صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

stroyed by it,' these instances stand almost alone in the records of the practice; and, however inefficiently the process may have been performed by the several vaccinators who have undertaken the task without being qualified for the office, we do not hear, excepting from the most prejudiced and partial quarters, that any positive injury was ever inflicted on the children thus ineffectually operated upon.


The best stand which the vaccinists can make on the ground of comparative estimates, is that of the immense multitudes which have undergone the process since the commencement of vaccination, compared with those subjected to inoculation in the same number of years from its primary establishment. When we hear of one case after another, therefore, of small-pox subsequent to cow-pox, it may be replied, that had as many children been inoculated, in place of being vaccinated, the instances of failure would be equally Whether such position would be correct can scarcely be ascertained, since there is no register of the number of failures in either case, and without it no actual calculation can be made. We have, however, been just favoured with a document from the Small-pox Hospital, which, in connection with the remarks that accompany it, is highly favourable to the vaccine cause; and let it be recollected that these remarks come from one who so far from having been an enthusiast ab origine in the cause of cow-pox, has been accused by his contemporaries of being a covert enemy to its


"Every passing month,' says Dr. Adams, physician to the Institution. just named, serves to convince me of the absolutely preventive power of vaccination when properly conducted. Not very long since, my observations led me to the inference that the efficacy of inoculation, when compared with vaccination, or rather the probability of failures from one and the other, stood at about the proportion of 1200 to 1000; but I am now, to say the least, inclined to the inference, that both, when properly managed, are equally efficacious; and that the instances of failure we hear of, are either to be accounted for by the very large numbers that have been vaccinated, or by the process having been inefficiently performed."

Such are the opinions of the principal officer, not of a Vaccine establishment, but of the Small-pox Hospital, where, if in any place, failures are likely to be heard and complained of. The document to which we have alluded, is a statement of the numbers inoculated, vaccinated, and admitted with the natural small-pox during the last seven years. The numbers inoculated, it will be observed, are marked' admitted;' since the laws of the institution require that those individuals, who are inoculated, shall not leave the hospital till the fear of infection is over.


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The reader who shall cast his eye over the above table will perceive that the numbers of vaccinated subjects have been very much. increased during the three preceding years; and that the numbers of cases of natural small-pox have been likewise, during the same period, more numerous than before; the chances, then, of failure in both ways, that is, both from the increased prevalence of smallpox infection, and the increased number of vaccinated subjects must have been considerably multiplied; and yet we are told by the medical officers of the Institution, that such failures are decidedly and very materially upon the decrease; and let it be again remarked, that such statement comes from gentlemen whose minds, if they were likely to be biassed in any way, would rather bend towards the side of inoculation.

But, on the other hand, we hear of small-pox happening after vaccination in some institutions and districts in far greater numbers than would in all probability have been the case, had the individuals, instead of being vaccinated, been subject to inoculation. The children of Christ's Hospital, for instance, are under medical management of the most respectable kind; and the diseases happening in this institution are carefully recorded in quarterly reports. Now in these reports, Variola post vaccinationem' often occurs-a sequence which was not noticed, at least not recorded, when the boys were generally, as in former years, inoculated. We have further, another report from authority of an indisputable kind, stating, that in one small town and its immediate neighbourhood, fifty-four cases had been seen of small-pox subsequently to the vaccine disease. These, then, we repeat, and other testimonies more or less strongly to the same effect, are certainly calculated to make us pause before we set our hands to the proposition, that there is an absolute identity of preventive effect in genuine small-pox and genuine cow-pox.

Vaccination, however, has, we conceive, enough of positive evidence in its favour to meet all that has hitherto been advanced against it, either in the way of argument or fact. In the first place, it is to be observed, that with very little exception indeed, the cases of the variolous occurring after the vaccine affection, are of so mild and modified a nature as to be hardly worthy notice; and that BB 2


even when such cases assume in the first stages somewhat of a malignant type, the unfavourable symptoms soon die away, and the period of danger in other variolous disorders becomes in these the period of convalescence. This, indeed, with the most trifling exception, is so much the case, that for our own parts we should witness with next to nothing of apprehension, small-pox breaking out among our own children, or the children of our relatives; and the strongest evidence that has hitherto been adduced against vaccination has never produced any solicitude in our minds that the children in whose welfare we are more immediately interested should be kept from small-pox exposure. Secondly, we may remark, that this kind of small-pox, thus modified and disarmed of all its malignity, has so many features of resemblance to those eruptions which are named chicken-pox, that it is fair to presume many supposed instances of the former have been in reality cases of the latter. This may easily be conceived, when we advert to the apprehensions of some, and we are concerned to state the apparent desire of others of meeting with facts adverse to the vaccine cause. Indeed, we scarcely hear now, as we were wont to do, of chicken-pox, but every eruption is put down to the head of small-pox after cow-pox.

But, thirdly, what shall we say to foreign reports in favour of the new practice? Amsterdam, it is affirmed, has not for a long time seen a single case of small-pox subsequent to vaccination; and in the year 1815, a report was published by the imperial institution of France, stating that 2,671,622 subjects had been properly vaccinated in France, of whom only seven had afterwards taken the smallpox! and it was added, that the well authenticated cases of persons taking the small-pox after variolous inoculation are proportionably far more numerous: and, indeed, reports of a similar nature reach this country from every part of the world in which the new practice has obtained and where has it not obtained? It may be still urged that the immunity, after all, may be only for a time; but besides that this supposition violates the laws of all analogy, it is, in truth, contrary to the evidence of fact. Dr. Jenner, as we have already noticed, actually proved the impotency of the small-pox virus, as applied to individuals who had been subjected to the cow-pox fifty years before the experiment; and, let it be observed, as an important circumstance, that even natural cow-pox is imparted in the way of inoculation.

In conclusion, then, we would express it as our sincere and unbiassed conviction, that whether vaccination be or be not precisely the same as variolous inoculation, in regard to its preventive power over small-pox, it is demonstrably efficacious enough to justify its universal adoption; and that it deserves to be appreciated" as one of the greatest blessings ever bestowed upon mankind by a


beneficent Providence. It is a mild substitute for a most malignant distemper; it is certainly not more influential in exciting latent complaints of the constitution, most probably much less so, than the old inoculation; and, to crown all, it does not sow the seeds among the community of a loathsome and devastating distemper!

On the merits of the treatises, the title-pages of which stand at the head of this article, we need say but little. The first of the volumes we have indeed tacitly expressed our approbation of, by the large use we have made of its contents.. It is a most interesting,—we had almost said (notwithstanding that it is a treatise on small-pox) a fascinating work. The author has proved himself rich in resources and masterly in the management of them. Indeed, we have no hesitation in placing this performance of Mr. Moore among the few lasting monuments of medical literature. Sorry, however, are we to add, that the spirit of the partizan has, in the second volume, too much taken place of the mind of the liberal and learned historian; its composition, too, as a literary production, is, in all respects, inferior to the other. The author has been guilty in it of many offences, not merely against precision and taste, but against the most common principles of grammatical construction; and these become more conspicuous when contrasted with the chaste and classical style which pervades his History of Small-pox.

ART. VI.-Essays on the Proximate Mechanical Causes of the General Phenomena of the Universe. By Sir Richard Phillips. London.



IT is not without some reason that the life of a man of science is commonly thought dull and uninviting. He spends his time in researches of remote utility and little general interest, and it is in most cases only by toilsome processes, and after repeated disappointments, that he arrives at his results. There are some, however, who attain the same ends by easier means, whose ardent progress in discovery no cold medium knows,' who scorn the slow path of gradual advancement, and leap at once beyond the farthest bounds of knowledge.


Of this small, but envied class, Sir Richard Phillips appears to be a distinguished member. His mind, unfettered by prejudice, unincumbered by knowledge, can at one glance, and apparently without any remarkable expenditure of thought, see through the fallacies of those systems of philosophy which have till now deluded the world, and dive into the secret foundations of nature. He has kindly and boldly determined to communicate his discoveries to the world. With a chivalrous spirit, worthy of a knight of better times, he despises the dangers which await such an undertaking. Of these

BB 3


$76 Sir R. Phillips, on the Phenomena of the Universe.

to come.'

dangers he is well aware; he knows that combinations against truth are more systematic and compact in this age than in any former period;' that prejudices are universally the tests of truth;' and he fully expects to be vilified, reviled and anathematized for many years 'He consoles himself, however, with reflecting that words and grimaces break no bones; and having the confidence of a martyr in the verity of his general system, he will bear his reproaches with patience, and, like a martyr, expect his reward in a crown of glory in some future age, when he shall be insensible to the distinction. Upon this distant expectation he has acted, and as it is his ambition to publish great truths in small books,' he has in a thin duodecimo raised the first curtain which hitherto has veiled the Temple of Nature.' Let us hope that mankind may be sensible to his merits, and that his reward may not be so long deferred as his modest fears anticipate.

[ocr errors]

Our author's first enterprize is an attack upon the errors and absurdities of Newton's philosophy, errors, some of which are so striking that he almost blushes to name' them. He sneers at the ' awkward attempts' of Sir Isaac to do that which was reserved for Sir Richard, and easily explodes the philosophical trinity of gravitating force, projectile force, and void space.' He explains to us how it happened, that Newton was gradually led from one mistake to another to establish so ridiculous a system. It seems that the root of the evil, the first error,' was the admission of the doctrine of gravitation. Newton mistook the local cause of the fall of projectiles: he adopted the errors of his own age and education in this radical principle of his philosophy.' This unfortunate slip ' rendered it convenient to admit the other power of an innate projectile force,'' the greatest absurdity ever broached in science." It was not from any more creditable motives, or on better grounds, that the notion of a vacuum was admitted into the system.

Is it necessary to examine in the first place, whether any medium exists or does not exist in space? Newton annihilated such medium for the purpose of conferring perpetuity on his original projectile force! If, said he, there be matter in space, its resistance would destroy the projectile force; for as he ascribed the centripetal force to an innate or metaphysical principle, and, as on his system, intervening matter was not required to concur in producing the motions, it would, if it existed, necessarily resist them. Newton, therefore, deemed it expedient to assert, that matter is not infinitely diffused throughout space.'-p. 51.

We confess that notwithstanding the present exposure of the many fallacies by which Sir Isaac Newton has deceived us, we have still remaining a small degree of kindness towards him, which makes us grieve to see him thus hardly used. We wish our knight had spared his rival a little, and, considering that he was' as feeble


« السابقةمتابعة »