Smallpox Inoculation and the Royal Society, 1700–1723

  • Margaret DeLacy


DeLacy provides a political and professional context for the introduction of smallpox inoculation into England, including the involvement of the Royal Society and the inaction of the College of Physicians. She shows how the Puritan minister Cotton Mather was influenced by his religious values and by his reading of Joan Baptista Van Helmont, Richard Bradley, and Benjamin Marten to introduce inoculation in Boston. She analyzes the way support for inoculation in Britain divided along religious and political lines and summarizes the impact of inoculation on ideas about disease transmission.


Royal Society Eighteenth Century Seventeenth Century Philosophical Transaction Yersinia Pestis 
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© Margaret DeLacy 2016

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