William White quotes
William White

Quotes about William White
"Dr. Charles Creighton, Alfred Russel Wallace, William White, Prof. Edgar Crookshank, William Tebb, Dr. Scott Tebb, Dr. William J. Collins and his father, of the same name, who had been a public vaccinator for 20 years and had renounced the practice, were all head-and-shoulders above their opponents, both in intellect and in integrity. They may therefore never be mentioned on the radio, nor may their history."---Lionel Dole

"William White wrote a very good book, The Story of a Great Delusion, 1885, the first of the larger works exposing Jenner, but, unfortunately, he made one error in misinterpreting some of Dr. Farr’s statistics; this error is all that a medical student is required to know about the contents of this book of over 600 pages."--- THE BLOOD POISONERS BY Lionel Dole

Quotes by William White

Water cure
Another case of Smallpox has just been treated by Priessnitz.  The patient is the daughter of a peasant in the neighbourhood, and is about twenty years old.  She was confined for eight days, and was most profusely covered with the eruption.  An Italian physician said that he never saw the symptoms come out better.  She had at first the usual treatment—wet sheets, wet rubbings, and tepid baths; and, after the eruption appeared, three wet sheets and three tepid baths daily.  She will not have the slightest mark.  Under the water cure Smallpox appears to be deprived of half its terrors; as far as my observation extends, it neither robs man of life, nor women of beauty. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

It is sufficient to reassert that Jenner did not introduce cowpox.  On the contrary, he rejected cowpox for horsegrease cowpox; and such was his prescription because he knew from the evidence of his neighbourhood that cowpox afforded no protection from smallpox.  It is true that when Pearson discredited horse-grease cowpox, and recommended cowpox, Jenner dropped his prescription, and put himself forward as the discoverer of cowpox; but it is also true that in subsequent years he resumed his original position, and indeed dispensed with the cow altogether, and, like Sacco of Milan and De Carro of Vienna, used and diffused horsegrease or horsepox neat, describing the equine virus as  the true and genuine life-preserving fluid."  [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

mortality from maltreatment
Then, too, much of the mortality of smallpox in former times was attributable to maltreatment; and Hamernik illustrated what was possible under good treatment, by adducing his own experience when the smallpox wards in Prague were under his care.  "The recoveries were very speedy, and the deaths less than five per cent." [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

certificate of deaths
Mr. Aaron Emery related in vigorous English how an infant of his had been vaccinated from a healthy-looking child on 31st May, 1869; how erysipelas followed; how it gradually got worse; how "the little fellow had no rest night nor day from 9th June to 4th July, when death put an end to his sufferings."  Then he told the difficulty he had to obtain a true certificate of death from the vaccinator; how he forced an inquest; how a verdict was returned, "  Died from erysipelas caused by vaccination"; and how its terms were subsequently altered by Coroner Lankester and registered as altered at Somerset House.  Up to the time of this fatality [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

The Times
Mr. R. B. Gibbs, secretary of the Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League, referred to the origin of vaccination, as attested by Jenner, in the production of cowpox from the contagion of horsegrease, and subsequently to the use of horsepox, by which equination was substituted for vaccination; the diverse virus thus derived from Jenner continuing in official arm-to-arm currency to the present day.  What vaccination was had never been determined; and consequently there had been no proper basis for legislation.  Nor had legislation been preceded by impartial and adequate inquiry: it had been promoted by certain medical men, supported by the press, and especially by The Times, the editors of which jealously suppressed all communications which impugned the efficacy of the rite.  [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

The means for allaying the irritation were mercurial ointment, acetate of lead, caustic potash, or any suitable escharotic [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

Vaccine matter may be conveyed in various ways : we have sent it to you in three, namely, on threads, on lancets, and on glass. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

Jenner & Pearson
 It was no discovery of Jenner's that cowpox was inoculable and preventive of smallpox.  That was a rural superstition.  Nor, be it again repeated, did he ever become responsible for that rural superstition.  Recognising its futility, he deliberately set it aside, and recommended a disease of the horse, transmitted through the cow, for inoculation.  It was Pearson, who disliking Jenner's prescription, brought cowpox into vogue; whereon Jenner, fearing that he might be cut out of the enterprise, dropped his specific, adopted the cowpox he had rejected, and claimed Pearson's work as the development of his own.......  Jenner's prescription in the Inquiry of 1798 was not Cowpox.  It was Horsegrease Cowpox.  It was a disease of the horse inoculated on the cow.  Cowpox per se he expressly rejected as useless, having no specific effect on the human constitution.  Pearson and Woodville entertained Jenner's prescription in good faith.  They tried to generate pox on the cow with grease from the horse, but did not succeed.  Reluctantly they abandoned Jenner's prescription, and resorted to Cowpox.[1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

In the Report we detect one good service, namely, the explosion of Jenner's fiction about Spurious Cowpox.  When Vaccination was first brought forward, cases were adduced of Smallpox after Cowpox.  Jenner at once asserted that the Cowpox in such instances must have been spurious, for Smallpox after genuine Cowpox was impossible; and Spurious Cowpox was thenceforward freely used to baffle inquirers and to account for failures.  Spurious Cowpox served the ends of the Vaccinators magnificently, but by and by it began to have awkward consequences.  Genuine Cowpox was said to be harmless —it was the Spurious that was ineffective or worked mischief; and the Inoculators plied the terror of Spurious Pox against Vaccination.  It therefore became necessary to clear Spurious Cowpox out of the way, and Jenner, before the College of Physicians, pressed upon the point, "owned up," as Americans say, and authorised the following explanation— 

Some deviations from the usual course have occasionally occurred in Vaccination, which the Author of the practice has called Spurious Cowpox, by which the public have been misled, as if there were a true and a false Cowpox; but it appears that nothing more was meant than to express irregularity or difference from that common form and progress of the vaccine pustule from which its efficacy is inferred.

 Mark! Here was a third definition of Spurious Cow-pox by Jenner.

First, in the Inquiry of 1798, he described Spurious Cowpox as eruptions on the cow underived from horse-grease, producing no erysipelas when inoculated on the human subject, and without effect against Smallpox. True Cowpox was generated from horsegrease, and from horsegrease only.

Second, in the Origin of the Vaccine Inoculation of 1801 all reference to horsegrease was dropped for commercial reasons, whilst the existence of Spurious Cowpox was reasserted "as some varieties of spontaneous eruptions upon the cow."

Third, before the Physicians in 1807, he removed the spurious disease from the cow altogether, saying, nothing more was meant by Spurious Cowpox than variations in the form and progress of vaccine pustules on the arms of the vaccinated !

In short, to vary the phrase of Betsy Prig, "There never was no Spurious Cowpox."  Slippery, very slippery, was the immortal Jenner. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

Highgate Smallpox Hospital

Mr. Marson (for thirty-five years resident surgeon of the Highgate Smallpox Hospital) attested that cases of smallpox after smallpox were comparatively rare—not 1 per cent.; whilst 84 per cent, of those admitted to the Hospital in 1864 were vaccinated.  An instructive contrast between the logic of fancy and matter of fact! [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

Mr. Brudenell Carter, writing in the Medical Examiner, 24th May, 1877, testifies—
"I think that syphilitic contamination by vaccine lymph is by no means an unusual occurrence, and that it is very generally overlooked because people do not know either when or where to look for it.  I think that a large proportion of the cases of apparently inherited syphilis are in reality vaccinal; and that the syphilis in these cases does not show itself until the age of from eight to ten years, by which time the relation between cause and effect is apt to be lost sight of." [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

Ceylon was the British colony where the Government earliest interfered and most vigorously encouraged the practice of Vaccination.  Salaried vaccinators were scattered over the whole island.  So successful were their labours, that up to the beginning of 1819, it had often been said that the experiment of exterminating Smallpox had been made and successfully carried out in Ceylon.  In July, 1819, however, a severe epidemic Smallpox broke out there.  In 1880 a second epidemic overspread the island—in 1833 a third, and in 1836 a fourth.  In these four epidemics, 12,557 persons were attacked, of whom 4,090 died, being at the rate of 83 per cent., or one out of every three. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

In each of these epidemics a certain number of vaccinated persons took Smallpox.  The proportion of the vaccinated to the unprotected varied. In the third epidemic, out of a total of 460 attacked, 341 represented themselves as vaccinated.2 [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

I have repeatedly had to point out how smallpox is especially an affection of childhood, and how in Scotland, for instance, it used to be almost exclusively confined to the young, like measles and whooping-cough. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

We often hear of "the statistics of the Anti-Vaccinators;" to which the summary answer is that Anti-Vaccinators have no statistics.  Their statistics are the statistics of the Vaccinators, in which they provide the material for their own condemnation; which is probably the reason why the so-called statistics of the Anti-Vaccinators are so intensely disliked, avoided, and unanswered. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

to the very lowest orders of the people.
Age, I said, constituted the chief protection from smallpox, but good houses and good fare formed another line of defence.  "The effects of the Norwich epidemic were confined almost exclusively," says Cross, "to the very lowest orders of the people." Moreover, he observes—


The disease was often aggravated, and made to assume its worst characters, by the most injudicious treatment.  The prejudiced and most ignorant being the principal sufferers, the prescriptions of old women were more listened to than the advice of medical men.  A practice kept up by tradition among the poor of the city for above a century was revived, in spite of all remonstrance, as follows—

"At the commencement, to set the object before a large fire and supply it plentifully with saffron and brandy to bring out the eruption; during the whole of the next stage to keep it in bed covered with flannel, and even the bed-curtains pinned together to prevent a breath of air.  To allow no change of linen for ten or more days, until the eruption had turned; and to regard the best symptom to be a costive state of the bowels during the whole course of the disease."

Such were the means by which the horrors of the epidemic were aggravated.  The old nurses triumphed not a little in having an opportunity of showing their skill after it had been so long unexercised; nor was it often easy, among the deluded persons in whose families this affliction occurred, to persuade or compel them to adopt a different plan of treatment. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White


Variolation was practised in Glasgow, but to what extent appears to be unknown.  Certain, however, it is that smallpox was as little dreaded as are other calamities accounted common and unavoidable.  Indeed many were not unwilling to subject their offspring to the disease at seasons supposed to be favourable on the principle of "getting a bad job over."  Then, too, the mass of the population was disposed as if by design for the generation of febrile ailments.  Tall buildings forming narrow lanes, wynds, or closes issued like so many rents or fissures from the leading thoroughfares.  These buildings were divided into flats packed with humanity from basement to attic.  Air and light were treated as superfluities.  Water there was none, save what was brought from wells; and middens received the slops and refuse often shot from the windows.  Life in a Glasgow wynd in former days is indescribable, yea almost inconceivable; yet in such wynds multitudes passed their existence, conscious of no hardship, recognising nothing better, and withal characterised by many virtues.  Bearing such conditions in mind, the vital statistics of Glasgow excite no surprise: the wonder is that the death-rate did not draw nearer to extermination.  As for smallpox, how could a family resident in a flat in a noisome Glasgow close at the end of last century escape smallpox, if smallpox were prevalent?  To them smallpox lay in fate, and was accepted on the same terms as wind and weather, summer and winter. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White


Dr. Southwood Smith delivered two lectures in Edinburgh in 1855 on the Prevention of Epidemics, but of smallpox as preveritible by vaccination he said not a word.  On the contrary, this was his testimony, his all inclusive testimony—
    Overcrowding we can prevent; the accumulation of filth in towns and houses we can prevent; the supply of light, air, and water, together with the several other appliances included in the all-comprehensive word CLEANLINESS, we can secure.  To the extent to which it is in our power to do this, it is in our power to prevent epidemics.  The human family have now lived in communities more than six thousand years, yet they have not learnt to make their habitations clean. At last we are beginning to learn the lesson.  When we shall have mastered it, we shall have conquered epidemics. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White


Mr. Thomas Baker, barrister, had been engaged in the Board of Health from 1849 to 1854, and officially connected with several sanitary inquiries. In his opinion what were called epidemics were fevers with a common origin, against which cleanliness was the efficient prophylactic, and to which his friend, Dr. Southwood Smith, held smallpox was equally amenable.  As a shareholder in the Metropolitan Association for the Improvement of the Dwellings of the Industrial Classes, he knew that residents in wholesome houses, even in insanitary neighbourhoods, enjoyed remarkable exemption from epidemic maladies. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

Vaccine belief
It would seem that when the human mind acquires a certain set, something like a surgical operation is requisite to reverse it.

When we have a mind for an excuse, our sophistry is usually equal to the requisition. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

Sir Benjamin Brodie relates how he served when a young man with a general practitioner near Leicester Square— His treatment of disease seemed to be very simple. He had in his shop five large bottles, which were labelled Mistura Salina, Mistura Cathartica, Mistura Astringens, Mistura Cinchonœ, and another, of which I forget the name, but it was some kind of white emulsion for coughs; and it seemed to me that out of these five bottles he prescribed for two-thirds of his patients.  I do not, however, set this down to his discredit; for I have observed that while young members of the medical profession generally deal in a great variety of remedies, they commonly discard the greater number of them as they grow older, until at last their treatment of diseases becomes almost as simple as that of my Æsculapius of Little Neport Street.[1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

 It was easy to recommend the rich to get rid of their scurvy by a resort to vegetable food, but to the poor with their obstinate prejudices, shiftlessness, and ignorance, such a recommendation was a sort of mockery.   Deliverance, however, came in a form recommended by pleasantness and economy, namely, in the potato.    It is true the tuber had been known long before, but not as an article of free and ordinary consumption.  Toward the middle of the century it was discovered that potatoes could be grown cheaply in large quantities, and supply and demand developed together.  Women and children especially rejoiced in the new food, whilst the benevolent exulted in the liberal accession to the poor man's fare.   It became a point of duty with Lord and Lady Bountiful to recommend the culture and consumption of potatoes everywhere; and to see how far the substitution of potatoes for bread had extended early in the nineteenth century, we need only refer to the pages of Cobbett, who denounced the change with unwearied virulence as a degradation of humanity.  Certainly potatoes are inferior to bread in nutritive value, but in food we have to look for more than mere nutriment; and the general use of the potato went far to purify and ameliorate the blood of the English people.
    To this partial substitution of potatoes and tea for salted animal food and malt liquor, we may justly attribute the reduction of the scorbutic habit of the people, and that improvement of health which were coincident with the close of last century and were continued into the present.  What every student of vital statistics has to remember is, that conditions have to be identical to yield identical results.  The lives of the majority of the English people last century, and notably so in London, were hard and sordid to a degree which in these times is difficult to realise.  Their sanitary conditions have been indicated, and I would now enforce the observation, that they were ill fed and insufficiently fed; consequently their diseases were malignant, and smallpox not un-frequently scarred deeply its scorbutic victims.  Wherefore to run a parallel between the Londoners of the 18th century and the English of the 19th in the matter of smallpox, and to ascribe any difference between them to Jenner's specific, is to display ignorance that is inexcusable, or craft unscrupulous. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

Cheyne said much the same at the earlier date.  He complained that the upper classes gorged themselves with animal food, and slaked their thirst with wine, "which is now [1724] become common as water, and the better sort scarce ever dilute their food with any other liquor."  Beer had the place of wine among the middle and lower orders. In the words of Buchan—"The English labourer lives chiefly on bread, which being accompanied with other dry, and often salt food, fires his blood and excites an unquenchable thirst, so that his perpetual cry is for drink."  He adds— "If men will live on dry bread, poor cheese, salt butter, broiled bacon, and such like parching food, they will find their way to the alehouse—the bane of the lower orders, and the source of half the beggary in the nation."
 Were we to say that the diet of the English for the greater part of last century consisted of Bread, Beef, and Beer, we should not go far wrong. The London bread was then, as now, poor stuff; "spoiled," says Buchan,"to please the eye, artificially whitened, yet what most prefer, and the poorer sort will eat no other."  Whenever it could he obtained, beer was the beverage that went with bread, and was drank by young and old.  Salt beef and mutton, bacon, salt fish, and butchers' offal completed the dietary of the multitude.  
     The causes of smallpox, I said, were unconsidered in Cobbett's days.  It never even entered into Jenner's head that the disease might be a consequence of bad conditions of life; nor did he try to explain why the malady was on the decrease ere he appeared with his magical prescription.  The decrease was claimed for vaccination, but it had set in before vaccination was heard of, and was continued among those who never received it.  No sanitary improvements had been effected to account for the abatement of the disease.  To what, then, was it due? I answer, in part at least, to a progressive change in the diet of the people—to the substitution of tea for malt liquors, and to the displacement of arid fare by potatoes. The food of city folk up to the close of last century was closely akin to that of men at sea, and their scorbutic habit of body was notorious—a habit that rendered acute or chronic whatever disorders they were subject to.  The remedy came of inclination and necessity rather than of intention. Tea was instinctively preferred by women, and the dearness of provisions compelled resort to the potato, easily grown and grateful to the palate as a mitigant of the saltness of beef, bacon, and fish. If any are disposed to dispute the fact of this revolution in the popular dietary, they may be referred to Cobbett.  He witnessed the change, and persistently denounced it.  Tea-drinking was to him an abomination.  It was a slatternly indulgence, costly to the poor, and innutritious.  Potatoes were as detestable.  They were trash as compared with bread; wasteful, dirty, and unfit to satisfy a man's appetite.  It is true that tea and potatoes are poor forms of food, but the one as a substitute for beer, and the other as an antiscorbutic, were eminently useful.  It is not said that smallpox is caused or prevented by food, proper or improper, but that the character of food may predispose to disease, and intensify it; as is manifest on ship-board.  Hence it is (in the absence of other adequate influences) that I am disposed to ascribe the abatement of smallpox which set in toward the close of last century to the better blood of the people ameliorated by that increased consumption of tea and potatoes, against which Cobbett so blindly and vainly testified. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

Fatal cases of smallpox are confluent cases, and in confluent cases vaccination marks rarely show up so as to answer to Marson's description of marks distinct, foveated, dotted, or indented, with a well, or tolerably well-defined edge. And in this matter our acute and industrious friend, Mr. Alexander Wheeler, has explored the records of the the Smallpox Hospitals, and proved that vaccination marks many or vaccination marks few have no influence whatever on the character or issue of smallpox. As Mr. Wheeler shows, the classification of small­pox into discrete and confluent is the only clue to the right estimation of the fatality of the disease. Smallpox in the discrete form, that is, when the pustules are distinct and separate, is not dangerous when uncomplicated with other disease, the overwhelming majority of patients recovering, vaccinated or unvaccinated. The contest between life and death is waged among the confluent cases, where the pustules are so close that they run together; and it is on these confluent cases, and the conditions and antecedents of the sufferers, that attention should be concentrated. There is a third form of small­pox, the malignant, chiefly confined to persons of irregular life, which is almost invariably fatal, and, as vaccinators themselves allow, vaccination in malignant smallpox affords no odds to its victims. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

No man knew better than Jenner that cowpox as cowpox was no preventive of smallpox.
Toward middle-life he had what he conceived to be a happy thought. Cowpox as cowpox he had dismissed as impracticable; but there was a variety of cowpox which he resolved to recommend.
Cows in Gloucestershire were milked by men as well as by women; and men would sometimes milk cows with hands foul from dressing the heels of horses afflicted with what was called grease.    With this grease they infected the cows, and the pox which followed was pronounced by Jenner to have all the virtue against smallpox which the dairymaids claimed for cowpox.
According to Jenner, then, the dairymaids were right, and they were wrong. They were right when the pox they caught was derived from the horse through the cow, they were wrong when the pox they caught originated on the cow without the horse. He thus discriminated a double pox—cowpox of no efficacy against smallpox, and horsegrease cowpox of sure efficacy.
    Further, in this connection, it is to be observed, that farriers believed that when they got poisoned in handling horses with greasy heels, they too, like the dairymaids, were safe from smallpox.
    It is not therefore for cowpox, but for horsegrease cowpox that Jenner is answerable. In cowpox he had not, and could have no faith.
    In 1798 Jenner published his famous Inquiry, treatise much more spoken of than read, wherein he distinctly set forth the origin of his chosen prophylactic. If was not, I repeat, cowpox: it was horsegrease cowpox.  He carefully discriminated it from spontaneous cowpox which, he said, had no protective virtue, being attended with no inflammation and erysipelas, the essential sequences of inoculation with effective virus.
     Then it is remembered that virus for half a dozen or more vaccinations is taken from a single arm, and that this process of reproduction is repeated every week, some may be formed of the extent to which this smallpox cowpox has been diffused over the country. [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White

Dr. George Cheyne, in his famous Essay of Health and Long Life, published in 1724, says—"There is no chronical distemper whatsoever more universal, more obstinate, and more fatal in Britain, than the Scurvy taken in its general extent.And more than fifty years afterwards, in 1783, we have Dr. Buchan bearing similar testimony—"The disease most common to this country is the Scurvy. One finds a dash of it in almost every family, and in some the taint is very deep." [1885] The Story of a Great Delusion by William White


The returns of the Registrar-General, moreover, show that deaths from Syphilis have been steadily increasing in England and Wales. In 1838-42 they were 10.6 per million ; in 1860-64 they had risen to 63.6 per million; and in 1875-79 they had gone up to 85.7 per million, being in excess of the death-rate of Smallpox itself, which in 1876-80 stood at 78.4 per million. There is little reason to doubt that this startling increase of Syphilitic Mortality is largely due to the invaccination of the malady. At the same time, be it remembered, the number of deaths thus registered but faintly indicates the misery and the ruined lives throughout the land, which are unentered in the column of Syphilitic Mortality. SIR LYON PLAYFAIR  taken to Pieces and Disposed of:  LIKEWISE  SIR CHARLES W. DILKE, BART by William White

In the epidemic of 1871-72, there died 14,808 persons of Smallpox in London, of whom 11,174 were Vaccinated. [1884] SIR LYON PLAYFAIR  taken to Pieces and Disposed of:  LIKEWISE  SIR CHARLES W. DILKE, BART by William White

In the early part of 1878 there were 1,134 fatal cases registered within fifteen miles of Charing Cross, while but 8 occurred in nineteen English towns with an aggregate population equal to that of London.  [1884] SIR LYON PLAYFAIR  taken to Pieces and Disposed of:  LIKEWISE  SIR CHARLES W. DILKE, BART by William White

Dr. Lettsom said  the London  Smallpox death-rate was 3000 per million; Dr. Farr said it had fallen to 1740 before Vaccination was introduced; whilst Sir Lyon Playfair says it was 4000. Well, statistics at discretion cost nothing, and are worth—what they cost. [1884] SIR LYON PLAYFAIR  taken to Pieces and Disposed of:  LIKEWISE  SIR CHARLES W. DILKE, BART by William White

Yet it was never pretended that from 1801 to 1804 more than an insignificant fraction of the Viennese were vaccinated. De Carro was one of the earliest and most enthusiastic of Jenner's followers. Eager to vaccinate, he was for a time prohibited. Nevertheless, he reported in the Medical and Physical Journal, vol. x. p. 243, under date 10th June, 1803—

" In Vienna we no longer hear of Smallpox. For these two years and a half, I have not met with a single instance of it, and many other physicians will say the same."

The early victories ascribed to Vaccination were victories either over an imaginary or a retreating enemy, as we see in the case of Vienna. We cannot too firmly insist  [1884] SIR LYON PLAYFAIR  taken to Pieces and Disposed of:  LIKEWISE  SIR CHARLES W. DILKE, BART by William White

Let any who are interested in statistics consider these tables, and point out the advantage derived from Vaccination. In the first place, the rate of mortality from Smallpox in Vaccinated Berlin in 1871 was threefold that of Unvaccinated Berlin in 1746; and whilst in 1746 not a single adult died of Smallpox, 2,443 perished in 1871, constituting nearly half of the total mortality! Such is the fruit of Vaccination and Revaccination! There is nothing peculiar about these tables, or about Berlin. The facts they exhibit are common facts that are found repeated everywhere. [1884] SIR LYON PLAYFAIR  taken to Pieces and Disposed of:  LIKEWISE  SIR CHARLES W. DILKE, BART by William White

In the great epidemic of 1752 in Boston, Massachusetts, when one-third of the inhabitants were attacked and 539 died, the mortality did not exceed 10 per cent. Including infants, always the most likely to succumb, it was a common reckoning that of 6 or 7 who had Smallpox, 1 died. Coming to the present century, after the introduction of Vaccination, we have the evidence of the Epidemiological Society in 1852, collected from 156 medical practitioners in various parts of England, that the Unvaccinated died at the rate of 19.7 per cent., or as nearly as possible 1 in 5—the Unvaccinated being then chiefly limited to the poor, who suffer most severely from whatever disease.
With these facts before us, showing that when all were Unvaccinated the death-rate was under 20 per cent, we are now told everywhere that the Unvaccinated die at rates varying from 40 to 60 per cent., whilst the death-rate of the Vaccinated undergoes correspondent declension. That people should entertain, and repeat, and asseverate such statements proves their ignorance of the very elements of the case whereon they presume to dogmatise. [1884] SIR LYON PLAYFAIR  taken to Pieces and Disposed of:  LIKEWISE  SIR CHARLES W. DILKE, BART by William White

The root of the error, we apprehend, is to be found in the classification of cases under a blinding prepossession in favour of Vaccination. It is taken for granted that a severe case of Smallpox is necessarily an Unvaccinated case; and as in such cases the Vaccination marks are usually invisible, they are unhesitatingly registered as Unvaccinated. We do not say that such classification is always fraudulent in intent: on the contrary it is often honest with the honesty of inbred faith and fanaticism. Mr. Vacher, in his account of the Birkenhead epidemic, says they did not mind what a patient said, or what his friends said of his Vaccination. They looked at his arms, and if they saw Vaccination marks, he was entered as Vaccinated, and if they saw no vaccination marks, he was entered as Unvaccinated. Under this formula, it is plain the worst cases of Smallpox must pass for Unvaccinated with a corresponding result in the death rate. In the Glasgow epidemic of 1871-72 a similar rule prevailed, and in Dr Russell's report there is the following confession—
    " Sometimes persons were said to be Vaccinated, but no marks could be seen, very frequently because of the abundance of the eruption. In some cases of those which recovered, an inspection before dismission discovered Vaccine Marks sometimes 'very good.' " [1884] SIR LYON PLAYFAIR  taken to Pieces and Disposed of:  LIKEWISE  SIR CHARLES W. DILKE, BART by William White

About Sir Lyon Playfair's statistics, it is unnecessary to say more. We have shown them to be a handful of flash notes passed on the credulity and ignorance of the House of Commons. He knows that his initial statistic of 3,000 per million is without warrant in fact, and that the 600 per million statistic does not represent a fall in Smallpox, but a rise, namely, the great epidemic of 1838-40. We shall not slay the slain. The paragraph before us is a summary of untruths we have disposed of, and it suffices that we notify their complete and conclusive contradiction. [1884] SIR LYON PLAYFAIR  taken to Pieces and Disposed of:  LIKEWISE  SIR CHARLES W. DILKE, BART by William White

The value of Vaccination is, therefore, not a medical but a statistical question, and can be determined in no other way. [1884] SIR LYON PLAYFAIR  taken to Pieces and Disposed of:  LIKEWISE  SIR CHARLES W. DILKE, BART by William White

But whether a medical question, Anti-Vaccinists have studied and mastered it. None know more of Vaccination, its history, transformations, varieties, and consequences; and  nothing apparently is  more exasperating to medical men than the discovery that an increasing body of laymen throughout the country know more of their mystery than they know themselves, and who trip them up and expose their defective knowledge and misstatements whenever they open their mouths [1884] SIR LYON PLAYFAIR  taken to Pieces and Disposed of:  LIKEWISE  SIR CHARLES W. DILKE, BART by William White

Why, even sanitary officers who, like postmen, move in the open air, but unlike postmen, come into contact with disease, enjoy exemption from infection. It may be vain for us to try to inspire a rational temper into those who like to terrify and to be terrified (a numerous body) ; but they can scarcely disregard the authority of a faithful Vaccinist like Dr. Henry D.  Littlejohn, of Edinburgh, Medical Officer to the Scots Board of Health. In the Annual Report for Scotland, 1879-80, he thus delivers himself of advice, the fruit of twenty-five years of active sanitary service.    Mark his words—

    " All medical authorities are agreed that the risk attending the entering a room in which there are cases of infectious disease is infinitesimally small to the healthy individual; and that even where a person actually assists in removing a patient sick of an infections disorder to another apartment or to a conveyance, while the risk is greater, it is in reality very small to the sound constitution.
    "As a rule, it is rare to find nurses affected who live for hours and days at a time in the same atmosphere with the sick, and who at the same time make use of the simplest precautions. It is still rarer to hear of medical men sickening of infections diseases caught in their practice, and it is well known that medical men never, or very rarely, bring the infection of such diseases to their households.
    " For twenty-five years I have been engaged in active sanitary work, and have had, with very limited staff, to cope with serious outbreaks of Cholera, Smallpox, Fever, Scarlatina, Measles, and Whooping Cough, and although I have, during that period, brought up a large family, I have never communicated any of these diseases to my children or dependents, nor am I aware that any of the numerous Sanitary Inspectors who have acted under me have ever contracted or communicated these diseases while in the public service.
" To live in the constant dread of infection is one of the surest methods of courting the risk of an attack. It is a popular, and I believe a true, saying with regard to Cholera, that the fear of it kills more than the scourge itself. This holds equally good of other forms of infection ; and the Sanitary Inspector, to be an efficient public servant, must be assured of this cardinal fact, that infectious germs of all kinds have no power of successfully attacking the healthy individual. ' [1884] SIR LYON PLAYFAIR  taken to Pieces and Disposed of:  LIKEWISE  SIR CHARLES W. DILKE, BART by William White