SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
As the diverse aspects of the problem which has been discussed in the preceding pages are somewhat numerous and complex, owing to the vast mass of irrelevant but confusing matter with which it has been encumbered at every step of its progress for nearly a century, a brief summary of the main points here referred to, and a statement of their bearing on the essential problem, will now be given.
I have first shown the nature of the tests which seemed to the early enquirers to establish the protective influence of vaccination, and have given the facts which the two greatest living specialists on the subjectProfessor Crookshank and Dr. Creightonconsider to prove the fallacy or insufficiency of all the tests which were applied. This is followed by a statement of the abundant evidence which in the first ten years of the century already showed that vaccination had no protective power (pp. 10-12). But the heads of the medical profession had accepted the operation as of proved value, and the legislature, on their recommendation, had voted its discoverer £80,000 of public money, and had besides, in 1808, endowed a National Vaccine Establishment with about £3,000 a year. Reputations and vested interests were henceforth at stake, and those who adduced evidence of the failure or the dangers of vaccination were treated as fanatics, and have been so treated by the medical and official world down to the appointment of the last Royal Commission.
I next give the reasons why doctors are not the best judges of the effects, beneficial or otherwise, of vaccination, and follow this by proofs of a special capacity for misstating facts in reference to this question which has characterized them from the beginning of the century down to our day. The successive annual reports of the National Vaccine Establishment give figures of the deaths by small-pox in London in the eighteenth century, which go on increasing like Falstaffs men in buckram; while in our own time the late Dr. W. B. Carpenter, Mr. Ernest Hart, the National Health Society, and the Local Government Board make statements or give figures which are absurdly and demonstrably incorrect (pp. 1318).
[To the cases I have already given I may now add two others, because they illustrate
the recklessness in making assertions in favour of vaccination which scorns the slightest
attempt at verification. In the first edition of Mr. :Ernest Harts Truth about
Vaccination (p. 4), it is stated, on the authority of a member of Parliament recently
returned from Brazil, that during an epidemic of small-pox at the town of Ceara in 1878
and 1879, out of a population not exceeding 70,000 persons there were 40,000 deaths from
small-pox. This was repeated by Dr. Carpenter during a debate in London, in February,
1882, and only when its accuracy was called in question was it ascertained that at the
time referred to the population of Ceara was only about 20,000, yet the M.P. had
statedwith detailed circumstancethat "in one cemetery, from August 1878,
to June 1879 27,064 persons who had died of small-pox had been buried." Gazetteers
are not very recondite works, and it would have been not difficult to test some portion of
this monstrous statement before printing it. Jenner a biographer tells us that he had a
horror of arithmetical calculations, due to a natural incapacity, which quality appears to
be a special characteristic of those who advocate vaccination, as the examples I have
given sufficiently prove.
Another glaring case of official misrepresentation occurred in the Royal Commission itself, but was fortunately exposed later on. A medical officer of the Local Government Board gave evidence (First Report, Q. 994) that the Board in 1886 "took some pains to get the figures as to the steamship Preussen," on which small- pox broke out on its arrival in Australia. He made the following statements: (1) There were 912 persons on board this vessel. (2) 4 revaccinated, 47 vaccinated, 3 who had small-pox, and 15 unvaccinated were attacked69 in all. (8) The case was adduced to show that "sanitary circumstances have little or no control over small-pox compared with the condition of vaccination or no vaccination." This official statement was quoted in the House of Commons as strikingly showing the value of vaccination. But, like so many other official statements, it was all wrong! The reports of the Melbourne and Sydney inspectors have been obtained, and it is found: (1) That there were on board this ship 723 passengers and 120 crew843 in all, instead of 312; so that the "pains" taken by the Local Government Board to get "the figures" were very ineffectual. (2) There were 29 cases among the 235 passengers who disembarked at Melbourne, of whom only 1 was unvaccinated. The crew had all been revaccinated before starting, yet 14 of them were attacked, and one died. All these in addition to the cases given by the Local Government Board. Thus 18 revaccinated persons caught the disease, instead of 4, as first stated, and 69 vaccinated, instead of 48; while among the 15 cases alleged to be unvaccinated three were infants under one year old, and two more between five and ten years. (3) The official reports from Melbourne and Sydney stated that the vessel was greatly overcrowded, that the sanitary arrangements were very bad, and the inspector at Sydney declared the vessel to be the "filthiest ship he had had to deal with"!
Here, then, we have a case in which all the official figures, paraded as being the result of "taking some pains," are wrong, not to a trifling extent, but so grossly that they might be supposed to apply to some quite different ship. And the essential fact of the filthy, overcrowded, and unsanitary condition of the ship was unknown or concealed; and the case was adduced as one showing how unimportant is sanitation as regards smallpox. What the case really proves is, that under unsanitary conditions neither vaccination nor revaccination has the slightest effect in preventing the spread of small-pox, since the proportion of the cases among the revaccinated crew was almost exactly the same as that of the whole of the cases (omitting the three infants) to the whole population on the ship.
With this example of officially quoted facts (!) in support of vaccination, coming at the end of the long series we have given or referred to in the first part of this work, it is not too much to ask that all such unverified statements be, once and for ever, ruled out of court. (See Final Report, pp. 205-6; and Second Report, Q. 5,9425,984.)
I then show the existence of so unreasoning a belief in the importance of vaccination that it leads many of those who have to deal with it officially to concealments and misstatements which are justified by the desire to "save vaccination from reproach." Thus it happened that till 1881 no deaths were regularly recorded as due to vaccination, although an increasing number of such deaths now appear in the Registrar-Generals Reports; while a few medical men, who have personally inquired into these results of vaccination, have found a large amount of mortality directly following the operation, together with a large percentage of subsequent disease, often lasting for years or during life, which, except for such private enquiries, would have remained altogether unknown and unacknowledged (pp. 1822).
The same desire to do credit to the practice which they believe to be so important leads to such imperfect or erroneous statements as to the vaccinated or unvaccinated condition of those who die of small-pox as to render all statistics of this kind faulty and erroneous to so serious an extent that they must be altogether rejected. Whether a person dies of small-pox or of some other illness is a fact that is recorded with tolerable accuracy, because the disease, in fatal cases, is among the most easily recognised. Statistics of "small-pox mortality" may, therefore, be accepted as reliable. But whether the patient is registered as vaccinated or not vaccinated usually depends on the visibility or non-visibility of vaccination-marks, either during the illness or after death, both of which observations are liable to error, while the latter entails a risk of infection which would justifiably lead to its omission. And the admitted practice of many doctors, to give vaccination the benefit of any doubt, entirely vitiates all such statistics, except in those special cases where large bodies of adults are systematically vaccinated or revaccinated. Hence, whenever the results of these imperfect statistics are opposed to those of the official records of small-pox mortality, the former must be rejected. It is an absolute law of evidence, of statistics, and of common sense that when two kinds of evidence contradict each other, that which can be proved to be even partially incorrect or untrustworthy must be rejected. It will be found that all the evidence that seems to prove the value of vaccination is of this untrustworthy character. This conclusion is enforced by the fact that the more recent hospital statistics show that small-pox occurs among the vaccinated in about the same proportion as the vaccinated bear to the whole population; thus again indicating that the earlier figures, showing that they were proportionately five or six times as numerous, and the death-rate of the unvaccinated twice or thrice that of the average of pre-vaccination days, are altogether erroneous, and are due to the various kinds of error or misstatement which have been pointed out (pp. 2530).
Having thus cleared away some of the misconceptions and fallacies which have obscured the main question at issue, and having shown that, by official admission, the only valuable evidence consists of "large masses of national statistics," which should have been dealt with by a commission of trained statisticians, I proceed to show, by a series of graphs [called diagrams in book] embodying the official or national statistics brought before the Commission, or to be found in the Reports of the Registrar-General, what such statistics really prove; and I ask my readers to look again at those graphs as I refer to them.
Graph I. exhibits the most extensive body of national statistics available, showing at one view the death-rates from Small-pox, from the other chief Zymotic Diseases, and the Total Mortality, from 1760 to 1896. The first portion, from 1760 to 1836, is from the "Bills of Mortality," which, though not complete, are admitted to be, on the whole, fairly accurate as regards the variations at different periods and between different diseases. The second part, from 1838 onwards, is from the Reports of the Registrar-General, and is more complete in giving all deaths whatever. Its lines are, therefore, as it were, on a higher level than those of the earlier period, and can only be compared with it as regards proportions of the different mortalities, not so accurately as to their total amounts. The main teaching of this grapha teaching which the Commissioners have altogether missed by never referring to graphs showing comparative mortalitiesis the striking correspondence in average rise and fall of the death-rates of small-pox, of zymotics, and of all diseases together. This correspondence is maintained throughout the whole of the first part, as well as through the whole of the second part, of the graph; and it proves that small-pox obeys, and always has obeyed, the same law of subservience to general sanitary conditions as the other great groups of allied diseases and the general mortality. Looking at this most instructive graph, we see at once the absurdity of the claim that the diminution of small-pox in the first quarter of our century was due to the partial and imperfect vaccination of that period. Equally absurd is the allegation that its stationary character from 1842 to 1872, culminating in a huge epidemic, was due to the vaccination then prevailing, though much larger than ever before, not being quite universalan allegation completely disproved by the fact that the other zymotics as a whole, as well as the general mortality, exhibited strikingly similar decreases followed by equally marked periods of average uniformity or slight increase, to be again followed by a marked decrease. There is here no indication whatever of vaccination having produced the slightest effect on small-pox mortality.
The second graph shows that, even taking the Commissions favourite method of comparing the zymotics separately with small-pox, all of them except measles show a similar or a greater decrease during the period of official registration, and also agree in the periods of slight increase, again proving the action of the same general causes (which I have pointed out at p. 37), and leaving no room whatever for the supposed effects of vaccination.
Graph 3. shows that similar phenomena occurred in England and Wales as a whole, the other zymotics and the total deaths obeying the same laws of increase and decrease as small-pox. Comparison with graph 1. shows the much greater severity of small-pox epidemics in London, illustrating the fact, which all the statistical evidence of all countries strikingly enforces, that small-pox mortality is, other things being equal, a function of density of population, while it pays no regard whatever to vaccination. This is further shown by the short, thick dotted line which exhibits the total number of vaccinations since 1872, when private as well as public vaccinations were first officially recorded, and which proves that the continuous decrease of vaccination since 1882 has been accompanied by a decided decrease, instead of an increase, in small-pox mortality.
Graph 4. shows the statistics of mortality in Ireland and Scotland from small-pox and certain chosen zymotics, from the tables which were laid before the Commission by the official advocates of vaccination. These show two striking facts, which the Commissioners failed to notice in their Final Report. First, the smaller amount of small-pox mortality in Ireland than in Scotland, the latter being alleged to be well vaccinated, the former imperfectly so; and, secondly, the similar difference in the two chosen diseases and the general parallelism of the two. Here again we see clearly the influence of density of population, Scotland having a very much larger proportion of its inhabitants living in large manufacturing towns.
The next three Graphs, 5., 6., and 7., show small-pox mortality in Sweden, Prussia, and Bavaria countries which at previous enquiries were adduced as striking examples of the value of vaccination. They all show phenomena of the same character as our own country, but far worse as regards epidemics in the capitals; that of Stockholm, in 1874, causing a death-rate more than 50 per cent. higher than during the worst epidemic of the last century in London! The graph of small-pox and zymotics in Bavaria is given merely because the statistics were brought before the Commission as a proof of the beneficial results of vaccination in well vaccinated communities. It was alleged by Dr. Hopkirk that almost the whole of the population were vaccinated, and admitted by him that of the 30,742 cases of smallpox in 1871 no less than 95.7 per cent. were vaccinated! The epidemic was, however, less severe than in Prussia, again showing the influence of density of population less than one seventh of the Bavarians inhabiting towns of over 20,000, while one-fourth inhabit similar towns in Prussia; but we see that during the latter half of the period chosen small-pox greatly increased, and the other zymotics remained very high, indicating general insanitary conditions. And this case was specially brought before the Commission as a proof of the benefits of vaccination! In their Final Report the Commissioners omit to point out that it really indicates the very reverse.
We then come to the two cases that afford most conclusive tests of the absolute uselessness of vaccination---Leicester and our Army and Navy.
Graph 8 shows the death rates from smallpox and from the other zymotics in LEICESTER during the period of official registration, together with the percentage of vaccinations to births. Up to 1872 Leicester was a fairly well vaccinated town, yet for thirty-four years its small-pox mortality, in periodical epidemics, remained very high, corresponding generally with the other zymotics. But immediately after the great epidemic of 1872, which was much worse than in London, the people began to reject vaccination, at first slowly, then more rapidly, till for the last eight years less than 5 per cent. of the births have been vaccinated. During the whole of the last twenty-four years small-pox deaths have been very few, and during twelve consecutive years, 187889, there was a total of only eleven small-pox deaths in this populous town.
Graph 9. is equally important as showing a remarkable correspondence, if not a causal relation, between vaccination and disease. From 1848 to 1862 there was a considerable decrease of both general and infant mortality, and also in infant mortality from small-pox. This, Mr. Biggs tells us, was when important sanitary improvements were in progress. Then the more thorough enforcement of vaccination set in (as shown by the dotted line), and was accompanied by an increase of all these mortalities. But so soon as the revolt against vaccination began, till the present time, when it has diminished to about 2 or 3 per cent. of births, all mortalities have steadily decreased, and that decrease has been especially marked in infant lives. It is very suggestive that the lines of infant mortality have now reached the position they would have had if the slow decrease during 185060 had been continued, strongly indicating that some special cause sent them up, and the removal of that cause allowed them to sink again; and during that very period vaccination increased and then steadily decreased. I venture to declare that in the whole history of vaccination there is no such clear and satisfactory proof of its having saved a single life as these Leicester statistics afford of its having been the cause of death to many hundreds of infants.
Graph 10. exhibits the check to the decrease in infant mortality, both in London and for England, since the enforcement of vaccination (p. 57), and thus supports and enforces the conclusions derived from the preceding diagram.
THE ARMY AND NAVY
I next discuss in some detail what is undoubtedly the most complete and crucial test of the value or uselessness of vaccination to be found anywhere in the world. Since 1860 in the Army, and 1872 in the Navy, every man without exception, English or foreign, has been vaccinated on entering the service, though for long before that period practically the whole force was vaccinated or revaccinated. Graphs 11 & 12 exhibit the result of the statistics presented to the Commission, showing for the Navy the death-rate from disease and that from small-pox for the whole force; and for the Army the death-rate from small-pox for the whole force, and that from disease for the home force only, foreign deaths from disease not being separately given.
Here we note, first, as in all the other communities we have dealt with, the general correspondence between the two lines of total disease mortality and small-pox mortality, resulting from the greater attention given to sanitation and to general health conditions of both forces during the last thirty or forty years. But, instead of small-pox mortality absolutely vanishing with the complete revaccination in the Army since 1860, it shows but a small improvement as compared with general disease mortality; just as if some adverse cause were preventing the improvement. In the Navy the improvement is somewhat greater, and more nearly comparable with that of general disease mortality. There is, therefore, as regards proportionate decrease, no indication whatever of any exceptional cause favourably influencing small-pox.
In Graph 12. I compare the small-pox mortality of the Army and Navy with that of Ireland from tables given in the Final Report and the Second Report; and we find that this whole country (at ages 1545) has actually a much lower small-pox mortality than the Army, while it is a little more than in the Navy, although the mortality during the great epidemic was higher than any that affected the Army or Navy, owing to its rapid spread by infection in the towns. But the proportionate numbers dying of small-pox in a series of years is, of course, the final and absolute test; and, applying this test, we find that these revaccinated soldiers and sailors have suffered in the thirty-one years during which the materials for comparison exist, to almost exactly the same extent as poor, half-starved, imperfectly vaccinated Ireland (p. 65)! Another and still more striking comparison is given. The town of Leicester is, and has been for the last twenty years, the least vaccinated town in the kingdom. Its average population from 1873 to 1894 was about two-thirds that of the Army during the same period. Yet the small-pox deaths in the Army and Navy were thirty-seven per million, those of Leicester under fifteen per million.
Thus, whether we compare the revaccinated and thoroughly "protected" Army and Navy with imperfectly vaccinated Ireland, or with almost unvaccinated Leicester, we find them either on a bare equality or worse off as regards small-pox mortality. It is not possible to have a more complete or crucial test than this is, and it absolutely demonstrates the utter uselessness, or worse than uselessness, of revaccination ! [So late as 1892 (Jan. 16) the Lancet declared in a leading article: "No one need die of smallpox; indeed, no one need have it unless he likesthat is to say, he can be absolutely protected by vaccination once repeated." Surely, never before was misstatement so ignorantly promulgated, or so completely refuted!]
In the face of this clear and indisputable evidence, all recorded in their own Reports, the Commissioners make the astounding statement: "We find that particular classes within the community amongst whom revaccination has prevailed to an exceptional degree have exhibited a position of quite exceptional advantage in relation to small-pox, although these classes have in many cases been subject to exceptional risk of contagion" (Final Report, p. 90, par. 342). And again: "The fact that revaccination of adults appears to place them in so favourable a condition as compared with the unvaccinated," etc. (Final Report, p. 98, Sec. 375). What can be said of such statements as these, but simply that they are wholly untrue. And the fact that the majority of the Commissioners did not know this, because they never compared the different groups of facts in their own reports which prove them to be untrue, demonstrates at once their complete incapacity to conduct such an inquiry and the utter-worthlessness of their Final Report.
This is a matter upon which it is necessary to speak plainly. For refusing to allow their childrens health, or even their lives, to be endangered by the inoculation into their system of disease-produced matter, miscalled "lymph,"["LYMPH, a colourless nutritive fluid in animal bodies" (Chambers Dictionary). How misleading to apply this term to a product of disease, used to produce another disease, and now admitted to be capable of transmitting some of the most horrible diseases which afflict mankindsyphilis and leprosy!] hundreds and probably thousands of English parents have been fined or imprisoned and treated as criminals, while certainly thousands of infants have been officially done to death, and other thousands injured for life. And all these horrors on account of what Dr. Creighton has well termed a "grotesque superstition," which has never had a rational foundation either of physiological doctrine or of carefully tested observations, and is now found to be disproved by a centurys dearly bought experience. This disgrace of our much-vaunted scientific age has been throughout supported by concealment of facts telling against it, by misrepresentation, and by untruths. And now a Royal Commission, which one would have supposed would have striven to be rigidly impartial, has presented a Report which is not only weak, misleading, and inadequate, but is also palpably one-sided, in that it omits in every case to make those comparisons by which alone the true meaning can be ascertained of those "great masses of national experience" to which appeal has been made by the official advocate of vaccination par excellenceSir John Simon.
I venture to think that I have here so presented the best of these statistical facts as to satisfy my readers of the certain and absolute uselessness of vaccination as a preventive of small-pox; while these same facts render it in the highest degree probable that it has actually increased susceptibility to the disease. The teaching of the whole of the evidence is in one direction. Whether we examine the long-continued records of London mortality, or those of modern registration for England, Scotland, and Ireland; whether we consider the "control experiment" or crucial test afforded by unvaccinated Leicester, or the still more rigid test in the other direction, of the absolutely revaccinated Army and Navy, the conclusion is in every case the same: that vaccination is a gigantic delusion; that it has never saved a single life; but that it has been the cause of so much disease, so many deaths, such a vast amount of utterly needless and altogether undeserved suffering, that it will be classed by the coming generation among the greatest errors of an ignorant and prejudiced age, and its penal enforcement the foulest blot on the generally beneficent course of legislation during our century.
To talk of amending such legislation is a mockery. Absolute and immediate abolition is the only rational course open to us. Every day the vaccination laws remain in force parents are being punished, infants are being killed. An Act of a single clause will repeal these vile laws; and I call upon every one of our legislators to consider their responsibilities as the guardians of the liberties of the English people, and to insist that this repeal be effected without a days unnecessary delay.
The successive Vaccination Acts were passed by means of allegations which were wholly untrue and promises which have all been unfulfilled. They stand alone in modern legislation as a gross interference with personal liberty and the sanctity of the home; while as an attempt to cheat outraged nature and to avoid a zymotic disease without getting rid of the foul conditions that produce or propagate it, the practice of vaccination is utterly opposed to the whole teaching of sanitary science, and is one of those terrible blunders which, in their far-reaching evil consequences, are worse than the greatest of crimes.