Imatges de pÓgina

impossible that this calamity should have been avoided much longer; and as ships coming from India, both in their passage to the Persian Gulf, and to the Red Sea, frequently touched at the Arabian ports, that country was peculiarly exposed, and there accordingly it was first observed.' p. 4.5.

In Chapter III. then, we are informed how the small-pox appears in Arabia, and follows the track of the Saracens.' In the year 569, the celebrated religious war, called the war of the Elephant, occurred, in which Mecca is related to have been preserved by a miraculous destruction of the invading army, by a flight of supernatural birds, which killed the Abyssinians by dropping small stones like peas upon their heads. Mr Moore has adduced some documents, which tend to prove that the small-pox and measles first appeared in Arabia in that year, at the siege of Mecca, and that the two species of supernatural birds were but fabulous representations of these two diseases; a suggestion which was made by Mr Bruce, after examining some Abyssinian records. The place and period of the origin of these diseases was but too favourable to their dissemination. They were accordingly soon known at Alexandria, where the first treatise on the small-pox was written by Ahron, (according to the testimony of Rhases), who lived there during the life of Mahomet. This enthusiast, it is well known, was born in the same year in which Mecca was besieged; and he and his successors contributed most fatally to the extension of pestilence, even to the shores of the Atlantic. This account accords with the researches of Dr Woodville on the same subject. The latter considered the disease, indeed, to have been carried to Alexandria in 638 by the Arabians, and to have been altogether unknown there before the siege of that city. This he infers from the silence of Paul of Ægina, (who was a contemporary of Ahron at Alexandria), respecting the small-pox, although this writer affirms that he had omitted no disease then known. Mr Moore attempts to explain this, by supposing that the work of Paul had been written before his settlement at Alexandria; which he thinks is probable, from its being little more than a compendium of Galen and Oribasius, and from this author being placed by Hali Abbas as the last of the ancients, while Ahron is called the first of the moderns; the epoch of the Hegyra, A. D. 622, being as sumed by Hali as the boundary, May not his Greek education have somewhat warped his observation, and induced him to confound the disease with other pestilential maladies? It would seem, as Dr Woodville remarks, that Ahron did not describe the small-pox as a new disease, since Rhases strenuously con

tends that the disease was known to Galen, and he was perfectly familiar with Ahron's works.

At all events the small-pox, which was first distinctly described by the Arabian physicians, henceforth became the subject of much attention among that restless people, and attacked even their monarchs; for three of the early Caliphs were described as pitted with the small-pox, and one fell a victim to the disease. Many of the Arabians, in the periods subsequent to the Hegyra, wrote at length upon the small-pox and measles, which they carried, in the course of their conquests, not only through Persia, Syria, and Egypt, but eastward along the African coast of the Mediterranean, and ultimately into Europe. Mr Moore concludes this chapter by some amusing anecdotes, well related, though not very novel, relating to the general history of medicine, rather than to that of small-pox.



In Chapter IV. he describes the diffusion of small-pox through Europe and America,' from the beginning of the eighth down to the eighteenth century. He informs us, in his waggish way, that the introduction of this pestilence, as well as the downfall of the Gothic monarchy, in Spain, was owing to a rape committed by a king, and to the vengeance of a beautiful woman;' which he illustrates by giving a laconic sketch of the invasion of the Moors, in 710, who established the Koran and the small-pox in that country. From the sterile chronicles of the monks, the only historians of those dark times, little direct evidence, however, is to be obtained of the actual progress of this disease. Military and religious events chiefly occupied their attention, and almost the only disease, which they mention, is the plague. But the author here justly observes, that that word had however a much more extensive signification, than it has since; and was applied then to every dangerous epidemic:' He adds, in the next page, but it is quite certain that the smallpox was in those days included among the pestilences. For in the first translations of the work of Rhases, the small-pox is termed Pestis; and Constantinus Africanus, as well as many of the early medical writers, class it with pestilential fevers.' And again, the small-pox being included in the term pestilence, explains satisfactorily why it is not named by the older writers; and also accounts for the very frequent occurrence of the plague in early times.' He is hence convinced that some of the epide mics, called the plague, which is said to have visited France eleven times in the ninth, and six or seven times in the tenth century, were unquestionably the small-pox and measles ;' and he is likewise of opinion that the pestilence of the holy fire, so

terrible and fatal, and so often epidemic, must have been in many instances small-pox or measles.

That this was really the case, there is very little reason to doubt. But surely the same inference is as applicable to the more ancient, as to these later periods of time. And if physicians late in the eleventh century, when the Arabian learning was well known, and especially if such a physician as Constantine, deeply versed in oriental literature, and who had in fact spent thirty years at Bagdad and Babylon, before he settled at Salernum, in the very cradle of the small-pox (according to this doctrine), should still persist in classing this remarkable disease, with the plague, ignis sacer, scarlet-fever, &c. under the common appellation of pestilence;-is it surprising, that the earlier physicians, to whom the distiction had not been made manifest, and who have done little more than echo the doctrines of Galen, or that that voluminous theorist himself, who was blinded by his bile and phlegm, should confound them altogether? We know well with what difficulty the human mind throws off the trammels of habit and early instruction. It is scarcely more than a century since the measles and small-pox were allowed to be distinct diseases, and not so long since the chicken-pox was distinguished from the latter; and half a century has not elapsed since the scarlet-fever and malignant sore-throat were identified, and since this fever was denominated putrid measles. 'It seems just as probable that the pestilences of Thucydides and Lucretius were small-pox, as any of those epidemics of the ninth and tenth centuries, to which the author has alluded. It is probable, however, that the holy fire was a distinct epidemic, differing from small pox and erysipelas, and resulting from famine, and therefore less common in our times; but it appears to have occurred at a later period, in different parts of the Continent, where it has commonly been ascribed, not to want of nourishment, but to depraved and noxious food, and has received different appellations accordingly. Thus, in France, it was called Ergot, being attributed to diseased rye; in Sweden, Raphania, from its supposed origin from eating the Raphanus; and in Germany, der kriebel Krankheit. It seems to be a modification of scurvy, and terminates in a dry gangrene.

Believing the small-pox to have been born with Mahomet, at Mecca, in the year 638 or 640, or at least to have first appeared at that time in the west, Mr Moore has some difficulty in crediting an account, which Dr O'Connor has quoted from some ancient annals of Ulster; namely, that in 679 the small-pox (which is called Bolgach) was epidemic in Ireland, and again in the early part of the following (eighth) century; a circum


stance which is not easily reconciled with the notion that the Moors were the carriers of the disease into Europe above 30 years afterwards. In England, Dr Short asserts, that in 907, the Princess Elfrida, probably a daughter of Alfred, was ill of the, small-pox, but recovered; and in 961, Prince Baldwin of Flanders, her grandson, died of a disease, according to the Bertinian Chronicle, which physicians called variola or pocca.' This Mr Moore believes to be the earliest authentic use of these words. And he thinks it rather odd, that the earliest cases of small-pox in Europe, should be those of a British princess and a Flemish prince; as before that disease had reached Flanders, it must have traversed all the intermediate countries from the Mediterranean; and it must have existed some time in the north, before it acquired a Saxon name.' (p. 90.) This concluding remark proves that no such oddity here existed: the diseases of princes are likely to be the first that are recorded by historians.. But the very fact that the contagion had reached these royal courts, demonstrates, not less satisfactorily than the use of a vernacular name, the previous extensive prevalence of the disease among the people.

This chapter is concluded by some curious medical and historical anecdotes, collected from the saints, and by some statements in refutation of the assertions of Dr Mead, Baron Dimsdale, and others, that the small-pox was brought into Europe by the returning crusaders; since, in fact, it reached Europe two centuries before the return from these frantic expeditions. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Mr Moore finds the disease mentioned in the Lives of the Saints, as well as the blindness produced by it, the curing of which is often stated among the miracles which they performed. And he concludes by observing, that as in all human affairs good and evil are intermingled, so the invention of the compass, and the discoveries of Columbus, occasioned scenes of misery that never were surpassed; and, among others, the extension of small-pox and measles to another hemisphere. He traces them to St Domingo in 1517, to Cuba in 1520, and afterwards to Mexico, where in a very short time they destroyed three millions and a half of people. In Iceland and Greenland, the diseases have appeared more lately, but scarcely less fatally. He then sums up these results of his inquiries.

It may be concluded, from the foregoing historical sketch, that the small-pox and measles had prevailed in China and Hindoostan from remote antiquity, probably upwards of three thousand years; yet had not extended to the more western nations until the middle of the sixth century. About this latter period the above maladies reach

ed the southern coast of Arabia, by vessels trading with India, and broke out near Mecca, during the war of the Elephant, in the year 569, immediately before the birth of Mahomet.

During the latter part of the sixth, and the whole of the seventh centuries, they were spread, by the Arabians, over the remaining countries of Asia, and all that part of Africa which is washed by the Mediterranean sea. In the eighth century Europe was contaminated, in consequence of the Saracens invading Spain, Sicily, Italy, and France; and the above diseases gradually extended to the north. They had certainly reached Saxony, Switzerland, and England in the tenth, and probably in the ninth centuries. And lastly, in the beginning of the sixteenth century, twelve years after the death of Columbus, the infections were transported by the Spaniards to Hispaniola, and soon after to Mexico, and diffused speedily over that hemisphere also. p. 110.

In Chapter V. Mr Moore details, with considerable erudition, the various theories and treatment of the small-pox from its appearance in Arabia, to the fifteenth century,' beginning with Ahron, who wrote subsequently to the epoch of the Hegyra (622), but whose works are lost, except some fragments preserved by Rhases, and ending with Arnold of Villanova, Gilbertus Anglicus, and John of Gaddesden. The author appears to have examined the works of all these authors with great industry; and he has detailed the principal doctrines and methods of treatment, which they have respectively adopted with respect to the small-pox, as well as the leading circumstances of their lives and characters; so that this chapter is a neat but comprehensive compendium of the medical history of Arabia, and is enlivened by many judicious remarks on the peculiar merits and imperfections of these writers, as well as by various anecdotes not immediately connected with the small-pox. The minute and amusing account of Arnoldus de Villa-nova evinces, among others, the zeal and success with which Mr. Moore has sifted the writings of these ancient authors. The most curious parts of the voluminous works of this writer, as well as the works of John of Gaddesden, are those which relate to the various subjects on which they appear to have been consulted by both sexes, relative to the improvement of their mutual attractions. Arnold treated of sorcery, too, as of a malady in the physician's province; and describes many witcheries, and the potent spells by which they may be overcome. The terror of cold, which was strongly inculcated by the first writer on small-pox, Ahron, upon hypothetical principles, was not less carefully inculcated by all subsequent writers down to Sydenham; and John of Gaddesden and his contemporaries ascribed

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