W. R.HADWEN, m.d,j.p.

Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, London ;

Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, England ;

Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries, London ;

Gold Medallist in Medicine and in Surgery, etc. ;



A Reply to the Manifesto of the Imperial Vaccination League.


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Transcript of Speech, delivered at Masonic Hall, Birmingham,

on October 16th, 1902, by

"W. R. HADWEN, M.D., J.P., L.R.C.P., M.R.C.S., L.S.A., of Gloucester.

THE Birmingham and District Branch of the National Anti-Vaccination League arranged a public meeting at the Masonic Hall, New Street, Birmingham, on the 16th October, 1902, to hear an address by Dr. Hadwen on the Vaccination Question in general, and the manifesto recently issued by the Imperial Vaccination League in particular.

In the unavoidable absence of the Mayor of West Bromwich, (Councillor J. H. Chesshire), General Phelps presided over a very large attendance. The Chairman opened with a few remarks on the recent slight epidemic of small-pox in Birmingham, pointing out that, including two certified as chicken-pox deaths, there had been 69 cases. Of these, three were doubtful, or 4.34 per cent. of the whole; 55 admittedly vaccinated (or 57, counting the two " chicken-pox " cases), a percentage of 82.6 ; and nine alleged unvaccinated, or 13.04 per cent. The deaths, as far as he could make out, numbered three, viz., two vaccinated too soon, and one vaccinated too late ; being vaccinated, he supposed they had died " mitigated deaths." (Laughter.) Of the nine alleged unvaccinated not one died. (Hear, hear.) There was something more than that—there were no less than 729 cases of chicken-pox. It was well known that chicken-pox was a disease which is never fatal, and Sir Thomas Watson and the Registrar General had explained that when a child was put down as dying from chicken-pox, they might be quite sure that it was a vaccinated child who really had small-pox. Several hundred cases of chicken-pox or mild small-pox had occurred, though doctors did not seem to be able to differentiate one from the other very clearly ; and there was always a risk that mild cases of vaccinated small-pox would be put down as chicken-pox, thus increasing the risk of infection. This would arise from genuine in­ability to believe that vaccinated persons could have small-pox. There were several remarkable lessons to be learnt from the epidemic. The first three cases were admittedly vaccinated, as is always the case now. This shows that the vaccinated are the danger to the community, and not the unvaccinated, as is usually supposed. The three fatal cases


were all vaccinated : this proves that vaccination does not mitigate the disease, as death is the worst possible result. Some cases having been vaccinated after recovery, it follows that smallpox is as inefficacious against cow-pox, as cow-pox has shown itself to be against small-pox. The three admittedly revaccinated cases demonstrate that re-vaccination cannot protect you for three years, ten days, or nine days. Then as to the pretence that the more the marks of vaccination the greater the protection, it turned out that the following was the number of marks noted, namely : with 7 marks 1 case ; with 5 marks 4 cases ; with 4, 13 ; with 3, 10 ; with 2, 10 ; with 1,1; not stated, 19. As the first (and only) case with 1 mark occurred thirty-third on the list, it would seem that 1 mark is more protective than 2, 3, 4, or 5 marks ; while 4 marks stand out as least protective of all. The analysis of the ages of the patients was also remarkable. There were 5 cases between 50 and 60 ; 7 over 40 ; 14 over 30 ; 19 over 20 ; 14 over 10 ; 5 over 5 ; 2 under 5 ; and 1 not stated. These results seemed to show that the more remote the vaccination the less liable people became to small-pox, while the more recent the vaccination, the greater the liability of adults. There must be now in Birmingham between 20,000 and 30,000 children who had not been cow-poxed ; and like the 60,000 or 70,000 similarly fortunate children in Leicester, they acted as a shield to save us from severe epidemics of small-pox. (Applause.)

Mr. J. W. Mahony submitted the following resolution :—" This meeting of inhabitants of Birmingham protests against the Vaccination Acts, which make it a penal offence to harbour a healthy child, calls upon the Government to restore freedom in medical matters to the people, and requests the Chairman to forward copies of this resolution to Mr. Balfour, Mr. Long, and the local Members of Parliament."

Mr. A. J. Pass seconded the motion, which was supported by Dr. Hadwen, who was received with enthusiasm, in the following address :—


General Phelps, ladies and gentlemen,—I am very pleased to hear the optimistic note which has been struck by the speakers who have preceded me, and of the splendid way in which apparently the know­ledge of the vaccination cause is going ahead in Birmingham. Whatever differences there may be amongst us as to the methods of imparting general education in this city, I am thankful at all events that upon this subject there is no difference of opinion ; no matter whether a man be a Tory, or a Radical, or a Socialist, or a Liberal, or any other peculiar colour ; whatever we are, we are all united on one common platform on this question, namely, that the whole Vaccination System is bad, and that we are never going to rest until we have got rid of it. (Applause.)

But still those who ought to know most about this subject are those who require the most education in regard to it. Those who profess to know most are those who, unfortunately, know least. (Hear, hear.) For instance, I notice in your Evening Despatch of a week or two ago, that owing to the scare which had taken place in regard to small-pox in Birmingham, the editor sent a reporter to the Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hill, for the purpose of interviewing him upon the subject.


And the answer which he gave to the reporter as to how the small-pox scare was to be met, should small-pox become epidemic, was " Vac­cinate, re-vaccinate, and re-re-vaccinate." (Laughter.)

" What about sanitary precautions ? "

said the cautious reporter. " No use at all," said Dr. Hill. (Laughter.) " Small-pox defies them ! " said the Medical Officer of Health. " Of course, cleanliness is all right," said he, " but it won't keep away small-pox." I expect every slum-owner and every jerry-builder in Birmingham will be very thankful indeed that they have such a Medical Officer of Health to care for their interests. (Applause.) But the strange thing is this, that a little lower down, when the reporter asks, " Baths any use ? " Dr. Hill says, " Only in this way, that anything that tends to tone up the system is a help. The great thing is to do anything that will keep up the general health. That is the safeguard against all diseases." So that if you take baths, and if you keep up your general health, and if you thoroughly tone up your system, you will have, according to your Medical Officer of Health, a safeguard against all diseases. (Laughter and applause.) But Dr. Hill evidently fancied that he bad gone a little too far, and suddenly pulls up and says that nothing will be quite effectual except vaccination. (Renewed laughter.) You have a most remarkable Medical Officer of Health, and I am certainly amazed that a gentleman holding such a position should so clearly give himself away, and give his credit away ; so completely nullify what he had said just before with regard to " Vaccinate, re-vaccinate, and re-re-vaccinate," and "absolutely own after all that if you keep up your general health you can have a safe­guard against all disease. (Applause.)

Now, if you are to keep up the general health, let me ask Dr. Hill this question : Can you produce a healthy body by inoculating into that body


of the foulest description ? Allow me just to quote another doctor— I am fond of quoting members of my own profession—A friend of mine said to me yesterday, " What am I to do ? My medical man has said to me so-and-so and so-and-so, and I don't know how to con­tradict him." I said, " Fling another doctor at his head, that is the best way." (Laughter.) Whenever you find a doctor says one thing, it is not a difficult matter to find a doctor who says another. When doctors differ, we are asked, " Who shall decide ? " Well, I think the general public and common sense should decide, and upon this question you may take my word for it that the ordinary layman does know and can know quite as much about it as the medical man. (Applause.) And my experience is that the ordinary intelligent anti-vaccinator can dumbfound nine-tenths of the medical men on the subject. (Applause.)

Now I hold in my hand an extract from an address which was given by Dr. Killick Millard, the Medical Officer of Health for Leicester, at the recent Health Congress at Exeter, and this is what he says " It must never be forgotten that vaccinia," that is. cow-pox, which is


inoculated in the process of vaccination, " it must never be forgotten that vaccinia is after all a disease, and those of us whose profession it is to prevent disease should be


at the earliest possible moment consistent with the public safety. The control of disease by the substitution of one disease for another, whilst it may be expedient can never be regarded as an ideal method." Dr. Millard is getting on since he has been Medical Officer of Health at Leicester. (Laughter.) He has begun to learn something from the laymen, and apparently he is quite capable of teaching Dr. Hill, Medical Officer of Health for Birmingham, a lesson. And I am glad to see that they agree in this particular, that whereas Dr. Hill admits that the real safeguard against all disease is health, Dr. Millard tells us that inoculating cow-pox into a person is giving him a disease, and that that could never be regarded as an ideal method of treating another disease. (Applause). When medical men, and medical men in the position of Medical Officers of Health, begin to climb down in this direction, I certainly think one may echo the optimistic views which have been propounded by some speakers to-night, and we may really believe that we are beginning to get along by leaps and bounds.

Dr. Bond, of Gloucester, Honorary Secretary of the so-called Jenner Society—of course you know the Jenner Society is Dr. Bond, and Dr. Bond is the Jenner Society (Oh !)—lately published the fact that 11oo Medical Officers of Health were dead against anti-vaccination, and were entirely in favour of this extraordinary medical superstition. He claims from this fact that they had an


But do you get an unbiassed medical opinion from these 1100 Medical Officers of Health ? Certainly not. The terms of their agreement, the terms of their appointment from headquarters, the Local Govern­ment Board, not only completely close their mouths, but prevent them from exercising their minds in full freedom on the subject. You know how it was a little time ago, when a man of the very highest attain­ments was appointed to the post of Medical Officer of Health at Penge, just outside London, selected unanimously by the Sanitary Committee out of a large number of competitors. When his name went to the Local Government Board, the Local Government Board refused to sanction the appointment, because he had written a scientific work detailing the question of vaccination, and showing that vaccination was a fraud. (Shame !) A Medical Officer of Health cannot hold, dare not hold, an opinion of his own on the subject, or the Local Government Board says, " Clear him out ! " The vaccination creed be­comes a question of his bread and butter. (Shame !) It is a shame ; I echo what you say ; it is a shame that a scientific man cannot exercise his opinion on this subject, that a scientific man dare not stand for what he believes to be right on this matter, without running the risk of being robbed of his situation, and of having a possibly brilliant future sacrificed at the behest of a miserable plea like this. And yet Dr.

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