The Harvard Classics Volume 38 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 478 pages of information about The Harvard Classics Volume 38.
and the whole of them had the cow-pox.  The milkers, consisting of the farmer’s wife, a man and a maidservant, were infected by the cows.  The man-servant had previously gone through the smallpox, and felt but little of the cow-pox.  The servant maid had some years before been infected with the cow-pox, and she also felt it now in a slight degree; but the farmer’s wife, who never had gone through either of the diseases, felt its effects very severely.

That the disease produced upon the cows by the colt and from thence conveyed to those who milked them was the true and not the spurious cow-pox, there can be scarcely any room for suspicion; yet it would have been more completely satisfactory had the effects of variolous matter been ascertained on the farmer’s wife, but there was a peculiarity in her situation which prevented my making the experiment.

Thus far have I proceeded in an inquiry founded, as it must appear, on the basis of experiment; in which, however, conjecture has been occasionally admitted in order to present to persons well situated for such discussions objects for a more minute investigation.  In the mean time I shall myself continue to prosecute this inquiry, encouraged by the hope of its becoming essentially beneficial to mankind.



Although it has not been in my power to extend the inquiry into the causes and effects of the variolae vaccinae much beyond its original limits, yet, perceiving that it is beginning to excite a general spirit of investigation, I think it of importance, without delay, to communicate such facts as have since occurred, and to point out the fallacious sources from whence a disease imitative of the true variolae vaccinae might arise, with the view of preventing those who may inoculate from producing a spurious disease; and, further, to enforce the precaution suggested in the former treatise on the subject, of subduing the inoculated pustule as soon as it has sufficiently produced its influence on the constitution.  From a want of due discrimination of the real existence of the disease, either in the brute or in the human subject, and also of that stage of it in which it is capable of producing the change in the animal economy which renders it unsusceptible of the contagion of the smallpox, unpleasant consequences might ensue, the source of which, perhaps, might not be suspected by one inexperienced in conducting such experiments.

My late publication contains a relation of most of the facts which had come under my own inspection at the time it was written, interspersed with some conjectural observations.  Since then Dr. G. Pearson has established an inquiry into the validity of my principal assertion, the result of which cannot but be highly flattering to my feelings.  It contains not a single case which I think can be called an exception to the fact

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The Harvard Classics Volume 38 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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