Aireborough Historical Society

1888 A Cure for Smallpox


Rev. Wm. Fletcher
Title A Cure for Smallpox
Name Rev. William Fletcher
Gender Male
Date of Birth 12th September 1729
Currently Residing
Subject
All History Matters by Carlo Harrison

I would like to share with you a newspaper cutting from 1888 sent in to me by Nancy Tordoff Ives.
The article is in the form of a letter sent in to a local newspaper on 2nd February 1888 by the Rev. W...m. Fletcher of Chevin Side, Otley.
I will leave you to draw your own conclusions.

"To the Editor,
Dear sir, I see by the papers that smallpox is still very prevalent in Leeds, Sheffield, &c., and is spreading to other places as Todmorden, Eastwood &c.
A short time since I sent the following remedy for small-pox to the Leeds Mercury and the Leeds Evening Express:-

Prescription - Take one ounce of Cream of Tartar, 14 grains Turkey Rhubarb.
Pour one pint of boiling water upon the two ingredients.
Let it stand until cold.
Dose for an adult, half the quantity, or one half pint, and in three hours take the remaining half pint.
For children, give according to age.

As a preventative, let those who are nursing or in the house, take of the same medicine two table-spoonful every 4-hours.
As a disinfectant use Condy's Fluid sprinkle the floor and hang towels dipped in the fluid in different parts of the house: and to sweeten the air in the sick room, take an iron fire-shovel; make it hot over the fire, then take the hot shovel into different parts of the house and pour Acetic Acid upon it five or six times a day.
This is the remedy and preventative of small-pox.

I have no object in view in publishing this, but the welfare of my fellow-creatures.
I got the prescription from a pamphlet published by Dr. Rose, M.D., who stated that he had cured 2,000 cases, and never lost one (only a child that was bad in the whooping-cough).
This is about 25 years ago.
Since then,hundreds have been saved by the same remedy.

I have been asked what experience I had, that I so strongly recommend it?
I may state that I was engaged by the Directors of the Midland Railway as their missionary to the Railway Navvies.
I was about five years on the Settle and Carlisle Railway.
During that time we had two outbreaks of smallpox in the huts at Dent Head, upon Birkitt Fell, and Smardale.
I may give one instance, that at Birkitt, when we had 14 cases in a radius of about 15 yards.
The first two cases were treated by the medical gentlemen who were engaged by the contractors.
Both the men died.
The disease had got fairly into the huts.
In the third case I gave the mixture after the man had been given up.
He was better in 24 hours; and in every case, as the doctor pronounced it small-pox, the mixture was given and they all rapidly recovered.
It passed on to another row of huts and those who took the medicine at the beginning of the disease had only about six or eight pock-marks upon their persons, and suffered very little, not loosing rest or appetite; indeed, I never knew a single failure.

Some years ago, when the small-pox was bad in Liverpool, I caused the remedy to be inserted in the Liverpool papers, and a few weeks ago, when a gentleman heard of the outbreak of Small-pox in Leeds, he wrote to the Leeds Express, saying he had cured hundreds by the same remedy.

My fear is that the remedy is so simple and inexpensive that it will be neglected or despised.
I wish the medical gentlemen would only try it, if but as an experiment; they would soon be satisfied with its results.
If the medicine be kept in the various districts that are affected and applied, the Small-pox would be stamped out in three weeks.
I am yours very respectfully
Rev. Wm. Fletcher
February 2nd 1888

Written 2nd February 1888

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