HC Deb 11 June 1880 vol 252 cc1811-54

rose to call attention to the practice of Animal Vaccination; and to move— That as cow-pock lymph direct from the calf, commonly known as animal vaccine, is of at least equal value as a prophylactic against smallpox with the ordinary humanised lymph, and as its use affords an absolute guarantee against the propagation of those human diseases occasionally invaccinated with humanised lymph, this House is of opinion that to meet the objections to vaccination founded on the possible communication of other disease through that operation, a supply of animal vaccine should be provided by the National Vaccine Establishment for the use of those who prefer it to the ordinary lymph. The hon. Gentleman said, that in moving his Resolution he had no intention whatever of raising the question of compulsory vaccination. Of course, it was not in his power to prevent the question being raised; but, so far as vaccination was concerned, he was convinced that compulsion as at present applied was productive of much good. He said this after a careful examination of the whole subject, and after it had been decided by the experience of almost every country in Europe; so that what he proposed in no way interfered with the present law on the subject, but suggested simply an improvement on that law which he believed would tend very much to the benefit of the community. The object of the Resolution which he proposed was to do away with rational objections which might be raised against vaccination; and in making use of this term "rational objections," he did not wish to use an offensive term as applied to the various other objections, with which he had no sympathy. Anti-vac-cinators might be divided into several categories. There were a number of hon. Gentlemen who objected to compulsory vaccination on the ground that compulsion was an infringement of the liberty of the subject. He believed the representatives of this belief intended to oppose his Resolution. Now, he could not very well conceive their attitude on this occasion, for it seemed if they were consistently of opinion that the liberty of the subject should be respected, they would see that it was a step in the direction of increased liberty of the subject to afford to those who preferred it the option proposed in his Resolution. There was another class who objected on religious grounds. They conceived that it was a violation of the laws of God to attempt to prevent small-pox by vaccination. This section was a very noisy one; but he believed it was a very small section, and that they found strength entirely in the unwise system of multiplying penalties for refusal to vaccinate, which placed it in the power of any person to become a martyr at a very trifling expense to himself. But, besides those objectors to vaccination, there was a very important class whose objections to the practice were specific and practical. The objections they raised were consistent with the retention of our present vaccination laws. As it was they, in a great majority of cases, complied with the law. If their objections were removed—as they would be if his Motion were carried into effect —they would comply with the law gladly; but, as it was, they complied with it unwillingly, grudgingly, and to the smallest extent. They naturally sympathized with those persons who refused to comply with the law altogether, and gave them passive support. The fact that few persons were punished was no criterion of the number of persons who obeyed the law because it was the law, but who did so reluctantly, yet would obey it gladly if their objections were removed. Small-pox was a zymotic disease, and, as a general rule, occurred only once in the course of a person's life. However, that rule was by no means invariable; but in 107 years of the experience of the London small-pox hospitals, no single case was recorded within which a person was twice treated for small-pox within their walls. The small-pox germ was the cause of a very peculiar infection. Received into the system in the ordinary way, it gave rise to a disease of extraordinary malignity, the fatality in which varied from 1 in 3 to 1 in 6 or 7; but if introduced into the system through a puncture of the skin it gave rise to a disease of extraordinary mildness, the fatality of which was only 1 in 300. That was first observed in the East, and advantage was taken of it to protect the population by inoculation. The practice was introduced into this country through the writings of Lady Mary Wortley Montague, and between 1750 and the end of the 18th century it very largely prevailed. But there was another peculiarity of this infection— that although it might give rise to very trifling injury to the individual, it detained its power in injuring the community and spreading disease. Hence, whatever might be the gain to the individual by inoculation, the result was a loss to society, for the mortality was found to gain from 1 in 14 to 1 in 10. Then came Jenner's discovery, that immunity could be equally well secured by the introduction into the system of the cow-pox, which gave rise to the most trifling inconvenience, and which was attended with no danger whatever. In 1853, after watching closely the vaccination experiments in other countries, vaccination was made compulsory also in this country. His hon. Friend who was about to move an Amendment to his Resolution objected altogether to compulsory vaccination. But he (Dr. Cameron) did not; and he should be sorry to see compulsory vaccination done away with, in the same way as he should be sorry to see compulsory education done away with. It appeared to him to have been conclusively proved that the experience of all countries told them that the introduction of anything like universal vaccination had an enormously diminishing effect upon the number of small-pox cases. It appeared from statistical researches that the death-rate from small-pox was hardly one-fortieth according to the population what it was in the days preceding the practice of vaccination. Certainly it must be admitted that the death-rate in other diseases had been greatly diminished; but, making every deduction for that, he had arrived at the conclusion there was no possibility of disputing, as the result of the experience of all countries, the death-rate from small-pox had decreased to a twentieth or, at the outside, a fifteenth of what it was previously. Some argued that the mortality had merely been transferred; but the most elaborate statistics had been collected which refuted those assertions. They were also told all sorts of evil followed the practice of vaccination; but, without waiting to discuss that, he ventured to say that the deaths from small-pox did not form the worst part of the evils that disease inflicted upon society, because previous to vaccination being introduced it was a matter of notoriety that half the blind persons in the institutions for the blind had become blind from small-pox. In the early days of its introduction very absurd objections had been raised. Some persons actually said that the practice would induce a physical resemblance in the persons vaccinated to the cattle from which the lymph came. One of the objections at the present moment which most widely operated against the practice of vaccination was that it inflicted upon humanity other loathsome diseases. They heard of the possibility of producing syphilitic diseases from vaccination; but he had no hesitation in saying that such an occurrence was extremely rare, so rare that it was scarcely an exaggeration to say that a child incurred greater danger in the streets on its way to the vaccination station than it did] from the vaccination itself. For many years the possibility of such a thing was | altogether denied. In 1857 Mr. Simon published a most elaborate Paper on the subject, in which he gathered the testimony of 500 medical men, among whom, with the exception of one or two instances given by Dr. Jonathan Hutche-son, not one was to be found who had met with an instance of the kind in his experience. Mr. Simon also published Reports to the effect that abroad lymph taken from persons suffering from all kinds of diseases had been used in vaccination; but the only result produced was cow-pox. In France, however, Dr. Du. Paul, Professor of the Faculty of Medicine, who took an opposite view of the subject, had published as the result of a single year's experience in France, notes of some 160 cases of post-vaccinal syphilis occurring in four or five groups which had been brought under his observation, and a few years later an out- break of post-vaccinal syphilis had been brought before the Royal Medical and Surgical Society by Mr. Jonathan Hutcheson. The facts in this case, and those elicited in the discussion which followed on it, convinced even the Medical Department of the Local Government Board of the possibility of the invagination of syphilitic disease. Admitting the possibility of such a catastrophe occurring, he said that no precaution which could be taken in the collection of humanized lymph would be a perfect guarantee against the possibility of communicating that disease. But animal vaccine—that was, vaccine taken direct from the calf — afforded an absolute guarantee against it; and the Local Government Board was, he thought, bound to supply to those who liked it that lymph of which they could insure the thorough purity. No one more readily recognized than he did that those connected with the Department must ! wish to give to the public the very best lymph in their power; but it was a scientific fact that with lymph taken direct from the calf no such accident could occur as was possible with humanized lymph. He therefore merely proposed that the Government should set up an experimental station or stations in London or elsewhere. He did not desire to overturn anything, but only to proceed experimentally. His proposal would work concurrently with the present system. At the experimental station persons could be vaccinated direct from the calf, and a supply of calf lymph could be collected there and sent thence through the country to those who might require it. The British Medical Association, embracing an Association of 9,000 men in this country, went further, and recommended that the Government should collect and supply for distribution animal lymph and nothing else. There could be no doubt that a large section of the Medical Profession, and especially of the Medical Profession abroad, believed that lymph used for vaccination had deteriorated, and that the results obtained from vaccination now were nothing comparable to what they were in early days in consequence of repeated transmission. Then there was a belief entertained by the majority of the Profession in this country that inoculating cattle with the small-pox produced cow-pox; but that theory was pronounced to be fallacious by many eminent Continental writers, and by the Commissions instituted to inquire into the subject in Belgium and Lyons; and when it was proved that there were two stocks of lymph open to those engaged in vaccination, it was the duty of the Department that enacted public vaccination to supply the public with the article about whose origin and nature there could be no dispute. In 1869 a Public Institution for the supply of animal vaccine was established in Belgium, whence the system spread to Holland, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia. At Bombay, the option of using animal vaccine was provided for by law, and at Bengal a Bill had been introduced for a similar purpose; so that at the present moment it might be safely said that Great Britain was the most backward of any civilized country in the world with regard to this question. Dr. Seaton, in 1869, visited various places abroad for the purpose of inquiring into the question; but he went out prepossessed and committed against the theories which which led the Belgian Government to to adopt animal vaccination, and he reported that it was impossible to keep up a constant supply, and that they were always in danger of running short. Had that danger been a real one it would have been fatal to his proposal; but his answer was that during the 11 years that had passed since Dr. Seaton's Report the State Institution in Belgium had kept up a constant supply from calf to calf without a single failure. But the House was only concerned with practical results, and he would ask them to listen to some. In 1863, when the small-pox epidemic broke out in London, 6 per cent of those of the best vaccinated classes — those bearing four or more cicatrices — who took small - pox died. At Brussels 10,000 were vaccinated with animal lymph from 1865 to 1870, and they all passed through the epidemic of small-pox, not only without a single death, but without one being reported as having been attacked by the disease. In America, where animal lymph had been applied, there was not a single case in which the disease appeared after a successful vaccination. In the early days of vaccination we had precisely the same results. In France, out of 2,671,000 properly vaccinated, there were only seven that afterwards took the small-pox, so that the experience which had been established in connection with animal lymph entirely coincided with the experience of the earliest practitioners of vaccination. With such results as those, they could at least afford facilities for animal vaccination without any fear that the matter would be placed in a worse position, and with great hopes that the country would be benefited by the change. There was at present no institution for the cultivation of calf lymph in this country. When he had been asked where animal lymph might be obtained he told the inquirers it might be obtained at Brussels, and they uniformly preferred to write to Brussels for it. At the present moment this calf lymph was utterly out of the reach of even well-informed medical practitioners. Instead of parents being punished for refusing to allow their children to be vaccinated in the ordinary manner, they should be persuaded to allow them to be vaccinated from the calf, and in most cases it would be found that the fears of the parents which led them to object to vaccination would vanish. No single case had been discovered where any serious disease had been engrafted as the result of vaccination from the animal. Some trifling cases had arisen, but only trifling. In Italy there was a system of snipping off the vasicle and keeping it in a dry condition, and as the result of not preserving the vaccine properly there was an outbreak of blood poisoning; but that might have occurred in virtue of the same carelessness if ordinary humanized lymph had been employed. A scarcity of lymph could never arise where there was vaccine lymph procurable; and whenever there was a full supply of animal vaccine a great amount of re-vaccination occurred abroad. While in this country only one in 50 of the number of persons vaccinated at public stations were re-vaccinated, in Holland two-fifths, and in Brussels one-half, were re-vaccinated. He had been told that his proposition would not satisfy a single anti-vaccinator; but that was not his experience. His idea was that a good deal of the opposition against compulsory vaccination had arisen from the improper spirit in which the law was administered. One official had argued against the absurdity of allowing the public any option in the matter, remarking that it was the duty of the State to find out what was best, and insist on its adoption. He protested against an exceptional law being administered in such a spirit, and held that the authorities should do more in the way of advising anti-vaccinators in a kindly spirit than in prosecutions. Queen Victoria, in getting re-vaccinated, did not procure the lymph from the national establishment, but from Brussels, and large numbers would become re-vaccinated again were there the opportunity to obtain animal vaccine. Outside official circles this proposal had received general endorsement. The Medical Press was unanimous in its opinion on the subject, and one of the papers had advocated the conversion of Her Majesty's stud at Hampton Court into a vaccine establishment. It might be said that he raised the question of animal vaccination as against "arm-to-arm" vaccination; but that was an entirely false issue. In Belgium and elsewhere animal vaccination went on side by side with "arm-to-arm" vaccination. Every difficulty could be overcome in establishing the new system in three weeks, and an experienced man could with ease be got from abroad to superintend the experimental stations. He hoped they should not be told that the Vaccination Department were making inquiries; for unless something was done to meet the rational objections of persons who objected to the present system, a more determined feeling would be raised against the law.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "as cowpock lymph direct from the calf, commonly known as animal vaccine, is of at least equal value as a prophylactic against smallpox with the ordinary humanised lymph, and as its use affords an absolute guarantee against the propagation of those human diseases occasionally invaccinated with humanised lymph, this House is of opinion that to meet the objections to vaccination founded on the possible communication of other disease through that operation, a supply of animal vaccine should be provided by the National Vaccine Establishment for the use of those who prefer it to the ordinary lymph,"— (Dr. Cameron,)

—instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


Sir, I am quite sure that I shall take the House unanimously with me in the first proposition that I shall venture to lay down, and that is, that the less the State interferes with the home management of the various portions of the community, in regard to their habits, manners, and customs, the better both for the State and the people; and that, above all things, it is not desirable, unless under some very strong necessity, that the State should interfere— that, for instance, the fashionable doctrine of medical men for the time being should by compulsion be thrust upon an unwilling community. The opposite view of legislation has taken rather rapid strides of late years; and paternal legislation, which has been called grand-maternal legislation, has spread to an extent which 50 years ago would have been repudiated by all classes of the community. In other words, the danger we have to meet at the present time is that which was threatened by political writers in the past, who told us that one danger in our progress towards Democracy would be that we might change the tyranny of the few to the tyranny of the many. On this particular question that we are discussing to-night, Sir Robert Peel—the late Sir Robert Peel —thus gave expression to the same opinion. When someone proposed to make vaccination compulsory, as it is in some despotic countries, he objected, remarking that— Such a proceeding would be so opposite to the mental habits of the British people and the freedom of opinion in which they rightly gloried, that he would he no party to such compulsion. The present Prime Minister, writing the other day upon the same subject, said— I view with misgiving all now aggression upon private liberty, unless upon a clear and certain proof of necessity, and I keep my mind open upon the question whether such proof has or has not been supplied in the matter of vaccination. Nor is the wrong done to the individual by this aggression upon the right of personal liberty the only danger we have to incur. When too much stress is put by the State upon individual rights there is liable to be a very sudden and strong re-action against it. The existence of this feeling has been shown upon this very question lately in Canada. The Canadians appear to have rather less inclination to such infractions of individual liberty; and in Montreal, where it was proposed to enact a law of compulsory vaccination, the people rose 10,000 strong, they produced a great riot and disturbance, they threatened the destruction of the Town Hall, and to what extent they might have gone I know not had not the demand for compulsory vaccination been there and then withdrawn, and no more heard of it up to the present time. I maintain that there is no ground for compulsory vaccination; and I thank my hon. Friend for having brought the matter before the House, and, therefore, before the country. I am so strongly convinced of the wrongfulness of compulsory vaccination, that I feel perfectly sure it can continue but a very short time after the facts have been communicated to the House and to the country. There has been a sort of conspiracy of silence, especially among the Press upon this subject. The great London daily Press, as conservers of public morality, occasionally think it their duty to take a stand upon some such matter as this, and to infer that so great would be the danger of spreading popular delusions, as they term it, in regard to such matters, that they deny access to their columns of any discussion upon the matter. We have, therefore, the orthodox theories of the great daily Press of the country on one side; and on the other the special organs of the anti-vaccinators. It is evident that in such a condition of things there is no scientific discussion of the question whatever. The most monstrous facts are asserted, the most absurd conclusions suggested, and the most ridiculous deductions in consequence of this enforced silence pass current with everybody. Now, I think the right hon. Gentleman whom I see opposite, the late President of the Local Government Board, was rather of my opinion in regard to the danger of once re-opening this question of compulsory vaccination, and of bringing it before the House and the country; for when a deputation waited upon him some time ago, he begged that they would not attempt to force the hand of Government prematurely; for Mr. Sclater-Booth said— They would only produce confusion, and probably an entire collapse of the existing system of vaccination, which all admit is extremely difficult to work as it is. With that opinion of the right hon. Gentleman I cordially concur. I believe that this debate, if fairly carried on the great wings of the Press from one end of the country to the other, sounds the death-knell of compulsory vaccination. Nor is it at all fair as regards the Medical Profession that this secrecy should be maintained. They have their interests and their prejudices, like any other members of the community, and we know that the medical men of this country do not fairly represent the facts in respect to vaccination to the community. This would be a heavy charge if I should make it. I do not make it. I take it from their own lips. Mr. Henry May, Health Officer to the Aston Union, Birmingham, in an article on certificates of death, said— In certificates given by us voluntarily, and to which the public have access, it is scarcely to be expected that a medical man. will give opinions which may tell against or reflect upon himself in any way, or which are likely to cause annoyance or injury to the survivors. In such cases he will most likely toll the truth, but not the whole truth, and assign some prominent symptom of the disease as the cause of death. As instances of cases which may toll against the medical man himself, I will mention erysipelas, after vaccination, and puerperal fever. A death from the first cause occurred not long ago in my practice; and although I had not vaccinated the child, yet in my desire to preserve vaccination from reproach, I omitted all mention of it in my certificate of death. Though such a state of things was dangerous, it would also be comical if it were not too serious to be comic. A child at Leeds died recently from the results of vaccination, as was distinctly borne witness to by the surgeon who attended it. The Coroner, also a medical man, and one who respected the rights of vaccination, declined to take as a verdict that the child died from vaccination, and said there was no such thing known to the law as a death from vaccination. In fact, according to him, the poor child had committed an offence against the laws of this country in venturing to die from vaccination, and so a jury returned as their verdict, "Died by the visitation of God." Now, I shall maintain, Sir, in the first place, that granting all that the vaccinators believe and all that they say, that nevertheless compulsory vaccination is wrong, tyrannous, and impolitic. Now, no one will maintain, Sir, in the first place, that the State has a right of insisting that a child shall be vaccinated for the sake of the child itself. The parent has at least a primâ facie right to decide upon the risks that the child shall run, and there can be no right in the State to insist upon vaccination, except as a matter of national interest and protection. Now, be it remembered that if vaccination is a protection against small-pox, that this argument falls at once to the ground, because then the danger only exists to those who are not vaccinated, and those who prefer to he vaccinated have no right to coerce those who do not wish to be vaccinated. Be it remembered, moreover, that this demand for vaccination has come upon the country just in proportion as vaccination has been proved to have failed. Jenner declared that vaccination was a perfect protection against small-pox, and nobody dreamed of making it compulsory. Then, my second point is, that if it be necessary in the interests of the State to enforce vaccination, that it is a thing so important and so sacred that it should be enforced upon all. To enforce it upon the poor only is simply an infamy. If it is so essential to public health that every child should be vaccinated, the State is bound to take the infant from its mother's breast, and, with the policeman's baton, to force the parents to allow a surgeon to vaccinate the child. Will the House of Commons do this? No, the House of Commons will not dare to do it. And yet to inflict compulsion upon the poor, and to persecute them as they are being persecuted now by fines, because they will not do that which other people in the upper and middle class, aye, and Members of this House will not do, is alone enough to stamp the present system as an enormous evil. Is there not something touching in the report of a trial of a poor man for not having his child vaccinated? He was convicted of the offence, and these were his last words before he went to prison—"Lock me up, gentlemen, I will not pay; I swore on my dead child's body that I would not." And have we really come to such a condition of things in this free country of ours, that we can look with satisfaction or indifference on a man having to utter such a sentence as that in a British Court of Justice? Beyond this I say, under any circumstances, that this a matter of the highest impolicy. Granted all they believe, or say they believe, in regard to the necessity, and I say to treat the matter in this manner is a foolish course to pursue. What would be the politic course to pursue? To bring home to the house and everyone in the country what they are pleased to call pure lymph, and to permit everyone to chose between having this protection or not. Do you think, under these circumstances, if there were no compulsion and vaccination be an excellent thing, that the desire for it would not spread? Do you think that parents desire to see their children die? It is the most ridiculous thing in the world to talk of anti-vaccinators as a few fanatics. One would suppose it was a conspiracy of parents who desire that their children should die. It said that they are very few. I do not know how many there are; but there is this thing about their numbers—that wherever inquiry has arisen in any great town, or wherever it has been necessary or thought well to examine closely into the results of vaccination, those have been the places where the opponents of vaccination have sprung up. At this moment there is a person living at Farringdon, who has just suffered his 32nd prosecution, because he will not have that done to his child which he believes to be a danger and an injury. I saw the report of that trial, and he was condemned after, by cross-examination, he had elicited from the officer who prosecuted him that there was a child lying within a few hundred yards suffering, if not dying, from the effects of vaccination. I maintain, therefore, that even granted that all that the vaccinators believe and say is true, it is an unwise and a tyrannous system. But suppose there be doubts of the efficiency of the system—and there are grave doubts of its efficiency—my hon. Friend here (Dr. Cameron), who was kind enough to anticipate the arguments which he admitted I had not explained to him, said, amongst other things, that I was amongst those who were terrifying the world with the alleged results of vaccination. My hon. Friend is mistaken. I have nothing to do with the testimony for or against vaccination. I am not a medical man; neither the House nor anyone else would pay any attention to my opinion on the matter. Sir, I do not ask the hon. Gentleman to pay any attention to my opinion; but if there are facts and authorities which do go to show that vaccination is not the protection which it is generally believed to be—I pass no opinion whether it is or it is not —but I only say it is an explanation of the conduct of those who refuse to have their children vaccinated. If we look a little into the question of vaccination, as I have looked into it, and I have also read very much about it during the last two or three years, I am struck by the fact that if you ask about its efficacy you are met by two things. You are treated, in the first place, to doubtful tradition in the past; and, in the second place, you are not treated to the positive failures of the present. The broad statement everybody makes if you ask their opinion about it is, that there can be no question in the matter. Before vaccination was discovered, they say, this country and the world at large was desolated with the small-pox, and the few who survived had their faces fearfully seamed with the hideous marks of the disease. Now, this I have to say, in the first place—that there is remarkably little known about the statistics of small-pox in former times. It was not until the year 1837 that there was any authentic system of registration in this country. In the last century there were the most various kinds of story as regards the people being so dreadfully marked with the small-pox. I have plenty of friends who tell me, "I never see it now. In my youth everybody had it, and all their faces were hideously marked and seamed with small-pox." That proves a great deal too much. Compulsory vaccination can have nothing whatever to do with that, because that was only established comparatively in 1854, and absolutely in 1868. Therefore, amongst all persons in the country above 30 years of age there should be a due proportion of hideously-seamed and marked faces. But, if hon. Members have ever studied the history of the medical treatment of small-pox in the last century, they will be surprised that anyone who took it ever recovered, or, if they did recover, that they should have recovered without hideous marks. The infallible doctors of that day placed the unhappy patients in a hot room, with every door and window closed, with enormous fires made, with the clothes heaped upon them, which, in order to increase the effect, were coloured red, and they refused the patient any drop of cooling drink. That was what the infallible doctors, who want to enforce compulsory vaccination now, did in the last century. Now, I will make a general statement in regard to vaccination in the past, not based on any authority of my own, but taken from the evidence of Dr. Farr in reference to the dreadful and enormous fatality of smallpox in the last century. He says— "Small-pox attained its maximum mortality after inoculation was introduced." Inoculation, in the last century, was the pet of the infallible Profession. The annual deaths from small-pox from 1760 to 1779 were, on an average, 2,323. In the next 20 years—1780–1799—they declined to 1,740. The disease, therefore, began to grow less fatal before vaccination was discovered. It is the fact that after the beginning of the century the deaths from small-pox still decreased, although the vaccination of the people at that time was probably not 1 per cent, and could have had no influence whatever upon these rates of mortality. The vaccinating prophets of the present day, however, make the two conterminous, and declare that it was vaccination which produced the diminution at the beginning of the century. The fact is, the whole thing is absolutely a foregone conclusion. If there happens to be no epidemic, the vaccinators triumphantly say that they have stamped it out—as they say they have stamped it out in Ireland, in Sweden, and in Germany. But small-pox, like all other zymotic diseases, comes in epidemics. The population begin to die, and then the vaccinators fall back upon some excuse, always taking care that it is consistent with the fundamental assertion that vaccination stops the smallpox. Sometimes they have bad lymph; sometimes they have not enough marks ! Not enough marks! Jenner declared that one mark was as good as any other number; and, although I am no medical man, I presume that it matters not whether there is one mark or 20. If one is bitten by a cobra, one mark is as fatal as 20. If a person has had cow-pox, it matters very little how many marks there are. Yet, after all, there can be no doubt that people die from small-pox after they have been vaccinated. Why, then, the cry is, re-vaccinate them. If vaccination twice in life does not do, why, then, vaccinate early, and vaccinate always? Vaccinate once, at least, every seven years, we are told; and there was a gentleman who wrote to the papers, the other day, actually to recommend that persons should be vaccinated every three years! In fact, the unhappy man spends his life in a perpetual condition of cow-pox in order to escape the smallpox. One of the alleged reasons for the failure of vaccination as a protection is that bad lymph is used; and, in fact, my hon. Friend (Dr. Cameron) makes use of that very assertion as a reason for having new and fresh lymph from the cow. His words are—in a letter to The TimesThe recurrence, therefore, in the latest period of a mortality almost as high as that experienced prior to the Vaccination Act, shows either that the protective virtues of vaccination are mythical, or that there is something radically wrong in our national system of vaccination. But, on the other hand, another great authority, Dr. Stevens, speaking at the Medical Conference, said— He had seen more vaccinated children than any man, either alive or who had lived, and all his experience led him to the opinion that the arm-to-arm system practised in this country was as nearly perfect as a system could be made, and as efficacious as could be desired. But how, then, are all the deaths from vaccination to be accounted for? According to the Report of the Local Government Board, the deaths in London from small-pox in 1871 were 7,912, of whom 2,580 had been vaccinated. Well, then, where is your protection? In 1870, 1871, and 1872, again, the total deaths from small-pox were 44,840! Be it remembered that this was at a time when we were vaccinating up to the hilt, when 90, 95, and even 97 per cent of the people were vaccinated. All this time there was this sad increase in the deaths from small-pox in epidemic after epidemic. What is the answer to these figures, coupled with the fact that for years everybody has been vaccinated? Mr. Ernest Hart has just published a pamphlet, in which he says— The number of attacks of persons efficiently vaccinated and successfully re-vaccinated is extremely small. And the Local Government Board declares that— No case of small-pox has come within the cognizance of the medical superintendents of any person who has been efficiently vaccinated and successfully re-vaccinated. ["Hear, hear!"]Which is only another way of saying that if they have the small-pox vaccination has not been satisfactorily or efficiently done, and that really is the only test these medical men vouchsafe to us. I was astonished to hear my hon. Friend just now speak as if the value of vaccination was beyond all question and doubt, and had been proved to be an almost absolute protection against small-pox. Why, my hon. Friend himself, in the letter I have just quoted, said— The recurrence, therefore, in the latest period of a mortality almost as high as that experienced prior to the Vaccination Act, shows either that the protective virtues of vaccination are mythical, or that there is something radically wrong in our national system of vaccination. Just so. My hon. Friend, like all the rest of the world, cannot believe that vaccination is a myth, and so he takes us as a remedy to lymph, fresh and pure from the cow. Dr. Seaton, the medical officer of the Local Government Board, in precisely the same spirit of assuming that vaccination is an absolute protection, and then making all the facts bend to his theory, deals in the same way with the late tremendous epidemic in which upwards of 44,000 people lost their lives. What did he say of it? Was he shaken by it from his faith? Not the least. All he said was— Except for vaccination this epidemic would presumably have caused such frightful and demoralizing mortality as the worst pestilences of past centuries. If the House will permit me, I will tell them a little anecdote exactly characteristic of this kind of argument. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who is a very warm advocate of vaccination, and he assumed a little superiority over me because he had himself had small-pox. But I said—"Well, how came it you had not been vaccinated." "Oh," he replied, "I had been vaccinated, and so I had it very slightly. I should have had it very badly if I had not been." Presently he said —"You remember so-and-so. Well, he had small-pox frightfully. They thought he must have died." "Good Heavens," I said, "why had not he been vaccinated?" Well, he said, he had been vaccinated, and he must have died but for that. Mr. James Ashbury, a late Member of this House, and who represented me, in fact, for I was one of his constituents at Brighton, told his constituents that such was his faith in vaccination that he had already been vaccinated twice, and meant to be punctured again. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for East Surrey (Mr. Grantham) also told his constituents that he was a living illustration of the benefits of vaccination because, having been vaccinated, he took the small-pox afterwards and did not die. So much for the certainty of the protection afforded by vaccination from smallpox. But now, supposing that vaccination instead of being a protection actually inoculates with small-pox. If there be any theory at all in connection with vaccination—I take it to be that small-pox and cow-pox are diseases of a similar type, and that if a man takes the milder disease of the same type it will protect him at slight inconvenience from the more dangerous form of the disease. Therefore, when the theory of the bad lymph began to be prevalent it was thought desirable that fresh lymph should be obtained and prepared from a cow inoculated with small-pox. Accordingly, Mr. Badcock inoculated cows with small-pox, vaccinated more than 14,000 persons from the lymph so obtained, and had supplied more than 400 doctors. He says— I had by careful and repeated experiments produced, by the inoculation of the cow with small-pox, a benign lymph of a non-infectious and highly protective character. A benign lymph! One is inclined to rush off and be vaccinated on the spot— The experiments, of which this was the result, were conducted by me during 18 years with extreme care at a great sacrifice of time and money, and with important results. My lymph has now been in use at Brighton for 40 years, and is at the present time the principal stock of lymph employed there, being that exclusively used by the public vaccinators. Well now, what does my hon. Friend say to Mr. Badcock, and his spreading throughout the country this benign lymph? What he says is this. With unwonted severity he writes to The TimesNow what I want to know is what has become of this lymph? My reason for asking the question is that more recent and searching experiment has demonstrated that it is not vaccine lymph at all, but small-pox lymph capable of being inoculated apparently with greater safety to the individual than ordinary small-pox, but, like the mildest inoculated small-pox, capable of propagating that disease in its most virulent form by infection. The members of the Galway Board of Guardians were so much impressed with this "benign lymph," that they suggested that a calf should be inoculated in this way, and a member of the Board offered a calf for that purpose. But the Local Government Board of Dublin interposed, and wrote— Small-pox virus, taken from a calf, would communicate that disease to a human subject, and be thereby a fertile source of propagating the disease, and would further render the operator liable to prosecution. Vaccination performed with lymph taken from a cow which had been vaccinated with human lymph is not reliable. But for this flood of light thrown in upon this in reference to this matter, I should have been much astonished by a letter I received from a friend of mine, and a correspondent of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister—Mr. Lewis, of Ipswich—who writes— I have made many inquiries in various parts of England, and I have invariably found that whether town or village, when the small-pox commenced it began with a vaccinated person. This was so in Ipswich, Coddenham, Preston, Liverpool, Stockport, &c. At Chatham it began with the re-vaccinated soldiers. Yet the Medical Profession have been compelling people to use this stuff all this time. I must say it shows in my hon. Friend that quality which we are told insures success—"de Vaudace et toujours de Vaudace" —that he does not hesitate to come down here and call upon the House of Commons to renew this system. But what if vaccination produces in the human frame other diseases than those incidental to vaccination or smallpox? Why, Sir, it is an absolute and undeniable fact, known to every medical man in Europe at this time, that it has communicated the most frightful diseases. I was astonished to hear my hon. Friend refer to those 500 answers declaring it impossible, because it is no great credit to the Medical Profession, and shows that they are apt to follow where they are led, like a flock of sheep. Ten years ago, the Medical Profession was pledged to the lips to the belief that syphilis could not be communicated by vaccination. All these 500 men pledged themselves to the truth of this assertion, and probably these very men, now that this grievous mistake has been exposed, feel nothing abashed in asking this House still to uphold compulsory vaccination. Sir Thomas Watson, indeed, distinctly advises a return to calf lymph, in order to avoid this "ghastly" risk of infection from arm-to-arm vaccination, adding that compelled vaccination should in all cases be from the calf alone,; while Dr. Wilson, Officer of Health to the Alton Union, in a recent number of The Lancet, says— It is useless to deny that vaccination by human lymph involves danger of scrofulous, syphilitic, and erysipelatous inoculation. The difficulty of securing with absolute certitude subjects for furnishing vaccine lymph free from constitutional taint is simply insuperable, as few—rather I would say no scientific physiologist, no thoughtful medical practitioners of widespread experience, contest. My hon. Friend has quoted Dr. Ballard, who is a very high authority on this subject. Well, I will quote him too. In his prize essay on vaccination, published in 1868, he closes his comments on the series of vaccine syphilizations, known as the Rivalta series, which occurred in May and June, 1861, with these words— Among the 39 infected from Chiabrera was Louisa Manzone (the second vaccinifier of the series). She was aged six months. On the tenth day, again, she was used for the vaccination of 17 other children, of whom seven became affected with syphilis, suffering in the same manner as the 30 infected from Chiabrera. Two months afterwards she was taken to Acque, and seen by Dr. Sylventi, who recognized upon her a syphilitic eruption, with mucous tubercles about the arms and vulva, mucous patches on the commissures of the lips, and indolent glandular enlargements, the primary affection at the seat of the vesicles not even being healed. The child died in September. The nurse who suckled her got ulcers on the breast, and from the various other children who were syphilized, the disease spread by contagion to 18 mothers and nurses and to three other children. This is only one of several similar outbreaks quoted by Dr. Ballard, and this was all kept a secret! Not a word of it was known for six years. I am not going to assert that vaccination can, or does, endanger the health of the infant population by introducing various other diseases; but this I will say—that it is, at any rate, a fact that, contemporaneously with the increase of vaccination, these diseases have greatly increased among the infant population. Many years ago, M. Ricard, the famous French surgeon, said— The obvious fact is that, if ever the transmission of disease with vaccine lymph is clearly demonstrated, vaccination must be altogether discontinued. I do not venture to go so far as that; but I do say that it is a disgrace to attempt, in face of these facts, to continue compulsory vaccination. But what do the Medical Profession themselves say to all this? The Medical Profession in this country are, I am convinced, much less universally favourable to vaccination than would appear upon the surface. I can tell the House that there are many medical men who are at least very doubtful about it, but who do not care to imperil their popularity, and to incur odium by venturing to say anything against it. I am not going to measure heads against heads all over the world. It is enough to know that there is a considerable portion of them who think it both useless and dangerous. If I can show that, I say that compulsory vaccination is an iniquity. I will give the House just the views shortly of four or five doctors in different countries. The late Dr. Schiefferdecker, of New York, in a monograph which he prepared upon the subject, came to certain conclusions in which Dr. William H. Weaber perfectly coincides. Those results were— 1. That it is not true that vaccination is a preventive of small-pox. 2. That cow-pox virus is as decided a poison as that taken from the small-pox patient. 3. That vaccination propagates a variety of other diseases more fatal than small-pox—such as scarlet fever, croup, typhoid fever, scrofula, consumption, syphilis, cancer, tuberculous formations, diphtheria, &c. The well-known Herr Kolb, of Munich, says that— In well-vaccinated Bavaria, famous for compulsion, in 1871, out of 30,742 cases, 29,429 were supplied by the vaccinated. I will quote one Englishman who was examined before the Committee on which I sat in 1871. Dr. Collins, M.D., Has ceased to vaccinate 10 or 12 years. Had known persons who had been vaccinated and re-vaccinated suffer dreadfully from smallpox, two of whom died of the most hideous confluent form, after successful vaccination and re-vaccination; one of them three times vaccinated. Has vaccinated thousands, but at last abandoned the practice, and gave up at least £500 a-year by so doing. Has found that cow-poxing weakened the powers of vitality and often proved fatal. Now, Sir, there is nothing more difficult than to test positively and absolutely the effects of vaccination. You can never get 1,000 children under the same con- ditions and of the same constitution, half of whom are vaccinated and half are not, and see what becomes of them. To a great extent it is a matter of indefinite deduction and unsatisfactory conclusion. The most satisfactory experiment that has ever come under my observation is the one I am about to quote. The Austrian system of railways is all under one management, and is all under one great medical head. Dr. Leander Joseph Keller is that head, and when there was the last epidemic in 1871–2–3, he very carefully watched and analyzed the effect of small-pox on those who had been vaccinated, and those who had not. The total number of persons to be reckoned with is from 55,000 to 60,000. The railway employs about 37,000 officials, servants, and workmen; and these, with the wives and children and the pensioners, give a sufficient number to form an average upon. In these two years there were 2,677 cases of small-pox; 2,158 recovered, and 469 died. This is the table of the ratio in which they died—

Vaccinated. Unvaccinated.
In the first year of life 57.14 43.78
From 1 to 2 years 6205 38.96
2 to 3 years 34.15 17.86
3 to 4 years 21.88 16.88
4 to 5 years 23.64 13.70
7 to 10 years 19.23 7.76
In every case the table is, therefore, altogether in favour of those who have not been vaccinated. In after years, when, of course, very few died, rather more died of those who had been un-vaccinated than not. That table alone is a fact which is sufficient to raise a doubt, if not a certainty, as to the abomination of compulsory vaccination. Now, my hon. Friend wants a new starting-point, and wishes to have animal lymph. He talks of taking the lymph fresh from the cow. But I entirely object, in regard to the principle of the right of personal liberty, and in the name of thousands and tens of thousands of Englishmen whom I represent on this occasion, and who are suffering under this tyranny—I protest against a new compulsion being forced upon us. My hon. Friend has talked like other ardent vaccinators about pure lymph; but he has never told us what pure lymph is. The natural thing, the inoculation of a cow with small-pox, he absolutely objects to. What will he say when I assert—and it is maintained by good authority—that there is no such thing known as spontaneous cow-pox in the cow. It is absolutely certain that Jenner said, and always believed, that cows were inoculated from a diseased horse. But spontaneous cow-pox ! There is no such thing. Did he see a letter from the Paris Correspondent of The Daily News the other day? There are sometimes little bits of news coming in from foreign sources which we should never get if the things occurred at home. In The Daily News for May 25 there is this paragraph— In The Voltaire a Dr. Bremond takes credit for being the first to announce that there is now in Paris a diseased horse from whose leg may he taken pus as efficacious for vaccinatory purposes as the lymph habitually used. This discovery is a mare's nest. No scientific fact is more certain than that Jenner's cows who accidentally vaccinated milk-maids themselves caught a disease from rugged horse-boys' hands after they had stroked down greasy-heeled horses. There is not to be found in the whole world a cow with natural cow-pox. "Where, then, is this pure lymph to be got? Not from the small-pox, not from natural cow-pox, for there is no such thing known. If my hon. Friend asks any veterinary surgeon he will tell him so. It is obtained where it is obtained now in Paris and in Bavaria, where there is so much talk now of re-vaccination and pure lymph. The owners of heifers in Paris who make a rich harvest by advertising vaccination direct from the cow, blink the fact that their beasts are all vaccinated from the more or less wholesome arms of children.


Will the hon. Gentleman allow me to say that there are an immense number of eases, thoroughly well authenticated, of spontaneous cow-pox recorded in, amongst other publications, the Manual of "Vaccination."


Well, I will refer my hon. Friend, upon that point, to his great prophet, Dr. Jenner, who distinctly asserts in his "Inquiry," that the "pustulous sores which frequently appear spontaneously on the nipples of cows" are different in nature "from that contagion which constitutes true cow-pox." Well, now, what does The Lancet say in respect to the safety of animal lymph? Writing on June 22, 1878, it says— The notion that animal lymph would be free from chances of syphilitic contamination is so fallacious that we are surprised to see Dr. Martin, of Boston, U.S."—the great advocate of calf lymph—"reproduce it. And Dr. Seaton, who is a great authority, what does he say of my hon. Friend's specific?— The difficulties of applying such a plan to the vaccination of the general population are, I apprehend, quite insuperable. He says of its results, also— So far from being likely to produce fewer ailments and cutaneous eruptions in the predisposed, Mr. Ceely—and there is no one who has nearly the knowledge that he possesses of the disease in the cow, and of its transplantation to the human species—says he knows from his experience that it would produce more. But, let us come from theory to practice. Here is an abstract of the Petition of Dr. German to the Diet of the German Empire. He says— Above all, the dire fatality which lately occurred at Lebus, a suburb of Frank fort-on-the-Oder, would alone warrant the abolition of the vaccination laws. Eighteen school girls, averaging 12 years of age, were re-vaccinated, and thereby syphilised, and some of them died.… Yet the lymph, the syphilitic lymph, used in this case was obtained from the Official Royal Establishment for the new 'regenerated' or 'annualized' vaccine lymph so warmly recommended for the re-vaccination of schools. I will trouble the House with but one more extract. The Gazette d'Italia (21 May, 1879) describes a sad occurrence in Castiglione d'Orcia, in the Province of Siena— A vaccination committee, established by the prefecture in Home, sent to the above-named parish virus for the impending vaccination on April 26. Some well-known physicians undertook the vaccination of 38 children. After the time of inoculation it was discovered that in all those houses a terrible poison had been disseminated, and had caused most sad results in the shape of pustules and ulcers upon the bodies of the children. After a few days the granddaughter of the Syndic, Irma Petessi, fell a sacrifice to the disease thus caused by vaccination. The physicians immediately carried their report to the magistrates; on the 11th inst. the tribunal of Montepulciano ordered an inquiry to be instituted, as also an examination of the body of the dead child. It was found that of the 38 vaccinated, 29 were infected similarly. It is supposed that the cow was diseased from which the virus was obtained. Now, Sir, I protest against the House passing a compulsory law that children, willy-nilly, are to be vaccinated from cows, wholesome or diseased as the case may be; and I somewhat confidently assert that after the facts and statements I have brought forward, I have come to a very mild conclusion in the Amendment that I have now to propose, the purport of which is— That, in the present unsettled condition of medical opinion in regard to the safety of using ordinary humanised lymph, as also of the safety, effectiveness, and practicability of the use of animal vaccine, it is in the opinion of this House inexpedient and unjust to enforce vaccination under penalties upon those who regard it as un-advisahle or dangerous. I say, Sir, that this is a mild conclusion, and that I might have gone much further, and have asked the House to affirm that compulsory vaccination is a disgrace to our jurisprudence and a shameful intrusion upon the rights of personal liberty.


expressed his entire agreement with his hon. Friend who had just spoken. He condemned the prosecutions which had been carried on in the name of the law, and of the supposed interests of society. In some cases fathers had been sent to prison, in others fines had been imposed which were discreditable to those who administered the law. In 1873 a Committee sat upon this matter owing to the growing dissatisfaction that was felt, and the whole 17 Members of the Committee were unanimous in recommending that only fines of a moderate amount should be imposed. A Bill embodying that principle passed through the House, and went up to the other House the day before the Dissolution, where 16 or 17 noble Peers, by 8 votes to 8, or 9 to 8, decided against what the House of Commons thought best in the interests of the people. Almost every year since they had besought the Legislature to take away this grinding oppression; but nothing had been done. When they adopted compulsory laws in a matter of this kind they were adopting a dangerous expedient, and they ought to be more than ordinarily sure before committing themselves to a policy of compulsion. What was it they were doing? They took from the arm of a human being a drop of foul matter, and inserted into the veins of delicate infants. If they went into the history of that matter they could trace it back in foulness over a length of 70 years, for the great bulk of it dated from the time of Jenner himself, and it had been fermenting and gathering and festering in arm after arm —it was this they recommended as a prophylactic against small-pox. In former times this disease caused great harm; so did sweating sickness; so did the plague; so did the hundred and one diseases generated by filth; and so did this disease, which was generated by filth. He believed the time would come when people would be astonished that the civilized people of Europe ever rested their faith in such a nostrum as vaccination. In Germany, where the soldiers were vaccinated every three years, there had recently been a virulent epidemic of small-pox, from which it might be reasonably inferred that the protective value of vaccination was very slight. He held that it was monstrous to go on compelling people by severe penalties to vaccinate their children, when they believed that by so doing they were subjecting them to the risk of incurring serious disease.


thought that any improvement which might be suggested to make vaccination more efficient must be a distinct gain to humanity; and he considered the proposal of his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) was one of great value, because it swept away what he considered to be the only valid possible argument against vaccination. If it was to be compulsory they must furnish the best possible means, and the proposal of his hon. Friend would give them a constant supply of lymph. It had proved in every way successful on the Continent, in India, and in America. It might be well, he thought, that national vaccine stations should send out only calf lymph. Compulsory vaccination had greatly lessened the number of deaths from small-pox. The hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. P. A. Taylor) mentioned a case in which glanders was supposed to have been engendered in the human subject from one kind of vaccination; but, as his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow pointed out, this was entirely due to the way in which the vaccination matter was communicated. During the prevalence of an epidemic of small-pox very few of the cases admitted to the London hospitals were those of persons who had been efficiently vaccinated—that was to say, who carried three or four perfect vaccine vesicles on their arms; while in no case had a nurse who had been efficiently vaccinated and re-vaccinated been affected by the disease in the discharge of her duties. Although certain names had been brought forward relative to the question, he contended that they were not the names of those who carried any authority in the Medical Profession, and if it were necessary he could quote against them the names of the most illustrious and eminent men in this and other countries; but he had said enough to show that men of eminence in the Medical Profession were divided upon the merits or demerits of vaccination direct from animal lymph.


said, he thought that those who had listened to the four speakers who had addressed the House on that subject would agree with him that that was a question on which the House was not likely to come to a satisfactory conclusion. The House was, in fact, not a tribunal fitted to judge between the opposite views which had been advanced that night in reference to the value and efficacy of vaccination as a prophylactic against small-pox. No arguments which could be adduced in a debate would be able to convince those people who believed that their children had suffered from the old and imperfect method of vaccination which had hitherto been in use. He had himself placed on the Notice Paper an Amendment in favour of the institution of an inquiry into the whole subject by a Royal Commission; and since he had done so he had received numerous letters from various parts of the country, all complaining of the vexatious and oppressive way in which prosecutions were carried on against the writers under the Vaccination Act. The result had been that an antagonism to vaccination had sprung up in the country, the extent of which he thought the House was scarcely aware of. Between November, 1876, and March, 1880, in the course of little more than three years, no less than 84 persons had been repeatedly summoned for non-compliance with the law. Of those, 49 had been fined, some of them, he believed, as many as 10 times. These prosecutions had occurred in almost every part of the country. This was a question for inquiry. If he were told there was an inquiry in 1871, and that the inquiry resulted in the law under which they now lived, his answer would be that the law was the result of a very narrow majority in the House of Lords; and, further, that fresh evidence—or what was presumed to be evidence—had accumulated since that time, which, if it had been known, would probably have prevented the passing of such a law. An inquiry was made in 1876 into an epidemic which occurred in a village' near Gainsborough. The epidemic was not small-pox, but erysipelas, confined in a great measure to infants who had been vaccinated. That inquiry also showed that the medical officers performed their functions very carelessly, and that erysipelas was more easily caught by children who had been vaccinated than by others. He appealed to the Prime Minister, who said his mind was open on this question to grant an inquiry.


said, two distinct issues had been raised by this question. One was that raised by the hon. Member for Glasgow, by which the Government were called upon to provide means by which animal vaccination could be taken advantage of by anybody who desired to do so. The other issue was that which had been raised with regard to the justice of the compulsory nature of the present vaccination laws. The hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. P. A. Taylor) had asked for a total abolition of those laws, and the hon. Member who had just sat down asked for an inquiry into their operation. Whatever answer Her Majesty's Government might make to this point, the distinct question which the hon. Member for Glasgow had raised, and which he (Earl Percy) had an opportunity of raising some years ago in that House, but with very little effect, would, he hoped, receive a definite answer from Her Majesty's Government. With regard to the question of compulsory vaccination, he did not wish to detain the House by repeating the answer that might fairly be given to the hon. Member for Leicester. The hon. Member for Glasgow asked simply that an opportunity of taking advantage of animal vaccination should be given to the people. He had pointed out, probably to the satisfaction of the House, that very little expense would be thrown upon the country in consequence. Since he (Earl Percy) had had an opportunity of bringing this question before the House, inquiries outside that House had pretty well proved, and further experience had shown, that this system would be attended with very great advantages. He must ask the House not to be misled by some of the observations of the hon. Member for Leicester. There could be no doubt that cow-pox was a disease which had a distinct origin of its own; but when the hon. Member spoke of the doctors in Paris inoculating from human sources he went very much beyond the mark. The proposition of the hon. Member for Glasgow was that the Government should keep a sufficient number of live animals to enable cow-pox to be taken from them and used directly on the human subject. The hon. Member for Leicester had referred to the authority of Dr. Seton. He was aware that he was a great authority on this matter; but it should not be overlooked that he was one of the strongest advocates for compulsory vaccination that had ever existed in this country. It was true that he was an opponent of animal vaccination. But his opinion had been controverted. There was proof that animal vaccination, if adopted, would be largely taken up by people who now objected to compulsory vaccination. It was a very great objection to vaccination in the minds of many people that they had to be vaccinated from another human subject. If they were given the alternative of animal vaccination, he thought that much of the objection to compulsory vaccination would disappear. Many persons were now under the impression most conscientiously that by having their children vaccinated they were running the risk of injuring them; and he felt sure that if this system of vaccination were sanctioned it would be a very great boon to the country. He trusted that Her Majesty's Government would give favourable consideration to the proposal.


said, that he always listened to observations of hon. Members on both sides of the House on the subject of vaccination with the greatest deference. Everyone must admit that the prima facie case was against vaccination, for nothing could be more startling than that civilized men should take disease from the lower animals and introduce it to their own offspring, and it could only be from evidence—the evidence of accumulated experience — that such a course could be justified as a precautionary measure. When his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Stockport (Mr. Hopwood) spoke upon this subject, he wished that he could take him back to the commencement of the century—to a time when small-pox was a worse scourge than any of the wars in which this country had ever been engaged. He wished he could take him back to a time when not merely the lives, but the faculties and the eye-sight of our population were extinguished by the ravages of this terrible disease. He should also like to bring to the hon. and learned Member's notice the eminent men who had devoted their time and the labour of years to the investigation of this question; and he thought that even the hon. and learned Member would then be inclined to approach the matter, not in the spirit which had animated his address, and far less in the spirit that had shown itself in the speech of the hon. Member for Leicester. The jocularity in which the hon. Member for Leicester indulged grated very much upon his feelings; and when he told them of various events which he said had occurred, and cases which he mentioned, it gave him a painful feeling to hear the laughter which he created by his relation of the ravages of so terrible a disease. The object of the hon. Member seemed to him to be to make a comic address in that House, and to pour ridicule upon the whole question of vaccination. If that were not his object, he could only say that he had failed very much, because the attention which he received was constantly mingled with the laughter of those who thought that his jokes were really arguments. What were the facts with regard to this matter? At the commencement of this century, and at the close of the last, small-pox was the scourge of Europe. In this country numbers of persons died, and everyone, from the highest to the lowest, was liable to it. Besides the large number destroyed by the disease, there remained a number of others who recovered with their senses or their eye-sight impaired, and with their persons disfigured. Dr. Jenner ascertained that in particular districts persons were not liable to the small-pox, and by a series of careful investigations, he ascertained that the im- munity existed amongst those who were in the habit of milking cows. He found that those cows had vaccine pustules, and that those pustules were reproduced on the hands of the milkers who attended the cows. In the districts in which that took place, he discovered that the small-pox was almost unknown. Dr. Jenner devoted his life to the investigation of this phenomenon, and he ultimately persuaded Parliament to arrive at the determination that vaccination should be encouraged in this country. What were the facts that the hon. Member for Leicester and that the hon. and learned Member for Stockport had ad-duced against the conclusion of Dr. Jenner, and how did they show that small-pox, even though it had diminished, had not done so by reason of vaccination? The advocates of vaccination, on the other hand, maintained that small-pox diminished just in proportion as vaccination was perfected. If there were cases in which small-pox had occurred after vaccination, then they said those were instances of failures in the manner in which vaccination had been carried out. From the tone in which his hon. Friend had indulged, it might be thought that there was some malignity on the part of the Medical Profession in endeavouring to induce human beings to be vaccinated. He could assure them that the only wish of the Medical Profession was to do away with and diminish the effects of a terrible disease. Would his hon. Friends point out to him any medical man of eminence, upon a subject which had engaged the attention of the Medical Profession either in this country or in the world, who was an anti-vaccinator? They might bring many persons of half-knowledge in this country or from America, who might have been dubbed doctors and might have the right to append M.D. to their names, who were opposed to vaccination; but they were not gentlemen who were distinguished in the Medical Profession. When he named in that Metropolis men like Sir Thomas Watson, who had devoted the declining years of his life to enforcing the arguments for vaccination, he thought that was of much more weight than the names of the obscurities who were quoted on the other side. What could be the object of men like his eminent friend, except to confer what he considered the greatest possible benefit upon the people of this country? He had investigated this subject through a long series of years, and the result of his experience was in favour of vaccination. Of course, no one could say that any person was absolutely right, or that another was absolutely wrong, upon a particular subject of the kind; but they must take probabilities. No one could say with absolute certainty that a person who had been vaccinated would be absolutely free from small-pox, because it would happen that the vaccine lymph might not have taken effect; but he believed that the greater part of the cases in which vaccination failed were due to carelessness on the part of the mothers of the children. But there was one great fact which ought to have a great effect with that House and the country with regard to vaccination. It was known that in the small-pox hospital no case had occurred of small-pox amongst nurses in which it was not shown that that person had been imperfectly vaccinated. The reason for that was that when nurses entered the small-pox hospitals, unless they could show by marks upon their arms that they had been perfectly vaccinated, they were vaccinated over again, and it was found from that time they were free from disease. Even in the cases in which some persons might have taken small-pox, it was proved that it was much less violent amongst those who had been vaccinated. He would not detain the House further upon this matter, for he entertained the opinion that a mixed Assembly like the House of Commons was not the proper tribunal for discussing this question. When they discussed a question of law they listened to what the lawyers told them, and very few Members of the House interfered in legal discussions. He had no wish to prevent or to interfere with discussions of that kind; but he must say he did not think that the hon. Member for Glasgow had been well advised in bringing forward his annual Motion. The question of vaccination direct from the calf was one still vexed in medical circles. If it were desirable that the public should be supplied with vaccine matter direct from the calf, then it appeared to him that was a matter that could be regulated by the Medical Department of the Privy Council. He therefore thought that his hon. Friend had been led away by his zeal and per- suasion of the truth of his propositions to adopt a course which was exceedingly imprudent in the interests of vaccination itself.


said, his hon. Friend did not seem to apprehend the point he advocated. He only proposed that the Government should do what it had already power to do.


said, his hon. Friend must be aware that the question of animal vaccination was one very much disputed amongst medical men. He did not think that his hon. Friend did any good service to the cause of vaccination by constantly raising this discussion in the House of Commons, because they were liable to be exposed to the stories that had been told them by the hon. Member for Leicester, who had described to them one of the most distressing forms of a disgraceful disease which was well known to medical men, and had ascribed that to vaccination. His hon. Friend had, no doubt, stated with perfect conviction of the truth that that particular disease, with all the disgusting details which he described, had been produced by vaccination.


said, he mentioned that there was the authority of a physician for the statement.


admitted that his hon. Friend alleged that he made the statement not on his own authority, which would have been valueless, but on that of a medical man of eminence. He did not wish, however, to enter into the details of the matter; but persons must be aware that vaccination was performed by the introduction of vaccine lymph first from the calf into man, and then from man into his fellow man. If vaccination were carelessly performed, blood might be transferred from one human being to another, and that blood might contain the germs of a disease such as that described by the hon. Member. It was quite possible that, by careless vaccination, a great evil might be brought upon a particular individual; but that was no argument for doing away with vaccination, which had proved of such vast benefit to the whole civilized and uncivilized world, but was really an argument for taking care that vaccination should be properly performed. That was why he thought that successive Governments were to be blamed for the stingy manner in which they had con- ducted the vaccination establishments in Ireland. These establishments had been entirely neglected. Hon. Members might think that this was an Irish grievance; but he thought it was a question which concerned the whole country, and that it was necessary that the greatest precaution should be taken with regard to the purity of vaccination, and that there should be a constant supervision of the vaccinators in all parts of the Kingdom. This subject had been brought forward over and over again, and they had never been able to obtain redress. It must be remembered that, in compelling persons to have their children vaccinated, they were taking the only course which would insure protection to all. Were a child unvaccinated to take the small-pox he might propagate the disease and destroy the lives of large numbers of human beings. It was exactly the same principle upon which they prevented persons polluting streams from which human beings drank. They might say that it was hard to prevent the house higher up the stream draining its refuse into it, notwithstanding that the stream was thereby polluted, for the inmates of the house lower down who had to drink from it. It was necessary for the individual to sacrifice his own liberty in order to protect the community in cases where investigation had proved that it was desirable for the good of the whole body, as well as for the individual, that such a course should be followed, and that was the sole ground upon which vaccination could be justified. Believing firmly that vaccination had been on the whole an unmixed good for the human race, and that if the law of compulsory vaccination were relaxed they would have recurrence to the outbreaks of small-pox such as took place formerly, he was opposed to any alteration in the law, or even further inquiry into the subject. Inquiries were constantly going on into the subject of vaccination by medical societies and by professional gentlemen, and their knowledge of small-pox and its best preventatives was continually being increased. He believed that there was no class of men more anxious to arrive at the truth and the knowledge of what was best for the community than the Medical Profession. Under the circumstances be thought that they would do no harm in leaving further investigation of the subject in their hands.


said, that of course it happened, in debates of this kind, that objections to the existing system were brought prominently forward, and that they were rather hard upon all the defects in a system. He did not complain of that, for it was only natural that an established system should be put upon its trial, and all sorts of objections brought forward against it. Anybody who had heard this debate must perceive that vaccination had been exposed to attacks for a very considerable time. It might, however, be said that the detractors of the system had set themselves to work to demolish each other. The hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. P. A. Taylor), in his very able and amusing speech, had quoted Sir Robert Peel against the system of compulsory vaccination. That speech was made a good many years ago, and, doubtless, Sir Robert Peel was then opposed to compulsory vaccination; but it did not at all follow that he would have been opposed to it at the present time. He was disposed to agree with the hon. Member for Leicester, to the extent of being an opponent to compulsion on the individual in general. He thought that a most overwhelming case must be made out in the interests of the public why compulsion should be adopted before such a thing could be sanctioned. Having listened very carefully to this debate, he did not think that the opponents of the present system of compulsory vaccination had made out such a case against it as would justify the House in overthrowing the present system, as the hon. Member for Leicester proposed to do. The hon. Member for Leicester had made a sharp attack upon the Medical Profession, and had said that they must do evil for the sake of maintaining their professional theories. All he could say was, that if medical men, or any great number of them, had set themselves to conceal the defects of vaccination, for the sake of upholding their theories, the sooner they abolished not only vaccination, but the Medical Profession, the better.


said, he had only pointed out that there was a tendency on the part of the Profession to subordinate the facts to their theories, and he had illustrated that by reference to the cases of medical men.


said, that if he had exaggerated the position of the hon. Member he must pardon him for doing so. The hon. Member had spoken of the law of compulsion as if it applied to only one class of the community, whereas, in point of fact, it was the same for every class. Every person, whatever his rank in life, was subject to the same laws and the same penalties as affected the humblest individuals in the community. He had also quoted statistics as to the inefficiency of vaccination, and as to the direct evils which it produced. The hon. Member had further shown them that, in a certain community of men, so many vaccinated persons had recovered from the smallpox, and so many unvaccinated persons had recovered; but he did not gather that the hon. Member had informed them what number of the total body of men in the community were vaccinated and what number were unvaccinated. It was obvious that if the number of vaccinated was larger than the number unvaccinated, it might well be that a larger number of the vaccinated would suffer from small-pox; and yet that would not prove that the proportion of vaccinated which escaped was not larger than the proportion of unvaccinated which escaped.


said, that his statement was with regard to the proportion of the deaths of those vaccinated and those unvaccinated.


said, that the hon. Member had not told them whether the number of persons vaccinated was larger than the number of persons unvaccinated. Furthermore, the opinion of a certain number of medical men had been quoted against that of the general body of the Profession. He was not prepared to enter into a comparison of the merits of those gentlemen whose opinions had been quoted; other speakers were much better qualified to give an opinion on that subject than he was. But he thought it was the fact that those gentlemen were most eminent in their Profession. The hon. Member had also given them some statistics. Well, it was very easy to quote statistics one way or the other. The hon. Member referred to the epidemic in London two years ago, and quoted statistics to show that vaccination was inefficient as a protection against small- pox. Now, he held in his hand a statement by Dr. Seiveking, who said that this epidemic, alarming as it had been, did not approach the annual small-pox mortality in this Kingdom at a time when vaccination was unknown. He showed that by comparison with the annual average small-pox death rate of that period. He stated that before vaccination was known the annual average mortality from small-pox was 3,000 per 1,000,000 of the population; whereas during the very exceptional period of the recent epidemic the mortality was only 928 per 1,000,000. The annual average mortality at the present time was very much below that. There was a Committee of Inquiry upon the subject in 1871, and certainly the anti-vaccination party then obtained a full hearing. What was the conclusion come to by that Committee, which was presided over by his right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster)? They said— If vaccination be not an absolute, it certainly is a great protection against small-pox, and it is almost an absolute protection against death from that disease. If the operation be properly performed it does not affect the health of the subject, provided care be taken in obtaining healthy lymph. Small-pox is kept in check by vaccination. It is one of the most terrible, destructive diseases as regards the large proportion of deaths, and the permanent injury to those that survive. Therefore, it is the duty of the State to endeavour to secure the careful vaccination of the whole population. He must say that it seemed to him that the utmost the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. P. A. Taylor) proved in his speech was that bad or careless vaccination might do harm. He did not think that his speech showed that when properly performed it necessarily resulted in harm to the patient or was conducive to harm. He would then refer to the speech of the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) who had moved the Resolution. That hon. Gentleman had again brought forward his arguments in favour of that opinion to which he so strongly holds—namely, vaccination from animal lymph. He did not quite know whether the hon. Member wished that the Vaccination Department of the State should supply lymph to all comers — both animal and humanized lymph—for the vaccination of individuals generally throughout the country, or whether he would be content if the Vaccination De- partment should hold large quantities of both kinds, and supply stock to medical men and practitioners generally with which they vaccinate.


said, that the latter statement of the right hon Gentleman was what he wished to advocate.


said, he was glad to hear the view taken by the hon. Member; but he wished to observe that there some 9,000 or 10,000 medical men to whom the lymph must be served out, and it would necessitate an enormous supply of both kinds procurable.


said, that the stock in the case of animal lymph would be merely sent out to the particular station where required.


said, that Parliament for some time past had not been giving attention to the question of vaccination with animal lymph. Certain objections had been taken to that mode of vaccination. It was said that it was less certain to take and more likely to produce irritation, and that the fact of keeping a stock would lead to vaccination that was feeble, and of a less permanent character. He believed that more recent experience had removed, to some extent, at least, if not fully, some of those objections, and the merits of humanized lymph were not increased. He had no wish, on the part of the Department, to appear in any way opposed to any experiments or practice which could be conducted properly, and would probably conduce to the health of the community. Therefore, he was prepared to say on behalf of that Department that they would make arrangements by which animal lymph might be supplied as stock as well as humanized lymph, and that it would be sent to medical practitioners when they desired. But they must proceed with the greatest caution, taking care of established cow-pox. They must take care to proceed, in fact, upon the best possible basis. As regarded the criticism made upon the departmental supply of humanized lymph, he could assure the House that the utmost care was exercised to supply only the purest lymph that could be obtained from experienced vaccinators. It was examined microscopically in order to ascertain that there was no blood mixed with it, the blood in lymph being that which, if anything, was calculated to introduce terrible diseases into the system. The supply of lymph was regularly recorded, and the destination was also known, so that in ease any irregularity arose the case could be investigated carefully, and the source of the lymph ascertained. He was not prepared to agree in toto with any of the propositions on the Paper. With regard to that one of the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron), where he said— That as cow-pox lymph direct from the calf, commonly known as animal vaccine, is of at least equal value as a prophylactic against small-pox with the ordinary humanized lymph,"— he (Mr. Dodson) was not prepared, as at present advised, to accept the assertion that animal vaccine was of equal value in the ordinary sense. At the same time, the experiments made showed satisfactory results. If it could be proved that animal lymph was of fully equal value it might be largely employed; and, for his own part, he should be rejoiced. He would then turn to the Amendnent of the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. P. A. Taylor). That Amendment, as he had stated in the criticism of his speech, he was not prepared to accept. The Motion of the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Samuelson), who proposed a Royal Commission to inquire into the subject, he had stated that vaccination as now performed had caused the propagation of other diseases. He (Mr. Dodson) was not prepared to assent to that. The effect, he believed, of perpetuating vaccination was to diminish small-pox, and in that belief he was supported by many eminent medical authorities. For these reasons he was unable to agree to the terms of that Motion. Moreover, in the present state of affairs, the effect of appointing a Royal Commission would be to cast doubt upon the efficiency of the vaccination law, and that he was not prepared to allow. He would refer them to the last part of that Motion, which dealt with the penalties inflicted for non-compliance with the law. The Committee of 1871 had recommended the abolition of cumulative penalties. It recommended that after full penalties had once been inflicted no further prosecution should be brought against the parent with reference to that child. That was a proposition that he was prepared to recommend, and the Government intended to sanction the abolition of cumulative penalties. The Government would also henceforth take care to procure animal lymph as well as humanized. He had already pointed out why he could not accept the whole propositions placed upon the Paper. He trusted that the House would be satisfied with the proposition he had made, and that the Resolution would be withdrawn. He would only say, further, that the attention of the Local Government Board would be carefully directed upon the subject, and that there would be no disposition to view with prejudice any just information or suggestion that might reach them.


said, he had listened with great satisfaction to the statement of his right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board, and he considered that he had treated the subject in a very proper manner. But, at the same time, he could not help observing that he thought the hon. Member for Glasgow would hardly be satisfied with the assurance given by his right hon. Friend. If he was, he would be certainly satisfied with less than that which he had desired to have in the last Parliament. As he understood the matter, the subject brought forward by the hon. Member in the last Parliament was of a different nature, and one considerably in advance of that which he had advocated that night. He (Mr. Sclater-Booth) declined to accept the hon. Gentleman's propositions as then made, because they would seriously have affected the machinery of the Department; but he had always been willing to give the fullest opportunities for experiments. The hon. Member for Glasgow, he believed, relied upon the use of animal vaccine as a secure guarantee against the communication of other disease; but the experience of the Department over which he lately presided did not point with the same certainty to that conclusion. As he understood the hon. Gentleman, he wished each vaccination to be done direct from the calf. If that was so, he did not know how the proposal of his right hon. Friend met that proposition, nor how it could satisfy the hon. Gentleman who had brought the matter for ward.


said, that he never proposed anything so absurd as vaccination direct from the calf. Still, the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board did not go so far as he wished.


said, he would not dispute with the hon. Gentleman about the terms of his proposals last year. The statement of his right hon. Friend was precisely the one he himself should have made if the Motion had come on in its present form, when he had the honour of presiding over the Local Government Board. He had, in fact, some time since given directions that a quantity of animal lymph should be procured for the purpose of making experiments. He had no intention of arguing about the advisability of vaccination, but would content himself with saying generally that he was in favour of it. He did not believe that the quotations which had been made from various authorities against the practice could be relied upon as against the unanimous testimony of the whole medical world. It would, he thought, be a most unfortunate thing to disturb the existing system of vaccination, without having a thorough investigation by the Medical Profession, represented, as they were, by such bodies as the Medical Council and the College of Physicians. He was quite sure that no Government would acquiesce in anything so revolutionary as the proposal of the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. P. A. Taylor) without being supported by the best authorities on the subject With regard to the Motion of the hon. Member for Banbury, and the concession of his right hon. Friend in relation thereto, he fully concurred with him that no benefit was likely to accrue from repeated prosecutions and convictions in the case of those parents who would not allow their children to be vaccinated. That concession he had endeavoured to effect during the time he was in Office. Of course, the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board would be obliged to bring in a Bill for that purpose, in order that it might be sanctioned by Act of Parliament. When in Office, he had taken some trouble to ascertain the probability of an Act being passed, if introduced; and the result of his inquiries was that he had reason to believe that legislation in that direction, during the late Parliament, would not have been successful. He did not think it would be more so in the present one, inasmuch as it was extremely difficult to get the ma- jority, which he believed were in favour of the law in its present form, to vote for any change, though some change was, he thought, required. He could only say that whatever objections there were to any relaxation of the law, for his own part, he would be glad to see the cumulative penalties removed, for he believed by that means a good deal of unnecessary hardship would be prevented.


said, he should like to put a question or two to the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board. In the first place, he understood that the Local Government Board had consented to the proposal of the hon. Member for Glasgow to the extent that they would supply animal as well as humanized lymph to medical men when they made applications for it. He wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he intended to supply that animal lymph to all the members of the Medical Profession who chose to apply for it, or only to those who might be relied upon thoroughly? The next question was— he understood that cumulative penalties wore to be abolished. Was the right hon. Gentleman prepared to introduce a Bill to that effect; and, if so, when?


said, he wished also to ask a question of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board. More than a year ago, a Return with reference to the matter then under discussion was laid upon the Table. If he had been rightly informed, that Return would provide a complete answer to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sclater-Booth). That Return would show that a great number of persons in this country had suffered imprisonment once, twice, thrice; in fact, many times, rather than comply with the Act. There was another observation he wished to make, and that was with reference to the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman who had preceded him, who spoke of introducing an Act of Parliament with reference to those penalties. He said also that, notwithstanding the desire of the late Government to pass such a measure, and the fact of their possessing a well-disciplined majority, it had been impossible to pass such an Act successfully during the Session of the late Parlia- ment. He could not sit down without making a further observation. His right hon. Friend the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. Dodson) had stated that he wished to call the attention of the House to the fact that the law was the same for the rich as for the poor in this country in the matter of vaccination. That was so, certainly; hut it applied very differently to the different conditions in life. In the case of the vaccination of the children of the rich and well-to-do persons, every care was taken to secure good and healthy matter for the operation, so that no risk should be run; but all that care was certainly not taken in the case of the poor child. Therefore, the law applied differently; and so it was hardly fair for the right hon. Gentleman to give the House to understand that the law worked exactly the same in all cases. But it was incontestable that the question of vaccination was a much disputed one, and that there were always a number of people in this country who were satisfied that the law as it stood brought great evils upon their children, and that, rather than see those evils brought upon them, they were prepared to undergo repeated imprisonments. He must say he considered that a very serious state of things; and he certainly had heard with some regret his right hon. Friend declare that he could not do anything in that matter at present. He hoped that there would be a most careful inquiry into the subject. The hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. B. Samuelson) had, he thought, done rightly in placing an Amendment on the Paper. Considering the difference of opinion that existed on the question, he certainly should like to see the appointment of a Royal Commission, in order that an inquiry might be instituted.


said, that the Return should be presented to the House as soon as possible. The lymph would be supplied to public vaccinators and private practitioners in the same way as it was at present, and arrangements had been made for a supply of lymph from the animal. He thought, in view of the strong feeling existing in the country with regard to repeated convictions, that the Government would be justified in asking Parliament to pass a measure which would place the matter upon a more satisfactory footing.


said, he had heard with pleasure that the Government were prepared to do away with repeated penalties. That would be a great satisfaction to a large portion of the community. He felt strongly upon the question before the House, and confessed that he coincided with the views expressed by his hon. Friend behind him, that the Government should go a little further and grant the Commission. Unquestionably a considerable number of persons in the country felt that they were greatly aggrieved by compulsory vaccination. He could not support his hon. Colleague in saying that he would vote for its abolition; but he believed it would be a satisfaction to the community if a Commission were appointed to inquire into the whole question. Whether they approved or disapproved vaccination, their sympathies must be with those persons who believed that they were persecuted, and were suffering for conscience sake, because they refused to expose their children to danger and disease. He had no sympathy with those who attacked the Medical Profession in connection with this subject. But a strong feeling did exist in the country, and especially in the constituency which he represented, against compulsory vaccination. The question was a medical one, and ought to be inquired into and set at rest. He was in considerable doubt with regard to it; but as far as his present views went, although he could not vote for the abolition of compulsory vaccination, he strongly advocated the appointment of a Commission.


said, he was quite willing to withdraw his Motion, the right hon. Gentleman having really granted his main object. In doing so, he begged to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman, both upon the excellent organization of his Department and upon the fact that he had not been anticipated in respect of the proposed Bill by his Predecessor.

Question put, and agreed to.

Main Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Committee deferred till Monday next,