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Page:New observations on inoculation - Angelo Gatti.djvu/8

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Preliminary Discourse.

vant of forms. A dutchess, whom he had inoculated, and who, upon equivocal symptoms without any eruption, had been declared secure against future infection, after three years caught the natural disorder, which, though not hurtful to her, became fatal to him. He displayed the utmost candor in publishing the case; but could by no means recover what he had lost, the support of the great, the confidence of the town. All his former patients took the alarm; he became the object of public abuse, as he had formerly been of general applause; and that salutary practice, which he had endeavoured to render popular, by making it more easy and more safe, fell as it had risen with him.

Indeed, it had already received a severe blow; The discouragement it met with from some eminent physicians, the impetuous attacks of a justly celebrated professor at Vienna[1] and above all, the religious scruples of a Saxon princess, influenced the parliament of France, then, and almost ever, at variance with the court. Upon the representations of the attorney-general, they thought proper to prohibit inoculation in the capital; and having thus prejudged the cause, gave orders to the faculties of divinity and physic to make inquiries into the merits of it.

The physicians took the lead, and doubtless with good reason, as the legality of the thing must ultimately depend upon its usefulness.

  1. Dr. de Haen.