From Dr. W. J. COLLINS.
St. Bartholomews Hospital London,
Sept. 20, 1883.
Dear Sir,I much regret that my many duties in London prevent me taking part in the International Congress of those opposed to compulsory vaccination, with whom I entirely sympathise.
Compulsion in the matter of vaccination if justifiable can only be justified on the grounds that vaccination confers a benefit upon the community or upon the individual. Now it is idle to pretend that vaccination, whose very claim is to protect against the indifference of others in respect of it, should be enforced upon public grounds.
If, on the other band, it is to be justified upon individual or private grounds, and it is urged that the State should supervise the health of its individual members, it is strange that this is the unique instance in which the State has discovered and recognised that responsibility. And it might be reasonably argued that the State could be better occupied in superintending the feeding, clothing, and rearing of infants, the injudicious management of which produces far more sickness and death among the infantile population than the neglect of vaccination.
If the State is to be the custodian of individual health, it should be so thoroughly and universally, and not interfere in the matter of a single disease, like small-pox, which statistics in this country at any rate show to have persisted, nay increased, in spite of a compulsory vaccination organisation, "as perfect as a system can be made, and as efficient as could be desired."
Again, I am myself perfectly convinced that all zymotic diseases arise from and are intensified by insanitary conditions and surroundings; that the abolition of the latter is the only radical method of stamping out this class of disease, that to put out one by a special prophylactic, while the conditions which produce all abound, is as illogical as it is impracticable; and that further, when that prophylactic is fraught with risk which, though it may be small, is yet not certainly avoid able, compulsory vaccination becomes cruel as well as ineffectual.
Wishing the Congress a successful meeting, and that its influence may be widely felt. I am, yours fraternally,
W. J. COLLINS, M.D., B.S., B.Sc. (Lond.) M.R.C.S. Eng.; Resident Obstetrician to St. Bartholomews Hospital, and. Surgeon to the Western Ophthalmic Hospital.
DR. COLLINS, M.D., Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, M.R.C.S., Eng., &c., 1866.
I have no faith in vaccination; nay, I look upon it with the greatest possible disgust, and firmly believe that it is often the medium of conveying many filthy and loathsome diseases from one child to another, and no protection whatever against small pox. Indeed, I consider we are now living in the JENNERIAN epoch for the slaughter of innocents, and the unthinking portion of the adult population.(Twenty years experience of a Public Vaccinater.)