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taken off from pestilential ulcers, without receiving any injury. From hence they conclude *, that this disease is not cominunicated by contagion, but originally bred in the body by the corruption of the bile. · This corruption, they ay, is the effect of unwholefome food ; and the bile thus corrupted, produces a thicknels and a degree of coagulation in the blood, which is the cause of the plague: though this they allow to be enforced by a bad seafon of the year, and the terrours of mind and despair of the inhabitants.
These experiments are indeed curious, but fall very short of what they are brought to prove. The most that can be gathered from them is this : That dogs do not, at least not fo readily, receive peftilential infection from men, as men do from one another; and allo, that the bile is so highly corrupted in a body infected with the plague, that, by putting it into the blood of a dog, it will immediately breed the fame disease.
But it does not follow from hence, that the bile is the seat of the disease, or that other humours of the body are not corrupted as well as this. I make no question but the whole mass of blood is, in this case, in a state of putrefaction ; and consequently that all the liquors derived from it partake of the taint.
Accordingly it appeared afterwards front fome experiments made by Dr Couzier t, that not only the blood, but even the urine from an infected person, infused into the crural vein of a dog, communicated the plague. I will venture to affirm, that if, instead of bile, blood, or urine, the matter of the ulcers had
Le journal des sçavans, 1722, p. 279. + Vid. difsertation sur la contagion de la peste. A Toulouse, 1724. been put into a wound made in the dog, it would have had at least an equally pernicious effect ; as may well be concluded from the inoculation of the finallpox.
As to the dog's eating the corrupted flesh and purulent matter of the patients ; it ought to have been considered that there are fome poifons very powerful when mixed immediately with the blood, which will not operate in the stomach at all; as in particular the faliva of the mad dog and the venom of the viper And therefore Dr Deidier himself, fome months after his former experiments, found that peftiferous bile itself was swallowed by dogs without any harm t.
The right inference to be made from these experiments, I think, would have been this : That since the blood and all the humours are fo greatly corrupted in the plague, as that dogs (though not so liable to catch the distemper in the ordinary way of infection, as men are) may receive it by a small quantity of any of these from a diseased subject bcing mixed with their blood ; it may well be supposed, that the effluvia from an infected person, drawn into the body of one who is found, may be peftiferous and productive of the like disorder.
My assertion, that these French physicians have before them the fullest proofs of this infection, not only appears from these instances of it I have observed to be recorded by themselves; but likewise from what Dr le Moine and Dr Baily I have written, of the manner in which the plague was brought 10 Canour
• Vid. mechanical account of poisons, pag. 31.
gue in the Gevaudan : as alfo from an amazing instance they give us of the great subtilty of this poifon, experienced at Marvejols ; where no less than fixty persons were at once infected in a church, by one that came thither out of an infected house. The plague was carried from Marseilles to Canourgue, as follows. A galley-Lave, employed in burying the dead at Marseilles, escaped from thence to the village of St Laurent de Rivedoit, a league distant from Correjac; where finding a kinsman, who belonged to the latter place, he pretented him with a waistcoat and a pair of stockings he had brought along with him. The kinsman returns to his village, and dies in two or three days ; being followed soon after by three chile dren and their mother. His fon, who lived at Canourgue, went from thence, in order to bury the family; and, at his return, gave to his brother-in-law a cloak he had brought with him : the brother-in-law laying it upon his bed, lost a little child which lay with him, in one day's time, and two days after, his wife ; himself following in seven or eight. The parents of this unhappy family, taking possession of the goods of the deceased, underwent the same fate.
All this abundantiy shews how inexcusable the foresaid physicians in France are, in their opposing the common opinion that the plague is contagious. How. ever, I have paid fo much regard to them, as to in sist the more largely upon the proof of that contagion ; left the opinion of those who have had so much experience of the disease, might lead any one into an errour, in an affair of such consequence, that all my precepts relating to quarantines, and well nigh every particular part of my advice, depends upon it : for if this opinion were a mistake, quarantines, and all the like means of defence, ought to be thrown aside as of no ufe.
But as I continue persuaded, that we have the greatest evidence, that the plague is a contagious disease; fo I have left, without any alteration, all my directions in respect to quarantines : in which, I hope, I have not recommended any thing prejudicial to trade; my advice being very little different from what has been long practised in all the trading ports of Italy, and in other places. Nay, were we to be more remiss in this than our neighbours, I cannot think but the fear they would have of us, must much obstruct our commerce.
But I shall pursue this point no farther : the rather because a very learned physician among themfelves has fince, both by strong reasoning and undeniable inftances, evinced the reality of contagion *.
In a word, the more I consider this matter, the more I am convinced that the precepts I have delivered, both with regard to the preventing the plague froin coming into a country, and the treatment of it when present, are perfectly suitable to the nature of the distemper, and confequently the fittest to be complied with. But how far, in every situation of affairs, it is expedient to grant the powers requisite for putting all of them in practice, it is not my proper business as a physician, to deterinine. No doubt, but at all times these powers ought to be fo limited and restrained, that they may never endanger the rights and liberties of a people. Indeed, as I have had no other view than the public good in this my underta
Aftruc, differtation sur la contagion de la peste. A Touloufe, 1724.80. VOL.II.
king, and the fatissaction of doing somewhat towards the relief of mankind, under the greatest of calamities ; fo I should not, without the utmost concern, see that any thing of mine gave the least countenance to cruelty and oppreffion.
But I muit confcis, I find no reason for any apprehensions of this kind, from any thing I have advanced. For what extraordinary danger can there be, in lodging powers for the proper management
people under the plague, with a council of health, or other magistrates, who fall be accountable, like all other civil officers, for their just behaviour in the execution of them? Though this I must leave to those who are better skilled in the nature of government. But sure I ain, that, by the rules here given, both the fick will be provided for with more humanity, and the country more effectually defended against the progress of the disease, than by any of the methods heretofore generally put in practice, either in our own, or in other nations.
The usage among us, established by act of parliament, of imprisoning in their houses every family the plague feizes on, without allowing any one to pass in or out, but such as are appointed by authority, to perform the necessary offices about the sick, is certainly the feverest treatment imaginable ; as it expofes the whole family to suffer by the fame disease; and consequently is little less than alligning them over to the cruellest of deaths ; as I have thewn in the difcourse.
The methods practised in France are likewise obnoxious to great objections. Crouding the fick to gether in hospitals can serve to no good purpose; but