HC Deb 17 June 1840 vol 54 cc1244-61
Sir J. Graham

, in moving the Order of the Day, that the House resolve itself into a committee on the Vaccination Bill, observed, that he thought that it would tend much to shorten the discussion on this important subject if the hon. Member for Finsbury would move, as an amendment upon his motion, that the Order of the Day be read for the hon. Member's bill, the Small-pox Prevention Bill, to be committed first. One of the main differences between the two bills was, that the hon. Member for Finsbury prohibited inoculation for the small-pox altogether, whereas his bill permitted it, placing it, however, under such regulations and restraints as amounted very nearly, but not entirely, to a prohibition. In committee he should be prepared to entertain the first clause in the hon. Member for Finsbury's bill as an amendment on his own 11th and 12th clauses. Another difference between the two bills was, that the hon. Member for Finsbury treated the machinery of the Poor-law which he introduced into his bill as merely ministerial, because he mistrusted the Poor-law system; whereas he intended to give practical operation to his measure through the different boards of guardians, and to give the central superintendence of it to the Poor-law commissioners, confiding in them because he found them trusted by the Legislature on matters of much greater importance. The substantial difference between the two bills was in the different use they made of the Poor-law commissioners. The bill which he advocated had been assented to by the other House of Parliament, and would come into operation under the superintendence of a commission which would exercise the most stringent control over it. No such precaution was taken in the case of the measure of the hon. Gentleman opposite. He hoped the House would see that his bill was the safer and less objectionable, and therefore give it a second reading.

Mr. Wakley

said, that no one could be ignorant that the working classes of this country entertained great prejudices against vaccination. It therefore behoved the House to look carefully to the means by which it was proposed to remove those prejudices. The right hon. Baronet proposed to make use of the officers appointed under the Poor Law Amendment Act to carry his bill into effect. Now, the poor also entertained great prejudices, no matter whether right or wrong, against the Poor Law Commissioners. Nothing could be more ill-judged than to make use of a machinery to which they were so hostile. If children were to be operated on by the officers of the Poor-law unions, he had no hesitation in saying that the poor would be inclined to believe the operation was designed not to protect, but to destroy their offspring. He believed that that feeling would exist, but of this he was sure, that without compulsion they would not place their children in the hands of those officers. Under the bill which he (Mr. Wakley) proposed, a poor man having a child to be vaccinated would be enabled to select his own medical attendant. In his opinion that would be a great inducement to the poor to have recourse to vaccination. It was worthy of notice that not a single petition had been presented in favour of the right hon. Gentleman's bill, while numbers of petitions for the passing of his measure had been presented, and he believed he might say that the medical profession felt great confidence in the efficacy of the plan. During the last two years the mortality in England alone from small-pox had been 12,000 annually; in England, Scotland, and Ireland, it had been 17,000. Why not, then, under those circumstances, put a stop to inoculation altogether? Why allow this frightful mortality to continue, when the efficiency of the vaccine lymph as a remedy was universally admitted by medical men? In Portugal inoculation was prohibited by law, and not a single person was now known to die of super-induced small-pox. In France, while the epidemy prevailed, inoculation was prohibited; and in the island of Jamaica it was also prohibited. Would the people of (his country be so enamoured of an erroneous method as to wish to maintain it at the expense of the lives of 17,000 of their relations and countrymen annually? He believed that not a single voice would be raised against a law prohibiting inoculation. Physicians and surgeons generally were of opinion that if inoculation were prevented, and vaccination used, the small-pox would entirely cease. He confessed he should be averse to see the medical officers of unions intrusted with the duty of vaccinating. It was well known that they were not the most reputable members of the profession. Did the contracts into which they had entered reflect credit on those who had executed them on the one hand, or those who had sanctioned them in London on the other? It was well known that they were often inexperienced, scheming adventurers, who went into neighbourhoods where they were not well known, in order to gain that experience which might afterwards enable them to practise on the rich. The table was loaded with petitions complaining of the contracts which such adventurers had made, from medical men and guardians of the poor, as well as from the poor themselves. Seeing the blessing and advantages which would result from the universal adoption of vaccination, and the objections to which the right hon. Baronet's plan was open, he trusted the House would assent to the amendment he should now move, to substitute the Small-pox Prevention Bill in place of the Vaccination Bill.

Mr. C. Berkeley

seconded the amendment. He thought that the practice of inoculation ought to be put an end to altogether. There was one subject in connexion with the present which the hon. Member for Finsbury had not touched upon, but which he was anxious to bring under the consideration of the House, although he might be a little disorderly in doing so. Dr. Jenner, the author of vaccination, only received for the discovery two grants, one of 10,000l. and another of 20,000l., and members of his family were now in great distress. Now, he would ask the House whether the relatives of a man who had done more for medical science than any other ought to be left in such a situation?

Mr. Warburton

said, that the real object of legislation on this subject, was, how they could best prevent inoculation. He thought that public opinion had gone quite far enough to enable the House to put a stop to it altogether. The question with which they had now to deal, was this—whether they would leave vaccination to the Board of Guardians, or whether they would leave it to the medical men in each parish to find out cases for themselves, and thus promote vaccination. He had received a letter from a manufacturer at Clitheroe, in which it was stated, that although there was a dispensary in the town, where vaccination was practised gratuitously, not a single application had been made, and further, that the writer, who had employed 1,400 or 1,500 people in his manufactory for the last ten years, had done all he could to induce the women to get their children vaccinated, but in vain; and such had been the neglect, that when the small-pox came among them, a great many had died, not having been vaccinated. This would shew, that the bill of the hon. Baronet did not go far enough, and he was afraid that if it passed into a law, it would not be found to be so efficacious a measure as might have been expected. He was more inclined to think that vaccination would be more effectually done, if the medical men in each parish were left to search out cases, and get their fee, rather than if it were left to be done gratuitously. A self-operating machine of the kind which he had described, would be much more likely to act well than any other. The number of cases of vaccination would certainly be greater, but that was the very object of the bill. Although he should prefer the hon. Baronet's bill to no measure at all, yet, giving the preference to the bill of his hon. Friend, he should support the motion which he had brought forward: but if that motion should be defeated, he should do all in his power to improve the bill of the hon. Baronet in committee.

Mr. Lucas

said, that the provisions of both these bills were intended to extend to Ireland, notwithstanding which the arguments of the hon. Member for Finsbury applied to England only. The hon. Member had placed a great part of the recommendations of his own bill on the indisposition which he attributed to the poor of England to rely on the discretion of the Poor-law guardians, and the Poor-law commissioners, and the prejudices which they entertained against the last-named individuals. Now, this objection did not apply at all to Ireland, because the system was yet unknown to the poor of Ireland, and public opinion on its merits among the lower classes was at all events suspended. The two measures before the House as regarded Ireland, might be contrasted in a very plain way. The bill of the hon. Member for Finsbury left it to any medical man to canvass among his poor neighbours for patients, and the effect of this would be to encourage a low class of practitioners, who would be the least competent to canvass for half-crown fees. A practitioner of this description would find it very useful in Ireland to concentrate a little community of married females about him, and he would generally have to vaccinate a child of each once a year at least, if not oftener; and, indeed, there was nothing in the bill to prevent the same child from being vaccinated more than once. It had sometimes been made the subject of a sort of complaint that the population of Ireland was greater than it ought to be, and it had even been insinuated that the people of Ireland took more pains to increase the population than in justice and fairness they ought. He must say, he thought that one medical practioner in a district, who would keep a regular register, would be much more likely to be a competent person, and to do the business properly, than a person who canvassed for half-crown fees. If the bill of the right hon. Baronet were found not to be so efficient at first, as was expected, more stringent provisions might be afterwards applied.

Mr. Goulburn

remarked, that the question was, whether they would absolutely prohibit inoculation, or whether they would only restrain it; and, therefore he would only say, that he was decidedly adverse to prohibiting by law any persons innoculating their children. He would state one case, which was within his own knowledge, which would show how great might be the hardship which would result from such legislation. A servant in a family, where there were several children, was attacked with small-pox, of the most virulent kind, and the medical gentleman who attended the family, recommended, that all the children should be immediately inoculated with some better kind of small-pox, urging as his reason, that if the vaccination which they had undergone proved efficient, the inoculation could do no harm; but, if it proved inefficient, they would have the better kind of disorder, instead of the worse. That was the opinion of a most eminent medical practitioner, and he thought that it would have been extremely hard upon that gen- tleman, if lie had been visited with imprisonment for inoculating the children under such circumstances. He would observe, that there was one point on which he thought that both the bills before the House were defective. He believed that it often happened, that when persons had been impregnated with vaccine matter, it did not take effect the first time, and he thought, that if the House was to legislate on the subject, they ought to make it imperative on the medical man to make inquiries, and see whether the matter had taken effect. What, therefore, he should wish to see, was, that a preference should be given to the bill of the right hon. Baronet, and that some provisions should be introduced in committee to effect the object to which he had referred. The bill of the hon. Member for Finsbury would permit a low class of the medical profession to canvass for half-crown patients, and he thought it better to have one respectable and competent person to attend to the business.

Mr. Ward

did not think that the plan of the hon. Member for Finsbury would lead to a canvass amongst low practitioners, because people would naturally be anxious to get the best medical assistance that could be had.

Viscount Sandon

said, there was but one common object in view by hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House—namely, to prevent the increase of inoculation, and to propagate vaccination. The feelings of both these parties interested in this matter, those who communicated the prophylactic remedy, and those who received it, should be consulted; but he thought the feelings of the latter would not be best consulted by handing them over to the Poor-law guardians. Not only was the medical opinion of this country, but of the whole world, in favour of the prophylactic virtues of vaccination; therefore it was quite time to proceed to the absolute prohibition of inoculation.

Sir J. Graham

said, the question whether inoculation for the small pox should be absolutely prohibited would still be left open, notwithstanding the House should agree to go into committee upon this bill; for it would be quite competent for any hon. Gentleman on the 10th clause to move the insertion of the 1st clause of the bill of the hon. Member for Finsbury. No single individual perhaps had ever conferred so much benefit upon the human race as Dr. Jenner, and as it was the object of both bills to diffuse that benefit as widely as possible, he regretted that there should have been any agitation upon the subject by the hon. Member for Finsbury, against which, to use a medical expression, he had been unable to get up a counter-irritation. The interests of the medical profession were, no doubt, concerned in this matter. He had always regretted the practice which formerly prevailed of putting up to a kind of Dutch auction the services of medical men, and leading them to underbid each other, until the lowest bidder got the appointment. That system led to very great abuses, which, however, were very much remedied by the report of a committee, of which the hon. Gentleman and himself were Members. His right hon. Friend, the Member for the University of Cambridge, had said, that vaccination would be Very imperfect unless it were performed in all cases by competent persons; but a power was given in the third clause to the Poor-law commissioners to issue from the central board such orders as might be necessary to secure the effectual operation of the measure, and whatever provisions the highest medical authorities of London might think necessary, might be made the general rule for the whole practice. The main question was not whether inoculation by smallpox should be prohibited or no, but whether the greatest facilities should not be afforded for the extension of vaccination, and whether the central board of Poor-law commissioners in London should have the general superintendence and control over the diffusion of the practice of vaccination throughout the whole country, or should be left to the private exertions of medical practitioners.

The House divided on the original motion. Ayes 56; Noes 39:—Majority 17.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Childers, J. W.
Acland, T. D. East, J. B.
Bailey, J. jun. Evans, W.
Barnard, E. G. Feilden, W.
Beamish, F. B. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Bethell, R. Fitzioy, hon. H.
Bramston, T. W. Gladstone, W. E.
Bruges, W. H. L. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Buck, L. W. Grey, rt. hn. Sir G.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Hawkes, T.
Burr, H. Hodges, T. L.
Burroughes, H. N. Hodgson, F.
Chichester, J. P. B. Hodgson, R.
Holmes, W. Scrope, G. P.
Hope, hon. C. Shaw, right hon. F.
Hughes, W. B. Somerville, Sir W.
Hurt, F. Spry, hon. E. J.
Lincoln, Earl of Stanley, hon. E. J.
Lygon, hon. General Stanley, Lord
Mackenzie, T. Stuart, W. V.
Marsland, T. Thompson, Alderman
Martin, T. Townley, R. G.
Neeld, J. Waddington, H. S.
Nicholl, J Winnington, Sir T. E.
Pease, J. Winnington, H. J.
Praed, W.T. Wodehouse, E.
Pryme, G. Young, J.
Pusey, P. TELLERS.
Rolleston, L. Graham Sir J.
Rushout, G. Lucas, E.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, Major Lister, E. C.
Alston, R. Maule, hon. F.
Archbold, R. Morris, D.
Barrington, Viscount Norreys, Sir D. J.
Berkeley, hon. C. O'Connell, M.
Bewes, T. Parker, R. T.
Bridgeman, H. Pattison, J.
Briscoe, J. I. Pechell, J.
Brocklehurst, J. Pigot, D. R.
Brodie, W. B. Roche, Sir D.
Brotherton, J. Rundle, J.
Busfeild, W. Slaney, R. A.
Dundas, C. W. D. Talbot, C. R. M.
Finch, F. Thornely, T.
Guest, Sir J. Vigors, N. A.
Hall, Sir B. Ward, H. G.
Handley, H. Williams, W.
Hector, C. J. Wood, B.
Hobhouse, T. B. TELLERS.
Johnson, General Wakley, T.
Langdale, hon. C. Warburton, H.

House in Committee on the Vaccination Extension Bill.

Clause 1, empowering Poor-law guardians to contract with the medical officers for vaccination, being read,

Mr. Wakley

said, that the existing law empowered Poor-law guardians to do that which was proposed by this clause, and therefore it was unnecessary. It was the practice of Poor-law guardians already to contract for the vaccination of the poor. He wished to ask the right hon. Baronet, whether he would not pauperise persons by his bill, and thus under the Reform Act render them liable to be disfranchised?

Sir J. Graham

said, the power which the Poor-law guardians already possessed to make contracts for vaccination was only permissive, and it was left to the discretion of the various boards to say whether they should include vaccination in their contract with their medical officers or not? But the object of this clause was to render it imperative upon all unions to contract for the gratuitous vaccination of all persons within the union. [Mr. Wakley.—Of all persons?] Yes, it distinctly proposes, that vaccination shall be provided, "for all persons who may come to them for that purpose." With regard to the second objection of the hon. Member, however much he might be disposed to respect his medical opinion, he must be excused for not at once deferring to his legal opinion. If, however, there could be any ground for supposing that he was correct in thinking that persons receiving vaccination under this bill would be pauperised and disfranchised thereby, he promised the hon. Member, that, as there were several bills before the House dealing with the franchise, he would take care to have a clause introduced in the proper place to prevent persons from being deprived of their right to the elective franchise in consequence of the operation of this bill.

Mr. Warburton

was of opinion that gratuitous vaccination was not likely to be either very good or generally practised. He should like, that the words, "inhabitants of the parish and of the union" should be inserted.

Sir J. Graham

thought the proposition of the hon. Member was rather inconsistent with his remaks. If vaccination was a good, the wider it was diffused the better. The object of the bill was to extend it to all classes and persons in the country, without making inquiry as to whether they were rated inhabitants of the parish or not. At the same time the largest possible power should be given to the Central Board of Commissioners to issue general orders, which should be binding on all unions.

Mr. Wakley

said, that, the bill of the right hon. Baronet was a measure which would compel medical officers to vaccinate without charge. Its provisions had a tendency to inflict upon the whole medical profession a gross insult, and he did hope that the right hon. Baronet would consent to let the bill go through a committee pro formâ, to let the chairman report progress, and in the meanwhile, he might consider what alterations-could conveniently be made in it. The propositions in both bills might be dovetailed; all that he desired was the production of one measure calculated to prevent inoculation, and to promote the use of vaccination, it being well ascertained, that the latter was the more effectual preventive.

Sir J. Graham

thought it would not be expedient to re-debate the principle of the bill. It was no measure of his, but when asked to take charge of it, he gave to the subject the best consideration in his power, and he was certainly prepared to stand by the bill in its present form. The 10th clause formed the main question at issue—namely, whether or not inoculation should be prohibited.

Mr. Wakley

then proposed to add after the words "contract with the medical officers appointed by the board of guardians," the words "or with any legal qualified medical practitioner or practitioners."

Sir J. Graham

said, he should certainly take the sense of the committee on the amendment.

The committee divided on the question, that the words be inserted:—Ayes 33; Noes 24: Majority 9.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, Major Parker, R. T.
Beamish, F. B. Pigot, D. R.
Berkeley, hon. C Rundle, J.
Bethell, R. Scrope, G. P.
Bridgeman, H. Stuart, W. V.
Briscoe, J. I. Talbot, C. R. M.
Brodie, W. B. Thornely, T.
Brotherton, J. Townley, R. G.
Bruges, W. H. Vigors, N. A.
Finch, F. White, A.
French, F. Williams, W.
Hall, Sir B. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Hector C. J. Winnington, H. J.
Hodges, T. L. Wodehouse, E.
Johnson, General Wood, B.
Langdale, hon. C. TELLERS.
Morris, D. Wakley, T.
O'Connell, M. Burroughes, H. N.
List of the NOES.
Baines, E. Nicholl, J.
Barnard, E. G. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Bewes, T. Pease, J.
Burr, H. Polhill, F.
Busfeild, W. Pusey, P.
Darby, G. Rickford, W.
Evans, W. Rolleston, L.
Feilden, W. Slaney, R. A.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Vivian, J. E.
Hughes, W. B. Warburton, H.
Kelly, F.
Lister, E. C. TELLERS.
Mackenzie, T. Graham, Sir J.
Marsland, H. Lucas, E.

The clause, as amended, agreed to.

On clause 3 being proposed, which provides that officers engaged in the administration of the Poor-laws should, for the purposes of the act, conform to the instructions of the Poor-law Commissioners,

Sir B. Hall

inquired if this clause was intended to apply to guardians under local acts? He objected to it.

Mr. Wakley

opposed the clause, as it would have the effect of introducing the power of the Poor-law commissioners into districts where they were at present unknown, and where the inhabitants hoped never to have anything to do with them. Besides, it was an insult to the medical profession to place medical practitioners under the control of commissioners, none of whom were medical men.

Sir J. Graham

said, that although the Poor-law commissioners were not medical men, yet they were in the habit of consulting the highest medical authorities.

Mr. Wakley

could not assent to the statement, that the Poor-law commissioners always consulted the first medical practitioners; besides, he objected to the authority of these medical advisers, who were not known, and were subject to no responsibility.

Sir J. Graham

was satisfied that the commissioners would act under good advice, and if the clause was rejected, he should not think it right to take further charge of the bill.

Sir B. Hall

would move a proviso, to be inserted at the end of the clause, that it should not extend to any parish having any local act for the relief of the poor, and not forming part of any union.

Sir J. Graham

said, before the committee divided, he would observe, that the proviso was at direct variance with a clause which had been already passed, making it imperative on all parishes to vaccinate.

The committee divided on the question, that the proviso be added: Ayes 7; Noes 51: Majority 44.

List of the AYES.
Grimsditch, T. Vigors, N. A.
Heathcoat, J. Wood, B.
Hector, C. J. TELLERS.
Hodges, T. L. Hall, Sir B.
O'Connell, M. Wakley, T.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, Major Beamish, F.B.
Baines, E. Berkeley, hon. C.
Bethell, R. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Bewes, T. Pease, J.
Bridgeman, H. Pigot, D. R.
Brodie, W. B. Plumptre, J. P.
Bruges, W. H. L. Pusey, P.
Burroughes, H. N. Rickford, W.
Busfeild, W. Rundle, J.
Collier, J. Scrope, G. P.
Darby, G. Slaney, R. A.
Evans, W. Stuart, W. V.
Feilden, W. Stock, Dr.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Strickland, Sir G.
Finch, F. Thornely, T.
Handley, H. Tollemache, hon. F.J.
Hobhouse, T. B. Townley, R. G.
Hodgson, R. Turner, W.
Johnson, General Warburton,
Langdale, hon. C. White, A.
Lister, E. C. Williams, W.
Lucas, E. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Lynch, A. H. Winnington, H. J.
Mackenzie, T. Wodehouse, E.
Marsland, H. TELLERS.
Marsland, T. Graham, Sir J.
Morris, D. Nicholl, J.

Clause to stand part of the bill.

On Clause 7, which requires "the guardians to transmit a copy of every contract to the Poor-law commissioners, who may annul the same,"

Mr. Wakley

thought the clause highly objectionable. The bill required the guardians to enter into contracts with the medical officers and practitioners, for the purpose of carrying it into effect; yet the commissioners sitting in London, who necessarily knew nothing of any locality but from report, and oftentimes malicious report, were to have the power of setting aside all their arrangements, without hearing the evidence of the parties. Such a provision would be most offensive, both to the guardians and the medical officers, and lie should certainly divide the committee against it.

Sir J. Graham

said, the object of the clause was, to give the commissioners the power of ascertaining that in each contract, remuneration to the medical officers was proportioned to the number of persons vaccinated, and that, from time to time, regular returns were made to the board.

Mr. Warburton

considered the clause necessary, in order to make the contracts practically effective.

The committee divided on the question, that the clause stand part of the bill: Ayes 40; Noes 11: Majority 29.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, Major Baines, E.
Beamish, F. B. Marsland, T.
Berkeley, hon. C. Morris, D.
Bethell, R. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Bewes, T. Pigot, D. R.
Bridgeman, H. Plumptre, J. P.
Brodie, W. B. Pusey, P.
Bruges, W. H. L. Rickford, W.
Burroughes, H. N. Rundle, J.
Busfeild, W. Scrope, G. P.
Collier, J. Slaney, R. A.
Evans, W. Stuart, W. V.
Feilden, W. Thornely, T.
Handley, H. Tollemache, F. J.
Hobhouse, T. B. Townley, R. G.
Hodgson, H. Warburton, H.
Johnson, General White, A.
Lister, R. C. Winnington, H. J
Lowther, Lord Visc.
Lucas, E. TELLERS.
Lynch, A. H. Graham, Sir J.
Mackenzie, T. Nicholl, J.
List of the NOES.
Darby, G. O'Connell, M.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. Turner, W.
Grimsditch, T. Vigors, N. A.
Hall, Sir B. Williams, W.
Hector, C. J. TELLERS.
Hodges, T. L. Wakley, T.
Marsland, H. French, F.

Clause agreed to.

On Clause 10, prohibiting unqualified persons from inoculating,

Mr. Wakley

said, that wishing to raise the question, whether inoculation should not be wholly abolished, he should divide the House upon an amendment which he was about to propose on this clause. Who were the persons that were unprepared for this? Were they informed as to the present practice in this country? Were they aware of what had happened in England before the discovery of vaccination? or were they aware of the practice of foreign countries? A physician of eminence, some time ago, had expressed an opinion, that smallpox, in its most virulent state, was identical with the plague. If any one were to set up to inoculate for the plague, would that be allowed? At present in Wurtemberg, and other parts of the Continent, and even in one of our own colonies, inoculation was prohibited. Now, if they were to pass this clause, that was to say, if they prohibited unqualified persons only from inoculating, the public would conclude that the House had given a legislative sanction to inoculation. Was it not awful that 17,000 persons died annually of this frightful malady? Upwards of 1,000 died of it last year in London alone. Then the evidence of the protective power of vaccination was so conclusive and indisputable, that lie trusted the House would meet this calamity with a determined resolution, and say that no man, whatever his qualifications or station in the profession, should be allowed to propagate poison by inoculation, and that it should lie altogether prohibited under heavy penalties. The hon. Member then moved the omission of certain words in the clause, with a view of altering it so as to effect his object.

Mr. Warburton

approved of the amendment proposed by his hon. Friend. The number of deaths from small-pox was not the only evil, but the injury done to the persons of those who survived was also a serious consideration. Nobody could doubt that it was expedient to put an end to the dissemination of small-pox. Their duty was to put an end to inoculation, and the clause as it stood would not effect that object, as it would still enable professional men to continue the prejudices in favour of inoculation, in order that they might profit by them.

Sir G. Strickland

said, that nothing but overbearing necessity should compel them to adopt such a proposal as this. He was convinced that an enactment providing that no person should inoculate would be ineffectual for the purposes sought by the hon. Member for Finsbury. It was an interference with every man's management of his health, in which they could not be justified. The small-pox was, no doubt, a fearful disease; but were there not many other diseases equally fearful? How many thousands died annually of the immoderate use of gin, and other spirituous liquors? Why did they not make the use of those liquors penal? No; but when the great medical authority, Mr. Wakley, came down and said, such and such management was injurious to health, they at once agreed to put it down by the strong arm of the law. Nothing but education could put an end to the prejudices of the people on this subject. If they were to pass this bill, Dr. Morrison would come before the House. [Mr. Wakley—He is dead.] If he did not, somebody else would come, and say, that the pills in general use were so destructive to health, that they ought not to be any longer allowed to be used. On the principle, that every man had a right to do what he thought best for disown health, and that the Legislature ought not to interfere, he should oppose the amendment.

Mr. C. Berkeley

having considered the evidence of medical men on this subject, thought it was now high time to put an end to the practice of inoculation, and should therefore support the amendment.

Mr. Darby

believed there was now no doubt that inoculation was prejudicial. Long experience had proved, that vaccination was completely effectual for preventing the small-pox, and now, therefore, vas the time to stop this disorder by adopting this amendment. Wherever they went, they witnessed proofs of the ravages it had committed. They could not walk through any alley in the town, without seeing nine-tenths of the people marked with the small-pox. If the mischiefs of inoculation were confined to the parties inoculated, we might not, perhaps, be justified in interfering, but when those inoculated exposed others to taking the disease, he thought the Legislature had a right to interfere, and prevent the practice.

Mr. M. O'Connell

thought this amendment was particularly required for the poorer classes in Ireland. He had known 100 individuals to die of small-pox in the course of two months in one district in which inoculation was practised, and four children in one family, who were inoculated by their mother, to be carried to a premature grave in the course of a few days.

Mr. Hodges

said, his principal objection to making it penal to inoculate, arose from his not being impressed with the conviction that the medical profession were against the practice, as he had known instances, over and over again, of medical men inoculating.

Mr. Slaney

said, it was well known, that typhus fever carried off the greatest number of children, and that the smallpox took off the next greatest number. It was now an indictable offence, to expose a child with small-pox on it. This was a shield to those only who lived in open airy situations, and not to those who lived in crowded places, where a great number of children were necessarily brought together. They would be, therefore, only extending the protective principle of the law to the latter, by making it penal to inoculate.

Mr. F. French

feared, that though it was desirable that vaccination should be brought into general use, they should respect to a certain extent the prejudices of the people. The great mass of the lower classes entertained a very strong feeling that vaccination was not sufficient, and he was apprehensive, that by adopting the amendment, they would, instead of effecting their object, only raise prejudices against the law, and make the people less disposed to observe it, as they would be exceedingly unhappy if they were not allowed to take the steps which they considered necessary to protect their children against the disorder.

Mr. Nicholl

said, it had been at all times doubtful whether inoculation was useful; that it was inferior to vaccination was now universally admitted among those who knew anything of the subject. It had been said, that vaccination was not a complete preventive against the small-pox; but if they were to compare the number of cases in which small-pox broke out after vaccination, with those in which it broke out after inoculation, and also the number of deaths occurring after one and the other, they would find, that, as a preventive to taking the small-pox, vaccination was fully equal to inoculation, and far superior to it as regarded the number of deaths. He would venture to say, that there was not one Member of the House who would suffer his own child to be inoculated. He would, therefore, support the amendment.

Sir J. Graham

conceived all the provisions of the bill to be insignificant when compared with the subject under discussion. He agreed with the hon. Member for Bridport, that the hon. Member for Finsbury, when he stated only the mortality arising from small-pox, he understated his case, for that maligant disease blighted the early promise of beauty in the cradle, occasioned many chronic diseases, and frequently led to the loss of life. The real question, however, for the House to consider was, whether the prejudice in favour of inoculation was well grounded. It was in evidence, that on the continent, where inoculation was prohibited and vaccination enjoined, the small-pox was prevented. He thought the time had arrived for a step to be taken in advance by the Legislature—not to make vaccination imperative, but to prohibit inoculation. It was necessary that a certain degree of sympathetic fever should be produced before vaccination could be relied on, and it was therefore necessary that various minute points should be watched, without which false confidence was raised. It was therefore important, not only that vaccination should be general, but that it should be conducted by persons of competent skill. Unless he had seen a safeguard for this he would not have been responsible for the bill. If pressed to a division, he should divide for Mr. Wakley's amendment.

Mr. Wakley

said, that the deaths from small-pox since inoculation had been introduced instead of vaccination, had, according to Mr. Marshall's tables, increased in London alone from 160 to 3,271 in one year.

The Attorney General

begged to express his clear opinion, that inoculation ought immediately to be abolished. He had no doubt, that to inoculate a child was to endanger the public health, and to endanger the public health was a misdemeanour punishable by law. Inoculation was regarded as indispensable before vaccination was discovered, and was permitted as an avoidance of the greater evil; but now by the blessing of God a substitute had been found, and all excuse for inoculation was at an end. He saw no reason, therefore, why it should not be abolished, when it had been abolished in other countries, and no inconvenience had resulted from it. All classes felt an interest in this subject, and when it was seen that the House of Commons had almost unanimously agreed that inoculation ought to be abolished, he trusted that the measure would meet with the general concurrence of the public.

Mr. Lucas

thought the committee ought not to come to too hasty a decision on the subject, as it would be unjust to create a penalty which could not be avoided, as he believed there was not the means of vaccinating the poor in many parts of the country.

Mr. P. Scrope

said, that, to do away with any inconvenience that might arise on this account he would propose the postponement of the operation of the clause till the 1st of January next

Mr. Wakley

objected to such postponement. He had consulted the officer of the vaccine institution, and had ascertained that there would be no lack o vaccine matter for inoculating the whole of Europe if necessary.

The amendment making it penal, after the passing of the act to cause small-pox by inoculation or exposure, was agreed to.

Other clauses agreed to. The House resumed, report to be brought up.

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