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Title: Doctor Mead's Short discourse explain'd - Being a clearer account of pestilential contagion, and preventing.
Author: Mead, Richard
Language: English
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                            _Doctor MEAD_’s

                            Short DISCOURSE

                               EXPLAIN’D.

                                BEING A

                           _Clearer_ ACCOUNT

                                   OF

                        Pestilential Contagion,

                                  AND

                             _PREVENTING_.


            _Nec satis est dixisse, ego mira poemata pango._

                             [Illustration]

                               _LONDON_:

               _Printed, and Sold by _W. BOREHAM_, at the
                  Angel in _Pater-noster Row_._ 1721.



------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             [Illustration]



                              Dr. _MEAD’s_
                            Short Discourse
                               EXPLAIN’D.


Many and various are the Opinions about the Design, as well as about the
Meaning and real and true Sense of the short Discourse lately writ by
the Celebrated Dr. _Mead_, for preventing the Plague. The various Turns
of the Heads of different Men, their different Capacities, and the
Sublimity of the Doctor’s Style may, no doubt, occasion all this Variety
in understanding Him and his Book. Some, and if we may judge by the
great Run and Demand for his Book, the greatest Number of the People of
all Ranks expected some _Esculapian_, but easy Rules, whereby they might
govern and conduct their Life against so silent an Enemy as the
Pestilence, which walketh in Darkness. This seems to be more than a
_Conjecture_, because this great Demand ceas’d of a sudden, as the
Plague it self commonly does, after they found the Physician had no hand
in it, or that his Rules were locked up for the Favourites of his
Faculty. And as the People commonly make the best Judgment of Things
after a little Experience, so we find this Judgment of the Town
confirmed, by what his _Friends_, _Adepts_, and other _Officers_, who
only understand or declare what Dr. _Mead_ would have believed; and
accordingly they labour to declare, that the genuine Meaning and Design
of the Celebrated Doctor was, to give a Politick Account, how the Plague
may be staved off by Force of Arms.

I grant this Authority is very cogent; yet, on the other hand, if we
either consider the Title Page of the Book, the great Accurateness and
Veracity of Dr. _Mead_, as well as his signal _Humility_, I must crave
leave to dissent, at this time, from the Reports of these Men, tho’ they
carry his daily and hourly Orders: for how do such Reports sute all
those his known good Qualities, the last more especially. Can any Man
think it consistent with his singular Humility, to teach the Secretary
of State, what has been practised in our own and other Countries for
some hundred of Years: _Quarantines and Pest-Houses_, or if the Doctor
pleases, _Lazarettoes_, are not unknown to English Lawyers, nor English
Ministers. And therefore I think it much the fairest Course, to consider
the Discourse well, because it is short, and from thence to draw the
Sense of its Author.

To do all imaginable Right to Dr. _Mead_, we will begin with the
Title-Page, that nothing material may seem to be neglected. There we
find it is to be a Discourse concerning _Pestilential_ Contagion, and
Methods to prevent it. Turning next to the Dedication, he tells his
Patron that he rather chuses to _put down the principal Heads of
Caution, than a Set of Directions in Form_. This Head he seems to
suggest chiefly to consist in performing Quarantines, and other things
that may be collected from History. The next (Head I suppose) is
concerning the _suppressing Infection here_; which he tells us is _very
different from the Methods taken in former times among us, and from what
they commonly do abroad; but_ (as he very modestly perswades himself)
_will be found agreeable to Reason_. This Account differs very much from
the Rumours and Opinions now prevailing in the World; for we are to be
entertain’d with a preventing Method, as far as Physick and Politicks
extend, and on that Account cannot fail to be very new when finished;
because all former Accounts are very defective, the silent Attacks of
the Pestilence having been hitherto undiscover’d by all former
Physicians. And therefore is there any Person so hard-hearted, or so
stupid, that does not rejoyce and prick up his Ears at those ravishing
Expressions, who does not desire to be instructed in this Method of
preventing this unmerciful Enemy to Mankind. Come on then, and listen to
the Celebrated Dr. _Mead_, who brings Death to Pestilential Contagion;
as he is said to have promis’d while he was composing this Work. But we
will next follow Dr. _Mead_ into the Book it self, where we find that he
thinks it _necessary to premise somewhat in general concerning
Contagion, and the Manner by which it acts_. But alas! we are to meet
with nothing but Disappointments, so soon are we fallen from all our
Hopes and Expectations: Nothing to be found either of _Contagion_, or
the manner of its acting, tho’ the Title of the Book promises it, and
the first entring upon the Discourse declares it to be necessary; This
is the very Soul of the Book, the subject Matter upon which every thing
turns, the Cause of the Plague, and the Indication for preventing and
curing the Plague, are to be drawn out of it.

Besides, the most ancient and best Physicians knew nothing of Contagion,
and far less of _Pestilential Contagion_; Words only brought in by
Physicians in later times, and of Ignorance; and therefore such
suspected Words ought to be well described and defined before they are
made use of; either in discovering the Nature of abstruse Diseases, or
when we are to found Methods of preventing or curing them, upon such
Discoveries.

To leave this Enquiry about Contagion to another Occasion, we will only
observe, that this necessary Article is overseen and neglected by the
Accurate Dr. _Mead_, for Reasons well known to himself, and easily to be
guessed at by every body. It must be acknowledg’d that the Doctor’s way
of writing and inquiring is very singular, the remaining part of his
Book being carried on without Principles, or any known thing with which
his Subject to be explained has any relation.

But, as I have now undertaken to make this short Discourse more
intelligible, I will pursue my Design in Dr. _Mead_’s Method, as far as
that does not obscure the Subject: In that Case I will take the Liberty
to keep the Thread of our Discourse as much in our view is it is
possible. Dr. _Mead_ then having taken leave of _Contagion_, tells us,
that this unknown _Contagion is propagated by three Causes, The Air,
diseased Persons, and Goods transported from infected Places_. What a
propagating Cause may be, shall be left to those that deal in
Metaphysicks, to determine; it matters not what it appears to be, while
the begetting Cause is unknown.

As to Air, he now undertakes to shew us how it becomes _Infectious, and
how it communicates its noxious Quality to other Bodies_. The first, by
the Authority of _Hippocrates_ and _Galen_; but in this he mistakes his
Authors, as he commonly does when they do not come up to his Purpose;
for _Hippocrates_ is thought, by many Authors, not to treat of the
Plague, in this third Book of his Epidemicks; _Galen_, in the Commentary
quoted by Dr. _Mead_, is so far from thinking that _Hippocrates_ was
resolved to give us Cases of the Plague, that he thought quite
otherwise: And for the Truth of this Assertion, take an irrefragable
Authority, _instar omnium_, the learned Dr. _Friend_, who says at the
Remark [1]__Λοιμωδης_, hic non est proprie pestilens & contagiosus,
siquidem in his morbis ab Hippocrate descriptis, nullum est contagii
vestigium: Sed ut Galenus innuit aliud non est, quam _Επιδημια
ὀλέθριος__. And a little after, _sed ipse titulus Galeno paululum
suspectus est_.

[Footnote 1: _Sect. 2._]

We will not insist upon this Sense of _Hippocrates_; but suppose he
there truly treats of the Plague, and that he has observed such a
Temperament of Air to have preceded it, what is this to Contagion and
Infection, which neither _Hippocrates_ nor _Galen_ ever dream’d of.
Besides, _Hippocrates_ calls the Plague a Fever, and in his Opinion
several Affections of Air, to him, and us, perhaps, unknown, produced
Plagues, or Fevers (for these Words are synonimous with him) and the
greatest Part of other Diseases. So that it is manifest from
_Hippocrates_, that this, and many other Alterations of the Air do not
make it _Infectious_.

The following Paragraph is of no Force, after what is now said
concerning _Hippocrates_; the best Historian, that is not a Physician,
is never presumed to go beyond an Account and Relation of Matter of
Fact, as he apprehends it; and so far went the great _Thucydides_, in
relating the Plague of _Athens_. We will rather consider what the Doctor
alledges for strengthning his Conjecture about Contagion. [2]_Stinks of
stagnating Waters, in hot Weather; putrid Exhalations from the Earth;
and above all, the Corruption of dead Carcasses being unburied, have
occasion’d infectious Diseases._ Let us now suppose this Account to be
true, yet his chief Article about Carcasses is absolutely false, as may
be prov’d by one of the best Physicians in any Age; what is all this to
Contagion breeding the Plague: For suppose again, some or all of them
occasion’d _infectious_ Diseases, the Consequence is not, _Ergo_, the
Plague; there being many contagious Diseases that are neither _Plague_
nor Mortal.

[Footnote 2: _Page 3._]

Yet, as if all this were Demonstration, he asserts, That the Plague is
produced by a _Concurrence_ of Causes; _and their first Effect is a
Degree of Stagnation in the Air_, which is follow’d by _Corruption_, and
Putrefaction. It is needless to enter upon this Hint of a new
_Hypothesis_; for if his Machine of Contagion, or Infection, be good,
these are unnecessary. But alas! the celebrated Doctor has, in the
Conclusion, destroy’d the whole Fabrick he had rear’d with so much
Trouble, after he had borrow’d Brick from one, Mortar from another, and
Timber from a third; and only because he became, against Nature and his
own Genius, a Master-Builder. Is a Concurrence of all the supposed
Causes necessary to make a Plague? Then there never was a Plague in the
World; and that because these Causes never all met together: A hopeful
Conclusion! and which at once delivers the World of insufferable Fears,
they hitherto groan’d under, by a vulgar Error; which is now contrary to
Experience, because it is so to Dr. _Mead_’s Reasoning.

_Hippocrates_, on the other Hand, undertakes only to relate the
Constitution of the Year when _Plagues_ and _Fevers_ were very frequent;
he never thought of making any particular Constitution, or the Weather
in it, the Cause of Plagues universally: If he had, Experience should
have shewn the contrary, to which he would have submitted. But not to
enter into any other Constitutions that might happen in _Greece_,
Experience cries loudly against this _Hypothesis_ of Dr. _Mead_; since
we know that _hard_ and _continued frosty_ Weather produces the
Pestilence, most commonly, in our Northern Climates. The Winter 1664,
was a continued Frost all through, as Dr. _Hodges_ informs us; yet the
Plague broke out in the _Christmas_ time, when it was in its _Strength_.
The Plague in _Dantzick_, mention’d by Dr. _Mead_, was in the Winter,
when every thing was bound up with a severe _Frost_; yet so violent was
this Plague, that it bred the _Dunkirk-Fever_ in the Fag-end of it, as
Dr. _Mead_ learnedly conjectures. So that the Pestilence frequently, and
most commonly, happens in a Season very opposite to what the Doctor
finds necessary for breeding _Infection and Corruption_, the
_Fore-runners_ of a Plague.

From all this Account it is manifest, that we hitherto know nothing of
_Contagion_, nor of any Corruption convey’d into Air, which it is to
foment and cherish, to beget or propagate the Pestilence; as also that
this Notion of Contagion taken up and espoused by later Physicians, is
very ill supported by them, and still worse by Dr. _Mead_, who is little
acquainted with their Opinions, so common and obvious in Books of
Physick. And therefore as he has been very unhappy in discovering the
_Change_ in Air that makes it infectious; we will try for better
Success, in his discovering the _Means_, whereby it _communicates its
noxious Quality to other Bodies_.

In order to pursue this Discourse with greater Exactness, it is
necessary to ease our Memory from carrying the different Particulars of
seven Pages, and not to oblige the Reader to take, on trust, what is
writ so long before. It may, perhaps, be useful to Dr. _Mead_ to tell
us[3], that he, lately, left the _Air in a putrid State_; but that is
nothing to us, who are at this present time sensible that the Doctor has
not been able to bring the least Speck of Putrefaction into it. However,
not to balk him in his projected Means, whereby it communicates its
noxious Quality; he desires us to observe, that _Putrefaction is a kind
of Fermentation, and that all Bodies in a Ferment emit a volatile active
Spirit, of Power to agitate, and put into intestine Motions, that is, to
change the Nature of other Fluids, into which it insinuates it self_.
Now we have observed it, we find every Article of this Observation to be
false; for Putrefaction does not always precede Fermentation, nor that
every body in a Ferment emits volatile Spirits, nor that volatile
Spirits have a Power to agitate, or to put into intestine Motions all
Liquors into which they insinuate themselves; and still far less, that
being put into intestine Motions, is to change the Nature of the Fluid
thus put in Motion. What Use the Doctor may have for this Roll of
precarious Assertions, time may tell us: for he has now got the
Master-Key of all Philosophy, even _Fermentation_, into his Hand. By
Fermentation _Stones_, _Metals_, _Plants_, _Animals_, and (if it pleases
him) the _Pestilence_, are generated, and cherished. This makes
Diseases; this cures them; by this we live, by this we die.

[Footnote 3: Page 11.]

Neither does this Machine only answer all our Wants in performing the
greater, but even the smaller feats, as we chance to employ it: for if
we are asked, why _Glow-birds_ shine in the Night? or why _wet Hay_
takes Fire of it self, _&c._ one short Answer is sufficient to all
these, that these great Works are done by _Fermentation_. A Poet in
ancient times, pronounced those Nations happy, that had their rural Gods
growing in their Gardens. But I esteem the Man far more happy, who has
at hand so ready an Answer to every thing: who has got a Machine equally
serviceable on every occasion, the _Philosopher’s Stone_, the _universal
Medicine_, the making a Plague.

Being thus possessed of this useful Machine, he tells us what wonderful
feats he could perform by it, with the Help of _Bellini_’s Doctrine of
Fevers, if he had any time to bestow on so _great a Digression_: for he
could shew us, _how the Alterations made in the Blood will favour
Pestilential Diseases, by rendering the Body obnoxious to them_. Why,
this is the Favour we have waited for in eleven tedious Pages; and if he
writes in English, we may thus be taught how the Blood is affected in
Pestilential Diseases, by laying us a-bed languishing with them. This
would not only be one step towards Contagion, as he artfully begins the
next Paragraph, but might fully inform us of every thing we want to know
concerning it. Why should the Great and Celebrated Dr. _Mead_ call this
a Digression? I wish he would begin thus to digress: but it is now too
late, since he has already digressed from all his Title-Page, and the
half of his Preface. _Contagion_ was dropt at first, and now we find
that _Pestilential Contagion_ has no better Fate. How _preventing_ may
thrive under his Hands, is not hard to guess, since he knows nothing of
what he promises to prevent. These _Methods are very different from
those taken in former times among us, and from what they commonly do
abroad_. Insomuch, that had any body writ in this Method, besides the
Celebrated Doctor, I should have thought him the most ignorant,
impertinent, and self-sufficient Person that ever made a Sale of
Physick.

What Account can he give to Physicians, for thus despising the received
Opinions of _Hippocrates_, and of all their learned and experienc’d
Predecessors, who unanimously declare, that the Plague differs in
nothing from a Fever; or else that a Fever attends every Plague of
Pestilence. And, therefore, in him is all Physick, or else he knows
nothing of it.

Nay, how can he answer it to himself, who in his Manifesto, in the very
next Paragraph, is under an unavoidable Want of a Fever he formerly
neglected. Here he tells us a Tale, That, _the next_ (Step towards
Contagion, and it is not safe to go too near it) _as it seems to me,
proceeds after this Manner_. This kind of introductory Humility has been
very fashionable, of late, among dignify’d Authors; for in advancing a
Proposition, whereof they can bring no Proof, it is not to be thought
how humble, how self-deny’d they are in that Instant; but they _rant_,
_swagger_, and _bully_, if they get their Reader but Three Lines
further. So this celebrated Author, after this humble Cringe, tells us,
_The Blood in all malignant Fevers, especially pestilential ones_ (to be
sure) _at the latter End of the Disease, does, like fermenting Liquors,
throw off a great Quantity of active Particles upon the several Glands
of the Body, particularly upon those of the Mouth and Skin, from which
the Secretions are naturally the most constant and large. These, in
pestilential Cases, although the Air be in a right State, will generally
infect those who are very near to the sick Person; otherwise are soon
dispersed and lost._

The first Part of this Declaration, if my Memory fails me not, is taken
from the Doctor’s elaborate Essay on Poisons; and is brought forth with
all its primitive Elegance, for the present Purpose; but by no means
answers his Want of it: For it does not appear, by _any manner of
Observation_, that the Blood throws off any active Particles at the
latter End of _malignant_ Fevers, _so there is no need to have Recourse
to this_ Supposition. But why upon any Glands? This Expression does not
favour of understanding _Anatomy_. Why upon the Glands of the Mouth?
Surely this Supposition is not of any Use in this Place, however
serviceable it might prove in the mentioned Book, when the _Slabbering_
of a mad Dog was upon the Anvil. Moreover, Is Secretion most constantly
performed at the Glands of the Mouth and of the Skin? Surely not, as
_Sanctorius_ evinces, and is evident from the Doctrine of Secretions,
perfectly well explain’d many Years ago.

Next, let us suppose that this is Standard Physick, as it is quite the
Reverse of it; what mighty matter is to be drawn from it? Why, these
active Particles, tho’ the Air be pure, _will infect those who are very
near to the sick Person; otherwise are soon dispersed and lost_. I hope
there is no harm in the last, and there is no Proof alledg’d for the
former. So that his next Step towards Contagion, does not proceed at
all. I cannot tell how well he manages in the remaining Part of the
Paragraph; and therefore I will only set it in View, that any Person of
a more enlighten’d Understanding than my self may profit by the Doctor’s
own Words. _But when in an evil Disposition of this they meet with these
subtle Parts its Corruption has generated, by uniting with them, they
become much more active and powerful, and likewise more durable and
lasting, so as to form an infectious Matter, capable of conveying the
Mischief to a great Distance from the diseased Body, out of which it was
produced._

Now if Dr. _Mead_’s Narration is to the Purpose, it goes further than he
design’d it should; for how are the active Particles, like fermented
Liquors, thrown out of the Blood in the latter End of malignant Fevers,
and that in so great Plenty, and of so great Energy, that they
themselves had been able to have helped to his next Step of Contagion,
if he had not luckily interposed with a saving Clause, _especially
pestilential ones_, whereby the last would have been deprived of all the
Honour of making Contagion: But what is still worse, Fevers, especially
those that are malignant, are now the chief Article in this Account, and
leave Dr. _Mead_ inexcusable, for not applying Almighty _Fermentation_
to the learned _Bellini_’s Theory of Fevers. And here let it be
observ’d, That those pestilential Steams go no great Length, ’till they
are enabled by the next, unintelligible Means, whereby is formed an
infectious Matter capable of conveying the Mischief to a great Distance.
I hope Doctor _Mead_ understands his last Words; for my Part, I do not,
and by the next Paragraph I find my self still more unqualify’d to
receive his Story of Contagion.

The former Piece of Knowledge is open to those only who are the familiar
Friends of _Attractions_ and _Combinations_ made by Volatile Spirits;
and we who are Strangers to these powerful Words, cannot hope for any
Instruction. But to shew Dr. _Mead_ I have been at true Pains to come
acquainted with them, I find there was Old Attraction, Son of
_Aristotle_; and there is Young Attraction, the great Geometrician; and
a Counterfeit of this in the Works of the celebrated Doctor _Anodyne
Necklace_; which last is mighty like Attraction before us; but as he is
spurious, I must own that I do not find how this Attraction brings me to
a clearer Understanding of the foregoing Paragraph. As to Combination,
whether that of Cooks, or Algebraists, it is of very little or no Use to
me. I must confess, a good Use may be made of these Words; for they will
exchange with _Fermentation_, at any Time that an Author finds himself
disposed to write on a Subject without understanding it.

For Instance, I now intend to make a short Discourse about the
_Philosopher’s Stone_, and a Method for finding it; a very agreeable
Offer to the Publick, when Money is scarce, and Credit very low, through
the great Industry of the ingenious Directors of the _South Sea_. When,
I say, a Man forms to himself this useful Project, _Attraction_ and
_Combination_ does it at once. The Receipt is easy; it is but taking of
_Attraction_, _Circulation_, _Cohobation_, _Concentration_, _a. q. s.
Combination_, _q. s. M._ If this Receipt is duly managed, it will not
only make the _Philosopher’s Stone_, and the grand _Elixir_, but cures
the Plague, and all Diseases, _Curable_ or _Incurable_. But it is to be
noted, that when you would explain how Attraction makes a Plague, you
must be sure due Consideration be had to the Facility and Aptness of
_all kind of Effluvia to be diffused in a warm Air, such as we have
described an infectious one to be_. And, therefore, as the Whole of
Infecting Air is an ill-made Story, supported by Cant and Gibberish, we
will take Leave of it, and his mortify’d Limb together, tho’ it is
brought to give further Light to this strange Stuff.

But, to proceed, the celebrated Doctor smells a Rat; that unless the Air
is allowed a greater Share of shedding Destruction than he has hitherto
allotted it, Matters may go very hard with the whole Doctrine of
_Contagion_; and therefore, notwithstanding its being a Medium for
propagating _Contagion_ only, the Doctor is now willing to pronounce,
with full Power, and for Fear of great Inconveniencies that follow close
at the Heels of the former Doctrine, that _a corrupted State of Air is
_WITHOUT DOUBT NECESSARY_ to give these contagious Atoms their full
Force; for otherwise it is not easy to conceive how the Plague should
ever cease, but with the Destruction_ of all the Inhabitants. Here is a
Devil raised indeed, and he will not be in the least quieted, unless Dr.
_Mead_ will contradict himself, and renounce the half of his Defence,
for the _Pureness_ and _Uncorruptedness_ of Air. And what will not a Man
do for a quiet Life. And even the _English_ Air, that could formerly
kill the greatest Plague, is now without doubt under a State of
Corruption: For if that is not admitted, God have Mercy on all _English_
Men. This is very kind in the Doctor, to take shame to himself for the
Good of his Country.

Conveniency is a pretty Argument, but not very cogent, as we now see;
for this corrupted State of Air is only an Expedient to get rid of a
Pestilence; because by SUPPOSING _an Emendation of the Qualities of the
Air, and restoring of it to a healthy State, capable of dissipating and
suppressing the Malignity_, we put an end to the Plague in an instant.
Mighty fine, and _Meadish_; tho’ he might have put a stop to a Plague at
an easier rate, than the Loss of his Hypothesis; for as the stress of
the Expedient rests upon another fine Word, _supposing_; why, he needed
only to suppose that the whole Magazine of Poison is stopped at once, it
matters not whether that be by an Army, by making it serve a
_Quarantine_, by an _Amulet_, or that the raw Damp is again attracted by
the Sea. I hope due Consideration will be had to this Expedient, in a
new Edition of _the short Discourse_; if so be it has one. This would do
much better than to make another Drawback, which we find is done in the
very next Paragraph; for there, _Infection is not received from the Air
it self, however predisposed, without the Concurrence of something
emitted from infected Persons_. Now if Infection is never receiv’d from
the Air upon any Account whatsoever, it is manifest, that the Air is a
_Medium_, that can neither do Good nor Hurt, and so to the right about,
and the former Allowance is recalled; so that the former Difficulty
still remains, and consequently a Plague once begun in a Country, never
comes to an end, as long as there is a Man alive.

The Principle upon which this Resumption is made, is, because the
Progress of a Pestilence may be stopt at any time, _by strictly
preventing all Intercourse of infected Places with the Neighbourhood_.
He brings as a Proof of this lusty Assertion, what has lately happened
in the raging Plague at _Marseilles_; and alledges, that it has been
effectually confined to that miserable Town, by keeping careful Guard.
But alas! this Argument is out of doors. Happy were it for the People of
_France_ if they had greater Assurance of their Safety, than they can
draw from such vain Promises of Insuring Physicians. And therefore his
Objection remains in full Force, without any Satisfaction being given to
it. I know from whence he took this Difficulty, but he ought to have
been well satisfied that he had brought a full Solution to so powerful
an Argument against all manner of _Contagion_. I will only repeat the
Difficulty, and leave the clearing of it to the Patrons of a Pestilence
being begot by _Contagion_; especially that it is a Step towards Dr.
_Mead_’s next propagating Cause. It is asserted by those who oppose this
_Contagion_, that a Plague is sometimes bred without it, otherwise it
would be perpetual. This Assertion is made good, by considering a
Country where a new Plague is broken out; and ask us, whether it be just
then bred in that Country, or brought thither from elsewhere? If we
grant the first, then indeed adieu to all _Contagion_: If the last, they
bid us name the originary Place, where it was bred: Which would oblige
us to the same Concession as the former. Therefore, say they,
_Contagion_ may _propagate_ but not _begin_ a Plague.

Leaving then Doctor _Mead_ and his _Contagion_ under the Restraint of a
very good Argument, we will consider in the next Place, after what
manner he conveys it to a sound Person, and he _supposes_ the way to be
commonly this: _These contagious Particles—taint the salival Juices_ (or
Spittle) which being _swallowed down into the Stomach, presently fix
their Malignity there_; as appears from _the Nausea and Vomiting, with
which this Distemper often begins its first Attacks_. But all this is
acknowledged to be a Supposition, and not of sufficient Strength to bear
so weighty a Building upon it. _Secondly_, If a Man does nor swallow his
Spittle, or if he gargles his Throat very well before he does swallow
it, there would be no danger from the _Pestilence_; but this slye Plague
should be easily evaded. To what Purpose is this silly Supposition to
bring it into the Stomach, and then to suppose it _fixes its Malignity
there_, because People are often troubled with Vomiting when they are
ill of the Plague. An admirable Way of Reasoning: and as Admiration
begat Philosophy, so Dr. _Mead_’s Philosophy cannot fail of begetting
Admiration: For if the Stomach must needs be the first Place affected by
the Plague, and the Doctor is gone over to _Van Helmont_, cannot he
convey it thither down by the Nose, or even through the Mouth, without
infecting the Spittle.

Dr. _Mead_ is grosly out in his Observation, for the Symptoms of the
_Heart_, our _Strength_ at least, being affected, are previous to his
supposed _Nausea_ and Vomiting; so that he not only ought _to make no
Question_, but to be sure that the _Blood is also more immediately
affected_; as the Multitude of Physicians besides _Van Helmont_ and him
have always believed: But I find his Fancy lies much in odd Conceits. I
know a very honest Man, and a good Observer in Physick, who has fallen
into this very Error in explaining this Symptom of _Vomiting_; but every
Body will acknowledge that his Philosophy is no where the best: And when
this Symptom is truly explained, we shall find that it is a Symptom of a
_Malignant Fever_, as well as of the Plague, without any manner of
Irritation, or of any other Hurt of that Nature, in the Stomach. And
therefore as this Way of conveying the Plague, is a Supposition grounded
upon no manner of Observation (as the Doctor argues in this Paragraph)
so I think there is no need to have recourse to it.

On the other Hand, it might be demonstrated, from the Nature of the
Plague, that it is never, or very rarely, communicated from one Person
to another. At present we will content our selves, to evince this Truth
by a Demonstration of another kind, which is from Observation, or _à
posteriori_, and I will borrow it too from Mr. _Graunt_, in his
Observations on the Bills of Mortality. In his Observations on the
[4]Plague of 1636: He says it lasted 12 Years, in eight whereof there
died 2000 _per Annum_ one with another, and never under 800. The which
shews, _That the Contagion of the Plague depends more upon the
_DISPOSITION_ of the Air, than upon the _EFFLUVIA_ from the Bodies of
Men_. Which also we prove by the sudden jumps which the Plague hath
made, leaping in one Week from 118 to 927; and back again, from 993 to
258; and from thence again, the very next Week, to 852. The which
Effects must surely be rather attributed to _Change_ of the _Air_, than
of the _Constitutions_ of _Mens Bodies_, otherwise than as this depends
upon that.

[Footnote 4: Page 70.]

And therefore as this very common Opinion, about the _Plague_ of
_Pestilence_ passing from one Body into another, is not supported by any
good Reason, far less by the _Suppositions_ and _Innuendo’s_ of Dr.
_Mead_; and is now contrary to the best Observation, most duly and
properly made, we may not doubt to declare, that it very rarely, and
perhaps never, proceeds that Way.

The _Third_ Way Contagion is spread, is, _by Goods transported from
infected Places_. But the Reason of this Fact seems to surmount his
Understanding, and no wonder, for it has already puzzled all other
Philosophers and Physicians, insomuch, that it has driven them into
absurd Notions of _Maggots_, against all Observation. But, before a
Philosopher would spend his Time about this Difficulty, he should be
sure his Fact is indisputably true, for thereby he may save himself much
Trouble and Babling, about a Matter that is false in Fact. However, this
Difficulty may have blunted the Edge of every other Genius, he makes no
doubt to conquer it, and account for it to the World, as he now does in
the following Words: _If, as we have conjectured, the Matter of
Contagion be an active Substance, perhaps in the nature of a Salt,
generated chiefly from the Corruption of a Human Body, it is not hard to
conceive how this may be lodged and preserv’d in soft porous Bodies,
which are kept pressed close together._

Dr. _Mead_ has the readiest Way of getting rid of a Difficulty, of any
Author, tho’ I cannot say it is always the most informing and
perswasive. No Man that understands these Terms, _a Salt_, what it is to
be _soft_ and _porous_, dares keep back his Assent to a Proof _grounded
upon such manifest Observations_, as _Conjectures_, _Perhaps’s_, and
_May-bee’s_; all which are far more ingenious than _Kircher_’s
Maggots-Eggs. However bold this Argument may be, yet if any one will
deny his Matter of _Contagion_ to be an active Substance; or, that it is
a Salt; or, that it rather affects a _soft_ Bed than one that is _hard_,
this _Third_, and last _propagating Cause_, may prove to be no manner of
Cause; and all the World, Merchants especially, cry out against their
Merchandize serving _Quarantine_.

Could Dr. _Mead_ bring all his ordinary Vouchers, I cannot say how far
he might have gone in commanding a Submission from a great Number of Men
to this Article: And therefore if any Person, or Persons, wants fuller
Conviction, let him repair to the _Coffee-Houses_, where they shall have
the Affidavits of ten Physicians, fifteen Apothecaries, and five
Surgeons; and I’ll answer for it, eight in ten shall go, _from
_Batson_’s especially_, fully satisfied with the Truth of the Premises.
But can it be imagined this cunning Doctor would have expos’d his
Character, in this Kind of Argument, to Men of Learning and Virtue. But
here his drooping Spirits revert, and his _Humility_ and _Modesty_
vanish, having at this Stage got rid of the Necessity of Reasoning, the
rest of this inimitable Work being to be carry’d on by Banter and
Assertion; whereby let us take Measure of the Faith and Credulity of the
good People of _England_; for if this passes, _Transubstantiation may be
the next Article he will propose to you_; if it does not, the Doctor and
his Book are discovered at the same Time.

Now we are prepared for all Dr. _Mead_’s _Absurdities_, _Wit_ and
_Banter_, the first Thing he presents us with, _how long a Time Perfumes
hold their Scent, if wrapt up in proper Coverings_; and we must remark,
_That the strongest of those, like the Matter we are treating of (are
mostly animal _Juices_)_ as Musk, Civet, _&c._ (if there be any more.)
And the Substances that keep them the best, are those which receive and
communicate the Plague, as _Furs_, _Feathers_, _Silk_, _Hair_, _Wool_,
_Cotton_, _Flax_, &c. _the greatest part of which are likewise of the
animal Kind_. If the _Pestilence_ is now a _Scent_, yet surely it is a
Noisome one; and if it can be kept, like _Musk_, in its proper Covering,
fourty Days will never deliver us from our fears of it. But all this is
only to amuse us with another new Conceit the Doctor would entertain us
with, that the Matter of the Plague is an _animal Juice_; but pray, good
Doctor, of what Animal? This is not only ridiculous, but overthrows
every Opinion of Physicians that ever was broached about it. But not to
baulk his Wit, this Perfume of the Plague, like Musk, is best kept in
animal Substances; (_Attraction_ would have preceded very decently, for
a more proper Introduction) but is Musk, commonly kept in Furs or
Cotton; if in the last, what Animal is it that yields us Cotton? As for
_Civet_ it is no runaway Merchandize. It is therefore very obvious, that
Men are now passing a Review of their Credulity before Dr. _Mead_ and
the World. But there is another quaint Observation that must not be
neglected, which is, That of all the mentioned Plague-Keepers, Three of
them are animal Substances, and but Two of them of the vegetable Kind.
Mighty fine! and well order’d: But if we turn to another Page of his
[5]Book, we may find this useful Observation contradicted: _But the
greatest Danger from Goods_, is from _Cotton_, _Hemp_, and _Flax_;
_Paper_, or _Books_ (Paper Books surely, or else their covering will
keep them upon an Equality in ballancing Accompts) _Silk_, _Linnen_,
_Wool_, _Feathers_, _Hair_, and _Skins_. In this Account, the vegetable
and animal Plague-Keepers are equal in Number.

[Footnote 5: Page 24.]

What Purposes does this Conceit serve? Why, only to support another
Conceit, _viz._ That animal Substances most vigorously attract animal
Effluvia, or that animal Effluvia run furiously into the Embraces of
animal Substances; which we see by his fine Experiments, is a mere
Fancy. As for _Musk_, _Cotton_ secures it the fastest from running away;
nor do we find that _Feathers_, _Silk_ or _Wool_, are ever put upon that
Service. But supposing every Thing true, and nothing whimsical, that has
been now advanced by the Doctor, we might have expected a further
Discovery; how these Perfumes come to desire their being beded,
cherished, or fomented in soft animal Substances: Is it in Abhorrence of
Annihilation, or by the Love they bear to one another? Or are they kept
together, as the celebrated _Jonathan Wild_ keeps a Felon? In short, is
it by _Sympathy_ or _Antipathy_? For if we are rightly instructed in
these Matters, _these Remarks alone may lead us into_ great and useful
Practices; for if they are skilfully employ’d, they may, perhaps, as I
conjecture, keep the Plague at bay, by being strung up, like Pirates, at
High Water Mark.

For as dull as these Conceits may appear to be; such as never dropp’d
before from any Man in his Senses; yet our Author, who has hitherto
shewn himself Blind in every kind of Argument, is now become so
Sharp-sighted of a sudden, when you are to take his Word for it, that he
boldly asserts, That this _Remark alone_ (of Sympathy and Antipathy)
_may serve to lead us a little into the true Nature of Contagion_. What!
this Nature of Contagion, that is still unknown, after all Dr. _Mead_’s
Endeavours; nay, _Sweats_ and _Labours_, to be drawn at length from
Trifles that bear no Relation to Contagion.

There is no Accounting for this Attempt upon Mankind: The Doctor, I
doubt not, has often made Trial, how far their good Nature could carry
their Belief: but this obtruding on _Scholars_, and _Physicians_ too, is
no less exposing Physick than Physicians. Such Credulity is the very
Reverse of the Incredulity our _Saviour_ complains of, and no less
Marvellous. It is indeed Marvellous, how People were Unbelievers after
the greatest Evidence of Reason and Miracle: Yet we cannot forbear
admiring, if People should swallow all this Trifle and Contradiction,
against all Sense and Reason. We are, indeed, at a loss to explain this
lazy Credulity; and therefore we must have Recourse to the general
_Infection_, that has wrought so strong Delusion, of late Years, all
over _Europe_; when we find Men have become wonderfully Credulous, even
to _Infatuation_. Upon this Supposition a very tolerable good Account
may be given of the mentioned Attempts, for fathoming the Credulity of
Men, let that be found to be ever so deep. If we hove our Lead in the
_South Sea_, we could sound to an hundred Fathom, and bring up yellow
Sand upon the Lead. Some Doctors have often sounded fifty Fathom for
yellow Sand; and Doctor _Anodyne Necklace_ almost as deep for the same.
The _South Sea_ Pilots have now run us a-ground, notwithstanding the
Depth of Water; and Men begin to recover their Senses by the _Surprize_,
_Terriculamenta_ being often found useful to Children: And, I hope, now
they are awake, they will never hereafter subject either their _Lives_
or _Fortunes_ to _Directors_ of any kind.

But as we are, at present, got into the Metaphors of Trade and
Navigation, it has been no small Omission, in every kind of Director,
that they have lately forgot the Genius of _England_; of its being a
Country of Merchants. Had Dr. _Mead_ remember’d the Place of his
Education, he might likewise have saved himself much Labour in
explaining a groundless _Phænomenon_, and spoke more Truth. Was not Dr.
_Mead_ bred, if not born, within the Smoak of _Black Wall_ and
_Wapping_, where both _Church_ and _Conventicle_ have long been a safe
Retreat to foreign Goods, that were not to stand the awful View of a
_Custom House_ Officer? Yet, in all that Time, and ever since, there
have not appeared any Degrees of a Plague. Have not Merchandize been
brought from many Parts of _Turkey_, all which have very deservedly an
ill Name for the _Pestilence_, that very commonly rages among them. And
how comes it to pass, That during this constant, and uninterrupted
Commerce, when _soft_ and _porous_ Goods, the proper _Fomes_, have been
brought from _Smyrna_, _Scanderoon_, _Aleppo_, _Constantinople_, and
other Parts, the Pestilence has never taken a Journey hither, in all
Appearance, those Fifty five Years? In all that Time _Turkey_ Goods have
not served a Quarantine, nor visited any other _Lazaretto_’s, besides
the Companies Cellars; a certain Proof that Goods very seldom, or ever,
bring a Plague into a Country; and oftner find it there than propagate
it.

It is very remarkable, That our Commerce with _Swedeland_, _Poland_, and
other Parts of those Eastern Countries, has been very considerable, when
Plagues have been raging among the mentioned People; and yet we have not
found any Attempts from this silent Enemy on this our happy Island. Nay,
we must more especially observe, that in the Year 1708 and 1709, a most
destructive Pestilence made great Waste in _Dantzig_; and, that there
were some Hundreds of _British_ Ships bound up in Ice, the whole Winter
through; yet we had no other Visit from it, than the supposed fag End of
it, by the _Dunkirk_ Fever; which happen’d four Years after the former
had expir’d. And therefore this Opinion, of a Pestilence being
preserved, and convey’d to distant Places in Goods, as a _Fomes_, is not
sufficiently supported; a particular Care ought to be taken to suppress
such ill-grounded Notions, so prejudicial and hurtful to the People, and
Trade of an Island Country.

The Account Dr. _Hodges_ gives us of the Behaviour of the People of
_London_, after they returned to Town in Winter 1665, is an undeniable
Experiment against a Pestilence being propagated from a _Fomes_, and
almost from one Body to another. He tells us[6], _The Houses which
before were full of the Dead, were now again inhabited by the Living;
and the Shops, which had been most part of the Year shut up, were again
opened, and the People again chearfully went about their wonted Affairs
of Trade and Employ; and even _what is almost beyond belief_, those
Citizens, who were before afraid, even of their Friends and Relations,
would, without fear, venture into the Houses and Rooms where infected
Persons had a little before breathed their Last: Nay, such Comforts did
inspire the languishing People, and such Confidence, that many went into
the _BEDS_, where Persons had died, _EVEN BEFORE THEY WERE COLD_, or
cleansed from the _STENCH_ of the _DISEASE_._ I would gladly know of Dr.
_Mead_, if this, and the mentioned Histories, are Experiments that come
home to the Purpose. In this Account of Dr. _Hodges_, there is no want
of a _Nest_ or _Fomes_, for here is _Wool_, _Linnen_, _Silk_, and,
perhaps, even treacherous _Cotton_ it self, the most secure
Plague-Keeper of all the rest; yet no further Contagion appeared, but
Men eagerly pursued their Business, and thought only how to _repair the
past Mortality_, and that with more than ordinary Success, as Dr.
_Hodges_ tells us in this Place, and his Relation is fully confirm’d by
the Bills of Mortality.

[Footnote 6: Page 27. _Trans._]

It is now very manifest, that Dr. _Mead_ has not given any tolerable, or
probable Account of his _propagating_ Causes; and that every Thing he
has offer’d, in his own Way, is a _Corruption_ of what has been said by
many Physicians. Moreover, he does not yet seem to understand Matters of
Propagation, for he makes his Causes propagate by themselves, contrary
to the common and known Methods of Nature. In this he is not only
unnatural, but I am afraid, that this his Method must be very
_defective_, tho’ it carries his peculiar mark of Excellency, _in
differing from the Methods taken in former Times among us, and from what
they commonly do Abroad_. For formerly here in _England_, and the People
abroad, thought it necessary that the _Seeds_ of the Plague should, like
other Seeds, have a proper _Matrice_ to receive them, to cherish them,
and to rear them up for their proper and peculiar Uses, consonant to
their Nature. They could not see how a Plague could more thrive out of
its proper Ground, than a Grain of _Wheat_, or the Seed of an _Apple_.
So that it was incumbent on Dr. _Mead_, to have shewn the _Disposition_
that may be in every Man to receive, and entertain the Plague, and with
all the Variety in which it palpably affects them. For a Plague has
often laid its devouring Hands on _Children_ and _Young Men_, when it
has spared the _Old_; and, on the contrary, it has proved fatal to
_Age_, when Youth has been excused: Nor has a Pestilence that afflicted
Men hurt _Women_. At other Times Men and Women of all Ages have felt its
Strokes promiscuously, and some have conversed boldly among the Sick of
the Plague with Safety, while others are quickly punished for their
Rashness.

It was very remarkable, that there was not a _British_ Subject, that
wintered in _Dantzig_ in that hard Frost, and Time of Pestilence,
received any Hurt, while Thousands of the Natives fell on their Right
Hand, and Ten Thousands on their Left: This happen’d in the Year 1713.
But it is recorded by [7]_Utenhovius_, that in a cruel Plague that raged
in _Copenhagen_, all Strangers, _English_, _Dutch_, _Germans_, were not
affected with it, when at the same Time it made Havock among the
Inhabitants; yet those Foreigners went freely every where among the
infected People, and into the infected Houses.

[Footnote 7: Peregrinat. _Eccles. Anglicanæ_, cap. IV.]

What could Dr. _Mead_ mean by so gross an Oversight, in an Article, too,
so material for _preventing_ pestilential Contagion? This Disposition,
to be affected peculiarly by the Plague, is not neglected by
_Hippocrates_, _Galen_, or any good Author of succeeding Ages; tho’ they
had the same Reason to profess their Ignorance, as Dr. _Mead_ has to
conceal his at this Time; for he is sure to make no Confession of this
kind, howsoever it may otherwise appear. I hope he will not call this _a
great Digression_, as we find he did formerly, on a like Occasion.
_Fernelius_ declares, that it is very hard and difficult to know, what
it is that renders every Body obnoxious to the Plague. And _Platerus_
makes this ingenuous Confession, That as I would gladly learn what this
_Disposition_ of an Object may be; so I very readily confess, that I
know nothing of it, though I am not ignorant, that this Poison acts very
differently, according to the various Dispositions of the Body. And,
what Hurt had it done Dr. _Mead_’s Character to have owned, That no
_Agent_ can do any Thing without a fit _Disposition_ in the _Patient_?
But, how dares he undertake to give Rules for preventing a Pestilence,
and proceed in corrupting the Means of Knowledge that are common among
other Physicians, and absolutely neglect this Disposition? It is for
this Reason, that we hear them speaking another Language than Doctor
_Mead_ does, even while they talk of what he calls his propagating
Causes. Hear the excellent, and learned _Fracastorius_[8]. _Contagion_,
says he, takes its Rise, often from the Air; it often passes from one
Person to another; it is often receiv’d by a _Fomes_; and it sometimes
has its first Origine and Beginning in _our selves_. Hence it is we find
Dr. _Hodges_, in the common Language of Physicians, asserting, that
[9]_four Things are necessary to a Contagion_. First, _That there is an
Efflux of the contagious_ Seminium, _or_ Seed. Secondly, _That there is
a convenient Medium for the contagious Particles to move through, and be
conveyed by_. Thirdly, _A _Fitness_ in the _Subject_ to receive and
cherish the contagious Effluvia_. _And_, Fourthly, _A due Stay of this
Seminium_. So that it is much to be feared, that Dr. _Mead_ will suffer
grievously in explaining his darling _Phenomena_, to which we are next
to return; and no less in teaching us, _in the following Part of his
Discourse_, how to prevent the silent Approaches of the Pestilence, and
to suppress its Poison, if it should appear among us: All which he
graciously promises to perform, and that in a newer and perfecter Method
than was ever done before.

[Footnote 8: Lib. 3. _de Morb. Contag._ cap. 7.]

[Footnote 9: Page 52.]

I have followed Dr. _Mead_ with great Patience, into his _real_ and
_propagating_ Causes of the Plague; because they are the _Principles_
and _Ground-work_ upon which he is to build the Explication of his
Appearances, and the Method of _preventing_ and _curing_ the Plague; and
if that should prove defective, the whole Work will fall into Ruins of
it self, without doing it the least Violence: And thereby I shall
neither tire my Reader, nor trouble my self, and only touch upon those
Things very slightly, where he has either departed from the Truth, or
contradicted himself. For, after the Foundation of any Position is
over-turned, there is nothing more to be done, but merely to repeat what
is already proved, and that as often as the Position is offered and
assigned. And therefore it must not be expected that any one will spend,
and waste his Time, in the pursuit of every Trifle, with the like
exactness and fullness: That may be, perhaps, the Business of an Orator,
but never of a Philosopher. I have been purposely thus prolix, that I
may be shorter in putting an End to the remainder; nor have I leisure to
animadvert on all the Blunders of this Author.

I have already shewn the Impotency of Dr. _Mead_ in managing an
Argument; and, at the same Time, I have over-turned and exploded some
common Opinions, that were by him weakly defended; and that, because it
is of great Use and Importance that Mankind be rightly apprized of them.
How easily are any Man’s Fears dispell’d? What real Security does he
acquire, when his _Reason_ is convinced, that the _Plague_ of
_Pestilence_ is not begot by any _Contagion_, properly speaking? That
this Plague is not propagated from the Body of a _Sick_ Person into the
Body of the _Sound_: That it makes no _Nest_, is not _cherished_, nor
_nursed_ in _soft_ or _porous_ Bodies, that its Seeds may be
_propagated_ and _conveyed_ into far _distant_ Countries. And therefore,
as we are to follow Dr. _Mead_ in the remaining Part of his _Short
Discourse_, we must go back to consider some _Phenomena_, he thought fit
to premise to his Inquiries about _Contagion_, but what, I hope every
Reader will think, are most properly considered in this Place, if he
will pardon the considering them at all.

The first Thing we are presented with, is a heavy Charge against the
Winds, for not doing their Duty; but that _Æolus_ himself is an _Aider_
and _Abettor_ of Plagues, by not sending his Winds Abroad, and thereby
stagnating the Air; for we are taught in this curious Discourse,
[10]_That the Use of Winds is to purify the Air by their Motion_. But
this Charge is altogether false, and ill grounded, because, Wind in
_England_ is put to many Uses; it not only blows cold, but it blows hot;
it fans our Ladies, and our Corn too; it dries Linnen, and sails our
Ships, _&c._ Besides, this Charge is absolutely false, for the Physician
that has left an Account of the Winds Behaviour in 1665[11], tells us,
That it was very dutiful, and, that the whole Summer was refreshed with
moderate Breezes, sufficient to prevent the Air’s _Stagnation_ and
_Corruption_, and to carry off the _pestilential Steams_: The Heat was
likewise too mild to encourage such _Corruption_ and _Fermentation_ as
helps to taint the animal Fluids. And therefore howsoever fond Dr.
_Mead_ is of Stagnation, through any failure of the Winds, it is certain
that they were then very blameless, let the Doctor find his Stagnation
where he can. Moreover, the Physicians were not of Opinion, at that
Time[12], that the _Air_ was _infected_, and therefore Doctor _Hodges_
tells us, That they were against making Fires, for the Reason of this
Purity of Air; and, that Fires are only proper when it is _impure_ and
_corrupted_. After this Account of Things, who will question Dr.
_Mead_’s great _Acuteness_ and _Accuracy_ in making Observations; or,
whether am not I more to be blamed for observing those Trifles of the
Doctor? Yet I cannot avoid making one short Observation more, which may
proceed from the small Regard the Doctor has to Memory; for at two Pages
off he assures us, _That our Air is not disposed to receive such_
(contagious) _Impressions_; then what need we mind the Stagnation of the
Air? Is there a Man in _England_, that will not forgive him this
Contradiction, if he will make the last part of it good?

[Footnote 10: Page 4.]

[Footnote 11: Page 18.]

[Footnote 12: Page 19.]

But we are immediately to have more Comfort of this Kind; for he assures
us, That _Plagues seem to be of the Growth of the _Southern_ and
_Eastern_ Parts of the World_; and I am sorry that they only seem to be
so; because what follows may _seem_ only to be true, _That there is not
in this Island particularly, any one Instance of a pestilential Disease
among us, of great Consequence, that we have not received from other
infected Places_. Here is another Draw-back upon us again: A
_pestilential Disease_ of any Consequence! Is any Plague in a Country
without Consequence? Surely many Widows and Orphans find it otherwise.
But the Doctor will make amends for Families brought to Ruin and
Poverty, by the loss of Parents and Husbands; by ridding us of a vulgar
Error, of the Plague visiting us once in Thirty or Forty Years. So that
if a Plague brings a mighty Calamity along with it, we may comfort our
selves, that it comes but seldom.

This was the very Purpose for which he gave us, with great Assurance,
the Origine of Plagues; because he would charitably rescue us from an
_Opinion propagated by Authors of great Name, that we are visited with
the Plague once in thirty or forty Years; which is a mere Fancy, without
any Foundation either in Reason or Experience_. I cannot assign any
Reason for the Plague thus visiting us; but Experience is not of the
side of the terrible, but common Opinion, as _Hodges_[13] assures us,
and the Bills of Mortality confirm; for there we find it has visited us
oftner, with all its _Tokens_, _Buboes_, and _Carbuncles_, and more than
once since that Time, if Dr. _Mead_’s _pestilential Diseases_, of
smaller Consequence, are admitted.

[Footnote 13: Page 3. _Transl._]

Now if the Plague of Pestilence has thus frequently shewn it self, in
its most terrible manner, and very often not so terribly, how can People
prevent taking _Fright_ at the _King_ of _Terrors_? Or, with what Face
can Dr. _Mead_ call terrible Death, _vain Fears_? Can a reasonable
People, relying on History, and their own Experience of Things, be
delivered from their Fears, by a bold Assertion, that can proceed from
no other Cause, than great Ignorance, or the worst Opinion of the Reason
and Experience of Mankind, that they are subject to so gross an
Imposition, as to take _Comfort_ in the most _lamentable_ Danger,
_exposed_ to Death, and _forsaken_ by their dearest Friends; and all
upon an Assertion, that is neither grounded on _Knowledge_, nor
_Integrity_? It may be a _pia Fraus, a well meant Cheat_, but it cannot
be of any manner of Use.

The truest Comfort arises from an Opinion, That an Adviser knows what he
says; and says, what in his Conscience he believes to be true. How much
greater is the Comfort we take, from a Perswasion that the Plague
seldom, or never, passes from one Body into another, as was lately
proved? As also, that Observations rather inform us of the Seeds of a
Pestilence, seldom, or never, being brought over to us in foreign Goods;
and besides these two Perswasions, founded on Reason and Experience, we
have the Authority of the best Physicians in all Ages, that the Plague,
nor any other Disease, is speedily generated. By the first of those
Accounts, we have fewer Chances for being sick; and we are sure, by the
second, that we have Time to prevent it, or to take the Distemper early,
before it is settled into a Habit, or confirmed in a Disease. Such
Reasoning, such Observation, is proceeding on good and firm Ground; the
other, altogether depends on the Knowledge and Honesty of the Insurer,
which can never be depended on, if we have any doubt about his
Sincerity, or Understanding.

What Doctor _Mead_ has already said, is contrary to the Experience of
Mankind, and is purely supported on his bare Assertion; and therefore, I
am afraid no great Comfort can be reasonably taken from it.

His next Assertion, about the Sweating Sickness, labours under all the
Defects imaginable. He will not allow it to be of _British_ Original;
nay, that _it is a Plague abated in its Violence by the mild Temperament
of our Climate_. He, afterwards, brings it from _France_, and clears the
_French_ of its being bred among them; for they, says he, brought it
from the Siege of _Rhodes_. Can any Man equal this Doctor in Assertion?
Or in quoting History absurdly? For it carries the Name of _Sudor
Anglicus_, and our Country charged for having produced it. All foreign
Physicians declare it peculiar to _England_; and, that a parcel of it
went into _Holland_; but neither _French_, nor _Italian_ Physician,
heard any Thing of it, in their own Country, nor among the _Greek_
Islands; and the _Dutch_ fix the Scene of the Sweating Sickness in
_England_. So the Sweating Sickness was four Times in _England_, and no
where else; yet it is the Fag-end of the Plague brought from _Rhodes_,
and thither God knows how, or from whence: But all this supported by
much foreign Reading.

He _calls this Distemper a Plague with lessen’d Force, _because_ the
Symptoms of it were of that Kind, tho’ in a less Degree, as great
Faintness and Inquietudes, inward Burning, Pains in the Head, a
Delirium_, &c. I am glad we have Dr. _Mead_’s Description of a Plague,
it being the first Time he has ventur’d to mention it; and, to do him
Justice, he has touched upon it very gently: But, if this is the Plague,
we are not seldom, but often visited with it. So there ends our Comfort.

Is this truly a Plague, _feeble and week_ thro’ travelling? And did
infinite Persons die suddenly of it? And that in Twenty four Hours.
Pray, what can we think happen’d to the Nations that felt the sharp end
of it, and those that came under its Fury, long before it reach’d us?
Surely more than infinite Persons of them must have perished, and in
infinitely shorter Time than Twenty four Hours, so that great Tracts of
Country must have been dispeopled in one Day. Can any Man think an _Æra_
as remarkable as the _Deluge_, could pass in History without
Observation? Or, that all Historians should overlook so great a Wonder,
the very Soul of an Historian, and all to fix a Calumny on our _English_
Air, and to call a _monstrous_ Disease a _British_ Fever? It must be
owned, that the Doctor is the greatest Traveller that ever was; for he
has entertained us with the most _admirable_ and _surprizing_ Relation
of the _Feats_ and _Travels_ of a Plague that ever was told.

This sufficiently shews the great _Candor_ of our Author, and his great
_Judgment_ in comparing Diseases, as has been already noted by another
Hand; for if a Plague kills infinite Persons in Twenty four Hours, I
cannot see how properly it can be called _Feeble_; nay, if a true
Judgment is made of it, the Plague in _France_ is not to be compared to
it for its Strength; and, God knows, the _French_ find its Power too
great, and God grant that we may never try its Feebleness. Our Author’s
_Judgment_ is no less conspicuous, in comparing what he calls the
_Dunkirk Fever_, with the _Sweating Sickness_, for that was neither an
_Ephemera_ of one, nor of more Days; neither did it terminate in Twenty
four Hours. How then are those two Diseases alike, that have nothing of
the same _Features_ or Resemblance, no more than the Time of their
Duration was the same. Besides, this was not the Fag-end of any Plague,
but a Fever we find to be very common in all the Marshy Places in the
Low Countries; and what the _Dutch_ call a Fever from the POLDERS, and
that happens in the end of a hot Summer, or in the beginning of the
Autumn.

But if I may guess by the _Cant_ Name we find this Fever bears, of the
_Dunkirk Fever_, I may believe the Doctor means that _Schelick_ Fever
that happened in 1715; but I will not answer for the Time: This Fever
was then called the _Galloping_ Fever, because too many Physicians knew
not a more proper Name for it, and it was a new Disease to them. This
Fever indeed lasted 3 or 4 Days, and often went off with a gentle Sweat,
but killed no body, whatever Method they took for curing it, or that
they did not any thing for its Cure. Now, with Submission to the great
Dr. _Mead_, I cannot find the Relation and Likeness this _Galloping
Fever_ has to the _Sweating Sickness_, Native of _England_, in the very
beginning, and the end of the Reign of _Henry_ VII.

One Observation I would make from the foregoing Accounts, and that is
very comfortable to _Patients_ and their _Physicians_; that,
_hereafter_, neither of these will think themselves ill used, for Dr.
_Mead_’s saying, that a Physician (especially if he hates or fears him
more than the Plague) has mistaken his Disease, and has prescrib’d
improperly on that, or any other Account: and that because we find him
little acquainted with the Descriptions of Diseases, and not
over-faithful in relating them. Let this _Corollary_, _Scholium_, or
which of this Language he affects, never _depart_ from the Memory of a
judicious; reasonable Patient, or his or her Physician.

I ought not to remark further in this first Part, if he did not expect I
should not omit what he says of the _Fury_ of the Plague in 1665. This
Scene is prepared by calling in a Disposition to Contagion that is in
every, the very best of, Air; and hereby we felt this Calamity of a
Plague in this Year. He says, _It continued in this City about ten
Months; and swept away by Computation 97306 Persons_. He will have it
allowed, that the Disease came by _Cotton_; and he charges the Duration
of it on the Government, by their ordering to shut up the Houses. But
this is the Unhappiness of this Physician, that he makes every Relation
either incredible, or frivolous, when he would point out its Greatness,
and make us feel it. I cannot tell where he pick’d up this Account; but
he makes it less terrible than it was truly, by misrepresenting the
Fact. Dr. _Hodges_ tells us, that some computed the Loss by the Plague
to have been One Hundred Thousand; and herein he is followed by Doctor
_Rosary_, alias _Anodyne-Necklace_: but no body can tell Dr. _M_’s
Voucher.

But if we consult the Bill of Mortality of that Year, we find only fifty
Thousand one Hundred and 22; and if we add 1/4 Mr. _Graunt_ proves to be
suppressed in the Account, there will be sixty six Thousand six Hundred
and 96 died of the Plague in 1665. But if we consider that it began
about the _27th_ of _December, 1664_. and ended the _26th_ of
_September, 1665_. we find it did not last above nine Months. Consider
likewise, that from the _27th_ of _December_ to the _6th_ of _June_
inclusively there only died 92. and therefore the Mortality is to be
reckoned from the _13th_ of _June, 1665_. to the _26th_ of _September_
in that Year. Now if we take the Mortality to have been equal (as it was
not) from the _13th_ of _June_ to the _26th_ of _September_, the
Mortality did not last above 16 Weeks: So that the Mortality was really
greater than if there had died equally 100000 in ten Months; for in this
Case there only died 2500 each Week: but by the true Account there died
4162. a far greater Mortality, and far more terrible, than what is
brought on the former Supposition, about the time the Plague lasted, and
the Havock that it made in that time.

It is not only the Numbers that fall by the Plague that strike Terror
into Men, but the Suddenness and Manner of Dying heighten our Fears, and
make every thing more terrible; for Physicians have been Strangers to
the Disease, nor have their Remedies been able to give any Check to its
Fury. The People die with Medicines and without them, and those that
have seemed to be useful in one Case, have seldom failed to prove
hurtful in another. No body is found strong enough to resist it, neither
they who had the best Constitution, nor they who have been treated in
the best Method. But what is most grievous, on those Occasions, is the
great Despair that seizes the Infected, who are so far from submitting
to the most proper Endeavours that may be made for their Cure, that they
abandon, and give themselves up as helpless, and out of the Power of any
Relief: while the Disease gets Ground, acquires new Strength, and lays
desolate the most populous Cities.

I shall end my Remarks on the first Part of the _short Discourse_, in
the Words of the late Bishop of _Rochester_[14], who describes this
terrible Article very pathetically.

       _Here, lies a Mother and her Child;
     The Infant suck’d as yet, and smil’d;
     But strait by its own Food was kill’d:
     There Parents hugg’d their Children last;
     Here, prating Lovers last embrac’d;
     But yet not parting neither:
     They both expir’d, and went away together.
     The Friend does hear his Friend’s last Cries;
     Parts his Grief for him, and then dies;
     Lives not enough to close his Eyes.
     The Father, at his Death,
     Speaks his Son Heir, with an infectious Breath:
     In the same Hour the Son does take
     His Father’s Will, and his own make.
       The Servant needs not here be slain,
     To serve his Master in the other World again;
     They languishing together lie;
     Their Souls away together flie:
     The Husband gasps; his Wife lies by:
     It must be her turn next to die:
     The Husband and the Wife
     Too truly now are one, and live one Life:
     That Couple, who the Gods did entertain,
     Had made their Prayers here in vain:
     No Fates in Death could them divide;
     They must, without their Privilege, together both have dy’d._

[Footnote 14: _Plague of_ Athens, Stan. 19 & 20.]

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             [Illustration]



                          PART II. Explained.


It is with the greatest Pleasure we enter upon the Method of
_preventing_, tho’ not of _curing_ this _insidious_ Enemy of Mankind,
which very justly has filled the World with Fear and Horror. For this
Reason, and that Matters may proceed not only in greater Order, but also
with greater Truth, Dr. _Mead_ has gone through much _Philosophy_ and
_Theory_ in _Medicine_, with great _Labour_ and _Fatigue_; even to
_fainting_ away, _despairing_ often in doing any thing to his own
Satisfaction, knowing by much Experience, that the World is not so hard
to please.

And therefore, he begins this second Part, by telling us, how great a
_Satisfaction_ it is, _to know that the Plague is no Native of our
Country_. I hope he is satisfy’d with this Conceit, but I am afraid few
People find any new Assurance, and Courage, springing up in them, upon
this Assertion; or that they can have a better Heart to face the Plague
more boldly, if it should be our Misfortune to have a Visit from it at
this time.

But in what Page does this Demonstration lie? He has only told us,
hitherto, that the _pure_ Air is only _infected_ with _pestilential
Steams_, that rise out of Bogs; or out of Men that have died of the
Plague; or else that these Steams were packed up in Goods, and with them
carried from one Country into another: and tho’ this be bravely told,
without any Reason assigned for it; yet we know not where they first
have their Origine, and of what Country they are Natives. We have seen
an Original English Plague, that came from no Place in the World, and
took up its Abode altogether here; and whether all the rest, that have
afflicted our Island, are Natives or Foreigners, is nothing so clear, as
to build any great Satisfaction upon. And therefore, I do think, with
the Doctor, that all Means should be found out to _keep our selves clear
from it_; tho’ we can find no great _Encouragement_ from what he yet has
told us.

This Caution, as he tells us, consists of two Parts: _The preventing its
being brought into our Island_; and, _The putting a stop to its
spreading among us_. But, as the Doctor has a very ill Memory, and
seldom performs what he promises, give me leave to put him in mind of a
Promise, in his Preface; that _his Method will be different from that
taken in former times among us, and from what they commonly do abroad_:
Tho’ we have no Encouragement to think, that _it will prove agreeable to
Reason_.

The Doctor is very full on this first Head of Caution, and bestows no
fewer than nine Pages about _Quarantines_, and _Lazarettoes_; but as
there is nothing newer said of them than what has been known, these two
hundred Years; I leave that Affair to the Civil Magistrate, whose Care
can never exceed, when it’s employed for the Good of the People. But as
far as we may depend upon the first, and Philosophical Part of this
Discourse, there is no great Occasion for either of them: We live a
great way from the South of _France_, and the Doctor has assured us,
that the Plague cannot reach us, by some hundreds of Miles. For, to our
Satisfaction be it remember’d, that Air it self is very pure and
harmless; nor can it otherwise be infected, than by pestilential Steams
issuing out of Bodies, at the end of the Disease; as also, that they
cannot travel any length, if there is not a Disposition in the Air,
which it only has when supposed. And therefore, we are very little
obnoxious to a Plague, and consequently have no great Occasion for
_Lazarettoes_ or _Quarantines_.

I cannot omit, without incurring Displeasure, the pretty Expedient the
Doctor recommends, for discovering when the Plague has forsaken a Parcel
of Goods; and that because he might foresee a Question might arise,
about the Time they should serve their _Quarantine_; and whether forty
Days were sufficient. His Answer is fine! why; _we must set little Birds
upon the exposed Goods_. But, may not the Attempt prove dangerous, and
as dangerous as to set a lighted Match to a good large Barrel of
Gun-powder. The Reason for this Experiment, is, because it has been
observed in times of the Plague, that that Country is forsaken by the
Birds; and for this he quotes _Diemerbroeck_.

How beautifully are such Presages related by _Lucretius_, _Virgil_,
_Ovid_, and other Poets; but how insipidly are they misapplied on this
Occasion. Physicians have carefully observed and recorded, every thing
considerable and extraordinary that preceded the Pestilence; and that in
order to provide themselves against it, and to give the Alarm of its
first Approaches, that People may provide for their Safety in time. Some
of these Presages are taken from the _Heavens_; some from the _Air_;
others from the _Earth_; and many from the _Waters_.

                               ——_Sæpe exiguus Mus
                     Augurium tibi triste dabit._

But as the Consideration of those Presages do not fall properly in my
way at this time; we proceed next to consider, how a stop is put to the
Plague, in _Case, through a Miscarriage in the Publick Care, by the
Neglect of Officers, or otherwise, such a Calamity should be suffered to
befal us_.

And here we must observe, that this Art of _Quarantines_, and
_Lazarettoes_, is so infallible, that we may blame the Civil Magistrate,
and his Officers, if ever the Plague is suffered to come among us. For
my part, I cannot think any Government so foolishly malicious to suffer
a Plague to come into their Country, if they knew how to avoid it. But
that we may not slightly bring an ill Report against Governors; the
Physicians are to be blamed, when the Orders of the Civil Magistrate are
hurtful; for he always takes Counsel with Physicians in all Matters,
relating to _Nature_ and _Health_: This has been the Practice in all
Nations, and in all Times, since Mankind has been govern’d by Law; and
if these wrong Measures are owing _to the Ignorance of the true Nature
of Contagion_, surely it’s none of the Magistrate’s Business to discover
it.

The Magistrate may contradict his former Orders, for any Thing that is
better, at least not so pernicious, as those whereunto he was led by
Physicians. But the Physicians in _London_ might not have advised the
shutting up of Houses, if they had remember’d the fatal Experiments of
it in other Countries, recorded in Books of Physick. _Mercurialis_ tells
us, how the Houses were shut up in _Milan_ on this Occasion, but that
the Magistrates found their Mistake in a Week, and set them open again,
very much to the Comfort of the Healthy, and Relief of the Sick. The
same learned Author informs us, that burning _infected Goods_ was found
to do great Mischief in a Plague in _Padua_, and what then shall we
think of our celebrated Physician, who [15]recommends this Method of
Burning? [16]_Quapropter_, says the famous _Mercurialis_, _non possum
commendare eos, qui hisce temporibus infectas supellectiles in urbibus
cremant, propterea quod_, &c. We may surely say, that this Error is not
only _owing to his Ignorance of the true Nature of Contagion_, but even
of his Ignorance of what Physicians do Abroad.

[Footnote 15: Page 40.]

[Footnote 16: _Cap._ 21.]

I think the Doctor has made a little too free with the Civil Magistrate,
and his Brethren of the Faculty; especially, that he has no where told
us any Thing of the Nature of Contagion; not so much as what we may read
in many Books of Physick. And therefore his further inveighing against
_Physick_ and _Physicians_, is the most surprizing, unaccountable
Indiscretion that Man ever was guilty of: A Man that has done nothing,
but to corrupt it: For thus he puts an End to a great deal of rambling
Stuff, about shutting up Houses. [17]_The Management in former Times
neither answers the Purpose of discovering the beginning of the
Infection, nor of putting a stop to it when discovered; other Measures
are certainly to be taken, which I think should be of this Nature._

[Footnote 17: Page 37.]

Here begins an Account of Things to be done in a _new_ Manner, and what
will be found _agreeable_ to Reason. _Imprimis_, Then, _instead of
ignorant old Women, we ought to have understanding and diligent Men_.
There is nothing New in this, nor very _Unreasonable_; but as the Doctor
has enhansed the whole Knowledge of Physick in his own Person, and made
_old Women_ of his _Brethren_, I hope he will allow these _Officers_ of
_Health_ to consist of discarded Physicians. _Secondly, When the sick
Families are gone_ (whether?) _all the Goods of the Houses, in which
they were, should be burnt; nay, the Houses themselves, if that can
conveniently be done._ A very good Advice, and, I hope, the City of
_London_ will erect another _Monument_ for the Doctor, after they have
burned their City, upon so _reasonable_ Advice. But as this Advice has
been found hurtful in Experience, so neither is it _New_, because it has
been practised Two Hundred Years ago; as I lately observed. He has now
the late Fire of _London_ in view, and recommends another general
Conflagration of our City, from the great Good, he fancies, accrued
thereby: But the Reason he brings is admirable. _For nothing approaches
so near to the first Original of Contagion, as Air pent up, loaded with
Damps._ This is the very Reason, why _Hippocrates_, and all other
Physicians after him, have advised making Fires for preventing the
Plague; neither spared they any _Expence_ in _Scents_, _sweet_ and
_aromatick Woods_; and even they put _sacred_ Things to that very Use.
Yet, according to Custom, the Doctor [18]contradicts himself, on this
Article, at the small distance of four Pages; where Fires again are
condemned as pernicious. The Reason alledged for this later Experiment
is absolutely false; for Dr. _Hodges_ assures us, that the Weather was
not Hot in that Summer. But, I believe, the true Reason of the
Contradiction is, that the Doctor will, at any Time, venture being found
in a Contradiction, three Doors off, as well as four Pages off, to save
his Bacon, or for a merry Conceit. But there is, _even in this_, nothing
New, for there was one _Raymundus_, who is noted for this Singularity by
other Authors, whose Words our Doctor seems to translate. _Pestilentes
Febres_, says _Raymundus_, _Ardentes sunt, & idcirco ab aere fervido, &
calente augentur_. I must beg leave to crowd in another Conclusion,
because I follow the Doctor; that as Fires are thus hurtful, so, and for
that Reason, is the _firing_ of Guns. The Word _Fire_ is common in both
Expressions, but it was never the _Heat_ of great Guns, but their
_Noise_ that was recommended, and that is a sort of _Wind_, so much
recommended formerly, by Dr. _Mead_; _but what some have too rashly
advised. Mira vis verbis._

[Footnote 18: Page 45.]

But to return to _Damps_; he allows they approach the first Original of
Contagion, so that if they are not the first, they may very well be the
second Original of Contagion; for where there is a first, there is
always a second in every Order and Number of Things. Now, as _Fires_ are
manifestly useful in the Damps of Coal Pits, and Goals, why not in the
raw Damps of Contagion? And if that is a true Experiment, why does Dr.
_Mead_ forsake _Hippocrates_, and the antient Sages of Physick, for an
Error that is not new; and, perhaps, not agreeable to Reason? And _Ovid_
tells us, _Temporibus Medicina valet_. As to the Story of the _Black
Assize_ at _Oxford_, it shall not be carelessly neglected.

The last Member of Novelty mentioned, is the keeping our _Houses and
Streets clean from Filth, Carrion, and all manner of Nusances_; and I
hope every Body will readily admit, that this was never done before,
neither _here_ at Home, nor _Abroad_ in other Countries; and I’ll swear
for him, this Time, that it is highly _necessary_. His Inference is
strong; for if all these _new_ and _reasonable_ Instructions _take
effect, there will be no need of any Methods, for _CORRECTING_ the
_AIR_, _PURIFYING HOUSES_, or of Rules for _PRESERVING PARTICULAR
PERSONS_ from _INFECTION_._ Yet in this very instant there follows a
fresh Contradiction, if I understand him; but least I do not, I shall
give you his own Words, in order to be better inform’d. _To all which,
if the Plague get head, so that the Sick are too many to be removed,
Regard must be had._ Now, as far as I understand the Doctor, the Plague
may get Head against all these infallible Methods, but I cannot for my
Life tell, what we are to Regard; but as these Methods are both fallible
and infallible, at the same Time, the Doctor has fallen into another
gross _Contradiction_.

But, which is a more melancholy Story, this seems to be the whole of
_Preventing_ we have hitherto expected; so that all the Philosophy he
brought forth, in the first Part of his Discourse, has only been to make
us _Constables_ and _Scavengers_, to set the Watch, and clean the
Streets. A fine Account, indeed, of _Preventing_.

This Discourse never look’d as if it were to live long, its first
_Stamina_ were so rotten, and defective; and any one, with half an Eye,
might see it would die of an Apoplexy, or first die and then have an
Apoplexy, as the Fashion of Dying has been of late.

When I formerly observed the great Neglect of the _Disposition_ and
_Aptness_ of a Subject to receive and cherish the Disease, I was then
very much afraid that the celebrated Dr. _Mead_ must suffer, when it was
his Business to teach us how to preserve our selves from Infection;
which has, at this Time, befallen him with a witness; for now our
Security consists in the former. But if the Plague should chance to
force his Lines, it is very plain, that we must surrender at Discretion
to this most cruel Enemy. Our Generals taught the _French_, some Years
ago, how slender a Defence Lines were; and the Plague has taught them,
to their sad Experience, how insufficient they are to restrain its
Violence; for it has nor only marched over their Lines in Defiance of
their Guards, but even _Eastwards_ and _Southwards_, to the Contempt of
_Matthæus Villanus_, and our Doctor, his zealous Follower.

But I am, again, afraid that the Case at present is much the same as it
was in the beginning of his _short Discourse_; for he then proposed to
treat of _Contagion_, but he quickly dropp’d it, without so much as
telling us what is meant by the Word. Here now we should _prevent_, but
he knows as little of this as he did formerly of Contagion: For when he
[19]_is to consider by what Means particular Persons may best defend
themselves against Contagion_; he adds, _for the effectual doing of
which it would be necessary to put the Humors of the Body into such a
State, as not to be alterable by the Matter of Infection_. What
Physician ever said so before Dr. _Mead_? And if an Impossibility of
this Nature was expected from the Faculty of Physick, I hope they would
acknowledge and confess their Ignorance. It is the same Thing, as if the
Government should expect, that Physicians are to cure the Subjects of
any one Disease, so that they should never feel it hereafter; the
_Curative_ Part of _Physick_, in that Sense, must be as impossible as
the _Preservative_. Mankind is more easy, and not only bears with what
is not possible, but even with Blunders, that proceed from Ignorance and
Stupidity. All that is expected from Physicians, is to have such Rules,
whereby our Health may be secured to them, as far as it is consistent
with Human Nature, and the known Means: And if Dr. _Mead_ would have
communicated some of those wise Rules, that are to be found in Books of
Physick, even without deducing them from any Principle of Reason, he
then had done them the greatest Good, and what they seem to want and
desire.

[Footnote 19: Page 48.]

That we may see, how little Doctor _Mead_ understands the Method of
_Preventing_, and also how practicable it is: We find _Hippocrates_
values himself for being the first that foresaw a Disease; and he tells
us, That [20]_Diseases do not come upon Men of a sudden; but being
collected by degrees, shew themselves afterwards in the bulk_. And
[21]_Galen_ says, That _all Physicians are agreed, that there must be
some Time for breeding a Distemper_. Now, if Diseases take a Time before
they are bred; then it is an obvious Consequence, that Diseases may be
prevented. Surely this is consonant to common Sense; for an _Embryo_
Disease must be far more easily cured, than a Disease after it is
formed, and settled upon any Person; and thereby his Strength, or
Constitution, destroyed: For however _Curative_ Method, and
_Preservative_, are different Words, they only signify the same Thing at
different Times. Curing a nascent Disease is _preserving_ us from being
hurt by it; and curing a settled Disease, where the Instruments of
Action are hurt, is curing it in the common Acceptation.

[Footnote 20: Lib. 1. _De Vict. rat._ Lib. 3. _De Diæta_.]

[Footnote 21: Lib. 1. _De loc. affect._ Pag. 13. Junt.]

And therefore our Doctor seems to have no manner of Notion of these
Words, when he would tell us that it is as impossible to prevent the
Plague; as to have a _Specifick Preservative from the Small Pox_; which
we find is far from being impossible. But why a _Specifick_? Must he
have a Specifick, because Dr. _Anodyne Necklace_ has one? I cannot find
any other Reason, especially, that it now plainly appears, and is
evident, that curing a Disease, and preventing it, is the same Action,
and may be done with the same Tools, whether they are Common, or
Specifick, in the strictest Sense Physicians use those Words. This his
Misunderstanding the Doctrine of Physicians is further manifest from the
last Paragraph of his Discourse; that his Directions may _be of Use
towards establishing a better Method of Cure_, than Authors have
commonly taught, which might be true, if that Doctrine had been drawn
from the Nature of _Infection_ or _Contagion_; but, at present, he knows
as little of the grammatical Sense of these Terms, as he does of the
Things themselves.

Let us cease, then, to wonder why so great Care is had to keep our
_Houses_ cool, at _Page 47_, and so little for our _Persons_, at _Page
49_ of the _Discourse_; and in Consequence to that, we find more
Receipts for a House than for a Man. He mentions _Vinegar_ upon the
Authority of _Rhazes_, which is no more for a Person that affects an
Opinion for being learned, than if he had recommended it from Dr
_Hodges_; since Physicians know, how much it has been esteemed by the
most antient Physicians of _Greece_ and _Italy_: But this its Virtue in
the Plague of Pestilence is not contrary to what Authors advise, in
making Fumes of hot Things on that Occasion. This is very manifest, if
the Doctor will consider what the great _Celsus_ has said of it.

But it will not be difficult to give a very probable Conjecture, why our
Doctor gives so trifling, and contradictory Account of those Medicines,
recommended for preserving us against the Plague; even, when there is
not so great a Store for any other Disease, and some of them come well
recommended for the Purpose of _Preventing_; if we remember the common
Method of our Author through all this Book; for he constantly tells us,
in the end of one Paragraph, what he offers to our Belief in the next.
He has all along thrown mighty Contempt upon Physicians, when he would
recommend himself; and now he disparages their Medicines; and surely,
upon no other Design, but to set up his own. But what in the Name of
Wonder are they? In this consists the great Mystery of State. If so,
then there is an end of our wondering.

His Medicines are of two Sorts; one Set of them published in a very
small Book, tho’ there is a large Account of their _Virtues_ and _Uses_.
There is a second Sort, which some worthy Gentlemen of great Families,
and great Estates, have told us of, and these were the _Secrets_ of an
eminent Physician. But how do Gentlemen know Secrets in Physick? It is
not hard to guess who were chiefly concern’d in their Information, and
who have made a goodly _Income_ from a pretended _Inheritance_ to
pretended _Secrets_. This is the _Shrine_ of the great _Diana_, to which
every Thing must not only submit, but for it every other Shrine must be
removed, even Truth it self; so that we may quickly hear of Doctor
_R——f_’s Secrets for the Plague, if it should be the Will of God to send
it us for a Punishment of our Sins.

How easy a Matter is it to become a great Physician, but how difficult
to a Man of Education and Honour? Hence it is that we find in all Times,
tho’ never more than in the present, that Physick is the common Resort
of all indigent Men, that no other Arts can provide with a Living. Here
Doctor _Rosary_ has made a better Market for his Beads, than ever was in
any _Roman Catholick Country_, _Spain_ and _Portugal_ not excepted. At
this Time too, he is among the chief Writers on the Plague, and with
insufferable Assurance, dedicates that Trifle to the _President_ of the
_College_ of _Physicians_, where, in the end, he tells the World, how
useful _his Necklace_ is for the _Plague_.

_Amulets_, indeed, have been in great _Esteem_ in Times of the Plague,
and I hope some great _Physician_ will lend his Name to one, that may
frighten away this terrible Disease.


                                _FINIS._


------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          Transcriber’s note:

Page 6, ‘preceeded’ changed to ‘preceded,’ “Air to have preceded it”

Page 12, ‘suffient’ changed to ‘sufficient,’ “and self-sufficient Person
that ever”

Page 17, ‘Philosophers’ changed to ‘Philosopher’s,’ “make the
Philosopher’s Stone, and”

Page 27, italics removed from around ‘and,’ “_Wool_, _Feathers_, _Hair_,
and _Skins_”

Page 33, ‘shown’ changed to ‘shewn,’ “to have shewn the _Disposition_”

Page 34, ‘succeding’ changed to ‘succeeding,’ “good Author of succeeding
Ages”

Page 55, full stop changed to comma after ‘Women,’ “ignorant old Women,
we ought to have”

Page 57, ‘tell’ changed to ‘tells,’ “And _Ovid_ tells us”





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