[back] Vaccine critics

JOHN THOMAS BIGGS,  (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.

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Articles (extracted from book)
LEICESTER AND SMALLPOX--- 1902-04 by J.T. Biggs


 The sanitation procedure under the "Leicester Method"


To be filed quotes

Arm-to-arm vaccination was nothing less than the universal distribution of all the diseases of humanity broadcast over the nation.

Twenty years elapsed, and the predicted "rude awakening " was still in the prophetic stage, when a yet more important assembly, the British Medical Association, held its annual gathering in Leicester, about 1,000 medical visitors being present here, in July, 1905. This was an especially golden opportunity to convince Leicester of the error of its ways ; but it is a most remarkable and significant fact that, beyond a jocular allusion to "antis" in the "popular lecture," delivered by Professor William Stirling, M.D., LL.D., in the Royal Opera House, on the 28th of July, when he took as his subject, "Fatigue and Repose," during the whole of the proceedings of the delegates, no public reference of any kind was made to the anti-vaccination proclivities of Leicester ! ! !

For forty years Leicester has continued its sanitary work, and practically ignored vaccination. During that extended period its Medical Officers of Health have all been strong pro-vaccinists, and have done all that lay in their power to promote and favour vaccination. During those forty years, no less than seventy-four importations of small­pox by vaccinated persons from well-vaccinated districts have had to be grappled with.

As the result of these importations of vaccinated small-pox, and including the two relatively small epidemics of 1892-94 and 1902-04, numerous out­breaks of the disease have occurred, resulting in at least 1,223 cases, with 71 deaths. Compare this with   the   thousands   (an   unknown   number)   of cases and 346 deaths in a single year--1872—when nearly all were "protected " ! ! !

Such observations confirm the statement of Sir Henry Littlejohn, of Edinburgh, who told the Congress at Exeter that the medical profession had all along shown the strongest opposition to sanitary reform. This declaration provoked indignant protests, but Sir Henry retorted that they knew it was true, and it ought to be made known. Of course, Sir Henry spoke as a Medical Officer of Health.

The fatality of the treated cases is more than double that of those not treated with this dangerous concoction.

75,310 cases of diphtheria were treated with anti­toxin,  with an average fatality-rate of 13.28 per cent. ; and that 13,135 cases not so treated yielded an average fatality-rate of only 5.65 per cent.—a relative difference of nearly 58 per cent, in favour of the latter, and hence damaging to the claims made by the advocates of anti-toxin.

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.

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.


Small-pox was therefore nearly forty times more fatal in our "protected" population of 1872 than it was in our "unprotected " population in 1892.

The money spent on vaccination was entirely thrown away ! On the other hand, that which was expended on isolation and quarantining did the effectual work in controlling the two small­pox epidemics of 1892-94 and 1902-04. £358 per annum

It will be seen that in the three most recent and comparable epidemics, all of which have occurred this century, the cost per case was— London, 1900-02, £50 18s. 9d. ; Glasgow, 1901-04, £43 6s. 3d. ; and Leicester, 1902-04, only £2 5s. 5d.

On the other hand, what is of still more benefit and importance, the " Leicester Method" secures not only a diminished prevalence, but also an almost incredibly small mortality and case-fatality rate from the disease. The case-fatality of Leicester is only about one-third that of Glasgow, less than half that of Sheffield, and about one-fourth that of London.

Effective as the " Leicester Method" has been, and still is, it must not be supposed that it has ever been worked to the best and fullest advantage. Otherwise, much better results could have been obtained. All our Medical Officers of Health have been orthodox pro-vaccinists of the most pronounced type, and such modifications of their views and beliefs on that subject as they may have subsequently entertained have reluctantly resulted from the actual facts which have come under their own personal observation by the various outbreaks of small-pox from time to time in the several epidemics.


 I   have   quoted   at   considerable   length   from Alderman Windley's pamphlet because of his unique position as the oldest and most experienced Chairman of a Health Committee in the Kingdom. Having occupied that office continuously for thirty - five years, and holding independent views on vaccination, no man can speak with weightier authority. Yet, in the discussion which followed, Dr. Hope, Medical Officer of Health for Liverpool,  said Leicester had been "very fortunate," but so little did he realise the important facts which had been enumerated that he fatuously "urged the authorities of this town (i.e., Leicester) not to rely too much upon their admirable sanitary condition, and cast aside vaccination, which is," he said, "the only safeguard." A West Ham doctor said that "all the Leicester experience proved was that if a man was put in a glass case in a museum he was not likely to be run over in the street."


"I can add my testimony to that of Dr.  Ange, who was seventeen years engaged in the Isle of Wight in curing cancer, to the great increase of cancer all over the Kingdom.   This is attributed by  some medical men to  the  large  amount  of syphilitic disease with which vaccine lymph is impregnated ; by others to the direct impregnation   of   healthy   persons   with   lymph   imbued with   scrofulous   and   cancerous   matter."—Mr. William Forbes Laurie, M.D., Edin., St. Saviour's Cancer   Hospital,   Regent's   Park,   London,   in   a letter to Mrs. Hume-Rothery, 3rd June, 1879.

"The whole of this mass of medical testimony (and more) was known to the Royal Commission. Indeed, on page 617 of the Sixth Report, Mr. II. II. Taylor, F.R.C.S., handed in a table, on 4th May, 1892, which gives a list of nearly a thousand cases and deaths from the invaccination of syphilis."--- LEICESTER: SANITATION versus VACCINATION BY J.T. BIGGS J.P.


The   Editor   of   the    "Vaccination   Inquirer," commenting on this in the issue of that journal July,  1891,  says:—"At the present time our knowledge   or   ignorance   of   the   nature   and affinities of cow-pox and syphilis is such  that the results of the latter are indistinguishable by 'well-experienced surgeons' from the effects of contamination with the former, and it is only quite lately that Dr. Creighton's teaching on this point, supported by Auzias Turenne's writings and Crookshank's  pathological doctrines, is beginning to be grasped ; we hold it to be uncandid and fallacious to assert that syphilis is rarely conveyed by vaccination while affirming it may of itself occasion symptoms hitherto regarded as unmistakably syphilitic. It is unfair to the public and bad pathology, as well as casuistical, to go about saying in the lay press that vaccination will not convey syphilis to your child from somebody else, while in professional journals you admit that the vaccinated may get snuffles, thrush, buboes, nodes, phagedaena, and the rest of the catalogue of syphilitic abominables, from the pure and unadulterated  'Jennerian vesicle.' "

"There are other recent cases.......which so indelibly stamps the proceedings of the Medical Department of the Local Government Board with an infamous disregard of professional honesty."---- LEICESTER: SANITATION versus VACCINATION BY J.T. BIGGS J.P.

Arm-to-arm vaccination was nothing less than the universal distribution of all the diseases of humanity broadcast over the nation. (Chapter 98)

It will thus be seen that at no time has lymph been either "pure" or guaranteed. The public have been gulled by official assurances, now known to be worthless, but no more worthless than anti-vaccinators have all along been aware of. The Government microscopic examinations of lymph were conducted, since 1881, by this accomplished gentleman who knew nothing of "microbes," and whose object was to detect blood corpuscles, and to reject as impure all lymph found to contain " blood," or if " coagulated" or " opaque."

When giving his evidence before the Royal Commission on Vaccination, Professor E. M. Crookshank, M.D. (London), M.R.C.S., Professor of Pathology and Bacteriology in King's College, London,   testified   that:—

"We have no known test by which we could possibly distinguish between a lymph which was harmless and one which might be harmful to the extent of communicating syphilis."    (Question No.. 11,119.)

" Le Progres Medical" (a journal published in  Paris],  of 3rd  November,   1888,   contains  the report of a paper, by Dr. Pourquier, on the cutaneous symptoms consequent upon animal vaccination, in which the author refers to 800 infants ulcerated by animal virus, observed by Protze, of Elberfeld, and also to an epidemic, reported by Professor Brouardel, consequent upon vaccination with animal virus, in which sixteen of the inoculated children died within twenty-four hours.

Dr. Copeman says "tuberculin is not employed," as, if signs of tuberculosis are found, the "lymph" is destroyed. There is, undoubtedly, a wide open door for disaster here.


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.

There have been inoculations for small-pox, the plague, tetanus, tuberculosis, typhoid, snake venom, pneumonia, syphilis, yellow fever, leprosy, hydrophobia, erysipelas, and I know not what. LEICESTER: SANITATION versus VACCINATION BY J.T. BIGGS J.P.