Sir Thomas Browne, 17th century English physician and writer, dealt with a similar slur in his Vulgar Errors (a predecessor of The Straight Dope), namely, That Jews Stink (Book IV, Chapter 10). He quotes a contemporary who writes that the Jews
" … emit a loathsome savour, as Mr Fulham experimented in Italy at a Jewish meeting, with the hazard of life, till he removed into the fresh air."
After much learned disquisition, Sir Thomas concludes,
" … in assenting hereto many difficulties must arise; it being a dangerous point to annex a constant property unto any nation, and much more this unto the Jew; since their quality is not verified by observation; since the grounds are feeble that should establish it; and lastly, since if all were true [ie, the anecdotal
evidence], yet are the reasons alleged for it of no sufficiency to maintain it."