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on particular occasions, bring upon him some inconveniencies and sufferings.

Salus populi suprema lex eft. Does any body complain of ill usage upon his house being ordered to be blown up, to stop the progress of a fire which endangers the whole street ; when he reflects that his neighbour, who by this means escapes, must have suffered the fame loss for his fake, had it so happened that each had been in the other's habitation ?

But in truth, there is no cruelty, but on the contrary real compassion in thefe regulations, with the limitations I have made: and I am fully persuaded, that whoever with judgment considers the nature of this disease, will easily fee that the rules here laid down are not only the best, but indeed the only ones that can effectually answer the purpose. And therefore I should not doubt but that, if this calamity (which God avert!) should be brought into our country, even the voice of the people would cry out for help in this way : notwithstanding wrong notions of their liberties may sometimes over possess their minds, and make them, even under the best of governments, impatient of any restraints.






Of the origin and nature of the plague.

'Y design in this discourse being to propose what measures I think most

proper to defend the nation against the plague, and for this end to consider the nature of pestilential contagion as far as is necessary to set forth the reasonableness of the precepts I shall lay down; before I proceed to any particular directions, I shall inquire a little into the causes whence the plague arises, and by what means the infection of it is spread.

In the most ancient times, plagues, like many o. ther diseases, were looked upon as divine judgments sent to punish the wickedness of mankind and therefore the only defence fought after was by facrifices and lustrations to appease the anger of incensed heaven *

How much foever may be said to justify reflections of this kind, since we are assured from sacred history, that divine vengeance has been sometimes executed by plagues ; yet it is certain, that such speculations pushed too far, were then attended with ill confequences, by obstructing inquiries into natural caufes, and encouraging a fupine submission to those e

Celsus de medic. in præfat. Morbos ad iram deorum immortalium relatos elle, et ab iisdem opem posci folitam.

vils ; against which the infinitely good and wife author of nature has in most cases provided proper remedies.

Upon this account, in after-ages, when the profession of physic came to be founded upon the knowledge of nature, Hippocrates strenuoully opposed this opinion, that some particular ficknesses were divine, or sent immediately from the gods; and affirmed, that no diseases came more from the gods than others, all coming from them, and yet all owning their proper natural causes : that the sun, cold, and winds were divine ; the changes of which, and their influences on human bodies, were diligently to be confidered by a physician *

Which general position this great author of physic intended to be understood with respect to plagues as well as other distempers : how far he had realon herein, will in some measure appear, when we come to search into the causes of this disease. . But in order to this inquiry, it will be convenient, in the first place, to remove an erroneous opinion fome have entertained, that the plague differs not from a common fever in any thing besides its greater violence.

Whereas it is very evident, that since the small-pox and measles are allowed to be distempers distinct in fpecie from all others, on account of certain symptoms peculiar to them; fo, for the same reason, it ought to be granted, that the plague no less differs in kind from ordinary fevers : for there are a set of distinguishing fymptoms as essential to the pestilence, as the respective eruptions are to the smallpox or measles; which are indeed (as I have men* Libr. de morbo facro; et libr. de aëre, locis, et aquis. tioned in the preface) each of them plagues of a particular kind.


As the small-pox discharges itself by pustules raifed in the skin ; fo in the plague the noxious humour is thrown out either by tumours in the glands, as by a parotis, bubo, and the like ; or by carbuncles thrust out upon any part of the body. And these eruptions are so specific marks of this distemper, that one or other of them is never abfent : unless through the extreme malignity of the disease, or weakness of nature, the patient sinks, before there is time for any discharge to be made this way; that matter, which should otherwise have been cast out by external tumours, seizing the viscera, and producing mortifications in them.

Sometimes indeed it happens, by this means, that these tumours in the glands, and carbuncles, do not appear ; just as a bad kind of the small-pox in tender constitutions fometimes proves fatal before the eruption, by a diarrhoea, hæmorrhage, or some fuch effect of a prevailing malignity.

The French physicians having distinguished the fick at Marseilles in to five classes, according to the degrees of the distemper, observed bubo's and carbuncles in all of them, except in those of the first clafs, who were fo terribly seized, that they died in a few hours, or at farthest in a day or two, finking under the oppreffion, anxiety, and faintness, into which they were thrown by the first stroke of the disease ; having mor. tifications immediately produced in fome of the viscera, as appeared upon the dissection of their bodies #.

* Observat. et reflex. touchant la nature, &c. de la pefte de Marseilles, pag. 47. et suiv.



And this observation of the French phyficians, whichi agrees with what other authors have remarked in former plagues, fully proves, that these eruptions are so far from being caused solely by the greater violence of this disease, than of other fevers, that they are only absent, when the distemper is extraordinary fierce ; but otherwise they constantly attend it, even when it has proved fo mild, that the first notice the patient has had of his infection, has been the appearance of such a tumour; as, besides these French physicians, Other authors of the best credit have assured us. From whence we must conclude, that these eruptions are no less a specific mark of this disease, than those are by which the small-pox. and measles are known and distinguished. And as in the first class of those attacked with the plague, fo likewise in these two diftempers we often find the patient to die by the violence of the fever, before any eruption of the pustules can be made.

This circumstance of the plague being mortal before any eruptions appeared, was attended with a great misfortune. The physicians and surgeons appointed to examine the dead bodies, finding none of the distinguishing marks of the disease, reported to the magistrates that it was not the plague ; and persisted in their opinion, till one of them fuffered for his ignorance, and himself, with part of his family, died by the infection : this assurance having prevented the necessary precautions *.

And this in particular shews us the difference between the true plague, and those fevers of extraordinary malignity, which are the usual forerunners of it,

* Journal de la contagion à Marseilles, p. 6.


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