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travellers relating that these countries are more infested with it than most other parts of Africa.

Grand Cairo is crouded with vast numbers of inhabitants, who for the most part live very poorly and nastily; the streets are very narrow, and clofe: it is situate in a fandy plain at the foot of a niountain, which by keeping off the winds, that would refresh the air, makes the heats very stilling. Through the midst of it passes a great canal, which is filled with water at the overflowing of the Nile; and after the river is decreased, is gradually dried up: into this the people throw all manner of filth, carrion, &c. so that the stench which arises from this, and the mud together, is insufferably offensive *. In this posture of things, the plague every year constantly preys upon the inhabitants; and is only ftopt, when the Nile, by overflowing, washes away this load of filth; the cold winds, which set in at the same time, lending their assistance, by purifying the air.

In Æthiopia, those prodigious swarms of locusts, which at fome times cause a famine, by devouring the fruits of the earth, unless they happen to be carried by the winds clear off into the sea, are observed to entail a new* mischief upon the country, when they die and rot, by raising a pestilence t; the putrefaction being heightened by the excesive intemperance of the climate, which is so very great in this country, that it is infested with violent rains at one season of the year, for three or four months together $. And it is par.

* Vid. le Brun voyage au Levant, c. xxxviii.

+ Vid. Ludolf. hiftor. Ethiop. lib. i. c. 13. & D. Au. guit

. de civitat. Dei, lib. iii. c. ult. I Vid. Ludolf. hiftor. Æthiop. lib. i. c. 5. & comment.


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ticularly observed of this country, that the plague usually invades it, whenever rains fall during the fultry heats of July and August *, that is, as Lucretius expresses it, when the earth is

Intempeftivis pluviisque et folibus iela +. Now, if we compare this last remark of the intemperance of the climate in Ethiopia, with what the Arabian physicians †, who lived near these countries, declare, that pestilences are brought by upseasonable moistures, heats, and want of winds ; I believe we shall be fully instructed in the usual cause of this difcafe. Which, from all these observations compared together, I conclude to arise from the putrefaction so constantly generated in these countries, when that is heightened and increased by the ill state of air now described ; and especially from the putrefaction of animal substances.

It is very plain, that animal bodies are capable of being altered into a matter fit to breed this disease because this is the case of every one who is sick of it, the humours in him being corrupted into a substance which will infect others. And it is not improbable, that the volatile parts with which animals abound, may in some ill states of air in the sultry heats of Africa be converted by putrefaction into a fubftance of the same kind : since, in these colder regions, we sometimes find them to contract a greater degree of acrimony than most other substances will do by putrefying, and also more dangerous for men to come within the reach of their action; as in those perni* J. Leo hift. Afric. lib. i. + Lib. vi. ver. 11c0. Rhas. et. Avicen.



cious, and even poisonous juices, which are fonetimes generated in corrupted carcases : of which I have formerly given une very reinarkable instance *, and, if it were necessary, many inore might be produced, especially in hydropic bodies, and in cancerous tumours. Nay more,

we find animal putrefaction fometimes to produce in these northern climates very saial distempers, though they do not arise to the malignity of the true plague : for such fevers are often bred, where a large number of people are closely confined together; as in gaols, fieges, and camps.

And perhaps it may not be here amiss to remark, that the Egyptians of old were fo fensible how much the putridness of dead animals contributed towards breeding the plague, that they worshipped the bird Ibis for the service it did in devouring great numbers of serpents; which they observed did hurt by their stench when dead, as well as by their bite when alive t.

But no kind of putrefaction is ever heightened in these European countries to a degree capable of producing the true plague : and we learn from the ob. servation of the Arabian physicians, that some indisposition of the air is necessary in the hottest climates, either to cause fo exalted a corruption of the forementioned substances, or at least to enforce upon mens bodies the action of the elluvia exhaled from those substances, while they putrefy. Both which effects may well be expected from the fensible ill qua

* Efiay on poisons. + Cicero de nat. Deor. lib. i. $36. {peaking of these birds, says : Avertunt pestem ab Egypto, cum volucres argues ex vaftitate Libye vento Africo in vedtas interficiunt atque consumunt ; ex quo fit ut illa nec morfu vivæ noceant, nec odore mortua.

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lities of the air before described, whenever they continue and exert their force together any considerable time.

What I have here advanced of the first original of the plague, appears to me fo reasonable, that I cinnot enough wonder at authors for quitting the confideration of such manifeft caufes for hidden qualities; fuch as malignant influences of the heavens; arfenical, bituminous, or other mineral effluvia, with the like imaginary or uncertain agents.

This however I do not lay with design absolutely to exclude all disorders in the air, that are more latent than the intemperate heat and moisture before . mentioned, from a share in increasing and promoting the infection of the plague, where it is once bred : for I rather think this must sometimes be the cafe ; like to what is observed among us in relation to another infectious distemper, namely, the small-pox, which is most commonly spread and propagated by the fame manifest qualities of the air as those here defcribed : notwithstanding which, this distemper is sometimes known to rage with great violence in the very opposite constitution of air, viz. in the winter during dry and frosty weather. But to breed a distemper, and to give force to it when bred, are two different things. And though we should allow any fich fecret change in the air to aslift in the first production of the disease ; yet it may justly be censured in these writers, that they should undertake to determine the specific nature of these secret changes and alterations, which we have no means at all of discovering : fince they do not sew themselves in any such sensible manner, as to come directly under our

examination ;

examination ; nor yet do their effects, in producing the plague, point out any thing of their specific nature.

All that we know is this, that the cause of the plague, whatever it be, is of such a nature, that when taken into the body, it works such changes in the blood and juices, as to produce this disease, by fuddenly giving fome parts of the humours such corrosive qualities, that they either excite inward inflammations and gangrenes, or push out carbuncles and bubo's; the matter of which, when suppurated, communicates the like disease to others : but of the manner how this is done, I shall discourse in the following chapter.



Of the causes which spread the plague.


Have been thus particular in tracing the plague

up to its first origin, in order to remove, as much as possible, all objections against what I shall fay of the causes which excite and propagate it among us. This is done by contagion. Those who are strangers to the full power of this, that is, those who do not understand how subtile it is, and how widely the distemper may be spread by infection, afcribe the rise of it wholly to the malignant quality of the air in all places, where-ever it happens; and, on the other hand, fome have thought that the confideration of the infectious nature of the diseafe must exclude all regard to the influence of the air : whereas the contagion accompanying the disease, and the dif


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