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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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Saving the Quality

Saving the Quality

(p.9) 2 Saving the Quality
The Great Inoculator

Gavin Weightman

Yale University Press

This chapter examines how Princess Caroline an extraordinary medical experiment to take place in London's notorious Newgate Gaol. It was this bold — and by today's standards quite unethical — trial of the safety of inoculation that first introduced the novel procedure to the public. The Newgate trial was a success, yet most of the medical profession disapproved. The Newgate experiment for 'saving the lives of the Quality' only served to stir controversy over the value of inoculation and it did not persuade Princess Caroline or her medical advisers that she should follow Lady Mary's example. A question raised by William Wagstaffe, the Barts physician fiercely opposed to inoculation, was whether or not the Newgate prisoners had suffered from 'genuine' smallpox. If they had not, they would still not be immune to the true disease. This was a worrying question for Princess Caroline and her royal doctors.

Keywords:   Princess Caroline, medical experiment, Newgate Gaol, inoculation, medical profession, William Wagstaffe, Newgate prisoners, smallpox

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