BY J.T. BIGGS J.P. (1912)

[back] Book in sections

(WHALE 2006/7, Book supplied by John Wantling)

CHAPTER I. British period, b.c. 844—a.d. 52.
CHAPTER  2. Roman Period, a,d. 52-448.
CHAPTER  3: Saxon period, a.d. 550-780.
CHAPTER  4:. Danish period, a.d. 780-920.
CHAPTER  5. Saxons restored, a.d. 920-1068.
CHAPTER 6. Norman period, a.d. 1068-1265.
CHAPTER 7:  The  Plantagenets.
CHAPTER  9. Parliaments held in Leicester.
CHAPTER 10: Royal visits to Leicester.
CHAPTER 11:  Tudor period, a.d,   1485-1603.
CHAPTER 12:  Leicester Abbey.
CHAPTER 14: Leicester's ancient charters.
CHAPTER 15: Hanoverian period, a.d. 1714-1837.













CHAPTER   72.  DR. JOHN MOORE   1853-67.
CHAPTER  73.    J. WYATT CRANE, M.D.—1867-79.

    HENRY TOMKINS, M.D—1885-92.
    DR. JOSEPH PRIESTLEY, B.A. (Lond.), M D., D.P.H.—1892-95.
CHAPTER   75.  DR. H. G. H. MONK, M.R.C.S., D.P.H (Lond.)—1895-1900.
CHAPTER 76.  DK.  G.  KILLICK MILLARD,  M.D.,  D.Sc.   1901-10.

PART   9.  LEICESTER SMALL-POX EPIDEMICS, 1892-94   and   1902-04. 

CHAPTER 83: 'Cost of the "Leicester Method "— Quarantine.
CHAPTER 84: Hospital Expenditure.
CHAPTER  85:  The " Leicester Method " at Work.
CHAPTER 86: The Chairman of the Sanitary Committee on the " Leicester Method."
CHAPTER  87: The Medical Officer of Health for Leicester on the "Leicester Method."
CHAPTER  88: Vaccination and Syphilis at Leicester.
CHAPTER  89: The Royal Commission on Syphilis and Other Diseases at Leicester.
CHAPTER 90: Leicester's Traducers Unmasked.
CHAPTER 91: The Dissentient Commissioners on Vaccination and Syphilis.
CHAPTER  92: Professional Opinion on the In vaccination of Syphilis.
CHAPTER   93: Vaccination  and Leprosy.
The Leprosy Investigation Committee.
CHAPTER  94: Inoculation  Experiments—Tuberculin and Leprosy.
CHAPTER 95: Vaccination and Tuberculosis.
CHAPTER 96: Diseases Injected, Intensified, and Increased by Vaccination and Inoculation.
CHAPTER 97: Inoculable Diseases—England and Wales.
CHAPTER 98: " Lymph."   What is "vaccine lymph"?
Humanised " Lymph."
Animal "Lymph."
CHAPTER 99:  "Glycerinated Calf Lymph."
CHAPTER  100: How " Glycerinated  Calf  Lymph " is "Manufactured."
CHAPTER  101: Dr. Klein's Microbic Experiments.
CHAPTER  102: "Small-Pox Virus Vaccine."
CHAPTER 103: Vaccination.
    Vaccination in Germany.
    Vaccination in Italy.
CHAPTER   104: Eminent Opinions on Vaccination.

CHAPTER  105: Anti-Toxin and Diphtheria.
CHAPTER  106: Continental and American Evidence Against Anti-Toxin.
CHAPTER 107: London Evidence Against Anti-Toxin.
CHAPTER  108: Evidence from the Registrar-General Against Anti-Toxin.
CHAPTER  109: Leicester's Evidence Against Anti-Toxin.
CHAPTER 110: What is Anti-Toxin?
CHAPTER  111:  Tuberculin and Tuberculosis.
CHAPTER 112: The "New " and the "Old " Tuberculins.
CHAPTER  113: Tuberculin Treatment.
CHAPTER  114:  Tuberculin Dispensaries.
CHAPTER  115: The " British Medical Journal " and Tuberculin.
CHAPTER  116:  The Royal Commission on Tuberculosis.
CHAPTER  118: Sea Water and Diarrhoea.
CHAPTER   119. A Thoroughly Impartial Inquiry Wanted.
CHAPTER  120. Leicester Evidence Reviewed.
CHAPTER 121.  Leicester Evidence—Its Teachings.
APPENDIX. Tables 41 to 56.

to my honoured friends,
Mr. and Mrs. WILLIAM TEBB,

with all their Co-workers for emancipation
from the yoke of legal and other disabilities,
imposed or caused by the Vaccination Laws:


to all who earnestly endeavour to promote
and secure Liberty and Justice for Mankind

For the Historical part of this work, I have availed myself of Mrs. Fielding Johnson's "Glimpses of Ancient Leicester"; Mr. James Thompson's  " History of Leicester" ; Mr. VV. Napier Reeve's "Chronicles of the Castle and Earls of Leicester " ; and Mr. William Kelly's "Royal Progresses." I am also indebted to Mrs. Fielding Johnson for the use of several blocks for the illustrations, for which I cordially thank her. For valuable aid freely rendered in other parts of the work, I must not omit to mention the late Mr. Jabez Hunns ; and I tender to Mr. J. P. Swan and all others my grateful acknowledgments and thanks.   J. T. Biggs. Leicester, 1912.


CHAPTER I. British period, b.c. 844—a.d. 52.

The County-Borough—in ancient times the City— of Leicester is one of the oldest centres of civilised life in Great Britain. The name is derived from the Celtic " Caer," and not, as some suppose, from the Roman " Castrum." According to Geoffrey, of Monmouth, it was founded by King Lear (844 b.c.) centuries before London was even thought of, and also had priority of nearly a century over the Eternal City, Rome (750 b.c.). However this may be, the original colony was undoubtedly very remote, and the site on the banks of the River Leir was indubitably selected as favourable for a settlement by the ancient Britons.

As " Cairlerion,"  Leicester appears in the list of thirty-three British cities, named in the work

of Nennius, which is assigned to the year 796 b.c. The ancient name is perpetuated by a village called Leire, not far from where the river—now the Soar—takes its rise.

Within the precincts of Leicester Castle, the Castle " Mount" or " Mound," now very much reduced in height, is probably the oldest artificial work in the neighbourhood constructed by the native inhabitants, the Coritani. The "Mount" is supposed to be the original Celtic Caer, or Castle, from which the name Kaer-Ieir, Caer-lerion, Caer-Legria, Legra-ceastre, or Leicester, is derived.

The antiquity of Leicester is, therefore, beyond question, and, according to historians, not only King Lear and his youngest daughter, afterwards Queen Cordeilla, but also Kings Morvidus, Gorbonian, Arthgallo, Elidure, and many other of the pristine British Kings and Queens, either visited, were crowned, reigned, held their Courts, or were buried in this ancient City.

CHAPTER  2.  Roman Period, a,d. 52-448.

With the Roman conquest and occupation of this country, from 52 to 448, Leicester became a Roman stipendiary town, called Rates, and one of the largest military stations in Britain. The Roman city is supposed to have been founded either by Ostorius Scapula, in the middle of the first century, or later by Julius Agricola, when on his way to the North.

It was of such importance that a Mint was established, and many extensive and imposing buildings erected, as evidenced by the numerous portions of massive stone columns which have been exhumed, and the discovery in 1850 of an entire site of a Roman villa. Near the Praetorium and Basilica, were traces of many temples, baths, and other edifices. A small fragment of Samian pottery, bearing an inscription full of human pathos, probably a love token, from Lucius the Gladiator, to his sweetheart, Verecinida Lydia, indicates there might also have been "an amphitheatre.

There are on public exhibition two fine tesselated pavements in situ, as laid by Roman workmen more than eighteen centuries ago, one of these being the floor of the residence of the

Prefect or Roman Governor, and both in excellent preservation.     These   and  other  remnants  of  a similar   character;   the   massive and imposing fabric of masonry called the " Jewry Wall" ; the "Milliare," or Roman milestone; the stone bases and   heads of columns, with a large number of other remains; Samian  ware;  glass and ornaments—all testify to the domination   and long-continued sway of Imperial  Rome.   "The Milliare," one of the most important of these relics, the  oldest  stone   inscription   known   in   Britain, is now in the Museum.   It is cylindrical in form, three feet six inches high, and twenty-one inches in diameter.    It was disinterred in 1771 by the side   of   the   Roman   "Via   Possata,"   or   "Posse Way."    It bears this inscription :—


The translation is as follows: —" To thy Emperor and Caesar, the august Trajan Hadrian, son of the divine Trajan, surnamed Parthicus, grandson of the divine Nerva Pontifex Maximus, four times invested with tribunal power, thrice Consul. From Ratae. two miles."

From this it is not an unreasonable conjecture that the Emperor Hadrian  actually visited the city on his way to the North.   Besides the "Fosse Way," another of the principal roads constructed by the Romans, the "Via Devana," passed through the City.    The advancement of Leicester under the Romans must have been both continuous and rapid, for its name, Ratae, as one of the important stations in Britain, was published in Ptolemy's Geography at the beginning of the second century. Considerable evidence of Roman buildings has been found even outside the ancient city walls. Being situate on the " Fosse Way," several Roman Emperors or Generals, who afterwards assumed the purple, would certainly visit, or pass through, Ratae on their journeyings to the North and South of Britain.

Among those, in addition to the mighty Hadrian, we number Clodius Albinus ; the vindictive Severus; the cruel Caracalla ; Carausis, his brother Geta, and Allectus. Also Constantius, with his British wife, the Empress Helena, father and mother of Constantine the Great, who was born at York. Constantine was the founder of Constantinople, of the Western Empire, and of Christianity as the prevailing religion of the Roman Empire. Possibly, also, Constantine's nephew, the gifted Emperor Julian, called the Apostate, visited Ratae. Julian offered sacrifices to the gods, and his mighty and subtle influence was directed to uproot Constantine's work, to destroy Christianity, and to revive and re-establish Paganism throughout the whole Roman Empire.

Ratae retained its importance as a city in this province until the exigencies of the Empire necessitated the entire withdrawal of the Roman forces from the country.

It will be seen that Leicester, therefore, possesses a wealth of ancient historical material and association almost unrivalled in the chrono­logical annals of Britain.

CHAPTER   3. Saxon period, a.d. 550-780.

After the departure of the Romans and the decadence of the Roman Municipium, the Engles (English) took possession of Leicester, about a.d. 550. They adopted the Celtic and Roman British name of Caer-Legria, adapting it to English as Legre-Caestre.

Crida became the first Saxon King of Mercia, in 586, with Leicester as the capital. Under the Saxons, Leicester continued to hold the title of city, and in 658 the early Bishops, who occupied the Bishop's Palace, officiated at the Cathedral, then existing upon the site where St. Margaret's Church now stands, but outside the city walls. The diocese of Mercia, being nearly a fourth part of the whole country, was sub­divided by Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, about 678. He appointed a Bishop over the Middle Engles, to the See of Leicester, and eleven Prelates followed in succession, until the See was reunited to Lichfield, in 691. It was again separated, and also afterwards reunited to Lichfleld, in 703. But in 737 Leicester was instituted an independent Bishopric, with Totta (or Torthelm) as its first regular Bishop. Since that time the See has been merged in that of Peterborough.

Kenulph, the fourteenth Saxon King of Mercia, and   his   brother,   Ceolwulph    (who   afterwards became King), along with Wulfred, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Unwona, Bishop of Leicester, met together, and are said to have executed and witnessed a Charter at Leicester in 810.

In Burnett's " History of the Reformation" (page 251), a reference is made to the intention of Henry VIII. to found a number of new Bishoprics, Leicester being one. Some of those were actually created, but through some cause Leicester was omitted. Recently a Bishop of Leicester (Suffragan, of Peterborough) has been appointed.

" Legre-Caestre " continued as the capital of one of the Saxon Kingdoms until towards the close of the eighth century, when the Saxon dominion was seriously menaced by the predatory incursions of the fierce, aggressive, and warlike Danes. Leicester remained the centre of the Middle Engles, and retained its title of city until the Norman Conquest, being referred to in a Council held in the eighth century as " Legoracensis Civitas." (Stubbs and Haddan.) It even appears in Domesday Book as " Civitas de Ledcestre."

CHAPTER   4. Danish period, a.d. 780-920.

the Danes captured the city in 780, and Leicester then became one of the famous " Five Boroughs " of the Danish Confederacy. The Saxons afterwards recovered the city, but the Danes re-took it in 874. It remained more or less in their possession until 920, when Ethelflaeda, the warlike daughter of the noble, learned, and patriotic King Alfred the Great, and widow of Ethelred, Duke of Mercia, expelled them, and the town again came under Saxon rule. The Danes were not, however, entirely dislodged from the neighbour­hood, for the city was once more in their possession from 925 to 940. In 941 a momentous battle was fought between the Saxons on one side, and the Norwegians and Danes combined on the other, outside the city walls. Edmund, King of Mercia, led the Saxons, whilst the Norwegians and Danes were under Onlaf, King of Norway. Although the battle was a scene of terrible carnage, it proved indecisive. The struggle was not, however, renewed, for through the mediation of Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Wulfstun, Archbishop of York, a friendly division of the country was effected between the two Kings, by which the survivor was to succeed to the sovereignty of the whole area. Onlaf dying soon afterwards, Edmund became King of all England.

The alternate occupations of Leicester by the Danes and Saxons followed each other in rapid succession, for in 1013 the Danes once again re-captured the town, and occupied it until 1041, when the Saxons recovered and held it until the advent of the Normans.

The Danes, however, maintained control long enough to give their name to the hills on the north-west side of the Borough, laying towards the Leicester and Charnwood Forests. An annual Fair was held at Easter, until comparatively recent times, on these hills, called " Dane Hills Fair."

CHAPTER 5. saxons restored, a.d. 920-1068.

after the defeat of the Danes by Ethelflaeda, who reigned as Queen about eight years, the city walls^ probably built on the old Roman founda­tions, were restored. Leicester soon after this must have been regarded as. a place of security, for a Mint was established here in 978. Leicester continued, however, to be the scene of devastating warfare, for in 1016, through another political quarrel, it was completely sacked by Edmund Ironsides. It was constituted the centre of one of the three great Saxon Earldoms, into which the Kingdom was divided during the reign of Edward the Confessor. The mighty Leofric, Earl of Leicester and Coventry, and Duke of Mercia, resided at the Castle about 1050. His wife was the far-famed Lady Godiva,

" Who riding forth clothed on with chastity, Hath built herself an everlasting name."

This Earl and Countess left three sons, the youngest lost to history; but the other two—Algar, the successor to the Earldom, and the renowned Hereward the Wake—were worthy sons of worthy forbears. It is probable both those eminent Saxons were born in Leicester Castle. While the English language endures, Hereward's distinction

for valiant and patriotic deeds will be vividly enshrined in the pages of history, romance, and song.

Algar, Earl of Leicester, succeeded to the Dukedom of Mercia, and his daughter, the beautiful Algitha, was wooed and won by the Welsh King, Griffith. Queen Algitha would probably spend much of her childhood with her grand-parents, the great Leofric and Lady Godiva, at Leicester Castle.

Towards the close of the reign of Edward the Confessor, the famous Godwin, Earl of Wessex, was succeeded by his son Harold, who led the English forces against the Welsh under their King, Griffith.  A long struggle ensued; the latter was defeated, and afterwards assassinated by his followers. Queen Algitha was made captive, and Harold, after ascending, the throne, made her his Queen. The felicity of their married life was of short duration, for within two years King Harold, the last of the Saxon Kings, was slain at the memorable Battle of Hastings.

Thus the "peerless" Algitha, or, under her Norman designation, Edith the Fair, became successively the wife, Queen, and widow of two Kings, rivals on many a sanguinary battlefield, and each of whom met with an untimely death.

After Harold fell, Earls Edwin and Morcar, the brothers of Algitha, the "Swan-necked Queen," sent her to Leicester Castle, the home of her maidenhood. When the Conqueror arrived, and seized the 27,000 acres comprising her estate, she retired to the cloister, living during the major portion of William's reign. This unhappy lady (daughter of one and sister of another Earl of Leicester), the last Saxon Queen of England, endowed to a marvellous degree with "the fatal gift of beauty," died and was buried at Stortford, in Hertfordshire, where she was "worshipped as a saint, under her Saxon name of Algitha."

Earl Edwin, being also Duke of Mercia, was able, through his powerful influence, to render the Conqueror conspicuous service by inducing a considerable part of the country to acknowledge his sway. As a reward, the Conqueror promised his daughter in marriage. But William having failed to carry out his undertaking, Edwin, with his brother Morcar, gathered round them many of the warriors who had fought at Hastings, and raised the standard of revolt. A pitched battle ensued, the Saxon Earl being completely defeated. Subsequently the brothers were treacherously killed. Thus, notwithstanding the Norman Conquest of Leicester in 1068, it was not until 1071 that Edwin, the last Saxon Earl of Leicester, was slain.

CHAPTER 6. Norman period, a.d. 1068-1265.

When the Norman hosts assailed Leicester, the title of city, held (if we date from b.c. 844) for nearly two thousand years, appears to have been lost, possibly as a punishment for the bravery of the inhabitants and the stubborn resistance they offered to William the Conqueror, who took the city by storm in 1068, about two years after the Battle of Hastings. In the assault a large portion of the city was destroyed, along with St. Mary's Church. William handed the Government over to the tender mercies of Hugo de Grentemaisnil, one of the Norman adventurers.

Although applications have been made from time to time to the Government, the title of "city" has never been restored.

Even after the Conquest, Leicester continued to experience a troublous time. When

"...the mighty Conqueror,
By a mightier overcome!"

had passed away, a dispute arose as to his successor. Grentemaisnil, Governor of Leicester, favoured Robert Curthose, the Conqueror's eldest son and Duke of Normandy. William Rufus, the Red King, raised an enormous army, and the

town was sacked and laid in ruins by his forces, a.d. 1088. Grentemaisnil was disgraced, and dispossessed of his Governorship, a heavy fine being also inflicted. He retired to an Abbey in Normandy, where he became a monk, and died a few years later.

The Earldom of Leicester was conferred on Robert de Beaumont in 1107. Robert (Blanch-mains), who succeeded to the Earldom in 1169, for some reason entered into a conspiracy against King Henry II. The King's forces, under Richard de Lucy, High Justiciary of England, and Reginald, Earl of Cornwall, attacked Leicester, and made a desperate onslaught, in 1173. The walls were destroyed, and dreadful damage done on this occasion, which is known as the " Great Siege of Leicester." Two years later, the Castles of both Leicester and Groby (near Leicester) were demolished.

Leicester continued to be the residence of the Norman Earls from the Conquest to the time of the celebrated Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, and Lord High Steward—a hereditary dignity then pertaining to the Earldom of Leicester.

Simon de Montfort's gift of a large estate, known as the "Cowhay," or South Fields, has preserved for the benefit and enjoyment of the inhabitants for ever the large open space now known as Victoria Park.

NORMAN  EARLS   OF  LEICESTER.       Succeeded to Earldom. a.d.
Robert de Beaumont  (First Norman Earl, whose badge of a cinque-foil upon ermine became, and has since remained, part of the town coat of arms. The Wyvern, or Griffin, was added more than a century later. The title of Lord High Steward of England was conferred on the Earls of Leicester , and made hereditary) 1107
Robert (Bossu)  (Founder of Leicester Abbey, a.d. 1143) 1118
Robert (Blanchmains) (Friend and companion of Richard, Coeur de Lion, during the crusades. Rebelled against Henry II.) 1169
Robert (Fitz Parnel)  (Meeting of Barons at Leicester Castle, against King John, a.d. 1201) 1190
Simon de montfort (The elder)  (In  right  of his  Countess, (the elder) Amicia, the sister of Robert Fitz Pamel)  1204
Simon de Montfort (Founder of English Parliaments, slain at Evesham, a.d. 1265) 1218

Chapter 7:  The  Plantagenets.

After Simon de Montfort, there followed a succession of Plantagenet Earls of Leicester, the sixth being the renowned John of Gaunt, also Duke of Lancaster.

His (John of Gaunt's) patronage of the Lollards, and of Wycliffe, the "Morning Star" of the Reformation, led to his being thoroughly hated in ecclesiastical circles in London.    When the people rose in  tens of thousands,  under Wat Tyler,  in 1381,   John   of  Gaunt   was   wrongly, but  unfortunately, suspected of being the author of  the obnoxious poll  tax, and the  mob proceeded  to burn   and  destroy   his beautiful   Palace of  the Savoy,  "the fairest structure in England," with all its inestimable art treasures.

Wycliffe's   eloquent   voice   was   heard   in   St. Mary's Church, adjoining and within the grounds of Leicester  Castle.    John   of  Gaunt  afterwards conferred    the    Rectory    of    Lutterworth,    near Leicester, upon Wycliffe, and he held it for about ten years.     His adherents increased rapidly, but his  efforts  for  religious  liberty  excited   a great amount   of  persecution.     His   sudden   death,   in 1384, probably saved him from being burnt as a martyr at the stake.    His body was afterwards exhumed and burnt, the ashes being- thrown into the River Swift.     It has been remarked that "they flowed thence into the Soar, the Trent, the Humber, and the ocean, and were thus distributed throughout the world."

Leicester Castle was a favourite seat of John of Gaunt, and the residence of the Plantagenet Earls and Dukes of the House of Lancaster. After the death of John of Gaunt, his son, Henry of Bolingbroke, the last Plantagenet Earl of Leicester, succeeded to the Grown, as King Henry IV. of England, in 1399. From him, through this event, the Kings of F^ngland and his present Majesty, King George V., thus derive the title of Duke of Lancaster.

Referring to this important event, the late William Napier Reeve, Esq., in his "Chronicles of the Castle, and of the Earls of Leicester," says :—

" There were no more Earls of Leicester, and thenceforth to none of that name belonged the Castle of Leicester, or the town thereof, or any possessions therein, or anything pertaining thereto, for they who were afterwards called Earls of Leicester were strangers to the Town and County of Leicester, and of no account therein. But, even as the glory of the sun is greatest at its setting, so did the grandeur of the last Earl of Leicester surpass that of all who had gone before him. For the Earldom ceased, not by the failure of male issue, as in the days of Henry, the good Duke ; or by attaint of treason, as in the days of Simon ; or by the hand of violence, as in the days of Thomas the Earl, but because the glory of the Earldom was merged in the greater glory of the Crown."                                           


Succeeded to Earldom
Edmund (Crouchback)

 (Earl of Lancaster.) (Leicester's "Great Charter" granted 1278. Assizes first held at Leicester Castle)

Thomas (Earl of Lancaster)  (His crest  of  Wyvern, or Griffin,  was added  to the town arms. Headed the Barons against King Edward II. Meeting at Leicester Castle of King, Queen, Barons, and two Cardinal Legates from the Pope. Beheaded 1322) 1299
Henry (Earl of Lancaster)  (The "Great" and "Good" Earl. Founded Trinity Hospital, Leicester, 1331)  1322
Henry (First Duke of  Lancaster)   (Known as the "Good" Duke.  Dukedom conferred for eminent bravery during the war in France) 1345
William of Bavaria (Earl of Leicester in right of his wife, Lady Maud, eldest daughter of the " Good" Duke) 1361
John of Gaunt ("Time honoured Lancaster") (Fourth son of Edward III., Duke of Lancaster in right of his wife, Lady Blanche, the youngest daughter of the "Good" Duke) 1377
Henry of Bolingbroke (King Henry IV of England. Richard II. deposed) 1399

The Earldom of Leicester, after being merged in the Crown, was later on revived in another family, and in Queen Elizabeth's reign, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, figured as one of her principal Ministers. The holder of the present title, created in 1837, is Thomas William Coke, but his family has no connection with the town beyond holding the title.


The feuds arising through Henry of Bolingbroke, Earl of Leicester, becoming King of England, as Henry IV., eventuated in the Wars of the Roses, in 1451.

This period was a most eventful one for Leicester. A series of battles were fought at St. Albans, Blore Heath, Northampton, Wakefield, Mortimer's Gross, Bernard's Heath, and Towton. In all these actions the men of Leicester bore their full part. Notwithstanding that the Earls of Leicester were Lancastrians, our townsmen fought at the bloody Battle of Towton, in 1461, under their own banner, bearing the Town Arms, on the Yorkist side. Presumably that was through the great local influence of Sir William Hastings, of Kirby Muxloe Castle, near Leicester. The result was a decisive defeat of King Henry VI. and the Lancastrians, and their supremacy ceased after occupying the throne about sixty-two years.

The Yorkist victor, King Edward IV., married Lady Elizabeth Grey, whose husband, a Lancastrian nobleman, had fallen during the war. This lady won the heart of the King whilst pleading earnestly before him for the restoration of her dead husband's lands. Happily, this marriage led to a union of the Houses of York and Lancaster, and thus heralded the end of the Wars of the Roses.

King Edward IV. visited Leicester more than once, and granted to the town an important Charter (1462), referred to elsewhere.

CHAPTER  9. Parliaments held in Leicester.

Parliaments have assembled several times in Leicester. Owing to the resentment aroused against King John, the Barons met here to confer on matters of State in 1201. This was notable as the first of many turbulent meetings of the Barons, which culminated in obtaining Magna Charta, from King John, in 1215. Another Assembly of Parliament was held at Leicester in 1224, in the reign of Henry III. But it reflects no small honour on the town that the first regular Parliament of England, as now constituted, was summoned in 1265 by Simon de Montfort, the great Earl of Leicester, and the founder of English Parliaments. Members of Parliament for Leicester were first chosen in 1295.

An adjourned Parliament was held at Leicester, during the reign of Edward III., in 1349, the year in which the Order of the Garter was founded. In 1414, during the reign of Henry V., the " Fire and Faggot" Parliament assembled here. At this a statute was passed for the suppression of the Lollards, and a second Parliament was held later the same year for the suppression of alien priories. Another meeting of Parliament was held in Leicester, in the reign of Henry VI., in 1426.

On account of the high tension of feeling between the partisans of the Duke of Gloucester and the fiery Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, the wearing of swords and other weapons was forbidden but members substituted "clubs" or "bats in order to evade the decree. Hence, this was called the "Parliament of Bats." The bitter and long-standing quarrel between these two powerful and imperious protagonists was amicably settled at this Parliament. The last meeting of Parliament held in Leicester was in 1450, in the same reign, being adjourned from Westminster, owing to the unhealthiness of that locality.


CHAPTER 10: Royal visits to Leicester.

Royalty has frequently honoured Leicester with its presence, especially in earlier times, when the town was often a Royal residence. Following the legendary King Lear, and many other British Princes, came the Roman Emperors, and numerous Saxon and Danish Kings.

The Norman Kings—William the Conqueror; his third son, William Rufus, the " Red King" ; and probably also Stephen, the grandson of Rufus.

The Plantagenet Kings, all of whom came on various occasions to Leicester—Henry II., and his eldest surviving son, Richard, Coeur de Lion, the valiant and famous Crusader. The weak, vacillating, and pusillanimous John, sixth and youngest son of Henry II.; and Henry III., eldest son of John. Edward I., the eldest son of Henry III. ; Edward II., the eldest surviving -son of Edward I.; and Edward III., the eldest son of Edward II. Richard II., son of the Black Prince, and grandson of Edward III. Richard II., after reigning twenty-two years, was deposed by the Earl of Leicester, afterwards Henry IV.

The three Kings of the House of Lancaster— also Plantagenets—namely, Henry IV., son of John of Gaunt, Earl of Leicester, and grandson of Edward III.; Henry V., the eldest son of Henry IV. (he held his Court here in 1414, the year of the " Fire and Faggot Parliament") ; also his only son and successor, Henry VI., who was defeated and deposed by the Yorkist King, Edward IV.

Of the three Yorkist Kings—also Plantagenets— two only visited the town. Edward IV., lineal descendant of Edward III., came several times. His Queen, the widow of Sir John Grey, of Groby Castle, near Leicester, was of the same historic family as Lady Jane Grey, the "Nine Days Queen." In 1483, Richard III. ascended the throne. He came to Leicester the same year, and remained a week at the Castle.

Two years later he returned to Leicester, in great pride and glory, with his army, to meet Henry, Earl of Richmond, whose foreign mercenaries brought the sweating sickness, which can be traced in contemporary records, from Milford Haven to Leicestershire, and thence to London. Richard spent one or two nights in the town, and then proceeded over the old Bow Bridge to the fateful field of Bosworth. The famous battle was fought on 22nd August, 1485, and afterwards Richard's body was brought to the town and buried in Grey Friars. It was subsequently exhumed, and the bones interred near the old Bow Bridge, which was built on Roman foundations. Tradition records that an old crone who saw King Richard's foot strike a corner stone of the bridge as he proceeded to Bosworth, predicted that his head would strike the same stone on his return. This is said to have literally occurred. An inscription on an adjacent wall overlooking the present bridge (1912) informs the visitor that—


" Near this spot lie the remains of Richard the III., the last of the Plantagenets— 1485."


Three of the six Tudor Sovereigns visited Leicester.


The Earl of Richmond, the triumphant victor of Bosworth Field, was the first Tudor King, and based his claim to the throne as a lineal descendant of John of Gaunt, Earl of Leicester. The victorious Earl was hastily crowned King Henry VII. on the field of battle. He came forward to Leicester, spending the night here, both the dead and the living Kings being in Leicester at the same time. And so ended the Wars of the Roses, which, having derived their origin and stimulus from Leicester, were also terminated on the battlefield of Bosworth, near the town. Henry VIII., the only surviving son of Henry VII., also visited Leicester. The Abbey was dismantled, with other religious houses, during his reign.


On the premature death of Edward VI., in 1553, the accomplished, beautiful, gifted, and virtuous Lady Jane Grey, of (old) Bradgate House, Leicester, the "Nine Days Queen," was, unfortunately for herself, and against her desire, put forward by the ambitious, crafty, and designing Duke of Northumberland, her father-in-law, as a claimant to the throne. Lady Jane was a frequent visitor to Leicester. Her brief reign was followed by the martyrdom of herself and her husband, Lord Guildford Dudley, after the violent and brutal manner of the times. They were buried side by side in the Church of S. Peter ad Vincula, within the Tower.


The ruins of the house where she lived form an attractive feature in Bradgate Park, although they are now crumbling to decay. The Chapel containing the tomb, surmounted with the recumbent effigies of Lord Henry Grey and his Lady, are both in a good state of preservation.


Neither Mary I. nor Queen Elizabeth visited Leicester, although on several occasions preparations were made when Elizabeth was expected. Her Royal prisoner, Mary Queen of Scots, mother of James I., was in Leicester more than once during the long period of her travels and eventful captivity.


All the Stuarts visited Leicester—namely, James I.; and his only surviving son, Charles I., the latter on many occasions. The two sons of Charles, Charles II. and James II.; also William II.; and Queen Anne. During the Commonwealth Oliver Cromwell was in the town more than once, and his son, Richard, also came.


Of the House of Hanover, none of the Georges were known to have visited Leicester, although the Dowager Queen Adelaide came in 1839, 1840, 1842, arid 1843. Queen Victoria, with Prince Albert, paid a visit in 1843, on returning from Belvoir Castle.


They passed through again in 1850, en route to Scotland. King Edward VII. was here often when Prince of Wales. Also King George V., when Duke of York, visited Leicester with his father, at the Royal Agricultural Show, in 1896. On one of King Edward's visits, to open the Abbey Park, on Whit-Monday, 29th May, 1882, Queen Alexandra (then Princess of Wales) accompanied him. It was an appropriate feature of the ceremonies that, being " Royal Oak Day," the Princess planted an oak tree in the Park, which has grown well and " flourished exceedingly."


CHAPTER 11:  Tudor period, a.d,   1485-1603.

Henry VII., lineal descendant of the Earls of Leicester, and the first of the Tudor Kings, granted what, from its importance, may be considered a Special Charter, requiring the Mayor and his brethren, and the Bailiff, to select forty-eight of the most "wise and sad commoners," to transact the public business of the town. These replaced the ancient Guilds; and also, at a later date, the whole of the assembled Burgesses, whose tumultuous proceedings led to much confusion. This munic.ipid reform, strongly resented at the time by the populace, was afterwards embodied in an Act of Parliament, in 1490. The powers conferred were further amplified before the end of the reign, and " wages" were ordered to be paid to the Justices, as in other places.

With the cessation of the Civil War, local public benefactors arose. William Wigston, or Wyggeston, a successful merchant, who inherited considerable wealth from his predecessors, left a great endowment for certain of the poor of Leicester, and is regarded as one of the principal benefactors of the town. This bequest has proved of inestimable benefit to the poor (both past and present), and its advantages will continue to future generations. Letters Patent were obtained by him in 1513, from Henry VIII., but the work of erecting the Hospital which bears his name was not completed until 1520—after the testator's death. Part of the fund is now also applied to educational purposes.

Sir Thomas White, a successful London merchant, an Alderman of the City of London, and its Lord Mayor in 1546, presented a sum of money to the Mayor and Corporation of Coventry, the proceeds of which were to be used in free loans for the benefit of young freemen of Coventry, Leicester, Northampton, Nottingham, and Warwick. This beneficent bequest has been instrumental in securing success in life to many a young Leicester tradesman.

Hugh Latimer, the famous English prelate, a later "Star of the Reformation," was born at Thurcaston, near Leicester, in 1472. He was burnt at the stake, with another martyr, Ridley, in 1555. This event recalls the tradition that, as the flames leapt higher and higher, such was the old man's amazing steadfastness and superbly intrepid demeanour, that he cheered his fellow-sufferer with the memorable words—"We shall this day, my lord, light such a candle in England as shall never be extinguished."

During the reign of Queen Mary I., a young man named Thomas Moore was burned at the stake in Leicester for his disbelief in the "Real Presence," expiating his heresy in June, 1556.

Queen Elizabeth's accession, in 1558, opened up a brighter era for Leicester and for England. The Queen granted a Special Charter of Incorporation of the Borough in 1588, which was further confirmed in 1599. This Charter, in effect, continued in force until the Reformed Corporations Act of 1835.

The year of Leicester's incorporation (1588) will be ever memorable in English history as that of the "Invincible Armada." In that hour of the country's dire need and supreme extremity, Leicester despatched 2,000 men to the camp at Tilbury. Other demands were made, and loyally responded to by Leicester. The signal defeat of the Armada was afterwards celebrated by a banquet at the Town Hall, and other rejoicings.

During Elizabeth's reign, as a member of the Earl of Leicester's company, Shakespeare himself is said to have acted here in some of his own plays at the Old Town Hall, although there is no proof by existing record.             

CHAPTER 12:  Leicester Abbey.

Leicester abbey, founded by Robert-le-Bossu, Earl of Leicester, in 1137, was destroyed in the reign of Henry VIII., at the dissolution of Monasteries, in 1539. It, is rendered famous, inter alia, by the death and burial there of the Great Cardinal Wolsey, in 1530, when he called on his way to London to meet the charge of high treason, made by Henry VIII. Wolsey's pathetic words to the Abbot :-—" I am come here to lay my bones among you," and his still more memorable utterance when, on the eve of expiring, he said :—" If I had served God as diligently as I have done the King, He would not have given me over in my grey hairs," will be remembered as a striking example of the evanescence of human ambition, greatness, and pride.

The Abbey Park, one of the most beautiful and attractive public parks in the Kingdom, was once part of the Abbey Estate. It was purchased by the Corporation from the owner, Earl Dysart, and, after being tastefully and magnificently laid out at a substantial cost, was opened in 1882 by the Prince and Princess of Wales.

The ruins of the Abbey and the walls are well worth visiting. The grounds are now used as Nursery Gardens, and are thus put to the same use as when the monks followed their daily avocations, in the time of Wolsey.


ON the accession of James I., in 1603, his Queen and two of their children passed through Leicester, on their way from Edinburgh to London. Prince Charles, afterwards Charles I. (then, only four years old), was at that time too weakly to bear the long journey, but he travelled through the town the following year.

In 1611, Leicester suffered from a severe out­break of the Plague. Infected houses were marked with a cross, business was practically suspended, and there, seemed to be no one with sufficient acumen or knowledge to cope with, or mitigate, the effects of the epidemic.

In 1612. King James visited Leicester for the first time, but subsequently he came on several occasions. In 1616 small-pox broke out in the town. Information was at once sent, to King-James, who was intending to pay a visit. His Majesty, however, although neither inoculated nor vaccinated, was not afraid, and came—in spite of the small-pox—and no serious consequences ensued.

An event which occurred at that visit is worth recording, as a peculiar instance of the administration of justice in those days. Nine women were

accused of exercising an unholy influence upon a boy, at Husbands Bosworth, a town in the shire. They were tried, condemned as witches, and hung on the gallows at Leicester. During the King's sojourn he sent for and examined the boy, whom he found to be quite well and unaffected by the supposed " influence." The King accidentally discovered the whole thing to be a fraud, and the judges who tried the cases were thereupon censured and disgraced. The lives of the nine poor women could not be recalled, but one beneficial effect was that five others in prison on a similar charge were forthwith released.

King Charles I. visited Leicester many times after passing through when a child. In 1634 his Queen, Henrietta Maria, accompanied him.

During the unhappy Civil War between Charles I. and Parliament, in the seventeenth century, Leicester took the Parliamentary side, and was once more the centre of war and strife. The Royal troops, under the impetuous Prince Rupert --King Charles himself being present—battered the walls and sacked the town, obtaining com­plete possession on 31st May, 1645. Charles remained two days in Leicester, and levied a fine of £2,000 upon the inhabitants for their rebellion and sturdy opposition. The Cavalier occupation was very brief, for on the 14th of June Cromwell's forces were victorious at the decisive Battle of Naseby, and two days later invested Leicester. A short and sharp cannonade ensued, doing further damage to the walls, when the Royalist Governor, Lord Loughborough, capitulated. After disarming the garrison, Cromwell allowed him to withdraw with his troops to Lichfield. Cromwell, on his visits to Leicester during the Commonwealth, was well received by the Mayor and Burgesses, and is said to have thoroughly enjoyed smoking the " pipe of peace" with his worship, in the Mayor's parlour, at the Old Town Hall.

Following this long series of sieges, it is remarkable that the old city walls, which had passed through so extraordinarily chequered a history of peace and war, still survived; and even continued, although more or less dilapidated, until 1774, and some portions even to a still later date.

Tradition says that John Bunyan was a soldier in the army when King Charles I. besieged the town, in 1645. He arranged with a substitute to take his place as sentry.  This man was killed by a bullet from the enemy, and that impressive incident eventuated in Bunyan's conversion, and subsequently to his writing the "Pilgrim's Progress." John Bunyan was again in Leicester, and preached by license on Sunday, 6th October, 1672. He lodged at an old house opposite St. Nicholas Church, in Shambles. Lane—now St. Nicholas Street.

In the reign of Charles II., the policy of the popular party has been described, as "tumultuous petitioning." Hence they were called "Petitioners," and their opponents " Abhorrers." Those were changed, about 1680, into the more familiar names of "Whigs" and "Tories," which have since undergone a further metamorphosis.

Such was the obsequious character of the Mayor and Town Council that in October, 1684, they actually surrendered the town's Great Charter to the King, praying him to re-grant their liberties and privileges, with such modifications as he might consider necessary. The amended Charter was returned early in December, with two significant restrictions. All members and officers of the Corporation were to be appointed subject to the King's approval and power of removal; and the number of the Common Council was reduced from forty-eight to thirty-six members.

However, it is refreshing to relate that this pusillanimity did not last very long, for an Address to James II. was proposad in October, 1687, and notwithstanding that the Corporation was composed of Court nominees, it was rejected by 34 votes to 19. This was, no doubt, owing to the suspected designs of James to restore Roman Catholicism.

Thereupon James, on 9th February, 1688, ordered the dismissal of several members of the Corporation, substituting others in their places. Shortly afterwards the King's declaration as to liberty of conscience was published.

Another attempt was then made to induce the Corporation to present an Address to His Majesty. Although all present held appointment by the King's direct warrant, only three persons voted for the Address, all the other members voting solidly against it.

The landing of "William the Deliverer," at Torbay, on 5th November, 1688, ended, once for all, the misgovernment and incapacity of the fated Stuart dynasty.   

CHAPTER 14: Leicester's ancient charters.

Leicester is entitled to, and holds, a separate Assize from that of the shire. In all probability that is through a grant made by Robert de Beaumont (or Medland), Earl of Leicester, 1107-1118, which abolished trial by "combat," and revived a still more ancient privilege, of the citizens' right of trial by jury, " that all pleas happening to the Burgesses of Leicester should be discussed and determined by the twenty-four Jurors who were appointed in Leicester in olden time."

The earliest roll of the Merchant Guild is dated 1196, and of this every tradesman was expected to become a member. From this governing Guild gradually evolved the Municipal Corporation.

Leicester has had a continuous succession of Mayors since 1208, although the title of Mayor did not supersede that of Alderman as chief civic dignitary until 1251, when Peter Fitz-Roger was called Mayor for the first time. The office of High Bailiff is probably even more ancient. Leicester is almost the only town retaining that title, the modern name of Sheriff having elsewhere taken its place. Charters and Letters Patent for fairs the promotion of commerce and other privileges date from the twelfth century, and others were granted in 1224 and 1305.

King Edward IV. granted, in 1462, a Special Charter for the appointment of Magistrates and a Recorder for the Borough. That was also endorsed with authority to appoint Coroners.

Leicester possesses, in the Muniment Room, at the Municipal Buildings, one of the richest, most valuable, and interesting collections of official documents to be found in the country :—Charters and Letters Patent dating from the twelfth century; Guild Rolls from the time of Richard I. ; papers of various kinds illustrating the career of Simon de Montfort and his Plantagenet successors, Earls of Leicester ; Chamberlain's accounts from Henry VIII. to George III., and other official literature relating to the municipal and domestic interests of the people of Leicester in the sixteenth, seven­teenth, and eighteenth centuries. Amongst these precious and invaluable belongings are a Latin Bible of the fifteenth century ; the famous Codex Leicestrensis ; a manuscript of the New Testament in Greek ; the Vellum Book, an ancient Chartulary of the Borough of Leicester ; and numerous other valuable books and documents, including Royal Charters from the reign of King John, as well as Charters of the long line of Norman and Plantagenet Karls of Leicester and Dukes of Lancaster.

CHAPTER 15: Hanoverian period, a.d. 1714-1837.

Compared with the stirring and important events previously related, which, as will have been observed, were of a national almost more than of a local character, Leicester, under the Hanoverian Kings, enjoyed a somewhat dignified repose. Leicester men sustained an honourable share in the Continental, American, Napoleonic, and Crimean Wars, and the struggle following the Indian Mutiny. From about a century later than the time of the Charter of Incorporation granted by Elizabeth, in 1588, the material progress of the town was both uninterrupted and rapid. Remote from disturbing national events, a period of expansive internal commercial and intellectual development and enterprise ensued.

Alderman Gabriel Newton, Mayor of Leicester in 1736, another local benefactor, will ever be held in grateful memory for the benefits conferred on so many Leicester boys by his munificent educa­tional bequest. His school was founded in 1761.

Many other public buildings and schools were erected during the years 1748-1781.

About a century after Bunyan's visit, another remarkable man and well-known religious reformer, John Wesley, lodged at the same house during his propagandist mission at Leicester, in 1777. That historic dwelling was pulled down only a few years ago. Wesley again visited Leicester in 1779 and 1783. On two of these occasions after preaching the previous day, he held a service in the "Tabernacle," then situated in Millstone Lane, at five o'clock in the morning. Evidently the ministrations of grace were eagerly sought after in those days!

Nearly a century later, Charles Spurgeon's eloquent voice was heard at an open-air service in Leicester Market Place at 6 a.m.

In 1774 the strong Puritan feeling prevailing in Leicester led to the formation of an association to enforce the law against dramatic entertainments. This caused considerable hardship to the players. In the following year, Mr. and Mrs. Siddons appeared at Leicester in the " Queen of Tragedy." Mrs. Siddons had not at that time acquired her great fame. Wesley's second visit is said to have 'been paid within a month of the departure of the famous actress from one of her engagements in the town.

John Howard, the philanthropist, visited Leicester Prison and other institutions, in 1787, with a view to their improvement.

In 1789 Richard Phillips, a teacher of mathematics and other sciences, opened a book store and a pamphlet room, where the works of Thomas Paine and other writers advocating Republican and Free Thought principles were provided for public perusal. He also endeavoured to establish a Literary Society; and on the 1st of July, 1790, he founded a Library, which has survived in the present Permanent Library of Leicester. The times were not then ripe for the Literary Society to flourish. It did not take root, and not until 1835 was this idea revived by the present Literary and Philosophical Society. Phillips also published the " Leicester Herald," the second newspaper issued in the town.

In 1793 he was prosecuted for selling Paine's " Rights of Man," and sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment in Leicester Gaol. After his release from prison, in 1795, his premises, with its stock of valuable books and scientific instruments were unfortunately destroyed by fire, and the publication of the "Herald" ceased. His loss was, however, covered by insurance. He afterwards removed to London, where he became so eminent that he was made a Sheriff of the City, and received a knighthood from King George III.

A singular incident happened to Sir Richard's son some time after his arrival in London. William White, in his exhaustive work, " The Story of a Great Delusion," quotes at page 312 from William Cobbett's papers, " Advice to Young Men."  Cobbett alludes to hundreds of cases of persons " Cow-poxed by Jenner himself," who have after­wards caught small-pox, and some of them died from the disease. Amongst others, he mentions "Sir Richard Phillips, whose son, several years after Jenner had given him the insuring matter, had a very hard struggle for life, under the hands of the old-fashioned, seam-giving, and dimple-dipping smallpox."

In   1792   the   Leicester   Navigation   Act   was obtained,  and  in  1794  two boats  arrived laden with   merchandise,   from   Gainsborough.     They returned  to Gainsborough with  wool and other commodities.

Leicester is a recognised and important agricultural centre. Fairs are still held at stated times for the sale of wool, cheese, horses, sheep, and cattle, for which products and animals the town and county have long been famous.

Leicester has been celebrated for its Hosiery from time immemorial, and one of the hosiery firms is the largest in the world. The introduction of machinery into this industry, early in the nineteenth century, in North Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, led to rioting and terror, and several of the " Luddites," as the malcontents were called, were brought to trial, convicted, and hanged at the "new drop" at Leicester, on 17th April, 1817, six being executed at one time.

In the same year (1817) the Savings Bank was established, and flourished until the crisis of 1847-48, which severely taxed its resources. It weathered the storm, and is now one of the most prosperous and useful institutions in the town.

In 1821 the town, which up to that time had been partially illuminated with oil lamps, was first lighted by gas.

In 1832 the Leicester and Swannington Railway was ready for traffic, being the second passenger railway opened in the Kingdom. Coal was first brought into the town by rail in that year from the Swannington Collieries,


ALTHOUGH properly belonging to the Hanoverian Period, the reign of Queen Victoria was so long and glorious, so pregnant, with progress in every department of the country's history, that it has extended beyond the limits of her reign, and merits separate treatment.

With the more popular representation of the people, secured by the Reform Act of 1832, and the Municipal Corporations Act Of 1835, fresh impulse was imparted to the public life of the country at large, and especially to' the reformed Boroughs. In that general advancement Leicester naturally shared.

The advent of newspapers in the town also tended to the diffusion of knowledge. The "Journal" was published on 12th May, 1753 ; the "Herald" in 1789; the " Chronicle" in 1791; and the Leicestershire "Mercury" in 1836.

The " Advertiser" appeared on 1st January, 1842; in 1857 the "Guardinn" was started; whilst in the same year the "Chronicle" and "Mercury" were united. The "Midland Free Press" was removed from Kettering to Leicester in 1858. In 1872 the " Daily Post," the first daily paper, was issued.

Since that date other papers have been launched, and some discontinued. There are now three daily papers—the " Daily Post" in the morning, and the "Mercury" and the "Mail" in the evening. Another weekly paper, the "Pioneer," was started in 1900.

In these days of innumerable " excursions," it might be well to record that the system of cheap trips had its humble birth in Leicester. The Midland Counties Railway opened on 5th May, 1840, and the initial railway excursion in the world was a trip on 5th July, 1841, from Leicester to Loughborough, at a return fare of one shilling. That was organised by the late Mr. Thomas Cook, of Leicester, the eminent founder of the great firm of Thomas Cook and Son. From so small a beginning has grown the present gigantic excur­sion systems, with ramifications embracing the whole world. It is a reflection upon the excursion-loving public that a monument has not yet been erected to commemorate the achievement of the late Thomas Cook.

In 1843, the year of the disastrous failure of Clarke, Mitchell, Phillips, and Smith's Bank, a manufacturer named Brampton experimented with India rubber fasteners for gloves. He submitted his invention to Mr. Caleb Bedells, who, promptly recognising its value, also applied it to boots and shoes. This led to important results and enormous developments. Thus the world-wide Elastic Web industry was inaugurated at Leicester. It is singular that this article should have been applied to the coverings for both the hands and the feet.

In 1849 the Town Museum, on the. New Walk, was opened, and in the same year the Leicester Chamber of Commerce was established for the furtherance and extension of trade.

Another important industry was commenced in Leicester, about 1851, the year of the first great International Exhibition in London. A number of shoemakers settled here, and work commenced at premises in Cank Street, under a Northampton firm. When "riveting" took the place of sewing," an enormous business was founded by Mr. Thomas Crick, whose name, as the pioneer, will always be associated with this industry, and also with his benevolent bequest of alms-houses at the " Retreat," Great Glen. This industry has flourished so enormously that Leicester has not only the largest firm engaged in this trade, but has become the greatest boot and shoe centre in the world, over 40,000 persons being engaged in this business.

Appropriately, side by side with the shoe industry, Mr. Henry Davey founded that of "last" making, at Leicester, in 1750. The business then established in this article—so closely allied and practically a component part of shoemaking—has continued to grow, and now nourishes in our midst, under modernised conditions.

By an extraordinary coincidence the Hat and Cap industry was introduced about the same date, by Mr. Thomas Webster. Thus two industries providing coverings for the head and for the feet were practically established together at Leicester.

Engineering   works,  particularly   those   connected with the production of shoe machinery, are amongst the most extensive and famous, in the world.

Leicester became associated with the Chartist movement in its early days, and Feargus O'Connor, one of the pioneers, delivered an inflammatory address in the Market Place in 1838. Thomas Cooper, a Leicester man, and Republican writer, became its local leader. He was prosecuted and imprisoned, at Stafford, in 1842. During his incarceration he wrote the "Purgatory of Suicides." The, six points of the Charter were :—Manhood Suffrage; Vote by Ballot-; Annual Parliaments; Equal Electoral Districts; Payment of Members; and the Abolition of the Property Qualification. Three of these are now (1912) the law of the land, and it is possible that one or more of the other three will follow suit.

That gifted and brilliant literary genius, Thomas Babington Macaulay, was born at Rothley Temple, near Leicester, 25th October, 1800. It is said that he was not only, a writer of history at seven years of age, but he learned, and could repeat from memory, the whole of Milton's "Paradise Lost." His distinguished career as an orator in Parliament, and as ah author, historian, and poet, induced Lord Palmerston to offer him a peerage in 1857. He took the title of Lord Macaulay of Rothley, but enjoyed it only a brief period, for he died on the 28th of December, 1859, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, 9th January, 1860. It is a singular coincidence that he, being born near Leicester, should write his well-known, and oft-quoted, phillipic on smallpox, when referring to the death of Queen Mary from that disease. As an illustration of a signal error of diagnosis, and an example of medical uncertainty, it is worth quoting here. King William had been uneasy on account of the state of the Queen's health, and Lord Macaulay, in his History of England, Vol. TV. (1866 Edition), pages 116 and 117, wrote :—

"Sir Thomas Millington, who was physician in ordinary to the King, thought that she had the measles. But Radcliffe, who, with coarse  manners and little book learning, had raised himself to the first practice in London chiefly by his rare skill in diagnostics, uttered the more alarming words—small-pox. That disease, over which science has since achieved a succession of  glorious and beneficent victories, was then the most terrible of all the ministers of death. The havoc of the plague had been far more rapid; but the plague had visited our shores only once or twice within living memory, and the smallpox was always present, filling the churchyard with corpses, tormenting with constant fears all whom it had not yet stricken, leaving on those whose lives it spared the hideous traces of its power, turning the babe into a changeling at which the mother shuddered, and making the eyes and cheeks of the betrothed maiden objects of horror to the lover. Towards the end of the year 1694, this pestilence was more than usually severe. At length the infection spread to the palace, and reached the young and blooming Queen. She received the intimation of her danger with true greatness of soul. She gave orders that every lady of her bed-chamber, every maid of honour—nay, every menial servant— who had not had the small-pox should instantly leave Kensington House. She locked herself up during a short time in her closet, burned some papers, arranged others, and then calmly awaited her fate.
    During two or three days there were many alternations of hope and fear. The physicians contradicted each other and themselves in a way which sufficiently indicates the state of medical science in that age. The disease was measles; it was scarlet fever; it was spotted fever; it was erysipelas. At one moment some symptoms, which in truth showed that the case was almost hopeless, were hailed as indications of returning health. At length all doubt was over. Radcliffe's opinion proved to be right. It was plain that the Queen was sinking under small-pox of the most malignant type."

Three remarkable men of the Baptist Church exercised considerable influence and power in the moral, spiritual, and intellectual, upbuilding of Leicester, and their memory is imperishable :—

William Carey, who, raising himself from the shoemaker's bench, became a distinguished linguist, and the pioneer missionary   to India; Robert Hall, whose unrivalled oratory and burning eloquence attracted hearers from   London, who actually travelled by coach for the week-end long before the advent of railways; and James Phillippo Mursell, who for half a century championed the cause of the downtrodden and oppressed.

The work of those distinguished men is fittingly commemorated by a tablet, erected in1891, at Harvey Lane Chapel, the scene of their labours, and appropriately inscribed as follows :—

" This place of worship has been sanctified by the deathless ministry of three great men —

Expect great things — attempt great things.

1807-1826. Mighty in words and in works


An ensample to them that believe.
Remember them which spake unto you the Word of God ;
and, considering the issue of their life, imitate their Faith."

From the roll of illustrious men who have helped to mould the social and religious life of Leicester, four members of the Vaughan family (Edward T. Vaughan, and his three sons, Charles J., Edward T., and David J.) must not be omitted. They held in succession — with a brief break of twelve years — the incumbency at St. Martin's Church from 1802 to 1893. Their names will live in the memories of thousands who have benefited from their widely sympathetic and kindly ministrations.    The last of this noble quartet—David J., known as Canon Vaughan— voluntarily undertook the onerous and risky duty of visiting the Infectious Diseases Hospital at the time of the great small-pox epidemic in 1872, and brought spiritual comfort to the unfortunate patients there, without intermission, for the long period of more than thirty years. For that acceptable and self-denying service he is held in very high esteem, and that, of itself, constitutes an undying memorial to his honour.

He also, from his deep sympathy with the working men, and by reason of recognising their lack of educational facilities, in March, 1862, established the "Working Men's College." Many of those who availed themselves of the privileges thus afforded afterwards became leading citizens of the Borough. The founder saw this useful institution flourish, and a scheme propounded for the erection of a noble and imposing building on the site of the old County National School. He did not live to see the work completed, but the institution is most appropriately named after its founder. The memory of this noble and lovable man is perpetuated by the "Vaughan Working Men's College," the jubilee of which was cele­brated this year (1912).

Another Leicester worthy, who by reason of his great and good works deserves to be specially mentioned, was the Rev. William Fry, M.A., better known as Canon Fry. He was born in 1790, and died in 1877. He held successively the Curacies of Markfield (1824), Braunstone (1831), and Kirby Muxloe (1832-47). He was deeply moved by the lamentable and deplorable lack of education, and anxious to provide a remedy. His marriage in 1840 to Miss Isabella Moore—a wealthy lady—who not only sympathised with his ambition, but entered heartily into her husband's self-imposed task, enabled him to devote his time almost exclusively to educational work. He commenced to solve the problem by undertaking the personal training of masters, mistresses, and teachers, at a school erected for the purpose, as well as at his own house—which really became a training college. For many years he was consulted on all matters affecting the education of the young people of the town; indeed, he may be said to have become the Director of Public Education in Leicester. In the "hungry forties," long before we had any national system of education, Canon Fry gave his whole energies to the cause of the education of the children, and he was the principal promoter of the erection of most of the public elementary schools in the town prior to Mr. W. E. Forster's Education Act of 1870. Through his instrumentality the schools of St. John's, St. Matthew's, and those in Ashwell, Deacon, Kent, Knighton, and Laxton Streets were built and equipped. In 1856 a sum of £1,000 was presented to him in recognition of his educational services. He also took a very prominent part in Church extension, by aiding in the building of St. John's (1853), St. Andrew's (1862), St. Matthew's (1867), and St. Luke's. (1868). Most appropriately, Canon Fry was elected a member of the first School Board for Leicester. His devotion and industry were unbounded, and the value and memory of his work will long be cherished by many Leicester men and women, whose only opportunity for learning was provided through Canon Fry's liberality and enlightened regard for the welfare of his fellow-citizens.

Amongst other eminent men associated by ties of birth, family, or residence in Leicester or County are :—George Fox, Robert Herrick, Robert Burton, Samuel Johnson, Lord Byron, Colonel Fred Burnaby, Lord Kitchener, and last but not least, Professor Alfred Russel Wallace. Nor must we forget that the Biggs, Ellis, and Harris families have not only made their mark, and used their beneficial influence on the history of Leicester, but members of each have either represented the Borough or other constituencies in Parliament.

Leicester's growth may be gathered from the appended figures:—Its area in Roman times was about 130 acres; after the extension, in 1835, it covered 3,030 1/2 acres ; by a further extension of the Borough Boundaries, in 1891, it increased to 8,582 1/2 acres.

Year Population Year Population
1712  6,450 1861


1801 17,005 1871 95,823
1811 23,146 1881 123,146
1821 31,036 1891 177,353
 1831 38,904 1901  212,498
 1841 50,806 1911  227,634
1851 60,760    

According to the Census of 1911, Leicester is fifteenth in size as to number of inhabitants amongst the ninety four largest towns of England .and Wales.

There has been a corresponding growth in Rateable Value and in Commerce, whilst the advancement of Science and Education has kept pace with both. Leicester's enterprise is emphasised by its possession of splendid Municipal Offices in a building regarded as one of the finest examples of Tudor architecture in England. Its public Free Libraries; its noble Museum and Art Gallery; its Council Schools, akin to palaces—all indicate its forward aim for educational facilities. It possesses large Markets, fine Public Baths, which, with the Gas, Electric Light, and Water undertakings, prove its endeavour to promote the public weal. It has constructed, at enormous cost, great Flood Works, with extensive Sanitary and Sewerage schemes to secure the better health of the people. Its magnificent Banks and fine modern Railway Stations minister to commerce. Ample provision has also been made for those painful, but unfortunately necessary, concomitants of civilised life—a Mental Hospital, a Workhouse, an Indigent Hospital, the Isolation Hospital, the free—now the Royal—Infirmary, Poor Boys' and Girls' Homes, a Cripples' Guild, and Convalescent Homes for Men and Women.

Its progress may be seen in its abundant open spaces and Public Parks ; its Monuments to men of light and leading ; its widened and improved Streets; its splendid means of communication, both by road and rail; the palatial Mansions of its leading inhabitants, and the colossal Manufactories of which it is able to boast. The numerous and beautiful Churches, Chapels, and Schools are evidence that Religious and Scholastic requirements are well provided for, while the fine buildings which comprise its Technical and Art Schools, combine to prove that Art and Science go hand-in-hand with successful commercial enter­prise.

Happy the people now living under such conditions, and signs of affluence, of health, of happiness, and prosperity!

That this ancient Corporation, strengthened by mutual ties of sympathy and friendship, realising the community of interest of all classes, may henceforth pursue, with firmer step, the various avenues of public usefulness and benefi­cence which continually open up in the path of enlightened Progress, will be the devout wish of ail who are proud to count themselves citizens of the Town of Leicester.



THE foregoing all-too-brief historical sketch shows that Leicester has taken not only an important, but often a pre-eminent, part in the national life of the country; from the remote ages of the Ancient Britons; through the long centuries of the Roman occupation ; during the stirring, martial strife of the Saxon, Danish, and Norman periods ; and the no less pregnant struggles for liberty which characterised the Plantagenet, Tudor, Lancastrian, Yorkist, Stuart, and the earlier reigns of the Hanoverian dynasties. It has, however, been reserved for ancient, historic Leicester to renew her youth, eclipse her glorious past, and attain a yet higher position ; to be the Initiator and Prime Mover in achieving an even more notable revolution a revolution mightier and nobler, in the sense that its example does now, and will continue, still more in the future, to powerfully and favourably affect the health and the interests of a much wider circle of the human race than any of the memorable evolutions of its past history.

Leicester has furnished, both by precept and example, irrefutable proof of the capability and influence of Sanitation, not only in combating and controlling, but also in practically banishing infectious diseases from its midst. This affirmation is subject to certain qualifications. The effects of narrow, ill-conditioned streets; of imperfect drainage and improper dwellings; of circumstances of environment; and of inherited physical disability must, and will for a time, continue. These adverse elements are being gradually eliminated. Apart from those drawbacks, a town newly planned on the most up-to-date principles of space and air, and adopting the "Leicester Method " of Sanitation, could bid defiance not to small-pox only, but to other infectious, if not to nearly all zymotic, diseases.

Even for small-pox, not even the merest tyro among Jennerian votaries would now venture to claim, that vaccination could achieve all that sanitation has accomplished. This is self-evident, because even pro-vaccinists, of the most pronounced type, now supplement the Jennerian operation with the "Leicester Method" of dealing with the disease. They dare not, as aforetime, trust solely to vaccination. To do so would, on their part, be culpable, if not in the highest degree criminal, neglect.


THE introduction from Turkey, by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, of variolous Inoculation—then called "ingrafting"—in 1721, resulted in, the practice being almost universally adopted, until it became evident that, instead of moderating the prevalence of the disease, small-pox was more widely diffused by the operation.

In the " British Medical Journal," of 9th July, 1881, appeared the following letter:—

Whilst on a visit in the county of Dorset I was surprised to find on a gravestone In the churchyard of Piddletown the following memorial:—"In memory of George Jesty, who departed this life 23rd June, 1845, aged 63 years, youngest son of the late Mr. Benjamin Jesty, of Downshay, Isle of Purbeck, discoverer of the memorable vaccine inoculation." Afterwards I found in the churchyard of Worth Matravers a memorial stone with the following inscription-— ''Sacred to the memory of Benjamin Jesty, of Downshay, who departed this life 16th April, 1816, aged 70 years. He was born at Yetminster, in this county, and was an upright, honest man, particularly noted for having been the first person known that introduced the cow-pox by inoculation, and who, from his great strength of mind, made the experiment from the cow on his wife and two sons in the year 1774."

If this date can be relied upon, Jesty's experiment preceded Jenner's on the boy Phipps by 22 years. I was informed that Mr. B. Jesty was a large dairy farmer.

Yours faithfully,                                                             F. WHITWELL.

Shrewsbury, 20th June, 1881.

According to this, Jesty had practised vaccination in 1774, more than twenty years before Jenner's experiments in 1796. But Jesty used cow-pox, according to the dairymaids' belief that it prevented small-pox. Jenner knew that that idea was an error, and what he recommended was cow-pox produced by horse-grease. Dr. Pearson and others of Jenner's time used cow-pox. But Jenner (although knowing they were wrong) not only did not oppose its use, but allowed them to believe he approved, and appropriated to himself any supposed benefit derived therefrom.

Although over a century has elapsed since Edward Jenner, the Gloucestershire apothecary, obtained from Parliament £30,000 as a reward for his (supposed) discovery, yet from that time onward an ever-widening conflict has raged unceasingly as to the merits or demerits of vaccination.

Notwithstanding the innumerable failures of, and the disasters attributable to vaccination, indubitably proven, the language of the professional, financially-interested, and official supporters and apologists, remains now much the same as ever. Like the Bourbons, these strange protagonists appear to have learned nothing and forgotten 'nothing.

In 1798 Jenner wrote :—

" What renders the cow-pox virus so extremely singular is that the person who has been thus affected is for ever after secure from the infection of the small-pox; neither the exposure to the variolous effluvia nor the insertion of the matter into the skin producing this distemper." ("An Inquiry into the Cause and Effects of the Variolas " Vaccinae.")

Jenner repeated this statement, varying its form only with his frequently changing views, as to cow-pox, horse-grease, horse-grease-cow-pox, and again cow-pox (spurious or genuine), until he died in the greatest perplexity on the subject. Perhaps nothing can show the force of ingrained professional bias more than the astounding fact that as late as 1857 Sir John Simon (then Mr. Simon), as the Government's medical adviser, repeated and emphasised Jenner's absurdly erroneous contention, although not in exactly the same words, in his classic(!) "Papers relating to the History and Practice of Vaccination," on page 51. These were actually issued by the Government to the public, in an official Blue Book, even after the falsity of the statements was fully established!!

The completeness of the change that has come over the "spirit of the dream," in certain quarters, is abundantly shown by the fact that, whereas in Jenner's time re-vaccination was scouted as being ridiculous and superfluous, yet, as recently as 1904, a compulsory Revaccination Bill, originated by the Imperial Vaccination League, passed through its various stages in the House of Lords, but did not become law, as it was never considered by the Commons.

What, again, could more completely illustrate the irony of the present phase of the controversy, than the fact that both the hon. secretary of the Vaccination League (Mrs. Dr. Garrett-Anderson) and the now deceased hon. secretary of the Jenner Society (the late Dr. Francis T. Bond, of Gloucester,) have declared primary infantile vaccination alone to be not only unnecessary, but practically useless? Referring to the Act of 1898, and the increased infantile vaccination which it secured, they say that this:

"has not prevented the occurrence of a large and increasing number of outbreaks of small-pox, 11 chiefly among adults who have not been revaccinated. There were, for instance, recently, in eighteen months, no fewer than 480 separate outbreaks of small-pox in the United Kingdom, every one of which occasioned great expenditure of public money and considerable suffering. .. There is a growing opinion that, in consequence of altered social conditions and improved sanitary administration, it is not absolutely necessary to have infants of a few months old vaccinated, except in the presence of epidemic small-pox." (See letter in the "Times," 25th April, 1906.)

It is most unlikely that either the Imperial Vaccination League or the Jenner Society, both of which were inaugurated with a great flourish of trumpets, will long survive this significant declaration.


AFTER various futile efforts to obtain general voluntary approval and support, Parliament was appealed to, and, following many delays, an Act was passed in 1840 to "encourage" the practice of vaccination. This was succeeded by an "obligatory " Act in 1853; by another Act in 1861; and by still more stringent compulsion in 1867. The latter is known as the principal Vaccination Act. In 1871 and 1874 other Acts followed, making the ring of compulsion close and secure.

Owing partly to agitation against this legislation, and partly to the small-pox pandemic which broke out in 1870, a Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry was appointed in 1871. But just as Dr. Johnson, when reporting the debates in Parliament, as he said, "took care not to let the Whig dogs have the best of the argument," so those who appointed this Committee " took care of Vaccination" in a similar respect. The same, indeed, may, to a very large extent, be said of the Royal Commission of 1889-96.

The Parliamentary Committee of 1871 led to nothing, except the abolition of repeated penalties by the House of Commons. But the House of Lords, by eight votes to seven, refused to agree to that ameliorative clause; so that from 1871 to1898 the people of England endured the pain and indignity of being doubly oppressed and plundered by the haphazard vote of one irresponsible legislator!

In the "Anti-Vaccinator" of 2nd September, 1871, Mr. Pitman, the editor, refers to this incident, and quotes from the London correspondent of the "Scotsman" of 21st August, 1871 :—

" The House was so thin that it seemed a farce to divide, but a division was called. The bystanders counted 'noses,' when it was seen that parties were so evenly balanced that a bishop was the arbiter of vaccination in this nation at the present moment. The venerable Bishop of Chichester crossed the floor, and went into the lobby with Lord Redesdale."

It is affirmed that cabs were hurriedly sent in every direction to capture this additional and illustrious voter, but, however that may be, the outcome of the division decreed that this oppres­sive injustice should continue for yet another twenty-seven years.


WHEN the Penal Act of 1867 was passed, determined opposition immediately arose in Leicester, but at first this was limited to a very few persons, merely "a little cloud ... no bigger than a man's hand." Penal compulsion, in a matter so closely affecting the tenderest and deepest feelings of parents was regarded as a Poll Tax, of an even more obnoxious character than that which occasioned the uprising of 1381, since its effect was not only to be fell in every household and in every family, but a risky surgical operation was super-added, and ordained by law to be inflicted upon all children born into the world!

The Leicester Anti-Vaccination League was formed in 1869. The stalwart little band of pioneers, numbering less than twenty persons, laboured on, until they grew numerically to such an extent that, whereas in 1867 over 94 per cent. of the children born were vaccinated, in 1897 only 1.3 per cent, of the infants were subjected to the trying ordeal. And that low percentage of vaccinations in the last-mentioned year was arrived at in spite of—and perhaps, to some extent, as the natural outcome of—many thousands of prosecutions against defaulters. These were instituted under the oppressive Act of 1867, and resulted in the infliction of fines, the levying of distress warrants, and the commitment of parents to prison. Obviously, those figures demonstrate that the people of Leicester were following the lead of the Anti-Vaccination League, and that not one class only, but all sections of the townspeople, were equally resolute in their opposition and detestation of the hateful legal enactments.

The experience of the terrible smallpox epidemic of 1871-73, when many thousands of vaccinated persons contracted the disease, and several hundreds died as the result of the alleged "protection" (!) having lamentably failed in its hour of trial, produced in the minds of the thinking people of Leicester pronounced hostility against the blood-polluting quackery, which was found to be more baneful in its ultimate results than the disease it was supposed to prevent.

It may be taken for granted that the Cause of Parental Rights was materially aided by the stringent enforcement of the law. There is nothing which a Britisher resents more deeply than an encroachment upon his personal liberty. In defence of this liberty, and for the protection of the children, innumerable public meetings were constantly held year after year in all parts of the town.

It would occupy far too much space to refer to the early pioneers of the movement outside Leicester, or in detail to all the efforts put forward ; but amongst those who took a leading part in the local struggle, the following names may be mentioned -.—Messrs. Amos Booth, J. Cattell, S. Drinkwater, H. D. Dudgeon, C. Eagle, Wm. P. Fllmore, George Frith, J. Wallis Goddard, H. B. Halse, Elijah Jennings, F. W. Kemp, W. Lakin,  Jas. Leavesley, Joseph Leeson, E. Lester,  H. Matts, Jonathan North, John Potter, G. Saddingtbn, O. B. Stanion, J. T. Stephen, and Joseph Wright.

Active steps were taken in the Police Court to defend defaulters, and protest meetings were held on all occasions when distraint sales took place, or parents were released from prison. Demonstrations against the Acts of Parliament were of frequent occurrence, and full advantage was taken of all opportunities offered by debating societies to discuss the subject.

Mr. Amos Booth's energetic and self-sacrificing efforts are worthy of special mention. The fervid vigour of his speeches aroused considerable and widespread enthusiasm, and, although often criticised for the methods he adopted, his sincerity. and honesty of purpose were unquestioned and unquestionable. He did a work which few others could have accomplished, and that, too, in the early days of the movement, when it excited a great deal of obloquy and undisguised contempt from those of the so-called "superior" class—who had probably never studied the "subject. Mr. Booth's was a familiar figure in police courts up and down the country, he having appeared for the defence in several hundreds of cases, and I regret that his comprehensive knowledge was not placed before the Royal Commission.


In 1881 a very large number of prosecutions took place, 1,154 parents being proceeded against. There were 918 in 1882, and these summonses— totalling to more than 2,000—created a strong feeling in the town, and evidence was not wanting that it would soon make itself effective.

The vaccination question assumed great importance at all elections for public office. One of the earliest municipal contests where the subject was brought into special prominence was in East St. Mary's Ward, in 1882, and the following is a copy of a poster that was placarded all over the Ward :—



The impending contest in the above ward will no doubt be very close, hut if principle guides the action of anti-vaccinators instead of party, the result is not doubtful. In October, 1876, Mr. Hughes, the candidate, speak­ing at a Liberal meeting, acknowledged that he had suffered severely from small-pox, although he had been vaccinated. He said:—" But if a gentleman like Mr. P. A. Taylor had sat day after day on a commission concerning the subject, and could not come to a certain conclusion upon it, he did not see how he could."

Mr. Taylor says, in the " Monthly Review," " that after examining the evidence upon which faith in vaccination was based, much to his own surprise he was led gradually to the conviction that the cherished system of vaccination was a mere delusion—a baseless superstition; that it afforded no protection from small-pox, etc., etc. goes on to say :—"So believing, I should have been a ward to conceal my opinion, but, far beyond this, I felt a special duty to atone for the mistake I had made in signing a report favourable to vaccination" (as a member of the Select Committee of 1871).

Mr Hughes told the same meeting that compulsion was hard to bear, and said :—" If a small fine were imposed they would soon find out who suffered most from small-pox."

On 27th October, 1879, Dr. Lankester said he would not pledge himself, and Mr. Walker declined to pledge himself to oppose compulsory vaccination. Now, in 1882, when Dr. Lankester and Mr. Walker know the anti-vaccinators can unseat them, they moderate their language, and, apparently to catch a few votes, Dr. Lankester says he would support the repeal of the Compulsory Vaccination Acts, not because of their injustice, but because evil follows in certain cases, and so many parents pay the 10s. fine. Evidently, from his language, Mr. Walker thinks anti-vaccinators ought to pay a little, but not quite so much as now. If Dr. Lankester's seat was as safe as the doctor's in West Mary's, he would probably hold the same language as Dr. Franklin; but he bends to the coming storm. There is no political crisis in this contest for the Liberal Party. If they lose the seats, they still retain their great majority in the Council. If ever there was a time when Liberal anti-vaccinators should lay aside party for principle it is now, when, if they do not vote for the Conservative candidates, who are pledged against compulsion, they have the opportunity to abstain from supporting a vaccinating doctor and his colleague, whose alteration of opinion on this question is only dictated by a fear of losing votes.  AN ANTI-VACCINATOR.

In the result, the Compulsionists were defeated by a decisive majority.

Considerable newspaper discussion followed as to the causes of defeat, and on 6th November, 1882,   the   following   letter   appeared,   amongst others, in the "Leicester Daily Post" :-


To the Editor.

Sir,—The results of the East St. Mary's voting showed that there is still some power left in bold and open appeals to the people in defence of family rights and parental freedom. Fines, distresses, imprisonment, and all the miserable paraphernalia of our opponents must in future be fought against in the ballot box, and with the votes of determined men. Existing leaders, or place men, who fail to recognise the situation, must be made to give way to truer representatives of the prevalent feeling.

In the choice of Town Councillors we neither want masters to ride rough-shod over us nor nondescripts to sit in meek silence while the child is torn from the mother's breast and vaccinated by force before her eyes, as is now openly threatened by our exasperated antagonists.

We are on our guard. Herbert Spencer's caution has taken effect, and over us the intriguing wire-puller has lost his power. The present victory was the victory of freedom—not freedom as understood by paid speech-makers, but the freedom for which the sons of Britain fought and bled long before our miserable local divisions rendered us a prey to the designing laws of overbearing centralisation.—Yours faithfully,

H. D. DUDGEON. 5th November, 1882.


MR. PETER ALFRED TAYLOR became Member, of Parliament for Leicester in 1862.  At that time Mr. Taylor was a pro-vaccinator, but, owing to the widespread and growing feeling against vaccination among his constituents, he became a Member of the Select Committee on Vaccination, in 1871. He signed the Report of that Committee, but shortly afterwards, finding he had been deceived by the character of the evidence tendered, he looked into the subject for himself, with the result that he not only abandoned compulsory vaccination, but surrendered his faith in the practice itself. On 7th April, 1879, he stated in the House of Commons :—

" My opinion has "been so far modified that I could not now put my name to the Report of the Committee, which at the time was unanimously agreed to." He also said:—"I maintain that all the elements justifying compulsion on the part of the State are wanting in this instance of vaccination."

It is impossible to overrate the great services subsequently rendered by Mr. P. A. Taylor to the anti-vaccination movement. He exerted himself to the utmost to undo what he regarded as a fatal mistake in having signed the 1871 report.

On 19th June, 1883, he took advantage of an opportunity which unexpectedly presented itself, by moving the following resolution in the House of Commons :—

" That in the opinion of this House it is inexpedient and unjust to enforce vaccination under penalties upon those who regard it as unadvisable and dangerous."

To this an amendment was moved by Sir Joseph Pease, to the following effect:—

"That a Select Committee of the House be appointed for the purpose of ascertaining whether a limitation of the accumulation of penalties for non vaccination can be effected without endangering the practical efficiency of the Vaccination Acts."

This was withdrawn, and Sir Lyon Playfair  then moved :—

"That in the opinion of this House the practice of vaccination has greatly lessened the mortality from small-pox, and that laws relating to it, with such modifications as experience may suggest, are necessary for the prevention and mitigation of this fatal and mutilative disease."

The debate was carried on until a late hour, and when the division took place the result was :—

For Sir Lyon Playfair's amendment   286
Against      ------                              16
Majority -       -       -                      270

The minority of 16  (with tellers,  18)  were as follows :—

Arthur Arnold, Salford.
John Barran, Leeds.
R. P. Blennerhassett, Co. Kerry.
Jacob Bright, Manchester.
Thomas Hurt, Morpeth.
Sir Thomas Chambers, Marylebone.
Arthur Cowen, Southwark.
Joseph Cowen, Newcastle.
William Y. Craig, North Staffordshire.
Robert Ferguson, Carlisle.
John R. Hollond, Brighton.
Charles H. Hopwood, Stockport.
James Howard, Bedfordshire.
Henry Labouchere, Northampton.
Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Carlisle.
Thomas Roe, Derby.
J. E. Thorold Rogers, Southwark.
P. A. Taylor, Leicester.

It is interesting to note that at the time of writing (1912) two of the above named Members of Parliament still retain their seats in the House of Commons—viz., the Right Hon. Thomas Burt and Sir Thomas Roe—and both have been unwavering to the anti-vaccination cause through the long series of years which have passed since the incident just recorded. The last thirty years have wrought many changes in connection with the vaccination question, and those gentlemen may yet live to see the entire repeal of the existing Vaccination Acts.

An analysis of the voting showed that, although the minority were but a thirty-sixth part of the 652 members of the House, they represented one-ninth of the registered electors, and one-twelfth of the population of the United Kingdom.

A  long  correspondence   and   many   interviews between Mr. Taylor and the author ripened an acquaintance into a warm friendship, and it was with deep regret that I learned that circumstances had arisen which led to Mr. Taylor's retirement from Parliament in 1884. He, however, continued his support of the anti-vaccination movement until his decease, in 1891. No more honest politician or valiant defender of principles which he believed to be right ever represented a constituency in Parliament.


PARLIAMENT having entrusted the administration of the Vaccination Acts to Boards of Guardians, it came to pass that compulsory vaccination formed a burning question, not only at Parliamentary, but at all local, and especially the Guardians', elections in Leicester. After many "skirmishes" and occasional victories, a "general engagement" took place on the subject in April, 1883, and this resulted in the return of a majority of Guardians who were pledged against compulsion. Some of these gentlemen proved false to their promises. After a preliminary encounter, the matter came up for final decision at a meeting of the Board, held on the 2nd October, 1883, when considerable excitement prevailed. The aged chairman was ill at home, but so determined were the pro-vaccinists to carry the day that the old gentleman was literally dragged from a bed of sickness to attend the momentous conclave. When the votes were counted—after a lengthy discussion—sixteen voted for prosecutions, and a similar number against. The chairman was persuaded to give his casting vote in favour of proceedings being taken. He returned home, but never recovered from the dire effects of being present on that agitating, eventful, and significant occasion. That fateful vote led to thousands of prosecutions, and during the period of that Board's existence—viz., from 1883 to 1886—no less than 2,274 summonses were issued.

Notwithstanding this adverse vote, the anti-compulsionists were in no wise discouraged. They first managed to secure a suspension of prosecutions until after the Christmas season of " goodwill to men." Then, on the presentation of the Vac­cination Returns in August, 1884, the occasion was utilised for a further trial of strength.


AT the meeting of the Leicester Board of Guardians on 26th August, 1884, the Clerk produced a statement on the administration of the Vaccination Acts. (Table C, page 414, Fourth Report, Royal Commission on Vaccination.) The "Vaccination Inquirer," of October, 1884, states the Clerk explained

''that prior to 1873 no statistics were available. So far as 1873 and 1874 are concerned, the figures regarding the number gratuitously vaccinated were probably inaccurate, the fees paid to the medical officers being the only means he had of estimating the number, and those fees included re-vaccinations. For other years the return was Correct.
    Mr. Biggs, referring to the arrears, amounting since October last to 1,138 cases, said that in view of this extraordinary state of affairs they should take what might be called an extraordinary step. On some occasions the Local Government Board had been applied to by Guardians to say what they should do with respect to vaccination prosecutions, and in 1875 there was a person in Evesham who refused to have his child vaccinated. On that occasion the Local  Government Board condescended to forward a letter for the instruction of the Guardians......He thought, therefore, it was time the Local Government Board should give some authoritative opinion as to what was right for the Leicester Board to do. He moved that the Board appoint a Committee to draw up a memorial for presentation to Sir Charles Dilke, showing the state of affairs as regards vaccination in Leicester, and asking the advice of the Local Government Board thereon. Last year they had in Leicester no less than 996, and that evening they had submitted 1,138 arrears. He could not see why any member of the Board should refuse to vote for the resolution.
    Mr. Billings moved as an amendment that the Board direct the vaccination officer to institute and conduct proceedings, and enforce the full fine in all cases which are now or may be hereafter in default.

" Mr. Webb seconded the amendment.

" On division, Mr. Biggs's motion was carried by a majority of one."

The "Leicester Daily Mercury" of 30th August, commenting on this matter, said :—

" The statistics presented to the Guardians prove conclusively that the administration of the Vaccination Acts in this town has absolutely broken down. It is indeed a remarkable fact that whereas in 1873 of 4,446 children born 3,730 were successfully vaccinated, in 1883, when the number born was 4,819, only 1,732 came successfully through the operation. Moreover, in 1874 only seven remained unvaccinated, whilst last year the number was no fewer than 1,906. It may be that under the pressure of the law some of these 1,906 may submit their children to the operation, but this does not materially affect the question, for it is safe to presume that all who have faith in vaccination act up to it without waiting for the authorities to jog their memories.

". : . It is significant that since the last small-pox epidemic in Leicester, at which period the town was well vaccinated, public confidence in the law has diminished, while the trust of the people in the policy of immediate isolation, so successfully pursued by the sanitary authorities, has correspondingly increased."

In the "Leicester Daily Post" of 20th September, 1884, there appeared the following quotation from the "Lancet";-

"The anti-vaccinationists in Leicester now awaiting summonses are said to number three thousand. In view of the magnitude of the necessary legal proceedings, application has been made by the local authorities to the Local Government Board for advice in the matter. In the meantime, smallpox has made its appearance, and it is singular to learn, yet after all natural, and, we may add, creditable to the common sense of the townspeople, that vaccination has been resorted to in order to prevent it spreading. The precaution comes late, but it may be hoped not too late, to interfere with the experiment on a large scale to which so many inhabitants of the town have rashly devoted their children The mildness of the present epidemic and its comparative limitation, results almost exclusively due to efficient vaccination in other parts of the country, have much to do with the immunity hitherto enjoyed by Leicester.... We do not doubt that the Local Government Board will know how to uphold a sanitary measure as right as it is necessary, even while using such consideration as may be due towards offenders who are possibly misled rather than perverse. . . ."

The wishes of the Editor of the " Lancet" appear to be the authorities for his statements. They were thus disposed of in the Leicester Daily Post " :—

" We quote the above from the 'Lancet' in order that both sides in the vaccination controversy may be fairly heard; but it is impossible not to observe the errors into which the medical journal has fallen. In the first place, small-pox is not epidemic in Leicester, and has not been for years. Neither are the mildness of the recent outbreak here alluded to, and its comparative limitation, 'results almost exclusively due to efficient vaccination in other parts of the country,' for the infection was brought to Leicester from London, which enjoys the reputation of being well vaccinated. Moreover, if it be true that the pestilence strikes unvaccinated persons, how is it that the unvaccinated in Leicester have escaped, while the persons who have suffered were both vaccinated ? Were they 'practically unvaccinated,' though vaccinated? " Further, vaccination has not been resorted to in order to prevent the spread of the contagion—at any rate, so far as we are aware. On the contrary, the authorities have with commendable energy isolated the cases as they have occurred, and removed all who have been brought into close contact with the patients into quarantine at the Fever Hospital, which methods have proved successful in this instance, as they have in previous time. We do not say whether vaccination is a good thing or not. We simply point out the mistakes into which our contemporary has fallen."

A writer in the "Midland Free Press," of 20th September, said :—

" I am happy to think that the believers in vaccination—those who consider themselves 'protected' from small-pox by having undergone the operation, but who for all that are among the first to take alarm if small-pox makes its appearance—may now breathe freely. More than a fortnight has elapsed since the second case occurred in Leicester, and no other has been reported. The disease was introduced by a young man who had paid a visit of a few days to London; a boy in the same house sickened, and, although he had been vaccinated, he has suffered most severely, his life for several days being despaired of. Still both are now rapidly recovering, and the disease has again been stamped out. Thus all the evil prognostications indulged in by writers at a distance, as to the awful way in which small-pox would rage if it once appeared in unvaccinated Leicester, have proved unwarrantable."

Meanwhile, the following memorial was drafted and submitted on 2ist October, 1884, in accordance with the resolution:—

"The Guardians of the Leicester Union desire to lay before your honourable Board the extraordinary circumstances which have arisen in regard to the Vaccination Acts in Leicester.

" The paragraph contained in your letter of 4th September, 1883, relating to the Guardians' duties under Art. 16 of the Local Government Board's Order of 31st October, 1874, intimated that proceedings were to be taken so as to enforce conviction in each case of default under the Vaccination Acts.

" On 5th October, 1883, the Guardians, by the casting vote of the chairman only,  authorised their vaccination officer to take   proceedings against 996 persons who were at that time defaulters under the Acts.   The result of these prosecutions was to send 21 parents to prison, the sale of household goods distrained from 86 homes, amidst great disturbance and riot, necessitating the presence of a large police force, under the chief constable, for the maintenance of the public  peace, whilst nearly the whole of the remainder paid the penalties imposed by the  magistrates, only 82 out of the total 996 reluctantly allowing their children to be vaccinated under pressure of the law.

" The Guardians submit that the primary object of the law being the vaccination of children and not the prosecution of parents, that object is not attained by the proceedings which they have taken by your instructions.

" On the other hand, these numerous prosecutions tend to bring the administration of the law into contempt, and by inflicting great hardship they have in many instances excited the sympathy and indignation of the public.

" Some of the Leicester magistrates reluctantly impose penalties and express sympathy with the defaulters.

" The opinion largely prevails in medical and " other circles that a less rigorous administration " of the law would result in an increased number " of vaccinations.

" The Guardians object to be the instruments of carrying out a law which they believe is opposed to the spirit of the age, and they trust that they may be relieved from such duty, pending the probable repeal of the vaccination statutes.

" There is no small-pox in Leicester, and the few isolated cases during the past eleven years have been imported from so-called protected districts.

" The following is an extract from the annual report of the Medical Officer for Health for the borough for 1883 :—

Since 1873 up to the present time, an interval of eleven years, the town has enjoyed an almost complete  immunity from the   inroads of  the disease  (small-pox).   In the last seven years there have been no fewer than seventeen importations of small-pox into the town.     Not­withstanding this large number of importations, the disease has always been stamped out, and the  town thussaved from the distress and mortality which have hitherto accompanied its 'prevalence.'

"The Guardians wish to point out that the distress and mortality here referred to were prior to 1873, when vaccination was in full practice, while the means since resorted to with such uniform success have been isolation of patients, disinfection of their homes, with the adoption of general sanitary precautions, and in no case vaccination.

" They also wish to state that this success been  attained  in  the midst of  an  increasingly unvaccinated population.

" The enclosed return shows that the opposition now embraces more than half the population, only 1,732 being vaccinated out of 4,819 births for the year 1883.

" When   questions   put   upon   the   Vaccination Acts  have  been  submitted  to your  honourable Board, it  has been the   invariable custom  to refer  inquirers  to the letter addressed to the Evesham Board of Guardians in 1875.      The Leicester   Guardians feel that that letter is altogether inadequate to their present  inquiry, as it relates to one individual, whilst in Leicester the prosecutions already carried out since 1873, according  to  the enclosed return, amount to 2,679, and the same return gives 1,906 defaulters for 1883, in addition to the number accumulating, this year, making a probable total of 3,000 in all to be dealt with.

" Under the circumstances enumerated, the Board are of opinion that the intention of the framers of the Acts, as well as the requirements of justice and the public health, would be fully carried out if they instruct their vaccination officer not to proceed beyond the delivery of Notice A, and they respectfully ask that the instructions given them may be modified to that extent.

"The memorial was adopted unanimously."

On  this, the  "Midland. Free Press," of 25th October, observed :—

" We congratulate the Board on the judgment at which they have at length arrived. The case as they put it is clear and unmistakable, and we might say unanswerable. But what steps are the Local Government Board likely to take in the matter? The plain statement of facts contained in the memorial goes to prove the practical immunity of Leicester from small-pox, so long as the disease is not imported from London, Birmingham, and other well-vaccinated centres. In addition, we have the startling assertion that the opposition to vaccination now embraces a very large portion of the child population of Leicester, only 1,732 children having been vaccinated out of 4,819 born last year! The vaccination officer has repeatedly confessed his inability to overtake the arrears of work, to say nothing of the large number of fresh cases constantly added to the list, and as further prosecutions have been suspended for several weeks, pending the decision of the Local Government Board, it will be virtually impossible to up all the defaulters should such a course ordered, We, trust that this memorial will receive the serious consideration of the President of the Local Government Board, and that in this matter   Sir Charles Dilke  will  act upon   the dictates of common sense, and not at the behest of a few medical advisers of the Board.   Let him direct an official  inquiry to be  made  into the facts of the case as set forth by the Leicester Guardians, if he will; better still, let him come and see for himself what course is adopted in Leicester to stamp out small-pox—steps that have succeeded to an extent which has at one and the same time astonished and disappointed our local medical men.  The subject is one of world-wide importance; what has been done in Leicester may possibly be done in other towns—we see no reason to the contrary; and, therefore, we would  again urge that before an order is given—certainly before an order is sent here to recommence a useless system of persecution—a Government inquiry should be held, and a full report be made to the Local Government Board, on the subject."

It need scarcely be added that the Local, Government Board took little or no notice of the memorial,                                                                 


It was but fitting that, whenever a Government inquiry respecting vaccination was held, the evidence of a town such as Leicester should be taken. Over 6,000 summonses had been issued against parents, who were brought before the Magistrates; and there had been 64 commitments to prison, including three mothers, all of whom were put in gaol; nearly 200 homes having been sold up under distress warrants, and between £2,000 and £3,000 being paid in fines and costs. It was inevitable that such evidence should occupy considerable time, and become an important factor in the entire case. Some of these imprisonments were for relatively long periods (one for no less than thirty days— ten days for each of three children). Many parents suffered great hardships; for, in addition to the fines imposed, the loss of time meant proportionate loss of wages, causing serious dis­comfort and unhappiness in many homes. One of the men, it is said, being of weakly constitution, had his death accelerated, if not actually caused, by his imprisonment. However this may be it is certain that all those prosecuted were of the most reputable, law-abiding classes.

To succeeding generations it will appear almost as a thing incredible that,  in one town,  in the very centre of England, towards the close of the nineteenth  century—the century of boasted freedom, of enlightenment, of the highest attainment of science,   and of civil and religious  liberty--more   than   6,000   honest,    law-abiding   citizen should have been hauled before the Magistrates mulcted in fines,  distraints, or imprisonments and otherwise ignominiously treated : for what?  Simply for protecting their helpless offspring from blood poisoning ;  from  hideous  contamination from  what  Dr.  Creighton says is a grotesque superstition;  from disease and possibly death.  One might well ask—Can it really be true that all this persecution happened?    Alas! the facts contained in the Summary of Proceedings and List of Imprisonments which follow tell their own sorrowful  tale  of  hardship  and  suffering.     For the sake of my native town, for the sake of our aw-makers, I would that these hideous traces of nineteenth century barbarity could be blotted out of the page of history and remembrance for ever!    The  proceedings  taken  under the  Vaccination Acts in the Borough of Leicester,  from  1868 to 1889, show the extent of the hardships endured by the people of Leicester to secure parental liberty.


Number proceeded against                     6,037
Number dismissed                                      997
Orders made (with Costs)                           984
Orders made (without Costs)                      131
Orders made  (total)                                1,115
Number fined,                                          3,651
Number to pay Costs as well as Fine           274
Amount of Costs where Orders were made               £197   2s.
Amount of Fines......£1,922   9s.
Amount of Costs in addition to Fines      -                £192   8s. 0d
Number of Distress Warrants issued, 193,
for Fines amounting to -      -              -                     £92 18s.   0d.
Amount recovered, with Costs      ...                         £76  4s.   0d.
Imprisonments or Commitments in default
                                        of payment ........                                64.
Total amount of Costs on Orders,  Fines,
Costs   with   Fines,   and   Proceeds   of
Distraint Sales......                                                  £2,388  3s. 0d.

[See Table I, page 415, Fourth Report, Royal Commission on Vaccination.]


William Johnson
Joseph Smart
Isaac Sharpe
Henry Matts (on each of three summonses)
Sarah Annie Wrigley
George Saddington
James Jephcot
George Frith
Frank Palmer
Joseph Wright
Frank Palmer
Amos Booth
Isaac Goode
Charles Eagle
frank Palmer
James Cartwright
Elias Ed. Davie:

Magisterial decision
Fined 20s., or 14 days
Fined 20s., or 14 days
Fined 20s., or 14 days
Fined 20s., or 10 days
Fined 20s., or 10 days
Fined 20s., or 10 days
Fined 20s., or 10 days
Fined 20s., or 14 days
Fined 20s., or 10 days
Fined 20s., or 14 days
Fined 20s., or 10 days
Fined 20s., or 10 days
Fined 20s., or 10 days
Fined 20s., or 10 days
Fined 20s., or 10 days
Fined 20s., or 10 days
Fined 20s., or 10 days
Date of going to Gaol
Jan 15, 1869
Mar 15, 1869
Sept 13, 1869
Feb 24, 1871
June 16, 1871
Aug 21, 1871
Aug 21, 1871
Feb 9, 1872
Feb 26, 1872
July 19, 1872
Nov 29, 1872
Oct 25, 1875
Jan 17, 1876
May 8, 1876
May 8, 1876
May 19, 1876
July 28, 1876

John Thos. Payne (on each of two sum­monses)
James Pratt
George Hatfleld
James West
Leonard Hamer
George Weston
George Gee
William Mackness
Arthur Wileman
John Thos. Payne
Edward Smith
William Derry
William Pratt
Humphrey Burton
William Hy. Rodwell
George Allcroft
Jim Ashby
Samuel Dilley
Charles Hart
Henry Kendrick
William North
John East
Reuben Soars
Joseph Whitehead
William Ball
Samuel Jas. Elliot
Frederick Roseblade
J. L. Williams
William Green
A. J. Cater
John Holt
Richard Brunt
John Deeming
Henry Curvell
Ann Tomkins
John Deeming

Magisterial Decision
Fined 10s., or 5 days
Fined 10s., or 10 days
Fined 10s., or 10 days
Fined 10s., or 10 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 10 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 10 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 10 days
Costs on order
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Fined 10s., or 10 days
Fined 10s., or 7 days
Date of going to Gaol.
Sept.  11, 1876.
Sept. 11, 1876.
Sept.  22, 1876.
Sept. 22, 1876.
Mar.  28, 1877.
Sept.  21, 1877.
Nov.   30, 1877.
Dec.    14, 1877.
Jan.     4, 1878.
July    19, 1878.
May   26, 1879.
July   25, 1879.
Aug.    8, 1879.
Oct.    20, 1882.
May   14, 1883.
Oct.    19, 1882.
Nov.     9, 1882.
Nov.   29, 1882.
Nov.   29, 1882.
Nov.   29, 1882.
Dec.   11, 1883,
Dec.   11, 1883.
April 13, 1883.
Nov.   22, 1883.
Nov.   23, 1883.
April 10, 1884.
Dec.   13, 1883.
Feb.     2, 1884.
Jan.   21, 1884.
Jan.    21, 1884.
Jan.    18, 1884.
Jan.    21, 1884.
Feb.   29, 1884.
Aug.   11, 1884.
June    9, 1884.
June    9, 1884.

John Burdett
Charles A. Hart
William Mayer
George Stephenson
William B. S. Jones
William Mackness
Edwin Walker
John Tom Wakom

Magisterial Decision.      
Fined 10s., or 7 days.   
Fined 10s., or 7 days.  
Fined 10s., or 7 days.  
Fined 10s., or 7 days.  
Fined 10s., or 7 days.  
Fined 10s., or 7 days.  
Fined 10s., or 7 days.  
Fined 10s., or 7 days.  

Date of going to Gaol.
Aug.   11, 1884.
Aug.   11, 1884.
 June     9, 1884.
June     9, 1884.
June     2, 1884.
June     2, 1884.
June     2, 1884.
Aug.   11, 1884.

In addition to their fines, some of the above named defendants were also ordered to pay the costs.

It will be noticed that three of the number were mothers. All honour to the parents, both men and women, who, rather than submit the health of their children to the risk of the blood poisoners lancet, preferred the prison cell. William Johnson, whose name heads the list, was the first in the Kingdom to be imprisoned under the Vaccination Acts. Also, Henry Matts, the fourth name on the list, suffered the longest term of imprisonment under the old barbarous penal regime—namely, thirty days, being ten days for each of three children. These honours, therefore, belong to Leicester.

Thus was the small flame of resistance fanned by these harsh proceedings into a huge conflagration, which culminated in a demonstration in 1885, when copies of the Vaccination Acts were defiantly burned in public on that never-to-be forgotten occasion! The people of Leicester were thoroughly aroused. They organised what was described as the largest and most impressive demonstration that has ever been witnessed within its boundaries. It took the form of a national outburst against the cruelties attendant upon the, enforcement of compulsory vaccination. Factories' and warehouses were closed, and the townspeople gave themselves up to a general holiday, in order to participate in, and show their sympathy with, the project on hand.


CONSIDERABLE newspaper correspondence preceded the Demonstration, and, amongst other letters, the following was published in the " Daily News," of Monday, 23rd March, 1885:—


[To the Editor of the "Daily News."]

Sir,—As you have published several articles reporting the progress of the revolt against compulsory vaccination at Leicester, where the prosecutions of the 5,000 Nonconformists ordered with a light heart by the Local Government Board are now being carried out, I venture to inform you that arrangements are nearly complete for holding, on the 23rd inst, a monster public demonstration as the most fitting mode of declaring unyielding opposition to this intolerable injustice. Already about forty anti-vaccination leagues, and more than fifty towns where the opposition, though widespread, is as yet unorganised, have signified their intention of taking part in the proceedings, and both Ireland and Scotland are to be represented. The large number of letters of sympathy which are every day pouring in from our deeply-injured and much-harassed countrymen, as well as from the Continent and the United States, show that the revolt is much wider than our opponents are willing to allow. Amongst the writers are professors of universities, members of legislative assemblies, jurists, doctors of medicine, statisticians, and eminent publicists, who have made this subject the special object of their investigation, and who, so far from seeing a benefit in Jenner's prescription, find in it only failure, disease, death, and the instrument of an unspeakable tyranny. A distinguishing feature in the communications which have reached our committee is the number of those who certify to have had healthy children injured or killed by what is said to be the benign operation of vaccination. That our fellow-countrymen will assist us in the righteous struggle in which we are engaged is no longer a matter of doubt, and if we can obtain impartial treatment on the part of the press-hitherto too unfairly denied us—we are certain of an early and peaceable victory. I beg to enclose programme. On behalf of the Leicester Demonstration Committee,

J. T. BIGGS, Member of the Leicester Board of Guardians.

A full account of the Demonstration will be found in "The Vaccination Inquirer," for April, 1885, and from this the following extracts are taken :—

"As soon as the Demonstration was projected, offers of assistance were received from all parts; of the United Kingdom, the London Society and the National Anti-Vaccination League cordially co-operating. An attractive programme was prepared, the railway companies were approached on the subject of travelling facilities, a procession was arranged for, and Leicester decided on making holiday on the occasion. Soon it was seen that nothing was wanting save fine weather to make the Demonstration a complete success, and Monday, 23rd March, 1885, memorable in the annals of the town.


" The headquarters of the Demonstration were at the Temperance Hall, and long before midday it was a scene of intense activity, most of the banners and flags being fitted up there. Of these there were some 700 large and small!  Many were tastefully designed, and the colours were as various as the inscriptions. Northampton bore witness that 'Compulsory vaccination is a usurpation of unjust power,' and ' Brighton that 'Truth conquers.'  Kent, with its rampant horse and legend Invicta, set ' Parental affection before despotic law,' and demanded 'The repeal of the Vaccination Acts, the curse of our nation,' clenched with the adjuration, 'Men of Kent, defend your liberty of conscience; better a felon's cell than a poisoned babe.'  Kettering pronounced for 'Freedom,' and Halifax that 'Jenner's patent has run out.' Middleton set on high 'The crusade against legalised compulsory medical quackery'; whilst Oldham called ' for ' Health and liberty,' and exhorted beholders to 'Be just and fear not,' assuring them, truly enough, 'The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.' Finsbury and Banbury united in the advice,  'Stand up for liberty!'  Southwark called for 'Entire repeal and no compromise,' and Barnoldswick for 'Sanitation, not vaccination.  Truro pertinently asked, 'Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?'   Keighley, ever to the fore, said, 'We fight for our homes and freedom.' 'Earlstown asked for 'Pure blood and no adulteration,' and Lincoln averred, 'We protect our offspring.  Eastbourne advised, 'Cease to do evil, learn to do well.' St. Pancras sent 'Cordial greeting and sympathy to the heroic martyrs of Leicester.' There was a well-appointed hearse, with a child's coffin inscribed, 'Another victim of vaccination,' and the observation of Sir Joseph. Pease in the House of Commons, 'The President of the Local Government Board cannot deny that children die under the operation of the Vaccination Acts in a wholesale way.'  A banner bore the prayer, 'From horse-grease, calf-lymph, cowpox, and the Local Government Board, good Lord deliver us.' Another had 'A dead swindle---a vaccination death certificate.'  The origin of cow-pox in horse-grease was illustrated by a mangey horse with bandaged heels and a heifer on a dray. The varieties of virus, indifferently and ignorantly used for vaccination, were represented in six labelled jars, the original Jennerian grease being inscribed, ' Tis grease, but living grease no more.'  Mr. Golding, of Leytonstone, marched with a model of Holloway Prison, wherein he had recently suffered incarceration for saving his child from vaccination. There were numerous banners with piquant local allusions, which would require more or less interpretation outside Leicester. A fine banner from Belgium bore the inscription in French,   'Neither penalties nor prison can prevent vaccine from being a poison and the vaccination laws an infamy.—Dr. Hubert Boens.'  On the other side was a babe in a cradle and a doctor with an ass's head vaccinating it."

The   weather   was   propitious—a   finer   spring day could not have been conceded to order.

One of  the friends present sent to the "Inquirer" this account of


" From several descriptions kindly sent us, we select the following :—

" Leicester, Monday, 23rd of March, 1885, will be a golden day on the page of memory—a birthday of liberty. It should be known as the " Children's Day.

" After weeks of bitter wind, a beautiful day of  sunshine and calm. After years of grim fighting for freedom, a festival of mustering thousands, come together for mutual encouragement from battles past and for battles yet to come.

" From half the counties of England, from scores of towns and cities, men of all professions, of all trades, bound in close bonds of sympathy, not by tens and twenties, but by hundreds and thousands met. Thank God for such proof that England has a conscience still, and a manhood and womanhood too that cannot and will not be trampled in the dust by the hoof of tyranny.

"Flags everywhere; music everywhere; rosy faces everywhere , happy laughter everywhere— a perfect carnival of common merriment and common sense, all converging toward the great market-place of the fine old stalwart town which is earning the gratitude of the age and the admiration of posterity once again.

" Presently from that fine market-square streams out a vast procession.   And what a procession! A procession of thousands on thousands of 'Law­-breakers,'   without  a  single  policeman in the ranks to keep order; and at the end of the day not even the rumour of a child knocked down or a pocket-handkerchief lost!

"What a procession! we say again. Not a procession of shams, like a Lord Mayor's Show. No pasteboard imitations of Middle-Age heroes, but true warriors of a real and living chivalry ; and, better still, with radiant wives; and, better still, their blooming children—wives who have said 'Good-bye' with streaming eyes when barred doors closed between them—perhaps more than once, or twice, or thrice ; and little children, who have knelt down to 'Pray God bless dear papa,' and then burst out into childish sobs for the dear, absent father—sleeping on 'Cross's plank-bed' in his stony prison cell.

" But all that is forgotten to-day, except that here and there in the great procession a motto on a banner, or a model of a prison-room, with its oakum and other attractions, may be seen.

" We meant to count the flags and banners, expecting to finish the task in an hour or so, but the numbers got mixed after two or three hundreds, and we gave up the task.

"We formed another good resolution—that we would write down all the mottoes—but once again we broke down utterly. Here are some samples, however :—'Those that are whole need not a physician,' 'Keep your children's blood still pure,' 'What you sow you shall also reap,' 'Who would be free themselves must strike the blow,' ' Stand up for liberty,' ' Dare to be a Daniel,' 'Liberty is our birthright, and liberty we demand,' ' Oppressive laws make discontented peoples,' 'Rachels are weeping for their children all over the land,' 'The mothers of England demand repeal,' etc. Then there were the artistic banners, which would require the assistance of art to bring them before 'the eye.  One of the first was a group well known to thousands of our readers, representing a skeleton vaccinating an infant in its mother's lap, while a policeman grips her uplifted hand—the mother's face being full of agony and the babe's face of infantine unconsciousness—while the skeleton and the officer of the law are grinning with horrid expressiveness—a life-size enlargement of a design by Mrs. Hume. Another fine banner was the medical bubbles which have burst one after the other in the past century or two. An immense Irish harp, in gold on a green banner, was conspicuous ; so were oscores we cannot describe ; and so were other scores which bore the names and sometimes the arms of towns and cities throughout the country.

"Perhaps not the least part of the amusement was created by the trollies and carts containing 'tangible things, like diseased cows and horses, showing that a supply of 'lymph' might still be had without dealing with the foreigner—a great comfort to the faculty, this piece of news, no doubt, in case of a possible blockade in these days of rumours of war. Of course, there was an opposition doctor, who sniffed both at horse and heifer, and proudly bestriding his own donkey, offered 'Pure moke lymph' at the figure of 'a guinea a dose.'

Other trollies contained 'furniture seized for blood-money,' showing that the State had effected a compromise, and that somebody was sleeping without a bedstead, and sitting down to dinner (if he had one) without tables and chairs, instead of baby being vaccinated. One trolly appeared to have negotiated the loan of a gallows and scaffold from the county gaol for Dr. Jenner's sole and particular use ; and the execution was carried on without the slightest hitch, about every twenty yards through some miles of streets, amid strong manifestations of popular approval. To recur a moment to the banners, we should mention a fine one from the Scottish National Society, with the thistle and lion, and the motto, 'Nemo me impune lacessit.' Another good banner bore the words, 'Revolt against Bad Laws is a Christian Virtue and a National Duty.' Another on a large scale was inscribed, 'Vaccination tyranny defeated in Jersey four times—1874, 188l, 1884, 1885' ; and another too truly declared, 'It is not small-pox " you are stamping out, but human creatures' lives.

" Doctors riding cows and holding on by the tail, and mothers at upper windows clasping their infants, while policemen were trying to commit a legal burglary at the keyhole in the street below, were also conspicuously enjoyed.

" Then there were waggons and carriages of various kinds, loaded with parents who were fighting or had fought the battle of pure blood against experimental butchery upon their defenceless little ones; and crowding great vans with their bright, happy faces, or riding on ponies, or carried in arms, came large deputations of the five or ten thousand 'infantile law-breakers,' to whose honour the day was devoted, looking so fresh, and wholesome, and free from blemish, that many and many a warm heart must have cursed the horrid tyranny which threatened them with a peril worse than an enemy's siege of Leicester. Well might they hold up banners with 'We will never surrender!' over their darlings' heads.

" Well might the drummers nearly beat in the heads of their drums as the bands filed by—one after the other at necessary intervals—playing  'The March of the Men of Harlech,' or Bruce's address to his army, 'Scots Wha Hae wi' Wallace Bled,' and other fine inspiriting tunes.

" So, with 'banners before them, banners, behind them, banners to right of them, banners to left of them, and banners above them—hung out from topmost windows from side to side of street after street as far as eye could reach in every direction so rode the enviable children of Leicester, waving their own tiny bannerets and cheering with delight—on a day they will cherish the memory of when their rosy faces are wrinkled with another three score years, and their sunny locks are grey—and when 'the great dragon' (whose discomfiture they saw on Monday well painted on a banner of St. George) has long been slain.

"We need not recite the names of the streets and squares through which this wonderful procession passed.  Suffice it to say that its many thousands, after some two hours sturdy marching, marched into the great market-place and grouped themselves'—so far as a rather close squeeze would allow of grouping—around the platform erected for the occasion, beside which Mr. William Tebb, of London (who had taken a leading part in the mustering of delegates from all corners of England, and in other respects assisting in the triumphant success of the day) was seated in a carriage with Mrs. Tebb, Col. Earle, Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs, and other friends."


After proceeding round the town, the procession assembled in the market-place, and every street and avenue leading thereto was densely packed by seething multitudes of humanity, the number present being variously estimated at from 80,000 to 100,000 people. Even this huge figure would have been considerably increased, but, true to the prejudice which prevailed against anti-vaccinators at that time, the railway companies—although repeated applications were made to them—all refused to run special trains for the occasion. "The Vaccination Inquirer" proceeds :—

"On a platform in front of the Corn Exchange" sat the leading representatives of the movement. Councillor Butcher, of Leicester, was called to the chair, and, addressing the immense audience, said he thought those who were opposed to the Acts might be well satisfied with the Demonstration they had organised. He had seen a good many demonstrations in Leicester, but never one to surpass the present in numbers and intelligence. Many present had been sufferers under the Acts, and all they asked was that in the future they and their children might be let alone. They lived for something else in this world than to be experimented upon for the stamping out of a particular disease. A large and increasing portion of the public were of opinion that the best way to get rid of small­pox and similar diseases was to use plenty of water, eat good food, live in light and airy houses, and see that the Corporation kept the streets clean and the drains in order. If such details were attended to, there was no need to fear small pox, or any of its kindred ; and if they were neglected, neither vaccination nor any other prescription by Act of Parliament could save them. (Cheers.)

" Mr. William Young, secretary of the London Society, then moved—'That the principle of the Compulsory Vaccination Acts is subversive of that personal liberty which is the birthright of every free-born Briton ; that they are destructive of parental rights, tyrannical and unjust in operation, and ought therefore to be resisted by every constitutional means.'This Mr. Joseph Brown, of Dewsbury, seconded, and the resolution was carried with vociferous applause.

"Mr. Ewing moved a resolution empowering the chairman to sign a petition for the repeal of the Compulsory Acts. Mr. Hope Hume, of Torquay, seconded the motion, which was carried by acclamation.

"The vast audience, led by the united bands, then sang 'The Cause that is True,' written for the occasion by Mr. Louis Breeze, jun. Mr. J. T. Biggs produced a copy of the Vaccination Acts, which was suspended from iron bars and burned, and the ashes cast to the winds. Cheers were then given for Messrs. P. A. Taylor, J. A. Picton, A. McArthur, and Amos Booth. The proceedings terminated with the singing of the National Anthem. As the concourse broke up, a few adventurous spirits seized the effigy of Jenner, and tossed it about. Two constables secured it, and threw it down the staircase under the Exchange. Hardly had they turned their backs when the dummy was again produced and tossed afresh. A second time the constables entered the crowd, and, having secured the 'Doctor,' solemnly marched him off to the police station, minus his head, which had disappeared, and could not be found.

"At five o'clock several hundreds of the visitors had tea in the Temperance Hall, which was handsomely decorated for the occasion. Congratulations were universal as to the success of the Demonstration, and the admirable organisation whereby it had been effected ; Mr. J. T. 1 Biggs, treasurer, and Mr. G. H. Ellingworth, secretary, of the Leicester League, being especially commended by those who knew the labour, 'forethought, and skill involved in so great an undertaking.

" Mr.  Israel  Hart,   the  Mayor,  and  the  Chief Constable of Leicester watched the marshalling of the various detachments prior to the starting of   the   procession.    At  the   close   of   the   proceedings, the Chief Constable expressed his satisfaction with the orderly course of the day's proceedings, to which, it is needless to say, his own sagacious arrangements had largely contributed.


" In the evening a public meeting was held in the Temperance Hall, under the presidency of the Rev. T. Page Hopps, who was supported on the platform by Mr. Enoch Robinson, M.R.C.S., Dukinfield ; William Tebb ; Colonel Earle ; W. L. Beurle ; Alfred Milnes, M.A. ; William Young ; Jabez Hunns ; George S. Gibbs, Darlington; G. R. Skipworth; Gaistor; T. Cragoe, Truro; H. Brummitt, Lincoln; Dr. Spencer T. Hall, Blackpool;. G. W. Ibbotson, Dewsbury; W. T. Martin, Lewes; H. Weston, Sheffield; B. Thorpe, Middleton ; E. Heywood, Manchester; J. Sheard, Nottingham ; Dr. E. J. Crow, Ripon ; Miss Jessie Craigen, London; Philip Luck, Eastbourne ; C. Pocock and C. J. Harris, Brighton; A. Feltrup, Derby; G. Newman, Gloucester; G. J. Wilson, Boston; Councillor Burgess, Norwich; B. T. Birch, King's Lynn; W. E. Snell, Edinburgh ; Hope Hume, Torquay ; Mr. Jeffery, of the Keighley Guardians (who went to York Castle for one month); Alderman Windley; Councillors Deacon, Butcher, Lennard, and J. Green; Messrs. Deacon, Finn, F. Taylor, W. Carr, W. Baum, J. Allen, J. T. Biggs, J. Spurway, J. Leeson, J. Leavesley, B. Grimes, W. Wells, and J. Boughton (members of the Leicester Board of Guardians) ; Rev. J. Moden, W. Stanyon, T. Wright, W. F. Bramley, Dr. Lakin, J. Ewing, A. Moulds, W. P. Ellmore, Leicester, and many others.

"Proceedings commenced with singing 'The Cause that is True.' The chairman was cordially received, and having addressed the meeting, Mr. W. Stanyon moved—'That the Compulsory Vaccination Acts, which make loving and conscientious parents criminals, subjecting them to fines, loss of goods, and imprisonment, propagate disease and inflict death, and under which five thousand of our fellow-townsmen are now being prosecuted, are a disgrace to the Statute Book, and ought to be abolished forthwith.'

" The Rev. J. Moden seconded.

" In supporting the motion, Mr. Tebb remarked:—Schiller says only great questions arouse the profound depths of humanity, and I venture to say that the question which has called us together this evening belongs to that category. The Demonstration which we have witnessed to-day could only have been aroused by a deep conviction in the justice and righteousness of our cause ; and, if I am not mistaken, it will help forward the work of emancipation wherever this odious and indefensible tyranny exists, and will leave a broad mark in the history of our time. . . . When our victory is won, we may rest assured that we shall have shaken the foundations of other tyrannies besides vaccination ; for injustice and cruelty are linked together in more ways than one, and in the downfall of this superstition we shall feel that we have become a freer, healthier, and happier people.                                                              

" Mr. Alfred Milnes, M.A., also supporting the motion, said :—I can assure you it gives me very geat pleasure to come here and take part in this splendid meeting. Not merely because one seems to breathe a purer atmosphere in coming to this, the head-centre of revolt against what I look on as in every aspect a wicked and intolerable law, but chiefly because here in Leicester a man gets rid at once of all the mass of sophistries with which this matter of compulsory vaccination has been overlaid. Here, at last, one comes face to face with the question in its plain, broad issues. . . We are not met here to-night to ask for any man's toleration. For my own part, toleration is a word I detest; and I wish that some revised version would give us a reading, Who art thou, to tolerate thy brother?  We ask for no man's toleration, and we plead for no man's pity; we are met to-night to demand the birthright of free citizens—equality before the law. (Cheers.) . . . The glorious words, 'Be just and fear not,' will stick in our throats and die still-born upon our lips when, eye to I eye with childhood's innocence and childhood's purity, we try to utter them again as in the days before we sold our conscience at the bidding of the law, and so fell lower than the brutes who love their young. . . . Men of Leicester, will you not stand faithful and determined between the cradles of your little children and the power of such men as Marson? (Loud shouts of 'Yes,' 'We will.') . . .. The day is breaking. Through good report and ill report will you not hold out a little while? (Loud cries of 'We will.') Thanks, I am answered, and in your answering tones I hear the doom of an unrighteous law. (Prolonged cheering.)

"Mr. Enoch Robinson, M.R.C.S., in supporting the motion, said it seemed to him an outrage on common sense that, after all the efforts made to raise the people out of ignorance and superstition, there should be an Act of Parliament to keep their minds down on one point to the level occupied 160 years ago. . . . When the law is repealed we shall witness a marvellous transformation, not only in the disuse of vaccination by the people, but in its repudiation by the intelligence of the medical profession ; for many know, as we do, that vaccination, as a defence against small-pox, is one of the grossest superstitions that ever afflicted the human mind. " (Cheers.)

" The resolution was carried unanimously.

" Mr. Thomas Cragoe, Truro, moved—'That this meeting expresses hearty approval of the action taken by those Leicester Guardians who have opposed the prosecution of parents under the Compulsory Vaccination Acts ; also of those Magistrates who interpret the law reasonably and humanely; and hereby records the determination to support only those candidates at Parliamentary and other elections who pledge themselves to vote for the repeal of the Compulsory Vaccination Acts.' (Applause.)

" I come from a remote corner of the Kingdom, where the great arteries of politics hardly reach, but there the popular feeling is decidedly adverse to the Vaccination Acts. . . . Bishop Temple, speaking at Derby a few weeks ago before the Purity Society, observed :-'If ever there was a movement born of the people, fostered by the people, and spread by the people, this temperance movement was one. Speaking of purity, it was a pity the. Bishop did not raise his voice against pollution by law—that pollution against which Leicester has this day spoken in unmistakable fashion

"With many sturdy clouts and whacks,
Leicester at last will beat the quacks."

" Mr. George S. Gibbs, of Darlington, in seconding the motion, observed :—Vaccination is taken as established and unquestionable, and silence is the rule for its defence. ... If the sacred mystery of vaccination be exposed, what may not follow? We have broken that silence today, and now is the time to take advantage of open ears to show how flimsy is the base on "which this poisonous superstition exists.

" The motion was put and carried unanimously. "The proceedings closed with singing the hymn written by Mrs. Giant for the occasion :—

"Brothers in heart united
Raise we our voice to-day,
Now let our vow be plighted
To sweep this law away."

''The hymn was sung to a fine organ-accompaniment to the tune, 'Wait till the clouds roll by.'


"On Tuesday morning a conference of delegates was held in Waterloo Hall. Mr. F. D. Askey, of Highgate, was called to the chair. There were from seventy to eighty delegates present.  A general discussion on the movement, in which the chairman; Mr. Jeffery, Keighley; Councillor Burgess, Norwich ; Mr. Snell, Edinburgh ; Messrs. G. Newman, Gloucester ; Stapley, Gledhill, Kenworthy, G. B. Skipwortn, Heywood, Alfrey, Miss Craigen, and others took part, and the appended resolution was passed unanimously :—

"That this representative meeting of delegates from the Metropolis and from over fifty leagues instituted for obtaining the repeal of the laws which enforce the practice of vaccination under penalties of fine and imprisonment, pledges itself to use every legal and constitutional means to attain the end for which these societies were formed, and to persevere in this agitation until that object has been achieved. We would strongly urge upon Parliament and our several representatives in the House of Commons the total and immediate repeal of these unwise and oppressive laws, futile for all good, and fertile of much evil; which violate the rights of conscience, and unwarrantably interfere with the sacred rights, duties, and responsibilities of parents in protecting the health of their own children ; and which weaken in the mind of the community that loyalty to our institutions, and that respect for the law of the land, which it was once the special duty of the Legislature to confirm and strengthen. We also hereby express our sympathy with, and our determination to support, those conscientious persons who are or may become the victims of these harsh and cruel laws. We call upon all Boards of Guardians, in the exercise of that discretion which the law gives them, to abstain from prosecutions which inflame popular passions, and create a wide and ever-widening sympathy with those whose conscience compels them either to evade the law or openly to revolt against it. We appeal to our fellow-countrymen and countrywomen everywhere to countenance and aid us in this righteous struggle for the disestablishment and disendowment of a practice which is not only no security against small-pox, but which, as many of us know by bitter experience, poisons the blood of our children, and implants in their constitution the fatal seeds of disease and death, and violates that right of self-control over the person which " is one of the ancient rights of the English citizen.

"' We invite the press throughout the land to give publicity to this resolution, and to open their columns to the free and fair discussion of this pressing and momentous question.'

"Great satisfaction was expressed on all sides over the splendid success of the Demonstration, and an earnest desire that it might be repeated "elsewhere. Dr. Spencer T. Hall, of Blackpool, aged seventy-three and infirm, was overcome with emotion when speaking of the events of the preceding day. His tears, he said, were tears of joy and gratitude in having lived to see the vaccination question attain its present position. He had been vaccinated at two years of age, and very seriously injured ; but at fourteen he had a severe attack of small-pox, which was followed by improved health. Far rather would he have small-pox than be vaccinated. He had paid fines  for all his children. In his long and wide experience he had never seen such evil results from small-pox as he had seen from vaccination.

" Councillor Burgess proposed a vote of thanks ; to Mr. Biggs and other Leicester friends.

" Mr. Biggs, in response, said the thanks he coveted was imitation. Let them return to their respective towns and convert them to the condition of Leicester."

Numerous letters and telegrams were received from all parts of the world, the senders includ­ing :—P. A. Taylor, Brighton ; G. H. Hopwood, Q.C., M.P., London ; J. Allanson Picton, M.P., London ; The Hon. Auberon Herbert, Welwyn ; H. D. Dudgeon, Quorn ; J. J. Garth Wilkinson, M.D., London; Prof. Alex. Wilder, M.D., New Jersey, U.S.A.; J. Pondey, M.D., Philadelphia; H. Bergh, New York ; Prof. J. Emery Corderre, Montreal; Dr. P. A. Siljestrom, M.P., Stockholm ; Dr. C. Sandborg, Christiana; Dr. Scheuermann, Basle; Th. Bruckner, M.D., ex-President of the Anti-Vaccination Societies of Switzerland, Basle; Dr. Ch. Pigeon, Nievre ; M. Eugene de Masquard, St. Cerain ; Dr. E. Weber, Cologne ; Herr Augustus Zoppritz, Stuttgart; T. L. Nichols, M.D., London ; Prof. Mayor, Cambridge ; Dr. A. Vogt, Professor of Hygiene, Berne ; Prof. Kuyper, Rector of Free .University, Amsterdam ; Dr. Oidtmann and Count ;Hompesch, Berlin, Member of Reichstag; Theodore Poppe, Artern, Saxony; Carl Griebel, Meran, jTyrol; Jos. Ed. Schmid, Annathal, Bohemia; Fr. Konig, Artern, Saxony ; Dr. Bilfinger, Stuttgart; Gustavi. Weidner, Cologne; P. Butterdrodt, Hildesheim ; Gustavus Parthenay, Saxe-Coburg (in the name of the National Health Association).

Accounts of the proceedings in connection with the Demonstration were published all over the country, but I need only refer to two. In a leading article, extending to more than a column, in its issue of Tuesday, 24th March, 1885, the " Leicester Daily Post" said :—

"The most striking feature of yesterday's demonstration in Leicester was undoubtedly its numbers. It is necessarily difficult to form a thoroughly reliable estimate of the tens, or rather scores, of thousands who yesterday either crowded the market-place during the dinner hour, or attempted to gain admission without success. Nor is it by any means easy to compute the enormous number who thronged the square a couple of hours later during the meeting.  However wide may be the guesses at truth on this subject, upon one thing all must be practically agreed. Yesterday's demonstration was certainly, in every respect, one of the largest ever witnessed in the Borough of Leicester. . . . The extraordinary display of yesterday afternoon must be regarded as by far the greatest and most representative demonstration against  the Vaccination Acts ever witnessed in this country. . . Nor can there be a doubt as to the meaning: of both the procession and the gatherings. Whatever else they may or may not do, they supply one more proof that the opposition to compulsion is steadily, though silently, gathering force in Leicester—that the already formidable dead-weight of passive resistance is gradually becoming overpowering. Many causes have unquestionably combined to create this revolt against the law. But the principal are not far to seek. Probably the most powerful of all is the growing local conviction that in Leicester, at all events, vaccination is now the greater (not the lesser) of two alternative evils. . . . Until the Local Government Board devotes as much attention to improving the hygienic conditions as it now does to the unpopular protective of vaccination, it is impossible that one of the most infectious and hideous of the zymotic diseases can become extinct."

The "Times" of the same date contained the following statement:—

"The widespread opposition to the enforcement of the compulsory clauses of the Vaccination Acts which exists in Leicester culminated yesterday in a great demonstration, which was carried out very successfully. The position which the inhabitants of the town have assumed with regard to this question is due to a variety of causes. At the present moment there are over 5,000 persons being summoned for refusing to comply with the law. The total number of the summonses issued in the year 1884 only reached seven, or a little over one summons in every two months, while at the present moment forty-five summonses are being heard and disposed of every week. But even the disposal of forty-five defendants every week is not sufficient to meet the requirements of the case, and the defaulters and the objectors increase faster than the cases can be dealt with. The last decade has witnessed an extraordinary decrease in vaccination, but, nevertheless, the town has enjoyed an almost entire immunity from small-pox, there never  having been more than two or three cases in the town at one time. A new method for which great practical utility is claimed has been enforced by the sanitary committee of the Corporation for the stamping out of small-pox, and the chairman of the Committee has gone so far as to declare that small-pox is one of the least troublesome diseases with which they have to deal. The method of treatment, in a word, is this:—As soon as small-pox breaks out, the medical man and the householder are compelled under penalty to at once report the outbreak to the Corporation. The small-pox van is at once ordered by telephone to proceed to the house in question the hospital authorities are also instructed by telephone to make all arrangements, and thus, within a few hours, the sufferer is safely in the hospital. The family and inmates of the house are placed in quarantine in comfortable quarters, and the house thoroughly disinfected. The result is that in every instance the disease has been promptly and completely stamped out at a paltry expense. Under such a system the Corporation have expressed their opinion that vaccination is unnecessary, as they claim to deal with the disease in a more direct and much more efficacious manner. This, and a widespread belief that death and disease have resulted from the operation of vaccination, may be said to be the foundation upon which the existing opposition the Acts rests."

The result of this Demonstration was momentous! At the next triennial election of Guardians, in 1886, the traitors were dismissed, an over­whelming majority of members being returned pledged to vote in opposition to compulsion.

The subject was very soon introduced to the newly-elected Board, and on 4th May, 1886, after a debate, the compulsionists were routed by twenty-seven votes to eight. And thus ended the tyranny initiated by the previous Board, but which, doubtless, in the end did more to defeat than to establish compliance with the law.

Since 1886 the Guardians chosen have been uniformly antagonistic to compulsory vaccination. On 30th April, 1889, the policy of non-compulsion was once more affirmed by thirty-one votes against three.

The Guardians sent up a number of petitions against compulsory vaccination, they carried on a lengthy correspondence, and pursued an unflagging struggle with the Local Government Board. There is no need to give details of these occurrences, as they are all forcibly summarised in the principal memorial, presented by the Guardians to the Royal Commission.



AT various interviews with the late Mr. James Allanson Picton, then M.P. for Leicester, I pressed upon him the desirability of moving in the House of Commons for a Royal Commission. Others joined with me in the representations made, and eventually, having recognised the justice of the request, Mr. Picton consented to the proposal. On 5th April, 1889, he moved the following in Parliament: —"That a humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying her to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into the working of the Vaccination Acts, also into the condition, as regards the prevalence of small­pox or otherwise of any towns or districts in which the Guardians have for two years or more failed to prosecute for refusal to vaccinate, and likewise into the system of compulsory notification, isolation, and quarantine, as carried out in Leicester and elsewhere ; to take evidence as to the present state of scientific and medical opinion on the effects of vaccination ; to inquire into the nature and causes of popular objections to vaccination, where such exist; and to report whether any change in the law, and, if so, what change, is, in their judgment, desirable."

Mr. Picton gave the House an exhaustive review of events which had occurred since the last inquiry, that of 1871, and referred to the severe epidemic of that year, notwithstanding the assurance of witnesses who appeared before that Committee, that the administration of vaccination was almost perfect throughout the land. He alluded to England, Scotland, and Ireland, and also to the rejection by the House of Lords of the clause to abolish repeated prosecutions ; and, further, he dealt with the Sheffield epidemic, and Dr. Creighton's article on "Vaccination" in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

The Member for Leicester proceeded :—

"Dr. Lawson Tait was not an anti-vaccinist, but, in a paper read at Birmingham in 1882, he said that zymotic diseases were absolutely preventable by securing fresh air, pure water, and abundant light. Many towns had shown what might be done by sanitation to drive away the disease of small-pox. In Leicester for nearly seventeen years they had found that sanitation, compulsory notification of contagious diseases, quarantine, and disinfection were sufficient to guard the town against disease. In 1872 they had a great deal of vaccination in Leicester and a great deal of small-pox, while in 1888-89 they had scarcely any vaccination and absolutely no small-pox.    All his constituents asked was that impartial and experienced men should go down to Leicester and judge for themselves.

"In conclusion, Mr. Picton said that he had shown that the Committee of 1871 had its most important  recommendation  rejected  in  another place ; that the Committee of that date was not alive to the startling-proofs which were afforded by the repeated failures of vaccination to protect society as distinct from individuals ; that popular uneasiness; was growing; and that to a large extent  it  was  justified  by the  facts  and  the official statistics ; that prosecutions were becoming a scandal; that the Leicester experiment of seventeen years, up to the present time successful, showed  that  freedom from small-pox did not ; depend upon, vaccination ; and that medical men were not agreed upon the safety of the operation ;  and he therefore moved  for an  inquiry by a body impartially constituted—perhaps legal minds would be best able to weigh the evidence —not with the object of registering any foregone conclusion,  but  to  collate   and  weigh   all  the evidence bearing upon the question.

" Dr. Farquharson said that, although an uncompromising advocate for vaccination, he seconded the motion for a Commission of Inquiry, which might well be presided over by one of Her Majesty's judges. Inquiry would promote the cause of truth, and he did hope it would reach the stage of finality, and so get rid of agitation.

"Mr. Ritchie, President of the Local Government Board, said Mr. Picton had always taken an  intelligent interest in  the vaccination question,  and if the arguments against vaccination were always as temperately put forward as those of the hon. member,  he should have no reason to complain.   But he knew it was not so, and that the mind of the country, and especially of the working classes, was excited by a mass of literature and an immense number of statements which contained false propositions, which perverted facts in the most barefaced manner,and drew a picture of the effects of vaccination, which,  in his opinion,  fully accounted for the fact that the vaccination laws were perhaps regarded in many quarters with a very considerable amount of dissatisfaction."

After speaking upon the invaccination of syphilis, vindictive prosecutions, Hayward's case, and repeated penalties, Mr. Ritchie eulogised the report of Dr. Barry, on the Sheffield epidemic, by saying :—

"A more able and exhaustive report was never laid before the House. He recited at length the summary of the report supplied by Dr. Buchanan, ending with the assertion that the figures from Sheffield were of the most conclusive character, and that vaccination as a protection against small-pox was never more completely vindicated. The demand of the hon.  member for Leicester was for an inquiry. To grant an inquiry would no doubt seem to imply to some extent that there was a doubt as to the efficacy of vaccination. As far as the authorities at the Local Government Board were concerned, no such doubt existed. Every inquiry had demonstrated that vaccination was one of the greatest blessings ever vouchsafed to mankind.  Still he could not shut his eyes to the fact that, in consequence of the strenuous efforts of the anti-vaccinators to distort and misrepresent facts, and the undoubted impression they were making on the public mind, it might perhaps be desirable to grant an inquiry. Certain questions connected with the operation of vaccination might be usefully inquired into by a body of gentlemen who could not be suspected of being tainted with the prejudices of the Local Government Board. Other questions connected with the supply of lymph, and the manner in which public vaccination was conducted, Would likewise be proper subjects of investigation. The Government had, therefore, determined to appoint a Royal Commission, which, among other things, would carefully consider how far sanitary precautions might take the place of vaccination. The Government could not accept the terms of the resolution, but hoped that the terms of  reference to the Royal Commission would be sufficiently comprehensive to satisfy the hon. gentleman The Commission would be composed of men whose opinions would carry great weight in all quarters.  The Government had come to this decision not because they had the slightest doubt of the efficacy of vaccination, but because the state of public opinion required that a thorough investigation should be made into the whole question. He trusted that the conclusion at which the Government had arrived would be satisfactory, not only to the member for Leicester, but also to those who, not agreeing with that hon. member, still thought there was ground for inquiry."

Sir Lyon Playfair followed with a characteristic speech. He said the inquiry of 1871 was thorough arid impartial. He alluded to the "Leicester Method," and compared Leicester with Leipzig. After touching upon vaccination in Germany and other countries, he remarked that he had said enough to show that vaccination had a splendid influence over this cruel and mutilating disease. He contended that there was no justification for inquiry arising from any failure of vaccination, but he agreed it was better to have an inquiry because the truth would come out."

Sir W. Guyer Hunter, Mr. Thomas Robinson, the Right Hon. James Stansfield, Sir J. Pease, Dr. Cameron, Mr. A. O'Connor, Mr. Cremer, Mr. F. Charming (now Lord Charming), and Mr. T. Fry took part in the debate.

"Dr. Cameron said there was one reason for granting an inquiry which had not been mentioned, and which amply justified the course adopted by the right hon. gentleman, and that was the enormous strides which science had made since the passing of the Vaccination Acts."

The above digest of the proceedings in the House of Commons, on 5th April, 1889, is taken from the report which appeared in the "Times" of the following day.

Although all parties were satisfied that an inquiry should be held, the Government would not accept the terms of the resolution. But that did not matter. It was evident from Mr. Ritchie's speech that the supposed favourable nature of Dr. Barry's report on the Sheffield epidemic had largely influenced the Local Government Board, and through them the Government. It is passing strange that this famous Sheffield Report has now been utterly discarded and cast aside. Like the mythical deaths of the Frenchmen and Germans in the Franco-German war—a story which had no foundation in fact—so the bolstered-up figures in this precious report have been found to be unreliable. As a prop to vaccination, it is veritably of an unsubstantial character, and, in fact, as I shall show later on, rotten to its very core. The speeches of pro-vaccinists during the debate under notice prove that they, too, were confident—as well as Mr. Ritchie and the Local Government Board—that vaccination was to be vindicated at last! It is only another example of how near to the edge of a precipice people may live, and yet remain oblivious of their danger. Whatever else may be said of the Royal Commission, its appointment undoubtedly sealed the fate of vaccination, although, like all superstitions, the practice may be a long time expiring, but pass away it assuredly will.


Commenting on the decision of the Government, the "Lancet" said, in its issue of 13th April, 1889, inter alia :—

"It is about as rational to investigate the merits and value of vaccination as a security against small-pox as it would be to question the utility of lifeboats, or Davy-lamps, or fire brigades. A few accidents and drawbacks mar the glory of every discovery and device for the mitigation of human calamity, but the benefits remain, and make history a very much more cheerful and creditable thing than it would otherwise be. ... The rarity of small-pox, the large protection so far of anti-vaccinationists and their families by the very operation which they disparage, make it easy for them to be misled and prejudiced against vaccination. . . . Those who cannot see the overpowering argument in favour of vaccination in the common facts of everyday experience, in the diminished mortality from small-pox in the community generally since vaccination was established by law, . . . and who have no regard to the extreme slightness of any drawbacks to this amazing achievement, will not be readily convinced by a few more or less vivid illustrations or dogmatic conclusions of a new Royal Commission. . . . We must not heap Pelion on Ossa in the shape of argument against prejudice, but will conclude with the hope that the Government will be exceedingly careful in the selection of persons to constitute the Commission. We entirely agree with Mr. Picton and Dr. Farquharson that there should be a legal and judicial element in the Commission—a judge for president—to secure that the evidence shall be real evidence; but with this qualification the Commission should be representative. By all means let the anti-vaccinationists be well represented ; but at the same time they must not have all their own way. . . . We are in many respects only now at the very threshold " uf some of the most important questions of "human liberty in civilised communities."

The "British Medical Journal," of the same date, remarked :—

"As far as vaccination itself is concerned, the evidence which will be given before the Commission can only result in establishing the practice on a firmer basis than " before. Since the issue of the Report of the Select Committee in 1871, such a mass of accurate and reliable statistics has accumulated, both in this country and abroad, . . . that the report, comprising, as it must do, all the most recent data, and the opinions of many of the most able authorities and experts, will, we anticipate, form a most valuable work on the subject. For these reasons, the decision of the Government deserves to be commended. . . . In conclusion, we may express the hope that as an inquiry has been decided upon, the whole question will be thoroughly threshed out and definitely settled, so that an agitation which greatly unsettles the mind of the people, and leads them into severe danger, may receive a quietus from the irresistible logic of ascertained facts. We cordially agree with Sir Lyon Playfair 'that if it were not for popular prejudices it would not be necessary to have an inquiry,' but, under existing circumstances, we wholly approve of the step taken."


THE appointment of the Royal Commission in 1889 was in reality forced upon the Government of the day by the stern necessities of the case. Popular feeling in some important centres was growing into a dangerous intensity, owing largely to numerous injuries and deaths which the upholders of vaccination were compelled to admit had been caused by the practice, and the still larger number of instances in which the parents and relatives of deceased or mutilated victims laid the blame at the door of vaccination. It was almost inevitable under these circumstances that a Commission should be appointed, for, despite a brutal law, very frequently savagely administered, resistance to and abstentions from allowing the operation to be performed were so common, that vaccination itself then bade fair to become, at no distant date, to all intents and purposes obsolete. It was hoped—and, indeed, believed—that the Royal Commission would soon reinstate vaccination in public favour, but the opposite turned out to be the case.. Had the evidence been so strongly in favour of vaccination as expected, who can believe that the final Report of the Royal Commission would have been delayed until its deliberations had covered the long period of over seven years?

It has, of course, been commonly assumed that the Commission appointed by Queen Victoria was impartially constituted. But of its original fifteen members not one was recognised as an avowed anti-vaccinist, and only four of the members were surmised to be opposed to compulsion. Had strict impartiality been the intention of the Government, seven of the strongest representatives on each side would have been selected, under the presidency of a disinterested chairman.. For a considerable time, in consequence of its strongly biased composition, the anti-vaccinists hesitated as to whether they should, or should not, actually altogether ignore the Commission.

The following were the terms of reference to the Commission :—To inquire and report as to—

(1)    The effect of vaccination in reducing the prevalence of, and mortality from, small-pox.

(2)    What means, other than vaccination, can be used for diminishing the prevalence of small­pox ; and how far such means could be relied on in place of vaccination.

(3)    The objections made to vaccination on the ground of injurious effects alleged to result there from ; and the nature and extent of any injurious effects which do, in fact, so result.

(4)    Whether  any,   and,   if  so,   what,   means should be adopted for preventing or lessening the ill   effects,   if   any,   resulting   from   vaccination; and whether, and, if so, by what means, vaccination with animal vaccine should be further facilitated as a part of public vaccination.

(5) Whether any alterations should be made in the arrangements and proceedings for securing the performance of vaccination, and, in particular, in the provisions of the Vaccination Acts with respect to prosecutions for non-compliance with the law.


THE appointment of the Royal Commission1 was successively brought to the notice of the three public authorities of Leicester—the Town Council, the Board of Guardians, and the School Board---each of which passed resolutions and appointed deputations to appear before the Royal Commission.

The Town Council led off, on 28th January, 1890, with the appended resolution :—"That in the opinion of this Council it is inexpedient and unjust to enforce vaccination under penalties upon those who regard it as unadvisable and dangerous."

At the next meeting, on 25th February, 1890, a further resolution was passed :—

"That the Mayor, with members of the Council who, as past Mayors, have had experience of the working of the vaccination laws, be appointed a deputation to appear before the Royal Commission to present the resolution adopted by the Council at the last meeting in reference to compulsory vaccination ; also that the names of Mr. Biggs, Alderman Windley, and the Town Clerk be added to the deputation."

The deputation appointed attended accordingly, and presented these resolutions on 4th February, 1891.     (Fourth  Report,   Royal  Commission,  page 150.)

The Guardians followed suit, and on 4th February, 1890, unanimously adopted a compre­hensive and dignified memorial, and passed a resolution appointing a deputation to present it to the Royal Commission. It was duly presented on 4th February, 1891, and, on account of its importance, is given in extenso in the next chapter.

The School Board completed the business by adopting a resolution on 3rd March, 1890, and appointing the chairman, James Ellis, Esq., M.P., to present it, which he did on 4th February, 1891. The School Board resolution read as follows :— "That in the opinion of this Board it is inexpedient and unjust to enforce vaccination under penalties upon those who regard it as unadvisable and dangerous, and that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Royal Commission." (Fourth Report, Royal Commission, page 156.)

Brief as was the examination of the chairman of the School Board, it was sufficiently long to show the Commission the great and growing difficulty in obtaining locally sufficient pupil teachers, owing to the stringent regulations of the Education Department insisting on their vaccination.

After the examination of Mr. James Ellis was over, the Guardians' deputation was received.


ON 4th February, 1891, Messrs. Joseph Leeson, John Thomas Biggs, and Lionel Percy Chamberlain attended before the Royal Commission — Lord Herschell in the chair— and the following account of the proceeding is taken from the Fourth Report, pp. 162-5:—

"13,290. Chairman : You, gentlemen, are respectively ex-chairman, a former member of, and clerk to the Leicester Board of Guardians?

" Mr. Leeson : Yes.

"13,291. You present to the Commission the resolutions adopted by the Board of Guardians?—

"Yes ; I have here an abstract of correspondence and resolutions of the Guardians of the Leicester Union relating to the administration of the Vaccination Acts for the period from 1868 to 1889, and it was the wish of the Guardians, if it pleased your Lordship and the Commission, that the clerk should read the introduction to the Commission

"Mr. Chamberlain : The first resolution I will read is as follows :—

'On 4th February, 1890, at a meeting of the Guardians, Mr. Councillor Biggs attended, and having presented the extracts and papers prepared from the records and minute books of the Board, the Board unanimously resolved that they should be presented to the Royal Commission by a deputation.

"The history of the subject in Leicester is as " follows :—

"The Guardians of the Leicester Union respectfully present to the Royal Commission on Vaccination the records of their administration of the Vaccination Acts in the Borough of Leicester. In doing this they would observe that it is no exaggeration to say that the name of Leicester is more prominently associated with the agitation against compulsory vaccination than that of any other town in the United Kingdom, or probably in the world. It would, however, be an error to assume from this circumstance that the enforcement or practice of vaccination had to any great extent been omitted or neglected until recent years. In no other town has the Board of Guardians, as the vaccinating authority, more fully responded to the successive requests of the Poor Law Board, or subsequently yielded a more implicit obedience to the expressed wishes of the Local Government Board, in promoting the encouragement or enforcement of the Vaccination Laws.

"It is true that Dr. Buck, the first Medical Officer of Health, in his report on the sanitary condition of the Borough in 1851, ascribes an epidemic of small-pox which occurred in 1845 to the neglect of the Board of Guardians in carrying out the first Vaccination Act which was passed in 1840. After referring to the remarkable and general agreement of 'medical and scientific persons' as to the power of the 'happy discovery' of vaccination by the 'immortal Jenner' to prevent small-pox, and the obstacles thrown in the way of the successful working of the Vaccination Acts, he writes at page 5 of the Health Report for 1851 thus :—

'When the Legislature declared that the blessing of this sanitary enactment should be made operative in every Union in the Kingdom, we find that in 1842, considerably more than two years after the passing of the Act, the Board of Guardians, after frequent deliberations, came to the conclusion that it was inexpedient to carry out the provisions of the Vaccination Act in Leicester; and as a not unnatural consequence of thus dealing with the Vaccination Act, we find that in the year 1845 small-pox appeared as an epidemic in the town, and in six months proved fatal to no less than forty-one individuals.'

[Here follow copies of letters which passed between the Poor Law Board and the Clerk to the Leicester Board of Guardians in the year 1845, showing the steps which had been taken by the Guardians for the administration of the Act of 1840, and the concluding remark of which, in a letter from the Secretary of the Poor Law Board, was :—"I am instructed by the Commissioners to thank you for your communication, and to express the satisfaction of the Commissioners with the steps taken by the Guardians."]

"It was not until 1853 that an Act was passed making vaccination compulsory.

" This Act of 1853 was further amended by an Act in 1861 to facilitate prosecutions, but there are no records to show whether prosecutions actually commenced (in Leicester) until after the passing of the Act of 1867. This Act (1867), which is now cited as the 'principal Act,' not only amended but consolidated all the preceding Acts. Yet it failed to fully realise the expectations of its promoters. It was discovered that the appointment of vaccination officers was optional and not obligatory. To remedy this defect in the Act and more rigorously enforce vaccination, an amending Act was passed in 1871, the year of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Vaccination.

"The transfer of the duties of the Poor Law Board to the Local Government Board necessitated a further Act of Parliament to explain the Act of 1871. Under this Act of 1871, which referred to the Poor Law Board as executive authority, it was possible for Boards of Guardians to evade their responsibility to the Local Government Board, which had succeeded to the authority of the Poor Law Board. Hence the Act of 1874, which established the authority of the Local Government Board in vaccinal matters over Boards of Guardians.

"Notwithstanding the permissive character of the Act of 1867, the Leicester Board of Guardians, with a ready complaisance, appointed Mr. Maskell as Vaccination Officer on 28th July, 1868. His appointment was renewed annually until 1872, when he was permanently appointed, and such appointment confirmed by the Local Government Board.

" The  effect  of  this  appointment in  securing infantile vaccination is apparent on comparing Table A with Table B.  These tables may be further compared with Table C, which shows the great decline of vaccination in recent years. These important returns  (Table C)  were first presented to the Board of Guardians in 1884, and they have since been moved for and supplied in each succeeding year until 1888, when the last return was published.   (The tables were handed in.   See Appendix 2., Table A, B, and C) There has been a subsequent return since this was issued, which is included in Table C.

"Following closely upon the appointment of the Vaccination Officer in July, 1868, a spirit of opposition to compulsion was manifested in the town, and prosecutions commenced even at this early date. This appears from the fact that at a meeting of the Guardians on the 3rd November, 1868, on the application of Mr. Maskell, the Vaccination Officer, the Board resolved that he 'be empowered to take the necessary steps to procure a compliance with the provisions of the law.'

" On the 23rd November, John Garner, and on the 4th and 8th December, 1868, George Saddington, were summoned before the Magistrates. These two cases were dismissed, owing to the uncertainty of the Magistrates as to the meaning of the law. On the 15th January, 1869, Selina Allsop was summoned, and her case was dismissed.  But William Johnson was, on the same date, fined 20s. or fourteen days imprisonment, and he went to prison. On 15th March, 1869, three others were summoned before the Magistrates. One case was dismissed, one paid a fine of 20s. which was imposed, and the other, Joseph Smart, went to prison for fourteen days.

"Strong feelings of indignation were expressed in the town when these first prosecutions and imprisonments took place. It was these prosecutions that led to the formation of a League in Leicester in opposition to the compulsory law.

"The conflict thus started proceeded with varying degrees of intensity, until in 1881 and 1882 the elections to the Board of Guardians began to turn on the question of compulsory vaccination. During the years 1882-83 the question was very much agitated, and in 1883, at the election of the first triennial Board of Guardians, it became the most important question of the hour. Meanwhile the prosecutions had grown from two only in 1868 to 1,154 in 1881, and several opponents of compulsory vaccination had gained seats on the Board. On the 9th January, 1883, the Board had declined by fourteen votes against eight to authorise the Vaccination Officer to apply for distress warrants against seventeen defaulters.

"After the election in April, 1883, the first occasion for testing the feeling of the newly-elected Board occurred in June, 1883, when, in consequence of the defeat of Mr. P. A. Taylor's motion against compulsory vaccination in the House of Commons, one of the members of the Board gave notice to renew the prosecutions which had remained in abeyance since the vote of 9th January, 1883.

"The resolution to renew prosecutions was moved by Mr. A. Panter on the 10th July, 1883; but an amendment, moved by Mr. J. T. Biggs, was carried by eighteen votes against fourteen, being a majority of four against the renewal of prosecutions. On the 2nd October, 1883, another resolution authorising prosecutions was moved by Mr. G. K. Billings, and this resolution was carried, after an exciting debate, by the casting vote of the chairman, the number voting on each side being equal—that is, sixteen against sixteen.  The fate of nearly a thousand defaulters was thus decided merely by a casting vote. This decision was soon challenged. On the 27th November of the same year, the question was again discussed., and the renewal of prosecutions once more affirmed by nineteen votes against seventeen, being a majority of two. Notwithstanding this decision, prosecutions were not immediately resumed. Owing to the nearness of the Christmas holidays and the stagnation of trade usual at this season, a tacit understanding  was arrived at for the temporary suspension of proceedings.

"During the existence of this Board, from 1883 to 1886 prosecutions from various causes remained in abeyance during a period of about half the duration of the Board's term of office.  But during the other half of the period, no fewer than 2,274 proceedings were taken before the Magistrates As may well be imagined, this enormous number of prosecutions, including 185 distraints and 24 imprisonments, produced great excitement in the town, and led to a large number of meetings protesting against the action of the Guardians. These protestations culminated in a national demonstration at Leicester against the compulsory Vaccination Acts and the conduct of the Guardians, which was held on the 23rd March, 1885."

(At this stage the proceedings were adjourned.)

Messrs. Leeson, Biggs, and Chamberlain again attended before the Royal Commission on Wednesday, 11th February, 1891. After a few questions, the Chairman (Lord Herschell) said to Mr. Chamberlain :—Would you continue the historical summary of the facts which is presented by the Guardians in the document you were proceeding to read when we broke off on the last occasion?

Mr.  Chamberlain then proceeded :—

"Subsequent events proved that this demonstration practically settled the question of compulsion in Leicester. At the election of Guardians in 1886, the principal question before the electors was that of enforcing vaccination. A large majority of the candidates expressed themselves against the principle of compulsion, and with few exceptions these were returned. The votes cast for the opponents of compulsion rose from about 41,000 in 1883 to nearly 48,000 in 1886, while the votes for the advocates of prosecutions fell from about 31,000 in 1883 to about 20,000 in 1886. The result of the election was seen in the fact that at the first meeting of the newly-elected Board notice was given to rescind the order for prosecutions. On 4th May, 1886, this order was rescinded, on the motion of Mr. J. T. Biggs, after a long debate, by twenty-seven votes against eight. Since this decisive vote, no attempt has been made to reverse the decision then arrived at, and on the completion of the prosecutions then in progress, prosecutions entirely ceased.

"At the third triennial election of the Guardians in 1889, the vaccination question once again monopolised attention. Such was the force of public opinion evidenced by the falling off in vaccinations from 3,730 in 1873 to 332 in 1887, that almost all the candidates voluntarily pledged themselves against compulsion. The votes for candidates opposed to compulsion still further increased from 48,000 in 1886 to over 66,000 in 1889, while those cast for the few advocates of compulsion declined to about 4,500 from 20,000 in 1886.

"In every contested parish excepting one, the opponent of compulsion carried their candidate at the head of the poll ; and in all parishes excepting two, where more than one member was required, they carried the whole of the seats.  At the first meeting of the new Board, notice of  motion was given to endorse the previous non-prosecutions policy of the retiring Board. On 30th April, 1889, on the motion of Mr. J. W. Goddard, this policy was once more emphasised by the significant majority of thirty-one votes against three. A number of deputations of ratepayers and others have at various times waited upon the Board, and their representations as to the administration of the law have received the careful consideration of the Guardians.

"Such is the position of the question in Leicester at the present day. In presenting these papers to the Royal Commission, the Leicester Board of Guardians wish respectfully but emphatically to declare that, in their deliberate judgment, the law of compulsory vaccination can never again be enforced in Leicester."

After the reading of this Memorial, a brief examination of the deputation followed. Since that date (1891), no change has taken place in the policy of the Board ; but in 1898 (nine years after the appointment of the Royal Commission) the Local Government Board authoritatively pronounced that the Vaccination Officer was independent of the Guardians, and could pro­secute defaulters either on his own authority or that of the Local Government Board, the Guardians being treated in this matter as a quantite negligible.

The setting up of this claim not only led to a further strenuous struggle, recorded further on, between the Leicester Guardians and the Local Government. Board, but caused considerable difficulty and friction with Boards of Guardians all over the country.


EVER since the penal enforcement of vaccination, under the Act of 1867, Leicester has been in the forefront of the opposition to this sinister fad of the medical profession. On the appointment of the Royal Commission, it became necessary that such evidence as Leicester could present should be pre­pared without delay. Many of her most prominent citizens proffered to appear before the Commission, including the Mayor, several ex-Mayors, a number of Magistrates, Aldermen, Councillors, Guardians, and Members of the School Board. The chairmen of all the three authorities mentioned attended, as well as the Town Clerk and the Clerk to the Board of Guardians; also a number of parents testified as to injuries their children had suffered from vaccination,- such injuries in many cases having terminated in death. Indeed, the testimony from Leicester occupied most of the time of the Commission during the year 1891.


Some idea of the character of the witnesses who attended from Leicester before the Royal Commission, and of the evidence they gave, may be formed from the appended synopsis, which is arranged alphabetically, and abstracted from the Fourth Report:—

BALL, WILLIAM (Shoe Riveter).—Believed his brother's death, and other cases of injury which had come under his notice, were caused by vaccination. Had been fined, and suffered imprisonment for refusing to pay. Answered 36 questions.

BANBURY, JOHN (Whitesmith).—Was opposed to vaccination, and had been fined for each of three children. His daughter, after training to become a pupil teacher, and passing all examinations, was very unjustly treated, and defrauded of the usual grant, on account of not having been vaccinated. Answered 23 questions.

BARFOOT, WILLIAM (Merchant).—Was a Magistrate, Member of the Town Council, Alderman, and had been Guardian and Mayor of the Borough. Considered that vaccination should not be compulsory, and that a reasonable excuse ought to be accepted in lieu of the imposition of a fine by the Justices. Answered 24 questions.

BIGGS, JOHN THOMAS (Sanitary Engineer).— Member of the Town Council, Alderman, Magistrate, and Member of the Derwent Valley Water Board. For many years a Member of the Leicester and Barrow-on-Soar Boards of Guardians. Was selected as one of the deputation to present the Leicester Town Council resolutions to the Commission. Also appointed by the Leicester Board of Guardians as one of the deputation to present their Memorial and Statistical Tables. Opposed compulsion from the outset of looking into the subject on the broad ground of its infringement upon, and invasion of, personal liberty. During the small-pox epidemic of 1871-73 closely studied the outbreak, and the causes which led up to the prolongation and severity of the visitation, and became convinced of the inefficacy of vaccination to prevent the disease or mitigate its type. One of his brothers also suffered through vaccination. He withstood several prosecutions, and had three distress warrants issued, and his household goods were sold by the instructions of the Board of Guardians of which he was a member. Answered over 3,000 questions. For twenty-three years Mr. Biggs was a Member of the Leicester Sanitary Committee.

(These particulars concerning the author of this volume are contributed by one who knows and keenly appreciates Mr. Biggs's work for the anti-vaccination movement.)

BRUCE, HENRY BAILEY (Elastic Web Manufacturer) .—Believed his third child died from the effects of vaccination. It expired very suddenly fourteen days after the operation, and the verdict of the jury stated that the cause of death was convulsions, but Mr. Bruce replied :—'Yes ; but the convulsions were brought on by the foul and filthy matter put into the child's system.' Upon being fined subsequently, Mr, Bruce told the Magistrates:—"If I were to have forty more children, not one of them should ever be vaccinated," and he told the Commission of this circumstance. Was only asked 3 questions. Perhaps the Commissioners did not desire to hear too much of the testimony he was able to give! (Has since been a Member of the Town Council and Mayor of the Borough, and is a Magistrate.)

CAVEN, REV. ROBERT (Baptist Minister).—His experience convinced him that vaccination was useless as a preventive of small-pox, and that it was often followed by serious consequences. Had been fined several times at both Southampton and Leicester. Answered 50 questions.

CHAMBERLAIN, LIONEL PERCY (Solicitor, and Clerk to the Guardians).—Prepared and presented, by order of the Board of Guardians, official tables relating to the number of vaccinations, with a statement of the procedure of the Board upon the subject, and correspondence in 1845 with the Poor Law Commission. Answered 130 questions.

CHAMBERS, HENRY THOMAS (Retired Builder).— Had held office as Member of the Guardians, Councillor, Alderman, Magistrate, and Mayor of the Borough. Was one of the deputation selected by the Council to present a copy of its resolutions to the Commission. Was against compulsion, and in favour of exemption being granted. Answered 37 questions.

DUNS, JAMES (Chief Constable).—Attended in his official capacity, and verified the list of over 6,000 prosecutions, 193 distress warrants, and 64 commitments to prison, and referred to the exceptionally strong feeling against compulsory vaccination. He informed the Commission that, otherwise, Leicester was a very orderly town. Answered 23 questions.

EAGLE, CHARLES (Shoe Laster).—One of his children suffered seriously through vaccination, and he refused to have subsequent children vaccinated. Fined several times, and twice imprisoned. Answered 22 questions.

ELLIS, JAMES (Merchant). — Chairman of the School Board, and Member of Parliament for the Bosworth Division of the County. Officially presented resolution passed by the School Board against compulsory vaccination, and testified to the great and growing difficulty of obtaining pupil teachers, owing to the regulations of the Board of Education making vaccination imperative. Answered 16 questions.

ELLMORE, WILLIAM PAULGRAVE (Basket Manufacturer and Willow Grower).—Member of Barrow-on-Soar Board of Guardians. Had seen and was aware of many cases of ill-effects from vaccination, and in consequence refused to allow the operation to be performed upon his own children. Fined several times. Answered 50 questions.

EMMS, ALFRED WILSON, M.R.C.S, (Public Vaccinator for the Belgrave District, then a suburb, and now a part of Leicester).—Was a thorough believer in vaccination, and attended to contradict the statement of a parent who alleged her child's illness and death had been caused by the operation which he performed. Had seen a few instances of erysipelas and inflammation through vaccination, but never a really bad arm or serious consequences, and said that the fatality under notice was unconnected with vaccination. Answered 162 questions. (Now a Magistrate for the County.)

FRITH, GEORGE (Marine Store Dealer).—Had been fined several times, and imprisoned because of his opposition to vaccination. Answered 14 questions.

HACKETT, HARRY (Newspaper Editor).—One of his children suffered seriously from eczema through vaccination. He had observed illness and death in a number of other instances from the same cause, so declined to have any more children vaccinated. Spoke of the strong feeling in the town against vaccination. Answered 45 questions.

HART, ISRAEL (Merchant).—Member of the Town Council, Alderman, Magistrate, and four times Mayor of the Borough, subsequently receiving the honour of Knighthood. Had adjudicated at the hearing of many summonses against vaccination defaulters, but disliked doing so on account of the highly respectable class of parents and their evident sincerity. Had heard of many cases of injury from vaccination, and it was such occurrences as those which had poisoned the minds of the people against the practice. He was strongly averse to compulsion, Answered 79 questions.

HART, MRS. KATE.— Gave evidence of the vaccination and consequent illness and death of her child. Refused to have others vaccinated. Answered 48 questions.

HODGSON ROBERT (Cabinetmaker). — Mentioned several cases where illness had been caused by vaccination, and would not, therefore, have his own children operated upon. Fined twice, and suffered imprisonment. Answered 13 question.

HOPPS, REV. JOHN PAGE (Unitarian Minister and Author) -Testified to the pronounced feeling against vaccination in Leicester. All classes — including Guardians, Councillors, and Magistrates were opposed to compulsion. It was physically impossible to enforce the law. Soldiers from London would be required to do that, as the soldiers in the town would favour the anti-vaccinists. He knew doctors antagonistic to compulsion. Answered 19 question.

IRONS, EDWARD HOLLIS. — One of his children suffered severely from the effects of vaccination, and he had also seen other examples where illness and death had followed as the result of vaccination. He would not permit any more children to be vaccinated, and had been repeatedly fined. Answered 37 questions.

JARROM, ANTHONY. — Gave details of the fatal illness of his son, Edward, due to vaccination, and refused to allow the operation to be performed on any more, Answered 45 questions.

KEELING, WILLIAM (Summoning Officer and Sergeant of the Borough Police Force).—Was responsible (when the law was set in motion by the Vaccination Officer) for the issuing of the summonses against defaulters, the execution of the distress warrants when fines and costs were not paid, and of commitments when persons went to gaol. Spoke of the deep-rooted antipathy of the townspeople to vaccination. Believed that one of his own children suffered seven years in consequence of the operation, and, accordingly, would not have his two younger children vaccinated. Had himself been summoned, and paid fines. Answered 33 questions.

KEMPSON, WILLIAM (Merchant and Manufacturer). Member of the Town Council, Alderman, Magistrate, and twice Mayor. Had judicially dealt with many of the vaccination prosecutions in the Borough Police Court, and alluded to the powerful antagonism to vaccination, which, in his opinion, ought not to be compulsorily enforced. Answered 35 questions.

LANKESTER, HENRY, M.R.C.S.—One of the deputation appointed by the Town Council to present its resolutions. In addition to being a Member of the Town Council, was a Magistrate, and Mayor in 1889, when the resolutions were passed. Believed in vaccination, but was not in favour of compulsion, because he respected the conscientious objections of parents, and said he "wished to do unto others as he would be done unto," Had seen erysipelas result from vaccination. If an attempt were made to rigorously enforce the Acts, "it would not be tolerated for a moment; there would be an uprising of the town against it." Answered 85 questions.

LEAVESLEY, JAMES (Boot and Shoe Manufacturer). US-Member of the Town Council, and of the Boards of Guardians of Barrow-on-Soar and of Leicester, being Chairman of the latter body in 1887. Believed that vaccination does not prevent small-pox, and is itself capable of communicating disease. Accordingly refused to have some of his children vaccinated. Fined several times. Cited a good many instances where injury and death had been the outcome of vaccination. Answered 64 questions.

(Note by the Author. — Words inadequately express my obligation to Mr. Leavesley for his helpful encouragement during the long time I gave evidence before the Royal Commission. But for his unfailing inspiration it would have been difficult for me to have sustained the trying ordeal, and I take this opportunity of placing my deep appreciation on record.)

LEESON, JOSEPH (Boot and Shoe Manufacturer). own Councillor, and appointed by the Tis to present their resolution, memo­rial, and statistical tables to the Royal Commission. Chairman of the Board of Guardian* in 1889. In his opinion, the illness and subsequent death of one of his children was due to vaccination, and after that occur­rence he took an active part in opposition to the practice, Answered 45 questions.

LUNN, CHARLES (Hosiery Manufacturer).—Through vaccination two of his children suffered from sore eyes; and accordingly he declined to let others run a similar risk. His father and uncle both had severe attacks of small-pox, despite having been inoculated. Read extracts from letters written to him by Mr. P. A. Taylor, M.P. ; Mr. A. M'Arthur, M.P. ; and Mr. John Bright, M.P. Answered 29 questions.

MASKELL, WILLIAM HENRY (Vaccination Officer for the Leicester Union since 1868).—Was called by the Commissioners to verify the vaccination returns, a clerical error having unduly increased the stated number of vaccinations by 900 in a single year. Answered 95 questions.

MATTS, HENRY (Retired Plumber and Glazier).— Objected to vaccination as an unnatural process, and refused, from the first, to have any of his nine children vaccinated. Was proceeded against for three, but would not pay the fines and costs imposed. Sent to gaol for ten days in default in each case, making thirty days—probably the longest imprisonment at one time. Was treated abominably and illegally whilst under detention, and the Governor was afterwards compelled to apologise for his conduct. Indignation meetings were held to protest against the action of the authorities. Answered 21 questions.

NEALE, JOHN HEADLEY, M.B., M.R.C.P. (one of the Physicians to the Leicester Infirmary).— Called by the Commissioners respecting the statement by Mrs. Hart that he said her child was suffering from blood poisoning when taken for treatment to the Infirmary. This he denied, and said the child was dying of Bright's disease. Had only seen one case of blood poisoning from vaccination. Answered 97 questions.

PAYNE, JOHN THOMAS (Shoe Riveter).—Two eldest children suffered through vaccination, and he had accordingly refused to have others vaccinated. Fined several times, and imprisoned twice Answered 26 questions.

PEARSON MRS. MARY ANN (Silk Winder).—Child ill after vaccination from the same lymph that Mrs. Hart's child died from. Another child, vaccinated at the same time, also succumbed, but its mother had passed away as well. Answered 54 questions.

PRATT THOMAS (Master Painter and House Decorator) —After reading Mr. Jonathan Hutchinson's cases of vaccino-syphilis, decided not to have his children vaccinated. Fined several times, and furniture sold under distress warrant. Brought an action against the constables for excessive distraint. Verdict in his favour for £7. The County Court judge, in deciding, said he could not see any justification for taking goods worth £13, or even £3, to cover a fine and costs of only 12s. Answered 32 questions.

SADDINGTON GEORGE (Framework Knitter).— Objected to vaccination because it was a violation of Nature's laws, and not a preventive of small-pox. Assisted in organising a committee to oppose the law. Fined several times, and imprisoned once. Answered 30 questions.

SMITH, REV. ALBERT (Church of England Clergy­man).—A younger brother suffered from vaccination, and he had also seen other cases in which vaccination had caused ill-effects. Only one of his children out of a family of ten had been vaccinated, and that was at the time of witness's ordination, with which any prosecution would have interfered. But the operation was only allowed to be performed in one place, and his wife removed the lymph by rubbing it off. Was afterwards several times prosecuted. Answered 36 questions.

SMITH, WILLIAM (Shoe Riveter).—Attributed ill­ness of one of his children to vaccination, so refused to submit others. Pined twice, and once imprisoned in default of payment. Answered 35 questions.

STAFFORD, JOHN (Merchant).—One of the deputation appointed by the Town Council to present their resolutions. Member of the Town Council, Alderman, Chairman of the Board of Guardians in 1857-59, Magistrate, and twice Mayor of the Borough. Adjudicated in more vaccination cases than any other Justice of the Peace. Was impressed by the character of the defendants. "They were really thinking people ; the better class of working people, who really thought for themselves, and had very strong conscientious convictions on the subject." Had allowed exemption from penalty for reasonable excuse on several occasions, and was against compulsion. Answered 78 questions.

STAFFORD, JOSIAH (Farmer).—Sister suffered from convulsions and epileptic fits; a brother also suffered, and he believed both illnesses were caused by vaccination. Owing to this would not have his own children vaccinated. Answered 15 questions.

STOREY, V, JOHN (Solicitor, and Town Clerk of Leicester).—Attended with the deputation by request of the Council to present their resolutions. (Since appointed on the Commission of the Peace for the Borough.)

STRETTON, CLEMENT (Solicitor).—Member of the Town Council, Alderman, Magistrate, and twice Mayor. Adjudicated on many vaccination cases, and was of opinion the law should not be obligatory. The defaulters who came before him were of the better class, who opposed vaccination conscientiously, and whose opposition was very largely formed in consequence of injuries resulting from vaccination which they had seen. Answered 24 questions.

THORNTON, THOMAS WILLIAM (Farmer).—From his own experience had come to the conclusion that vaccination was useless as a preventive of small-pox. Mentioned cases where vaccination had produced injurious effects. Refused vaccination for his own children, and twice fined. Answered 10 questions.

TOLPUTT, MRS. HANNAH.—Gave particulars of her own child's illness, and had daily seen the child of Mrs. Hart during the illness which terminated in death. Answered 39 questions.

WARD, JOSEPH (Commercial Traveller, etc.).— Believed the illnesses of three of his children due to vaccination. Refused to have others operated upon, though one was done later on without his knowledge and consent. His brother-in-law died of small-pox in spite of having been "properly" (!) vaccinated. Fined a number of times, and twice imprisoned. Answered 40 questions.

WARDLE, MRS. EMMA (Widow Lady).—Gave particulars of illness and death of her son, Thomas, from vaccination. She refused to have other children vaccinated. Husband was prosecuted four times.

WINDLEY, THOMAS (Newspaper Proprietor).— Member of the deputation appointed by Town Council to present their resolutions. Member of the Town Council, Alderman, Magistrate, twice Mayor of the Borough, and Chairman of the Sanitary Committee for very many years. Explained to the Royal Commission at great length the "Leicester Method" of dealing with small-pox—notification, prompt removal to hospital, disinfection, isolation, quarantine, etc. The "Leicester Method" was instituted by Dr. Johnston, the Medical Officer of Health, in 1877. Told the Commission that "Isolation and other sanitary measures that we have adopted have secured us hitherto, and I do not see any reason to fear their not having the same beneficial effects hereafter. I would rather trust it than any other system." The feeling against compulsion was universal. Did not think "any authorities—even a regiment of soldiers—would bring about vaccination by compulsion again in Leicester." It was intolerable to sell a man's goods, or put him in prison and subject him to hard labour. Told the Commission :—"I have seen men come out of prison with their hands lacerated with the hard labour they have been exposed to." Answered 67 questions. (Ald. Windley is still (1912) the Chairman of the Leicester Sanitary Committee, having occupied that position for no less than thirty-five years.)

WOOD, MRS. FANNY.—Gave particulars of her child's illness and death occurring after vaccination, and concerning which a Local Government Board inquiry was conducted by Dr. E. Ballard. Answered 67 questions.

WRIGHT, THOMAS (Solicitor).—Member of the Town Council, Alderman, Magistrate, twice Mayor of the Borough, and afterwards Knighted. President of the Leicester Anti-Vaccination League in 1883. Owing to cessation of prosecutions by the Guardians had never adjudicated on vaccination cases, but had previously undertaken the defence of several defaulters, and introduced a deputation to the Mayor and Magistrates, asking them to reduce the penalties inflicted when they felt convinced that the defendants were actuated by con­scientious convictions. Had been largely influenced in his opposition to vaccination by a distressing case in the family of a Northampton coachbuilder, named Davies, whose daughter had died a horrible death from vaccine-syphilis, after several years of fearful suffering. Answered 34 questions.



MY personal share in the presentation of the Leicester evidence was not inconsiderable. I had to appear more times, and to answer more questions (over 3,000 in all), than any other witness The Commission kept me at full pressure. Consequently, the strain was tremendous, both physically and mentally. Possibly it was expected that the breakdown of my testimony would mean the collapse of the Leicester case. Fortunately, this did not occur, I produced, before the Commission, no fewer than fifty-one statistical tables and fifteen graphs, upon which I had to bear a searching, rigorous, and critical examination by leading medical and scientific experts Although I did my best to oblige the Commission in every possible way, sparing neither time nor labour in order to comply with their requests, they never appeared quite satisfied. I often thought it was a difficult task for them, to give the impression of being as impartial as their high position and responsibilities required.

In any event, the mass of evidence presented from Leicester alone was sufficient to have secured the absolute and entire repeal of the law. It would undoubtedly have done so before an unbiased Commission. Another inquiry, before an altogether differently constituted tribunal, is, therefore, loudly called for, and ought (in common justice and equity) to be granted ere long.

Over 1,000 questions were addressed to me on account of an error in the official figures for Leicester vaccinations. No doubt it was hoped to prove the error was mine, but the officials who furnished the figures to me were sent for, and it was found to be their error in casting up. The investigation disclosed a more accurate method of computation than the official one, so eventually I asked the Commission which set of figures they wished me to use. However, they would not commit themselves, but left the decision to me. I therefore abandoned the official set—which were proved to be wrong, in many respects—and adopted the much fairer plan, especially to the opposite side, of taking all vaccinations registered in each year, irrespective of age. This necessitated the rectification of many thousands of figures, and practically the reprinting of the whole of my evidence. Some idea may be gathered of the labour this involved by the fact that the revision of proofs caused by the introduction of this new (and more accurate) set of figures occupied nearly two years after my evidence before the Royal Commission had been completed.


I PRESENTED a table (pages 417-433, Fourth Report, Royal Commission) of 109 deaths, 186 cases of injury (many of them permanent), and two of small-pox, following on vaccination, being a total of 297 cases in Leicester and neighbourhood, with the names, addresses, and details, each case being vouched for by the parents themselves. It is a harrowing, heart-rending catalogue. This gruesome testimony caused considerable questioning by the Commissioners, who, however, hesitated to accept such personal statements, unless supported by expert medical opinion! The evidence of careful, loving mothers, who had unintermittently tended their suffering little ones, was, it seems, not deemed trustworthy without being thus peculiarly confirmed! Was it likely that medical men would convict either themselves or their brethren? Manifestly, those parents (who had "accepted" vaccination) must have been in its favour, rather than against it. Otherwise their children would certainly not have been vaccinated.

But who can fully realise what a dreadful amount of trouble, of loss, of pain, and of sorrow and suffering those 297 cases meant to the parents and families—as well as to other relatives—of the unfortunate victims? These people had been anxious to comply with the requirements of a cruel law, and such compliance had resulted in life-long injury to many of their children, and death to others. Now the dreaded arm-to-arm vaccination to which they objected, and through which their children suffered, is officially condemned. What justification could be found for enforcing so dangerous and risky an operation? Need anyone feel surprised that there should be strenuous opposition to so repulsive a legal enactment?

It should be borne in mind that particulars of many of these cases could only be obtained with the greatest difficulty, owing to the strong desire for reticence, and to avoid publicity, on the part of parents and friends. Personally, I always avoid speaking to others about vaccination. But the subject is often introduced voluntarily by those who know my opinions, and nearly all those who speak to me give instances of injury, or death, either in their own families or in those of their friends. Especially has this been the case with medical men, who usually know of some injuries occurring to the patients of other practitioners!

It is obvious, therefore, that the injuries and deaths which are made public are not a tithe of those which actually occur. Even if a single case of injury or death could be proved, it condemns the law which enforces the operation even more than the pernicious practice itself.

Unfortunately, the evidence of Leicester does not stand alone in respect to injuries and death following, and being attributable to, vaccination. Many terrible disasters, of permanent injury, disease, and death, are recorded in the annals of the evidence given to the Royal Commission, and in innumerable accounts elsewhere. I refer to these later on.


SOON after my first appearance before the Commission, the subject of erysipelas came up. When it was found I had not prepared any tables on this point, it seemed to be assumed there was something to hide, and I was requested to go into the matter, and prepare a table for the next meeting—a request with which I willingly complied. But the time allowed was too short to enable me to tabulate returns for more than sixteen years—viz., 1874 to 1889. This table was divided into periods of four years each, and has now been continued in the same form to 1909, as follows :—

TABLE 1. See Graph A,.

Being table 2, page 416, Fourth Report, Royal Commission continued to 1909.

Table showing for the BOROUGH OF LEICESTER, for each of the periods 1874-77, 1878-81, 1882-85, 1886-89, 1890-93, 1894-97, 1898-1901, 1902-05, and 1906-09, the average annual death-rate from erysipelas, of children under one year of age per 10,000 births, of children under five years of age per 100,000 living at that age, and at all ages per 100,000 of the population; with the average annual percentage of Vaccinations to births* during each period.


 Average Annual Death-Rate from Erysipelas for  Infants under One Year, per 10,000 Births.

 Average Annual Death -Rate from Erysipelas for children under Five Years, per 100,000 Children living at that age.

 Average Annual Death Rate from Erysipelas at all ages, per 100,000 Total Population.

 Average Annual Percentage of Registered Vaccinations to the Total Births.*














































* For the actual number of annual vaccinations, see Table 50.




Lower Solid Curve—Average annual death-rate from Erysipelas under 1 per 10,000 births.
Upper Solid Curve—Average annual death-rate from Erysipelas under 5 per 100,000 living at that age.
Dotted  Curve—Average annual death-rate from Erysipelas at all ages per 100,000 population.
Red Curve—Average annual percentage of registered vaccinations to the total births.

The most striking points in Table 1 are:—

(1)    That the highest death-rates from erysipelas, both under one year,  under five years, and at all ages, are concurrent with the highest years of vaccination ; and

(2)    That each death-rate practically touches its  lowest point coincidentally  with  the  lowest percentage of vaccination.

By no stretch of the imagination, nor by any subterfuge, can these facts be made to tell in favour of vaccination. On the other hand, there is abundant and undeniable evidence that the practice operated most fatally.

Another feature of this table is that a rise in the death-rate from erysipelas, shown in 1898-1905, for infants under one year, is concurrent with an increase of vaccination in the same periods, caused principally by the more rigid pressure of the law, just before, during, and after the passing of the Vaccination Act of 1898. In this year—under an Order of the Local Government Board—stational vaccination was superseded by the domiciliary visits of the Public Vaccinators, whose services were also then remunerated with enormously increased fees. It is, however, satisfactory to notice that the decline in this death-rate of infants is resumed, doubtless to some extent because of the enhanced vitality, and, therefore, increased power of resistance, which children born of unvaccinated parents are enabled to offer to attacks from this disease.

It is suggestive that, after such conclusive proofs condemning vaccination, further evidence on this aspect was not asked for by the Commission. Its introduction, however, involved a reference to, and the embodying of several official reports in the published evidence, which are of such supreme importance that I now make a brief reference to each of them. These reports are published in full at pages 466-494, Fourth Report, Royal Commission.



FIRST, there was the report, in 1876, to the Local Government Board by Mr. J. H. Radcliffe (one of the Board's Inspectors), on certain fatal cases of erysipelas in the Misterton District of the Gainsborough Union, Lincolnshire. That inquiry showed that erysipelas, admittedly caused by vaccination, had resulted there in at least six deaths — and probably more. In his report the Inspector referred to "the use of dirty lancets," or "dirty points," "erysipelatous or septic mischief," "glandular irritation," and to "a peculiar tenderly to the spread of erysipelas" existing in the district. (See Commission's Fourth Report, page 466.)

In passing, it is significant to note that this official inquiry elicited the fact that these six little victims of vaccination had all been buried under misleading death certificates, no word as to vaccination appearing on any of those documents. That practice of "preserving vaccination from reproach " is believed to be common, and if the suspicion be well founded, it shows how our national vital statistics are considerably vitiated and the public deceived.


Another Local Government Board Inquiry of the same kind was held at Norwich, in 1882, by Mr. J. J. Henley and Dr. Airy. This was due to a complaint made by Mr. Lee Bliss, of Norwich, "that eight cases of death and injury had resulted" in that city after vaccination by the local Public Vaccinator. As in the other inquiry, the lymph was made to appear blameless! The Inspectors condemned the "crowded" vaccination station, and, curiously enough, while stating "that no blame was proved to attach to the Public Vaccinator" in the performance of his duties, forthwith reprimanded him for "using again and again the same ivory points." They said :—"We consider that it was an error of judgment on his part" to continue vaccination while in attendance on erysipelatous cases. (See page 478, Fourth Report, Royal Commission.)

It may be here observed that, in this Norwich Disaster, there were four deaths, three of which were misleadingly certified, no mention of vaccination appearing on any of those death certificates. These, so to speak, accidental revelations as to falsely certifying, occurring as they do in different parts of the country, are eloquent in their suggestiveness as to the widespread prevalence of the discreditable "hushing-up" business.


A similar Local Government Board Inquiry was held, in 1882, at Derby, by Dr. P. W. Barry, owing to the death of a child following vaccination. In this instance the Public Vaccinator did not even hold a certificate of "proficiency in vaccination "! It was found that he had used a lancet "without a point, rusty and dirty ; the vesicle opener also rusty and dirty." One of the tubes was coated inside with "albuminous matter" ; others contained " opaque lymph," and one "a little blood." Some tubes were not even sealed, but contained "opaque lymph, slightly bloody." It was reported that the "septic infection" was inoculated into the child "from some dirty appliance" used by this model (!) Public Vaccinator. He was further censured for "erroneous entries in the Register." (See page 484, Fourth Report, Royal Commission.)


Still another inquiry was held, at Leicester, in 1888, respecting the death of a child at New Humberstone from "diffuse cellulitis" (a euphemism for vaccinal poisoning of the cellular tissues). Dr. Barry, who held this inquiry, described the term as a "euphemism," but carefully avoided blaming vaccination. He censured the Public Vaccinator, the Rural Sanitary Authority, some inoffensive poultry, piggeries, etc. He severely blamed the parents, but considerately (!) abstained in his report from censuring either the bereaved parents or their deceased child. The erysipelas, he said, was "traumatic." (See page 494, Fourth Report, Royal Commission.)

It will be noted that, in all these important public inquiries, only the few victims discovered by laymen were the subjects of official investigation and, all through, only the operators, or their methods, were denounced, while little or no blame was attributed to vaccination—the root cause of all the disasters.

These Public Vaccinators are the sort of men to whom parents are compelled by statute to submit their healthy children for the deliberate inoculation of virus from the foul cattle disease of cow-pox! What makes matters worse, it is to the pecuniary benefit of these Public Vaccinators to carry out such dangerous and objectionable " processes" of law.


FINALLY, there is that ghastly catalogue of vaccinal deaths, compiled from the Registrar-General's own return. Such has been the damning evidence of this official record that, in 1902, the Registrar-General discontinued his former nomenclature. Although the phrase, "effects of vaccination," appears in his annual reports, the heading in the weekly returns is deaths from "Cow-Pox" only. The limiting tendency of this alteration is thus apparently effecting a considerable, but illusory, reduction in this "cloud of witnesses" against vaccination Even this distinction has since disappeared from the weekly returns. In a foot­note, it is stated that—"Commencing with 1911 considerable modifications were made in the form of this return."  Explanations of these modifications are given, but no mention is made of the transfer to another classification of the deaths from "Cow-Pox or Other Effects of Vaccination." These deaths from cow-pox and other effects of vaccination may, or may not, be included under the heading, "Other Epidemic Diseases." Apparently they are now to be buried beyond recognition, to save vaccination with "glycerinated calf lymp" from reproach.


Being Table 3, page 416, Fourth Report, Royal Commission, continued to 1910

Table showing, for ENGLAND AND WALES, for each of the years 1859-80, the number of deaths registered from "Erysipelas after Vaccination," and for each of the years 1881-1909, the deaths registered from "Cow-pox and other effects of Vaccination"; also for each of the years 1898-1909, the deaths registered from "Cow-pox," "Effects of Vaccination," etc., after the passing of the " Conscience Clause" by Parliament, and the "limiting" alteration of nomenclature by the Registrar-General.

Extracted from the Annual Returns of the Registrar-General.



Number of Deaths.

Average Annual Deaths.

Total Deaths In Period.

 1859-67 (nine years).

Vaccination   obligatory.





































1868-71 (four years).
Vaccination  enforced by penalties, under  the Act of  1867.

















 1872-80 (nine years).

Vaccination  more  rigorously   enforced   under the  Supplementary  Act of   1871.





































1881-97 (seventeen years).

Vaccination   still    rigorously    enforced,    as    in period     1872    80.     but deaths     now    registered as "Cow Pox and other effects  of   Vaccination"





































































 1898-1910 (thirteen years).

Enforcement  of  Vaccination     modified by "Conscience  Clause ''  Act of 1898, and Amending   Act  of   1907.  Also   nomenclature practically limited   to   "Cow- Pox "





















































 Total number of deaths registered from "Erysipela after Vaccination," and from "Cow Pox and other effects of Vaccination," 1859 to 1910 : 1,530.

The Registrar-General, in his Report for 1897, referring to the 36 deaths for that year in the above table, says :—

"The 36 deaths ascribed to effects of vaccination include not only the deaths that were directly referred to vaccination, but also those that were stated in the medical certificates, or were found on inquiry to have been caused by the entrance of any noxious material whatever at the site of vaccination."

Obviously, the foregoing table is a mere "indicator," rather than a full and complete record, of the fatal effects of vaccination, to say nothing of permanent or other serious injuries inflicted.

The appended is a notable example of the latter state of affairs :—

In June, 1902, Dr. W. J. J. Stewart presented to the Hospitals Committee of the Metropolitan Asylums Board his report on the vaccination of certain workmen who were engaged on the extension works at Gore Farm Lower Hospital. Singular to relate, this important and remarkable document does not appear to have been published along with the other usual weekly reports. The particulars are most sensational, and that may account for the exceptional treatment of this report.

Of 587 men vaccinated, no fewer than 166, or more than 28 per cent., actually went on the sick list as the result of vaccination. They received sick-pay at the public expense, the contractors also being compensated for loss of their services. To overcome the natural reluctance of the men, a bribe of 5s. was offered to each one of them, as an inducement to be vaccinated. "Every precaution" was taken, and all the Local Government Board regulations were most rigidly observed. The "lymph" was of the purest and most approved blend, and was obtained from Faulkners Vaccine Institution, Endell Street, London, W.C., and the Association for the Supply of Pure Vaccine Lymph, Pall Mall, London, W.

The men were of the strongest possible physical type. Notwithstanding all those advantages, consequent, upon the operations, 35 men were off duty with fever, an average of 5.5 days each ; 125 men were off duty with septic inflammation, an average of 6.8 days each ; 3 men were off duty with abscesses, an average of 34.6 days each; 3 men were off duty with general pustular eczema., an average of 23,0 days each—giving a total of 166 strong men on sick-pay for an average of 7.4 days each.

That " preventive" process was carried out at a cost of £2 15s. 9d. for each of the 166 patients, and a grand total expenditure was incurred of no less than £1,029 10s. 2d.

If such is the " benign" (?) effect of carefully prepared glycerinated calf lymph, scientifically administered to the strongest and most able-bodied workmen, what must be the possibilities of its effects on tender infants, or persons of weakly constitutions?

If these facts were placed before parents, there are very few who would venture to submit either themselves or their children to the "propitious" influence of such "carefully prepared glycerinated calf lymph."   

Moreover, who can tell what permanent impairment of health has been inflicted upon the 166 men who suffered so severely ? Certainly not those gentlemen who performed the operation.


THE history of small-pox in Leicester forms an important and striking chapter in its municipal life. Situated in a water-logged valley, through which runs the River Soar—probably the most sluggish in its flow of any of the rivers in Great Britain—with a population growing too rapidly for its sanitary arrangements, its consequent over­crowding, indifferent drainage, flooding, and other circumstances, the town deteriorated so much that it is again and again referred to in the Registrar-General's earlier reports as one of the most unhealthy in the country. In his eighth and ninth annual reports, for 1847-48, page 43, that official remarks:—" Leicester is an unhealthy district; the average mortality is high."

Like London and other large cities and towns which had neglected sanitation, Leicester suffered from a recurrence of epidemics—small-pox, fevers, and plague following each other in rapid and grim succession. Until a comparatively recent date, small-pox was regarded as an assured and constant visitor every few years. Small-pox inoculation, in its day, was as rife in Leicester as anywhere. The practice of vaccination followed, but there are no reliable official records obtainable as to the precise amount of vaccination earlier than 1849. At that date, the registers show that over 74 per cent, of the children born were vaccinated, consequently there must have been a considerable volume of vaccination before that time. This increased to nearly 93 per cent, in 1854, and, although varying in amount, kept at a fairly high level, reaching an unusual figure in 1863, and its maximum in 1872, both being times of exceptionally severe smallpox epidemics, especially that of 1872.

It is futile, therefore, for anyone to allege that, in the great pandemic years of 1871-73, Leicester was an unvaccinated—or, to use the modern medical term, an "unprotected"—community. Whatever " protection " vaccination could afford as a preventive of small-pox, Leicester undoubtedly enjoyed at that time. But in those dreadful and fateful years, several thousands of our "protected" (?) people were mercilessly attacked by small-pox, until the fruitless attempt to count the numbers was abandoned in despair, and the required information entirely lost. The fearful death roll of 360 victims formed the only basis upon which any sort of calculation could be made as to the approximate number of small-pox cases which then occurred in the town.

Need anyone wonder that the belief in the prophylactic virtues of vaccination rapidly dwindled? Particularly so, because with the decline of vaccination came a diminution not only of small-pox, but also of all kindred zymotic diseases.      Small-pox is at the time of writing (1912) almost a thing of the past.

Tables 11 and 12, presented to the Royal Commission, now embodied in one table, No. 3, and their explanatory diagrams, prove that :—

(1)    There was an enormous rise in small-pox mortality after more than a quarter of a century of continuous vaccination prior to 1872, at which date occurred the greatest and most fatal small­pox epidemic ever known or recorded in Leicester for over half a century.

(2)    That from 1872 a rapid decline of vaccintion took place, and that such decline is coincident with the lowest small-pox mortality known until that time.

(3)    That with the practical  abandonment of vaccination, and the introduction and perfecting of the " Leicester Method " of Notification, Sanitation, Isolation, Quarantine, Disinfection, Observation, etc., small-pox mortality has become, to all intents and purposes, extinct.


Being Tables 11 and 12, Fourth Report, Royal Commission on Vaccination, continued to 1910.

Table showing, for the BOROUGH OF LEICESTER, during the years 1838-1910, in quinquennial periods—(1) the total number of small-pox deaths; (2) the average annual small­pox death-rate per 1,000,000 living; (3) the average annual registered vaccinations per 1,000 births; (4) the average annual vaccinations per 25,000 population; (5) the accumulated vaccinations per 100,000 population for five years, ending with the last year of each period; and (6) the average annual number of Sanitary Orders served for the abatement of nuisances.


 Number of smallpox deaths

 Average annual smallpox death rate per 1,000,000 living

 Average annual registered vaccinations per 1,000 births *

 Average annual registered vaccinations per 25,000 population

 Accumulated vaccinations per 100,000 population for 5 years, ending with the last year of each period

 Average annual number of sanitary orders

 1838 42


 Not known

  Not known

  Not known

  Not known

  Not known



 Returns incomplete

  Returns incomplete

  Returns incomplete

  Returns incomplete

   Not known







    Not known














































































 (3 years)







*The vaccination returns do not embrace 1848, being "not known " prior to 1849.
**For the actual number of annual vaccinations and the extra vaccinations, 1863-64, see Table 50.


IT is true that since 1872 there have been outbreaks of small-pox in Leicester, but, in each instance, the disease has not only been imported from well "protected" localities, but, as usually happens, these outbreaks ; started with well vaccinated or revaccinated cases. Two of those invasions—viz., in 1892-94 and 1902-04—resulted in what were termed "epidemics." Notwithstanding the fact that well vaccinated communities were also attacked, and suffered to a far worse degree than Leicester, the strong and definite attitude it has taken against vaccination made the town once more the target of innumerable venomous shafts from the provaccinists.

They appeared to have overlooked the fact that in 1871-73, with nominally all the inhabitants vaccinated, 360 small-pox deaths occurred in a population of about 98,000, being a death-rate of 3,673 per million living. Whereas, in " unprotected " Leicester, in 1892-94, there were only 21 small-pox deaths in a population of about 182,000, being only 115 per million living ; and in 1902-04 there were only 30 small-pox deaths in a popula­tion of about 220,000, or only 136 per million living.

The table below gives these figures, for pur­poses of comparison, in graphic sequence; also the percentage of vaccinations to births at each period, and the proportions of vaccinations to population



 Population (approx)

 Small-Pox cases

 Smallpox deaths

 Death rate per Million living

 Percentage of Vaccinations to births

 Vaccinations per 100,000 population






















* This was before the "Leicester Method" was known, and the authorities, mainly relying on vaccination, were so overwhelmed and disorganised by the outbreak that all efforts to ascertain the number of cases proved unavailing.

The number of small-pox cases in this and subsequent Tables accord with the revised figures in Dr. C. K. Millard's Health Report for 1912.

What if these figures could be reversed? For example, suppose the small-pox death-rate in the "protected'' period of 1871-73 had been only 115 or 136 per million living, and the small-pox death-rate in the "unprotected" periods of 1892-94 and 1902-04 had been 3,673 per million living, would not pro-vaccinists have claimed it as a great triumph for vaccination? There can be little doubt that they would have deemed themselves perfectly warranted in so doing. Why, then, do they hesitate to admit, in the opposite direction, the only logical conclusion which can be deduced from such convincing facts as have been given to the world by the experience of Leicester?

It must be borne in mind that the epidemic of 1871-73 found a fully vaccinated population in Leicester, both infantile and adult, whilst those of 1892-94 and 1902-04 occurred in populations essentially unvaccinated. A yet more striking feature is that in 1892-94 there were, approximately, 50,000 unvaccinated children in the town ; and in 1902-04 there would not be fewer than 70,000 unvaccinated children in Leicester, nearly all of whom passed through these epidemics entirely unscathed. Only very few children, indeed, were attacked.

Who, then, can blame Leicester people for giving up the nostrum of vaccination? With such an object-lesson before their very eyes, it would indeed have been strange had they done otherwise! Yet the medical journals have continued to denounce Leicester for taking up an attitude against vaccination, which not only entirely accords with reason and common sense, but is justified to the full by its own unimpeachable experience.


IT must not be supposed that Leicester owes its immunity from small-pox for so many years to the absence of the disease from its midst. On the contrary, many invasions and importations of the infection have occurred. It is an impressive and remarkable fact, that these importations of small-pox were by vaccinated persons coming from towns and districts where vaccination had been efficiently carried out, well up to the approved Local Government Board standard.

The following table gives not only the importations of small-pox from 1874 to 1889, the last year included in my evidence before the Royal Commission, but also those which have since taken place down to the end of the year 1910, with the number of small-pox cases and deaths, the fatality rate, and the average annual registered vaccina­tions to births :—



Number of importations 



Percentage of fatality 

Average annual registered vaccinations to birth 

 1874-89 (16 years)






 1890-1910 (21 years)










 Average    5.6

 Average    27.6

(See Graph D, Fourth Report, Royal Commission on Vaccination.)   

During the first period of sixteen years (from 1874 to 1889 inclusive), we had no fewer than 33 importations, resulting in 116 cases of small-pox and 18 deaths, giving a fatality rate of 15.5 per cent.

Since 1889 there have been 41 importations of small-pox, up to 1910 inclusive, resulting in 1,111 cases and 51 deaths, or a fatality-rate of only 4.6 per cent. The whole of this large number of recurring introductions of the disease were successfully and completely stamped out by the "Leicester Method," and the town saved from the further spread of the pestilence, with its potential ravages, without recourse to general vaccination.

Pro-vaccinists regarded it as a thing impossible and incredible that unvaccinated Leicester could, for even one year, much less for so long a period of years, successfully resist repeated and numerous attacks of small-pox. But such is now a stubborn, unimpeachable, and accomplished fact. Indeed, no other manufacturing town can show a better or cleaner record with respect to small-pox, and I question whether there is another large town, manufacturing or otherwise, at all comparable with Leicester, in the whole of the United Kingdom, which, with all the advantages that are claimed for vaccination, can equal, or even approach, the conspicuous success which stands to the credit of Leicester in this category.

There is still another aspect which also redounds to the good sense of the people of Leicester. Whenever an outbreak of small-pox occurs, there is an entire absence of "panic" (excepting in the "protected" circles) such as usually occurs in efficiently vaccinated towns. No flaming posters are placed upon the walls to create alarm and excitement. The Sanitary authorities go about their work in a quiet, unostentatious (but, withal, thorough) manner, and this inspires confidence in the minds of the people, and at the same time allays their fears. Whatever stir or attempted scare occurs is outside the Borough, usually in medical publications, whose business, for many years, has been to fruitlessly endeavour to detract from the splendid results in dealing with small-pox which have been achieved by Leicester.


IN addition to the danger arising from the foregoing 75 importations of small-pox, two of which resulted in epidemics—one in 1892 and the other in 1902—there has been the even greater danger occasioned through lack of knowledge on the part of medical men. Errors of diagnosis are plentiful everywhere, and are estimated at not less than 5 to 10 per cent. In London, in 1900, these errors were 32 per cent., and in 1901, 13.3 per cent, of the small-pox cases. The extraordinary instances which occurred here will suffice to show the danger which at one time threatened to engulf Leicester through this cause.

At the beginning of the outbreak in 1892, an error in diagnosis by the then Medical Officer of Health led to no less than 13 of the scarlet fever cases under treatment at the Hospital becoming infected with small-pox. Four of those patients died. That disaster was bad enough, but a worse blunder, almost amounting to a crime, followed. The 145 scarlet fever sufferers, all of whom had been exposed to small-pox, were actually hurried off out of the Fever Hospital, irrespective of their condition, direct to their homes. If the object of those responsible for this diabolical act had been to disseminate small-pox throughout the length and breadth of the town, no more effectual means could well have been devised.

Yet, notwithstanding this risky, unparalleled, and unpardonable action, and the fact that the patients were distributed amongst the, at least, 50,000 unvaccinated children in all parts of the Borough, small-pox refused to spread, nor did it "ignite" the large mass of so-called "inflammable material "

There were, indeed, only a few more cases, all told, than the actual number of deaths which were recorded in the epidemic of 1871-73 (when the people were nearly all vaccinated), and only 21 deaths occurred in all.

The Medical Officer of that day (1892-94), himself a "thorough-paced" vaccinator, does not blame the absence of vaccination, but admits that errors of diagnosis were amongst the principal and most potent causes of the spread of the disease. Well might he say so, for, when he enumerates these cases, we find there are not only a number of instances where one, two, or three persons were infected by a wrongly diagnosed case, but also where no fewer than five, six, seven, and even eight persons were stricken down—in each instance through a single medical error. Again, as many as thirteen, and in another instance even seventeen, persons were infected through a mistaken diagnosis.

It is also recorded that three vaccinated cases actually infected eleven, fourteen, and twenty-six other persons .respectively, and one revaccinated person conveyed the disease, to, no fewer than nine other people. In fact, the enormous proportion of no less than 312 out of a total of 362 cases in the Leicester epidemic of 1892-94 were finally traced to these sources.

This only left 50 cases, and quite that number were accounted for by infection from the Hospital area itself. None of the cases, therefore, could by any possibility be charged against the unvaccinated. Indeed, not a single case of small­pox could be directly traced as due to infection by the unvaccinated during the whole of this epidemic. Consequently, it was the unvaccinated who required "protecting" against infection from the vaccinated and the revaccinated, and especially did they require "protecting" from those medical men whose intimate knowledge of, and strong belief in, vaccination, did not enable them even to recognise small-pox when they saw it.

There was a great pother in the Press, about the fate of Leicester, during the epidemic of 1892-94. It was not only believed, but hoped, that the impending day of doom of the anti-vaccination "Mecca"—so often predicted—had come at last. That terrible word "decimation" was more freely used than it had ever been before.

Dr. Biddle, writing in the "Times," 17th November, 1892, said:—" They trust there to notification, to the exclusion of vaccination—or rather, I should say, 'they trusted'—for smallpox has broken out in their midst, and the vaccinators are beginning to have a brisk time of it, applications being made right and left. We have all been looking for this, and our only hope is that Leicester has prepared a scourge for its own back only."

An eminent medical official of the Local Government Board, whose name and fame are not unknown in Leicester, having heard there were 16 cases of small-pox in the town, piously(!) exclaimed "I wish to God there were 1,600!" Even our own Medical Officer of Health, and others at Leicester, confidently affirmed that at last we were "in for it."

The "Lancet," of 20th January, 1894, followed its usual role in an absurdly extravagant article, headed,


Commenting on Leicester, towards the close of the outbreak, it observed :—"The price of defiance to vaccination and vaccination laws is being paid heavily at Leicester." ... It proceeded to ask the Local Government Board not to "connive and become a party by acquiescence," and, amongst other persiflage, used the ominous words, "Coroner" and "manslaughter," and "responsibility of the Sanitary Committee for "nine deaths among" the unvaccinated children. "If the President of the Local Government Board" failed to act, then, the "Lancet" asked, was it "too much to hope that the Home Secretary will think it a case justifying his interference? Death and disease on such a scale from lead poison or phosphorous would certainly not fail to excite his efforts to find a remedy, and in this case he has a  remedy  at  hand, and one that is absolutely reliable."

The "Lancet" must have been grossly misinformed as to facts, but, even if its information had been correct, how little this trashy rhodomontade was believed in by leading authorities on the question, may be inferred from the final recommendations of the Royal Commission on Vaccination, which were all in favour of anti-vaccinators.


THE age incidence of small-pox and fevers forms another phase of the question equally destructive of pro-vaccinist pretensions. The argument advanced that the diminution of the children's share in the total mortality from small-pox is due to vaccination, and to that alone, is rudely shattered by the facts relating to fevers. In Leicester we have so little small-pox that it is exceedingly difficult to find the requisite material for purposes of comparison. Another difficulty in the same direction has also arisen. The ages are now (1912), and for many years past have been, taken "Under 5" and "under 20," instead of "under 5" and "under 15," so that, while the whole of the periods from No. I. to No. VIII. in Table 6 deal with ages "under 5" and "under 15," the remaining periods from, and including, No. IX. deal with ages "under 5" and "under 20." This alteration by the Medical Officers, therefore, tends to lessen the full effect of the very decisive decline, which, notwithstanding this alteration, is still emphatically observable,                   

TABLE 6.            

Being Table 47, Fourth Report, Royal Commission on Vaccination, continued to 1910.

Table showing, for the BOROUGH OF LEICESTER during the years 1849-1910, in quinquennial periods, the total number of deaths, from small-pox and from fevers, of children under 5 and under 15 (or 20) years of age, and of persons at all ages, and the proportion of such deaths under 5 and under 15 (or 20) years, per cent, of the deaths from these diseases at all ages, with the average annual percentage of registered vaccinations to births.'



Fevers: Typhus, Typhoid, and Simple fevers

 Average annual percentage of registered vaccinations to total births

 Under 5 years

Under 15 Years 

under 5 years 

Under 15 (or 20) years 

 1849-52 (4 years

125 = 78.4

 125 = 92.8

322 = 26.4

322 = 49.3



 29  = 65.5

 29 = 75.8

 403 = 33.5

403 = 54.1



59 = 62.7

 59  = 76.2

251 = 33.4

251 = 59.7



124  = 62.9

 124 = 80.6

238 = 16.7

239 = 41.0



 359 = 32.8

 359  = 57.1

292 = 21.2

 292 = 49.3



 9  = 44.4

 9 = 55.5

230 = 17.3

230 = 40.4



 8 = 25.0

 8  = 50.0

146 = 20.5

146 = 49.3



 3 = 33.3

 3 = 66.6

112 = 10.7

112 = 41.0



 6 = 33.3

 6 = 66.6

124 = 7.2

124 = 50.0



15 = 46.6

15 = 80.0

190 = 8.9

190 = 52.1



 5 = 0.0

5 = 0.0

101 = 3.0

101 = 33.9



25 = 20.0

25 = 56.0

55 = 3.6

 55 = 36.4


 1908-10 (3 yrs)

 0 = 0.0

 0 = 0.0

23 = 4.3

23 = 30.4


* For the actual number of annual vaccinations and the extra vaccinations, 1893-64, see Table 50.

FOOTNOTE To COLUMN 5.—Since 1887 it has been impossible to obtain the figures for deaths from Fevers, under 15 years ; and from that date onwards it has, therefore, been necessary to raise the age from "under 15" to "under 20," which accounts for the rise observable after that date in the second column relating to Fevers.

This subject is further illustrated and confirmed by tables compiled by Mr. Alfred Milnes, M.A., P.S.S., in a most able article, on "Statistics of Small-Pox and Vaccination," with special reference to age incidence, and published by the Royal Statistical Society in their " Journal," Vol. LX., Part III. (September, 1897). The following is Mr. Milnes' Table 16. at page 30 :—


Children's share of the mortality from small-pox, typhus, and typhoid respectively—corrected for chicken-pox and remittent fever—in quinquennia. Percentage of deaths under 5 to deaths at all ages for four successive quinquennia.

Extracted from the Registrar-General's Annual Reports, "England:  Causes of Death."


Numbers Percentage

Number  Percentage

Numbers Percentage

Numbers Percentage

 Percentage diminution


 47,696         = 31.3

10,243     = 28.6

11,025       = 27.2

2,320            =5.3



  9,517           = 6.4

4,238         = 6.1

  3,015        = 3.5

   904           = 3.4



43,769         = 17.4

34,651     = 16.0

29,422      = 11.2

25,472         = 8.4


Percentage Diminution of Percentage (i.e., decrease per cent, of children's share), comparing First with Fourth Quinquennium.

This table covers a vastly wider field than the Leicester figures provide, and its interest is intensified by giving typhus and typhoid separately. It is singular that while the first three periods show a gradual decline of the children's share of small-pox fatality, from 31.3 per cent, to 27.2 per cent., the last period shows an upward curve, from 27.2 per cent, to 35.3 per cent., or an actual increase from the first to the last period of 12.7 in the percentage share of children's small-pox deaths.

When we turn to the typhus and typhoid figure we find a steady and continuous decline in the children's share, through all four periods, in both diseases. Typhus gives a decline of 46.8 per cent. and typhoid of 51.7 per cent. One would like to know how pro-vaccinists account for these remarkable, but interesting, phenomena. These tables destroy another idol of the advocates of the Jennerian fable! They will not, I suppose, argue that vaccination accounts for the decline in the children's share of the death-rate, from typhus and typhoid, as well as that from small-pox?


THE seven principal zymotic diseases are Small-Pox, Measles, Scarlet Fever, Diphtheria, Whooping Cough, Simple Fevers, and Diarrhoea. Just as there was considerably less small-pox in Leicester when vaccination had been abandoned, so with all these other zymotic diseases. Table 43 (see Appendix) gives, for Leicester, these diseases in quinquennial groups over the long period of more than 70 years. No unprejudiced mind can examine the facts here presented without recognising that, as between the earlier groups of high vaccination years in the table, and the later groups of years— when vaccination had become a merely nominal factor—some exciting cause must have produced the high mortality so very noticeable in the earlier periods. If vaccination was not that cause, it is for the advocates of vaccination to cite another. This they will find to be a somewhat difficult, if not an impossible, task. Also, they might suggest what accounts for the enormous decline in the death-rate if it is not the abandonment of vaccination, coupled with the increased activity of our Sanitary authorities.

Table 43 and Graph H (see Appendix) show with almost unvarying regularity the rise and fall of the death-rate to synchronise with the amount of vaccination. Indeed, the zymotic death-rate was already falling when the more stringent enforcement of vaccination, in and about 1864, apparently caused a substantial rise in the mortality. It increased from 4,616 per million living in 1858-62 to 5,210 in 1863-67, and that at a time when, owing to improving sanitation and conditions of life, there should naturally have been an appreciable and continuous fall.

But it was reserved for the years 1868-72, when vaccination was at its highest point, to accentuate the death-rate from these seven diseases. With vaccinations over 90 per cent, of the births, the zymotic death-rate rose to the enormous figure of 6,852 per million! There is but little vaccination in Leicester now, no small-pox, and the death-rate from these seven principal zymotics has fallen in 1908-10 to the almost incredibly low figure of only 1,153 per million!!! What has achieved this astounding revolution? Certainly not vaccination. It is the direct outcome of active, persistent, and solid progress in sanitation, which, in its broadest sense, covers the entire exclusion of the absolutely insanitary and disease-diffusing practice of cow-poxing.

These figures mean that, when nearly every­body was vaccinated, seven persons in every thousand living in Leicester died from zymotic disease each year, one of the seven being from small-pox.  If that rate prevailed in our present population, there would be no fewer than 1,650 persons die each year from these diseases in Leicester, compared with about 280, as is now actually the case. In other words, our improved sanitation, and rejection of vaccination, are saving nearly 1,400 lives annually from the zymotic group of diseases alone!        


BEFORE leaving the subject of Zymotic Diseases, a few words may be devoted to the incidence of those diseases, or their relative position to each other. Nothing could show the important change which has taken place in Leicester more significantly than the relative position of small-pox in the group known as the seven principal zymotic diseases. 

Notwithstanding the grossly exaggerated statements as to its ravages in former ages, small-pox has never caused more than a relatively small proportion of the zymotic mortality. From this point, of view, it has always appeared singular that so much "fuss" should have been made about, it, when other sanitarily preventable diseases have produced a very much larger percentage of deaths.

When gave my evidence before the Royal Commission, I presented a table, as below:—


Being Table 17, Royal Commission, Fourth Report. Table showing, for the BOROUGH OF LEICESTER, for the years 1838-89, the total number of deaths from each of the seven principal zymotic diseases, with the percentage of the deaths from each of those diseases to the total deaths from all of them.


 Total Deaths for 52 years (1838 1889)

 Relative Percentage of Deaths from each Disease to the Total Deaths from Seven Zymotic Causes.







 Scarlet Fever






 Whooping Cough












I have since prepared a further table, bringing these figures up to date—i.e., for the period of twenty-one years, from 1890 to 1910, inclusive :—


Table showing, for the BOROUGH OF LEICESTER, for the years 1890-1910, inclusive, the total number of deaths from each of the seven principal zymotic diseases, with the percentage of the deaths from each of those diseases to the total deaths from all of them.


 Total Deaths for 21 years (1890-1910)

 Relative Percentage of Deaths from each Disease to the Total Deaths from Seven Zymotic Causes.







 Scarlet Fever






 Whooping Cough












In the first of these tables, the proportion of small-pox is 5.01 per cent, of the whole number of deaths, and in the second table it only represents 0.5 per cent. Another notable factor in these tables is the relative position of fevers, being 13.24 per cent, in the first table, and only 4.6 per cent, in the second. Now, next to small­pox, the collective group, under the name of fevers, would be most likely to be influenced by vaccination, and, in inverse ratio, by sanitation. When (we place these figures side by side with the vaccination rate, we get a most remarkable and indicative object-lesson :—





 Average Annual Percent age of Vaccinations to Births 

 No. of Deaths

 Relative Percentage to the Seven Principal Zymotic Diseases.

 Average Annual Death-Rate per Million Living.

 No of deaths

 Relative Percentage to the Seven Principal Zymotic Diseases

 Average Annual Death Rate per million living

 1838 - 1889(inclusive, 52 years)








 1890 - 1910(inclusive, 21 years)








The figures in this table need little or no comment. They give their own emphatic testimony with no uncertain sound.

The fall in both these diseases, being concurrent, with the decline in vaccination, is most indicative. The decrease in small-pox is 93.4 per cent. ; in fevers, 58.6 per cent. ; and in vaccination, 40.5 per cent.

It will be seen that small-pox has now become a negligible factor, whilst fevers have diminished to such an extent that they are second lowest on the list, being only 4.6 per cent, of the whole group. With the increased share borne by diphtheria, I will deal later on.

The incidence of small-pox in zymotic diseases, therefore, falls into line with all the other Leicester evidence in proving that with less vaccination we have had less small-pox.


WHEN visiting Birmingham and Sheffield, I have often noticed how many persons were pitted with small-pox, How is this, when both are well vaccinated cities? We have very few such cases in Leicester.

Many of my friends in Leicester, in past years, have told me that in their youth almost every other individual whom they met was deeply pitted or disfigured with small-pox, and that this was due to neglect of vaccination. No doubt others have heard similar stories. Indeed, the disappearance of pock-marked faces is one of the favourite arguments in support of vaccination. It is very singular that this claim was actually put forward ninety years ago, when probably not more than five--or at most ten — per cent, of the people were

The annual report of the National Vaccine Establishment for 1822, printed by order of the House of Commons, contains this passage : —

"As a proof of the protecting influence of vaccination, we appeal confidently to all who frequent, theatres and crowded assemblies to admit that they do not discover in the rising generation any longer that disfigurement of the human face which was obvious everywhere some years since."

Also, in the annual report of the same National Vaccine Establishment, for 1825, we read :—

"What argument more powerful can be urged in favour of vaccination than the daily remark which the least observant must make, that in our churches, our theatres, and in every large assemblage of the people, to see a young person bearing the marks of small-pox is now of extremely rare occurrence?"

Coming down to 1831, we find Dr. Epps, director of the Royal Jennerian Society, writing:—

"Seldom are persons now seen blind from small-pox. Seldom is the pitted and disfigured face now beheld, but seldom do mankind inquire for the cause. It is vaccination. It is vaccination which preserves the soft and rounded cheeks of innocence, and the still more captivating form of female loveliness."

Now, it must be apparent that if only five or ten per cent. of vaccinations caused the disappearance of pock-marked faces from the whole community ninety years ago, there could not have been many left after fifty years of continuous, compulsory, or universal vaccination. Yet the "Lancet," of 29th June, 1872, lamented:-

"the growing frequency with which we meet persons in the street disfigured for life with the pitting of small-pox. Young men, and, still worse, young women, are to be seen daily whose comeliness is quite compromised by this dreadful disease."

This was written at a time when the highest known vaccinal "protection" prevailed!  Surely this is sufficient to show the claim to be a preposterous, irrational, and complete delusion. The human race is, however, fond of delusions, otherwise so many of them would not bear the charmed life they appear to do. Dr. Johnson was well aware of this predilection when he wrote :—

"I would undertake to write an epic on the story of Robin Hood, and half England, to whom the names and places I should mention are familiar, would believe and declare they had heard it from their earliest years."

Pock-marked faces depend, not upon vaccinal condition, but upon the treatment of the patients, and their occurrence after small-pox is a proof of inefficient medical knowledge and improper nursing, or both combined. The less, therefore, said about the absence of pock-marked faces being due to, and an argument in favour of, vaccination, the better. The facts entirely refute the validity of such a claim.


MUCH has been said, and written, about the "protection" supposed to be afforded by vaccination, both individually and collectively.

"Protection" has, in fact, taken the place of "vaccination" in the medical vocabulary on this subject.

Like everything else relating to vaccination in the past, "protection" has been shadowy, uncertain, and elusive. Since Jenner proclaimed "protection for ever," and Dr. Epps, in 1831, averred that pock-marked faces had disappeared as the result of only five to ten per cent, of the population being vaccinated, the "protection" period has been a receding and vanishing quantity. It has grown "smaller by degrees and beautifully less."

Modern medical opinion has completely renounced the life-long vaccinal protection, as set up by Jenner and his disciples. Thousands of failures have made that position utterly untenable. Limited "protection" has now replaced the once loudly-vaunted assertion which secured Jenner £30,000 of the public money—in the shape of two grants from Parliament of £10,000 and £20,000. The limit now assigned to the duration of "protection" from small-pox, assumed to be conferred by   vaccination,   varies according  to individual fancy.  

Some doctors affect to believe that protection lasts in a more or less degree for life, others limit it to fifteen, or even only ten, years; but the majority now seldom venture to claim more than a five years' "protection," whilst many reduce the time even much shorter than that.

The Royal Commission, in their conclusions, give a very lame and halting opinion on the "protective" power of vaccination. After their statement, that "the question we are now discussing must, of course, be argued on the hypothesis that vaccination affords protection against small­pox," it was inevitable that something should be said on this point. But they are not at all sure, and, indeed, are unable to make any definite statement. All they can say is (page 99, Final Report):---

"We think that the protection it (vaccination) affords against attacks of disease is greatest during the years immediately succeeding the operation of vaccination. It is impossible to fix with precision the length of this period of highest protection. Though not in all cases the same, if a period is to be fixed, it might, we think, be fairly said to cover in general a period of nine or ten years."

That is all such ardent believers in vaccination could say after several years scientific investigation of a subject upon which their minds were made up and their belief was sure before their investigation began!  It would indeed have been singular if the "protection," supposing it existed at all, had not been greatest immediately after vaccination was first performed. The question is—Did the inquiry strengthen or weaken their original belief in vaccination?  If it strengthened it, and that conclusion represented their final belief, then their original faith must have been of a weak and lukewarm character. If, on the other hand, the inquiry weakened their original belief, and that conclusion represented the measure of their faith at the close of the inquiry, their conclusion was a continuously diminishing quantity, and consequently worthless. From Jenner's high pedestal of "life protection" to the "village stocks" (ten years dubious protection) of the Royal Commission is a tremendous drop, the depth of which has only yet been measured by anti-vaccinators.

The appended table affords at one glance the "protected" and "unprotected" numbers of Leicester people at each of the "protection" periods of five, ten, and fifteen years respectively. This table was prepared for the Royal Commission, with the view of ascertaining how the imaginary theory of "protection" worked out in actual practice. It has been continued to the end of 1910.

 TABLE  11.

Being Table No. 15, Fourth Report, Royal Commission on Vaccination, continued to 1910.

Table showing, for the BOROUGH OF LEICESTER, during the years 1849-1910, in quinquennial periods, the number of persons registered as vaccinated, with the balance of the population


 Number sad Relative Percentage of the Population "Protected " and "Unprotected," assuming the Protection Lasts five years. 

Number and Relative Percentage of the Population "Protected " and "Unprotected," assuming the Protection lasts ten years.

 Number and Relative Percentage of the Population " Protected " and "Unprotected," assuming the Protection lasts fifteen years 

 Population for last year of each Period




















23.5 (9 yrs)

77.5 (9 yrs)









33.2 (14 yrs)

66.8 (14 yrs)










































































(3yrs only)








This table bears out the uniform course of the other facts relating to Leicester, and does not afford many crumbs of comfort to the pro-vaccinist. The highest "protection" for the five years claim was in the fatal small-pox period of 1868-72, when 17,728 persons, or 18 per cent, of the population of Leicester, were "protected," and 80,523, or 82 per cent, of the population, were "unprotected." On the ten and fifteen years claims, the highest "protection" is in 1873-77, but in 1868-72 there was, on the ten years basis, 30.5 per cent, of "protection," and on the fifteen years basis, 38.9 per cent.

In the light of recent recantation of former belief in long period "protection" from small-pox by vaccination, and as even the authoritative Royal Commission only "think" it may reach to nine or ten years, anything exceeding five years "protection" may now be disregarded.  From 1888 to 1910, the average annual "protection " on a five years basis is shown to be barely one per cent. of the population.

Now, comparing the small-pox epidemic of 1868-72 in Leicester, when the "protection" was 18 per cent, on the professional five years basis, with the epidemics of 1892-94 and 1902-04, when the "protection" was less than one per cent., what do we find? That, reckoning the difference in population, in the first of those epidemics, with eighteen times the amount of vaccinal "protection," Leicester had nearly thirty times as much fatal small-pox as in the second and third epidemics. So much for the highly vaunted "protection" theory,  worked out on a scientific period basis!

Even from the small percentage of vaccinations which are supposed to remain effective on the five years basis, it is necessary to deduct all classed by medical men as "doubtful, " bad," "imperfect" "poor," "indifferent," "moderate," "imperfectly foveated," and the "imperfectly performed" vaccinations. Also, that "imperfect" vaccination which has been described as "in some ways worse than none at all," the "scanty," "unsatisfactory," "very defective," "very inefficient," and that which is "wanting in essential characters." Further, we must deduct that which Dr. Buchanan describes, in the reprinted "Extracts from his Annual Report for 1884," page 15, as "bastard operations," and that which he further describes as a "form of private vaccination that offers itself in competition with public vaccination and which parades its inefficiency as a reason for its acceptance by ignorant people.'' In addition to this, we have what is styled " semi-efficient" vaccination, and "semi-successful " and vaccination of a "spurious character.

After all the foregoing, further deductions must be made, according to Dr. Ballard, who, in his book on "Vaccination: Its Value and Alleged Dangers," says, at page 93 :—

" Vaccination is not a thing to be trifled with, or to be made light of; it is not to be undertaken thoughtlessly or without due consideration of the condition of the patient, his mode of life, and the circumstances of season and of place. Surgeon and patient should both carry in their minds the regulating thought that the one is engaged in communicating, the other receiving into his system a real disease, as truly a disease as small-pox or measles; a disease which, mild and gentle as its progress may usually be, yet nevertheless now and then, like every other exanthematous malady, asserts its character by an unusual exhibition of virulence."

Now, no infants, and very few adults, realise this. So, assuming Dr. Ballard's statement to be correct, that, to secure "effective" vaccination, all these conditions must be complied with, then all infantile vaccination, and much of that of persons under adult age, must be eliminated from the sum total of "effective " vaccination. When this is done, and when all the other " spurious" and "very defective" vaccination has also been deducted, the remaining "protection" cannot be very great, and the protection " theory is reduced to a ludicrous farce.


FOR many years one of the pet theories of the pro-vaccinist was, that vaccinated persons were "protected" from an attack of small-pox in proportion to the number and area of their vaccination marks. Marson brought this idea into prominence, but his own figures—as Dr. W. Scott Tebb, in " A Century of Vaccination," pages 204 and 205, and General Phelps, in the "Chatham News," 8th March, 1902, have shown—as well as the figures of the Leicester epidemic of 1892-94, all refute that contention. Of 207 Leicester small-pox patients in 1892-94, the vaccination marks were distributed thus :-

Number of marks -1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10
Number of cases - 8  48  72   51  16   7    3    0    1      1

The remarkable features about these figures are that the patients with six marks and upwards, all of whom would have been revaccinated, are 50 per cent. more than those with only one mark ; those with three marks and upwards are nearly three times as numerous as those with only one or two ; in fact, those bearing three to ten marks are nearly 75 per cent, of the whole number. Whatever would Jenner have said to that? He believed absolute protection for ever was effected by one mark only. He, therefore, derided and scorned the very idea of revaccination being necessary at all. Yet the revaccinated small-pox cases numbered 31, or about 15 per cent, of the "protected" class. Five of these revaccinated patients were confluent cases, and one died.

This large proportion of revaccinated cases, with a high number of marks, was a striking point in connection with the 1892-94 outbreak, so much so, in fact, that, adopting Dr. Buchanan's formula in the Sheffield report, if our whole population had been revaccinated and suffered a proportional fatality, it would have given a death-rate of over 32,000 per million.

Jenner was not the only one who disbelieved in and discredited revaccination. Dr. F. Thorpe Porter, M.R.C.S., Superintendent of the Dublin Small-Pox Hospital, says :—

" With reference to revaccination, I have no faith in it. Not one of the thirty-six attendants at the South Dublin Union Sheds has taken small-pox. Only seven of the number were revaccinated, and as the remaining twenty-nine enjoy the same immunity, wherein is the necessity of the operation ?" ("Medical Press and Circular," 27th March, 1872.)

Our revaccinated army is constantly cited as a proof of the efficacy of a large number of marks, but at page 278 of the Second Report of the Royal Commission, in the evidence of Brigade-Surgeon Nash, we find that 3,953 revaccinated soldiers in the British Army suffered from small-pox from 1860-88, of whom 391 died of the disease. Again adopting Dr. Buchanan's formula, this means a small-pox death-rate of nearly 99,000 per million among the strongest, healthiest, and specially selected revaccinated adult male population. What a contrast these appalling death-rates of 32,000 and 99,000 per million of the "efficiently vaccinated" and " revaccinated," or "doubly protected" with many marks, afford, compared with the death-rate in the Leicester epidemic under review of only 89 per million amongst our mixed, and, for the most part, "unprotected" civilian population !

We may, therefore, well agree with Dr. Porter, and ask, "Wherein is the necessity of the operation?"

If such is the meagre "protection" afforded by revaccination, what "protection" is there in primary vaccination? Let Dr. Gayton, one of the principal Government witnesses called to bolster up the practice, answer. He told the Royal Commission, at Questions 1,758-9:—"I think primary vaccination is a very fleeting protection indeed. As to the time that primary vaccination lasts, I do not know, but I think it is a very short time. . . . My table shows that it is not absolutely protective up to any age whatever " ! ! !

If that did not give away the whole argument for vaccination, it is hard to conceive what would!

The small-pox epidemic, in 1897-98, at Middlesbrough, adds further proof to the absurdity of the "marks" protection theory. Dr. Dingle, the Medical Officer of Health, published an article in "Public Health," of December, 1898, on the epidemic, and in his Table G he gives the number of marks of each of the 1,213 vaccinated persons attacked. Singularly enough, this was intended to prove his contention, that much of the bad repute into which vaccination had fallen, was due, as he said, "to the very inefficient manner in which it has been performed in the past. Many medical men seem to think that a vaccination of two small places is quite sufficient protection. This is quite erroneous, and most harmful in practice, as it destroys the belief in the value of vaccination as a protection by reason of those who are thus inefficiently vaccinated contracting small-pox." The doctor could not have sufficiently or seriously studied his own tables, or he would never have written to that effect. His Table C is an over­whelming contradiction of this hypothesis.

In my pamphlet on "Small-Pox at Middlesbrough," I deal fully with the whole subject. It is sufficient for my present purpose to briefly state that nearly half of the 1,213 cases at Middlesbrough had three or four marks, and over 80 per cent, had "good" marks—whatever that may mean.

This theory of "protection" according to the number of marks, is an entire departure from Jenner's original single-mark "protection." But in this, as in all other phases of the vaccination question, there is no unanimity. There are those who advocate one mark, others believe in two, three, four, five, and even six. Dr. Dixon ("Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Advertiser," 14th May, 1881) thinks there should be as many marks as there are in a case of modified small-pox, but omits to state the number, Some pro-vaccinist experts(!) consider the marks should be small, others large. Some doctors would have them deep, and others large in area. The Royal Commission "think" there should be "three or four marks," with an area of half an inch for each of them. But the Royal Commission assign no rational reason for "thinking" thus. If "protection" is afforded by the number of marks, why stop at three or four? Pro-vaccinists ought to advocate as many as are necessary to secure absolute "protection." The truth is, that the "protection by marks" theory is on a par with all else relating to vaccination. It is a theory only without any conceivable basis in fact.


THE Royal Commission regarded the "marks" theory of "protection as so important that they devoted twenty-seven paragraphs (272-298) of their Final Report to its consideration, and that is why I have alluded to this subject at such length. They start with Dr. Barry's Report for Sheffield. In the first place, they distribute and deal with 825 vaccinated cases treated in Winter Street Hospital. Of these 825 patients 60 died, or a case fatality-rate of 7.27 per cent., being very little less than the fatality-rate of the whole epidemic. They, however, omit 39 cases, with 11 deaths, in which the "records were incomplete." Why did Dr. Barry—whose genius has been so much extolled by pro-vaccinists —include them in this class, and, if he found sufficient reason to so include them, why did the Royal Commission exclude them? Was it because the fatality-rate of these 39 vaccinated cases worked out at 28.2 per cent? What they appear to lose sight of is, that these 864 vaccinated cases, with 71 deaths, are so many proofs of the utter failure of vaccination either to protect from small­pox or mitigate the type of an attack.

Not being  able  to  find  much  comfort  from Dr. Barry's figures, they turn to Dr. Coupland's statistics for Dewsbury. Here, however, they are worse off. I will quote their own figures, from

paragraph. 276 :—

"Of the 461 persons whose marks were recorded,
"With 4 or more marks 42, of whom 1 died, or 2.3 per cent.
"With 3 marks 210, of whom none died.
"With 2 marks 475, of whom 10 died, or 5.7 per cent.
"With 1 mark 34, of whom none died."

So that we find those with one mark are, on their own showing, infinitely better off than those with four. Again, the Royal Commission lose sight of the fact that the 627 vaccinated small-pox cases at Dewsbury (the total number of deaths riot be ins given) furnish 627 indisputable proofs of the failure of vaccination to protect.

From Dewsbury, the Royal Commission turns to Leicester. Of 198 selected vaccinated cases, there are six with one cicatrix, 42 with two cicatrices, 64 with three cicatrices, and 70 with four or more cicatrices ; whilst 16 cases are, for some reason, altogether omitted, reducing the number to 182. If these 16 cases had been included, the figures would give about 75 per cent, of cases with three or more cicatrices. The Commission go on to show the severity or mildness of the attack. Even here they do not score much for the benefit derived from vaccination, for those with only one cicatrix show 50 per cent. of mild attacks; those with two cicatrices show 47.6 per cent. ; and those with three cicatrices 46.6 per cent.     Grouping the severer and milder forms, these results are obtained;:-—


Number of Cicatrices.               One.      Two.     Three.     Four, or more

Confluent and Coherent----
per cent, of cases -    -              32.2       86.0        23.4            11.3

Discrete and Mild—per
cent, of cases -   -   -                 66.6       73.8        76.6             88.5

When we consider that all this elaborate calculation is based on only six cases having one cicatrix, and that two more cases, or an accidental transference of two cases (an error which might easily occur), would bring those with one cicatrix to the level of those with four or more; and, also, when we remember how the Commission detested the very idea of drawing conclusions from small figures, we may reasonably dismiss these from the category of facts worth recording.

What the Commission studiously avoid all through their elaborate tergiversations is the unpalatable, but manifest, deduction that all these vaccinated cases are proofs of the inefficacy of the operation. This is a much more momentous factor than the greater or lesser degree of " protection" in cases where vaccination has entirely failed to "protect." I have already shown that at Leicester, in 1892-94, the vaccinated failures, with from three to ten marks, constituted nearly 75 per cent, of the whole number, and even the revaccinated reached no less than 15 per cent, of the total.

The Commission proceed to deal in a similar manner with the London and Warrington epidemics, with Dr. Gayton's analysis at the Homerton Hospital, Mr. Sweeting's figures at the Fulham Hospital, and Mr. Marson's exploded calculations. In reviewing these statistics of over 20,000 cases, they significantly proceed, first of all, to omit the whole of Mr. Marson's figures, and thus reduce the number, to 6,839. Next they eliminate Dr. Gayton's cases, because of his untrustworthy methods (Questions 1,704-6, Second Report), and thereby further diminish the number to 4,754 cases. These are thus tabulated :—

1  mark,     828 cases, with 63 deaths, or     7.6  per cent!
2     „      1,322         „          93        „               7.0        „   
3     „      1,479          „          63         „              4.2        „          
4     „      1,125          „          28         „             2.4*      „
                            * Should be 2.5.

Even with these attenuated figures, the Commission observe (paragraph 293) :—"There is no doubt some room for error. It may be that the number of scars was, by accident, incorrectly recorded, or even that some which existed had ceased to be apparent."

So that, after casting aside as worthless over 75 per cent, of the 20,000 cases they themselves chose to enumerate, and having specifically selected a number of cases—in which "there is no doubt some room for error"—upon which to base their final result, we then have left 4,754 vaccinated and revaccinated cases, or vaccination failures, with 247 deaths, yielding a case fatality-rate of 5.2 per cent. Compare this with the case fatality-rate of vaccinated and unvaccinated together in the Leicester epidemic of 1892-94 of 5.8 per cent., and also with the Leicester epidemic of 1902-04, with its case fatality-rate of only 3.49 per cent., or, taking the epidemic of 1904 alone, a case fatality-rate of only 1.24 per cent.  In other words, the case fatality-rate (2.48 per cent.) of the 1,125 cases with four vaccination marks, specially selected by the Royal Commission, was exactly double that of unvaccinated Leicester (1.24 per cent.) in the small-pox epidemic of 1904. Wherein, we may ask, is the benefit of either vaccination or revaccination? How much more serviceable to humanity would it have been, had the Royal Commission devoted half of this futile ingenuity to the important Leicester evidence in favour of sanitation, as compared with and opposed to vaccination!

How oblivious the Royal Commissioners were to the teaching of the figures with which they were dealing is shown in paragraph 295, where they say:—"The particulars given in the Sheffield, Leicester, and London reports afford an indication that the disease varies in its severity inversely as the number of the vaccination marks." How ludicrous all this appears, when compared with the astounding and marvellous achievements Jenner professed to have accomplished with only "one" mark!! And what hypocrisy and mockery it all is, to profess to require marks of deep foveation and large area, when pro-vaccinists know full well that practically no marks worth the name are being produced by present-day operations with the precious glycerinated calf lymph.

The death-blow to the "marks" theory is dealt by the following question and answer :—

On 18th May, 1905, Sir John Rolleston, M.P., asked the President of the Local Government Board—

Whether he is aware that the recently published opinions of Dr. S. Monckton Copeman and of the commissioners appointed by the "Lancet" in 1900 and 1902 to examine the various lymphs on sale in this country, support the view that large marks are not an evidence of efficient vaccination ; and that the same authorities have shown that, in consequence of the modern methods of vaccination, it is possible to produce the Board's stipulated area of vesiculation—viz., not less than half a square inch—without leaving anything like a corresponding area of marks ; and whether he proposes to take any steps to amend the Board's Vaccination Order of 1898, so as to make it more consistent with the latest medical evidence on these points.

Mr. Gerald Balfour's printed answer was as follows :—

Dr. Copeman informs me that, in his opinion, large scars are not necessarily evidence of efficient vaccination, and small scars are not, in them­selves, evidence of inefficient vaccination, but that usually the area of the scar corresponds fairly closely with that of the vesicle which preceded it. These opinions do not, as I am advised, render it necessary or desirable to amend the Vaccination Order, 1898, which does not make the area of the scar a criterion of successful vaccination.


ONE of the most crucial tests of the healthiness of any locality is its infantile death-rate. Leicester, in former times, had an unenviable notoriety in this respect, chiefly owing to the recurring prevalence of summer diarrhoea. The death-rate from this disease—which is principally infantile— was especially emphasised during the high vaccination period, and has fallen enormously as vaccination has declined. This is very clearly shown by my Tables 27 to 39 and Graphs M and N, pages 445 to 455, Fourth Report, Royal Commission.

The following figures, bringing the statistical proof up to date, are unmistakable in their significance :—




 Average Annual Death-Rate of Infants, per l,000 Births.

 Average Annual Death-Rate (all Ages) from Diarrhoea, per 1,000,000 Population

 Average Annual Percentage of Vaccinations to Births.*




 Not known.




 Returns incomplete




                  62.8 (4 years).





































 1898 02








         1908-10(3 years).




* For the actual number of annual vaccinations  and   the extra vaccinations, 1863-64, see Table 50.

From Table 13 it will be seen how, as official pressure became more intense to secure the vaccination of infants, so the death-rate from diarrhoea increased. In the four periods when the percentage of vaccinations to births exceeded 75 per cent., the death-rate from diarrhoea was considerably over 2,000 per million, while in the one fateful period when the vaccinations were forced up to over 90 per cent, of births, the diarrhoea death-rate was actually over 3,000 per million! Contrast that with the six latest periods giving a lower percentage of vaccinations, being less than 30 per cent, of the births. The highest of these periods gives a diarrhoeal death-rate of only 1,734 per million, and the lowest only 405 per million. Even here, in this last comparison, the highest death-rate is found side by side with the highest vaccination rate. Perhaps it may be objected that it is unfair to take the death-rate of the last period, which is incomplete, being only three years, as the remaining two years might effect a material alteration. For my part, I am quite content to compare the last complete period—viz., 1903-07—with its diarrhoeal death-rate of only 848 per million, and a vaccination percentage of 23.5, against 1868-72, with its diarrhoeal death-rate of 3,161 per million, and a vaccination percentage of 91.7. These show that with about four times the amount of vaccination, we had about four times the number of deaths from diarrhoea.

How far this awful fatality from diarrhoea increased our infantile mortality may be seen from the figures in Table 13. For the eight years, 1868-75, when vaccination was not only rigorously enforced, but kept at over 80 per cent, of the births, the death-rate from diarrhoea reached an annual average of over 3,000 per million.

Exactly twenty years later, with more, and better, sanitation, and less vaccination, for the eight years, 1888-95, when the vaccinations averaged only 3.1 per cent, of the births, the death-rate from diarrhoea had fallen to an annual average of only 1,397 per million. These figures tell so striking a story that they are worth even more vividly depicting side by side:—



 Average Annual Percentage of Vaccinations to Total Births.

 Average Annual Death-Rate per 1,000,000 living, from Diarrhoea.








       Difference,   85.7

Saving per annum,  1,655

This is a most important transformation in the death-rate. If it is contended by pro-vaccinists that the result is due to sanitation, and not to vaccination, well and good! This would "give away" the whole case for vaccination. If sanitation so far influences the effect of one zymotic disease, why not of all, even including small-pox?

I do not, for one moment, contend that vaccination has been the sole cause of increased infantile mortality; but I do most emphatically maintain that when vaccination was enforced upon very young infants, it was one of the principal agents contributing to "the Massacre of the Innocents." The proofs are in the figures, which set out indisputable facts. There are, of course, numerous contributory causes to a death-rate, but that vaccination is one, and at tender ages one of the most powerful, should be realised by pro-vaccinists and anti-vaccinists alike. It is sufficient proof to know that the Local Government Board— who admit little or nothing that tells against vaccination.—have so far acknowledged this, that when diarrhoea or erysipelas are prevalent in a district, they recommend the suspension of public vaccinations

The fall in the death-rate from diarrhoea means to Leicester an annual saving of not less than 630 lives—a not inconsiderable number. There is one point in Table 13 which opponents might assume I wished not to refer to. It is that the two last periods show an increase of vaccinations and a decrease in the diarrhoeal death-rate. I am very glad to deal with this, because it so happens that it emphasises all that has gone before.

The increased vaccination was largely due to the furore worked up by interested persons, on the importation of vaccinated small-pox cases, in 1902. I need only give one instance to show that the increase was unreal and abnormal, and was not (in any sense) due to a natural return to vaccination.

The Medical Officer of Health, in a paper on the "Leicester Method," etc., published in "Public Health," for July, 1904, page 628, speaking of his belief in the "temporary protection" of vaccination against small-pox, says that he induced nearly 800 persons to submit to vaccination, but found it "a heavy and thankless task." Now, this artificial "forcing" of vaccination accounts very largely for the increased percentage of vaccinations in the period 1903-07, but it must be remembered that these included many persons of adult age.

The enormously decreased death-rate from diarrhoea was undoubtedly due to three principal causes—(1) The comparatively small amount of vaccination, compared with 1868-72 and following years; (2) the greatly improved sanitary conditions in the town; and (3) the improved physical stamina and virility of unvaccinated parents, who are now contributing a considerable quota of the total births. Whatever advantage our opponents imagine they can extract from this part of Table l3, they are perfectly welcome to. For myself, I am content with the vindication of our anti-vaccination principles, as shown by the saving of 630 lives annually.


Now, what is the logical and actual outcome of the teaching of the figures just considered? We know that one of the principal claims put forward in favour of vaccination has been that it not only saves the children from a loathsome, disfiguring disease, but that it also saves many of them from a premature death by small-pox. If there was any truth in these claims, it would be unwise to the last degree not to pay earnest heed to them. Indeed, it does credit to human nature to know that such feelings of sympathy have prompted, in no small measure, the support given to the practice of vaccination. Unfortunately for those who believe in, and press, these claims, experience not only shows their utter fallacy and complete failure, but it proves exactly the opposite result.

We have only to examine Table 49, and Graph J, illustrating this table (see Appendix), to see this most clearly.

This diagram shows—
(1) That the decline of the mortality at all ages (which had set in with the introduction of sanitary measures in the earlier periods 1848-62) was checked, and that the mortality rapidly rises (particularly in the younger ages) concurrently with the increased enforcement of vaccination.

(2)   That the highest death-rate of children under 5, under 10, and under 15 years  (up to which ages more especially  it has been assumed that vaccination saves life)  was coincident with the highest rate of  infantile vaccination, 1868-72.

(3)    That the above-mentioned increase of mortality under 5, 10, and 15 years (the death-rates above 15 meanwhile declining)   raised the all-age and all-cause death-rate to the highest point (1868-72) attained during a period of forty years from 1849, when vaccination became more generally practised in Leicester.

(4)   That a notable and continuous decline in the mortality of children, more particularly in the younger ages under 5 years, with a proportionate decline under the ages of 10 and 15 years, coincides with the rapid fall and general abandonment of vaccination.

(5). That Leicester (which was formerly classed by the Registrar-General amongst the most unhealthy towns of the country) had an average annual death-rate in 1868-72 of 26.82 per 1,000 total population, when the percentage of vaccinations was 91.7 to the total births; and that subsequently, when vaccinations had fallen to 2.1 per cent, to the total births, the average annual death-rate from all causes for 1893-97 had fallen to only 17.31 per 1,000 living, and has since gone down to 12.30. (This is a remarkably low death-rate for a manufacturing town like Leicester, especially considering its geology and geographical position. It is now, therefore, grouped by the Registrar-General with towns having the lowest rate of mortality.)

The lesson of this table (49) is that when we pinned our faith to the prophylactic and saving virtues of vaccination—from 1868 to 1872—no fewer than an annual average of 239 out of every 1,000 infants born died within twelve months of their birth. Now, having seen the error of our ways, and discarded the nostrum, instead of 239 deaths, there is only an annual average of 128 deaths per 1,000 births, or a decrease of 111 per thousand, being a saving of 46 per cent. These figures represent an annual saving of over 600 infant lives each year in Leicester.

In other words, instead of 1,315 infants dying within twelve months of their birth each year, as in 1868-12, there are now only 702 such deaths. Even these are too many, but, fortunately, the trend is still in the right direction.

The saving of children's lives under five years of age is on the same lines of progress. Whereas in the high vaccination period of 1866-72 there were 107 deaths per thousand living at that age, now there are only 34 per thousand, being a decrease of 73 per thousand, or a saving of 68 per cent. This represents a saving of over 2,200 lives each year of children living under five.

In other words, if the death-rate under this heading had continued as in 1868-72, no less than 3,109 children under five years of age would have died within each year, instead of only 890. These remarkable results show us where the saving of life has been effected by our sanitary work, minus vaccination.

The  preservation  of life  under  15 is  equally remarkable, but as this age is now merged in that of twenty years, which is practically an adult age, it is unnecessary to deal with it in this chapter.   I, therefore, relegate it to that on the general death-rate of Leicester.


WE may now merge the details of the several tables already given into the general death-rate, or, more correctly, the death-rate of Leicester from all causes and at all ages. These results are equally as significant as those of a more detailed character. From 1868 to 1872, when the percentage of vaccination reached high-water mark, the average annual death-rate of Leicester was 27 per thousand of the population per annum, or nearly five per thousand above the annual average death-rate of England and Wales.

Had the death-rate of Leicester continued in 1908-10 at the same alarming figure as in the high vaccination period of 1868-72, the deaths each year would have reached an annual average of about 6,400, instead of being only 3,026, and thus showing an annual saving of nearly 3,400 lives.

Fortunately, owing to its sanitary advancement, the death-rate of Leicester in 1908-10 was nearly two per thousand below that of England and Wales, or a gain on the death-rate of the whole country, as compared, with 1868-72, of exactly 6.4 per thousand. Had the death-rate of Leicester even only remained in the same relative position to England and Wales as in 1868-72, there would have been, in each of the three years named, about 2,540 more deaths than actually occurred. In other words, instead of an average annual death-rate of 3,026. there would have been no less than 5,560 deaths in each of these years. On this basis an annual saving of 2,534 lives has resulted. Whether we take the annual saving at nearly 3,400 lives, or over 2,500, it is an achievement to be proud of, and proves the enormous benefits Leicester has derived from its progressive sanitary policy and work.

TABLE 15.    (See Graph  B.)

Being Table 24, Royal Commission, Fourth Report, abbreviated by omitting the actual numbers, but continued to 1910.

Table showing, for the BOROUGH OF LEICESTER during the years 1838-1910, in quinquennial periods, the average annual rate per 1,000 living of persons married, of births, and of deaths; with the average annual registered vaccinations per 100,000 living.*



 Rate per
1,000 Population.

 Estimated Population for the middle of the Period.

 Average Annual Registered Vaccinations per 100,000 Population. 

 Persons Married.








 not known






 returns incomplete






 2,398 (4 yrs)





























































 1903 07






(3 years)






 * For the actual number of annual vaccinations and extra vaccinations for 1863-64, see Table 50.





Upper   Dotted   Curve—Average   annual   birth-rate   per   1000 population Solid Blank Curve—Average annual death-rate from all causes per 1000 population.

Lower  Dotted  Curve—Average   annual   number   of   persons married per 1000 population.

Red Curve---Average annual vaccinations per 100,000 population. (One-fiftieth only shown to suit compass of diagram.)



WHY should medical gentlemen and influential medical organs be so anxious about Leicester on the appearance of small-pox? Have they forgotten the impressive lessons of other towns which are so well vaccinated? In the epidemic of 1871-73, in Leicester, when nearly the whole of the children were vaccinated, no fewer than 193 deaths occurred from small-pox of children under 10 years of age. Let opponents compare this terrible death roll with the total of only 13 deaths of children under 10 years during the whole epidemic of 1892-94, which so greatly exercised the "Lancet" and other medical authorities, and when the average of vaccinations to births was less than three per cent. Also, let it never be forgotten that in efficiently vaccinated Sheffield, during the notorious and terrible epidemic of 1887-88, no fewer than 339 of the cases were children under 10 years, each having three or more vaccination cicatrices, of whom 14 died.

The " British Medical Journal," of 21st April, 1894, gives some particulars of small-pox out­breaks, which the critics of Leicester—if their vision is not too obscured by prejudice—might study with much advantage to themselves. Although for some of the towns the whole of the cases are not included, and, in some instances, the epidemic spreads over more than one year, the manifest deduction is not affected. The only town approaching Leicester for a low small-pox fatality-rate is the salubrious, sparsely populated, and residential suburban district of Aston Manor.



 Small-Pox Cases.

 Small-Pox Deaths.

 Fatality per cent.

 Aston Manor




































 St. Albans











Average 8.6

From this table of eleven towns, including Leicester, chosen by the "British Medical Journal," we find the average fatality-rate to be 8.6 per cent., while that of Leicester is only 5.7 per cent.

These figures show a gain to Leicester of 2.9 per cent., but if we calculate the relative difference between the death-rate of 5.7 per cent, and that of 8.6, they mean a percentage gain to Leicester of nearly 32 per cent. We may ask the "British Medical Journal" wherein is the benefit of vaccination?

It would be much more dignified for those people who constantly revile Leicester to remove the beam from their own eye. It would then enable them to see clearly that Leicester has set both them and the whole country a bright and illustrious example, which they might do .worse than follow.


LONDON has very little vaccination default, and, as the organisation under the Metropolitan Asylums Board is the largest of its kind in the world, and its resources (both financially and otherwise) are second to none, it cannot be considered inappropriate or unfair to compare it with Leicester. Whatever difference may exist should rather tell against Leicester than in its favour.

The small-pox epidemic in London, in 1901-02, came after several years of comparative freedom from the disease. The usual laudations of the beneficent effects of vaccine prophylaxy were well to the fore, but, as on many previous occasions, the "protection" failed when the trial came, and before 1901 had closed, there were 1,743 cases and 257 deaths.

On 10th January, 1902, the Metropolitan Asylums Board issued a special report of its Statistical Committee, on "Small-Pox and Vaccination," during the epidemic in London in 1901. That outbreak was considered to be so very favourable to vaccination they could not resist the temptation, and the Committee unduly hastened to place before the public the results (as they called them) to the end of the year 1901, although at that time the epidemic was not over, nor were the results complete. The first paragraph of this report reads as follows :—

"Instead of waiting until the issue some months hence of our usual annual report on the statistics obtainable from the whole of the Board's various institutions, we take the earliest opportunity of submitting this special report upon the statistics concerning small-pox in the Metropolis during the year 1901. In doing this, we believe we are meeting the wishes of the Managers and the public. It must be understood that this document is in the nature of an interim report, and is not in substitution for the later and fuller one."

What a philanthropic object! I do not suppose the public had any feeling in the matter of publication, and I should imagine the Managers themselves now wish this report had never been issued. Apart from age subdivisions, the main feature of the report is to classify the cases as:—(1) "Vaccinated," (2) "Unvaccinated," (3) "Doubtful." The table gives 760 vaccinated cases with 108 deaths, a case fatality-rate of 14.21 per cent. ; 194 unvaccinated cases with 98 deaths, a case fatality-rate of 50.52 per cent. ; and 63 doubtful cases with 41 deaths, a case fatality-rate of 65.08 per cent. So, according to the showing of these extremely astute statisticians, the chances of recovering from small-pox were far greater if the patient was really and indisputably unvaccinated, than if there was some doubt as to whether the operation had been undergone or not!  What a remarkably powerful argument in favour of vaccination, to be sure!! Does it not, in reality, show up conclusively the shallowness of the whole Jennerian case?

In all, the report only deals with 1,017 cases and 247 deaths, yielding an over-all case fatality-rate of 24.29 per cent. It is not my intention now to gibbet the numerous fallacies underlying the whole report, as I did this in an article at the time it was issued. I wish to deal with the broad statistical features of the whole outbreak, and not a part of it only. We can then compare them with pre-vaccination and post-vaccination times, and also with Leicester.

The first point that the table affords, is undeniable evidence that vaccination does not protect from small-pox, as testified by the 760 vaccinated cases. It also failed to modify the attack, as proved by the 108 deaths amongst the vaccinated.

The second point that pro-vaccinists should remember is that all doubtful cases are vaccinated—that is, there is prima facie evidence of some vaccination—beyond all doubt, otherwise they would at once be classed as unvaccinated. The effect of this consideration is that the vaccinated and doubtful together give 823 cases, with 149 deaths, or a case fatality-rate raised to 18.1 per cent.

The third point is, that at least seven vaccinated infants—all of whom died—recorded in the Registrar-General's returns as vaccinated, are either included by the Statistical Committee of the Metropolitan Asylums Board in the unvaccinated cases, without one word of explanation, or are omitted altogether. These, at least, if not others, should be transferred to the vaccinated class. This brings the case fatality-rate of the vaccinated to 18.7 per cent., and reduces the case fatality-rate of the unvaccinated accordingly.

Even assuming their figures are correct, it is for our opponents to tell us how it happens that the unvaccinated case fatality-rate in well-vaccinated London is over 48 per cent., while at unvaccinated Leicester, according to the reports of the Medical Officer of Health for 1902-04, the fatality-rate of the unvaccinated is only 4.87— a difference of 43.52 per cent, in favour of Leicester. Perhaps they will kindly explain how this difference arises !

Volume I. of the Annual Report of the Metropolitan Asylums Board, for 1901, contains some curious examples of logic, especially when we remember that the writers are full-fledged believers in vaccination as a preventive of small­pox. On page 136 we read :—

"We alluded in our Annual Report for 1900 to the erratic behaviour of small-pox. . . . In reporting to the Board on the subject, we said (5th October) :—

"The outbreak of small-pox with which the Board have to deal at this moment has come at a time when it might reasonably   have been expected least.   We are in the middle of the seasonal rise of fever and diphtheria, and never before in the history of the Board has such an outbreak of small-pox commenced in the midst of that period. The rise in fever and diphtheria admissions has, as a general rule, coincided with the lowest point touched by small-pox."

From this it would appear that small-pox was not expected, and when it came, would be erratic and beyond control. But, if we turn to another part of the report, at pages 8 and 9, Vol. I., 1901, we read :—

"The work of the Board as the infectious hospital authority for London claims the largest share of their attention, and during the year 1901 special importance has been given to this branch of the work by the outbreak of small-pox in the autumn.

" For some little time past an outbreak of some dimensions had been more or less confidently predicted. Some authorities held that with the widespread disregard of vaccination and the consequently increasing number of susceptible persons in the huge population of London, a serious epidemic must sooner or later occur should the disease succeed in invading and taking root amongst the people. Others pointed to the fact that epidemics have hitherto recurred in something like uniform cycles, and that, looking to the history of small-pox in the past, another outburst might be expected about this time.

" Dr. Ricketts, the Medical Superintendent of the Hospital Ships, in his annual report for the year 1898, after quoting the numbers of small-pox cases for a series of years, says :—

"I think these facts justify the expectation that in the next few years small-pox will be more rife in London than it has been recently ; and if past experience is to be a guide in preparing for the future, they suggest that the Managers should be prepared to deal with a considerable visitation of small-pox in three years' time or earlier.

"In August, the appearance of cases in various parts of London gave reality to these fears, and it soon became apparent that there were in the Metropolis the seeds of what might prove a serious outbreak, the daily returns indicating upwards of twenty different centres of infection.  The progress of an epidemic of small-pox can never be foretold with any approach to accuracy. This will be readily appreciated when it is considered that a single person in an infective condition, but in whom the disease has not yet been recognised as small-pox, may move about freely amongst a large number of his fellows, and quite unconsciously and innocently spread the disease broadcast, and that this same process might be happening in a dozen or more different parts of London at the same time."

These extracts prove that an epidemic was not only due, but expected, especially as the disease was still to come in cycles, as of yore. In the light of these statements, what becomes of the boasted protection alleged to be conferred by vaccination ?

The chairman of the Hospitals Committee was on more solid ground when he submitted a memorandum on the small-pox outlook, and said, page 137 :—

"Stress is often laid on the improved general and sanitary condition of the population and on the vigilance and efficiency of the Health Officers of the Metropolis as materially curtailing the risk of extended epidemic. Admitting to the full the force of these considerations, I would remind the Committee that all the exertions of the local authorities in dealing with small-pox must avail nothing, and their best precautions must be futile, in the absence of sufficient isolation accommodation."

The Board complain of the criticism by anti-vaccinators of their preliminary report. On page 12, Vol. I., 1901, they write :—

" The occurrence of a small-pox epidemic not unnaturally gave rise to a certain amount of alarm amongst the population generally, and it was evident on all hands that recourse was being had, in a very large measure, to vaccination and  revaccination, and, as might have been expected, the vaccination controversy itself gained a certain amount of new life. The Board, believing most thoroughly in the protective powers of vaccination and revaccination with their experience of its value in the case of their own staff, and feeling that the public would be glad to be furnished at the earliest possible date with statistics concerning the cases actually treated during this outbreak, published a report soon after the close of the year dealing with 1,017 cases treated to completion (i.e., to death or discharge on recovery) during the year 1901. These figures are very striking, and prove conclusively—as, indeed, has often been proved before—that efficient vaccination is for a number of years a protection against small-pox, and that where it ceases to be an actual protection it very materially modifies the character and effects of the disease. These statistics are more fully dealt with in the statistical volume which accompanies this report. The Board do not exist to promote or to oppose vaccination, but when they have a large amount of statistical information which they believe to be of value on a subject concerning the health of the community, they think it right that they should publish such information. Yet the issue of these statistics in January, 1902, was assailed by anti-vaccinationists, and the accuracy of the figures, and even the bona fides of the Boards' officers in compiling them, were impugned."

On page 136 of the same report (Vol. I., of 1901) there appears :—

"No history of permanent value can be compiled of the present small-pox epidemic until its final abatement."

Then why, if their object was not to promote vaccination, did they hasten to issue the erroneous report referred to? Why did they allow the valuable time of their staff, and a considerable proportion of their annual reports, to be occupied with useless vaccination details? If this was not intended to promote vaccination, it is difficult to divine the cause. They must not object to criticism while they stoop to these practices. It would have been much more dignified to have waited until the outbreak ended, and then have given a complete report on the whole of the cases and deaths. Their simulated indignation at the impugning of the wonderful illusory statistics which brought about a " vaccination epidemic" in London, and put fabulous sums into the pockets of members of the medical profession in the shape of vaccination fees, may be estimated at its true worth when, we consider that the unreliability of the classification was indisputably demonstrated by the official records of the Registrar-General himself. The Board may think that they ought to enjoy the unquestioned confidence of the public, but, with their vast experience of the manner in which vaccination has always been bolstered up, it cannot be wondered at that anti-vaccinators accepted the interim report of the Board cum grano salis.

Owing to the difficulty I experienced in endeavouring to ascertain the vaccinal condition of the patients in hospital, during my investigation of the small-pox epidemic at Middlesbrough, 1897-98, I suggested to Mr. Alex. M'Arthur, M.P. for Leicester, the desirability of obtaining legal authority for inspecting the registers of cases treated in small-pox hospitals. Mr. M'Arthur thereupon secured the insertion of Section 8 in the Vaccination Act of 1898, which grants facilities for such inspection to be carried out.

When application was made, under this Section, during the London epidemic of 1901-02, by the National Anti-Vaccination League, to the Metropolitan Asylums Board, they set the Act at defiance, and refused permission to examine their registers. The question was raised in Parliament, but, in the end, they shuffled out of their legal obligation on the plea that the Metropolitan Asylums Board is not a "sanitary authority" (as specified by the Act)—a mere quibble of words.

So the Metropolitan Asylums Board not only issued premature and inaccurate small-pox statistics—which appear to the uninitiated to favour vaccination—but, by refusing to allow inspection of their registers, they actually became law-breakers, and thus defeated the object Parliament had in view. The less, therefore, they profess that it is no part of their function either "to promote or to oppose vaccination," the better for their reputation—should they desire to pose as disinterested and fair. If the vaccinal condition of the patients (as entered in the official registers) is a truthful record, the Metropolitan Asylums Board ought rather to court inquiry than to burke it, no matter whether an Act of Parliament has been passed for their guidance or not. Secrecy can only excite suspicion.

In addition to the inaccurate and premature special report on small-pox already alluded to, the careless manner in which the statistics of the Metropolitan Asylums Board are prepared and perpetuated, is further exemplified in Table 22, on page 175 of their report for 1902. In this table the small-pox fatality-rate is given as 18.51, whereas it should be only 14.74, while that for 1902 is set out as being 16.60, and should be 16.89. In the summary of "Statistical Items, issued annually, the small-pox fatality-rate for 1901-02 is given as 16.8 per cent., although the rate was only 16.5. The following table shows these errors :-









 Small-pox  admissions   and deaths, page 175, M.A.B. Report for 1902






1902    7,916    1,337  16.60  16.89

 Totals, 1901-02






 Small-pox   admissions  and deaths, Dec. 1, 1870-1902






These blunders are continued to, and appear in the report for 1910. Evidently accuracy does not count as one of the strong points of the Statistical Committee of the Metropolitan Asylums Board. Otherwise, they would have corrected these erroneous figures long ago—a much more laud­able work than the issuing of misleading reports. At page 16, Vol. I., Report for 1901, we are told that the epidemic severely tested and imposed a great strain on all their resources—land, river, and ambulance services, as well as hospital accommodation. One might almost be led to surmise that the Statistical Department felt the effects of the pressure also! It will be seen from the above table, that when we come to the rock bottom of all the cases, and all the deaths, there is no improvement in the fatality-rate since pre-vaccination times. This point is still further emphasised by the totals of small-pox in London, from 1st December, 1870, to 31st December, 1902, which are added at the bottom of the table.


THE late Mr. Alexander Wheeler, of Darlington, in his comprehensive evidence before the Royal Commission, presented a table of pre-Jennerian death-rates from small-pox, this being printed as Table J, on page 201 of the Royal Commission on Vaccination, Third Report. It deals with the years 1746 to 1779, and its totals are as follows:—


Cases,                      Deaths.                 Percentage of Deaths to Cages.
27,444                         5,165                                   18.8

This is followed by Table K (page 203), which gives the post-Jennerian small-pox fatality from 1802 to 1885, and of which I also give the totals only :—






 Fatality per cent.

 England,  Scotland, and Ireland



















 Av. 15.0

The above tables show a saving in fatality of only 3.8 per cent, between pre-Jennerian and post-Jennerian small-pox. But from what we now know of the effective influence of sanitation on zymotic diseases, the improved sanitation and conditions of life, ought, and would account for much more than this difference of only 3.8 per cent.

In addition to the foregoing figures, Mr. Wheeler presented Table M to the Royal Commission (Third Report, page 204). This table is by Dr. Proust, "Report on Vaccination" (1889, page 45), and gives 133,894 cases and 22,102 small­pox deaths in France. Tissott, the famous Swiss authority, gives pre-vaccination small-pox fatality as one in seven, or 14.3 per cent.; Heberden gives one in six, or 16.7 per cent.; whilst A. de Haen, of Vienna, gives 14.2 to 20 per cent., or, taking these authorities together, we get a case fatality-rate of about 16.5 per cent. Thus we are now in a position to make an exacting comparison of a colossal character with Leicester.




 Small-Pox Cases.

 Small-Pox Deaths.

 Small-Pox Fatality percent.

 Eighteenth  century (1746-79); all unvaccinated. Mr.   Wheeler's Table J, p. 201, R.C. V.. Third Report.

 Before  vaccination; small-pox increased by inoculation ;  insanitary conditions ; lack of hospital    accommodation ; indifferent   medical treatment ; doubtful and untrained nursing.




 Tissott,   Heberden, and A. de Haen.

 Pre-vaccination times. Conditions as above.




 Table M, p. 204, R C V., Third Report, 1875-85

 Dr Proust ("Report un Vaccination," 1889, p. 45) for France gives 6,436,508 vaccinations, 270,590 re vaccinations. Average annual vaccinations to births, 79.8




 Nineteenth century   (1802-85); vaccinated   and unvaccinated   together.Mr Wheeler's Table K,p.203,R.C.V. Third Report.

 Cessation of  variolous inoculation ; vaccination enforced; improved sanitary conditions ; modern hospitals ;     competent medical treatment ; and trained nursing.




 Nineteenth and twentieth  centuries.   London M.A.B. Reports .(1870-1902).

 Further improvement in nineteenth century advantages with respect to sanitation ; hospital equipment; medical treatment and nursing.




 Twentieth century ; London M.A B. Reports (1000-02).

 Above improvement continued.




 Leiceeter "unprotected," 1892-94

 Under the "Leicester Method."




 Leicester "unprotected,"1902-04

 Under the "Leicester Method " improved.




The Statistical Committee of the Metropolitan Asylums Board would do well to study this table. If they would instruct their officers to disabuse their minds of vaccination, to cease wasting time on trivialities in dissecting vaccine variations in small-pox patients, and address themselves to the task of correcting their own inaccurate calculations, and to reducing small-pox fatality by sound hygiene, they would be doing good service to the teeming millions of London. As yet, they are wallowing in eighteenth century small-pox fatality. When they have reduced this, and brought it down to the abnormally low fatality-rate of "unprotected" Leicester, no one will blame or criticise them for prematurely rushing into print to announce their great achievement.

Even the case fatality-rate of the vaccinated patients in the London epidemic, as given in the special report, was 14.21 per cent. Compare this with the case fatality-rate of the unvaccinated patients at Leicester, in 1902-04 (given by Dr. Millard at page 21 of his report for 1904), of only 4.87 per cent, for the whole epidemic ; also with the unvaccinated case fatality-rate for the 1904 portion of the epidemic, of only 1.6 per cent.  London has not much to boast of, when its vaccinated case fatality-rate was, therefore, nearly three times as great as (or about 300 per cent, above) Leicester's unvaccinated case fatality-rate for the whole epidemic, and about nine times higher than (or nearly 900 per cent, above) Leicester's unvaccinated case fatality-rate for 1904.

The cost to the ratepayers of London, for the small-pox epidemic of 1901-02 (page 13, Vol. I., Metropolitan Asylums Board's report for 1901), is estimated at £500,000, but on page 27 of the Annual Report for 1902, the estimated total expenditure is given as £491,159, exclusive of furnishing and equipment of new supplemental buildings.

This cost is stupendous! However, as it is the specially prepared statement of the Board's Finance Committee, we must accept it as it stands. Later on, I purpose comparing this expenditure with that of Sheffield, Glasgow, and Leicester. (See Cost of "Leicester Method," page 477.)


GLASGOW is an exceptionally well-vaccinated city. Its vaccinal default is only about two or three per cent., and that small percentage would include the insusceptible and those who are unfit for vaccination. It is, therefore, putting Leicester to a severe test to compare it with Glasgow. Leicester is worse off geographically, and also in regard to water supply. Even when the latter is supplemented by the great Derwent scheme, it will not be equal to that of Glasgow. If vaccination protects from small-pox, then Glasgow— like Leicester in 1871-72—was a "protected" city. If five per cent, of vaccinations reduced small-pox to a minimum in the early days of the nineteenth century—as was claimed at the time—then the 97 per cent, of vaccinations in Glasgow should have entirely banished the disease.

Instead of that, what do we find? According to the reports of the Medical Officer, small-pox has seldom been absent from Glasgow since 1855. Only a few odd years have been free from its visitations. The city suffered from a small epidemic during the years 1892-95, when there were 60 deaths ; but a much more severe epidemic or epidemics occurred from 1900 to 1904, when, according to the Medical Officer's reports, 3,417 cases occurred, and 377 deaths from small-pox were registered in this perfectly vaccinated city! It is not, perhaps, the number of deaths which is so significant as the unreasoning alarm occasioned by the outbreak, the financial loss and disturbance of trade, and, what is even more remarkable, the rush for revaccination on the part of those already supposed to be "protected." If vaccination "protects," why be alarmed? And why should those who believe in the prophylactic value of vaccination—having "protected" themselves—proceed to coerce others against whom they are "protected," and who are quite willing to take their own risk—such as it is? This course of procedure constitutes an irrational tyranny.

When the small-pox epidemic began in 1900, an enormous number of persons were revaccinated. The expenditure under this head alone from 1st June, 1900, to 1st March, 1902, was no less a sum than £32,236 ! !  Of this astounding amount, nearly £24,000 went into the pockets of medical practitioners as fees, apart from the cost of lymph, which was £4,570. Yet medical men are offended at any suggestion of pecuniary interest in vaccination! From April, 1900, to May, 1902, the huge total of 413,237 revaccinations were performed, almost sufficient, one would imagine, to have "protected" the whole of the United Kingdom.

The proportion of the revaccinations in 1901 was much greater in the immediate vicinity of the Small-Pox Hospital. Notwithstanding this, the attack rate was higher in this best-revaccinated area than in other parts of the city. Remarking on this feature, the report of the Medical Officer, for 1904, at page 53, says :—

" It is . . . worth remembering that the proportion revaccinated in 1901 in the districts immediately surrounding the hospital was greater than in the other districts where the disease was less prevalent. So that the greater incidence of attack in these districts on the present occasion is all the more striking."  

Further comment on this is carefully avoided by the Medical Officer.

Another extract throws some light on the "doubtfully vaccinated" :—

"Of 89 presenting no evidence of vaccination, 10 (of whom 8 were under 10 years of age) were found to have been certified as successfully vaccinated in infancy; and of 66, where the evidence of vaccination was doubtful, 20 (of whom 13 were under 10 " years of age) had been similarly certified" (page 54.)

Following the "Leicester Method," but a "long way off," 3,101 contacts "were placed in the reception houses during the disinfection of their houses, and for observation." Of these, 14 were found to be suffering from small-pox, and 54 subsequently developed the disease, so that 3,033 escaped unaffected.

The death-rate of the unvaccinated was swollen by the addition of 17 deaths of infants under six months, and by two cases of infants born in the hospital, of mothers suffering from small-pox. Three cases of small-pox amongst members of the staff are also recorded, and all of them appear, have been revaccinated, although the operation is described as "vaccination," and not "revaccination." With reference to these three cases, the following on page 59, is worth quoting, as a "sparkling gem" from the pen of a vaccine devotee :—

"While the above are to be regretted as affording illustrations of disease contracted where it is most readily preventable, it is to be observed that the unsatisfactory nature of the vaccination which was performed attracted the notice of the medical staff of the hospital in each case before the symptoms of small-pox became manifest.  They are not illustrations of failure on the part of vaccination to protect from small-pox, but of failure to ensure protection before exposure to infection."

Desperate efforts to obtain revaccination were made at private residences, and the result is described, on page 61, in the appended "racy" paragraph :—

"There is no stimulus to an active participation in the protective value of vaccination equal to the occurrence, of cases of small-pox among neighbours, and in consequence the efforts to obtain revaccination were most successful in those districts where the cases were most 'numerous. By house-to-house visitation, mostly in the evening, the Inspectors revaccinated 6,222 persons during the prevalence of the disease."

Bribes were even offered to the occupants of the "model" lodging houses. One "free" night was given for allowing the operation to be performed, and six additional free nights when the result proved to be successful. This, of course, led to a considerable number of "voluntary" revaccinations.

Several circulars, signed by the Medical Officer, were issued, urging revaccination, and appealing for the co-operation of all classes to secure revaccination, for which fees were paid ranging from 1s. 6d. to 2s. 6d. per case. The annexed excerpts from the circular of 11th June, 1900, are worth placing on record, especially the spicy, appropriate Russian touch, "Police Department."

"In view of the present distribution of small-pox in Glasgow, the Corporation (Police Department), as Local Authority, desire to impress on the community the extreme desirability of each of its members acquiring the complete protection from the disease which recent successful revaccination affords. They are also desirous of affording .to every inhabitant who may wish to be revaccinated, but who cannot afford to pay for the operation, facilities for having it done. . . .

"The Corporation believe that if by any means they could obtain the revaccination of every individual in Glasgow above ten years of age, and the primary vaccination of all who have never been vaccinated, an epidemic prevalence of small-pox would be impossible within their jurisdiction. . . .

" The Corporation rely upon your active co-operation in urging all persons within the scope of these conditions over whom you have influence to take advantage of this opportunity of putting themselves beyond the reach of small-pox."

Of course, revaccination might prove effectual, when, by removal of the small-pox cases to hospital, all risk of infection had been put "beyond reach"!

But, why all this trouble in an already "protected " population ? If, according to its critics, this had occurred in "unprotected" Leicester, it need not have occasioned much surprise.

In 1901, I was invited to Glasgow, and addressed a number of public meetings in that city, as well as in other parts of Scotland. I sought a friendly interview with the then Convener of the Health Committee, but, although he certainly received me, my suggestions were declined without thanks. The Lord Provost was more courteous, but equally certain that the authorities knew what they were doing. The sequel to this phase of the subject is particularly interesting. As the number of revaccinations performed mounted up towards the tremendous total already cited, so did the cases of small-pox increase. Opponents might urge that the greater amount of small-pox induced people to clamour for revaccination. but this is simply a matter of opinion upon which we will agree to differ. When, however, revaccination had not only utterly failed to check the spread of the disease, and there was a recrudescence of small-pox, the Public Health Committee, actually resolved that a deputation ought to visit Leicester, in order to study our "method" on the spot. This recommendation was rejected when it came up for confirmation by the City Council, but, as an alternative, they decided that Dr. C. Killick-Millard be asked to supply a copy of his report concerning small-pox in Leicester and its treatment. Naturally, this request was readily acceded to. Glasgow had a number of copies reprinted, and, if my information is correct, they sent many of these back to Leicester's Medical Officer, in recognition of his kindness in having supplied the original!  Assuming such to have been the case, I wonder whether the object was to restrict the circulation in Glasgow, of a publication which so clearly demonstrated the folly of their mode of trying to control a small-pox outbreak?

At any rate, it is a very curious commentary on the value of vaccination that well-vaccinated Glasgow should flatly reject the advice tendered with the best possible intentions in the world by a member of unvaccinated Leicester's Sanitary Committee, and that, in the long run, revaccinated Glasgow should be driven to appeal to unvaccinated Leicester to help them out of their difficulties. And the still more remarkable fact is, that it was not long after Glasgow had sought Leicester's guidance that the epidemic commenced to decline in its intensity. Whether this was another striking example of cause and effect, or that much of the "inflammable material" for contracting small-pox had already been consumed, can be left for the reader to surmise. My own view need not be chronicled. The epidemic was of a very obliging character ! It is rather singular that it suddenly abated so as not to jeopardise the success of the Glasgow Exhibition—thus giving the authorities an opportunity to slacken their scare-creating energies—and then revived after the Exhibition was over.

The epidemic or double epidemic, for it had two stages between 1900 and 1904—was not, in a comparative sense, large, although it resulted in a total of 3,417 cases, with 377 deaths, being a case fatality-rate of 11.03 per cent. But the cost was out of all proportion to the size of the epidemics. If there had never been a single vaccination for the preceding fifty years, there could not have been much more disturbance, trouble, anxiety, and harassing worry, or more money spent in coping with the visitation. During the ten years immediately preceding it, probably no less a sum than £25,000 had been expended upon vaccination, but that seems to have been regarded as useless. Otherwise so large an additional amount would not have been spent on vaccination and revaccination. Besides this, the hospital expenditure went up by leaps and bounds.

It is difficult to arrive at the exact cost of the epidemics, as even the authorities themselves appear unable to furnish this information. The ratio of increase in ordinary hospital expenditure, necessitated by natural growth of the population, was about 3.7 per cent., from 1883-84 to 1899-1900, as shown by the published returns in Table 62, page 49, of the Medical Officer's Report for 1910. These returns also show, on this basis, an excess of ordinary expenditure, 1900-04, of about £60,000, but this does not take account of extraordinary expenditure, or of the outlay on vaccination and revaccination. We know from a statement printed on page 47 of the Special Report on Small-Pox, 1900-02, issued by the Medical Officer of Health, that revaccination alone cost £32,236 to March, 1902, and it would not be unreasonable to assume that before the end of the epidemics, in 1904, this amount had been increased to considerably over £40,000. Then about £30,000 was expended the first year of the outbreak in "special precautions" against small-pox, which, on a moderate computation, would reach £50,000 before the end of the epidemic in 1904. There would be much other expenditure besides these sums, but, in the absence of any official detailed account, which has never been, and probably cannot be, furnished, I conclude from the figures made known that small-pox must have cost well-vaccinated Glasgow a total of, at the very least, £150,000 during the years 1900-04. It will be seen, then, that notwithstanding the enormous and continuous annual expenditure on vaccination, when the hour of trial came, the supposed defences of the city failed, and a tremendous additional outlay was involved. What a different result the adoption of the "Leicester Method" would have yielded! But the Glasgow "City Fathers," and their Jenner-worshipping officials, were too "high and mighty " to accept its teachings when proffered in the early stages of their trouble. For this blind folly they paid dearly, and, compared with Leicester, they mulcted the city in excessive, and avoidable, expenditure and loss. All this is a very significant commentary on the "protection" of a population which Dr. J. B. Russell, the then Medical Officer of Health, stated prior to the outbreak, was "vaccinated and revaccinated to an extent unparalleled in any other locality." For a comparison of the cost to Leicester and Glasgow, see TABLE 29.


ANOTHER of these rigorous comparisons may be made with Sheffield, where the vaccinal default was very small (being only two per cent.) at the time of the 1887-88 small-pox epidemic. Dr. Barry carried out a special investigation of the epidemic for the Local Government Board. His report was considered such a conclusive and telling proof of vaccinal efficiency and efficacy that it became the dominant operating factor in inducing the Government to grant the Royal Commission of 1889.

Dr. Barry's report is somewhat ponderous, and goes into numerous details, all intended to show what a powerful agent vaccination is in controlling and modifying small-pox. This report is prefaced by Dr. (afterwards Sir) G. Buchanan, Medical Officer of the Local Government Board.

Dr. Sinclair White, the then Medical Officer of Health for Sheffield, in his annual report for the year 1886, uttered these words of gratulation :—

"I have gone carefully through the vaccination statistics which have been kindly placed at my disposal by the Clerks to the two Boards of Guardians. From these it would seem that somewhat less than five per cent, of the population is growing up unvaccinated.

"It is only fair to state that by far the larger proportion of the unvaccinated are children of migratory parents. These, leaving the districts in which they were born, are frequently untraceable afterwards, and hence escape the vigilance of the Vaccination Officers.

"Sheffield compares favourably with many large towns in respect of vaccination, and there would appear to be comparatively few anti-vaccinators in the town."

He also declared that the town was so well vaccinated that there was no fear of small­pox. However, when the epidemic came, in 1887, in the dire distress and pitiless extremity to which the Authorities were driven, it was confessed they were beaten, and that the epidemic "must burn itself out"!!! So overtaxed, and, indeed, overwhelmed, was the department, that the statistics for 1887 were not even published until June, 1892! What would have been said if unvaccinated Leicester had found itself in such a dismal plight? But the ingenuity of Dr. Barry and Dr. Buchanan over-leapt the despair of the Medical Officer, and, actually, to their own satisfaction, they found that the devastation wrought by this small-pox epidemic in a 98 - per - cent. - vaccinated - and - re-vaccinated community was at once a glorious proof and vindication of the inestimable value of vaccination as a prophylactic against small-pox !

Dr. Barry's report is said to be an exhaustive one, but it labours under several fatal defects. He professes to have carried out a vaccination census, but, although the population of Sheffield was estimated at 316,288 in the middle of 1887, and was rapidly growing, several thousands of people being added before the close of the epidemic, he only canvassed 275,878, thus leaving out of account a population of about 45,000 persons, or 16.3 per cent, of the whole.

In his records, he only deals with 6,088 cases and 590 small-pox deaths, although there were, in all, 7,073 cases and 680 deaths, or, according to the returns of the Registrar-General, 688 deaths, and 4 deaths referred to chicken-pox. So that Dr. Barry omitted about one-sixth of the population, 985 (or nearly one-seventh) of the cases, and 98 (or one-seventh) of the deaths. If these significant omissions are any index to the reliability of the remainder of the report, it cannot be regarded as very trustworthy.

Dr. Buchanan, in his introduction to the report, waxed eloquent on the difference between the liability to death from small-pox amongst the vaccinated and the unvaccinated; but before, touching his statistics, it would be serviceable to quote from his text. He commences by paying :—

"An epidemic of small-pox in Sheffield during the second half of the year 1887, at the time when the disease was at an unprecedentedly low ebb in England and Wales generally, has furnished your Medical Department (i.e., of the Local Government Board) with an opportunity of investigating the behaviour of small-pox under comparatively simple conditions and in a community large enough to reward a particularly careful statistical study."

After referring to the population and of cases and deaths dealt with in Dr. Barry's report, Dr. Buchanan proceeds :.—

" Dr. Barry has gone out of his way to avoid stating inferences, preferring to put multitudes of facts upon record; and on this account his report has come to be of considerable dimensions. On the subject of small-pox as seen in England at the end of the nineteenth century, it is a storehouse of instruction for such of the public as care to be instructed, and adds in at least one important respect to the information hitherto before the medical profession.

"The epidemic of small-pox at Sheffield has turned out to be one of importance, judged on the scale of English epidemics during the last sixteen years, and it has stood conspicuously above any other small-pox prevalence of the years 1887-88. ...

"For any preference shown by small-pox for Sheffield, as the place to be invaded, I can offer no sufficient explanation. While small-pox exists in England, or can be imported into England from abroad, its introduction into any English community is an affair of circumstance ; of the movements of persons and things that are able to carry its infection. . . .

"So small-pox in the early part of 1887 made its appearance at Sheffield; in two sub-districts of the borough almost simultaneously."

These last are two delicious paragraphs. Dr. Buchanan says he "can offer no sufficient explanation" why small-pox invaded Sheffield.

Had such an outbreak occurred at Leicester, he would, of course, have found no such difficulty. If so disastrous "an affair of circumstance "could happen to a city efficiently "protected " from the inroads of small-pox, as Sheffield was at that time, of what possible use is vaccination ?

Referring in a foot-note to Upper Hallam, Dr. Buchanan says:—

"Perhaps, in order to avoid misrepresentation, "I may here record that this part of Upper Hallam had during the recent epidemic one death, and only one, from small-pox, and that was in a vaccinated adult. There were also 12 non-fatal cases in vaccinated persons, and one in an unvaccinated. The population is vaccinated to the extent of 99 per cent, of its number."

Then he goes on :—

"During the invasion period of Sheffield a good many cases of small-pox occurred that did not come to the knowledge of the Sanitary authority. That the Town Council did not become aware of these cases was in a measure due to the fact of their having no special authority to obtain information on the subject of infectious disease prevalence, no more, in fact, than sanitary authorities in general. . . .

"Not all the small-pox cases that came under medical treatment were notified ; and, further, it is certain that a number of early cases were not notified, owing to the mildness of the disease in individuals leaving them in ignorance of the nature of their complaint, and leading them to consider medical advice unnecessary."

Dr. Buchanan appears to forget that this neglect of notification, ought not to produce serious consequences in a population "protected" to the extent of 98 or 99 per cent. After blaming the Winter Street Hospital for radiating infection to the extremes of a vast circle of 4,000 feet, he states that this influence ceased soon after the patients were removed from the hospital. If it ever existed, it would, indeed, have been "strange had it continued after the motive power had gone, but, curiously and incidentally, Dr. Buchanan also says, in a foot-note :—"It is true the epidemic itself was, at this time, on the wane." What logic and wisdom from the Chief Medical Officer of the Local Government Board! Moreover, twenty-five maps are added to the report to prove this "radiating" theory of infection. These I have carefully examined, and find that nineteen out of the twenty-five, prove the exact opposite.

He next observes .

"I turn to consider the fall in the mortality of small-pox as compared with other epidemic diseases since the more vigorous adoption of sanitary measures in Sheffield. Between an earlier and a later period, each of ten years, ... measles has fallen from 100 to 78, scarlatina from 100 to 73, whooping cough from 100 to 93, diarrhoea from 100 to 72, diphtheria from 100 to 39, and fever from 100 to 34."

An elaborate calculation is then made as to the relative decline of small-pox, with a view of showing that it has declined more than the other zymotic diseases, owing to a special circumstance --viz., vaccination. The result is given as being a fall from 100 to 28.

Remembering that Dr. Buchanan is very careful .to omit the epidemic of 1871-72, when, well vaccinated as Sheffield was, 1,000 small­pox deaths occurred, one is not very much impressed either with the logic or accuracy of his calculations. At all events, it is not very convincing.

In a foot-note, he observes :—

"These years, owing to their extravagant mortality are purposely excluded from the comparison of earlier and later small-pox periods. In the hope of avoiding misrepresentation, it may be proper that I should say, that if these years were included with the period 1861-70, the case in favour of the latter period, 1873-88, "would be far stronger than above represented. There can be no suggestion of including 1871-72 with the later period."  We may ask—Why should these fatal years be omitted? If all "extravagant mortality," be excluded, any required result may be obtained.

Then Dr. Buchanan winds up the first part of his introduction with this impartial declaration, significant for its contempt of the influence of sanitation, and its veiled thrust at Dr. Charles Creighton, whose shoe latchet he was "unworthy to unloose" :—

"Up to this point I have avoided mentioning the word 'vaccination.' It has been my object to discover, if it were possible, some influence other than vaccination to which the decline of small pox and the behaviour of small-pox during the recent epidemic might be ascribed. I have been led to take this course, owing to the assertion frequently made by those who make it the business of their lives to decry vaccination, that the decline of small-pox in England, Germany, and elsewhere is a simple affair of  improved sanitary circumstance—a curiously mistaken assertion which, strange to say, has "been adopted into the article 'Vaccination' of the new edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica."

Dr. Buchanan then proceeds by a peculiar process to attempt to prove what I think most people will regard as impossible:—

(1)    That vaccinated children have an 11-fold immunity from  attack, and a 381-fold security against death by small-pox;

(2)    That the vaccinated class over ten years of age have a 5-fold immunity against attack,, and a 51-fold security against death by small-pox, but if these people over ten were revaccinated, then

(3)    The revaccinated over ten have a 31-fold immunity against, attack, and a 644-fold security against death from small-pox.

Other rates are quoted, varying in degree, but the final one gives for the people of all ages, if vaccinated, a more than treble immunity against attack, and a 34-fold security against death from small-pox, as compared with the non-vaccinated residents in invaded houses."

After this wonderful conjuring, Dr. Buchanan refers to the small amount of small-pox amongst the troops, the police force, and the postal staff, and goes on to say:—

"If one had never heard of 'vaccination,' but had only the evidence of this particular report, differentiating attacks and deaths by small-pox among each and all of eight populations according as individuals had or had not received a certain 'rite,' there would be ground for strong belief in the protective value of the rite, and reason for seeking its general adoption. And when it turned out that the rite in question was none other than that which, ninety years ago, was brought into use for the express purpose of protecting against this very disease; and, in addition, that major acceptance of the rite has been accompanied, in exact measure, by major security against small-pox; it would seem that no reasoning mortal could hesitate to find in this rite THE CAUSE, and THE ONLY CAUSE, wanted to explain the observed "phenomena."

In summing up, Dr. Buchanan observes, inter alia:—

"It has been found that if so-called 'sanitary circumstances' have had any influence at all upon the rate of attack and death, such influence is not demonstrable, and can, at the utmost, have been but small."

Then comes the crowning folly and absurdity of this masterly (!) introduction by Dr. Buchanan :—

"For the rest, though I cannot profess to estimate what vaccination has done, within the limits of the recent epidemic, for the population over ten years living in Sheffield, I may point out, for those who can imagine a sudden and complete forfeiture in 1887 by all the inhabitants of the protection which they have from vaccination, that the 200,000 people over ten living in Sheffield would (at the current rate of death observed among unvaccinated persons of that age up to the date of the census) have experienced over 10,000 deaths instead of the actual 368."

Dr. Buchanan could not have considered what this means. It would represent an incredible death-rate of 50,000 per million, and if also applied to the 116,288 inhabitants under ten—and there is no reason why it should not be—it would have meant, in all, 15,814 deaths, or the still more incredible death-rate of over 79,000 per million ! ! ! Even Dr. Buchanan, had he thought it out, would perhaps have seen how difficult it was to invoke a death-rate of 79 per 1,000, for one disease only, out of a total death-rate from all causes and at all ages, of only 21 per 1,000.

The two per cent, unvaccinated in Sheffield would include all those insusceptible to the operation, all the weakly, and all those certified by medical men as unfit. Such a remnant would be—apart from vaccination—in any case, sure victims for any epidemic disease. But, in his supreme anxiety to glorify vaccination, Dr. Buchanan forgot to mention this. Also, notwith­standing his professed aim to be impartial, he omitted to state that Dr. Barry had included in the unvaccinated class, 28 deaths of infants under one month old. Of these, 3 were born with small-pox, 7 were born of mothers suffering from small-pox, 9 were born in houses where small-pox had occurred to other inmates, 9 were vaccinated but it failed to protect ! Also there were 3 deaths of persons who had been " protected" by a previous attack of small-pox.

Dr. Buchanan also, perhaps unwittingly, left out of his florid introduction the fact that, included in the unvaccinated class were 22 cases complicated with child-birth, 40 cases under the vaccination age, 51 cases whose vaccination had been postponed owing to ill-health, 90 cases suffering from impaired health prior to the attack, and 41 where — although not opposed to vaccination — the operation, for some reason or other, had not been performed. In fact, in the whole canvass, only 58 were found in opposition to vaccination.

These important omissions and circumstances, coupled with the already-mentioned exclusion of about 45,000 of the population, 985 cases, and 98 deaths, would have made a material difference to his conclusions.

Even the hospital staffs, notwithstanding their vaccinated and revaccinated condition, did badly, for Mr. Alexander Wheeler, in his evidence before the Royal Commission, showed that the attack rate of the hospital staffs was nearly double that of the population, being 43.4 per 1,000 against only 23 ; whilst the staffs' death-rate was nearly three times more than the whole population of all classes, being 6.2 per 1,000 against only 2.1.

Why   was   Dr.   Buchanan   so   silent   about- this important matter?

Dr. Buchanan took exception to Dr. Barry calling this outbreak insignificant.    He says :—

"I notice that Dr. Barry, in a passage where he is concerned with numerical comparisons only, speaks of the recent epidemic as of 'comparative insignificance.' As it stands, the phrase may, I think, be liable to misconstruction. So far as can be judged from the readiness with which the disease spread, from its persistence in the borough, and from its rate of fatality, I should be disposed to say of it that the epidemic was of a severe description. I see no suggestion of mildness in the quality of the small-pox which prevailed. But I see that this epidemic did less mischief than previous epidemics, because comparatively few of the individual member of the Sheffield community had been left without protection (complete or 11 partial) against the prevalent infection."

How it could be so severe, and yet do so little mischief, we are left to adjust as best we can.

Whatever  Dr.  Barry might have  thought on this point,  in the concluding part of his report he states :—

"The total amount expended by the Corporation, the Guardians, and the Small-Pox Associations, together, was £32,257 4s. 7d., and of this sum £26,947 6s. 9d. was paid by the Sanitary and Vacciantion authorities themselves " in combating this epidemic.

"The expenditure referred to above forms but a fraction of the total money loss caused to the inhabitants of Sheffield by this epidemic of small-pox. Amongst other direct losses as to the amount of which no exact estimate can be formed, must be reckoned loss of wages during illness, expense of doctors, maintenance of sick, cost of funerals, etc. The actual loss to the trade of Sheffield which was indirectly caused by the epidemic cannot be guessed at. For a long time Sheffield, as a town, was avoided by all outsiders except those persons whose business rendered their visit to it imperative, and even these did not sleep in the town if they could avoid doing so. The hotels were consequently empty. The Sheffield people themselves were, in a sense, boycotted by the inhabitants of the neighbouring towns, and all excursion trains to or from the town were stopped. During the year ending February, 1888, it was stated that the Sheffield tramways alone carried 200,000 fewer people than usual.

"In this section I have referred to pecuniary losses only, for no statistics can estimate the amount of suffering caused by so widespread an epidemic. In many houses, especially those  inhabited by the unvaccinated, where death has spared the inmates, a legacy of blindness, or permanent disfigurement, or weakened health and impaired usefulness, has been left behind— of such losses no account can be rendered."

Dr. Barry is not quite as impartial here as Dr. Buchanan would have us believe, but what a terrible indictment of a city which, it is admitted on all hands, had scrupulously obeyed the vaccination laws, and was as fully vaccinated as any possible system of compulsory vaccination could secure. Moreover, many thousands of pounds had been spent, year by year, on the "protective" process of vaccination, and then it failed at the critical moment, and a further £32,000 was flung away. A comparison with Leicester of the cost to Sheffield will be found in Table 29.

Contrast all this paralysis of trade, confusion, turmoil, financial loss, and fearful disaster (the walls placarded all over with posters calculated to help create and maintain the scare), with the quiet, unostentatious, but prompt and effective working of the "Leicester Method" by the officials at unvaccinated Leicester. No placarding of the walls, no terrifying newspaper paragraphs, no excessive expenditure on vaccination and revaccination, no addition to the normal cost of hospital administration, and no increase of the rates. Which is best?


WITH a desire of putting Leicester to the severest possible test, I will now compare it with :— (1) Japan, which has not only copied Western ideas with respect to vaccination, but has gone one better (!) in having the whole population periodically revaccinated; (2) with the revaccinated British Army—all strong, selected men in the very prime of life, who have passed a searching medical examination, and are also under constant supervision—serving at home, in India, and in the Colonies; and (3) the Royal Navy, also composed of picked men, thoroughly "protected" by vaccination and revaccination, and who have had to come satisfactorily out of a most rigid medical examination.

This incisive comparison is of Leicester's practically unvaccinated civil population, at all ages, and of both sexes ; with the revaccinated inhabitants of Japan, at all ages, and of both sexes; and also with a specially selected healthy body of strong men who form our army and navy, likewise revaccinated :—



SMALLPOX FATALITY RATES, percent, of cases, in vaccinated and re-vaccinated populations compared with "unprotected" Leicester, in varying periods from 1860 to 1908.

















TABLE 21.   (See Graph C.)



 Small-Pox.  Cases

  Small-Pox. Deaths.

 Fatality-rate per cent. of Cases






 British Army (United Kingdom)





 British Army (India)





 British Army (Colonies)





 Royal Navy





 Grand Totals and case fatality rate per cent, over all





 Leicester (since giving up vaccination)





In this comparison, I have given the numbers of revaccinated cases, and deaths, and each fatality-rate separately and together, so that they may be compared either way with Leicester. In pro-vaccinist language, may I ask, if the excessive small-pox fatality of Japan, of the British Army, and of the Royal Navy, are not due to vaccination and revaccination, to what are they due? It would afford an interesting psychical study were we able to know to what heights of eloquent glorification Sir George Buchanan would have soared with a corresponding result—but on the opposite side.


I NOW give a comparison of the general death-rate of Leicester with London, the large towns, and England and Wales. This shows that in the quinquennium 1868-72, the death-rate of Leicester was 3.2 per thousand above the Metropolis; 1.5 per thousand above the cities and towns then grouped together by the Registrar-General, for the purpose of showing the death-rate prevailing in the most congested urban districts ; and 4.6 per thousand above England and Wales.

Now, in the three years, 1908-1910, the death-rate of Leicester is 1.1 per thousand below that of London, 1.9 per thousand below the death-rate of the seventy-seven great towns, and 1.8 below that of England and Wales. These death-rates are shown in the accompanying table :—



 Quinquennial Periods.









 1908-10 (3 yrs)





















 *Great Towns










 England and Wales










*Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dublin were included in the Great Towns until 1869, but afterwards excluded. From 1870 only English and Welsh towns, numbering 20, were included in this group. In 1882 this number was increased to 28; in 1892, to 33; in 1902, to 78; in 1910, to 77; and in 19l2 to 94.

In his "Annual Summary" for 1910, the Registrar-General gives a table (page 9) showing the mortality of 136 smaller towns, and that of England and Wales, less the 77 great towns, and the 136 smaller towns. This, therefore, contrasts the urban with the rural populations. From this table I extract the following figures, and add Leicester, for the purpose of a further, and final, comparison.              



 Crude Death-Rate

 Corrected Death-Rate.

 England and Wales



 77 Great Towns  



 136 Smaller Towns



 England and Wales (less the 213 Towns) 






The   Registrar-General pointing out that—

"Owing to the difficulty of distributing to their proper areas deaths occurring in public institutions, it is probable that the death-rate of the rural area is somewhat over-stated, and those of the greater and smaller towns slightly under-stated."

The Registrar-General is probably right, but this will not disturb the highly favourable, and, indeed, flattering, position of Leicester in the comparison which the above crowning test brings to view. There is no need to add any further comment. If ever figures taught a lesson, the benefits of sanitation are here set forth.

These magnificent and incomparable results, must be considered in the light of Leicester's unfavourable geology and geographical position and the circumstances of its population. The town is in a valley, with a sluggish river, a clayey, impervious, and water-logged subsoil; while its population is, for the most part, of the artisan class—working in factories and ware­houses. And, what is still more inimical to health, and especially to the younger lives, a very large proportion of the married women work in warehouses and factories. What all this means must be borne in mind. The position Leicester has achieved is, indeed, a proud one, and to have raised itself by sanitation from being the unhealthiest of the large manufacturing towns, to the enviable altitude of being the most healthy, undoubtedly constitutes a marvellous record. Think of the vast array of lives that might have been saved, not only in the United Kingdom, but throughout the world, if instead of stamping vaccine virus into healthy human bodies, Sanitary Authorities had earlier placed their trust in Municipal Cleanliness alone!

With so remarkable a history, the people of Leicester can treat with indifference and scorn the ignorant sneers which are occasionally sought to be indulged in at their expense. The very fact that the "Leicester Method" has been copied as far and wide as civilisation extends, proves that anti-vaccinators have been pursuing the right course, whilst their opponents were on the wrong track. Imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery; therefore, Leicester may, with confidence and self-reliance, continue to pursue its enlightened and enlightening policy of




AT the close of its prolonged inquiry, the Royal Commission took ample time to consider its final verdict, which was not published until 1896. No one who appeared as a witness against vaccination could feel that it was likely to be in complete accordance with the evidence. The strained attempts in the Report to vindicate vaccination, in spite of much of the testimony given, fully justify those who formed that forecast. It was, perhaps, too much to expect that a tribunal, constituted as the Commission was, would boldly and fearlessly cast aside the exploded dogma of vaccine prophylaxy. That has yet to come, and come it will. The whole proceedings and Final Report of the Royal Commission cast a lurid light on the Parliamentary debate, at which the Government decided to appoint the Commission, and on the grounds which led them to arrive at a decision.

We may now recall the speeches of Mr. Ritchie, President of the Local Government Board, Dr. Farquharson (in seconding Mr. Picton's resolution), Sir Lyon Playfair, and Sir W. Guyer Hunter, M.D., on that memorable occasion—5th April, 1889—when the Government intimated their decision to appoint the Royal Commission. These all strongly emphasised the belief of the speakers that the inquiry would result in establishing vaccination on a firmer basis than heretofore. Dr. Barry's report on the Sheffield epidemic of 1887-88 had just been issued, with Sir George Buchanan's flaunting and exaggerated introduction. The time was felt by pro-vaccinists to be ripe for crushing the revolt against vaccination out of existence once and for all. This belief, that the anti-vaccinators would be pulverised, and that the inquiry would prove to be the engine to effect that object, materially contributed to the decision of the Government, but, in the end, the design egregiously failed!


THE very palpable anxiety on the part of the majority of the Royal Commission, to ignore almost anything and everything except vaccination, and its supposed influence in controlling, small-pox— as commented upon by a minority of its members — did not escape the notice of Professor Alfred Russel Wallace, who included a chapter, entitled "Vaccination a Delusion ; its Penal Enforcement a Crime," in his masterly work, "A Wonderful Century," and from which I extract the following : —

"To return to the Majority Report. Its references to Leicester are scattered over eighty pages, referring separately to the hospital staff, and the relations of vaccinated and unvaccinated to small-pox ; whilst in only a few paragraphs (paragraphs 480-486) do they deal with the main question and the results of the system of isolation adopted. These results they endeavour to minimise by declaring that the disease was remarkably 'slight in its fatality,' yet they end by admitting that 'the experience of Leicester affords cogent evidence that the vigilant and prompt application of isolation ... is a most powerful agent in limiting the spread of small-pox.' A little further on (paragraph 500), they say, when discussing this very point—how far sanitation may be relied on in place of vaccination—'The experiment has never been tried.' "Surely a town of 180,000 inhabitants which has neglected vaccination for twenty years is an experiment. But a little further on, we see the reason of this refusal to consider Leicester a test experiment. Paragraph 502 begins thus :— " ' The question we are now discussing must, of course, be argued on the hypothesis that vaccination affords protection against small-pox.' " What an amazing basis of argument for a Commission supposed to be inquiring into this very point! They then continue :—'Who can possibly say that if the disease once entered a town the population of which was entirely or almost entirely unprotected, it would not spread with a rapidity of which we have in recent times had no experience?' But Leicester is such a town. Its infants—the class which always suffers in the largest numbers—are almost wholly unvaccinated, and the great majority of its adults have, according to the bulk of the medical supporters of vaccination, long outgrown the benefits, if any, of infant vaccination. The disease has been introduced into the town twenty times before 1884, and twelve times during the last epidemic (Final Report, paragraphs 482 and 483). The doctors have been asserting for years that once small-pox comes to Leicester, it will run through the town like wild-fire. But instead of that, it has been quelled with far less loss than in any of the best-vaccinated towns in England. But the Commissioners ignore this actual experiment, and soar into the regions of conjecture with 'Who can possibly say?'—concluding the paragraph with, 'A priori reasoning on such a question is of little or no value.'  "Very true. But a posteriori reasoning, from the cases of Leicester, Birmingham, Warrington, Dewsbury, and Gloucester is of value ; but it is of value as showing the utter uselessness of vaccination, and it is therefore, perhaps, wise for the professional upholders of vaccination to ignore it. But surely it is not wise for a presumably impartial Commission to ignore it as it is ignored in this Report."

In a foot-note, Professor Wallace says:—

"Although the Commission make no mention of Mr. Biggs' tables and diagrams showing the rise of infant mortality with increased vaccination, and its fall as vaccination diminished, they occupied a whole day cross-examining him upon them, endeavouring by the minutest criticism to diminish their importance. Especially it was urged that the increase or decrease of mortality did not agree in detail with the increase or decrease of vaccination, forgetting that there are numerous causes contributing to all variations of death-rate, while vaccination is only alleged to be a contributory cause, clearly visible in general results, but not to be detected in smaller variations (see Fourth Report, Q. 17,513-17,744, or pages 370 to 381). Mr. Biggs' cross-examination, in all, occupies 110 pages of the Report."

It will be seen that Professor Wallace is entirely of opinion that a strong bias influenced the Royal Commission.   The Dissentient Commissioners held the same view.


The opening paragraph of the statement by Dr. (now Sir) William J. Collins and the late Mr. James Allanson Picton, then M.P. for Leicester, emphasises this view. They agree with Professor Wallace, and the grounds of their dissent from the Commission's Report are so extremely instructive as to be well worthy of reproduction in extenso:—

"We entirely agree with the Report of our colleagues in so far as it shows the great change of professional and scientific opinion since vaccination first engaged the attention of the Legislature, and since the passing of the first compulsory Act in 1853. We hold with them that the prophylactic power of vaccination has been at least exaggerated, and that dangers incidental to the practice, though at one time denied, 'are undoubtedly real and not inconsiderable in gross amount.' We gladly added our signatures to theirs in support of the Commission's interim report recommending the abolition of repeated prosecutions, and also that recalcitrant against the vaccination laws should no longer be subjected to the same treatment as criminals. We now desire also, if compulsion in any form is to be maintained, to support their final recommendations for the relief of conscientious nonconformity with the law. We also gladly endorse the precautions they recommend with the object of preventing avoidable dangers in connection with the operation. There is no difference among us on these points; so far as these recommendations go, the Commission is absolutely unanimous. We feel however, that the evidence not only justifies, but requires a more complete reconsideration of the present state of the law as well as of the methods adopted in dealing with small-pox. For this purpose it is necessary to review in some detail the history of small-pox and the various preventive measures which have at different times been in vogue, and to scrutinise the grounds on which one alone of these preventive measures has been relied upon to the exclusion of others. We desire also to give reasons for thinking that other more 'effective and practicable (as well as less objectionable) modes of stamping out small-pox, or protecting communities from its introduction, are available. We venture to think that the Report of our colleagues, in the preparation of many portions of which we have borne our part, has approached the consideration of the behaviour of small-pox, and the means of preventing it, too exclusively from the standpoint of vaccination, and that too little attention has consequently been accorded to sanitary organisation, prompt notification and isolation, measures of disinfection and cleanliness, and healthy conditions of living, which we believe to be of the first importance in preventing and controlling outbreaks of small-pox."


AFTER these eminent opinions respecting the work and outcome of the Royal Commission, laymen may be pardoned for regarding its operations as a "One-Sided Inquiry." The proofs of its partiality and prejudice in favour of vaccination may thus be summarised :—

(1)    The terms of reference contained five paragraphs devoted to the upholding of vaccination, and only one (No. 2) to other means of controlling small-pox.

(2)    Those constituting the Royal Commission were for the most part medical men, or the relatives and friends of medical men, known to be strongly in favour of vaccination.

(3)    The fact that paragraph No. 2 was practically ignored in the inquiry, as proved not only by the Final Report, but also by the emphatic statement of two members of the Commission itself, "that the report of our colleagues .    .   .   .   has approached the consideration of the behaviour of small-pox, and the means of preventing  it,  too exclusively from   the  standpoint of vaccination, and that too little attention has consequently been accorded to sanitary organisation, prompt notification and isolation, measures of disinfection and cleanliness, and healthy conditions of living, which we believe to be of the first importance in preventing and controlling outbreaks of small-pox." (Paragraph 1, Minority Report.)

(4) The strongly significant statement of the Royal Commission itself, in its Final Report, that "the question that we are now discussing must, of course, be argued on the hypothesis that vaccination affords protection against smallpox." (Paragraph 502, Final Report.)

Nothing more need be added to prove that the vaccination question still needs a fair and thoroughly impartial investigation. Up to the present it has certainly never had one.

Notwithstanding this one-sided character of the inquiry of the Commission, the amount and damaging nature of much of the evidence adduced, speedily compelled a modification of the law. The Commission were unanimously of opinion that imprisoned defaulters, who hitherto had been treated as criminals under the penal code, should rank as first-class misdemeanants. The Commission also recommended the entire abolition of cumulative penalties. So obvious, indeed, apart from the merits of vaccination, was the gross injustice which had for so long been endured by anti-vaccinists, that these striking concessions—formerly appealed for in vain—were not only published in an early Interim Report (issued four years before the appearance of the Commission's Final Report), but they were at once acted upon, and without legislation, in effect, forthwith became the law of the land. These, however, were only .part of the concessions made by the Royal Commission in their Final Report, to be found tabulated in the next chapter.



ALTHOUGH appointed in 1889, the Final Report of the Royal Commission was not issued until1896. A ponderous mass of evidence was given, but, for the most part, that dealing with "What means other than vaccination can be used for  diminishing  the  prevalence  of  small-pox", received scant consideration, and was practically ignored.


After these many years of careful deliberation, the holding of 136 meetings, the examination of 187 witnesses, and listening to their evidence, the Commission was unable to reach definite conclusions. All they were able to say was, not that "We are now positively convinced, ;and absolutely sure, as to the prophylactic virtues of vaccination, but only "We think!" This is an expression of irresolution and uncertainty rather than of strength and conviction.

"We think:—
(1)    That   it  diminishes  the  liability   to  be attacked by the disease.
(2)   That  it  modifies  the  character  of  the disease, and renders it  (a)   less fatal,  and  (b) of a milder or less severe type.  
(3)   That   the   protection   it   affords   against attacks of  the  disease  is  greatest  during  the years immediately succeeding the operation of vaccination. It is impossible to fix with precision the length of this period of highest protection. Though not in all cases the same, if a period is to be fixed, it might, we think, fairly be said to cover in general a period of nine or ten years." (Paragraph 377, Final Report.)


The Final Report consists of 537 paragraphs, a considerable number of which are laboured efforts in the cause of vaccination. Notwith­standing this, it confirmed to anti-vaccinators the concessions contained in the Fifth Report, and added other recommendations, of which the following were the principal:—

(1)    The entire abolition of repeated penalties.

(2)    That   defaulter's   imprisoned   under   the Vaccination Acts should be treated as first-class misdemeanants, and not as common felons.

(3)    Statutory declaration, of objection to vaccination to bar legal proceedings against parents.

(4)    Calf lymph to be provided where arm-to-arm vaccination was objected to.

(5)    Illness supervening on vaccination to be treated gratis.

(6)    Domiciliary vaccination to replace public vaccination stations.

(7)    More careful observation of the state of the health of the child to be vaccinated.

(8)    Postponements in the event of ill-health to be made more certain and operative.

(9)    Extension of the vaccination age.

(10)    Five years trial of these recommendations.


Now, if the law was so immaculate and working so perfectly, as the public were repeatedly assured, how came it to require these alterations? No one could suppose that, unless it had been completely established that these amendments of the existing law were absolutely necessary, the Royal Commission, constituted as it was, would have recommended them. Yet for nearly thirty years anti-vaccinators had appealed in vain for several of these emendations. We see, therefore, that the result of the inquiry was not to recommend increased stringency in the enforce­ment of the law, but every recommendation was in the direction of modifying the law, and abolishing its more rigorous provisions.


The fact also that the five years experimental period, fixed by the Commission, elapsed without any dire results accruing, and that, although the law has since not only been continued, but far more extensively relaxed, with further beneficial results, proves conclusively, on the Commissioners own premises, that their fears were baseless, and that they might just as well have recommended the entire repeal of the Vaccination Acts.




THE Government allowed nearly two years to pass before giving Parliament the opportunity to consider the recommendations of the Royal Commission. In 1898 the Right Hon. Henry Chaplin, who was then the President of the Local Government Board, brought in a Vaccination Bill, being the seventh dealing with this vexed question. The Bill was a great disappointment to anti-vaccinators, as they felt justified in anticipating that at least the whole of the Royal Commission's recommendations would be embodied in the measure. It was endorsed by Mr. Chaplin, the Right Hon. A. J. Balfour, Sir Matthew White-Ridley and the Attorney-General, and was largely transformed during its passage through Parliament.

Mr. Chaplin had evidently been well primed by the medical officials of the Local Government Board. Like Sir Lynn Playfair, he was a man after their own heart." His flamboyant speech on the great scientific discoveries respecting calf lymph was amusing to those who knew the real facts.

Although "glycerinated calf lymph" had been on the market for very many years, being patented in 1882 by E. T. Darke ("Vaccination Inquirer," 1st June, 1898, page 46), the knowledge had apparently, only just been imparted by some medico of the Local Government Board as an occult secret reserved for Mr. Chaplin's especial benefit, to flash—like the waving of a magician's wand—upon an astonished House of Commons.

In the "Times," of 16th March, 1898, Mr. Chaplin, on introducing the Vaccination Bill, and referring to the Final Report of the Royal Commission, is thus reported :—

"I do not dwell upon the views emphatically pronounced upon the necessity for vaccination and its efficiency, in either preventing or diminishing the evils of small-pox. They appear to me to be conclusive and unanswerable."

Alluding to some of the recommendations, he said :—

"One of these relates to the kind  of lymph which they recommend should be used in future, and on this point I may remind  the House that there have been some remarkable discoveries in recent years, and if we take advantage of them, as I hope and believe we shall, they will go far to revolutionise the whole of  the previous  system of public vaccination.  I am referring to the results which it is proved are obtained from the preservation of lymph taken from the calf in glycerine. . ...

"These investigation were conducted by Sir Richard Thorne and Dr. Copeman on behalf of the Local Government Board, and since the Report of the Committee was published, into the systems in practice abroad, in Paris, in Berlin, Dresden, Cologne, and Geneva, from which it appears that calf lymph preserved in this way possesses remarkable properties and advantages. In the first place, all extra organisms when the lymph is mixed with glycerine are destroyed. For instance, it is found that such organisms as the microbes of tubercle, erysipelas, and diphtheria, and other diseases (even when they have been added for the purpose of experiment) very shortly disappear, although it retains its full activity for vaccination purposes.

"Secondly, it can be kept for long periods, and upon an emergency large quantities can with facility be supplied; and, thirdly, which is a matter of the first importance, the necessity for arm-to-arm vaccination, and consequently all risk and possibility of inoculation with syphilis, whatever it may have been heretofore, 'wholly disappears.  On this point the Commission makes two suggestions—that lymph shall be placed within the reach of all, and that no parents shall be required to submit their children for vaccination by means of anything but calf lymph."

Mr. Chaplin failed to explain why a system of vaccination, said to be working perfectly, should require to be revolutionised. Nor did he condescend to illustrate the wonderful process by which all malific and extraneous organisms, which are known to be present in the lymph in its crude state, are destroyed, and how, when the potency of the lymph has been attenuated to the extent of no less than 75 to 94 per cent, by the addition of water and glycerine, it "retains its full activity for vaccination purposes." Only Mr. Chaplin knows this secret, for those who informed him certainly do not know how this hocus-pocus is accomplished.

The    following   is   a   copy   of   the    Bill    as introduced to Parliament:—

A.D. 1898.


Re it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows :—

Vaccination within 12 months after birth.

1.—(1)    The   period   within   which   the parent or other person having the custody of a child shall cause the child to be vaccinated shall be twelve months from the birth of the child, instead of the period of three months mentioned in section sixteen of the Vaccination Act of 1867, and so much of that section as requires the child to be taken to a public vaccinator to be vaccinated shall be repealed.

(2) The public vaccinator of the district shall, if the parent or other person having the custody of a child so requires, visit the home of the child for the purpose of vaccinating the child.

(3) If a child is not vaccinated within nine months after its birth, the public vaccinator of the district, shall visit the home of the child, and shall offer to vaccinate the child with glycerinated calf lymph.

Provision against repeated penalties

2. An order under section thirty-one of  the Vaccination Act of 1867, directing that a child be vaccinated, shall not be made on any person who has previously been convicted of non-compliance with a similar order relating to the same child.

Regulations of Local Government Board.

3.  The Local Government Board shall have the same powers of making rules and regulations with respect to public vaccinators (whether under contracts made before or after the passing of this Act) as they have with respect to vaccination officers, and any rules or regulations made by  the Board with respect to vaccination, whether under this or any other Act, shall, while in force, have effect as if enacted by this Act.


4.   The   enactments   mentioned   in   the schedule to this Act are herby repealed to the extent specified in the third column of that schedule.

Extent, commencement, and short title

5.—(1)   This Act shall not extend to Scotland or Ireland. 

(2)    This Act  shall come into operation on the first day of  January, one thousand fight hundred and  ninety-nine.

30 & 31 Vict. c 84.
35 & 36 Vict. c 98.
37 & 38 Vict. c. 75.

(3)   This Act may be cited as the Vaccination Act, 1898, and the Vaccination Act of 1867; the Vaccination Act, 1871, the Vaccination Act,  1874, and this Act shall be construed together  as one Act,  and may be cited collectively as the Vaccination Acts,  1867 to 1898.


As soon as the Bill was published, Sir John Rolleston opened a correspondence with Mr. Chaplin as to the full meaning of Clause 3. Although not specifically mentioned in the Bill, the questions raised related to Vaccination Officers acting independently of Boards of Guardians and the setting up of the Local Government Board above Parliamentary control.

Mr. Chaplin concluded his first letter thus :—

"Mr. Chaplin finds it difficult to understand how even the opponents of vaccination can regard the Bill otherwise than as introducing marked improvements from their point of view in the existing law."

His Secretary, in his second and last letter, said :—

"While he was glad to reply to your previous letters out of personal courtesy to yourself, it would be quite impossible for the Department to pursue correspondence on this subject in reply to the innumerable communications which they receive."

To make the matter perfectly clear, Mr. Pickersgill moved the addition of the following clause to the Bill:—

"Notwithstanding   anything   contained   in   the Vaccination Acts, no parent or other person having the custody of a child shall be prosecuted for neglecting or refusing to vaccinate such child unless and until the sanction of the Guardians has been obtained for such prosecution."

There would have been no mistaking the meaning of this clause, but, under pressure from various quarters, and an ambiguous declaration from Mr. Chaplin, Mr. Pickersgill was, unfortunately, induced to withdraw it. Both he and the House of Commons were shamefully betrayed, for, as soon as the Bill became an Act, Vaccination Officers commenced to prosecute in defiance of the Guardians

The introduction of the Vaccination Bill of 1898 to the House of Commons gave a further opportunity for bringing the question to the notice of the town—through its municipal representatives—and on 24th May, 1898, at a special meeting of the Leicester Town Council, I had the pleasure of moving the following resolution, which was seconded by Mr. Councillor Richards, and carried :—

"That this Council having on the 28th January, 1890, affirmed that it is inexpedient and unjust to enforce vaccination under penalties upon those who regard it as unadvisable and dangerous, expresses its regret that the Government, in the Vaccination Bill now before Parliament, has not adopted the unanimous recommendation of the Royal Commission to abolish the enforcement of vaccination by penalties; and, further, this Council is of opinion that Clause 3 of the Bill, which proposes to empower the Local Government Board to act independently of Parliamentary control, introduces a dangerous principle inimical to true local government, and should be unconditionally withdrawn."

Copies of this resolution were forwarded to the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury ; the Leader of the House of Commons, the Right Hon. A. J. Balfour ; the President of the Local Government Board, the Right Hon. Henry Chaplin ; the Members for Leicester, Mr. Henry Broadhurst and Mr. Walter Hazell ; and the Member for Harborough (the County Division in which the Borough is included), Mr. J. W. Logan.

Public meetings were held in the several Wards in the town, at which resolutions condemning the Bill were passed unanimously. The Board of Guardians not only passed a resolution against compulsion, but another comprehensive resolution against the Bill, moved by Mr. A. Andrew, the chairman. Copies of this were forwarded to other Boards, inviting them to join in the protest against the subordination of the Guardians' authority to their Vaccination Officers.

An interview was held with Mr. W. Hazell, M.P., as to the course to be followed in Parliament. The "Liberal Thousand" and the "Unionist Executive" both passed resolutions against the Bill, and the Mayor, in answer to an influentially signed requisition, called a town's meeting to consider the question, at which resolutions against the Bill were unanimously adopted.

It will be seen, therefore, that Leicester took its due share in the effort either to defeat or improve the Bill as introduced into Parliament. In the result, the "Bill" was extended and transformed into the following " Act" :—

A.D. 1898.

[61 and 62 VICT.   CH. 49.]


An Act to amend the Law with respect to Vaccination.                   [12th August, 1898.]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Tem­poral, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows :—

Vaccination within 6 months after birth.
30 & 31 Vict. c 84.

1 —(1) The period within which the parent or other person having the custody of a child shall cause the child to be vaccinated  shall be  six  months from the birth of the child, instead of the period of three months mentioned in section sixteen of the Vaccination Act of 1867, and so much of that section as requires the child to be taken to a public vaccinator to be vaccinated shall be repealed.

(2)   The public vaccinator of the district shall, if the parent or other person having the custody of a child so requires, visit the home of the child for the purpose of vaccinating the child.

(3)  If a child is not vaccinated within four months after its birth, the public vaccinator of the district, after at least  twenty-four hours notice to the parent, shall visit the home of the child,  and shall offer to vaccinate the child with glycerinated calf lymph,   or such other  lymph as may be issued by the Local Government Board.

(4)     The public vaccinator shall not vaccinate a child  if,  in  his opinion, the condition of the house in which it resides is such,  or there is or has been such a recent prevalence of  infectious disease in the district,  that  it  cannot be safely vaccinated, and in that case shall give a certificate under section eighteen of the Vaccination Act of 1867 of postponement of vaccination, and shall forthwith give notice of any such certificate to the medical officer of health for the district.

(5)    Not-withstanding any regulation of any lying-in hospital or infirmary, or other similar institution, the parent of any child born in any institution shall not be compelled under such regulation or otherwise to cause or permit the child to be vaccinated at any time earlier than the expiration of six months from its birth.

Exemption from penalties.

2.—(1) No parent or other person shall be liable to any penalty under section twenty-nine or section thirty-one of the Vaccination Act of 1867, if within four months from the birth of the child he satisfies two justices, or a stipendiary or metropolitan police magistrate, in petty sessions, that he conscientiously believes that vaccination would be prejudicial to the health of the child, and within seven days thereafter delivers to the vaccination officer for the district a certificate by such justices or magistrate of such conscientious objection.

(2)   This  section  shall come into  operation on the passing of this Act, but in its application to a child born before the passing of this Act there shall be substituted for the period of four months from the birth of the child the period of four months from the passing of this Act.

Provision against repeated penalties

3. An order under section thirty-one of  the Vaccination Act of 1867, directing that a child be vaccinated, shall not be made on any person who has previously been convicted of non-compliance with a similar order relating to the same child.

4    No proceedings under section thirty-Proceedings one' of the Vaccination Act of 1867 shall be30 jfjj Vict. taken  against  any parent or  person who °- 84> ••sl-has been convicted under  section twenty-nine  of the   said   Act  on  account  of the same child,  until it has reached the age of four years.

Treatment of prisoners

5.   Persons committed to prison on account of non-compliance with any order or non-payment of fines or costs under the Vaccination Acts shall be treated in the same way as first-class misdemeanants.

Regulations of Local Government Board 

6.   The Local Government Board may make rules and regulations with to the duties and remuneration of public vaccinators, whether under contracts made before or after the passing of this Act.

Power to provide vaccination stations under exceptional circumstances

7.   The Local Government Board may by order, if in their opinion it is by reason of serious risk of outbreak  of small-pox or  of other exceptional circumstances, require the guardians of any poor law union to provide vaccination stations for the vaccination of children with glycerinated calf lymph or such other lymph as may be issued by the Local Government Board, and modify as respects the area to which the order applies,  and 'luring the period for which it is in force, the  provisions of  this Act  requiring the Public vaccinator to visit the home of the child otherwise than on request of the parent.

List to be kept of vaccinated persons treated in small-pox hospitals.

8. The clerk of any sanitary authority which shall maintain a hospital for the treatment of small-pox patients shall keep a list of the names, addresses, ages, and condition as to vaccination of all small-pox patients treated in the hospital, such entries to be made on admission, and shall at all reasonable times allow searches to be made therein, and upon demand give a copy under his hand or under that of his deputy of every entry in the same on payment of a fee of sixpence for each search and threepence for each copy.


9. The enactments mentioned in the schedule to this Act are hereby repealed, during the continuance of this Act, to the extent specified in the third column of that schedule.

Extent, commencement , duration, and short title

10.—(1) This Act shall not extend to ScotIand or Ireland.

(2) This Act shall, except as by this Act specially provided, come into operation on the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine, and shall remain in force until the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred and four.

30 & 31 Vict. c. 84.
35 & 36 Vict. c. 98.
37 & 38 Vict. c. 75.

(3)  This Act may be cited as the Vaccination Act, 1898, and the Vaccination Act of 1867, the Vaccination Act, 1871, the Vaccina­tion Act, 1874, and this Act shall be construed together as one Act, and may be cited collectively as the Vaccination Acts, 1867 to 1898.

This Act confirmed the concessions already suggested in the Fifth Report of the Royal Commission, and also some others. Amongst these, it is significant that the age for vaccination was etended from three to six months, and that calf Lymph was substituted for the humanised variety. This latter change was made, no doubt, in the hope of reducing the enormous permanent increase in the infantile death-rate from syphilis, which set in immediately after the first compulsory Vaccination Act of 1853, which both doubled the vaccinations and raised the death-rate of infants, from syphilis, by about 50 per cent. in the following year, 1854.

The passing of the Act of 1898 was received with comparative indifference in Leicester. At first very few cared to avail themselves of the "Conscience" Clause as it was called. The immediate effect was, however, to cause the resignation of the Vaccination Officer, who, presumably, did not care to administer the law under the new conditions.  On the whole, he had carried out his unpleasant (and of times very difficult) duties in a fairly creditable manner, but he did not relish the transfer of authority from the Guardians to the Local Government Board. And who can be surprised?


INSTEAD of accepting the recommendations of it own nominees on the Royal Commission, and abandoning compulsion, the Government merely gave the country an illusory Conscience Clause which, in practice, so mocked the parents and discredited the Magistracy that, in 1907, yet another Act was passed, depriving Magistrates of any option as to granting exemption certifi­cates. But devices such as these do not meet the just and equitable demands of anti-vaccinists. They insistently aver that the Vaccination Acts must be repealed, and that their resistance will not cease until vaccinated and unvaccinated are absolutely equal before the law.

The singular fact remains that the nearly 30,000 children for whom exemption certificates have been granted in Leicester are, in the eyes of the law, as much "protected " from small-pox as those who have been vaccinated. This also applies to the millions of children all through the country.

A yet more significant and striking fact is, that since the Act of 1898 very few, if any, instances of small-pox have been verified out of the millions of children for whom exemption has been legally obtained, or remain unvaccinated.

If  there  are  any  such  cases,   how  is  it the Local Government Board have never made them public? Surely, from their point of view, it is just amongst this class that small-pox should occur.  These children ought to have been decimated ere now, but up to the present (1912) no report has been published of the over-much prophesied and longed for decimation by which they were to be swept away. Has it ever really been believed that exempted children would be decimated? If so, why does not the Local Government Board instruct Medical Officers of Health to keep a sharp lookout for these cases, and so once for all dumbfound the anti-vaccinists?

The absurdity of maintaining the law under such a condition of affairs must be apparent. If there is no need to insist on all children being vaccinated, there is no reason to insist upon any at all undergoing the operation. Clearly, if the vast army of exempted children are safe, all other children must of necessity be equally safe, even though unvaccinated! Of what use, then, is the law? To all intents and purposes, it might just as well be entirely repealed, and certainly, let the authorities do whatever they please, in Leicester itself, it will never again become operative.

It may be said that all objectors to vaccination should now avail themselves of the Conscience Clause, and obtain an exemption under the Provisions of the Act of 1907. The exemption facilities are regarded here as compounding with conscience, and so have never been favoured in Leicester, as shown by the appended table, giving the discrepancy between exemptions and births :—


 Year.  Births  Registered Vaccinations (Public and Private).  Exemptions
 1899    6,273      156      167
 1900    6,207      343       598
 1901    6,169      357       500
 1902    6,313   1,237    1,500
 1903    6,018   2,487    1,029
 1904    5,981   1,232    1,044
 1905    5,888      987    1,112
 1906    5,865   1,073    1,080
1907    5,534   1,093    1,256
 1908    5,680      659    2,401
  1909    5,431      660    2,367
 1910    5,380      564    2,335
1911    5,222       475    2,964
 Totals  75,961  11,323  18,353

It will thus be seen that over the whole period of thirteen years, 1899-1911 inclusive, the vaccinations in Leicester have only averaged 15 per cent, of the births, and the exemptions 24 per cent., which leaves a balance of 61 per cent, of the children born for whom no exemption has been claimed, but who, nevertheless, remain unvaccinated.

In the year 1898, no fewer than 11,327 exemption certificates were applied for, but only 9,885 were delivered to the Vaccination Officer up to 31st December, the date of his resignation, the others being delivered when the office became vacant. As practically all these related to births in previous years, they do not affect the proportions in Table 24.


ON the retirement, in 1899, of the veteran Vaccination Officer of Leicester, Mr. W. H. Maskell, who had hold tho office since 1868, it became the duty of the Guardians to appoint another official in his stead. The Local Government Board, on the strength of the 1867 Act and of their own Order in 1898, set up the preposterous claim that the Vaccination Officer could prosecute either on his own initiative, without the authority of the Guardians, or on the direct instructions of the Local Government Board. This pretended and non-existent power is a serious menace to local self-government, and ought to be suppressed.

Being confronted by this extravagant and hitherto unheard-of assumption, setting both the Local Government Board and the Vaccination Officer above the law., the Guardians were naturally reluctant to appoint an Officer over whom they had no control, but whose salary they were, nevertheless, called upon to pay, and whose odious duty it was to prosecute the electors whom they represented, and had declared they would shield from prosecution.

The Guardians reasonably contended that if the Local Government Board possessed the power they claimed for the Vaccination Officer, it was in their province to appoint, instead of the Guardians.

There was a small minority on the Board in favour of appointing a Vaccination Officer, but a large majority were opposed to it. The fight continued until the opposing members were eventually served with a writ of attachment from the High Courts of Justice.

From the beginning of 1899, a continuous correspondence was kept up between the Guardians and the Local Government Board. A Vaccination Committee was appointed by the Guardians, and a Memorial on the subject was drawn up and forwarded on 2nd May to the Local Government Hoard.



The Guardians of the Parish of Leicester have, since the resignation of the Vaccination Officer in December last, had under their consideration the appointment of a successor, and they think it expedient to state their views fully to your Honourable Board.

The position of Leicester in regard to vaccination is widely known, but the actual statistics and facts relating to the town are probably not so fully impressed upon the public mind, and may not have entirely come under the cognisance of your Honourable Board. Therefore, in the opinion of the Guardians, it is desirable at this juncture to refer to some extent to these matters in detail.

No Guardians in the United Kingdom have in the past endeavoured to carry out the Vaccination Acts with greater zeal,    energy, and determination than the Leicester Board.  Although the appointment of a Vaccination Officer by Boards of Guardians was not made obligatory until 1871, the Leicester Guardians had already pointed one as early as 1868, and prosecutions under the Act of 1867 actually commenced the same year. The Guardians utilised every opportunity afforded by successive Acts of Parliament to enforce the law, and continued their prosecuting policy until by 1886 no fewer than between 6,000 and 7,000 parents had been summoned and brought before the Magistrates. Sixty-four of these parents were imprisoned, suffering terms of imprisonment ranging from seven to thirty days; 193 distress warrants upon household goods were issued and carried out with great difficulty to the authorities, with rioting and disturbance; while no less a sum than upwards of £2,388 was paid in fines and costs by the persons proceeded against, and the loss of their time attending the courts would more than equal this amount. Amongst those who were prosecuted were ministers of religion, medical men, members of the Town Council and Board of Guardians, schoolmasters, and, indeed, persons in almost every position of life.

But this prosecution—almost amounting to persecution —of their fellow-townspeople by the Guardians did not secure the vaccination of the population. On the contrary, the registered vaccinations declined from 4,456 in 1872 to only 471 in 1887, notwithstanding that the births had increased by nearly 1,000 annually during the same period. Nothing could be more obvious, therefore, than that prosecutions have not promoted vaccination, which, the Guardians presume, is the object of the vaccination laws.

The Guardians also desire to point out that the abstentions from vaccination have occurred and continued notwithstanding the fact that notice B, threatening proceedings before the Magistrates, has been issued in every instance.

Meanwhile  vaccination  became  an  electoral  question, and, at every election since 1883, successive Boards have been elected with overwhelming majorities pledged against compulsory vaccination, and the present Board is practically unanimous against prosecuting under the Vaccination Acts. In the opinion of the Guardians, no statesman of wisdom would, without due consideration, require or advocate wholesale prosecution, with consequential disturbance of the public peace and the stirring up of rancour, bitterness, and hatred of the governing powers which must necessarily ensue.

The Guardians think there might be some justification if the health of the town had deteriorated in consequence of non-vaccination. But the contrary is the case. Not only has the general death-rate declined from 27 per 1,000 in 1872, with vaccination in full force, to only about 17 per 1,000 for the past ten years, with but 1 or 2 per cent, of vaccination; but what is more striking, the death-rate of young children has declined enormously since compulsory vaccination ceased. Still more significant, there has been very little small-pox in Leicester since vaccination has been abandoned, and the deaths from zymotic diseases have shown a remarkable decrease. Whatever small-pox has occurred in Leicester for many years past has usually been imported, and always by vaccinated persons from well-vaccinated districts. The Guardians think these facts should be more widely known.

During the debates in Parliament in 1898, and since the passing of the Vaccination Act, various opinions have been expressed as to the exact relation of Guardians not only to the Vaccination Acts, but also as to the relative position of the Guardians and their vaccination officers.    As the new Act makes no difference in these respects,  it is difficult to know how the suggestions in the new Order harmonise with statute law.   These matters require clearing up.

Even the discretionary powers exercised by Guardians for nearly thirty years are now called in question. Those powers have been exercised not only with the sanction but also with the approval, and even at the suggestion, of your Honourable Board.

On 17th September, 1875, your Honourable Board issued a letter to the Guardians of the Evesham Union wherein a following words occur:—

"The Board entertain no doubt that, in all cases of the kind in question, the Guardians, having before them the preceding observations will not fail to exercise the discretionary powers confided to them in the manner best calculated to give effect to the policy of the law."

The policy thus indicated has been fully adopted by the Leicester Guardians. Although this letter has repeatedly and even recently been urged upon Guardians as the course to follow, it is now affirmed that the discretionary power of Boards of Guardians is to cease. The President of the Local Government Boards (Mr. H. Chaplin) is reported to have said on 19th April, 1898:--

"If at the end of twelve months children were not vaccinated, their parents would be liable to prosecution, to be instituted by the Vaccination Officer without regard to the wishes of the Board of Guardians."

Mr. Ritchie, a former President of the Local Government Board, stated in the House of Commons, 17th February, 1888, in reference to the General Order of 31st October, 1874, that it "was not binding on Boards of Guardians; the Order was merely a communication, and it rested entirely with Boards of Guardians to exercise their discretion in the matter."

Also in regard to vaccination prosecutions Mr. Ritchie, when President of the Local Government Board, said on the 5th July, 1888, that the Local Government Board " could not interfere in the exercise by the Guardians of their powers," and that "the enforcement of the Vaccination Act is committed to an elective tribunal, and they must use their discretion in the cases that came before them."

The Bill of 1898 does not alter the law in this respect, nor does it confer upon the Local Government Board the authority to alter or alienate; this discretionary power which the Guardians have exercised for thirty years. There appears, therefore, to the Leicester Guardians, no statutory reason why it should not continue. If this power lapses, in what way does it lapse? The Guardians are of opinion that a jurisdiction exercised under the sanction and at the suggestion of your Honourable Board for nearly thirty years should have established it beyond question, and that so long and uninterrupted a practice and custom, venerable with age, should practically give it statutory force unless distinctly repealed by an Act of Parliament. Whatever powers the Guardians exercised before the Act of 1898 they can exercise now, and if the new Order of your Honourable Board introduces a different state of things, it must be outside or contrary to statute law.

During the debates in Parliament on the Bill of 1858, the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. H. Chaplin) said :—

"I am compelled to recognise that the administration of a law for compulsory vaccination would be absolutely impracticable in the future. No Government and no Minister, in face of that opinion, would "be able to enforce it." And again:—"Since the debate of last night I have quite recognised the fact that the administration of a compulsory vaccination law would be neither necessary nor desirable."

The Right Honourable A. J. Balfour,  M.P.,  said :—

"We are practically agreed that when a parent has clearly proved that he has an honest, decided, and strong objection in the interests of his own child to vaccination, it is useless to attempt to coerce him," etc. Mr. Balfour further said :—"If the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church, the fines of the anti-vaccinator are the seed of the unfortunate propaganda against vaccination. ... It is an excessively difficult matter to drive the English people along paths they are reluctant to travel. ... It is beyond the power of practical legislation. . . . Laws to which you attach so much value have been in a large measure dead letters.  They have been disobeyed, and disobeyed with impunity, by the local authorities. . . . and my right hon. friend who has moved this amendment ... is, I am sure, too well acquainted with the limits of possiblity and impossibility to suppose that anything this House can do will give them power to coerce the local authorities. It never has been done, and it cannot be done, when strong and bitter feelings have once been aroused."

The Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, expressed himself in similar terms, adding the motive :—

"You will be able to induce the local authorities to work with you instead of against you."

If the appointment of a Vaccination Officer means that the Local Government Board intend to institute proceedings against vaccination defaulters over the heads of the Guardians, and to attempt lo enforce vaccination upon an unwilling community, what is the meaning of the foregoing declarations?

The vaccination returns presented to the Leicester Guardians on 7th February, 1899, showed that only 94 vaccinations, both public and private, had been performed out of 9,411 births during a period of 18 months, ended 30th June, 1898. The Guardians put it to your Honourable Board whether it will not be an absurdity to appoint a Vaccination Officer at considerable annual cost to register a fraction over one vaccination per week, a duty which would not overburden any of the present officers of the Guardians if added to their existing duties.

The "concessions," as they are called, of the Vaccination Act of 1898—namely, the option of using "calf lymph" and the "exemption" clause—are practically inoperative in Leicester. "Calf lymph," and indeed any kind of lymph, is equally objectionable to the Leicester people. There were, last year, about 80,000 children in Leicester, whose parents were liable to prosecution under the Vaccination Acts, but out of this large number only 11,327 exemption certificates were applied for, and of these only 9,885 were completed by delivery to the Vaccination Officer, thus leaving about 70,000 unaccounted for. To attempt to prosecute the large number of parents involved would be a stupendous and obnoxious task foredoomed to failure. According to past experience, the Guardians know it would not result in vaccination of the children but would mean the imposition of fines, the issue of distress warrants, and, in some cases, the imprisonment of the parents. This would probably, as in the past, lead to rioting, disorder, and perhaps even to bloodshed ; for the aversion of Leicester parents to vaccination is deeply rooted.

The Leicester Guardians have prosecuted more people than any other Board in the United Kingdom, but this policy has utterly failed. The Guardians are desirous of faithfully discharging their duties in accordance with the requirements of the law, but they are equally desirous to discharge their duty to those whom they represent. Above all, they are anxious to avoid a course which in their opinion will bring the law into contempt. Why disturb the existing peaceful state of things to introduce disorder, disturbance of the peace, and trouble to the authorities? Numerous prosecutions would undoubtedly excite widespread sympathy and indignation, thus bringing the administration of the law into contempt.

The Guardians respectfully submit this Memorial for the earnest consideration of your Honourable Board. They refrain from entering into the wider question of the principle of local self-government, which appears to be threatened and jeopardised. The questions submitted are, in the opinion of the Guardians, sufficiently serious to warrant the careful consideration of your Honourable Board both individually and collectively. The Guardians are opposed to prosecution; the Magistrates are averse to imposing penalties. The other public bodies in the town are in accord with the Guardians, and presented resolutions to this effect to the Royal Commission on Vaccination, and all regret that its unanimous recom­mendation to abolish compulsion was not adopted and embodied in the Act of 1898.

The Guardians are prepared to send a deputation to your Honourable Board to discuss the questions raised, or, if need arises, to appear at the Bar of the House of Commons itself in vindication of their position.

In witness whereof the common seal of the Guardians affixed this 2nd day of May, 1899.

SOLOMON SHAW,                     (L.S.)
    Chairman of the Board.

    Clerk to the Guardians.

This brought a reply on 30th May that consideration had been given to the representations in the Memorial, but as it was the duty of the Guardians to appoint a Vaccination Officer, "the Board must, therefore, call upon the Guardians forthwith to take the necessary steps for the purpose of discharging this duty,"

Further correspondence ensued, and on 28th June the following letter was forwarded by the Guardians :—


I am directed by the Guardians to acknowledge the receipt of your Honourable Board's letter of the 30th of May last with regard to their Memorial, which summarised the position of Leicester on the vexed question of compulsory vaccination; also with respect to the appointment of a Vaccination Officer for the Parish of Leicester, and in reply thereto I am directed to state that the Guardians cannot refrain from respectfully expressing their view that the letter of your Honourable Board merely points out a duty imposed upon Guardians under vastly different conditions to those, which prevail to-day, and that it is entirely inadequate and incomplete, as it omits any suggestion for the solution of the grave problems which are enumerated in the Memorial already referred to.

Whhen the Vaccination Act, 1871, was passed, containing a section requiring Guardians to appoint a Vaccination Officer, the only section which rendered the prosecution of defaulters obligatory upon Guardians was Section 27 of the Vaccination Act, 1867,  and that  (by the 1871 Act) was absolutely repealed.

It is therefore obvious that Parliament intended to invest Boards of Guardians with the executive control of Vaccination Officers and vaccination prosecutions, otherwise Section 27 would not have been repealed.

This is not only emphasised by the concurrent embodiment of Section 5 of the Vaccination Act, 1871, with the repeal of Section 27 of the Vaccination Act, 1867, in the same Act of Parliament, but the practice has the sanction of your Honourable Board from 1871 down to a recent period, and since the decision in the case of Bramble v. Lowe.

Even early in the year 1898, in a letter addressed to the Reading Board of Guardians, the same principle was fully recognised, and, indeed, insisted upon by your Honourable Board.

The Guardians wish again to state that the Vaccination Act, 1898, makes no alteration in this respect, consequently, in their opinion, there is no statutory warrant for your Honourable Board to ignore this discretionary power, as would appear to be the intention of your Honourable; Board's Order of 1898, and therefore any part of such Order which is outside the statute law is of no binding force.

From proceedings which are now taking place in various parts of the country it is apparent that, notwithstanding the assurance of the Government that  compulsory vaccination has ceased, parents are still being fined and imprisoned under the Vaccination Acts.

Your Honourable Board's letter states that you have "no authority to relieve" the Guardians from the duty of appointing a Vaccination Officer. Neither have the Guardians any warrant or authority to relieve themselves from their solemn obligation to the people of Leicester.

The Guardians occupy their position by the free choice of a professedly free people, and are charged by their appointment   with the responsibility of a definite mandate against the compulsory enforcement of vaccination.

In the opinion of  the Guardians, their constituents possess the right and are entitled to the free exercise of their own judgment, and, having in a constitutional way by electoral control secured the position they at present occupy, the Guardians are unable to compromise that position,  and betray the trust reposed in them by the electorate by appointing  officer who by his will could institute prosecutions, and who, under these circumstances and the special  circumstances of Leicester, is either the instrument of compulsion or nothing.

To appoint an officer under these conditions (never contemplated by the Act of 1871) would be to become consenting parties to all that may follow.

There is a principle of vital importance involved reaching far deeper and beyond the question of vaccination, and if the course now being adopted towards Boards of Guardians is continued the fundamental basis upon which representative local self-government rests will be jeopardised, if not destroyed.

The Guardians respectfully submit these further considerations to your Honourable Board in the hope that, after a reconsideration of the circumstances enumerated, reasonable and moderate counsels will prevail, and that it may also result in the issue of an amended or supplementary Order clearly defining the discretionary power of the Guardians conferred by statute as far back as 1871, and still remaining in undiminished force.

        I have, the honour to be,
                My Lords and Gentlemen,
                        Your obedient Servant,
                                HERBERT MANSFIELD.    >   I
To the Local Government Board,
Whitehall.,   S.W.

Other correspondence followed.


ON 15th July, the Local Government Board applied to the High Court of Justice for a Mandamus to compel the Guardians to appoint a Vaccination Officer. The Guardians decided to oppose the application. It was thereupon

"ORDERED that Friday, the 28th day of July, instant, be peremptorily given to the Guardians of the Poor of the PARISH OF LEICESTER, in the County of Leicester, to show cause why a Writ of Mandamus should not issue directed to them commanding them to appoint a Vaccination Officer for the said PARISH, pursuant to the Statutes in that behalf.

"At the instance of the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD."

On the morning of the day named, 28th July, 1899, the Guardians had a tremendous send-off from the Midland Railway Station at Leicester, the approaches and platforms being occupied by enthusiastic crowds.

They were met at St. Pancras by a large number of sympathising friends, who accompanied them to the Courts.

Mr. Asquith and Mr. Corrie Grant appeared on behalf of the Board of Guardians; Mr. Schultess Young for Mr. O. B. Stanion ; Mr. W. Newbery, Miss Ellis, and the author appeared in person.

Sir R. B. Finlay (Solicitor-General) and Mr. H Button appeared for the Local Government Board. (See "Vaccination Inquirer," 1st September, 1899, pages 66-68.)

Justices Darling and Phillimore presided at the Court, and after considerable argument on both sides, the first-mentioned delivered a characteristic oration—based on a practically obsolete Act of Parliament—which combined the maximum of bad law with the minimum of humanity, equity and justice. He concluded:—"The rule will be made absolute for a peremptory Writ of Mandamus."


On the return of the Guardians from the High Court proceedings in London, a mass meeting was held the same evening in the Floral Hall, Leicester, over which Alderman Sir Israel Hart presided, and he was supported by a large number of the town's most influential residents.

The chairman said he was glad to preside over that meeting because he felt it was a very important and historical occasion. It was to resist the beginning of the interference with the principles of self-government,, and he could not refrain from coming to support his fellow-townsmen and the members of the Board of Guardians in their effort to sustain those great principles which their forefathers had fought for, and won, and handed down to them.

Leicester had always been in the vanguard of reform, and they would stand to their old reputation.

Dr. (now Sir) William J. Collins met with a very hearty reception. He said that was the first time he had ever come to Leicester, and he regarded it as a most historical and eventful day. He knew something about vaccination, and he also knew something about local self-government.  He touched upon the Royal Commission, the vaccination question, and, as a Londoner and a man; who believed in liberty, he said he could assure them there were many Boards in London who were watching the action of the Leicester Guardians, and there would be a chorus of approval at the action taken that day.

Councillor Edwards moved :—"That this meeting desires to express its gratitude and admiration to the Leicester Board of   Guardians for the position they have taken in reply to the over-bearing attitude of the Local Government Board on the vaccination question, and for their courage and consistency in standing up for the principles of local self-government."

Councillor Flint, in seconding, said they must; not forget that the Guardians were engaged in a conflict which was not of their own seeking, and; those present desired to express their unbounded, admiration of their courageous and consistent action.

The resolution having been put to the meeting, and carried unanimously, amidst a scene of wild; enthusiasm, speeches were delivered by the author and Mr. O. B. Stanion, following which Alderman A. Wakerley moved :—"That this representative meeting of the townspeople of Leicester, in welcoming the Guardians from London, desires to express its utmost confidence in their determination to fight for the right of local self-government until victory is assured."

This was seconded by Mr. F. W. Kemp, who said that if they continued the fight, they might be sure that right would win the day. This resolution was also carried without a dissentient voice or vote.

Mr. S. Shaw, the Chairman of the Guardians, next addressed the meeting. Mr. R. Cort, another member, proposed a vote of thanks to the chairman and to the lessee of the Floral Hall for allowing free use of that building.

Sir Israel Hart, in the course of his response, said it was not every man who had the privilege of presiding over such a gathering as this, which he hoped was a good augury for the future success of their cause.

Although the Floral Hall was a building which would hold 7,000 persons, it was not sufficiently large for the accommodation of all who wished to be present, and an overflow meeting was held outdoors in Humberstone-gate, Councillor Amos Booth being the principal speaker at these proceedings.

The appearance of the Guardians in the High Court, and also the subsequent public meeting, both formed the subjects of leading articles in the "Leicester Daily post" of the following day (29th  July, 1899), and in the last-mentioned of these the    Editor  said :--"The crowded and enthusiastic meeting in the Floral Hall last evening,  and the entire note of the speeches places one thing beyond doubt.     'Not only is Leicester aroused,'  as one anti-vaccinator emphatically affirmed, but it has risen on a larger and broader question than that of compulsory  vaccination.    It is the great cardinal and constitutional right of local self-government."


THE famous and  historical writ was issued on 19th September, worded  as follows :—

VICTORIA, By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith, to THE GUARDIANS OF THE POOR OF THE PARISH OF LEICESTER, in the County of Leicester, Greeting: WHEREAS by Section 3 of the Vaccination Act of 1871 it is provided that the said Act shall be construed as one with the Vaccination Act of 1867 (referred to in the said Act as "the principal Act"), and that both Acts may be cited together as "The Vaccination Acts, 1867 and 1871": AND WHEREAS by Section 5 of the Vaccination Act, 1871, after reciting that under the principal Act the Guardians of any union or parish may pay any officer appointed by them to prosecute persons charged with offences against the Act, or otherwise to enforce its provisions, and that it is expedient to render obligatory the appointment of such an officer, it is enacted that the Guardians of every union and parish shall appoint and pay one or more of such officers (in the Act, now in recital referred to as "Vaccination Officers"): AND WHEREAS WE have been given to understand and to be informed in the Queen's Bench Division of our High Court of Justice before US that on the thirty-first day of December now last past one William Henry Maskell, who thitherto had held the Office of Vaccination Officer for the said Parish of Leicester, having been appointed thereto by you the Guardians of the said parish, went out of office, and that no appointment of any person to be a Vaccination Officer for the said parish in the place and stead of the said Henry Maskell, who had so gone out of office as aforesaid, has been made, whereby the said office of Vaccination Officer for the said parish since the said thirty, first day of December has been, and still is, vacant: AND WHEREAS WE have been given to understand and to be informed in the said Queen's Bench Division aforesaid,before US, that you, the said Guardians of the Poor of the  said parish,  have neglected  and  absolutely refused and still refuse to appoint a Vaccination Officer for the said parish, pursuant to the provisions of the Vaccination   Acts,   1867   and   1871:    AND   WHEREAS   WE   have further been given to understand and to be informed in the Queen's Bench Division aforesaid before US, that the Local Government  Board have expressly required  you to comply with the provisions of the Vaccination Acts, 1867 and  1871,  by appointing a Vaccination Officer  for the said parish,  and that notwithstanding such requirement you have absolutely refused and refuse so to do in contempt of US and to the great prejudice of the health and well-being of the inhabitants of the said parish, as we have been informed from the complaint made to US by  the  LOCAL   GOVERNMENT   BOARD   in   that  behalf. WHEREUPON  the LOCAL  GOVERNMENT   BOARD  have humbly besought US that a fit and speedy remedy may be applied in this respect, and we being willing that due and speedy justice should be done in the premises, as it is reasonable, DO PEREMPTORILY COMMAND YOU, the said  GUARDIANS  OF  THE  POOR  OF  THE  PARISH OF LEICESTER,   IN  THE