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[DOUGLASS, William (1691-1752)]. Inoculation of the Small Pox as practised in Boston, Consider'd in a Letter to A--S--M.D. & F.R.S. in London. Boston: James Franklin, 1722.
4o (168 x 101 mm). Stabbed as issued, uncut; cloth folder and quarter morocco slipcase.
EXTREMELY RARE FIRST EDITION OF THIS EARLY AMERICAN MEDICAL BOOK. Early in the summer of 1721 a severe epidemic of smallpox broke out in Boston, and Zabdiel Boylston was prevailed upon by Cotton Mather to carry out inoculations for smallpox during the epidemic. Douglass, the only academically trained physician in Boston at the time, strongly opposed Mather's views on inoculation, fearing it might spread the epidemic instead of containing it. "He accordingly published a series of four controversial 'inoculation' pamphlets, three of which were anonymous" (DAB). Douglass was personally concerned since he had some time earlier lent Mather his own numbers of the Philosophical Transactions which contained the accounts of inoculation by Timonius and Pylermus which were carried out in the Levant. This anonymous pamphlet was originally written as a letter to the British physician, Alexander Stuart. His postscript in the letter reads: "If I have been too rough with any Persons Character, & it afterwards appear that he acted in meer Zeal (tho' mistaken Zeal) for the Good of his Neighbours, I heartily ask his Pardon."
It was printed by James Franklin, Benjamin's older brother and proprietor of the New England Courant, who also opposed inoculation in Boston. Evans 2332; Garrison-Morton 5412; Guerra a-69; Norman 652A.
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