Catherine the Great: Her letter From 1787 shows her support for Inoculations

Catherine the Great Letter Up for Auction Shows Her Support for Inoculations

In a letter to be sold at auction this week, the Russian empress called for widespread access to a precursor of the smallpox vaccine.The letter is dated April 20, 1787, and addressed to a Russian army officer, Piotr Aleksandrovich Rumiantsev, who was known as Count Zadunaysky. Catherine wrote in the letter that one of Rumiantsev’s most important duties “should be the introduction of inoculation against smallpox, which, as we know, causes great harm, especially among the ordinary people.”

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In New England, the Puritan authorities favored smallpox innoculation; Ben Franklin’s older brother made fun of it.

True. The article points out that enslaved people from Africa introduced the treatment in the United States.

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