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States who adopt the opinion that the yellow fever originated in the country itself, think they discover the disease in the pests which prevailed in 1535 and 1612 * among the red men of Can nada and New England. From the little which we know of the matlazahuatl of the Mexicans, we might be inclined to believe, that in both Americas from the remotest periods, the coppercoloured race has been subject to a disease, which in its complications resembles in several respects the yellow fever of Vera Cruz and Philadelphia, but which differs essentially from it by the facility with which it is propagated in a cold zone, where the thermometer during the day remains at ten or twelve centigrade degrees t.
It is certain that the vomito, which is endemical at Vera Cruz, Carthagena, and the Havannah, is the same disease with the yellow fever, which since the year 1798, has never ceased to afflict the inhabitants of the United States. This identity, against which a very small number of physicians in Europe have
* Stubbins Ffirth or malignant fever, 1804, p. 12. Gookin relates the remarkable fact that in the pest which prevailed in 1612 among the Pawkunnawhutts, near New Plymouth, the skin of the infected Indians was of a yellow hue.
+ 50° and 53° of Fahrenheit. Trans,
started doubts * is generally acknowledged by those of the faculty who have visited the island of Cuba and Vera Cruz, as well as the coast of the United States, and by those who have carefully studied the excellent nosological descriptions of MM. Makittrick, Rush, Valentin, and Luzuriaga. We shall not decide whether the yellow fever is perceptible in the causus of Hipocrates, which is followed, like several remittent bilious fevers, by a vomiting of black matter; but we think that the yellow fever has been sporadical in the two continents, since men born under a cold zone, have exposed themselves in the low regions of the torrid zone, to an air infected with miasmata. Wherever the exciting causes, and the irritability of the organs are the same, the disorders which originate from a disorder in the vital functions ought to assume the same appearances
It is not to be wondered at, that, at a period when the communications between the Old and New Continent, were far from numerous, and · when the number of Europeans who annually
frequented the West India Islands, was still smaller, a disease which only attacks the indi- . viduals who are not seasoned to the climate, should have very little engaged the attention of the physicians of Europe. In the 16th and
* Arejula, de la fiebre amarilla de Cadiz, T. i. p. 143.
17th centary, the mortality must not have been so great ; lst. Because at that period the equinoctial regions of America were only visited by Spaniards and Portuguese, two nations of the south of Europe, less exposed from their constitution, to feel the fatal effects of an excessively hot climate, than the English, Danes, and other inhabitants of the north of Europe, who now frequent the West India Islands ; 2dly. Because in the Islands of Cuba, Jamaica, and Haity, the first colonists were not assembled together in such populous cities as were afterwards built; 3dly. Because on the discovery of continental America, the Spaniards were less attracted by commerce towards the shore which is generally warm and humid, and preferred a residence in the interior of the country on elevated table lands, where they found a temperature analogous to that of their native country. In fact, at the commencément of the conquest, the ports of Panama and Nombre de Dios *, were the only ones where there was a great concourse of strangers ; but from 1535 the residence at Panama † was as much dreaded by the Europeans as in our times a residence at Vera Cruz, Omoa, or Porto Cabello. It cannot be denied, from the facts related by .
* Nombre de Dios, situated to the east of Porto Bello was abandoned in 1584.
+ Pedro de Cieça, c. 2. p. 5.
Sydenham and other excellent observers, that under certain circumstances germs of new diseases may be developed *; but there is nothing to prove that the yellow fever has not existed for several centuries in the equinoctial regions. We must not confound the period at which a disease has been first described, on account of its having committed dreadful ravages in a short space of time, with the period of its first ap pearance.
The oldest description of the yellow fever, is that of the Portugueze physician Joam Ferreyra da Rosa t, who observed the epidemic which prevailed at Olinda in Brazil, between 1687 and 1694, shortly after a Portugueze army had made the conquest of Pernambuco. We know in the same manner with certainty, that in 1691 the yellow fever manifested itself at the island of Barbadoes, where it went by the name of kendal fever, without the smallest proof appearing that it was brought there by vessels from Pernambuco. Ulloa I, speaking of the chapetonadas, or fevers to which Europeans are exposed on their arrival in the West Indies,
* See, respecting an affection of the larynx, which prevails epidemically at Otaheite, since the arrival of a Spanish vessel, Vancouver, T. i. p. 175.
+ Trattado da constituiçam pestilencial de Pernambuco, por Joam Ferreyra da Rosa, em Lisboa, 1694.
Voyage, T. i. p. 41 and 149.
. XII.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 141 relates that according to the opinion of the people of the country, the vomito prieto was unknown at Saint Martha and Carthagena before 1729 and 1730, and at Carthagena previous ' to 1740. The first epidemic of Saint Martha was described by Juan Josef de Gastelbondo * a Spanish physician. . Since that period the yellow fever has several times raged out of the West India Islands and Spanish America, on the Senegal, in the United States t. at Malaga, Cadizt, Leghorn, and according to the excellent work of Cleghorn, even in the Island of Minorca S. We have thought it proper to relate these facts, many of which are not generally known, because they throw some light on the nature and cause of this cruel disease. The opinion that the epidemics which
since 1793 have nearly every year afflicted · North America, differ essentially from those
which for centuries have prevailed at Vera Cruz, and that the yellow fever was imported from the coast of Africa into Grenada, and from thence into Philadelphia is equally destitute of foundation with the hypothesis formerly very
* Luzuriaga de la calentura biliosa, T. i. p. 7.
† At Cadiz in 1731, 1733, 1734, 1744, 1746, 1764, and at Malaga in 1741.
In 1744, 1749-(Tommasini sulla febbre de Livorno del 1804, p. 65.)