Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 3/Representative men: Physiological discoverers - Dr. Jenner

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Once a Week, Series 1, Volume III  (1860) 
Representative men. The physiological discoverers: Dr. Jenner
by Harriet Martineau (as Ingleby Scott)

Biographical article about Edward Jenner (1749–1823).

Physiological Discoverers.
dr. jenner.

When we are young, we please ourselves with imagining the delights of discovery in natural science. We paint to ourselves scenes in which the Discoverer figures,—either lighting upon a new planet among the ordinary stars, or finding a fossil which suddenly opens up to him some wild glimpse into the ancient world; or, on seeing an apple fall from a tree, perceiving why the solar system, and the whole of the boundless heavens, are what they are. All this is very natural; but it is a great mistake. Instead of Newton sitting in a corner among the learned men, and hearing with strong emotion that the real measurement of a degree of the earth’s surface had been found, we should rather dwell on the image of Newton, during the long years of intense study he had bestowed, without being able to see his way to the proof of his theory, and on the quires of paper covered with figures,—vast calculations which would never come right,—that he had locked up and tried to turn his mind away from, for many years before the source of error was discovered. Instead of fancying the transport of Galvani when his wife took him into the kitchen, and showed him how the frog she had cut up for soup twitched when she touched it with a certain scalpel of his, we should think of his protracted labours in the pursuit of the secret which now bears his name, and of his failure to grasp it, through a wrong idea which he could not detect in his own mind, so that another man, Volta, is now always, and very properly, put forward as the greater discoverer in that particular department of electrical science. It would be wrong, in the same way, to imagine Harvey suddenly struck with the notion that the valves in the veins must have some use, and that that use must be to let the blood go to the heart, but not from it; and that therefore the blood must circulate throughout the whole body. So far from this, Harvey thought, and studied, and waited—and thought and studied again; and then he had to admit that serious difficulties remained; and then he had to bear the ill-usage which always clogs the steps of discoverers. Everybody said first, that the notion was absurd and wicked; then, that it was of no consequence; and lastly, that it was all-important, but nothing new. These are the three stages through which every great discovery has to pass. First, the world is shocked at your nonsense, and your crazy state of mind: next, it does not matter whether your view is true or not: and finally, all the world knew what you have to tell them before you were born. So it was, of course, in Harvey’s case. It was so shocking that he should discredit the Vital Spirits for which the arteries were made, that his practice fell off seriously after the publication of his treatise on the circulation of the blood. Then, he was merely toying with the court when he showed Charles I. the way in which the heart beat:—it was making a fuss about a small matter. Next, people were tired of the subject, for the circulation of the blood was such an old idea! It was not new; and Harvey never said it was: but the notion was mixed up with such conjectures and fancies, and such wrong causes were assigned, that the subject became wholly new in Harvey’s hands. Among other proofs of this, there is the very instructive fact, that Harvey’s discovery was not believed in by any physician in Europe, who was above forty at the time of his death.

Such is the course of a discoverer’s experience; not very charming to “the natural man;” not at all encouraging to any man who is not above self-regards,—who proposes such a career to himself for any lower reason than that he cannot help what he is doing, or that he hopes to extend science, and therefore human welfare, by what he is attempting. I have always considered Dr. Jenner one of the fairest and finest specimens ever known of the order of discoverers; and no one will dispute his fitness to be the representative man of that class of human benefactors. The briefest contemplation of his career will serve better than any preaching,—any warning from any person who is not a discoverer,—against the high-flying popular notion of the brilliancy of the lot of the man who sees the gem lying at the bottom of the mine, with the fairy eyes of Clearsight, and fetches it up with the power of Longarm; and thenceforth has only to enjoy the homage of mankind for the rest of his days. Jenner could have told that the lot of the Discoverer is but little happier (as superficial people count happiness) than that of the Inventor.

Edward Jenner set out in life with a superior constitution of mind. He was an inveterate observer from his cradle. One of the first signs of an infant having a due proportion of senses and faculties is its following with its eyes the movement of flies in the air. This boy followed up all the movements of all creatures within his reach, from the time he felt himself firm on his feet. When other little boys were at play, he was hunting out curiosities; and as a school-boy, at Cirencester, he was always obtaining fossils from the oolitic formation in that neighbourhood. At eight years old, he had a collection of dormice nests. He was patient and accurate as an observer, and methodical in all his ways; so that some of his friends, who were not mental philosophers, were perplexed from time to time, by some unquestionable evidence of his having the temperament of the poet. No great discoverer has been a man of prosaic nature, for the simple reason, that the faculty of imagination is required for the mere formation of hypothesis, and for perceiving the bearings of a theory. Nothing can be more ignorant than the notion that accuracy about facts is in any kind of opposition to the exercise of imagination, as both orders of men combine to assure us. The discoverer must see by the bright forecast of the imagination, the great new thing he is to give to mankind, and where to look for it; and the genuine poet is remarkable for nothing more than for his closeness to the truth of life and nature. Where is Shakspere ever wrong as a naturalist (allowance being made for the age), any more than as a moralist? Then we find Edward Jenner spying all the ways of birds and insects, knowing all the animals in the vale of Gloucester, pondering in his rides of twenty or thirty miles any proverb, or prejudice, or odd story that he had picked up in any farmhouse or cottage; and at the same time apt to break out into singing when Nature was in a cheerful mood, and to send notes in verse, taking a poetical view of the commonest incidents. In calling off from joining in a country excursion, one month of June, on account of doubtful weather, he sent his excuse in the form of this pretty poem—


An excuse for not accepting the invitation of a friend to make a country excursion.

The hollow winds begin to blow,
The clouds look black, the glass is low,
The soot falls down, the spaniels sleep,
And spiders from their cobwebs creep.
Last night the sun went pale to bed,
The moon in halos hid her head.
The boding shepherd heaves a sigh,
For see! a rainbow spans the sky.
The walls are damp, the ditches smell,
Closed is the pink-ey’d pimpernel.
Hark! how the chairs and tables crack;
Old Betty’s joints are on the rack.
Loud quack the ducks, the peacocks cry;
The distant hills are looking nigh.
How restless are the snorting swine—
The busy flies disturb the kine.
Low o’er the grass the swallow wings;
The cricket, too, how loud it sings!
Puss on the hearth, with velvet paws,
Sits smoothing o’er her whiskered jaws.
Through the clear stream the fishes rise,
And nimbly catch th’ incautious flies.
The sheep were seen at early light
Cropping the meads with eager bite.
Tho’ June, the air is cold and chill;
The mellow black-bird’s voice is still.
The glow-worms, numerous and bright,
Illumed the dewy dell last night.
At dusk the squalid toad was seen
Hopping, crawling, o’er the green.
The frog has lost his yellow vest,
And in a dingy suit is dressed.
The leech, disturbed, is newly risen
Quite to the summit of his prison.
The whirling wind the dust obeys,
And in the rapid eddy plays.
My dog, so altered is his taste,
Quits mutton bones on grass to feast;
And see yon rooks, how odd their flight,
They imitate the gliding kite,
Or seem precipitate to fall,
As if they felt the piercing ball.
Twill surely rain—I see with sorrow,
Our jaunt must be put off to-morrow.

This poem has been at many tongues’ ends in threatening weather, from that day to this. Jenner gave his whole mind to what he was about; and when he spoke or wrote on matters of surgical investigation, it might seem as if he had no interests beyond pathology; but when we look into his correspondence with his master and friend, John Hunter, we find the two great men as eager about birds, and bees, and eels, and hedgehogs, as Audubon, and Huber, and Cuvier; and their love of nature, and keenness about the habits, as well as the structure, of animals and insects has a strong infusion of poetry in it. Jenner’s name first became famous in connection with his disclosure of the peculiarity of the cuckoo, in its structure and habits. He studied the bird for years; and made so thorough an exhibition of its ways in the well-known paper published by the Royal Society that his friends advised him, many years afterwards, not to send to the same society his proposal of vaccination, lest he should thereby lose the scientific reputation he had acquired by his researches on the cuckoo. We find John Hunter dunning him for cuckoos. He wants an old one;—he wants a young one; he wants eggs in various stages; and Jenner seems to have been always able to lay his hand on any creature that his friend desired to have. It is pleasant to know that his researches were made in a great variety of places, from his custom of devoting himself so heartily to his patients when they were seriously ill, as to remain in the house, making his rounds from thence, both among his patients and in the near neighbourhood, where he soon hunted out all the animals and plants. The country people had a great opinion of him, from his being learned in common things, as well as in the secrets of his profession. He was as well known as the bearer of the mail bags, as he rode in his blue coat and yellow buttons, his buckskins and boots, with their massive silver spurs, and his silver-handled riding-whip. Of course, being born in 1749, he wore his hair in a club, with a broad-brimmed round hat above it.

With all this apparent cheerfulness, and with such a love of country life in his native district as to have declined to accompany Captain Cook in his second voyage, and refused a lucrative appointment in India, Jenner was prone to melancholy. His foreign biographers have spoken of his being a hypochondriac through life. There seems to be no evidence of such an amount of depression as this; but, with all his vivacity and capacity for mirth, it is certain that his disposition was not only reserved but melancholy. This tendency to discouragement and to disgust with life so greatly enhances his merit in his stedfast pursuit of his chief discovery as to claim thus much notice. As he was of too modest and kindly a nature to trouble his friends with his personal griefs, it is most respectful to him to say no more on this head than a due appreciation of him demands.

During his occupation with a very good practice as a surgeon, he was always searching into the causes or prior stages of everything that was obscure; and a letter of his to Dr. Heberden is considered a sufficient proof that he, and not Dr. Heberden, discovered the cause, or more properly the nature of the angina pectoris, a disease till then as obscure as almost any on the physician’s list.

During all these years he had never lost sight of an incident which had struck him while a surgeon’s apprentice at Sodbury, near Bristol. A young woman from the country called at the surgery for advice. The subject of small-pox (the commonest of all topics of conversation in those days) was mentioned; and she remarked that she was in no danger from small-pox, as she had had the cowpock. Jenner put down in his note-book whatever he heard on this subject afterwards; and, among other things, the anecdote of the Duchess of Cleveland and Moll Davis (Lady Mary Davis): that when the Duchess was warned by Moll Davis that she might any day lose her beauty by small-pox, she replied that she did not stand in that danger, as she had had a disorder which would prevent her ever having the small-pox.

The visit of the country girl took place before 1776; for that was the year when Jenner went to London to complete his professional education. He repeatedly spoke to Hunter on the prospect thus afforded of getting the mastery of the small-pox; but Hunter never gave his mind to it, nor seemed to consider it anything more than a boyish dream of his pupil’s. Other wise men were appealed to, with no better success; and Jenner had to pursue his researches alone. The date should be attended to, because attempts have been made in France to deprive him of the honour of his discovery, from a French clergyman at Montpellier having told two English gentlemen there, in 1781, that there was a disease in animals, and especially in sheep, but also in cows, which, being caught by the milkers of ewes and cows, rendered them safe from small-pox. One of these Englishmen, it is said, declared that he should report the fact to his friend Jenner. Jenner, however, was never so informed; and, if he had been, his answer would have been that he had been studying that very fact for above a dozen years, and had communicated the result of his observations to the profession five years before,—viz., in 1776.

There was no haste about his method of proceeding at any time. He soon found that most persons who had had the cow-pock were unable to receive small-pox by inoculation, and never had it otherwise; but he also ascertained that some persons did take the small-pox who were declared to have had the cow-pock. Here began the difference between Jenner and a multitude of doctors, and others who caught at the notion, after his practice was fully established, taking anybody's word for having had cow-pock, and believing any disease of any cow to be the thing wanted. Jenner was aware what care, patience, and discrimination were necessary to ascertain and command all the conditions of such an experiment; and he pursued his inquiry in silence for years before he brought the world down upon him by the announcement of his discovery. It was at least ten years, from 1770 to 1780, before he confided to an intimate friend the strong hope he entertained of standing between the living and the dead, and staying the plague.

And what a plague it was! Small-pox was for centuries confounded with what we now call specifically the plague. The first case we know of that can be distinctly pointed out as small-pox, was that of the daughter of Alfred the Great, Elfrida, wife of Baldwin, Earl of Flanders. She recovered; but her grandson (the next case recorded), died of it in A.D. 961. For nearly eight hundred years it went on ravaging Europe at short intervals; and whenever Europeans set foot on a new soil, there they left the disease, if they did not find it. In Persia, it occasionally swept through the land, leaving the stench of death in its track; and millions of Hindoos have sunk under it. It so raged among them at the time of Jenner's discovery, that they were tricked into the practice of vaccination in a curious way. A Sanscrit scholar, Mr. Ellis, wrote a poem in praise of vaccination, transcribed it on some very ancient paper, and put it where it was "found" as a relic of antique literature. Another gentleman, Dr. Anderson of Madras, did precisely the same thing; and the Hindoos, with their established practice of inoculation, and their veneration for the cow, took easily to the practice. But one consequence of the deception was that others than Hindoos were misled; and we find among French authors, at this day, notices of the passages in Sanscrit literature which prove that vaccination was practised thousands of years ago! The Red Indians, and the tribes of Africa, and the islanders of the Pacific, have been less fortunate than peoples who have an ancient literature. Whole tribes have been destroyed by the disease. Mr. Catlin's pathetic account of the death of the last of the Mandans is only an illustration of what has passed in every known country on the globe. What the scourge was in every-day life at-home, in every European nation, all history shows. I may observe that, to increase the consternation, there were occasional instances of persons having the disease more than once. Louis XV. of France, who died of it at sixty-four, was universally known to have had it at fourteen; and it is said that 130 writers have furnished instances of this liability.

Grave as was the evil up to the beginning of the last century, it was bearable in comparison with what happened afterwards, for eighty or ninety years. Before the practice of inoculation was introduced, the pestilence came every few years, and never entirely died out between; but it left people's minds comparatively at ease in the intervals. Its raging periods were truly shocking. It carried off several persons in one house, if not the entire family. It left those who recovered blind of one eye, or of both; or deaf; or in such a state as to die by pleurisy in a few weeks, or consumption in a few months. Scrofula remained behind, in almost every house where small-pox had been. It had been supposed that the blindness was caused by pustules on the eyeball; but it was ascertained that the real evil was a putrescence of the substance of the eye, proceeding from the sunk state of the frame, which caused some other fatal mischief, if it spared the eyes. This was the stage in which wine and bark, meat and brandy, were administered; and not erroneously, some high authorities tell us. The hot fires and closed windows were a terrible mistake; but not the stimulating diet and medicine, they say. When the visitation was over for the time, what a wreck was left! Those who had fled in good time returned, almost afraid to look about them. Strong men seemed palsied; the young and beautiful were altered, past all knowledge, with their swollen features and weak senses; infants were blinded and disfigured: the remnants of households were in mourning, or watching some coughing, wasting relative, called convalescent, through the downward stages of consumption. Bad as all this was, there was worse to come.

Early in the last century, several pamphlets appeared in the course of three or four years on the practice of inoculation for small-pox, as witnessed in Turkey ; but no great attention was paid to the suggestion till Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, who investigated the subject at Constantinople, caused her own son to be inoculated, and brought him home as an evidence of the benefits of the practice. From the date of her arrival in London, 1722, the practice spread through the kingdom—at first slowly, and then very rapidly, till every educated parent had his children inoculated, as we have them vaccinated now. Yet not quite in the same way. Dr. Jenner had a wretched remembrance of the method in his own case. He was bled, starved, and sunk till he was considered low enough to run the risk of premature small-pox. Many children suffered permanently from this treatment. But this, great as it was, was a minor evil.

In contemplating the advantage to individuals of undergoing the small-pox under chosen and favourable circumstances, in the midst of health, and when parents and nurses were at liberty to attend upon the patient, everybody seemed to overlook the certain consequences of keeping the disease always alive and afloat. In a little while, everybody near the inoculated patient who had any susceptibility to the disease took it; and the mortality rose from year to year till, in Jenner's time, it far exceeded that from any known disease. Even under the perpetual weeding which was going on, from the constant prevalence of the malady, the deaths were one in four of those attacked; and in the hospitals, the average of mortality was thirty per cent. The parents of children who had been early secured by inoculation blessed the Englishwoman who had brought the boon to the firesides of her countrymen: but observers who took a wider range of view said that, admirable as was her courage, and excellent as were her intentions, she had caused the premature death of thousands of each generation since her own, by turning the occasional sweep of the pestilence into a constant pressure, incalculably more fatal. The effect was so obvious that in France, where the mischief had fixed universal attention, inoculation for small-pox was forbidden by royal authority in 1763: and in Spain the practice was almost entirely suppressed; in consequence of which the mortality from small-pox was smaller, in proportion to the population, than in any other country in Europe.

Under such circumstances as those of his time, Jenner could not but be eager, on the one hand, to establish an antidote to the disease; and, anxious, on the other hand, to make sure of his facts before he published them. Hence the caution he gave to his friend Gardner, at the end of a ride they took in 1780, in the course of which Jenner disclosed the whole history of his researches into the pustular diseases of cows, for ten years past. He urged upon his friend that the conversation was confidential, because "if anything untoward" should turn up in his experiments, the profession would mock at him, the public would complain of being deceived, and the whole benefit would be delayed or lost.

The "untoward" circumstance which made a world of mischief soon after, and well nigh broke Jenner's spirit, was one which @he@ had had the patience to study and master :—the fact that more than one pustular disease of the cow affected the hands of the milkers, and could not be distinguished by them from the true cowpock. Of course their testimony was caught at by the profession, on every occasion of small-pox following the false cowpock. The doctors themselves did not stop to learn distinctions, but vaccinated with anything that came from a cow, or from milkers who had had any kind of sore to show as caused by the cow. There were even instances of surgeons who charged their lancets and "threads" from the pustules of small-pox! Jenner was in no way to blame for the mistakes made. He had ascertained every point he could think of as ascertainable: he had carefully explained how much remained doubtful: he asked for facts, and most earnestly for such as might seem to show him to be wrong: he set aside every consideration but that of putting a stop to the small-pox. Nothing could exceed his candour, his modesty, his disinterestedness. But how about his courage? some may ask.

I should say that the mere act of publishing his "Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolæ Vaccinæ," with his keen prevision of the reception it would meet with from the profession, who would be followed by the public, proves an extraordinary amount of moral courage in a man so retiring, so sensitive, and so prone to despondency as Jenner. It is no contradiction that he afterwards suffered torture, and did not attempt to conceal it. "I am beset on all sides by snarling fellows," he writes, "and so ignorant withal that they know no more of the disease they write about than the animals which generate it. . . . It is impossible for me, single-handed, to combat all my adversaries. Standing, as I do, before so awful a tribunal, my friends will volunteer their counsel, and immediately appear in court. Give me as much of your company as you can, and as speedily." We find him imploring his friends not to neglect him, complaining of wrong, overwork, depression, and poverty; longing for life to be over; suffering bitterly, in short, but never for a moment falling below his duty, failing to assert his cause, or losing his characteristic modesty and candour in dealing with opponents. Any man who was not brave would have bullied his enemies more or less, or given up the cause.

The highest courage was required, also, to try the first express experiment of vaccination. It took place on a day, the anniversary of which was held as a festival at Berlin and elsewhere, not long ago, and may be still, for aught I know. On the 14th of May, 1796, Jenner vaccinated a boy of the name of Phipps, eight years old, from the hand of a dairywoman who had the true cowpock: the boy went well through the experiment, was inoculated for small-pox in July, and failed to take it. From this time forward, it was the custom to make the 14th of May a day of rejoicing in Prussia and elsewhere, and to publish the annual results of vaccination. For many years the vaccinations exceeded the births, showing that the people were aware of their danger, while any remained unsecured. In Prussia, the deaths from small-pox had averaged 40,000 annually before vaccination was introduced; and within twenty years they had sunk to 3,000, though there had been a large accession of new territory. Sweden, and Denmark, and some territories in Germany remained absolutely free from small-pox for twenty years after the practice of vaccination had been properly adopted. A sudden change from the few preceding years when 600,000 persons died annually of small-pox in the world at large, and 210,000 in Europe; and when every quarter of a century saw twenty-five millions of human beings carried off by the foulest of distempers!

When the good sense of society got the better of the bigotry and ignorance of the learned and the lowly, Jenner began to receive his due. At first, he was widely execrated as a monster who would degrade the human race to the level of brutes. According to some who should have known better, we ought by this time to have been mooing and baaing, or going on all fours, or pasturing like Nebuchadnezzar. Jenner outlived that cry. As for the clamour about his blasphemy in taking human health out of the hands of Providence, it was only what Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and her followers had gone through before. Generally speaking, he was estimated sooner than the great benefactors of mankind usually are. He received thanks from almost the whole circle of crowned heads, and was informed of the vaccination of all manner of princes and valuable persons all the world over. Poems were published, and five medals were struck in his honour; and there were some who remembered that he, the father of a family, had largely sacrificed his practice (he had long been a physician, because he had not sufficient leisure as a surgeon), without obtaining any recompense whatever from his discovery; and hence arose the movement which obtained for him a grant of 10,000@l@. from Parliament, followed, some years later, by another of 20,000@l@. To the end of his days, however, the great Discoverer suffered grave inconveniences from the work of his life. He was not only overwhelmed with correspondence; the correspondence was in a great degree occasioned by the blunders of those who wrote to him. We are told that his patience was unbounded; and he went on to the last explaining matters which he had made clear in print years before; but it was weary work! The same mistakes were repeated incessantly; and then the blame of failure was thrown upon him. Through it all, however, he had the comfort of knowing that the terrible disease was disappearing wherever his method of prevention was tried; and that in several countries, the next generation would grow up without knowing, except from description, what the small-pox was like. He was still writing letters and giving guidance to applicants when, in January, 1823, when he was seventy-four years old, he was struck down by apoplexy in his library, and died that very easy death.

Such was the career of a Discoverer who has doubtless saved more lives than any other man: perhaps more than all the slaughterers of their kind have killed since small-pox was first known. We can scarcely suppose that war has ever destroyed so many as fifteen millions every quarter of a century. If ever a Discoverer was to be envied, it must be this man: yet we see that life was not altogether charming to him; and further, that his special discovery seemed no very exhilarating affair to himself. He was not the less, but the more, a great man for this; and the more the dreams of the dreamer approach to the qualified view which Jenner took of the career of discovery, the more likely it is that the dreamer should enter into Jenner's fellowship.

I must add a word about the position in which we now find ourselves. By this time we ought to be like the Swedish and Danish children of thirty years ago—unable to bear witness to smallpox, more or less: or, at least, we should be able to tell nothing beyond some dim remembrance of the nursemaids and gossips shaking their heads over children who are made to understand that they are injured individuals, on whom experiments have been tried, as if they were dumb brutes. I remember the way in which an old sempstress and my nurse lifted up their eyes against my parents and the doctor, and made me quite vain of their pity when I had two marks to show on my arm, vaccination being then new enough to induce parents to try inoculation after it. We may also remember uncles or aunts, or at least grandparents, pitted with smallpox. Even at this day, anybody who walks through Donnybrook fair, or anywhere in the lower order of streets in Dublin, will be struck with the number of pitted faces, and of one-eyed people whom he meets. This should be the utmost we know of smallpox at the date of sixty-four years from the publication of Jenner's "Inquiry." Yet the case is far otherwise. There has been a recent spread of the disease, quite serious enough to awaken us all to consideration. We hear occasional doubts of the efficacy of vaccination; hints that it is wearing out: suspicions that it was sadly overpraised at first; and even some suggestions that it causes diseases as bad as that which it obviated. While such things are said, no attention that can be given to the case can be too vigilant. For my own part, old and experienced as I am, I see in all these hints and complaints nothing but a repetition of the things that were said in Jenner's day; and I feel confident that if he were among us, he would lay his finger on each cause of failure as readily and infallibly as he did in the last century. I believe that, as the novelty and exquisite sense of relief have died out, carelessness has crept in: that we do not understand so well as we ought in what stage of the cow's ailment the vaccine matter is proper for our use, nor perhaps how to distinguish the spurious from the genuine pock. I am very sure that there is great carelessness about the transference of the lymph from one subject to another; and I think it hardly probable that vaccination can be infallibly administered by the whole generation of parochial surgeons who are planted down in a fortuitous way throughout the country. There are other adverse chances: but these are enough to account for a reappearance and slight spread of the old disease. Jenner would wonder that it is no worse.

If there is among us a man as devoted, and candid, and patiently sagacious as Jenner, and as little ambitious of glory on his own account, here is a career laid open to him. Let him take up Jenner's work. Let him carefully study Jenner's course of inquiry, his experiments, his replies to opponents, his exposures of mistakes; and then we shall see where we are wrong, and how our old enemy has partly got his head from under our heel. Let him, when duly qualified, test the proceedings of the Royal Jennerian Society (which probably knows most of the matter), and of every other dispensing authority. The question of compulsory or voluntary vaccination is one upon which every citizen can form an opinion. Before we argue that point, we ought to be satisfied that the vaccination we require and impose is the thing we intend; and the medical men are the persons who alone can settle this point. Let us hope that the spirit of Jenner, in some mind of to-day, will rise to the task, and enable the future historian to say that the smallpox was quelled in Great Britain in the eighteenth, and extirpated in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

Ingleby Scott.