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Smallpox and Vaccination

Excerpt from Smallpox and Vaccination Smallpox, perhaps more than any other disease, has inspired fear and terror in the popular mind because of its loathsome appearance, its extreme contagiousness and its disfiguring consequences. Lord Macauley's Description of Smallpox. - Lord Macauley, writing of the untimely death from smallpox in 1694 of the young and beautiful Queen Mary of England, gives us a powerful pen picture of the ravages of this pestilence: That disease, over which science has since achieved a succession of glorious and beneficient victories, was then the most terrible of all the ministers of death. The havoc of the plague has been far more rapid, but the plague has visited our shores only once or twice within living memory; and the smallpox was always present, filling the churchyards with corpses, tormenting with constant fears all whom it had nor yet stricken, leaving on those whose lives it spared the hideous traces of its power, turning the babe into a changeling at which the mother shuddered, and making the eyes and cheeks of the betrothed maiden objects of horror to the lover. Blindness from Smallpox. - During certain periods in England, a very large percentage of the people were pockmarked. Ben Jonson, the Elizabethan dramatist, wrote: Envious and foule disease, could there not be, One beautie in an age and free from thee. Not only did the disease destroy life, disfigure and maim, but it was at one time the most common cause of blindness. The early records of the London Asylum for the Indigent Blind showed that two thirds of the inmates had lost their sight as a result of smallpox. Smallpox Adages. - Smallpox was a great scourge before the introduction of vaccination. In London during the eighteenth century it caused one twelfth of all deaths. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
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