The earliest writers upon cholera emphasized its remarkable preference for particular places; and the history of each successive epidemic implies, besides an importation of the contagion, certain local conditions which may be either general sanitary defects or peculiarities of climate and soil.
According to one view it was imported from the opposite coast of Dalmatia, though no definite history of contagion was established; according to others, it originated endemically in that place.
The spread of the disease only partially supported the doctrine of contagion, as Boghurst says: " The disease spread not altogether by contagion at first, nor began only at one place and spread further and further as an eating sore doth all over the body, but fell upon several places of city and suburbs like rain."
Hence, according to believers in contagion, the disease passed to families in the " old town," the poorest and unhealthiest quarter.
Ambrose, perceiving that this crowding together merely enabled the contagion to spread, had the image secretly removed.
The only good of man is the pure existence of the soul, which in itself, apart from the contagion of the body, is perfectly free from error or defect; if only it can be restored to the untrammelled activity of its original being, nothing external, nothing bodily, can positively impair its perfect welfare.
The danger of contagion lies in the wonderful vitality of the spores, and their great resistance to heat and cold.
Burke and Grattan were anxious that provision should be made for the education of Irish Roman Catholic priests at home, to preserve them from the contagion of Jacobinism in France; Wolfe Tone, "with an incomparably juster forecast," as Lecky observes, "advocated the same measure for exactly opposite reasons."
Milan and Piedmont were comparatively well governed; but repugnance to Austrian rule in the former case, and the contagion of French Jacobinical opinions in the latter, brought those populations into increasing hostility to the rulers.
The Jews were thrust into a position of isolation, and the Code of Theodosius and other authorities characterize the Jews as a lower order of depraved beings (inferiores and perversi), their community as a godless, dangerous sect (secta nefaria, feralis), their religion a superstition, their assemblies for religious worship a blasphemy (sacrilegi coetus) and a contagion (Scherer, op. cit.
The questions naturally suggest themselves - Are the reappearances due to a revival of the contagion derived from previous outbreaks in the same place, or to some favouring condition which the place offers for the development of infection derived from some other quarter; and have favouring conditions any dependence upon the character and state of the soil?
In 1822, he left Erlangen - where he subsequently complained that the contagion of the "greatest philosopher and metaphysician of the century" (Schelling), in a period "rich in words and ideas, but poor in true knowledge and genuine studies," had cost him two precious years of his life - and by the liberality of Louis I., grand-duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, was enabled to go to Paris.
X., Samuel ordaining Saul "took the vial of oil and poured it upon his head and kissed him," and soon afterwards "God gave Saul another heart"; so that when he met the band of prophets the contagion flew from them to him, "and the spirit of God came mightily upon him, and he prophesied among them."
It may be noted in consecration how nicely the taboo or contagion, whether of holiness or unholiness, can be localized.
All grow from small beginnings and increase by a sort of popular contagion; all teach that God is to be appeased by prayers, presents, vows, but especially, and most irrationally, by human suffering.
He visited all the neighbouring parishes where the contagion raged, distributing money, providing accommodation for the sick, and punishing those, especially the clergy, who were remiss in discharging their duties.
Thus malaria and sand-fly fever, dysentery, typhoid and paratyphoid fever, cholera, smallpox, and occasionally typhus fever, eye diseases, oriental sores and indeed any disease conveyed by impure water, flies, contaminated dust or the contagion of sufferers from infectious diseases, are prevalent in the inhabited places along the Persian Gulf, and precautions must always be taken to guard against them.
Some of the epidemics of this period in Italy and Germany are known by the accounts of eminent physicians, as Vochs, Fracastor, Mercurialis, Borgarucci, Ingrassia, Massaria, Amici, &c., (3) whose writings are important because the question of contagion first began to be raised, and also plague had to be distinguished from typhus fever, which began in this century to appear in Europe.
Early in November with colder weather it began to decline; and in December there was so little fear of contagion that those who had left the city " crowded back as thick as they fled."
In 1720 Marseilles became affected with an epidemic plague, the origin of which was attributed by some to contagion through the ship of a Captain Chataud which arrived on the 10th of May 1720, from Syria, where plague at that time prevailed, though not epidemically when he sailed.
Opinions were divided, and the evidence appears even now nearly balanced, though the believers in contagion and importation gained the victory in public opinion.
The epidemic spread generally over Provence, but not to other parts of France, notwithstanding that, as confessed by D'Antrechaus, consul of Toulon, a believer in the exclusive power of contagion, there were abundant opportunities.
In all 87,659 persons are said to have died out of a population of nearly 250,000.2 This great epidemic caused a panic in England which led to the introduction (under Mead's advice) of quarantine regulations, never previously enforced, and also led to the publication of many pamphlets, &c., beside Mead's well-known Discourse on Pestilential Contagion (London, 1720).
An attempt was made to show that the contagion was brought home by Cossacks returning from the Turkish War, but on absolutely no evidence.
At Sydney a careful investigation was made; and the conclusion reached by Dr Tidswell was that " there was no ground for even a suspicion that our epidemic was being maintained by any process of direct contagion between man and man," but that rats were the carriers.
It is the note of every great religious reformer, Moses, Buddha, Paul, Mani, Mahomet, St Francis, Luther, to enlighten and direct it to higher aims, substituting a true personal holiness for a ritual purity or taboo, which at the best was viewed as a kind of physical condition and contagion, inherent as well in things and animals as in man.
Taylor, Te Ika a Maui, 165), or when uncleanness is removed as if it were a physical secretion by washing, wiping and so forth, it is hard to say whether what we should now call a " material " nature is not ascribed to the sacred, more especially when its transmissibility after the manner of a contagion is the trait that holds the attention.
Jevons (in An Introduction to the History of Religion, vii.) distinguishes between " things taboo," which have the mystic contagion inherent in them, and " things tabooed," to which the taboo-infection has been transmitted.
He narrates how the few that had themselves escaped the pest transmitted the contagion to all they met.
Though it has at times denied this spirit, been guilty of crimes, persecutions, wars and greed - still the Church has never quite forgotten him who went about doing good, nor freed itself from the contagion of his example.
In this connexion it is interesting to note the behaviour of the diphtheritic contagion in soil.
A distinction must be drawn between the above and diseases, like syphilis and small-pox, in which the contagion of, not the tendency to, the disease is transmitted directly to the foetus in utero.