Page images

display of that triumpli none has yet contended with j'ou, has, on the mind of the multitude, produced an effect different from that you expected; pursuing the system of Machiavel, you have seemed to form the government of your College, on stratagem, tyranny, and injustice: peruse Plato's Commonwealth, and Tully's Offices, let them be the guides of your actions; they will teach you, man and man are equal; that society is a congregated body, formed for the express purpose ofmutual advantage, and divided into different classes, (not from a priority that one class possesses over the other) but on the broad scale of mutual advantage; for, of what utility to society would be the Physician, without the Chemist? the Surgeon, without the Instrument-maker? It is is by a mutual combination of good offices, that this ponderous mass is kept in its due equipoise; and that equipoise, as far as relates to the Physicians of one College and another, has been stopped in almost all its ramifications, by a scrupulous exactitude of a body unacquainted with the extent of their own privilege. In England alone, exists such an illiberal bar to science, and I appeal to those members of the British Senate who have it in agitation to move for additional privileges to that body, whether, after the perusal of these observations, they can. conscientiously recommend such a measure. Now we are on the subject, we beg to inquire,

how many members assembled, for the purpose of investigating the returns of the Cow pock inoculation?

We beg to inquire, what Physicians were actually engaged in the investigation: whether they had oracular, or ocular demonstration? whether they inquired if the people who are in the habit of attending on cows, were subject to a return of the true cow-pox; and whether they gave their report on the ipse dixit of others, or took their actual observation, for their guide. Did they also inquire, whether the vaccine poison, preserved for an uncertain time the patients from the contagion of the small-pox ; or whether it actually was a permanent security? Have the Jennerians yet distinguished the true from the bastard-pox; have they yet been able to ascertain with certain precision, at what period this poison ought to be introduced into the human system: and will they pledge themselves, that on the introduction of matter of their own choice, the patient will have the true cow-pox, and never after be affected by the small-pox?

Have they made themselves acquainted with the disease of cows? Can they take upon themselves the responsibility of declaring, that no cutaneous disease will follow vaccination?

You have declared, in your report, that you can speak with confidence upon all the principal points referred to you: from the non-observance of these, we are led to conclude, they were not put to you; hence they will serve as a supplementary report.

Do you support vaccination upon the reflection the facts have given rise to? for, upon facts and observation, you say it must rest for its support or rejection: and have you individually collected those facts from which you draw your observation; because unequivocal evidence rests on personality; for you may be morally, but not physically convinced of it: but in a decision of so much consequence, physical knowledge will alone content the public. Security you acknowledge is not absolutely perfect, and the evidence not universally favourable ; yet, you take upon yourselves to recommend, unequivocally, its adoption. Time alone can decide what mischief vaccination does the constitution: we are aware, that all cow-pox, indurations, ulcers, &c. &c. yield to no remedy so soon as hemlock and mercury. With respect to the designs of ignorant or mistaken men, a doubt cannot arise on the question, respecting vaccination being the parent of dangerous and unpleasing eruptions. You say, it spreads no infection; . yet cow-milkers have the disease more than once.

Of what does hypothetical reasoning consist, but supposition? When a patient has been vaccinated, and the vaccined part unkindly heals, is it hypothetical to infer, vaccination was the cause? Can a misrepresentation be given of such a fact.

You admit the period is too short to ascertain every point, and to bring the art to perfection, yet conscientiously recommend the adoption of a practice enveloped in a cloud; yet state vaccination is well understood, and accurately described; if so, why give so singular a report; a report that militates against itself?

In a free country, every individual has a right to express his sentiments with freedom, so far as they affect not the government of the country, without the malice of wilful misrepresentation being attached to his conduct; we are here led to censure a report that dares to contain so glaring a libel on a British subject: why not refute, rather than libel? because we suspect the former was not within your limit, while the latter came within London, and seven miles around. These publications we are led to believe have not retarded its progress; it is the number of anomalous cases that have alarmed the minds of the people, who may occasionally reason wrong, but in all cases accurately feel, and that feeling is the surest criterion of the truth of the case; under these circumstances we can by no means recommend to the legislature the adoption of any measure that shall enforce a parent to vaccine his child. Let them perfuse the works of Doctors Rowley, Caton*, Messrs. Birch, Lipscombe, Stuart, &c. &c, and then say, what rational reason can be given for such compulsion; with you we most cordially hope, if vaccination does possess the advantage, the period is not far, when all opposition will cease against its practice; and we assure the public, that when that period arrives, we will be foremost in the ranks to proclaim its renown.

We have entered more into the merits of vaccination than we should have done, from an idea, that certain new privileges are to be granted to the College for their attention to this subject; for giving, or being the means of giving 20,0001. to Dr. Jenner, for the promulgation of a disease, not clearly understood; and this we draw from your own confession. Well, though taxation has reached its awful maximum, this liberality in government shows the country is still rich!

We now shall proceed to give the reason, why the College examines in the Latin language. At the time this law was enacted, medical men were well grounded in the Latin language; in short, it was the common practice to hold their consultations in Latin, and persons of education conversed and wrote in it. Our ancestors could not look into the embryo of futurity, nor foresee, that future

* This publication has appeared since the Report ©f the Royal

College of Physicians.

« PreviousContinue »