One of our most eminent physicians, in a work printed four years ago, asserts, that every subject must be prepared at least for one month; and that during that time he is to be blooded, physicked, and vomited, &c. But in later times Dr. Petit, the author of the excellent Report in favour of Inoculation, says, that if the subject is healthy, strictly speaking, he wants no preparation; and that if he is sick, the preparation consists in the curing of him. Could the contrast between the two methods be more striking?
But it would be trespassing upon the patience of my readers, to take up any more of their time in proving this self-evident truth, that the best disposition for having the small-pox safely is health; and that this disposition, when found in any subject, ought by no means to be disturbed under pretence of preparing him.
All that is requisite is to ascertain this disposition, and this is easily done. Health, we all know, is the faculty of exercising constantly, and with ease, all the functions suitable to the age, the sex, or the constitution of each individual. Now any one is able to judge whether a subject has, or has not, that faculty; and the person himself, or those about him, can tell that with more certainty than any physician whom they could consult. A man is in health when no pain or weariness warns him of any disorder in his frame.
- Observations sur la petite verole naturelle & artificielle.