Birth of Method

On the fifteenth of June, 1744, the storm-battered 60-gun centurion approached the coast of England. The battleship of his Majesty's Royal Navy was the only surviving vessel of a squadron of eight ships that had set sail four years earlier under Commodore Jorge Anson on a circumnavigation of the world. Of the 1955 sailors who sailed, only about 500 returned home. It was not the attacks of the natives, the fighting with the hostile Spanish fleet, or the fierce storms that were to blame. More than 1,300 sailors were taken by scurvy – a mysterious disease that for centuries killed those who went on a long sea voyage. The surviving members of the expedition wrote: Soon after we passed the Straits of Le Mer, scurvy made itself felt. Our long…
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