Review by H.P.B. | Reply by William Tebb | Note by H.P.B.
THE VACCINATION INQUIRER and Health Review, the Organ of the London Society for the Abolition of Compulsory Vaccination, published monthly at the Office of the Society, 114 Victoria Street, Westminster, S.W., etc.
The August number of this journal—which belongs to the same class of heterodox publications as the Homœopathic Journal—is on our table. The subject matter of this fearless little monthly which may be viewed if we could be brought to believe a bilious admirer of Vaccination—as “a direct incitement to a breach of the law,” is very interesting. It does its level best to upset the illusions of orthodox medicine, and to expose the legal quackery of its practitioners, and show “how Prestige is worked.” In its own words:
A favourite method of recommending fancies under the name of science is to canonize some noisy quack, and to have him represented in lands where he is indifferently known as an authority, whose words are to be accepted with pious subservience. Thus we have paraded before us a scientific saint in America, another in France, another in Germany, and so on. In London one starry quack appears to be well-nigh extinguished, whilst another is waning, although his beams still continue to dazzle the Continent. It will require much shouting of hosannas to succeed in canonizing the saint, who proposes to ‘vaccinate’ consumption into us. But if it is a praiseworthy thing to do, it ought to be done openly, and not under the disguise of cow or calf.
Would that our great innovators could succeed in “inocculating” some drops of common good sense into themselves, before proposing to “vaccinate” into the human system more diseases than it is already heir to! An artificial permanent issue in the brain of some of them, whenceforth their bigotry, prejudice and malevolence to everything and everyone bold enough to oppose their papal bulls would freely run out—is a desirable experiment to make. We generously offer them our advice to that effect free of charge for its publication.
The Vaccination Question in Switzerland and in the English Parliament
By William Tebb
Theosophist, January, 1883
I am indebted to some friend for a copy of the September number of your able journal, THE THEOSOPHIST, which, I observe, contains an impartial notice of the aims and objects of the Vaccination Inquirer and Health Review. From this notice, I infer that the conductors of the THEOSOPHIST are earnestly seeking the truth, and feel no more fettered by the dogmas of medical orthodoxy than they are bound by those of theological orthodoxy. I will, therefore, with your permission venture to bring before you one or two important incidents in the now wide-reaching agitation against state medicine.
On the first of January last, at the instance of an active medical propaganda, the Swiss Federal Chambers passed a Vaccination law of an unusually stringent character. The penalties which might be imposed upon recalcitrants were as high as 2,000 francs and one year’s imprisonment. The law was hailed by the leading medical journals in Europe as a great victory for the advocates of the Jennerian rite, and a crushing blow to the anti-Vaccinators, whose second International Congress had but a short time previously been held at Cologne. Forty delegates were present, representing eight nationalities, Switzerland having sent a distinguished delegate in Dr. A. Vogt, Professor of Hygiene and Medicine at Berne University. The victors, however, counted without their host, and their triumph has been of but short duration. According to the Swiss Constitution the people have the right of a Referendum, or an appeal from the decisions of the Federal Chambers to the suffrage of the people, providing 30,000 signatures are obtained. Only ninety days from the date of the promulgation of the law (on the 14th of February) were allowed for this purpose, but the Swiss people had not forgotten their traditions and previous struggles for freedom, and were equal tot he occasion. A despatch from Bale has just reached me, which states that not only have they the 30,000 signatures required, but they have obtained a surplus of about 50,000 to 79,000 and upward in all (the largest vote ever polled for a similar purpose), which have been laid before the President of the Confederation. The final vote was taken on the 1st of July when the advocates of state medical coercion received a most disastrous and crushing defeat, the Vaccination Law having been rejected by a majority of 253,968, against 67,830! amidst the rejoicings of an emancipated people.
It will interest some of your readers to learn that arrangements are in active progress for holding the third International Anti-Vaccination Congress at Berlin in the month of February. Many distinguished professors of medicine and hygiene, statisticians, publicists and jurists have already promised to be present to take part in the proceedings, and I venture to hope that India will not be unrepresented. Among those who are interested in this international movement against compulsory disease are: Mr. Herbert Spencer, Mr. F.W. Newman, Emeritus Professor; Prof. Mayor of Cambridge University; Dr. Fabius, Professor of Jurisprudence, Amsterdam; Dr. G.F. Kolb, Member Extraordinary of the Royal Statistical Commission of Bavaris; Dr. Emery J. Coderre, Professor of Materia Medica, Victoria University, Montreal; Prof. Moses Coit Tyler, of Cornell University, New York; Dr. Robert Collyer, of New York, and Rector P.A. Siljestromr of Sweden, Mr. P.A. Taylor, M.P. And many others. The grounds for this opposition are the accumulation of unimpeachable evidence, that while on the one hand the municipal and national statistical returns from all European States demonstrate that vaccination, both humanized and bovine, as practised for eighty years, has had no influence in either arresting or diminishing smallpox, it has on the other hand been the means of inducing a variety of frightful disorders, thereby greatly increasing infant mortality and deteriorating the public health. A bill is now before the House of Commons for the repeal of the compulsory clauses of the Vaccination Act, which has passed the first reading by a majority of 40, on a division, including the Prime Minister, Mr. W.E. Forster, Sir William Harcourt, Lord Hartington, Sir Charles Dilke, Mr. P.A. Taylor and all the leading members of the Liberal party, the opponents being chiefly Home Rulers and obstructionists. The second reading has been postponed owing to obstruction to ordinary legislation caused by the calamitous state of affairs in Ireland and Egypt.
Mr. C.H. Hopwood called attention in the House of Commons to the tragedy in Algiers, fifty-eight young men of the Fourth Regiment of Zouaves having been inoculated with the most terrible of all diseases by vaccination, as reported by certain Algerian, French and English journals. The President of the Local Government Board stated that he had directed another application to be addressed to the Foreign Office for further details of this painful disaster.
WILLIAM TEBB, F.R.G.S,
Albert Road, Regent Park, London.
Editor’s Note [H.P.B.]: The subject of compulsory Vaccination deeply concerns the people of India, who number 25 kotis, and by law are compelled, under sever penalties for refusal or neglect, to be vaccinated. The letter from Mr. Tebb, the philanthropist, will be read with interest no doubt. We give it place therefore, although we should not be willing to open often our editorial doors to questions which are almost outside our limits. The THEOSOPHIST has to war upon another and even worse form of inoculation—the empoisoning of the Hindu mind with the views of modern scepticism.