Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

15 articles on this Page

RHONDDA AND SWANSEAI BAY RAILWAY.!…

LLANHARRAN PUPPY SHOW.I

TONDU AND ABERKENFIG NOTES.

GALLANT RESCUE AT NEATH.

. COWBRIDGE FAIR. --

Advertising

IEXTENSION OF LOCAL BOUNDARIES.…

GLAMORGAN AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY.

THE WEATHER AND THE CROPS.

TOTAL ABSTINENCE AT BRITON…

DEATH OF MRS. DAVIES, BRITON…

EXPLOSION ABOARD SHIP AT BRITON…

Advertising

HISTORY OF SMALL-POX.} ..

News
Cite
Share

HISTORY OF SMALL-POX. } [BY Miss WARLOW, LONDON, W. It must not be supposed, however, that Dr Jenner and vaccination were universally approved of. At first the chief opposition arose from the medical men who still advocated inoculation. They denied that vaccination was any protection against small- pox. To silence them Jenner proposed a test. If he was right it was impossible for anyone who had ever been vaccinated to take small-pox by inoculation or cow-pox so he re-vaccinated, and, I think, inoculated many persons. The results agreed with hi3 wishes, none of the operations took, but when the same tests were applied by his opponents the results agreed with their wishes and well vaccinated persons took small-pox and cow-pox quite freely. Besides this, many persons, some of them (like Lord Elbury) vaccinated by Jenner himself, took small- pox naturally, and seem to have had it just as severely as their neighbours. The general results were that inoculation fell into disuse, vaccination was not adopted by the people and small-pox began to decline. Such was the state of affairs in 1850, when a set of medical men formed the epidemiological society to promote vaccination which was then, they said, so little used that in the parish of St James, London, only five per cent of the children born were vaccinated. In 1851, Dr Seaton, their leader, drew up a report which was sent to Lord Palmerston and led to the passing in 1853 of a compulsory Vaccination Act. Two years later the same society made another report on defects in the law the chief complaint was there was no com- petent and energetic medical officer to harmonize the whole system and keep it in constant activity.' Before very long this officer was appointed and was Dr Seaton himself. Here two questions arise, 1, what could have induced a Liberal statesman to sanction such an unheard of violation of the subject in free Britain ? No doubt he believed Jenner's assertions that cow-pox and small-pox were the same disease and that a person once vaccinated was for life free from all danger of small-pox. Certain it is that Lord Lyttleton (the immediate promoter of the Compulsory Bill of 1853) promised absolute protection agaiust small-pox, in the authority of the unanimous opinion of the entire medical professsion. Assurances were also given that vaccination gave little pain and could not possibly do any harm. People in authority were terribly afraid of small-pox and believed they could prevent it by wholesale vaccination. 2, If vaccination was so universally approved what need was there of a compulsory law ? Why were not all parents ready and willing to have their children made shares of its benefit ? The answer is plain. In this and every other civilized country there are two distinct kinds of public opinion, the one published in books and newspapers and heard of in society and in public places the other scarcely put into words, undefend- ed by reasoning, but acted on when possible with unswerving tenacity. Lord Brougham once wrote that in his long life he had often seen contrary opinions held by the upper classes and the lower, and that invariably the opinion subsequently proved to be true was that of the common vulgar. The reason is not far to seek. Well-to-do people are educated' for the first 18 or 20 years of their life and afterwards their time is fully taken up with money making or pleasure-hunting. Education has been defined as the art of teaching the young to think wrongly on the greatest possible number of subjects. At best (as at present carried on) it i8 little more than loading the memory with facts and the opinions of others the judging and reasoning faculties are little cultivated, and by the time school and college are over the habit of taking up opinions instead of forming them has become cases inirradic- able. The poor have to leave school early, their work is seldom so interesting as to absorb their thoughts. A more or less painful feeling of ignorance and incapacity makes them very slow to believe anything but what they or their neighbours have seen or known of themselves. Cultured people believed Sir J Simon, thought the danger of small-pox very great and the pain of vaccination very slight, so they had their children operated on and felt themselves very superior indeed to the ignorant multitude. Poor parents watched by their own suffering babes, too often they saw a fine healthy child changed by vaccination into a poor weakling unfit ever to earn its bread. Neigh- bours took warning from their experience and I Jenner's preventative got a bad name in the country. Also poor poople kuew that small-pox seldom came and that very few of its victims died while the I many who recovered were compensated for their disfigured faces, by better health than they had ever enjoyed before. Who were right ? Martin Lister in 1696 wrote that < among the common people scarcely one patient in forty dies.' In 1727 the apothecary to Christ's Hospital, Isaac Massey > wrote 4 Here in the natural small-pox but one in 49 dies.' Tatuml means not given by inoculation or other artificial means. Dr Tissot in Paris in 1763 found that one in seven died. In a later work published in 1773 he tells that two patients out of 13 died; also that at Geneva in 1751, one patient out of ten died, and that at Boston, U.S.A., among I negroes one in seven died, but among white men only one in eleven. Dr Heberden in 1801 writes— by the natural small-pox there die one in six.' 1\ These last were ardent inoculators and inclined to make the worst of natural small-pox. Dr Haen of Vienna writing in 1751 against inoculation seems to have proved that the estimate of one death in seven cases was much too high. Never mind, we will take this high estimate—one in seven is under 15 per cent, to this we will add over three per cent to all for the extra deaths in hospitals which were then nests of gangrene. This gives us an outside estimate of 18 per cent for deaths by natural small- pox. When therefore Dr Foster tells us that 28.2 per cent of the unvaccinated died at Bradford, we know that more than one-third of the 28.2 were not really unvaccinated or else they did not die really of small-pox. In 1763 a M. Le Hoe com- plained that when an individual who has been inoculated takes the natural small-pox a year or so afterwards, this attack is endeavoured to be con- cealed with great care, both on account of the patient himself and of the distinguished personages who have formerly submitted themselves to inocu- lation. The disease is disguised under different names.' About 100 yearlater Sir T. Watson pointed out how frequently small-pox in vaccinated children is credited to chicken-pox. In 1857-9 there was an epidemic of small-pox in Britain which carried off 14,000 persons. Iu 1863-5, the disease raged again, killing about 20,060, an increase of over 40 per cent of deaths in a population that had only increased 7 per cent. This increase of deaths from small-pox came after 12 years of compulsory vaccination, but persons of culture were not to be shaken in their faith in Jenner by a simple vulgar fact, and in 1867 Lord R. Montagu brought forward a Bill to make the law of 1853 more stringent, declaiing it to be absolutely certain that after vaccina- tion no person could ever be attacked by small-pox. As if to laugh at man's wisdom the epidemic in 1870 visited Britain for a third time. Its victims numbered 44,000, an increase of 123 per cent in a population only 6 per cent larger than before. The 4 common vulgar' saw and marked the fact that so far, at least, increased vaccination was followed in less than 20 years by small-pox more trebled.—1857-9 had 14,000 deaths; 1870-2 had 44,800 deaths. {T«bt MHtitiKfll.) I

Advertising