By William Tebb

(Reprinted from The TOSCIN, of Marth 12th, 1892.)

SIR,—As the medical journals are reluctant to give currency to suggestions which, throw discredit on certain dogmas of the orthodox medical church, I venture to ask permission, in the interest of the public health, to address your readers on a subject of admitted public importance, the causation of the remarkable and mysterious recrudescence of cancer during the past 30 years. And surely, sir, the study of the sources of any malady, particularly one of so grave and destructive a character, is as well deserving of consideration as the multitudinous but abortive attempts to effect a cure.

I may mention, as an inspiring motive for this communication to the impartial columns of THE TOSCIN, that several of my friends and acquaintances have, after acute and protracted suffering, succumbed to cancer, the origin of which their friends declare to be unaccountable except on the theory below, so that I hardly need an apology for bringing the matter before the attention of those of your readers who are interested in the public health. Cancer, like leprosy, is an incurable disease; and none of the vaunted remedies have stood the test of experience. It can be disseminated like leprosy, and is increasing at an alarming rate. The deaths from cancer in England and Wales are returned by the Registrar-General, thus :— Or per million living.

Per million living
1851 5,218 289
1861 7,276 361
1871 9,650 423
1881 13,542 520
1885 15,560 572
1886 16,243 590
1887 17,113 615
1888 17,506 621
1889 18,654 656
1890 29,433 676

Cancer is reported to be increasing not only in England and the Continent, but in all parts of the world where vaccination is practised.

Dr. H. McAul Alston, Acting Resident Surgeon, Colonial Hospital, Port of Spain, Trinidad, in the Annual Report to the Surgeon General, dated 5th of April, 1887, says (p. 7):—

"A noticeable feature of the diseases of patients admitted isthe increasing number of the cases of cancer."

Sir James Paget observes :—

"The richest and poorest alike seem to be subject to it; so do the worst and best fed; those that are living in the best conditions of the atmosphere, and those that are immured in the worst; those that are cleanly, and those that are foul; those of all temperaments and of all occupations; those that appear healthy, and those that are diseased. We can hardly lay our hands upon any of the various circumstances of life in the various orders of society in this country, to which we can refer as rendering one more or less liable than another to the acquirement of the cancerous constitution."

It is claimed that cancer is hereditary and is occasionally due to local injury, but is it not obvious that there must be some antecedent constitutional taint or diathesis to give rise to the development, of the disease? To what, then, is this condition really due? Sir James Paget also says cancer is due to a morbid condition of the blood, and some of your readers will have little difficulty in pointing out one cause of the morbidity. It is allowed by physicians that cancer may be caused by impregnating the blood with impure matter.

Dr. Joseph Jones, President of the Louisiana Board of Health, a well-known pathologist, says that, this disease is inoculable; that cancer may be propagated by inoculation, or by the injection of cancerous matter into the veins. He adds:

"We will have accomplished our purpose in recording these facts if we succeed in directing the attention of the profession to the necessity of greater attention to the condition of the subjects selected for the propagation of the vaccine disease."

Drs. Von Bergman and E. Hahn have demonstrated this by the recent notoriously inhuman experiments at the Berlin Hospital. The Medical Press, December 5th, 1888, quotes Dr. Hahn as

"Disposed to believe that, in many cases of recurrence, it is quite probable that the disease has developed anew, as the result of accidental inoculation."

In The British Medical Journal, June 29th, 1889, Mr. Jonathan Hutchison, F.R.C.S., says that, with due care in the transplantation of a bit of living tissue, cancer may be transferred.

There is probably no method by which inoculation is practised on so large a scale as in vaccination and re-vaccination. It is not now denied by the medical profession that vaccination is an exciting cause of infantile syphilis, and, according to the Registrar-General’s returns, Vaccination Mortality, No. 433, dated 1877, and Infant Mortality, No. 392, dated 1880, the increase in Infantile Syphilis, since vaccination has been compulsory, is fourfold.

Mr. Hibbert, formerly Secretary to the Local Government Board, said in July, 1880, that this terrible increase was one of the most unsatisfactory features of the Vaccination Acts, and a reason why further legislation was needed. Dr. William Forbes Laurie, late medical director of a metropolitan cancer hospital, was thoroughly convinced that the increase of cancer was due to vaccination, and he wrote to Members of Parliament, inviting them to visit the hospital, and witness the terrible result of the vaccine operation.   He says this increase of cancer is attributed by some medical men to the large amount of syphilitic disease with which vaccine lymph is impregnated, and by others to the direct impregnation "of healthy persons with lymph imbued with scrofulous and cancerous matter."

And the late Dr. Dennis Turnbull, who made cancer his particular study for thirty years, declared in the public press his conviction that vaccination and re-vaccination is the most prolific cause of this disease. Mr. Keuchenius, late Colonial Secretary to the Holland Government, called the attention of the Second Chamber to the alarming spread of cancer in the Netherlands, which was coincident with the spread of vaccination, and (as he believed) due to poison conveyed in the vaccine virus.

The British Medical Journal for May 19th, 1885, in a leading article on the increasing fatality of cancer, says :—

"Our negligence in dealing effectually with other diseases may also favour its dissemination, for if syphilitic inflammation. may become cancerous, it is clear that the spread of syphilis has scattered throughout the population innumerable possible seeds of cancerous degeneration."

Some time ago the Hospital Gazelle reported that fifty infants had been admitted into one hospital suffering from syphilitic disease, and that from some of these infants vaccine lymph had been taken. Assuming that the theory of the British Medical Journal is correct, this is an indication how the cancer spreading virus may be distributed.

In his recent work on cancer (Churchill, 1891), Dr. Herbert Snow calls attention to the fact that cancer is:

"Almost absent in the savage, while rapidly increasing in prevalence among the civilised."

The savage it may be noted will not allow his blood to be poisoned with vaccine virus, hence he escapes that morbidity under which cancerous tumours find nutriment. Where the system has become thoroughly infected with this morbid tendency, cure by extirpation or otherwise is admitted to be impossible, and the suffering caused by the apprehension of being the victim of so dreadful an affliction may well engage the attention of your benevolent and thoughtful readers. Dr. Aitken says,

"The normal course of cancerous tumours we now know to be that of steady increase, a steady and certain progress towards death."

It would, however, be unbecoming in me to dogmatise upon a subject which is admitted to be a puzzle to the medical profession, but I venture to hope that medical practitioners who have had the opportunity which clinical observation affords will no longer keep silence, but in the interests of the public health say whether the suggestion I have ventured to make is borne out by facts within their own experience.

Yours faithfully,


Devonshire Club, St. James’, London.

[The value of Mr. Tebb’s work in calling attention to these and to other matters of the highest importance is very great, and doubtless would be greater but for the intense indifference of the average Briton to matters which so nearly concern him. Inoculation of all kinds constitutes the fad and fancy of this generation’s medicine, although those practising it know well the dangerous nature of the tool with which they are playing.—Ed. TOSCIN.