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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 143

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xxiv] Merchant-captains 139 has often brought discredit to the national flag. If the custom of returning to Europe every three years to renew their certi-ficates were rigorously observed, many inconveniences which now arise in Syria would be avoided. A vessel which has plague on board must, on anchoring in any roadstead or harbour, signal for assistance before allowing anyone to land. And although in the Levant the government employs no precautions of its own, the consuls will not allow a ship to communicate with the shore unless there be plague already in the country. In the year 1765, at a time when Cyprus enjoyed perfect health, a French vessel lightly laden arrived in a plague stricken condition from Constantinople : the greater part of the crew was dead, only three persons remaining on board alive. The consul, in the name of the King, forbade these three to land, prescribing a strict quarantine. Two of them died : after forty days pratique was given to the survivor, and five days later to the vessel, to which volunteers had been sent to clean it, and to spread out the merchandise in the sun. One of these men died while shifting the cargo, and it was evident that the disease was thoroughly rooted in the vessel, and its freight. All these precautions proved the salvation of Cyprus, where the health continued perfect; and no case of plague has occurred since the outbreak of 1760. A European vessel which leaves a port in the Levant where there is plague, although bound for other Turkish ports, must always take a bill of health ; and if this is foul, the master is bound on arriving at his destination to inform the consul, if there be one, before communicating with the shore, and to obey his orders.

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