The Vaccination Controversy: The Rise, Reign, and Fall of Compulsory Vaccination for Smallpox

By Stanley Williamson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
THE LANGUAGE OF FIGURES

By the end of 1722 the mutual recriminations of the opposing parties had largely died away, chiefly for want of accurate information on which to base their contradictory claims. There was clearly a need for research, conducted at a responsible level, to establish a few reliable facts at least with regard to the success or otherwise of the operation. In December 1723, and in a slightly amended form in 1724, the Philosophical Transactions carried an advertisement:

The practice of inoculating the small pox being now extended into
many parts of the Kingdom, and it being highly requisite that the
public should be faithfully inform'd of the success of that method,
whether good or bad: it is desir'd that all physicians, surgeons,
apothecaries, and others therein concern'd will be pleas'd to
transmit to Dr Jurin, Secretary to the Royal Society, a particular
account specifying the name and age of every person by them inoc-
ulated, the place where it was done, the manner of the operation,
whether it took effect or no, what sort of distemper it produced, on
what day from inoculation the eruption appear'd, and lastly,
whether the patient died or recover'd. They are desir'd to compre-
hend in their accounts all persons inoculated by them from the
beginning of the practice among us to the end of the present year,
and to send them some time in January or February next…

The results were to be made available to the public and to any gentleman, but the names of the persons inoculated would not be printed without their consent. The original accounts were to be preserved so that 'in case any of those who have been inoculated shall afterwards have the small pox in the natural way it may be known whether such person had before received the small pox by inoculation or not'.

Jurin had already been engaged in correspondence with Nettleton

-40-

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The Vaccination Controversy: The Rise, Reign, and Fall of Compulsory Vaccination for Smallpox
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Part I - The Road to Compulsion 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Byzantine Operation 3
  • Chapter 2 - The Small Pockes 8
  • Chapter 3 - The Engrafted Distemper 29
  • Chapter 4 - The Language of Figures 40
  • Chapter 5 - The Suttonian System 48
  • Chapter 6 - The Great Benefactor 74
  • Chapter 7 - The Speckled Monster 98
  • Chapter 8 - The Three Bashaws 107
  • Chapter 9 - A Competent and Energetic Officer 120
  • Chapter 10 - Formidable Men 135
  • Chapter 11 - The Present Non-System 142
  • Chapter 12 - Toties Quoties 155
  • Chapter 13 - Crotchety People 163
  • Part II - The Reign of Compulsion 177
  • Chapter 14 - A Loathsome Virus 179
  • Chapter 15 - A Cruel and Degrading Imposture 188
  • Chapter 16 - Ten Shillings or Seven Days 202
  • Chapter 17 - Death by Non-Vaccination 214
  • Chapter 18 - The Great Pox 223
  • Part III - The Retreat from Compulsion 231
  • Chapter 19 - A Genuine Conscientious Objection 233
  • Notes 239
  • Bibliography 247
  • Index 256
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