This transcript is automatically generated so may contain errors.
Hello, this is a bonus episode which is our talk from the 2022 Intelligent Speech Conference. The theme was all about crossings and we have a very exciting pressing for you today. We did have a couple of technical issues at the beginning unfortunately. But they shouldn't stop your listening pleasure. You can also go to the intelligent speech YouTube channel and watch our presentation, which went along with this. So I'm with this show.
Hello everyone, my name is Sam Hume. I'm here as the tech support admin guy. The session is being recorded all sessions so they're going to be recorded. If you have any problems, just put it in the chat and we'll try and sort it out so today's. First session first, standalone session in this room is Anton and Rick. Again, I've forgotten, got the pronunciation.
Yeah, I looked at them.
Then live in. They are the hosts of curiosity of a child where Rick and Anton talk about history, science tales and everything in between. They look at the quirky and the everyday, seeking the stories and curiosities that make the world the rich place it is. So today Rick. And Anton are presenting 22 orphans to save the world, which is 1 hell of a title. Great premise. And I can't wait to see how it goes. So without further ado, I will leave you hanging with someone in chat. I know someone, just. Saying hi, I'll leave you do it.
Thank you very much. Thank you Sam. OK uhm yeah, thank you everyone. We're very excited to be here. And yeah, yeah we are going to be telling a story of 22 orphans. Who saved the world and we've got a little slideshow to go here. But a couple of minutes ago we lost all our audio, so fingers crossed it's going to go smoothly now. But let me just share my. Screen and we get started so. When we were invited to talk today. Mr is a topic which has already been floating around in my head for a while as an episode idea and the deal crossings was a perfect fit for it and and also vaccines and viruses, sadly. Recently become more.
And use them.
Sorry Rick and Anton, sorry I've just had to mute you and I think you're getting feedback so the music has gotten louder and louder and louder and so we couldn't hear you and I'll mute. Me now. I hope that doesn't happen again, but please continue.
OK yeah yeah, sorry about that guys. Yeah so today we're going to be talking about smallpox and a 19th century Spanish public health initiative which was aimed at controlling as the first such medical intervention of its kind and. What bee honey expected when we started planning this? Was that another box was going to be doing the rounds and these are my monkey box.
Yep, I can promise it isn't some sort of sitting marketing campaign by.
Us no, no no. It's got nothing to do about that now. I'm sure that everybody has heard of smallpox. And thankfully today it's not something that we would have to worry about. Research the first disease to be illuminated, and in 1980 the World Health Assembly declared better raddick ated.
Well, except for all the samples kept in their labs around the world.
Yeah, that's right. It's rather scary learning, but just how deadly is smallpox Anton?
The arrow number is about 5:00 to 7:00. That means for every one person infected another five to seven people were captured, and if you did catch up. 1/3 of people died if he survived. 75% of you would have disfiguring scars. Well say 5 to 10% will develop ocular issues, including blindness, so not very nice.
No, it's a a really horrible disease. Yeah, so I'm not actually going to show any talk. It's not very nice, but here's some illustrations from the 1800s that kind of just show the massive. Postures that you get. And so I'm noticing that COVID, which isn't particularly visible, smallpox. If you caught out your whole body would come up. In these horrible, horrible. Hospitals sound just how deadly was smallpox?
So during World War 240 to 50 million people died as smallpox during the 20th century killed 30 million, only 300 sorry 300 to 500 million, and this was the century which we defeated it. As well, so that's quite a lot.
Yeah, so that's up to 10 times the number of people who were killed in World War Two, killed by smallpox. Now smallpox, it's actually been around for about 12,000 years. That's I've recorded history of it, so it's one of the largest killers in history, and any efforts to eradicate it would obviously have to be an international effort with cooperation across many cultures. And countries and boundaries, and even during the height of Cold War, the US and the Soviets work together to help eradicate. Later, but that's not crossing that recovering today because we are talking about the 22 orphans, who in 1803 were turned into human vessels for the vaccine, and they were used to carry it across the Atlantic. So we've got. King Charles the 4th of Spain and he'd watched his brother and sister. Nor have smallpox, and I think they both died from his, also his daughter. Got and she was severely disfigured. And then also seen it ravaged parts of his empire. There's a big outbreak in South America, so that sideways map that I've got my slide there and the goal bit is the Spanish Empire at the time. And then on the 3rd of November. 1798 he declared that the civilian population should be very related. But then shortly after I actually received a copy of Edward Jenner's book and which mentioned vaccination rather than fair relation. So Anton, what is the difference between the two?
Variation is taking a POC from someone with smallpox and scratching the fluid into this skin. The recipient would still would receive a milder version of smallpox, but significant scarring could still occur and the death rate was still to persuade. Either can't talk anymore 2%. Vaccination involved taking fluid from a PAC of someone infected. With their related cowpox, this was much milder, but still unpleasant. I'm sure and resulted in immunity to smallpox.
Yeah, and both methods could also spread many other diseases because you're doing direct kind of arm to arm transmissions of the pox, which we've got something about that later exciting. But when you have an empire that spans the entire globe, how can you disseminate a vaccine image before air travel and refrigeration? You can't just pop across the Atlantic, so any attempts at the initial attempts to get it across the Atlantic. Lee involved ceiling back sistol material between last votes. Which are wrapped in cloth, but they that's unsuccessful. 'cause it wouldn't keep it fresh for long enough so a new plan was needed. Yeah, so the first time was proposed by the royal physician who's here, Flores and he said that, well, his idea was to to create some dispatch with the most diligence. 2 ships, the lightest in order to sail with some cows with Drupal. With true cowpox and some boys with their arms successfully. Inoculated with the POS. In addition to this, a portion of selected posts would be placed between two very carefully waxed last plates.
We was that boys with arms excessively and not created with pus.
That's right, yeah. So the plan was to as I said, to use these children as human vaccine.
But why not just the cows?
It seems that it's more expensive to send cows across the Atlantic. Than it is to. Send children the other guy. Who was involved in it was balmas and he was a physician and had actually translated and Edward Jenner worked into Spanish and he would become one of the leading authorities of vaccination in Spain, who also spent time in Mexico as well and. And he suggested just recruiting 22 children. And Trance, and to take the vaccine across the Atlantic. And then when setting off two of the children would be infected for the cowpox vaccine, then every 10 days or so, the pox would be used to affect the next two children, and this chain would continue across the Atlantic the entire journey until they reach their destination, and having two boys vaccinated at all times would act as a safeguard is. Just having one wasn't enough and this was the plan that was accepted by the King and it be boundlessly would be chosen to lead the expedition. And I've got a list. Of all the orphans here. Now I think between 5:00 and nine years old, but as you can see, they're much younger.
Yeah 3 to 9. I think it was 5 to 8 as in the earlier but three-year olds getting infected. It's very nice.
So I don't know if anybody here is a teacher or I swear to the kids before, but could you imagine going on a school trip lasting several years across the Atlantic, infecting children and all the rigours and trials at that time for us? But upon reaching the Americas and completing their duties, the plan was that these children, they would actually be looked after by the local authorities and given a good education, and until they were able to look after himself.
Not bad either.
And also with the children, there would be Isabel's idea properly said Ron famous and she was the director of the Foundling Home, where most of the children came from and should be aboard the ship and look after their journey. And from everything I've read, she comes across as really kind and caring and thoughtful for the children, and I'm sure that she was a great comfort to them for what must be a really frightening journey and bartmess himself. He also really looked after the children as well. Uh, OK, so the date was set. It was the 30th of November 1803 and they set sail and their first stop was the Canary Islands and when they got there they really, warmly greeted and on the first day. Ten children from some of the best families that's equate were vaccinated and also lots of local doctors were shown. The procedure of. How to carry out the vaccinations and then from lanzerotti and five children of the poor class were sent in order to return vaccinated. So again, I think. They're using the poor and children just. As it as a vessel to. Help everybody else get vaccinated. Such interesting idea, yeah. And so again, the kids were being used as a transfer mechanism. Now a large. Part of their mission was also setting up vaccine boards and that was to help educate the population to the benefits of the vaccine and also provide local production of the cowpox lymph and also record and administer the vaccine and the church actually played a really important role there because they were. And one of the few. Organisations which was capable of kind of administering all. Then after 27 days they set sail again. This time to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Now Anton, Can you imagine being one of these children? You've left the orphanage and you've spent them over a month, probably now, and it's confusing time for you. And there are some. Grownups gave some of the other kids this horrible thing that made them ill and cause all these pox to appear on flair. You've landed on someone there in islands and there's loads of great excitement at your arrival and a big rush and chaos all about and. Now you are.
You're back at.
Sea aboard a small ship and it's winter. The seas are rough. The food isn't great, home is far away and everything is just far beyond your control me. How do you feel?
Pretty seasick, done out the rough seas. Quite upset, messing home. Dreading for that, cowpox to be infected.
Yeah, not nice, but you had another restless night and you're feeling sick from the waves and you've been kept awake by the current conditions and the crying of several of the other children. Then mid morning was just staying blankly out at the featureless horizon Isabella humbleness that they take you aside and they say Anton, it's your turn you're to be given the cowpox. And you're taking to the captain. 's cabin with one. The younger children and this is where you perceive pas from his disgusting itching. Sore pox and he's actually been wearing gloves to stop him scratching it, and every time he tries, he's being chastised and. If you felt all from seasickness, he looks 10 times worse than you. So sometime we need an infected on. Right, so we've got an infected arm here. Yeah, with a massive pox on it, which I'm gonna have to pop.
There you go.
And now I get some on. My knife. Roll up your sleeve, please.
And we're going to cut that into you like so. So that's the transfer of the parks.
Yeah, I. Mean that's nice.
Yeah, it's just, uh, honey, right? Back to sharing this team so it is. That was the kind of places that they go through. There's big parks which they would then transfer.
Now that you've been infected with the car parks and you are one of the most important and precious people in the world. Because you are the carrier of the vaccine, you have the potential and the power to save thousands of lives now. And it's gonna be horrible. It's gonna be irritating. You're gonna push tools form in your arm maybe your hands in your face as well. And their glands rights. Well then you're gonna have. Our pain growing in her body as the fever builds and it's just going to be decorated like a Jackson Pollock. So how do you feel now on top?
Uhm, still not very good. Maybe a bit more sick than ours from the see I, I mean at least I'm. Trying to save the world.
Yes, yeah. On the 9th of. February if they reached Puerto Rico, but they were surprised to find that and the vaccine had already come to the island, and I was just quick to criticise the initiative and. Because this was. Something that I had do several times throughout the expedition, because, UM. When things weren't going his way or other people set up vaccine boards already, he was a little bit self important on them and. His frustrations grew sick. Because that he actually left early, they didn't have the required number of children. Coney vaccination on their arms and he found himself in heist fiction. Being on a phone case with a single vaccinated child.
That's right, he had a single infected child left to carry his vaccine.
Yeah, and. They they left and sailed next for Venezuela and when they arrived there almost he actually set up the first vaccination board on the American continent, and as they travelled about and they would. Uhm recruit more legal children to help spread the vaccine, and by early May. 2012 thousand people had been vaccinated.
Ah, it's very good.
And there's millions of people there, and there's also very little infrastructure at the times. You've got thick jungles and the river systems, and not many raids and things.
Drawing much of the expedition in Central America, they've been travelling over over poorly mapped terrain. The roads, if they had any of. Them were poor. They might be hacking through jungle, relying on. A local guide. If travelling by ship, there needs to be wary of pirates communication and to and from the outside. World would take weeks or months, and some of that news would have been about a certain Corsican by the name of Napoleon marching about in Europe.
Yeah, that's right so. Uhm, they're far away from Spain now. And yeah, the the. Electronic wars are. Starting to happen, even in Europe. So yeah, it's difficult times for them. But that's not all. You also need to convince the local population of the wonders of the vaccine. Now, if you know when the conquistadors weren't able to, South America and Central America, they did smallpox with them and it's devastated. The Aztec and Incan populations, and the disease as it crossed over the Atlantic. There was no natural immunity. In the Americas to that. So once this was a couple of 100 years earlier, you imagine that this these memories are still strong in the population. There the expedition. They spent two groups and yeah, so Salvini and his party he travelled down through South America and it was an incredible difficult and gruelling journey. And I've got a quote here about it. So those few itineraries can be chosen that as followed by Salvani bringing together so many difficult circumstances and adventure across the Andes, abandoned or persecuted in between shouts of joy, shipwrecks, and storms. With one arm lost in the Andes and iron mutilated in Godos. In the dust of his roots, he traces anaerobic pathway of mankind and this mankind doesn't even know what his end was so Savini. He actually gave everything for this expedition. He dies on the journey. He went blind before he died. It sounds like he lost one of his arms. I couldn't find a specific report on that, actually. Well, difficult, gruelling time for him, UM. Let's head over back to Barmasse, who was leading the other part of the expedition to Mexico and they would arrive in Mexico on June the 25th, 1884, just 218 years ago today.
Yeah, good planning here and he only had 21 orphans with him now because one of them had died. Sadly, and actually, two would die join the expedition, but I don't know what the course of their death was once they had been used as a vessel for kind of acting. But you still have. To be taken around by Barmasse and the. Other expedition members they can just. Leave him somewhere, obviously. And if you remember, the plan was that. They would be given a. The orphans when they reached Mexico City. They would be rewarded and looked after and given an education, but sadly and when they arrived in early August, things were not quite as they hoped.
No, instead of the viceroy protecting and being grateful for their services provided by the expedition, he was so cruelly and troubling it to the last detail.
Yes, that's balmis there saying that everything, no help whatsoever. So he wasn't impressed. However, he was able to help his vaccination board and the orphans were taken into care by the Viceroy, and Isabella was still with him and she must be a real mother figure to them at at times. And really important to the boys and and I. Tried to listen to a. Documentary in Spanish, but no, he made Spanish. Anyways, I picked up for a foreign. I did go, I think it's pretty quite fitting that her. Arsene, in that way. I mean I I can't speak for Spanish people but I'm guessing she's. Quite well known there like we made fronts Nightingale, and you know in England. So in the three years of the mission, several 100,000 people were vaccinated, which wasn't as many as farmers would have liked. But it's still an incredible effort, and that was meant to give about a 20% herd immunity to the population. So you think all the difficulties? And struggles that they went through crossing the Atlantic, these kids having to be armed, armed, vaccinated, crossing the Andes through the jungle. Aged 3 to 9 as well, 22 of them with only a small number of people looking after. Them, I mean. These children were amazing.
Yeah, the Atlantic had been crossed in the groundwork for the vaccine programme and put in place all that remained was the Philippines. And the rest of the empire and a little matter of crossing the Pacific.
That's right, they only.
Remember back to the map half round on their journey so far, but we're not going to cover that today. That's a story for another time. Now, if you had seen the intelligent speech quiz, one of our questions actually was, uhm. How parents compensated for lending their children. So there's the Mexican parents sending their children to bow missed to cross the Pacific. And what would have been another three-year journey? And what's the answer to the question?
Lantana it is 16 plus oh wow.
Yeah, so not a. Lot and that is the end of our look.
Fantastic thanks. Thank you both so much. That was really interesting so just I'll open it up to questions from the audience.
He would say. I'm OK.
If you have any questions, you can put them in chat. You can raise your hand and I'll allow you. To speak. Or you could use the Q&A function which is there, and that's easier. There's always an option. Uhm, Sarah Rob Boyle says he loved it but. He's gotta rush. Off, so he's he won't be joining us. But Sarah Golby says thank you very never heard about this before. I'm I'm in the same boat. I had no idea I. I mean, it's an it's an incredibly like, quite modern.
Approach to take in in the 1800s.
Yeah, that there's not. I don't think that much written in English about it. I guess most. Of the. Soviet Spanish makes the documentation is there. He's I don't think Charles the 4th. He was made as a particularly good king, and then he was made to advocate shortly after with the Palian and the Peninsula War.
Oh yes, the whole revolution thing.
Exactly, yeah, so there were problems actually paying UM they promised money to the parents and like the Mexican parents who would let their children so bad, which is getting very very frustrated at all. Yes, and actually the viceroy in Mexico City. He or she didn't do a particularly good job looking after the children who had come from Spain and they weren't given the education they were promised. And yeah, it's pretty sad actually. What happened to them is. Two of them. Died during the expedition as I said, and then the other twenty they. Maybe it's difficult to get clear details. What happened to them? But they. I don't think they had a particularly happy life, unfortunately.
Well, that actually leads into a couple of questions we've got from Jorge. I hope I'm pronouncing that correctly. Who asks? Do any of the names of the kids survive?
Hang on one moment. I find the list again and let me put it on screen for you and you'll. Be able to see. Let me just share. OK, so hopefully in a moment you'll be able to see the 22 children their ages saying. Eight and three years old. All the way up to 9 there actually the 2nd to last child in the right. Benito Velez. He was actually adopted, son of the rector of the kind of orphanage where. Their mostly orphans came from in Spain.
Sarah Galby asks where can we learn about what happened next?
Ah, well, maybe we're doing actually don't answer. I can tell you about the story. Now if you like so they would come. Yeah I think was 26 Mexican children now for the next part of the journey and then Isabella was still with them and serious barrel miss and I don't know if any of the rest of the original kind of expedition with. And and they had to hire A uh, like a passenger ship to go across the. Pacific, so obviously it's a much regulation, a much longer journey, so they need more children to do that, but it was incredibly cramped. Conditions on that vessel and they. I think they struggle 'cause it's right infested and the children basically sleeping on sacks and things on. The floor and. They're saying there's only thanks to a. Lot of the other passengers. In the ship who helped make it? Comfortable for them that. Must be hard if your passenger on a boat and then you've got 26 young children there who. Are being given this. Disease really through. The vaccination programme at saving for many weeks at sea, then made words I'm trying to member the top of my head now up so they would have landed in the Philippines. And we set up some vaccine boards there, but again they have some difficulties in getting everything they needed them balmis. Again, he said that he struggled. To get what he wanted I think. Some of this is. Perhaps a bit of ego on his side, but he's also in a what for him. Must be in a very noble quest. Just to vaccinate the Spanish Empire. And there's also other times where later on when they went round into China, I think it's the same day as the Battle of Trafalgar. So that was when the British were fighting the combined French and Spanish fleets and the British East India Company actually agreed to help with the vaccination. I'm coming exactly where this falls off it off my head and when the actual Spanish kind of administration in that region themselves, they weren't disinterested in it. So even at a time of war and conflicts, you can have the two. Opposing forces being more helpful to. Another which I think is quite a good takeaway from this, where there's there's bigger problems and issues that we need to solve together.
Yeah, like in the Cold War as well. He said mentioned earlier between Soviet Soviets and America.
That's a really that's. A really valid point and I like the idea, but yeah, there are. There are bigger problems than just people wanted to kill each other. There's real, you humans all have to fight off the smaller tiny little enemies and. As well, in case is anyone else with questions in the chat? UM, were the vaccines available to everyone regardless? Of whether they. Were originally from Spain, or if they were indigenous. And was there any kind of discrimination or or anything like that?
Come now. Well, March that I've come across today, things some of the quotes I read it was very much. They've been to the ones I read this, the poor children and then the upper class children. So there's definitely some division. In there. But the intention was to try and vaccinate everyone and some of this would have been the idea that sadly if if you vaccinate everybody and they're they're not dying, then there's going. To be more. A larger labour force and more prospects going back to the Spanish Crown, so I don't know if all the intentions were misses a noble there, but. The intention was to try and vaccinate as many people as possible. It seems that the actual discrimination from what I have made of it was fairly there. There wasn't much of it. But maybe not just for the best reasons.
Yeah, I was just thinking like oh, it would be too much to hope for that. It was out of genuine genuine human compassion alone.
Yeah, yeah exactly yeah.
Did they only vaccinate children, or would? Were these available to adults as well?
It is for everybody but the IT seems that. Children were the main way in which they would come. Transfer the vaccine. I think just because it's easier to control kids. I don't know, alright? But there was a time when they actually had to. There were two occasions where they had problem with children and there'd be one where they. Actually had to. Use some soldiers to carry the vaccine. For a short period and another. Time where I think they they bought 3 slaves, which is obviously. Not very good. I I don't know what happened to them, I I. Like to think that they bought their freedom for them as a thank you. But I. Don't know that he's.
Yes, probably not true, unfortunately.
Yeah, just what I've read about Balmis and Isabella. They seem that. They do generally. Having their heart in the right place for lot of this. Particularly Bella, but yeah, yeah, who knows what happened to you? Uh, these people, the slaves that they had to buy?
Now we'll, we'll hope for the best and and even if that's maybe not likely so. So you mentioned before the the revolutions and the the wars that are going on did 'cause obviously after Charles this overthrown Latin America has its own wave of. Independence, revolutions and things like. That did they. Get in the way of the programme.
Well it would. Have been from 1803 to 1806. I think it would have predated that revolution, but then I don't know what happened. Actually, long term, in terms of the vaccine boards and things that were set up and the manufacture of the cowpox lymph nodes, which apparently the cowpox, it's pretty common in England where Edward Jenner had. And made his discoveries in England, but elsewhere. It's not as common, but you can also use horsepox for the same process and so. I guess it would have continued, but maybe not at the scale they wanted, but I I don't have any any details unfortunately.
Yeah, interesting. Uhm, does do we have any further questions from the audience?
Well, in which. Case my last one is about that arm which was incorrect. I did not expect that had me howling. I'm glad I was muted. 'cause I would have? Completely, it's amazing. I did not expect that at all, so I I need to know what is that made of and why Anton. Why did you start eating it?
I'm not entirely sure what it was made of at first. I actually thought it was my arm, but then. I look closer because it's very good. Uhm, I don't. You can explain.
OK, yeah, it's dumb. If you've ever seen the insulation that you get for pipework like the fame stuff, it's just made out of that. There's some masking tape around. It's a bit modified and it's got fingernails there, which I created. It's also got real human hair for lanterns head. And then the the POC for just a bit of bubble wrap, so hopefully you. Heard it pop, yeah. Should grease.
And then somehow.
Same on there. Do you give a bit of pus?
Oh God, you added fingernails? Uhm, I I have I have to ask and I'm terrified of the answer you did make it specially for this. You didn't just have that line around.
I did make it specially for this, but on one of our earlier episodes we did do Corpse medicine where I recreated. Like feeling, brain and and magnified, mad and all sorts of things so.
And did Anton start eating that as well or?
Yeah, we like doing recreations.
That's fantastic. I will, I'll open it up again just for one final time. Does anyone if there's any final thoughts, questions, ideas? I that was fantastic. That was so fascinating. I again, I had no idea.
Maybe I. Hope it's OK. I'm struggling with my slides at times and trying to do too many things at once.
I know I. Know what it is because I'm not one of our first episodes. We did brain surgery and he's never been the same since.
Well, in which case, I mean, we're we've we'd be finishing a little bit early, but. I mean. Fantastic it was. It was so great. What a great start to the day even though I mean we're we're both. It's near the end of the day. For us 'cause yeah yeah.
Got the the blue, the blue we've got the balloon debate coming up next which I'm partaking in as well.
Oh, busy, Devin and Tony you second. Part or do you get? To actually enjoy the weather.
Probably I probably will maybe not for the whole thing though.
Well, in which case thank you both so much. This was fantastic and thank you to everyone who's who's watched this and ask questions and left comments. I don't know if you can see, but there's a lot of lot. Of appreciation in the in the chat.
Yeah view, thank you very much. It's really good fun today and. Also, thank you to all the organisers. For giving us this opportunity.
Well, that's good 'cause I'm sure you will. I mean Ben, Ben's in the chat, so you've just flattered him and.
I hope we'll be back.
That always works very well.
Thank you Pam.
As a question.
Oh yeah, yes question.
Uh, I can. I'll allow him to talk.
Uh, remind us of the show, ah? OK yeah we are shave. Is called the. Curiosity of a child and you can find it everywhere if you search for the Christopher Child. Uhm, we'll go to the QFC for child.com, or shopped at the.com.
Wearing on that, I've got some questions behind us as.
Well, or you can find us on Twitter at Akuri tripod. UM, yeah, so it'd be fantastic if you can listen to some version we. I've done yeah brain surgery. Coach medicine. I recreated the great London Stink of 1857, which is disgusting. He did what the the London Stink of 1857 where the before.
That was absolutely meant.
I forgot his. Name now basically these towns were full of human excrement and things, and I I remade that yes.
I I'm terrified to find out how, but I need I need to, so I'm going to be subscribing and giving that listen up again. Thank you so much and thank you to everyone who's.
Oh yes, hey.
Attended and then we'll leave it there and let everyone move into their next sessions, whatever. Thank you again so much. That was great. Thank you bye bye. Thank you Sam.