Today's Featured Biography
Edward Jenner, Dr.
Few of the many thousand ills which human flesh is heir to, have spread such devastation among the family of man as small-pox. Its universality has ranged from the untold tribes of savages to the silken baron of civilization; and its ravages on life and beauty have been shown in many a sad tale of domestic suffering. To stay the destroying hand of such a scourge, which by some has been identified with the Plague of Athens, was reserved for Edward Jenner, the discoverer of vaccination.
The great fact can, however, be traced half a century before Jenner's time. In the journal of John Byron, F.R.S., under date June 3, 1725, it is recorded that: "At a meeting of the Royal Society, Sir Isaac Newton presiding, Dr. Jurin read a case of small-pox, where a girl who had been inoculated and had been vaccinated, was tried and had them not again; but another [a] boy, caught the small-pox from this girl, and had the confluent kind and died."
This case occurred at Hanover. The inoculation of the girl seems to have failed entirely; it was suspected that she had not taken the true small-pox; doubts, however, were removed, as a boy, who daily saw the girl, fell ill and died, "having had a very bad small-pox of the confluent sort." This is the first use of the word vaccination, or, more familiarly, cow-pox, which is an eruption arising from the insertion into the system of matter obtained from the eruption on the teats and udders of cows, and especially in Gloucestersh...
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