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The Plague at Marseilles Consider'd   By: (1688-1732)

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With REMARKS upon the PLAGUE in General, shewing its Cause and Nature of INFECTION, with necessary Precautions to prevent the spreading of that DIREFUL DISTEMPER. Publish'd for the PRESERVATION of the People of GREAT BRITAIN.

Also some Observations taken from an Original Manuscript of a Graduate Physician, who resided in LONDON during the whole Time of the late Plague, Anno 1665.



LONDON : Printed for W. MEARS at the Lamb without Temple Bar . 1721. Price 1 s.

TO Sir ISAAC NEWTON President of the Royal Society, &c.


To Act under Your Influence, is to do Good, and to Study the Laws of Nature, is the Obligation I owe to the Royal Society, who have so wisely placed Sir Isaac Newton at their Head.

The following Piece, therefore, as I design it for the Publick Good, naturally claims Your Patronage, and, as it depends chiefly upon Rules in Nature, I am doubly obliged to offer it to the President of that Learned Assembly, whose Institution was for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge.

I am, Sir With due Respect, Your most obliged, Humble Servant,



There would be little Occasion for a Preface to this Treatise, if the last Foreign Advices had not given us something particular relating to the Pestilence that now rages in the South Parts of France; and what may more particularly recommend these Relations to the World, is, because they come from Physicians, who resided at the Infected Places.

The Physician at Aix gives us the following Account.

The Contagious Distemper, which has become the Reproach of our Faculty here for above a Month past, is more violent than that at Marseilles; it breaks out in Carbuncles, Buboes, livid Blisters, and purple Spots; the first Symptoms are grievous Pains in the Head, Consternations, wild Looks, a trembling Voice, a cadaverous Face, a Coldness in all the extreme Parts, a low unequal Pulse, great Pains in the Stomach, Reachings to Vomit, and these are follow'd by Sleepiness, Deliriums, Convulsions, or Fluxes of Blood, the Forerunners of sudden Death. In the Bodies that are open'd, we find gangrenous Inflammations in all the lower Parts of the Belly, Breast and Neck. Above fifty Persons have died every Day for three Weeks past in the Town and Hospitals. Most of them fall into a dreadful Phrenzy, so that we are forc'd to tie them.

The other is a Letter from a Physician at Marseilles, sent to John Wheake, Esq; who was so kind to give me the Abstract.

Marseilles Sept. 15. 1720.


I Arriv'd here the 8 th , and enter'd the Gate of Aix which leads to the Cours , which has always been esteem'd one of the most pleasant Prospects in the Kingdom, but that Day was a very dismal Spectacle to me; all that great Place, both on the Right and Left, was fill'd with Dead, Sick, and Dying Persons. The Carts were continually employ'd in going and returning to carry away the Dead Carcasses, of which there were that Day above four Thousand. The Town was without Bread, without Wine, without Meat, without Medicines, and in general, without any Succours.

The Father abandon'd the Child, and the Son the Father; the Husband the Wife, and the Wife the Husband; and those who had not a House to themselves, lay upon Quilts in the Streets and the Pavements; all the Streets were fill'd with Cloaths and Houshold Goods, strew'd with Dead Dogs and Cats, which made an insupportable Stench. Meat was Sold at 18 to 20 Sous per Pound, and was only distributed to those that had Billets from the Consuls: This, Sir, was the miserable State of this City at that Time, but at present, Things have a better appearance; Monsieur le Marquis de Langeron , who Commands here, has caused the Dead to be Buried, the Cloaths and Goods to be burnt, and the Shops to be open'd, for the Sustenance of the Publick... Continue reading book >>

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