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SIR,
Most humbly offer to you my thoughts concern-

ing the prevention of the plague, which I have put together by your command. As soon as you were pleased to signify to me, in his Majesty's abfence, that their Excellencies the Lords Justices thought it necessary for the public safety, upon the account of the sickness now in France, that proper directions should be drawn up to defend ourselves Vol. II. B

from

from such a calamity ; I most readily undertook the talk, though upon short warning, and with little leisure : I have therefore rather put down the principal heads of caution, than a set of directions in form.

The first, which relate to the performing quarantines, &c. you, who are perfectly versed in the history of Europe, will see are agreeable to what is practifed in other countries, with some new regulations.' Tlie next, concerning the suppressing infection here, are very different from the methods taken in former timez among us, and from what they commonly do abroad; but, I persuade myself, will be found agreeable to reason. : I most heartily wish, that the wife measures the government has already taken, and will continue to take, with regard to the former of these, may make the rules about the latter unnecessary. However, it is fit, we should be always provided with proper means of defence against so terrible an enemy.

May this short essay be received as one instance, among many others, of the care you always shev for your country; and as a testimony of the great esteem and respect, with which I have the honour to

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His book having at first been written only as a

plan of directions for preserving our country from the plague *, was then very short and concise. An act of parliament being immediately after made for performing quarantines, &c. according to the rules here laid down, it passed through seven editions in one year without any alterations. I then thought proper to make some additions to it, in order to shew the reasonableness of the methods prescribed, by giving a more full description of this disease, and collecting fome examples of the good success which had attended fuch measures, when they had becn put in practice. At the fame time I annexed a short chapter relating to the cure of the plague ; being induced thereto by considering how widely most authors have erred in prescribing a heap of useless and very often hurtful medicines, which they recommend under the specious titles of antidotes, specifics, and alexipharmacs : hoping that the great resemblance which I had observed between this disease and the small pox, would justify my writing upon a distemper which I have never seen.

Indeed the small-pox is a true plague, though of a particular kind, bred, as I have fewn all pestilences are, in the fame hot Egyptian climate, and brought into Asia and Europe by the way of commerce ; but most remarkably by the war with the Saracens, called the holy war, at the latter end of the eleventh and the beginning of the twelfth century t. Ever since which time the morbific feeds

* See the dedication. + Vid. Huet. de rebus ad eum pertinentibi , pag. 23.

of

B 2

of it have been preserved in the infected cloaths and the furniture of houses ; and have broken out more or less in all countries, according as the hot and moist temperature of the air has favoured their spreading and the exertion of their force. The mealles is likewise a plague fui generis, and owes its origin to the fame country.

I have now revised my little work once more: and though I cannot find any reason to change my mind as to any material points which regard either the preventing or the stopping the progress of infection ; yet I have here and there added some new strokes of rea. soning, and, as the painters say, retouched the ornaments, and heightened the colouring of the piece.

The substance of the long preface to the last edition is as follows.

I have insisted more at large upon the infection of this disease, than I could ever have thought needful at this time, after Europe has had experience of the distemper for so many ages : had I not been furprised by the late attempts of some physicians in France to prove the contrary, even while they have the most undeniable arguments against them before

In particular, I cannot but very much admire to fee Dr Chicoyneau, and the other physicians, who first gave us obfervations on the plague, when at Marseilles, relate, in the reflections they afterwards published upon those observations, the case of a man who was seized with the plague, upon his burying a young woman dead of it, when no one else dared to approach the body; and yet to see them ascribe his disease, not to his being infected by the woman, but solely to his grief for the loss of her, to whom he

had

their eyes.

had made love, and to a diarrhea which had been fome tiine upon him *. No question but these con. curred to make his disease the more violent ; and perhaps even exposed him to contract the infection : but why Mould it be supposed, that he was not infected, I cannot imagine, when there was so plain an appearance of it. I am as much at a loss to find any colour of reason for their denying infection in another cafe they relate, of a young lady frized with the plague, upon the sudden fight of a pestilential tumour, just broke out upon her maid; not allowing any thing but the lady's surprise to be the cause of her illness +.

The truth is, these physicians had engaged themfelves in an hypothesis, that the plague was bred at Marseilles by a long use of bad aliment, and grew fo fond of their opinion, as not to be moved by the most convincing evidence. And thus it mostly happens, when we indulge conjectures instead of puriuing the true course for making discoveries in nature.

I know they imagine this their sentiment to be abundantly confirmed from fome experiments made by Dr Deidier # upon the bile taken from perfons dead of the plague : which having been either poured into a wound made on purpose in different dogs, or injccted into their veins, never failed, in many trials, to produce in them all the symptoms of the pestilence, even the external ones of bubo's and carbuncks. One dog, upon which the experiment succeeded, had been known, for three months before, to devour greccily the corrupted flesh of infected persons, and pledgets

* Observations sur la peste de Marseille, p. 38. 39. 40. † Ibid. p. 113. Vid. Philos. Tranz. NO

370. taken

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