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Living in the British empire - Africa
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Extract from a report written by Dr Livingstone commenting on disease, 1872
(Catalogue ref: FO 881/2060)
P.S.-The mortality by small-pox in this region is so enormous that I venture to apply to Government for a supply of vaccine virus to meet me on my return, by one portion being sent in the Governor's mail-bag to the Cape, and another portion by way of Bombay, all convenient haste being enjoined. Many intelligent Arabs have expressed to me their willingness to use it. If I remember rightly, Lady Mary W. Montagu brought the knowledge of inoculation from Turkey. This race, though bigoted, perhaps more than the Turks, may receive the superior remedy; and, if they do, a great boon will be conferred, for very many thousands perish annually, and know no preventative. The reason for my troubling you is, I do not know any of the conductors of vaccination in London, and Professor Christison, of Edinburgh, who formerly put the virus up in capillary tubes, may not now be alive. The capillary tubes are the only means of preserving the substance fresh in this climate I have seen; and if your Lordship will kindly submit my request to vaccinators to send these tubes charged with matter, I shall be able at least to make an effort to benefit this great population.

D.L.
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