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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/600

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

The disease continued in Marseilles until December, 1721, but isolated cases persisted until April, 1722. During the fifteen months of its duration it carried off 40,000 of the population. According to Defoe, there died of the plague in Marseilles and within a league of its walls 60,000.

From Marseilles the plague reached Aix, and in the winter of 1720 and 1721 it carried off 18,000 of its people. It also reached Aries, where, in 1721, out of a population of 23,000, 10,000 died (forty-five per cent). The same year, in Toulon, which had a population of 26,000, the plague attacked 20,000 of the population, and of these 13,000, or about one-half of the original population, died.

The country districts about Marseilles were likewise invaded. Out of a population of 248,000, there died of the plague 88,000, or fully thirty-five per cent.

It is evident from this description that the plague of 1720 was in nowise inferior to that of 1348. Fortunately, the disease did not spread beyond Provence. It is noteworthy that in many instances, in Marseilles, people secluded themselves in their houses, avoiding all communication with the outer world, and in this way escaped. Similar isolation of cloisters, insane asylums, likewise resulted in freedom from the disease which stalked so freely throughout the stricken city. It was experience of this kind in isolation of the healthy which led Defoe to write his 'Due Preparations for the Plague.'

Toward the middle of the century the plague reasserted itself in the Danubian provinces, the constant battleground between the Turks and Russians and Austrians. In 1738 it not only prevailed in Russia but also invaded Hungary. Of more importance than this occurrence is the outbreak of the plague in 1743 in Sicily. The last epidemic of plague had occurred in Messina in 1624. After a lapse of one hundred and twenty years, it reappeared with terrible results. In Messina, as in Marseilles and in London, the first cases were not recognized as plague cases and, as a result, the infection spread until, like a veritable explosion, the disease developed all over the city. The plague, with its attendant misery of lack of food, and even of water, was in vain combated by religious processions. The plague corpses were in heaps in the streets, as in Marseilles, and cremation was resorted to in order to effect their removal. That year 30,000 died of plague in the city of Messina. With the exception of a slight epidemic at Noja in 1815, this outbreak in Messina in 1743 was the last one to appear in Italy.

In 1755, the plague was introduced into Transylvania by an Armenian merchant from the Black Sea. Before it was extinguished, 4,300 deaths were recorded.

Next to that of Marseilles and of Messina, the most noteworthy outbreak of plague was that which occurred in 1771 in Moscow. The