SOME OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING THE PLAGUE: Occasioned by, and with some Reference to the late Ingenious Discourse of the Learned Dr. MEAD, CONCERNING Pestilential Contagion, And the METHODS to prevent it.


DUBLIN: Printed by and for GEORGE GRIERSON, at the Two Bibles, in Essex-Street. 1721.

A Short Introduction TO THE Following OBSERVATIONS.

THE Compiler of the ensuing brief Collections, having met with several Particulars in the most approved Authors that have wrote upon the Subject of the Plague, which he conceiv'd might afford some agreeable En­tertainment to the Curious, and tend to the further Illustration of some Parts of that excellent Discourse whereunto they have a Reference, and also be of some general Advantage in case divine Providence should for our Sins visit us with that sore Distemper, does here offer them to the View of the Publick, hoping that the many Defects will be excused and forgiven, which will be easily discerned in so Inaccurate a Composure, put together in great Straits of Time, by One, who pretends to little more than barely to perform the Of­fice of an Index, in pointing at some Things which occurred to him in turning over Books that he thought worthy of some Notice; and that his honest Intentions will be taken in good part by all Candid Ingenuous Readers; and that such as have greater Abilities and Opportunities will be excited to apply [Page]their Thoughts and Studies more closely to a Subject which seems to challenge their Attention in a more than ordinary Manner at this Time, and will o­blige the World with the Discoveries that they shall make in this Part of Nature, wherein the Lives of Men are so much concerned.


AS to the Original of this dire­ful Scourge of Mankind call'd the Plague, I find the most learned Physicians are much divided in their O­pinions concerning it, and those who have searched ve­ry far into the Secrets of Nature do yet ingenuously acknowledge themselves to be very much at a loss about it. The great Dr. Sydenham freely and ful­ly confesses his own and his Brethren's Ignorance in this Matter, and that not without a Smart Re­flection upon such as pretend to know more than their Neighbours, in this and other Particulars of the same abstruse Nature. In Chap. 2 d. Page 71. of his Works, he thus expresses himself. At verò quae, qualisque sit, illa aeris Dispositio à quâ mor­bificus hic apparatus promanat, nos, pariter ac com­plura alia circa quae vecors ac arrogans Philoso­phantium [Page 2]turbanugatur, planè ignoramus. Words so severe and so discouraging to any Enquiries of this Kind, that I shall chuse to leave them as I find them.

I must here indeed freely own that I am much pleased with the Piety and Ingenuity of the lear­ned and diligent Diemerbroeck, who after a large Recital and Examination of the several Hypotheses that had been advanced before his Time concern­ing the Origine of the Plague, and after weighing the Arguments and Reasons brought by their re­spective Patrons for the Support of them, declares himself wholly dissatisfied with them all, in the eight Chapter of his first Book and the Annotations there­on; and after all, he has Recourse to the [...] of the great Hippocrates, (the Father and Prince of Phy­sicians,) and endeavours to make it appear that something supernatural or preternatural is to be un­derstood thereby, and that That ancient Sage (tho' guided only by the Light of natural Reason) inten­ded to signifie by that Term, somewhat sent down from angry Heaven, as a just Punishment for the Wickedness of Men.

But it may not be improper to add something un­der this Head from that great Christian Philoso­pher, and (while he lived) illustrious Ornament of the Royal Society, Mr. Boyle, never to be men­tioned without a Preface of Honour. This Curi­ous and Critical, but Sober and Modest Enquirer into the Powers of Nature, and Operations of Se­cond Causes, in his Occasional Disquisition concer­ning the Original of the Plague, wisely chuses the middle Way, between those who recur wholly to supernatural Causes, and those who impute all to na­tural Ones, in their Accounts hereof: He observes, [Page 3]in his Experimental Discourse concerning the In­salubrity and Salubrity of the Air, Page 50. &c. That the Sacred Writings expresly teach that some Plagues have been in an extraordinary Manner in­flicted by God, particularly That which in David's Time swept away in three Days Seventy Thousand Men. But He seems to think that it is carrying the Matter too far to infer from hence, or to affirm po­sitively that All are so. I have sometimes suspect­ed (says he, Page 52.) that in the Controversie concerning the Origine of the Plague whether it be Natural or Supernatural, neither of the contend­ing Parties is altogether in the Right, since 'tis very possible that some Pestilences may not break forth without an extraordinary Interposition of Almighty God, provoked by the Sins of Men; and yet other Plagues may be produced by a tragical Con­course of merely natural Causes. But we are not to think that by this last Expression He meant to exclude the Superior Agency or Superintendency of the First in any Case; for no Man can express a more becoming and awful Sense of, or an higher Reverence for the Cause of Causes, than this great Genius does in all his Writings; and I could heartily wish that He were more generally imitated herein by the Virtuosi of the present Age, and that a more explicit Reference to Divine Providence were to be found in all their Researches into Nature: And I cannot but hope that it would very much contri­bute hereunto, if our Modern Wits would seri­ously read and consider that excellent Treatise cal­led the Christian Virtuoso, written by this Noble Author. But to return from this (I hope not un­useful) Digression: As to Mr. Boyle's Opinion concerning the Rise of Ordinary Plagues, it is in [Page 4]short This: He inclines to think that the Malig­nant Disposition of the Air whereby the Plague is propagated, if not first produced, is imputable to some Kind of Subterraneal Expirations, and par­ticularly to Arsenical Fumes; but as to this He is far from being Positive, or Dogmatical: What He offers to render this Conjecture probable, they that please may see, in his Discourse of the Air, as to its Unhealthfulness or Healthfulness, already men­tioned. Thus far as to the Origine of the Plague.

What the Learned Dr. Mead advances, about the Beginning of Page 4. of his Discourse, in these Words; [Nor do I think that in this Island particularly, there is any one Instance of a Pestilential Disease among us of great Consequence, which we did not receive from other Iufected Places:] is perfectly agrecable to the Opinion of the celebrated Syden­ham, who observes, that to the evil Disposition of the Air, which proceeds (according to Him) from a latent unknown Cause, there must be joyned the Reception of some [...] or Infection flowing from some Plaguy Body, and received either immediately by a near Approximation to it, or else mediately by the Means of some Fomes transmitted thencefrom into something apt to receive and retain the same, and transferred therewith to distant Places; until by the great Number of infected Bodies, the Air receives such a Taint, [or rather is so charged and loaded with Poisonous Particles] as suffices to pro­pagate the Contagion to some Distance, without any other Spark to kindle the spreading Fire. The Sub­stance of this may be seen in Page 72. of his Works.

In Page 7. the Doctor briefly mentions that most terrible Plague which carried Death over the greatest Part of the then known World, about the [Page 5]Middle of the fourteenth Century, the History of which being very remarkable (especially if all the Circumstances related by Authors of considerable Note be true) I shall present the Reader with a somewhat larger Narrative of it, as very proper to affect us with a pious Awe and Fear of the Wrath and Vengeance of a righteous God, and also to give us a melancholy and humbling Representation of the horrid Degeneracy of humane Nature, and the des­perate Obstinacy of irreclaimably Wicked Men. Mr. Boyle in Page 69. of the forementioned Dis­course has given a brief Account of this prodigious Pestilence, from that excellent French Historian Mousieur de Mezeray, who (as he tells us) relates in the Life of Philip de Valois, that the Plague which happened in France in the Year 1346, was so Contagious and Destructive, that scarce a Village or even a House escaped uninfected by it: He adds, that this Pestilence began two Years before in the Kingdom of Cathay, by a Vapour that was most horribly stinking, which brake out of the Earth like a Kind of Subterraneal Fire; and devoured above 200 Leagues of that Country, even to the very Trees and Stones, and infected the Air in a wonderful Manner: From Cathay (says he) it passed into Asia and Greece, thence into Africa, afterwards into Europe, which it ransack'd throughout. Thus far Mr. Boyle from Mezeray, in whose Account the Date of the Year seems to have been mistaken, or 1346 misprinted for 1348, or 1349. For by Dr. Mead's and the following Account, it began in Ca­thay, (the Northern Part of China) in 1346.

Besides what I have quoted from Mr. Boyle, I shall entertain the Reader with a more Circumstan­tial Relation of this most fearful Calamity which I [Page 6]met in Kircher's Chronology of the most remarka­ble Plagues that are recorded in History, annexed to his Scrutinium Physico-Medicum contagiosae Lu­is, quae Pestis dicitur. The Substance of what he writes is this; That in the Poutificate of Clement the sixth, Charles the fourth being Emperor, there raged a most cruel Pestilence, the worst that ever was, scarcely the third Part of Mortals being left alive. It so prevailed every where, that God seemed as if he would destroy all Mankind by a general Ru­ine, as of old in the universal Deluge. Villanius tells us that it had its first Rise in the Ʋpper Asia, and particularly in the Kingdom of Cathay, in the Year 1346, from a most filthy Smell supposed to proceed from a certain Fiery Body, which either fell from Heaven, or broke out of the Earth, and extended its horrible and terrifying Bulk to so vast a Compass, that it consumed every thing that stood in its Way, Animals, Houses, Trees, &c. for the Space of fifteen Days Journey: And some most filthy lit­tle Beasts furnished with Feet and Tails, [by this Description they seem to have been a Sort of Neuts or Lizards] as also Worms, and a small Sort of Snakes in a numberless Multitude, fell at the same Time from the Air upon the Earth, the Stench and Putrefaction whereof infected the whole Region. A Pestilence hence arising invaded the adjacent Pla­ces, and then spread it self to the remoter Cities and Provinces, so that it depopulated all Asia. After­wards it penetrated into Egypt, Greece, and Italy. Thence it passed over into France, Spain and En­gland, and at length into Germany, Poland and all the Northern Parts, with the Destruction of innu­merable Persons. In the City of Florence only, Villanius says there perished 60000, but St. An­thony [Page 7]makes them 100000; and although such a dreadful Contagion was sent among Men by the a­venging Hand of God for their enormous Wicked­ness, yet after so great a Calamity those that suc­ceeded and came greedily into the Possession of such rich Inheritances as the deceased had left, grew worse and more wicked than ever. Many Prodigies pre­ceded this Plague in Asia, such as horrible Clefts, or swallowing Gulfs in the Earth exhaling a poi­sonous Wind or Vapour, and other Things of the like Sort. Thus far Kircher. Page 247.

N. B. If that Part of the Story be Fact concer­ning the Worms, Snakes, &c. which are said to have fallen from the Air, it seems to me much more probable that they were hatch'd from Eggs that had been formerly laid on the Earth, or Leaves of Plants, by Animals and Insects of that Kind; the Disposition of the Air, which was filled with the Steams of that horrible Meteor before mentioned, perhaps greatly contributing to their Generation or quickning in such vast Numbers.

This most fearful Plague is also taken Notice of by many other Chronologers. Alstedius relates that at Lubeck it carried off 90000. And that of the Bare-footed Monks in several Parts it destroyed so great a Number that in the whole their Dead amoun­ted to 1244434; and the same Particular is mentio­ned by Hogelius in his Horologium Historicum, Page 632. who tells us also, that at Erford there died such Multitudes that the burying Places in the City being all fill'd with Carcases, 12000 were laid in eleven Caves under the Mountain called the Red Moun­tain. Page 650.

Many other destructive Pestilences before and after this are mentioned by Historians, and se­veral [Page 8]of the later Ones particularly described by Learned Physicians, as That at Delft in 1557 by Forestus, That at Vicenza by Massaria in 1576, That at Nimeguen in 1636 by Diemerbroeck, and the last very terrible One at London in 1665 by Hodges, which they that please may consult.

In Page 11. towards the End, the Learned Au­thor just mentions the Opinion of some who have thought that the Pestilential Contagion or Infecti­on is propagated by the Means of Insects, whose Eggs may easily be conveyed from Place to Place, and produce the Disease when they come to be hatched: But he observes withal that this is a Supposition groun­ded upon no manner of Observation, and that there is no Need to have Recourse to it. As to this Hypothe­sis of poysonous Insects giving Rise to the Plague, it has been lately insisted on by Mr. Bradley, who in his new (and indeed very ingenious and useful) Improvements of Planting and Gardening Reprin­ted here, has published a Letter from Mr. Robert Ball containing several curicus Observations which seem to him to render it highly probable; and in a small Tract lately published by Mr. Bradley, the Title of which is, The Plague at Marseilles consi­dered, he has pursued the same Conjecture, and tran­scribed the Substance of what is to be found in the Book and Letter already mentioned upon the Head of Insects.

This Notion seems to be much a-kin to that which was advanced by Athanasius Kircher (that famous Enquirer into Nature, sufficiently known to the lear­ned World by his Voluminous Labours) in the for­mer Century, and he seems to have taken the Hint from the noted Cardan, for in Page 52. of his Scruti­nium Pestis, he tells us, that Cardan relates that in his [Page 9]Time (who flourished about the Middle of the six-teenth Age) there was a most cruel Pestilence at Milan, arising (as he conjectures) from an infinite Number of little Worms: Of these Vermiculi Kir­cher discourses very largely in his Treatise of the Plague, bothbefore and after thenowmention'd Quo­tation from Cardan; and particularly in Page 141. he speaks of the Plague as something which he hadshewn to be Animated, because of those Animalcula which hetakes to be often, if not always, the Seminary there­of, concerning which he thus expresses himself; Sunt autem hi Vermiculi Pestis propagatores, tam exigui, tam tenues et subtiles, ut omnem sensûs captum cludant; &c. The Substance of what he says is this; That these little Worms which he supposes to be the Spreaders, if not wholly the Breeders of the Plague, are so exceeding Small that they are to the Sense and Sight imperceptible and undiscernable, unless it be by the Help of the most exquisite Microscopes, and for their Smalness may be called Atoms, but they encrease so prodigiously that their Numbers are beyond Compute. These Vermiculi, as they are generated (Ex putredine) out of Corruption, so they are easily thrust forth by all the Pores of the Body in which they are, toge­ther with the sweaty Vapours, and are carried along with the slightest Motion of the Air in vast Swarms, like the Motes that may be seen plying to and fro in the Sun Beams, when they shine into a Room that is somewhat obscure thro' a Hole. These Insects (he supposes) do tenaciously adhere to any Thing they meet with, and insinuate themselves into the smallest Pores of Bodies; and to render all this more probable, he says, that he has oft found the Blood taken from Persons labouring under Putrid Fevers [Page 10]so full of Worms, within an Hour or two after the Emission, as even astonished him, from whence he perswades himself that Man may (not only after his Death, but even) while alive be plentifully stored with such Vile Animalcules, tho' the Sense cannot discern them, and that, on this, as well as other Ac­counts, Job speaks as he does. Chap. 17.14 [I have said to Corruption thou art my Father: to the Worm thou art my Mother and my Sister.] He goes on to shew that this Verminose Brood, which (according to his O­pinion) is cast forth in very great Quantity both from the Living Bodies of such as are infected with the Plague, and from the Carcases of the Dead when they begin to putrifie, being received into the innermost Parts of Linen and Woolen Cloaths, and the like, are there cherished, and therewith conveyed to distant Places, and that this is the first and principal Semi­nary of the whole Contagion; as he endeavours to shew more at large: But such as desire further Infor­mation as to this Particular, must have Recourse to the Book it self, for it would require much more Time and Room, than can be allowed at present but to make an Abridgement of his copious Discourse about it in several Parts of the said Treatise. This Hypothesis must be acknowledged very plausible and ingenious, if it be built upon a solid Foundation, and if such Vermiculi as these have a real Existence in Rerum Naturâ, and be not the Creatures of astrong Imagination only. That there are Worms very often found in Humane Bodies is indeed sufficient­ly evident, and what none are ignorant of; and that Worms have been sometimes vomited up by Persons sick of the Plague is attested by Authors of good Credit: Diemerbroeck mentions one Instance of this Kind, Hist. 52. Page 306. where he relates [Page 11]this Particular concerning a Patient of his, that he cast up by Vomit above 60 small Worms as red as Blood, soon after which he died; but he adds that he never saw the like in any other Person. We are also told that Multitudes of such Worms were found in some dead Bodies that were opened at Marseilles, which lived and moved very briskly when put into Wine or Brandy, but were soon killed with Oyl and Juice of Lemons; yet after all, Kircher's Vermiculi and Mr. Ball's and Mr. Bradley's Insects do not seem to be of the same Species with these Worms, for the former are represented as so many animated Atoms, scarcely discoverable by the Help of the best Glasses, whereas the latter were sufficiently obvi­ous both to the Sight and Touch. For my part I shall not go about to determine any Thing in this Matter, but shall leave it to the nicer Examination of the most Learned Philosophers and Physicians, who are capable of penetrating much farther into the Mysteries of Nature than I can pretend to be. Only I cannot forbear adding that I do very much doubt while these Insects (which by the way can­not be the same with Mr. Bradley's Blighting In­sects, for then we should have a Plague every Time we have a Blight, which in and about this Place is almost as oft as we have a Spring, as the Gardeners know to their Sorrow, by the so frequent Destruc­tion of their Fruit: I say I do much doubt, while these Insects) remain in such an invisible State, the Hypothesis that is founded upon them will also re­main precarious, and as little demonstrable as others that have been formerly proposed. To which I shall subjoin this one Remark more; That the Generation of Worms or any other Animals, ex putredine, which Kircher seems to take for granted, is now almost [Page 12]universally exploded, and no such Thing as Spon­taneous or aequivocal Generation allowed to the meanest Insect: but 'tis agreed among the Learned, that the smallest Creatures do (as well as the great­est) proceed ex Semine, and have Parents of their own Kind by whom they are propagated; and this indeed is what Mr. Bradley no where denies, and I do not say but that his Hypothesis may be consistent with the univocal as well as aequivocal Generation of such Animalcula. Yet give me Leave to observe once more, that the gradual Progress which the Pestilence usually makes, does not seem very well to agree with the exceeding Lightness of these volatile In­sects, and upon considering this Circumstance one would be enclined to imagine, that whatever is the Fomes of the Contagion, it must be something more ponderous, tho' no less poisonous than these vene­mous Insects are supposed to be; and I cannot well conceive how it would be possible by all the Care or Precaution in the World, to prevent the spread­ing of the Distemper from one End of a Countrey to the other, in a very short Space of Time, if it be car­ried about by these Nimble, Light-heel'd, Living A­toms, who would make nothing of flying over Lines and Rivers, or fastning upon the Men themselves that stand to guard the Passes, and in short, must go which Way soever they are carried by every Puff of Wind or Stream of Air. But I shall not in­sist further at present upon this or any other Diffi­culties that occur to my Thoughts with Reference to this Hypothesis. I shall leave these little Crea­tures to shift for themselves as well as they can, but if they be such Plaguy ones as they are represented, I desire to have no experimental Acquaintance with them, tho' I own that the Notion and Speculation [Page 13]of them may be agreeable enough to an inquisitive Genius; and the Objections which lye cross in my Mind against this Hypothesis of Plague-producing Insects, may possibly be answered to Satisfaction by the Patrons of it, how insoluble soever they may at present appear to me.

What the Learned Doctor suggests in Page 22, 23, &c. against the old but unhappy Custom of shut­ting up Infected Houses, is so Humane and Charita­ble, and supported with such Solid Reasons, that I cannot but hope it will be so far attended to by our wise Legislators in all future Regulations they shall see fit to make, that such a cruel and hurtful Method may be effectually prevented, and that if at any time it should please God to visit us with that sore Distemper, the Terror and Danger of it shall not be augmented by Treating the mise­rable Sufferers with such unreasonable rigour as manifestly tends to sink and overwhelm their Spi­rits (which ought to be kept up as much as possible, as in other Diseases, so more Especially in this) and to dispose them for nothing (humanely Speak­ing) but to Despair and Die. And I cannot doubt but that such timely Provision will be made by the Publick, of convenient Lazarettoes for the Reception of the Sick upon the first breaking sorth of the Dire Disease in any large City or Town, as may (through the Blessing of Heaven) prove an happy Means of stopping the Progress thereof in its beginning.

As to the Alternative which the Doctor proposes in the close of his excellent Performance concern­ing infected Goods, that if they be not burned they may be buried deep in the Ground; I cannot but think the Latter of these Methods, (or the sink­ing [Page 14]them in the Sea or in some deep Water, where it can be conveniently done, to prevent digging up) to be much the more eligible, and the safest as well as least offensive manner of destroying them; for I have a vehement sus­picion that by the burning of Infected Cloaths and the like, the Venomous Effluvia or poiso­nous particles adhering to them may be car­ried along with the Smoak, and the fatal [...] or Fomes being Volatilized by the Fire may fill all the Circumambient Air, and instead of restraining may greatly propagate the Contagion. This I very well remember, that in some parts of England it is a ge­nerally received Opinion that the burning of Cloaths taken from a Person that dies of a very Malignant Small Pox, greatly tends to spread the Distemper; and wicked Nurses, who desire to make work for themselves, are said to practise this very Method to ac­complish their barbarous Designs; and when I lived in the County of Suffolk, I was informed that when that Disease was in the Town of Ipswich (about 25 or 30 Years ago) a certain barbarous Nurse did early in a Morning, (that she might not be known) at the head of one of the principal Streets, put fire to an heap of Old Rags and Bed Cloaths that had belonged to some poor People who Died of that Distemper, and the Smoak driving along the Street, several that passed by betimes com­plained of a very offensive smell, and the next News was that almost all that had not formerly gone thro' that Disease in that whole Street, were seized with it in a very few days. And if this Method of Burn­ing be so pernicious in the Case of the Small Pox, I doubt there is too much Ground of fear (accor­ding to the common way of arguing à Minori ad Majus) that it may prove still more fatal in the [Page 15]Case of the Plague; But this I humbly submit to the Con­sideration of the Learned in Philosophy and Physick.

As for proper Prophylacticks or Preservatives from the Plague, the Doctor has not offered much upon this Head, and seems to despair of the disco­very of any Specifick of vertue sufficient to fortifie nature against the assaults of such a Malignant Di­sease. After the mention of some general and very useful rules to be observed by way of prevention, and just hinting at a few particulars, especially the use of Wine Vinegar in small quantities, [which, with his Conserva me Domine, is said to have been the Antidote of the famous Sylvius] He does in the 35. Page, recommend leaving the infected place as the Surest Preservative, which is the same with the Counsel that Ramazzini gives in his late Dissertation concerning the Plague at Vienna, about seven Years ago; Page 469. of his Works; where he thus expresses himself. Ʋt quod sentio proferam, illud unicum perplacet, quod vulgò de tribus com­positum appellatur, i. e, de celeri fugâ à loco in­fecto, de profectione ad longinquas regiones, ac tardâ reversione; quo remedii genere sapientiores quoque Medici uti consuevere. The Sum of which is, That, to speak his Mind freely, he thinks the Method of prevention prescribed by the old Adage, Mox, longè, tardè, cede, recede, redi, to be the Best, i. e. to get away soon, to go away far, and to return back slowly; which he says is a remedy that the wisest Physicians themselves are wont to make use of upon this Occasion: But how proper advice soever this may be to those who are in such Circumstances as render them capable of following it, yet there are, alas, great numbers to whom this will seem an hard saying, as being by them im­practicable. The lower sort of People, poor Me­chanicks [Page 16]and Tradesmen that have nothing to live upon, but the Profit of their Mean Employments, must be forced to Stick by the Stuff; they have no Country Seats to repair to, and few of them have any such Friend as will be free to receive them into their houses in the adjacent Villages. If there­fore any thing could be found out that would, if not always, (which indeed is not to be expected) yet pretty often prove a Defensative against this dread­ful Enemy, it would certainly be a great and most acceptable Service to Mankind to acquaint the world therewith. But as to this, I (being no Physician my self) have little to offer but what has occasionally occurred to me in perusing some of the best Medi­cal Books, written by Authors of the greatest Name and Note, who have themselves been emi­nent Practitioners, and particularly have had cou­rage enough to Visit the Sick in places where the Plague has raged with the greatest Violence. A­mong these, Diemerbroeck and Hodges are the Chief in the Class of Modern Writers; the Former being Physician at Nimeguen during the severe Pestilence that made such fearful havock there in the Year 1636; and the Latter at London in 1665, when near an hundred thousand Persons were cut off by this Flagellum Dei. As to Diemerbroeck, that great Judge Mr. Boyle says, that he prefers his Book of the Plague to any that he had ever read of that Disease, Page 81. of his Treatise of the Air, alrea­dy mentioned; and indeed He seems to have commu­nicated his Observations to the World with a great deal of ingenuous plainness and fidelity. It would take up too much room to transcribe the half of those Receits, which he proposes from himself and others by way of prevention, in his Treatise of this Distem­per; [Page 17]I shall therefore only give my Reader the Sub­stance of what he sets down in the 12 Ch. of his 2d. Book, the Title of which is De meo ipsius Vivendi modo, where he faithfully relates what Course he himself took for his own Preservation, while he at­tended the Sick during that sad time in which the Plague raged at Nimeguen. The Sum of what he says I have endeavoured to contract as follows: He tells us, that he avoided as much as he could all ve­hement Perturbations of Mind: That he lived intre­pidly, or without Fear: That it was the same Thing to him whether he visited the Sick of the Plague or of any other Distemper, and that he as readily served the Poor gratis, as the Rich for a Reward; He adds, that if at any time he found himself some­what shocked, (which in that doleful Season, where­in there was scarce an House in the whole City that escaped the Contagion, must needs happen now and then) in such a Case he refreshed his Spirits with three or four Draughts of Wine; That being fre­quently disturbed in the Night, and much tired in the Day with walking up and down from Patient to Patient, he was forced to Sleep an Hour after Dinner, when he could best spare the time, though he disswaded others, who were under no such ne­cessity, from sleeping in the Day: That as to Diet, he used Meats of the most easy Digestion, avoiding Swine's Flesh, Herrings, and the like, which he had found hurtful to him: That his Drink was ordina­ry Ale and Small White Wine, of which he some­times drank to Chearfulness, but never to Excess; That he kept his Body open, but not too loose, only so as to have One or Two Stools in a Day: That Once or Twice in a week at Bed-time he swallowed One or Two of his Anti-pestilential Pills described in [Page 18] Chap. 9. [the Composition of which shall be subjoin­ed to this Account] That beginning to visit the Sick between Four and Five in the Morning, he could then take Nothing, his Stomach perfectly loathing both Meat, Drink, and Medicine, so that he was con­strained (though against his own Judgment) to go forth fasting, and could do no more than (after committing himself to God by pious Prayers) to chew some Grains of the lesser Cardamom; That a­bout Six a Clock in the Morning he took a little Treacle, or Diascordium, or eat a little Candied Orange Pill, and very frequently three or four Bits of Candied Elecampane: About Eight he break­fasted upon a Peice of Bread with Butter and Green­cheese made of Sheeps Milk, drinking a Glass of Ale, and now and then (but not daily) he took a Draught of Wormwood Wine about Nine: At Ten he smoaked a Pipe of Tabacco, and after Dinner Two or Three, and the like after Supper, and sometimes Two or Three more between Meals, and if at any Time he found himself affected with the Ill Smell of the Sick, he presently had Recourse to the same Remedy, which he says (he found by his own Ex­perience) as well as always thought to be the most effectual Preservative, so that the Tobacco be of the best Sort. He adds, that upon the ceasing of the Plague he left off Smoaking, not willing to ac­custom himself to it, lest he should turn its laudable Use into a detestable Abuse.

The Composition of the Anti-pestilential Pills is as follows.

Take the Roots of Butter-bur, Carline Thistle, Dittany, Angelica, Elecampane, of each an½Ounce; and Half; of Gentian one Dram and Half; of the best Rhubarb, one Ounce and Half; of Zedoary one [Page 19]Dram: Of the whitest Agarick, Half an Ounce; Take also the Herbs Scordium, the lesser Centory, Rue, of each Half an Ounce; Carduus Benedict­us, six Drams; and of the Flowers of Staechas one Dram and an half; as also the Seeds of Citron and Oranges, of each one Dram; of all these make a gross Powder, which steep for two or three Days in two Pounds and an half or three Pounds of White Wine, then boil it for about a Quarter of an Hour, and strain it very strongly in a Press, and afterwards strain itagain through thin Paper: In the strained Liquor dissolve three Ounces and an half of the best A­loes, and three Drams and an half of clear Myrrh in Drops: Let the Moisture evaporate in a China Dish 'till a Mass of Pills can be made of the Re­mainder. These Pills (says the Author) we have found to be of great Use in Time of the Plague.

Thus far from the accurate Diemerbroeck; who has also given us no less than 120 Histories of so many particular Persons afflicted with the Plague, in whose Cases may be seen all the various Symp­toms of that sore Distemper, with the Remedies pro­per to each of them, which are well worth the Per­usal of such as understand the Language wherein they are writ.

Proceed we now to the Learned Dr. Hodges, who by the Appointment of the Government continued in London during that most dreadful Pestilence, which raged there in the Year 1665, of which he afterwards published an Historical Narration with the Title of [...], or an Account of the Plague: in which he treats concerning the Rise and Progress, the Cau­ses, Signs, and Cure of the Contagion, and also re­lates his own Manner of living in that Time of Dan­ger. What I shall observe from him shall be only [Page 20]the few particular Directions which he gives con­cerning such Things as he judges proper to be done by Way of Precaution; omitting the general Ones relating to the timely providing Lazaretto's, keep­ing Houses and Streets clean, and the like, which Dr. Mead has perfectly well recommended. As to particular Preservatives from the Plague, Dr. Hodges gives us several Receits, of which I shall on­ly set down Two that are of easy Preparation, and perhaps of equal Virtue with the more pompous Forms. The first is what he calls an Electuary for the Ʋse of the Poor, the Composition of which is in Page 229, of his Book, viz. Take Conserve of Wood-sorrel and Goats Rue, of each half a Pound; of Marigolds, one Pound; London-treacle, three Ounces; Bole Armoniack vitriolated, four Ounces; with Syrup of Lemons as much as is sufficient; make an Electuary; two or three Drams of which may be taken Morning and Evening. The other is an Haustus said to be of great Virtue. Viz. Take Wa­ter of red Roses camphorated two Ounces, the best Vinegar one Ounce, in which dissolve two Scruples of the best Bole Armoniack; add three Drams of simple Syrup of Scabious, mix them for a Draught.

I do the rather mention this because the Use of Vinegar seems to be much approved by the Lear­ned Dr. Mead. Diemerbroeck also highly com­mends Vinegar, and says that he had seen many poor People better preserved by taking a Spoonful thereof every Morning, than some Others were by the most costly Remedies. Page 170.

Among other Antidotes against the Pestilential Contagion, Dr. Hodges does particularly commend Canary of the best Sort, of which he frequently drank while he attended the Sick, and found it of sin­gular [Page 21]Use to himself and others. His Time of drink­ing it was at Dinner, and a little before Bed-time; but as to the Smoaking of Tobacco, which Diemer­broeck so much extols, He speaks very doubtfully of it, and seems to have had an Aversion to it, and to suspect that the Pestiferous Vapours may be suck­ed in with the Smoak; and in fine he prefers his good Spanish Wine very much before it, and this so far as appears was the Antidote he chiefly trusted to among the Internal Ones. But then as to Ex­ternal Defensatives against this deadly Enemy (re­jecting the many Amulets vulgarly prescribed, the most of which he thinks to be useless, and some noxious,) there is one which he greatly commends as the most powerful and effectual of all others in this Case, and that is the having of large Issues; for Instance, one in the Left Arm, and the other in the Right Leg, capacious enough to contain five or six Pease. The more to enforce this Advice, he does solemnly affirm, Page 240. that as oft as he went in­to Places that were more than ordinarily Infected, he found that Part of his Arm in which the Issue was, exceedingly pained, and that thin, undigested, Bloody Matter would flow from it, with a very smart Pungency, and that upon this Warning given him, he presently had Recourse to proper Alexiphar­micks. It seems plain from hence even to Sense and ocular Demonstration, that the Virus, the Venom, and Poison of the Contagion did work off in a great Measure by Means of this Sort of Evacuation. I shall only add under this Head, that Diemerbroeck does also much commend this Remedy, and observes that many who had Issues escaped the Plague at Ni­meguen, and of those that had it, a considerable Num­ber recovered speedily upon taking a Sweating [Page 22]Medicine, and he mentions several other eminent Physicians that had found the happy Effect of such Issues in the Course of their Practice. Page 150. &c. He observes also that many of those that had Sores about them escaped the Plague, and he tells us that Galen of old made the Same Observati­on.

I shall now in the Close of this Collection just mention One or Two Preservatives recorded by the Excellent Mr. Boyle, towards the latter end of his discourse of the Air beforementioned. The former of these is in Page 86. which was communi­cated to him by one whom he calls an ancient and very experienced Physician, to whose care a great Pest-house was committed. This Person own'd to Mr. Boyle, that besides ardent Prayers to God, and a very regular diet, his constant Antidote was on­ly to take every Morning fasting a little Sea-Salt dissolved in a few Spoonfuls of Fair Water: Mr. Boyle adds that he thinks it desirable that Notice be taken of all Remedies that have been found by good Trials available against the Plague; for since Pesti­lences are various in their Kinds, 'tis very possible that their appropriated Remedies may be so too; and that Medicine may prove successful in one, which has proved ineffectual in another. The Noble Au­thor adds to this, That the said Consideration for­bad him to pass by the following Particular, Viz. That a very Learned Physician having recommen­ded to him the Herb called Galega, or Goats-rue, at that time little noted in England, as a most effectu­al Antidote against the Plague, he caused it to be cultivated in a Garden, and when the Pestilence raged most, having some of it by him made up with a little Sugar in the form of a fine green Conserve, he [Page 23]sent it to Two infected Persons, who, by the divine blessing on it, both of them recovered. He also takes notice of the great vertue of this Herb against the Bitings of Venomous Creatures: It may be eaten in its entire Substance as a Salad, or the Conserve or Syrup may be taken, or the Juice newly express'd, which he thinks better than the Syrup or Conserve.

Thus I have finished what I had to offer to the Publick concerning the Plague, and the most proper Antidotes against it which I have met with in my lit­tle reading. I shall only add, That after all, our prin­cipal-Trust and Confidence must be in the Goodness and Mercy of Almighty God, through the Merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; and it great­ly concerns all Persons to search and try their ways, and turn unto the Lord with their whole hearts. Let the Means and Instruments or Second Causes of this terrible Calamity be what they will; whether it owes its Origin to Subterraneal Steams and the Expirations of Noxious Minerals, (as Mr. Boyle conjectures) or, to a pestiferous Aura, proceed­ing from a peculiar, and (in a Sort) corruptive al­teration of the Nitro-aereal Spirit, (as Dr. Hodges thinks) or, to prodigious Swarms of invisible Ve­nomous Insects, (as Kircher and Mr. Bradley ima­gine) Or Lastly, to an unhealthy Constitution of the Season, and Disorder in the Air Occasioned by ex­cessive Heat and Moisture, (as Galen taught of old) which evil Constitution is heightned and ren­dred more Malignant by the Stinks of Stagnating Waters, by Putrid Exhalations from the Earth and from dead Carcases lying unburied, which fill the Air with Contagious Particles, and so being Suck'd in with the Breath taint in their passage the Salival Juices, which being Swallowed down into [Page 24]the Stomach fix the Malignity there, as the Learned Dr. Mead observes, Pag 7. and 11. of his Discourse: I say whether this Dreadful Disease owes its Origine to any one, or (which is more probable) to a Concurrence, and Complication of Secondary Causes, Yet still it becomes us to look higher, and to reverence Divine Providence as the first and principal Cause. The great God has said, Amos 3.6. [Shall there be Evil in a City, and the Lord hath not done it?] Sword and Famine and Pestilence are what He expresly calls, His sore Judgments. (Ezek. 14.21.) The Earth, the Water, the Fire, the Air, all the Elements, and all their Actions are at his Beck, and under his steady Government, and 'tis not improbable that he does employ Angels, as the Ministers of his Justice, to inslict deserved Punishments, and particularly this of Pestilence up­on a guilty People: Possibly he may by their invi­sible Hands scatter through the Air those fatal Mi­asmata, those Malignant Venomous Atoms, and Poisonous Effluvia, the Seeds of Contagious Dis­tempers, that carry Death and Destruction all a­round; to which Thought some Divines have been led by some passages in Holy Writ that seem in their opinion to look this way. Be this as it will, 'tis certain that the Almighty is the principal Agent, who orders and over-rules all Inferiour ones, and therefore whatever or whoever be the Instruments, 'tis with him that we have chiefly to do, 'tis from him that we have more to Fear or Hope than from all the World besides, and therefore it must needs be both our Duty and our Interest to fly to his Mer­cy-Seat, to Humble our selves before him, and to make our earnest Supplication to him, either to Pre­serve us from such Publick desolating Calamities, [Page 25]or to prepare us for them. And a general Humili­ation, Repentance, and Reformation is one of the most hopeful Means of Preservation from this ter­rible Distemper, whereby the Wrath of an offen­ded God is revealed from Heaven against the Ʋn­righteousness and Ʋngodliness of a guilty World. Yea, if God should see fit to send it among us, such Repentance and Amendment, joined with a true Faith in the Mediator, would best prepare us for it, give us the greatest Courage and Comfort under it, and the most happy Issue out of it, and even Death it self would be to us no other than a Passage to a bet­ter Life.

For the Direction of the curious Reader that de­sires to consult the Authors themselves which I have used in this Collection, I here subjoin a Catalogue of them with the Editions made use of by me.

Alexandri Massariae Vicentini Practica Medica venetiis. 1622. Fol. Editio quarta.

Petri Foresti Alcmariani Opera omnia. Rotho­magi. 1653. Fol.

Athanasii Kircheri Scrutinium Physico-Medicum Contagiosae Luis, quae Pestis dicitur. Romae. 1658. Quarto.

Isbrandi de Diemerbroeck Tractatus de Peste No­viomagensi. Amstelaedami. 1665. Quarto.

Bernardini Ramazzini Opera. Londini. 1717. Quarto.

Alstedii Thesaurus Chronologiae. Herbornae Nassoviorum. 1637. Editio Tertia. Octavo.

[...], sive Pestis apud Populum Londinensem grassantis Narratio historica. Authore Nathanaele Hodges. Londini. 1672. Octavo.

An Experimental Discourse of some unheeded Causes of the Insalubrity and Salubrity of the the [Page 26]Air. By the the Honourable R. Boyle. London. 1685. Octavo.

Zachariae Hogelii Horologium Historicum. Lip­siae. 1704. Editio secunda. Octavo.

Thomae Sydenham Opera. Lond. 1705. Editio tertia. Octavo.

Such as desire to see more of the Nature and Cure of the Plague may consult Burnet's Thesaurus Me­dicinae Practicae à Daniele Puerario Auctus in duo­bus Tomis. Genevae. 1678. Octavo. In which he has collected the principal Remedies made Use of against this Distemper by the most eminent Physici­ans of the two last Ages, such as Forestus, Fabri­tius Hildanus, Rodericus à Fonseca, Felix Plate­rus, Joannes Crato, Gregorius Horstius, Ray­mundus Mindererus, Helmontius, Mercurialis, Kircher, Diemerbroeck, Hodges, and others. Or they may have Recourse to Etmullerus, and the Col­lections of the Voluminous Manget, in his Bibli­otheca Medico-Practica in four large Folio's. His Collections relating to the Plague may be found in the Fourth Volume, printed at Geneva, 1698. who to the Authors already mentioned has added some later ones, as Barbette, Sylvius, Willis, &c.

Add to the Preservatives, that Garden Rue eaten with Bread and Butter, or made up into a Conserve is much commended against the Plague, and if this were added to the Conserve prescribed in Page 23. I should think it would be to the Advantage there­of. The very Smell of this Herb, tho' ungrateful, is said to be an Antidote.

Candied Elecampane Roots are also much praised by Diemerbroeck.

To what is observed in the Fourth Page from Dr. Mead and Sydenham concerning the Plague's not [Page 27]springing up of its self in this Part of the World, I shall beg Leave to add as a Close to this Paper; That altho' it may be true that this Distemper ne­ver breaks out in these Countries unless the Semina­ry of it be brought to them from some infected Place, yet the Disposition of the Air may some­times be such as to render it more apt than ordinary to receive into it the Poisonous Fomes, and to pro­pagate the same, which is what these Learned Gen­tlemen do expresly acknowledge. The Use which I would make of this Reflection is, that the warm Constitution of the Air which has prevailed for the greatest Part of the present Winter, and is general­ly thought to be too favourable to the Seeds of this Disease (whatever they are) should put us upon Doubling our Diligence, in the Use of all proper Means to guard against the Admission of any Thing from Abroad, that may give the least Suspicion of its harbouring such a Fatal Mischief: for should any Thing of this Kind be conveyed to us, it may have the like unhappy Effects with a Little Spark, falling into a great Deal of Dry Tinder, that may quickly diffuse it self, and break forth into a Flame not easy to be extinguished.

In Magnis voluisse sat est.


N. B. In DUBLIN there is Published a Second Edition, of Dr. MEAD's Discourse Concerning Pestilential Contagion.

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