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the now silent and deserted streets, shut; and the various necessaries of while the wretches by whom it was life were conveyed by means of carts, attended, maddened by excess, or fran- which plied at regular hours through tic from despair, too often shocked the different districts of Valletta. those whom curiosity attracted to their Butcher's meat and vegetables were windows, by their profane mirth, and received in water mixed with vinegar. offensive ribaldry. "I advert chiefly to Bread alone might be received with the earlier periods of the plague; for, safety; for by a kind provision of Proin course of time, there was less diffi- vidence, corn is, in the language of culty in procuring more responsible the Lazaretto, a non-susceptible artipersons for such services, either from cle, and, as such, is always exempted amongst those who had recovered from from the performance of quarantine. the disease, or from the numerous of the danger of neglecting the preLevantines who resorted to the island cautions I have just mentioned, a refrom motives of interest. Several, too, markable instance now occurs to me. of the prisoners of war, began to vo An eminent Maltese physician, one of lunteer their services, on receiving the members of the Council of Health, large wages, and under the promise happened to be at his door when the of being liberated after a statei period provision cart stoppeil. Having diof service; and I am happy to add, rected a certain quantity of meat to that a large proportion of them sur- be weighed out for the use of his ' vived to clain the fulfilment of this family, be inadvertently received it engagement. The persons thus en- from the hands of the butcher, ingaged were now regularly classed. stead of allowing the latter to plunge Some were appointed to attend in the it, as usual, into water. The butcher, pest-hospitals, under the direction of though not conscious of his situation, the medical officers; others were ex- had been previously infected, for, beclusively employed in the burial of fore completing his usual round, he the dead; and a great proportion were betrayed' unequivocal symptoms of occupied in a service of peculiar dan- plague. The physician was shortly ger, that of removing, from infected afterwards taken ill, and in the course houses, the various articles of furni- of two or three days both died. You ture and wearing apparel, which were are aware, that in nothing is caution burned or purified, as circumstances more requisite than in the receipt of might require. Over each of these letters ; but after being cut, and for a departments persons of respectability, short time exposed to the fumigation and experience, (amongst whoin were arising from burning straw, mixed several merchants who had resided with various ingredients, of which the long in the Levant,) were appointed, most essential are sulphur and vineto preside, while the general superin- gar, the paper may be handled with tendence of the executive departments perfect safety. was vesteil in the Inspector General Amid the general distress, the of Police.
Maltese found a great resource in · It were difficult to convey an ade- the recitation of their devotional exquate idea of the various and com- ercises. In the evening especially, plicated miseries to which the plague the whole town resounded with the
Besides the suspension Ave Maria, the respective families of judicial proceedings, the discon- being assembled at the doors, or on tinuance of public worship, and the the fat roofs of their houses; and general cessation of social intercourse, the circumstances of the times seemed there was a total stagnation of com to add a fervour to their devotions merce; and extreme difficulty was ex- which rendered them peculiarly imperienced in procuring supplies ade- pressive. Although the churches were quate to the wants of so large a popu- shut, many of the clergy were very lation. Shunned by our Sicilian, and actively and usefully employed in the even by our Barbaresque neighbours, exercise of their professional duties. upon whom the island mainly depends The friars, in particular, were exed for provisions, the horrors of ta- tremely assiduous in their attendance mine must have ensued, had not the on the sick and the dying; and seveGovernment adopted prompt anıl effi- ral of them used their influence over cacious measures to ward off this ail- the minds of the people with great ditional calamity. The markets, like effect, inducing them to comply more other places of public resort, were readily with the salutary regulations
of Government. Of this I witnessed panied by one or two attendants only. the following instance. In a district I' have frequently seen the last offices called the Manderaggio, inhabited of religion administered in the open only by the very lowest order of the street; for as soon as any one was people, the streets were so exceedingly seized with symptoms which indicated narrow, and the houses contained so that he was infected, the priest was many families, that when the plague instantly sent for; and the patient was once introduced, it became im- having made his confession, and repossible to effect a separation of the ceived' absolution, the communion, sick from the uninfected, as in other aud extreme unction, seemed quite districts. It was therefore deemed resigned to his fate. At the comadvisable to form an encampment in mencement of the plague, several of an airy situation by the sea, to which the priests who were thus employthe inhabitants of the Manderaggio ed, died in consequence of their might be removed, while their hou- culpable neglect of the means of selfses, especially those where the plague preservation. After the first month had prevailed, should be thoroughly or two, however, when the good efpurified and ventilated. When their fects of caution were seen, and appreremoval was proposed, they unani- ciated, those pious offices were permously protested against it, declaring formed without much risk. I partithat nothing but absolute force should cularly remember a young Dominican induce them to quit their houses. A friar, who was indefatigable in his atfriar of a neighbouring convent, on tendance on the sick ; and having had being apprised of this, came forward frequent access to witness his mode and harangued them on the folly of of proceeding on such occasions, I their conduct. He conjured them, as could not but admire his prudence, they valued their own lives, and those while I applauded his zeal. He apof their wives and children, to accede proached just near enough to the sick voluntarily to a measure which could person to hear his confession ; he then have no other object than their safety, conveyed to him the consecrated wafer and the public good, inasmuch as it by means of a silver rod; and extreme would be attended with considerable unction was administered with equal expence, and inconvenience, to the caution, by dipping cotton in the conGovernment. And, above all, he re- secrated oil, and fixing it in a silver presented their compliance as a duty tube, care being taken, at the concluwhich, as good Catholics, they were sion of the ceremony, to burn the cotbound to perform. His arguments ton. When I add that this exemproved effectual ; and the good man plary person, and others animated by witnessed the quiet and orderly eva- the same zeal, although they continucuation of the district, while he had ed their pious labours until the final tủe satisfaction to reflect that he was extinction of the plague, totally esinstrumental in preserving the lives of caped the contagion, may it not be inso many hundreds of his fellow-crea- ferred that the disease is, generally tures. The ceremony of conveying speaking, to be communicated only the sacrament, or viaticum, to the by actual contact with an infected dying in Roman Catholic countries, is body? I do not mean to say, that, in always impressive. The tinkling of the confined dwellings of the poor, the bell which announces the approach and other airless situations, the atof the host; the plaintive chanting of mosphere may not become so highly the priest and his attendants; and the impregnated with the pestiferous efprostration of those who happen to be fluvia, as to render it dangerous even in the street, unite in giving a great to enter the infected chamber; but degree of solemnity to the scene. But whenever a thorough ventilation can now the constant recurrence of this be obtained, and immediate contact ceremony occasioned the most painful with the person, and the clothes of reflections, as it denoted the increa- the sick person is avoided, he may be sing ravages of the plague. So much, approached, I conceive, with perfect indeed, were weak and nervous per- safety. sons affected, that it was judged ex To enter into minute details, repedient to discontinue the usual for specting the symptoms of this dreadmalities, and to have the viaticum pri- ful malady, would lead me too far. vately conveyed by the priest, accom- Besides, these vary so much at differ
ent periods of the disease, that it were very generally administered ; as also presumption in any one but a profes- in cases where great debility prevailsional man to attempt to describe ed, wine, bark, and other tonics and them with any degree of accuracy. stimulants. Oil frictions might, perI may, however, observe generally, haps, be useful in promoting the supthat some of the most frequent sympa puration of swellings, or encouraging toms indicative of plague were debili- perspiration ; but I do not find that ty, a sensation of stupor, and a total the application of oil was otherwise inability to walk without staggering. found efficacious as a remedy. As a Sometimes the patient exhibited a preventive, however, its virtues canmost singular expression of the eyes, not be too highly appreciated. I have which it were difficult to describe. myself known many persons who, It combined muddiness with lustre, without using any other precaution, as Russell observes ; or, perhaps, you than that of occasionally anointing may form a more accurate idea of what their skin with olive oil, attended with I wish to convey from the following impunity the sick beds of plague padescription of a French writer on the tients. It was usual, too, for medie plague. “ Les yeux etoient ternis, cal men and others, who had occale regard fixe et egaré annonçoit la sion to approach the sick, to apterreur et le desespoir.” The effect ply a sponge moistened with strong of such a combination was, as you vinegar to the mouth and nostrils, may believe, very terrible. This and to avoid inhaling the breath of symptom, I understand, was consi- the patient. Fumigations of nitric, dered unfavourable ; and I believe it or muriatic acid, were generally used was less frequent in the more advan- in the apartments of the sick'; and ced periods of the plague when the those who were necessarily exposed disease seemed to have assumed a to infection, had their clothes fremilder form. Fever almost invari- quently purified by such fumigations. ably attended the disease at some But nothing, I believe, is more efficastage or other ; but the concomitant cious as a preventive of contagion symptoms were very clifferent. Glan- than a scrupulous attention to per. dular swellings very generally appear- sonal cleanliness. I cannot pretend ed; and if these were brought to to say what proportion of those who suppurate, the patient, I believe, caught the infection recovered; but commonly recovered. In some sub- the disease was certainly of a more jects carbuncles appeared, under va- virulent nature, and more fatal at the rious forms, and in different parts of commencement than it afterwards bethe body, but chiefly about the legs came. Great hopes were at first enand arms. Petechiæ were by no tertained that the malady would have means an uncommon eruption. Of yielded to the excessive heat of a Malthese there are several species ; but tese summer ; but, contrary to genethose I had occasion to see resembled ral experience, the mortality was innumerable flea bites. They appeared greatest in the month of July. In chiefly on the back or breast, and gra- August the number of deaths was dually assuming a deeper tinge, became, considerably diminished ; and during before death, quiteof a livid hue. Head- Septeinber and October the disease ach, giddiness, vomiting, and diar- was rapidly in the decline. Towards rhæa, were all symptoms of common the end of January 1814, the plague occurrence; and delirium, though entirely ceased throughout the island, it appeared at different stages of the with the exception of Casal Curmi, disease, was most frequently observed a low, unhealthy village, situated at towards the death of the patient. I no great distance from the Campo was niyself particularly struck by the Santo or burial ground, a circumauxious look, and the taciturnity of stance wnich might, in some degree, those whom I had occasion to see. perhaps, account for that district reThey seemed indifferent to their si- taining the infection for some months tuation, and shewed a callous insen- after its extinction in every other part sibility about the fate of those around of the island. Under these circuinthem.
stances, the governor adopted the folof the mode of treatment I shall lowing expedient : He issued a pronot pretend to speak; but I believe clamation, by which Casal Curmi was that mercury, in different forms, was declared to be a Lazaretto; and as
such it was surrounded by a cordon be burned. These articles he had of troops, and put under martial law. taken with him to Gozo, and they This measure, by which all inters formed a part of those which he had course with the Casal was cut off, was given out to be washed. Thus, it apfollowed by the gradual re-establish- pears, that the pestilential miasmata ment of free communication through- inust have remained in the clothes out all parts of the island; and be- for at least three months, and how fore the end of the year, entire con much longer they might have confidence was happily restorell, and tinued while the clothes were exclude every thing reverted to that state, the ed from the air, is matter of great unsuspension of which is almost as much certainty. A year had now clapsed to be deprecated as the malady itself. from the first appearance of the
Early in the spring of 1814 the plague plague at Malta until its final exhad entirely ceasedi, even in the ill. tinction in the island of Gozo; and fated Casal Curmi; but to our utter when I state, that, during that pedismay, an express arrived about the riod, the total amount of persons who beginning of Varch from the island died under the malady was considerof Gozo, which had hitherto remain- ably under 5000, out of a population ed entirely free from infection, an- exceeding 100,000, may it not be fairnonncing that a person had recently ly inferred, that much was, under died there whose case had excited Providence, effected by the various great alarm. This was followed by a means so anxiously and unremittingsuccession of cases, wbich plainly ly applied towards mitigating the virushewed that the alarm was but too lence, and arresting the progress of well founded.; and no time was lost the disease ? So much, indeed, may by the government in adopting the be effected, as I conceive, by a well most efficacious measures. The dis- regulated police, that, were the plague trict where the plague had appeared unfortunately to be again introduced was surrounded, like Casal Curmi, by into Malta, í have no doubt that it a cordon of troops, and two months would be instantly suppressed, as the had not elapsed before the contagion people, taught by sad experience, vas entirely suppressed. There was would readily submit to coercive measomething so extraordinary in the cir- sures, which, on the first suspicion of eumstances attending the introduction infection, cannot be too promptly arof the plague into Gozo, that although ranged, or too rigidly enforced. I have trespassed so long on your pa I might easily extend, my narrative tience, I cannot but advert to them. by dwelling on the heart-rending The person by whom it appeared to scenes which were constantly occurhave been conveyed, had recently per- ring during this afflicting period; but formed a double quarantine of forty having already detained you too long, days at Malta, in consequence of his I will confine myself to one or two of wife having died of plague. On his those which came under my own obrelease from the Lazaretto he had rea- servation, and which are connected dily obtaiced leave to proceed to with some traits of generosity not unGozo; and having, on his arrival worthy of being recorded. there, given out some clothes to be In passing one day along the street, washed, they were no sooner handled I remarked that something must have by the laundress than she was seized recently occurred to have excited a with pestilential symptoms, and died. more than ordinary degree of interest. The man himself was soon after taken The women especially appeared to be ill, and on his death-bed acknowledg- much affected; and on inquiring the ed that, previously to his embarking cause, I was informed, that the Becfor Gozo, he had solicited leave to vi- camorti having entered an infected sit his own house, which had under- house in the neighbourhood to regone a thorough purification ; but he move the body of a man who had reconfessed, that, notwithstanding his cently died, had discovered that the having been attended by a health of- only surviving member of the family fice guardian, he had privately dug was an infant whom they found at up some wearing apparel of his de- the breast of the mother, who had just ceased wife, which, during her illness, expired. It was not long before a he had concealed in the garden, un Maltese woman came forward to reder the apprehension that it would ceive the child, at the imminent risk of
her personal safety; and to the ho REMARKS ON THE WORKS
This highly respectable volume is not one was suffered to perish for prefaced by a Memoir of Dr Wells, want of a nurse. I am now about to relate au anec- written by himself, which, like all his
productions, is extremely simple and dote of a person, whose conduct was modest. He was born, in 1757, of Scotthe more meritorious, as his habits tish parents at Charlestown, in South were rather calculated to harden him Carolina, whence he was sent to the against the kindlier feelings of his nature. Amongst the persons employed, taught with great success by Dr Chap
grammar school of Dumfries, then at the commencement of the plague, man, author of a very sensible book on was a poor old Armenian, who hap- Education. He went in due time to pened to be at Malta, and who, have the University of Edinburgh, where ing lived amidst contagion all his life, he formed an acquaintance with Mr was easily induced to hire himself as one of the Beccamorti
. In the course sent Mr David Hume, whom he recke
Miller, now Lord Glenlee, and the preof his melancholy duties he found in one of the infected houses a child through life. He says his manners
ons amongst his most cordial friends from three to four years old, the only were from infancy rude and rough, one of the family who survived. As but he was strongly impelled to act it appeared that the child had no relation who took any interest in him, times with imprudence. On again vi
alwaysagreeably to truth, though somethe old man persuaded the boy to ac- siting Europe, after having been some company him, and he soon became years in America, he, on one occasion, affectionately attached to his protec- provoked the colonel of a Scotch regia tor. Nothing could exceed the care inent serving in Holland, in which he with which the good man nourished ranked as assistant-surgeon, so far as his little ward, or the tenderness with to be punished with two days confinewhich he watched over his safety. ment. Wells, on being released, threw Nor did his generosity go unrewarıl- up his commission, and attacked the. eld; for the government being ap- colonel in the public street, daring prised of his conduct, immediately him to single combat. The affair was gave him an increased allowance.
brought before the Duke of BrunsI have seen a girl from four to five wick, who adjudged Wells to several years old, the eldest of three orphans, years confinement in a remote prison, watching the arrival of the provision but the Duke revoked this severe sencart to obtain the daily supply for her tence when he learned our author's little family. I have seen the dead
previous resignation. cart stop day after day at the same
He took his medical degree at house, until a numerous family was Edinburgh immediately after this conveyed to the grave, save one un- adventure, and returned a second happy parent, who bewailed his ex, time to America, which his father emption from the common fate.--I had, in the mean time, been forced to have seen many a widow return from leave in consequence of his loyalty; the Lazaretto to the empty walls of and he gives several very interesting her desolate dwelling, now bereft of details of the conduet of the two para every thing by which it was so lately ties during the heat of the revoluendeared to her. I have seen,-but
tionary war. Into these details wc I leave to your own imagination the
cannot afford room to follow him; completion of a picture of which I but as a specimen of his style of narhave given you only the outlines; ration, we give, in his own words, an and if you take a melancholy pleasure in contemplating the horrors of the plague, I would refer you to Boccacio,
• Two Essays; one upon Single Vision to Defoe, and to Wilson, by whom with Two Eyes; the other on Dew.
Letter to the Right Honourable Lloyd they have been so pathetically de- Lord Kenyon, and an Account of a Female scribed. Believe me, my Dear Friend, of the White Race of Mankind, part of ever and moet cordially yours, whose Skin resembles that of a Negro, &c.
By the late William Charles Wells, M. D. E. S. G. &c. with a Memoir of his Life, written bog
himself. London, 1818.