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Animate Disease after 1750: Exanthemata Viva

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In 1757 a thesis supervised by Carolus Linnaeus (Carl von Linné) claimed that many acute diseases were transmitted by microscopic animals. This chapter summarizes the thesis and other similar works by Linnaeus’s circle, and discusses the reception of the idea among British physicians through the rest of the eighteenth century and beyond. Linnaeus’s theory did not become part of the contagionist mainstream but it was never completely abandoned. However, the critical impact of his theory was not the idea of animate pathogenesis in itself but its effect on his disease taxonomy, which was then adapted by Edinburgh professor William Cullen.

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  1. 1.

    Richard Mead, A Short Discourse Concerning Pestilential Contagion, and the Methods to Be Used to Prevent It (London: 1720), 17.

  2. 2.

    Charles Singer, “Benjamin Marten, a Neglected Predecessor of Louis Pasteur,” Janus (1911) 16:81–9.

  3. 3.

    As noted below in this chapter, Linnaeus would classify the “septic agent of fermentation and putrefaction” as possibly a “living molecule” in 1767. Italian chemist Giovanni Valentino Mattia Fabbroni (1752–1822) suggested in 1787 that fermentation was caused by a “vegeto-animal” substance he identified with gluten. Gerhart Drews, “The Roots of Microbiology and the Influence of Ferdinand Cohn on Microbiology of the 19th Century,” FEMS Microbiology Reviews (2000) 24:225–49, doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6976.2000.tb00540.x.

  4. 4.

    Tore Frängsmyr, “Editor’s Introduction,” in Linnaeus, the Man and His Work (Canton MA: 1984) viii. Linnaeus obtained his degree from Harderwijk in one week with a thesis on ague.

  5. 5.

    Dawson Turner, Extracts from the Literary and Scientific Correspondence of Richard Richardson, M.D. (Yarmouth: 1835), Letter 146, Dr J. F. Gronovius to Dr Richard Richardson, Leyden, July 22, 1738, 367 and n. 5. Bartsch died soon afterwards in Surinam.

  6. 6.

    Gronovius in Turner, Extracts.

  7. 7.

    Ole Daniel Enersen, “Johann Nathanael Lieberkühn,” in Whonamedit? A Dictionary of Medical Eponyms,

  8. 8.

    This was not Linnaeus’s first exposure to microscopes. He had already used them in his botanical work and took a microscope on his expedition to Lapland in 1732.

  9. 9.

    In 1739, Lieberkühn graduated from Leyden and visited London. In 1740 he became an FRS following an anatomical demonstration for the fellows.

  10. 10.

    This microscope survived many adventures and is now owned by the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh. W. J. Holland, Address of the Carnegie Museum to the New York Academy of Sciences… (Pittsburgh: May 23, 1907). I saw it on loan and on display at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. I thank John E. Rawlins of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Carnegie Museum and the Hunt Institute staff for their assistance. Its resolution is unknown.

  11. 11.

    Brian Ford, Single Lens (London: 1985). This microscope has also survived and is on display at Linnaeus’s house in Uppsala, but its smaller lens, which would have provided the greatest magnification, is missing.

  12. 12.

    John Gascoigne, Joseph Banks and the English Enlightenment: Useful Knowledge and Polite Culture (Cambridge: 1994), 77. Collinson and Fothergill forwarded specimens and observations from American naturalists to Linnaeus. John Miller’s Illustratio Systematis Sexualis Linnaei (1770–1777) relied on plants from Fothergill’s garden and was produced with Fothergill’s support. Linnaeus named Fothergilla after his friend.

  13. 13.

    Select Dissertations from the Amoenitates Academicae, a Supplement to Mr. Stillingfleet’s Tracts, trans. by Fitz John Brand (London: 1781), 1: 340. On the tangled publication history of Amoenitates, see M. E. DeLacy and A. J. Cain, “A Linnaean Thesis concerning Contagium Vivum: The ‘Exanthemata Viva’ of John Nyander and its Place in Contemporary Thought with a New Translation by A. J. Cain,” Medical History (1995) 39:159–85. Sirones are itch mites.

  14. 14.

    Charles-Edward Amory Winslow, The Conquest of Epidemic Disease: A Chapter in the History of Ideas (Madison WI: 1980), 159–60; Clifford Dobell, Antony van Leeuwenhoek and his ‘Little Animals’ (New York: 1960), 377–8.

  15. 15.

    On the title, see Cain’s note 65 in his translation in DeLacy and Cain, “Linnaean Thesis,” 176. Exanthemata are diseases characterized by a rash.

  16. 16.

    Donald R. Hopkins, Princes and Peasants: Smallpox in History (Chicago: 1983), 51.

  17. 17.

    All references are to A. J. Cain’s translation in DeLacy and Cain, “Linnaean Thesis.”

  18. 18.

    Cain trans., 176–8, words in square brackets were supplied by the translator. Richard Bradley appears to have been the first to see mold spores through a microscope.

  19. 19.

    Cain trans., 179.

  20. 20.

    Cain trans., 179, n. 90.

  21. 21.

    Cain trans. 179.

  22. 22.

    Most accounts of Daniel Rolander (1722 or 1723–1793) are incorrect. Historian James Dobreff has reconstructed his adventurous life, fraught relationship with Linnaeus and magnificent work. See J. Dobreff, “Daniel Rolander: The Invisible Naturalist,” Systema Naturae 250: The Linnaean Ark, ed. Andrew Polaszek (Boca Raton: 2010), 11–28. He is also mentioned in Natalie Zemon Davis’ “Physicians, Healers, and Their Remedies in Colonial Suriname,” Canadian Bulletin of Medical History (2016) 33:3–34, doi: 10.3138/cbmh.33.1.3. Johan Carl Nyander lived from 1734 to 1814.

  23. 23.

    This was probably Thomas Bartholin, a seventeenth-century physician and member of a large medical and scientific family.

  24. 24.

    It is not clear from the thesis whether Rolander used a hand lens or a microscope.

  25. 25.

    Cain trans., 180. Rolander’s recurrent episodes about eight days apart and the fact that he saw mite-like organisms in his excreta make giardiasis one possible cause of his illness. Leeuwenhoek had seen Giardia in his excreta in 1681.

  26. 26.

    Cain trans., 180.

  27. 27.

    Tincture of rhubarb usually contains a large proportion of alcohol. For example, Thomas Fuller’s recipe in Pharmacopoeia Extemporanea (London,1710), 415, called for soaking two ounces of sliced rhubarb in a quart of brandy. On rhubarb, see Clifford M. Foust, Rhubarb, The Wondrous Drug (Princeton, NJ: 1992).

  28. 28.

    Cain trans., 181. I am interpreting “wild cough,” described by Linnaeus as primarily a disease of children, as whooping cough.

  29. 29.

    Cain trans., 181.

  30. 30.

    Cain trans., 180.

  31. 31.

    Cain trans., 180.

  32. 32.

    Cain trans., 181–2. Linnaeus’s student J. O. Hagström made a similar argument in 1783. This line of reasoning led some people to believe in the inverse proposition: that if a disease was not cured by known insecticides then it must not be caused by animalcules. Thus it may have done as much to retard as to promote a theory of contagium vivum.

  33. 33.

    Cain trans., 183.

  34. 34.

    “It always preserves the same exanthemas,” Cain trans., 183.

  35. 35.

    This was the plague of 1738–1739, described by Johann Schreiber’s Observationes…de Pestilentia…. (Berlin: 1744).

  36. 36.

    Cain trans., 183.

  37. 37.

    Any of a number of parasitic intestinal worms, especially the hookworm.

  38. 38.

    Cain trans., 185.

  39. 39.

    Cain trans., 185.

  40. 40.

    Margaret DeLacy, “Marten, Benjamin (fl. 1722),” ODNB (Oxford: 2004), As Linnaeus did not read English, he was probably unaware of Marten’s work.

  41. 41.

    Bruno Latour, The Pasteurization of France, trans. Alan Sheridan and John Law (Cambridge, MA: 1993), 20–1. See also 140. As Latour notes, British and French public health had developed along very different trajectories in the previous century.

  42. 42.

    Brian J. Ford, “The Microscope of Linnaeus and his Blind Spot,” The Microscope (2009) 57, no. 2:65–72: “it beggars belief that he could dismiss such a varied category [as microbiota] in so few words,” on 67. See also Ford, “Eighteenth Century Scientific Publishing,” Scientific Books, Libraries and Collectors, ed. A. Hunter (Aldershot, UK: 2000), online from

  43. 43.

    Cain, trans., 177.

  44. 44.

    Marc Ratcliff, The Quest for the Invisible (Farnham UK: 2009), 190. Ratcliff also discusses Linnaeus’s efforts.

  45. 45.

    Colin Chisholm, “On the Malis dracucunculus, or Guinea-Worm,” Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal (1815) 11, no. 42: 145–64, online from Google. Chisholm denied that guinea worm infections were caused by contagion through the air. Unlike the truly contagious diseases discussed by Linnaeus, which were all the result of microscopic mites, he thought the guinea-worm disease was caused by drinking brackish water containing the worms’ eggs. Thus although he denied that the same agent named by Linnaeus was also responsible for the disease under review, he accepted Linnaeus’s overall theory.

  46. 46.

    DeLacy and Cain, “Linnaean Thesis,” 167–70. See also Michael A. Baeckner, Noxa Insectorum, Uppsala University (1752), 9. Page references are to the original printed thesis, not the Amoenitates reprints. I thank the Huntington Library, San Marino, California, for providing access to these theses and copies. See also Brand, Select Dissertations. The skin diseases mentioned by Baeckner cannot be translated into modern equivalents.

  47. 47.

    Pringle, Observations, 4th edn (London: 1764), 257–8 and 265–6. Later editions including the 5th (1765), the 7th (1775) and the “new edition” of 1812 also included this passage. See also Sydney Selwyn, “Sir John Pringle, Hospital Reformer, Moral Philosopher, and Pioneer of Antiseptics,” Medical History (1966) 10:266–74 and DeLacy and Cain, “Linnaean Thesis,” 171.

  48. 48.

    Nyander’s thesis appears in vol. 5 (Leyden: 1760), 92–105. MS 345 at the Royal College of Physicians contains an English translation of this and several other Linnaean theses. The translation, entitled “The Living Efflorescences, by John C. Nyander. Upsala June 23, 1757,” is in a contemporary hand in a small notebook that was among the “Heberden papers” presented by LeRoy Crummer. William Heberden Sr was a member of Fothergill’s circle of friends, but no evidence ties him to this manuscript. I thank the Royal College of Physicians for permission to copy and refer to this manuscript and Ernest Heberden for advice on its provenance.

  49. 49.

    John Fothergill to James Logan, London, April 2, 1750, in Chain of Friendship: Selected Letters of Dr. John Fothergill of London, 1735–1780, ed. Betsy C. Corner and Christopher C. Booth (Cambridge MA: 1971), 137–8.

  50. 50.

    John Ellis (c. 1710–1776) was born in Ireland and apprenticed to a London cloth worker. He traded primarily in Irish linen and was bankrupted in 1759. After serving for three years as head gardener to a member of Parliament near Godalming, he returned to London and launched a successful career as an administrator and man of science, specializing in zoophytes. With Daniel Solander he demonstrated that sponges are animals. Roy Anthony Rauschenberg, “Daniel Carl Solander: Naturalist on the ‘Endeavour,’ ” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society (1968), n.s. 58, part 8: 3–68 and Paul F. S. Cornelius and Patricia A. Cornelius, “Ellis, John (c. 1710–1776), zoologist,” ODNB (Oxford: 2004; online edition, May 2005), See also C. C. Booth, “Dr. John Fothergill and the Angina Pectoris,” Medical History (1957) 1:115–22.

  51. 51.

    Julius Groner and Paul F. S. Cornelius, John Ellis: Merchant, Microscopist, Naturalist, and King’s Agent (Pacific Grove CA: 1996), 242.

  52. 52.

    Joseph Banks and Solander both participated in Cook’s first voyage. Banks was also a member of the Club of Thirteen, as was John Horne Tooke. On the Chapter Coffee House Society, see Discussing Chemistry and Steam: The Minutes of a Coffee House Philosophical Society, 1780–1787, ed. Trevor H. and Gerard L’E Turner (Oxford: 2002). On the Chapter Coffee House itself, see David S. Shields, “At the Eccentric Centre: Selfhood and Sociability at the Heart of England’s Culture of Enlightenment Print,” in Space and Self in Early Modern European Cultures, ed. David Warren Sabean and Malina Stefanovska (Toronto: 2012), 96–112.

  53. 53.

    J. Johnston Abraham, Lettsom: His Life, Times Friends and Descendents (London: 1933), 72–5.

  54. 54.

    Pulteney, General View, 2nd edn (London, 1805), 418–19. This includes a biography of Pulteney by William George Maton on 1–30.

  55. 55.

    “Remarks on the use of the Nux vomica in Dysentery…Translated from the Swedish by a Member of the Society,” London Medical Journal (1783) 3, no. 1:189–93. Hagström was apparently the first physician to suggest the use of Nux vomica (strychnine) in dysentery, so later writers on materia medica often cited this work.

  56. 56.

    For Simmons’ contagionism, see Chapter 6.

  57. 57.

    For Watson as a client of Hans Sloane, see Margaret DeLacy, The Germ of an Idea: Contagionism, Religion, and Society in Britain, 1660–1730 (New York: 2016), 95.

  58. 58.

    “An Account of the Epidemic Catarrh of the Year 1782; Compiled at the Request of a Society for Promoting Medical Knowledge,” rpt from Medical Communications, 1784 in Annals of Influenza or Epidemic Catarrhal Fever in Great Britain from 1510 to 1837, ed. Theophilus Thompson (London: 1852), 117–48. For Gray and the other members of the Society for Promoting Medical Knowledge, see Chapter 6. See also Margaret DeLacy, “The Conceptualization of Influenza in Eighteenth-Century Britain: Specificity and Contagion,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine (1993) 67:74–118 and DeLacy, “Influenza Research and the Medial Profession in Eighteenth-Century Britain,” Albion (Spring, 1993) 25:37–66.

  59. 59.

    Opera medico-physica in quatuor tractatus digesta quorum primus contagii morborum ideam novam una cum aditamento de lue bovina, anno 1761 epidemice grassante…[Medico-physical works arranged in four treatises of which the first is of a new idea of contagious diseases together with the bovine plague epidemic of 1761 now raging.…] (Vienna: 1762). It appears that this work has never been fully translated into English, which suggests its relative lack of interest to an Anglophone audience. Cogrossi (1682–1769) exchanged letters about rinderpest with Antonio Vallisneri FRS (1662–1730), published as Nuova Idea del Male Contagioso de’Buoi [New theory of the contagious disease among oxen] (Milan: 1714). See also DeLacy, Germ of an Idea, 78–80. The student–teacher relationship is mentioned in the abstract of J. Macek, “Marko Anton Plencic—A Hitherto Unknown Pioneer of Scientific Phytopathology,” Mededelingen—Faculteit Landbouwkundige en Toegepaste Biologische Wetenschappen Universiteit Gent [Proceedings of the 51st international symposium on crop protection] (Ghent, 4 May 1999) 64 (3b): 657–63. I have not consulted the full article.

  60. 60.

    “Carcinoma” was an ancient word for cancer. This phrase seems to have meant open cancerous ulcers or sores.

  61. 61.

    For example, see Stewart Marshall Brooks, Basic Facts of Medical Microbiology (Philadelphia: 1958), 263 and David Baronov, The African Transformation of Western Medicine and the Dynamics of Global Cultural Exchange (Philadelphia: 2010), 44.

  62. 62.

    Marcus Antonius Plenciz, Tractatus de Scarlatina (Vindobonae: 1780), 62 and 70.

  63. 63.

    David Wootton, Bad Medicine: Doctors Doing Harm Since Hippocrates (Oxford: 2007), 126–7. See also William R. Newman, Atoms and Alchemy (2006), 76–7 n. 30 and Hiro Hirai, Le Concept du Semence dans les Théories de la Matière à la Renaissance.… (Tournhout: 2005). The word “germ” is sometimes extended to all pathogens, including some, such as prions, that are non-living. Used in a broad sense, the early nineteenth-century idea that cholera was caused by a “fungus” could be described as a germ theory.

  64. 64.

    Raymond N. Doetsch, “John Crawford and His Contributions to the Doctrine of Contagium Vivum,” Bacteriological Reviews (March, 1964) 28:87–96. See also Wilkinson, “Rinderpest,” part 3, and Chapter 6. Withering wrote that scarlet fever was unquestionably contagious but he could not determine whether the cause was animate: An Account of the Scarlet Fever and Sore Throat (London: 1793). For Alexander, see this chapter below.

  65. 65.

    Foote, The Devil upon Two Sticks, 59–60, online from ECCO. This work was performed in 1768, soon after the licentiates rioted at the College of Physicians, and was published posthumously in London in 1778. Fothergill was parodied as “Dr. Broadbrim.” The examination scene was very popular. It was often performed separately and became the subject of a mezzotint by Johann Zoffany: Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow,

  66. 66.

    Foote, Devil, 60–1.

  67. 67.

    Dedicated to John Pringle (London: 1771), online from Google.

  68. 68.

    Alexander, Enquiry, 7, n. Thus Alexander’s “putrid” diseases included scurvy, dysentery and typhus. As noted above in this chapter, Linnaeus had suggested in Systema Natura (1767) that fermentation and putrefaction might be caused by “living molecules.”

  69. 69.

    Alexander, Enquiry, 82, n.

  70. 70.

    Alexander Enquiry, 84–6.

  71. 71.

    Alexander, Enquiry, 89–90. He was evidently unconvinced by, or ignorant of, Spallanzani’s 1765 demonstration that it was necessary to boil substances for a long time in order to destroy all microbes.

  72. 72.

    Alexander Enquiry, 231–3. Wort, used in brewing, is a product of sprouted barley.

  73. 73.

    “On the Noxious Quality of the Effluvia of Putrid Marshes,” Phil. Trans. (1774) 64: 90–5.

  74. 74.

    Review of William Alexander, “An Experimental Enquiry,” The Monthly Review (1773) 48:443–50, on 447.

  75. 75.

    Priestley isolated oxygen in about 1775.

  76. 76.

    David Wootton, Bad Medicine, further reading 2, p. 301. Wootton refers to this work as “Necessary to all Families.”

  77. 77.

    A Treatise on Fevers…(London: 1788). Printed for the author by Seagood and Collins, Finch-Lane, Cornhill; sold by Scatchard & Whitaker, Ave-Maria-Lane; J. Pridden, Fleet-Street; and T. Axtell, Royal Exchange. A copy of this leaflet is available from ECCO.

  78. 78.

    A Treatise on Fevers, 58 and 75–6. He also attributes earthquakes, lightning, the aurora borealis and meteors to this electrical vapor.

  79. 79.

    A Treatise on Fevers, 13–14. This observation suggests that the author was writing from experience. “St. Anthony’s fire” is a term that was used for several skin inflammations, including ergotism and erysipelas. Erysipelas is a result of streptococcal infection, as is “putrid sore throat.” Streptococcal infection also causes several of the other disorders mentioned, such as rheumatic fever and afflictions of the liver.

  80. 80.

    A Treatise on Fevers, 23.

  81. 81.

    A Treatise on Fevers, 24.

  82. 82.

    A Treatise on Fevers, 50.

  83. 83.

    A Treatise on Fevers, 84.

  84. 84.

    It does deserve inclusion in any list of “precursors” to an animate theory of malaria.

  85. 85.

    Ian Maxted: “Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History: The London Book Trades 1775–1800: A Preliminary Checklist of Members,” online from; one of the booksellers, Thomas Axtell, sold medicines, a common sideline for booksellers. He was imprisoned in 1776 for printing Thomas Paine’s pamphlet The [American] Crises. Alan Victor Sugden and John Ludlam Edmondson, A History of English Wallpaper, 1509–1914 (London: 1926) includes a reproduction of Seagood’s elaborate trade card as plate 41, between 96 and 97.

  86. 86.

    Thomas Trotter, Medicina Nautica (London: 1797), 179–80.

  87. 87.

    Erasmus Darwin (1731–1802) FRS had an MB (1755) from St. John’s College, Cambridge. He studied surgery with William Hunter and medicine in Edinburgh. The first volume of Zoonomia appeared in 1794. Desmond King-Hele, Doctor of Revolution: The Life and Genius of Erasmus Darwin (London: 1977) is the standard biography of Darwin. See also Maureen McNeil, Under the Banner of Science: Erasmus Darwin and his Age (Manchester: 1987), and The Genius of Erasmus Darwin, ed. Christopher Upham, Murray Smith and Robert Arnott (Aldershot, UK: 2005). Darwin’s influence was a factor in the relative neglect of contagionism in Birmingham.

  88. 88.

    Erasmus Darwin, Zoonomia (London: 1796) 2:4.

  89. 89.

    Darwin, Zoonomia, 2:4.

  90. 90.

    Darwin, Zoonomia, 2:278.

  91. 91.

    Thomas Bateman, A Practical Synopsis of Cutaneous Diseases: According to the Arrangement of Dr. Willan, 2nd edn (London: 1813), 200–1.

  92. 92.

    James Tytler, A Treatise on the Plague and Yellow Fever (Salem, MA: 1799), 187–8 and 334–6. This is mentioned in Wootton, Bad Medicine, 301, n. II. Tytler, a contagionist, was the son of a Scottish Presbyterian minister. He later became a Sandemanian and then left all organized denominations. He studied with William Cullen, tried (unsuccessfully) to practice as an apothecary and edited the second edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. After joining the Society of the Friends of the People in 1792 he was charged with seditious libel in Edinburgh and emigrated to Massachusetts in 1795 to avoid prosecution. Meg Russell, “Tytler, James (1745–1804),” ODNB (Oxford: 2004), online edition, January 2008, See also John L. Riddell, “Memoir on the Nature of Miasm and Contagion,” Western Journal of Medical and Physical Science (1836) 9:401–12, rpt in Animalcular and Cryptogamic Theories on the Origins of Fevers (New York: 1977).

  93. 93.

    Crawford, an entomologist, referred to insects and their eggs, and did not consider microscopic animalcules. See Raymond Doetsch, “John Crawford and His Contribution to the Doctrine of Contagium Vivum,” Bacteriological Reviews (1964) 28:87–96, Julia E. Wilson, “An Early Baltimore Physician and His Medical Library,” Annals of Medical History 3rd series (1942) 4:63–80 and Richard Behles, “Crawford, John (1746–1813),” Dictionary of Early American Philosophers (New York: 2012) 1:250–1. I thank Richard Behles for providing an early copy of this and for other material about Crawford.

  94. 94.

    [William] Royston, “Historical Sketch of the Progress of Medicine in the Year 1809,” Medical and Physical Journal (July, 1810), 24 no. 137:9–39, on 23. The journal was published in London by the radical Sir Richard Phillips.

  95. 95.

    Royston, “Historical Sketch,” 23–7.

  96. 96.

    Edward Long Fox, Surmises Respecting the Cause and Nature of Cholera (Bristol: 1831), 9. Fox (1761–1835), a Quaker from Falmouth, had an MD from Edinburgh (1784). An ally of Thomas Beddoes and Coleridge, he tried to mediate the aftermath of the Bristol Bridge Riots in 1793 and was branded as a Jacobin, which damaged his social standing and medical practice. He founded the Brislington Asylum and adopted a “non-restraint” policy. C. Bruce Perry, “Some Famous Bristol Doctors,” Bristol Medico-Chirurgical Journal (January–April 1983) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “An Answer to ‘A Letter to Edward Long Fox, MD,’ ” in The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, vol. 1, Lectures 1795, on Politics and Religion, ed. Lewis Patton and Peter Mann (London: 1971), 321–32.

  97. 97.

    (London: 1831). In the same year, Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, attributed cholera to “excessively minute living creatures,” but said they were spontaneously generated from a cholera miasm in confined spaces on ships and then spread by contagion: “Appeal to Thinking Philanthropists Respecting the Mode of Propagation of the Asiatic Cholera,” in The Lesser Writings of Samuel Hahnemann, trans. R. E. Dudgeon, MD (New York: 1852), 756–63, on 760.

  98. 98.

    Thus the statement by DeLacy in DeLacy and Cain, “Linnaean Thesis,” 161 that Exanhemata Viva has appeared only in Latin and Swedish is incorrect.

  99. 99.

    Gordon Goodwin, “Neale, Adam (1778–1832),” rev. Clair E. J. Herrick, ODNB (Oxford: 2004),; Munk’s Roll 3:37–38; Lise Wilkinson, Animals and Disease (Cambridge: 1992), 138–40. Neale (MD Edinburgh, 1802) served in the army during the Peninsular War. His conclusions on animate contagion appeared along with Exanthemata Viva as “The Doctrine of Intro-animate Pathology,” Boston Medical and Surgical Journal (Wednesday, February 29, 1832) 6, no. 3:37–45 and (Wednesday, March 14, 1832) 6, no. 5:71–5. On p. 50 of no. 3 the editor comments that Neale “presents more numerous facts…than one would suppose could possibly be collected…recommend the work to those who can get access to it, as one of unusual interest and ingenuity.” Neale also translated Paolo Assalini’s anti-contagionist Observations on the Disease Called the Plague.… (New York: 1806).

  100. 100.

    The Lancet (Saturday, December 3, 1831–2), 1:317–320.

  101. 101.

    “Epidemic Cholera,” Medico-chirurgical Review (January 1, 1832) 20, no. 31:163–224 on 186. See also the review in The Lancet (Saturday, December 3, 1831–2), 1:317–20 and Wilkinson, Animals and Disease, 138–40. American discussions include Horatio G. Jameson, “Observations on Fever,” Maryland Medical Recorder (July, 1832) 3, no. 1:100–24, esp. 108–13.

  102. 102.

    William Aiton, Dissertations on Malaria, Contagion, and Cholera (London: 1832), 186. For a German discussion, see also the widely reviewed C. F. H. Marx (also listed as K. F. H. Marx), Origines Contagii (Karlsruhe: 1824), 30.

  103. 103.

    Henry, “Report on the State of Our Knowledge of the Laws of Contagion.…,” Report of the Fourth Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science Held at Edinburgh in 1834 (London: 1835), 67–94, on 75. William Henry, son of Thomas “Magnesia” Henry, was educated in Manchester and became a very distinguished chemist (of Henry’s Law). He was on the honorary medical staff of the Manchester Infirmary and wrote a biography of Priestley, as well as several chemical texts.

  104. 104.

    The first edition was published in London in 1839. I have used the second (London: 1840), available on Google Books, where the essay appears on 567–98. Holland (MD Edinburgh, 1811) was a scion of a well-established and intermarried Unitarian family. His great-uncle was Josiah Wedgewood and his cousins included Charles Darwin and Elizabeth Gaskell. He became physician-extraordinary to Queen Victoria.

  105. 105.

    For example, see Dennis R. Dean, Gideon Mantell and the Discovery of Dinosaurs (Cambridge: 1999), 217, referring to Mantell’s work on Animalcules (1846); “Scotland from our Correspondent,” Medical Times (1849) 20:305; a review of Ueber die Contagiositat Eingeweidewurmer, nach Versuchen…by P. H. H. Klencke in The Medico-chirurgical Review (January,1846) 48:261–274 (this also mentions Exanthemata Viva); “Sir H. Holland’s Anticipation of the Modern Doctrine of Contagion,” Medical Times and Gazette (1866) 2:256; William Aitkin, The Science and Practice of Medicine, with additions by Meredith Clymer, 2 vol. (1868) 1:611; The Lancet (1884) 2:507–8.

  106. 106.

    Sten Lindroth, “The Two Faces of Linnaeus,” in Linnaeus, The Man and His Work ed. Tore Frängsmyr (Canton MA: 1994). Swedish theologians accused Linnaeus of being a pantheist. See Lindroth, 15.

  107. 107.

    A. J. Cain, “Was Linnaeus a Rosicrucian?” The Linnean (1992) 8, no. 3:23–44; Olaf Breidbach and Michael T. Ghiselin, “Baroque Classification: A Missing Chapter in the History of Systematics,” Annals of the History and Philosophy of Biology (2006) 11: 1–30.

  108. 108.

    Lindroth, “Two Faces,” 51.

  109. 109.

    Carl von Linné, Nemesis Divina, ed. and trans. M. J. Petry, (Dordrecht: 2001), 177. See also Wolf Lepenies, “Linnaeus’s Nemesis Divina and the Concept of Divine Retaliation,” Isis (1982) 73: 11–27. Lepenies describes Nemesis as “old-fashioned already in its own time,” 27.

  110. 110.

    Cain, “Rosicrucian,” and Cain, “Linnaeus’s Ordines naturales,Archives of Natural History (1993) 20: 405–415. See also Staffan Muller-Wille “Collection and Collation: Theory and Practice of Linnaean Botany,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (2007) 8 no. 3:541–562 and Staffan Muller-Wille, “Systems and How Linnaeus Looked at Them in Retrospect,” Annals of Science (2013) 70:305–317, published online, June 8, 2013, doi: 10.1080/00033790.2013.78319, retrieved November 19, 2013.

  111. 111.

    See Cain trans., 176 and Breidbach and Ghiselin, “Baroque Classification”.

  112. 112.

    See DeLacy, Germ of an Idea, 55–65.

  113. 113.

    Trotter, who studied with Cullen and retired to Newcastle, was a teetotaller who is often credited with finally persuading the navy to issue lemon juice to sailors.

  114. 114.

    Jane Rendall, “Alexander, William (bap. 1742?, d.1788?),” ODNB (Oxford: 2004),; William Alexander, History of Women, from the Earliest Antiquity to the Present Time, 2 vol. (1779, 1782) ed. Jane Rendall (Bristol: 1990).

  115. 115.

    David L. Wykes, “The Revd. John Aikin Senior: Kibworth School and Warrington Academy,” in Religious Dissent and the Aikin-Barbauld Circle, 1740–1860, ed. Felicity James and Ian Inkster (Cambridge: 2012), 28–50, on 37.

  116. 116.

    I. D. Hughes, “Pulteney, Richard (1730–1801),” ODNB (Oxford: 2004), online edition, January 2008,

  117. 117.

    Erasmus Darwin, The Botanic Garden…. (London: J. Johnson, 1791). Darwin, raised as an Anglican with an MB from St. John’s College, Cambridge, was a pillar of the scientific club known as the Lunar Society. An abolitionist and supporter of the French Revolution, he became notorious for heterodoxy, animism and materialism.

  118. 118.

    Behles, “Crawford,” 251

  119. 119.

    Gordon Goodwin, “Neale, Adam (1778–1832),” rev. Claire E. J. Herrick, ODNB (Oxford: 2004),

  120. 120.

    G. Monro Smith, A History of the Bristol Royal Infirmary (Bristol: 1917), 474–7.

  121. 121.

    Henry Holland, Recollections of Past Life (London: 1872). Peter Holland had been apprenticed to Charles White and was Elizabeth Gaskell’s uncle. However, both of Henry Holland’s wives seem to have been Anglicans; his second wife was the daughter of the Rev. Sydney Smith.

  122. 122.

    William Aiton, An Inquiry into the Origin, Pedigree, and History of the Family, or Clan, of Aitons in Scotland (Hamilton: 1830), 33; “Medical Intelligence,” Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal (1820) 16:607. This was not William Aiton (1731–1793) the botanist.

  123. 123.

    F. J. Brand was an Anglican clergyman and a violent Tory, but he was working as a translator to supplement his income. His own interest was in economics. He should be distinguished from John Brand (1744–1806), the antiquary. R. D. Sheldon, “Brand, John (1743–1808),” ODNB (Oxford: 2004),

  124. 124.

    Enrico Acerbi, Dottrina Teorico-Practica del Morbo Petecchiale…e degli altri Contagi in Generale (Milano: 1822), attributed epidemics to piccoli esseri organizzati e vivi (small organized and living beings), 285, or essere viventi parassiti (parasitic living beings), 355. He mentions Exanthemata Viva once (283) in a treatise that bristles with citations, including many eighteenth-century British authors. Bassi began his work on muscardine in 1807. See R. Porter, “Agostino Bassi Bicentennial (1773–1973),” Bacteriology Reviews (September, 1973), 37: 284–88; Il Contagio Vivo: Agostino Bassi nella Storia della Brachicoltura, ed. Paolo Mazzarello and Clementine Rovati (Milan: 2009); and Giovanni P. Arcieri, Agostino Bassi in the History of Medical Thought (Florence: 1956). Arcieri names many additional supporters of this theory. Henle discusses scabies at some length in “On Miasmata and Contagia,” trans. George Rosen, Bulletin of the History of Medicine (1938) 6:907–83. He cites Deidier’s Dissertation sur les Maladies Vénériennes (1710), on 969, but not Linnaeus.

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DeLacy, M. (2017). Animate Disease after 1750: Exanthemata Viva . In: Contagionism Catches On . Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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