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[Correspondence] Wakley at sea

Although many details of Thomas Wakley’s life have been well described, little is known about his remarkable 17-month voyage to Calcutta on an East Indiaman when he was 11 years old. Biographers have suggested that his reluctance to discuss this episode might be because he found the experience so traumatic.1–3 Yet, conceivably, the things he witnessed on this trip influenced his choice of a medical career, his radical political views, and his pugnacious personality. His encounters might also have drawn his attention to issues such as medical regulation, flogging, and social injustice.

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