Prior to the appointment of the Royal Commission on Vaccination in 1889, the latest professional examination of the vaccination question was in the form of a medical inquiry, initiated by Dr. Montague Makuna, late superintendent of the Fulham Small-pox Hospital. Its object was to remove, if possible, the widespread feeling of mistrust prevalent, in various parts of the United Kingdom, as to the benefits and safety of vaccination, which had been discredited in public estimation by reason of the failures and mischiefs of the operation, with details of which the press was flooded. The inquiry was made by a committee of thirty medical gentlemen, most of whom were vaccine specialists. The meetings were held in the Council Chamber of Exeter Hall, London, under the presidency of Dr. C. R. Drysdale, senior physician of the Metropolitan Free Hospital, a gentleman who has devoted much time to this important question. Dr. Drysdale promised the Committee to read a paper on the results of the inquiry. The proceedings were reported in the Midland Medical Miscellany and in the Medical Press and Circular. A circular letter, with copy of the report of the first meeting of the Committee, was sent to members of both Houses of Parliament.

At the first meeting of the Committee, held on 15th February, 1883, Dr. Makuna, in explaining the objects of the proposed inquiry, referred to the opposition to vaccination; an opposition which has become intensified since vaccination has been made compulsory. A medical inquiry was, therefore, considered indispensable, and it was anticipated that the evidence disclosed in favour of vaccination would be so unanimous and conclusive, as to effectually restore public confidence in the practice, and to put an end to all opposition. The chairman, Dr. Drysdale, said he considered the proposed inquiry would be of great value to the profession and to the public, and expressed a desire that the Local Government Board and other authorities should be requested to co-operate.

The attention of the Local Government Board, the British Medical Association, the Epidemiological Society, the Medical Officers of Health, the Royal College of Physicians, as well as ambassadors, consuls, etc., was specially called to the inquiry, and they were requested to contribute facts and information from all parts of the world.

A circular was drawn up and approved by the Council, and sent to 4000 medical practitioners, a considerable portion of whom were public vaccinators, medical officers of health, and vaccine specialists. The circular elicited 384 answers, and the results were published in a pamphlet entitled "Transactions of the Vaccination Inquiry."

An analysis of the answers (made by Mr. Thomas Baker, Barrister-at-Law) shows that the seven questions submitted have been answered by 384 medical men, of whom 102 are public vaccinators, vaccine specialists, medical officers of health, or officials.

The following is the third, and one of the most important, submitted to this medical inquisition, viz. :— What diseases have you in your experience known to be conveyed or occasioned or intensified by vaccination . To this question 13 give no answer, and 139 answer "None,"*

* No. 17 says: "Two deaths from erysipelas occurred after vaccination in my practice, both commencing on the ninth day." Therefore, that so many answer, "None," may be accounted for by the fact that public vaccinators commonly do not see the vaccinated child after the eighth day.

but many qualify this reply by the words, "in my own practice," "direct," "not serious," "personal," etc. On the other hand, the list of mischiefs (many fatal) includes the following, as recorded by 232 medical witnesses. (This enumeration has been checked by the Rev. Isaac Doxsey, F.S.S., and Mr. J. H. Lynn :—)





Abdominal phthisis 1 Boils 8
Abscesses 11 Bronchitis 1
Angeioleucitis 2 Bullae 1
Arm disease needing amputation 1 Cancer 1
Axillary Bubo 1 Cellulitis 5
Axillary gland, enlargement of 1 Convulsions 4
Blindness 1 Diarrhoea 4
Blood poisoning (fatal) 1 "Died" 1
Diseased Bones 1 Phagedsenic action 1
Diseased Joints 1 Phlegmon 2
Dyscrasia 1 Pityriasis 1
Ecthyma 1 Pneumonia 1
Eczema 60 Prurigo 3
Eruptions 5 Psoriasis 1
Erysipelas 120 Pynmia 7
Erythema 22 Pyrexia 1
Gangrenosa 3 Rickets 1
General Debility 1 Scald head 1
Herpes 3 Scarlatina 3
Impetigo 7 Scrofula 9
Inflammation 10 Septicimea 1
Latent diseases developed 2 Skin disease 21
Lichen 2 Struma intensified 4
Marasmus 1 Syphilis 43
Meningitis 2 Tuberculosis 1
Mesenteric disease 1 Ulceration 6
OEdema 2 Varioloid 1
Paralysis 1    

The following qualified admissions are also made, viz.

Eczema 4 Nettle rash 1
Esysipelas 6 Syphilis 10


On the 19th of April, 1886, the results of this medical census were laid before the Right Hon. James Stansfeld, then President of the Local Government Board, and in May a copy of the analysis was sent to him at his request. And on the 25th June, and on the 2nd July, 1890, I called the attention of the Royal Commission on Vaccination to this important inquiry, and presented an analysis of the results for its, consideration. The .facts ought, in the interest of the public safety, to be widely disseminated through the press, and made known to magistrates, boards of guardians, and others concerned with the enforcement of the Vaccination Acts.

It has, I think, been clearly proved on the evidence of medical specialists, that to . the long catalogue of diseases conveyed at the point of the lancet in vaccination must now be added that of leprosy. This terrible indictment has been denied again and again by those who have not taken the trouble to investigate the facts for themselves, and have shut their eyes to the facts revealed by others. Is it reasonable to suppose that negative statements, howwever confidently made, can destroy the positive testimony of careful investigators such as Dr. John D. Hillis, Professor W. T. Gairdner, Dr. Edward Arning, and Dr. S. P. Impey? The fact that syphilis is communicable by vaccination was emphatically repudiated by a President of the Local Government Board not long ago, and the terrible Algiers vaccine disaster in 1880 was officially proclaimed an impossible occurrence. The fact that leprosy may be communicated by vaccination is now reluctantly admmitted even by those who are most anxious to clear the rite from this reproach. In concluding a defence of vaccination from the charge referred to in No. 4 of the Journal of The Leprosy investigation Committee, Dr. Beaven Rake says: "It is evident that the risk of transmission of leprosy by vaccination is so small that, for all practical purposes, it may be disregarded." Dr. P. Abraham says : "The possibility of an occasional accidental inoculation of the disease by vaccination might be admitted ;" and Dr. C. F. Castor, in a paper defending vaccination from this stigma, observes: "The opinion expressed that vaccination from a tainted source will produce the disease (leprosy) is, I believe, a true one."

Appendix  Index