“ to prefer a cure perhaps strange to many to the certain death of the patient ”
(Mandate of Frederick Augustus Duke of Saxony Regarding the Provisions against the Running About and the Hydrophobia of Dogs. Along with the annexes “Cause of the Hydrophobia of the Dogs and the Symptoms of such Rabies” and “Instruction How one has to behave in Case of a Bite of Rabid Dogs and How one could take Precautions against the Sad After-Effects”). Published Dresden September 7, 1782. Ibid., Electoral Saxon Court-Printing, (1782). Fol. (13¾ × 8¼ in [34.8 × 21 cm]). With opening & closing vignettes in woodcut. 12 ll. With the printed ducal signature along with the “L(oco) S(igilli)” mark and counter-signatures by George Wilhelm von Hopffgarten & the secretary Chr. Gottlieb Kretzschmar in the same way. Stitched. Uncut.
File number “Nom: 13.” by old hand on title. – Especially the main part in beautiful, large typography. – Wide-margined.
Extraordinarily rich decree
on fighting & curing hydrophobia ,
beginning with the reduction of the number of dogs kept in general and “in particular order the landlords not to permit their impecunious tenants keeping dogs insofar they are not inevitably required in the practice of their profession or doings, and, in case the same refuse to abolish the dogs, shall report to the authority.” Likewise dogs running about shall be captured twice a year and – like the rabid ones – slain unless they are not collected by their owners within 24 hours. Also shall peasants, coachmen, butchers, and others bring dogs to town “chained up under the car” at most, just as generally in town and country dogs shall not be left running about, but are to be chained up, hung with beetles or lead by ropes. However, if a rabid dog is reported, all others shall be locked up until the danger is over. Yet
“ to avoid the eruption of a rabies with the dogs as far as possible and to prevent by all means the sad after-effects the bite of rabid dogs causes, all dogs, without exception,
shall be cut the so-called mad-worm . ”
For which purpose the aldermen shall appoint persons “who are able to cut the mad-worm, are sufficiently skillful (and) receive the same for each dog … he may be big or little, two ten-pfennig pieces in the towns and one ten-pfennig piece in the country.” Yet for the confirmation “in the towns one ten-pfennig piece and in the country six pfennige.” Besides also decreeing that in pharmacies, but also elsewhere, always a sufficient stock “of medicine prepared from may-worms” shall be kept.
“ The most confused ideas existed about the character of the agent causing rabies … Even the cord of connective tissue present under the tongue with carnivores, which was described as ‘mad worm’, was said to be responsible for the development of the disease with these animals. In many regions therefore dog owners were required by statutory orders to have the ‘mad worm’ of their dog removed …
“ Already Gracius Faliscus, a contemporary of Ovid’s († 18 AD), told the tale of the worm under the tongue as cause of the madness which then was spread by Plinius (23-79 AD) in his natural histories – quoted from Froehner [in Abhandlungen aus der Geschichte der Veterinärmedizin, issue 4, Leipsic] 1925, page 78 – … ”
(Günther Schlieker, Die Verehrung des hl. Hubertus [as patron saint against rabies, too], 2016, pp. 11/I & 13 per 3/10).
Realized as not etiological, present worm decree was revoked for Dresden 1796 (now relying on quarantine & hygiene) and in Prussia 1797 (ban on curing sick dogs, suggestions for the treatment of bitten men).
But of quite outstanding interest the 2-page “circumstantial description” of the causes of the hydrophobia and, above all,
the 8-page directions for the therapy of a bitten man
with all details regarding cleansing of the wound, hygiene, rest, diet – elder-flower-tea – and cheering care.
This richness of details makes present decree a true treasure trove. For once in regard of the so-called mad-worm the removal of which later – so by a Prussian decree of 1797 – was diagnosed as ineffective. Quite especially, however, in comparison with the 16-page follow-up decree of 1796 which attaches importance to the hygiene of animal & man in general, yet in particular for the “disposal” of sick dogs as also the care of bitten humans in a fundamental manner considerably beyond wound care.
Offer no. 13,081 / EUR 496. / export price EUR 471. (c. US$ 569.) + shipping
“ (after postal problems with the delivery) I have now received the package. thank you for your perseverance (to find the parcel again) in this matter. Warm Regards … ”
(Mr. L. T., October 31, 2012)