the sick bay, their name, age, date taken sick, date of recovery or when sent to hospital, disease and symptoms, and medical treatment, c.376 pages, 1 July 1779 to 31 December 1782, large 4to (295 x 240mm.), half calf on marbled boards, binding worn, upper cover detached; iv) Greenwich Royal Hospital Sick Book, listing patients' names, ages, date of admission, place admitted from, disease and symptoms, medicine ordered, whether they recovered or died, and their date of discharge, with monthly summary returns of admissions, showing an average intake of between 30-50 admissions per month, mostly of older patients suffering from a wide range of diseases including many cases of fever, bowel cases, phthisis, intemperance, insanity, and other common disorders but with rarer cases including St Vitus Dance and vertigo, also with related notes including on controversy about the treatment of the families of pensioners, and a note that "The air pump vapor Bath was made a trial of on Admiral [John Willett] Payne nine times - under the Direction of Dr Blegborough" (July 1803), 462 numbered pages, 22 December 1790 to August 1803, folio (368 x 270mm.), quarter vellum on marbled boards, worn; v) Greenwich Royal Hospital Sick Book, listing patients' names, ages, date of admission, medicine ordered, place admitted from, and outcome, partially autograph, c.118 pages, plus blanks, 1 January 1815 to 1 December 1818, 8vo (243 x 148 mm.), contemporary calf, worn
"About 1 PM yesterday a Signal was made for a strange Fleet - which proved to be the Spanish Fleet of 13 large (& a number small) Men of War. Our signal being made we soon came up with a No. of the Enemies Ships & engaged. About ten minutes after we left their Sternmost Ship wearing a Broad Pendant she blew entirely up. A shocking sight. One of our Lieut. of Marines & five men were killed: & about 24 wounded & hurt but a number of them do their Duty. 21 of them in the List only. There were two legs to amputate & two badly woundly [sic]..." (17 January 1780)
Robertson was in private practice in Hampshire for much of the 1780s, but in 1790 he was appointed physician in charge of the Royal Hospital, Greenwich, the charitable institution established in 1694 for the care of retired naval men. His sick books provide an important medical record for the hospital over a period of seventeen years, and his diary is a significant additional source for his personal and professional life in Greenwich.
Robertson was a noted authority on fever, publishing 13 volumes on the subject between 1777 and 1812, and became a member of both the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Society. His particular clinical interests can be seen, for example, in his diary note when he first came on board HMS Romney:
"...June 11th  I enter'd on board the Romney - since which time the most general Complaint has been the Influenza which was highly Epidemic throughout Europe as far as I can learn. Various have been the opinions amongst the Faculty of its Origin. Lind & others attributing it to Contagion while many, of whom I profess my self one, attribute it solely to the extremely cold, wet, & variable spring..."
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