A practical method as used for the cure of the plague in London in 1665

This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

A practical method as used for the cure of the plague in London in 1665 - image page 7a.png

Sir Charles Scarborough's

Practical Method


For the CURE of the


In LONDON, in 1665.

A practical method as used for the cure of the plague in London in 1665 - image page 7b.png

Price Six-Pence.


Practical Method


For the CURE of the


In LONDON, in 1665.

Sir Charles Scarborough, Knt.
Physician to His Royal Highness
the Duke of YORK.

With some REMARKS upon the present
Plague in FRANCE.


Printed for B. Lintot, at the Cross-Keys between
the Temple-Gates, in Fleet street.1722.

A practical method as used for the cure of the plague in London in 1665 - image page 11a.png


Practical Method,


For the Cure of the Plague
in London, in 1665.

THE Plague, which at present rages in France, and has almost depopulated Three of its finest Provinces, viz, Provence, Languedoc, and Dauphine, has, with Reason, given an Alarm to the greatest Part of Europe; and the rather, in that it continues still its dreadful Effects, notwithstanding the Winter Season.

Which to consider well, with all its deplorable Circumstances, gives me a Retrospection into Times past, and evidently shews, by many convincing Proofs, this terrible Contagion before us, is the heavy Rod of an over-ruling Power, to chastise these People for their former barbarous Persecutions.

For, from Pontius Pilate the Governor of Jerusalem, and our Saviour's Judge, a Native of Vienne in Dauphiné, (whose House they still show to Strangers, at present possess'd by private Families) they have continued down almost to these present Times, to crucify their Christian Brethren.

The Waldenses, and Albigenses, were the first of these Provinces that suffer'd for the Truth and Purity of their Doctrine; and tho', at Times, they had destroy'd above a Million of them, yet there still arose others, to promote and ripen those early Seeds of Reformation; whose Opinions, after some Ages, were brought into England by John Wickliff, thro' the Affinity between the Kings of England and the Earls of Tholouse, and the Neighbourhood of their Territories to Guienne, then in English Hands.

The following Persecutions in these Southern Parts of France, were under Charles the Ninth; where, in a few Days, they destroy'd a Hundred Thousand People: At what Time, the said King founded, and richly endow'd, an Hospital in the City of Arles, (one of the present infected Places in Provence) in Consideration of their active Services, and treacherous Barbarity in that Massacre.

But not to be thought too prolix, in the Enumeration of such instances of the same Kind, during their Civil Wars in those Parts: I will only add that late and terrible Persecution, during the latter Part of the late Lewis's Reign; when he sent his Mission of Dragoons against the Camisars, commanded by the Mareschals de Villars, and Berwick; whose infamous Villanies, and unheard-of Cruelties, back'd by the scoffing Insolencies of Jesuits, and other Priests, has not been parallel'd in any Age.

I have here premised these foregoing Transactions, because I would not incur the Censure of Atheism, by ascribing too much this Pestilential Distemper to Second Causes, as some Physicians have already done in their late Books upon the same Subject; and I hope I may be the rather excused, in that I have not by more particular Recitals of all those other remote Regards I am acquainted with, drawn this Treatise, as I might have done, out into the needless Lengths of some Writers.

These Provinces in the Southern Parts of France, which are infected by the Plague, and at present lye miserably Waste, for want of People to manure and dress the Ground; gives me Occasion to publish some small Description of that Paradise of Europe: Whose natural warm Climate, (a better Fence in Winter, than Cloaths or Fire,) has so often done Wonders, in cherishing and restoring the decaying Natures of our Consumptive English.

The Air is so mild, that 'tis seldom or never observed to be subject to Frosts; but the Advantages of their Situation are considerably lessened, by the boisterousness of the Winds that reign in it: And besides, the Country is generally so Mountainous, that the one half of it is not cultivated; and for the Ground that remains, is so full of Stones, that a Man would be tempted to believe they had been brought thither on Purpose, to surround their Fields with Stone-Walls, which are almost every where Three Foot High.

But to make Amends for the Inconveniency of that Part of the Country, which is neither proper for Corn, or Pasturage, it produces the best Wines of France, and great Store of such excellent Olives, that the Oil of them is esteemed the sweetest in Europe. The Wines are of several Sorts: In Dauphine, the White-Wines, called Condrieu, and Gannetin, the last a very pale and thin White-Wine, much like to the Verdé of Florence, sweet, and of a very pleasant Flavour: The Red Wine, are Camp de Perdris, and Costé Bruftee, of very good Taste, and hot upon the Stomach: But above all, the most esteemed, is the Hermitage upon the Rhosne.

The Wines of Provence and Languedoc, are most commonly Red, and not inferior to Burgundy; but the most excellent Wines for Strength and Flavour, are the Red and White St.  Laurence, a Town between Toulon and Nice; and the Frontiniac of Vic, Mirabel, and Frontiniac, Three Towns near the Sea, in Languedoc, where this Wine is made.

These Two last Provinces abound in Ortolans, Quails, Becfigs, Red-legged Patridges, and some Francolines, a Species of the former; for they have both the same Cry, and Colour of Feathers, only the Wings of the latter are spotted Black and White, their Legs are somewhat smaller, and they exceed the others in their agreeableness of Taste.

Their Fruits of most Esteem, are the large Grapes of Provence, which the People have a Secret to preserve 'till May; and bring Baskets full of them every Day to the Market: And the delicious Muscat Grapes of Languedoc, than which, one cannot imagine any Thing of a more delicious Taste. The Vineyards are very Orchards, and all the most tender Fruits with us, are there Standards: As Figs of both Sorts, Apricocks, Peaches, Nectorins, Prunes de Brigniol or Prunellos, Jujubs, Almond and Pomgranat-Trees. And in the Canton of Hires, Orange and Citron-Trees, are brought up with as little Care and Industry, as Oaks, and Chesnut-Trees in other Places: Also Cherries, Pipins and Pears there, are in a far greater Perfection than with us, or in any Parts else of France, besides that once happy Climate.

These Provinces may boast of an Autumn in the midst of Winter; for the Woods are filled with Laurel and Myrtles, Lentiscus's and Phylarea's, in as great Abundance, as Hazel and Thorn with us: Jasmins, Cistus's, and Rosemary, and a Hundred other sweet-smelling Woody Shrubs, growing every where in the Fields; and the tall Cypress's grow of themselves, to Sixty and a Hundred Foot high; and are also Tonsil at Pleasure, for the most beautiful Walks imaginable. The very Fields are most excellent and well furnished Parterr's of Flowers, and are naturally Kitching Gardens of themselves: Nor is this the sole Reason why these Provinces may boast of an Autumn in the midst of Winter, for the Arbute Trees are not only ever Green, but continue to bear Fruit 'till Lent.

To these may be added, that there is nothing wanting to that present unfortunate Countries, for the Delight and Support of human Life, but an universal Anti-pestilential Remedy; to which some Physicians of Montpelier have pretended, but none, as yet, have been real Masters of.

I know that the learned in Physick, have ever exploded such an universal Remedy; and what hath long obtained among them, is very difficult to erace; yet I will be bold to aver, that it is not impracticable, but that such a Medicine may be so composed out of Volatile Salts, and some generous and noble Drugs, (which, by the increase and Decrease of such proper Doses, as may fit every Age, Sex, and Constitution) as will overcome this Herculean Distemper.

This Contagion, which, at the beginning, crept from the Shipping into Marseilles, soon changed its first slow and languid Pace, into a horrible Slaughter; and through the City was almost drained by her Funerals, yet there was not the least Appearance of a Relax, until the approach of the Winter; at what Time it declined leisurely by Degrees, as it had gradually made its first Advances. The Multitudes, which have since fled from the City, and carried the Infection along with them into the adjacent Towns, have been the Occasion of its spreading its Cruelties, since the Spring, into the neighbouring Countries, where it, at present, rages with equal Fury: So that now all hopes is lost, that this Pestilence will cease, 'till there is want of Subjects to act upon.

But I will stop here, though it is not easy to retire from so copious a Subject; that as it affordeth so much Matter, so upon many Accounts, raiseth a Heat of Thought, that is not easily governed. I will now lead you to a Scene that giveth less Disorder: It is that of the Plague in London, in 1665; wherein Sir author:Charles Scarborough, that celebrated Physician, acted his Part, in a Measure of Knowledge, far above the common Practitioners of the Town, and more than could be expected from a Person of his Rank; whose great Performances in the Cure of the Duke of York, had kindled that Esteem for him in France and Italy, and other Catholick Countries, that they accounted him among the peculiar Blessings of the Age.

This Plague, which the eminent Doctor Sydenham calls, in his Practice of Cures, by the Name of a Mortal Fever; discovered at first its Malignity among the poorer Sort of People, in St. Giles's in the Fields, towards the latter end of the Year 1664: At what Time that Contagion was thought to be brought in thither from Dantzick, by the Sale of some Pillows, and other Bedding, that were belonging to a Master of a Ship, who died of that Pestilential Distemper in the Voyage. For though that Part of the World lies between Fifty and Sixty Degrees of Northern Latitude, and a frozen Climate; yet as it borders upon the Turks, it is seldom free from such Infections.

There are others, who espouse a contrary Opinion, and give an Account that these Pestilential Effluvia, were first imported to us from Holland, by the Means of a Spaniel Dog, brought over from thence in an infected Ship; which Notion of its Origin, seems more the Effect of a deluded Imagination and Conjecture, than any solid Truth.

But a further Recital of such strange Conceits as these, which the Populace had broached out of their own Heads, concerning the Rise of this Sickness, being foreign to my Design, I will therefore endeavour to set Things in as clear a Light as I can, without prying too far into the secret Purposes of the Almighty, when he intends to punish us for our Good.

The Influences of Cælestial Bodies, and hidden Causes, are well known to be superior to all other natural Things; which when they carry with them a malignant Train of Steams, contrary to our Natures, they excite putrid and irregular Distemperatures, throughout the whole human Frame, by which they exercise their cruel Power over Mankind. The further off such Impressions are made, the greater do they denote the future Calamity will be; and when a Pestilence appears, with such Forewarnings as this of ours, with a terrible blazing Comet; what less Miseries and Desolations could be expected, than the ensuing Slaughter and Conflagration, that had almost destroy'd our Metropolis. Some Persons of Thought did not so much regard it; yet the Prevalency it had upon the Minds of the common People, stirred up such tumultuous Disorders in the Blood, and other animal Juices, as much promoted the Increase of the Disease.

But to be more particular in Things of greater Moment: His Royal Highness, then lord High-Admiral, (with Prince Rupert) setting Sail the Ninth of November. 1664, with the Fleet against the Hollanders, gave our Physician, Sir Charles, Leisure to attend some Patients in this Pestilential Distemper: Whom in the first Assaults of that Contagion, were taken with frequent Shiverings, Pains of the Back and Loins, the Pulse small, frequent and unequal; cold without, and hot within, heavy, weary, and lumpish; the Appetite lost, with Vomiting: Some were at the first Sleepy, but in the heighth of the Fever watchful, raving, and restless; they had great Pains in the Head, Thirsty, Bitterness in the Mouth, and the Tongue sometimes inflamed and Black; the Urine in some thick and stinking, in others inclining to be Red like those that are well: Some were afflicted with Blanes, Bubo's behind the Ears, under the Arm-holes, or else in the Groins: others with Carbuncles, black, blue livid, or reddish Spots, with a Circle round them: So from the diversity of the Cause, there arose various Symptoms; but in all, the Faculties of the Body were disturbed, and their whole Actions perverted.

To find out the Subject Cause of this Venenum Terroris, a Disease most notorious for its Cruelty, Malignity, and dubious Event; generated here with us, by Foreign Assistance, and where-ever it diffuses its Contagion, it invades the very Capital of the Soul, and stifles the animal Spirits.

Most Physicians will have the Heart to be the chief Seat or Subject of this Contagious Distemper, from whence all preternatural Heat is communicated to the rest of the Body; and this, they say, is demonstrable from the Pulse, which proceedeth from the Action of the Heart, and the pulsifick Faculty, and fiery Spirits, mix'd with the arterious Blood.

Sir George Ent, and Dr. Sydenham, place the Seat of this Disease in the Blood: For as in Wine and Milk, we observe strange Disturbances and Fermentations, Why may there not happen the same in the Mass of Blood? Nor are the animal Spirits to be excluded. The secondary and more general Subject of this Pestilential Fever, are all the Parts, in that the Disease, by the help of the Arteries, invadeth the whole Body.

There are almost as many Opinions as Physicians, concerning the Cause of this terrible Disease; tho', for the Generality, they agree in the Description of it: Which is, That it is a continual Epidemick Fever, that privately and lurkingly seizeth upon Human Kind; which, with a malign Inflamation, putrefies and coagulates the whole Mass of Blood, and thereby destroys the Animal Spirits, mortifies the Parts within and without whereby the Vital Flame being extinguish'd' unexpected Death suddenly ensues.

Helmont will not allow the Plague to have its Seat in the Blood; but says, it is in the Vital Spirits, occasion'd by infectious Air suck'd in, which passing thro' the Pores of the Diaphragma to the Stomach, and not being able to go any further, leaves there its fatal Impression to Death.

Paracelsus is of the Opinion, that this Distemper takes its Original from the malignant Rays of the Stars; and as that Contagion proceeds from the Influence of the Heavens, the secret Virtues of Herbs, Roots, Metals and Minerals, signify nothing; but the Cure is to be perform'd by heavenly Influence, astronomically apply'd. We have, in Authors, frequent Citations of these famous Medicines, as well as those of Helmont; but they contribute little to us, only that they excite us to follow Nature; no general Rule being extant, whereby such Medicines may be obtain'd.

Sylvius will have the Cause to be of this Pestilential Disease, from a too great Fluidity of the Blood, occasion'd by a sharp, Volatil Salt: From which Volatil Salt, he deduceth all the Malignancy that attends it.

Willis says, that the Cause of this contagious Sickness proceeds from the Coagulation of the Blood and nervous Juice; like Milk turn'd sowre, that has had an Acid pour'd upon it; whence the Parts of it, thrown into a Fermentation, immediately curdles, grows black and. corrupted, and, if not presently evacuated, by obstructing the Circulation, brings Death.

Our Author, Sir Charles, derives the Original Cause of this Evil from Maternal Nourishments, and the Ignorance of Midwives; who, before they tye, and cut the Navel-string of the Child, ought to drive up (with the Finger and the Thumb) the loose, unconverted Menstrual Blood of the Mother from the Root of the Navel, that is newly come in by the Spring: For tho' such Menstrual Blood be not nocent in the Womb because it then becomes its natural Nourishment, as being converted therein to the Child's Substance and Juice, by its universal Distribution thro' the Body; yet when the Child is born to the free Air, and requireth Nourishment by the Mouth; then what came in by the Navel, and was not (before its Birth) converted into the essential Juice of the Child, must lie rotting there, and, as a Ferment of Putrefaction, break out into some higher and universal Fermentation of the Humours, when other Circumstances do make the whole ripe for it.

In some, these Corporeal Evils manifest their Cruelty when the Child is very young, by one Sign or other, evident to the Sense; as, by Vomiting, Looseness, Restlessness, or Convulsions: Sometimes by Acrimonies, external, or otherwise; by which their Lives are quickly cut off, if they be not help'd with Remedies, that can fortify the natural Powers to resist these Maladies. And that general Opinion, that Physick is not proper for Children, hath, in all Probability, destroy'd many, that might have otherwise been preserved: For such Maladies, how violent soever they may seem, are seldom mortal, if the internal Powers are strengthen'd by proper Medicines; because the Spirit in them is not so vitiated, as to nourish the Disease.

As to those of riper Years, these putrid Ferments lye hid and harmless for a long Time in their Bodies; they not being always alone sufficient to disturb the Mixture of the Blood, so as to make an Effervescence, until such Time as they are stirred up by the violent Heat of the Air, or other Accidents, to an Ebullution, and then a Coagulation, whereby the Plague, and other Contagious Diseases, are generated.

The Proof of which, manifests its self according to the Temper of Climates: When we consider how the hot and dry Seasons in Ægypt and Turkey, exerts its Fury in this Pestilential Venom, and that by the Variation of Degrees in our more moderate Climates in Europe, these endemial Mischiefs turn only to what we call the Small-Pox, and Measles, by infecting some Part of the Humours, whose Turgescency growing troublesome to Nature, is driven out to the Surface of the Skin, without great Hazard of Life, if fit Remedies are timely applied.

For further lllustration hereof, it may be observed, that if the Vicidity of Poyson will lye hid for a long Time in the Body, before it exerts its Force: And as so much is evident, from that famous prepared Powder, called La Pouder de Succession of Madam Brunvillier's, with which she, Madam de Voisin, and others of their Accomplices, poisoned formerly so many Persons in France, to any limited Time, (not exceeding Five Years) before it would show its Spite: Why might not therefore these maternal Impurities lie lurking the same in the Blood and Juices, under a Putrefactive Vicidity for Years, before it manifests its Contagious Venom.

This Novelty in Opinion of our Author's, which he seems to erect upon a rational Foundation, may possibly, at first Sight, meet with some Disregard; however, I doubt not, but by a tract of Time, and further Observation, it will gain such Credit in the World, as will give Praise to him, as his Merits deserve.

But I will put an end to these Controversies about the Seat and Cause of a Pestilence, and other contagious Diseases, which have from Antiquity, to these present Times, been warmly debated: It being more necessary to change the Consideration into an Enquiry of our Author's Prescriptions, and in what Method he treated the Sick, during the late Visitation in London.

In the beginning of the said Plague, he says, that he used all the known Antipestilential Medicines, both of ancient and modern Physicians, which he found would provoke Sweats, to throw out the Infectious Venom as soon as possible; to which all must have a Regard, that will save Life, as to a sacred Refuge. Yet no Aiexipharmicks would prevail, without the help of Cloaths; where a great Burning generally was, before the Sweats appeared. By reason, therefore, Nature being tired by such a forcible way of acting, could not be enough assisted to the extirpation of that Contagion, so as to dissolve Buboes without Maturation, or ripen Blanes, or Carbuncles, but by a great Length of Time, and such Struggles in Nature, that too often ended in Death; although, at that Time, the Distemper was not come to the Height of its Malignity: Whereupon perceiving this, and not thinking it answerable to true Practice, any longer to administer according to a written Rule, he had Recourse to some generous Remedies of his own Composition; whose Prevalency and Effects, might manifest themselves with greater Vigor, and by a universal Disposition, be more essential to true Healing. I would not have the World judge, that Specificks are altogether useless; because I am well assured, that the Sacred Art consisteth in finding out, and rightly applying the same: Yet in such a Manner, that they suit to Parts, and the Operations thereof, so that the sad, the merry, the cold, and hot Constitutions, may thence reap an equal Benefit; which is not so difficult to accomplish. For if a Specifick be fermented with a Universal, by this Means it is made more general, and will not have a regard to Constitutions, but the offending Matter in the Operations thereof.

Under all the various Manifestations of this dreadful Disease, he generally used one and the fame Method of Cure, excepting where there was very great Danger. When they were first taken Sick, he ordered them to go presently to Bed, and lay on them no more Cloaths, than they usually did in time of Health then he gave them half a Spoonful of his Tinctura Pestilentialis, in a Glass of Sack or White Port, persuading them to lie still; which, if they did, Sweats presently followed. And for their Supports therein, they were allowed an Hour or Two after the said Dose was given, thin Mutton, or Chicken Broth to drink; Mace-Ale, Posset-Drink, or a thin Caudle, with a little White Port-Wine in it: And to refresh the declining Spirits, they sometimes took Five or Six Times a Day, from Forty to Fifty Drops of his Tincture of Coral, impregnated with Saffron, in a Glass of White-Port, or other generous Wine.

Where great Thirst was concomitant with the Distemper, he used Oil of Sulphur, Oil of Vitriol, or Golden Oil of Salt; and often all the Three Oils, equally mixed together, to a pleasing Acidity in all they drunk.

This Alexipharmick Dose, is to be repeated Night and Morning, 'till you find the Malignity of the Distemper abated: After which, Sweat still every Third or Fourth Day, as you see Occasion; and this must be done for some Time, left the morbifick Matter should revive, and the Disease return again.

And because that changing Linnen is dangerous, and has been fatal to many, it is safer to let the Shift dry leisurely upon their Bodies, only keep the Face wiped in the Sweat with a warm Cloth.

To some, upon the first Assault, he gave them his Aqua Alexiteria an Ounce, Tinctura Penitentialis Sixty Drops, mix'd for a Dose. At Bed-time, of his Orvietan; and in all their Drink Oil of Sulphur to a grateful Sharpness. They continued the Use of these Medicines for Ten Days, and were cured.

To others, he prescribed immediately this. Take the Orvietan, and his Pulvis Pestilentialis, of each half a Dram, which Sweats them well. The next Morning they took Sixty Drops of Tincture of Antimony, in an Ounce of Aqua Alexiteria; and their Drink made pleasantly Acid, with Oil of Vitriol. They continued the Use of these Remedies for a few Days, and were made well.

To such as were Sick of this Disease, and taken at first with a great Vomiting, he ordered them presently almost a Quart of Carduus Posset-Drink, which gave them Five or Six Vomits more; then at Bed-time, he gave them of his Pulvis Pestilentialis, Two Scruples, drinking after it an Ounce of the Aqua Alexiteria; and every Morning Fasting, they took the Tincture of Coral, with Saffron Thirty Drops, Tinctura Pestilentialis, Fifteen Drops, Aqua Alexiteria, an Ounce and half, mix'd for a Draught.

When he was sent for to Children, he usually ordered them at first his Aqua Alexiteria, Three Drams; Tinctura Pestilentialis, with Tinctures of Coral and Antimony, of each Eight Drops; in an Ounce of Canary, or White Port Wine. At Night, going to Bed, a Quarter of a Spoonful, in a Glass of Wine, of his Tinctura Pestilentialis: And if they complain'd of Faintness, or Sickness at Heart, they took now and then this Cordial:


R Aqua Alexiteria, Half an Ounce; Tincture of Coral, Ten Drops: Mix for a Dose.


Upon the taking of these Antipestilential Remedies, the Sweats for the first Twelve, or Twenty four Hours, were like Drops of Water for Largeness, yet was there not any Depression of Spirit, but more Ease, and greater Liveliness; and the Continuation of the same Sweats was pleasant and refreshing: By which means, often, Buboes dissolved, and in the Third Day (at farthest) the Malignity was separated. But when Blanes and Carbuncles appear'd, their Sweats were not altogether so great, nor so continual: But usually, on the Third Day, the Blanes and Carbuncles open'd, and their Escars were divided from the living Flesh; and Digestion so follow'd into Matter, that, in a little Time, (comparatively to that where other Medicines were used) perfect Health ensued.

However, after all this Success, yet sometimes ill Accidents would happen, thro' the Irregularities of Patients, or else the Carelessness and Mismanagements of their Attendants, altho' the Medicines had been rightly administer'd. For some Persons, upon the using these Remedies, after they had lain in great Sweats for Twenty four Hours, more or less, and thereby had found themselves seemingly well, and free from all Disturbances, or Sense of the Pestilential Venom, yet, by wilfully rising out of their Beds whilst their Sweats continued largely upon them, have given such Checks to Nature, as inferr'd on themselves sudden Death. And, to this, our Author further observes, that all such of that Disease, who did rise out of Bed before the Third Day, or, at least, before their Sweats were wholly ceased, (which were excited by the Use of his Medicines) did hardly ever recover.

Others were destroy'd by Errors of Nurses, and such as attended the Sick, in laying on too many Cloaths, whilst they were in their Sweats; whereby Violence being offer'd to Nature, and the Spirits oppress'd, they languish'd under the Burthen, and were no longer, by any Means, capable of Help.

Again; such Persons who liv'd to Excess in their Eating and Drinking, and were seized with this Pestilential Distemper, were generally taken at first with great Vomitings and Loosenesses; which they were wont rather to impute to their inordinate Livings than to the Power of the Plague then raging; and so sought out for no other Remedies, than such as were thought proper for those Diseases, and not the Plague, of which they died. Whereas, on the contrary, those that liv'd temperate, and were observing of themselves, so as to use immediately the proper Means, upon the first Sense of their being assaulted by that Venom, and follow'd the Directions before given, very rarely miscarry'd. Nay, even such whole Families that were infected, have all escap'd, by duly observing the Orders above prescrib'd.

And, lastly, to add to this Scene of Misery, it has been observ'd, That when Spots have appear'd, of what Kind soever they were, the Nurses and Tenders of the Sick, as soon as they perceiv'd them, were struck with such a terrible Amazement and Apprehension, insomuch, that thereby giving over their Patients for dead, they have left off all their former Care in Attendance; altho', at the same Time, these Spots were not the direct Signs of Mortality.

This pernicious Practice, as it was owing to an Error in Judgment among the Common People, so it concerns us to remove this Mistake, by making it appear, that all these Pestilential Eruptions are not endued with equal Conditions of Potency; nor are they all alike such sure Pledges of Death, as the Vulgar would make them to be.

In order then to know the true Tokens, and the Degrees of Malignity in their Venom; our Author advises, to have a Regard to their different Colour and Hardness; and says, that in the late Sickness, such whose Spots being prick'd, had a quick Sensibility, and that went no deeper than the Skin, he very seldom fail'd the Curing. But those whose Tokens had a round Circle, dark blue and green, like the Colours in the Rainbow, with a Crimson Mark in the Middle thereof, and a Hardness that distinguish'd it self from the other Flesh; such Spots, he owns, he could never subdue, by any Remedies whatsoever; and thinks them rightly call'd Tokens, as they were in that Plague the infallible Token of sudden Death.

The General Remedies being then thus provided, the External Helps are next to be consider'd: And as Carbuncles are always attended with dangerous Symptoms, therefore they ought to be handled with greater Diligence; and with all Speed imaginable they are to be ripen'd, and their Caustick Acrimony to be corrected, lest they should spread further.

To which Purpose, besides internal Antidotes during the whole Cure, our Author made use of Scarification, with deep Gashes; and afterwards fomented a while the Part with warm Water, in which Nitre had been dissolv'd, that the Blood might not clod in the Sore: After which, he apply'd this Cataplasm:


R Barley flower, green Scabious and Rue bruised, and a little Bay-Salt, with the Yolks of Eggs, as many as will make them into the Confidence of a Paste: Spread it on a Piece of Leather, and apply it. {{dhr} But if these Remedies will not do, then he advises, presently to make use of the Actual Cautery, until, in all the Parts, there be a Sense of Pain: Afterwards remove the Escar, or Crust, (if possible) in Twenty four Hours, with this Ointment:


R Gum Elemi, Turpentine, Goose-grease, Honey, of each Half an Ounce; Wood-Soot, Three Drams; Yolk of one Egg; Mithridate, Two Drams; Oyl of Scorpions, enough to make an Ointment.

The Ulcer must be heal'd up with Emplaister de Minio, or some other Kind of healing and drying Plaister: But let it not be heal'd too fast, for fear the poisonous Matter being not wholly evacuated, should cause either the Return of the Disease, or Death.


As concerning Buboes, our Author says little of them; because (where his Recipe's were used ) they seldom ever ripen'd, but dissolv'd: Except where Patients were ungovernable in their Sweats, and thereby gave Occasion to the Maturation thereof; which when happening, he then apply'd this Cataplasm:


R Ointment of Mucilages, Basilicon the greater, Melilot Compound, of each alike Parts; Oyl of Lilies, a sufficient Quantity: Melt these together, and, with a little Bean-Flower, make them into the Consistence of a Cataplasm.


This will speedify ripen, and break the Buboes; which when they are ready, you must not stay for their breaking of themselves, but cause them to be open'd in a depending Part with a Lancet, and let them run plentifully.

Then, at each Dressing, wash the ulcer with this Lotion, warm:


R White Wine, and Aqua Prunellæ, wherein Turpentine hath been wash'd, Mel Rosarum; of each, equal Parts: Make an Injection.

In which dip a short Tent, it being arm'd with Basilicon; and so apply it, with a Diachalon Plaister cum Gummis over all.

During the whole Cure, he prescrib'd Alexipharmicks Night and Morning; viz. his Tinctura Pestilentialis, Half a Spoonful, (and so in Proportion, a lesser Dose, according to Age and Sex) to defend the Body, and drive the Malignity out, lest otherwise its infectious Atoms might be sent to the Heart, and kill the Patient.

Having thus come to a Conclusion of that transient View (we have herein given you of our Author's Method of Practice, it remains now, that we give you here the Recipe's themselves, whose Virtues were so extreamly cry'd up, for the vast Benefit the Publick found from them, during the late fatal Times.

The Tinctura Pestilentialis.

R Virginian Snake-Root, Three Ounces Winters-bark, Two Ounces; Contrayerva, Cinnamon and Cubebs, of each an Ounce; Jamaica Pepper, Six Drams; Ivy Berries, Half an Ounce; choice Theban Opium, Two Drams; Chèrmes Berries, Saffron, Cochineel, and Ginger, of each a Dram: Reduce into a gross Powder what are to be bruised, and pour thereon rectify'd Spirit of Wine, a Quart nitrated with an Ounce of Spirit of Nitre Dulcis. Digest Twenty Days, shaking it two or three Times a Day; then let it settle, and decant the clear Tincture; in which dissolve Camphire, (by grinding in a little of the said Tincture) Half an Ounce: Mix all well together, and keep it in a Glass close stopt for Use.

The Dose of this Tincture.

As a Preservative, take a Quartet of a Spoonful, or something less of it, in the Morning, fasting, a little before Dinner; and, if you please, last at Night, going to Bed. Curatively, in the Plague, or other malign Fevers, the Sick being in Bed, give it from a Quarter of a Spoonful, to Half a Spoonful, (according to Age and Sex) in a Glass of Sack, or White Port; which reiterate Morning and Night, till well.


The Aqua Alexiteria.


R Mithridate, Nine Ounces; Virginia Snake-Root, an Ounce; Contrayerva, Zedoary, Winters-Bark, Cinnamon, Bay-berries, Six Drams; Mace, Cloves, Nutmegs, Cardamoms, Juniper-Berries, Jamaica Pepper, Ginger, of each Three Drams; Saffron, Cochineel, Limon-Peels, Orange-Peels, of each Two Drams; Rue, Rosemary, Bawin, Mint, Peniroyal, Sage, Savory, Mother of Thyme, and Lavender-Flowers, Angelica, of each a good Pugil; Spirit of Wine Three Pints; bruise what are to be bruised, and digest all together for a Fortnight, then put thereto White Wine Two Quarts; Distil all in an Alembick, with a Refrigeratory, and draw off Three Pints of Spirit, which reserve; then change the Receiver, and draw off a Quart more, which with treble refined Sugar, make into a Syrup, to which put thereunto the first distilled Spirit, and let them stand until they are clear.

This Water may be given from half a Spoonful, to Two Spoonfuls, upon any emergent Occasion: As, in the Morning, a little before Dinner, and at Night going to Bed.


Pulvis Pestilentialis.


R Bezoar Mineral, Virginian Snake-Root, and Bezoar Animal, which is Powder of dried Vipers, of each Two Ounces: Cochineel, Saffron, Volatil Sal-Almoniack, of each half an Ounce; Camphire, and Volatil Salt of Hartshorn, of each Two Drams; all being reduced into a subtil Powder, mix them well together, then keep them close in a Glass, with a Glass Stopper for Use.

You may give this Powder Morning and Night: The common Dose to be given, is from Twelve Grains, to Twenty Four or Thirty, according to the Strength and Ability of the Patient. These Doses are to be taken a-Bed: But if you give it oftner, then the Dose is, from Five to Ten Grains: Take it in some proper Syrup, and let the Sick drink a Dram of Aqua Alexiteria after it.


Tincture of Coral.


R Tindure of Coral Six Ounces, Saffron Two Drams; mix together, and digest for Ten Days, shaking the Bottle Twice or Thrice a Day, then let it settle, and decant of the clear for Use.

This may be taken from Ten Drops, to Thirty, Forty, or Sixty, as the Sick is in Years and Strength; Give it in White Port, Sherry, or Canary, or in any proper Cordial-Water; and that Three, Four, Five or Six Times a Day, as you see Occasion.


Electuarium Orvietanum.


R Choice Opium Six Drams, make it into an Extract with Spirit of Wine, then dissolve it again in White-Wine Vinegar, and evaporate it to a middle Consistence: Take solid Extracts of Virginian Snake-Root, half an Ounce, Zedoary and Contrayerva, of each Two Drams, Juice of Alkermes half an Ounce; dissolve them in so much Spirit of Wine, as may make them into a thin Electuary, To which add Winters Cinnamon, Elecampane, Bay-berries, Indian Spikenard, White-Poppy Seed, Volatil Sal-Armoniack, Myrrh, Ginger, Cochineel and Saffron, of each Two Drams: Coral half an Ounce, Musk and Ambergrise, of each Seven Grains and half; make all into a subtil Powder, which mix with Bezoar Mineral, Bezoar Solara, and fresh Powder of Vipers, of each Two Drams. Then take Chymical Oils of Cloves, Sassafrass, Rosemary, Lavender, Limons, Juniper, Amber, Caraways, Cinamon, and Wormwood, of each a Dram; which Oils put into a large China Cup, big enough to contain the whole Medicine: Dissolve therein (by Grinding) Camphire half an Ounce; put thereto Oil of Nutmegs, by Expression, Balsam of Mecha, Elixir of Vipers, of each Two Drams. Lastly, take clarified Honey, a Pound and half, and put to it the dissolved Opium, Alkermes, and the other Extracts; then sprinkle in the Powders, stirring them well over a gentle Hea; when done, then let them cool, and put them all together into the China Cup, with the Camphire and Chymical Oils, where, with a Glass Pestle, let them be perfectly united together, and compleated for an Electuary.

In the giving this Medicine, you are to consider the Age and Strength of the Patient; the Dose is from Ten Grains, or half a Scruple, to half a Dram, or a Dram, as you see Occasion.

Take it dissolved in Sack, White Port, or some other convenient Vehicle; as the Aqua Alexiteria, or some such like. When the Sick takes it for the Plague, or any malignant Fever, let them be in their naked Bed, that they may Sweat well upon it, and so continue for Five or Six Hours; after which they will lie in a kind of breathing Sweat, at which Time moisten their Mouth with the Juice of an Orange, or some other pleasant Cordial, made gratefully Acid, with some few Drops of Oils of Sulphur, Vitriol and Salt, mixed equally alike together.

As these General Dispositions of Medicines here treated of are singularly useful, to keep Practitioners from Error, so their Universal Tendency have herein sufficiently manifested their Efficacy upon this Distemper, beyond the Imagination of any that have not proved them; for they most sensibly act on the Diseased Part. And although they have not had a sufficient Prevalency to Cure all in this Disease; yet by strengthning the vital Faculties, and removing Part of the Evil: Nature, by this Assistance, is better enabled to act in her own Defence, and by little and little, some the Venom of the Distemper, which would otherwise end in Death.

For Nature is that we ought chiefly to regard; to help her where she is weak, to enliven her where she is dull and low, and to pacify her, when by Ferment enraged. Whosoever can accomplish this, shall find the most desperate Maladies fly before him: But Diligence, and a sound discerning Judgment, assisted with Patience, and an uncommon Zeal to do Good, are the only Essentials to reach these Deeps, and to discover such Methods in Physick, as are proper to extirpate those Exorbitances. Those that have trodden this Path, have been very few, and what they have written, rather stirs up Desire, than satisfies: How much more then ought we to regard our Author? That has given us here Remedies, as are impressed with a Divine Seal, capable to extirpate the Characters of these Pestilential Venoms, or at least to subvert their Acts; having a natural Faculty to remove only every occasional Matter, and weaken not, which otherwise would extinguish Life.

After these Observations, it remains that we now say somewhat concerning the Use of Bleeding and Purging; whose pretended Virtues have, for some Time, been so highly cried up, in all malignant Distempers, by the present Book-Doctors of this Age; whose Pride, and an overweening Conceit, has kept them hitherto from searching into the Mystery of true Practice. For they conclude, if they administer according to a written Rule, set out by any they esteem able, (let the Success be what it will) 'tis justifiable, because answerable to what was directed they themselves being Judges; tho' it be contrary to Nature in all Respects: But were the one more minded, and the Recipe's of Doctors less, we should soon see a happier Effect in the Cure of these Diseases.

Our Author (as they are Revulsive Remedies, which calls from the Circumference to the Center) looks upon them highly opposite to the Nature of this Distemper, and therefore contrary to the true Indication of Cure. For, he says, let any one but observe the Progress of Contagious Diseases, and he must necessarily discern, that by Bleeding, or any Purging Remedy, tho' but a Clyster, (because Nature endeavours to make Separation another way, by the Skin) doth notably hinder the then needful and necessary Expulsion. Besides which, the Heat, that is the effectual Cause of thrusting forth Buboes and Blanes, being by such Practice diminish'd; the Vital Potency must thereby grow weak and languid, and, for want of sufficient Strength to drive out the universal Defædation, Nature's Contest with the Disease must cease, by Nature's being overcome.

Altho', at present, these Things may sound harsh to the Ears of some, yet being true, and having Nature for their Foundation, they will, perhaps, outlive the Enemies of the same, and in another Age be as generally receiv'd, as now they are deny'd in these Apostate Times.

But we will desist from further Controversy, because we will proceed to Matters of less Dispute, and, like faithful Ministers of Nature, set forth the Helps which the former famous Physicians (Dr. Linaker, Chief Physician to Hen. VII. and Hen. VIII. and Dr. Turner, Chief Physician to Q. Elizabeth) made use of, against such common and grievous Calamities. And we are the rather willing to take notice of them, by reason they are so conformable to the present Rules of our Galenists, and their Cold-Still-Water Practice: Tho', with Submission to these Great Men, we cannot easily come into a Belief, that any Advantages are to be had from them, much more a Cure. For, to put the Hazard of Life upon such idle and mean Remedies, as some of our great Physicians did in that terrible Time of Destruction, in the late Visitation, was no other than a Sort of Madness; seeing so many Potent Extracts, Chymical Oyls, Volatil Salts, and Quintessences of generous and prevalent Drugs, were, at the same Time, made use of by others, to great Cures, and lasting Fame.

Dr. Linaker's Celebrated Antipestilential

R Aloes Succotrine, Cinnamon, and Myrrh, of each Three Drams; Cloves, Mace, Lignum aloes, Mastick, and Bole-Armoniack, of each Half a Dram: Let them be reduc'd into a subtil Powder, for Use. Take of this a Twopenny Weight every Morning, in a Glass of White-Wine, or Taragon Water, till well.

For Buboes and Carbuncles.

R Elder-Leaves, red Bramble-Leaves, alike Quantity; which, with Mustard-seed, reduce into a Paste, for a Plaifter to lay upon the sore, to both draw and heal.

Dr. Turner's Famous Antipest. Electuary.

R Ivy-berries, in Powder, Two Scruples; Mithridate, Half a Dram: Mix for a Dose, to be taken in a Glass of White-Wine, Night and Morning, till well.

For Buboes and Carbuncles.

R Scabious green. Two Handfuls; Hogs Lard salted, Two Ounces; with the Yolk of an Egg: Make it into the Consistence of a Cataplasm; which spread upon Leather, and apply to the Sore.Or,

R Black Snails, and Leven'd Bread, a sufficient Quantity; which bring into the Consistence of a Poultice, for a Plaister to apply upon the Sore.

Now, to, conclude; it may not be improper to take notice, that altho' there are innumerable other Preparations to be met with, in the Writings of several Physicians, for this Distemper; yet, to discharge here my Duty, I have only mention'd these few of our own Progenitors; by whose Dignity from their Authors, tho' they seem'd to be the Parents to all others, yet we do not find that their Effects were of sufficient Force to drive out the venemous Miasmata, in Answer to the Expectations of those many that confided too much in them: For as the Terrestreity of their Medicines was not separated by Chymistry front their spiritual Parts, they must be unfit to be administered in any Case, so far as Communication of Strength was needful. And to add to this, that altho' under the Notion of Antiquity, the Vulgar have ever reverenc'd our Ancestors for their Art, yet these, by their Recipe's, were really but the Infancy of the World; and that it is our Age then, which, by following long after theirs, is indeed the true Antiquity: Why therefore must we dote still upon their Childhood Inventions; and not rather, having these Advantages, (which Beginners must needs have wanted) proceed and grow old in the Medicinal Understanding, as well as in Time?