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REV. DR. HENRY CLARKE.
You will be greatly surprised, but I hope, not so much offended, at the sight of this letter, first read in print. To account for a thing so odd, I readily confess, it was my vanity alone, that prompted me to speak to you through the press, in the sight and hearing of mankind. I was resolved the world should know, that you had been my tutor, and friend, for a long course of years; not more my tutor in College, than since in the revisal of my poor performances, which, defective as they still are, must have appeared to much greater disadvantage, bad they not passed through your hands; and not less my friend, in your severest animadversions on them, than in the long-continued and cordial kindness, wherewith you have treated me on every occasion. With you, and amidst your very amiable relations, I have tasted the sweets of social life, in as high perfection, as polite learning, unreserved openness and freedom, and a gaiety, tempered by good sense, decorum, and virtue, could give them. That which crowned all, and exalted my pleasure at Clonfekle into happiness, was an inviolable integrity of heart, which places you and yours among the foremost rank of my acquaintances, who, if I mistake not, are, in that respect, the first of mankind. To a society, so engaging, and to friendships, that did me so much honour, I could bring no contribution, but a cheerfulness and honesty, like your own, and a heart filled with gratitude and affection. Accept my thanks, dear Sir, and pardon that vanity which would tell th world, that Dr. Clarke hath been my friend, without the possibility of a view to serve himself of me in any one particular. Here I plume myself indeed, for they who know him, are sensible he is no prodigal of his friendship ; nor can they assign an
instance of his having misplaced it, if not on me.
In some measure, to save you, dear Sir, even that imputation, I am grateful; indeed I am; and write this, purely because the greatness of your spirit, and the nothingness of my power, permit me to give no better proof of it.
Can you, worthy Sir, forgive my thus dragging you out from a retirement, too long affected, into public notice ? Can you forgive my bringing you into a crowd, only that I may shew myself near you, though it is but to shoulder you? Can you forgive my pride in vaunting the wealth I have drawn from your coffers, so liberally opened to me, and a few others, while they were concealed from the rest of mankind, not more by their envy at, than by your contempt for, your own funds ? If you can do this, and relieve me from my fears of offending in the very act, whereby I would testify my esteem and love, you will add considerably to the happiness of,
Dear and worthy Sir,
REASONS FOR INOCULATION. .
Some years ago, the small-pox carried off a prodigious number of young people at Lisburn in the province of Ulster, where I then happened to be. One day with another, seven were observed to die of this shocking disorder, during a considerable part of the summer, in this town alone, wherein, I believe, there are not more than one thousand five hundred or one thousand six hundred souls. Of two hundred children that bad been inoculated in that town and its environs, two only had died. About six in ten of those who took it in the natural way, were lost in spite of all the care and skill of the physicians, although all the children of the place, whether intended for inoculation, or not, were equally dieted, purged, and prepared for the attack.
Let the physicians judge now, whence arose so great a difference of event between those who were naturally, and those who were artificially infected. For my part, I could assign no other cause for this, but the supposition of a natural crisis in every constitution, happening earlier in one, and later in another, whereby the blood and other juices of the human body are disposed to receive this particular infection. If the infection is obtruded, whether naturally, or artifically, on the constitution, at the time of the crisis, then, if I am not much deceived, the disorder is taken, in the utmost degree of severity and malignity, wherewith the particular constitution seized, is capable of being infected, the constitution at that critical time, as it were inviting the contagion, and forwarding its rise, in the course of the distemper, with its proper pabulum, till the whole mass of humours is as thoroughly corrupted, and the symptomatic fever as bighly exalted, as they can possibly be in this or that constitution engaged. Observe, I only say, as thoroughly, and as highly, for some who are seized with this disorder naturally and critically, have it very favourably, because no critical disposition can carry the infection, in its utmost force, into a constitution otherwise inept and indisposed thereto, or rather into a constitution, which, although in part critically provided with the pabulum of the disorder, is also, in part, provided with a natural medicine or antidote, which resists its progress. It must, I should think, be owing to something of this nature, that children of the same parents, nearly of the same age, perhaps twins, and dieted in the same house, and on the same sort of food, should be affected so very differently with this disorder. Be this as it will, give me leave to pursue my conjectures a little farther. It is my humble opinion, that should a young person be inoculated at the precise time, when he is critically disposed to receive the infection, he almost runs as great a hazard in regard to his senses, or his life, as he could have done, had he received it in the natural way. Hence some who are inoculated, die. But then, in case of inoculation, there is, at least, a hundred to one, that the patient is inoculated before or after the crisis, that is, when his constitution is more or less disposed to resist the infection, and consequently receives, when it is forced upon him, but the third, the sixth, perhaps, only the tenth part of its malignity. The patient who would have sunk under the disorder, had he, by a critical disposition to it, taken it entire, having received only a small share of the infection, with a constitutional indisposition to it, plays with it as a slight complaint, wherein there is little sickness, and far less danger, absolutely none of ever taking it again; for this infection cannot be repeated on the same person, the pabulum of the distemper having been so eradicated in the first admission and the epsuing discharge, that there is none left to carry the taint anew into the mass of blood. It is true a nurse who formerly had the small.pox, has sometimes a pustule or two arising on her breast or arms, while she sackles a child in the disorder; but nobody calls this the small-pox, because she never sickens, nor do those pustules appear on any part of her body, but such as had been in immediate contact