Publisher Information: 1813.
[Napoleon I.] Office of the Governor-General of the Illyrian Provinces. Mesures générales relatives à la propagation de la vaccine [docket identification]. Manuscript government document with engraved heading, signed [illegibly] by an official at the Illyrian Governor-General’s office. pp., plus 2 blank leaves (6 bifolia total), tied together with linen tape in the lower left corner. Laybach [Ljubljana], 5 August 1813. 403 x 258 mm. Creased horizontally. Fine.
The official government decree establishing a program of smallpox vaccination in the Napoleonic Empire’s Illyrian provinces, encompassing what is now Croatia, Slovenia, Gorizia and parts of Austria. The Napoleonic smallpox vaccination program, which extended throughout the Empire, was the most significant public health measure undertaken by Napoleon’s government.
"The Napoleonic authorities created the vaccination system, including the laws, administration and personnel designed to enforce the vaccination policy . . . They proclaimed decrees, dispatched numerous letters inducing and promoting vaccination at the local level, exerted efforts to overcome resistance and educate the public, turned clergy into civil servants in order to convince people to follow the law, gathered statistical information on vaccination performance, and took measures to isolate cases of smallpox and prevent the disease from spreading" (Grab).
The elements of the Illyrian program are set out in the present government document, signed by an official at the Governor-General’s palace in Laybach (modern-day Ljubljana). As noted in the document’s opening paragraph, the Napoleonic government’s intention was to wipe out smallpox entirely—“il importe d’adopter des mesures générales pour prévenir les ravages occassionés par la petite verole et parvenir à l’extinction de cette maladie par la vaccination”—a laudable goal that would not be reached until the latter half of the 20th century. A. Grab, “Smallpox vaccination in Napoleonic Italy [1800-1814], Napoleonica. La revue 3 (2017): 38-58. doi:10.3917/napo.030.0038.Book Id: 45255