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northerly; as also during the harvest in June. From that quarter it blowed fiery as from a furnace; coming over mountains scorched by the sun. We endeavoured to exclude it by closing our shutters and doors, though gasping for breath. The thermometer, which at other times was commonly between eighty-four and eighty-six, then rose at noon to ninetyfive. The harvest was presently over. The sheaves were collected in the field, and the grain trodden out by buffaloes. In the morning, the wind was often southerly, before the inbat from the bay reached us. This frequently continued to a late hour, rustling among the trees. We had thunder, with distant lightning, in the beginning of June ; and, in the latter end of July, clouds began to appear from the south. The air was repeatedly cooled by showers, which had fallen elsewhere, and it was easy to foretel the approaching rain. This was the season for consuming the dry herbage and undergrowth on the mountains : and we often saw the fire blazing in the wind, and spreading a thick smoke along their sides.
On the eleventh of July we had an earthquake, which agitated the whole house, the beams and joists of the roof crashing over our heads. It happened about seven in the morning, and was preceded by a hollow rumbling noise, which was mistaken by several persons for the report of cannon ; the captain basha or Turkish high admiral then waiting with a fleet in the gulf of Smyrna, to receive on board the revenues of the grand seignior. The sound seemed to come from the south-east. The sensation was such as would be felt, I imagine, if the earth were set suddenly afloat. It occasioned a great alarm. Some lesser shocks succeeded, but their centres were remote.
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CHAP. LXXXIII. Beginning of the plague—Some accidents—Its fury—Its pro
bable cause-How communicated--Not pestilential, or in the air-Uncontrouled—Infatuation of the Turks.is :
The beginning of the plague was, as we have related, in the spring. The first sufferers were from the island Musconişi, or from Tino. An uncertain rumour preceded its manifestation. One sickened, then two, or more; until, the instances multiplying, the Franks shut their gates, or prepared to retire into the country. It was no new enemy, and as yet produced no great terror. When we were about to quit Smyrna, three English gentlemen, Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Skipwith, and Mr. Wilbraham, arrived from Athens, with Mr. Turnbull, a very worthy physician, who had lived many years at Smyrna, and was highly esteemed there by the Europeans in general. They were visited, and received, and no danger apprehended.
The kindly temperature of the weather gave vigour to the disease, while we were absent, and it was propagated amazingly. The consul then appointed a market-man from among his domestics; and his station was at the gate near the janizary. After about three weeks, he was attacked, carried with his bedding to the hospital, and died the same day. A maid-servant next complained that she had taken cold by sleeping on the terrace. She had a slight fever with the head-ache. Half a paper of James's powder purged and sweated her. The fever returned every afternoon. Another half paper vomited her; but neither eating nor sleeping, she grew costive and weak. An Italian, who was physician to the factory, came on the ninth or tenth day from the country, and standing below, ordered the patient to be brought to the stair-head. He observed a vein, under her tongue, black and very turgid; pronounced her disorder to be the plague; and advised sending her to the hospital, where his opinion was confirmed by a Greek. She was then reinoved to the Roman Catholic hospital, and died after lingering on ten days. The welfare of a large family was rendered suspicious by this alarming incident. We had reason to rejoice both that we did not tarry in Smyrna, and that we had met with our friend at Hadgilar... .
The malady did not abate in May, when we took possession of our asylum. Four persons were seized in the family of the Cadi, the deputy chancellor of the French nation died, and a dragoman or interpreter was attacked. Turks, Jews, Greeks, Armenians, and the like, perished without number. Of the Greeks alone sometimes above a hundred and thirty were buried in a day. It was generally agreed the calamity had not been severer in the memory of man. In July, when the captain pasha arrived to receive the taxes and tributemoney, some hundreds of houses, it was said, were unoccupied or without owners. A fire, which began to rage near the Frank quarter, seemed, amid all this misery, to threaten new affliction, but was fortunately subdued.
The plague might perhaps be truly defined, a disease arising from certain animalcules, probably invisible, which burrow and form their nidus in the human body.* These, whether generated originally in Egypt or elsewhere, subsist always in some places suited to their nature. They are imported almost annually into Smyrna, and this species is commonly destroyed by intense heat. They are least fatal at the beginning and latter end of the season. If they arrive early in the spring, they are weak; but gather strength, multiply, and then perish. The pores of the skin, opened by the weather, readily admit them. One or more tumours, chiefly in the glandular parts, ensue, with a variety of the most afflicting symptoms. If the patient survive suppuration, he is dreadfully infectious; and the calamity is woefully augmented by the consideration that one recovery is no security from future attacks. Seycuse, an Armenian, who had been our cook, and at my request revealed his unsightly scars, perished now; and, as I was assured, it sometimes happens, that in one season an individual is twice a sufferer,
* See an Account of the Nigua. Ulloa's Voyage, v. 1. p. 64.
The plague is a disease communicated chiefly, if not solely, by contact. Hence, though it encircle the house, it will not affect the persons within, if all are uniformly discreet and provident, as experience has demonstrated. Tranquillity of mind and freedom from apprehension cannot be expected.
They are most disagreeably, and without the minutest care most dangerously circumstanced. Iron, it is observed, and the like substances, which are of a close hard texture, do not retain, or are not susceptible of the contagion. In bodies soft or porous, and especially in paper, it lurks often undiscovered but by its seizing some victim. The preservatives are fumigation, and washing with water or vinegar. In particular a letter is taken up with a pair of tongs, and in a manner singed before it can be opened with safety. Domestic animals, which are prone to wander, must be excluded
or destroyed. A large family will require many articles to be procured from without, and is exposed in proportion to its wants. If in the city, a clandestine intercourse of debauched servants is ever to be feared ; if in the country and detached, some untoward accident or trivial, but important inadvertency. Unremitting attention is necessary to avert horror, and suspicion from either situation.
The streets of Smyrna are so narrow and filthy, the houses so crowded ; and the concourse of people in spring so great, that during the summer heats distemper could not fail to riot there, if the town were not regularly perflated by the Inbat and land-breezes ; but the plague is not the offspring of the atmosphere. It perhaps could not even exist long in a pestilential air. The natives retire to rest about sun-set, and rise with the dawn, when the dead are carried on biers to be interred. The Frank, who has business to transact, goes from the country to his house in the town, in the interim, or returns without fear. Solitude and the sacred night befriend him.
The progress of the plague at Smyrna is utterly uncontrolled. The people, except the Franks, are in general as negligent as ignorant. Their dwellings are crowded, many inhabiting in a small compass; and their chambers are covered with matting or carpets, sofas, and cushions, adapted as well to retain as to receive contagion. Besides this, the Turk deems it a meritorious office to assist in carrying the dead ; and, on perceiving the funeral of a Mussulman, hastens to put his shoulder under the bier, on which the corpse lies extended and in its clothes. He perseveres in the pious work, until relieved by one equally mad and well-meaning. Several succeed by turns, and concur to rescue the living plague