There is no compulsory vaccination in this island. The editor of one of the leading journals writes, 2nd May, 1890, that the feeling in the island is so strong against vaccination, that the advocates of vaccination are afraid to move in the matter, and any attempt to enforce it would probably create a riot.

In conversation with all classes and conditions of men (from December to February, 1888-9), from the Chief Justice, Sir Conrad Reeves, to the poorest boatman or sugar plantation labourer, from one end of the island to the other, I failed to discover a single advocate of compulsion. "Let those have it who want it, but don’t force it upon me and mine," was the general reply. The police and postmen also get along admirably without re-vaccination. Epidemics are considered less frequent than in other well vaccinated districts, notably Jamaica, Martinique, Guadaloupe, and Hayti.

The natives are, a proud, independent, and more intelligent coloured population than any I met with in the West Indies, and rather look down upon other islanders who are without political representation, and are subject to enforced vaccination. The population in April, 1891, was 182,206, or 1096 to the square mile—--one of the densest in the world.


In marked contrast to the parental freedom enjoyed by the inhabitants of Barbados, with its popular constitution and representative government, is the position of Grenada. I copy the following from the Grenada People, June 9th, 1892,-concerning the oppressive legislation in one of the most beautiful islands in our West Indian possessions, administered as a Crown Colony :— "During this week, upwards of thirty or forty of the peasants have been hauled before the police magistrate of the Southern District for alleged violation of the Vaccination Act. In nearly every case fines of half-a-crown’ have been imposed, representing almost half of the week’s wages which these unfortunates, if they are employed, can hope to earn. In face of the Royal Commission on Vaccination, we do not see why the law making vaccination compulsory should be still enforced. At most, it is of doubtful benefit; and doctors differ as to the positive good or injury which it does. The advocates of Jenner’s specific can quote very few cases, if any, in its support; whilst its opponents point with force and truth to the positive injury it has inflicted. Here, in Grenada, pure lymph is seldom employed. As a consequence, many of the children submitted to the process of vaccination contract therefrom fatal diseases. The lymph, in many cases, is collected from children inheriting a taint of the scrofulous disease which prevails amongst the peasantry; and many an otherwise healthy child, after the process of vaccination, presents the appearance of a disgustingly yawsey patient.1 As eminent medical men differ as to the value and utility of vaccination, we think it ought not to be made an offence punishable by fine or imprisonment if parents refuse to vaccinate their children; but that the law should be amended in the direction suggested by the Royal Commission in their recent report, i.e, it should be optional with the parent whether the child should be vaccinated or not."

Appendix  Index