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disease was owing to imported contagion; because we are assured, that this form of the sickness was not peculiar to our island, but that it made great destruction with the same symptoms in Germany, and other countries *.
I call this distemper a plague with lessened force: because though its carrying off thousands for want of right management was a proof of its malignity, which indeed in one respect exceeded that of the common plague itself, (for few, who were destroyed with it, survived the seizure above one natural day), yet its going off safely with profuse sweats in twenty-four hours, when due care was taken to promote that evacuation, shewed it to be what a learned and wise historian calls it, rather a surprise to nature, than obstinate to remedics; who assigns this reason for expressing himself thus, that if the patient was kept warm with temperate cordials, he commonly recovered f. And, what I think yet more remarkable, sweating, which was the natural crisis of this distemper, has been found by great physicians the best remedy against the common plague: by which means, when timely used, that distemper may sometimes be carried off without any external tumours. Nay besides, a judicious observer informs us, that in many of his patients, when he had broken the violence of the distemper by such an artificial sweat, a natural sweafnot excited by medicines would break forth exceedingly refreshing $.
And I cannot but take notice, as a confirmation of what I hive been advancing, that we had here the fame kind of fever in the year 17 13, about the
* Thuani histor. lib. v. + Lord Verulam's history
of Henry VII. T. Vid. Sydenham de peste, ana. 1665.
. . month
month of September, which was called the Dunkirk fever, as being brought by our soldiers from that place. This probably had its original from the plague, which a few years before broke out at Dantzic, and continued some time among the cities of the north. With us this fever began only with a pain in the head, and went off in large sweats usually after a day's confinement: but at Dunkirk it was attended 'with the additional symptoms of vomiting, diarrhœa, &c.
To return from this digression : From all that has been said, it appears, I think, very plainly, that the plague is a real poison, which being bred in the louthern parts of the world, is carried by commerce into other countries, particularly into Turky, where it maintains itself by a kind of circulation from persons to goods: which is chiefly owing to the negligence of the people there, who are stupidly careless in this affair. That when the constitution of the air happens to savour infection, it rages there with great violence: that at that time more especially diseased persons give it to one another, and from them contagious matter is lodged in goods of a loose and soft texture, which being packed up and carried into other countries, let out, when opened, the imprisoned feeds of contagion, and produce the disease whenever the air is disposed to give them force; otherwise they may be dissipated without any considerable ill effects. And lastly, that the air does not usually diffuse and spread these to any great distance, if intercourse and commerce with the place infected be strictly prevented.
Vol. Is. I PART
Of the Methods to be taken against the PLAGUE.
Of preventing infeclion from other countries.
AS it is a satissaction to know, that the plague is not a native of our country, so this is likewise an encouragement to the utmost diligence in finding out means to keep ourselves clear from it.
This caution consists of two parts: The preventing its being brought into our island; and, if such a calamity should happen, the putting a stop to its spreading among us.
The first of these is provided for by the established method of obliging ships that come from infected places, to perform quarantine: as to which, I think it necessary, that the following rules be observed.
Near to our several ports, there should be lazarettoes built in convenient places, on little islands, if it can so be, for the reception both of men and goods, which arrive from places suspected of infection: the keeping men in quarantine on board the ship being not sufficient; the only use of which is to observe whether any die among them. For infection may be preserved so long in cloaths, in which it is once lodged, that as much, nay more of it, if sickness continues in the ship, may be brought on shore at the end than at the beginning of forty days: unless a new quarantine be begun every time any person dies; which might not end but with the destruction of the whole ship's crew.
If there has been any contagious distemper in the ship; the sound men should leave their cloaths, which should be funk in the sea, the men warned and shaved, and having fresh cloaths, should stay in the lazaretto thirty or forty days. The reason of this is, because persons may be recovered from a disease themselves, and yet retain matter of infection about them a considerable time; as we frequently see the smallpox taken from those who have several days before passed through the distemper.
The sick, if there be any, should be kept in houses remote from the sound, and, some time after they are well, should also be washed and shaved, and have fresh cloaths; whatever they wore while sick being funk or buried: and then being removed to the houses of the sound, should continue there thirty or forty ddys.
I am particularly careful to destroy the cloaths of the sick, because they harbour the very quintessence of contagion. A very ingenious author *, in his admirable description of the plague at Florence in the year 1348, relates what himself saw: That two hogs finding in the streets the rags which had been thrown out from off a poor man dead of the disease, after snuffling upon them, and tearing them with their teeth, they fell into convulsions, and died in less than an hour. The learned Fracastorius acquaints us, that in his time, there being a plague in Verona, no less than twenty-five persons were successively killed
* Boccaccio Decameron, giornat. prim.
by the infection of one far garmeot *. And Forcstus gives a like instance of seven children, who died by playing upon cloaths brought to Akkmaer in Nor in Hcliaad, from an infected house in Zealand f. The laie Mr Williams, chaplain to Sir Robert Sutton, when ambailidonr at Constantinople, used to relate a story of the Vast nature told him by a basta: That in an expedition this bafTa made to the frontiers of Poland, one of the jan; series under his conun^ad died of the plague; whose jacket, a very rich one, beiaw bought by another janisary, it was no sooner put on, but he also was taken sick, and died: and the same misfortune befel five janisaries more, who afterwards wore it. This the bafla related to Mr Williams, chiefly for the sake of this farther circumstance, that the incidents now mentioned prevailed upon him to order the burning or the garment: designing by this instance to let Mr Williams fee there were Turks who allowed themselves in so much freedom of thought, as not to pay that strict regard to the Mahometan doctrine of satality, as the vulgar among them do.
If there has been no sickness in the ship, I fee no reason why the men should perform quarantine. Instead of this, they may be washed, and their cloaths aired in the lazaretto, as goods, for one week.
But the greatest danger is from such goods as are apt to retain infection, such as cotton, hemp, and flax, paper or books, silk of all sorts, linen, wool, feathers, hair, and all kinds of skins. The lazaretto for these should be at a distance from that for the
* De centagione, 1. ill. c. 7. f Observat. 1. vi.
sch;-l. ad observ. 2z.