ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] written while in the hospital recovering from his 1764 small pox inoculation, describing his sickness, his recovery, and singing the praises of the new science,

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ADAMS, JOHN.
Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] written while in the hospital recovering from his 1764 small pox inoculation, describing his sickness, his recovery, and singing the praises of the new science,

US$ 30,000 - 50,000
£ 24,000 - 40,000
ADAMS, JOHN.
Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] written while in the hospital recovering from his 1764 small pox inoculation, describing his sickness, his recovery, and singing the praises of the new science, 2 pp, 196 x 255 mm, [late-April, 1764,] wear to the edges, with minor staining.

WRITING FROM THE HOSPITAL, JOHN ADAMS RECOUNTS HIS INOCULATION FROM SMALL POX, beginning "Here I am in my hospital, - my vomit, worked kindly – my pill worked very kindly... my countenance has changed... The Small Pox, which was but lately capable of spreading horror and amazement by its mass dead and devastation among mankind is at last reduced to a Fit of Lazyness and a few hours Head-ach!"

In April 1764, shortly before his marriage to Abigail Smith, Adams had himself along with his brother inculated with smallpox. Long before Jenner's breakthrough 1798 paper on vaccination through introduction of cowpox, 18th-century physicians offered variolation, a lance to the arm with a small amount of smallpox postules. While still in hospital, he writes, "...my countenance has changed from the cadaverous hue to the fair and ruddy- my eyes have shifted off their muddy, languid bleared appearanance, and have rekindled their primeval shines and sparkles — My temper has altered from the morose and peevish and fretfull and surly to the gay the heartful benevolent and easy — Oh blessed Small Pox — how much am I indebted to thee!" Adams continues, "To what surprising achievements will the boldness of the human mind aspire! — Thunder, the dred of all nations, the very prerogative of the Pagan Jupiter, by the discovery of Points, has been disarmed of his terrors... My friend I want to have this discovery published to the world... Europe it seems is in profound Ignorance of it to this Hour — and before they can be generally brought acquainted with it, Thousands may perish for want of it — Are we friends to Human Nature or not?... America may claim the honour of disarming Jupiter of his Thunder... — And America seems to have the best title to that of taming that wild and devouring fury the Small Pox. No man they say is more capable of this talk than Dr. Perkins – But whether they say the truth or not, I neither know nor care."

A remarkable letter, showing Adams's patriotism and pride even in an early perilous moment. In a time where mortality rates from the disease were above 30%, Adams's inoculation set an example for the budding American colonies, at no small risk to himself. Although the relation of America and Perkins's knowledge of the disease is overstated, his zeal would eventually be translated into the 1798 "Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen," and the creation of the marine Hospital Service, which would eventually become the Public Health Service. John Adams letters relating to medicine are rare, particularly being this visceral, and this is an important contribution to both American History and the History of Medicine.

Contacts
ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] written while in the hospital recovering from his 1764 small pox inoculation, describing his sickness, his recovery, and singing the praises of the new science,
ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] written while in the hospital recovering from his 1764 small pox inoculation, describing his sickness, his recovery, and singing the praises of the new science,
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