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The Great InoculatorThe Untold Story of Daniel Sutton and his Medical Revolution$
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Gavin Weightman

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300241440

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300241440.001.0001

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Lady Mary’s Revelation

Lady Mary’s Revelation

(p.1) 1 Lady Mary’s Revelation
The Great Inoculator

Gavin Weightman

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses how Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was struck down by an attack of malignant smallpox in 1715. It was assumed for a while she would not survive, but she pulled through. When her husband, Wortley Montagu, was appointed ambassador to Turkey, Lady Mary joined him. They stayed first in Adrianople, where, for the first time, Lady Mary became aware of the practice of 'transplanting' the smallpox. The simplicity and effectiveness of it seemed miraculous. Elderly women made punctures in the arms of children and rubbed in infectious smallpox matter. The symptoms of the disease as it developed were light, and when the few pustules died away there were no pock marks. Lady Mary's experience was not lost on Daniel Sutton, who, it will be seen was very much influenced by Lady Mary's account of the primitive 'folk' practice of inoculation when he came to devise his own 'Suttonian' method.

Keywords:   Mary Wortley Montagu, smallpox, Turkey, Daniel Sutton, inoculation, Suttonian method

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