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James Esdaile (1808-1859) - a doctor, having studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, in 1830 he was appointed as assistant surgeon to the East India Company. Arriving in Calcutta (then the capital of British India) in 1831, he was spouted to the Hooghly Hospital, just outside the city, where he was also responsible for the local jail hospital. In 1845 he performed his first mesmeric procedure on a convict, in lieu of anaesthesia.

Quickly Esdaile gained a reputation in both European and Indian communities for painless surgery, by 1846 Esdaile's work with mesmerism came to the attention of the Deputy Governor of Bengal, Sir Herbert Maddocks. A committee was appointed to investigate his claims, and in 1846 he was given a small hospital in Calcutta.

From 1848-49, Esdaile ran a mesmeric hospital supported solely by public subscription, sanctioned by, Lord Dalhousie, Governor-General of India

W. Ernst argues that due to the scandal associated with mesmerism and its use amongst Indian science led to his dis-creditation, contemporary newspapers likened him to a trickster. He returned to Scotland via England, having completed his term of colonial service a 'broken and bitter man'. In 1859 he died ages 51, the event was barely reported in either the medical or popular press.

W. Ernst, 'Colonial psychiatry, magic and religion, the case of mesmerism in British India', History of Psychiatry

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