Re: New world populations

Paul J. Gans (
28 Dec 1994 01:36:43 GMT

MBAWilliam ( wrote:
: As I'm still getting used to my new reply system I would loke to apologise
: for my obvious blunder...I don't think I would like to have that quote
: attributed to myself under the circumstances....
: Thus

: Paul J. Gans [] wrote:

: >Second, it is polite to pay attention to context. I was replying to a
: claim that the >plague was kept chained up in a cellar so that it could be
: released on demand. >I still don't know *what* was kept chained up. It
: certainly wasn't a person with >the plague. Was it, perhaps, an infected
: flea?

: As it was my initial quote regarding the plague to which you were
: replying, it would be proper to keep that in context also. The colonists
: at Plymouth claimed to have kept "The Plague" in some demonic form or
: another, chained in a cellar, to be released at will to wreak havoc among
: indigenous groups. As native peoples were as unfamiliar with pathologies
: as their European guests, one can assume that it was for effect rather
: than veracity.

: >Third, it does not say much about scientific independence to reply to a
: >statement of fact with a wildly emotional statement.

: The point, however, I remember making, (and thus the sarcasm rather than
: "emotion" as you seem to claim), was that if Europeans *threatened* to
: infect their indigenous neighbors, would they not do it if they found a
: practical method. I don't believe I ever claimed that the Europeans
: actually *chained up the Plague*, and found your response rather
: diversionary.

: >Last: I don't believe anyone has ever claimed that an epidemic of plague
: wiped >but indigineous Americans.

: So I am to assume then, that you've read every available article on 16th
: and 17th century epidemics in the New World? I can provide you with an
: ample bibliography of articles if you think you've missed a few, even one
: or two by Snow and others which bring up the possibility that bubonic
: plague spread as black rats were transported to the New World in European
: cargos. Whether or not bubonic was a significant factor is still up to
: debate... However, in very early "pre-European settlement" epidemics, it
: was a more likely candidate than childhood diseases such as small- and
: chickpox. As epidemic ravages indigenous groups for nearly 300 years, the
: likelyhood of a single disease as the culprit is dubious.

: MB Williams
: Wesleyan