M. Ricord's Letters upon Syphilis
Boston Medical and Surgical Journal
communicated for the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. ELEVENTH LETTER. My Dear Friend,-We must now determine the source, where the specific cause, the morbid poison which produces syphilis, is to be found. This poison, we can at the present day call by its name, the syphilitic virus. Well ! this virus-I must needs recall the circumstance, inasmuch as endeavors have been made to cause it to be forgottenwas formally contested and denied, when I undertook my first researches in syphilopathy.
... in syphilopathy. This was the time when numerous physicians did not dare to give it this name without fear of compromising themselves. It was the time when the learned Jourdan, in an access of singular anger, cried out-" call it as you will, but do not give it the name of virus." The source of this virus, I have obtained at the point of the lancet, upon which, however, I have not had the pretension of placing all science, as my honorable colleague, M. Cazenave, wittily accuses me. It is in studying comparatively all the accidents reputed syphilitic, that I have succeeded in demonstrating that one alone of these accidents would furnish regularly the purulent matter ; capable, in placing it under conditions which we shall determine, of producing, in .virtue of a special irritation, an ulcerating inflammation identical to that which has been the source of it, and of reproducing in its turn the same special secretion, the same morbid poison, and this without limit. The syphilitic lesion, source and origin of the secretion, placed in favorable conditions, produces fatally the phenomena which we have just indicated, and which is the primitive accident to which has been given, and which has preserved the name of chancre. Every time, as I have already had occasion to remark, that we were able to see the surfaces from which we took the morbid secretion, which should serve for experimentation, it is only when there existed a chancre, that positive results could be obtained, and that we were able to reproduce the chancre. Must I again say that my excellent colleagues, M.M. Puche and Cullerier, at Paris ; M.