It has been said of old, that there is no deeper injustice than that which is committed in the name of law, and it may be added, that with, perhaps, the possible exception of the Fugitive Slave Law of America, there has been no law passed by any English-speaking Legislature, so unreasonable in its theory, and so hard-hearted in its practice, as the existing Vaccination Law of the British Empire. The evidence adduced at the Public Inquiry at Norwich, in the month of June, 1882, shews that four deaths, and five cases of serious injury to children previously in perfect health, were the rsults of the operation of a qualified vaccinator of 27 years experience, who had been twice rewarded by Government for efficient Vaccination. In one of the fatal cases, Mrs. THREADKILLthe mothertestified before the Commissioners that she had previously lost a child by the same Parliamentary rite in 1875. *
*The magisterial interpretation of the, law, however, has scarcely ever allowed such a plea to be a reasonable excuse. When CHARLES SMALLMAN, of Rochester, was summoned before the Kent County Police-court for non-vaccination, he bid the magistrate that his last child died through vaccination. Mr. G. H. KNIGHT, the magistrates clerk, replied, "Admitting that to be true, it is no answer to the case in law."Echo, September 54th, 1882.
Can any greater cruelty be imagined than an avowedly unscientific law, which compels a parent to submit a second child to the dreaded operation, having already had her hearth made desolate by a former submission?
During the past five years, thousands of people in England and Scotland have been interviewed at railway stations, in trains, on omnibuses, and by the way-side, on this subject, and 19 out of every 20 have testified to having personally known of cases of injury and death caused by Vaccination, while, in not a few cases, vaccine fatalities have occurred in the family of the person interviewed, in August, last year, in a railway carriage, near Stockport, Cheshire, five out of ten passengers related in succession experiences of this kind. The Rev. JOHN POSTLETHWAITE, of Ulverston, a clergyman of the Church of England, a well-known philanthropist, and the founder of a convalescent home at Redcar, Yorkshire, told me that, as his work was chiefly with the poor, it was his custom to travel in third-class carriages, in order that he might learn more of the people. He frequently introduced the subject of Vaccination to them, and he assured me that in nearly every case some details concerning its evil and fatal consequences were related to him by his fellow travellers.*
* A Vaccine Disaster Record, comprising particulars of more than 400 fatal Vaccination cases by F. BAKER, Esq., of the Inner Temple, was published in May, 1883.
The following extract is from the letter of a barrister whose experience covers many years, and whose veracity is unimpeachable:--
"September 9th, 1882.
"I have long ceased to take note of the innumerable cases of injury and death by Vaccination related to me. Suffice it to say that, travelling much, I almost invariably continue to introduce the subject to strangers wherever I am; and that to find anyone who does not cite some instance of mischief personally known to the speaker, is a very very RARE exception. A story is sure to be commenced relating to some sufferer, which I usually stop by saying: They are as plentiful as blackberries. But the besotted physiological ignorance is most remarkable in reference to re-vaccination sequele. Thus, a Health Minister sends his robust son into the navy; the youth is re-vaccinated in accordance with the rules, and within a year dies suddenly, without any known cause! A clergyman, aged 26, gets re-vaccinated, and, six months after, dies of blood-poisoning, for which no cause can be assigned; whilst deaths, following this folly, even within the first fortnight, are numerous; but some excuse is always found to obfuscate the survivors."
Mr. P. A. TAYLOR, whose untiring opposition to the Vaccination Acts, both in and out of Parliament, has done so much to bring the question within the range of practical politics, and who has given notice of his intention to introduce a Bill during the next Session for the Repeal of the Compulsory Clauses of the Vaccination Acts, told the House of Commons, in April, 1879, that he had "seen dozens and scores of persons who had stated to him that they honestly believed that their children had died from Vaccination. They took perfectly healthy children to be vaccinated, an incision was made in the arm, in a few days a sore appeared on the arm, from thence it spread all over the body, and finally the children died in agony. Be they wrong in their opinion, or be they right, they would be utterly heartless and unfeeling if, holding the opinion that Vaccination is dangerous, they were to suffer their children to undergo the operation." There is an amount of evidence of a similar character to the foregoing, perfectly overwhelming to the candid inquirer, but it is generally treated with contempt by credulous magistrates at the hearing of Vaccination summonses, and habitually suppressed in both lay and medical journals; nay, where in a few cases evidence against Vaccination has been reported, such journals have not been slow to stigmatize the honest avowal as "playing into the hands of anti-vaccinators." (See Lancet, August 21st, 1881.)
Dr. JOHN SCOTT, Physician to the Manchester Southern Hospital for Diseases of Women and Children, and an ardent vaccinator, in a published lecture, entitled Smallpox and Vaccination, says : "When seeing cases of infants diseases, if I ask the question How long has this infant been ill? the mothers answer, as often as not, is, Never been right, sir, since it was vaccinated." Dr. Scott continues: There is no getting over the fact that Vaccination is hated amongst the working classes in Lancashire at least.
The cry I always hear is, Now, I wouldnt have babys arm scratched if I could help it." At a coroners inquest held at Crowndale-road, St. Pancras, May 17th, 1883, on the body of GEORGE ANDREWS, alleged to have been fatally injured by Vaccination, which developed into suppurating sores, Dr. CLAREMONT, the Public Vaccinator for St. Pancras, deposed that he had personally vaccinated over 40,000 children, and that the mothers nearly always protested against Vaccination. The verdict in this case was returned, " Death from inflammation of the brain, following Vaccination properly performed."
Mothers have even been known to commit suicide rather than submit to the law. Such a case occurred in London about a year ago; referring to which the Daily Chronicle for August 26th, 1882, says: MARY CLARKE appears to have lost her senses owing to the dread she had of having her little one vaccinated. . . . Her own youngest child was not in robust health, and therefore when she found that the operation, already much delayed, could be deferred no longer, she tore up the flooring of one of the rooms of her house, and, in the cistern beneath, she managed to drown both herself and her infant."
This dread of Vaccination is not without foundation. Commenting upon the Norwich cases, before mentioned, The Times of September 4th, says: "There can be no doubt that Vaccination has been the channel for the communication of disease of a very grave character." The St. Jamess Gazette declares that "what happened at Norwich has been happening all over the country, in a greater or less degree, for years." The Methodist Recorder for November 24th, says: "In the presence of such facts, Compulsory Vaccination cannot be defended." Scarcely a day passes but serious or fatal cases are reported to. the Secretary of the LONDON SOCIETY FOR THE ABOLITION OF COMPULSORY VACCINATION. A short time ago, a correspondent at Nottingham, Mr. SCRIMSHAW, sent the details of over 20 such cases, which he had personally investigated in his own neighbourhood within a few weeks. The most ardent pro-vaccinating authorities admit the risk of the operation, where their own families are concerned, though regarding with a light heart the far more serious danger to the poor, owing to the mode in which Vaccination is performed at the Public Vaccination Stations. Nor is this dislike of recent origin. The Lancet for the 11th November, 1854, says "So widely extended is the dread that, along with the prophylactic remedy, something else may be inoculated, lest the germ of future diseases may be planted, that few medical practitioners would care to vaccinate their own children from a source, of the purity of which they were not well assured." The hazardous nature of Vaccination may be estimated by the following:--[VACCINATION RESULTS]