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These, in my opinion, always existed in their respective native places, as proceeding from the same natural causes perpetually exerting themselves.
It is found by experience, that some of these are contagious, and that the contagion is frequently propagated to very remote countries by means suitable to the nature of this or that disease. For some not only communicate the infection by immediate contact of the found with the morbid body, but have such force, that they spread their pernicious feeds by emitting ve. ry subtile particles; which lighting on soft spongy substances, such as cotton, wool, raw-silk, and cloathing, penetrate into them, and there remain pent up
for a considerable time : in the same manner as I have elsewhere accounted for the wide progress of the plague from Africa its original country *. Others, on the contrary, are infectious by contact alone. Wherefore the firft fort may be spread by commerce, but the latter by cohabitation only.
Of this kind is the venereal diseafe; which, according to historians of the most undoubted credit, is a native of some of the American islands, especially Hispaniola, and was brought over into Spain near the end of the fifteenth century: thence, in the year 1495, it was carried 10 Naples, during the war between Ferdinand of Arragon and the French, by fome Spanish troops, who had contracted it in the aforesaid island. For these and the French foldiers having at different times had communication with the same women, according as the same towns alternately fell into the hands of the two contending parties ; this filthy disease first spread itself over the two armies, * Discourse on the plague, part i. chap. i.
thence made its way into Italy, and has since infected most parts of the habitable world *.
And I very well remember, that a certain English merchant, who had resided many years in Muscovy, assured me, that the venereal disease was hardly known in that country before the reign of the late Czar Peter the Great : because till that time the traffic carried on by the Muscovites did not require much communication or dealing with foreigners. But after that emperour had taken the resolution of visiting other parts of Europe, and had sent many of his subjects abroad to learn trades and manufactures; these carried back with them the dire effects of their unlawful lust into their native country; which raged there with the greater feverity, as inflammations and ulcers are the more difficult to be cured in cold climates.
But to return to the small-pox : I really take this diseafe to be a plague of its own kind, which was originally bred in Africa, and more especially in Æthiopia, as the heat is excessive there ; and thence, like the true plague, was brought into Arabia and Egypt after the manner above mentioned.
Now, if any one should wonder why this contagion was so long confined to its native foil, without spreading into distant countries : I pray him to consider, that foreign commerce was much more Iparingly carried on in ancient times, than in our days, efpecially between mediterranean nations; and likewise, that the ancients seldom or never undertook long voyages by fea, as we do. And Ludolfus observes that the Ethiopians in particular were ignorant of
* Vid. Aftruc de morbis venereis, lib. i. cap. 10. 11.
mercantile affairs * Therefore, when in process of tiine the mutual intercourse of different nations became more frequent by wars, trade, and other caudes ; this contagious disease was spread far and wide. But towards the end of the eleventh century, and in the beginning of the twelfth, it gained vast ground, by means of the wars waged by a confederacy of the Christian powers against the Saracens, for the recovery of the Holy Land ; this being the only visible recompense of their religious expeditions, which they, brought back to their respective countries. From that time forward, wherefoever this most infectious diftemper once got a footing, there it has obstinately held uninterrupted poffeffion. For the purulent matter, which runs out of the pustules, being caught in the bed-cloaths and wearing apparel of the sick, and there drying, and remaining invisible, becomes a nursery of the disease, which foon. breaks forth on those who happen to come in contact with it; especially, if the season of the year, and state of the air, be favourable to its action.
In this place, it may not be improper, in confirmation of the foregoing doctrine, to relate the following fact, which was attested to me by a gentleman of great experience, who had been for many years governour of Fort St George in the East Indies. While he was in that post, a Dutch ship put into the Cape of Good Hope, some of the crew of which had had the small-pox in the voyage thither. The natives of that country, who are called Hottentots, are so wild and stupid, that they might seem to be of a middle species between men and brutes; and it is their cu* Hift. Æthiop. lib. iv. cap. 7.
stom to do all servile offices for the sailors who land there. Now, it happened, that some of these miferable wretches were employed in washing the finen and cloaths of those men who had had the distemper : whereupon they were seized with it, and it raged among them with such violence, that most of them perished under it. But as soon as fatal experience had convinced this ignorant people, that the disease was spread by contagion, it appeared, that they had natural fagacity enough to defend themselves. For they contrived to draw lines round the infected part of their country, which were so strictly guarded, that, if any person attempted to break through them, in order to fly from the infection, he was immediately shot dead. Now, this fact seems the more remarkable, as it evinces, that necessity compelled a people of the most gross ignorance and stupidity to take the fame measure, which a chain of reasoning led us formerly to propose, in order to stop the progress of the plague * ; and which, some time after, had a happy effect, not only in checking, but even entirely extinguishing that dreadful calamity in France, where it broke forth, and threatened the rest of Europe with destruction.
Of the nature and forts of the small-pox.
Having fufficiently proved, in the preceding chap
lential tribe; in order to a clearer knowledge of its * Discourse on the plague, part ii. chap. 2.
nature, I will briefly premise my notions of pestilence.
All fevers which attack the whole body, may be conveniently ranged under the three general heads of simple, putrid, and peftilential.
Simple fevers arise from a long-continued excess of velocity in the motion of the blood, and its confequences, a disturbance of its due mixture, and an interruption of the secretion of the humours in the fee veral parts of the body.
Putrid fevers are caused, when, together with a concurrence of these circumstances, a lentor ensues in the capillary blood-vessels; and as this fizy blood is gradually pushed forward by the force of the circulation into the veins, it there becomes putrid, and impregnates the rest of the mass with a malignant quality, which is communicated both to the internal and external parts of the body.
Pestilential fevers, in fine, I call all thofe which are accompanied with fome sort of poison. Now, of whatever nature this happen to be, it not only infects and corrupts the blood, but more particularly feizes on the subtile nervous liquor, which is called the animal spirits. Hence it is, that these feverz act with greater rapidity and violence, and are much more fatal than the other forts. But this one circumstance is common to all fevers, that nature endeavours to conquer the disease, by raising some struggle or ther, in order to throw forth from the body whatever is prejudicial to life.
Now, whereas the word nature is made use of by physicians in the cure of all diseases, I will here, once for all, plainly declare my sentiments of what