Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    The Plague in Marseilles, 1818. A most fascinating manuscript, 14 pages, 7.75" x 12.75", [n.p.] November 11, 1818 describing in graphic detail the onset of the bubonic plague in the French port city of Marseilles. Entitled "Observations on the plague intended principally for the use of the faculty." The account, "...given me by Mrs. Annabelle Plufbe[?] about 3 weeks after the death of her Sister the translator..." The description reads in very small part: "The first appearance of this calamity in the town of Marseilles was in the month of July and the first part of the town attached with it was a street inhabited only by the poorest among the people. A patient here was seized apparently with the same malady of which many had already died in the Lazaretto, but he had only a simple Carbuncle. Some days after several other persons in the same street were attacked with fevers which were believed to be nothing but common malignant fevers with gangrenous pustules. All these patients died. From this time the malady continued daily to increase in this street and the symptoms of malignity and external marks of the plague multiplied with the augmented numbers of the sick till about the 25th of July when the contagion broke out with irresistible violence and the mortality became dreadful... by the middle of August no part was entirely free from it. All the rest of that month and the whole month of September the distemper raged with extraordinary violence and made ..." The manuscript is a testament to the general ignorance of the nature of contagion, but still gropes for a "logical" explanation as to the cause: "It is evident that the cause of this malady is a pestilential venom which communicates itself by contagion.... It seems impossible to determine with any certainty the nature of this venom or the manner in which it acts upon the blood. Accustomed to arrange every thing according to the impressions we have received, and knowing only two ways in which the blood can e changed, or corrupted, to one or other of these ways it will supposed the action of this venom may be reduced... No slid judgment could be formed upon inspection of the blood on opening a vein... " The detailed analysis goes into the possibility of treatment including washing the pustules, the use of narcotics... all to no avail. More fine content, too voluminous to quote here. Bound with red ribbons at right margin, margins slightly irregular else fine condition.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    12th-13th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 300

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 October 27 Domain Names Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    This was my first time dealing with an auction house, and I am 100% completely impressed with Heritage. There is not an aspect of this process that I have a critique for.
    Darryl S.,
    Stuart, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 June 10 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas
    2018 June 10 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $615,551