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THE WONDERFUL CENTURY 



THE WONDERFUL 
CENTURY 

ITS SUCCESSES AND ITS FAILURES 



BY 

ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE 

AUTHOR OF "THE MALAY ARCHIPELAGO : " 
"DARWINISM," ETC., ETC. 



TORONTO 
GEORGE N. MOEANG 

1898 




Enfered according 1 to Act of Parliament of Canada, in 
the year one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight, 
by GEORGE N. MORANG, in the office of the Minister of 
Agriculture. 



1898! 

And these are ours to-day ! The boundless flood 

Of infinite Research the ocean vast 
Of endless exploration and our barque 

Of Science builded, fairly launched at last, 
Captain'd by Thought by Reason piloted 

Sails forth upon the venture and to us, 
To search the shores of Doubt in midnight hid ; 

To give, if such there be, new Worlds to light, 

And that we have, with better day make bright. 

J. II. Dell. 



Every young soul, ardent and high, rushing forth into life's hot 

fight ; 

Every home of happy content, lit by love's own mystical light ; 
Every worker who works till the evening, and earns before night his 

wage, 

Be his work a furrow straight drawn, or the joy of a bettered age ; 
Every thinker who, standing aloof from the throng, finds a high 

delight 
In striking with tongue or with pen a stroke for the triumph of 

right, 

All these know that life is sweet ; all these, with a consonant voice, 
Read the legend of Time with a smile, and that which they read is 

"Rejoice !" 

Sir Lewis Morris. 



If thou would'st make thy thought, O man, the home 

Where other minds may habit, build it large. 

Make its vast roof translucent to the skies, 

And let the upper glory dawn thereon, 

Till morn and evening, circling round, shall drop 

Their jewelled plumes of sun-flame and of stars. 

T/iomas Lake Harris. 



PKEFACE, 

THE present work is not in any sense a history, even 
on the most limited scale. It may perhaps be termed 
an appreciation of the century of what it has done, 
and what it has left undone. The attempt has been 
made to give short, descriptive sketches of those great 
material and intellectual achievements which especially 
distinguish the nineteenth century from any and all of 
its predecessors, and to "show how fundamental is the 
change they have effected in our life and civilization. 
A comparative estimate of the number and importance 
of these achievements leads to the conclusion that not 
only is our century superior to any .that have gone be- 
fore it, but that it may be best compared with the whole 
preceding historical period. It must therefore be held 
to constitute the beginning of a new era of human 
progress. 

But this is only one side of the shield. Along with 
these marvellous Successes perhaps in consequence of 
them there have been equally striking Failures, some 
intellectual, but for the most part moral and social. No 
impartial appreciation of the century can omit a refer- 
ence to them; and it is not improbable that, to the his- 
torian of the future, they will be considered to be its 
most striking characteristic. I have therefore given 
them due prominence. No doubt it will be objected 
that I have devoted far too much space to them more 

vltt 



PREFACE. 



than half the volume. But this was inevitable, for the 
very obvious reason that, whereas the successes are uni- 
versally admitted and had only to be described, the fail- 
ures are either ignored or denibd, and therefore required 
to be proved. It was thus necessary to give a tolerably 
full summary of the evidence in every case in which an 
allegation of failure has been made. The Yaccinatioii 
question has been discussed at the greatest length for 
several reasons. It is the only surgical operation that, 
in our country, has ever been universally enforced by 
law. It has been recently inquired into by a Royal 
Commission, whose Majority Report is directly opposed 
to the real teaching of the official and national statistics 
presented in the detailed reports. The operation is, ad- 
mittedly, the cause of many deaths, and of a large but 
unknown amount of permanent injury; the only really 
trustworthy statistics on a large scale prove it to be 
wholly without effect as a preventive of small-pox ; many 
hundreds of persons are annually punished for refusing 
to have their children vaccinated; and it will undoubt- 
edly rank as the greatest and most pernicious failure of 
the century. I claim that the evidence set forth in this 
chapter, with the diagrams which illustrate it, demon- 
strate this conclusion. It is no longer a question of 
opinion, but of science; and I have the most complete 
confidence that the result I have arrived at is a statis- 
tical, and therefore a mathematical certainty. 

Of even greater importance, though less special to the 
century, is the perennial problem of wealth and poverty. 
In dealing with this question I have adduced a body of 
evidence showing that, accompanying our enormous in- 
crease of wealth, there has been a corresponding increase 



PREFACE. ix 



of poverty, of insanity, of suicide, and probably even of 
crime, together with other indications of moral and 
physical deterioration. To the facts I have set forth I 
earnestly call the attention of all those who have at heart 
the progress of true civilization and the welfare of 
humanity. 

A. E. W. 
PARKS-TONE, DORSET, April, 1898. 



The old times are dead and gone and rotten ; 

The old thoughts shall never more be thought ; 
The old faiths have failed and are forgotten, 

The old strifes are done, the fight is fought ; 
And with a clang and roll, the new creation 
Bursts forth, 'mid tears and blood and tribulation. 

Sir Lewis Morris. 



CONTENTS. 



PART I. SUCCESSES. 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. MODES OP TRAVELLING, 1 

II. LABOR-SAVING MACHINERY, ..... 12 

III. THE CONVEYANCE OF THOUGHT> . . 17 

IV. FIRE AND LIGHT, ... .24 
Y. NEW APPLICATIONS OF LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY, . 31 

VL NEW APPLICATIONS OF LIGHT-SPECTRUM ANALYSIS, 42 

VII. THEORETICAL DISCOVERIES IN PHYSICS, . . 51 

VIIL MINOR APPLICATIONS OF PHYSICAL PRINCIPLES, . 59 

IX". THE IMPORTANCE OF DUST A SOURCE OF BEAUTY 

AND ESSENTIAL TO LIFE, 69 

X. A FEW OF THE GREAT PROBLEMS OF CHEMISTRY, . 86 

XI. ASTRONOMY AND COSMIC THEORIES, .... 93 

XII. GEOLOGY : THE GLACIAL EPOCH AND THE ANTIQUITY 

OF MAN, 110 

XIII. EVOLUTION AND NATURAL SELECTION, . . .135 

XIV. POPULAR DISCOVERIES IN PHYSIOLOGY, . . .143 
XV. ESTIMATE OF ACHIEVEMENTS : THE NINETEENTH 

AS COMPARED WITH EARLIER CENTURIES, . .150 



xii CONTENTS. 

PART II. FAILURES. 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XVI. THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY, .... 159 
XVII. THE OPPOSITION TO HYPNOTISM AND PSYCHICAL 

RESEARCH, 194 

XVIII. VACCINATION A DELUSION ITS PENAL ENFORCE- 
MENT A CRIME, 213 

APPENDIX THE CAUSES OF THE IMPROVEMENT IN 
THE HEALTH OF LONDON TOWARD THE END OF 
THE EIGHTEENTH AND BEGINNING OF THE NINE- 
TEENTH CENTURIES, 316 

XIX. MILITARISM THE CURSE OF CIVILIZATION, . . 325 

XX THE DEMON OF GREED, 343 

XXI. THE PLUNDER OF THE EARTH CONCLUSION, . . 369 
APPENDIX THE REMEDY FOR WANT IN THE 
MIDST OF WEALTH. , 382 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



PART L SUCCESSES. 
CHAPTER I. 

MODES OF TRAVELLING. 

Put forth your force, my iron horse, with limbs that never tire ! 
The best of oil shall feed your joints, and the best of coal your fire ; 
Like a train of ghosts, the telegraph posts go wildly trooping by, 
While one by one the milestones run, and off behind us fly ! 
Dash along, crash along, sixty miles an hour ! 

Right through old England flee ! 
For I am bound to see my love, 
Far away in the North Countrie. 

Professor Rankine. 



men of the nineteenth century have not been 
slow to praise it. The wise and the foolish, the learned 
and the unlearned, the poet and the pressman, the rich 
and the poor, alike swell the chorus of admiration for 
the marvellous inventions and discoveries of our own 
age, and especially for those innumerable applications 
of science which now form part of our daily life, and 
which remind us every hour of our immense superiority 
over our comparatively ignorant forefathers. 

But though in this respect (and in many others) we 
undoubtedly think very well of ourselves, yet, in the 
opinion of the present writer, our self-admiration does 
not rest upon an adequate appreciation of the facts. No 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



one, so far as I am aware, has yet pointed out the alto- 
gether exceptional character of our advance in science 
and the arts, during the century which is now so near its 
close. In order to estimate its full importance and 
grandeur more especially as regards man's increased 
power over nature, and the application of that power to 
the needs of his life to-day, with unlimited possibilities 
in the future we must compare it, not with any pre- 
ceding century, or even with the last millennium, but 
with the whole historical period perhaps even with the 
whole period that has elapsed since the stone age. 

Looking back through the long dark vista of human 
history, the one step in material progress that seems to 
be really comparable in importance with several of the 
steps we have just made, was, when Fire was first 
utilized, and became the servant and the friend, instead 
of being the master and the enemy of man. From that 
far distant epoch even down to our day, fire, in various 
forms and in ever-widening spheres of action, has not 
only ministered to the necessities and the enjoyments of 
man, but has been the greatest, the essential factor, in 
that continuous increase of his power over nature, which 
has undoubtedly been a chief means of the development 
of his intellect and a necessary condition of what we 
term civilization. Without fire there would have been 
neither a bronze nor an iron age, and without these there 
could have been no effective tools or weapons, with all 
the long succession of mechanical discoveries and refine- 
ments that depended upon them. Without fire there 
could be no rudiment even of chemistry, and all that has 
arisen out of it. Without fire much of the earth's sur- 
face would be uninhabitable by man, and much of what 



MODES OF TRAVELLING. 



is now wholesome food would be useless to him. With- 
out fire he must always have remained ignorant of the 
larger part of the world of matter and of its mysterious 
forces. He might have lived in the warmer parts of the 
earth in a savage or even in a partially civilized condi- 
tion, but he could never have risen to the full dignity of 
intellectual man, the interpreter and master of the forces 
of nature. 

Having thus briefly indicated our standpoint, let us 
proceed to sketch in outline those great advances in 
science and the arts which are the glory of our century. 
In the course of our survey we shall find that the more 
important of these are not mere improvements upon, or 
developments of, anything that had been done before, 
but that they are entirely new departures, arising out of 
our increasing knowledge of and command over the 
forces of the universe. Many of these advances have 
already led to developments of the most startling kind, 
giving us such marvellous powers, and such extensions 
of our normal senses, as would have been incredible, and 
almost unthinkable even to our greatest men of science, 
a hundred years ago. We begin with the simplest of 
these advances, those which have given us increased 
facilities for locomotion. 

The younger generation, which has grown up in the 
era of railways and of ocean-going steamships, hardly 
realize the vast change which we elders have seen, or 
how great and fundamental that change is. Even in my 
own boyhood the wagon for the poor, the stage coach 
for the middle class, and the post-chaise for the wealthy, 
were the universal means of communication, there 
being only two short railways then in existence the 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



Stockton and Darlington opened in 1825, and the Liver- 
pool and Manchester line opened in 1830. The yellow 
post-chaise, without any driving seat, but with a postilion 
dressed like a jockey riding one of the pair of horses, 
was among the commonest sights on our main roads ; and 
together with the hundreds of four-horse mail and stage 
coaches, the guards carrying horns or bugles which were 
played while passing through every town or village, gave 
a stir and liveliness and picturesqueness to rural life 
which is now almost forgotten. 

When I first went to London (I think about 1835) 
there was still not a mile of railroad in England, except 
the two above-named, and none between London and 
any of our great northern or western cities were even 
seriously contemplated. The sites of most of our great 
London railway termini were then on the very outskirts 
of the suburbs; Chalk Farm was a genuine farmhouse, 
and Primrose Hill was surrounded by open fields. 

A few years later (in 1837-38) I was living near 
Leighton Buzzard while the London and Birmingham 
Railway, the precursor of the present London and North- 
Western system, was in process of construction; and 
when the first section was opened to Watford, I travelled 
by it to London, third-class, in what is now an ordinary 
goods truck, with neither roof nor seats, nor any other 
accommodation than is now given to coal, iron, and mis- 
cellaneous goods. If it rained, or the wind was cold, 
the passengers sat on the floor and protected themselves 
as they could. Second-class carriages were then what 
the very worst of the third-class are or were a few years 
ago closed in, but low and nearly dark, with plain 
wooden seats while the first class were exactly like the 



MODES OF TRAVELLING. 



bodies of three stage coaches joined together. The open 
passenger trucks were the cause of much misery, and a 
few deaths from exposure, before they were somewhat 
improved ; but even then there was evidently a dread of 
making them too comfortable, so a roof was put to them, 
also seats, and the sides a little raised but open at the 
top, about equal in comfort to our present cattle trucks. 
At last, after a good many years, the despised third-class 
passengers were actually provided with carriages of the 
early second-class type; and it is only in comparatively 
recent times that the greater railway companies realized 
the fact that third-class passengers were so numerous as 
to be more profitable than the other two combined, and 
that it was worth while to give them the same comfort, 
if not the same luxury, as those who could afford to 
travel more expensively. 

The continuous progress in speed and comfort is mat- 
ter of common knowledge, and nothing more need be 
said of it here. The essential point for our consideration 
is, the fundamental and even revolutionary nature of 
the change that has been wholly, effected during the 
present century. In all previous ages the only modes of 
travelling or of conveying goods for long distances were 
by employing either men or animals as the carriers. 
Wherever the latter were not used all loads had to be 
carried by men, as is still the case over a large part of 
Africa, and as was the case over almost the whole of 
America before its discovery by the Spaniards. 

But throughout Europe and Asia the horse was do- 
mesticated in very early times, and was used for riding 
and in drawing war chariots ; and throughout the Middle 
Ages pack-horses were in universal use for carrying 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



various kinds of goods and produce, and saddle horses 
for riding. All journeys were then made on horseback, 
and it was in comparatively recent times that wheeled 
vehicles for travelling in came into general use in Eng- 
land. The very first carriage was made for Queen 
Elizabeth in 1568; the first that plied for hire in London 
were in 1625, and the first stage coaches in 1659. 

But chariots drawn by horses were used, both in war 
and. peace, by all the early civilized peoples. Pharaoh 
made Joseph ride in a chariot, and he sent wagons to 
bring Jacob, with his children and household goods, to 
Egypt. A little later chariots were sent by the Syrians 
as tribute to Pharaoh. Homer describes Telemachus as 
travelling from Pylos to Sparta in a chariot provided for 
him by Nestor : 

" The rage of thirst and hunger now suppress'd, 
The monarch turns him to his royal guest; 
And for the promis'd journey bids prepare 
The smooth-haired horses, and the rapid car." 

It is clear, therefore, that in the earliest historic times 
all the various types of wheeled vehicles were used for 
war, for racing, for travelling, and for the conveyance of 
merchandise. They must also have been used through- 
out a large part of Europe, since Cresar found our Brit- 
ish ancestors possessed of war-chariots, which they man- 
aged with great skill, implying a long previous acquaint- 
ance with the domesticated horse and its use in humbler 
wheeled vehicles. 

Thus, throughout all past history the modes of travel- 
ling were essentially the same, and an ancient Greek or 
Eoman, Egyptian, or Assyrian, could travel as quickly 



MODES OP TRAVELLING. 



and as conveniently as could Englishmen down to the 
latter part of the eighteenth century. It was mainly a 
question of roads, and till the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century our roads were for the most part far in- 
ferior to those of the Romans. It is, therefore, not 
improbable that during the Roman occupation of Brit- 
ain the journey from London to York could have 
been made actually quicker than a hundred and fifty 
years ago. 

We see, then, that from the earliest historic, and even 
in prehistoric times, till the construction of our great 
railways in the second quarter of the present century, 
there had been absolutely no change in the methods of 
human locomotion; and the speed for long distances 
must have been limited to ten or twelve miles an hour 
even under the most favorable conditions, while gener- 
ally it must have been very much less. But the railroad 
and steam-locomotive, in less than fifty years, not only 
raised the speed to fifty or sixty miles an hour, but ren- 
dered it possible to carry many hundreds of passengers 
at once with punctuality and safety for enormous dis- 
tances, and with hardly any exposure or fatigue. For 
the civilized world travelling and the conveyance of 
goods have been revolutionized, and by means which 
were probably neither anticipated nor even imagined 
fifty years before. 

Dr. Erasmus Darwin, who predicted steam carriages, 
had apparently no conception of the possibility of rail- 
roads, the enormous cost of which would have seemed to 
be prohibitory. And we have by no means yet fully 
developed their possibilities, since even now a railroad 
could be made on which we might safely travel more 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



than a hundred miles an hour, it being merely a question 
of expense. 

In steam navigation there has been a very similar 
course of events, with the same characteristic of a com- 
pletely new departure, leading to unknown develop- 
ments and possibilities. From the earliest dawn of his- 
tory men used rowing or sailing vessels for coasting 
trade or for crossing narrow seas. The Carthaginians 
sailed nearly to the equator on the west coast of Africa, 
and in the eleventh century the Northmen reached 
North America on the coast of New England. Exactly 
five hundred years ago Vasco de Gama sailed from Por- 
tugal round the Cape of Good Hope to India, and in the 
next century Columbus and his Spanish followers crossed 
the Atlantic in its widest part to the West Indies and 
Mexico. From that time sailing ships were gradually 
improved, till they culminated in our magnificent 
frigates for war purposes and the clipper ships in the 
China and Australian trade, which were in use up to 
the middle of the century. But during all this long 
course of development there was no change whatever in 
principle, and the grandest three-decker or full-rigged 
clipper ship was but a direct growth, by means of an 
infinity of small modifications and improvements, from 
the rudest sailing boat of the primeval savage. 

Then, at the very commencement of the present cen- 
tury, the totally new principle of steam-propulsion be- 
gan to be used, at first experimentally and with many 
failures, on rivers, canals, and lakes, till about the year 
1815 coasting steamships of small size came into pretty 
general use. These were rapidly improved; but it was 
not till the year 1838 that the Great Western, of 1340 



MODES OF TRAVELLING. 



tons and 400 horse-power, made the passage from Bristol 
to New York in fourteen days, and thus inaugurated the 
system of ocean steam-navigation, which has since devel- 
oped to such an enormous extent. The average speed 
then attained, of about ten miles an hour, has now been 
more than doubled, and is still increasing. But the 
horse-power needed to attain this high speed has in- 
creased in much greater proportion; and it is only the 
much greater size and capacity, both for passengers and 
goods, that render such high speeds and enormous con- 
sumption of coal profitable. Some of the smaller steel- 
built war-ships torpedo-boats and torpedo-destroyers 
have considerably exceeded thirty miles an hour, and the 
limit of speed is probably not yet reached. Many sug- 
gested forms of vessels, such as the cigar-shaped and the 
roller-boats, have not been adequately tried; and there 
are other suggested forms by means of which greater 
steadiness and speed may yet be obtained. 

Almost as remarkable as our railroads and steamships 
is the new method of locomotion by means of the bicycle 
and tricycle. The principle is old enough, but the per- 
fection to which these vehicles have now attained has 
been rendered possible by the continuous growth of all 
kinds of delicate tools and machines required in the con- 
struction of the infinitely varied forms of steam-engines, 
dynamos, and other rapidly-moving machinery. In the 
last century it would not have been possible to construct 
a modern first-class bicycle, even if any genius had in- 
vented it, except at a cost of several hundred pounds. 
The combination of strength, accuracy, and lightness 
would not then have been attainable. It is a very inter- 
esting fact that three out of the four methods of rapid 



10 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



locomotion we now possess should have attained about 
the same maximum speed. The racehorse, the steam- 
ship, and the bicycle, have each of them reached thirty 
miles an hour. The horse is, however, close upon, if it 
has not actually attained, its utmost limits; the bicycle 
can already beat the horse for long distances, and will 
certainly go at higher speeds for short ones; while the 
steamship will also go much quicker, though how much 
no one can yet say. The greatest possibilities are with 
the bicycle, driven by electric power or compressed air, 
by which means, on a nearly straight and fairly level, 
asphalt track, no doubt fifty miles an hour will soon be 
reached. 

We see, then, that during the nineteenth century 
three distinct modes of locomotion have been originated 
and brought to a high degree of perfection. Two of 
them, the locomotive and the steamship, are altogether 
different in principle from what had gone before. Up 
to the very times of men now living, all our locomotion 
was on the same old lines which had been used for thou- 
sands of years. It had been improved in details, but 
without any alteration of principle and without any very 
great increase of efficiency. The principles on which 
our present methods rest are new; they already far sur- 
pass anything that could be effected by the older 
methods ; with wonderful rapidity they have spread over 
the whole world, and they have in many ways modified 
the habits and even the modes of speech of all civilized 
peoples. 

This vast change in the methods of human locomotion, 
already so ubiquitous that by the younger generation 
their absence rather than their presence is considered re- 



CHAP. i. MODES OF TRAVELLING. 11 

markable, has been almost wholly effected within the 
writer's memory, and is of itself sufficiently striking and 
important to justify the appellation of " The Wonderful 
Century " to that period which witnessed its rise, its 
progress, and its maturity of development. 



CHAPTEK II. 

LABOR-SAVING MACHINERY. 

Wonderful chair ! Wonderful horses ! Wonderful people ! 
Whirr ! whirr ! all by wheels ! Whizz ! whizz ! all by steam. 

Eothen. 

Work work work 
Till the brain begins to swim ; 

Work work work 
Till the eyes are heavy and dim ! 
Seam and gusset and band, 

Band and gusset and seam, 
Till over the buttons I fall asleep, 

And sew them on in a dream ! 

Hood. 

THE invention and partial development of much of 
our modern machinery dates from the last century, and 
our most advanced appliances for the manufacture of 
the various textile fabrics and hardware are mostly im- 
provements of, or developments from, the older ma- 
chines. These, taken in connection with the great im- 
provements in steam-engines, have multiplied many 
times over the efficiency of human labor, but do not 
otherwise specially interest us here. There are, how- 
ever, a few inventions which have the character of quite 
new departures, since not only do they greatly diminish 
labor but they perform, by mechanical contrivances, 
operations which had been supposed to be beyond the 
power of machinery to execute. The more prominent 
of these are the sewing machine, the typewriter, and the 



LABOR SAVING MACHINERY. 13 



combined reaping, thrashing, and winnowing machine, 
of which a brief account will be given. 

The sewing machine, now so common, exercised the 
ingenuity of mechanicians for a long period before it 
arrived at sufficient perfection to be suitable for general 
use. The earlier machines were for embroidering only; 
then, about 1790, one was made for stitching shoes and 
other leather work, but it does not seem to have come 
into general use. A crocheting machine was patented 
in 1834; somewhat later one for rough basting; but it 
was not till 1846 that the first effective lock-stitch sew- 
ing machine was made by Elias Howe, of Cambridge, 
Mass. Henceforth sewing machines were rapidly im- 
proved and adapted to every variety of work; but the 
difficulty of the problem to be solved is shown by the 
unusually long process of gradual development, much 
of the mechanical talent of both hemispheres being 
occupied for nearly a century before the various ma- 
chines so familiar to-day were perfected. There are 
now special machines for making button-holes and for 
sewing on buttons, for carpet-sewing, for pattern-sewing, 
for leather work, and for the special operations required 
in the making and repairing of shoes. Boot and shoe- 
making by machinery, in large factories, has entirely 
grown up since the sewing-machine was proved to .be 
adapted for almost every kind of sewing work. As a 
result, machine-made boots and shoes are very cheap, 
but they are usually of inferior quality to the old hand- 
made articles; and first-class work is quite as dear as it 
was fifty or sixty years ago, or even dearer. 

The typewriter is a still later invention, and though 
perhaps less difficult than the sewing machine, yet it 



14 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP.II. 

involves more complex motions and adjustments, so that 
the perfection it has so quickly attained is very remarka- 
ble. If we consider that about sixty separate types, in- 
cluding small letters, capitals, spaces, stops, etc., have to 
be so arranged and so connected as to be brought in any 
order whatever to a definite position, so as to form the 
successive letters and spaces in lines of printed charac- 
ters and then, being properly inked, must be brought 
into contact with the paper so as to produce a clear im- 
pression, and that all the motions of the machinery re- 
quired must be the result of a single pressure on a key 
for each letter, following one another as rapidly as 
possible, we shall have some idea of the difficulties which 
have had to be overcome. Yet, so great are the re- 
sources of modern mechanism, and the ingenuity of our 
mechanists, that the required result has been attained 
in many different ways, so that we may now choose 
between half a dozen forms of typewriters, no one 
of which seems to be very markedly superior to the 
rest. 

More important, perhaps, to mankind generally, are 
the harvesting machines, which render it possible to 
utilize one or two fine days to secure a harvest. Reap- 
ing machines have long been used in this country, and 
they were followed by combined reapers and binders, 
which left the crop ready for carting to the barn. But 
this, when the distance was great, did not save the grain 
from injury by wet, besides requiring much labor and a 
careful process of stacking to preserve it. In America 
a harvesting machine has been brought to perfection, 
which not only reaps the grain, but threshes it, winnows 
it, and delivers it into sacks ready for the granary or the 



CHAP. n. LABOR-SAVING MACHINERY. 15 

market, at one operation. This machine, with two men, 
will, in one fine day, secure the crop from ten or fifteen 
acres, with a minimum of labor. In the great wheat- 
fields of California and Australia, with an almost uni- 
formly dry climate at harvest time, it is this saving of 
labor which is the chief consideration; but in our 
treacherous climate, where a few days' delay may mean 
the partial or complete ruin of the crop, such machines 
will be doubly valuable by enabling farmers to utilize to 
the utmost every fine day after the grain is ripe. I had 
the pleasure of seeing this wonderful machine at work 
in California in 1887. It was propelled by sixteen small 
mules harnessed behind, so as not to be in the way; but 
steam power is now used. Considering what it effected, 
it was wonderfully light, compact, and simple ; and when 
agriculture is treated as a work of national importance, 
such machines will render us, to a considerable extent, 
independent of the weather, and will therefore become a 
necessity. 

The three mechanical inventions here briefly de- 
scribed were conceived in the first half, and brought to 
perfection in the second half of the century. They 
each mark a new departure in human industry, inas- 
much as they effect, by means of machinery and at one 
operation, what had previously been performed by hu- 
man labor directed by a hand or arm rendered skilful 
by long practice, and sometimes requiring several dis- 
tinct operations. They had been thus performed dur- 
ing the whole preceding period of human history, or so 
long as the particular kind of work had been done; so 
that, though of less general use and of less importance, 
they have the same distinguishing features which we 



16 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. n. 

have found to characterize our new methods of loco- 
motion. 

There are, of course, innumerable other remarkable 
mechanical inventions of the century in almost every 
department of industry such as the Jacquard loom for 
pattern-weaving, revolvers and machine-guns, iron ships, 
screw propellers, etc.; while machinery has been exten- 
sively applied to watch-making, screw-cutting, nail-mak- 
ing, printing, and a hundred other purposes. But none 
of these are of very high importance in themselves, or 
possess the special characteristics of being new and quite 
distinct departures from what has been done before, and 
they cannot therefore rank individually among those 
greater discoveries which pre-eminently distinguish the 
nineteenth century. 



CHAPTEK III. 

THE CONVEYANCE OF THOUGHT. 

Speak the word and think the thought, 
Quick 'tis as with lightning caught 
Over, under, lands or seas 
To the far antipodes. 

I sent a message to my dear 
A thousand leagues and more to Her 

The dumb sea-levels thrilled to hear, 
And Lost Atlantis bore to Her. 

Kipling. 

THE history of the progress of communication between 
persons at a distance from each other has gone through 
three stages which are radically distinct. At first it 
was dependent on the voice or on gestures, and a message 
to a friend (or enemy) at a distance could only be sent 
through a messenger, and was liable to distortion through 
failure of memory. The heralds and ambassadors of 
early times thus communicated orders from kings to their 
subjects, or conveyed messages from one king to another. 
Then came the invention of writing, and a new era of 
communication began. Letters were capable of convey- 
ing secret information and copious details, which could 
not be safely intrusted to the uncertain memory of an 
intermediary; and a single messenger could convey a 
large number of letters to various persons on the way to 
his ultimate destination. Henceforth the progress of 
communications was bound up with that of locomotion, 

17 



18 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. m. 

and, as civilization advanced, arrangements were made 
for the conveyance of letters at a comparatively small 
cost. A Post Office for the public service was first estab- 
lished by some Continental merchants in the fourteenth 
century; but it was not till the time of Charles I. that 
anything of the kind was to be found in England, and 
then it was mainly for the purpose of keeping up a com- 
munication between London and Edinburgh, and the 
intervening large towns, for Government purposes. It 
was, however, the starting-point of our existing postal 
system, which has been gradually extended under the 
direction of the King's Postmaster General, and has con- 
tinued to be a Government monopoly to our day. The 
letters were carried on horseback till 1783, when mail 
coaches were first introduced; and these led to a great 
improvement in our main roads, and the extension of 
the postal service to every town and village in the 
kingdom. 

But even with good roads and mail coaches, the actual 
time taken in the despatch of a letter to a distant place 
was little if any less than had been possible from the 
earliest times, by means of relays of runners on foot or 
by swift horsemen. The improvement consisted in the 
regularity and economy of the postal sendee. The in- 
troduction of railways and steamships enabled much 
greater speed to be secured; but the greatest and most 
beneficial improvement in the administration of the 
Post Office was that inaugurated by Rowland Hill in 
1840. The rule then first introduced, of an uniform 
charge irrespective of distance, is one of those entirely 
new departures so many of which characterize our cen- 
tury, and which not only produce immediate beneficial 






CHAP. in. THE CONVEYANCE OF THOUGHT. 19 

effects, but are the starting-points of various unforeseen 
developments. It was founded in this case on a careful 
estimate of the various items which make up the cost of 
the carriage and delivery of each letter, and it was shown 
that the actual conveyance, even for the greatest dis- 
tances, was the smallest part of the cost when the num- 
ber of letters is large, the chief items of expense being 
the office work the sorting, stamping, packing, etc. 
and the final delivery, all of which are quite independent 
of the distance the letter is carried. The old system, 
therefore, of increasing the charge for postage in propor- 
tion to distance was altogether unreasonable, because the 
cost of conveyance was hardly perceptibly increased; 
and if the Post Office was considered to be a public 
service for the public benefit only, the people had a right 
to demand that they should pay only in proportion to 
the cost. Yet the principle was not at first, and is not 
even now, fully carried out. For thirty years, from 
1840 to 1871, the postage was increased equally with 
each successive increment of weight, the half-ounce let- 
ter being a penny, while one of two ounces was four- 
pence. But as the chief items of expense the office 
work and delivery were the same, or nearly the same 
in both cases, the double or quadruple charge was en- 
tirely opposed to the principle on which the uniform rate 
was originally founded. Accordingly, in 1871, when 
an ounce letter was first carried for a penny, the charge 
for two ounces was fixed at three halfpence, while four 
ounces was taken for twopence. This accepted and 
common-sense principle, however, has not yet been ap- 
plied to the charges of the Postal Union, so that a letter 
which is a fraction over the half-ounce is charged five 



20 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. m. 

pence, or double, and one over an ounce and a half ten- 
pence, or four times that of the half-ounce letter, al- 
though an extra halfpenny would probably cover the 
extra cost of the service in both cases. 

The same inability of the official mind to carry out an 
admitted principle is seen also in the case of Postal 
Orders. The cost to the Post Office of receiving and 
paying money is exactly the same whether the amount 
is eighteenpence or fifteen shillings, and there is neither 
justice nor common-sense in charging three times as 
much in the latter case. There is no risk, because the 
money is paid in advance; and as the amounts taken in 
and paid out for postal orders must be approximately 
equal, it is difficult to see what justification there is for 
making any difference in charge. The same objection 
applies to Money Orders; and "as there is doubtless a cer- 
tain percentage of both which, from various causes, are 
never presented for payment, the profit to the Post Office 
must be greater in case of the higher amounts, which is 
another reason why these should not be exceptionally 
taxed. When the railways are taken over by the state, 
to be worked for the good of the community only, the 
principle will admit of great extension, each increment 
of distance being charged at a lower rate, just as is each 
increment of weight in our inland letters. 

The third stage in the means of communication, when 
by means of electric signals it was rendered independent 
of locomotion, is that which has especially distinguished 
the present century. The electric telegraph serves us as 
a new sense, enabling us to communicate with friends at 
the other side of the globe almost as rapidly and as easily 
as if they were in different parts of the same town. The 



CHAP. m. THE CONVEYANCE OF THOUGHT. 21 

means of communication we now use daily would have 
been wholly inconceivable to our ancestors a hundred 
years ago. 

About the middle of the last century it was perceived 
by a few students of electricity that it afforded a means 
of communication at a distance; but it was not till the 
year 1837 that the efforts of many simultaneous workers 
overcame the numerous practical difficulties, and the 
first electric telegraph was established. Its utility was 
so great, especially in the working of the railways then 
being rapidly extended over the kingdom, that it soon 
came into general use ; but hardly anyone at first thought 
that it would ever be possible to lay wires across the 
ocean depths to distant continents. Yet, step by step, 
with wonderful rapidity, even this was accomplished. 
The first submarine line was laid from Dover to Calais 
in 1851; and only five years afterward, in 1856, a com- 
pany was formed to lay an electric cable across the 
Atlantic. The cable, 2500 miles long and weighing a 
ton per mile, was successfully laid, in 1858, from Ire- 
land to Newfoundland; but owing to the weakness of 
the electric current, and perhaps to imperfections in the 
cable, it soon became useless, and had to be abandoned. 
After eight years more of invention and experiment, 
another cable was successfully laid in 1866; and there 
are now no less than fourteen lines across the Atlantic, 
while all the other oceans have been electrically bridged, 
so that messages can be sent to almost any part of the 
globe at a speed which far surpasses the imaginary power 
of Shakespeare's sprite Ariel, who boasted that he could 
" put a girdle round about the earth in forty minutes." 
We are now able to receive accounts of great events al- 



22 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. m. 

most while they are happening on the other side of the 
globe; and, owing to difference of longitude, we some- 
times can hear of an event apparently before it has hap- 
pened. If some great official were to die at Calcutta at 
sunset, we should receive the news soon after noon on 
the same day. 

As a result of the numerous experimental researches 
necessitated for the continuous improvement of the elec- 
tric telegraph, the telephone was invented, an even more 
marvellous and unexpected discovery. By it, the hu- 
man voice, in all its countless modifications of quality 
and musical tone, and its most complex modulations dur- 
ing speech, is so reproduced at a distance that a speaker 
or singer can be distinctly heard and understood hun- 
dreds of miles away. This is not an actual transmission 
of the voice, as in the case of a speaking-tube, but a true 
reproduction by means of two vibrating discs: the one 
set in motion by the speaker, while the electric current 
causes identical vibrations in the similar disc at the end 
of the line, and these vibrations reproduce the exact 
tones of the voice so as to be perfectly intelligible. At 
first telephones could only be worked successfully for 
short distances, but by continuous improvements the dis- 
tance has been steadily increased, so that in America 
there is a telephone line now in operation between New 
York and Chicago, cities about a thousand miles apart. 

Those who have read Mr. Bellamy's wonderful story, 
" Looking Backward," will remember the concerts con- 
tinually going on day and night, with telephonic connec- 
tions to every house, so that everyone could listen to the 
very best obtainable music at will. But few persons are 
aware that a somew r hat similar use of the telephone is 



CHAP. in. THE CONVEYANCE OF THOUGHT. 23 

actually in operation at Buda Pesth in the form of a 
telephonic newspaper. At certain fixed hours through- 
out the day a good reader is employed to send definite 
classes of news along the wires which are laid to sub- 
scribers' houses and offices, so that each person is able 
to hear the particular items he desires, without the delay 
of its being printed and circulated in successive editions 
of a newspaper. It is stated that the news is supplied to 
subscribers in this way at little more than the cost of a 
daily newspaper, and that it is a complete success. 

We thus see that during the present century two dis- 
tinct modes of communication with persons at a distance 
have been discovered and brought into practical use, 
both of which are perfectly new departures from the 
methods which, with but slight modifications, had been 
in use since that early period when picture-writing or 
hieroglyphics were first invented. 

In the facilities and possibilities of communication 
with our fellow-men all over the world, the advance 
made in the present century is not only immensely 
greater than that effected during the whole preceding 
period of human history, but is even more marvellous in 
its results. And it is also much greater in amount than 
the almost simultaneous advance in facilities for loco- 
motion, great as these have been. 



CHAPTEK IV. 

FIRE AND LIGHT. 

Put out the light, and then Put out the light i 

If I quench thee, thou flaming minister, 

I can again thy former light restore, 

Should I repent me : but once put out thy light, 

Thou cunniug'st pattern of excelling nature, 

I know not where is that Promethean heat 

That can thy light relume. 

Othello. 

IT seems probable that the discovery of the use of fire, 
and of some mode of producing it at will, constituted 
the first important advance of primitive man toward ob- 
taining that command over nature which we term civili- 
zation. How long ago it is since that first step was 
taken, we have no means of determining. The palaeo- 
lithic cave-dwellers made use of fire, and no tribes of 
men have been found who were wholly unacquainted 
with it. It was probably first utilized in volcanic dis- 
tricts where sticks may often be ignited by thrusting 
them into cavities in old lava streams. In other regions, 
trees are often ignited when struck by lightning; and 
when this was first observed, the agreeable warmth, the 
ease with which the fire could be kept up by adding fresh 
fuel, the cheerful blaze at night, and the pleasant taste 
imparted to many kinds of food by roasting, would al- 
most certainly lead to its careful preservation, and its 
distribution to other families and tribes. When once 
used, the inconvenience of losing it would be so great, 



i 



CHAP. iv. FIRE AND LIGHT. 25 

that any clew to its mode of production would be fol- 
lowed up. It is said that trees are sometimes ignited by 
the friction of dry branches which happen to touch each 
other, when violently rubbed together during a strong 
wind. When this was observed for the first time by 
some thoughtful savage, and he actually found that 
strong rubbing did make things hot, he would be en- 
couraged to use his utmost efforts to imitate the effect 
produced by nature. After many unsuccessful trials, he 
would at length succeed; and the important news would 
be rapidly communicated to adjacent tribes, and thus 
spread over a whole continent. As a matter of fact, this 
method of producing fire by friction is that most com- 
mon among savages in all parts of the world; and since 
it requires only materials that are almost everywhere at 
hand, it descended even to some civilized peoples. It is, 
however, a rather troublesome process, requiring a con- 
siderable amount of skill and perseverance; hence some 
of the lowest savages, such as the Tasmanians, are said 
to have been without the knowledge of it, keeping their 
fires constantly alight, or, when accidentally extin- 
guished, obtaining it from some adjacent tribe. Per- 
haps, however, the dampness of their forests rendered it 
practicable only during very dry seasons. 

The more convenient method of striking a light by 
the use of flint, steel, and tinder, probably originated 
after iron was first made, and soon became adopted by 
all civilized people, and by many savages who possessed 
iron; and this method continued in use from the times 
of prehistoric man through all the ages of barbarism and 
civilization down to the early part of this century, and 
the process underwent hardly any improvement during 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



that long period. One of the most vivid recollections of 
my childhood is of seeing the cook make tinder in the 
evening, by burning old linen rags, and in the morning, 
with flint and steel, obtaining the spark which, by careful 
blowing, spread sufficiently to ignite the thin brimstone 
match from which a candle was lit and fire secured for 
the day. The process was, however, sometimes, a 
tedious one, and if the tinder had accidentally got damp, 
or if the flint were worn out, after repeated failures a 
light had to be obtained from a neighbor. At that time 
there were few savages in any part of the world but 
could obtain fire as easily as the most civilized of 
mankind. 

At length, after the use of these rude methods for 
many thousand years, a great discovery was made which 
revolutionized the process of fire-getting. The proper- 
ties of phosphorus were known to the alchemists, and it 
is strange that its ready ignition by friction was not made 
use of to obtain fire at a much earlier period. It was, 
however, both an expensive and a dangerous material, 
and though about a hundred years ago it began to be 
made cheaply from bones, it was not used in the earliest 
friction matches. These were invented in 1827, or a 
little earlier, by Mr. John Walker, a chemist and drug- 
gist of Stockton-on-Tees, and consisted of wood splints, 
dipped in chlorate of potash and sulphur mixed with 
gum, which ignited when rubbed on sandpaper. Two 
years later the late Sir Isaac Holden invented a similar 
match. About 1834, phosphorus began to be used with 
the other materials to cause more easy ignition, and by 
1840 these matches became so cheap as to come into gen- 
eral use in place of the old flint and steel. They have 



FIRE AND LIGHT. 27 



since spread to every part of the world, and their pro- 
duction constitutes one of the large manufacturing in- 
dustries of England, Sweden, and many other coun- 
tries. 

Here again we have an invention that is not a modi- 
fication of the older mode of obtaining fire, but a new 
departure, possessing such great advantages that it 
rapidly led to the almost total abandonment of the old 
methods in every civilized country, as well as in many 
of the remotest and least civilized parts of the world. 
For many thousands of years the means of obtaining 
fire remained almost unchanged over the whole world, 
till, only sixty years ago, a discovery which at the time 
seemed of but little importance has led to a quicker and 
easier process, which is so widely adopted that millions 
of persons in all civilized countries make use of it every 
day of their lives. 

Coming now to the use of fire as a light-giver, we find 
that an even greater change has taken place in our time. 
The first illuminants were probably torches made of resi- 
nous woods, which will give a flame for a considerable 
time. Then the resin exuding from many kinds of trees 
would be collected and applied to sticks or twigs, or to 
some fibrous materials tied up in bundles, such as are still 
used by many savage peoples, and were used in the old 
baronial halls. For out-door lights torches were used 
almost down to our times, an indication of which is seen 
in the iron torch-extinguishers at the doors of many of 
the older West End houses ; while, before the introduc- 
tion of gas, link-boys were as common in the streets as 
match-sellers are now. Then came lamps, formed of 
small clay cups, holding some melted animal fat and a 



28 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. iv. 

fibrous wick; and, somewhat later, rushlights and 
candles. Still later, vegetable oils were used for lamps, 
and wax candles; but the three modes of obtaining 
illumination for domestic purposes remained entirely un- 
changed in principle, and very little improved, through- 
out the whole period of history down to the end of the 
eighteenth century. The Greek and Roman lamps, 
though in beautiful receptacles of bronze or silver, were 
exactly the same in principle as those of the lowest sav- 
age, and hardly better in light-giving power ; and though 
various improvements in form were introduced, the first 
really important advance was made by the Argand 
burner. This introduced a current of air into the center 
of the flame as well as outside it, and, by means of a 
glass chimney, a regular supply of air was kept up, and 
a steady light produced. Although the invention was 
made at the end of the last century the lamps were not 
sufficiently improved and cheapened to come into use till 
about 1830; and from that time onward many other im- 
provements were made, chiefly dependent on the use of 
the cheap mineral oils, rendering lamps so inexpensive, 
and producing so good a light, that they are now found 
in the poorest cottages. 

The only important improvement in candles is due to 
the use of paraffin fats instead of tallow, and of flat 
plaited wicks which are consumed by the flame. In my 
boyhood, the now extinct " snuffers " were in universal 
use, from the common rough iron article in the kitchen 
to elaborate polished steel spring-snuffers of various 
makes for the parlor, with pretty metal or papier-mache 
trays for them to stand in. Candles are still very largely 
used, being more portable and safer than most of the 



FIRE AND LIGHT. 29 



paraffin oil lamps. Even our lighthouses used only 
candles down to the early part of the present century. 

A far more important and more radical change in our 
. modes of illumination was the introduction of gas-light- 
ing. A few houses and factories were lighted with gas 
at the very end of the last century, but its first applica- 
tion to out-door or general purposes was in 1813, when 
Westminster Bridge was illuminated by it, and so suc- 
cessfully that its use rapidly spread to every town in the 
kingdom, for lighting private houses as well as streets 
and public buildings. When it was first proposed to 
light -London with gas, Sir Humphrey Davy is said to 
have declared it to be impracticable, both on account of 
the enormous size of the needful gasholders, and the 
great danger of explosions. These difficulties, have, 
however, been overcome, as was the supposed insupera- 
ble difficulty of carrying sufficient coal in the case of 
steamships crossing the Atlantic, the impossibilities of 
one generation becoming the realities of the next. 

Still more recent, and more completely new in prin- 
ciple, is the electric light, which has already attained a 
considerable extension for public and private illumina- 
tion, while it is applicable to many purposes unattainable 
by other kinds of light. Small incandescent lamps are 
now used for examinations of the larynx and in den- 
tistry, and a lamp has even been introduced into the 
stomach by which the condition of that organ can be 
examined. For this last purpose numerous ingenious 
arrangements have to be made to prevent possible in- 
jury, and by means of prisms at the bends of the tube 
the operator can inspect the interior of the organ under 
a brilliant light. Other internal organs have been ex- 



30 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. iv. 

plored in a similar manner, and many new applications 
in this direction will no doubt be made. In illuminat- 
ing submarine boats and exploring the interiors of 
sunken vessels it does what could hardly be effected by 
any other means. 

We thus find, that whereas down to the end of the last 
century our modes of producing and utilizing light were 
almost exactly the same as had been in use for the pre- 
ceding two or three thousand years, in the present cen- 
tury we have made no less than three new departures, all 
of which are far superior to the methods of our fore- 
fathers. These are: (1) the improvement in lamps by 
the use of the principle of the Argand burner and chim- 
ney; (2) lighting by coal-gas; and (3) the various modes 
of electric lighting. The amount of advance in this one 
department of domestic and public illumination during 
the present century is enormous, while the electric light 
has opened up new fields of scientific exploration. 

Whether we consider the novelty of the principles in- 
volved or the ingenuity displayed in their application, 
we cannot estimate this advance at less than that effected 
during the whole preceding period of human history, 
from that very remote epoch when fire was first taken 
into the service of mankind, down to the time of men 
now living among us. 



CHAPTER V. 

NEW APPLICATIONS OF LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY. 

O portrait, bright and wonderful ! 

Wrought by the sun-god's pencil true ; 
What grace of feature, glance of eye ! 

The soul itself beams out from you. 

New marvel of a marvellous age ! 

Apelles old, whose'art 'twas said 
Rivalled reality, than this 

Had never limned a lovelier head. 1 

THE improvements in the mode of production of light 
for common use, discussed in the previous chapter, are 
sufficiently new and remarkable to distinguish this cen- 
tury from all the ages that preceded it, but they sink 
into insignificance when compared with the discoveries 
which have been made as to the nature of light itself, its 
effects on various kinds of matter leading to the art of 
Photography, and the complex nature of the Solar 
Spectrum leading to Spectrum Analysis. This group of 
investigations alone is sufficient to distinguish the 
present century as an epoch of the most marvellous scien- 
tific discovery. 

Although Huygens put forward the wave-theory of 
light more than two hundred years ago, it was not ac- 
cepted, or seriously studied, till the beginning of the 

1 The above translation of the Pope's Latin verse on Photography 
is by my friend, Mr. F. T. Mott, of Leicester. 
Expressa soils spiculo O mira virtus ingeni, 

Nitens imago, qnam bene Novumque monstrum ! Imaginem 

Frontis decns, vim luminum Naturae Apelles gemulns 

Refers, et oris gratiam. Non pulchriorem pingeret. 

31 



32 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CH AP. v. 

present century, when it .was revived by Thomas Young, 
and was shown by himself, by Fresnel, and other mathe- 
maticians, to explain all the phenomena of refraction, 
double-refraction, polarization, diffraction, and interfer- 
ence, some of which were inexplicable on the Newtonian 
theory of the emission of material particles, which had 
previously been almost universally accepted. The com- 
plete establishment of the undulatory theory of light is 
a fact of the highest importance, and will take a very 
high place among the purely scientific discoveries of the 
century. 

From a more practical point of view, however, noth- 
ing can surpass in interest and importance the discovery 
and continuous improvement of the Photographic art, 
which has now reached such a development that there 
is hardly any science or any branch of intellectual study 
that is not indebted to it. A brief sketch of its origin 
and progress will therefore not be uninteresting. 

The fact that certain salts of silver were darkened by 
exposure to sunlight was known to the alchemists in the 
sixteenth century, and this observation forms the rudi- 
ment from which the whole art has been developed. 
The application of this fact to the production of pictures 
belongs, however, wholly to our own time. In the year 
1802, Wedgewood described a mode of copying paint- 
ings on glass by exposure to light, but neither he nor Sir 
Humphrey Davy could find any means of rendering the 
copies permanent. This was first effected in 1814 by 
M. Niepce of Chalons, but no important results were ob- 
tained till 1839, when Daguerre perfected the beautiful 
process known as the Daguerrotype. Permanent por- 
traits were taken by him on silvered plates, and they were 



CHAP.V. NEW APPLICATIONS OF LIGHT. 33 

so delicate and beautiful that probably nothing in mod- 
ern photography can surpass them. For several years 
they were the only portraits taken by the agency of 
light, but they were very costly, and were therefore com- 
pletely superseded when cheaper methods were dis- 
covered. 

About the same time a method was found for photo- 
graphing leaves, lace, and other semi-transparent objects 
on paper, and rendering them permanent, but this was of 
comparatively little value. In the year 1850, the far 
superior collodion-film on glass was perfected, and nega- 
tives were taken in a camera-obscura, which, when 
placed on black velvet, or when coated with a black com- 
position, produced pictures almost as perfect and beauti- 
ful as the daguerrotype itself, and at much less cost. 
Soon afterward positives were printed from the trans- 
parent negatives on suitably prepared paper, and thus 
was initiated the process, which, with endless modifica- 
tions and improvements, is still in use. The main ad- 
vance has been in the increased sensitiveness of the 
photographic plates, so that, first, moving crowds, then 
breaking waves, running horses, and other quickly mov- 
ing objects were taken, while now a bullet fired from a 
rifle can be photographed in the air. 

"With such marvellous powers, photography has come 
to the aid of the arts and sciences in ways which would, 
have been perfectly inconceivable to our most learned 
men of a century ago. It furnishes the Meteorologist, 
the Physicist, and the Biologist, with self -registering in- 
struments of extreme delicacy, and enables them to pre- 
serve accurate records of the most fleeting natural phe- 
nomena. By means of successive photographs at short 



34 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. v. 

intervals of time, we are able to study the motions of the 
wings of birds, and thus learn something of the mechan- 
ism of flight; while even the instantaneous lightning- 
flash can be depicted, and we thus learn, for the first 
time, the exact nature of its path. 

Perhaps the most marvellous of all its achievements 
is in the field of astronomy. Every increase in the size 
and power of the telescope has revealed to us ever more 
and more stars in every part of the heavens; but, by the 
aid of photography, stars are shown which no telescope 
that has been, or that probably ever will be constructed, 
can render visible to the human eye. For by exposing 
the photographic plate in the focus of the object glass 
for some hours, almost infinitely faint stars impress their 
image, and the modern photographic star-maps show us 
a surface densely packed with white points that seem 
almost as countless as the sands of the seashore. Yet 
every one of these points represents a star in its true 
relative position to the visible stars nearest to it, and thus 
gives at one operation an amount of accurate detail 
which could hardly be equalled by the labor of an 
astronomer for months or years even if he could ren- 
der all these stars visible, which, as we have seen, he 
cannot do. A photographic survey of the heavens is 
now in progress on one uniform system, which, when 
completed, will form a standard for future astronomers, 
and thus give to our successors some definite knowledge 
of the structure, and, perhaps, of the extent of the stellar 
universe. 

Within the last few years the mechanical processes by 
means of which photographs can now be reproduced 
through the printing press have been rendered so per- 



NEW APPLICATIONS OF LIGHT. 



feet that books and periodicals are illustrated with an 
amount of accuracy and beauty that would have been 
impossible, even twenty years ago, except at a prohib- 
itive cost. 

It has long been the dream of photographers to dis- 
cover some mode of obtaining pictures which shall repro- 
duce all the colors of nature without the intervention of 
the artist's manipulation. This was seen to be exceed- 
ingly difficult, if not impossible, because the chemical 
action of colored light has no power to produce pigments 
of the same color as the light itself, without which a 
photograph in natural colors would seem to be impos- 
sible. Nevertheless, the problem has been solved, but 
in a totally different manner; that is, by the principle of 
" interference," instead of by that of chemical action. 
This principle was discovered by Newton, and is exem- 
plified in the colors of the soap bubble, and in those of 
mother-of-pearl and other iridescent objects. It de- 
pends on the fact that the differently colored rays are of 
different wave-lengths, and the waves reflected from two 
surfaces half a wave-length apart neutralize each other 
and leave the remainder of the light colored. If, there- 
fore, each differently colored ray of light can be made to 
produce a corresponding minute wave-structure in a 
photographic film, then each part of the film will reflect 
only light of that particular wave-length, and therefore 
of that particular color, that produced it. This has actu- 
ally been done by Professor Lippmann, of Paris, who 
published his method in 1891; and in a lecture before 
the Royal Society in April, 1896, he fully described it 
and exhibited many beautiful specimens. 1 

'This lecture is reported in Nature, vol. liii. p. 617. 



36 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. v. 

The method is as follows: A sensitive film, of some of 
the usual salts of silver in albumin or gelatin, is used> 
but with much less silver than usual, so as to leave the 
film quite transparent. It must also be perfectly homo- 
geneous, since any granular structure would interfere 
with the result. This film on glass must be placed in a 
frame so constructed that at the back of it there is a 
shallow cell that can be filled with mercury which is in 
contact with the film. It is then exposed in the usual 
way, but much longer than for an ordinary photograph, 
so that the light-waves have time to produce the required 
effect. The light of each particular tint, being reflected 
by the mercury, meets the incoming light and produces 
a set of standing waves that is, of waves surging up 
and down, each in a fixed plane. The result is that the 
metallic particles in the film become assorted and strati- 
fied by this continued wave-action, the distance apart of 
the strata being determined by the wave-length of the 
particular colored light for the violet rays about eight 
millionths of an inch ; so that in a film of ordinary thick- 
ness there would be about five hundred of these strata 
of thinly scattered metallic particles. The quantity of 
silver used being very small, when the film is developed 
and fixed in the usual way the result is not a light-and- 
shade negative, but a nearly transparent film which 
nevertheless reflects a sufficient amount of light to pro- 
duce a naturally colored picture. 

The principle is the same for the light-waves as that 
of the telephone for sound-waves. The voice sets up 
vibrations in the transmitting diaphragm, which, by 
means of an electric current, are so exactly reproduced 
in the receiving diaphragm as to give out the same sue- 



NEW APPLICATIONS OF LIGHT. 37 



cession of sounds. An even more striking and, perhaps, 
closer analogy is that of the phonograph, where the vi- 
brations of the diaphragm are permanently registered 
on a wax cylinder, which, at any future time, can be 
made to set up the same vibrations of the air, and thus 
reproduce the same succession of sounds, whether words 
or musical notes. So, the rays of every color and tint 
that fall upon the plate throw the deposited silver within 
the film into minute strata which permanently reflect 
light of the very same wave-length, and therefore of the 
very same color as that which produced them. 

The effects are said to be most beautiful, the only 
fault being that the colors are more brilliant than in 
nature, just as they are when viewed in the camera itself. 
This, however, may perhaps be remedied (if it requires 
remedying) by the use of a slightly opaque varnish. 
The comparatively little attention that has been given 
to this beautiful and scientifically-perfect process, is no 
doubt due to the fact that it is rather expensive, and that 
the pictures cannot, at present, be multiplied rapidly. 
But for that very reason it ought to be especially attract- 
ive to amateurs, who would have the pleasure of obtain- 
ing exquisite pictures which will not become common- 
place by indefinite reproduction. 

The brief sketch of the rise and progress of pho- 
tography now given illustrates the same fact which we 
have already dwelt upon in the case of other discoveries. 
This beautiful and wonderful art, which already plays 
an important part in the daily life and enjoyment of all 
civilized people, and which has extended the bounds of 
human knowledge into the remotest depths of the starry 
universe, is not an improvement of, or development 



38 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. v. 

from, anything that went before it, but is a totally new 
departure. From that early period when the men of the 
stone age rudely outlined the mammoth and the reindeer 
on stone or ivory, the only means of representing men 
and animals, natural scenery, or the great events of hu- 
man history, had been through the art of the painter or 
the sculptor. It is true that the highest Greek, or Me- 
diaeval, or Modern art, cannot be equalled by the produc- 
tions of the photographic camera; but great artists are 
few and far between, and the ordinary, or even the 
talented draughtsman can give us only suggestions of 
what he sees, so modified by his peculiar mannerism as 
often to result in a mere caricature of the truth. Should 
some historian in Japan study the characteristics of 
English ladies at two not remote epochs, as represented, 
say, by Frith and by Du Maurier, he would be driven 
to the conclusion that there had been a complete change 
of type, due to the introduction of some foreign race, in 
the interval between the works of these two artists. 
From such errors as this we shall be saved by photog- 
raphy ; and our descendants in the middle of the coming 
century will be able to see how much, and what kind, of 
change really does occur from age to age. 

The importance of this is well seen by comparing any 
of the early works on Ethnology, illustrated by por- 
traits intended to represent the different " types of man- 
kind," with recent volumes which give us copies of 
actual photographs of the same types; when we shall see 
how untrue to nature are the former, due probably to 
the artist having delineated those extreme forms, either 
of ugliness or of beauty, that most attracted his atten- 
tion, and to his having exaggerated even these. Thus 



CHAP.V. NEW APPLICATIONS OF LIGHT. 39 

only can we account for the pictures in some old voyages, 
showing an English sailor and a Patagonian as a dwarf 
beside a giant ; and for the statement by the historian of 
Magellan's voyage, that their tallest sailor only came up 
to the waist of the first man they met. It is now known 
that the average height of Patagonian men is about five 
feet ten inches, or five feet eleven inches, and none have 
been found to exceed six feet four inches. Photography 
would have saved us from such an error as this. 

There will always be work for good artists, especially 
in the domain of color and of historical design; but the 
humblest photographer is now able to preserve for us, 
and for future generations, minutely accurate records of 
scenes in distant lands, of the ruins of ancient temples 
which are sometimes the only record of vanished races, 
and of animals or plants that are rapidly disappearing 
through the agency of man. And, what is still more im- 
portant, they can preserve for us the forms and faces 
of the many lower races which are slowly but surely 
dying out before the rude incursions of our imperfect 
civilization. 

That such a new and important art as photography 
should have had its birth, and have come to maturity, so 
closely coincident with the other great discoveries of the 
century already alluded to, is surely a very marvellous 
fact, and one which will seem more extraordinary to the 
future historian than it does to ourselves, who have wit- 
nessed the whole process of its growth and development. 

The most recent of all the discoveries in connection 
with light and photography, and one which extends our 
powers of vision in a direction and to an extent the limits 
of which cannot yet be guessed at, is that peculiar form 



40 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. v. 

of radiation termed the X, or Rontgen Rays, from Pro- 
fessor Rontgen of Wiirzburg, who was the first to in- 
vestigate their properties and make practical applications 
of them. These rays are produced by a special form of 
electrical current sent through a vacuum tube, in or 
around which is some fluorescent substance, which under 
the action of the current become intensely luminous. But 
this luminosity has totally different properties from ordi- 
nary light, inasmuch as the substances which are opaque 
or transparent to it are not the same as those to which we 
usually apply the terms, but often the very contrary. 
Paper, for instance, is so transparent that the rays will 
pass through a book of a thousand pages, or through 
two packs of cards, both of which would be absolutely 
opaque to the most brilliant ordinary light. Alumin- 
ium, tin, and glass of the same thickness are all trans- 
parent, but they keep out a portion of the rays; whereas 
platinum and lead are quite opaque. To these rays 
aluminium is two hundred times as transparent as plati- 
num. Wood, carbon, leather, and slate are much more 
transparent to the X-Rays than is glass; some kinds of 
glass being almost opaque, though quite transparent to 
ordinary light. Flesh and skin are transparent in 
moderate thicknesses, while bone is opaque. Hence, if 
the rays are passed through the hand the bones cast a 
shadow, though an invisible one; and as, most fortu- 
nately, the rays act upon photographic plates almost like 
ordinary light, hands or other parts of the body can be 
photographed by their shadows, and will show the bones 
by a much darker tint. Hence their use in surgery, to 
detect the exact position of bullets or other objects em- 
bedded in the flesh or bone. A needle which pene- 



CHAP.V. NEW APPLICATIONS OF LIGHT. 41 

trated the knee joint and then broke off, leaving a por- 
tion embedded which set up inflammation, and might 
have necessitated the loss of the limb, was shown so accu- 
rately that a surgeon cut down to it and got it out with- 
out difficulty. 

An exceptional property of these rays is that they 
cannot be either refracted or reflected as can -ordinary 
light and heat. Hence it is only the shadow that can be 
photographed. And another curious result of this is 
that they can pass through a powder as easily as through 
a solid; whereas ordinary light cannot pass through 
powdered glass or ice, owing to the innumerable reflec- 
tions and refractions which soon absorb all the rays ex- 
cept those reflected from a very thin surface layer. 
Proportionate thicknesses of aluminium or zinc, whether 
in the solid plate or in powder, are equally transparent to 
these singular rays. 

So much is already popularly known on this subject 
that it is not necessary to go into further details here. 
But this new form of radiant energy opens up so many 
possibilities, both as to its own nature and as to the 
illimitable field of research into the properties and 
powers of the mysterious ether, that it forms a fitting and 
dramatic climax to the scientific discoveries of the 
century. 



CHAPTER VI. 

NEW APPLICATIONS OF LIGHT SPECTKUM ANALYSIS. 

Far beyond Orion bright 

Cloud on cloud the star-haze lies ; 
Million years bear down the light 

Earthward from those ghost-like eyes. 

F. T. Palgrave. 

Hushed be all earthly rhymes ! 

List to those spheral chimes 
That echo down the singing vaults of night. 

The quivering impulse runs 

From the exultant suns, 
Circling in endless harmonies of light. 

F. T. Mott. 

AMONG the numerous scientific discoveries of our cen- 
tury we must give a very high, perhaps even the highest, 
place to Spectrum Analysis. Not only because it has 
completely solved the problem of the true nature and 
cause of the various spectra produced by different kinds 
of light, but because it has given us a perfectly new 
engine of research, by which we are enabled to penetrate 
into the remotest depths of space, and learn something of 
the constitution and the motions of the constituent 
bodies of the stellar universe. Through its means we 
have acquired what are really the equivalents of new 
senses, which give us knowledge that before seemed ab- 
solutely and forever unattainable by man. 

The solar spectrum is that colored band produced by 
allowing a sunbeam to pass through a prism, and a por- 
tion of it is given by the dewdrop or the crystal when 

42 



NEW APPLICATIONS OF LIGHT. 43 



the sun shines upon them; while the complete band is 
produced by the numerous raindrops, the colored rays 
from which form the rainbow. Newton examined the 
colors of the spectrum very carefully, and explained 
them on the theory that light of different colors has dif- 
ferent refrangibilities or, as we now say, different wave- 
lengths. He also showed that a similar set of colors can 
be produced by the interference of rays when reflected 
from the two surfaces of very thin plates, as in the case 
of what are termed Newton's rings and in the iridescent 
colors of thin films of oil on water, of soap bubbles, and 
many other substances. 

These color-phenomena, although very interesting in 
themselves, and giving us more correct ideas of the 
nature of color in the objects around us, did not lead to 
anything further. But in 1802, the celebrated chemist, 
Dr. Wollaston, made the remarkable discovery that the 
solar-spectrum, when closely examined, is crossed by 
very numerous black lines of various thicknesses, and at 
irregular distances from each other. Later, in 1817, 
these lines were carefully measured and mapped by 
Fraunhofer; but their meaning remained an unsolved 
problem till about the year 1860, when the German 
physicist, Kirchhoff, discovered the secret, and opened up 
to chemists and astronomers a new engine of research 
whose powers are probably not yet exhausted. 

It was already known that the various chemical ele- 
ments, when heated to incandescence, produce spectra 
consisting of a group of colored bands, and it had been 
noticed that some of these bands, as the yellow band of 
Sodium, corresponded in position with certain black 
lines in the solar spectrum. Kirchhoff's discovery con- 



44 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. vi. 

sisted in showing that, when the light from an incandes- 
cent body passes through the same substance in a state 
of vapor, much of it is absorbed, and the colored bands 
become replaced by black lines. The black lines in the 
solar spectrum are due, on this theory, to the light from 
the incandescent body of the sun being partially ab- 
sorbed in passing through the vapors which surround it. 
This theory led to a careful examination of the spectra 
of all the known elements, and on comparing them with 
the solar spectrum it was found that in many cases the 
colored bands of the elements corresponded exactly in 
position with certain groups of black lines in the solar 
spectrum. Thus hydrogen, sodium, iron, magnesium, 
copper, zinc, calcium, and many other elements have 
been proved to exist in the sun. Some outstanding 
solar lines, which did not correspond to any known ter- 
restrial element, were supposed to indicate an element 
peculiar to the sun, which was therefore named Helium. 
Quite recently this element has been discovered in a rare 
mineral, and its colored spectrum is found to correspond 
exactly to the dark lines in the solar spectrum on which 
it was founded, thus adding a final proof of the correct- 
ness of the theory, and affording a striking example of 
its value as an instrument of research. 

The immediate effect of the application of the spectro- 
scope to the stars was very striking. The supposition 
that they were suns became a certainty, since they gave 
spectra similar in character and often very closely re- 
sembling in detail that of our sun. Aldebaran is one 
of the most sun-like stars, being yellow in color and pos- 
sessing lines which indicate most of the elements found 
in the sun. White stars, such as Sirius and Vega, show 



CHAP. vi. NEW APPLICATIONS OF LIGHT. 45 

hydrogen lines only; and these are supposed to be hotter 
than our sun, and in an earlier stage of development, 
while red stars are supposed to be cooling. Other ex- 
planations of these facts have, however, been suggested. 
Much information has also been obtained as to the 
nature of the nebulae. Sir William Herschel supposed 
that they were all really star-clusters, but so enormously 
remote that even the most powerful telescopes could not 
render visible the stars composing them. Later observa- 
tions have shown that many of them do consist of stars, 
or star-dust, as it has been called ; and this seemed to sup- 
port the theory that all were so composed, including the 
milky way. A study of the distribution of stars and 
nebulae by Proctor and others led, however, to the con- 
clusion that they were often really connected, and that 
nebulae were not, on the average, more distant than stars ; 
and this vie\v has been confirmed by the spectroscope, 
which has shown them often to consist of glowing gas; 
and this is especially the characteristic of all those situ- 
ated in or near the milky way. The first great result of 
spectrum-analysis has thus been to demonstrate the real 
nature of many stars and nebulae, to determine some of 
the elements of which they are formed, and to give us 
some indications of the changes they have undergone, 
and thus help us toward a general theory of the develop- 
ment of the stellar universe. 

Marvellous as is this extension of our knowledge of 
objects so distant that our largest telescopes are power- 
less to show them as more than points of light, it is only 
a part, perhaps only a small part, of what the spectro- 
scope has already done, or may yet do, for astronomy. 
Bv a most refined series of observations it has enabled us 



46 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. vi. 

to detect and measure certain motions of the stars which 
seemed to be wholly beyond our grasp, and also to 
demonstrate the existence of celestial bodies which could 
be detected in no other w r ay. 

In order to understand how this is possible we have 
to make use of the wave-theory of light ; and the analogy 
of other wave-motions will enable us better to grasp the 
principle on which these calculations depend. If on a 
nearly calm day we count the waves that pass each min- 
ute by an anchored steamboat, and then travel in the 
direction the waves come from, we shall find that a larger 
number pass us in the same time. Again, if we are 
standing near a railway, and an engine comes toward us 
whistling, we shall notice that it changes its tone as it 
passes us ; and as it recedes the sound will be very differ- 
ent, although the engine is at the same distance from us 
as when it was approaching. Yet the sound does not 
change to the ear of the engine-driver, the cause of the 
change being that the sound-waves reach us in quicker 
succession as the source of the waves is approaching us 
than when it is retreating from us. Now just as the 
pitch of a note depends upon the rapidity with which the 
air-vibrations reach our ear, so does the color of a par- 
ticular part of the spectrum depend upon the rapidity 
with which the ethereal waves which produce color reach 
our eyes; and as this rapidity is greater when the source 
of the light is approaching than when it is receding from 
us, a slight shifting of the position of the dark lines will 
occur, as compared with their position in the spectrum of 
the sun or of any stationary source of light, if there is 
any motion sufficient in amount to produce a perceptible 
shift. On experimenting with a powerful spectroscope 



NEW APPLICATIONS OF LIGHT. 



47 



constructed for the purpose, Sir William Huggins, in 
1868, found that such a change did occur in the case of 
many stars, and that their rate of motion toward us or 
away from us termed the radial motion could be cal- 
culated. As the actual distance of some of these stars 
has been measured, and their change of position annually 
(their proper motion) determined, the additional factor 
of the amount of motion in the direction of our line of 
sight completes the data required to fix their true line 
of motion among the other stars. 

This method of research has now been applied to 
many double stars with great success, observations of 
their spectra showing that in some cases they move one 
toward and one away from us, as they must do if they 
are revolving around their common centre of gravity in 
an ellipse whose plane lies approximately in our direc- 
tion. It has also brought to light the interesting fact 
that some stars which appear singly in the most power- 
ful telescopes are really double, since their spectra show 
a shifting of spectrum lines, which after a considerable 
time changes to an opposite direction, and by the period 
occupied in the complete change of direction the time of 
rotation of the component stars can be determined, 
although one of the components has never been seen. 
By this means the variable star Algol has been proved to 
have a dark companion which partially eclipses it every 
69 hours; and both Sirus and Procyon have been shown 
to have dark or less visible companions, that of Sirius 
being really just visible in the very best telescopes. The 
unusual motions of Sirius have been long known, and 
were supposed to be due to the presence of a companion, 
which has now been shown to be the true explanation. 



48 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. vi. 

The accuracy of this method under favorable condi- 
tions is very great, as has been proved by those cases in 
which we have independent means of calculating the 
real motion. The motion of Venus toward or away 
from us can be calculated with great accuracy for any 
period, being a resultant of the combined motions of the 
planet and of our earth in their respective orbits. The 
radial motions of Venus were determined at the Lick 
Observatory in August and September, 1890, by spectro- 
scopic observations, and also by calculation, to be as 
follows : 

BY OBSERVATION. BY CALCULATION. 

Aug. 16th. 7.3 miles per second. 8.1 miles per second. 

11 22d. 8.9 " 8.2 

" 30th. 7.3 " 8.3 

Sept. 3d. 8.3 8.3 

" 4th. 8.2 " 8.3 

showing that the maximum error was only one mile per 
second, while the mean error was about a quarter of a 
mile. Owing to the greater difficulty in observing the 
spectra of stars, the accuracy in their case is probably 
not quite so great. This has been tested by observations 
of the same star at times when the earth's motion in its 
orbit is toward or away from the star, whose apparent 
radial velocity is, therefore, increased or diminished by 
a known amount. Observations of this kind were made 
by Dr. Vogel, Director of the Astrophysical Observa- 
tory at Potsdam, showing, in the case of three stars, of 
which ten observations were taken, a mean error of about 
two miles per second. 

The same observer, from his study of the spectra of 
the variable star Algol, has been able to determine that 



CHAP. vi. NEW APPLICATIONS OF LIGHT. 49 

both the visible star and its dark companion are some- 
what larger than our sun, though of less density; that 
their centers are 3,230,000 miles apart, and that they 
move in their orbits at rates of 55 and 26 miles 
per second respectively; and this information, it 
must be remembered, has been gained as to objects 
the light of which takes about forty-seven years to 
reach us! 

So striking are these results, and so rapid has been the 
increase in the delicacy and trustworthiness of the obser- 
vations, that the President of the Royal Astronomical 
Society, in an address delivered in 1893, contemplated 
the possibility that, by still further refinements in the 
application of the spectroscope, the most accurate meas- 
ures of the rate of motion of our earth in its orbit, and, 
therefore, of the distance of the sun, might be de- 
duced from observations of stars which are them- 
selves so remote as to be beyond our powers of 
measurement. 

So late as the year 1842 the French mathematician 
and philosopher, Comte, declared that all study of the 
fixed stars was waste of time, because their distance was 
so great that we could never learn anything about them 
a striking illustration of the complete novelty, no less 
than of the wonderful possibilities of this marvellous 
engine of research. ISTot only is it a wholly new depar- 
ture from anything known or even imagined before, but 
it is able to give us a large and varied amount of knowl- 
edge of that portion of the visible universe which has 
hitherto been the least known and which seemed to be 
the most hopelessly unapproachable. On every ground, 
therefore, we must place the discovery and applications 



50 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



of Spectrum Analysis as deserving of the highest place 
among the numerous great scientific achievements of the 
nineteenth century. 1 

1 An admirable popular account of the application of the spectro 
scope to the heavens will be found in an article on "The New 
Astronomy," in the Nineteenth Century of June, 1897. It is written 
by Sir William Huggins, the greater part of whose life has been 
devoted to this branch of the science, in which he was one of the 
earliest and most successful observers and discoverers. 






CHAPTER VII. 

THEORETICAL DISCOVERIES IN PHYSICS. 

Has matter motion ? Then each atom, 
Asserting its perpetual right to dance, 
Would make a universe of dust ! 

For the world was built in order, 
And the atoms march in tune. 

Emerson. 

THE theoretical discoveries in the domain of physics 
(besides those already referred to) have been very nu- 
merous, but only a few of them have enough generality 
or have become sufficiently popular to require notice in 
the present sketch. Two of these discoveries, however, 
stand above the general level as important contributions 
to our knowledge of the material universe. These are 
(1) the determination of the mechanical equivalent of 
heat, leading to the general theory of the conservation of 
energy, and (2) the molecular theory of gases. 

Down to the beginning of this century heat was gen- 
erally considered to be a form of matter, termed caloric 
or phlogiston. The presence of phlogiston was sup- 
posed to render substances combustible, but when the 
chemical theory of combustion was discovered by Lavoi- 
sier, phlogiston, as the cause of combustion, disappeared, 
although caloric, as the material basis of heat, still held 
its ground. Close to the end of the last century Count 
Rumford showed that in boring a brass cannon the heat 
developed in 2-| hours was sufficient to raise 26-J Ibs. of 



52 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. vn. 

water from the freezing to the boiling point. But, dur- 
ing the operation, the metal had lost no weight or under- 
gone any other change ; and as the production of heat by 
this process appeared to be unlimited, he concluded that 
heat could not be matter, but merely a kind of motion set 
up in the particles of matter by the force exerted. 
Bacon and Locke had expressed similar ideas long be- 
fore; and, later, Sir Humphrey Davy showed that by 
rubbing together two pieces of ice at a temperature be- 
low the freezing point sufficient heat was produced to 
partially melt them; while other observers found that to 
shake water in a bottle raised its temperature, and that 
percussion or compression, as had been long known, pro- 
duced a considerable amount of heat. These various 
facts led to the conclusion that there was a mechanical 
equivalent of heat that is, that a certain amount of 
force exerted or work done would produce a correspond- 
ing amount of heat ; and Joule was the first to determine 
this accurately by a number of ingenious experiments. 
The result was found to be that a pound of water can be 
raised 1 C. by an amount of work equal to that required 
to raise one pound to the height of 1392 feet, or 1392 
Ibs. one foot. Various experiments with different ma- 
terials were found always to lead to the same result, and 
thus the final blow was given to the material theory of 
heat, which was thenceforth held to be a mode of motion 
of the molecules of bodies. 

These conclusions led to the more general law of the 
conservation of energy, which implies that in any limited 
system of bodies, whether a steam-engine or the solar 
system, no change can occur in the total amount of the 
energy it contains unless fresh energy comes to it from 



CHAP. vn. THEORETICAL DISCOVERIES IN PHYSICS. 53 

without, or is lost by transmission to bodies outside it. 
But as, in the case of the sun, some heat is certainly lost 
by radiation into space unless an equal amount comes in 
from the stellar universe, the system must be cooling, 
and in sufficient time would lose all its heat, and there- 
fore much of its energy. The chief use of the principle 
is to teach us what becomes of force expended without 
any apparent result, as when a ball falls to the ground 
and comes to rest. We now know that the energy of 
the falling ball is converted into heat, which, if it could 
be all preserved and utilized, would again raise the ball 
to the height from which it fell. It also enables us to 
trace most of the energy around us, whether of wind, or 
water, or of living animals, to the heat and light of the 
sun. Wind is caused by inequalities of the sun's heat 
on the earth; all water power is due to evaporation by 
the sun's heat, which thus transfers the water from the 
ocean surface to the mountains, producing rivers; solar 
heat alone gives power to plants to absorb carbonic acid 
and build up their tissues, and the energy thus locked up 
is again liberated during the muscular action of the ani- 
mals which have fed directly or indirectly on the plants. 
This great principle enables us to realize the absolute 
interdependence of all the forces of nature. It teaches 
us that there is no origination of force upon the earth, but 
that all energy either now conies to us from the sun or 
was originated in the sun before our earth separated from 
it; and we are thus led to the conclusion, that all work, 
all motion, every manifestation of power we see around 
us, are alike the effects of heat or of other radiant forces 
allied to it. This conclusion we shall find is still further 
enforced by the next great discovery we have to notice. 



54 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



The molecular theory of gases. 

The very remarkable properties of gases, their ap- 
parently unlimited elasticity and indefinite powers of 
expansion, were very difficult to explain on any theory 
of their molecules being subject to such attractive and 
repulsive forces as seem to exist in other states of matter. 
A consideration of these properties, together with, the 
power of diffusion, by which gases of very different den- 
sities form a perfect mixture when in contact, and the 
fact that by the application of heat almost all liquids and 
many solids can be changed into gases, led to the con- 
ception that they owed their peculiar properties to their 
molecules being in a state of intensely rapid motion in 
all directions. On this theory the molecules are very 
far apart in proportion to their size, and are continually 
coming in contact with each other. Owing to their per- 
fect elasticity, they rebound without loss of motion or 
energy, and their continual impact against the sides of 
the vessel containing them is what gives to gases their 
great expansibility. From a study of these various 
properties it has been calculated that, at ordinary tem- 
peratures, there are some hundreds of trillions of mole- 
cules in a cubic inch of gas, and that these collide with 
each other eight thousand millions of times in a second. 
The average length of the path between two collisions 
of a molecule is less than the two hundred thousandth of 
an inch; yet this small length is supposed to be at 
least a hundred times as great as the diameter of each 
molecule. 

From the fact that all gases expand with heat and 
contract with cold, it is concluded that the ether-vibra- 



CHAP. v.i. THEORETICAL DISCOVERIES IN PHYSICS. 55 

tions we term heat are the cause of the rapid motions of 
the gaseous molecules, and that if heat was entirely ab- 
sent the motion would cease, and ordinary cohesive 
attraction coming into play, the molecules would fall 
together and form a liquid or a solid. As a matter of 
fact, by intense cold, combined with pressure, all gases 
can be liquefied or solidified; and as, on the other hand, 
all the solid elements can be liquefied or vaporized by 
the intense heat of the electric furnace, we conclude that 
all matter when entirely deprived of heat is solid, and 
with sufficient heat becomes gaseous. 

As might be expected from these varied phenomena, 
it has been found that there is no such sharp line of dis- 
tinction between the various states of matter as is popu- 
larly supposed ; some of the properties which are charac- 
teristic of matter in one state being present in a less 
degree in other states. Viscous bodies, for example, 
often present phenomena characteristic of both solids 
and fluids. Sealing-wax, pitch, and ice are all brittle at 
low temperatures, resembling in this respect such solids 
as glass and stone; but they are at the very same time 
fluid, if time enough is allowed to exhibit the phe- 
nomenon. This is seen in the motion of glaciers, which 
move in every respect like true fluids, even to the middle 
of the stream flowing quicker than the sides and the top 
than the bottom. Eddies and whirls occur in glaciers 
as in rivers, and also upward and downward motion, so 
that rocks torn off the glacier floor may be carried up- 
ward and deposited on surfaces hundreds of feet above 
their place of origin. These properties can be shown 
to exist by experiment even on a small scale. A slab of 
ice, supported on its two ends, will become gradually 



56 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. vn. 

curved, and the curvature may be increased to any de- 
sired extent if force is applied for a sufficient time. 
Models of glaciers in cobbler's wax, which is brittle at 
ordinary temperatures, exhibit all the phenomena of true 
glacier-motion, and serve to demonstrate the upward 
motions above referred to, which have been so often de- 
nied. Most metals exhibit similar phenomena under 
suitable conditions, and lead can be made actually to flow 
out of a hole under pressure. 

One of the most characteristic properties of gases and 
liquids is that of readily mixing together when placed 
in contact. But it has recently been shown that solids 
also mix, though very much more slowly. If a cube of 
lead is placed upon one of gold, the surfaces of contact 
being very smooth and true, and be left without any 
pressure but their own weight, and at ordinary tempera- 
tures, for about a month, a minute quantity of gold will 
be found to have permeated through the lead, and can be 
detected in any part of it. Metals may thus be said to 
flow into each other. 

In order to produce chemical changes in bodies, it is 
usually necessary that one at least be a liquid or be in a 
state of solution, and the combinations that occur lead to 
the production of bodies having quite different proper- 
ties from either of their components. Similar results 
occur when metals are mixed together, forming alloys. 
Thus a mixture in certain proportions of lead, tin, bis- 
muth, and cadmium produces an alloy which melts in 
boiling water, while the component metals only melt at 
double that temperature or more. Again, the strength 
of gold is doubled by the addition of one five-hundredth 
part of the rare metal zirconium, indicating that the 



CHAP, viz THEORETICAL DISCOVERIES IN PHYSICS. 57 

alloy must have a new arrangement of the molecules. 
Eut the interesting point is that alloys can be produced 
without melting the metals, for mere pressure often pro- 
duces an alloy at the surfaces of contact; while in other 
cases, if fine filings of the component metals are thor- 
oughly mixed together and then subjected to continued 
pressure, true alloys are produced. 

Another interesting fact is that metals, and probably 
all solids, evaporate at ordinary temperatures. It has 
long been known that ice evaporates very rapidly, and 
now it is found that metals do the same, and the evapora- 
tion can be detected at temperatures far below their 
melting points. All these curious phenomena give us 
new ideas as to the constitution of matter, and lead us to 
the conclusion that the extreme mobility of the molecules 
of gases has its analogue in liquids and even in solids. 
The flow of metals, their diffusion into other metals, and 
their evaporation, lead to the conclusion that a propor- 
tion of their molecules must possess considerable mo- 
bility, and when these reach the surface they are enabled 
to escape either into other bodies in contact with them or 
into the atmosphere. This proportion of rapidly mov- 
ing molecules gives to solids some of the characteristics 
of liquids and of gases. 

Before leaving this part of our subject we must refer 
to a most interesting and suggestive discovery which 
throws still further light on the constitution of matter, 
and on the forces which give to matter many of the prop- 
erties without which neither vegetable nor animal life 
would be possible. It has been found that all gases ex- 
pand or contract equal amounts for every degree of heat, 
the amount being -g-Ts" of their volume for each degree 



58 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. vn. 

Centigrade. Hence, beginning at zero, if a gas could be 
cooled continuously down to 273 C., or 461 Fahr., it 
would not only be reduced to a solid, but would cease to 
have the power of further contraction. Hence this 
point is termed the absolute zero of temperature, and 
Lord Kelvin has arrived at the same result by quite dif- 
ferent means. With the total absence of heat it is be- 
lieved that all chemical action would cease, so that the 
universe would consist wholly of solid and chemically 
inert matter. Heat, therefore, seems to be the source of 
all change in matter, and the essential condition of all 
life; while the other vibrations of the ether, which we 
know as light and electricity, may be also essential. 
Ether, therefore, appears to be the active, matter the 
passive agent in the constitution of the universe ; and the 
recognition of the existence of the ether, together with 
the considerable amount of knowledge we have acquired 
of its modes of action, must be held to constitute one of 
the most important intellectual triumphs of the nine- 
teenth century. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

MINOR APPLICATIONS OF PHYSICAL PRINCIPLES. 

Yes, them shall mark, with magic art profound, 
The speed of light, the circling march of sound. 

Campbell. 

O matchless Age ! that even the passing tone 
Of epoch-making speech, or lover's sigh, 
Kecordest for the wonder of all time ! 

F. T. Mott. 

AMONG the very numerous discoveries depending upon 
physical principles, or on the application of physical 
laws, a few of the more generally interesting may be 
here noticed. 

The Radiometer, to be seen in almost every optician's 
window, was invented by Sir AVilliam Crookes in 1873, 
and consists of an exceedingly delicate windmill, formed 
of four very slender arms supporting thin metal or pith 
discs, one side of which is blackened, the whole turning 
on a fine central point, so as to revolve with hardly any 
friction. The little machine is enclosed in a glass bulb 
from which nearly all the air has been extracted; and 
when exposed to the sun, or even to diffused daylight, 
the discs revolve with considerable speed. At first this 
motion was supposed to be caused by the direct impact 
of the rays of light, the almost complete vacuum only 
serving to diminish friction; but the explanation now 
generally adopted is that the black surfaces of the vanes, 
absorbing heat, become slightly warmer than the white 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



surfaces, and this greater warmth is communicated to the 
air-molecules, and causes them to rebound with greater 
rapidity from the dark surfaces, and back again from the 
glass of the vessel, and the reaction, being all in one 
direction, causes the arms to revolve. The near ap- 
proach to a vacuum is necessary, both to diminish resist- 
ance, and by greatly reducing the number of molecules, 
in the vessel, to allow the very small differential action 
to produce a sensible effect. Sir William Crookes has 
found that there is a degree of rarefaction where the 
action is at a maximum, and that when a nearer approach 
to a perfect vacuum is attained the motion rapidly di- 
minishes. A proof is thus given of the correctness of 
the explanation; and the instrument may, therefore, be 
considered to afford us an experimental illustration of 
the molecular theory of gases. 

The velocity of light, as is well known, was first deter- 
mined by irregularities in the time of the eclipses of 
Jupiter's satellites, which were found to occur earlier or 
later than the calculated times, according as we were 
near to, or far from, the planet. It was thus found that 
it required eight minutes for light to travel from the sun 
to the earth, a distance of a little more than ninety mil- 
lions of miles: so that light travels about 196,000 miles 
in a single second of time. It would seem at first sight 
impossible to measure the time taken by light in travel- 
ling a mile, yet means have been discovered to do this, 
and even to measure the time taken for light to traverse 
a few feet from one side of a room to the other. Yet 
more, this method of measuring the velocity of light has, 
by successive refinements, become so accurate that it is 
now considered to be the most satisfactory method of 



PHYSICAL PRINCIPLES. 



61 



determining the mean distance of the sun from the 
earth, a distance which serves as the unit of measure- 
ment for the solar system and the whole stellar universe. 
A brief account of how this is effected will now be given. 



Sur 
Bear 



DARK ROOM 



Concave Mirror 




x> Diagonal Mi 



volving 



Eye of Observer 



Fizeau, a French physicist, made the first attempt at 
measuring the velocity of light in 1849; and later, in 
1862, in conjunction with Foucault, a more accurate 
determination was made by means of an apparatus of 
which the main features are given in the accompanying 
diagram. A ray of sunlight is made to enter a darkened 
room by a narrow slit, and falls on a mirror at the 
further side of the room, which can be made to revolve 
with great rapidity. From this it is reflected to a con- 
cave mirror having its centre of curvature at the revolv- 
ing mirror. The diagonal mirror is transparent glass, 
through which the ray passes on its way to the revolv- 
ing mirror, but on coming back a portion of the light is 



62 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. vm. 



reflected at right angles to the eye of the observer. This 
involves much loss of light, and in more recent experi- 
ments the revolving mirror is slightly tilted, so that the 
returning ray passes beneath the outgoing ray, and is 
then reflected by a mirror or total reflexion prism to the 
eye of the observer. Now let us suppose the revolving 
mirror to be at rest. The various mirrors are first accu- 
rately adjusted, so that the narrow slit of light (or a fine 
wire in its centre) is so reflected by the three mirrors that 
it can be seen in the observing eye piece, and its posi- 
tion on a fine micrometer exactly noted. If now the 
mirror is slowly revolved, the line of light will appear 
and disappear at each revolution; but if it is made to re- 
volve more than thirty times a second, the line of light 
will be seen motionless, on the same principle that a 
rapidly moving luminous object is seen as an illuminated 
riband. But if light requires any time, however mi- 
nute, to travel from the revolving to the concave mirror 
and back again, the mirror will during that time have 
turned a little on its axis, and the returning ray of light 
will be reflected to a slightly different point on the 
diagonal mirror and on the micrometer scale of the eye 
piece. In Foucault's experiment the distance between 
the concave and revolving mirrors was only thirteen and 
a half feet, and he had to make the mirror revolve six 
hundred times in a second before the returning ray was 
shifted rather less than one hundredth of an inch. By 
increasing the speed to eight hundred revolutions the dis- 
tance was increased to about twelve thousandths of an 
inch, which, under a powerful magnifier, could be meas- 
ured with great precision. Having measured with great 
accuracy the distance between the mirrors, and knowing 



CHAP. viii. 



PHYSICAL PRINCIPLES. 



the exact number of revolutions a second of the mirror, 
which was shown by a simple clockwork connected with 
it, the velocity of light was deduced as being 185,157 
miles per second. 

It is evident that there are here several sources of 
error. The short distance traversed by the light renders 
it necessary for the revolving mirror to turn with ex- 
treme rapidity, while the observed displacement of the 
ray is very small. Minute errors in the various meas- 
urements will therefore be enormously multiplied in the 
result. To obviate these difficulties the concave mirror 
has been placed much further away; and in the most 
recent and most accurate experiments by Professor New- 
combe at Washington, the distance between the revolv- 
ing and the concave mirrors was about two and a half 
miles, and the mirror revolved two hundred and thirty 
times a second. This gave such a large displacement of 
the returning ray that it could be measured with extreme 
accuracy, and the average of numerous trials gave the 
velocity of light as 186,327 miles per second. It thus 
appears that Foucault's measurement in a small room 
was only in error about T |-g-, or a little more than a half 
of one per cent., a wonderful testimony to his skill as an 
experimenter under such unfavorable conditions. Pro- 
fessor Newcombe believes that his determination is cor- 
rect within -nnhrg-, but he thinks that by placing the 
mirrors twenty or thirty miles apart in the clear atmos- 
phere of the Rocky Mountains a still greater approach 
to perfect accuracy could be obtained. 1 

The same M. Leon Foucault who made these beautiful 

J For a more detailed account of Professor Newcombe's experi- 
ments, see Nature, vol. xxxiv. p. 170. . 



64 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. vm. 

experiments on the measurement of the velocity of light 
has also discovered a method by which the rotation of the 
earth on its axis can be experimentally demonstrated. 
When a heavy body is in free motion in any direction, it 
requires force to change the direction; and if no such 
force is applied, it will continue its motion in the same 
straight line or in the same plane. If a heavy pendulum 
is suspended from the axis of a horizontal wheel by a 
very long, thin wire, and if, when swinging in a fixed 
line across the room, the wheel is slowly turned, either 
the wire will twist a little or the ball forming the weight 
of the pendulum will revolve, but the plane in which the 
weight swings will not be altered. On the same prin- 
ciple, any pendulum freely swinging near the ^"orth 
Pole will not change the direction of its swing, although 
its point of support revolves in twenty-four hours with 
the earth's surface to which it is attached. On trying 
the experiment with a heavy weight suspended from the 
dome of the Pantheon in Paris and carefully set swing- 
ing, the plane of oscillation of the weight was found ap- 
parently to change at a uniform rate, and always in the 
same direction, which was opposite to that of the earth's 
rotation; proving that the surface of the earth moved 
round while the plane of oscillation remained fixed in 
space. This experiment can be tried in any place free 
from currents of air, such as a cellar. It only requires 
a heavy weight, say of 28 Ibs., to be suspended by a 
string just strong enough to bear it. The weight must 
be drawn three or four feet away from the vertical line 
and fastened by a thread, so as to be set swinging by 
burning the thread without giving it any lateral motion. 
In an hour the line of swing will be found to have 



CHAP vin. PHYSICAL PRINCIPLES. 65 

changed considerably, and in a direction opposite to 
that of the earth's rotation. At the North Pole a circle 
drawn on the surface turns completely round in twenty- 
four hours, so that a pendulum swung there, with a circle 
beneath it divided like a twenty-four-hour clock dial, 
would appear to revolve, and would tell the time. At 
the Equator, however, a circle on the surface of the earth 
does not itself rotate on its centre as at the Pole, but is 
merely carried round the earth with the north and south 
points of the circumference preserving the same direc- 
tion in space. Therefore, at the Equator a pendulum 
should show no motion of rotation. At all intervening 
points it will appear to rotate, but slower and slower as 
we recede from the Pole; and mathematical calculation 
shows that, while at the Pole it apparently moves 
through an angle of 15 in an hour, at London it would 
move a little less than 12, at Paris 11-J, at New York 
9f , and at Ceylon somewhat less than 2 an hour. Ex- 
periments have been tried at each of these places, and 
the rate of apparent rotation of the pendulum has been 
found to agree very closely with the calculated amount, 
thus giving a complete proof that the apparent rotation 
is really due to the rotation of the earth on its axis. 
This mode of rendering the earth's rotation visible, in 
such a simple and convincing manner, is a discovery of 
considerable interest, even among the many wonderful 
discoveries of the century. 

One more of these minor applications of scientific 
principles, leading to very startling results, must be 
briefly described. All sounds, including the infinitely 
varied modulations of the human voice, have long been 



66 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP, vm. 

known to be due to successive air-waves set up by vari- 
ous vibrating substances; but it would seem impossible 
by any mechanical means to reproduce these complex 
vibrations so exactly as to cause the words of the origi- 
nal speaker to be again heard, quite intelligibly, and 
with all their tones and modulations, at any distant time 
or place. Yet this has been done by means of the in- 
strument called the phonograph, one of the many in- 
genious inventions of the American, Edison. 

In the telephone this is effected instantaneously 
through the medium of an electric current, which repro- 
duces the vibrations set up by the voice of the speaker in 
a delicate elastic diaphragm by means of another dia- 
phragm at the end of the conducting wire, perhaps hun- 
dreds of miles away, as already explained in Chapter 
III. In the phonograph the whole operation is mechan- 
ical. A diaphragm is set vibrating by the voice as in 
the telephone, but instead of being reproduced at a dis- 
tance by means of an electric current, it registers itself 
permanently on a cylinder of very hard wax, as an in- 
dented spiral line. This is effected by means of a fine 
steel point, like a graving tool, connected by a delicate 
lever with the centre of the diaphragm. The wax cylin- 
der turns and travels onward at a perfectly uniform rate, 
which can be delicately adjusted, so that the steel point, 
if stationary, will cut in it a very fine spiral groove, uni- 
form in depth from end to end, the turns of the groove 
being very close to each other. But when the diaphragm 
is set vibrating by the voice of the speaker, the steel point 
moves rapidly up and down, and the resulting groove 
continually varies in depth, forming a complex series of 
undulations. If, now, the cylinder is shifted back so 



CHAP. vin. PHYSICAL PRINCIPLES. 67 

that the steel point is exactly where it was at starting, 
and the cylinder is then made to revolve and move on- 
ward at exactly the same rate as before, the up and down 
motions of the style, due to the irregular depth of the 
groove, set up the very same series of vibrations in the 
diaphragm as those which cut the groove; and these 
vibrations reproduce the voice with marvellous fidelity, 
so that the most complex and rapid speech, or the most 
exquisite singing, can be heard quite intelligibly, and 
with all their modulations and expressiveness, though 
not in exactly the same tone of voice. 

The cylinders thus produced can be preserved for 
years, can be carried to any part of the world, and by 
means of a duplicate of the original instrument will there 
reproduce the words and the vocal peculiarities of the 
speaker. Phonographs are now largely manufactured, 
and are used for a variety of purposes. They serve for 
the rapid dictation of correspondence, which can be re- 
produced and copied by a clerk later on; to take down 
discussions verbatim, with a perfection that no short- 
hand writer can rival; the singing or the elocution of 
celebrated performers is repeated for the gratification 
of friends or to amuse private parties; actors, musicians, 
and clergymen use the instrument as a means of improv- 
ing their style ; and even the languages, songs, and folk- 
lore of dying-out tribes are being preserved on these 
wonderful cylinders. 

Probably there is no instrument in the world which 
so impresses the observer with the apparent inadequacy 
of the means to bring about so marvellous a result. At 
the same time it renders more mysterious than ever the 
properties and possibilities of air-waves, and the extreme 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



delicacy of the ear and auditory nerves, which enable us 
instantaneously to interpret any one set of these vibra- 
tions, amidst the many other sets of air-waves arising 
from various sources which must be continually crossing 
and intermingling in apparently inextricable confusion. 
The phonograph, whether as illustrating the ingenuity 
of man or the marvellous perfection of our organism, 
will certainly take high rank among the new inventions 
of the nineteenth century. 



CHAPTER IX. 

THE IMPORTANCE OF DUST I A SOURCE OF BEAUTY AND 
ESSENTIAL TO LIFE. 

When the lamp is shattered, 

The light in the dust lies dead ; 
When the cloud is scattered, 
The rainbow's glory is shed. 

Shelley. 

How beautiful is the rain ! 
After the dust and heat, 
In the broad and fiery street, 
In the narrow lane, 
How beautiful is the rain ! 

Longfellow. 

THE majority of persons, if asked what were the uses 
of dust, would reply that they did not know it had any, 
but they were sure it was a great nuisance. It is true 
that dust, in our towns and in our houses is often not 
only a nuisance but a serious source of disease; while in 
many countries it produces ophthalmia, often resulting in 
total blindness. Dust, however, as it is usually per- 
ceived by us, is, like dirt, only matter in the wrong place, 
and whatever injurious or disagreeable effects it pro- 
duces are largely due to our own dealings with nature. 
So soon as we dispense with horse-power and adopt 
purely mechanical means of traction and conveyance, 
we can almost wholly abolish disease-bearing dust from 
our streets, and ultimately from all our highways; while 
another kind of dust, that caused by the imperfect com- 
bustion of coal, may be got rid of with equal facility so 



70 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



soon as we consider pure air, sunlight, and natural 
beauty to be of more importance to the population as a 
whole than are the prejudices or the vested interests of 
those who produce the smoke. 

But though we can thus minimize the dangers and the 
inconveniences arising from the grosser forms of dust, 
we cannot wholly abolish it; and it is, indeed, fortunate 
we cannot do so, since it has now been discovered that it 
is to the presence of dust we owe much of the beauty, 
and perhaps even the very habitability, of the earth we 
live upon. Few of the fairy tales of science are more 
marvellous than these recent discoveries as to the varied 
effects and important uses of dust in the economy of 
nature. 

The question why the sky and the deep ocean are both 
blue did not much concern the earlier physicists. It 
was thought to be the natural color of pure air and water, 
so pale as not to be visible when small quantities were 
seen, and only exhibiting its true tint Avhen we looked 
through great depths of atmosphere or of organic water. 
But this theory did not explain the familiar facts of the 
gorgeous tints seen at sunset and sunrise, not only in the 
atmosphere and on the clouds near the horizon, but also 
in equally resplendent hues when the invisible sun shines 
upon Alpine peaks and snowiields. A true theory 
should explain all these colors, which comprise almost 
every tint of the rainbow. 

The explanation was found through experiments on 
the visibility or non-visibility of air, which were made 
by the late Professor Tyndall about the year 1868. 
Everyone has seen the floating dust in a sunbeam when 
sunshine enters a partially darkened room; but it is not 



CHAP. ix. THE IMPORTANCE OF DUST. 71 

generally known that if there was absolutely no dust in 
the air the path of the sunbeam would be totally black 
and invisible, while if only very little dust w T as present 
in very minute particles the air would be as blue as a 
summer sky. 

This was proved by passing a ray of electric light 
lengthways through a long glass cylinder filled with air 
of varying degrees of purity as regards dust. In the 
air of an ordinary room, however clean and well venti- 
lated, the interior of the cylinder appears brilliantly 
illuminated. But if the cylinder is exhausted and then 
filled with air which has passed slowly through a fine 
gauze of intensely heated platinum wire, so as to burn 
up all the floating dust particles, which are mainly 
organic, the light will pass through the cylinder without 
illuminating the interior, which, viewed laterally, will 
appear as if filled with a dense black cloud. If, now, 
more air is passed into the cylinder through the heated 
gauze, but so rapidly that the dust particles are not 
wholly consumed, a slight blue haze will begin to appear, 
which will gradually become a pure blue, equal to that 
of a summer sky. If more and more dust particles are 
allowed to enter, the blue becomes paler, and gradually 
changes to the colorless illumination of the ordinary air. 

The explanation of these phenomena is that the num- 
ber of dust particles in ordinary air is so great that they 
reflect abundance of light of all wave-lengths, and thus 
cause the interior of the vessel containing them to ap- 
pear illuminated with white light. The air which has 
passed slowly over white-hot platinum has had the dust 
particles destroyed, thus showing that they were almost 
wholly of organic origin, which is also indicated by their 



72 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. . 

extreme lightness, causing them to float permanently in 
the atmosphere. The dust being thus got rid of, and 
pure air being entirely transparent, there is nothing in 
the cylinder to reflect the light which is sent through its 
centre in a beam of parallel rays, so that none of it strikes 
against the sides; hence the inside of the cylinder appears 
absolutely dark. But when all the larger dust particles 
are wholly or partially burnt, so that only the very 
smallest fragments remain, a blue light appears, because 
these are so minute as to reflect chiefly the more refran- 
gible rays, which are of shorter wave-length those at 
the blue end of the spectrum, which are thus scattered in 
all directions, while the red and yellow rays pass straight 
on as before. 

We have seen that the air near the earth's surface is 
full of rather coarse particles which reflect all the rays, 
and which therefore produce no one color. But higher 
up the particles necessarily become smaller and smaller, 
since the comparatively rare atmosphere will only sup- 
port the very smallest and lightest. These exist 
throughout a great thickness of air, perhaps from one 
mile to ten miles high or even more, and blue or violet 
rays being reflected from the innumerable particles in 
this great mass of air, which is nearly uniform in all 
parts of the world as regards the presence of minute 
dust particles, produces the constant and nearly uniform 
tint we call sky-blue. A certain amount of white or 
yellow light is no doubt reflected from the coarser dust 
in the lower atmosphere, and slightly dilutes the blue 
and renders it not quite so deep and pure as it otherwise 
would be. This is shown by the increasing depth of the 
sky-color when seen from the tops of lofty mountains,. 



<;HAP. ix. THE IMPORTANCE OF DUST. 73 

while from the still greater heights attained in balloons 
the sky appears of a blue-black color, the blue reflected 
from the comparatively small amount of dust particles 
being seen against the intense black of stellar space. It 
is for the same reason that the " Italian skies " are of so 
rich a blue, because the Mediterranean Sea on one side 
and the snowy Alps on the other do not furnish so large 
a quantity of atmospheric dust in the lower strata of air 
as in less favorably situated countries, thus leaving the 
blue reflected by the more uniformly distributed fine 
dust of the higher strata undiluted. But these Mediter- 
ranean skies are surpassed by those of the central Pacific 
ocean, where, owing to the small area of land, the lower 
atmosphere is more free from coarse dust than any other 
part of the world. 

If we look at the sky on a perfectly fine summer's day, 
we shall find that the blue color is the most pure and 
intense overhead, and when looking high up in a direc- 
tion opposite to the sun. Near the horizon it is always 
less bright, while in the region immediately round the 
sun it is more or less yellow. The reason of this is that 
near the horizon we look through a very great thickness 
of the lower atmosphere, which is full of the larger dust 
particles reflecting white light, and this dilutes the pure 
blue of the higher atmosphere seen beyond. And in 
the vicinity of the sun a good deal of the blue light is 
reflected back into space by the finer dust, thus giving a 
yellowish tinge to that which reaches us reflected chiefly 
from the coarse dust of the lower atmosphere. At sun- 
set and sunrise, however, this last effect is greatly inten- 
sified, owing to the great thickness of the strata of air 
through which the light reaches us. The enormous 



74 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CUAP. ix. 

amount of this dust is well shown by the fact that, then 
only, we can look full at the sun, even when the whole 
sky is free from clouds and there is no apparent mist. 
But the sun's rays then reach us after having passed, 
first, through an enormous thickness of the higher strata 
of the air, the minute dust of which reflects most of the 
blue rays away from us, leaving the complementary yel- 
low light to pass on. Then, the somewhat coarser dust 
reflects the green rays, leaving a more orange colored 
light to pass on; and finally some of the yellow is re- 
flected, leaving almost pure red. But owing to the con- 
stant presence of air currents, arranging both the dust 
and vapor in strata of varying extent and density, and 
of high or low clouds, which both absorb and reflect the 
light in varying degrees, we see produced all those won- 
drous combinations of tints and those gorgeous ever- 
changing colors, which are a constant source of admira- 
tion and delight to all who have the advantage of an 
uninterrupted view to the west, and who are accustomed 
to watch for these not unfrequent exhibitions of nature's 
kaleidoscopic color-painting. With every change in the 
altitude of the sun the display changes its character; and 
most of all when it has sunk below the horizon, and, 
owing to the more favorable angles, a larger quantity of 
the colored light is reflected toward us. Especially 
when there is a certain amount of cloud is this the case. 
These, so long as the sun was above the horizon, inter- 
cepted much of the light and color; but, when the great 
luminary has passed away from our direct vision, his 
light shines more directly on the under sides of all the 
clouds and air strata of different densities; a new and 
more brilliant light flushes the western sky, and a dis- 



THE IMPORTANCE OF DUST. 75 



play of gorgeous ever-changing tints occurs which are 
at once the delight of the beholder and the despair of the 
artist. And all this unsurpassable glory we owe to 
dust! 

A remarkable confirmation of this theory was given 
during the two or three years after the great eruption of 
Krakatoa, near Java. The volcanic debris was shot up 
from the crater many miles high, and the heavier por- 
tion of it fell upon the sea for several hundred miles 
around, and was found to be mainly composed of very 
thin flakes of volcanic glass. Much of this was of 
course ground to impalpable dust by the violence of the 
discharge, and was carried up to a height of many miles. 
Here it was caught by the return current of air con- 
tinually flowing northward and southward above the 
equatorial zone; and as these currents reach the temper- 
ate zone where the surface rotation of the earth is less 
rapid they continually flow eastward, and the fine dust 
was thus carried at a great altitude completely round the 
earth. Its effects were traced some months after the 
eruption in the appearance of brilliant sunset glows of an 
exceptional character, often flushing with crimson the 
whole western half of the visible sky. These glows 
continued in diminishing splendor for about three years, 
they were seen all over the temperate zone, and it was 
calculated that, before they finally disappeared, some of 
this fine dust must have travelled three times round the 
globe. 

The same principle is thought to explain the exquisite 
blue color of the deep seas and oceans and of many 
lakes and springs. Absolutely pure water, like pure 
air, is colorless, but all seas and lakes, however clear and 



76 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



translucent, contain abundance of very finely divided 
matter, organic or inorganic, which, as in the atmos- 
phere, reflects the blue rays in such quantity as to over- 
power the white or colored light reflected from the fewer 
and more rapidly sinking particles of larger size. The 
oceanic dust is derived from many sources. Minute 
organisms are constantly dying near the surface, and 
their skeletons, or fragments of them, fall slowly to the 
bottom. The mud brought down by rivers, though it 
cannot be traced on the ocean floor more than about 150 
miles from land, yet no doubt furnishes many particles 
of organic matter which are carried by surface currents 
to enormous distances and are ultimately dissolved be- 
fore they reach the bottom. A more important source 
of finely divided matter is to be found in volcanic dust 
which, as in the case of Krakatoa, may remain for years 
in the atmosphere, but which must ultimately fall upon 
the surface of the earth and ocean. This can be traced 
in all the deep-sea oozes. Finally there is meteoric dust, 
which is continually falling to the surface of the earth, 
but in such minute quantities and in such a finely- 
divided state that it can only be detected in the oozes of 
the deepest oceans, where both inorganic and organic 
debris is almost absent. 

The blue of the ocean varies in different parts from a 
pure blue somewhat lighter than that of the sky, as seen 
about the northern tropic in the Atlantic, to a deep 
indigo tint, as seen in the north temperate portions of 
the same ocean: due, probably, to differences in the 
nature, quantity, and distribution of the solid matter 
which causes the color. The Mediterranean, and the 
deeper Swiss lakes are also blue of various tints, due 



CHAP. ix. THE IMPORTANCE OF DUST. 77 

also to the presence of suspended matter, which Pro- 
fessor Tyndall thought might be so fine that it would re- 
quire ages of quiet subsidence to reach the bottom. All 
the evidence goes to show, therefore, that the exquisite 
blue tints of sky and ocean, as well as all the sunset hues 
of sky and cloud, of mountain peak and alpine snows, 
are due to the finer particles of that very dust which, in 
its coarser forms, we find so annoying and even dan- 
gerous. 

But if this production of color and beauty were the 
only useful function of dust, some persons might be dis- 
posed to dispense with it in order to escape its less agree- 
able effects. It has, however, been recently discovered 
that dust has another part to play in nature; a part so 
important that it is doubtful whether we could even live 
without it. To the presence of dust in the higher atmos- 
phere we owe the formation of mists, clouds, and gentle 
beneficial rains, instead of waterspouts and destructive 
torrents. 

It is barely twenty years ago since the discovery was 
made, first in France by Coulier and Mascart, but more 
thoroughly worked out by Mr. John Aitken in 1880. 
He found that if a jet of steam is admitted into two 
large glass receivers, one filled with ordinary air, the 
other with air which has been filtered through cotton 
wool so as to keep back all particles of solid matter, the 
first will be instantly filled with condensed vapor in the 
usual cloudy form, while the other vessel will remain 
quite transparent. Another experiment was made, more 
nearly reproducing what occurs in nature. Some water 
was placed in the two vessels prepared as before. When 



78 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY 



the water had evaporated sufficiently to saturate the air 
the vessels were slightly cooled, when a dense cloud was 
at once formed in the one while the other remaind quite 
clear. These experiments, and many others, showed 
that the mere cooling of vapor in air will not condense 
it into mist clouds or rain, unless particles of solid 
matter are present to form nuclei upon which condensa- 
tion can begin. The density of the cloud is proportion- 
ate to the number of the particles; hence the fact that 
the steam issuing from the safety-valve or the chimney 
of a locomotive forms a dense white cloud shows that 
the air is really full of dust particles, most of which are 
microscopic but none the less serving as centres of con- 
densation for the vapor. Hence, if there were no dust 
in the air, escaping steam would remain invisible; there 
would be no clouds in the sky ; and the vapor in the at- 
mosphere, constantly accumulating through evaporation 
from seas and oceans and from the earth's surface, would 
have to find some other means of returning to its source. 
One of these modes would be the deposition of dew, 
which is itself an illustration of the principle that vapor 
requires solid or liquid surfaces to condense upon ; hence 
dew forms more readily and more abundantly on grass, 
on account of the numerous centres of condensation it 
affords. Dew, however, is now formed only on clear cold 
nights after warm or moist days. The air near the sur- 
face is warm and contains much vapor, though below the 
point of saturation. But the innumerable points and ex- 
tensive surfaces of grass radiate heat quickly, and becom- 
ing cool, lower the temperature of the adjacent air, which 
then reaches saturation point and condenses the con- 
tained vapor on the grass. Hence, if the atmosphere at 



CHAP. ix. THE IMPORTANCE OF DUST. 79 

the earth's surface became super-saturated with aqueous 
vapor, dew would be continuously deposited, especially 
on every form of vegetation, the result being that every- 
thing, including our clothing, would be constantly drip- 
ping wet. If there were absolutely no particles of solid 
matter in the upper atmosphere, all the moisture would 
be returned to the earth in the form of dense mists, and 
frequent and copious dews, which in forests would form 
torrents of rain by the rapid condensation on the leaves. 
But if we suppose that solid particles were occasionally 
carried higher up through violent winds or tornadoes, 
then on those occasions the super-saturated atmosphere 
would condense rapidly upon them, and while falling 
would gather almost all the moisture in the atmosphere 
in that locality, resulting in masses or sheets of water, 
which would be so ruinously destructive by the mere 
weight and impetus of their fall that it is doubtful 
whether they would not render the earth almost wholly 
uninhabitable. 

The chief mode of discharging the atmospheric vapor 
in the absence of dust would, however, be by contact 
with the higher slopes of all mountain ranges. Atmos- 
pheric vapor, being lighter than air, would accumulate 
in enormous quantities in the upper strata of the atmos- 
phere, which would be always super-saturated and ready 
to condense upon any solid or liquid surfaces. But the 
quantity of land comprised in the upper half of all the 
mountains of the world is a very small fraction of the 
total surface of the globe, and this would lead to very 
disastrous results. The air in contact with the higher 
mountain slopes would rapidly discharge its water, which 
would run down the mountain sides in torrents. This 



80 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. ix. 

condensation on every side of the mountains would leave 
a partial vacuum which would set up currents from 
every direction to restore the equilibrium, thus bring- 
ing in more super-saturated air to suffer condensation 
and add its supply of water, again increasing the in- 
draught of more air. The result would be that winds 
would be constantly blowing toward every mountain 
range from all directions, keeping up the condensation 
and discharging, day and night and from one year's end 
to another, an amount of water equal to that which falls 
during the heaviest tropical rains. The whole of the 
rain that now falls over the whole surface of the earth 
and ocean, with the exception of a few desert areas, 
would then fall only on rather high mountains or steep 
isolated hills, tearing down their sides in huge torrents, 
cutting deep ravines, and rendering all growth of vege- 
tation impossible. The mountains would therefore be so 
devastated as to be uninhabitable, and would be equally 
incapable of supporting either vegetable or animal life. 

But this constant condensation on the mountains 
would probably check the deposit on the lowlands in the 
form of dew, because the continual up-draught toward 
the higher slopes would withdraw almost the whole of 
the vapor as it rose from the oceans and other water- 
surfaces, and thus leave the lower strata over the plains 
almost or quite dry. And if this were the case there 
would be no vegetation, and therefore no animal life, on 
the plains and lowlands, which would thus be all arid 
deserts cut through by the great rivers formed by the 
meeting together of the innumerable torrents from the 
mountains. 

Now, although it may not be possible to determine 



CHAP. ix. THE IMPORTANCE OF DUST. 81 

with perfect accuracy what would happen under the 
supposed condition of the atmosphere, it is certain that 
the total absence of dust would so fundamentally change 
the meteorology of our globe as, not improbably, to ren- 
der it uninhabitable by man, and equally unsuitable for 
the larger portion of its existing animal and vegetable 
life. 

Let us now briefly summarize what we owe to the 
universality of dust, and especially to that most finely 
divided portion of it which is constantly present in the 
atmosphere up to the height of many miles. First of all 
it gives us the pure blue of the sky, one of the most ex- 
quisitely beautiful colors in nature. It gives us also the 
glories of the sunset and the sunrise, and all those bril- 
liant hues seen in high mountain regions. Half the 
beauty of the world would vanish with the absence of 
dust. But, what is far more important than the color 
of sky and beauty of sunset, dust gives us also diffused 
daylight, or skylight, that most equable, and soothing, 
and useful, of all illuminating agencies. Without dust 
the sky would appear absolutely black, and the stars 
would be visible even at noonday. The sky itself would 
therefore give us no light. We should have bright glar- 
ing sunlight or intensely dark shadows, with hardly any 
half-tones. From this cause alone the world would be 
so totally different from what it is that all vegetable and 
animal life would probably have developed into very 
different forms, and even our own organization would 
have been modified in order that we might enjoy life in 
a world of such harsh and violent contrasts. 

In our houses we should have little light except when 
the sun shone directly into them, and even then every 



82 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. ix. 

spot out of its direct rays would be completely dark, ex- 
cept for light reflected from the walls. It would be 
necessary to have windows all round and the walls all 
white ; and 011 the north side of every house a high white 
wall would have to be built to reflect the light and pre- 
vent that side from being in total darkness. Even then 
we should have to live in a perpetual glare, or shut out 
the sun altogether and use artificial light as being a far 
superior article. 

Much more important would be the effects of a dust- 
free atmosphere in banishing clouds, or mist, or the 
" gentle rain of heaven," and in giving us in their place 
perpetual sunshine, desert lowlands, and mountains 
devastated by unceasing floods and raging torrents, so as, 
apparently, to render all life on the earth impossible. 

There are a few other phenomena, apparently due to 
the same general causes, which may here be referred to. 
Everyone must have noticed the difference in the atmos- 
pheric effects and general character of the light in 
spring and autumn, at times when the days are of the 
same length, and consequently when the sun has the 
same altitude at corresponding hours. In spring we 
have a bluer sky and greater transparency of the atmos- 
phere; in autumn, even on very fine days, there is 
always a kind of yellowish haze, resulting in a want of 
clearness in the air and purity of color in the sky. 
These phenomena are quite intelligible when we con- 
sider that during winter less dust is formed, and more is 
brought down to the earth by rain and snow, resulting in 
the transparent atmosphere of spring, while exactly 
opposite conditions during summer bring about the mel- 
low autumnal light. Again, the well-known beneficial 



CHAP. ix. THE IMPORTANCE OF DUST. 83 

effects of rain on vegetation, as compared with any 
amount of artificial watering, though, no doubt, largely 
due to the minute quantity of ammonia which the rain 
brings down with it from the air, must yet be partly 
derived from the organic or mineral particles which 
serve as the nuclei of every raindrop, and which, being 
so minute, are more readily dissolved in the soil and ap- 
propriated as nourishment by the roots of plants. 

It will be observed that all these beneficial effects of 
dust are due to its presence in such quantities as are pro- 
duced by natural causes, since both gentle showers as 
well as ample rains and deep blue skies are present 
throughout the vast equatorial forest districts, where 
dust-forming agencies seem to be at a minimum. But 
in all densely-populated countries there is an enormous 
artificial production of dust from our ploughed fields, 
from our roads and streets, where dust is continually 
formed by the iron-shod hoofs of innumerable horses, 
but chiefly from our enormous combustion of fuel pour- 
ing into the air volumes of smoke charged with uncon- 
sumed particles of carbon. This superabundance of 
dust, probably many times greater than that Avhich would 
be produced under the more natural conditions which 
prevailed when our country was more thinly populated, 
must almost certainly produce some effect on our 
climate; and the particular effect it seems calculated to 
produce is the increase of cloud and fog, but not neces- 
sarily any increase of rain. Rain depends on the supply 
of aqueous vapor by evaporation ; on temperature, which 
determines the dew point; and on changes in barometric 
pressure, which determine the winds. There is prob- 
ably always and everywhere enough atmospheric dust 



84 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



to serve as centres of condensation at considerable alti- 
tudes, and thus to initiate rainfall when the other con- 
ditions are favorable ; but the presence of increased quan- 
tities of dust at the lower levels must lead to the forma- 
tion of denser clouds, although the minute water-vesicles 
cannot descend as rain, because, as they pass down into 
warmer and dryer strata of air, they are again evapo- 
rated. 

!N"ow, there is much evidence to show that there has 
been a considerable increase in the amount of cloud, and 
consequent decrease in the amount of sunshine, in all 
parts of our country. It is an undoubted fact that in 
the Middle Ages England was a wine-producing coun- 
try, and this implies more sunshine than we have now. 
Sunshine has a double effect, in heating the surface soil 
and thus causing more rapid growth, besides its direct 
effect in ripening the fruit. This is well seen in Canada, 
where, notwithstanding a six months' winter of extreme 
severity, vines are grown as bushes in the open ground, 
and produce fruit equal to that of our ordinary green- 
houses. Some years back one of our gardening period- 
icals obtained from gardeners of forty or fifty years' 
experience a body of facts clearly indicating a compara- 
tively recent change of climate. It was stated that in 
many parts of the country, especially in the north, fruits 
were formerly grown successfully and of good quality 
in gardens where they cannot be grown now; and this 
occurred in places sufficiently removed from manu- 
facturing centres to be unaffected by any direct deleteri- 
ous influence of smoke. But an increase of cloud, and 
consequent diminution of sunshine, would produce just 
such a result; and this increase is almost certain to have 






CHAP. ix. THE IMPORTANCE OF DUST. 85 

occurred, owing to the enormously increased amount of 
dust thrown into the atmosphere as our country has be- 
come more densely populated, and especially owing to 
the vast increase of our smoke-producing manufactories. 
It seems highly probable, therefore, that to increase the 
wealth of our capitalist-manufacturers we are allowing 
the climate of our whole country to be greatly deterio- 
rated in a way which diminishes both its productiveness 
and its beauty, thus injuriously affecting the enjoyment 
and the health of the whole population, since sunshine is 
itself an essential condition of healthy life. When this 
fact is thoroughly realized we shall surely put a stop to 
such a reckless and wholly unnecessary production of in- 
jurious smoke and dust. 

In conclusion, we find that the much-abused and all- 
pervading dust, which, when too freely produced, de- 
teriorates our climate and brings us dirt, discomfort, and 
even disease, is, nevertheless, under natural conditions, 
an essential portion of the economy of nature. It gives 
us much of the beauty of natural scenery as due to vary- 
ing atmospheric effects of sky, and cloud, and sunset 
tints, and thus renders life more enjoyable; while, as an 
essential condition of diffused daylight and of moderate 
rainfalls combined with a dry atmosphere, it appears to 
be absolutely necessary for our existence upon the earth, 
perhaps even for the very development of terrestrial, as 
opposed to aquatic life. The overwhelming importance 
of the small things, and even of the despised things, of 
our world has never, perhaps, been so strikingly brought 
home to us as in these recent investigations into the wide- 
spread and far-reaching beneficial influences of Atmos- 
pheric Dust. 



CHAPTEK X. 

A FEW OF THE GREAT PROBLEMS OF CHEMISTRY. 

Force merges into force, 

The atom seeks its kind ; 
The elements are one, 

And each with all combined. 

F. T. Palgrave. 
O Lavoisier, master great, 

We mourn your awful fate, 
But never tire of singing to your praise. 
You laid foundations true, 
And we must trace to you 
The chemistry of our enlightened days. 

Anon. 

THE science of modern chemistry lias been created 
during the present century, but its phenomena and laws 
are so complex that it presents only a few of those great 
discoveries which are the starting points for new devel- 
opments, and which can at the same time be popularly 
described. The most important of all that which con- 
stitutes the very foundation of chemistry as a science 
is the law of chemical combination in multiple propor- 
tions, together with the atomic theory which serves to 
explain it. 

The fact of chemical combination in definite propor- 
tions was suspected by some of the older chemists, but 
Dalton, in the early years of this century, was the first to 
establish it firmly as a general principle, and to explain 
it by means of a comparatively simple theory. To illus- 
trate by examples, it is found that the two gases, nitrogen 



CHAP. x. THE GREAT PROBLEMS OF CHEMISTRY. 87 

and oxygen, combine to form a variety of compounds, 
such as nitrous oxide or " laughing gas," nitric oxide, 
and several others. Citrous oxide, or in chemical lan- 
guage, nitrogen monoxide, consists of 28 parts by weight 
of nitrogen to 16 of oxygen, and all the other compounds 
of the same gases consist of two, three, four, or five times 
as much oxygen to the same quantity of nitrogen. 
Water consists of 16 parts of oxygen to 2 of hydrogen, 
and there is another compound in which 32 parts of oxy- 
gen combine with the same weight of hydrogen, forming 
hydrogen-dioxide or oxygenated water. This law ap- 
plies to every chemical compound yet discovered, and as 
every element has a minimum proportionate weight, 
which can combine with any other element, these are 
called the atomic or combining weights of the elements. 
As the weight of the hydrogen in all its combinations is 
much less than the weight of the element it combines 
with, this gas is taken as the unit of measurement of 
atomic weights. Nitrogen is thus found to have an 
atomic weight of 14, oxygen 16, and chlorine 35. 
These are all gases; but many solids have much lower 
atomic weights, carbon being 12, and the rare metal 
beryllium only 9. Of other metals, that of aluminium 
is 27, copper 63, iron 56, silver 107, tin 117, and gold 
196. There is thus no constant relation between atomic 
weights and specific gravities. Tin is a little lighter 
than iron, but has nearly double its atomic weight; gold 
has a high atomic weight, but bismuth has a higher still, 
although only half its specific gravity. 

These facts are elucidated, and to some extent ex- 
plained, by the atomic theory of Dalton. He supposed 
each element to consist of atoms, an atom being the 



88 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



smallest portion that has the properties of the element, 
and the atom of each element has a different weight, 
Hence, when one element combines with another, the 
proportions must be either those represented by the 
atomic weights, or some multiple of those weights, since 
the atoms are assumed to be indivisible. This will be 
made clearer by another example. The atomic weights 
of nitrogen and oxygen are as 14 to 16, and these ele- 
ments combine in five different proportions, as shown by 
the following figures, each circle representing an atom of 
the elements indicated by their initial letters : 

Chemical 
Symbol 

= Nitrogen monoxide N 2 O 
= Nitrogen dioxide N 2 O 2 
= Nitrogen trioxide N 2 O 3 
= Nitrogen tetroxide N 2 O 4 
O J= Nitrogen pentoxide N 2 O 6 

The atomic or combining weights of all the elements 
having been carefully determined by numerous experi- 
ments, a beautiful system of chemical symbols has been 
formed which greatly facilitates the study of the in- 
numerable complex substances that have to be investi- 
gated. Each element is indicated either by one or two 
letters, being the initial letter, or some two characteris- 
tic letters, of its chemical name, so that nearly seventy 
elements are thus clearly defined. But these symbols 
represent not only the element, but a definite propor- 




CHAP. x. THE GREAT PROBLEMS OF CHEMISTRY. 89 

tional weight the atomic weight. Thus H means a 
unit weight of hydrogen; C means 12 times that weight 
of carbon; Fe (ferrum) means 56 times that weight of 
iron. Hence the symbol for any compound substance 
tells us in the most compact form possible, not only the 
elements of which it is composed, but the exact propor- 
tions in which these elements are combined. Thus 
C 2 II 6 O is the chemical symbol for pure alcohol, show- 
ing that it is a compound of two atoms of carbon, six of 
hydrogen, and one of oxygen. Looking now at a table 
of atomic weights, we find that this gives us 24 carbon, 
6 hydrogen, and 16 oxygen in each 46 parts of alcohol. 
By means of these symbols and the accurate determina- 
tion of atomic weights, all the complex combinations 
and decompositions that occur during the investigations 
of the chemist can be represented in a kind of chemical 
algebra, and the peculiar formulae thus obtained often 
suggest further experiments leading to new discoveries. 

Almost at the same time that Dalton was working at 
his atomic theory, Davy (afterward Sir Humphrey Davy) 
made the remarkable discovery of two new elements by 
decomposing soda and potash by means of an electric 
current, resulting in the production of the metals, 
sodium and potassium. This placed in the hands of 
chemists a powerful agent which led to the discovery of 
other elements, though in this respect it has been sur- 
passed by spectrum analysis, which is equally effective in 
the domains of chemistry and astronomy. 

Among the more interesting discoveries of modern 
chemistry are the methods of liquefying the various 
gases, and even solidifying many of them; while by 
means of the intense heat of the electric furnace all the 



90 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. x. 

solid elements can be melted and many vaporized, lead- 
ing to the conclusion that all matter can exist in the 
three states solid, liquid, and gaseous, according to 
the degree of heat to which it is exposed. 

The highly complex constitution of various organic 
products albumin, fat, gums, resins, acids, oils, ethers, 
etc. is the subject of organic chemistry, the study of 
which has led to some of the most popularly interesting 
discoveries. Coal-tar has furnished us with a wonderful 
series of coloring matters, such as the aniline and other 
dyes, while from the same material are produced benzol, 
carbolic acid, naphtha, creosote, artificial quinine, and 
saccharine, a substitute for sugar. The new explosives, 
such as dynamite and nitro-glycerin, are produced from 
animal or vegetable fatty matters; while some of the 
greatest triumphs of the modern chemist are the artificial 
production of natural substances, which were long sup- 
posed to be due to organic processes alone. Such are 
the dye indigo, citric acid, urea, and some others. 

The most recent great advance in the philosophy of 
chemistry is exhibited in the views of the Russian 
chemist, Mendeleef, as to the natural arrangement of 
the elements, with certain deductions from it. The 
whole of the best known elements form eight groups, 
placed in vertical columns, depending on certain simi- 
larities in their powers of chemical combination. These 
are further arranged in twelve horizontal series, in which 
the atomic weights are most nearly alike, while increas- 
ing regularly from the first to the eighth group. In the 
table thus formed there are certain gaps in the regular 
order of increase of atomic weights, as if some elements 
were wanting, while in other cases the place of an ele- 



CHAP. x. THE GREAT PROBLEMS OF CHEMISTRY. 91 

inent due to its atomic weight did not accord with that 
dependent on its chemical properties. But the general 
symmetry of the whole arrangement was such that Men- 
deleef predicted the future discovery of elements to fill 
the gaps, and named the chemical and physical proper- 
ties of these unknown elements. In a few years three 
new elements were discovered gallium, scandium, and 
germanium and they precisely filled up three of the 
gaps in the system. Further research as to the atomic 
weights of the elements that did not fit into the scheme 
showed that errors had been made, that of uranium being 
much too low, while in the cases of gold, tellurium, and 
titanium it was too great. The remarkable success of 
these predictions a success always considered the best 
proof of the truth of a theory renders it almost certain 
that the true relations of the elements have now been 
approximately ascertained, while it strengthens the be- 
lief of those who think that what we term elements are 
not really so, but that their differences depend on special 
modes of aggregation of a few simple atoms, whose co- 
hesion is so strong that we are not yet, and perhaps never 
shall be, able to overcome it. 

It is therefore by no means impossible, perhaps not 
even improbable, that methods will be discovered of 
either breaking up some of the elements and producing 
new elements which are common to two or more of them, 
or of solving the problem which occupied the alchemists 
of the Middle Ages the transmutation of some of the 
inferior metals into gold. Within the last few months 
a well-known American chemist declares that he has 
solved the problem of producing gold out of silver at a 
comparatively small cost, and that when he has made a 



92 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



few millions by liis process lie will make it known. A 
few years ago this claim would have been scouted as that 
of a dreamer, but at the present day it is really less un- 
expected than was the discovery of the marvellous 
powers of what are termed the Rontgen rays. 

It will thus be seen that chemistry, as a science, has 
not furnished discoveries of such a startling nature as 
those in the domain of physics. But this is largely due 
to the fact that we have already, in our earlier chapters, 
dealt with the more popular and industrial aspects of 
chemical inventions. Gas illumination, petroleum oil- 
lamps, lucifer matches, and all the wonders of photog- 
raphy are essentially applications of chemistry; and the 
last of these, in its marvellous results, both in the arts 
and in its various applications to astronomical research, 
is not surpassed by the achievements of any other depart- 
ment of science. 



CHAPTER XI. 

ASTRONOMY AND COSMIC THEORIES. 

The wilder'd mind is tost and lost, 

O sea, in thy eternal tide ; 
The reeling brain essays in vain, 

O stars, to grasp the vastness wide ! 
The terrible, tremendous scheme 

That glimmers in each glancing light, 
O night, O stars, too rudely jars 

The finite with the infinite ! 

J. H. Dell. 

MANY of the most striking discoveries in this science 
have been already described under Spectrum Analysis; 
but there remain a few great advances, due either to ob- 
servation or to theory, which are of sufficient popular 
interest to demand notice in any sketch, however brief, 
of the scientific progress of the century. 

With the single exception of Uranus, discovered by 
Herschel in 1781, no addition had been made to the five 
planets known to the ancients till the commencement of 
the present century, when Ceres, the first of the minor 
planets, was discovered in 1801, and three others be- 
tween that date and 1807. No more were found till one 
was added in 1845, and another in 1847. Since that 
time no year has passed without the detection of one or 
more new planets belonging to the same system, till in 
September, 1896, their number amounted to 417. 
These small bodies form a kind of planetary ring situ- 
ated between Mars and Jupiter, where it had long been 



94 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xi. 

suspected a planet ought to be found, because the dis- 
tance between these older planets was so great as to be 
quite out of proportion with the regular increase of dis- 
tance maintained by the other members of the system. 
It was at first thought that these asteroids or minor 
planets were the shattered remains of a much larger one ; 
but more extended knowledge of the constitution of the 
solar system renders it more probable that they really 
constitute a ring of matter thrown off by the sun during 
its progressive contraction; and that some peculiar con- 
ditions have prevented its various parts from aggregat- 
ing into a single planet. This is rendered more probable 
by two other remarkable discoveries relating to meteors 
and comets, and to Saturn's rings, which will be dis- 
cussed later on. 

The next large planet added to our system is especially 
interesting, as affording a striking demonstration of the 
theory of gravitation, and a no less striking example of 
the powers of modern mathematics. It had been found 
that the motions of Uranus were not exactly what they 
ought to be, if due solely to the attraction of the sun and 
the disturbing influence of Jupiter and Saturn, and it 
was thought possible that there might be another planet 
beyond it to cause these irregularities. In the year 
1843 a young Cambridge student (John Couch Adams) 
of the highest mathematical ability, determined to see 
whether it was not possible to prove the existence of such 
a planet; and having taken his degree as Senior 
Wrangler, he at once devoted himself to the work, and 
after two years of study and calculation he was able to 
declare that a planet which would account for the per- 
turbation of Uranus must, if it existed, be at that time in 



ASTRONOMY AND COSMIC THEORIES. 95 



a certain part of the heavens, and he sent his paper on 
the subject to the Astronomer-Royal in October, 1845. 
By an extraordinary coincidence, a French astronomer 
(Leverrier) had been for some years working out the 
motions of the various planets, and in doing so had also 
reached the conclusion that there must be another un- 
known body to produce the perturbations of Uranus, 
which were at that time unusually large. His calcula- 
tions and results were publishec^at Paris in November, 
1845, and June, 1846, and he gave a position for the 
unknown planet differing only one degree from that 
given by Adams. On reading these papers, and seeing 
the agreement of two independent workers, the Astrono- 
mer-Royal asked Professor Challis, of the Cambridge 
Observafory, to search for the planet, and on doing so he 
actually observed it on August 4th, and again on August 
12th; but having no accurate chart of that part of the 
heavens he could not be sure that it was not a small star. 
A month later it was found and identified at Berlin, from 
information furnished by Leverrier. It thus appears 
that Adams first privately announced the position of the 
new planet, and that it was first observed at Cambridge ; 
while the somewhat later announcement by Leverrier 
and discovery at Berlin were made public, and thus 
gained the honors of priority. The two discoveries 
were, however, practically simultaneous and independ- 
ent, and the names of Adams and Leverrier should for 
ever be jointly associated with the planet Neptune. 

Other important discoveries in the planetary system 
are due to the increased power of modern telescopes and 
the greater number of observers. In 1877 two minute 
satellites of Mars were discovered at Washington, by 



96 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xi. 

means of the large telescope with a 25-inch object glass, 
then the largest in the world. These are remarkable in 
being exceedingly small, and very close to the planet. 
They are said to be only six or seven miles in diameter, 
and the inner one is only about 5800 miles from the 
centre, or 3800 from the surface, of the planet, around 
which it revolves in less than eight hours; while the 
outer one is about 14,500 miles away, and revolves in a 
little more than thirty hours. 1 

Still more recently (in September, 1892), a fifth satel- 
lite of Jupiter was discovered by means of the great Lick 
telescope in California. This also is very small and very 
close to the planet, being less than half the diameter, or 
about 40,000 miles, from its surface. 

Another very remarkable discovery is that of a system 
of symmetrical markings, covering a large part of the 
surface of Mars. They consist of a series of triangles or 
quadrilaterals bounded by straight lines, which are some- 
times seen double, at other times single, or are even alto- 
gether invisible. Another peculiar feature is, that 
where these canals (as they are termed) intersect there is 
always a black circular spot, very distinct, and unlike 
any markings upon other parts of the surface. It is a 
curious fact that the double canals sometimes enclose a 
space of more than a hundred miles wide and several 

1 In Gulliver's Travels, published in 1726, Swift describes the 
astronomers of Laputa as having " discovered two lesser stars, or 
satellites, which revolve around Mars ; whereof the innermost is 
distant from the centre of the primary planet exactly three of his 
diameters, and the outermost five ; the former revolves in the space 
of ten hours, and the latter in twenty-one and a half." This is 
a wonderful anticipation, especially as to time of revolution, and if 
we substitute " radii" for " diameters," the distances are also very 
near. 



ASTRONOMY AND COSMIC THEORIES. 97 



hundred long, adding to the appearance of artificiality. 
Sometimes no canals are seen, but they come into view as 
the polar snows begin to melt; hence the suggestion that 
they really indicate great canals to carry off the Avater 
from the rapidly-melting snow and distribute it by irri- 
gation channels over the adjacent land, which, being 
rapidly covered with vegetation, causes the change of 
color which renders them visible. These observations 
were made by Mr. Percival Lowell during the favorable 
opposition, in 1894, at his observatory in Arizona, where 
the exceptional purity of the atmosphere renders it pos- 
sible almost constantly to observe details which are else- 
where rarely visible. If future observations should 
confirm the views as to the artificial nature of these 
features of the surface of the planet which most nearly 
resembles our earth, it must be considered to be the most 
sensational astronomical discovery of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, and that which opens up the most exciting possibili- 
ties as to communication with beings who are sufficiently 
advanced to execute such widespread and gigantic irri- 
gation works, 

Saturn's Rings, and the Meteoritic Theory of the 
Universe. 

The ring around the planet Saturn was long supposed 
to be single, and to be solid like the planet itself; but 
with improved telescopes it was found to be double, and 
with still finer instruments to consist of an indefinite 
number of rings close together, one of them being very 
obscure, as if formed of nebulous matter. In the year 
1859, Clerk-Maxwell, by a profound mathematical in- 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



vestigation, proved that either solid or liquid rings would 
be unstable, and would inevitably break up so as to form 
a number of satellites; and he concluded that the rings 
really consisted of a crowd of small bodies so near to- 
gether as to appear like a solid mass; and as the appear- 
ance of the rings, and some slight changes detected in 
them, were in harmony with this view, it has been gen- 
erally accepted. But quite recently the wonderful in- 
strument, the spectroscope, has given the final demon- 
stration that this theory is correct. If the rings are 
solid, it is clear that a point on the outer edge must move 
more rapidly than one on the inner edge; whereas, if 
they consist of separate particles, each revolving inde- 
pendently round the planet, then, in accordance with 
the laws of all planetary motions, those forming the 
inner side of the rings, being nearer to the planet, must 
move much quicker than those on the outer side. As 
already explained in Chapter VI., the spectroscope 
enables us to measure motion in the line of sight that 
is, toward or away from us of any heavenly bodies, 
and by observing the outer extremities of the rings to 
the right and left of the planet, where the motion is, of 
course, in these two directions, it is found that the mo- 
tion of the inner edge is considerably more rapid than 
that of the outer edge, showing that those parts move 
round the planet independently, and are therefore 
formed of separate particles or small masses. These 
observations were made by the American astronomer, 
Professor James E. Keeler, in 1895, and are of extreme 
delicacy; but that they are trustworthy is shown by the 
fact that the resulting velocities are in accordance with 
Kepler's third law, which determines the relative mo- 



ASTRONOMY AND COSMIC THEORIES. 99 



tions of all planetary bodies at varying distances from 
the primary. 

A still more important discovery is that which has 
explained, by one consistent theory, the various phe- 
nomena presented by aerolites, fireballs, and shooting or 
falling stars, now generally classed as meteors and 
meteorites ; and this theory is found to have an impor- 
tant bearing on the constitution of the solar system, and 
perhaps even on that of the whole stellar universe. Al- 
though there are records of the fall of solid stones from 
the sky in the Avorks of classical, Chinese, and European 
authors, from 654 B. c. down to our times, while the 
astronomer Gassendi himself witnessed the fall of a stone 
weighing 59 Ibs. in the year 1C2T, in the south of 
France, yet the phenomenon was so rare, and so inex- 
plicable, that it was often disbelieved. One philosopher 
is reported to have disposed of the whole matter by say- 
ing, " there are no stones in the sky, therefore none can 
fall from it." But the evidence for such falls soon be- 
came overwhelming, and their connection with fireballs 
and shooting stars was also well established. One of the 
most remarkable of modern meteors was that seen at 
Aigle in Normandy, on April 26, 1803. About 1 p. M. 
a brilliant fireball was seen traversing the air at great 
speed. A violent explosion followed, apparently pro- 
ceeding from a small lofty cloud. This was no doubt 
the product of the explosion which would be visible long 
before the sound was heard, and then came a perfect 
shower of stones, nearly three thousand being picked up, 
the largest weighing eight pounds. A still more ex- 
traordinary meteor was seen on March 19, 1719, about 
eight o'clock in the evening, in all parts of England, 



100 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP, xi 

Scotland, and Ireland. In London it appeared like a 
ball of fire as large as the moon ; at Exeter the light was 
like that of the sun. It was followed by a broad stream 
of light, and burst with a report like that of a cannon, 
with a great display of red sparks like a huge sky-rocket ; 
but as it was then over the sea, between Devonshire and 
the coast of Brittany, its fragments were not recoverable. 
Dr. Winston, ISTewton's successor as professor of mathe- 
matics at Cambridge, who published an account of it, 
calculated its height over London as 51 miles, and over 
Devonshire 39 miles. 

Falling stars, sometimes seen singly, at other times in 
considerable numbers, as well as the less frequent but 
larger fireballs above described, appeared to be con- 
nected phenomena, although little was really known 
about them till the early part of this century, when they 
began to be more carefully studied. By observations of 
the same meteor or fireball at distant localities, its alti- 
tude, and the velocity with which it moved, were ascer- 
tained, and these were always found to be so great as to 
show that these objects could not have a terrestrial 
origin. It was soon observed that showers of falling 
stars occurred about the same time every year, with dis- 
plays of great brilliancy at long intervals; and on these 
occasions the meteors all appeared to radiate from cer- 
tain definite points in the sky. Thus in November they 
seemed to originate in the constellation Leo, and in 
August in Perseus, while others apparently belong to 
distinct constellations. The only way of explaining 
these appearances seemed to be that there were streams 
of small bodies travelling in elliptic orbits round the sun, 
and that the earth crossed these orbits at fixed points 



ASTRONOMY AND COSMIC THEORIES. 101 



once a year. Then a number of these small bodies, 
many of them perhaps no longer than pebbles or grains 
of sand, coming into our atmosphere, became heated and 
even vaporized by the friction due to their rapid planet- 
ary motion, and appeared to us as shooting stars; while 
larger masses, whose exterior alone became heated, either 
exploded or fell entire as meteorites. The exceptional 
displays of the November meteors at intervals of about 
thirty-three years is due to the fact that the stream is 
much denser in this part of its orbit, where the meteoric 
matter may be slowly aggregating to form a planetary 
body. 

A large number of such meteor streams have now 
been observed; but the most remarkable discovery is 
that in some cases, and probably in all, comets form a 
part of such meteoric streams. This has been proved by 
showing that the orbits and times of revolution of cer- 
tain comets coincide exactly with those of meteor 
streams as independently observed. Thus, Tempel's 
comet, seen in 1866, coincides with the November 
meteors, or Leonids; Biela's comet, with the Androm- 
eda meteors; while the bright comet of 1862 coincides 
with the August Perseids. Seventy such cases of the 
association of comets and meteor streams are now 
known; and Professor Lockyer has completed the proof 
of the connection by showing that, when fragments of 
meteoric stones are intensely heated in a vacuum, they 
afford a spectrum closely resembling those of comets. 
Some meteors are visible every fine night, and it has 
been calculated by Professor Newton of Yale College 
that seven and a half millions enter the earth's atmos- 
phere every day; and if we add to these the much 



102 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



greater number that must escape observation, it is sup- 
posed that the actual number may be several hundred 
millions. Of course it is only by a kind of accident 
that the orbit of our earth crosses any of these meteoric 
streams, so that there are certainly a vast number, per- 
haps thousands or even millions, of such streams in the 
solar system, since some hundreds are either known or 
suspected to cross our path. Taking into consideration 
these numerous meteor-streams moving in elliptic orbits 
round the sun, together with the vast number of stray 
meteors, as it were, indicated by those that are seen 
every day in the year and by the exceptionally large and 
rare fireballs, we are led to the conclusion that the space 
occupied by the solar system, instead of being almost 
empty, as formerly supposed, is really full of solid bodies 
varying in size from that of dust or sand-grains up to 
huge masses a thousand times that of our earth. 

The eight major planets are so remote from each other 
that, if we represent the solar system as an open plain 
two and a half miles in diameter, our earth will in due 
proportion be shown by a pea, liars by a large pin's 
head, Jupiter by an orange, and Neptune on the extreme 
outer edge by a largish plum. From any one of them 
the nearest would be invisible to us unless brilliantly 
illuminated, and however smooth and open was the 
plain, we might walk across it again and again in every 
direction, and with the exception of the two-foot ball in 
the centre representing the sun, we should probably de- 
clare it to be absolutely empty. Looking thus at the 
solar system, the vast emptiness, the absurd dispropor- 
tion of the sizes of the planets to the immense spaces 
around and between them, was almost oppressive; and 



CHAP. xi. ASTRONOMY AND COSMIC THEORIES. 103 

even when we took account of the nebular hypothesis, 
and tried to imagine a mass of elemental gaseous matter 
occupying a sphere of the diameter of the orbit of Nep- 
tune, gradually cooling and shrinking, leaving rings of 
diffused matter behind it, which afterward broke up and 
aggregated into the planets and satellites already known 
to us, the hypothetical solution of the problem was 
hardly satisfying, since it seemed difficult to understand 
how so vast a plenum could be converted into an equally 
vast vacuum, except for the few and remotely scattered 
planetary systems as its sole relics. 

But the study of the long-despised and misunderstood 
meteorites and falling stars has entirely changed our 
conceptions of that portion of the universe of which our 
sun is the centre. We are now led to regard it as more 
nearly approaching a plenum than a vacuum. We 
know that it is everywhere full of what may be termed 
planetary and meteoric life full of solid moving bodies 
forming systems of various sizes and complexities from 
the vast mass of Jupiter, with its five moons, down to 
some of the minor planets a few miles in diameter, and 
just large enough to become visible by reflected light; 
and again, downward, of all lesser dimensions to the 
mere dust-grains which only become visible when the 
friction on entering our atmosphere with the great 
velocities due to their planetary motion round the sun 
ignites and sometimes, perhaps, dissipates them. 

We here obtain a new conception of the possible 
origin of the universe as we now see it, a conception 
which originated with Professor Tait, and has been 
forcibly advocated by Lockyer and a few other astrono- 
mers, which is that both the solar system and the stellar 



104 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xi. 

universe have arisen from the aggregation of widely 
diffused solid particles, molecules, or atoms, whose com- 
ing together under the influence of gravitation produces 
heat, incandescence, and sometimes elemental vaporiza- 
tion, rather than from a primitive cosmic vapor from 
which solid masses have been formed by cooling and con- 
traction. Everywhere we become aware of these solid 
masses of various sizes occupying the spaces around us. 
The rings of Saturn are composed of such solid particles 
in a state of unusual condensation. The vast ring of the 
minor planets indicates -probably the existence there of 
millions of smaller invisible bodies forming a stream of 
meteors, analogous to some of those which cross our 
orbit, but which are composed of much smaller bodies 
since none of them are independently visible. Then 
we have the comets, consisting of a dense swarm of such 
meteors, whose frequent collisions may produce the 
luminous gases indicated by their spectra. Yet further, 
the strange zodiacal light, extending from the sun be- 
yond the earth's orbit, is well explained as due to the 
light reflected under favorable conditions from the 
countless streams of meteors, ever increasing in density 
as they approach the sun. 

In its wider application to the stellar universe, the 
same theory serves to explain phenomena once supposed 
to be radically distinct. There is now known to be a 
perfect gradation from the faintest and least condensed 
nebulas to the most brilliant stars, and these are all ex- 
plained, on what is termed the meteoritic hypothesis, as 
being different stages in the aggregation of meteoritic 
matter everywhere and always going on. From the 
faintest diffused nebulae we pass to those which exhibit a 



ASTRONOMY AND COSMIC THEORIES. 105 



radial or spiral mode of condensation, and to others 
which possess a dense nucleus like a comet; then we 
have the compact discs called planetary nebulae, and 
others which seem to be aggregated around one or more 
bright stars. Recently it has been found that many 
stars, among others those of the Pleiades, which ap- 
pear as stars only in the most powerful telescopes, are 
really nebulous stars when photographed with very long 
exposure under conditions which exhibit many thou- 
sands of stars which no telescope can render visible. 
And when these various bodies are examined with the 
spectroscope, they are seen to have many features in 
common, such as indicate differences in temperature and 
consequent difference in the amount and character of the 
luminous gases due to their greater or less condensation. 
The nebulae of various forms and intensity represent, 
therefore, the early stages in the development of stars, 
suns, and planetary systems out of diffused meteoritic 
matter; while stars themselves are of various tempera- 
tures, the heat increasing when the meteoritic matter is 
most rapidly aggregating, and afterward cooling till 
they become of so low a temperature as to cease to be 
luminous to our vision, as is the case with the dark com- 
panions of some of the spectroscopic double stars. 

This conception of the meteoritic constitution of the 
whole stellar universe is one of the grandest achieve- 
ments of the science of the nineteenth century. All 
the other astronomical discoveries of the period (except 
those gained through the spectroscope) are additions to 
our knowledge of essentially the same nature as others 
which preceded them ; but in this case we have a new and 
comprehensive generalization, which links together a 



106 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xi. 

vast host of phenomena which, till quite recently, were 
isolated or misunderstood. 

Beginning with the meteoric masses which at con- 
siderable intervals fall upon the earth, and the meteoric 
or cosmic dust which in minute spherules is probably 
always falling since it is found abundantly in all the 
deepest oceanic deposits far removed from continental 
land we have next the meteor streams with their at- 
tendant comets, circling round the sun in vast numbers, 
and increasing to such an extent in his vicinity that they 
become visible as the zodiacal light ; the planetoids, ever 
increasing in recorded numbers and probably forming 
the larger members of a vast meteor ring; and the rings 
of Saturn, now proved to be of the same meteoritic 
nature. Then, passing on to the interstellar spaces, we 
find the nebulae, which are but vast uncondensed meteor 
swarms; the planetary nebulae and nebulous stars being 
examples of greater condensation, leading on to the 
myriads of the starry hosts, each one a sun heated by 
the inward rush and titanic collisions of countless 
meteor-swarms. These suns, after reaching a maximum 
of heat and light, slowly cool into darkness, until a col- 
lision with other cosmic matter again heats the mass to 
incandescence or even to vaporization all this grand 
series of phenomena, rising from dust particles on the 
ocean bed to a million million of suns, comprehended, 
and to some extent explained, by one of the simplest and 
at first sight most inadequate of hypotheses that of a 
meteoritic origin of the material universe. 

It has been objected that this theory is not so simple 
as the old nebular hypothesis, and has no advantages 
over it. But this is a mistake. The latter begins with 



ASTRONOMY AND COSMIC THEORIES. 107 



what we now see to be an impossible condition that of 
a universe in a state of vapor. For all matter, in the 
absence of heat, is solid ; and the only sources of heat we 
know of are, impact or friction, and chemical combina- 
tion including electric action. Heat, therefore, in all 
its degrees and manifestations, will necessarily arise from 
diffused solid matter subject to gravitation, but it will 
arise partially and locally, not universally; and we now 
know that there are such varieties of temperature in the 
stellar universe. We have also positive evidence of 
solid matter everywhere, in an almost infinite gradation 
of size and of temperature, from that amount of cold in 
which no liquid, and perhaps no gas, can exist, up to 
that amount of heat in which all the elements are vapor- 
ized. We can conceive how, from diffused solid matter, 
without heat, the actual condition of the universe may 
have arisen; but we cannot conceive any previous condi- 
tion which would result in the universal vaporization of 
all matter which the nebular hypothesis presupposes. 

But this grand meteoritic theory, like all possible 
theories or speculations as to the origin of the cosmos, 
only takes us one step backward, and then leaves us no 
whit nearer to a real comprehension of the great insolu- 
ble problem. For we ask whence came this inconceiv- 
ably vast extension of meteoritic matter? What was its 
antecedent state? How did matter, at first presumably 
simple or atomic, aggregate into those forms we know as 
elements? And even if we could get back to a universe 
of primitive atoms, we should still be no nearer a com- 
plete solution, for then would begin a new series of ques- 
tions far more difficult to answer. We should begin to 
seek after the origin of the FORCES which caused the de- 



108 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



velopment of atoms into matter and into worlds. 
Whence the simplest cohesive forces? Whence the 
chemical forces? And more mysterious than all, 
whence the force of gravitation, infinite, unchangeable, 
and at the very root of cosmic development? Be- 
yond these problems again, and quite as essential and 
insoluble, are the problems of the ether. What is the 
ether, and what are its relations to matter? Whence 
the forces that cause the ether to vibrate, and in the 
various forms of heat, light, or electricity to be the 
source of all change of form, all molecular motion, all 
those infinite modifications in the states of matter that 
alone seem to render possible the development of organ- 
ized living forms? To all these questions we have no 
definite answers, and probably never shall have; but we 
have at least one suggestive speculation, that of the vor- 
tex-theory of matter. 

According to this theory, the ether is an incom- 
pressible frictionless fluid, and is the one and only sub- 
stance of the universe. Matter is but a form of motion 
of the ether. Atoms are minute vortices, or rapidly re- 
volving portions of the ether, which, when once started 
in this frictionless fluid, are eternal and indestructible. 
A sufficient number (almost infinite) of these vortices, 
of various dimensions and spinning with various veloci- 
ties, and having progressive motions in every possible 
direction like the molecules of a gas, will, it is suggested, 
group themselves into various aggregations according 
to similarities of size and motion, will thus produce 
the elements, which elements will act upon each other 
in the various modes of chemical combination, and 
thus will arise all the forms of molecular matter. 



CHAP. xi. ASTRONOMY AND COSMIC THEORIES. 109 

But the continued motions of these atoms and their 
combinations will set up in the unmodified ether 
the special vibrations of heat and electricity, which, 
reacting on matter, will lead to that vast series of co- 
ordinated changes we recognize as the laws and 
phenomena of nature. Whether gravitation could 
possibly arise from the initial impulse given to the ether 
is doubtful; but in this vortex-theory, of which Lord 
Kelvin is the chief exponent in this country, we have the 
most important attempt yet made to get near to the be- 
ginnings of the universe. It is, of course, essentially in- 
conceivable, as are all fundamental conceptions. The 
incompressible, frictionless, universal fluid is inconceiv- 
able; the origin of its infinity of atomic vortex motions 
is inconceivable; as are the translatory motions, the in- 
finity of combinations, the complexity of chemical 
actions, the productions of the varied kinds of ether- 
vibrations, and of gravitative force; and when we have 
fully grasped all these inconceivabilities there remains 
the still greater inconceivability of how life, conscious- 
ness, affection, intellect, arose from this infinite clash of 
ethereal vortex-rings ! 

The conception is, however, a grand one; and, to- 
gether with the meteoritic hypothesis as to the immediate 
antecedents of the visible universe, must rank among the 
great intellectual achievements of our century. Yet 
they bring us no nearer to the First Cause of this vast 
cosmos in which we live; and most minds will feel that 
we never can get nearer to it than in " the consciousness 
of an Inscrutable Power manifested to us through all 
phenomena," which Herbert Spencer considers to be the 
logical and the utmost outcome of the most far-reaching 
human science. 



CHAPTER XII. 

GEOLOGY: THE GLACIAL EPOCH, AND THE ANTIQUITY 
OF MAN. 

The hills are shadows, and they flow 
From form to form, and nothing stands ; 
They melt like mist, the solid lands, 

Like clouds they shape themselves and go. 

Tennyson. 

With cunning hand he shapes the flint, 
He carves the bone with strange device, 

He splits the rebel rock by dint 
Of effort till one day there flies 

A spark of fire from out the stone, 

Fire, which shall make the world his own. 

Mathilde Blind. 

THE foundations of modern geology were laid, in the 
latter part of the last century, by Werner, Hutton, and 
William Smith, but most of the details and some of the 
more important principles have been wholly worked out 
during the present century. The great landmarks of its 
progress can alone be referred to here, namely (1) the 
establishment by Lyell of what has been termed the uni- 
formitarian theory; (2) the proof of a recent glacial 
epoch and the working out of its effects upon the earth's 
surface; and (3) the discovery that man in the northern 
hemisphere lived contemporaneously with many now ex- 
tinct animals. 

In the early part of the century, and so late as the year 
1830, Cuvier's " Essay on the Theory of the Earth " 

no 



CHAP. xn. GEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES. Ill 

held the field as the exponent of geological theory. A 
fifth edition of the English translation appeared in 1827, 
and a German translation so late as 1830. In this work 
it was maintained that almost all geological phenomena 
pointed to a state of the earth and of natural forces very 
different from what now exists. In the raised beds of 
shells, in fractured rocks, in vertical stratification, we 
were said to have proofs " that the surface of the globe 
has been broken up by revolutions and catastrophes." 
The differences in the character of adjacent stratified 
deposits showed that there must have been various suc- 
cessive irruptions of the sea over the land; and Cuvier 
maintained that these irruptions and retreats of the sea 
were not slow or gradual, " but that most of the catas- 
trophes which have occasioned them have been sudden.'' 
He urged that the sharp and bristling ridges and peaks 
of the primitive mountains " are indications of the vio- 
lent manner in which they have been elevated; " and he 
concludes that " it is in vain we search among the powers 
which now act at the surface of the earth for causes suffi- 
cient to produce the revolutions and catastrophes, the 
traces of which are exhibited in its crust." This theory 
of convulsions and catastrophes held almost universal 
sway within the memory of persons now living; for al- 
though Hutton and Playfair had advanced far more 
accurate views, they appear to have made little impres- 
sion, while the great authority attached to Cuvier's name 
carried all before it. 

But in 1830, while Cuvier was at the height of his 
fame, and his book was still being translated into foreign 
languages, a hitherto unknown writer published the first 
volume of a work which struck at the very roots of the 



112 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xn. 

catastrophe theory, and demonstrated, by a vast array of 
facts and the most cogent reasoning, that almost every 
portion of it was more or less imaginary and in opposi- 
tion to the plainest teachings of nature. The victory 
was complete. From the date of the publication of the 
" Principles of Geology " there were no more English 
editions of " The Theory of the Earth." 

Lyell's method was that of a constant appeal to the 
processes of nature. Before asserting that certain re- 
sults could not be due to existing causes he carefully ob- 
served what those causes were now doing. He applied 
to them the tests of accurate measurement, and he 
showed that, taking into account the element of long- 
continued action, they were, in almost every case, fully 
adequate to explain the observed phenomena. He 
showed that modern volcanoes had poured out equally 
vast masses of melted rock, which had covered equally 
large areas, with any ancient volcano; that strata were 
now forming, comparable in extent and thickness with 
any ancient strata ; that organic remains were being pre- 
served in them, just as in the older formations; that 
land was almost everywhere either rising or sinking, as 
of old; that valleys were being excavated and mountains 
worn away; that earthquake shocks were producing 
faults in the rocks ; that vegetation was now preparing 
future coal-beds; that limestones, sandstones, meta- 
morphic and igneous rocks were still being formed; and 
that, given time, and the intermittent or continuous 
action of the causes we can now trace in operation, all 
the contortions and fractures of strata, all the ravines and 
precipices, and every other modification of the earth's 
crust supposed to imply the agency of sudden revolutions 



CHAP. xii. GEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES. 113 

and violent catastrophes may be again and again pro- 
duced. 

During a period of more than forty years Sir Charles 
Lyell continued to enlarge and improve his work, bring- 
ing out eleven editions, the last of which was published 
three years before his death ; and rarely has any scientific 
work so completely justified its title, since it remains to 
this day the best exposition of the " Principles of 
Geology " the foundation on which the science itself 
must be and has been built. The disciples and followers 
of Lyell have been termed " Uniformitarians," on ac- 
count of their belief that the causes which produced the 
phenomena manifested to us in the crust of the earth 
are essentially of the same nature as those acting now. 
And, as is often the case, the use of the term as a nick- 
name has led to a misconception as to the views of those 
to whom it is applied. A few words on this point are 
therefore called for. 

Modern objectors say that it is unphilosophical to 
maintain that in our little experience of a few hundred, 
or at most a few thousand, years, we can have witnessed 
all forms and degrees of the action of natural forces ; that 
we have no right to take the historical period as a fair 
sample of all past geological ages; and that, as a mere 
matter of probability, we ought to expect to find proofs 
of greater earthquakes, more violent eruptions, more sud- 
den upheavals, and more destructive floods, having 
occurred during the vast eons of past time. ISTow this 
argument is perfectly sound if limited to the occurrence 
of extreme cases, but no.t if applied to averages. ISTo 
uniformitarian will deny the probability of there having 
been some greater convulsions in past geological ages 



114 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xn. 

than have ever been experienced during the historical 
period. But modern convulsionists do not confine 
themselves to this alone, but maintain that, as a rule, 
all the great natural forces tending to modify the surface 
of the earth were more powerful and acted on a larger 
scale than they do now. On the ground of mere proba- 
bility, however, we have no right to assume a diminution 
rather than an increase of natural forces in recent times, 
unless there is some proof that these forces have dimin- 
ished. Sir Charles Lyell shows that the cases adduced 
as indicating greater forces in the past are fallacious, and 
his doctrine is simply one of real as against imaginary 
forces. 

But our modern objectors have another argument, 
founded upon the admitted fact that the earth has cooled 
and is slowly cooling, and was probably once in a molten 
condition. They urge that in early geological times, 
when the earth was hotter, the igneous, aqueous, and 
aerial forces were necessarily greater, and would pro- 
duce more rapid changes and greater convulsions than 
now. This is a purely theoretical conclusion, by no 
means sure, and perhaps the very reverse of what really 
occurred. There are two reasons for this belief, which 
may be very briefly stated. After the earth's crust was 
once formed it cooled very slowly, and the crust became 
very gradually thicker. So far as the action of the 
molten interior on the crust may have produced convul- 
sions they should become not less, but more violent as 
the crust becomes thicker. With a thin crust any inter- 
nal tension will be more frequently relieved by fracture 
or bending, and the resulting disturbances will be less 
violent; but as the crust becomes thicker, internal ten- 



GEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES. 115 



sions will accumulate, and when relieved by fracture the 
disturbance will be more violent. 

As regards storms and other aerial disturbances, these 
also would probably be less violent when the tempera- 
ture of the whole surface was more uniform as well as 
warmer, and the atmosphere consequently so full of 
vapor as to prevent the sun's rays from producing the 
great inequalities of temperature that now prevail. It 
is these inequalities that produce the great aerial dis- 
turbances of our era, which arise from the heated sur- 
faces of the bare plains and deserts of the subtropical 
and warm temperate belts. In the equatorial belt 
(10 each side of the equator), where the heat is more 
uniform and the surface generally well clothed 
with vegetation, tornadoes and hurricanes are almost 
unknown. 

There remains only the action of the tides upon coasts 
and estuaries, which may have been greater in early geo- 
logical times, if, as is supposed, the moon was then con- 
siderably nearer to the earth than it is now. But this is 
a comparatively unimportant matter as regards geologi- 
cal convulsions, because its maximum effects recur at 
short intervals and with great regularity, so that both 
vegetation and the higher forms of animal life would 
necessarily be limited to the areas which were beyond its 
influence. 

It thus appears that, so far from there being any 
theoretical necessity for greater violence of natural 
forces in early geological times, there are some weighty 
reasons why the opposite should have been the case; 
while all the evidence furnished by the rocks themselves, 
and bv the contours of the earth's surface, are in favor 



116 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xn. 

of a general uniformity, with, of course, considerable 
local variability. 

It is interesting to note the very different explanations 
of the commonest features of the earth's surface given 
by the old and by the new theories. In every mountain 
region of the globe deep valleys, narrow ravines, and lofty 
precipices are of common occurrence, and these were, by 
the old school, almost always explained as being due to 
convulsions of nature. In ravines, we were taught that 
the rocks had been " torn asunder," while the mountains 
and the precipices were indications of " sudden fractures 
and upheavals of the earth's crust." On the new theory, 
these phenomena are found to be almost wholly due to 
the slow action of the most familiar every-day causes, 
such as rain, snow, frost, and wind, with rivers, streams, 
and every form of running water, acting upon rocks of 
varying hardness, permeability, and solubility. Every 
shower of rain falling upon steep hillsides or gentle 
slopes, while partially absorbed, to a large extent runs 
over the surface, carrying solid matter from higher to 
lower levels. Every muddy stream or flooded river shows 
the effect of this action. Day and night, month after 
month, year after year, this denudation goes on, and its 
cumulative effects are enormous. The material is sup- 
plied from the solid rocks, fractured and decomposed by 
the agency of snow and frost or by mere variations of 
temperature, and primarily by those interior earth- 
movements which are continually cleaving, fissuring, and 
faulting the solid strata, and thus giving the superficial 
causes of denudation facilities for action. The amount 
and rate of this superficial erosion and denudation of the 
earth's surface can be determined by the quantity of 



GEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES. 117 



solid matter carried down by the rivers to the sea. 
This has been measured with considerable accuracy for 
several important rivers; and by comparing the quantity 
of matter, both in suspension and solution, with the area 
of the river basin, we know exactly the average amount 
of lowering of the whole surface per annum. It has 
thus been calculated that 

The Mississippi removes one foot of the surface of 

its basin in 6000 years. 

' Ganges " " " 2358 " 

' HoangHo " " " 1464 " 

1 Rh6ne " " " 1528 " 

' Danube " 6846 " 

Po " " 729 " 

Nith " " " " 4723 " 

The average of these rivers gives us one foot as the 
lowering of the land by sub-aerial denudation in 3000 
years, or a thousand feet in three million years; but as 
Europe has a mean altitude of less than a thousand feet, 
it follows that, at the present rate of denudation, the 
whole of Europe would be reduced to nearly the sea- 
level in about three million years. Before this method 
of measuring the rate of the lowering of continents was 
hit upon by Mr. Alfred Tylor in 1853, no one imagined 
that it was anything like so rapid; and, as a million years 
is certainly a short period as compared with the whole 
geological record, it is clear that elevation must, on the 
whole, have always kept pace with the two lowering 
agencies sinking and denudation. Again, as in every 
continent the areas occupied by plains and lowlands, 
where denudation is comparatively slow, are large as 
compared with the mountain areas, where all the denud- 
ing agencies are most powerful, it is probable that most 



118 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



mountain ranges are being lowered at perhaps ten times 
the above average rate, and many mountain peaks and 
ridges perhaps a hundred times. 

Examples of the rapidity of denudation as compared 
with earth-movements are to be found everywhere. In 
disturbed regions, faults of many hundreds, and some- 
times even thousands of feet, are not uncommon; yet 
there is often no inequality on the surface, indicating 
that the dislocation of strata has been caused by small 
and often-repeated movements, at such intervals that 
denudation has been able to remove the elevated portion 
as it arose. Again, when the strata are bent into great 
folds or undulations, it is only rarely that the tops of the 
folds correspond to ridges and the depressions to valleys. 
Frequently the reverse is the case, a valley running 
along the anticlinal line or structural ridge, while the 
synclinal or structural hollow forms a mountain top; 
while, in other cases, valleys cut across these structural 
features, with little or no regard to them. This results 
from the fact that it is not mountains or mountain ranges, 
as we see them, which have been raised by internal 
forces, but a considerable area, already perhaps much 
disturbed and dislocated by earth-movements, has been 
slowly raised till it became a kind of table-land. From 
its first elevation above the sea, however, it would have 
been exposed to rainfall, and the water, flowing off in the 
direction of least resistance, would have formed a num- 
ber of channels radiating from the highest portion, and 
thus establishing the first outlines of a system of valleys, 
which go on deepening as the land goes on rising, often 
quite irrespective of the nature of the rocks beneath. 
This explains the close resemblance in the general ar- 



CHAP. xii. GEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES. 119 

rangement of valleys in all high regions, as well as the 
very common phenomenon of a river crossing the main 
range of a mountain system by a deep gorge; for this 
merely shows that what is now the highest part of the 
range was at first lower than that where the river has its 
source, but has become higher by the more rapid degra- 
dation of the lateral ranges, owing to their being formed 
of rock which is more easily disintegrated. The various 
peculiarities of open valley and narrow gorge, of sloping 
mountain side or lofty precipice, of rivers cutting across 
hills, as in the South Downs and at Clifton, when open 
plains by which they might apparently have reached the 
sea are near at hand, may be all explained as the results 
of those simple causes which are everywhere in action 
around us. It was Sir Charles Lyell who first convinced 
the whole scientific world of the efficacy of these familiar 
agents; and the secure establishment of this doctrine 
constitutes one of the great philosophical landmarks of 
the nineteenth century. 



The Glacial Epoch. 

The proof of the recent occurrence in the north 
temperate zone of a glacial epoch, during which large 
portions of Europe and North America were buried in 
ice, may, from one point of view, be thought to prove 
that other agents than those now in operation have acted 
in past ages, and thus to disprove the main assumption 
of the uniformitarians. But, on the other hand, its 
existence has been demonstrated by those very methods 
which Sir Charles Lyell advocated the accurate obser- 
vation of what nature is doing now; while an ice age 



120 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



really exists at the present time in Greenland, in the 
same latitude as nearly the whole of Sweden and Nor- 
way, which enjoy a comparatively mild climate. 

The first clear statement of the evidence for a former 
ice age was given, in 1822, by a Swiss engineer named 
Yenetz. He pointed out that, where the existing 
glaciers have retreated, the rocks which they had cov- 
ered are often rounded, smoothed, and polished, or 
grooved and striated in the direction of the glacier's mo- 
tion; and that, far away from any existing glaciers, there 
were to be seen rocks similarly rounded, polished, and 
striated; while there also existed old moraine heaps 
exactly similar to those formed at present ; and that these 
phenomena extended as far as the Jura range, on the 
flanks of which there were numbers of huge blocks of 
stone, of a kind not found in those mountains but exactly 
similar to the ancient rocks of the main Alpine chain. 
Hence, he concluded that glaciers formerly extended 
down the Rhone valley as far as the Jura, and there de- 
posited those erratic blocks, the presence of which had 
puzzled all former observers. 

Soon afterward, Charpentier and Agassiz devoted 
themselves to the study of the records left by the ancient 
glaciers; and from that time to the present a band of 
energetic workers in every part of the world have, by 
minute observation and reasoning, established the fact 
of the extension of glaciers, or ice-sheets, over a large 
portion of the north temperate zone; and have also de- 
termined the direction of their motion and the thickness 
of the ice in various parts of their course. These con- 
clusions are now admitted by every geologist who has de- 
voted himself to the subject, and are embodied in the 



CHAP. xn. GEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES. 121 

various official geological surveys of the chief civilized 
countries; and as they constitute one of the most re- 
markable chapters in the past history of the globe, and 
especially as this great change of climate occurred dur- 
ing the period of man's existence on the earth, a brief 
sketch of the facts must be here given. 

There are four main groups of phenomena which 
demonstrate the former existence of glaciers in areas 
where they are now absent: (1) Moraines, and glacial 
drifts or gravels; (2) Smoothed, rounded, or planed 
rocks; (3) Striae, grooves, and furrows on rock-surfaces; 
(4) Erratics and perched blocks. 

(1) Moraines are formed by all existing glaciers, con- 
sisting of the earth and rocks which fall upon the ice- 
rivers from the sides of the valleys through which they 
flow. The slow motion of the glacier carries these down 
with it, and they are deposited in great heaps where it 
melts. In some glaciers where the tributary valleys are 
numerous and the debris that falls upon the ice is abun- 
dant, the whole of the lower part of the glacier for many 
miles is so buried in it that the surface of the ice cannot 
be seen, and in these cases there will be a continuous 
moraine formed across the valley where the glacier ter- 
minates. The characteristics of moraines are, that they 
consist of varied materials, earth, gravel, and rocks of 
various sizes intermingled confusedly; and they often 
form mounds or ridges completely across a valley, except 
where the stream passes through it, while in other cases 
they extend laterally along the slopes of the hillsides, 
where, owing to the form of the valley, the glacier has 
shrunk laterally and left its lateral moraine behind it. 
In many cases huge blocks of rock rest on the very sum- 



122 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xn. 

mit of a moraine, or, in the case of lateral moraines, on 
the very edge of a precipice in positions where no known 
agency but ice could have deposited them. These are 
called " perched blocks." Drifts or glacial gravels are 
deposits of material similar to that forming the moraines, 
but spread widely over districts which have formerly 
been buried in ice. These are often partially formed of 
stiff clay, in which are embedded quantities of smoothed 
and striated stones; but the great characteristic of all 
these ice-products is that the materials are not stratified, 
that is, sorted according to their fineness or coarseness, 
as is always the case when deposited by water, but are 
mingled confusedly together, the large stones being 
scattered all through the mass, and usually being quite 
as abundant at the top as at the bottom of the deposit. 
Such deposits are to be found all over the north and 
northwest of our islands, and are often well exhibited in 
railway cuttings; and wherever they are well developed, 
and the materials of which they consist differ from those 
forming the underlying rocks, they are an almost in- 
fallible indication of the former existence of a glacier or 
ice-sheet. 

(2) The smoothed and rounded rocks called in Switzer- 
land roches mouionnees, from their resemblance at a dis- 
tance to recumbent sheep, are present in almost all 
recently glaciated mountainous countries, especially 
where the rocks are very hard. They are to be seen in 
all the higher valleys of Wales, the Lake District, and 
Scotland, and on examination are found to consist often 
of the hardest and toughest rocks. In other cases the 
rock forming the bed of the valley is found to be planed 
off smooth, even when it consists of hard crystalline 






CHAP. xii. GEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES. 123 



strata thrown up at a high angle, and which naturally 
weathers into a jagged or ridged surface. 

(3) The smoothed rocks are often found to be covered 
with numerous striae, deep grooves, or huge flutings, and 
these are almost always in one direction, which is that of 
the course of the glacier. They may often be traced in 
the same direction for miles, and do not change in har- 
mony with the lesser inequalities of the valley, as they 
would certainly do had they been formed by Avater 
action. These striae and smoothed rocks are often found 
hundreds or even thousands of feet above the floor of the 
valley, and in many cases a definite line can be traced, 
above which the rocks are rugged and jagged, while be- 
low it they are more or less rounded, smooth, or polished. 

(4) Erratic blocks are among the most widespread and 
remarkable indications of glacial action, and they were 
the first that attracted the attention of men of science. 
The great plains of Denmark, Prussia, North Germany, 
and Russia are strewn with large masses of granite and 
hard metamorphic rocks, and these rest either on glacial 
drift or on quite different rocks of Secondary or Ter- 
tiary age. In parts of North Germany they are so abun- 
dant as to hide the natural surface, and they are often 
piled up in irregular heaps forming hills of granite 
boulders covered with forests of pine, birch, and juniper. 
Many of these blocks are more than a thousand tons' 
weight, and almost all of them can be traced to the 
mountains of Scandinavia as their source. Many of the 
largest blocks have been carried furthest from the parent 
rock a fact which is conclusive against their having 
been brought to their present position by the action of 
floods. 



124 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xn. 

The most interesting and instructive erratic blocks are 
those found upon the slopes of the Jura, because they 
have been most carefully studied by Swiss and French 
geologists, and have all been traced to their sources in 
the Alpine chain. The Jura mountains consist wholly 
of Secondary limestones, and are situated opposite to the 
Bernese Alps, at a distance of about fifty miles. Along 
their slopes for a distance of a hundred miles, and ex- 
tending from their base to a height of 2000 feet above 
the Lake of jSTeuchatel, are great numbers of rocks, some 
of them as large as houses, and always quite different 
from that of which the Jura range is formed. These 
have all been traced to their parent rocks in various parts 
of the course of the old glacier of the Rhone, and, what 
is even more remarkable, their distribution is such as to 
prove that they were conveyed by a glacier and not by 
floating ice during a period of submergence. The rocks 
and other debris that fall upon a glacier from the two 
sides of its main valley form distinct moraines upon its 
surface, and however far the glacier may flow, and how- 
ever much it may spread out where the valley widens, 
they preserve their relative position so that whenever 
they are deposited by the melting of the glacier those 
that came from the north side of the valley will remain 
completely separated from those which came from the 
south side. It was this fact which convinced Sir Charles 
Lyell that the theory of floating ice, which he had first 
adopted, would not explain the distribution of the er- 
ratics, and he has given in his " Antiquity of Man " (4th 
ed., p. 3-44) a map showing the course of the blocks as 
they were conveyed on the surface of the glacier to their 
several destinations. Other blocks are found on the 



CHAP. xii. GEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES. 125 

lower slopes of the Alpine chain toward Bern on one 
side and Geneva 011 the other, while the French geolo- 
gists have traced them down the Rhone valley seventy 
miles from Geneva, and also more than twenty miles 
west of the Jura, thus proving that at the lowest portion 
of that chain the glacier flowed completely over it. In 
all these cases the blocks can be traced to a source cor- 
responding to their position on the theory of glacier 
action. Some of these rocks have been carried consider- 
ably more than 200 miles, proving that the old glacier 
of the Rhone extended to this enormous distance from its 
source. 

In our own islands and in North America these va- 
rious classes of evidence have been carefully studied, the 
direction of the glacial striae everywhere ascertained, 
and all the more remarkable erratic blocks traced to 
their sources, with the result that the extent and thick- 
ness of the various glaciers and ice-sheets are well de- 
termined and the direction of motion of the ice ascer- 
tained. The conclusions arrived at are very extraor- 
dinary, and must be briefly indicated. 

In Great Britain, during the earlier and later phases 
of the ice age, all the mountains of Scotland, the Lake 
District, and Wales produced their own glaciers, which 
flowed down to the sea. But at the time of the culmi- 
nation of the Glacial Epoch the Scandinavian ice-sheet 
extended on the southeast till it filled up the Baltic Sea 
and spread over the plains of northwestern Europe, and 
also filled up the North Sea, joining the glaciers of Scot- 
land, forming with them a continuous ice-sheet from 
which the highest mountains alone protruded. At the 
same time this Scotch ice-sheet extended into the Irish 



126 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



Sea, and united with the glaciers of the Lake District, 
Wales, and Ireland till almost continuous ice-sheets en- 
veloped those countries also. Glacial striae are found up 
to a height of 3500 feet in Scotland and 2500 feet in the 
Lake District and in Ireland; while the Isle of Man was 
completely overflowed, as shown by glacial stria3 on the 
summit of its loftiest mountains. Erratics from Scan- 
dinavia are found in great quantities on Flamborough 
Head, mixed with others from the Lake District and 
Galloway, showing that two ice-streams met here from 
opposite directions. Erratics from Scotland are also 
found in the Lake District, in North Wales, in the Isle 
of Man, and in Ireland, from which the direction of the 
moving ice can be determined. Great numbers of local 
rocks have also been carried into places far from their 
origin, and in every case this displacement is in the 
direction of the flow of the ice as ascertained by the 
other evidence never in the opposite direction. Each 
great mountain area had, however, its own centre of local 
dispersal, depending upon the position of greatest thick- 
ness of the ice-sheet, which was not necessarily that of 
the highest mountains, but was approximately the centre 
of the main area of glaciation. Thus the centre of the 
North Wales ice-sheet was not at Snowdon, but over the 
Arenig mountains, which thus became a local centre of 
dispersal of erratics. In Ireland, the mountains being 
placed around the coasts, the great central plain became 
filled with ice which, continually accumulating, formed 
a huge dome of ice whose outward pressure caused mo- 
tion in all directions till checked by the opposing motion 
of the great Scandinavian ice-sheet. This strange fact 
has been demonstrated by the work of the Irish Geo- 



CHAP. xn. GEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES. 127 

logical Survey and by many local geologists, and is uni- 
versally accepted by all who have studied the evidence. 
The great outlines of the phenomena of the ice age in 
our islands are now as thoroughly well established as any 
of the admitted conclusions of geological science. In 
our own country the ice extended more or less com- 
pletely over the whole of the midland counties and as 
far south as the Thames Valley. 

When we cross the Atlantic the phenomena are 
equally remarkable. The whole of the northeastern 
United States and Canada were also buried in an ice- 
sheet of enormous thickness and extent. It came south- 
ward as far as New York, and inland, in an irregular 
line, by Cincinnati, to St. Louis on the Mississippi. The 
whole of the region to the north of this line is covered 
with a deposit of drift, often of enormous thickness, 
while embedded in the drift, or scattered over its surface, 
are numbers of blocks and rock-masses, often formed of 
materials quite foreign to the bed-rock of the district. 
These erratics have in many cases been traced to their 
sources, sometimes 600 miles away, and the study of 
these, and of the numerous grooved and striated rocks, 
show that the centre of dispersal was far north of the 
Alleghanies and its outliers, and, as in the case of Ire- 
land, must have consisted of a huge dome of ice situated 
over the plateau to the north of the Great Lakes, in what 
must have been an area of great snow-fall combined with 
a very low temperature. The maximum thickness of 
this great ice-sheet must have been at least a mile over a 
considerable portion of its area, as glacial deposits have 
been found on the summit of Mount Washington at an 
altitude of nearly 6000 feet, and the centre of motion 



128 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xii. 

was a considerable distance to the northwest, where it 
must have reached a still greater altitude. 

The complete similarity of the conclusions reached by 
four different sets of observers in four different areas 
Switzerland, northwestern Europe, the British Isles, and 
North America after fifty years of continuous research, 
and after every other less startling theory had been put 
forth and rejected as wholly inconsistent with the phe- 
nomena to be explained, renders it as certain as any 
conclusion from indirect evidence can be, that a large por- 
tion of the north temperate zone, now enjoying a favor- 
able climate and occupied by the most civilized nations 
of the world, was, at a very recent epoch, geologically 
speaking, completely buried in ice, just as Greenland is 
now. How recently the ice has passed away is shown 
by the perfect preservation of innumerable moraines, 
perched blocks, erratics, and glaciated rock-surfaces, 
showing that but little denudation has occurred to 
modify the surface; while undoubted relics of man 
found in glacial or interglacial deposits prove that it 
occurred during the human period. It is clear that man 
could not have lived in any area while it was actually 
covered by the ice-sheet, while any indications of his 
presence at an earlier period would almost certainly be 
destroyed by the enormous abrading and grinding power 
of the ice. 

Besides the areas above referred to, there are wide- 
spread indications of glaciation in parts of the world 
where a temperate climate now prevails. In the Pyre- 
nees, Caucasus, Lebanon, and Himalayas glacial mo- 
raines are found far below the lower limits they now at- 
tain. In the Southern Hemisphere similar indications 



GEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES. 129 



are found in New Zealand, Tasmania, and the south- 
ern portion of the Andes; but whether this cold period 
was coincident with that of the Northern Hemisphere 
we have at present no means of determining, nor even 
whether they were coincident among themselves, since 
it is quite conceivable that they may have been due to 
local causes, such as greater elevation of the land, and 
not to any general cause acting throughout the south 
temperate zone. 

In the north temperate zone, however, the phenomena 
are so widespread and so similar in character, with only 
such modifications as are readily explained by proximity 
to, or remoteness from, the ocean, that we are almost sure 
they must have been simultaneous, and have been due to 
the same general causes, though perhaps modified by 
local changes in altitude and consequent modification of 
winds or ocean-currents. The time that has elapsed 
since the glaciation of the Northern Hemisphere passed 
away is, geologically, very small indeed, and has been 
variously estimated at from 20,000 to 100,000 years. 
At present the smaller period is most favored by geolo- 
gists, but the duration of the ice age itself, including 
probably one or more inter-glacial mild periods, is ad- 
mitted to be much longer, and probably to approach the 
higher figure above given. 

The undoubted fact, however, that a large part of the 
north temperate zone has been recently subjected to so 
marvellous a change of climate, is of immense interest 
from many points of view. It teaches us in an impres- 
sive way how delicate is the balance of forces which ren- 
ders what are now the most densely peopled areas habit- 
able by man. We can hardly suppose that even the 



130 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xii. 

tremendously severe ice age of which we have evidence 
is the utmost that can possibly occur; and, on the other 
hand, we may anticipate that the condition of things 
which in earlier geological times rendered even the polar 
regions adapted for a luxuriant woody vegetation may 
again recur, and thus vastly extend the area of our globe 
which is adapted to support human life in abundance and 
comfort. In the endeavor to account for the change of 
climate and of physical geography which brought about 
so vast a change, and then, after a period certainly ap- 
proaching, and perhaps greatly exceeding, a hundred 
thousand years, caused it to pass away, some of the most 
acute and powerful intellects of our day have exerted 
their ingenuity; but, so far as obtaining general accept- 
ance for the views of any one of them, altogether in vain. 
There seems reason to believe, however, that the problem 
is not an insoluble one; and when the true cause is 
reached, it will probably carry with it the long-sought 
datum from which to calculate with some rough degree 
of accuracy the duration of geological periods. But, 
whether we can solve the problem of its cause or no, the 
demonstration of the recent occurrence of a Glacial 
Epoch or Great Ice Age, with the determination of its 
main features over the Northern Hemisphere, will ever 
rank as one of the great scientific achievements of the 
nineteenth century. 

The Antiquity of Man. 

Following the general acceptance of a glacial epoch 
by about twenty years, but to some extent connected 
with it, came the recognition that man had existed in 
Northern Europe along with numerous animals which 



CHAP. xii. GEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES. 131 

no longer live there the mammoth, the woolly rhi- 
noceros, the wild horse, the cave-bear, the lion, the sabre- 
toothed tiger, and many others and that he had left be- 
hind him, in an abundance of rude flint implements, the 
record of his presence. Before that time geologists, as 
well as the whole educated world, had accepted the 
dogma that man only appeared upon the earth when 
both its physical features and its animal and vegetable 
forms were exactly as we find them to-day; and this be- 
lief, resting solely on negative evidence, was so strongly 
and irrationally maintained that the earlier discoveries 
could not get a hearing. A careful but enthusiastic 
French observer, M. Boucher de Perthes, had for many 
years collected with his own hands, from the great de- 
posits of old river gravels in the valley of the Somme 
near Amiens, abundance of large and well-formed flint 
implements. In 1847 he published an account of them, 
but nobody believed his statements, till, ten years later, 
Dr. Falconer, and shortly afterward, Professor Prest- 
wich and Mr. John Evans, examined the collections and 
the places where they were found, and were at once con- 
vinced of their importance; and their testimony led to 
the general acceptance of the doctrine of the great an- 
tiquity of the human race. From that time researches 
on this subject have been carried on by many earnest 
students, and have opened up a number of altogether 
new chapters in human history. 

So soon as the main facts were established, many old 
records of similar discoveries were called to mind, all of 
which had been ignored or explained away on account of 
the strong prepossession in favor of the very recent 
origin of man. In 1715 flint weapons had been found 



132 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



in excavations near Gray's Inn Lane, along with the 
skeleton of an elephant. In 1800 another discovery 
was made in Suffolk of flint weapons and the remains of 
extinct animals in the same deposits. In 1825 Mr. 
McEnery, of Torquay, discovered worked flints along 
with the bones and teeth of extinct animals in Kent's 
cavern. In 1840 a good geologist confirmed these dis- 
coveries, and sent an account of them to the Geological 
Society of London, but the paper was rejected as being 
too improbable for publication! All these discoveries 
were laughed at or explained away, as the glacial striae 
and grooves so beautifully exhibited in the Vale of Llan- 
berris were at first endeavored to be explained as the 
wheel-ruts caused by the chariots of the ancient Britons ! 
These, combined with numerous other cases of the denial 
of facts on a priori grounds, have led me to the conclu- 
sion that, whenever the scientific men of any age disbe- 
lieve other men's careful observations without inquiry, 
the scientific men are always wrong. 

Even after these evidences of man's great antiquity 
were admitted, strenuous efforts were made to minimize 
the time as measured by years; and it was maintained 
that man, although undoubtedly old, was entirely post- 
glacial. But evidence has been steadily accumulating 
of his existence at the time of the glacial epoch, and 
even before it; while two discoveries of recent date seem 
to carry back his age far into pre-glacial times. These 
are, first, the human cranium, bones, and works of art 
which have been found more than a hundred feet deep 
in the gold-bearing gravels of California, associated with 
abundant vegetable remains of extinct species, and over- 
laid by four successive lava streams from long extinct 



CHAP. XII. 



GEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES. 



133 



volcanoes. The other case is that of rude stone imple- 
ments discovered by a geologist of the Indian Survey in 
Burma in deposits which are admitted to be of at least 
Pliocene age. In both these cases the evidence is dis- 
puted by some geologists, who seem to think that there is 
something unscientific, or even wrong, in admitting evi- 
dence that would prove the Pliocene age of any other 
animal to be equally valid in the case of man. There 
is assumed to be a great improbability of his existence 
earlier than the very end of the Tertiary epoch. But 
all the indications drawn from his relations to the anthro- 
poid apes point to an origin far back in Tertiary time. 
For each one of the great apes the gorilla, the chim- 
panzee, the orang, and even the gibbon resemble man 
in certain features more than do their allies, while in 
other points they are less like him. Now, if man has 
been developed from a lower animal form, we must seek 
his ancestors not in the direct line between him and any 
of the apes, but in a line toward a common ancestor to 
them all; and this common ancestor must certainly date 
back to the early part of the Tertiary epoch, because in 
the Miocene period anthropoid apes not very different 
from living forms have been found fossil. 

There is therefore no improbability whatever in the 
existence of man in the later portions of the Tertiary 
period, and we have no right, scientifically, to treat any 
evidence for his existence in any other way than the evi- 
dence for the existence of other animal types. 

It has been argued by some writers that, as no other 
living species of mammal goes back farther than the 
Newer Pliocene, therefore man is probably no older. 
But it is forgotten that the difference of man from the 



134 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



apes is not only specific but at least of generic or of 
family rank, while some naturalists place him even in a 
separate order of mammalia. Besides the 'erect posture 
and free hands, with all the details of anatomical struc- 
ture which these peculiarities imply, the great develop- 
ment of his brain pre-eminently distinguishes him. We 
may suppose, therefore, that when he had reached the 
erect form, and possessed all the external appearance of 
man, his brain still remained undeveloped, and the time 
occupied by this development was not improbably equal 
to that required for the specific modification of the lower 
mammalia. It is often forgotten that so soon as man 
used fire and made weapons, all further useful modifi- 
cation would be in the direction of increased brain 
power, by which he was able to succeed both in his 
struggle against the elements and with the lower ani- 
mals. There is therefore no improbability in finding 
the remains or the implements of a low type of man in 
the early Pliocene period. 

The certainty that man coexisted with many now ex- 
tinct animals, and the probability of our discovering his 
remains in undoubted Tertiary strata, constitutes an 
immense advance on the knowledge and beliefs of our 
forefathers, and must therefore rank among the promi- 
nent features in the scientific progress of the nineteenth 
century. 



CHAPTEK XIII. 

EVOLUTION AND NATURAL SELECTION. 

Enkindled in the mystic dark, 

Life built herself a myriad forms, 
And, flashing its electric spark, 

Through films, and cells, and pulps, and worms, 
Flew shuttlewise above, beneath, 
Weaving the web of life and death. 

MatUilde Blind. 

The world moves on in singing harmony 
Her steps of eon length; from primal cloud, 
First through her realms old Chaos calls aloud; 

Then, splashing in the Mesozoic sea, 

Huge heralds of the beauty yet to be, 
Her saurian monsters rise; they pass away, 
And lo! the glories of a better day, 

And man, the God-within, not fully free. 

American Fabrian. 

now approach tlie subject which, in popular esti- 
mation, and perhaps in real importance, may be held to 
be the great scientific work of the nineteenth century 
the establishment of the general theory of evolution, by 
means of the special theory of the development of the 
organic world through the struggle for existence and its 
necessary outcome, Natural Selection. Although in 
the last century Buffon, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, and the 
poet Goethe, had put forth various hints and suggestions 
pointing to evolution in the organic world, which they 
undoubtedly believed to have occurred, no definite state- 
ment of the theory had appeared till early in the present 



136 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xm. 

century, when La Place explained Iris views as to the 
evolution of the stellar universe and of solar and planet- 
ary systems in his celebrated Nebular Hypothesis; and 
about the same time Lamarck published his " Philo- 
sophic Zoologique," containing an elaborate exposition 
of his theory of the progressive development of animals 
and plants. But this theory gained few converts among 
naturalists, partly because Lamarck was before his time, 
and also because the causes he alleged did not seem ade- 
quate to produce the wonderful adaptations we every- 
where see in nature. During the first half of the present 
century, owing to the fact that Brazil, South Africa, and 
Australia then became for the first time accessible to 
English collectors, the treasures of the whole world of 
nature were poured in upon us so rapidly that the com- 
paratively limited number of naturalists were fully 
occupied in describing the new species and endeavoring 
to discover true methods of classification. The need of 
any general theory of how species came into existence 
was hardly felt; and there was a general impression that 
the problem was at that time insoluble, and that we must 
spend at least another century in collecting, describing, 
and classifying, before we had any chance of dealing 
successfully with the origin of species. But the subject 
of evolution was ever present to the more philosophic 
thinkers, though the great majority of naturalists and 
men of science held firmly to the dogma that each species 
of animal and plant was a distinct creation, though how 
produced was admitted to be both totally unknown and 
almost, if not quite, unimaginable. 

The vague ideas of those who favored evolution were 
first set forth in systematic form, with much literary skill 



CHAP. xni. EVOLUTION AND NATURAL SELECTION. 137 



and scientific knowledge, by the late Robert Chambers 
in 1844, in his anonymous volume, " Vestiges of the 
Natural History of Creation." He passed in review the 
stellar and solar systems, adopted the Nebular Hy- 
pothesis, and sketched out the geological history of the 
earth, with continuous progression from lower to higher 
forms of life. After describing the peculiarities of the 
lower plants and animals, dwelling upon those features 
which seemed to point to a natural mode of production 
as opposed to an origin by special creation, the author 
set forth with much caution the doctrine of progressive 
development resulting from " an impulse which was im- 
parted to the forms of life, advancing them in definite 
lines, by generation, through grades of organization ter- 
minating in the highest plants and animals." The rea- 
sonableness of this view was urged through the rest of 
the work; and it was shown how much better it agreed 
with the various facts of nature and with the geographi- 
cal distribution of animals and plants, than the idea of 
the special creation of each distinct species. 

It will be seen, from this brief outline, that there was 
no attempt whatever to show how or why the various 
species of animals and plants acquired their peculiar 
characters, but merely an argument in favor of the rea- 
sonableness of the fact of progressive development, from 
one species to another, through the ordinary processes of 
generation. The book was what we should now call 
mild in the extreme. It was serious and even religious 
in tone, and calculated in this respect to disarm the oppo- 
sition even of the most orthodox theologists; yet it was 
met with just the same storm of opposition and indignant 
abuse which assailed Darwin's work fifteen years later. 



138 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xm. 

As an illustration of the state of scientific opinion at this 
time, it may be mentioned that so great a man as Sir 
John Herschel, at a scientific meeting in London, spoke 
strongly against the book for its advocacy of so great a 
scientific heresy as the Theory of Development. 

I well remember the excitement caused by the publi- 
cation of the " Vestiges/' and the eagerness and delight 
with which I read it. Although I saw that it really 
offered no explanation of the process of change of 
species, yet the view that the change was effected, not 
through any unimaginable process, but through the 
known laws and processes of reproduction, commended 
itself to me as perfectly satisfactory, and as affording the 
first step toward a more complete and explanatory 
theory. It seems now a most amazing thing that even 
to argue for this first step was accounted a heresy, and 
was almost universally condemned as being opposed to 
the teaching of both science and religion ! 

The book was, however, as great a success as, later on, 
was Darwin's " Origin of Species." Four editions were 
issued in the first seven months, and by 1860 it had 
reached the eleventh edition, and about 24,000 copies 
had been sold. It is certain that this work did great 
service in familiarizing the reading public with the idea 
of evolution, and thus preparing them for the more 
complete and efficient theory laid before them by 
Darwin. 

During the fifteen years succeeding the publication of 
the " Vestiges " many naturalists expressed their belief 
in the progressive development of organic forms; while 
in 1852 Herbert Spencer published his essay contrast- 
ing the theories of Creation and Development with such 



CHAP. xin. EVOLUTION AND NATURAL SELECTION. 139 

skill and logical power as to carry conviction to the 
minds of all unprejudiced readers; but none of these 
writers suggested any definite theory of how the change 
of species actually occurred. That was first done in 
1858; and in connection with it I may, perhaps, venture 
to give a few personal details. 

Ever since I read the " Vestiges " I had been con- 
vinced that development took place by means of the ordi- 
nary process of reproduction ; but though this was widely 
admitted, no one had set forth the various kinds of evi- 
dence that rendered it almost a certainty. I endeavored 
to do this in an article written at Sarawak in February, 
1855, which was published in the following September 
in the " Annals of Natural History." Relying mainly 
on the well-known facts of geographical distribution and 
geological succession, I deduced from them the law, or 
generalization, that, " Every species has come into exist- 
ence coincident both in Space and Time with a Pre- 
existing closely allied Species " ; and I showed how many 
peculiarities in the affinities, the succession, and the dis- 
tribution of the forms of life, were explained by this 
hypothesis, and that no important facts contradicted it. 

Even then, however, I had no conception of how or 
why each new form had come into existence with all its 
beautiful adaptations to its special mode of life; and 
though the subject was continually being pondered over, 
no light came to me till three years later (February, 
1858), under somewhat peculiar circumstances. I was 
then living at Ternate in the Moluccas, and was suffer- 
ing from a rather severe attack of intermittent fever, 
which prostrated me for several hours every day during 
the cold and succeeding hot fits. During one of these 



140 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xm. 

fits, while again considering the problem of the origin 
of species, something led me to think of Malthus' Essay 
on Population (which I had read about ten years before), 
and the " positive checks " war, disease, famine, acci- 
dents, etc. which he adduced as keeping all savage 
populations nearly stationary. It then occurred to me 
that these checks must also act upon animals, and keep 
down their numbers; and as they increase so much faster 
than man does, while their numbers are always very 
nearly or quite stationary, it was clear that these checks 
in their case must be far more powerful, since a number 
equal to the whole increase must be cut off by them 
every year. While vaguely thinking how this would 
affect any species, there suddenly flashed upon me the 
idea of the survival of the fittest that the individuals 
removed by these checks must be, on the whole, inferior 
to those that survived. Then, considering the varia- 
tions continually occurring in every fresh generation of 
animals or plants, and the changes of climate, of food, of 
enemies always in progress, the whole method of specific 
modification became clear to me, and in the two hours of 
my fit I had thought out the main points of the theory. 
That same evening I sketched out the draft of a paper; 
in the two succeeding evenings I wrote it out, and sent 
it by the next post to Mr. Darwin. 1 I fully expected it 
would be as new to him as it was to myself, because he 
had informed me by letter that he was engaged on a 
work intended to show in what way species and varie- 
ties differ from each other, adding, " my work will not 
fix or settle anything." I was therefore surprised to 
find that he had really arrived at the very same theory 
1 These two papers are reprinted in my " Natural Selection and 
Tropical Nature." 



cHAp..'xii EVOLUTION AND NATURAL SELECTION. 141 

> * 

as mine long before (in 1844), had worked it out in con- 
siderable detail, and had shown the MSS. to Sir Charles 
Lyell and Sir Joseph Hooker; and on their recommenda- 
tion my paper and sufficient extracts from his MSS. work 
were read at a meeting of the Linnean Society in July of 
the same year, when the theory of Natural Selection, or 
survival of the fittest, was first made known to the world. 
But it received little attention till Darwin's great and 
epoch-making book appeared at the end of the following 
year. 

We may best attain to some estimate of the greatness 
and completeness of Darwin's work by considering the 
vast change in educated public opinion which it rapidly 
and permanently effected. AVhat that opinion was be- 
fore it appeared is shown by the fact that neither La- 
inarck, nor Herbert Spencer, nor the author of the 
" Vestiges," had been able to make any impression upon 
it. The very idea of progressive development of species 
from other species was held to be a " heresy " by such 
great and liberal-minded men as Sir John Herschel and 
Sir Charles Lyell; the latter writer declaring, in the 
earlier editions of his great work, that the facts of geology 
were " fatal to the theory of progressive development." 
The whole literary and scientific worlds were violently 
opposed to all such theories, and altogether disbelieved in 
the possibility of establishing them. It had been so 
long the custom to treat species as special' creations, and 
the mode of their creation as " the mystery of mys- 
teries," that it had come to be considered not on^y pre- 
sumptuous, but almost impious, for any individual to 
profess to have lifted the veil from what was held to be 
the greatest and most mysterious of Nature's secrets. 



142 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xm. 

But what is the state of educated literary and scien- 
tific opinion at the present day? Evolution is now uni- 
versally accepted as a demonstrated principle, and not 
one single writer of the slightest eminence, that I am 
aware of, declares his disbelief in it. This is, of course, 
partly due to the colossal work of Herbert Spencer; but 
for one reader of his works there are probably ten of 
Darwin's, and the establishment of the theory of the 
" origin of Species by Means of ISTatural Selection " is 
wholly Darwin's work. That book, together with those 
which succeeded it, has so firmly established the doctrine 
of progressive development of species by the ordinary 
processes of multiplication and variation that there is 
now, I believe, scarcely a single living naturalist who 
doubts it. What was a " great heresy " to Sir John 
Herschel in 1845, and " the mystery of mysteries " down 
to the date of Darwin's book, is now the common knowl- 
edge of every clever schoolboy, and of everyone who 
reads even the newspapers. The only thing discussed 
now is, not the fact of evolution, that is admitted, but 
merely whether or no the causes alleged by Darwin are 
themselves sufficient to explain evolution of species, or 
require to be supplemented by other causes, known or 
unknown. Probably so complete a change of educated 
opinion, on a question of such vast difficulty and com- 
plexity, was never before effected in so short a time. It 
not only places the name of Darwin on a level with that 
of Newton, but his work will always be considered as one 
of the* greatest, if not the very greatest, of the scientific 
achievements of the nineteenth century, rich as that cen- 
tury has been in great discoveries in every department 
of physical science. 



CHAPTEE XIY. 

POPULAR DISCOVERIES IN PHYSIOLOGY. 

Recluse, th' interior sap and vapor dwells, 
In nice transparence of minutest cells. 

H. Brooke. 

But a heavenly sleep 
That did suddenly steep 
In balm my bosom's pain. 

Shelley. 

THE science of Physiology, which investigates the 
complex phenomena of the motions, sensations, growth, 
and development of organisms, is almost wholly the 
product of the present century; but with the exception 
of a few fundamental conceptions, it has been an almost 
continuous growth by small increments, and offers few 
salient points of popular interest, or which can be made 
intelligible to the general reader. 

The first of the great fundamental conceptions re- 
ferred to is the cell-theory, which was definitely estab- 
lished for plants in 1838, and immediately afterward 
for animal-structures. The theory is that all the parts 
and tissues of plants and animals are built up of cells, 
modified in form and function in an infinite variety of 
ways, but to be traced in the early stages of growth, alike 
of bone and muscle, nerve and blood vessel, skin and 
hair, root, wood, and flower. And, further, that all 
organisms originate in simple cells, which are almost 
identical in form and structure, and which thus consti- 
tute the fundamental unit of all living things. 

143 



144 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



The second great generalization is what has been 
termed the recapitulation theory of development. 
Every animal or plant begins its existence as a cell, 
which develops by a process of repeated fission and 
growth into the perfect form. But if we trace the dif- 
ferent types backward, we find that we come to a stage 
when the embryos of all the members of an order, such as 
the various species of Ruminants, are undistinguishable ; 
earlier still all the members of a class, such as the Mam- 
malia, are equally alike, so that the embryos of a sheep 
and a tiger would be almost identical; earlier still all ver- 
tebrates, a lizard, a bird, and a monkey, are equally un- 
distinguishable. Thus in its progress from the cell to 
the perfect form every animal recapitulates, as it were, 
the lower forms upon its line of descent, thus affording 
one of the strongest indirect proofs of the theory of evo- 
lution. The earliest definite result of cell-division is to 
form what is termed the " gastrula," which is a sack 
with a narrow mouth, formed of two layers of cells. 
All the higher animals without exception, from mollusk 
to man, go through this " gastrula " stage, which again 
indicates that all are descended from a common ancestral 
form of this general type. 

One other physiological discovery is worth noting 
here, both on account of its remarkable nature and be- 
cause it leads to some important conclusions in relation 
to the zymotic diseases. Quite recently it has been 
proved that the white corpuscles of the blood, whose 
function was previously unknown, are really independ- 
ent living organisms. They are produced in large num- 
bers by the spleen, an organ which has long been a 
puzzle to physiologists, but whose function and impor- 



CHAP. xiv. POPULAR DISCOVERIES IN PHYSIOLOGY. 145 

tance to the organism seem to be now made clear. 
They are much smaller and less numerous than the red 
blood-globules; they move about quite independently; 
and they behave in a manner which shows that they are 
closely allied to, if not identical with, the amrebse found 
abundantly in stagnant water, and which form such 
interesting microscopic objects. These minute animal 
organisms, which inhabit not only our blood-vessels "b.ut 
all the tissues of the body, have an important function 
to perform on which our very lives depend. This func- 
tion is, to devour and destroy the bacteria or germs of 
disease which may gain an entrance to our blood or tis- 
sues, and which, when their increase is unchecked, pro- 
duce various disorders and even death. Under the 
higher powers of the microscope the leucocytes, as they 
are termed, can be observed continually moving about, 
and on coming in contact with any of these bacteria or 
their germs, or other hurtful substances, they send out 
pseudopodia from their protoplasm which envelops the 
germ and soon causes it to disappear; but they also ap- 
pear sometimes to produce a secretion which is injurious 
to the bacteria, and so destroys them, and these may per- 
haps be distinct organisms. 

It seems probable, and, in fact, almost certain, that so 
long as we live in tolerably healthy conditions, these 
leucocytes (or phagocytes as they are sometimes called 
from their function of devouring injurious germs) are 
able to deal with all disease-germs which can gain access 
to our system; but, when we live in impure air, or drink 
impure water, or feed upon unwholesome food, our sys- 
tem becomes enfeebled, and our guardian leucocytes are 
unable to destroy the disease-germs that gain access to 



146 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xiv. 

our organism; they then increase rapidly, and are in 
many cases able to destroy us. 

We learn from this marvellous discovery that, so 
long as we live simply and naturally, and obey the well- 
known laws of sanitation, so as to secure a healthy condi- 
tion of the body, the more dreaded zymotic diseases will 
be powerless against us. But if we neglect these laws 
of health, or allow of conditions which compel large 
bodies of our fellow-men to neglect them, these disease- 
germs will be present in such quantities in the air and 
the water around us that even those who personally live 
comparatively wholesome lives will not always escape 
them. 

We learn, too, another lesson from this latest dis- 
covery of the secrets of the living universe. Just as we 
saw how, physically, dust was so important that not only 
much of the beauty of nature but the very habitability 
of our globe depended upon it, so we now find that the 
most minute and most abundant of all organisms are 
those on which both our means of life and our preserva- 
tion from death are dependent. For these minute bac- 
teria of various kinds are present everywhere in the 
air, in the water, in the soil under our feet. Their func- 
tion appears to be to break up by putrefactive processes 
all dead organized matter, and thus prepare it for being 
again assimilated by plants, so as to form food for ani- 
mals and for man ; and it seems probable that they pre- 
pare the soil itself for plant-growth by absorbing and 
fixing the nitrogen of the atmosphere. They are, in 
fact, omnipresent, and under normal conditions they are 
wholly beneficial. It is we ourselves who, by our 
crowded cities, our polluted streams, and our unnatural 



POPULAR DISCOVERIES IN PHYSIOLOGY. 147 



and unwholesome lives, enable them to exert their 
disease-creating powers. 

A brief notice must also be given of two discoveries in 
practical physiology, which have perhaps done more to 
benefit mankind than those great mechanical inventions 
and philosophical theories which receive more general 
admiration. These are, the use of anaesthetics in sur- 
gical operations, and the antiseptic treatment of wounds. 

Anaesthetics were first used in dentistry in 1846, the 
agent being ether ; while chloroform, for more severe sur- 
gical operations, was adopted in 1848; and though their 
primary effect is only to abolish pain, they get rid of so 
much nervous irritation as greatly to aid in the subse- 
quent recovery. The use of anaesthetics thus renders it 
possible for many operations to be safely performed 
which, without it, would endanger life by mere shock to 
the system; while to the operating surgeon it gives con- 
fidence, and enables him to work more deliberately and 
carefully from the knowledge that the longer time occu- 
pied will not increase the suffering of the patient or ren- 
der his recovery less probable. Mtrous-oxide gas is 
now chiefly used in dentistry or very short operations, 
sulphuric ether for those of moderate length, while chlo- 
roform is usually employed in all the more severe cases, 
since the patient can by its use be kept in a state of in- 
sensibility for an hour or even longer. There is, how- 
ever, some danger in its use to persons with weak heart 
or of great nervous sensibility, and the patient in such 
cases may die from the effects of the anaesthetic alone. 1 

'The Hyderabad Chloroform Commission, which in 1889 
thoroughly investigated the causes of death under chloroform, 
has proved that all such deaths are preventible, if a different mode of 



148 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



CHAP. XIV. 



Even more important was the introduction of the 
antiseptic treatment in 1865, which, by preventing the 
suppuration of incised or wounded surfaces, has reduced 
the death-rate for serious amputations from forty-five 
per cent, to twelve per cent., and has besides rendered 
possible numbers of operations which would have been 
certainly fatal under the old system. I remember my 
astonishment when, soon after the introduction of the 
practice, I was told by an eminent physiologist of the 
new method of performing operations, in which the 
freshly cut surfaces could be left exposed to the air with- 
out dressings of any kind, and would soon heal. The 
antiseptic treatment was the logical outcome of the 
proof that suppuration of wounds and all processes of 
fermentation and putrefaction were not due to normal 
changes either in living or dead tissues, but were pro- 
duced by the growth and the rapid multiplication of 
minute organisms, especially of those low fungoid groups 
termed Bacteria. If, therefore, we can adopt measures 
to keep away or destroy these organisms and their germs, 
or in any way prevent their increase, injured living tis- 

administration is adopted. And its conclusions have been confirmed 
by the independent researches of four medical men two English 
and two American physicians. Yet the old method of adminis- 
tration is still common in this country, no less than seventy-five 
deaths having occurred from this cause in 1896, while the Registrar 
General records seventy-eight deaths from anaesthetics (almost all 
from chloroform) in 1895. There is thus a terrible amount of mor- 
tality due, apparently, to the ignorance of medical men on a subject 
as to which they are supposed to have exclusive knowledge. An 
excellent account of the work of the above-named Commission is 
given in the Nineteenth Century of March, 1898, by a lady who 
has had to take chloroform more than once, by both methods ; and 
can therefore judge of their comparative effects by the best of tests 
personal experience. 






CHAP. xiv. POPULAR DISCOVERIES IN PHYSIOLOGY. 149 

sues will rapidly heal, while dead animal matter can be 
preserved unchanged almost indefinitely. In the case 
of wounds and surgical operations this is effected by 
means of a weak solution of corrosive-sublimate, in 
which all instruments and everything that comes in con- 
tact with the wound are washed, and by filling the air 
around the part operated on with a copious spray of car- 
bolic acid. Cold has a similar effect in preserving meat; 
while the process of tinning various kinds of food de- 
pends for its success on the same principle, of first kill- 
ing all bacteria or other germs by heating the filled tins 
above the boiling point, and then keeping out fresh 
germs by air-tight fastening. 

The combined use of anaesthetics and antiseptics has 
almost robbed the surgeon's knife of its terrors, and has 
enabled the most deeply-seated organs to be laid open 
and operated upon with success. As a result, more lives 
are probably now saved by surgery than by any other 
branch of medicine, since in the treatment of disease 
there has been comparatively small progress except by 
trusting more to the healing powers of nature, aided by 
rest, warmth, pure air, wholesome food, and as few drugs 
as possible. 



CHAPTER XV. 

ESTIMATE OF ACHIEVEMENTS I THE NINETEENTH AS COM- 
PAKED WITH EAKLIEK CENTURIES. 

The long crude efforts of society 

la feeble light by feeble reason led, 
But gleaning, gathering still, effect of cause, 

Cause of effect, in ceaseless sequence fed; 
Till, slow developing the eons through, 

The gibbering savage to a Darwin grew 
This hath Time witnessed ! Shall his records now, 
The goal attain'd the end achieved, avow ? 

J. H. Dell. 

HAVING: now completed our sketch of those practical 
discoveries and striking generalizations of science which 
have in so many respects changed the outward forms of 
onr civilization, and will ever render memorable the cen- 
tury now so near its close, we are in a position to sum up 
its achievements, and compare them with what has gone 
before. 

Taking first those inventions and practical applications 
of science which are perfectly new departures, and which 
have also so rapidly developed as to have profoundly 
affected many of our habits, and even our thoughts and 
our language, we find them to be thirteen in number. 

1. Railways, which have revolutionized land-travel 
and the distribution of commodities. 

2. Steam-navigation, which has done the same thing 
for ocean travel, and has besides led to the entire recon- 
struction of -the navies of the world. 

150 



CHAP. xv. COMPARISON WITH OTHER CENTURIES. 151 



3. Electric Telegraphs, which have produced an even 
greater revolution in the communication of thought. 

4. The Telephone, which transmits, or rather repro- 
duces, the voice of the speaker at a distance. 

5. Friction Matches, which have revolutionized the 
modes of obtaining fire. 

6. Gas-lighting, which enormously improved outdoor 
and other illumination. 

7. Electric-lighting, another advance, now threaten- 
ing to supersede gas. 

8. Photography, an art which is to the external forms 
of nature what printing is to thought. 

9. The Phonograph, which preserves and reproduces 
sounds as photography preserves and reproduces forms. 

10. The Rontgen Rays, which render many opaque 
objects transparent, and open up a new world to 
photography. 

11. Spectrum Analysis, which so greatly extends our 
knowledge of the universe that by its assistance we are 
able to ascertain the relative heat and chemical consti- 
tution of the stars, and ascertain the existence, and meas- 
ure the rate of motion, of stellar bodies which are en- 
tirely invisible. 

12. The use of Anaesthetics, rendering the most se- 
vere surgical operations painless. 

13. The use of Antiseptics in surgical operations, 
which has still further extended the means of saving life. 

Now, if we ask what inventions comparable with these 
were made during the previous (eighteenth) century, it 
seems at first doubtful whether there were any. But 
we may perhaps admit the development of the steam- 
engine from the rude but still useful machine of New- 



152 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xv. 

comen to the powerful and economical engines of Boul- 
ton and Watt. The principle, however, was known long 
before, and had been practically applied in the previous 
century by the Marquis of Worcester and by Savery; 
and the improvements made by Watt, though very im- 
portant, had a very limited result. The engines made 
were almost wholly used in pumping the water out of 
deep mines, and the bulk of the population knew no 
more of them, nor derived any more direct benefit from 
them, than if they had not existed. 

In the seventeenth century, the one great and far- 
reaching invention was that of the Telescope, which, in 
its immediate results of extending our knowledge of the 
universe and giving possibilities of future knowledge not 
yet exhausted, may rank with spectrum analysis in our 
own era. The Barometer and Thermometer are minor 
discoveries. 

In the sixteenth century we have no invention of the 
first rank, but in the fifteenth we have Printing. 

The Mariner's Compass was invented early in the 
fourteenth century, and was of great importance in ren- 
dering ocean navigation possible and thus facilitating 
the discovery of America. 

Then, backward to the dawn of history, or rather to 
prehistoric times, we have the two great engines of 
knowledge and discovery the Indian or Arabic 
numerals leading to arithmetic and algebra, and, more 
remote still, the invention of alphabetical writing. 

Summing these up, we find only five inventions of 
the first rank in all preceding time the telescope, the 
printing-press, the mariner's compass, Arabic numerals, 
and alphabetical writing, to which we may add the 



CHAP. xv. COMPARISON WITH OTHER CENTURIES. 153 

steam-engine and the barometer, making seven in all, as 
against thirteen in our single century. 

Coming now to the theoretical discoveries of our time, 
which have extended our knowledge or widened our con- 
ceptions of the universe, we find them to be about equal 
in number, as follows : 

1. The determination of the mechanical equivalent of 
heat, leading to the great principle of the Conservation 
of Energy. 

2. The Molecular theory of gases. 

3. The mode of direct measurement of the Velocity 
of Light, and the experimental proof of the Earth's Ro- 
tation. These are put together, because hardly suffi- 
cient alone. 

4. The discovery of the function of Dust in na- 
ture. 

5. The theory of definite and multiple proportions in 
Chemistry. 

6. The nature of Meteors and Comets, leading to the 
Meteoritic theory of the Universe. 

7. The proof of the Glacial Epoch, its vast extent, 
and its effects upon the earth's surface. 

8. The proof of the great Antiquity of Man. 

9. The establishment of the theory of Organic Evo- 
lution. 

10. The Cell theory and the Recapitulation theory in 
Embryology. 

11. The Germ theory of the Zymotic diseases. 

12. The discovery of the nature and function of the 
White Blood-corpuscles. 

Turning to the past, in the eighteenth century we may 
perhaps claim two groups of discoveries: 



154 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. zv. 

1. The foundation of modern Chemistry by Black, 
Cavendish, Priestley, and Lavoisier; and 

2. The foundation of Electrical science by Franklin, 
Galvani, and Volta. 

The seventeenth century is richer in epoch-making 
discoveries, since we have : 

3. The theory of Gravitation established. 

4. The discovery of Kepler's Laws. 

5. The invention of Fluxions and the Differential 
Calculus. 

6. Harvey's proof of the circulation of the Blood. 

7. Roemer's proof of finite velocity of Light by Jupi- 
ter's satellites. 

Then, going backward, we can find nothing of the first 
rank except Euclid's wonderful system of Geometry, 
derived from earlier Greek and Egyptian sources, and 
perhaps the most remarkable mental product of the 
earliest civilizations; to which we may add the introduc- 
tion of Arabic numerals, and the use of the Alphabet. 
Thus in all past history we find only eight theories or 
principles antecedent to the nineteenth century as com- 
pared with twelve during that century. It will be well 
now to give comparative lists of the great inventions and 
discoveries of the two eras, adding a few others to those 
above enumerated. 



OF THE NINETEENTH 
CENTURY. 

1. Railways. 

2. Steamships. 

3. Electric Telegraphs. 

4. The Telephone. 

5. Lucifer Matches. 

6. Gas Illumination. 



OF ALL PRECEDING AGES. 



1. The Mariner's Compass. 

2. The Steam Engine. 

3. The Telescope. 

4. The Barometer and Tlier 

mometer. 

5. Printing. 



COMPARISON WITH OTHER CENTURIES. 155 



OF ALL PRECEDING AGES. 

6. Arabic Numerals. 

7. Alphabetical Writing. 

8. Modern Chemistry Founded. 

9. Electric science Founded. 

10. Gravitation Established. 

11. Kepler's Laws. 

12. The Differential Calculus. 

13. The Circulation of the 

Blood. 

14. Light proved to have Finite 

Velocity. 

15. The Development of Geo- 

metry. 



OF THE NINETEENTH 
CENTURY. 

7. Electric Lighting. 

8. Photography. 

9. The Phonograph. 

10. Rontgen Rays. 

11. Spectrum Analysis. 

12. Anaesthetics. 

13. Antiseptic Surgery. 

14. Conservation of Energy. 

15. Molecular Theory of Gases. 

16. Velocity of Light Directly 

Measured, and Earth's 
Rotation Experimentally 
Shown. 

17. The Uses of Dust 

18. Chemistry, Delinite Pro- 

portions. 

19. Meteors and the Meteoritic 

Theory. 

20. The Glacial Epoch. 

21. The Antiquity of Man. 

22. Organic Evolution Estab- 

lished. 

23. Cell Theory and Embry- 

ology. 

24. Germ Theory of Disease, 

and the Function of the 
Leucocytes. 



Of course these numbers are not absolute. Either 
series may be increased or diminished by taking account 
of other discoveries as of equal importance, or by strik- 
ing out some which may be considered as below the 
grade of an important or epoch-making step in science or 
civilization. But the difference between the two lists 
is so large that probably no competent judge would 
bring them to an equality. Again, it is noteworthy that 
nothing like a regular gradation is perceptible during 



156 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



the last three or four centuries. The eighteenth cen- 
tury, instead of showing some approximation to the 
wealth of discovery in our own age, is less remarkable 
than the seventeenth, having only ahout half the num- 
ber of really great advances. 

It appears then that the statement in my first chap- 
ter, that to get any adequate comparison with the nine- 
teenth century we must take, not any preceding century 
or group of centuries, but rather the whole preceding 
epoch of human history, is justified, and more than justi- 
fied, by the comparative lists now given. And if we 
take into consideration the change effected in science, in 
the arts, in all the possibilities of human intercourse, and 
in the extension of our knowledge, both of our earth and 
of the whole visible universe, the difference shown by. 
the mere numbers of these advances will have to be con- 
siderably increased on account of the marvellous charac- 
ter and vast possibilities of further development of many 
of our recent discoveries. Both as regards the number 
and the quality of its onward advances, the age in which 
we live fully merits the title I have ventured to give it 
of THE WONDERFUL CENTUKY. 



PROGRESS. 

Not empanoplied as Pallas, with her spear and Gorgon shield, 
But with fair Athene's olive, peaceful Progress takes the field ; 
Yet that shield is ever ready, and that spear is hers at need. 
To protect the field she cultures, and defend the garnered seed ; 
And the meanest in her legions, marching with a level breast 
In unbroken line of duty with her bravest and her best, 
Answering only to her watchwords, walking only by her light, 
Mustering to her only banner to the gonfalon of Right ; 
For that flag's unstained honor in that flag's unswerving cause 
Knows no other teacher's credo owns no other leader's laws ; 
Treads that only Temple's pavement by the feet of Reason trod, 
That hath Truth alone for Priestess Equity alone for God. 

J. N. Dell. 




Thy cause is Right, gird then thy loins her mandate to f-ulfii ; 
Unswerving purpose, fix'd resolve, indomitable will 
Save these ask no auxiliar arm, but cause-reliant stand, 
Although the foe be myriads strong, and thine a single brand ; 
Have thou but faith, firm faith alone, and, though the world assail, 
The will-drawn sword that Justice girds shall 'gainst all odds 

prevail. 

That charmed sword, nor foe can wrench, nor enemy can wield, 
It may not fall to adverse hand, the spoil of adverse field, 
With feint, nor guile, smirch thou its blade, but forward boldly 

dare, 

And bear thou thence Right's victory, or leave her champion there. 

J. II. Dell. 



PART II FAILURES 

CHAPTEK XVI. 

THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 

All be turned to barnacles, or to apes 
With foreheads villainous low. 

Shakespeare. 

His searching wisdom taught 
How the high dome of thought 

Pictured the mind ; 
On that fair chart confest, 
Traced lie each reckless guest 
Which in the human breast 
Lies deep enshrined. 

Eulogy of Dr. Gall. 

IN the preceding chapters I have, to the best of my 
ability, given a short, but I trust accurate, sketch of the 
most prominent examples of material and intellectual 
progress during the nineteenth century. In doing this 
I have fully recognized the marvellous character of 
many of these discoveries, as well as the great amount, 
and striking novelty, of the material advances to which 
they have given rise. But, along with this continuous 
progress in science, in the arts, and in wealth-produc- 
tion which has dazzled our imaginations to such an ex- 
tent that we can hardly admit the possibility of any seri- 
ous evils having accompanied or been caused by it 
there have been many serious failures, intellectual, 
social, and moral. Some of our great thinkers have 
been so impressed by the terrible nature of these fail- 

159 



160 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvi. 

ures, that they have doubted whether the final result of 
the work of the century has any balance of good over 
evil of happiness over misery, for mankind at large. 
But although this may be an exaggerated and pessimistic 
view, there can be no doubt of the magnitude of the 
evils that have grown up or persisted, in the midst of all 
our triumphs over natural forces, and our unprecedented 
growth in wealth and luxury. 

We have also neglected or rejected some important 
lines of investigation affecting our own intellectual and 
spiritual nature; and have in consequence made serious 
mistakes in our modes of education, in our treatment of 
mental and physical disease, and in our dealings with 
criminals. A sketch of these various failures will now 
be given, and will, I believe, constitute not the least im- 
portant portion of my work. I begin with the subject 
of Phrenology, a science of whose substantial truth and 
vast importance I have no more doubt than I have of 
the value and importance of any of the great intellectual 
advances already recorded. 

In the last years of the eighteenth century Dr. Fran- 
gois Joseph Gall, a German physician, discovered (or re- 
discovered) the facts, now universally admitted, that the 
brain is the organ of the mind, that different parts of 
the brain are connected with different mental and 
physical manifestations, and that, other things being 
equal, size of the brain and of its various parts is an indi- 
cation of mental power. He began his observations on 
this subject when a boy, by noticing the different char- 
acters and talents gf his schoolfellows some were peace- 
able, some quarrelsome; some were expert in penman- 
ship, others in arithmetic ; some could learn by rote even 



CHAP. XVI. 



THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 161 



without comprehension, while others, although more in- 
telligent, could not do so. He himself was one of the 
latter group; and this led him to notice that those who 
surpassed him most in this power of verbal memory, 
however different they might be in other respects, had all 
prominent eyes. The meaning of this peculiarity he did 
not at the time perceive, but he continued his observa- 
tions at college and in the hospitals, and very gradually 
acquired the certainty that strongly marked peculiarities 
of character or talent were associated with constant 
peculiarities in the form of the head. This led him to 
pay special attention to the anatomy of the brain and its 
bony covering; he made collections of skulls and casts of 
skulls of persons having special mental characteristics; 
he collected also the skulls of various animals, and com- 
pared their brains with those of man; he visited prisons, 
schools, and colleges, everywhere making observations 
and comparisons of form and size with mental faculties; 
and later on, when he became physician to a lunatic 
asylum in Vienna, he had vast opportunities for study- 
ing the diseased brain, and for observing the correspond- 
ence between the form of the head and the special delu- 
sions of each patient. 

It was after more than twenty years of continuous 
observation and study, under exceptionally favorable 
conditions, that he became convinced that he had dis- 
covered a real connection between the mental faculties 
and the form and size of the various parts of the brain; 
and in the year 1796 he began lecturing on the subject. 
His lectures were continued for five years, and were at- 
tended by numerous physicians and medical students, as 
well as by men of culture of all ranks, many converts 



162 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvi. 



being made. The lectures were then forbidden by the 
authorities, on the ground that he had not had permis- 
sion to deliver them. He declined to ask for permis- 
sion, and soon afterward left Vienna, and with his most 
distinguished pupil, Dr. Spurzheim, travelled through a 
large part of Northern Europe, lecturing in the chief 
cities, and finally settled in Paris in 1807. In 1813 
Spurzheim visited Great Britain, where he lectured for 
four years; and it was during this period that G-eorge 
Oonibe made his acquaintance in Edinburgh, and thence- 
forth began that long course of personal observation and 
study which rendered him the best English exponent of 
the science, and probably one of the best practical phre- 
nologists of any country. 

Combe was a man of great mental power, extremely 
logical, ardent in the pursuit of truth, but also extremely 
cautious in ascertaining what was and what was not true. 
A clever writer in the Edinburgh Revieiv Dr. John 
Gordon had just condemned and ridiculed the doc- 
trines of Gall and Spurzheim as being full of absurdities 
and misstatements, and " a piece of thorough quackery 
from beginning to end." It was a clever and vigorous 
critique, apparently founded on knowledge; and Combe 
read it with so much enjoyment and conviction that 
when, shortly afterward, Spurzheim came to Edinburgh 
and gave a course of lectures, he refused to go and hear 
him. When the lectures were over, however, a friend 
asked Combe if he would like to come to his house and 
see Dr. Spurzheim dissect a brain ; and as he was always 
eager for knowledge, and had already studied anatomy, 
he went. Combe had been a physiological student 
under Dr. Barclay, and had often seen him dissect the 



CHAP. xvi. THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 163 

brain, but was taught nothing of its functions, of which 
the lecturer had declared that nothing was known. But 
when Dr. Spurzheim dissected, Combe tells us that he at 
once saw how " inexpressibly superior " was his method, 
in showing its detailed structure; while he saw at the 
same time that the reviewer had displayed profound 
ignorance, and had been guilty of gross misrepresenta- 
tion. He therefore attended Spurzheim's second course 
of lectures, and was so impressed that he determined to 
observe and study for himself. He at once ordered 
from London a collection of casts of the skulls of men of 
known mental peculiarities artists, writers, workers, 
criminals, etc.; but when they arrived, the differences 
looked so slight that he thought he should never be able 
to determine the peculiarities which, on Dr. Spurzheim's 
theory, were so important, and therefore determined to 
put them aside and trouble no more about them. But 
their arrival was known to some of his friends, and num- 
bers of persons called asking to see them, and begging 
him to explain their phrenological peculiarities. He 
was thus forced to observe them more carefully; and as 
he showed them to each fresh visitor he began to see that 
there were large differences between them, and that 
these differences corresponded to the differences of their 
known characters, according to the position of the organs 
as determined by Gall and Spurzheim. He thus ob- 
tained confidence in his powers of observation, and there- 
fore determined to go on with the study. He began to 
observe the heads of all his friends and clients, and found 
that these usually "confirmed the experience already 
gained. This gave him confidence; and for three years 
he went on studying both the heads of living persons and 



164 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvi. 

actual crania, the latter more especially, in order to learn 
the exact amount of correspondence or difference be- 
tween the outer and inner surfaces of the skull. His 
visitors increased as his knowledge rendered his expla- 
nations more interesting, and thus, he tells us, he became 
a phrenologist and a lecturer on phrenology by a con- 
catenation of circumstances which were not foreseen 
and the ultimate consequences of which he had never 
contemplated. 

Before proceeding further with a sketch of the evi- 
dences for phrenology, it is well to consider briefly what 
sort of man Combe was. At the period just referred to 
he was twenty-seven years old, and in good practice in 
Edinburgh as a lawyer. He carried on his profession 
for twenty years longer, his practice continually increas- 
ing, notwithstanding his various other occupations and 
the unpopularity of many of his writings. During this 
time he had written and published several works some 
very extensive on "Phrenology: The Constitution of 
Man " a work which in Scotland caused him to be con- 
sidered an infidel, but which in England had a circula- 
tion of a hundred thousand; " Lectures on Popular Edu- 
cation; Lectures on Moral Philosophy," afterward 
enlarged into a work which went through several edi- 
tions, besides numerous articles in periodicals and news- 
papers on a variety of subjects. Though brought up in 
a religious Scotch family, and of a highly reverential 
nature, he entirely emancipated himself from religious 
dogmas, and became the best exponent of a well-reasoned 
system of natural religion. He was one of the earliest 
educational reformers, and may almost be considered as 
the founder of rational svstems of education in this coun- 



CHAP. xvi. THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 165 

try. Wherever he went and he visited repeatedly 
many European countries as well as the United States 
his great reputation as a religious, social, and educational 
reformer and philosophical thinker led to his being wel- 
comed in the best social, scientific, and political circles. 
At home he was consulted by many persons of eminence, 
including the Prince Consort, oil the best system of edu- 
cation for their children. Sir James Clark, Kichard 
Cobden, Robert Chambers, and Charles Mackay the 
poet, were among his intimate friends; while Lord John 
Russell, and other influential politicians, were glad to 
receive information from him on all subjects connected 
with improved systems of education. 

It may be truly said that on every subject on which 
he wrote the constitution of man, natural religion, edu- 
cation, criminal legislation, the lunacy laws, the cur- 
rency question, moral philosophy he was far in ad- 
vance of his age; and almost all his principles and his 
proposals on these subjects, though considered heretical 
or impracticable by most of his contemporaries, are now 
either actually adopted or admitted to be correct both in 
philosophy and in practice. But the one subject to 
which he gave more .careful study than to any other 
phrenology which was indeed the very foundation on 
which his philosophy and his educational theories were 
built, was contemptuously rejected by the great bulk of 
the scientific and literary men of his time, without ade- 
quate examination, without any reasonable study of so 
complex and important a subject, but almost entirely on 
false assumptions, gross misrepresentations, or a priori 
reasoning. All who have given any careful considera- 
tion to the writings of Dr. Gall and George Combe ad- 



166 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



CHAP. XVI. 



mit that both were men of exceptional mental power, 
careful observers, close reasoners, cautious in arriving at 
conclusions on anything less than overwhelming evi- 
dence. The first gave all his energies during a long 
life to the establishment, on a firm basis of observation 
and experiment, of the new science of Phrenology which 
he had founded; the second, coming to the subject with 
prepossessions against it, took nothing for granted, ob- 
served every alleged fact for himself, criticised, modified, 
and extended the work of his teachers, and taught it by 
lectures and books in a manner at once popular and 
scientifically exact. And the life-work of two such men 
was disposed of, not by pointing out important errors of 
observation or of reasoning, but largely by abuse, or by 
means of trivial objections which the most rudimentary 
knowledge shows to be unfounded. 

Let us now consider, briefly, what phrenology is, what 
is the evidence on which it is founded, and what are its 
practical results. In the first place it is a purely induct- 
ive science, founded step by step on the observation and 
comparison of facts, confirmed and checked in every 
conceivable way, and subjected to the most rigid tests. 
By means of large collections of skulls, and casts of the 
heads of men and women remarkable for any mental 
faculty or propensity, and by observations and measure- 
ments of thousands of living persons, the correspondence 
of form with function was first suspected, then con- 
firmed, and finally demonstrated by the comparison of 
the heads of individuals of every age, both in health and 
disease, and under the most varied conditions of educa- 
tion and environment. Three men of exceptional 



CHAP. xvi. THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 167 

talents and acuteness of observation devoted their lives 
to the collection of these facts. They studied also the 
brain itself, and discovered many details of its structure 
before unknown. They studied the skull, its varying 
thicknesses in different parts and at different ages, as 
well as under the influence of disease. And it was only 
after making allowance for every source of uncertainty 
or error that they announced the possibility of determin- 
ing character with a considerable amount of certainty, 
and often with marvellous exactness. Surely this was a 
scientific mode of procedure, and the only sound method 
of ascertaining the relations that exist between the devel- 
opment of the brain and the mental faculties and powers. 
A few examples, showing how far this was actually done, 
will now be given. 

In October, 1835, Combe visited the Newcastle 
Lunatic Asylum and examined the heads of several of 
the patients. These were selected by the Surgeon- 
Superintendent, Mr. Mackintosh, and their mental 
peculiarities had been noted down by him beforehand. 
For convenience of comparison, Combe's notes and those 
of Mr. Mackintosh are put in parallel columns. 1 

Combe's Phrenological Notes. Superintendent's Notes. 

PATIENT J. N. 

ANIMAL organs large. A bad character. 

CAUTIOUSNESS and DESTRUC- Hypochroudriacal. 

TIVENESS predominant. 
HOPE small. MORAL FACUL- Suicidal. 

TIES deficient. 

PATIENT L. J. 
ACQUISITIVENESS enormously Monomania, wealth. 

large. 

1 These tests at Newcastle are fully reported in the Phrenological 
Journal, vol. ix. pp. 519-526. 



168 THE AVONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. am. 

Combe's Phrenological Notes. Superintendent's Notes. 

PATIENT J. M. 

Intellectual organs well de- Generally sane and tractable. 

veloped. 
VENERATION, CONCENTRATIVE- Monomania, the Messiah. 

NESS very large. 

FIRMNESS, SELF-ESTEEM large. A proselyte Jew ; will lead the 

Jews to the conquest of Eng- 
land. 

PATIENT C. S. 

Intellectual organs large. 

Organ of NUMBER exceedingly Dementia perpetually em- 
large, ployed with figures and 

arithmetic. 

FEMALE PATIENT M. D. 

Moral faculties deficient. 

HOPE extremely small. Great misery. 

DESTRUCTIVENESS and CAU- Suicidal monomania. 
TIOUSNESS excessively large. 

At the Dunstane Lodge Asylum, near Newcastle, Mr. 
Combe, attended by two surgeons, the editor of the 
Tyne Mercury, and a few other gentlemen, examined 
the heads of a few patients submitted to him by the pro- 
prietor, Mr. Wilkinson, who appended his own remarks 
on the nature of their insanity. 

Mr. Combe's Delineation. Mr. Wilkinson's Remarks. 

PATIENT J. F. 

SELF-ESTEEM and FIRMNESS He proclaims himself to be the 

very large. Great God, and entertains a 

WONDER, SECRETIVENESS, and high esteem of his person and 

ACQUISITIVENESS also large. strength. He pilfers and 

The character of the insanity picks up little articles when- 

will be self-esteem, and prob- ever he can lay his hands 

ably cunning and theft. on them. 



THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 



Mr. Combe's Delineation. 



Mr. Wilkinson's Remarks. 



PATIENT R. M. 



Intellectual organs large. 

IMITATION very large. 

COMBATIVENESS and DESTKUC- 
TIVENESS very large. 

HOPE and CONSCIENTIOUSNESS 
deficient. 

Character very violent ; prob- 
ably attempted suicide ; great 
power of expressing his feel 
ings by his countenance and 
gestures. 



He has a talent for all kinds 
of mechanical work. He is 
extremely violent, and has 
a great talent for imitation. 
His countenance is fearfully 
expressive when he is ex- 
cited. 



PATIENT H. C. 



Large COMBATIVENESS, enor- 
mous SELF-ESTEEM. 

FIRMNESS and PHILOPROGENI- 
TIVENESS large. 

Intellect and IMITATION large. 

He will manifest extreme con- 
ceit with' great determina- 
tion. He will have a great 
talent for imitation and 
strong powers of natural 
language. 



This exactly describes the 
character. He believes him- 
self to be a king ; he is 
prone to imitate ; he is 
opinionative, and fond of 
children. 



On October 28 in the same year Mr. Combe visited 
the Newcastle Jail, accompanied by several medical 
gentlemen and others who had attended his lectures. 
Several of the criminals were examined by him, and 
while he was writing down their characteristics, Dr. 
George Fife, the assistant-surgeon to the jail, who knew 
nothing of phrenology, wrote a brief account of their 
characters from his personal knowledge. The following 
are the three cases submitted: 



170 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvi. 

Mr. Combe. Dr. Fife. 

P. S. (aged 20). 

My inference is that this boy Twice convicted of theft. He 

is not accused of violence; has never shown brutality, 

he has a talent for deception but he has no sense of 

and a desire for property honesty. He has frequently 

not regulated by justice. It attempted to impose on Dr. 

is most probable that he has Fife. . . . He has a talent 

swindled : he has the com- for imitation. 
bination which contributes to 
the talent of an actor. 

T. S. (aged 18). 

This boy is very different from Crime, rape. . . . Mild dis- 
the last. He has probably position ; has never shown 
been committed for assault actual vice, 
connected with women. He 
may have stolen, though I 
think this less probable. He 
has fair intellectual talents, 
and is improvable. 

J. W. (aged 73). 

Case for a lunatic asylum rather A thief ; obstinate, ungrateful ; 
than a jail. Moral organs one of the most depraved 
very defective. Intellect characters, 
moderate. Cautiousness very 
large. No control of the 
lower propensities. 

Another interesting test-case is the following. A 
surgeon at Chatham sent a skull to Dr. Elliotson, stating 
that he belonged to a literary society the members of 
which were much divided on the subject of phrenology, 
and it was suggested that the skull in question, being 
that of a person whose character and previous history 
was known to the members, should be sent to some emi- 
nent phrenologist with a request for a delineation of the 



THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 171 



character. Dr. Elliotson, to whom the person who sent 
the skull was quite unknown, gave him the following 
sketch of the character of the deceased person: 

" I should say that he was a man of strong passions, 
which overbalanced his intellect; that he was prone to 
great violence, but by no means courageous; that he was 
extremely cautious and sly; his sexual desires were 
strong, but his love of offspring very remarkable. I can 
discover no good quality about him except the love of 
his children, if he had any. The most striking intel- 
lectual quality in him, I should think, was his ivit. He 
might also have been a good mimic" 

The actual history and character of the man are given 
at length, but the following are the main points. He 
was of respectable parentage, but was sensual and 
vicious. He became a farmer in Cheshire, and took to 
smuggling salt, which was then contraband; but he 
always escaped detection, though long suspected. Later, 
he made use of his assistants in the smuggling business 
for the purpose of robbing the farmers around of corn, 
which, being a farmer, he was able to sell without suspi- 
cion. He was at length detected and condemned to 
death, a sentence which was commuted to transportation 
for life. He was, however, on account of his age, not 
sent abroad, but kept in the convict-hulks. After two 
years, being in very bad health, he was transferred to the 
hospital-ship, where he remained till his death. Here 
he was very reserved as to his own history, but, being 
treated with great kindness, he made statements to the 
following effect: (1) That though he had led a lawless 
life he had never committed murder. (2) That he had 
a wife and eight children, a natural son in Wales, and 



172 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



that he had several mistresses in different parts of the 
country up to the time of his apprehension. 

In the hospital he exhibited a severe sarcastic wit at 
the expense of those around him. The manners and 
language of the clergyman at the hospital were the fre- 
quent subjects of his mimicry. He exhibited a strong 
attachment to his children, and frequently spoke of them 
in the most affectionate manner. 

It will be observed that all the special features of the 
man's character, as given by Dr. Elliotson, were strictly 
correct, although the combination was an uncommon and 
remarkable one; and every unprejudiced person will 
agree with the following resolution, which was passed by 
the Society unanimously, and transmitted, to Dr. Elliot- 
son: 

" That the character given of L. by Dr. Elliotson, 
from the inspection of the skull, corresponds so exactly 
with his history that it is impossible to consider the 
coincidence as the effect of chance, but that it is an in- 
stance which, if supported by many others, affords a 
strong foundation for the truth of phrenology." l 

One other test of a remarkable character is given in 
the same volume as that containing the above (p. 467). 
In the spring of 1826 Dr. Thomson, a Navy surgeon, 
had charge of 148 convicts on the voyage to New South 
Wales. A friend of the doctor's induced him to allow 
a phrenologist, Mr. De Yille, to make an examination of 
the whole number, giving the surgeon a memorandum, 
which he might compare with the actual character of the 
men during the long voyage. This was done; and one 

1 The above experiment, with correspondence, is given in full in 
the Phrenological Journal^ vol. iv. p. 258. 



CHAP. xvi. THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 173 

man in particular was noted as being " very dangerous 
from his energy, ferocity, and talent for plots and pro- 
found dissimulation." The voyage occupied four 
months, and the surgeon kept a careful official journal 
as regards the convicts, the main facts of which are sum- 
marized in the following letter to his friend, dated Syd- 
ney, October 9, 1826: 

" I have to thank you for your introduction to De 
Ville and to phrenology, which I am now convinced has 
a foundation in truth, and beg you will be kind enough 
to call on Dr. Burnett, whom I have requested to show 
you my Journal, at the end of which is Mr. De Yille's 
report, and my report of conduct during the voyage. . . 
De Ville is right in every case except one Thomas 
Jones; but this man can neither read nor write, and, 
being a sailor, he was induced to join the conspiracy to 
rise and seize the ship and carry her to South America, 
being informed by Hughes, the ringleader, that he 
would then get his liberty. Observe how De Ville has 
hit the real character of Hughes, and I will be grateful 
to De Ville all my life ; for his report enabled me to shut 
up in close custody the malcontents and arrive here not 
a head minus, which, without the report, it is more than 
probable I should have been. All the authorities here 
have become phrenologists, and I cannot get my journals 
out of their office until they have perused and reperused 
De Ville's report." * 

One more case only can here be given. Combe re- 
viewed a volume by Archbishop Whately, which led to 
some correspondence, and the Archbishop sent Combe a 
cast of his head, asking for his unbiassed opinion. The 

1 See Phrenological Journal, vol. iv. p. 467. 



174 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



Archbishop was much struck by the character-sketch 
sent, but wishing for a more complete test, requested 
Combe to send the cast to some other phrenologist, with- 
out any indication of the person it represented, and let 
him know the result. Combe did so, and the resulting 
report was shown to two of the Archbishop's most inti- 
mate friends, who expressed their wonder at the accuracy 
with which the character had been unfolded, declaring 
that, except in a few minor details, they could find noth- 
ing to correct. The same cast was then sent to a third 
phrenologist, and the Archbishop gave the following 
personal details in reference to the two last: "What I 
was most struck with was, in the one, my difficulty of 
withstanding solicitations ; in the other, my delight in an 
infant-school. The former, though well known to my- 
self, was, I believe, never detected in my conduct." 

I will now briefly state my own experiences of phreno- 
logical delineation, the accuracy of which confirmed me 
in the belief that the science is a true and important one, 
which I had already reached by a study of the works of 
George and Andrew Combe. When I was about three 
or four and twenty, living at ISIeath, Glamorganshire, I 
had my head examined by two phrenological lecturers 
who visited the town at different times. As the fee for 
a full delineation was rather high I only received a 
sketch, and many details were therefore omitted. But 
all that was stated was correct, and much of it remark- 
ably so, as shown by the following extracts : 

1. " You will pay great attention to facts, but so soon 
as facts are presented you will begin to reason and theo- 
rize upon them. You will be constantly searching for 
causes." 2. " You will be a good calculator, will excel 



CHAP. xvi. THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 175 

in mathematics, and will be very systematic in your ar- 
rangements.' 7 3. " You possess a good deal of firmness 
in what you conceive to be right, but you want self- 
confidence." 

These are the main points of the least full and least 
successful delineation, and the only error is that my 
mathematics are strictly limited, as indicated in the bet- 
ter delineation from which I extract the following: 

4. "This gentleman should learn easily and remember 
well, notwithstanding verbal memory is but moderate." 
5. " He has some vanity but more ambition. He may 
occasionally exhibit a want of self-confidence', but gen- 
eral opinion ascribes to him too much. In this, opinion 
is wrong. He knows that he has not enough." 6. " If 
Wit were larger he would be a good mathematician, but, 
without it, I do not put his mathematical abilities as first- 
rate." 7. " He has some love for music from his 
Ideality, but I do not find a good ear or sufficient Time." 
8. " He is fond of argument and not easily convinced." 

Nos. 1 and 8 combined with large Ideality and Won- 
der (as indicated by both phrenologists) giving a strong 
love of the beauties and the mysteries of nature, furnish 
the explanation of my whole scientific work and writings. 

Nos. 2 and 6 are exceedingly suggestive on account of 
their curiously precise estimate of faculty. At school I 
was good at arithmetic and elementary algebra, which 
always had a fascination for me; but as I left school 
when only fourteen I did not advance far. After I 
came of age, however, I was for two years English and 
Drawing Master in the Collegiate School at Leicester, 
the Head Master of which was a high Cambridge 
Wrangler; and he kindly offered to assist me in the 




176 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



higher mathematics. I worked through " Hind's Equa- 
tions " and " Trigonometry " successfully, got on with 
the " Differential Calculus " with some difficulty, but 
broke down over the " Integral Calculus," for want of 
that faculty of intuitively perceiving resemblances and 
incongruities, whether in ideas, words or symbols, some- 
what awkwardly termed by phrenologists " Wit," but 
defined by some as the " organ of analogy." As a fact, 
I have no power to joke or make a pun, or see quickly 
all the possibilities of a position in chess, though no one 
more enjoys these diversions than myself. Most great 
mathematicians are either witty or poetical Kankine, 
Clifford, De Morgan, Clerk-Maxwell, and Sylvester 
being well-known examples; and that a phrenologist 
should detect my failure in the higher mathematics, and 
connect it with the deficiency of this organ, has always 
seemed to me very remarkable. 

^os. 3 and 5 both dwell on my want of self-confi- 
dence, and the second says that I am often thought to 
have too much. This is very true. In youth I was 
painfully shy, and was literally afraid of calling on 
people without an invitation. 'When I was in Para, in 
1848, 1 was accused of being too proud to call on people, 
and suffered much in consequence; and throughout my 
whole life I have never been able to become intimate 
with any persons except those whose manners and dispo- 
sitions were such as to make me at once feel sympathetic 
and at home with them. I have therefore made fewer 
intimate friends than most men, and all for want of a 
larger development of self-esteem. 

No. 4 indicates my deficiency of verbal memory, due 
to a small organ of Language. This makes the acquir- 



CHAP. xvi. THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 177 



ing of foreign languages painful to me, and interferes 
with my success as a public speaker; since, though I 
know what ideas or arguments I wish to advance, I can- 
not at once find the right words by which to express 
them adequately, and in the effort to find the words the 
connection of ideas is liable to be lost. 

Lastly, JSTo. 7 states the exact nature of my mind in 
relation to music. Grand or pathetic music affects me 
strongly; but I should not detect considerable errors in 
the performance; my ear, as it is termed, being exceed- 
ingly deficient, while my perception of time is only a 
trifle better. 

There are some other estimates as to my innermost 
nature which I know to be correct, but which are not 
suitable for exposition here; and these, combined with 
the more obvious characteristics above enumerated, pro- 
duced a strong impression on my own mind as to the 
value of phrenology, which has remained unimpaired 
throughout my life. 

The evidence of the value of phrenology in determin- 
ing the hidden springs of character here given, might be 
increased ten- or twenty-fold from the records of the 
early part of the century ; and they produced an effect on 
the public mind which has not yet disappeared, since it is 
not an uncommon thing to meet with people who are 
quite unaware that the phrenology of their youth has 
been wholly rejected by the scientific world of to-day. 
Let us therefore now briefly consider how and why it was 
so rejected. 

The first great objection was a religious one. The 
orthodox clergy both in Scotland and England held it to 
be contrary to Scripture and dangerous to morality. 



178 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



These objectors, of course, never made any pretence of 
studying the subject, or even of ascertaining what it 
really was. They decided at once that it was irreligious, 
and their flocks, for the most part, followed them. 

The next body of opponents was that of the meta- 
physicians, headed by the. great name of Sir William 
Hamilton. These philosophers, as they termed them- 
selves, had from the earliest ages studied the mind by 
observations on their own consciousness, and on the men- 
tal operations of others so far as they could detect them. 
They recognized no connection between the mind and 
the organism; and as the phrenologists maintained that 
they had not only proved such a connection, but had 
also determined the particular parts of the brain which 
were the organs of the separate faculties many of 
which the metaphysicians did not recognize at all they 
of course declared the whole science to be erroneous, and 
its teachers to be little better than deluded fanatics. 
These objectors, also, never condescended to make any 
personal study of the science, and remained quite igno- 
rant of its facts or of the mass of evidence which had 
been collected in support of it. 

The third class of opponents consisted mainly of doc- 
tors and physiologists. At first, large numbers of these 
were converted by attending the lectures of Gall, Spurz- 
heim, and Combe. In fact there is, so far as I can find, 
no record of any medical men or others who, having first 
attended a complete course of lectures, then proceeded to 
apply and test the information they had obtained with an 
earnest desire to ascertain the truth of the matter, who 
did not become confirmed phrenologists. Down to 
about the years 1840 or 1845 phrenology continued to 



CHAP. xvi. THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 179 

progress, and there then seemed to be no reason why it 
should not take its place among the recognized sciences, 
since it was acknowledged by such men as Sir James 
Clarke, Physician to the Queen ; Sir John Forbes, M. D. ; 
Dr. Elliotson, Dr. William Gregory, Dr. Engledue, Dr. 
Conolly, Physician of Hanwell Asylum ; Dr. Abernethy, 
Professor of Anatomy and Surgery to the College of 
Surgeons, and many others. Soon after this period, how- 
ever, it began to decline; and as the causes which led to 
this decline have, I believe, never been clearly pointed 
out, I will here state them as they seem to me to have 
acted. 

The two main causes which discredited Phrenology 
appear to have been (1) the increase of itinerant lec- 
turers, many of whom were uneducated, and some igno- 
rant of the subject they professed to expound; and (2) 
its association with mesmerism or hypnotism, which at 
that time was still more virulently opposed. 

1. Although Phrenology, to be thoroughly under- 
stood and applied to the accurate delineation of charac- 
ter, requires a considerable amount of study and long 
practice, yet it appears, superficially, to be very easy; 
and it can actually be applied in cases of very marked 
character with fair success after a moderate amount of 
practice. Hence, although many of the public expo- 
nents of the science were very able men, there were 
others who adopted the business of lecturer and examiner 
of heads with imperfect knowledge. These, by their 
ignorance of the anatomy and physiology of the brain, 
their clumsiness in detecting the comparative size of the 
organs, and their inability to estimate the complicated 



180 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



results produced by the various combinations of the 
organs as influenced by temperament, education, and 
social position, were liable by their mistakes to bring 
great discredit on the subject, since the public, and espe- 
cially those who opposed phrenology from any of the 
causes already stated, could not, or would not, distin- 
guish between the student and the pretender, and loudly 
proclaimed that these failures demonstrated the fallacy 
of the whole science. Considering all these sources of 
opposition and disrepute, and the difficulty of moving 
the established sciences and professions, or the official 
world, to recognize any new thing, it is not to be won- 
dered at that, when the enthusiasm of the early investi- 
gators and discoverers had passed away, no new students 
were found of sufficient independence, ability, and posi- 
tion to take their place. 

2. Just about the time when Phrenology was gaining 
a wide acceptance, painless operations during the mes- 
meric trance were exciting the fiercest opposition of the 
medical profession; and Dr. John Elliotson, President 
of the Medical and Chirurgical Society, Lecturer at St. 
Thomas' Hospital, and a Professor at the University of 
London an ardent phrenologist and founder of the 
Phrenological Association was the chief defender of 
these painless operations, for supporting and practising 
which his professorship was taken from him. As re- 
gards this question of hypnotism, Dr. Elliotson is now 
known to have been right, and his opponents and tra- 
ducers wholly wrong and grossly prejudiced, as will be 
shown in our next chapter; yet this prejudice undoubt- 
edly reacted upon phrenology, and together with the 
theological and metaphysical prejudice, and that caused 



CHAP. XVI. 



THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 



181 



by imperfectly educated lecturers and professors, 
checked the official recognition it might otherwise have 
received, and rendered it impossible for students of 
medicine to become avowed phrenologists without in- 
jury to their professional prospects. 

These combined influences led to its being treated as 
altogether a fallacy; and so complete became the igno- 
rance of it among physiologists and medical men in the 
latter half of the century, that it was, and is, often 
spoken of as a purely fantastic scheme, the product of 
the imaginations of its founders, and entirely unsup- 
ported by observation and experiment. The complete 
ignorance of how phrenology was discovered by Gall, 
and of the enormous body of carefully observed facts 
and experiments it was founded upon, is well shown by 
the absurdly trivial nature of the objections made to it, 
even by men who might be supposed at least to have read 
some of the works of its founders before rejecting it. 
The most common and often-repeated objection is that 
of the frontal sinuses and the varying thickness of the 
skull in different parts and in different individuals, 
which are adduced as if they were known only to the 
objectors, and as if the eminent anatomist who devoted 
thirty years to the study of the brain and its bony cover- 
ing had remained quite ignorant of them! If the ob- 
jectors had read any work upon phrenology, they would 
have found that this was one of the very earliest of the 
small difficulties which the phrenologists recognized and 
overcame, and which every student learns how to allow 
for ; while, if it were a much greater difficulty than it is, 
it could only affect the practical application of phren- 
ology in certain cases and to a limited extent, without in 



182 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvi. 

any way disturbing its general principles or the vast 
body of facts on which it is founded. Even so eminent 
a physiologist and so careful a thinker as the late Pro- 
fessor Huxley, when I once asked him why he did not 
accept phrenology as a science, replied at once, " Be- 
cause, owing to the varying thickness of the skull, the 
form of the outside does not correspond to that of the 
brain itself, and therefore the comparative development 
of different parts of the brain cannot be determined by 
the form of the skull." To this I replied that the thick- 
ness of the skull varied at most by a few tenths of an inch, 
whereas the variations in the dimensions and the form of 
the head as measured in different diameters varied by 
whole inches, so that the size and proportions of the head, 
as measured or estimated by phrenologists, were very 
slightly affected by the different thicknesses of the skull, 
which, besides, had been carefully studied by phrenolo- 
gists as dependent on temperament, age, etc., and could 
in many cases be estimated. He admitted the correct- 
ness of this statement, and had really no other objection 
to make, except by saying that he always understood it 
had been rejected after full examination (which it cer- 
tainly had not been), and to ask, if it were true why was 
it not taught by any man of scientific reputation? 

Almost the only other serious objection is to the de- 
tailed classification of the mental faculties, and to the 
names given to the several organs. But such objections 
exist even in the best established sciences, such as 
geology, where both classification and nomenclature are 
continually changing in the effort to approach nearer to 
the facts of nature. Phrenology is a science of obser- 
vation as truly as is geology itself; it is a highly complex 



CHAP. xvi. THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 183 

and difficult study, and it can hardly be supposed that 
the half-dozen eminent men who established it have ex- 
hausted its possibilities. The classification, or rather the 
enumeration of the mental faculties, whose function has 
been found to be dependent on certain brain-areas, is 
wholly founded on long-continued observation and com- 
parison; and there is, of course, room for improvement, 
founded on further observations. But in this case, the 
objections of those who classify the mental faculties from 
their own consciousness are of no avail. Our conscious- 
ness does not reveal the brain-organs on which the facul- 
ties depend, and cannot therefore be used to criticise 
phrenology, which is the science of this dependence. 
And in like manner the older anatomists, who only dis- 
sected the brain, had no valid grounds of objection, 
since, as Combe always urged, " Dissection never reveals 
functions." 

But while rejecting phrenology, neither anatomists, 
physiologists, nor anthropologists were able to give us 
any knowledge of the relations of mind and brain by 
other means. Enormous collections of skulls were 
formed; they were figured and accurately measured, 
were classified as brachycephalic, or dolichocephalic, and 
in various other ways, but nothing came of it all, except 
a rough determination of the average size and typical 
form of skull of the different races of man, with no at- 
tempt whatever to connect this typical form with the 
mental peculiarities of the several races. Never perhaps 
was so much laborious scientific work productive of so 
inadequate a result. 

But about the year 1870 several Continental physi- 
ologists, and, in this country, Professor Terrier, began 



184 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvi. 

to experiment on the brains of living animals, which, 
were excited by weak galvanic currents applied to the 
exposed surface at different spots, and the resulting visi- 
ble effects observed. In this way it was found that the 
excitement of certain limited areas caused the contrac- 
tion of definite sets of muscles, leading to motion of the 
limbs, body, face, or head of the animal. This was 
termed the Localization of Functions of the Brain, and 
was at once adduced by popular writers as giving the 
final death blow to phrenology, since it showed (as they 
ignorantly assumed) that portions of the brain which 
the phrenologists had alleged to be the organs of purely 
mental faculties were really only organs of muscular 
movements. Such writers entirely overlooked the very 
obvious considerations that the brain may be, in fact 
must be, the centre for the production of movements as 
well as for initiating ideas ; and that the rude method of 
exciting the living brain by galvanism was not likely to 
develop the purely mental phenomena, which, indeed, in 
the animals experimented on, could only be exhibited 
through muscular movements. Again, it is quite pos- 
sible, and even probable, that, while the cortex or gray 
matter on the surface of the brain is the seat of ideation, 
the more deeply seated matter may contain the centres 
for muscular and nervous action, and may be the part 
which is excited by the galvanic current. But this very 
fact of the connection of certain definite brain-areas with 
muscular motion is no new discovery, as modern writers 
seem to suppose, but was known to Dr. Gall himself, 
although he did not possess the modern appliances for 
the full experimental demonstration of it. In one of his 
first writings upon his discoveries his letter to Baron de 



CHAP. xvi. THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 185 

Retzer upon the " Functions of the Brain in Man and 
Animals " he stated that there was a strange communi- 
cation of the muscles with cerebral organs, adding 
" when certain cerebral organs are put in action you are 
led, according to their seat, to take certain positions, as 
though you are drawn by a wire, so that one can dis- 
cover the seat of the acting organs by the motions." 
This is the natural " expression of the emotions " which 
was so well studied by Darwin, but which Gall at the 
end of the last century had already determined to have 
its seat in the same parts of the brain which originated 
the emotions themselves. And these facts were well 
known to all the early students of phrenology. Dr. 
Davey, of Bristol, stated to the " Bath and Bristol Medi- 
cal Association " in 1874, that in 1842 he was present 
at a series of experiments which went to demonstrate, 
in the most decided and unequivocal manner, that the 
stimulation of many parts of the cerebrum of man did 
excite both sensation and motion. He added: " I affirm 
that twenty-eight years before Hitzig ascertained and 
.taught the fact as stated, the same was known to the late 
Dr. Elliot-son, to the late Dr. Engledue, and to Messrs. 
Atkinson and Syme, of London, including others who 
may be nameless. It is not now, as it was then, so really 
dangerous to announce the discovery of things new and 
strange. The present age is, we hope, less illiberal than 
I knew and even felt it to be at the time referred to. 
Doctors Hitzig and Terrier would not be reaping the 
happy harvest of their very commendable labors if 
things were not now altered for the better." 

It is clear then that the correspondence of the motor- 
areas of Terrier with the phrenological organs of which 



186 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvi. 

the particular motions are the natural expression, was 
discovered by Gall and was well known to all the early 
phrenologists; but the modern writers, owing to their 
ignorance of phrenology, have denied this correspond- 
ence. It has, however, been clearly pointed out by Mr. 
James Webb, late President of the British Phrenological 
Association, in his " Phrenological Aspect of Modern 
Physiological Research " (1890), and by Dr. Bernard 
Hollander, M. D., at the British Association in 1890, 
and before the Anthropological Institute in 1889 and 
189 1. 1 A few of the examples, beginning with those 
adduced by Dr. Hollander, Avill be here summarized, but 
the original papers must be consulted for the full 
evidence. 

Professor Terrier excited a definite portion of the 
ascending frontal convolution in monkeys and several 
other animals, which had the effect of elevating the 
cheeks and angles of the mouth with closure of the eyes. 
On no other region could the same effect be produced. 
Now the expression of joy or amusement is the drawing 
back the corners of the mouth, forming an incipient 
smile. All the authorities agree in this. General 
paralysis of the insane is almost always accompanied by 
optimism and constant joyousness, accompanied by de- 
lusions as to wealth and grandeur; and the earliest phys- 
ical symptom of the disease is a trembling at the corners 
of the mouth and the outer corners of the eyes. Now 
the brain-centre producing these effects corresponds in 
position to the phrenological organ of Hope, the mani- 
festation of which is cheerfulness and especially cheerful 
anticipations. 

1 See Journal of the Anthropological Institute, vol. xix. p. 12, and 
vol. xx. p. 227. 



CHAP. xvi. THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 187 

Professor Ferrier also discovered a centre for facial 
movements, and this exactly corresponds with the phren- 
ological organ of Imitation, which gives the power of 
mimicry, of which facial expression is the most impor- 
tant part. 

Another centre was found which produced motions of 
the tongue, cheek-pouches, and jaws in monkeys, exactly 
as in tasting; and this spot corresponds with the organ of 
Gustativeness, which gives appreciations of flavors, and 
in its excess makes a man a gourmand. 

A most remarkable correspondence is that of the organ 
of Concentrativeness, which gives the power of con- 
tinued attention to any subject, and is the centre of 
visual ideation. It is not the centre of vision that is 
situated in another part of the brain but of the power 
of seeing and attending to definite objects. Its outward 
manifestation is a fixed gaze; and as sight is by far the 
most important of the senses as regards giving us knowl- 
edge of the outer world, concentration of attention would 
be first developed through vision, and a fixity of gaze has 
become an outward indication of continuous thought on 
any subject, even non-visual. The person is said to ex- 
hibit " rapt attention." 

One more correspondence noted by Dr. Hollander 
may be given that of the centre for motions indicating 
anger with the phrenological organ of Destructiveness. 
The excitation of this centre caused jackals to retract 
the ears and spring forward ; in cats, opening the mouth, 
with spitting and lashing the tail all indications of 
anger. Now Destructiveness perhaps badly named 
is simply the organ of anger or passion; and unrestrained 
passion, whether in children or adults, is usually mani- 



188 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



fested by injury or destruction of the offending object; 
the child beats or breaks what has hurt it, while the 
despot tortures or kills the person who seriously angers 
him. 

Mr. Webb gives illustrations from several other 
organs, which are equally interesting. When Dr. Ter- 
rier's centre (1) was excited in monkeys, the animal " ex- 
tended its legs." This centre is in the position of the 
phrenological organs of Firmness and Self-esteem, one 
outward expression of which is the stretching the legs, 
or putting down the feet with determination, whence has 
arisen a proverbial expression for obstinacy. Excitation 
of centre (12) caused the " eyes to open widely, the 
pupils to dilate, and head and eyes to turn to the other 
side." l^ow this centre corresponds to the phrenological 
organ of Wonder, and nothing could better express won- 
der than the motions described. Even more curious was 
the result of exciting the lower part of the inferior 
occipital convolution of cows and sheep, which " caused 
uneasy movements of the hind legs and tail, while the 
animals looked to the opposite hind leg and occasionally 
uttered a plaintive cry, as if of pain or annoyance." 
The part excited is the phrenological organ of Philopro- 
genitiveness or love of offspring, and anyone who has 
watched a cow whose calf has been taken away, must 
recognize the accurate description of the motions by 
which she expresses her feelings. 

"Now surely, this close correspondence of " motor- 
centres " with the phrenological organs of which the 
actions or motions under excitation are the natural ex- 
pression, is very remarkable, and affords a new and strik- 
ing test of the accuracy with which the phrenologists 



CHAP. xvi. THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 189 

have localized the brain-centres for the various mental 
faculties. With such confirmation as regards most of 
the motor-centres yet discovered, the presumption is in 
favor of the accuracy of the bulk of the phrenological 
organs, more especially as their development also accords 
with, and explains, national and race character, which 
neither physiologists nor anthropologists have even at- 
tempted to do ; while, as regards individual character, the 
skilled phrenologist has shown that he is able to read it 
like an open book, and to lay bare the hidden springs of 
conduct with an accuracy that the most intimate friends 
of the individual cannot approach. Yet, even now, the 
advocates of this new and very crude method of brain- 
study repeat the old vague objections to phrenology, as 
if they were true and unanswerable. After the reading 
of Dr. Hollander's first paper at the Anthropological 
Institute, Professor Ferrier, while complimenting the 
author, and making no objections to his facts, went on 
to say : " What we wanted was evidence founded on care- 
ful investigation according to strictly scientific methods, 
serving to indicate a relation between the development 
of particular centres and special mental faculties, apti- 
tudes, or peculiarities. At present he did not think 
there was any such worthy of consideration." But were 
not Gall's and Spurzheim's, and Combe's lifelong in- 
vestigations " careful," and their methods " scientific "? 
And were not their final conclusions justified by that 
best test of all true theory, the power of prediction of 
character in its most minute details? Lifelong and 
class prejudices always die hard, but it is surely now 
time that this wholly unjustifiable accusation, of phre- 
nology being " unscientific," should be abandoned, since 



190 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvi. 

it is really founded on a far more scientific basis than 
that of the modern school, who, by an utterly unnatural, 
and therefore " unscientific " mode of exciting the 
brains of living animals, hope to arrive at a correct 
knowledge of its varied functions. 

The blinding effect of this prejudice against phre- 
nology has caused these modern investigators to over- 
look the circumstance that the often complex motions 
of different parts of the body resulting from the stimu- 
lation of various brain-centres were really the physical 
expression of mental emotions, and of the very same 
emotions as those long since assigned to the phreno- 
logical organs situated in the same parts of the brain. 
It is also very suggestive that these experiments lead to 
nothing. of value in the hands of the experimenters. To 
show that the excitation of one brain-centre affects such 
numerous and varied sets of muscles as are required to 
cause movements of the hind legs, the tail, the head, and 
the vocal organs of a cow; while excitation of another 
centre produces movements of the ear and of all four 
limbs in a jackal, but of the tail, mouth, and tongue in 
a not very remote species, the cat are facts which, 
standing alone, are unmeaning and worthless. But all 
these movements and many others become quite intelli- 
gible when looked upon as not the immediate but the 
derived effects of the stimulation; being the various 
modes of expression of the mental emotions which con- 
stitute the actual functions of the parts excited, and the 
expression of which varies according to the organization 
and habits of the several animals. Instead of being, as 
so often alleged, a disproof of phrenology, or in any 
way antagonistic to it, these modern investigations are 






CHAP. xvi. THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 191 

only intelligible when explained by means of its long- 
established facts, and thus really furnish a most striking 
and most convincing, because wholly unintended, confir- 
mation of its substantial truth. 

Let us now briefly state the main principles of phre- 
nology, all at first denied, but all now forming part of 
recognized science. 

(1) The brain is the organ of the mind. 

This was denied in the Edinburgh Reviezv, and even 
J. S. Mill wrote that " mental phenomena do not admit 
of being deduced from the physiological laws of our 
nervous organization." 

(2) Size is, other things being equal, a measure of 
power. This was at first denied, but is now generally 
admitted by physiologists. 

(3) The brain is a congeries of organs, each having its 
appropiiate faculty. 

Till a comparatively recent period this was denied, 
and the brain was said to act as a. single organ. Now it 
is admitted that there are such separate organs, but it 
is alleged that they have not yet been discovered. 

(4) The front of the brain is the seat of our percep- 
tive and reflective faculties; the top, of our higher 
sentiments; the back and the sides, of our animal in- 
stincts. 

This was long denied; even the late Dr. "W. B. Car- 
penter maintained that the back of the brain was 
probably the seat of the intellect! Now, almost all 
physiologists admit that this general division of brain- 
organs is correct. 

(5) The form of the skull during life corresponds so 
closely to that of the brain that it is possible to deter- 



192 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvi. 

mine the proportionate development of various parts of 
the latter by an examination of the former. 

The denial of this was, as we have seen, the stock ob- 
jection to the very possibility of a science of phrenology. 
Now it is admitted by all anatomists. The late Pro- 
fessor George M. ITumphrey, of Cambridge University, 
in his " Treatise on the Human Skeleton " (p. 207), ex- 
pressly admits the correspondence, adding " The argu- 
ments against phrenology must be of a deeper kind than 
this to convince anyone who has carefully considered 
the subject." 

It thus appears that the five main contentions of the 
phrenologists, each of them at first strenuously denied, 
have now received the assent of the most advanced 
modern physiologists. But admitting these funda- 
mental data, it evidently becomes a question solely of a 
sufficiently extended series of comparisons of form with 
faculty to determine what faculties are constantly asso- 
ciated with a superior development of any portion of the 
cranium and of the brain within it. To assert that such 
comparisons are unscientific, without giving solid rea- 
sons for the assertion, is absurd. The whole question is, 
are they adequate ? And the one test of adequacy is, do 
they enable the well-instructed student to determine the 
character of individuals from the form of their skulls, 
whenever any organ or group of organs are much above 
or below the average? This test was applied by the early 
phrenologists in scores, in hundreds, even in thousands 
of cases, with a marvellous proportion of successful re- 
sults. The men who first determined the position of 
each organ only did so after years of observation and 
hundreds of comparisons of development of organ with 



CHAP. xvi. THE NEGLECT OF PHRENOLOGY. 193 

manifestation of function. These determinations were 
never blindly accepted, but were tested by their followers 
in every possible way, and were only generally admitted 
when ever) 7 ordeal had been passed successfully. To 
reject such determinations without full examination of 
the evidence in support of them, without applying any of 
the careful tests which the early phrenologists applied, 
and on the mere vague allegations of insufficient obser- 
vation or unscientific method, is itself utterly unscientific. 
In the coming century Phrenology will assuredly at- 
tain general acceptance. It will prove itself to be the 
true science of mind. Its practical uses in education, 
in self -discipline, in the reformatory treatment of crimi- 
nals, and in the remedial treatment of the insane, will 
give it one of the highest places in the hierarchy of the 
sciences; and its persistent neglect and obloquy during 
the last sixty years, will be referred to as an example of 
the almost incredible narrowness and prejudice which 
prevailed among men of science at the very time they 
were making such splendid advances in other fields of 
thought and discovery. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

THE OPPOSITION TO HYPNOTISM AND PSYCHICAL BESEAKCH. 

Speak gently of the new-born gift, restrain the scoff and sneer, 
And think how much we may not learn is yet around us here ; 
What paths there are where faith must lead, and knowledge cannot 

share, 

Though still we tread the devious way, and feel that truth is there. 

Anon. (1844). 

Sleep, sleep on ! forget thy pain ; 

My hand is on thy brow, 
My spirit on thy brain ; 
My pity on thy heart, poor friend ; 

And from my fingers flow 
The powers of life, and like a sign, 

Seal thee from thine hour of woe. 

Shelley. 

ALTHOUGH the subjects to be now discussed have made 
some progress in the last quarter of the century, this 
was preceded by a long period of ignorance, accom- 
panied by the most violent opposition, extremely dis- 
creditable to an age of such general research and free- 
dom of inquiry in all other branches of human knowl- 
edge. A brief outline of the nature of this opposition 
will be interesting; and may serve as a warning to those 
who still put faith in the denunciations of the public 
press, or of those writers who pose as authorities without 
having devoted any serious study to the subject. 

The phenomena of Animal Magnetism, often termed 
Mesmerism, and now Hypnotism, were discovered by a 
physician of Vienna named Mesmer about the year 1770. 

194 



CHAP. xvn. HYPNOTISM AND PSYCHICAL RESEARCH. 195 

He applied it to the treatment of disease, and obtained 
great popularity in Paris, where he came to practise. 
His knowledge of the subject was, however, necessarily 
limited, and his interpretation of the facts often 
erroneous. A Government Commission was appointed 
in 1785, consisting of physicians and scientists (including 
Lavoisier, Franklin, and other eminent men) who, find- 
ing that many of the phenomena alleged by Mesmer to 
be due to a special form of magnetism could be pro- 
duced in the patients by suggestion, reported against his 
alleged powers, and the subject soon fell into disrepute. 

Early in the present century, however, the phe- 
nomena again occurred in the practice of some physi- 
cians in Paris and elsewhere, a few of whom devoted 
much time to the study, and obtained evidence of the 
most perfect thought-reading, true clairvoyance, and 
many other apparently superhuman powers. Many 
medical men became satisfied of the genuineness of these 
strange occurrences, and the amount of interest they ex- 
cited in the scientific and medical worlds is shown by the 
fact, that the article " Magnetisme " in the " Diction-, 
naire de Medecine," published in 1825, treated the sub- 
ject in a serious spirit, and recognized the whole of its 
phenomena as being undoubtedly genuine. The writer, 
Dr. Rostan, declares that he had himself examined a 
clairvoyante who, when he placed his watch at the back 
of her head, told the time indicated by it, and even when 
he turned the hands round without looking at them, was 
equally successful. 

Of course those who had no opportunity of investigat- 
ing the subject under favorable conditions, could not 
accept such marvels, and imputed them to clever trick- 



196 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvn. 



ery; and in order to determine authoritatively how much 
truth there was in the statements of the Animal Mag- 
netizers, the Academie Koyale de Medecine, in 1826, 
appointed a committee of eleven members, all, of course, 
medical men, and presumably capable and impartial, to 
inquire into the whole subject experimentally. Nine of 
the members attended the meetings and experiments 
during five years; and in 1831 they delivered a full and 
elaborate Report, which was signed by the whole nine, 
and was therefore unanimous. This Report (published 
in the " Archives Generale de Medecine," vol. xx.) gives 
the details of a large number of experiments, and con- 
cludes with a summary of what was considered to be 
proved, together with some weighty observations. As 
this Report is very little known, and has been completely 
ignored by almost all writers adverse to the claims of the 
magnetizers, I will give some of the more important por- 
tions of it, as translated by Dr. Lee in his work on Ani- 
mal Magnetism. 

Report of the Commission of the Academie Royale 
de Medecine on Animal Magnetism. . 

" Conclusions and General Remarks. 
" The commission has reported with impartiality that 
which it had seen with distrust; it has exposed method- 
ically that which it has observed under different circum- 
stances, and which it has followed up with an attention 
as close as it is continued. It has the consciousness that 
the statements which it presents to you are the faithful 
expression of that which it has observed. The obstacles 
which it has met with are known to you ; they are partly 
the cause of the delay which has occurred in presenting 



CHAP. xvn. HYPNOTISM AND PSYCHICAL RESEARCH. 197 

the report, although we have long been in possession of 
the materials. We are, however, far from excusing our- 
selves, or from complaining of this delay, since it gives 
to our observations a character of maturity and reserve 
which should lead you to confide in the facts which we 
have related, without the charge of prepossession and en- 
thusiasm with which you might have reproached us if we 
had only recently collected them. We add that we are 
far from thinking that we have seen all that is to be seen, 
and we do not pretend to lead you to admit as an axiom 
that there is nothing positive in magnetism beyond what 
we mention in our report. Far from placing limits to 
this part of physiological science, we entertain, on the 
contrary, the hope that a new field is opened to it; and 
guaranteeing our own observations, presenting them 
with confidence to those who, after us, will occupy them- 
selves with magnetism, we restrict ourselves to drawing 
the following conclusions, which are the necessary con- 
sequence of the facts the totality of which constitutes our 
report." 

A considerable proportion of these " conclusions " re- 
lates to points which are either unimportant or now un- 
disputed, such as the mode of magnetizing, the propor- 
tion of persons who can be magnetized, the influence of 
expectation, the variety of the phenomena produced, the 
possibility of simulation, the nature of the magnetic 
sleep, the therapeutic effects produced and their impor- 
tance, and other similar points. The following para- 
graphs give the more important of the " conclusions " 
referring to those points which are still doubted or de- 
nied by a considerable number of men of science. 



198 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvn. 



" It has been demonstrated to us that the magnetic 
sleep may be produced under circumstances in which the 
magnetized have not been able to perceive, and have 
been ignorant of, the means employed to occasion it." 

"When a person has been already magnetized, it is not 
always necessary to have recourse to contact, or to the 
i passes,' in order to magnetize afresh. The look of the 
magnetizer, his will alone, has often the same influence. 
In this case one cannot only act upon the magnetized, 
but throw him completely into the sleep, and awaken 
him from this state without his being aware of it, out of 
his sight, at a certain distance, and through closed 
doors." 

" We have seen two somnambulists distinguish ivith 
dosed eyes the objects placed before them; they have 
designated, without touching them, the color and name of 
cards; they have read words written, or lines from a 
book. This phenomenon has occurred even when the 
eyelids were kept closed by the fingers." 

" We have met with two somnambulists who possessed 
the faculty of foreseeing acts of the organism, more or 
less distinct, more or less complicated." 

" We have only met with one somnambulist who could 
indicate the symptoms of the diseases of three persons 
with whom she was placed in relation. We had, how- 
ever, made researches on a considerable number." 

" The commission could not verify, because it had no 
opportunity, the other faculties which magnetizers had 
stated to exist in somnambulists. But it has collected, 
and it communicates to the Academy, facts sufficiently 



CHAP. XVII. 



HYPNOTISM AND PSYCHICAL RESEARCH. 199 



important to induce it to think that the Academy ought 
to encourage researches on magnetism as a very curious 
branch of psychology and natural history. 

" Certainly we dare not natter ourselves that we shall 
make you share entirely our conviction of the reality of 
the phenomena which we have observed, and which you 
have neither seen, nor followed, nor studied with or in 
opposition to us. We do not therefore exact from you 
a blind belief in all that we have reported. We con- 
ceive that a greater part of the facts are so extraordinary 
that you cannot grant it to us: perhaps we ourselves 
should have refused you our belief, if, changing places, 
you had come to announce them before this tribunal to 
us, who, like you at present, had seen nothing, observed 
nothing, studied nothing, followed nothing of them. 

" We only require you to judge us as we should have 
judged you, that is to say, that you remain perfectly 
convinced that neither the love of the wonderful, nor 
the desire of celebrity, nor any interest whatever, has in- 
fluenced our labors. We were animated by motives 
more elevated, more worthy of you by the love of 
science and by the wish to justify the hopes which the 
Academy had conceived of our zeal and devotedness." 
" (Signed) BOUEDOIS DE LA MOTTE (President), 

FoUQUIEE, 

GUENEAU DE MuSSY, 

GUEESENT, 

ITAED, 

LEEOUX, 

MAEC, 

THILLAGE, 

HUSSON (Reporter)." 



200 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



It is hardly possible to have a weightier or more trust- 
worthy report than this one, showing in every line the 
care and deliberation of the members of the commission, 
while their competence and honesty are above suspicion. 
The same general conclusions as to the reality and impor- 
tance of animal magnetism were arrived at by some of 
the most eminent physicians in Russia, Denmark, 
Saxony, and other countries; while the entire report of 
the French Commission was translated into English 
in 1836, and published in Mr. Colquhoun's " Isis 
Revelata." 

In 1837, however, in consequence of many accounts 
of clairvoyance then occurring in various parts of 
France, the Academic de Medecine offered a prize of 
three thousand francs to anyone who should prove his 
ability to read without use of the eyes. The daughter 
of a physician at Montpelier Dr. Pigeaire possessed 
this power, as testified by many persons of repute; and, 
in consequence of this offer, he brought her to Paris. 
Many persons saw her in private, and several physicians 
MM. Orfila, Ribes, Reveille-Parise and others certi- 
fied the fact of her clairvoyant powers. But the mem- 
bers appointed by the Academy less experienced than 
those of the Commission of 1831 began by making 
stipulations as to the complete enclosure of the clair- 
voyante's head, to which her father would not consent, 
and thus the opportunity of officially testing this lady 
was lost. 1 Others presented themselves, but none suc- 

1 The method usually adopted was to bind a linen cloth over the 
eyes, to cover this with cotton- wool, and over all a black velvet 
mask; which was held to be a complete test by Arago and other 
observers. This, however, the commissioners would not even try. 



CHAP. xvn. HYPNOTISM AND PSYCHICAL RESEARCH. 201 

ceeded. The result was therefore purely negative; but 
as there were in some cases suspicions of imposture or 
attempts at imposture, the report was, of course, against 
the existence of clairvoyance. This was only what 
might have been anticipated by all who had really inves- 
tigated the subject. Professor William Gregory, of the 
University of Edinburgh, after twenty years' study of 
animal magnetism and an extensive personal experience, 
wrote as follows : 

" In regard to clairvoyance, I have never seen it satis- 
factorily exhibited except quite in private; and in this 
point my experience has simply confirmed the statements 
made by the best observers. I feel confident that every- 
one who chooses to devote some time and labor to the in- 
vestigation may meet with it, either in his own cases or 
those of his friends." 

In his " Letters on Animal Magnetism " Professor 
Gregory gives several indisputable cases tested by him- 
self. Dr. Haddock, Major Buckley, Sir AValter Trevel- 
yan, Miss Martineau, Dr. Esdaile, Dr. Lee, and Dr. 
Elliotson, have all obtained evidence of the most con- 
vincing kind, much of which has been published; while 
many eminent physicians and men of science on the Con- 
tinent obtained equally convincing results all confirm- 
ing the positive evidence of the French Commission of 
1831, and proving that the negative results of the Com- 
mission of 1837 were due to the inexperience and preju- 
dices of the members. Yet, notwithstanding this 
cumulative proof, modern writers against the higher 
phenomena produced by hypnotism appear to be either 
totally ignorant of the existence of the five years' inquiry 
and elaborate report of the first commission of the 



202 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvn. 

Academic de Medecine, or confound it with the second 
commission, which gave a purely negative report on one 
limited phase of the phenomena! 

Thus, the late Dr. W. B. Carpenter, in his volume on 
" Mesmerism, Spiritualism, etc., Historically and Scien- 
ficially Considered" (Longmans, 1877), writes as follows: 

" It was in France that the pretensions of mesmeric 
clairvoyance were first advanced; and it was by the 
French Academy of Medicine, in which the mesmeric 
state had been previously discussed with reference to the 
performance of surgical operations, that this new and 
more extraordinary claim was first carefully sifted, in 
consequence of the offer made in 1837 by M. Burdin 
(himself a member of that Academy) of a prize of 3000 
francs to anyone who should be found capable of read- 
ing through opaque substances." 

Neither here, nor in any part of his volume, does Dr. 
Carpenter show any knowledge of the existence of the 
Commission of 1825-31, which really "first carefully 
sifted " the varied phenomena of Animal Magnetism, 
including numerous cases of clairvoyance, and decided 
that they were genuine. 

In the last edition of Chambers' " Encyclopaedia," a 
publication remarkable for the great ability of its con- 
tributors and the impartial treatment of disputed ques- 
tions, we find in the article " Animal Magnetism " the 
following passage: "Despite the unfavorable report of 
the French Commission of 1785, as well as of a later one 
in 1831, and other subsequent exposures "... indi- 
cating that the writer was unacquainted with the favor- 
able report of 1831, and confused it with the negative 
report of 1837-40. And this ignorance is confirmed by 



CHAP. XVII. 



HYPNOTISM AND PSYCHICAL RESEARCH. 203 



the statement, a little further on, that " no scientific 
observer has yet confirmed the statements of mesmerists 
as to clairvoyance, reading of sealed letters, influence on 
unconscious persons at a distance, or the like " a state- 
ment the exact opposite of the fact, since the nine mem- 
bers of the commission of the Academy of Medicine, 
Professor Gregory and the other gentlemen mentioned 
above, as well as a large number of physicians and others 
on the Continent, must surely be held to be, individually 
and as a whole, " scientific observers," or the term can 
have no meaning. Biichner, Spitta, and other antago- 
nistic Continental writers, also appealed to the commis- 
sion of 1784 as having exposed " the swindle of magnetic 
cures," apparently in complete ignorance of the report 
of 1831; and Eiichner also refers to the commission of 
1837 as reporting against clairvoyance, without any 
reference to the more weighty report of 1831 in its favor. 
One more example as to the mode of treatment of evi- 
dence for the reality of clairvoyance. Dr. Carpenter 
describes some of his own visits to Alexis and Adolphe 
Didier, accompanied by Dr. Forbes; and because they 
saw nothing which was to them absolutely conclusive, he 
leads the reader to think that nothing really conclusive 
had ever been obtained. But Dr. Lee, a physician of 
repute, and therefore presumably as good a witness as 
Dr. Carpenter or Dr. Forbes, in his well-known work 
on Animal Magnetism, devotes twenty-two pages to an 
account of his own personal experiments with Alexis at 
Brighton in 1849, including such a number and variety 
of striking tests as to entirely outweigh any number of 
negative results like those of Dr. Carpenter. And in 
addition to these, other special tests of the most stringent 



204 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvn. 

character have been published, two of which may be 
here given. Sergeant Cox, in his " What Am I? " (vol. 
ii. p. 176) describes a test by a party of experts, of whom 
he was one. A word was written by a friend in a distant 
town, and enclosed in an envelope, without any one of 
the party knowing what the word was. This envelope 
was enclosed successively in six others of thick brown 
paper, each sealed. This packet was handed to Alexis, 
who placed it on his forehead, and in three minutes and 
a half wrote the contents correctly, imitating the very 
handwriting. Let anyone compare Dr. Carpenter's ex- 
planation of how he supposed such readings were done, 
and he will see how completely inadequate it is as apply- 
ing to tests such as that of Sergeant Cox and scores of 
other inquirers. 

The next test is furnished by the experience of the 
greatest of modern professional conjurers, Houdin, who, 
at the request of the Marquis de Mirville, had two sit- 
tings with Alexis. His account, as quoted by Dr. Lee, 
is as follows. After describing what took place at the 
first sitting, he says: " I cannot help declaring that the 
facts here reported are perfectly exact, and that the 
more I reflect upon them, the more impossible do I find 
it to class them with those which constitute the object of 
my art." (May 10, 1849.) 

" At the second seance I witnessed still more surpris- 
ing events than at the first, and they no longer leave any 
doubt in my mind respecting the clairvoyance of Alexis. 
I tear off the envelope of a pack of cards I brought with 
me. I shuffle and deal with every precaution, which, 
however, is useless, for Alexis stopped me by naming a 
card which I had just placed before him on the table. 



CHAP. xvii. HYPNOTISM AND PSYCJHICAL RESEARCH. 205 

e I have the king/' said he. ' But you know nothing 
about it, as the trump card is not turned up. 7 ' You will 
see/ he replied; ' go on.' In fact, I turned up the ace 
of spades, and his card was the king of spades. The 
game was continued; he told me the cards which I should 
play, though my cards were held closely in my hands be- 
neath the table. To each of the cards I played he fol- 
lowed suit, without turning up his cards, which were 
always perfectly in accordance with those I led. I 
therefore returned from this seance as astonished as one 
can be, and I am convinced that it is quite impossible 
that chance, or any superior skill, could produce such 
wonderful results." (May 16, 1849.) 

JSTow the point which I wish to submit to nry readers 
is, whether the method of argument and discussion 
adopted by the most eminent opponents of Animal Mag- 
netism is either honest, or scientific, or even rational. 
We do not ask them to accept blindly any of the facts 
reported, or to refrain from any criticism, however se- 
vere, which is founded upon a fair consideration of all 
the available evidence. But in this matter, as I have 
here shown by a few striking examples, the public mind 
is influenced by the omission to state the case fairly; by 
putting forth the weakest instead of the strongest facts 
and arguments; and by the denial that any good and 
trustworthy evidence exists. What should we think of 
the man who discussed any of the disputed questions of 
recognized science in this way? who either ignorantly or 
wilfully omitted all reference to the most careful re- 
searches of the most eminent writers on the subject; and, 
while professing to instruct and enlighten the public, led 
them to believe that such researches did not exist? 



206 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvn. 



Such a man would at once lose all claim to be considered 
an authority on any subject, and his future writings 
would be treated with deserved neglect. It is because, 
during the greater part of the century, this most impor- 
tant and most interesting enquiry has been treated in so 
unworthy a manner by men of reputation in other de- 
partments of research, that we are compelled to class the 
opposition to the phenomena of mesmerism, and espe- 
cially to the reality of clairvoyance, as constituting one 
of the exceptions to the steady march of most branches 
of science throughout the century. 

We now come to the consideration of a practical ap- 
plication of. animal magnetism, the opposition to which 
was even more virulent and more unjustifiable than that 
just described. The subject of Mesmerism, as it began 
to be termed, was first introduced into this country by 
Mr. Richard Chenevix, a Fellow of the Royal Society, 
who published a series of papers in the London Medical 
and Physical Journal in 1829. He also exhibited the 
phenomena to numerous medical men, among others to 
Dr. Elliotson, who afterward became one of the chief 
teachers of the science. The Professor of Physiology 
at King's College (Dr. Mayo) also upheld and wrote upon 
it in the medical journels. Baron Dupotet came to Lon- 
don and again demonstrated the main facts, as did num- 
bers of public lecturers, affording ample opportunities 
for experiment and observation. 

In 1829 M. Cloquet, one of the most eminent sur- 
geons of Paris, amputated a cancerous breast during the 
mesmeric sleep, the patient being entirely insensible to 
pain, although able to converse. Teeth were extracted, 
and many other operations, some very serious, such as 



CHAP. xvii. HYPNOTISM AND PSYCHICAL RESEARCH. 207 

the extirpation of a portion of the lower jaw in the hos- 
pital of Cherbourg, were performed in France. About 
twelve years later, operations in the mesmeric trance 
began to be performed in England ; but, notwithstanding 
the numerous cases already reported from France, sup- 
porting the fact of insensibility to pain, as fully de- 
scribed by the Academy of Medicine, they were received 
with general incredulity by the medical profession, while 
the most outrageous accusations were made against all 
who took part in them. 

On the 22d of November, 1842, at the Koyal Medical 
and Chirurgical Society of London, an account was read 
of the amputation of the thigh during the mesmeric 
trance. The patient was a laborer who had suffered for 
five years with neglected disease of the left knee, the 
slightest motion of the joint being attended with extreme 
pain. Before the operation he had had no sleep for 
three nights. He was mesmerized by Mr. W. Topham, 
a barrister, and operated upon by Mr. W. Squire Ward, 
surgeon, in the District Hospital of "\Vellow, Notting- 
hamshire. During the whole operation, lasting twenty 
minutes, the patient remained in perfect repose, the 
placid countenance never changing, while no muscle of 
the body or limbs was seen to twitch. He awoke gradu- 
ally and calmly, and on being questioned, declared that 
he knew nothing that was being done, and had felt no 
pain at all. He recovered perfectly, and had not a 
single bad symptom. 

Then followed a violent discussion. Mr. Coulson said 
the non-expression of pain was a common thing, and he 
had no doubt the man had been trained to it. Several 
declared that the man shammed. One declared he 



208 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. XVIL 

would not have believed the facts had he witnessed 
them! Then the great men of the profession spoke. 
Dr. Marshall Hall, the investigator of reflex-action, de- 
clared that it was a case of imposition, because the sound 
leg should have contracted when the diseased leg was 
cut. The case, therefore, contradicted itself. Sir 
Benjamin Brodie believed that the man must have been 
naturally insusceptible of pain. He also agreed with 
Dr. Marshall Hall that the other leg ought to have 
moved, and he was quite satisfied with the two French 
reports against mesmerism. Mr. Liston and Mr. 
Bransby Cooper made fun of the subject; but Dr. Mayo 
declared it was a paper of great importance, and should 
not be ridiculed. Mr. Wood, who had assisted at the 
amputation, vouched for the complete accuracy of the 
whole account, and pointed out that before the operation 
the patient had suffered intense pain, and that during 
the operation he not only showed no sign of pain, but no 
sign of resistance to the expression of pain. Dr. Elliot- 
son also pointed out the illogical nature of the objection; 
but the opponents, who were all completely ignorant of 
the subject, at the next meeting refused confirmation of 
the minutes, which were therefore expunged! 

Here we have extreme ignorance in high places, deny- 
ing facts which had been observed again and again by 
men as honest and trustworthy as themselves. It was 
these men, and others equally ignorant, who accused the 
operators of bribing their patients not to exhibit pain; 
who accused Dr. Elliotson of " polluting the temple of 
science "; and who ejected this eminent physician from 
his professorship in the University of London, because 
he persisted in studying the phenomena of mesmerism 



CHAP. xvn. HYPNOTISM AND PSYCHICAL RESEARCH. 209 

and in publishing the results of his experiments. He 
was, however, soon justified in the eyes of all the more 
honest members of the profession by the publication of 
so many cases of painless operations as to compel their 
acceptance as facts ; 1 while he was supported by Dr. 
Esdaile, who gave an account of more than 300 opera- 
tions performed by himself and other surgeons in the 
hospitals of Calcutta, which were confirmed by a com- 
mission appointed to inquire into them by the Bengal 
Government, and by the Governor-General himself. 
The reports of these cases showed that the patients were 
equally subject to the charge of imposition because they 
did not exhibit reflex-action in the opposite limb; and 
Dr. Elliotson made this point the subject of some justi- 
fiable ridicule. He says: "It is really lamentable to 
know that this Asiatic practised imposition as boldly as 
the female in Europe. The Indian was convicted 
through the self-same piece of ignorance. He too was 
unaware that he ought to have moved his right elbow- 
joint, if he felt nothing while his left was being cut off; 
and so he did not stir it. The dark races are just as 
wicked and just as ignorant of physiology as the white." 
The facts, however, accumulated so rapidly and were 
so well attested, that a few years later Dr. Noble, Sir 
John Forbes, and Dr. W. B. Carpenter accepted them; 
thus admitting that the great men who denied them were 
wholly in the wrong, and that they had displayed igno- 
rance and prejudice in their accusations of imposture and 
bad faith. But just when the great importance of mes- 



" 1 Numerous Cases of Surgical Operations without Pain in the 
Mesmermic State," by John Elliotson, M. D., F. R. S., London, 1843. 



210 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvn. 

merism in rendering the most serious operations painless, 
and at the same time greatly assisting the patient's re- 
covery, was fully acknowledged, the discovery of anaes- 
thetics occurred ; and this physiological agent, being more 
easy to apply and more certain to act upon all patients, 
soon led to the neglect of mesmerism. With this neg- 
lect the old prejudices and incredulity revived; and, 
although its soothing and remedial influence in disease 
was quite as well established as its use in surgery, it soon 
fell into disuse, and the great majority of medical men 
came to look upon it as either disreputable or altogether 
a delusion. For nearly half a century it remained in 
abeyance, till its study was revived in the French hospi- 
tals, where all the phenomena described by the early 
mesmerizers have been re-observed, together with some 
others even more extraordinary. 

During the latter portion of the century, the study of 
these and other obscure psychical phenomena has be- 
come more extended, and in every civilized country 
societies have been formed for investigation, and many 
remarkable works have been published. One after an- 
other, facts, long denied as delusions or exaggerations,, 
have been admitted to be realities. The stigmata, which 
at different times have occurred in Catholic countries, 
are no longer sneered at as priestly impostures. 
Thought-transference, automatic writing, trance-speak- 
ing, and clairvoyance, have been all demonstrated in the 
presence of living observers of undoubted ability and 
knowledge, as they were demonstrated to the observers 
of the early part of the century and carefully recorded 
by them. The still more extraordinary phenomena 
veridical hallucinations, warnings, detailed predictions 



CHAP. xvir. HYPNOTISM AND PSYCHICAL RESEARCH. 211 

of future events, phantoms, voices or knockings, visible 
or audible to numerous individuals, bell-ringing, the 
playing on musical instruments, stone-throwing, and 
various movements of solid bodies, all without human 
contact or any discoverable physical cause still occur 
among us as they have occurred in all ages. These are 
now being investigated, and slowly but surely are proved 
to be realities, although the majority of scientific men 
and of writers for the press still ignore the cumulative 
evidence, and ridicule the inquirers. These phenomena, 
being comparatively rare, are as yet known to but a 
limited number of persons; but the evidence for their 
reality is already very extensive, and it is absolutely cer- 
tain that, during the coming century, they too will be 
accepted as realities by all impartial students and by the 
majority of educated men and women. 

The great lesson to be learnt from our review of this 
subject is, distrust of all a priori judgments as to facts; 
for the whole history of the progress of human knowl- 
edge, and especially of that department of knowledge 
now known as psychical research, renders it certain that, 
whenever the scientific men or popular teachers of any 
age have denied, on a priori grounds of impossibility or 
opposition to the " laws of nature," the facts observed 
and recorded by numerous investigators of average 
honesty and intelligence, these deniers have always been 
wrong. 1 

Future ages will, I believe, be astonished at the vast 
amount of energy and ignorance displayed by so many of 



1 For a discussion of this point, with illustrative cases, see my 
"Miracles and Modern Spiritualism," pp. 17-29. 



212 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvn. 

the great men of this century in opposing unpalatable 
truths, and in supposing that a priori arguments, accu- 
sations of imposture or insanity, or personal abuse, were 
the proper means of determining matters of fact and of 
observation in any department of human knowledge. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

VACCINATION A DELUSION ITS PENAL ENFORCEMENT A 

CRIME. 

To-day, in all its dimpled bloom, 

The rosy darling crows with glee; 
To-morrow, in a darkened room, 

A pallid, wailing infant see, 
Whose every vein, from head to heel, 

Ferments with poison from my steel. 

A. H. Hume. 

Against the body of a healthy man Parliament has no right of 
assault whatever, under pretence of the public health; nor apy the 
more against the body of a healthy infant. 

Professor F. W. Newman. 

I. 

VACCINATION AND SMALL-POX. 

AMONG the greatest self-created scourges of civilized 
humanity are the group of zymotic diseases, or those 
which arise from infection, and are believed to be due to 
the agency of minute organisms which rapidly increase 
in bodies offering favorable conditions, and often cause 
death. Such diseases are: plague, small-pox, measles, 
whooping-cough, yellow fever, typhus and enteric fevers, 
scarlet fever and diphtheria, and cholera. The condi- 
tions which especially favor these diseases are foul air 
and water, decaying organic matter, overcrowding, and 
other unwholesome surroundings, whence they have been 
termed " filth diseases." The most terrible and fatal of 
these the plague prevails only where people live 

213 



214 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

under the very worst sanitary conditions as regards ven- 
tilation, water supply, and general cleanliness. Till 
about 250 years ago it was as common in England as 
small-pox has been during the present century, but a 
very partial and limited advance in healthy conditions 
of life entirely abolished it, its place being to some 
extent taken by small-pox, cholera, and fevers. The 
exact mode by which all these diseases spread is not 
known; cholera, diphtheria, and enteric fever are be- 
lieved to be communicated through the dejecta from 
the patient contaminating drinking water. The other 
diseases are spread either by bodily contact or by trans- 
mission of germs through the air; but with all of them 
there must be conditions favoring their reception and 
increase. Not only are many persons apparently insus- 
ceptible through life to some of these diseases, but all 
the evidence goes to show that, if the whole population 
of a country lived under thoroughly healthy conditions 
as regards pure air, pure water, and wholesome food, 
none of them could ever obtain a footing, and they would 
die out as completely as the plague and leprosy have 
died out, though both were once so prevalent in 
England. 

But during the last century there was no such knowl- 
edge, and no general belief in the efficacy of simple, 
healthy conditions of life as the only effectual safeguard 
against these diseases. Small-pox, although then, as 
now, an epidemic disease and of very varying degrees 
of virulence, was much dreaded, because, owing chiefly 
to improper treatment, it was often fatal, and still more 
often produced disfigurement or even blindness. When, 
therefore, the method of inoculation was introduced 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 215 

from the East in the early part of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, it was quickly welcomed, because a mild form of 
the disease was produced which rarely caused death or 
disfigurement, though it was believed to be an effectual 
protection against taking the disease by ordinary infec- 
tion. It was, however, soon found that the mild small- 
pox usually produced by inoculation was quite as infec- 
tious as the natural disease, and became quite as fatal 
to persons who caught it. Toward the end of the last 
century many medical men became so impressed with its 
danger that they advocated more attention to sanitation 
and the isolation of patients, because inoculation, though 
it may have saved individuals, really increased the total 
deaths from small-pox. 

Under these circumstances we can well understand 
the favorable reception given to an operation which 
produced a slight, non-infectious disease, which yet was 
alleged to protect against small-pox as completely as did 
the inoculated disease itself. This was Vaccination, 
which arose from the belief of farmers in Gloucester- 
shire and elsewhere that those who had caught cow-pox 
from cows were free from small-pox for the rest of their 
lives. Jenner, in 1798, published his " Inquiry," giving 
an account of the facts which, in his opinion, proved 
this to be the case. But in the light of our present 
knowledge we see that they are wholly inconclusive. 
Six of his patients had had cow-pox when young, and 
were inoculated with small-pox in the usual way from 
twenty-one to fifty-three years afterward, and because 
they did not take the disease, he concluded that the cow- 
pox had preserved them. But we know that a consid- 
erable proportion of persons in middle age are insus- 



216 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvnr. 



ceptible to small-pox infection; besides which, even 
those who most strongly uphold vaccination now admit 
that its effects die out entirely in a few years some say 
four or five, some ten so that these people who had 
had cow-pox so long before were certainly not protected 
by it from taking small-pox. Several other patients 
were farriers or stable men who were infected by horse- 
grease, not by cow-pox, and were also said to be insus- 
ceptible to small-pox inoculation, though not so com- 
pletely as those who had had cow-pox. The remainder 
of .Tenner's cases were six children, from five to eight 
years old, who were vaccinated, arid then inoculated a 
few weeks or months afterward. These cases are fal- 
lacious from two causes. In the first place, any remnant 
of the effects of the vaccination (which were sometimes 
severe), or the existence of scurvy, then very prevalent, 
or of any other skin-disease, might prevent the test- 
inoculation from producing any effect. 1 The other 

1 Professor Crooksliank, in his evidence before the Royal Commis- 
sion (4th Report, Q. 11,729), quotes Dr. De Ha8n, a writer on Inocu- 
lation, as saying: " Asthma, consumption, hectic or slow fever of 
any kind, internal ulcers, obstructed glands, obstructions of the 
viscera from fevers, scrofula, scurvy, itch, eruptions, local inflamma- 
tions or pains of any kind, debility, suppressed or irregular menstru- 
ation, chlorosis, jaundice, pregnancy, lues venerea< whether in the 
parent or transmitted to the child, and a constitution under the 
strong influence of mercury, prevented the operation." There is no 
evidence that those who applied the so-called " variolous test" in the 
early days of vaccination paid any attention to this long list of ail- 
ments, many of which were very prevalent at the time, and which 
would, in the opinion of De Ha6n, and of the English writer Sanders, 
who quotes him, have prevented the action of the virus, and thus 
rendered the "test" entirely fallacious. With such causes as these, 
added to those already discussed, it becomes less difficult to under, 
stand how it was that the alleged test was thought to prove the influ- 
ence of the previous vaccination without really doing so. 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 217 

cause of uncertainty arises from the fact that this " vari- 
olous test " consisted in inoculating with small-pox virus 
obtained from the last of a series of successive patients 
in whom the effect produced was a minimum, consisting 
of very few pustules, sometimes only one, and a very 
slight amount of fever. The results of this test, whether 
on a person who had had cow-pox or who had not had it, 
were usually so slight that it could easily be described by 
a believer in the influence of the one disease on the other 
as having " no effect " ; and Dr. Creighton declares, 
after a study of the whole literature of the subject, that 
the description of the results of the test is almost always 
loose and general, and that in the few cases where more 
detail is given the symptoms described are almost the 
same in the vaccinated as in the unvaccinated. Again, 
no careful tests were ever made by inoculating at the 
same time, and in exactly the same way, two groups of 
persons of similar age, constitution, and health, the one 
group having been vaccinated, the other not, and none 
of them having had small-pox, and then having the 
resulting effects carefully described and compared by 
independent experts. Such " control " experiments 
would not be required in any case of such importance as 
this; but it was never done in the early days of vaccina- 
tion, and it appears never to have been done to this day. 
The alleged " test " was, it is true, applied in a great 
number of cases by the early observers, especially by 
Dr. Woodville, physician to a small-pox hospital; but 
Dr. Creighton shews reason for believing that the lymph 
he used was contaminated with small-pox, and that the 
supposed vaccinations were really inoculations. This 
lymph was widely spread all over the country, and was 



218 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

supplied to Jenner himself, and we thus have explained 
the effect of the " vaccination " in preventing the sub- 
sequent " inoculation " from producing much effect, 
since both were really mild forms of small-pox inocula- 
tion. This matter is fully explained by Dr. Creighton in 
his evidence before the Royal Commission, printed in the 
Second Report. Professor E. M. Crookshank, who has 
made a special study of cow-pox and other animal diseases 
and their relation to human small-pox, gives important 
confirmatory evidence, to be found in the Fourth Report. 
This brief statement of the early history of vaccina- 
tion has been introduced here in order to give what seems 
to be a probable explanation of the remarkable fact that 
a large portion of the medical profession accepted, as 
proved, that vaccination protected against a subsequent 
inoculation of small-pox, when in reality there was no 
such proof, as the subsequent history of small-pox epi- 
demics has shown. The medical and other members of 
the Royal Commission could not realize the possibility 
of such a failure to get at the truth. Again and again 
they asked the witnesses above referred to to explain how 
it was possible that so many educated specialists could 
be thus deceived. They overlooked the fact that a cen- 
tury ago was, as regards the majority of the medical 
profession, a pre-scientific age; and nothing proves this 
more clearly than the absence of any systematic " con- 
trol " experiments, and the extreme haste with which 
some of the heads of the profession expressed their belief 
in the lifelong protection against small-pox afforded by 
vaccination, only four years after the discovery had been 
first announced. This testimony caused Parliament to 
vote Jenner 10,000 in 1802. 



CHAP.XVIII. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 219 

Ample proof now exists of the fallacy of this belief, 
since vaccination gives no protection (except perhaps for 
a month or two) as will be shown later on. But there 
was also no lack of proof in the first ten years of the 
century; and had it not been for the unscientific haste of 
the medical witnesses to declare that vaccination pro- 
tected against small-pox during a whole lifetime a fact 
of which they had not and could not possibly have any 
evidence this proof of failure would have convinced 
them and have prevented what is really one of the scan- 
dals of the nineteenth century. These early proofs of 
failure will be now briefly indicated. 

Only six years after the announcement of vaccina- 
tion, in 1 804, Dr. IB. Moseley, Physician to Chelsea Hos- 
pital, published a small book on the cow-pox, containing 
many cases of persons who had been properly vaccinated 
and had afterward had small-pox; and other cases of 
severe illness, injury, and even death resulting from vac- 
cination ; and these failures were admitted by the Royal 
Jennerian Society in their Report in 1806. Dr. Wil- 
liam Rowley, Physician to the St. Marylebone Infirm- 
ary, in a work on "Cow-pox Inoculation" in 1805, which 
reached a third edition in 1806, gave particulars of 504 
cases of small-pox and injury after vaccination, with 
seventy-five deaths. He says to his brother medical 
men : " Come and see. I have lately had some of the 
worst species of malignant small-pox in the Marylebone 
Infirmary, which many of the faculty have examined 
and know to have been vaccinated." For two days he 
had an exhibition in his Lecture Room of a number of 
children suffering from terrible eruptions and other 
diseases after vaccination. 



220 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY, CHAP. xvm. 

Dr. Squirrel, formerly Resident Apothecary to the 
Small-pox Inoculation Hospital, also published in 1805 
numerous cases of small-pox, injuries, and death after 
vaccination. 

John Birch, a London surgeon, at first adopted vac- 
cination and corresponded with Jenner, but soon finding 
that it did not protect from small-pox and that it also 
produced serious and sometimes fatal diseases, he became 
one of its strongest opponents, and published many let- 
ters and pamphlets against it up to the time of his death 
in 1815. 

Mr. William Goldson, a surgeon at Portsea, published 
a pamphlet in 1804, giving many cases in his own expe- 
rience of small-pox following vaccination. What made 
his testimony more important was that he was a believer 
in vaccination, and sent accounts of some of his cases to 
Jenner so early as 1802, but no notice was taken of 
them. 1 

Mr. Thomas Brown, a surgeon of Musselburgh, pub- 
lished in 1809 a volume giving his experiences of the 
results of vaccination. He had at first accepted and 
practised it. He also applied the " variolous test," with 
apparent success, and thereafter went on vaccinating in 
full confidence that it was protective against small-pox, 
till 1808, when, during an epidemic, many of his patients 
caught the disease from two to eight years after vaccina- 
tion. He gives the details of forty-eight cases, all within 
his own personal knowledge, and he says he knew of 
many others. He then again tried the " variolous test,' 7 

1 The cases of failure of vaccination here referred to are given in 
Mr. William White's "Story of a Great Delusion," where fuller ex- 
tracts and references will be found. 



CHAP. xvni. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 221 

and found twelve cases in which it entirely failed, the 
result being exactly as with those who were inoculated 
without previous vaccination. These cases, with ex- 
tracts from Brown's work, were brought before the 
Royal Commission by Professor Crookshank. (See 4th 
Report, Q. 11,852.) 

Again, Mr. William Tebb brought before the Com- 
mission a paper by Dr. Maclean, in the Medical Observer 
of 1810, giving 535 cases of small-pox after vaccination, 
of which 97 were fatal. He also gave 150 cases of 
diseases from cow-pox, with the names of ten medical 
men, including two Professors of Anatomy, who had 
suffered in their own families from vaccination. The 
following striking passage is quoted: "Doctrine. Vac- 
cination or Cow-pox inoculation is a perfect preventive 
of small-pox during life. (Jenner, etc.) Refutation. 
535 cases of small-pox after cow-pox. Doctrine. Cow- 
pox renders small-pox milder. It is never fatal. Refu- 
tation. 97 deaths from small-pox after cow-pox and 
from cow-pox diseases." 

The cases here referred to, of failure of vaccination to 
protect even for a few years, are probably only a small 
fraction of those that occurred, since only in exceptional 
cases would a doctor be able to keep his patients in view, 
and only one doctor here and there would publish his 
observations. The controversy was carried on with un- 
usual virulence ; hence perhaps the reason why the public 
paid so little attention to it. But unfortunately both the 
heads of the medical profession and the legislature had 
committed themselves by recognizing the full claims of 
Jenner at too early a date and in a manner that admitted 
of no recall. In 1802, as already stated, the House of 



222 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvra. 

Commons, on the Report of its Committee, and the evi- 
dence of the leading physicians and surgeons of London 
a large number of whom declared their belief that 
cow-pox was a perfect security against small-pox voted 
Jenner 10,000. When therefore the flood of evidence 
poured in, showing that it did not protect, it was already 
too late to remedy the mischief that had been done, since 
the profession would not so soon acknowledge its mis- 
take, nor would the legislature admit having hastily 
voted away the public money without adequate reason. 
The vaccinators went on vaccinating, the House of Com- 
mons gave Jenner 20,000 more in 1807, endowed vac- 
cination with 3000 a year in 1808, and after providing 
for free vaccination in 1840, made the operation com- 
pulsory in 1853 by a fine, and ordered the Guardians to 
prosecute in 1867. 

Vaccination and the Medical Profession. 

Before proceeding to adduce the conclusive evidence 
that now exists of the failure of vaccination, a few pre- 
liminary misconceptions must be dealt with. One of 
these is that, as vaccination is a surgical operation to 
guard against a special disease, medical men can alone 
judge of its value. But the fact is the very reverse, for 
several reasons. In the first place, they are interested 
parties, not merely in a pecuniary sense, but as affecting 
the prestige of the whole profession. In no other case 
should we allow interested persons to decide an important 
matter. "Whether iron ships are safer than wooden ones 
is not decided by ironmasters or by shipbuilders, but by 
the experience of sailors and by the statistics of loss. In 



CHAP. xvin. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 223 

the administration of medicine or any other remedy for 
a disease, the conditions are different. The doctor ap- 
plies the remedy and watches the result, and if he has a 
large practice he thereby obtains knowledge and experi- 
ence which no other persons possess. But in the case of 
vaccination, and especially in the case of public vaccina- 
tors, the doctor does not see the result except by acci- 
dent. Those who get small-pox go to the hospitals, or 
are treated by other medical men, or may have left the 
district; and the relation between the vaccination and 
the attack of small-pox can only be discovered by the 
accurate registration of all the cases and deaths, with the 
facts as to vaccination or revaccination. When these 
facts are accurately registered, to determine what they 
teach is not the business of a doctor but of a statistician, 
and there is much evidence to show that doctors are bad 
statisticians, and have a special faculty for misstating 
figures. This allegation is so grave and so fundamental 
to the question at issue that a few facts must be given 
in support of it. 

. The National Vaccine Establishment, supported by 
Government grants, issued periodical Eeports, which 
were printed by order of the House of Commons; and 
in successive years we find the following statements: 

Tii 1812, and again in 1818, it is stated that " previous 
to the discovery of vaccination the average number of 
deaths by small-pox within the (London) Bills of Mor- 
tality was 2000 annually; whereas in the last year only 
751 persons have died of the disease, although the in- 
crease of population within the last ten years has been 
133,139." 

The number 2000 is about the average small-pox 



324 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

deaths of the whole eighteenth century, but those of the 
last two decades before the publication of Jenner's 
" Inquiry/ 7 were 1751 and 1786, showing a decided fall. 
This, however, may pass. But when we come to the 
Report for 1826 we find the following: " But when we 
reflect that before the introduction of vaccination the 
average number of deaths from small-pox within the 
Bills of Mortality was annually about 4000, no stronger 
argument can reasonably be demanded in favor of the 
value of this important discovery." 

This monstrous figure was repeated in 1834, appar- 
ently quite forgetting the correct figure for the whole 
century given in 1818, and also the fact that the small- 
pox deaths recorded in the London Bills of Mortality in 
any year of the century never reached 4000. But worse 
is to come; for in 1836 we have the following statement: 
" The annual loss of life by small-pox in the Metropolis, 
and within the Bills of Mortality only, before vaccina- 
tion was established, exceeded 5000, whereas in the 
course of last year only 300 died of the distemper." 
And in the Report for 1838 this gross error is repeated; 
while in the next year (1839) the conclusion is drawn 
" that 4000 lives are saved every year in London since 
vaccination so largely superseded variolation." : 

The Board of the National Vaccine Establishment 
consisted of the President and four Censors of the Royal 
College of Physicians, and the Master and two senior 



1 These extracts from the Reports are given by Mr. White in his 
" Story of a Great Delusion." The actual deaths from smallpox dur- 
ing the last century are given in the Second Report of the Royal 
Commission, p. 290. The extracts have been verified at the British 
Museum by my friend Dr. Scott Tebb, and are verbally accurate. 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 225 

Wardens of the College of Surgeons. We cannot pos- 
sibly suppose that they knew or believed that they were 
publishing untruths and grossly deceiving the public. 
We must, therefore, fall back upon the supposition that 
they were careless to such an extent as not to find out 
that they were authorizing successive statements of the 
same quantity, as inconsistent with each other as 2000 
and 5000. 

The next example is given by Dr. Lettsom, who, in 
his evidence before the Parliamentary Committee in 
1802, calculated the small-pox deaths of Great Britain 
and Ireland before vaccination at 36,000 annually; by 
taking 3000 as the annual mortality in London and mul- 
tiplying by twelve, because the population was estimated 
to be twelve times as large. He first takes a number 
which is much too high, and then assumes that the mor- 
tality in the town, village, and country populations was 
the same as in overcrowded, filthy London! Small-pox 
was always present in London, while Sir Gilbert Blane 
tells us that in many parts of the country it was quite un- 
known for periods of twenty, thirty, or forty years. In 
1782 Mr. Connah, a surgeon at Seaford, in Sussex, only 
knew of one small-pox death in eleven years among a 
population of 700. Cross, the historian of the Norwich 
epidemic in 1819, states that previous to 1805 small-pox 
was little known in this city of 40,000 inhabitants, and 
was for a time almost extinct; and yet this gross error, 
of computing the small-pox mortality of the whole coun- 
try from that of London (and computing it from wrong 
data) was not only accepted at the time, but has been 
repeated again and again down to the present day as an 
ascertained fact! 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 



In a speech in Parliament in defence of vaccination, 
Sir Lyon Playfair gave 4000 per million as the average 
London death-rate by small-pox before vaccination a 
number nearly double that of the last twenty years of the 
century, which alone affords a fair comparison. But 
far more amazing is the statement by the late Dr. W. B. 
Carpenter, in a letter to the Spectator of April, 1881, 
that " a hundred years ago the small-pox mortality of 
London alone, with its then population of under a mil- 
lion, was often greater in a six months' epidemic than 
that of the twenty millions of England and AVales now 
is in any whole year." The facts, well known to every 
enquirer, are that the very highest small-pox mor- 
tality in the last century in a year was 3992 in 1772, 
while in 1871 it was 7912 in London, or more than 
double; and in the same year, in England and Wales, it 
was 23 ; 000. This amazing and almost incredible mis- 
statement was pointed out and acknowledged privately, 
but never withdrawn publicly ! 

The late Mr. Ernest Hart, a medical man, editor of the 
British Medical Journal, and a great authority on sani- 
tation, in his work entitled " The Truth about Vaccina- 
tion," surpassed even Dr. Carpenter in the monstrosity 
of his errors. At page 35 of the first edition (1880), 
he stated that in the forty years 1728-57 and 1771-80, 
the average annual small-pox mortality of London was 
about 18,000 per million living. The actual average 
mortality, from the tables given in the Second Report of 
the Royal Commission, page 290, was a little over 2000, 
the worst periods having been chosen; and taking the 
lowest estimates of the population at the time, the mor- 
tality per million would have been under 3000. This 



CHAP, xviii. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 227 

great authority, therefore, has multiplied the real num- 
ber by six ! In a later edition this statement is omitted ; 
but in the first edition it was no mere misprint, for it was 
triumphantly dwelt upon over a whole page and com- 
pared with modern rates of mortality. 

Yet one more official misstatement. About the year 
1884 the National Health Society, with the approval of 
the Local Government Board, issued a tract entitled 
Facts concerning Vaccination for Heads of Families, in 
which appeared the statement, " Before the introduction 
of vaccination, small-pox killed 40,000 persons yearly 
in this country." We have already shown that Dr. 
Lettsom's figure, 36,000 was utterly unfounded, and 
probably three or four times greater than the truth. 
Here we have a semi-official and widely-distributed 
statement even more remote from the truth. In later 
issues of the same tract this particular statement is with- 
drawn, and a different but equally erroneous one substi- 
tuted. Thus: " Before its discovery [vaccination] the 
mortality from small-pox in London was forty times 
greater than it is now." This is an altogether vague and 
misleading statement. If it means that in some years of 
the last century it was forty times greater than in some 
years of this century, it is misleading, because even 
within the last thirty years some years have a mortality 
not only forty but eighty and even 200 times as great as 
others. (In 1875 there were ten deaths per million, 
while in 1871 there were 2420 deaths per million.) If 
it means on an average of say twenty years, it is false. 
For the twenty years 1869-98 the mortality was about 
300 per million, while for the last twenty years before 
the discovery of vaccination it was about 2000 per mil- 



228 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvni. 

lion, or less than seven times as much instead of forty 
times ! 

This same tract is full of other equally gross misstate- 
ments. It tells us, in large, black type, " With due 
care in the performance of the operation, no risk of any 
injurious effects from it need be feared." The Regis- 
trar-General himself shows us that this is false, in his 
Keport for 1895, Table 17, p. Hi.: 

COWPOX AND OTHER EFFECTS OF VACCINATION. 

YEAR. DEATHS. YEAR. DEATHS. 

1881 58 1889 58 

1882 65 1890 43 

1883 55 1891 43 

1884 53 1892 58 

1885 52 1893 59 

1886 45 1894 50 

1887 45 1895 56 

1888 45 

An average of 52 children officially murdered every 
year, and officially acknowledged, is termed " alleged in- 
jury," which need not be feared! And these cruel 
falsehoods are spread broadcast over the country, and the 
tract bears upon its title-page " Revised by the Local 
Government Board, and issued with their sanction." 

As the tract bears no date,I cannot tell whether it is 
still issued; but it was in circulation up to the time when 
the Commission was sitting, and it is simply disgrace- 
ful that a Government Department should ever have 
given its official sanction to such a tissue of misrepre- 
sentations and palpable false statements. For these 785 
deaths in fifteen years, and 300 in the preceding twenty- 
two years (classed as from erysipelas after vaccination), 
no one has been punished, and no compensation or even 
official apology has been given to the thousand sorrow- 



CHAP. xvni. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 229 

ing families. And we may be sure that these acknowl- 
edged deaths are only a small portion of what have really 
occurred, since the numbers have increased considerably 
in the later period, during which more attention has been 
given to such deaths and more inquests held. It is cer- 
tain that for every such death acknowledged by the 
medical man concerned, many are concealed under the 
easy method of stating some of the later symptoms as the 
cause of death. Thus, Mr. Henry May, Me'dical Officer 
of Health, candidly states as follows: "In certificates 
given by us voluntarily, and to which the public have 
access, it is scarcely to be expected that a medical man 
will give opinions which may tell against or reflect upon 
himself in any way. In such cases he will most likely 
tell the truth, but not the whole truth, and assign some 
prominent symptom of the disease as the cause of death. 
As instances of cases which may tell against the medical 
man himself, I will mention erysipelas from vaccination, 
and puerperal fever. A death from the first cause 
occurred not long ago in my practice; and although I 
had not vaccinated the child, yet, in my desire to pre- 
serve vaccination from reproach, I omitted all mention 
of it from my certificate of death." (See Birmingham 
Medical Review, vol. iii. pp. 34, 35.) That such sup- 
pressio veri is no new thing, but has been going on dur- 
ing the whole period of vaccination, is rendered probable 
by a statement in the Medical Observer of 1810, by Dr. 
Maclean. He says: "Very few deaths from cow-pox 
appear in the Bills of Mortality, owing to the means 
which have been used to suppress a knowledge of them. 
Neither were deaths, diseases, and failures transmitted 
in great abundance from the country, not because they 



230 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 



did not happen, but because some practitioners were 
interested in not seeing them, and others who did see 
them were afraid of announcing what they knew." 

As an example of the number of cases occurring all 
over the country, Mr. Charles Fox, a medical man re- 
siding at Cardiff, has published fifty-six cases of illness 
following vaccination, of which seventeen resulted in 
death (E. W. Allen, 1890). In only two of these, where 
he himself 'gave the certificate, was vaccination men- 
tioned. All of these cases were examined by himself 
personally. Among those who survived, several were 
permanently injured in health, and some were crippled 
for life ; while in most of such cases the inflammation and 
eruptions are so painful, and the sufferings of the chil- 
dren so great and so prolonged, that the mother endures 
continuous mental torture, lasting for weeks, months, or 
even years. And if one medical man can record such a 
mass of injury and disease in which vaccination was the 
palpable starting-point and certainly a contributory 
cause, what must be the total mass of unrecorded suffer- 
ing throughout the whole country? Considering this 
and other evidence, together with the admitted and very 
natural concealment by the doctors concerned, " to save 
vaccination from reproach," the estimate of Mr. Alfred 
Milnes, a statistician who has paid special attention to 
the subject, that the officially admitted deaths must be 
at least multiplied by twelve to obtain the real deaths 
from vaccination, we shall arrive at the terrible number 
of over 600 children and adults killed annually by this 
compulsory operation; while, judging from the propor- 
tion of permanent injury, twenty-eight in Mr. Fox's 
fifty-six cases, with seventeen deaths, about 1000 per- 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A. DELUSION. 231 

sons annually must suffer from it throughout their lives ! 
As confirmatory of even this large amount, the testimony 
of Mr. Davidson, Medical Officer of Health for Congle- 
ton, and formerly a Public Vaccinator, is important. He 
began an inquiry into the alleged injurious effects of 
vaccination, without believing that they were serious. 
The outcome of his investigation was startling to him. 
In his Annual Keport for 1893, he says: " In the inves- 
tigation of a single vaccination period, the fact was re- 
vealed that in quite fifty per cent, of all vaccinated in 
that period (about seventy), the results were abnormal, 
and, in a large number of these very grave injuries had 
been inflicted. That the results of the practice are the 
same elsewhere as in Congleton I have no reason to 
doubt, for judging from what I have seen of his method 
of vaccinating, our Public Yaccinator is as careful as 
it seems possible for a Public Vaccinator to be." 

This evidence of Mr. Davidson is especially impor- 
tant, because it reveals the fact that, as I stated some 
pages back, neither Public Vaccinators nor ordinary 
medical men usually know anything of the injurious 
effects of vaccination, except in such individual cases as 
may occur in their practice, while all around them there 
may be a mass of evil results which, when systematically 
investigated, proves as unexpected as it is startling in 
its amount. 

This brief exposition of medical and official misstate- 
ments of facts and figures, always in favor of vaccina- 
tion, might have been largely increased ; but it is already 
sufficient to demonstrate the position I take, which is 
that in this matter of Official and Compulsory Vaccina- 
tion, both doctors and Government officials, however 



232 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



CHAP. XVIII. 



highly placed, however eminent, however honorable, are 
yet utterly untrustworthy. Beginning in the early 
years of the century, and continuing to our own times, 
we find the most gross and palpable blunders in figures 
but always on the side of vaccination and, on the testi- 
mony of medical men themselves, a more or less con- 
tinuous perversion of the official records of vaccinal in- 
jury " in order to save vaccination from reproach." Let 
this always be remembered in any discussion of the ques- 
tion. The facts and figures of the medical profession, 
and of Government officials, in regard to the question of 
vaccination, must never be accepted without verification. 
And when we consider that these misstatements, and 
concealments, and denials of injury, have been going on 
throughout the whole of the century; that penal legis- 
lation has been founded on them; that homes of the poor 
have been broken up; that thousands have been harried 
by police and magistrates, have been imprisoned and 
treated in every way as felons ; and that, at the rate now 
officially admitted, a thousand children have been cer- 
tainly killed by vaccination during the last twenty years, 
and an unknown but probably much larger number in- 
jured for life, we are driven to the conclusion that those 
responsible for these reckless misstatements and their 
terrible results have, thoughtlessly and ignorantly but 
none the less certainly, been guilty of a crime against 
liberty, against health, against humanity, which will, 
before many years have passed, be universally held to 
be one of the foulest blots on the civilization of the nine- 
teenth century. 1 

1 As an example of the dreadful results of vaccination, even where 
special care was taken, the following case from the Sixth Report of 



CHAP. XVIII. 



VACCINATION A DELUSION. 



II. 



MUCH OF THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED FOE VACCINATION IS 
WORTHLESS. 

WE will now proceed to discuss the alleged value of 
vaccination, by means of the best and widest statistical 

the Royal Commission (p. 128) is worthy of earnest attention. It is 
the evidence of Dr. Thomas Skinner of Liverpool: 

Q. 20,766. Will you give the Commission the particulars of the 
case? A young lady, fifteen years of age, living at Grove Park, 
Liverpool, was revaccinated by me at her father's request, during an 
outbreak of smallpox in Liverpool in 1865, as I had revaccinated all 
the girls in the Orphan Girls' Asylum in Myrtle Street, Liverpool 
(over two hundred girls, I believe), and as the young lady's father 
was chaplain to the asylum, he selected, and I approved of the selec- 
tion, of a young girl, the picture of health, and whose vaccine vesicle 
was matured, and as perfect in appearance as it is possible to con- 
ceive. On the eighth day I took off the lymph in a capillary glass 
tube, almost filling the tube with clear, transparent lymph. Next 
day, 7th March, 1865, I re vaccinated the young lady from this same 
tube, and from the same tube and at the same time I revaccinated 
her mother and the cook. Before opening the tube I remember 
holding it up to the light and requesting the mother to observe how 
perfectly clear and homogeneous, like water, the lymph was; neither 
pus nor blood corpuscles were visible to the naked eye. All three 
operations were successful, and on the eighth day all three vesicles 
were matured " like a pearl upon a rose petal," as Jenner described 
a perfect specimen. On that day, the eighth day after the operation, 
I visited my patient, and to all appearance she was in the soundest 
health and spirits, with her usual bright eyes and ruddy cheeks. 
Although I was much tempted to take the lymph from so healthy a 
vesicle and subject, I did not do so, as I have frequently seen ery- 
sipelas and other bad consequences follow the opening of a matured 
vesicle. As I did not open the vesicle, that operation could not be 
the cause of what followed. Between the tenth and the eleventh day 
after the revaccinatiou that is, about three days after the vesicle had 
matured and begun to scab over I was called in haste to my patient 
the young lady, whom I found in one of the most severe rigors I ever 
witnessed, such as generally precedes or ushers in surgical, puerperal, 



234 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

evidence at our command; and in doing so we shall be 
able to show that the medical experts, who have been 
trusted by the Government and by the general public, 
are no less deficient in their power of drawing accurate 
conclusions from the official statistics of vaccination and 
small-pox mortality than they have been shown to be in 
their capacity for recording facts and quoting figures 
with precision and correctness. 

and other forms of fever. This would be on the 18th March, 1865. 
Eight days from the time of this rigor my patient w<is dead, and she 
died of the most frightful form of blood poisoning that I ever wit- 
nessed, and I have been forty-five years in the active practice of my 
profession. After the rigor, a low form of acute peritonitis set in, 
witli incessant vomiting and pain, which defied all means to allay. 
At last, stercoraceous vomiting, and cold, clammy, deadty sweats of 
a sickly odor set in, with pulselessness, collapse, and death, which 
closed the terrible scene on the morning of the 26th March, 1865. 
Within twenty minutes of death rapid decomposition set in, and 
within two hours so great was the bloated and discolored condition 
of the whole body, more especially of the head and face, that there 
was not a feature of this once lovely girl recognizable. Dr. John 
Cameron of 4 Rodney Street, Liverpool, physician to the Royal 
Southern Hospital at Liverpool, met me daily in consultation while 
life lasted. I have a copy of the certificate of death here. 

Q. 20,767. To what do you attribute the death there? I can 
attribute the death there to nothing but vaccination. 

In the same Report, fifteen medical men give evidence as to dis- 
ease, permanent injury, or death caused by vaccination. Two give 
evidence of syphilis and one of leprosy as clearly due to vaccination. 
And, as an instance of how the law is applied in the case of the poor, 
we have the story told by Mrs. Amelia Whiting (QQ. 21,434-21,464). 
To put it in brief, it amounts to this: Mrs. Whiting lost a child, 
after terrible suffering, from inflammation supervening upon vaccina- 
tion. The doctor's bill for the illness was 1 12s. 6d.; and a woman 
who came in to help was paid 6s. After this first child's death, pro- 
ceedings were taken for the non-vaccination of another child; and 
though the case was explained in court, a fine of one shilling was 
inflicted. And through it all, the husband's earnings as a laborer 
were 11s. a week. 



CHAP, xviii. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 235 

In the elaborate paper by Sir John Simon, on the 
History and Practice of Vaccination, presented to Par- 
liament in 1857 and reprinted in the First Report of the 
Royal Commission, he tells us that the earlier evidence 
of the value of vaccination was founded on individual 
cases, but that now " from individual cases the appeal is 
to masses of national experience." And the marginal 
reference is, " Evidence on the protectiveness of vaccina- 
tion must now be statistical." If this was true in 1857, 
how much more must it be so now, when we have forty- 
years more of " national experience " to go upon. Dr. 
Guy, M. D., F. R. S., enforces this view in his paper 
published by the Royal Statistical Society in 1882. He 
says: " Is vaccination a preventive of small-pox? To 
this question there is, there can be, no answer except 
such as is couched in the language of figures." But the 
language of figures, otherwise the science of statistics, is 
not one which he who runs may read. It is full of pit- 
falls for the unwary, and requires either special apti- 
tude or special training to avoid these pitfalls and 
deduce from the mass of figures at our command what 
they really teach. 

A commission or committee of enquiry into this mo- 
mentous question should have consisted wholly, or 
almost wholly, of statisticians, who would hear medical 
as well as official and independent evidence, would have 
all existing official statistics at their command, and would 
be able to tell us, with some show of authority, exactly 
what the figures proved, and what they only rendered 
probable on one side and on the other. But instead of 
such a body of experts, the Royal Commission, which for 
more than six years was occupied in hearing evidence 



236 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

and cross-examining witnesses, consisted wholly of medi- 
cal men, lawyers, politicians, and country gentlemen, 
none of whom were trained statisticians, while the ma- 
jority came to the enquiry more or less prejudiced in 
favor of vaccination. The report of such a body can 
have but little value, and I hope to satisfy my readers 
that it (the Majority Report) is not in accordance with 
the facts; that the reporters have lost themselves in the 
mazes of unimportant details; and that they have fallen 
into some of the pitfalls which encumber the path of 
those who, without adequate knowledge or training, at- 
tempt to deal with great masses of figures. 

But before proceeding to discuss the statistical evi- 
dence set forth in the reports of the Commission, I have 
again the disagreeable task of showing that a very large 
portion of it, on which the Commissioners mainly rely 
to justify their conclusions, is altogether untrustworthy, 
and must therefore be rejected whenever it is opposed to 
the results of the great body of more accurate statistical 
evidence. I allude of course to the question of the com- 
parative small-pox mortality of the VACCINATED and the 
UNVACCINATED. The first point to be noticed is that 
existing official evidence of the greatest value has never 
been made use of for the purposes of registration, and is 
not now available. For the last sixteen years the Regis- 
trar-General gives the deaths from small-pox under three 
headings. Thus, in the year 1881 he gives for London 
(Annual Summary, p. xxiv.): 



Smallpox. Vaccinated, . . . 524 deaths. 
Not vaccinated, . . 962 " 

No statement, . . . 885 " 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 237 

And in the year 1893, for England and Wales, the 
figures are (Annual Report, p. xi.): 

Smallpox. Vaccinated, ... 150 deaths. 
Un vaccinated, . . . 253 " 
No statement, . . . 1054 " 

Now such figures as these, even if those under the first 
two headings were correct, are a perfect farce, and are 
totally useless for any statistical purpose. Yet every 
vaccination is officially recorded since 1873 private as 
well as public vaccinations and it would not have been 
difficult to trace almost every small-pox patient to his 
place of birth, and to get the official record of his vac- 
cination if it exists. As the medical advisers of the 
Government have not done this, and give us instead par- 
tial and local statistics, usually under no official sanction 
and often demonstrably incorrect, every rule of evidence 
and every dictate of common sense entitle us to reject 
the fragmentary and unverified statements which they 
put before us. Of the frequent untrustworthiness of 
such statements it is necessary to give a few examples. 

In " Notes on the Small-pox Epidemic at Birken- 
head," 1877 (p. 9), Dr. F. Vacher says: " Those entered 
as not vaccinated were admittedly unvaccinated, or with- 
out the faintest mark. The mere assertions of patients 
or their friends that they were vaccinated counted for 
nothing." Another medical official justifies this method 
of making statistics, as follows: " I have always classed 
those as ' unvaccinated/ when no scar, presumably aris- 
ing from vaccination, could be discovered. Individuals 
are constantly seen who state that they have ttfeen vacci- 
nated, but upon whom no cicatrices can be traced. In a 



238 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP.XVIH. 



prognostic and a statistic point of view, it is be.tter, and, 
I think, necessary, to class them as un vaccinated " (Dr. 
Gayton's Report for the Homerton Hospital for 
1871-72-73). 

The result of this method, which is certainly very 
general though not universal, is such a falsification of 
the real facts as to render them worthless for statistical 
purposes. It is stated by so high an authority as Sir 
James Paget, in his lectures on Surgical Pathology, that 
" cicatrices may in time wear out " ; while the Vaccina- 
tion Committee of the Epidemiological Society, in its 
Report for 1885-86, admitted that " not every cicatrice 
will permanently exist." Even more important is the 
fact that in confluent small-pox the cicatrices are hid- 
den, and large numbers of admissions to the hospitals are 
in the later stages of the disease. Dr. Russell, in his 
Glasgow Report (1871-72, p. 25), observes, " Sometimes 
persons were said to be vaccinated, but no marks could 
be seen, very frequently because of the abundance of the 
eruption. In some of those cases which recovered, an 
inspection before dismission discovered vaccine marks, 
sometimes very good." 

In many cases private enquiry has detected errors of 
this kind. In the Second Report of the Commission, 
pp. 219-20, a witness declared that out of six persons 
who died of srnall-pox and were reported by the medical 
officer of the Union to have been unvaccinated, five were 
found to have been vaccinated: one being a child who 
had been vaccinated by the very person who made the 
report, and another a man who had been twice revacci- 
nated in tMe militia (Q. 6730-42). One other case may 
be given. In October, 1883, three unvaccinated chil- 



OHAP. xvin. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 239 

dren were stated in the Kegistrar-General's weekly re- 
turn of deaths in London to have died of small-pox, 
" being one, four, and nine years of age, and all from 3 
Medland Street, Stepney." On enquiry at the address 
given (apparently by oversight in this one case) the 
mother stated that the three children were hers, and that 
" all had been beautifully vaccinated." This case was 
investigated by Mr. J. Graham Spencer, of 33 Kigault 
Road, Fulham Park Gardens, and the facts were pub- 
lished in the local papers and also in " The Vaccination 
Inquirer " of December, 1883. 

Several other cases were detected at Sheffield, and 
were adduced by Mr. A. Wheeler in his evidence before 
the Commission (6th Keport, p. TO); and many others 
are to be found throughout the Anti-Vaccination peri- 
odicals. But the difficulty of tracing such misstate- 
ments is very great, as the authorities almost always re- 
fuse to give information as to the cases referred to when 
particular deaths from small-pox are recorded as " un- 
vaccinated." Why this effort at secrecy in such a mat- 
ter if there is nothing to hide ? Surely it is to the public 
interest that official statistics should be made as correct 
as possible ; and private persons who go to much trouble 
and expense in order to correct errors should be wel- 
comed as public benefactors and assisted in every way, 
not treated as impertinent intruders on official privacy, 
as is too frequently the case. 

The result of this prejudiced and unscientific method 
of registering small-pox mortality is the belief of the 
majority of the medical writers on the subject that there 
is an enormous difference between the mortality of the 
vaccinated and the unvaccinated, and that the difference 



240 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

is due to the fact of vaccination or the absence of it. 
The following are a few of the figures as to this point 
given in the Reports of the Royal Commission : 

DEATH RATE DEATH RATE 

AUTHORITY. OP OP 

VACCINATED. ONVACCINATED. 

Dr. Gay ton, in 3d Report (Table B, p. 245), 7.45 43 

Dr. Barry (Table F, p. 249), . . . 8.1 32.7 
Sir John Simon (1st Report, p. 74) . to 12| 14 to 60 

Mr. Sweeting, M.R.C.S. (2d Report, p. 119), 8.92 46.08 

Now an immense body of statistics of the last century 
compiled by disinterested persons who had no interest to 
serve by making the severity of small-pox large or small, 
gives an average of from 14 to 18 per cent. 1 as the pro- 
portion of small-pox deaths to cases; and we naturally 
ask, How is it that, with so much better sanitary condi- 
tions and greatly improved treatment, nearly half the 
unvaccinated patients die, while in the last century less 
than one-fifth died ? Many of the supporters of vaccina- 
tion, such as Dr. Gayton (2d Report, p. 1856), have no 
explanation to offer. Others, such as Dr. Whitelegge 
(6th Report, p. 533), believe that small-pox becomes 
more virulent periodically, and that one of its maxima 
of virulence caused the great epidemic of 1870-72, 
which, after more than half a century of vaccination, 
equalled some of the worst epidemics of the pre-vaccina- 
tion period. 

It is, however, a most suggestive fact that, consider- 
ing small-pox mortality per se, without reference to vac- 
cination the records of which are, as have been shown, 
utterly untrustworthy we find the case-mortality to 

1 See Table J, p. 201, 3d Report, and the Minority Report of the 
Roy. Comm., pp. 176-77. 



CHAP. xvni. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 241 



agree closely with that of the last century. Thus, the 
figures given in the Keports of the Hampstead, Homer- 
ton, and Deptf ord small-pox hospitals, at periods between 
1876 and 1879, were, 19, 18.8, and 17 per cent, re- 
spectively (3d Keport, p. 205). If we admit that only 
the worst cases went to the hospitals, but also allow some- 
thing for better treatment now, the result is quite ex- 
plicable; whereas the other result, of a greatly increased 
fatality in the unvaccinated so exactly balanced by an 
alleged greatly diminished fatality in the vaccinated is 
not explicable, especially when we remember that this 
diminished fatality applies to all ages, and it is now 
almost universally admitted that the alleged protective 
influence of vaccination dies out in ten or twelve years. 
These various opinions are really self -destructive. If 
epidemic small-pox is now much more virulent than in 
the last century as shown by the greater mortality of the 
unvaccinated now than then, the greatly diminished or 
almost vanishing effect of primary vaccination in adults 
cannot possibly have reduced their fatality to one-fifth 
or one-sixth of that of the other class. 

Again, it is admitted by many pro-vaccinist authori- 
ties that the unvaccinated, as a rule, belong to the poorer 
classes, while they also include most of the criminal 
classes ; tramps, and generally the nomad population. 
They also include all those children whose vaccination 
has been deferred on account of weakness or of their 
suffering from other diseases, as well as all those under 
vaccination age. The unvaccinated as a class are there- 
fore especially liable to zymotic disease of any kind, 
small-pox included; and when, in addition to these causes 
of a higher death-rate from small-pox, we take account 



242 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

of the proved untrustworthiness of the statistics, wholly 
furnished by men who are prejudiced in favor of vacci- 
nation (as instanced by the declaration of Dr. Gayton, 
that when the eruption is so severe as on the third day to 
hide the vaccination marks, it affords prima facie evi- 
dence of non-vaccination, 2d Report, Q. 1790), we are 
fully justified in rejecting all arguments in favor of vac- 
cination supported by such fallacious evidence. And 
this is the more rational course to be adopted by all un- 
prejudiced enquirers, because, as I shall now proceed to 
show, there is an abundance of facts of a more accurate 
and more satisfactory nature by which to test the 
question. 1 

One more point may be referred to before quitting 
this part of the subject, which is that the more recent 
official hospital-statistics themselves afford a demonstra- 
tion of the non-protective influence of vaccination, and 
thus serve as a complete refutation of the conclusions 
drawn from the statistics we have just been dealing with. 
Dr. Munk stated before the Hospital Commission that 
the percentage of vaccinated patients in the London 
small-pox hospital had increased from 40 per cent, in 
1838 to 94 T 6 F per cent. in 1879 (3d Report of Royal Com- 
mission, Q. 9090. This evidence was given in 1882; 
but Mr. Wheeler stated that, according to the Reports 
of the Highgate hospital, the vaccinated patients had 

1 The same view is taken even by some advocates of vaccination in 
Germany. In an account of the German " Commission for the Con- 
sideration of the Vaccination Question " in the British Medical Jour- 
nal, August 29, 1865 (p. 408), we find it stated: " In the view of Dr. 
Koch, no other statistical material than the mortality from small-pox 
can be relied upon; questions as to the vaccinated or unvaccinated 
condition of the patient leaving too much room for error." 



CHAP. xvin. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 243 

long been over 90 per cent, of the whole, and are now 
often even 94 or 95 per cent. The hospitals of the 
Metropolitan Asylums Board, which take in mostly 
pauper patients, give a lower percentage the Homer- 
ton hospital 85 per cent., the Deptford hospital 87 per 
cent., and the Hampstead hospital 75 per cent. in the 
two latter cases adding the " doubtful " class to the 
vaccinated, as the facts already given prove that we have 
a right to do and still probably give too high a propor- 
tion of unvaccinated. As the proportion of the London 
population that is vaccinated cannot be over 90 per cent, 
(see Minority Keport, pp. 173-174), and is probably 
much lower, and considering the kind of patients the un- 
vaccinated include (see back, p. 241), there remains abso- 
lutely nothing for the effects of vaccination. We have 
already seen that the total case-mortality of these hospi- 
tals agrees closely with that of the last century; the two 
classes of facts, taken together, thus render it almost cer- 
tain that vaccination has never saved a single human life. 

III. 

THE GENERAL STATISTICS OF SMALL-POX MORTALITY IN 
RELATION TO VACCINATION. 

HAVING thus cleared away the mass of doubtful or 
erroneous statistics depending on comparisons of the vac- 
cinated and the unvaccinated in limited areas or selected 
groups of patients, we turn to the only really important 
evidence, those " masses of national experience " which 
Sir John Simon, the great official advocate of vaccina- 
tion, tells us we must now appeal to for an authoritative 
decision on the question of the value of vaccination; to 



244 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

which may be added certain classes of official evidence 
serving as test cases or " control experiments " on a large 
scale. Almost the whole of the evidence will be derived 
from the Reports of the recent Royal Commission. 

In determining what statistics really mean the graphic 
is the only scientific method, since, except in a few very 
simple cases, long tables of figures are confusing; and if 
divided up and averages taken, as is often done, they can 
be manipulated so as to conceal their real teaching. 
Diagrams, on the other hand, enable us to see the whole 
bearing of the variations that occur, while for compari- 
son of one set of figures with another their superiority 
is overwhelming. This is especially the case with the 
statistics of epidemics and of general mortality, because 
the variations are so irregular and often so large as to 
render tables of figures very puzzling, while any just 
comparison of several tables with each other becomes 
impossible. I shall therefore put all the statistics I have 
to lay before my readers in the form of diagrams, which, 
I believe, with a little explanation, will enable anyone to 
grasp the main points of the argument. (See end of 
volume.) 

London Mortality and Small-pox. 

The first and largest of the diagrams illustrating tiiis 
question is that exhibiting the mortality of London from 
the year 1760 down to the present day (see end of vol- 
ume). It is divided into two portions, that from 1760 
to 1834 being derived from the old " Bills of Mortality," 
that from 1838 to 1896 from the Reports of the Regis- 
trar-General. 

The " Bills of Mortality " are the only material avail- 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 245 

able for the first period, and they are far inferior in 
accuracy to the modern registration, but they are prob- 
ably of a fairly uniform character throughout, and may 
therefore be as useful for purposes of comparison as if 
they were more minutely accurate. It is admitted that 
they did not include the whole of the deaths, and the 
death-rates calculated from the estimated population 
will therefore be too low as compared with those of the 
Registrar-General, but the course of each death-rate 
its various risings or fallings will probably be nearly 
true. 1 The years are given along the bottom of the 
diagram, and the deaths per million living are indicated 
at the two ends and in the centre; the last four years of 
the Bills of Mortality being omitted because they are 
considered to be especially inaccurate. The upper line 
gives the total death-rate from all causes, the middle line 
the death-rate from the chief zymotic diseases measles, 
scarlet-fever, diphtheria, whooping-cough, and fevers 
generally, excluding small-pox, and the lower line small- 
pox only. The same diseases, as nearly as they can be 
identified in the Bills of Mortality, according to Dr. 

1 It is always stated that only the deaths of those persons belong- 
ing to the Church of England, or who were buried in the church- 
yards, are recorded in the "Bills." This seems very improbable, 
because the ''searchers" must have visited the house and recorded 
the death before the burial; and as they were of course paid a fee for 
each death certified by them, they would not inquire very closely as 
to the religious opinions of the family, or where the deceased was to 
be buried. A friend of mine who lived in London before the epoch 
of registration informs me that he remembers the " searchers' " visit 
on the occasion of the death of his grandmother. They were two 
women dressed in black; the family were strict dissenters, and the 
burial was at the Bunhill Fields cemetery for Nonconformists. This 
case proves that in all probability the "Bills" did include the deaths 
of many, perhaps most, Nonconformists. 



246 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP xvm. 



Creighton, are given in the earlier portion of the dia- 
gram from the figures given in his great work, " A His- 
tory of Epidemics in Britain." As regards the line of 
small-pox mortality, the diagram is the same as that 
presented to the Royal Commission (3d Report, Dia- 
gram J.), but it is carried back to an earlier date. 

Let us now examine the lowest line, showing the small- 
pox death-rate. First taking the period from 1760 to 
1800, we see, amid great fluctuations and some excep- 
tional epidemics, a well-marked steady decline which, 
though obscured by its great irregularity, amounts to a 
difference of 1000 per million living. This decline con- 
tinues, perhaps somewhat more rapidly, to 1820. From 
that date to 1834 the decline is much less, and is hardly 
perceptible. The period of Registration opens with the 
great epidemic of 1838, and thenceforward to 1885 
the decline is very slow indeed ; while, if we average the 
great epidemic of 1871 with the preceding ten years, we 
shall not be able to discover any decline at all. From 
1886, however, there is a rather sudden 'decline to a 
very low death-rate, which has continued to the present 
time. Now it is alleged by advocates of vaccination, 
and by the Commissioners in their Report, that the de- 
cline from 1800 onward is due to vaccination, either 
wholly or in great part, and that " the marked decline of 
small-pox in the first quarter of the present century 
affords substantial evidence in favor of the protective in- 
fluence of vaccination." : This conclusion is not only 
entirely unwarranted by the evidence on any accepted 
methods of scientific reasoning, but it is disproved by 
several important facts. In the first place the decline 
1 Final Report of Roy. Cornm. p 20 (par. 85). 



CHAP. XVIII. 



VACCINATION A DELUSION. 



247 



in tlie first quarter of the century is a clear continuation 
of a decline which had been going on during the preced- 
ing forty years, and whatever causes produced that 
earlier decline may very well have produced the con- 
tinuation of it. Again, in the first quarter of the cen- 
tury, vaccination was comparatively small in amount and 
imperfectly performed. Since 1854 it has been com- 
pulsory and almost universal; yet from 1854 to 1884 
there is almost no decline of small-pox perceptible, and 
the severest epidemic of the century occurred in the 
midst of that period. Yet again, the one clearly marked 
decline of small-pox has been in the ten years from 1886 
to 1896, and it is precisely in this period that there has 
been a great falling off in vaccination in London, from 
only 7 per cent, less than the births in 1885 to 20.6 per 
cent, less in 1894, the last year given in the Keports of 
the Local Government board; and the decrease of vacci- 
nations has continued since. 

But even more important, as showing that vaccination 
has had nothing whatever to do with the decrease of 
small-pox, is the very close general parallelism of the line 
showing the other zymotic diseases, the diminution of 
which it is admitted has been caused by improved 
hygienic conditions. The decline of this group 'of dis- 
eases in the first quarter of this century, though some- 
what less regular, is quite as well marked as in the case 
of small-pox, as is also its decline in the last forty years 
of the eighteenth century, strongly suggesting that both 
declines are due to common causes. Let anyone ex- 
amine this diagram carefully and say if it is credible that 
from 1760 to 1800 both declines are due to some im- 
proved conditions of hygiene and sanitation, but that 



248 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

after 1800, while the zymotics have continued to decline 
from the same class of causes, one zymotic small-pox 
must have been influenced by a new cause vaccination, 
to produce its corresponding decline. Yet this is the 
astounding claim made by the Royal Commissioners! 
And if we turn to the other half of the diagram showing 
the period of registration, the difficulty becomes even 
greater. We first have a period from 1838 to 1870, in 
which the zymotics actually rose; and from 1838 to 
1871, averaging the great epidemic with the preceding 
ten years, we find that small-pox also rose, or at the best 
remained quite stationary. From 1871 to 1875 
zymotics are much lower, but run quite parallel with 
small-pox; then there is a slight decline in both, and 
zymotics and small-pox remain lower in the last ten years 
than they have ever been before, although in this last 
period vaccination has greatly diminished. 

Turning to the upper line, showing the death-rate 
from all causes, we again find a parallelism throughout, 
indicating improved general conditions acting upon all 
diseases. The decline of the total death-rate from 1760 
to 1810 is remarkably great, and it continues at a some- 
what less rate to 1830, just as do the zymotics and small- 
pox. Then commences a period from 1840 to 1870 of 
hardly perceptible decline partly due to successive epi- 
demics of cholera, again running parallel with the course 
of the zymotics and of small-pox; followed by a great 
decline to the present time, corresponding in amount to 
that at the beginning of the century. 

The Commissioners repeatedly call attention to the 
fact that the mortality from measles has not at all de- 
clined, and that other zymotics have not declined, 



CHAP. XVIII. 



VACCINATION A DELUSION. 



249 



in the same proportion as small-pox, and they argue: 
" If improved sanitary conditions were the cause of 
small-pox becoming less, we should expect to see that 
they had exercised a similar influence over almost all 
other diseases. Why should they not produce the same 
effect in the case of measles, scarlet fever, whooping- 
cough, and indeed any disease spread by contagion or 
infection and from which recovery was possible? " This 
seems a most extraordinary position to be taken in view 
of the well-known disappearance of various diseases at 
different epochs. Why did leprosy almost disappear 
from England at so early a period and plague later on? 
Surely to some improved conditions of health. The 
Commissioners do not, and we may presume cannot, tell 
us why measles, of all the zymotic diseases, has rather 
increased than diminished during the whole of this cen- 
tury. Many students of epidemics hold that certain 
diseases are liable to replace each other, as suggested by 
Dr. Watt of Glasgow, in the case of measles and small- 
pox. Dr. Fair, the great medical statistician, adopted 
this view. In his Annual Report to the Registrar-Gen- 
eral in 1872 (p. 224), he says: " The zymotic diseases 
replace each other; and when one is rooted out it is apt 
to be replaced by others which ravage the human race 
indifferently whenever the conditions of healthy life are 
wanting. They have this property in common with 
weeds and other forms of life : as one species recedes an- 
other advances." This last remark is very suggestive in 
view of the modern germ-theory of these diseases. This 
substitution theory is adopted by Dr. Creighton, who in 
his " History of Epidemics in England " suggests that 
plague was replaced by typhus fever and small-pox ; and, 



250 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 



later on, measles, which was insignificant before the 
middle of the seventeenth century, began to replace the 
latter disease. In order to show the actual state of the 
mortality from these diseases during the epoch of regis- 
tration, I have prepared a diagram (II.) giving the death- 
rates for London of five of the chief zymotics, from the 
returns of the Kegistrar-General, under the headings he 
adopted down to 1868 for to divide fevers into three 
kinds for half the period, and to separate scarlatina and 
diphtheria, as first done in 1859, would prevent any use- 
ful comparison from being made. 

The lowest line, as in the larger diagram, shows small- 
pox. Above it is measles, which keeps on the whole a 
very level course, showing, however, the high middle 
period of the zymotics and two lew periods, from 1869 
to 1876, and from 1848 to 1856, the first nearly cor- 
responding to the very high small-pox death-rate from 
1870 to 1881; and the other just following the two 
small-pox epidemics of 1844 and 1848, thus supporting 
the view that it is in process of replacing that disease. 
Scarlatina and diphtheria show the high rate of zymotics 
generally from 1848 to 1870, with a large though irregu- 
lar decline subsequently. Whooping-cough shows a 
nearly level course to 1882 and then a well-marked de- 
cline. Fevers (typhus, enteric, and simple) show the 
usual high middle period, but with an earlier and more 
continuous decline than any of the other zymotic dis- 
eases. We thus see that all these diseases exhibit com- 
mon features though in very different degrees, all 
indicating the action of general causes, some of which it 
is by no means difficult to point out. 

In 1845 began the great development of our railway 



CHAP. xvin. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 251 



system, and with it the rapid growth of London, from 
a population of two millions in 1844 to one of four mil- 
lions in 1884. This rapid growth of population was at 
first accompanied with overcrowding, and, as no ade- 
quate measures of sanitation were then provided, the 
conditions were prepared for that increase of zymotic 
disease which constitutes so remarkable a feature of the 
London death-rates between 1848 and 1866. But at 
the latter date commenced a considerable decline both in 
the total mortality and in that from all the zymotic dis- 
eases, except measles and small-pox, but more especially 
in fevers and diphtheria, and this decrease is equally well 
explained by the completion, in 1865, of that gigantic 
work, the main drainage of London. The last marked 
decline in small-pox, in fevers, and to a less marked de- 
gree in whooping-cough, is coincident with a recognition 
of the fact that hospitals are themselves often centres of 
contagion, and the establishment of floating hospitals for 
London cases of small-pox. Perhaps even more benefi- 
cial was the modern system of excluding sewer-gas from 
houses. 

We thus see that the increase or decrease of the chief 
zymotic diseases in London during the period of regis- 
tration is clearly connected with adverse or favorable 
hygienic conditions of a definite kind. During the 
greater part of this period small-pox and measles alone 
showed no marked increase or decrease, indicating that 
the special measures affecting them had not been put in 
practice, till ten years back the adoption of an effective 
system of isolation in the case of small-pox has been fol- 
lowed by such marked results wherever it has been 
adopted as to show that this is the one method yet tried 



252 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

that has produced any large and unmistakable effect, 
thus confirming the experience of the town of Leicester, 
which will be referred to later on. 

The Commissioners, in their " Final Keport," lay the 
greatest stress on the decline of small-pox at the begin- 
ning of the century, which " followed upon the intro- 
duction of vaccination," both in England, in Western 
Europe, and in the United States. They declare that 
" there is no proof that sanitary improvements were the 
main cause of the decline of small-pox," and that " no 
evidence is forthcoming to show that during the first 
quarter of the nineteenth century these improvements 
differentiated that quarter from the last quarter or half 
of the preceding century in any way at all comparable 
to the extent of the differentiation in respect to small- 
pox " (p. 19, par. 79). To the accuracy of these state- 
ments I demur in the strongest manner. There is proof 
that sanitary improvements were the main cause of this 
decline of small-pox early in the century, viz., that the 
other zymotic diseases as a whole showed a simultaneous 
decline to a nearly equal amount, while the general 
death-rate showed a decline to a much greater amount, 
both admittedly due to improved hygienic conditions, 
since there is no other known cause of the diminution of 
disease; and that the Commissioners altogether ignore 
these two facts affords, to my mind, a convincing proof 
of their incapacity to deal with this great statistical ques- 
tion. And, as to the second point, I maintain that there 
is ample direct evidence, for those who look for it, of 
great improvements in the hygienic conditions of Lon- 
don quite adequate to account for the great decline in 
the general mortality, and therefore equally adequate to 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 253 



account for the lesser declines in zymotic diseases and in 
small-pox, both of which began in the last century, and 
only became somewhat intensified in the first quarter of 
the present century, to be followed, twenty years later, 
by a complete check or even a partial rise. This rise 
was equally marked in small-pox as in the other diseases, 
and thus proved, as clearly as anything can be proved, 
that its decline and fluctuations are in no way depend- 
ent on vaccination, but are, due to causes of the very 
same general nature as in the case of other diseases. 

To give the evidence for this improvement in London 
hygiene would, however, break the continuity of the 
discussion as to small-pox and vaccination; but the com- 
parison of the general and zymotic death-rates with that 
of small-pox exhibits so clearly the identity of the causes 
which have acted upon them all as to render the detailed 
examination of the various improved conditions that led 
to the diminished mortality unnecessary. The diagram 
showing the death-rates from these three causes of itself 
furnishes a complete refutation of the Commissioners' 
argument. The evidence as to the nature of the im- 
proved conditions is given in an appendix at the end of 
this chapter. 

Small-pox and other Diseases in Britain during the 
Period of Registration. 

We have no general statistics of mortality in England 
and Wales till the establishment of the Kegistration sys- 
tem in 1838, but the results make up for their limited 
duration by their superior accuracy. Till the year 1870 
no record was kept of the amount of vaccination, except 



254 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 



as performed by the public vaccinators; but since 1872 
all vaccinations are recorded, and the numbers published 
by the Local Government Board. My third diagram is 
for the purpose of showing graphically the relation of 
small-pox to other zymotic diseases, and to vaccination, 
for England and Wales. The lower line shows small- 
pox, the middle one zymotic diseases, and the upper the 
total death-rates. The relations of the three, are much 
the same as in the London diagram, the beginning of the 
great decline of zymotics being in 1871, and that of 
small-pox in 1872, but the line of small-pox is much 
lower, and zymotics somewhat lower than in London, 
due to a larger proportion of the inhabitants living under 
comparatively healthy rural conditions. 

But if the amount of vaccination were the main and 
almost exclusive factor in determining the amount of 
small-pox, there ought to be little or no difference be- 
tween London and the country. But here, as in all 
other cases, the great factor of comparative density of 
population in compared areas is seen to have its full 
effect on small-pox mortality as in that of all other 
zymotic diseases. 

This non-relation between vaccination and small-pox 
mortality is further proved by the dotted line, showing 
the total vaccinations per cent, of births for the last 22 
years, as given in the " Final Keport " (p. 34). The 
diminution of vaccination in various parts of the coun- 
try began about 1884, and from 1886 has been continu- 
ous and rapid, and it is during this very period that 
small-pox has been continuously less in amount than has 
ever been known before. Both in the relation of Lon- 
don small-pox to that of the whole country, and in the 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 255 

relation of small-pox to vaccination, we find proof of the 
total inefficacy of that operation. 

Small-pox in Scotland and in Ireland. 

In their " Final Keport " the Commissioners give us 
Tables of the death-rates from small-pox, measles, and 
scarlet fever in Scotland and Ireland; and from these 
Tables I have constructed my diagram (IV.), combining 
the two latter diseases for simplicity, and including the 
period of compulsory vaccination and accurate registra- 
tion in both countries. 

The most interesting feature of this diagram is the 
striking difference in the death-rates of the two coun- 
tries: Scotland, the richer, more populous, and more 
prosperous country having a much greater mortality, 
both from the two zymotics and from small-pox than 
poor, famine-stricken, depopulated Ireland. The maxi- 
mum death-rate by the two zymotics in Scotland is con- 
siderably more than double that in Ireland, and the 
minimum is larger in the same proportion. In small- 
pox the difference is also very large in the same direc- 
tion, for although the death-rate during the great epi- 
demic in 1872 was only one-fourth greater in Scotland, 
yet as the epidemic there lasted three years, the total 
death-rate for those years was nearly twice as great as 
for the same period in Ireland, which, however, had a 
small epidemic later on in 1878. Since 1883 small-pox 
has been almost absent from both countries, as from 
England; but taking the twenty years of repeated epi- 
demics from 1864 to 1883, we find the average small- 
pox death-rate of Scotland to be about 139, and that of 
Ireland 85 per million, or considerably more than as 



256 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 



three to two. But even Scotland had a much lower 
small-pox mortality than England, the proportions being 
as folloAvs for the three years which included the epi- 
demic of 1871-73: 

Iivland. 800 per million in the three years. 
Scotland, 1450 per million in the three years. 
England, 2000 per million in the three years. 

Now the Royal Commissioners make no remark what- 
ever on these very suggestive facts, and they have ar- 
ranged the information in tables in such a way as to ren- 
der it very difficult to discover them; and this is another 
proof of their incapacity to deal with statistical ques- 
tions. They seem to be unable to look at small-pox from 
any other point of view than that of the vaccinationists, 
and thus miss the essential features of the evidence they 
have before them.. Every statistician knows the enor- 
mous value of the representation of tabular statistics by 
means of diagrammatic curves. It is the only way by 
which in many cases the real teaching of statistics can be 
detected. An enormous number of such diagrams, more 
or less instructive and complete, were presented to them, 
and, at great cost, are printed in the Reports; but I can- 
not find that, in their " Final Report/' they have made 
any adequate use of them, or have once referred to them, 
and thus it is that they have overlooked so many of the 
most vital teachings of the huge mass of figures with 
which they had to deal. 

It is one of the most certain of facts relating to sani- 
tation that comparative density of population affects 
disease, and especially the zymotic diseases, more than 
any other factor that can be ascertained. It is mainly 
a case of purity of the air, and consequent purification of 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 257 

the blood; and when we consider that breathing is the 
most vital and most continuous of all organic functions, 
that we must and do breathe every moment of our lives, 
that the air we breathe is taken into the lungs, one of 
the largest, and most delicate organs of the body, and 
that the air so taken in acts directly upon the blood, and 
thus affects the whole organism, we see at once how 
vitally important it is that the air around us should be 
as free as possible from contamination, either by the 
breathing of other people, or by injurious gases or par- 
ticles from decomposing organic matter, or by the germs 
of disease. Hence it happens that under our present 
terribly imperfect social arrangements the death-rate 
(other things being equal) is a function of the popula- 
tion per square mile, or perhaps more accurately of the 
proportions of town to rural populations. 

In the light of this consideration let us again com- 
pare these diagrams of Irish, Scottish, and English 
death-rates. In Ireland only 11 per cent, of the popula- 
tion live in the towns of 100,000 inhabitants and up- 
ward; in Scotland 30 per cent., and in England and 
Wales 54 per cent.; and we find the mortality from 
zymotic diseases to be roughly proportional to these 
figures. We see here unmistakable cause and effect. 
Impure air, with all else that overcrowding implies, on 
the one hand; higher death-rate on the other. This ex- 
plains the constant difference between London and rural 
mortality, and it also explains what seems to have 
puzzled the Commissioners more than anything else 
the intractability of some of the zymotics to ordinary 
sanitation, as in the case of measles especially, and in a 
less degree of whooping-cough for in their case the 



258 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvra. 

continual growth of urban as opposed to rural popula- 
tions has neutralized the effects of such improved con- 
ditions as we have been able to introduce. 

I3ut the most important fact for our present purpose 
is that small-pox is subject to this law just as are the 
other zymotics, while it pays no attention whatever to 
vaccination. The statistician to the Eegistrar-General 
for Scotland gave evidence that ever since 1864 more 
than 96 per cent, of the children born had been vacci- 
nated or had had previous small-pox, and he makes no 
suggestion of any deficiency that can be remedied. But 
in the case of Ireland the medical commissioner for the 
Local Government Board for Ireland, Dr. MacCabe, told 
the Commissioners that vaccination there was very im- 
perfect, and that a large proportion of the population was 
" unprotected by vaccination," this state of things being 
due to various causes, which he explained (2d Keport, 
QQ. 3059-3075). But neither Dr. MacCabe nor the 
Commissioners notice the suggestive, and from their 
point of view alarming, fact that imperfectly vaccinated 
Ireland had had far less small-pox mortality than thor- 
oughly well-vaccinated Scotland, enormously less than 
well-vaccinated England, and overwhelmingly less than 
equally well-vaccinated London. Ireland Scotland 
England London a graduated series in density of 
population, and in zymotic death-rate; the small-pox 
death-rate increasing in the same order and to an enor- 
mous extent, quite regardless of the fact that the last 
three have had practically complete vaccination during 
the whole period of the comparison; while Ireland alone, 
with the lowest small-pox death-rate by far, has, on offi- 
cial testimony, the least amount of vaccination. And 



CHAP, xviii. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 259 

yet the majority of the Commissioners still pin their 
faith on vaccination, and maintain that the cumulative 
force of the testimony in its favor is irresistible! And 
further, that " sanitary improvements " cannot be 
asserted to afford " an adequate explanation of the 
diminished mortality from small-pox." 

It will now be clear to my readers that these conclu- 
sions, set forth as the final outcome of their seven years' 
labors, are the very reverse of the true ones; and that 
they have arrived at them by neglecting altogether to 
consider, in their mutual relations, " those great masses 
of national statistics " which alone can be depended on 
to point out true causes, but have limited themselves to 
such facts as the alleged mortalities of the vaccinated and 
the unvaccinated, changes of age-incidence, and other 
matters of detail, some of which are entirely vitiated by 
untrustworthy evidence, while others require skilled 
statistical treatment to arrive at true results a subject 
quite beyond the powers of untrained physicians and 
lawyers, however eminent in their own special depart- 
ments. 1 

Small-pox and Vaccination on the Continent. 

Before proceeding to discuss those special test-cases in 
our own country which still more completely show the 
impotence of vaccination, it will be well to notice a few 
Continental States which have been, and still are, 
quoted as affording illustrations of its benefits. 

1 As an example of the Commissioners' statistical fallacies in treat- 
ing the subject of changed age-incidence, see Mr. Alexander Paul's 
"A Royal Commission's Arithmetic" (King & Son, 1897), and, 
especially, Mr. A. Millies' " Statistics of Small-pox and Vaccination" 
in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, September, 1897. 



260 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



CHAP. XVIII. 



We will first take Sweden, which has had fairly com- 
plete national statistics longer than any other country: 
and we are now fortunately able to give the facts on the 
most recent official testimony the Report furnished by 
the Swedish Board of Health to the Royal Commission, 
and published in the Appendix to their Sixth Report 
(pp. 751-56). Such great authorities as Sir AVilliam 
Gull, Dr. Seaton, and Mr. Marson, stated before the 
Committee of Enquiry in 1871 that Sweden was one of 
the best vaccinated countries, and that the Swedes were 
the best vaccinators. Sir John Simon's celebrated 
paper, which was laid before Parliament in 1857 and 
was one of the chief supports of compulsory legislation, 
made much of Sweden, and had a special diagram to 
illustrate the effects of vaccination on small-pox. This 
paper is reproduced in the First Report of the recent 
Royal Commission (pp. 61-113), and we find the usual 
comparison of small-pox mortality in the last and present 
century, which is held to be conclusive as to the benefits 
of vaccination. He says vaccination was introduced in 
1801, and divides his diagram into two halves, differently 
colored before and after this date. It will be observed 
that, as in England, there was a great and sudden de- 
crease of small-pox mortality after 1801, the date of the 
first vaccination in Sweden, and by 1812 the whole re- 
duction of mortality was completed. But from that 
date for more than sixty years there was an almost con- 
tinuous increase in frequency and severity of the epi- 
demics. To account for this, sudden and enormous 
decrease Sir John Simon states, in a note, and without 
giving his authority: " About 181.0 the vaccinations 
were amounting to nearly a quarter of the number of 



CHAP. xvnr. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 261 

births." But these were almost certainly both adults 
and children of various ages, and the official returns 
now given show that down to 1812, when the whole re- 
.duction of small-pox mortality had been effected, only 
8 per cent, of the population had been vaccinated. We 
are told, in a note to the official tables, that the first suc- 
cessful vaccination in Stockholm was at the end of 1810, 
so that the earlier vaccinations must have been mainly 
in the rural districts ; yet the earlier Stockholm epi- 
demics in 1807, before a single inhabitant was vacci- 
nated, and in 1825, were less severe than the six later 
ones, when vaccination was far more general. 

Bearing these facts in mind, and looking at Diagram 
V., we see that it absolutely negatives the idea of vacci- 
nation having had anything to do with the great reduc- 
tion of small-pox mortality, which was almost all effected 
before the first successful vaccination in the capital on 
the 17th December, 1810! And this becomes still more 
clear when we see that, as vaccination increased among 
a population which, the official Eeport tells us, had the 
most " perfect confidence " in it, small-pox epidemics in- 
creased in virulence, especially in the capital (shown in 
the diagram by the dotted peaks) where, in 1874, there 
was a small-pox mortality of 7916 per million, reaching 
10,290 per million during the whole epidemic, which 
lasted two years. This was worse than the worst epi- 
demic in London during the eighteenth century. 1 

But although there is no sign of a relation between 

1 The highest small-pox mortality in London was in 1772, when 
3992 deaths were recorded in an estimated population of 727,000, or 
a death-rate of not quite 5500 per million. (See Second Report, p. 
290.) 



262 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 



vaccination and the decrease of small-pox, there is a very 
clear relation between it and the decrease in the general 
mortality. This is necessarily shown on a much smaller 
vertical scale to bring it into the diagram. If it were 
on the same scale as the small-pox line, its downward 
slope would be four times as rapid as it is. The decrease 
in .the century is from about 27,000 to 15,000 per mil- 
lion, and, with the exception of the period of the Na- 
poleonic wars, the improvement is nearly continuous 
throughout. There has evidently been a great and con- 
tinuous improvement in healthy conditions of life in 
Sweden, as in our own country and probably in all other 
European nations, and this improvement, or some special 
portion of it, must have acted powerfully on small-pox 
to cause the enormous diminution of the disease down to 
1812, with which, as we have seen, vaccination could 
have had nothing to do. The only thing that vaccina- 
tion seems to have done is to have acted as a check to 
this diminution, since it is otherwise impossible to ex- 
plain the complete cessation of improvement as the 
operation became more general; and this is more espe- 
cially the case in view of the fact that the general death- 
rate has continued to decrease at almost the same rate 
down to the present day! 

The enormous small-pox mortality in Stockholm has 
been explained as the result of very deficient vaccina- 
tion; but the Swedish Board of Health states that this 
deficiency was more apparent than real, first, because 25 
per cent, of the children born in Stockholm die before 
completing their first year, and also because of neglect 
to report private vaccinations, so that " the low figures 
for Stockholm depend more on the cases of vaccina- 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 263 

tion not having been reported than on their not hav- 
ing been effected.' 7 (Sixth Report, p. 754, 1st col., 
3d par.) 

The plain and obvious teaching of the facts embodied 
in this diagram is that small-pox mortality is in no way 
influenced (except it be injuriously) by vaccination, but 
that here, as elsewhere, it does bear an obvious relation 
to density of population; and also that, when unin- 
fluenced by vaccination, it follows the same law of de- 
crease with improved conditions of general health as does 
the total death-rate. 

This case of Sweden alone affords complete proof of 
the uselessness of vaccination; yet the Commissioners in 
the " Final Report " (par. 59) refer to the great diminu- 
tion of small-pox mortality in the first twenty years of 
the century as being due to it. They make no compari- 
son with the total death-rate; they say nothing of the in- 
crease of small-pox from 1824 to 1874; they omit all 
reference to the terrible Stockholm epidemics increasing 
continuously for fifty years of legally enforced vaccina- 
tion and culminating in that of 1874, which was far 
worse than the worst known in London during the whole 
of the eighteenth century. Official blindness to the 
most obvious facts and conclusions can hardly have a 
more striking illustration than the appeal to the case of 
Sweden as being favorable to the claims of vaccination. 

My next diagram (No. VI.) shows the course of small- 
pox in Prussia since 1816, with an indication of the epi- 
demics in Berlin in 1864 and 1871. Dr. Seaton, in 
1871, said to the Committee on Vaccination (Q. 5608), 
" I know Prussia is well protected," and the general 
medical opinion was expressed thus in an article in the 



264 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



Pall Mall Gazette (May 24, 1871): " Prussia is the coun- 
try where revaccination is most generally practised, the 
law making the precaution obligatory on every person, 
and the authorities conscientiously watching over its 
performance. As a natural result, cases of small-pox 
are rare." Never was there a more glaring untruth 
than this last statement. It is true that revaccination 
was enforced in public schools and other institutions, 
and most rigidly in the Army,so that a very large pro- 
portion of the adult male population must have been re- 
vaccinated; but, instead of cases of small-pox being rare, 
there had been for the twenty-four years preceding 1871 
a much greater small-pox mortality in Prussia than in 
England; the annual average being 248 per million for 
the former and only 210 for the latter. A comparison 
of the two diagrams shows the difference at a glance. 
English small-pox only once reached 400 per million (in 
1852), while in Prussia it four times exceeded that 
amount. And immediately after the words above 
quoted were written, the great epidemic of 1871-72 
caused a mortality in revaccinated Prussia more than 
double that of England. Now, after these facts have 
been persistently made known by the anti-vaccinators, 
the amount of vaccination in Prussia before 1871 is 
depreciated, and Dr. A. F. Hopkirk actually classes it 
among countries " without compulsory vaccination." 
(See table and diagram opposite p. 238 in the 2d Re- 
port.) 

In the city of Berlin we have indicated two epidemics, 
that in 1864, with a death-rate a little under 1000 per 
million, while that in 1871 rose to 6150 per million, or 
considerably more than twice as much as that of London 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 265 



in the same year, although the city must have contained 
a very large male population which had passed through 
the Army, and had therefore been revaccinated. 

I give one more diagram (No. VII.) of small-pox in 
Bavaria, from a table laid before the Royal Commission 
by Dr. Hopkirk for the purpose of showing the results of 
long-continued compulsory vaccination. He stated to 
the Commission that vaccination was made compulsory 
in 1807, and that in 1871 there were 30,742 cases of 
small-pox, of which 95.7 per cent, were vaccinated. (2d 
Report, Q. 1489.) He then explains that this was 
because " nearly the whole population was vaccinated " ; 
but he does not give any figures to prove that the vacci- 
nated formed more than this proportion of the whole 
population; and as the vaccination age was one year, it 
is certain that they did not do so. 1 He calls this being 
" slightly attacked," and argues that it implies " some 
special protection." No doubt the small-pox mortality 
of Bavaria was rather low, about equal to that of Ire- 
land; but in 1871 it rose to over 1000 per million, while 
Ireland had only 600, besides which the epidemic lasted 
for two years, and was therefore very nearly equal to 
that of England. But we have the explanation when 
we look at the line showing the other zymotics, for these 
are decidedly lower than those of England, showing bet- 
ter general sanitary conditions. In Bavaria, as in all 
the other countries we have examined, the behavior of 
small-pox shows no relation to vaccination, but the very 
closest relation to the other zymotics and to density of 

1 The small-pox deaths under one year in England have varied dur- 
ing the last fifty years from 8.6 to 27 per cent, of the whole. (See 
"Final Report," p. 154.) 



266 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

population. The fact of 95.7 per cent, of the small-pox 
patients having been vaccinated agrees with that of our 
Highgate Hospital, but is even more remarkable as ap- 
plying to the population of a whole country, and is alone 
sufficient to condemn vaccination as useless. And as 
there were 5070 deaths to these cases, the fatality was 
16.5 per cent., or almost the same as that of the last cen- 
tury; so that here again, and on a gigantic scale, the 
theory that the disease is " mitigated " by vaccination, 
even where not prevented, is shown to be utterly base- 
less. Yet this case of Bavaria was chosen by a strong 
vaccinist as affording a striking proof of the value of 
vaccination when thoroughly carried out; and I cannot 
find that the Commissioners took the trouble to make the 
comparisons here given, which would at once have shown 
them that what the case of Bavaria really proves is the 
complete uselessness of vaccination. 

This most misleading, unscientific, and unfair pro- 
ceeding, of giving certain figures of small-pox mortality 
among the well-vaccinated, and then, without any ade- 
quate comparison, asserting that they afford a proof of 
the value of vaccination, may be here illustrated by an- 
other example. In the original paper by Sir John 
Simon on the " History and Practice of Vaccination," 
presented to Parliament in 1857, there is, in the Appen- 
dix, a statement by Dr. T. Graham Balfour, surgeon to 
the Royal Military Asylum for Orphans at Chelsea, as 
to the effects of vaccination in that institution that 
since the opening. of the Asylum in 1803 the Vaccination 
Register has been accurately kept, and that everyone 
who entered was vaccinated unless he had been vacci- 
nated before or had had small-pox; and he adds: " Satis- 



CHAP. xvin. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 267 

factory evidence can therefore, in this instance, be ob- 
tained that they were all protected." Then he gives the 
statistics, showing that during forty-eight years, from 
1803 to 1851, among 31,705 boys there were thirty- 
nine cases and four deaths, giving a mortality at the rate 
of 126 per million on the average number in the Asylum, 
and concludes by saying: " The preceding facts appear 
to offer most conclusive proofs of the value of vaccina- 
tion." But he gives no comparison with other boys of 
about the same age and living under equally healthy 
conditions, but who had not been so uniformly or so re- 
cently vaccinated; for it must be remembered that, as 
this was long before the epoch of compulsory vaccina- 
tion, a large proportion of the boys would be unvacci- 
nated at their entrance, and would therefore have the 
alleged benefit of a recent vaccination. But when we 
make the comparison, which both Dr. Balfour and Sir 
John Simon failed to make, we find that these well-vac- 
cinated and protected boys had a greater small-pox mor- 
tality than the imperfectly protected outsiders. For in 
the First Eeport of the Commission (p. 114, Table B) 
we find it stated that in the period of optional vaccination 
(1847-53) the death-rate from small-pox of persons from 
ten to fifteen years 1 was 94 per million! Instead of 
offering " most conclusive proofs of the value of vacci- 
nation," his own facts and figures, if they prove 
anything at all, prove not only the uselessness but 
the evil of vaccination, and that it really tends to in- 
crease small-pox mortality. And this conclusion is 

1 This almost exactly agrees with the ages of the boys, who are ad- 
mitted between nine and eleven, and leave at fourteen. (See Low's 
" Handbook of London Charities.") 



268 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

also reached by Professor Adolf Vogt, who, in the 
elaborate statistical paper sent by him to the Royal Com- 
mission, and printed in their Sixth Report, but not other- 
wise noticed by them, shows, by abundant statistics from 
various countries, that the small-pox death-rate and 
fatality have been increased during epidemics occurring 
in the epoch of vaccination. 

One more point deserves notice before leaving this 
part of the enquiry, which is the specially high small- 
pox mortality of great commercial seaports. The 
following table, compiled from Dr. Pierce's " Vital 
Statistics " for the Continental towns and from the 
Reports of the Royal Commission for those of our own 
country, is very remarkable and instructive. 

NAME OF TOWN. YEAR. SMALL pox DEATH-RATE 

PER MILLION. 

Hamburgh, .... 1871 15,440 

Rotterdam, .... 1871 14.280 

Cork 1872 9,600 

Sunderland, .... 1871 8,650 

Stockholm, .... 1874 7,916 

Trieste 1872 6,980 

Newcastle-on-Tyne, . . . 1871 5,410 

Portsmouth, . . . . 1872 4,420 

Dublin, ..... 1872 4,330 

Liverpool, . . 1871 3,890 

Plymouth, .... 1872 3,000 

The small-pox death-rate in the case of the lowest of 
these towns is very much higher than in London during 
the same epidemic, and it is quite clear that vaccination 
can have had nothing to do with this difference. For if 
it be alleged that vaccination was neglected in Ham- 
burg and Rotterdam, of which we find no particulars, 
this cannot be said of Cork, Sunderland, and Newcastle. 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 



Again, if the very limited and imperfect vaccination of 
the first quarter of the century is to have the credit of 
the striking reduction of small-pox mortality that then 
occurred, as the Royal Commissioners claim, a small 
deficiency in the very much more extensive and better 
vaccination that generally prevailed in 1871 cannot be 
the explanation of a small-pox mortality greater than in 
the worst years of London when there was no vaccina- 
tion. Partial vaccination cannot be claimed as produc- 
ing marvellous effects at one time and less than nothing 
at all at another time, yet this is what the advocates of 
vaccination constantly do. But on the sanitation theory 
the explanation is simple. Mercantile seaports have 
grown up along the banks of harbors or tidal rivers 
whose waters and shores have been polluted by sewage 
for centuries. They are always densely crowded, owing 
to the value of situations as near as possible to the ship- 
ping. Hence there is always a large population living 
under the worst sanitary conditions, with bad drainage, 
bad ventilation, abundance of filth and decaying organic 
matter, and all the conditions favorable to the spread of 
zymotic diseases and their exceptional fatality. Such 
populations have maintained to our day the insanitary 
conditions of the last century, and thus present us with 
a similarly great small-pox mortality, without any re- 
gard to the amount of vaccination that may be practised. 
In this case they illustrate the same principle which so 
well explains the very different amounts of small-pox 
mortality in Ireland, Scotland, England, and London, 
with hardly any difference in the quantity of vac- 
cination. 

The Royal Commissioners, with all these facts before 



270 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvra. 

them or at their command, have made none of these com- 
parisons. They give the figures of small-pox mortality, 
and either explain them by alleged increase or decrease 
of vaccination, or argue that, as some other disease 
such as measles did not decrease at the same time or to 
the same amount, therefore sanitation cannot have influ- 
enced small-pox. They never once compare small-pox 
mortality with general mortality, or with the rest of the 
group of zymotics, and thus fail to see their wonderfully 
close agreement their simultaneous rise and fall 
which so clearly shows their subjection to the same influ- 
ences and proves that no special additional influence can 
have operated in the case of small-pox. 

IV. 

TWO GREAT EXPERIMENTS WHICH ARE CONCLUSIVE 
AGAINST VACCINATION. 

THOSE who disbelieve in the efficacy of vaccination to 
protect against small-pox are under the disadvantage 
that, owing to the practice having been so rapidly 
adopted by all civilized people, there are no communi- 
ties which have rejected it while adopting methods of 
general sanitation, and which have also kept satisfactory 
records of mortality from various causes. Any such 
country would have afforded what is termed a " control " 
or test experiment, the absence of which vitiates all the 
evidence of the so-called " variolous test " in Jenner's 
time, as was so carefully pointed out before the Com- 
mission by Dr. Creighton and Professor Crookshank. 
We do, however, now possess two such tests on a limited, 
but still a sufficient, scale. The first is that of the town 



CHAP. xvni. VACCINATION A DELUSION 271 

of Leicester, which for the last twenty years has rejected 
vaccination till it has now almost vanished altogether. 
The second is that of our Army and Navy, in which, for 
a quarter of a century, every recruit has been revacci- 
nated, unless he has recently been vaccinated or has had 
small-pox. In the first we have an almost wholly " un- 
protected " population of nearly 200,000, which, on the 
theory of the vaccinators, should have suffered exception- 
ally from small-pox ; in the other we have a picked body 
of 220,000 men, who, on the evidence of the medical 
authorities, are as well protected as they know how to 
make them, and among whom, therefore small-pox 
should be almost or quite absent, and small-pox deaths 
quite unknown. Let us see, then, what has happened 
in these two cases. 

Perhaps the most remarkable and the most complete 
body of statistical evidence presented to the Commission 
was that of Mr. Thomas Biggs, a sanitary engineer and a 
town councillor of Leicester. It consists of fifty-one 
tables exhibiting the condition of the population in rela- 
tion to health and disease from almost every conceivable 
point of view. The subject is further illustrated by 
sixteen diagrams, many of them in colors, calculated to 
exhibit to the eye in the most clear and simple manner 
the relations of vaccination and sanitation to small-pox 
and to the general health of the people, and especially 
of the children, in whose behalf it is always alleged vac- 
cination is enforced. From this wealth of material I 
can give only two diagrams exhibiting the main facts of 
the case, as shown by Mr. Biggs' statistics in the Fourth 
Report of the Koyal Commission, all obtained from offi- 
cial sources. 



272 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

The first diagram (No. VIII.) shows in the upper part, 
by a dotted line, the total vaccinations, public and pri- 
vate, since 1850. * The middle line shows the mortality 
per million living from the chief zymotic diseases 
fevers, measles, whooping-cough, and diphtheria while 
the lower line gives the small-pox mortality. "We no- 
tice here a high mortality from zymotics and from small- 
pox epidemics, during the whole period of nearly com- 
plete vaccination from 1854 to 1873. Then commenced 
the movement against vaccination, owing to its proved 
uselessness in the great epidemic, when Leicester had a 
very much higher small-pox mortality than London, 
which has resulted in a continuous decline, especially 
rapid for the last fifteen years, till it is now reduced to 
almost nothing. For that period, not only has small- 
pox mortality been continuously very low, but the 
zymotic diseases have also regularly declined to a lower 
amount than has ever been known before. 

The second diagram (No. IX.) is even more impor- 
tant, as showing the influence of vaccination in increas- 
ing both the infantile and the total death-rates to an 
extent which even the strongest opponents of that 
operation had not thought possible. There are four solid 
lines on the diagram showing respectively, in five-year 
averages from 1838-42 to 1890-95, (1) the total death- 
rate per 1000 living, (2) the infant death-rate under 
five years, (3) the same under one year, and (4), the 
lowest of all, the small-pox death-rate under five 
years. 

1 From 1850 to 1873 the private vaccinations have been estimated 
according to their proportion of the whole since they have been 
officially recorded. 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 273 



The dotted line shows the percentage of total vaccina- 
tions to births. 

The first thing to be noted is the remarkable simul- 
taneous rise of all four death-rates to a maximum in 
1868-72, at the same time that the vaccination rate 
attained its maximum. The decline in the death-rates 
from 1852 to 1860 was due to sanitary improvements 
which had then commenced; but the rigid enforcement 
of vaccination checked the decline owing to its produc- 
ing a great increase of mortality in children, an increase 
which ceased as soon as vaccination diminished. This 
clearly shows that the deaths which have only recently 
been acknowledged as due to vaccination, directly or 
indirectly, are really so numerous as largely to affect the 
total death-rate; but they were formerly wholly con- 
cealed, and are still partially concealed, by being regis- 
tered under such headings as erysipelas, syphilis, 
diarrhoea, bronchitis, convulsions, or other proximate 
cause of death. 1 

Here, then, we have indications of a very terrible fact, 
the deaths, by various painful and often lingering dis- 
eases, of thousands of children as the result of that use- 
less and dangerous operation termed vaccination. It is 
difficult to explain the coincidences exhibited by this 

1 Mr. Biggs gave his evidence in 1891, and was obliged to rely on 
an estimate of the increased population since 1881. This was after- 
ward found to be too high; the Commissioners urged that this would 
cause the decreased mortality during the decade to be greater than it 
really was. This is true; but the possible amount of the error is 
shown in the present diagram by the added death rates for 1893-96, 
which are calculated from the last census populations. Thus, the 
only change produced in diagram IX. would be, that the decline 
from 1878-82 to 1893-96 would be a little more regular than is shown, 
while its general teaching would remain absolutely unaffected. 



274 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 



diagram in any other way, and it is strikingly corrobo- 
rated by a diagram of infant mortality in London and in 
England which I laid before the Royal Commission, and 
which I here reproduce (No. X.). The early part of 
this diagram is from a table calculated by Dr. Farr from 
all the materials available in the Bills of Mortality; and 
it shows for each twenty years the marvellous diminu- 
tion in infant mortality during the hundred years from 
1730 to 1830, proving that there was some continuous 
beneficial change in the conditions of life. The ma- 
terials for a continuation of the diagram are not given by 
the Registrar-General in the case of London, and I have 
had to calculate them for England. But from 1840 to 
1890 we find a very slight fall, both in the death-rate 
under five years and under one year for England, and 
under one year for London, although both are still far 
too high, as indicated by the fact that in St. Saviour's it 
is 213, and in Hampstead only 123 per 1000 births. 
There appear to have been some causes which checked 
the dimunition in London after 1840, then produced an 
actual rise from 1860 to 1870, followed by a slight but 
continuous fall since. The check to the dimunition of 
the infant death-rate is sufficiently accounted for by that 
extremely rapid growth of London by immigration 
which followed the introduction of railways, and which 
would appreciably increase the child-population (by im- 
migration of families) in proportion to the births. The 
rise from 1860 to 1870 exactly corresponds to the rise 
in Leicester, and to the strict enforcement of infant vac- 
cination, which was continuously high during this 
period; while the steady fall since corresponds also to 
that continuous fall in the vaccination rate due to a 



CHAP, xviii. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 275 



growing conviction of its uselessness and its danger. 
These facts strongly support the contention that vaccina- 
tion, instead of saving thousands of infant lives, as has 
been claimed, really destroys them by thousands, en- 
tirely neutralizing that great reduction which was in 
progress from the last century, and which the general 
improvement in health would certainly have favored. 
It may be admitted that the increasing employment of 
women in factories is also a contributory cause of infant 
mortality; but there is no proof that a less proportion 
of women have been thus employed during the last 
twenty years, while it is certain that there has been a 
great diminution of vaccination, which is now admitted 
to be a vera causa of infant mortality. 

Before leaving the case of Leicester it will be instruct- 
ive to compare it with some other towns of which statis- 
tics are available. And first, as to the great epidemic 
of 1871-72 in Leicester and in Birmingham. Both 
towns were then well vaccinated, and both suffered 
severely by the epidemic. Thus: 

LEICESTER. BIRMINGHAM. 

Small-pox cases per 10.000 population, . 327 213 

deaths " " " '. 35 35 

But since then, Leicester has rejected vaccination to 
such an extent that in 1894 it had only seven vaccina- 
tions to ten thousand population, while Birmingham had 
240, or more than thirty times as much, and the pro- 
portion of its inhabitants who have been vaccinated is 
probably less than half those of Birmingham. The 
Commissioners themselves state that the disease was 
brought into the town of Leicester on twelve separate 



276 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

occasions during the recent epidemic, yet the following 
is the result : 

1891-94. LEICESTER. BIRMINGHAM. 

Small-pox cases per 10,000 population, . 19 63 

deaths " " " 1.1 5 

Here we see, that Leicester had less than one-third 
the cases of small-pox, and less than one-fourth the 
deaths in proportion to population than well-vaccinated 
Birmingham; so that both the alleged protection from 
attacks of the disease, and mitigation of its severity 
when it does attack, are shown, not only to be absolutely 
untrue, but to apply, in this case, to the absence of 
vaccination ! 

But we have yet another example of an extremely 
well-vaccinated town in this epidemic Warrington, an 
official report on which has just been issued. It is 
stated that 99.2 per cent, of the population had been vac- 
cinated, yet the comparison with unvaccinated Leicester 
stands as follows: 

EPIDEMIC OP 1892-93. LEICESTER. WARRINGTON. 

Small-pox cases per 10. 000 population, . 19.3 123.3 

deaths " " " 1.4 11.4 

Here, then, we see that in the thoroughly vaccinated 
town the cases are more than six times, and the deaths 
more than eight times, that of the almost unvaccinated 
town, again proving that the most efficient vaccination 
does not diminish the number of attacks, and does not 
mitigate the severity of the disease, but that both these 
results follow from sanitation and isolation. 

Now let us see how the Commissioners, in their 
" Final Report " deal with the above facts, which are 
surely most vital to the very essence of the enquiry, and 



CHAP. xvin. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 277 

the statistics relating to which have been laid before 
them with a wealth of detail not equalled in any other 
case. Practically they ignore them altogether. Of course 
I am referring to the Majority Report, to which alone 
the Government and the unenlightened public are likely 
to pay any attention. Even the figures above quoted as 
to Leicester and Warrington are to be found only in the 
Report of the Minority, who also give the case of another 
town, Dewsbury, which has partially rejected vaccina- 
tion, but not nearly to so large an extent as Leicester; 
and in the same epidemic it stood almost exactly between 
un vaccinated Leicester and well-vaccinated Warrington, 
thus: 

Leicester, .... had 1.1 mortality per 10,000 living. 
Dewsbury, .... " 0.7 " " " 
Warrington, .... " 11.8 

Here again we see that it is the unvaccinated towns 
that suffer least, not the most vaccinated. The public 
of course have been terrorized by the case of Gloucester, 
where a large default in vaccination was followed by a 
very severe epidemic of small-pox. The Majority Re- 
port refers to this in par. 373, intending to hold it up as 
a warning, but strangely enough in so important a docu- 
ment, say the reverse of what they mean to say, giving 
to it " very little," instead of " very much " small-pox. 
This case, however, has really nothing whatever to do 
with the question at issue, because, although anti-vacci- 
nators maintain that vaccination has not the least effect 
in preventing or mitigating small-pox, they do not main- 
tain that the absence of vaccination prevents it. What 
they urge is that sanitation and isolation are the effect- 
ive and only preventives; and it was because Leicester 



278 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

attended thoroughly to these matters, and Gloucester 
wholly neglected them, that the one suffered so little and 
the other so much in the recent epidemic. On this sub- 
ject every enquirer should read the summary of the facts 
given in the Minority Report, par. 261. 

To return to the Majority Report. Its references to 
Leicester are scattered over 80 pages, referring sepa- 
rately to the hospital staff, and the relations of vacci- 
nated and unvaccinated to small-pox; while in only a 
few paragraphs (par. 480-486) do they deal with the 
main question and the results of the system of isolation 
adopted. These results they endeavor to minimize by 
declaring that the disease was remarkably " slight in its 
fatality," yet they end by admitting that " the experi- 
ence of Leicester affords cogent evidence that the vigi- 
lant and prompt application of isolation ... is a most 
powerful agent in limiting the spread of small-pox." A 
little further on (par. 500) they say, when discussing 
this very point how far sanitation may be relied on in 
place of vaccination " The experiment has never been 
tried." Surely a town of 180,000 inhabitants which 
has neglected vaccination for twenty years, is an experi- 
ment. But a little further on we see the reason of this 
refusal to consider Leicester a test experiment. Par. 
502 begins thus: " The question we are now discussing 
must, of course, be argued on the hypothesis that vacci- 
nation affords protection against small-pox." What an 
amazing basis of argument for a Commission supposed 
to be enquiring into this very point! They then con- 
tinue: "Who can possibly say that if the disease once 
entered a town the population of which was entirely or 
almost entirely unprotected, it would not spread with a 




CHAP xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 279 

rapidity of which we have in recent times had no experi- 
ence? " But Leicester is such a town. Its infants 
the class which always suffers in the largest numbers 
are almost wholly un vaccinated, and the great majority 
of its adults have, according to the bulk of the medical 
supporters of vaccination, long outgrown the benefits, if 
any, of infant-vaccination. The disease has been intro- 
duced into the town twenty times before 1884, and 
twelve times during the last epidemic (" Final Report," 
par. 482 and 483). The doctors have been asserting for 
years that once small-pox comes to Leicester it will run 
through the town like wild-fire. But instead of that it 
has been quelled with far less loss than in any of the 
best vaccinated towns in England. But the Commis- 
sioners ignore this actual experiment, and soar into the 
regions of conjecture with, " Who can possibly say? " 
concluding the paragraph with " a priori reasoning on 
such a question is of little or no value." Very true. 
But a posteriori reasoning, from the cases of Leicester, 
Birmingham, Warrington, Dewsbury, and Gloucester, is 
of value ; but it is of value as showing the utter useless- 
ness of vaccination, and it is therefore, perhaps, wise for 
the professional upholders of vaccination to ignore it. 
But surely it is not wise, for a presumably impartial Com- 
mission to ignore it as it is ignored in this Report. 1 

1 Although the Commission make no mention of Mr. Biggs' table 
and diagrams showing the rise of infant mortality with increased 
vaccination, and its fall as vaccination diminished, they occupied a 
whole day cross-examining him upon them, endeavoring by the 
minutest criticism to diminish their importance. Especially it was 
urged that the increase or decrease of mortality did not agree in 
detail with the increase or decrease of vaccination, forgetting that 
there are numerous causes contributing to all variations of depth- 



280 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

The Army and Navy as a Conclusive Test. 

In the Report of the Medical Officer of the Local 
Government Board for 1884, it is alleged that, when an 
adult is revaccinated, " he will receive the full measure 
of protection that vaccination is capable of giving him." 
In the same year the Medical Officer of the General Post 
Office stated in a circular, "It is desirable, in order to 
obtain full security, that the operation [vaccination] 
should be repeated at a later period of life " ; and the 
circular of the National Health Society, already referred 
to, states that " soldiers who have been revaccinated can 
live in cities intensely affected by small-pox without 
themselves suffering to any appreciable degree from the 
disease." Let us then see how far these official state- 
ments are true or false. 

In their " Final Report " the Commissioners give the 
statistics of small-pox mortality in the Army and Navy 
from 1860 to 1894; and, although the latest order for 
the vaccination of the whole force in the Navy was only 
made in 1871, there can be no doubt that, practically, 
the whole of the men had been revaccinated long before 
that period; 1 but certainly since 1873 all without excep- 
tion, both English and foreign, were revaccinated; and 
in the Army every recruit has been revaccinated since 
1860 (see 2d Report, Q. 3453, 3455; and for the Navy, 

rate, while vaccination is only alleged to be a contributory cause, 
clearly visible in general results, but not to be detected in smaller 
variations (see Fourth Report, Q. 17,513-17,744, or pp. 370 to 381). 
Mr. Biggs' cross-examination in all occupies 110 pages of the 
Report. 

1 It was introduced into the Navy in 1801, and in that year the 
medical officers of the fleet presented Jenner with a special gold 
medal ! 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 281 

Q. 2645, 6, 3212-13, and 3226-3229). Brigade-Sur- 
geon William Nash, M. D., informed the Commission 
that the vaccination and revaccination of the Army was 
" as perfect as endeavors can make it," and that he can 
make no suggestion to increase its thoroughness (Q. 
3559, 3560). 

Turning now to the diagram (No. XI.) which repre- 
sents the official statistics, the two lower lines show the 
small-pox death-rate per 100,000 of the force of the 
Army and Navy for each year, from 1860 to 1894. 
The lower thick line shows the Army mortality, the thin 
line that of the Navy. The two higher lines show the 
total death-rate from disease of the Navy, and of the 
Home force of the Army, as the tables supplied do not 
separate the deaths by disease of that portion of the 
Army stationed abroad. 

Looking first at these upper lines, we notice two inter- 
esting facts. The first is, the large and steady improve- 
ment of both forces as regards health-conditions during 
the thirty-five years; and the second is the considerable 
and constant difference in the disease mortality of the 
two services, the soldiers having throughout the whole 
period a much higher mortality than the sailors. The 
decrease of the general mortality is clearly due to the 
great improvements that have been effected in diet, in 
ventilation, and in general health-conditions; while the 
difference in health between the two forces is almost 
certainly due to two causes, the most important being 
that the sailors spend the greater part of every day in the 
open air, and in air of the maximum purity and health- 
giving properties, that of the open sea; while soldiers 
live mostly in camps or barracks, often in the vicinity of 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 



large towns, and in a more or less impure atmosphere. 
The other difference is that soldiers are constantly sub- 
ject to temptations and resulting disease from which 
sailors, while afloat, are wholly free. 

'Turning now to the lower lines, we see that, as re- 
gards small-pox mortality, the Xavy suffered most down 
to 1880, but that since that period the Army has had 
rather the higher mortality. This has been held to be 
due to the less perfect vaccination of the Navy in the 
earlier period, but of that there is no proof, while there is 
evidence as to the causes of the improvement in general 
health. Staff-Surgeon T. J. Preston, R. 1ST., stated them 
thus : " Shorter sea-voyages ; greater care not to over- 
crowd ; plentiful and frequent supplies of fresh food ; the 
introduction of condensed water; and the care that is 
now taken in the general economy and hygiene of the 
vessels " (Q. 3253). These seem sufficient to have pro- 
duced also the comparative improvement in small-pox 
mortality, especially as the shorter voyages would enable 
the patients to be soon isolated on shore. The question 
we now have to consider is, whether the amount of small- 
pox here shown to exist in both Army and Navy demon- 
strates the " full security " that revaccination is alleged 
to give; whether, as a matter of fact, our soldiers and 
sailors, when exposed to the contagion of intense small- 
pox, do suffer to " any appreciable degree " ; and lastly, 
whether they show any immunity whatever when com- 
pared with similar populations who have been either 
very partially or not at all revaccinated. It is not easy 
to find a fairly comparable population, but after due con- 
sideration it seems to me that Ireland will be the best 
available, as the statistics are given in the Commis- 



CHAP.XVIII. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 283 



sioners' Reports, and it can hardly be contended that it 
has any special advantages over our soldiers and sailors, 
rather the other way. I have therefore given a dia- 
gram (XII.), in which a dotted line shows the small-pox 
mortality of the Irish people of the ages 15 to 45 in com- 
parison with the Army and the Navy mortality for the 
same years. (The figures for this diagram, as regards 
Ireland, have been calculated from the table at p. 37 of 
the " Final Report," corrected for the ages 15 to 45 by 
means of Table J. at p. 274 of the Second Report.) 

This dotted line shows us that, with the exception of 
the great epidemic of 1871, when for the bulk of the 
Irish patients there was neither isolation nor proper 
treatment, the small-pox mortality of the Irish popula- 
tion of similar ages has been on the average below that 
of either the Army or the Navy; while if we take the 
mean mortality of the three for the same period (1864- 
94) inclusive, the result is as follows : 

Army, mean of the annual small-pox death rate, 58 per million. 
Navy, " " " " 90 

Ireland (ages 15-45), " " " 65.8 '" 

If we combine the Army and Navy death-rates in the 
proportion of their mean strength so as to get the true 
average of the two forces, the death-rate is 64.3 per mil- 
lion, or almost exactly the same as that of Ireland. 

Now if there were no other evidence which gave simi- 
lar results, this great test case of large populations com- 

1 These figures (for the Army and Navy) are obtained by averaging 
the annual death rates given in the tables referred to, and are there- 
fore not strictly accurate on account of the irregularly varying 
strength of the forces. But the error is small. In the case of the 
Navy, from 1864 to 1888 the tables enable the mortality to be accu- 
rately calculated , and the result comes out more, by nearly six per 



284 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



CHAP. XVIII. 



pared over a long series of years, is alone almost 
conclusive; and we ask with amazement Why did not 
the Commissioners make some such comparison as this, 
and not allow the public to be deceived by the grossly 
misleading statements of the medical witnesses and offi- 
cial apologists for a huge imposture ? For here we have, 
on one side, a population which the official witnesses de- 
clare to be as well vaccinated and revaccinated as it is 
possible to make it, and which has all the protection that 
can be given by vaccination. It is a population which, 
we are officially assured, can live in the midst of the con- 
tagion of severe small-pox and not suffer from the dis- 
ease " in any appreciable degree." And on comparing 
this population of over 200,000 men, thus thoroughly 
protected and medically cared for, with the poorest and 
least cared for portion of our country a portion which 
the official witness regarding it declared to be badly vac- 
cinated, while no amount of revaccination was even re- 
ferred to we find the less vaccinated and less cared for 
community to have actually a much lower small-pox 
mortality than the Navy, and the same as that of the two 
forces combined. The only possible objections that can 
be taken, or that were suggested during the examination 
of the witnesses are, that during the early portion of the 
period, the Navy was not ivlwlly and absolutely revacci- 
nated; and secondly, that troops abroad, and especially 
in India and Egypt, are more frequently subjected to 

cent., than the mean above given; and in the case of the Army for 
the same years, about one per cent. more. For Ireland the calcula- 
tion has been accurately made by means of the yearly populations 
given at p. 37 of the " Final Report," but for the Army and Navy, 
materials for the whole period included in the diagrams are not avail- 
able in any of the Reports. 



CHAP. XTIII. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 285 

infection. As to the first objection, even if revaccina- 
tion were not absolutely universal in the Navy prior to 
1873, it was certainly very largely practised, and should 
have produced a great difference when compared with 
Ireland. And the second objection is simply childish. 
For what are vaccination and revaccination for, except 
to protect from infection? And under exposure to the 
most intense infection they have been officially declared 
" not appreciably to suffer "! 

But let us make one more comparison comprising the 
period since the great epidemic of 1871-72, during 
which the Navy as well as the Army are admitted to 
have been completely revaccinated, both English and 
foreign. We will compare this (supposed) completely 
protected force with Leicester, an English manufactur- 
ing town of nearly the same population, by no means 
especially healthy, and which has so neglected vaccina- 
tion that it may now claim to be the least vaccinated 
town in the kingdom. The average annual small-pox 
death-rate of this town for the twenty-two years 1873- 
94 inclusive is 13 per million (see 4th Report, p. 
440) ; but in order to compare with our Army and Navy 
we must add one-ninth for the mortality at ages 15-45 
as compared with total mortality, according to the table 
at p. 155 of the " Final Report," bringing it to 14.4 per 
million, when the comparison will stand as follows: 

PER MILLION. 
Army (1873-94) small-pox death rate, . . . 37 ' 

Navy " " " 36.8 

Leicester " " ages 15-45, . . . . 14.4 

1 The figures for the Army are obtained from the Second Report, 
p. 278, down to 1888, the remaining six years being obtained from 
the " Final Report," pp. 86, 87; but this small addition has involved a 



286 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

It is thus completely demonstrated that all the state- 
ments by which the public has been gulled for so many 
years, as to the almost complete immunity of the re vacci- 
nated Army and Navy, are absolutely false. It is all 
what Americans call " bluff." There is no immunity. 
They have no protection. When exposed to infection, 
they do suffer just as much as other populations, or even 
more. In the whole of the nineteen years 1878-96, 
inclusive, unvaccinated Leicester had so few small-pox 
deaths that the Registrar-General represents the average 
by the decimal 0.01 per thousand population, equal to 
ten per million, while for the twelve years 1878-89 
there was less than one death per annum! Here we 
have real immunity, real protection; and it is obtained 
by attending to sanitation and isolation, coupled with the 
almost total neglect of vaccination. Neither Army nor 
Navy can show any such results as this. In the whole 
twenty-nine years tabulated in the Second Report the 
Army had not one year without a small-pox death, while 
the Navy never had more than three consecutive years 
without a death, and only six years in the whole period. 

Now if ever there exists such a thing as a crucial test, 
this of the Army and Navy, as compared with Ireland, 
and especially with Leicester, affords such a test. The 
populations concerned are hundreds of thousands; the 
time extends to a generation; the statistical facts are 
clear and indisputable; while the case of the Army has 
been falsely alleged again and again to afford indisputa- 

large amount of calculation, because the Commissioners have given 
the death rates per 10,000 strength of four separate forces Home, 
Colonial, Indian, and Egyptian and have not given the figures for 
the whole Army, so as to complete the table in the Second Report. 
The figures for the Navy are obtained from the " Final Report," p. 88. 



CHAP. xvin. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 287 

ble proof of the value of vaccination when performed on 
adults. It is important, therefore, to see how the Com- 
missioners deal with these conclusive test-cases. They 
were appointed to discover the truth and to enlighten the 
public and the legislature, not merely to bring together 
huge masses of undigested facts. 

What they do is, to make no comparison whatever 
with any other fairly comparable populations; to show 
no perception of the crucial test they have to deal with; 
but to give the Army and l^avy statistics separately, and 
as regards the Army piecemeal, and to make a few in- 
credibly weak and unenlightening remarks. Thus, in 
par. 333, they say that, during the later years, as the 
whole force became more completely revaccinated, small- 
pox mortality declined. But they knew well that during 
the same period it declined over all England, Scotland, 
and Ireland^ with 110 special revaccination, and most of 
all in un vaccinated Leicester! Then with regard to the 
heavy small-pox mortality of the wholly revaccinated 
and protected troops in Egypt, they say, " AVe are not 
aware what is the explanation of this." And this is ab- 
solutely all they say about it! But they give a long 
paragraph to the Post Office officials, and make a great 
deal of their alleged immunity. But in this case the 
numbers are smaller, the periods are less, and no statistics 
whatever are furnished except for the last four years! 
All the rest is an extract from a parliamentary speech 
by Sir Charles Dilke in 1883, stating some facts, fur- 
nished of course by the medical officers of the Post 
Office, and therefore not to be accepted as evidence. 1 

1 Neither Sir C. Dilke nor the Post Office medical officers of the 
period referred to gave evidence before the Commission, and it 



288 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvin. 



This slurring over the damning evidence of the absolute 
inutility of the most thorough vaccination possible, 
afforded by the Army and Navy, is sufficient of itself to 
condemn the whole " Final Report " of the majority of 
the Commissioners. It proves that they were either 
unable or unwilling to analyze carefully the vast mass 
of evidence brought before them, to separate mere be- 
liefs and opinions from facts, and to discriminate be- 
tween the statistics which represented those great 
" masses of national experience " to which Sir John 
Simon himself has appealed for a final verdict, and those 
of a more partial kind, which may be vitiated by the 
prepossessions of those who registered the facts. That 
they have not done this, but without any careful exami- 
nation or comparison have declared that revaccinated 
communities have " exceptional advantages " which, as 
a matter of fact, the Report itself shows they have not, 
utterly discredits all their conclusions, and renders this 
" Final Report " not only valueless but misleading. 



Y. 



BEFORE proceeding to sum up the broad statistical case 
against vaccination, it may be well here to point out 
some of the misconceptions, erroneous statements, vague 
opinions, and conclusions which are opposed to the evi- 
dence, which abound in this feeble Report. 

And first, we have the repetition of an oft-corrected 
and obviously erroneous statement as to the absolute 

shows to what lengths the Commissioners would go to support vac- 
cination when such unverified verbal statements are accepted in their 
" Final Report." 



CHAP. xvin. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 289 



identity of the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, except 
on the one point of vaccination. The Commissioners 
say : " Those, therefore, who are selected as being vac- 
cinated persons might just as well be so many persons 
chosen at random out of the total number attacked. So 
far as any connection with the incidence of, or the mor- 
tality from, small-pox is concerned, the choice of persons 
might as well have been made according to the color of 
the clothes they wore" ("Final Report," par. 213). But 
there are tables in the Reports showing that about one- 
seventh of all small-pox deaths occur in the first six 
months of life, and by far the larger part of this mor- 
tality occurs in the first three months. The age of vac- 
cination varies actually from three to twelve months, 
and many children have their vaccination specially de- 
layed on account of ill-health, so that the " unvacci- 
nated " always include a large proportion of those who, 
merely because they are infants, supply a much larger 
proportion of deaths from small-pox than at any other 
age. Yet the Commissioners say the unvaccinated 
might as well be chosen at random, or by the color of 
their clothes so far as any liability to small-pox is con- 
cerned. One stands amazed at the hardihood of a re- 
sponsible body of presumably sensible and truth-seeking 
men who can deliberately record as a fact what is so ob- 
viously untrue. 

Hardly less important is it that the bulk of the unvac- 
cinated, those who escape the vaccination officers, are the 
very poor, and the nomad population of the country 
tramps, beggars, and criminals, the occupants of the 
tenement-houses and slums of our great cities, who, 
being all weekly tenants, are continually changing their 



290 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

residence. Such were referred to, in the Report of the 
Local Government Board for 1882 (p. 309), as constitut- 
ing the bulk of the thirty-five thousand of defaults, 
under the heading " Removed, not to be traced, or 
otherwise accounted for." 

One of the Commission's official witnesses, Dr. Mac- 
Cabe, Medical Commissioner for Ireland, distinctly 
affirms this. He says (2d Report, Q. 3073) that he for- 
merly had charge of the Dublin district, and that " out 
of a population of a quarter of a million, 100,000 live in 
tenement-houses, that is to say, houses that are let out in 
single rooms for the accommodation of a family. It is 
amongst that class, to a very great extent, that the de- 
faulters exist. The relieving officer, when he goes to the 
tenement-dwelling where the birth occurred, finds that 
the parents have gone to some other tenement-dwelling 
and there is no trace of them. . . A great number of 
these defaults occur in this way." 

Now weekly tenants do not live in the best and most 
sanitary parts of towns, and the records of every epi- 
demic show that such insanitary districts have an enor- 
mously greater proportion of the small-pox deaths than 
the healthier districts. Yet the Commissioners declare 
that there is " absolutely no difference between the vac- 
cinated and the un vaccinated " except in respect of vac- 
cination. Again we stand amazed at a statement so 
contrary to the fact. But the Commissioners must of 
course have believed it to be true, or they would not put 
it in their " Final Report," upon which legislation may 
be founded affecting the liberties and the lives of their 
fellow-countrymen. 

I submit to my readers with confidence that this state- 



CHAP. xvin. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 291 

ment, so directly opposed to the clearest and simplest 
facts and to the evidence of official witnesses, proves the 
incapacity of the Commissioners for the important en- 
quiry they have undertaken. By their treatment of this 
part of the subject they exhibit themselves as either 
ignorant or careless, in either case as thoroughly in- 
competent. 

The next passage that calls for special notice here is 
par. 342, where they say, " We find that particular 
classes within the community, amongst whom revaccina- 
tion has prevailed to an exceptional degree, have 
exhibited a position of quite exceptional advantage in 
relation to small-pox, although these classes have in 
many cases been subject to exceptional risk of con- 
tagion." It seems almost incredible that such a state- 
ment as this could be made as a conclusion from the 
official evidence before the Commissioners, and it can 
only be explained by the fact that they never made the 
simplest and most obvious comparisons, and that they 
laid more stress on bad statistics than on good ones. 
They trust, for example, to the cases of nurses in hos- 
pitals, 1 as to which there are absolutely no statistics in 

1 As regards the case of the nurses in small-pox hospitals, about 
which so much has been said, I brought before the Commission 
some evidence from a medical work, which sufficiently disposes of 
this part of the question. In Buck's " Treatise on Hygiene and the 
Public Health," vol. ii., we find an article by Drs. Hamilton and 
Emmett on " Small-pox and other Contagious Diseases," and on page 
321 thereof we read : 

"It is a fact fully appreciated by medical men that persons con- 
stantly exposed to small-pox very rarely contract the disease. In the 
case of physicians, health-inspectors, nurses, sisters of charity, 
hospital orderlies, and some others, this is the rule ; and of over one 
hundred persons who have been to my knowledge constantly exposed, 



292 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



CHAP, xvm 



the proper sense of the term, only verbal statements by 
various medical men; and they overlook or forget the 
largest and only trustworthy body of statistics existing, 
as to re vaccination that of the Army and ^"avy! " A 
position of quite exceptional advantage!! " AVhen the 
small-pox mortality of more than 200,000 men, all re- 
vaccinated to the completest extent possible by the medi- 
cal officials, shows no advantage whatever over the whole 
comparable population of Ireland, and a quite excep- 
tional disadvantage in comparison with almost unvacci- 
nated Leicester! 1 There is only one charitable expla- 

some of them seeing as many as one thousand cases, I have never 
personally known of more than one who has contracted the disease ; 
but there are many writers who believe perfect immunity to be 
extremely rare. In this connection attention may be called to the 
exemption of certain persons who occupy the same room, and per- 
haps bed, with the patients, and though sometimes never vaccinated, 
altogether escape infection." 

And Mr. Wheeler shows that at Sheffield the hospital staff did suffer 
from small-pox in a higher degree than other comparable popula- 
tions (see 6th Report, Q. 19,907.) 

1 It is a common practice of vaccinists to quote the German Army 
as a striking proof of the good effects of revaecination ; but as our 
own Army is as well vaccinated as the Arm}' surgeons with unlimited 
power can make it, it is unlikely that the Germans can do so very 
much better. And there is some reason to think that their statistics 
are less reliable than our own. Lieut.-Col. A. T. Y/intle, (late) R. A., 
has published in the Vaccination Inquirer extracts from a letter 
from Germany stating, on the authority of a German officer, that the 
Army statistics of small-pox are utterly unreliable. It is said to be 
the rule for Army surgeons to enter small-pox cases as skin-disease 
or some other "appropriate illness," while large numbers of small- 
pox deaths are entered as "sent away elsewhere." We had better 
therefore be content with our own Army and Navy statistics, though 
even here there is some concealment. In 1860 Mr. Duncombe, M. P. , 
moved for a return of the disaster at Shorncliffe Camp, where, it was 
alleged, thirty recruits were vaccinated, and six died of the results, 
but the return was refused. A letter in the Lancet of July 7, 1860, 



CHAP. xvin. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 293 



nation of such a " finding " as this namely, that the 
Commissioners were by education and experience wholly 
incompetent to deal intelligently with those great masses 
of national statistics which alone can furnish conclusive 
evidence on this question. 

At the end of the main enquiry, as to the effect of vac- 
cination on small-pox (pp. 98, 99), the Commissioners 
adopt a very hesitating tone. They say that " where 
vaccination has been most thorough the protection ap- 
pears to have been greatest/' and that " the revaccina- 
tion of adults appears to place them in so favorable a 
condition as compared with the unvaccinated." But 
why say " appears " in both these cases? It is a ques- 
tion of fact, founded on ample statistics which show us 
clearly and unmistakably as in comparing Leicester 
with other towns that vaccination gives no protection 
whatever, and that the best and most thorough revacci- 
nation, as in the Army and Navy, does not protect at all ! 
It is no question of " appearing " to protect. As a fact, 
it does not protect, and does not appear to do so. The 
only explanation of the use of this word " appears " is 
that the Commissioners have founded their conclusions, 

from a " Military Surgeon " stated that numbers of soldiers have had 
their arms amputated in consequence of mortification after vaccina- 
tion ; and a Baptist minister and ex-soldier, the Rev. Frederick J. 
Harsant, gave evidence before the Commission of another Shorncliffe 
disaster in 1868, he himself, then a soldier, having never recovered, 
and having had unhealed sores on various parts of his body for more 
than twenty years. Eighteen out of the twenty men vaccinated at 
the same time suffered ; some were months in hospital and in a much 
worse condition than himself (6th Report; p. 207). In the same 
volume is the evidence of twenty medical men, all of whom have 
witnessed serious effects produced by vaccination, gome being of a 
most terrible and distressing character. 



294 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

not upon the statistical evidence at all, but upon the 
impressions and beliefs of the various medical officials 
they examined, who almost all assumed the protection 
as an already established fact. Such was the case of the 
army-surgeon who declared that the deaths were much 
fewer than they would have been without revaccination ; 
and who, on being asked why he believed so, answered 
that it was from reading of the small-pox mortality in 
pre-vaccination times! He had made no comparisons, 
and had no figures to adduce. It was his opinion, and 
that of the other medical officers, that it was so. And 
the Commissioners apparently had always held the same 
opinions, which, being confirmed by the opinions of 
other official witnesses, they concluded that comparisons 
of the revaccinated Army and Navy with ordinary 
death-rates were as unnecessary as they would certainly 
have been puzzling to them. Hence " appears " in place 
of " is " or " does "; and their seven conclusions as to the 
value and protective-ness of vaccination all under the 
heading " We think," not " We are convinced," or " It 
has been proved to us," or " The statistics of the Army 
and Navy, of Ireland, of Leicester and of many other 
places, demonstrate the ["protectiveness" or " inu- 
tility " as the case may be] of vaccination." I trust 
that I have now convinced my readers that the best evi- 
dence the evidence to which Sir John Simon and Dr. 
Guy have appealed DEMONSTRATES complete INUTILITY, 
as against what " appears " to the Commissioners and 
what they " think." 

One other matter must be referred to before taking 
leave of the Commissioners. I have already shown how 
completely they ignore the elaborate and valuable evi- 






CHAP. XVIII. 



VACCINATION A DELUSION. 295 



dence, statistical tables and diagrams, furnished by those 
who oppose vaccinations, such as were brought before 
them by Mr. Biggs of Leicester, Mr. A. Wheeler, and 
Mr. William Tebb, who, though all were examined and 
cross-examined on the minutest details, might as well 
never have appeared so far as any notice in the " Final 
Report" is concerned. But there is also a very elabo- 
rate paper contributed by Dr. Adolf Vogt, Professor of 
Hygiene and Sanitary Statistics in the University of 
Berne, who offered to come to London and submit to 
cross-examination upon it, which, however, the Commis- 
sion did not consider necessary. This paper, a transla- 
tion of which is printed in the Appendix to the 6th 
Report, p. 689, is especially valuable as the work of a 
thorough statistician, who, from his position, has access 
to the whole body of European official statistics, and his 
discussion goes to the very root of the whole question. 
The treatise is divided into nine chapters, and occupies 
thirty-four closely printed pages of the Blue Book; but, 
being an elaborate argument founded mainly on a scien- 
tific treatment of statistics, there was probably no mem- 
ber of the Commission capable of adequately dealing 
with it. Yet it is of more value than fully nine-tenths 
of the remainder of the voluminous reports, with their 
31,398 questions and answers. Professor Vogt's treatise 
covers almost the whole ground, medical and statistical, 
and enforces many of the facts and arguments I have 
myself adduced. But there are two points which must 
be especially mentioned. His first chapter is headed 
" A Previous Attack of Small-pox does not Confer 
Immunity." I have long been of opinion that this was 
the case, and have by me a brief statement, written six 



296 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

years since, to show that the rarity of second attacks 
may, in all probability, be fully explained by the doc- 
trine of chances. But I had not statistics sufficient to 
prove this. Professor Vogt, however, having the sta- 
tistical tables of all Europe at his command, is able to 
show, not only that the calculus of probabilities itself 
explains the rarity of a second attack of small-pox, but 
that second attacks occur more frequently than they 
should do on the doctrine of chances alone, indicating 
that, instead of there being any immunity, there is really 
a somewhat increased susceptibility to a second attack! * 

1 Brief statement of the argument : 

The chances of a person having small-pox a second time mny be 
roughly estimated thus : Suppose the average annual death-rate by 
small-pox to be 500 per million, and the average duration of life 
forty years. Then the proportion of the population that die of 
small-pox will be 500 X 40 = 20,000 per million. If the proportion 
of deaths to cases is one to five, there will be 100,000 cases of small- 
pox per million during the life of that million, so that one-tenth of 
the whole population will have small-pox once during their lives. 

Now, according to the law of probabilities alone, the chances of a 
person having small-pox twice will be the square of this fraction, or 
one hundredth : so that on the average only one person in 100 
would have small-pox twice if it were a matter of pure chance, and if 
nothing interfered with that chance. But there are interferences 
which modify the result. (1) Those that die of the first attack can- 
not possibly have it a second time. (2) It is most frequent in the very 
young, so that the chances of having it later in life are not equal. 
(3) It is an especially epidemic disease, only occurring at considerable 
intervals, which reduces the chances of infection to those who have 
had it once. (4) It is probable that most persons are only liable to 
infection at certain periods of life, having passed which without 
infection may never take the disease. It seems probable, therefore, 
that these several conditions would greatly diminish the chances in 
the case of any person who had once had small-pox, so that perhaps, 
under the actual state of things, chance alone would only lead to one 
person in two hundred having the disease a second time. 

The above is only an illustration of the principle. Professor Vogt 






CHAP. xvin. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 297 

This being the case, it becomes really ludicrous to read 
the questions and answers, and the serious discussions, 
as to whether a " good vaccination " protects more or less 
than a previous attack of small-pox. Some think the 
protection is the same, but the greater number think it 
is not quite so much. Even the most ardent vaccinists 
do not claim a greater protection. But none of them 
ever doubt the fact of the protection gained by having 
had the disease, and yet none of them, nor any of the 
Commissioners, thought that any evidence, much less 
proof, of the fact itself was needed. They took it for 
granted. " Everybody knows it." " Very few people 
have small-pox a second time." ISTo doubt. But very 
few people suffer from any special accident twice a 
shipwreck, or railway or coach accident, or a house on 

goes more fully into the question, and arrives at the conclusion that 
out of every 1000 cases of small-pox the probability is that ten will be 
second attacks. Then by getting together all the European observa- 
tions as to the actual number of second attacks during various 
epidemics, the average is found to amount to sixteen in 1000 
cases,, showing a considerable surplus beyond the number due to 
probability. Further, the proportion of deaths to attacks has from 
early times been observed to be high for second attacks ; and it has 
also been observed by many eminent physicians whose statements are 
given, that second attacks are more common in the case of persons 
whose first attacks were very severe, which is exactly the reverse of 
what we should expect if the first attack really conferred any degree 
of immunity. 

Now the whole theory of protection by vaccination rests upon the 
assumption that a previous attack of the disease is a protection ; and 
Professor Vogt concludes his very interesting discussion by the 
remark: "All this justifies our maintaining that the theory of 
immunity by a previous attack of small-pox, whether the natural dis- 
ease or produced artificially, must be relegated to the realm of fiction." 
If this be the case, the supposed probability or reasonableness of an 
analogous disease, vaccinia, producing immunity wholly vanishes. 



298 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 



fire ; yet one of these accidents does not confer immunity 
against its happening a second time. The taking it for 
granted that second attacks of small-pox, or of any other 
zymotic disease, are of that degree of rarity as to prove 
some immunity or protection, indicates the incapacity of 
the medical mind for dealing with what is a purely statis- 
tical and mathematical question. 

Quite in accordance with this influence of small-pox 
in rendering the patient somewhat more liable to catch 
the disease during any future epidemic is the body of 
evidence adduced by Professor Yogt, showing that vac- 
cination, especially when repeated once or several times, 
renders the persons so vaccinated more liable to take the 
disease, and thus actually increases the virulertce of 
epidemics. This has been suspected by some anti- 
vaccinators; but it is, I believe, now for the first time 
supported by a considerable body of statistics. 

The other important feature in Professor Yogt's 
memoir is the strong support he gives to the view that 
small-pox mortality is really other things being ap- 
proximately equal a function of density of population. 
All the evidence I have adduced goes to show this, espe- 
cially the enormously high small-pox death-rate in 
crowded cities in approximate proportion to the amount 
of crowding. Professor Vogt adds some remarkable 
statistics illustrating this point, especially a table in 
which the 627 registration districts of England and 
Wales are grouped according to their density of popu- 
lation, from one district having only sixty-four per- 
sons to a square mile to six which have 20,698 per square 
mile; another column showing in how many of the years 
during the period 1859-82 there were any small-pox 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 290 

deaths in the districts. The result shown is very re- 
markable. In the most thinly populated district no 
small-pox death occurred in any one of the twenty-four 
years; in the most densely peopled districts small-pox 
deaths occurred in every one of the twenty-four years. 
And the frequency of the occurrence of small-pox in all 
the intervening groups of districts followed exactly the 
density of the population. Taking two groups with 
nearly the same population, the fourth group of 107 dis- 
tricts, with a total population of 1,840,581, had small- 
pox deaths in only five or six out of the twenty-four years 
in any of them; while the thirteenth group of thirteen 
districts, with a population of 1,908,838, had small-pox 
deaths in twenty-three out of the twenty-four years. 
But the first group had a density of 160 to the square 
mile, and the last had 8350 to the square mile. The 
Commissioners dwell upon the alleged fact that neither 
water-supply, nor drainage, nor contaminated food 
produces small-pox, and urge that what is commonly 
understood by sanitation has little effect upon it (par. 
153). But what may be termed the fundamental prin- 
ciple of sanitation is the avoidance of overcrowding; and 
this is shown, by an overwhelming body of evidence, in- 
variably to influence small-pox mortality quite irrespect- 
ive of vaccination. 1 Yet the remarkable contribution 



1 It is not alleged that overcrowding, per se, is the direct cause of 
small-pox, or of any other zymotic disease. It is, perhaps rather a 
condition than a cause ; but under our present social economy it is so 
universally associated with various causes of disease impure air, bad 
drainage, bad water supply, unhealthy situations, unwholesome 
food, overwork, and filth of every description in houses, clothing, and 
persons that it affords the most general and convenient indication of 
an unhealthy as opposed to a healthy mode of life ; and, while 



300 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

to the mass of evidence in the " Reports " which brings 
out this fact most clearly receives no notice whatever 
in the " Final Report." 

VI. 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION. 

As the diverse aspects of the problem which has been 
discussed in the preceding pages are somewhat numerous 
and complex, owing to the vast mass of irrelevant but 
confusing matter with which it has been encumbered at 
every step of its progress for nearly a century, a brief 
summary of the main points here referred to, and a state- 
ment of their bearing on the essential problem, will now 
be given. 

I have first shown the nature of the tests which 
seemed to the early enquirers to establish the protective 
influence of vaccination, and have given the facts which 
the two greatest living specialists on the subject Pro- 
fessor Crookshank and Dr. Creighton consider to prove 
the fallacy or insufficiency of all the tests which w r ere ap- 
plied. This is followed by a statement of the abundant 
evidence which, in the first ten years of the century, 
already showed that vaccination had no protective power 
(pp. 219-221). But the heads of the medical profession 
had accepted the operation as of proved value, and the 
legislature, on their recommendation, had voted its dis- 
coverer 30,000 of public money, and had besides, in 
1808, endowed a National Vaccine Establishment with 
about 3000 a year. Reputations and vested interests 

especially applying to zymotic diseases, is also so generally prejudicial 
to health as to produce a constant and very large effect upon the total 
mortality. 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 301 



were henceforth at stake, and those who adduced evi- 
dence of the failure or the dangers of vaccination were 
treated as fanatics, and have been so treated by the medi- 
cal and official world down to the appointment of the last 
Royal Commission. 

I next give the reasons why doctors are not the best 
judges of the effects, beneficial or otherwise, of vaccina- 
tion, and follow this by proofs of a special capacity for 
misstating facts in reference to this question which has 
characterized them from the beginning of the century 
down to our day. The successive annual reports of the 
National Vaccine Establishment give figures of the 
deaths by small-pox in London in the eighteenth cen- 
tury, which go on increasing like Falstaff's men in 
buckram ; while in our own time the late Dr. W. B. Car- 
penter, Mr. Ernest Hart, the National Health Society, 
and the Local Government Board make statements or 
give figures which are absurdly and demonstrably incor- 
rect (pp. 223-228). 1 

1 To the cases I have already given I may now add two others, 
because they illustrate the recklessness in making assertions in favor 
of vaccination which scorns the slightest attempt at verification. In 
the first edition of Mr. Ernest Hart's " Truth about Vaccination" p. 
4), it is stated, on the authority of a member of Parliament recently 
returned from Brazil, that during an epidemic of small-pox at the 
town of Ceara in 1878 and 1879, out of a population not exceeding 
70,000 persons there were 40,000 deaths from small-pox. This 
was repeated by Dr. Carpenter during a debate in London, in 
February, 1882, and only when its accuracy was called in question 
was it ascertained that at the time referred to the population of Ceara 
was only about 20,000 ; yet the M. P. had stated with detailed cir- 
cumstancethat " in one cemetery, from August, 1878, to June, 1879, 
72,064 persons who had died of small-pox had been buried." 
Gazetteers are not very recondite works, and it would have been not 
difficult to test some portion of this monstrous statement before 
printing it. Jeuner's biographer tells us that he had a horror of 



802 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

I then show the existence of so unreasoning a belief 
in the importance of vaccination that it leads many of 
those who have to deal with it officially to concealments 
and misstatements which are justified by the desire to 
" save vaccination from reproach." Thus it happened 
that till 1881 no deaths were regularly recorded as due 
to vaccination, although an increasing number of such 
deaths now appear in the Registrar-General's Reports; 

arithmetical calculations, due to a natural incapacity, which quality 
appears to be a special characteristic of those who advocate vaccina- 
tion, as the examples I have given sufficiently prove. 

Another glaring case of official misrepresentation occurred in the 
Royal Commission itself, but was fortunately exposed later on. A 
medical officer of the Local Government Board gave evidence (First 
Report, Q. 994) that the Board in 1886 "took some pains to get the 
figures as to the steamship Preussen," on which small-pox broke out 
on its arrival in Australia. He made the following statements : (1) 
There were 312 persons on board this vessel. (2) Four revacciuated, 
47 vaccinated, 3 who had small-pox, and 15 unvaccinated were 
attacked 69 in all. (3) The case was adduced to show that 
" sanitary circumstances have little or no control over small-pox 
compared with the condition of vaccination or no vaccination." 

This official statement was quoted in the House of Commons as 
strikingly showing the value of vaccination. But, like so many 
other official statements, it was all wrong ! The reports of the Mel- 
bourne and Sydney inspectors have been obtained, and it is found : 

(1) That there were on board this ship 723 passengers and 120 
crew 843 in all, instead of 312 ; so that the "pains " taken by the 
Local Government Board to get " the figures " were very ineffectual. 

(2) There were 29 cases among the 235 passengers who disembarked 
at Melbourne, of whom only 1 was unvaccinated. The crew had all 
been revaccinated before starting, yet 14 of them were attacked, and 
one died. All these in addition to the cases given by the Local 
Government Board. Thus 18 revaccinated persons caught the dis- 
ease, instead of 4, as first stated, and 69 vaccinated, instead of 48; 
while among the 15 cases alleged to be unvaccinated three were 
infants under one year old, and two more between five and ten years. 

(3) The official reports from Melbourne and Sydney stated that the 
vessel was greatly overcrowded, that the sanitary arrangements were 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 303 

while a few medical men, who have personally inquired 
into these results of vaccination, have found a large 
amount of mortality directly following the operation, 
together with a large percentage of subsequent disease, 
often lasting for years or during life, which, except for 
such private enquiries, would have remained altogether 
unknown and unacknowledged (pp. 229-232). 1 

very bad, and the inspector at Sydney declared the vessel to be the 
" filthiest ship he had had to deal with"! (See " Final Report," pp. 
205-6 : and Second Report, Q. 5942-5984.) 

Here, then, we have a case in which all the official figures, paraded 
as being- the result of " taking some pains," are wrong, not to 
a trifling extent, bat so grossly that they might be supposed to apply 
to some quite different ship. And the essential fact of the filthy, 
overcrowded, and unsanitary condition of the ship was unknown or 
concealed ; and the case was adduced as one showing how unimpor- 
tant is sanitation as regards small-pox. What the case really proves 
is that under unsanitary conditions neither vaccination nor revaccina- 
tion has the slightest effect in preventing the spread of small-pox, 
since the proportion of the cases among the revaccinated crew was 
almost exactly the same as that of the whole of the cases (omitting 
the three infants) to the whole population on the ship. 

With this example of officially quoted facts (!) in support of 
vaccination, coming at the end of the long series we have given or 
referred to in the first part of this work, it is not too much to ask that 
all such unverified statements be, once and for ever, ruled out of 
court. 

1 The Commissioners in their Majority Report (par. 379) suggest 
that the deaths due to vaccination are sm;ill in proportion to the whole 
number of vaccinations, and argue that it would be as unwise to 
reject vaccination for this reason as to refuse to travel by railway on 
account of the risk of accident. But they overlook the fact that rail- 
way-travelling is not made compulsory ; and they make no com- 
parison by figures, showing the proportionate risk in the two cases. 
This comparison is, however, made in the Minority Report (par. 184), 
and it is shown that the risk of death by vaccination, as officially 
admitted, is, on the average of the nine years 1881-89, between three 
and four thousand times greater than the risk of death by railway 
travelling, while it is 622 times as gi'eat as in the very worst year of 



304 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. XVIIL 



The same desire to do credit to the practice which 
they believe to be so important leads to such imperfect 
or erroneous statements, as to the vaccinated or unvacci- 
nated condition of those who die of small-pox, as to ren- 
der all statistics of this kind faulty and erroneous to so 
serious an extent that they must be altogether rejected. 
Whether a person dies of small-pox or of some other ill- 
ness is a fact that is recorded with tolerable accuracy, 
because the disease, in fatal cases, is among the most 
easily recognized. Statistics of " small-pox mortality " 
may, therefore, be accepted as reliable. But whether 
the patient is registered as vaccinated or not vaccinated 
usually depends on the visibility or non-visibility of vac- 
cination-marks, either during the illness or after death, 
both of which observations are liable to error, while the 
latter entails a risk of infection which would justifiably 
lead to its omission. And the admitted practice of many 
doctors, to give vaccination the benefit of any doubt, en- 
tirely vitiates all such statistics, except in those special 
cases where large bodies of adults are systematically vac- 
cinated or revaccinated. Hence, whenever the results 
of these imperfect statistics are opposed to those of the 
official records of small-pox mortality, the former must 
be rejected. It is an absolute law of evidence, of statis- 
tics, and of common sense that, when two kinds of evi- 
dence contradict each other, that which can be proved 
to be even partially incorrect or untrustworthy must be 

railway accidents, 1889. Supposing railway accidents and resulting 
deaths were 3000 times as numerous as they are, should we be satis- 
fied with the railway-companies' assurance that it was really of no 
importance as compared with the benefits of railways ! And the 
actual deaths from vaccination nre, certainly, much greater than the 
officially admitted deaths used in the above calculation. 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 305 

rejected. It will be found that all the evidence that 
seems to prove the value of vaccination is of this un- 
trustworthy character. This conclusion is enforced by 
the fact that the more recent hospital statistics show that 
small-pox occurs among the vaccinated in about the same 
proportion as the vaccinated bear to the whole popula- 
tion; thus again indicating that the earlier figures, show- 
ing that they were proportionately five or six times as 
numerous, and the death-rate of the unvaccinated twice 
or thrice that of the average of pre-vaccination days, are 
altogether erroneous, and are due to the various kinds of 
error or misstatement which have been pointed out 
(pp. 229-232). 

Having thus cleared away some of the misconceptions 
and fallacies which have obscured the main question at 
issue, and having shown that, by official admission, the 
only valuable evidence consists of " large masses of 
national statistics," which should have been dealt with 
by a commission of trained statisticians, I proceed to 
show, by a series of diagrams embodying the official or 
national statistics brought before the Commission, or to 
be found in the Reports of the Registrar-General, what 
such statistics really prove ; and I ask my readers to look 
again at those diagrams as I refer to them. 

Diagram I. exhibits the most extensive body of 
national statistics available, showing at one view the 
death-rates from Small-pox, from the other chief Zy- 
motic Diseases, and the Total Mortality, from 17 GO to 
1896. The first portion, from 1760 to 1836, is from 
the " Bills of Mortality," which, though not complete, 
are admitted to be, on the whole, fairly accurate as re- 



306 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 



gards the variations at different periods and between dif- 
ferent diseases. The second part, from 1838 onward, 
is from the Keports of the Kegistrar-General, and is 
more complete in giving all deaths whatever. Its lines 
are, therefore, as it were, on a higher level than those of 
the earlier period, and can only be compared with it as 
regards proportions of the different mortalities, not so 
accurately as to their total amounts. The main teaching 
of this diagram a teaching which the Commissioners 
have altogether missed by never referring to diagrams 
showing comparative mortalities is the striking cor- 
respondence in average rise and fall of the death-rates 
of small-pox, of zymotics, and of all diseases together. 
This correspondence is maintained throughout the whole 
of the first part, as well as through the whole of the 
second part, of the diagram ; and it proves that small-pox 
obeys, and always has obeyed, the same law of sub- 
servience to general sanitary conditions as the other great 
groups of allied diseases and the general mortality. 
Looking at this most instructive diagram, we see at once 
the absurdity of the claim that the dimunition of small- 
pox in the first quarter of our century was due to the 
partial and imperfect vaccination of that period. 
Equally absurd is the allegation that its stationary char- 
acter from 1842 to 1872, culminating in a huge epi- 
demic, was due to the vaccination then prevailing, 
though much larger than ever before, not being quite 
universal an allegation completely disproved by the 
fact that the other zymotics as a whole, as well as the 
general mortality, exhibited strikingly similar decreases 
followed by equally marked periods of average uni- 
formity or slight increase, to be again followed by a 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 307 

marked decrease. There is here no indication whatever 
of vaccination having produced the slightest effect on 
small-pox mortality. 

The second diagram shows that, even taking the Com- 
mission's favorite method of comparing the zymotics 
separately with small-pox, all of them except measles 
show a similar or a greater decrease during the period 
of official registration, and also agree in the periods of 
slight increase, again proving the action of the same 
general causes (which I have pointed out at p. 250), and 
leaving no room whatever for the supposed effects of 
vaccination. 

Diagram III. shows that similar phenomena occurred 
in England and Wales as a whole, the other zymotics 
and the total deaths obeying the same laws of increase 
and decrease as small-pox. Comparison with Diagram 
I. shows the much greater severity of small-pox epi- 
demics in London, illustrating the fact, which all the 
statistical evidence of all countries strikingly enforces, 
that small-pox mortality is, other things being equal, a 
function of density of population, while it pays no regard 
whatever to vaccination. This is further shown by the 
short, thick dotted line which exhibits the total number 
of vaccinations since 1872, when private as well as public 
vaccinations were first officially recorded, and which 
proves that the continuous decrease of vaccination since 
1882 has been accompanied by a decided decrease, in- 
stead of an increase, in small-pox mortality. 

Diagram IV. shows the statistics of mortality in Ire~ 
land and Scotland from small-pox and certain chosen 
zymotics, from the tables which were laid before the 
Commission by the official advocates of vaccination. 



308 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP xvm. 

These show two striking facts, which the Commissioners 
failed to notice in their " Final Report." First, the 
smaller amount of small-pox mortality in Ireland than 
in Scotland, the latter being alleged to be well vacci- 
nated, the former imperfectly so; and, secondly, the 
similar difference in the two chosen diseases and the 
general parallelism of the two. Here again we see 
clearly the influence of density of population, Scotland 
having a very much larger proportion of its inhabitants 
living in large manufacturing towns. 

The next three diagrams V., VI., and VII. show 
small-pox mortality in Sweden, Prussia, and Bavaria 
countries which at previous enquiries were adduced as 
striking examples of the value of vaccination. They all 
show phenomena of the same character as our own coun- 
try, but far worse as regards epidemics in the capitals; 
that of Stockholm, in 1874, causing a death-rate more 
than 50 per cent, higher than during the worst epidemic 
of the last century in London! The diagram of small- 
pox and zymotics in Bavaria is given merely because the 
statistics were brought before the Commission as a proof 
of the beneficial results of vaccination in well-vaccinated 
communities. It was alleged by Dr. Hopkirk that almost 
the whole of the population Avere vaccinated, and ad- 
mitted by him that of the 30,742 cases of small-pox in 
1871 no less than 95.7 per cent, were vaccinated! The 
epidemic was, however, less severe than in Prussia, again 
showing the influence of density of population less than 
one-seventh of the Bavarians inhabiting towns of over 
20,000, while one-fourth inhabit similar towns in Prus- 
sia; but we see that during the latter half of the period 
chosen small-pox greatly increased, and the other zy- 



CHAP. xvm. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 309 

motics remained very high, indicating general insanitary 
conditions. And this case was specially brought before 
the Commission as a proof of the benefits of vaccination ! 
In their " Final Keport " the Commissioners omit to 
point out that it really indicates the very reverse. 

We then come to the two cases that afford most con- 
clusive tests of the absolute uselessness of vaccination 
Leicester, and our Army and Navy. 

Diagram VIII. shows the death-rates from small-pox 
and from the other zymotics in LEICESTER during the 
period of official registration, together with the percent- 
age of vaccinations to births. L T p to 1872 Leicester was 
a fairly well-vaccinated town; yet for thirty-four years 
its small-pox mortality, in periodical epidemics, remained 
very high, corresponding generally with the other zy- 
motics. But immediately after the great epidemic of 
1872, which was much worse than in London, the people 
began to reject vaccination, at first slowly, then more 
rapidly, till for the last eight years less than 5 per cent, 
of the births have been vaccinated. During the whole 
of the last twenty-four years small-pox deaths have been 
very few, and during twelve consecutive years, 1878-89, 
there was a total of only eleven small-pox deaths in this 
populous town. 

Diagram IX. is equally important as showing a re- 
markable correspondence, if not a causal relation, be- 
tween vaccination and disease. From 1848 to 1862 
there was a considerable decrease of both general and 
infant mortality, and also in infant mortality from small- 
pox. This, Mr. Biggs tells us, was when important 
sanitary improvements were in progress. Then the 
more thorough enforcement of vaccination set in (as 



310 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

shown by the dotted line), and was accompanied by an 
increase of all these mortalities. But, so soon as the re- 
volt against vaccination began, till the present time when 
it has diminished to about 2 or 3 per cent, of births, all 
mortalities have steadily decreased, and that decrease has 
been especially marked in infant lives. It is very sug- 
gestive that the lines of infant mortality have now 
reached the position they would have had if the slow de- 
crease during 1850-60 had been continued, strongly in- 
dicating that some special cause sent them up, and the 
removal of that cause allowed them to sink again; and 
during that very period vaccination increased and then 
steadily "decreased. I venture to declare that in the 
whole history of vaccination there is no such clear and 
satisfactory proof of its having saved a single life as 
these Leicester statistics afford of its having been the 
cause of death to many hundreds of infants. 

Diagram X. exhibits the check to the decrease in in- 
fant mortality, both in London and for England, since 
the enforcement of vaccination (p. 257), and thus sup- 
ports and enforces the conclusions derived from the pre- 
ceding diagram. 

I next discuss in some detail what is undoubtedly the 
most complete and crucial test of the value or uselessness 
of vaccination to be found anywhere in the world. 
Since 1860 in the Army, and 1872 in the Navy, every 
man without exception, English or foreign, has been vac- 
cinated on entering the service, though for long before 
that period practically the whole force was vaccinated or 
revaccinated. Diagrams XI. and XII. exhibit the re- 
sult of the statistics presented to the Commission, show- 



CHAP. xvin. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 311 

ing for the Navy, the death-rate from disease and that 
from small-pox for the whole force; and for the Army, 
the death-rate from small-pox for the whole force, and 
that from disease for the home force only, foreign deaths 
from disease not being separately given. 

Here we note, first, the general parallelism of the two 
lines showing the diminishing total disease-mortality in 
the two forces, resulting from the greater attention given 
to sanitation and to general health conditions of both 
forces during the last thirty or forty years. But, in- 
stead of small-pox mortality, as shown by the two lower 
lines of the diagram, absolutely vanishing with the com- 
plete re vaccination in the Army since 1860, it shows but 
a small improvement as compared with general disease- 
mortality; just as if some adverse cause were preventing 
the improvement. In the Navy the improvement is 
somewhat greater, and more nearly comparable with 
that of general disease-mortality. There is, therefore, 
as regards proportionate decrease, no indication what- 
ever of any exceptional cause favorably influencing 
small-pox. 

In Diagram XII. I compare the small-pox mortality 
of the Army and Navy with that of Ireland, from tables 
given in the " Final Report " and the Second Report; 
and we find that this whole country (at ages 15-45) has 
actually a much lower small-pox mortality than the 
Army, while it is a little more than in the Navy, al- 
though the mortality during the great epidemic was 
higher than any that affected the Army or Navy, owing 
to its rapid spread by infection in the towns. But the 
proportionate numbers dying of small-pox in a series of 
years is, of course, the final and absolute test ; and, apply- 



312 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



CHAP. XVIII 



ing this test, we find that these revaccinated soldiers and 
sailors have suffered in the thirty-one years during which 
the materials for comparison exist, to almost exactly the 
same extent as poor, half -starved, imperfectly vaccinated 
Ireland (p. 282)! Another and still more striking com- 
parison is given. The town of Leicester is, and has 
been for the last twenty years, the least vaccinated town 
in the kingdom. Its average population from 1873 to 
1894 was about two-thirds that of the Army during the 
same period. Yet the small-pox deaths in the Army 
and Navy were thirty-seven per million, those of Leices- 
ter under fifteen per million. 

Thus, whether we compare the revaccinated and thor- 
oughly " protected " Army and Navy with imperfectly 
vaccinated Ireland, or with almost unvaccinated Leices- 
ter, we find them either on a bare equality or worse off 
as regards small-pox mortality. It is not possible to 
have a more complete or crucial test than this is, and it 
absolutely demonstrates the utter uselessness, or worse 
than uselessness, of revaccination ! * 

In the face of this clear and indisputable evidence, 
all recorded in their own Reports, the Commissioners 
make the astounding statement: " We find that particu- 
lar classes within the community amongst whom revacci- 
nation has prevailed to an exceptional degree have 
exhibited a position of quite exceptional advantage in 
relation to small-pox, although these classes have in 
many cases been subject to exceptional risk of conta- 

1 So late as 1892 (January 16) the Lancet declared in a leading 
article: " No one need die of small-pox; indeed, no one need have it 
unless he likes that is to say, he can be absolutely protected by vac- 
cination once repeated." Surely, never before was misstatement so 
ignorantly promulgated, or so completely refuted! 



CHAP. xvin. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 313 

gion " (" Final Report," p. 90, par. 342). And again: 
" The fact that revaccination of adults appears to place 
them in so favorable a condition as compared with the 
unvaccinated," etc. (" Final Keport/' p. 98, par. 375). 
"What can be said of such statements as these, but simply 
that they are wholly untrue? And the fact that the 
majority of the Commissioners did not know this, be- 
cause they never compared the different groups of facts 
in their own Reports which prove them to be untrue, 
demonstrates at once their complete incapacity to con- 
duct such an inquiry and the utter worthlessness of their 
" Final Report." 

This is a matter upon which it is necessary to speak 
plainly. For refusing to allow their children's health, 
or even their lives, to be endangered by tho inoculation 
into their system of disease-produced matter, miscalled 
" lymph," 1 hundreds and probably thousands of Eng- 
lish parents have been fined or imprisoned and treated 
as criminals; while certainly thousands of infants have 
been officially done to death, and other thousands in- 
jured for life. And all these horrors on account of what 
Dr. Creighton has well termed a " grotesque supersti- 
tion," which has never had a rational foundation either 
of physiological doctrine or of carefully tested observa- 
tions, and is now found to be disproved by a century's 
dearly bought experience. This disgrace of our much- 
vaunted scientific age has been throughout supported by 
concealment of facts telling against it, by misrepresenta- 

1 ' ' Lymph, a colorless nutritive fluid in animal bodies " (' ' Chambers' 
Dictionary"). How misleading to apply this term to a product of 
disease, used to produce another disease, and now admitted to be 
capable of transmitting some of the most Iwrrible diseases which 
afflict mankind syphilis and leprosy! 



314 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xvm. 

tion, and by untruths. And now a Royal Commission, 
which one would have supposed would have striven to be 
rigidly impartial, has presented a Report which is not 
only weak, misleading, and inadequate, but is also palp- 
ably one-sided, in that it omits in every case to make 
those comparisons by which alone the true meaning can 
be ascertained of those " great masses of national experi- 
ence " to which appeal has been made by the official 

-L -I- */ 

advocate of vaccination par excellence Sir John Simon. 

I venture to think that I have here so presented the 
best of these statistical facts as to satisfy my readers of 
the certain and absolute uselessness of vaccination as a 
preventive of small-pox; while these same facts render it 
in the highest degree probable that it has actually in- 
creased susceptibility to the disease. The teaching of 
the whole of the evidence is in one direction. Whether 
we examine the long-continued records of London mor- 
tality, or those of modern registration for England, Scot- 
land, and Ireland; whether we consider the " control 
experiment " or crucial test afforded by unvaccinated 
Leicester, or the still more rigid test in the other direc- 
tion of the absolutely revaccinated Army and Navy, the 
conclusion is in every case the same: that vaccination is 
a gigantic delusion ; that it has never saved a single life ; 
but that it has been the cause of so much disease, so 
many deaths, such a vast amount of utterly needless and 
altogether undeserved suffering, that it will be classed 
by the coming generation among the greatest errors of 
an ignorant and prejudiced age, and its penal enforce- 
ment the foulest blot on the generally beneficent course 
of legislation during our century. 



CHAP. xvni. VACCINATION A DELUSION. 315 



To talk of amending such legislation is a mockery. 
Absolute and immediate abolition is the only rational 
course open to us. Every day the vaccination laws re- 
main in force, parents are being punished, infants are 
being killed. An Act of a single clause will repeal these 
vile laws; and I call upon every one of our legislators to 
consider their responsibilities as the guardians of the 
liberties of the English people, and to insist that this 
repeal be effected without a day's unnecessary delay. 

The successive Vaccination Acts were passed by 
means of allegations which were wholly untrue and 
promises which have all been unfulfilled. They stand 
alone in modern legislation as a gross interference with 
personal liberty and the sanctity of the home; while as 
an attempt to cheat outraged nature and to avoid a zy- 
motic disease without getting rid of the foul conditions 
that produce or propagate it, the practice of vaccination 
is utterly opposed to the whole teaching of sanitary 
science, and is one of those terrible blunders which, in 
their far-reaching evil consequences, are worse than the 
greatest of crimes. 



APPENDIX. 

THE CAUSES OF THE IMPROVEMENT IN THE HEALTH OF LONDON 
TOWARD THE END OF THE EIGHTEENTH AND BEGINNING OF 
THE NINETEENTH CENTURIES. 

ALTHOUGH, as I have shown, there is ample proof of the great im- 
provement in the sanitary condition of London during the latter part 
of the eighteenth and the early part of the nineteenth centuries in 
the great and exceptional decrease of the general death-rate, and 
especially in the infant death-rate, as pointed out by the late Dr. 
Farr, it will be well to give a brief sketch of the various changes, not 
only in London itself, but in the habits and especially in the food of 
the people, which combined to bring it about. 

In the early part of the eighteenth century London was in a condi- 
tion of overcrowding and general filth which we can now hardly 
realize. The houses were low and overhung the streets, and almost 
all had cesspools close behind or underneath them. The streets were 
narrow, the main thoroughfares only being paved with cobblestones, 
which collected filth, and allowed it to soak into the ground beneath 
till the soil and subsoil became saturated. Slops and refuse of all 
kinds were thrown into the streets at night, and only the larger 
streets were ever cleaned. The by-streets and the roads outside 
London were so bad that vehicles could only go two or three miles 
an hour; while even between London and Kensington coaches some- 
times stuck in the mud or had to turn back and give up the journey. 
The writers of the time describe the streets as dangerous and often 
impassable, while only in the main thoroughfare were there any foot- 
ways, which were separated from the narrow roadway by rows of 
posts. Gay, in his "Trivia." speaks of the slops thrown from the 
overhanging windows, and the frequent dangers of the night, 
adding: 

" Thoneh expedition bid?, yet never stray 
Where no rang'd posts defend the rugged way." 

And throughout this poem, dirt, mire, mud, slime, are continually 
referred to as being the chief characteristics of the streets. They 
mostly had a gutter on each side, and with few exceptions rain alone 

316 



LONDON SANITARY IMPROVEMENTS. 317 



prevented them being blocked with refuse. The effects of a heavy 
shower in the city are forcibly described by Swift in his usual plain 
language: 

" Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow, 
And bear their trophies with them as they go; 
Filths of all hues and odors seem to tell 
What street they sailed from by their sight and smell. 

" Sweepings from the butchers' stalls, drugs, guts, and blood, 
Drown'd puppies, stinking sprats, all drench'd in mud, 
Deai cats, and turnip tops, come tumbling down the flood." 

Macaulay tells us that down to 1726 St. James' Square, though sur- 
rounded by houses of the nobility, was a common receptacle for 
refuse of all kinds, and that it required an Act of Parliament to stop 
its being so used. Hogs were kept in St. George's, Hanover Square, 
and in 1760 many were seized as a common nuisance. 

The numerous small streams which flowed through London from 
the northern heigh ts Langbourne, Wallbrook, Fleet, Tybourne, and 
"Westbourne which were in earlier times a source of health and 
water supply, gradually became noisome open sewers, and one after 
another were arched over. There were many wells in London, indi- 
cated by such names as Holywell, Clerkenwell, and Aldgate Pump, 
and there were also conduits in Cheapside and Cornhill; but it is cer- 
tain that, from the filthy streets and house cesspools, all the water 
derived from them must have been contaminated, and thus helped to 
produce the terrible mortality from plague and fevers of the seven- 
teenth century. It has been often suggested that the Great Fire of 
London in 1666 was the cause of the final disappearance of the 
plague, but how, except that the new houses were for once clean 
and wholesome, has not, I think, been satisfactorily explained. I 
believe, however, that it can be found in the action of the fire upon 
the soil, which for more than a thousand years had been continu- 
ously saturated with filth, and must, as we now know, have afforded 
a nidus for every kind of disease germs. The long-continued fire 
'not only destroyed the closely-packed houses, but in doing so must 
have actually burnt the whole soil to a considerable depth, and thus 
have destroyed not only the living germs, but all the organic matter 
in it. The new city, for the first time in many centuries, had beneath 
it a dry and wholesome soil, which to this day has not had time to 
get so foully polluted as before the fire. 

When we come to consider how the people lived, the conditions 
were equally bad. The houses were often sunk below the level of 



318 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 

the ground, and had very low rooms, as indicated by Gay's lines on 
the Strand: 

" Where the low penthouse bows the walker's head, 
And the rough pavement wounds the yielding tread." 

Light and air were shut out by the overhanging of each successive 
floor, and by enormous signboards projecting over the street; while 
any effective ventilation was out of the question, and, indeed, was 
never thought of. Water had usually to be brought from the public 
wells or conduits, and was used sparingly; and most business people 
lived for whole days and weeks without ever leaving the polluted air 
of their shops and houses. A friend of Mr. William White told him 
that he served his apprenticeship to a grocer in Cheapside from 1786 
to 1793; that the shop was opened at seven in the morning and closed 
at ten at night; that he slept under the counter; that his ablutions 
were limited to his face and hands, and that he never went out 
except to meeting on Sunday. Bishop Wilson of Calcutta was in a 
silk merchant's shop about the same time, and worked similar hours. 
He records that the apprentices rarely left the house for weeks 
together, and that it was three years before he had his first holiday. 
William Cobbett, in 1783, was in a lawyer's office in Gray's Inn, 
where, he relates, "I worked like a galley slave from five in the 
morning till eight or nine at night, and sometimes all night long. I 
never quitted this gloomy recess except on Sundays, when I usually 
took a walk to St. James' Park." ! 

When we remember the filthy condition of the streets, and that, 
owing to the cesspools either under or close behind the houses, the 
scarcity of water, and the absence of ventilation, the shops and living 
rooms were always full of foul air, bad smells, and poisonous gases, 
how r can we wonder at the prevalence of zymotic disease and the 
dreadful amount of infant and general mortality? And in many 
houses there was an additional peril in the vicinity of churchyards. 
In Nicoll's " Illustrations of Literary History " (vol. iv. p. 499), Mr. 
Samuel Gale is quoted as writing, in 1736, as follows: 

" In the churchyard of St. Paul, Covent Garden, the burials are. 
so frequent that the place is not capacious enough to contain de- 
cently the crowds of dead, some of whom are not laid above a foot 
under the loose earth. The cemetery is surrounded every way with 
close buildings; and an acquaintance of mine, whose apartments look 
into the churchyard, hath averred to me that the family have often 
rose in the night time and been forced to burn frankincense and 

1 White's " Story of a great Delusion," p. 81. 



LONDON SANITARY IMPROVEMENTS. 319 

other perfumes to dissipate and break the contagions vapor. This is 
an instance of the danger of infection proceeding from the corrupt 
effluvia of dead bodies." 

Many illnesses then originated in churches, and even those whose 
houses were exceptionally wholesome were often exposed to a danger- 
ous atmosphere when they went to church on Sundays. 

The general food of the poor and the middle classes addfd greatly 
to their unhealthiness, and itself caused disease. Owing to the 
absence of good roads, it was impossible to supply the large popula- 
tion of London with fresh food throughout the year, and, conse- 
quently, salt meat and salt fish formed the staple diet during the 
winter. For the same reason fresh vegetables were unattainable; so 
that meat, cheese, and bread, with beer as the common drink at all 
meals, was the regular food, with chiefly salted meat and fish in 
winter. As a result, scurvy was very common. Dr. Cheyne, in 
1724, says: " There is no chronical distemper more universal, more 
obstinate, and more fatal in Britain than the scurvy." And it con- 
tinued to be common down to 1783, when, Dr. Buchan says, " The 
disease most common in this country is the scurvy." But very soon 
afterward it decreased, owing to the growing use of potatoes and tea, 
and an increased supply of fresh vegetables, fruit, milk, etc., which 
the improved roads allowed to be brought in quantities from the 
surrounding country. 

Now, it is quite certain that the excessively unhealthy conditions 
of life, as here briefly described, continued with very partial amelio- 
ration throughout the middle portion of the century; and we have to 
consider what were the causes which then came into operation, lead- 
ing to the great improvement in health that undoubtedly occurred in 
the latter portions of it and in the early part of our century. 

Beginning with improvements in the streets and houses, we have, 
in 1762, an Act passed for the removal of the overhanging sign- 
boards, projecting waterspouts, and other such obstructions. In 
1766 the first granite pavements were laid down, which were found 
so beneficial, and in the end economical, that during the next half 
century almost all London was thus paved. In 1768 the first Com- 
missioners of Paving, Lighting, and Watching were appointed, and 
by 1780 Dr. Black states that many streets had been widened, sewers 
made; that there was a better water supply and less crowding. 1 
From this date onward, we are told in the ' ' Encyclopaedia Britannica " 
(art. " London "), a rapid rate of progress commenced, and that since 
1785 almost the whole of the houses within the city had been rebuilt, 
1 See " Fourth Report of the Royal Commission on Vaccination," Q. 10,917. 



320 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 

with wider streets and much more light and air. In 1795 the western 
side of Temple Bar and Snowhill were widened and improved, and 
soon afterward Butchers' Row, at the back of St. Clement's Church, 
was removed. Of course, these are only indications of changes that 
were going on over the whole city; and, coincident with these im- 
provements, there was a rapid extension of the inhabited area, 
which, from a sanitary point of view, was of far greater importance. 
That agglomeration of streets, interspersed with spacious squares and 
gardens, which extends to the north of Oxford Street, was almost 
wholly built in the period we are discussing. Bloomsbury and Rus- 
sell Squares and the adjacent streets occupy the site of Bedford 
House and grounds, w r hich were sold for building on in 1800. All 
round London similar extensions were carried out. People went to 
live in these new suburbs, giving up their city houses to business or 
offices only. Regent's Park was formed, and Regent Street and 
Portland Place were built before 1820, and the whole intervening 
area was soon covered with streets and houses, which for some con- 
siderable period enjoyed the pure air of the country. At this time 
the water supply became greatly improved, and the use of iron mains 
in place of the old wooden ones, and of lead pipes, by which water 
was carried into all the new houses, was of inestimable value from a 
sanitary point of view. 

Then, just at the same time, began the great improvement in the 
roads, consequent on the establishment of mail coaches in 1784. 
This at once extended the limits of residence for business men, while 
it facilitated the supply of fresh food to the city. In 1801, London, 
within the Bills of Mortality, was increased in area by almost fifty 
per cent., with comparatively very little increase of population, 
owing to the suburban parishes of St. Luke's, Chelsea, Kensington, 
Marylebone, Paddington, and St. Pancras being then included; and 
even in 1821 this whole area had only a million inhabitants, and was 
therefore still thinly peopled, and enjoying semi-rural conditions of 
life. 1 The slight increase of population from 1801 to 1821 (about 
one hundred and fifty thousand), notwithstanding this extension of 
area, proves that these suburban parishes were almost wholly peopled 
from the denser parts of the city, and to a very small extent by fresh 
immigrants from the country. It is also clear that many city inhab- 
itants must have removed to outlying parishes beyond the Bills of 
Mortality, in order to explain the verj r small increase of population in 
twenty years. This dispersion of the former city population over a 

1 These figures are given in the Eighth Annual Report of the Registrar-General, 
and the parishes included are from the " Encyclopaedia Britannica." 



LONDON SANITARY IMPROVEMENTS. 321 



much larger suburban area was, in all probability, the most power- 
ful of the various sanitary causes which led to the great diminution 
of mortality, both general and from the zymotic diseases. 1 

Another very important agency, at about the same time, was the 
great change in the popular diet that then occurred the change from 
bread, beer, and salted meat or fish to potatoes, tea or coffee, and 
fresh meat. Dr. Poore tells us that potatoes were first used in hos- 
pital diet in 1767. 2 They steadily grew in favor, and in the early 
part of this century had become so common that they almost com- 
pletely abolished scurvy, the prevalence of which had no doubt ren- 
dered other diseases more fatal. At the same time tea became a 
common beverage. The consumption of tea in England in 1775 was 
5,648,000 pounds, and in 1801, 23,730,000 pounds a more than four- 
fold increase; a rate which has never been approached in any subse- 
quent twenty-five years. With tea came the more general use of 
milk and sugar; and it was this, perhaps, that helped to cause the 
exceptionally rapid decrease of infant mortality. Again, in the same 
period, the disuse of the city churchyards for interments became 
general; cemeteries were formed in various parts of the suburbs, till 
such interments in any part of London were forbidden in 1845, thus 
removing one more, and not an unimportant, source of disease from 
the more crowded areas. 

Now, the various classes of improvements here briefly indicated 
those in the city itself, in wider, cleaner, and less obstructed streets, 
the construction of sewers, and better water supply; the more whole- 
some food, especially in the use of potatoes and other vegetables, 
and tea, with its accompanying milk and sugar, becoming common 



1 1 have already repeatedly referred to the vital importance of space, air, and 
light for healthy living. A few more illustrations may be here given. In his work, 
already quoted, Dr. Poore gives a table of the mortality by measles and whooping- 
cough of children under five, for the years 1871-80, in the different districts of 
London, according to density of population. It gives the following results: 

DEATHS PER 100,000 LIVING. 

Six districts, having more than 150 persons per acre, . . 1157 

Seven " " from 100 to 150 " "... 1077 

Seven " " " 50 to 100 "... 968 

Eight " " less than 50 "... 743 

The general death-rate follows the same law. In Lewisham, Wandsworth, and 
Hampstead, with densities under 35 per acre, the death-rates are under 15 per thou- 
sand; while in Shoreditch, Whitechapel, SI,. George-in-the-East, and St. Saviour, 
Southwark, with densities from 185 to 208 per acre, the death-rates are from 20 to 
24 per thousand, according to the latest returns of the Registrar-General. 

3 " London from a Sanitary and Medical Point of View." 1889. 



322 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 

articles of diet; and, most important of all, the spreading out of the 
population over a much wider area, enabling large numbers of per- 
sons to live under far more healthy conditions all, as we have seen, 
occurring simultaneously, and effecting this most fundamental 
change within the half century from 1775 to 1825, are in their com- 
bination amply sufficient to account for that remarkable decrease of 
mortality, not, as the Royal Commissioners suggest, pre-eminently 
in small-pox, but in all the more important diseases, which especially 
characterized this period. This is strikingly shown by Dr. Farr's 
table printed in the Third Report (p. 198), of which the portion that 
especially concerns us is here given. It shows us for two periods, 
1771-80 and 1801-10, the deaths per one hundred thousand living 
from the more important diseases. 

1771-80. 1801-10. 

Fourteen infantile diseases 1682 789 

Small-pox, 502 204 

Fevers 621 264 

Consumption, 1121 716 

Dropsy 225 113 

Here we see that, in the thirty years from 1775 to 1805, a change oc- 
curred which reduced the mortality from all the chief diseases to half, 
or less than half, their previous amount. Small-pox no doubt shows 
the largest decrease; but as it is a decrease w r hich was mainly effected 
before vaccination was heard of, that operation cannot have been its 
cause. 1 Now, the remarkable feature of this diminution of mortality 
is, that in no similar period between 1629, when the Bills of Mortality 
began, down to the present year, has there been anything like it. And 
the same may said cf the causes that led to it. Never before or 
since has there been such an important change in the food of the 
people, or such a rapid spreading out of the crowded population over 
a much larger and previously unoccupied area; and these two 
changes are, I submit, when taken in conjunction with the sanitary 
improvements in the city itself, and the much greater facilities of 
communication between the town and country around, amply suffi- 
cient to account for the sudden and unexampled improvement in the 
general health, as indicated by the great reduction of the death-rate 
from all the chief groups of diseases, including small-pox. 

1 The decrease is probably exaggerated, owing to the confusion of measles with 
small-pox. Measles shows an increased mortality in the above period from forty- 
eight to ninety -four, and as it increased through the whole of the Bills of Mortality 
it was probably being slowly differentiated from small -pox. 



LONDON SANITARY IMPROVEMENTS. 323 

Now, in the whole of the Final Report, I can find no recognition 
whatever of the remarkable and exceptional improvement in the gen- 
eral health of London that has been shown to have occurred in the 
period embracing the end of the last and the beginning of the pres- 
ent centuries; nor of the equally exceptional changes of various kinds, 
all tending to improved health in the people. And, in view of the 
facts here adduced, the statement of the Royal Commissioners that 
"no evidence is forthcoming to show that during the first quarter of 
the nineteenth century these improvements differentiated that quar- 
ter from the preceding quarter or half of the preceding century in 
any way at all comparable to the extent of the differentiation in 
respect to small-pox," has, I submit, been shown to be wholly 
erroneous. 

And with respect to the absence of proof of similar changes having 
occurred in other European countries, which they also urge against 
the sanitation theory, we hardly need any such proof in detail. The 
very fact of the immediate adoption of vaccination in all the more 
civilized countries shows how rapid was the spread of ideas and of 
customs at that very period. And when we consider, further, that 
in the last century all the great European cities were at about the 
same level of filth and unhealthiness with London, and that a century 
later there is not much difference between them, the probability is 
in favor of their having all advanced approximately paripassu. And 
with regard to the all-important change in diet and other habits, the 
same rule applies. The use of potatoes and of tea or coffee, the bet- 
ter water supply, drainage, ventilation, and good roads were all 
adopted, in France and Germany, at all events, approximately 
about the same period as with us. Hence it is not surprising that a 
similar diminution in general mortality as well as in mortality from 
zymotic diseases, including small-pox, should have occurred almost 
simultaneously. The fact that when we have fairly good statistics, 
as in Sweden ; the great improvement in small-pox mortality is shown 
to have occurred before the introduction of vaccination or before it 
could have affected more than a small fraction of the population, 
sufficiently proves that this was the case. 

I have now supplied the last piece of confirmatory evidence which 
the Commissioners declared was not forthcoming; not because I think 
it at all necessary for the complete condemnation of vaccination, but 
because it affords another illustration of the curious inability of this 
Commission to recognize any causes as influencing the diminution of 
small-pox except that operation. In this, as in all the other cases I 



324 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 

have discussed, their Report is founded upon the opinions and 
beliefs of the medical and official upholders of vaccination ; while 
" the great masses of national experience," embodied in statistics of 
mortality from various groups of diseases, as well as the well-known 
facts of the sanitary history of London during the critical half- 
century 1775-1825, are either neglected, misunderstood, or altogether 
overlooked. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

MILITARISM THE CUKSE OF CIVILIZATION. 

1. CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. 

They love the most who are forgiven most; 
And when right reason slowly dawns once more 
On the wild madness of a moral fiend 
Our brother still and God's beloved child- 
There comes a mighty gush of gratitude, 
Thawing the hoar-frost of a life of crime, 
Breaking the icy barriers of self-love, 
While all the loosened rivers of the soul 
Spring from their fountains radiant in the light. 

T. L. Harris. 

The vilest deeds, like poison weeds, 

Bloom well in prison air; 
It is only what is good in Man 

That wastes and withers there; 
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate, 

And the Warder is Despair. 

The Ballad of Reading Jail. 

THE first half of the century produced much good 
work that has not been further developed, many bright 
promises that have not been fulfilled. The great ameli- 
oration of the criminal law, by the exertions of Sir 
Samuel Romilly, Sir James Mackintosh, and other re- 
formers, have not been succeeded by any corresponding 
reform of our system of punishment as a whole, which 
still remains thoroughly inhuman and unjust, and op- 
posed to all the admitted principles by which punishment 
among a civilized people should be regulated. At the 



326 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



beginning of the century about twenty-five offences were 
punishable with death, including burglary, stealing from 
a house or shop to the value of 40s. , forgery, coining, 
using old stamps on perfumery and hair powder, sheep- 
and horse-stealing, and many others. Capital punish- 
ment for all these minor offences was abolished before 
the middle of the century; our prisons were greatly im- 
proved as regards cleanliness and order; and transporta- 
tion to Tasmania and the other Australian colonies, with 
all its cruelties and abuses, had been got rid of. But 
there we have stopped; and our treatment of criminals, 
though not outwardly so harsh, is quite as much opposed 
to the admitted principles which should regulate all 
punishment as it was before; while its effects are hardly, 
if at all, less injurious to the criminals, both as regards 
bodily and mental health, than the old bad system of the 
last century. 

Even Plato and other classical writers laid down the 
principle that one of the great objects of all punishment 
is the improvement of the criminal. Beccaria in the 
last century developed this view of the true rationale of 
punishment, and all modern students and philanthropists 
admit it; yet during the whole century we have not 
made a single step in this direction as regards the treat- 
ment of adult prisoners. A cast-iron routine, solitude, 
and a grinding military despotism under which the best 
characters often suffer most, now characterize our penal 
system, which is admitted to have the effect of making 
the good bad and the bad worse; and further, of render- 
ing it almost impossible for a first offender to escape from 
a life of crime. There is no classification of offenders; 
no sympathetic instruction; no attempt to improve the 



CHAP. xix. THE CURSE OF CIVILIZATION. 327 

character; no preparation for an honest life; no means 
afforded the discharged prisoner enabling him to live an 
honest life. We have, again and again, been shown 
what modern penal servitude is like, by educated men 
who have endured it. They all tell us that it is a hell 
upon earth; that its tendency is to crush out every hu- 
man feeling or higher aspiration; and that it sends the 
majority of those who endure it back to the outside 
world, worse in character and less capable of living hon- 
estly than they were before they entered the prison 
walls. The system is utterly unchristian, utterly op- 
posed to civilization, or philosophy, or common sense; 
yet it remains in full force in these last years of the cen- 
tury, and neither governments nor legislators seem to 
think it a matter of sufficient importance to devote the 
necessary time and study to its radical reform. 

It must be admitted that in our prison system we see 
one of the most terrible failures of the boasted civiliza- 
tion of the nineteenth century. 

In an allied department, the confinement of the in- 
sane, there is also much room for reform. Their actual 
treatment, both in public and private asylums, has 
undergone enormous improvement during the early part 
of the century, and is now almost as good as it can be 
made in large asylums, where there is no possibility of 
that proper classification, isolation, and individual treat- 
ment which are essential to curative success. But the 
great evil lies in the existence of private asylums, kept 
for profit by their owners; and in the system by which, 
on the certificate of two doctors, employed by any rela- 
tive or friend, persons may be forcibly kidnapped and 
carried to one of these private asylums, without any pub- 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



lie enquiry, and sometimes even without the knowledge 
or consent of their other nearest relatives, or of those 
friends who know most about them. The well-known 
cases of Mrs. Weldon and Mrs. Lowe prove that per- 
fectly sane persons may be thus incarcerated, with the 
possibility of making them insane by association with 
mad people and all the horrors of a crowded asylum. 
These two ladies were incarcerated because they were 
spiritualists; that is, because they held the same beliefs 
as Sir William Crookes, the Earl of Crawford, Gerald 
Masey, and myself have held for the last thirty years, 
and for holding which, to be consistent, we and hundreds 
of other equally sane persons ought to have been perma- 
nently confined as lunatics. The great ability and per- 
fect sanity of those ladies, and their having influential 
friends, rendered it impossible to keep them permanently 
confined; but we may be sure that many less able per- 
sons have been, and are now, cruelly and unjustly de- 
prived of their liberty, and in some cases are made insane 
by their terrible surroundings. The great danger of 
trusting exclusively to professional opinions and state- 
ments has been shown in my chapters on hypnotism and 
vaccination. It is therefore imperative that no person 
shall be deprived of his liberty on the allegation by any 
medical authorities of his insanity. The fact of insanity 
should be decided, not by the patient's opinions, but by 
his acts; and these acts should be proved before a jury, 
who might also hear medical evidence, before condemna- 
tion to an asylum. Asylums for the insane should all 
belong to public authorities, so that the proprietors and 
managers should have no pecuniary interest in the con- 
tinued incarceration of their patients. 



CHAP. xix. THE CURSE OF CIVILIZATION. 829 

So late as 1890 a new and voluminous Lunacy Act 
was passed, and the public no doubt believe that most of 
the dangers of the old system are removed. But this is 
not the case. An examination of this Act shows that 
private asylums, kept for profit, remain as before. Doc- 
tors' opinions are still all-powerful. Under an " urgency 
order," on the certificate of one doctor, a person may be 
dragged from his or her home to one of these private 
asylums, and kept there for seven days, or till a judicial 
order is obtained, which may sometimes be delayed for 
three weeks. This judicial order is given by a duly 
authorized magistrate, on formal application by some 
person interested, and the certificates of two doctors. 
The magistrate may see the alleged lunatic, if he pleases, 
but he may act on the doctor's and petitioner's state- 
ments alone. Whatever enquiry he makes is private; 
but there is little doubt that in most cases he will act on 
the medical and other statements before him. Then the 
alleged lunatic is confined for a year; after that for two 
years more; then for three years; then for five years, if 
the medical officer of the asylum reports, before the end 
of each period, that he is still insane. 

And if, either at the first enquiry by the magistrate 
or afterward, the patient is declared to be sane, and is 
discharged, there is no provision for giving the alleged 
lunatic any information as to the cause of his confine- 
ment, or the statements of the medical men, or the per- 
sons' names who caused him to be confined; so that, 
really, he is still treated as a possible maniac, and is de- 
nied redress if his incarcerators have acted illegally. 
While confined in one of these private asylums the pa- 
tient's letters to any official must be sent, but letters to 

' 



330 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. x ix . 

any other persons, including his nearest relations or 
friends, are only sent " at the discretion " of the man- 
ager. In like manner the visits of relations or friends 
require an order from a Commissioner in Lunacy or an 
official visitor of the asylum ; but they are not obliged to 
give such an order, so that if the manager of any private 
asylum states that it is inadvisable, or that it would be 
injurious to the patient, the order will probably be re- 
fused. It thus appears that an alleged lunatic, once in 
an asylum, is wholly dependent on the doctors for any 
chance of getting out again. Everything is in their 
hands. The patient may be deprived of all communica- 
tion with friends, either personally or by letter; and 
though he may see or write to a Commissioner, that will 
avail him nothing if the medical superintendent either 
mistakenly believes him to be insane, or has personal 
reasons for keeping him in the asylum. From begin- 
ning to end there is no publicity, no opportunity of dis- 
proving any statements that may be made against him, 
no means of proving his sanity in open court, and sub- 
ject to the usual safeguards which are accorded to the 
poorest criminal. 

Still more dangerous to liberty is the provision, in 
Sect. 20 of this Act, that any constable, relieving officer, 
or overseer, may remove any alleged lunatic to the work- 
house, if he is satisfied that this is necessary for the 
public safety or the welfare of the alleged lunatic. It 
seems hardly credible, but the judges, in a court of ap- 
peal, have decided that any of the above named persons 
may act on the private information of one person, with- 
out seeing the alleged lunatic or giving him any oppor- 
tunity to state or prove that he is not a lunatic! Yet 



CHAP. xix. THE CURSE OF CIVILIZATION. 331 



they did so decide in March, 1898. A Mr. Harward 
quarrelled with his wife, and was rather violent, but did 
not assault or touch her. Yet she went to the relieving 
officer and said she was afraid her husband would com- 
mit suicide or kill her and the children ; and on this state- 
ment, without any confirmation and without any per- 
sonal interview, Mr. Harward was taken by force to the 
workhouse and confined as a lunatic. Being found per- 
fectly sane, he was soon released; and he then brought 
an action against the Guardians of Hackney Union for 
false imprisonment. The jury gave him 25 damages, 
on the ground that " the relieving officer had not taken 
reasonable care to satisfy himself that the plaintiff was 
a dangerous lunatic. " But the judges decided on appeal 
that there was no evidence to show that the officer 
" acted from any other motive than an honest belief," 
and therefore he was not liable and the plaintiff had no 
redress. On such grounds, it is evident that any pas- 
sionate or violent person may, on a mere statement of a 
relative professing to fear injury, without any further 
enquiry, be captured and confined as a lunatic, and have 
no redress. This is a mere parody on justice. Every- 
one found to have been confined unjustly, for any cause 
whatever, should receive an apology and compensation 
from the authorities concerned, without being left to 
appeal to the law, at great expense and trouble, and with 
the chance of the further injustice of a decision against 
him. 

In view of such cases as this, and of the recent scan- 
dalous kidnapping of Miss Lanchester; and of the proved 
danger of founding legislation on the statements and 
opinions of doctors and officials in the matter of com- 






THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



pulsory vaccination, the actual state of our Lunacy laws 
is a permanent danger to liberty and to the free expres- 
sion of opinion, and is a disgrace to the closing years of 
our century. 

2. THE VAMPIRE OP WAR. 

Were half the power that fills the world with terror. 

Were half the wealth bestowed on Camps and Courts, 
Given to redeem the human mind from error, 

There were no need for Arsenals and Forts. 
The Warrior's name would be a name abhorred! 

And every nation that should lift again 
Its hand against a brother, on its forehead 

Would wear for evermore the curse of Cain! 

Longfellow. 

Since tyrants by the sale of human life 
Heap luxuries to their sensualism, and fame 
To their wide-wasting and insatiate pride, 
Success has sanctioned to a credulous world 
The ruin, the disgrace, the woe of WAR. 

Shelley. 

The first half of the nineteenth century was signalized 
by the abolition of duelling. It had always been illegal, 
and long been considered to be both absurd and wicked 
by every advanced thinker; but only when forbidden to 
military men by the War Office did it entirely disappear 
among civilians. The same public opinion which 
caused the disappearance of this form of private war 
equally condemns war between nations as a means of set- 
tling disputes, often of the most trivial kind; and rarely 
of sufficient importance to justify the destruction of life 
and property, the national hatreds, and the widespread 
misery caused by it. Yet so far from any progress hav- 
ing been made toward its abolition, the latter half of the 
century has witnessed a revival of the war-spirit through- 



CHAP. xix. THE CURSE OF CIVILIZATION. 



out Europe; which region has now become a vast camp, 
occupied by opposing forces greater in numbers than the 
world has ever seen before. These great armies are con- 
tinually being equipped with new and more deadly 
weapons, at a cost which strains the resources even of the 
most wealthy nations, and by the constant increase 
of taxation and of debt impoverishes the mass of the 
people. 

The first International Exhibition, in 1851, fostered 
the idea that the rulers of Europe would at length rec- 
ognize the fact that peace and commercial intercourse 
were essential to national well-being. But, far from any 
such rational ideas being acted on, there began forth- 
with a series of the most unjustifiable and useless dynas- 
tic wars which the world has ever seen. The Crimean 
War in 1854-55, forced on by private interests, with no 
rational object in view, and terrible in its loss of life; the 
Austro-Prussian War in 1866; the French invasion of 
Mexico, and the terrible Franco-German War, were all 
dynastic quarrels, having no sufficient cause, and no rela- 
tion whatever to the well-being of the communities 
which were engaged in them. 

The evils of these wars did not cease with the awful 
loss of life and destruction of property, which were their 
immediate results, since they formed the excuse for that 
inordinate increase of armaments and of the war-spirit 
under which Europe now groans. This increase, and the 
cost of weapons and equipments, have been intensified 
by the application to war purposes of those mechanical 
inventions and scientific discoveries which, properly 
used, should bring peace and plenty to all, but which, 
when seized upon by the spirit of militarism, directly 



334 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xix. 

tend to enmity among nations and to the misery of the 
people. 

The first steps in this military development were the 
adoption of a new rifle for the whole Prussian Army in 
1846, the application of steam to our ships of war in 
1840, and the use of iron armor for the protection of 
battleships by the French in 1859. The remainder of 
the century has witnessed a mad race between all the 
Great Powers of Europe to increase the death-dealing 
power of their weapons, and to add to the number and 
efficiency of their armies; Avhile among the maritime 
powers there has been a still wilder struggle, in which 
all the resources of modern science have been utilized in 
order to add to the destructive power of cannon, and 
both the defensive and the offensive powers of ships. 
The various new explosives have been utilized in shells, 
mines, and torpedoes ; rifled cannon of enormous size and 
power have been manufactured; while battleships of 
10,000 to 15,000 tons' displacement, protected by steel 
armor from ten inches to twenty inches thick, with enor- 
mous engines, often at the rate of a horse-power to every 
ton, driving the ships at a speed of from twelve to 
twenty-two knots an hour, have so transformed our fleet 
that the majority of the ships bear no resemblance what- 
ever to the majestic three-deckers and beautiful frigates 
with which all our great naval victories were gained, and 
which formed the bulk of our navy only fifty years ago. 

Although the total number of warships and of vessels 
of all kinds in our fleet are about the same as they were 
in the middle of the century, their power for offence and 
defence, and their cost, are immensely greater. Almost 
all of them are built of iron or steel, and are full of costly 



CHAP. xix. THE CURSE OF CIVILIZATION. 335 

machinery; while the torpedo-boats and torpedo-de- 
stroyers are adapted for purposes quite different from 
those of the smaller vessels of our old fleets. Some of 
our modern first-class armored turret-ships cost a million 
sterling; and yet, as in the case of the Vanguard off 
Kingstown in 1875, and more recently the Victoria in 
the Mediterranean, they may be sent to the bottom by a 
chance collision with a companion ship. The huge 110- 
ton guns cost 20,000 each, and the more common 67- 
ton gun costs 14,000. All the modern guns, as well as 
their projectiles, are elaborate pieces of machinery, fin- 
ished with the greatest perfection and beauty; and it 
makes any thoughtful person sad to see such skill and 
labor, and so much of the results of modern science, de- 
voted to purposes of pure destruction. The six Great 
Powers of Europe now possess about 300 battleships and 
cruisers, from 2000 up to near 15, 000 tons' displacement, 
and nearly 2000 smaller vessels, which are able to de- 
stroy life and property to an extent probably fifty-fold 
greater than the fleets of the first half of the century. 

But even this vast cost and loss to modern civilization 
is surpassed by that of the armies of Europe. The num- 
bers of men have greatly increased; their weapons and 
equipments are more costly; and the reserve forces to be 
drawn upon in time of war include almost the whole 
male adult populations, for whom reserves of arms, am- 
munition, and all military supplies must be kept ready. 
Counting only the armies of the six Great Powers on a 
peace footing, they amount now to nearly three millions 
of men ; and if we add the men permanently attached to 
the several fleets, we shall have considerably more than 
three millions of men in the prime of life withdrawn 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



from productive labor, and devoted, nominally to de- 
fence, but really to attack and destruction. This, how- 
ever, is only a portion of the loss. The expense of keep- 
ing these three millions of men in food and clothing, in 
weapons, ammunition, and all the paraphernalia of war; 
of keeping in a state of readiness the ships, fortifications, 
and batteries; of continually renewing the stores of all 
kinds; of pensions to the retired officers and wounded 
men, and whatever other expenditures these vast mili- 
tary organizations entail, amounts to an annual sum of 
more than 180 millions sterling. 1 Now, as the average 
wages of a working man (or his annual expenditure) 
considering the low wages and the mode of living in 
Russia, Italy, Austria, and the other Continental states 
cannot be more than, say, twelve shillings a week, or 
thirty pounds a year, an expenditure of 180 millions 
implies the constant labor of at least six million other 
men in supporting this monstrous and utterly barbarous 
system of national armaments. If to this number we 
add those employed in making good the public or pri- 
vate property destroyed in every war, or in smaller mili- 
tary or naval operations in Europe, we shall have a grand 
total of about ten millions of men withdrawn from all 
useful or reproductive work, their lives devoted directly 
or indirectly to the Moloch of war, and who must there- 
fore be supported by the remainder of the working com- 
munity. 

And what a horrible mockery is all this when viewed 
in the light of either Christianity or advancing civiliza- 

1 This is the amount obtained by adding together the war expendi- 
tures of the six Great Powers, as given in " The Statesman's Year 
Book "for 1897. 



THE CURSE OF CIVILIZATION. 337 



tion! All these nations, armed to the teeth, and watch- 
ing stealthily for some occasion to use their vast arma- 
ments for their own aggrandizement and for the injury 
of their neighbors, are Christian nations. Their govern- 
ments, one and all, loudly proclaim their Christianity by 
word and deed but the deeds are usually some form of 
disability or persecution of those among their subjects 
who are not orthodox. Of really Christian deeds there 
are none no real charity, no forgiveness of injuries, no 
help to oppressed nationalities, no effort to secure peace 
or good will among men. And all this in spite of the 
undoubted growth of the true Christian spirit during 
the last half -century. This spirit has even ameliorated 
the inevitable horrors of war; by some regard for non- 
combatants, by greatly increased care of the wounded 
even among enemies, and by a recognition of some few 
rights, even of savage races. 

Never, perhaps, have the degrading influences of the 
war-spirit been more prominent than in the last few 
years, when all the great Christian powers stood grimly 
by, while a civilized and Christian people were subjected 
to the most cruel persecution, rapine, and massacre by 
the direct orders, or with the consent and approval, of 
the semi-barbarous Sultan of Turkey. Any two of them 
had power enough to compel the despot to cease his per- 
secution. Some certainly would have compelled him, 
but they were afraid of the rest, and so stood still. The 
excuse was even a worse condemnation than the mere 
failure to act. Again and again did they cry out, " Iso- 
lated action against Turkey would bring on a European 
war." War between whom? War for what? There 
is only one answer " For plunder and conquest." It 



338 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xix. 

means that these Christian governments do not exist for 
the good of the governed, still less for the good of hu- 
manity or civilization, but for the aggrandizement and 
greed and lust of power of the ruling classes kings and 
kaisers, ministers and generals, nobles and millionaires 
the true vampires of our civilization, ever seeking 
fresh dominions from whose people they may suck the 
very life-blood. Witness their recent conduct toward 
Crete and Greece, upholding the most terrible despotism 
in the world because each one hopes for a favorable op- 
portunity to obtain some advantage, leading ultimately 
to the largest share of the spoil. Witness their struggle 
in Africa and in Asia, where millions of savage or semi- 
civilized peoples may be enslaved and bled for the bene- 
fit of their new rulers. The wjiole world is now but the 
gambling table of the six Great Powers. Just as gam- 
bling deteriorates and demoralizes the individual, so the 
greed for dominion demoralizes governments. The 
welfare of the people is little cared for, except so far as 
to make them submissive tax-payers, enabling the ruling 
and moneyed classes to extend their sway over new ter- 
ritories and to create well-paid places and exciting work 
for their sons and relatives. Hence comes the force that 
ever urges on the increase of armaments and extensions 
of empire. Great vested interests are at stake ; and ever- 
growing pressure is brought to bear upon the too-willing 
governments in the name of the greatness or the safety 
of the Empire, the extension of commerce, or the ad- 
vance of civilization. Anything to distract attention 
from the starvation and wretchedness and death-dealing 
trades at home, and the thinly-veiled slavery in many of 
our tropical or sub-tropical colonies. The condemna- 



THE CURSE OF CIVILIZATION. 339 



tion of our system of rule over tributary states is to be 
plainly seen in plague and famine running riot in India 
after more than a century of British rule and nearly 
forty years of the supreme power of the English govern- 
ment. 1 Neither plague nor famine occurs to-day in well- 

1 The Parliamentar} 7 " Papers recently issued on the Plague in India 
reveal an insanitary condition of Calcutta and Bombay (and no doubt 
of most other Indian cities) which is almost incredible; yet we may 
be sure that it does not err on the side of exaggeration, because it 
makes known such an utter disregard for the well-being of the 
Indian peoples, while taxing them to the verge of starvation, as to 
be nothing less than criminal. These Papers, and the discussion on 
the Plague in Bombay at the Society of Arts, also illustrate that unre- 
liability of interested otFicial statements which we have seen to be so 
prominent a feature of the vaccination question. 

In January, 1897, the Indian Government sent the Director-Gen- 
eral of the Indian Medical Service, Dr. Cleghorn, to Bombay, to 
examine personally into the conditions that led to the outbreak and 
to recommend the best measures for dealing with it. He made " a 
thorough investigation of the infected quarters," and this is what lie 
states: About seventy per cent, of the whole native population 
(about 800,000) live in " chawls " or tenement-houses of various sizes, 
the largest being six or seven stories high and holding from 500 to 
1000 people each. They consist, on each floor, of a long corridor, 
witli small rooms on each side about 8 feet by 12 feet, each room in- 
habited by a family, often of 5 or 6 persons. The sanitary arrange- 
ments were utterly inadequate, the consequence being that the 
corridors, especially at the ends, became receptacles of filth of every 
kind, and were apparently never thoroughly cleaned. But the 
greatest evil of all was that these overcrowded tenements were 
built side by side, often with a space of only three or four feet 
between them, so that, even if the windows were open, in all the 
lower floors there could be neither adequate light nor ventilation. 
The privacy of Indian domestic life, however, forbade the opening 
of these windows, so that practically in half at least of the 
rooms there was neither light nor ventilation. Added to this, 
the narrow alleys between the chawls, owing to the inadequacy of 
other accommodation, were used as refuse pits and open sewers, 
where filth was allowed to accumulate, so that botli inside and out- 
side there were masses of disease-breeding matter. Even if the rooms 



340 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xix. 



governed communities. That the latter, at all events, 
is almost chronic in India, a country with an industrious 
people and a fertile soil, is the direct result of governing 
in the interests of the ruling classes instead of making 
the interests of the governed the first and the only 
object. But in this respect India is no worse off than 
our own country. The condition of the bulk of our 
workers, the shortness of their lives, the mortality among 
their children, and the awful condition of misery and 

and corridors were kept clean, the darkness, the want of ventilation, 
and the overcrowding would be sources of deadly disease. With 
the superadded filth inside and out and the tropical climate, the 
absence, rather than the presence, of plague would seem the more 
extraordinary phenomenon, since the condition of London in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries could hardly have been so bad. 
The same Parliamentary Paper (up to March, 1897) contains a Sani- 
tary Inspection Report on Calcutta, which goes much more into 
detail, and describes a state of things of the most terrible and almost 
incredible nature. As examples six men and boys lived and cooked 
in a room 7X7X6 feet, which had no window, and with filth and 
sewage all around. Of another street we read: "The houses are 
built almost back to back. It would be nearly impossible to squeeze 
between them; sunlight is so far shut out that, with broad daylight 
outside the gully, it is absolutely impossible to do more than grope 
your way within these tenements; rats run about here in the dark as 
they would at night; a heavy, sickening odor pervades the whole 
place; walls and floors are alike damp with contamination from 
liquid sewage, which lies rotting and for which there is no escape." 
There are eight foolscap pages of this Report, going into even more 
horrible details; and there can be no doubt that a large portion of it 
will apply just as well to Bombay as to Calcutta, and thus enable us 
to realize more fully the condition of the many hundred thousand 
dwellers in the worst parts of that plague-stricken city. In the discus- 
sion that followed the reading of Mr. Birdwood's paper at the Society 
of Arts, Dr. Simpson, late Health Officer in Calcutta who had been 
in Bombay assisting the search parties in the plague-stricken dis- 
trictsstated that, " bad as the houses were in some parts of Cal- 
cutta, he found them immensely worse at Bombay." On the other 
hand, Mr. Acworth, late Municipal Commissioner of Bombay, said 



CHAP. xtx. THE CURSE OF CIVILIZATION. 341 

vice under which millions are forced to live in the slums 
of all our great cities, are, in proportion to our wealth 
and their nearness to the centre of government, even 
more disgraceful than the periodic famines of remote 
India. Both are the results of the same system the 
exploitation of the workers for the benefit of the ruling 
caste and both alike are among the most terrible fail- 
ures of the century. 

The state of things briefly indicated in this chapter is 
not progress, but retrogression. It will be held by the 
historian of the future to show that we of the nine- 
teenth century were morally and socially unfit to possess 

that the Bombay " chawls" were not so bad as the Calcutta "bus- 
tees"; that it was " utterly untrue to say that Bombay was a grossly 
insanitary town," and that it was really the most sanitary large town 
in India! But the climax of contradiction is reached by the Rev. A. 
Bowman, late chaplain of Byculla Jail, Bombay, who stated in a 
letter to The Times (reprinted in the Journal of the Society of Arts, 
vol. xlvi. p. 333), that he had known the streets and lanes of Bom- 
bay intimately for the last five years, and he says, without fear of 
contradiction, that such places as were described by the Surgeon- 
General [Dr. Cleghorn] do not exist! The reverend gentleman 
referred especially to "chawls" holding one thousand people, and 
rooms and corridors which the light of day could not enter; but he 
apparently did not then know that Dr. Cleghorn had made these 
statements in an official memorandum for the information of the 
Government of India, or he would hardly have made his contradic- 
tion so emphatic. 

But what are we to think of a Government that has allowed the 
erection of such tenements in the two chief cities of the empire, and 
which takes no heed of the most rudimentary principles of sanita- 
tion till a visitation of plague compels attention to them? A Gov- 
ernment which spends millions on railroads, on gigantic armies, on 
annexations and frontier wars, on colleges and schools, and on mag- 
nificent public buildings, while allowing a considerable proportion 
of the native population to live in such horribly insanitary condi- 
tions as to rival the worst plague-infected cities of Europe in the 
Middle Ages. And this is modern civilization! 



342 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



and use the enormous powers for good or evil which, the 
rapid advance of scientific discovery had given us; that 
our boasted civilization was in many respects a mere sur- 
face veneer; and that our methods of government were 
not in accordance with either Christianity or civiliza- 
tion. This view is enforced by the consideration that 
all the European wars of the century have been due to 
dynastic squabbles or to obtain national aggrandizement, 
and were never waged in order to free the slave or pro- 
tect the oppressed without any ulterior selfish ends. 

It has been often said that Companies have no souls, 
and the same is still more true of the Governments of our 
day. 



CHAPTER XX. 

THE DEMON OF GKEED. 

What of men in bondage, toiling, blunted, 

In the roaring factory's lurid gloom? 
What of cradled infants, starved and stunted? 

What of woman's nameless martyrdom? 
The all-seeing sun shines on unheeding, 

Shines by night the calm, unruffled moon, 
Though the human myriads, preying, bleeding, 

Put creation harshly out of tune. 

Mathilde Blind. 

Are there no wrongs of nations to redress; 
No misery -frozen sons of wretchedness; 
No orphans, homeless, staining with their feet 
The very flag-stones of the wintry street; 
No broken-hearted daughters of despair, 
Forlornly beautiful, to be your care? 
Is there no hunger, ignorance, or crime? 
O that the prophet-bards of old, sublime, 
That grand Isaiah and his kindred just, 
Might rouse ye from your slavery to the dust. 

T. L. Harris. 

ONE of the most prominent features of our century 
has been the enormous and continuous growth of wealth, 
without any corresponding increase in the well-being of 
the whole people ; while there is ample evidence to show 
that the number of the very poor of those existing 
with a minimum of the bare necessaries of life has 
enormously increased, and many indications that they 
constitute a larger proportion of the whole population 
than in the first half of the century, or in any earlier 
period of our history. 



344 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



This increase of individual wealth is most clearly 
shown by the rise and continuous increase of million- 
aires, who, by various modes, have succeeded in possess- 
ing themselves of vast amounts of riches created by 
others, thus necessarily impoverishing those who did 
create it. Sixty or seventy years ago a millionaire was 
a rarity. I well remember, in my boyhood, my father 
reading in the Times an account of the death of a man 
(a merchant, I think) who had left a fortune of a mil- 
lion, as something altogether marvellous which he had 
never heard of before. ]SIow, they are to be reckoned 
by scores, if not by hundreds, in this country, and excite 
no special remark; while in America, a country having 
a much larger amount of natural wealth and of human 
labor to draw upon, they are far more numerous, reach- 
ing, it is estimated, about two thousand. 

In our own country the annual produce of labor, from 
which the whole expenditure of the people necessarily 
comes, is estimated at 1350 millions sterling; and this 
amount is so unequally divided that one million persons 
among the wealthy receive more than twice as much of 
this income as the twenty-six million constituting the 
manual labor class. In America the inequality is still 
greater, there being 4047 families of the rich who own 
about five times as much property as 6,599,796 families 
of the poor. 

The causes of this enormous inequality of distribu- 
tion, and of all the evils that flow from it, are alike in 
both countries the practical monopoly of the land and 
all the mineral wealth it contains, by one section of the 
wealthy, and of what is usually termed capital by an- 
other; resulting in the monopoly by these two classes, 



CHAP. xx. THE DEMON OF GREED. 345 

who may both be termed capitalists, of all the products 
of industry and all the industrial applications of science. 
This arises from the fact that those who have neither 
land nor capital are obliged to work, at competition 
wages, for the capitalists; who, for the same reason, have 
the command of all scientific discovery and all the invent- 
ive ability of the nation, and even of the whole civilized 
world. Hence it has happened that the development of 
steam navigation, of railroads and telegraphs, of me- 
chanical and chemical science, and the growth of the 
population, while enormously increasing productive 
power and the amount of material products that is, of 
real wealth at least ten times faster than the growth 
of the population, has given that enormous increase al- 
most wholly to one class, comprising the landlords and 
capitalists, leaving the actual producers of it the indus- 
trial workers and inventors little, if any, better off than 
before. If this tenfold increase of real wealth had been 
so distributed that all were equally benefited, then every 
worker would have had ten times as much of the neces- 
saries and comforts of life, including a greater amount 
of leisure and enjoyment; while none would have 
starved, none would have slaved fourteen or sixteen 
hours a day for a bare existence, none need have had 
their lives shortened by unwholesome or dangerous 
occupations; and yet the capitalists and landlords might 
also have'had their proportionate share of the increase. 
As it is, they have had many times more than their pro- 
portionate share; the result being that, if we take the 
whole of the class of manual laborers, little, if any, of the 
increase has gone to them. 

A number of well-established facts prove this. In 



346 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



CHAP. XX. 



the first place, the most recent estimates of Giffen, Mul- 
hall, and Leoni Levi, gave an average annual income of 
77, or almost exactly 30s. a week, for each adult male 
of the working classes. But great numbers of these, in- 
cluding all the skilled mechanics, miners, etc., get con- 
siderably more than this, so that the remainder must get 
less. Now, Mr. Charles Booth puts the " margin of 
poverty " in London at a guinea a week per family, the 
test being that less than this sum does not afford suffi- 
cient of the absolute necessaries of life food, clothing, 
a sanitary dwelling, and ample firing to keep up health 
and strength ; and he estimates that there are in London 
about 1,300,000 persons who live below this margin; 
and if we add to these the inmates of workhouses, 
prisons, hospitals, and asylums, we arrive at the fact that 
about one-third of the total population of London are 
living miserable, poverty-stricken lives, the bulk of them 
with grinding, hopeless toil, only modified by the still 
worse condition of want of employment, with its accom- 
paniments of harassing anxiety and partial starvation. 
And this is a true picture of what exists in all our great 
cities, and to a somewhat less degree of intensity over 
the whole country. There is surely very little indica- 
tion here of any improvement in the condition of the 
people. Can it be maintained has it ever been sug- 
gested that in the early part of the century more than 
one-third of the inhabitants of London did not have 
sufficient of the bare necessaries of life? In order that 
there may have been any considerable improvement, an 
improvement in any degree commensurate with the vast 
increase of wealth, a full half of the entire population 
of London must then have lived in this condition of want 



THE DEMON OF GREED. 347 



and misery; and I am not aware that any writer has 
even suggested, much less proved, that such was the 
case. I believe myself that in no earlier period has there 
been such a large proportion of our population living in 
absolute want below " the margin of poverty " as at 
the present time; hence there has been no improvement 
in the condition of the mass of miscellaneous unskilled 
workers, who are now far more numerous than they ever 
were before. A few reasons for this belief may be 
given. 

Since 1856 the Registrar-General has given the num- 
ber of deaths in workhouses, hospitals, and other public 
institutions, for London, and also for England and 
Wales, 1 and in both areas the proportion of such deaths 
has been increasing for the last thirty-five years. In 
1888 the Registrar-General called attention to this por- 
tentous increase, which has not yet reached its maxi- 
mum. The following are the figures, in quinquennial 
averages, since 1870: 

DKATHS IN PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS IN LONDON. 



YEARS. 


PER CENT. OP TOTAL YEARS. PER CENT, op TOTAL 




DEATHS. 




DEATHS. 


1861-65, . 


. 16.2 


1881-85, . 


. 21.1 


1871-75, . 


. 17.4 


1886-90, . 


. 23.4 


1876-80, . 


. 18.6 


1891-95. 


26.7 



In 1861-65, the earliest five years, the proportion 
was 16.2 per cent. In 1892-96, the latest published, it 
was 26.9. And what makes this more terrible is, first, 
that during this period private charity has been increas- 
ing enormously; and, secondly, that almost weekly we 

1 The proportions for England and Wales are about half those for 
London. 



348 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



CHAP. XX. 



see proofs of a growing dislike to the workhouse, so that 
numbers actually die of want rather than apply to the 
relieving officer. From 1860 to 1885 no less than 130 
new charitable organizations had been established in 
London, and in the next ten years there were nearly 50 
more. Many of these were small and local, but others 
embraced all London, and have continuously increased 
in power. Dr. Barnado's Homes, for example, begin- 
ning on a very small scale in 1866, have so increased 
that 5000 children who would otherwise be paupers or 
criminals are supported, educated, and started in life 
either at home or abroad. And the Church of England 
Society for Providing Homes for Waifs and Strays, 
established only in 1882, now supports about 2000 chil- 
dren. There are in London about forty other institu- 
tions of similar character, each supporting from 250 to 
1000 children, and fifty others with a smaller number; 
besides a large number of almshouses, hospitals, reforma- 
tories, homes, and charity schools. And all these insti- 
tutions are constantly appealing for more funds, because 
they cannot keep up with the ever-increasing flood of 
want and misery. Then there is the large amount of 
relief distributed through the Charity Organization So- 
ciety, with the shelters, the farm-colony, and the exten- 
sive rescue work of the Salvation Army. And all this 
work of relief has been going on and ever increasing, 
while the numbers of those who spend their last years 
and die in public institutions has also been increasing, 
not in numbers merely, but in proportion to the total 
deaths. And in the face of this overwhelming evidence 
of the increase of poverty and misery and starvation, 
the official apologists for things as they are, most writers 



CHAP. XX. 



THE DEMON OF GREED. 349 



for the press, and most politicians, go on declaring that 
pauperism is decreasing, because, by more strict rules, 
out-relief is reduced or refused altogether; while the bet- 
ter class of the suffering poor prefer starvation or suicide 
to breaking up their home, however miserable, and 
enduring the servitude and prison-like monotony of the 
workhouse. 

Suicides have indeed increased most alarmingly, from 
1347 in 1861 to 2796 in 1895. This is for England 
and Wales; and the increase in proportion to the popu- 
lation has been from 67 per million to 92 per million. 
An examination of the records of inquests show that 
either absolute want or the dread of want is a very fre- 
quent cause; and as the other evidence just adduced 
indicates the continuous increase of want, while the ever- 
increasing struggle in all forms of trade leads to the con- 
tinual discharge of men and women who from illness or 
old age are unable to do the same amount of work as the 
younger and more healthy, the two sets of facts are seen 
to be connected as cause and effect. If, however, pov- 
erty and unmerited want were decreasing, and the poor 
were, decade by decade, becoming better off, then the 
large and continuous increase, -for more than thirty 
years, of deaths by suicide and in public charitable in- 
stitutions, during the very same time that private charity 
in varied forms had increased at an altogether unprece- 
dented rate, becomes altogether inexplicable. If pov- 
erty had been decreasing, then we should expect the 
enormously increased and widespread sphere of public 
charity to have easily overtaken the severer forms of dis- 
tress; to have reduced the deaths in the workhouse and 
asylum; to have diminished suicide from the dread of 



350 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



destitution; and to have abolished actual death from 
starvation in the richest and most charitable city in the 
world. But the facts are exactly the opposite of all 
this; and I submit that there is no rational explanation of 
them other than a continuous increase of the extremest 
forms of misery and want. 

Illustrations of the Poverty of To-day. 

But these figures, proving the unequal distribution of 
wealth and the widespread destitution in our midst, how- 
ever important and expressive to the thinker and the 
student, do not enable the general reader to realize their 
full meaning without a few concrete examples of what 
the poverty of to-day actually is. A few illustrative 
cases will therefore be given as typical of thousands and 
hundreds of thousands in every part of our country. 

And first, let us hear what the author of the " Bitter 
Cry of Outcast London " had to say in 1883, the state- 
ments in which work, though at first denied or declared 
to be exaggerated, were proved to be exact by the Com- 
mission of Enquiry which followed shortly after. And 
first as to the places in which the very poor live. 

" Few who will read these pages have any conception 
of what these pestilential human rookeries are, where 
tens of thousands are crowded together amidst horrors 
which call to mind what we have heard of the middle 
passage of the slaveship. To get into them you have 
to penetrate courts reeking with poisonous gases arising 
frdm accumulations of sewage and refuse scattered in all 
directions and often flowing beneath your feet; courts, 
many of them which the sun never penetrates, which are 
never visited by a breath of fresh air, and which rarely 



THE DEMON OF GREED. 351 



know the virtues of a drop of cleansing water. You have 
to ascend rotten staircases which threaten to give way be- 
neath every step, and which in some places have already 
broken down. You have to grope your way along dark 
and filthy passages swarming with vermin. Then, if 
you are not driven back by the intolerable stench, you 
may gain admittance to the dens in which these thou- 
sands of beings, who belong as much as you to the race 
for whom Christ died, herd together." . . . 

" Every room in these reeking tenements houses a 
family or two. In one room a missionary found a man 
ill with small-pox, his wife just recovering from her con- 
finement, and the children running about half naked and 
covered with dirt. Here are seven people living in one 
underground kitchen, and a little dead child lying in the 
same room. Here live a widow and her six children, 
two of whom are ill with scarlet fever. In another, 
nine brothers and sisters from twenty-nine years of age 
downward, live, eat, and sleep together." 

And so the wretched and shameful story goes on, and 
the author assures us that these are not " selected cases," 
but that they simply show what is to be found " in house 
after house, court after court, street after street " ; and 
that the accounts are in no way exaggerated, but are 
often toned down, because the actual facts are too hor- 
rible to be printed. 

And next, as to the work by which they live. A 
woman, trouser-making, can earn one shilling a day if 
she works seventeen hours at it. A woman with a sick 
husband and a little child to look after, works at shirt- 
finishing, at 3d. a dozen, and can earn barely 6d. a day. 
Another maintains herself and a blind husband bv mak- 



352 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xx. 

ing match boxes at 2 \d. a gross, and has to pay a girl IcL 
a gross to help her. Here is a mother who has pawned 
her four children's clothes, not for drink, but for coals 
and food. She obtained only a shilling, and bought 
seven pounds of coals and a loaf of bread! Think of 
the agony of distress a mother must have endured before 
she could do this! And the fifteen years that have 
passed, notwithstanding the " Royal Commission," 
leaves it all just as bad as before. This is what Mr. 
Arthur Sherwell says, in his recently published " Life 
in West London/' as to the district north of Soho, where 
there are more than 100,000 persons living below " the 
margin of poverty " : 

" Even under normal conditions the pressure of pov- 
erty represented by these figures is extreme; but when, 
as in 1895, the winter is of exceptional severity, the 
pressure becomes intolerable. Many of the families 
lived for weeks on soup and bread from the various 
charitable soup-kitchens in the neighborhood. Every 
available article of furniture or clothing was sold or 
pawned; in some cases the boots were taken off the chil- 
dren's feet and pawned for bread or fuel. A number 
of families, even in the bitterest times of the long frost, 
lived for days without fire or light, and often with no 
food but a chance morsel of bread or tea. One family 
had lived for weeks on bread and tea and dripping. In 
another room a family was found consisting of the 
mother and six children (the father had been in the in- 
firmary for seven weeks), who had lived on a penny- 
worth of bread, a pennyworth of tea, a halfpennyworth 
of sugar, and a halfpennyworth of milk every other 
day, and this was got on credit. . . In a filthy room in 



CHAP xx. THE DEMON OF GREED. 35a 

another street were found several children entirely 
naked (tins in the severest days of the long frost)! 
Their mother had been out since morning, looking for 
work. Several cases were found where the family had 
been without food (sometimes without fire also) for 
three days." And while all this was going on, and in 
one street there were 115 adults out of work, 80 of whom 
had been so from one to nine months, there were, in the 
same district, between seven and eight thousand paupers 
in the various workhouse institutions. 

As one more example from a different area we have 
Mrs. Hogg's account of the fur-pullers of South London, 
in the Nineteenth Century of November, 1897: 

" The room is barely eight feet square, and it has to 
serve for day and night alike. Pushed into one corner 
is the bed, a dirty pallet tied together with string, upon 
which is piled a black heap of bedclothes. On one half 
of the table are the remains of breakfast a crust of 
bread, a piece of butter, and a cracked cup, all thickly 
coated with the all-pervading hairs. The other half is 
covered with pulled skins waiting to be taken to the 
shop. The window is tightly closed, because such air 
as can find its way in from the stifling court below 
would force the hairs into the noses and eyes and lungs 
of the workers, and make life more intolerable for them 
than it is already. To the visitor, indeed, the choking 
sensation caused by the passage of the hairs into the 
throat, and the nausea from the smell of the skins, is, at 
first, almost too overpowering for speech." 

Two women work in this horrible place for twelve 
hours a day, and can then earn only Is. 4^., out of which 
comes cost of knives and knife-grinding, and fines and 



354 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xx. 

deductions of various kinds. In another room one 
woman kept herself and a daughter of nine by working- 
all day and earning only about 7s. Qd. a week. When 
the work was over she was often so exhausted that she 
threw herself on the bed too tired even to get food. 
And for these poor people, of whom there are thou- 
sands, there is no hope, no future, but a life of such 
continuous labor, discomfort, and penury, as to be almost 
unimaginable to ordinary people. 

The descriptions now given illustrate the horrible 
gulf of extreme poverty in which more than a quarter of 
a million of the people of London constantly live, and 
into which, sooner or later, are precipitated almost the 
whole of the million and a quarter who are permanently 
living below the poverty line, and to whom illness or 
want of work brings on absolute destitution. And we 
must note that none of these writers, who really know 
the people they write about, impute any considerable 
proportion of this misery to vice or drink, but to condi- 
tions over which the sufferers have no control; while it 
is certain that both vice and drink are very frequently 
the consequences of the very conditions of life they are 
supposed to bring about. 

And for this condition of things there is absolutely no 
suggestion of a remedy by our legislators. Better hous- 
ing has been talked about this twenty years, but if done, 
how would it supply work, or food, or coals, or clothing? 
The very suggestion that better houses is the one thing 
needed is a cruel mockery and a confession of impotence 
and failure. 



THE DEMON OF GREED. 355 



Dangerous and Unhealthy Trades. 

Equally terrible with the amount of want and misery, 
due mainly to insufficient earnings, want of work, or ill- 
ness, are the enormous injury to health and shortening of 
life due to unhealthy and dangerous trades, almost all 
of which could be made healthy and safe if human life 
were estimated as of equal value with the acquisition of 
wealth by individuals. 

In Mrs. C. Mallet's tract on " Dangerous Trades for 
Women," we find it stated that girls who do the carding 
in the linen trade lost their health in about twelve years ; 
the very strongest picked men in the alkali works as a 
rule do not live to be fifty; glass-blowers become pre- 
maturely old at forty, and sometimes become blind; in 
the Potteries deaths from phthisis are three times as 
numerous as among other workers. But all these trades 
are inferior in deadliness to the white-lead manufactures, 
in which numbers of girls and women are employed. 
Some work on for several years without appreciable in- 
jury, but the majority suffer greatly in a year or two, 
many die in a few months, and some in a few weeks or 
even days. In this trade the percentage of deaths is 
higher than in any other, and the real amount is never 
known, because, when the workers become ill, they are 
usually discharged. They then perhaps work for a time 
at some other employment, perhaps in another place, and 
if they ultimately die of lead-poisoning or its conse- 
quences, their connection with the dangerous trade is 
lost. The children born of lead-workers usually die of 
convulsions, and one woman lost eight children in this 
way. Mr. Robert Sherrard, in his " White Slaves of 



356 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



England," has given a later and fuller account, perfectly 
agreeing with Mrs. Mallet's statements published three 
years earlier; and notwithstanding the abuse and denials 
by interested parties, all his essential facts are fully 
borne out by the quotations he now gives in an Appen- 
dix, from the reports of several committees, select or 
departmental, which have enquired into the various 
trades he has described, together with the evidence from 
coroners' inquests and other sources. Anyone who 
reads this Appendix alone will be thoroughly convinced 
of the terrible amount of human suffering and of death 
resulting from the " dangerous trades " of England, 
though their total amount can never be fully realized. 

And the whole of this destruction of human life and 
happiness is absolutely needless, since many of the 
products are not necessaries of life, and all without ex- 
ception could be made entirely harmless if adequate 
pressure were brought to bear upon the manufacturers. 
Let every death that is clearly traceable to a dangerous 
trade be made manslaughter, for which the owners, or, 
in the case of a company, the directors, are to be pun- 
ished by imprisonment, not as first-class misdemeanants, 
and ways will soon be found to carry away or utilize the 
noxious gases, and provide automatic machinery to carry 
and pack the deadly white lead and bleaching powder; 
as would certainly be done if the owners' families, or per- 
sons in their own rank of life, were the only available 
workers. 

Even more horrible than the white-lead poisoning is 
that by phosphorus, in the match-factories. Phosphorus 
is not necessary to make matches, but it is a trifle cheaper 
and a little easier to light (and so more dangerous), and is 



THE DEMON OF GREED. 357 



therefore still largely used ; and its effect on the workers 
is terrible, rotting away the jaws with the agonizing 
pain of cancer often followed by death. Will it be be- 
lieved in future ages that this horrible and unnecessary- 
manufacture, the evils of which were thoroughly known, 
was yet allowed to be carried on to the very end of this 
century, which claims so many great and beneficent dis- 
coveries, and prides itself on the height of civilization it 
has attained? To what a depth of helplessness must the 
poor be brought, when young girls eagerly throng to 
these deadly trades, rather than face the struggle for 
food and life by other means! 

And in the midst of this very pandemonium of want 
and suffering, the rich are ever becoming more rich, and 
boast of it. The City Press tells us that the increased 
profits in the City of London during the ten years from 
1880 to 1890 were no less than 30,755,283, and it adds: 
" This is the best evidence that can be furnished of our 
commercial prosperity." A million people in London 
without sufficient food and clothing and fire for a healthy 
life but great commercial prosperity! Thousands 
maimed or racked and tortured to death by dangerous 
trades but great commercial prosperity! Those who 
die paupers' deaths increasing in the ten years from 21 
to 26 per cent, of the total deaths but what of that, 
when we have great commercial prosperity! The aver- 
age lives of the lower class of artisans and workers in the 
unwholesome trades being only 29 years, while that of 
the upper classes is 55 years millions thus killed 25 
years before their time; but then we have " Great Com- 
mercial Prosperity " ! 

With remarkable foresight Professor Cairnes, in 



358 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



1874, wrote that so long as the workers were dependent 
on the capitalists for employment " the margin for the 
possible improvement of their lot is confined within nar- 
row barriers which cannot be passed, and the problem of 
their elevation is hopeless. As a body they will not rise 
at all. A few, more energetic or more fortunate than 
the rest, will from time to time escape, as they do now, 
from the ranks of their fellows to the higher walks of 
industrial life, but the great majority will remain sub- 
stantially where they are. The remuneration of labor, 
as such, skilled or unskilled, can never rise much above 
its present level." * 

The result of a quarter of a century more of this de- 
pendence, though the capitalists as a class have become 
enormously richer, is the state of things here imperfectly 
depicted. And so it must remain till the workers learn 
what alone will save them, and take the matter into their 
own hands. The capitalists will consent to nothing but 
a few small ameliorations, which may improve the condi- 
tion of select classes of workers, but will leave the great 
mass just where they are. For without these thousands 
of struggling, starving humanity, which furnish an in- 
exhaustible reserve of cheap labor, they believe that they 
cannot go on increasing their wealth; and they sys- 
tematically oppose all measures which would utilize that 
labor for the well-being of the laborers themselves, and 
thus raise wages from the very bottom. This explains 
why they ignored Mr. Mather's very moderate scheme 
submitted to the Select Committee on the Unemployed, 
as well as the far more effectual and practical scheme of 

1 " Some Leading Principles of Political Economy," p. 348. 



CHAP. xx. THE DEMON OF GREED. 359 

Mr. Herbert V. Mills, fully explained in his " Poverty 
and the State " nine years ago. 

A few years before his much-lamented death, that 
acute yet cautious thinker, the late Professor Huxley, 
was forced to adopt the conclusions of Professor Cairnes, 
and those here set forth, that our modern system of land- 
lordism and capitalistic competition tends to increase 
rather than to diminish poverty; and he expressed them 
in one of those forcible passages which cannot be too 
often quoted. After declaring that in all great indus- 
trial centres there is a large and increasing mass of what 
the French call la misere, he goes on: 

"It is a condition in which food, warmth, and clothing, 
which are necessary for the mere maintenance of the 
functions of the body in their normal state, cannot be 
obtained ; in which men, women, and children are forced 
to crowd into dens where decency is abolished, and the 
most ordinary conditions of healthful existence are im- 
possible of attainment; in which the pleasures within 
reach are reduced to brutality and drunkenness; in 
which the pains accumulate at compound interest in the 
shape of starvation, disease, stunted development, and 
moral degradation; in which the prospect of even steady 
and honest industry is a life of unsuccessful battling with 
hunger, rounded by a pauper's grave. . . When the 
organization of society, instead of mitigating this tend- 
ency, tends to continue and intensify it, when a given 
social order plainly makes for evil and not for good, men 
naturally enough begin to think it high time to try a 
fresh experiment. I take it to be a mere plain truth that 
throughout industrial Europe there is not a single large 
manufacturing city which is free from a large mass of 



360 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xx , 

people whose condition is exactly that described, and 
from a still greater mass who, living just on t^e edge of 
the social swamp, are liable to be precipitated into it." l 

But there are yet other indications of our terribly un- 
healthy social condition besides poverty, misery, and pre- 
ventable deaths. The first is the increase of insanity, 
which is certainly great, though not perhaps so large as 
the mere increase of the insane population. This in- 
crease from 1859 to 1889 was from 1867 per million in 
the former year to 2907 per million in the latter, or more 
than 50 per cent, faster than the population. But it is 
alleged that this is mainly due to the accumulation of 
patients, owing to their being better taken care of than 
formerly. This, however, is only a supposition, and an 
improbable one, since it is admitted that in our crowded 
asylums proper curative treatment is impossible; and 
the returns of the Registrar-General show that deaths in 
lunatic asylums are increasing faster than the number 
of lunatics. (In the seven years 1888 to 1895 the deaths 
increased 25 per cent.) And in " Chambers' Encyclo- 
paedia," the writer who gives the above explanation also 
shows immediately afterward that it only accounts for 
the smaller portion of the increase. He says that, if we 
take the newly registered cases each year, " we find they 
have only risen from 4.5 to 6 per 10,000 (or from 450 to 
600 per million) in the thirty years." But this is 30 per 
cent, faster than the population increases; and it may 
therefore be taken as the admitted amount of the con- 
tinuous increase of insanity among us. 

Closely connected with insanity is suicide, and that 
this has very largely increased there is no doubt what- 

1 Nineteenth Century, February, 1888. 



THE DEMON OF GREED. 361 



ever, as the following table, compiled from the .Reports 
of the Registrar-General, will show: 

DEATHS BY SUICIDE 
YEARS. PER MILLION LIVING. 

1866-70, 66.4 

1871-75, 66.0 

187680, 73.6 

1881-85 73.8 

1886-90, . . 79.4 

1891-95, 88.6 

Dr. S. A. K. Strahan, in his work on " Suicide and In- 
sanity," states that: " Within certain limits the rate of 
suicide ebbs and flows with the prosperity of a nation/ 7 
and he says that it has been proved by several Continental 
writers that the death-rate from suicide " rises and falls 
with the price of bread." The first statement is un- 
doubtedly true, the latter quite untrue. During the 
whole period included in the above table the price of 
wheat was falling from 50s. 9d. in 1859-61 to 32s. lOd. 
in 1889-91. The price of bread is of no importance 
when the conditions of life are such that thousands of 
people have not the means of buying any food at all. 
Insanity and suicide are both largely due to want, or the 
dread of want, as the weekly records of coroners' in- 
quests and the police courts plainly show. 

Yet another indication of the deterioration of the 
people, owing to the unhealthy and unnatural conditions 
under which millions of them are compelled to live, is 
afforded by the continuous increase for the last thirty- 
five years of premature births, and of congenital defects 
in those who survive. The following table showing 
the proportion to 1000 births, is from the Fifty-eighth 
Annual Report of the Registrar-General, p. xviii. : 



362 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



YEARS. PREMATURE BIKTHS. CONGENITAL DEFECTS. 

1861-65, .... 11.19 1.76 

1866-70, . . . . 11.50 1.84 

1871-75, .... 12.60 1.85 

1876-80 13.38 2.39 

1881-85, .... 14.18 3.23 

1886-90 16.15 3.39 

1891-95, 18.42 3 87 



The worst features of this table are the continuous in- 
crease it shows, indicating the action of some constant 
and increasing cause, and the more rapid increase in the 
latter half of the period, indicating that the conditions 
are becoming increasingly worse and worse. 

It is the common belief that intemperance has greatly 
decreased among us, and no doubt that is the case as 
compared with the early part of the century. But as 
regards chronic intemperance resulting in death, the 
Registrar-General's figures show us that for the last 
thirty years it has been increasing: 

DEATHS FROM ALCOHOLISM 
AND DELIRIUM TREMENS 
PER MILLION LIVING. 
41.6 
354 
37.6 
42.2 
48.0 
55.4 
68.2 

Here the increase began a little later, but it shows the 
same alarming fact of being much more rapid in the last 
fifteen years. For the last twenty years the deaths are 
given for males and females separately, and we find that 
the death-rates of the latter from this cause have in- 



YEARS. 






1861-65, 


. 




1866-70 






1871-75, 


. Males. 


Females. 


1876-80, 


. 60 1 . 


. 24 


1881-85, 


. 66.6 . 


. 31 


1886-90, 


. 73.6 . 


. 39.2 


1891-95, 


. 86.6 . 


. 50.2 



THE DEMON OF GREED. 



creased with, enormous rapidity. AVhile men's deaths 
from intemperance have increased about 58 per cent, in 
the twenty years, those of women have increased more 
than 100 per cent. The causes that lead to this fatal 
amount of intoxication are various ; but no one will deny 
that the facts here set forth show the existence of some- 
thing seriously wrong in our social conditions, and that 
the evil is rapidly increasing. 

There is yet one more indication of our deterioration. 
One of the arguments in favor of national education was 
that it would certainly decrease crime. Herbert Spen- 
cer told us that it would not have that effect; that there 
was nothing in educating the intellect to have any effect 
on the amount of crime, though it might have an effect 
upon its character. And he seems to have been right. 
Owing to changes in the classification of offenders, in the 
nature of their punishment, in the criminal law, and in 
the practice of the Courts, it is not difficult to obtain 
figures showing a decrease, as is often done by officials 
who will not readily admit that our systems of punish- 
ment have no reformatory action. But a gentleman 
who has had a lifelong experience of prisons and pris- 
oners, and has made a serious study of the whole subject, 
arrives at a different conclusion. -He tells us that, after 
a careful examination of all available statistics for the 
last thirty years, and making all needful corrections for 
the changes above referred to, he considers it proved that 
crime has increased, and at a greater rate than the in- 
crease of the population for the same period. The re- 
sult, which he thinks to be as near the truth as can 
be obtained from prison and criminal statistics, is as 
follows: 



364 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xx. 







IN REFORMATORIES 






PRISON 


AND INDUSTRIAL. 




YEARS. 


POPULATION. 


SCHOOLS. 


TOTAL 


1860-69, 


127,690 


6,834 


134,52- 


1870-79, 


154,145 


17,394 


171,53! 


1880-89, 


170,827 


25,505 


196,33: 



Here we have an increase in the average of the first 
and last ten-year periods amounting to 46 per cent., 
while the increase of population in the twenty years from 
1865 to 1885 is a little less than 30 per cent. 1 

The writer imputes this result to the continued growth 
of our great cities, which bring together both criminals 
and those who are preyed upon, and by association and 
opportunity foster the growth of a criminal population. 
To this cause, however, must be added the increasing 
severity of the struggle for existence and our cruel and 
degrading prison system, which together render it almost- 
impossible for first offenders to gain a livelihood by hon- 
est labor. 

In concluding this brief sketch of the inevitable re- 
sults of the struggle for existence and for wealth under 
present social conditions, I call special attention to the 
fact that so many converging lines of evidence point in 
the same direction. The evidence for the enormous in- 
crease of the total mass of misery and want is over- 
whelming, while, that it has increased even faster than 
the increase of population is, to my own mind, almost 
equally clear. But when we see that insanity and sui- 
cide, deaths from drink, premature births, congenital 
defects, and the numbers of criminals have all increased 

1 The Rev. W. D. Morrison, late H. M. Chaplain at Wandsworth 

Prison, in the Nineteenth Century for June, 1892. 



CHAP. xx. THE DEMON OF GREED. 365 

simultaneously, we can hardly help seeing a relation of 
cause and effect, since the accidental coincidence of so 
many distinct phenomena is highly improbable, and the 
first of them the increase of poverty, combined with 
dangerous or unhealthy occupations is admitted to be 
a true cause, if only a contributory one, of all the rest. 

But there is yet another inference to be drawn from 
the facts and figures which have been set forth in this 
chapter. If we turn to the table of death-rates in pub- 
lic institutions, we find that they not only increase 
steadily each quinquennium, but that they increase at a 
more rapid rate in the later than the earlier years. Di- 
viding the period equally, we find that during the first 
half the death-rate increased by .21, or rather more than 
a fifth, while in the second half it increased by .26, or 
rather more than a fourth. And when we look at the 
tables showing the amount of suicides, of premature 
births, of congenital defects, and of deaths from alco- 
holism, we find that all these also show a much more 
rapid increase in the latter half, indicating still more 
clearly the dependence of the latter upon the former. 

Now this portentous phenomenon, of the increasing 
rate of deterioration of our population, is also seen in the 
rate of increase of individual wealth. Taking the total 
annual value assessed to Income Tax as the best available 
indication of individual wealth at different periods, we 
find the rate of its increase during three periods of fifteen 
years each to be as follows: 

YEARS. INCREASE OF INCOME-TAX ASSESSMENT. 

1850-65 64.6 per cent, increase in 15 years. 

1865-80, .... 686 

1881-96, .... 82.4 



366 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xx. 

This is for the whole of Great Britain and Ireland, 
and it corresponds with that recent increase of wealth in 
the City of London which was taken by the writer in the 
City Press to be a gratifying proof of " commercial 
prosperity." 

Here, then, we have direct confirmation of that " in- 
crease of want with increase of wealth " which, when 
propounded as a fundamental fact of modern social sys- 
tems in Henry George's " Progress and Poverty," was 
fiercely denied as utterly unfounded and the very oppo- 
site of the truth. The association of the two phenomena 
is clearly proved by the facts and figures here given ; and 
that association is shown to be not a mere coincidence 
by the fact that not only the increase, but changes in the 
rate of increase, are strictly associated ; and, yet further, 
that four separate indications of deterioration which are 
partially or wholly, due to poverty, to dread of poverty, 
or to rapid fluctuations of wealth, also show similar 
changes in their rate of increase. 

We have seen that, in Huxley's opinion, all the ter- 
rible social evils which have been briefly summarized in 
this chapter are due to the existing organization of so- 
ciety, and that our present social order " makes for 
evil " ; the late Professor Cairnes was of the same opin- 
ion; Frederick Harrison, in 1886, declared that the con- 
dition of the actual producers of wealth was then such as 
to be the condemnation of modern society, 1 yet it has 
since then been getting worse, and all our great thinkers 
prophets or poets have condemned it. Carlyle 
thundered against its iniquities, but with no clear indi- 
cations of a remedy; Ruskin saw more clearly that a 
1 See Report of the Industrial Remuneration Conference, p. 429. 



CHAP. xx. THE DEMON OF GREED. 367 

fundamental change in our methods was necessary, and 
stated clearly, and I believe truly, what the first essen- 
tial steps of that change must be. 1 Tennyson asks us 

" Is it well that while we range with Science, glorying in the Time, 
City children soak and blacken soul and sense in city Slime? " . 

John Stuart Mill long since warned us that when great 
evils are in question small remedies do not produce a 
small effect, but no effect at all. And Lowell says the 
same in his exquisite verse: 

" New occasions teach new duties : Time makes ancient good 

uncouth ; 
They must upward still and onward, who would keep abreast of 

Truth; 
Lo! before us gleam her camp fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims 

be; 
Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate 

winter sea, 
Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted 

key." 

Yet this is exactly what we have been doing during 
the whole century, applying small plasters to each 
social ulcer as it became revealed to us petty pallia- 
tives for chronic evils. But ever as one symptom has 
been got rid of new diseases have appeared, or the old 
have burst out elsewhere with increased virulence; and 
it will certainly be considered one of the most terrible 
and inexplicable failures of the nineteenth century that, 
up to its very close, neither legislators nor politicians of 
either of the great parties that alternately ruled the 
nation would acknowledge that there could be anything 
really wrong while wealth increased as it was increasing. 

1 See " Unto this Last." Preface. 



368 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. CHAP. xx. 

Our ruling classes have suggested nothing, and have 
done nothing, of any real use. They have made fruit- 
less enquiries into particular phases of the evils that were 
oppressing the workers, and have continued the applica- 
tion of those small remedies that always have resulted, 
and always must result, in no permanent benefit to the 
whole people. They still believe that " the Past's 
blood-rusted key " will open the portal of future well- 
being ! 1 

1 It is never my practice to condemn evils without suggesting 
remedies. But in this work it would be out of place to go into them 
in detail. I give, however, a few suggestions and references in an 
Appendix to this volume. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

THE PLUNDER OF THE EARTH CONCLUSION. 

Commerce has set the mark of selfishness, 
The signet of its all-enslaving power, 
Upon a shining ore, and called it GOLD; 
Before whose image bow the vulgar great, 
The vainly rich, the miserable proud, 
The mob of peasants, nobles, priests, and kings, 
Arid with blind feelings reverence the power 
That grinds them to the dust of misery. 

Shelley. 

THE struggle for wealth, and its deplorable results, as 
sketched in the preceding chapter, have been accompa- 
nied by a reckless destruction of the stored-up products of 
nature, which is even mdre deplorable because more irre- 
trievable. Not only have forest-growths of many hun- 
dreds of years been cleared away, often with disastrous 
consequences, but the whole of the mineral treasures of 
the earth's surface, the slow products of long-past eons 
of time and geological change, have been and are still 
being exhausted, to an extent never before approached, 
and probably not equalled in amount during the whole 
preceding period of human history. 

In our own country, the value of the coal exported to 
foreign countries has increased from about three to more 
than sixteen millions sterling per annum, the quantity 
being now about thirty millions of tons; and this con- 
tinuous exhaustion of one of the necessaries of existence 
is wholly in the interest of landlords and capitalists, 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



while millions of our people have not sufficient for the 
ordinary needs or comforts of life, and even die in large 
numbers for want of the vital warmth which it would 
supply. Another large quantity of coal is consumed in 
the manufacture of iron for export, which amounts 
now to about two millions of tons per annum. A 
rational organization of society would ensure an ample 
supply of coal to every family in the country before per- 
mitting any export whatever; while, if our social organi- 
zation was both moral and rational, two considerations 
would prevent any export: the first being that we have 
duties toward posterity, and have no right to diminish 
unnecessarily those natural products which cannot be 
reproduced; and the second, that the operations of coal- 
mining and iron-working being especially hard and un- 
pleasant to the workers, and at the same time leading to 
injury to much fertile land and natural beauty, they 
should be restricted within the narrowest limits consist- 
ent with our own well-being. 

In America, and some other countries, an equally 
wasteful and needless expenditure of petroleum oils and 
natural gas is going on, resulting in great accumulations 
of private wealth, but not sensibly ameliorating the con- 
dition of the people at large. Such an excellent light 
as that afforded by petroleum oil is no doubt a good 
thing; but it comes in the second grade, as a comfort, not 
a necessity; and it is really out of place till everyone can 
obtain ample food, clothing, warmth, house room, and 
pure air and water, which are the absolute necessaries of 
life, but which, under the conditions of our modern 
civilization more correctly barbarism millions of 
people, through no fault of their own, cannot obtain. In 



CONCLUSION. 371 



these respects we are as the Scribes and Pharisees, giv- 
ing tithe of mint and cummin, but neglecting the 
weightier matters of the law. 

Equally disastrous in many respects has been the wild 
struggle for gold in California, Australia, South Africa, 
and elsewhere. The results are hardly less disastrous, 
though in different ways, than those produced by the 
Spaniards in Mexico and Peru four centuries ago. 
Great wealth has been obtained, great populations have 
grown up and are growing up ; but great cities have also 
grown up with their inevitable poverty, vice, overcrowd- 
ing, and even starvation, as in the Old World. Every- 
where, too, this rush for wealth has led to deterioration 
of land and of natural beauty, by covering up the sur- 
face with refuse heaps, by flooding rich lowlands with 
the barren mud produced by hydraulic mining; and by 
the great demand for animal food by the mining popula- 
tions leading to the destruction of natural pastures in 
California, Australia, and South Africa, and their re- 
placement often 'by weeds and plants neither beautiful 
nor good for fodder. 

It is also a well-known fact that these accumulations 
of gold-seekers lead to enormous social evils, opening a 
field for criminals of every type, and producing an 
amount of drink-consumption, gambling, and homicide 
altogether unprecedented. Both the earlier gold-dig- 
ging by individual miners, and the later quartz-mining 
by great companies, are alike forms of gambling or 
speculation; and while immense fortunes are made by 
some, others suffer great losses, so that the gambling spirit 
is still further encouraged and the production of real 
wealth by patient industry, to the same extent dimin- 



372 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



ished and rendered less attractive. For it must never 
be forgotten that the whole enormous amount of human 
labor expended in the search for and the production of 
gold; the ships which carry out the thousands of ex- 
plorers, diggers, and speculators; the tools, implements, 
and machinery they use; their houses, food, and cloth- 
ing, as well as the countless gallons of liquor of various 
qualities which they consume, are all, so far as the well- 
being of the community is concerned, absolutely wasted. 
Gold is not wealth ; it is neither a necessary nor a luxury 
of life, in the true sense of the word. It serves two pur- 
poses only: it is an instrument used for the exchange of 
commodities, and its use in the arts is mainly <#s orna- 
ment or as an indication of wealth. Nothing is more 
certain than that the appearance of wealth produced by 
large gold-production is delusive. The larger the pro- 
portion of the population of a country that devotes 
itself to gold-production, the smaller the numbers left to 
produce real wealth food, clothing, houses, fuel, roads, 
machinery, and all the innumerable conveniences, com- 
forts, and wholesome luxuries of life. Hence, whatever 
appearances may indicate, gold-production makes a coun- 
try poor, and by furnishing new means of investment 
and speculation helps to keep it poor; and it has cer- 
tainly helped considerably in producing that amount of 
wretchedness, starvation, and crime which, as we have 
seen, has gone on increasing to the very end of our 
century. 

But the extraction of the mineral products stored in 
the earth, in order to increase individual wealth, and to 
the same extent to the diminution of national well-being, 
is only a portion of the injury done to posterity by the 



CONCLUSION. 373 



" plunder of the earth." In tropical countries many 
valuable products can be cultivated by means of cheap 
native labor, so as to give a large profit to the European 
planter. But here also the desire to get rich as quickly 
as possible has often defeated the planter's hopes. Nut- 
megs were grown for some years in Singapore and Pe- 
nang; but by the exposure of the young trees to the sun, 
instead of growing them under the shade of great forest- 
trees, as in their natural state, and as they are grown in 
Banda, they became unhealthy and unprofitable. Then 
coffee was planted, and was grown very largely in Cey- 
lon and other places; but here again the virgin forests 
were entirely removed, producing unnatural conditions, 
and the growth of the young trees was stimulated by 
manure. Soon there came disease and insect enemies, 
and coffee had to be given up in favor of tea, which is 
now grown over large areas both in Ceylon and India. 
But the clearing of the forests on steep hill slopes, to 
make coffee plantations, produced permanent injury to 
the country of a very serious kind. The rich soil, the 
product of thousands of years of slow decomposition of 
the rock, fertilized by the humus formed from decaying 
forest trees, being no longer protected by the covering 
of dense vegetation, was quickly washed away by the 
tropical rains, leaving great areas of bare rock or fur- 
rowed clay, absolutely sterile, and which will probably 
not regain its former fertility for hundreds, perhaps 
thousands of years. The devastation caused by the 
great despots of the Middle Ages and of antiquity, for 
purposes of conquest or punishment, has thus been 
reproduced in our times by the rush to obtain wealth. 
Even the lust of conquest, in order to secure slaves 



374 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



and tribute and great estates, by means of which the 
ruling classes could live in boundless luxury, so charac- 
teristic of the early civilizations, is reproduced in our 
own time. The Great Powers of Europe are in the midst 
of a struggle, in order to divide up the whole continent 
of Africa among themselves, and thus obtain an outlet 
for the more energetic portions of their populations and 
an extension of their trade. The result, so far, has been 
the sale of vast quantities of rum and gunpowder; much 
bloodshed, owing to the objection of the natives to the 
seizure of their lands and their cattle ; great demoraliza- 
tions both of black and white; and the condemnation of 
the conquered .tribes to a modified form of slavery. 
Comparing our conduct with that of the Spanish con- 
querors of the West Indies, Mexico, and Peru, and mak- 
ing some allowance for differences of race and of public 
opinion, there is not much to choose between them. 
Wealth, and territory, and native labor, w r ere the real 
objects of the conquest in both cases; and if the Span- 
iards were more cruel by nature, and more reckless in 
their methods, the results were much the same. In both 
cases the country was conquered, and thereafter occu- 
pied and governed by the conquerors frankly for their 
own ends, and with little regard to the feelings or the 
material well-being of the conquered. If the Spaniards 
exterminated the natives of the West Indies, we have 
done the same thing in Tasmania, and almost the same 
in temperate Australia. And in the estimation of the 
historian of the future, the Spaniards will be credited 
with two points in which they surpassed us. Their be- 
lief that they were really serving God in converting the 
heathen, even at the point of the sword, was a genuine 



CONCLUSION. 375 



belief shared by priests and conquerors alike not a 
mere sham, as is ours when we defend our conduct by the 
plea of introducing the " blessings of civilization." 
And, in wild romance, boldness of conception, reckless 
daring, and the successful achievement of the well-nigh 
impossible, we are nowhere when compared with Cortez 
and his five hundred Spaniards, who, with no base of 
supplies, no rapid steam communication, no supports, 
imperfect weapons and the ammunition they carried 
with them, conquered great, populous, and civilized em- 
pires. It is quite possible that both the conquests of 
Mexico and Peru by the Spaniards, and our conquests of 
South Africa, may have been real steps in advance, 
essential to human progress, and helping on the future 
reign of true civilization and the well-being of the hu- 
man race. But if so, we have been, and are, uncon- 
scious agents, in hastening the great 

" far-off, divine event 
To which the whole creation moves." 

We deserve no credit for it. Our aims have been, for 
the most part, sordid and selfish; and if, in the end, all 
should work out for good, as no doubt it will, much of 
our conduct in the matter will yet deserve, and will cer- 
tainly receive, the severest condemnation. 

Our whole dealings with subject races have been a 
strange mixture of good and evil, of success and failure, 
due, I believe, to the fact that, along with a genuine de- 
sire to do good and to govern well, our rule has always 
been largely influenced, and often entirely directed, by 
the necessity of finding well-paid places for the less 
wealthy members of our aristocracy, and also by the 



376 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



constant craving for fresh markets by the influential 
class of merchants and manufacturers. Hence the enor- 
mous fiscal burdens under which the natives of our In- 
dian Empire continue to groan; hence the opium 
monopoly and the salt tax; hence the continued refusal 
to carry out the promises made or implied on the estab- 
lishment of the Empire, to give the natives a continually 
increasing share in their own government, and to govern 
India solely in the interest of the Indians themselves. 

It is the influence of the two classes above referred to 
that has urged our governments to perpetual frontier 
wars and continual extensions of the Empire, all adding 
to the burdens of the Indian people. But our greatest 
mistakes of all are, the collection of revenue in money, 
at fixed times, from the very poorest cultivators of the 
soil; and the strict enforcement of our laws relating to 
landed property, to loans, mortgages, and foreclosures, 
which are utterly unsuited to the people, and have led 
to the most cruel oppression, and the transfer of num- 
bers of small farms from the ryots to the money-lenders. 
Hence, the peasants become poorer and poorer; thou- 
sands have been made tenants instead of owners of their 
farms ; and an immense number are in the clutches of the 
money-lenders, and always in the most extreme poverty. 
It is from these various causes that the periodical 
famines are so dreadful a scourge, and such a disgrace to 
our rule. 1 The people of India are industrious, patient, 

1 These facts, together with our most cruel and wicked robbery of 
the rayats, or cultivators, constituting three-fourths of the entire 
population, by changing the land-tax to a rack-rent as exorbitant and 
impossible of payment as those of the worst Irish and Highland 
landlords, have been long known, and have been again and again 
urged by the most experienced Indian administrators as the funda- 



CHAP. xxi. CONCLUSION. 377 

and frugal in the highest degree ; and the soil and climate 
are such that the one thing wanted to ensure good crops 
and abundance of food is water-storage for irrigation, 
and absolute permanence of tenure for the cultivator. 
That we have built costly railways for the benefit of 
merchants and capitalists^ and have spent upon these and 
upon frontier-wars the money which would have secured 
water for irrigation wherever wanted, and thus pre- 
vented the continued recurrence of famine whenever the 
rains are deficient, is an evil attendant on our rule which 
outweighs many of its benefits. 

The final and absolute test of good government is the 
well-being and contentment of the people not the ex- 
tent of empire or the abundance of the revenue and the 
trade. Tried by this test, how seldom have we suc- 
ceeded in ruling subject peoples! Rebellion, recurrent 
famines, and plagues in India ; discontent, chronic want, 
and misery; famines more or less severe, and continuous 
depopulation in our sister-island at home these must 
surely be reckoned the most terrible and most disastrous 
failures of the nineteenth century. 

" Hear then, ye Senates! hear this truth sublime: 
They who allow Oppression share the crime." 

mental cause of all Indian (as they are of all Irish) famines. But, 
quite recently, they have been again described, with admirable lucid- 
ity and almost unnecessary moderation, by Sir William Wedderburn, 
whose great experience in India as a District Judge, and long study 
of the subject, constitute him one of the first authorities. See a series 
of articles in the periodical India for Februaiy, March, May, and 
June, 1897. A. reprint of the whole under the very appropriate 
title, "The Skeleton at the [Jubilee] Feast," has been sent to all 
members of the House of Commons; and they should be read by 
everyone who wishes to comprehend the terrible misgovemment of 
our Indian Empire. 



378 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



CONCLUDING REMARKS. 

We are now in a position to form some general esti- 
mate of progress and retrogression during the nineteenth 
century, and to realize to some extent what will "be the 
verdict of the future upon it. We have seen that it has 
been characterized by a marvellous and altogether un- 
precedented progress in knowledge of the universe and 
of its complex forces; and also in the application of that 
knowledge to an infinite variety of purposes, calculated, 
if properly utilized, to supply all the wants of every hu- 
man being, and to add greatly to the comforts, the enjoy- 
ments, and the refinements of life. The bounds of 
human knowledge have been so far extended that new 
vistas have opened to us in directions where it had been 
thought that we could never penetrate, and the more we 
learn the more we seem capable of learning in the ever- 
widening expanse of the universe. It may be truly said 
of men of science that they have now become as gods 
knowing good and evil; since they have been able not 
only to utilize the most recondite powers of nature in 
their service, but have in many cases been able to dis- 
cover the sources of much of the evil that afflicts hu- 
manity, to abolish pain, to lengthen life, and to add 
immensely to the intellectual as well as to the physical 
enjoyments of our race. 

But the more we realize the vast possibilities of hu- 
man welfare which science has given us, the more we 
must recognize our total failure to make any adequate 
use of them. With ample power to supply to the fullest 
extent necessaries, comforts, and even luxuries for all, 
and at the same time allow ample leisure for intellectual 



CHAP. xxi. CONCLUSION. 379 



pleasures and aesthetic enjoyments, we have yet so sin- 
fully mismanaged our social economy as to give unprec- 
edented and injurious luxury to the few, while millions 
are compelled to suffer a lifelong deficiency of the barest 
necessaries for a healthy existence. Instead of devot- 
ing the highest powers of our greatest men to remedy 
these evils, we see the governments of the most advanced 
nations arming their people to the teeth, and expending 
much of their wealth and all the resources of their 
science, in preparation for tlie destruction of life, of 
property, and of happiness. 

With ample knowledge of the sources of health, we 
allow, and even compel, the bulk of our population to 
live and work under conditions which greatly shorten 
life; while every year we see from 50,000 to 100,000 in- 
fants done to death by our criminal neglect. 

In our mad race for wealth, we have made gold more 
sacred than human life; we have made life so hard for 
the many that suicide and insanity and crime are alike 
increasing. With all our labor-saving machinery and 
all our command over the forces of nature, the struggle 
for existence has become more fierce than ever before; 
and year by year an ever-increasing proportion of our 
people sink into paupers' graves. 

Even more degrading, and more terrible in its conse- 
quences, is the unblushing selfishness of the greatest 
civilized nations. While boasting of their military 
power, and loudly proclaiming their Christianity, not 
one of them has raised a finger to save a Christian people, 
the remnant of an ancient civilization, from the most 
barbarous persecution, torture, and wholesale massacre. 
A hundred thousand Armenians murdered or starved to 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



death while the representatives of the Great Powers 
coldly looked on and prided themselves on their una- 
nimity in all making the same useless protests will 
surely be referred to by the historian of the future, as 
the most detestable combination of hypocrisy and in- 
humanity that the world has yet produced, and as the 
crowning proof of the utter rottenness of the boasted 
civilization of the nineteenth century. 

When the brightness of future ages shall have 
dimmed the glamour of our material progress, the judg- 
ment of history will surely be that the ethical standard 
of our rulers was a deplorably low one, and that we were 
unworthy to possess the great and beneficent powers 
that science had placed in our hands. 

But although this century has given us so many 
examples of failure, it has also given us hope for 
the future. True humanity, the determination that the 
crying social evils of our time shall not continue; the 
certainty that they can be abolished; an unwavering 
faith in human nature, have never been so strong, so 
vigorous, so rapidly growing as they are to-day. The 
movement toward socialism during the last ten years, in 
all the chief countries of Europe as well as in America, 
is the proof of this. This movement pervades the ris- 
ing generation, as much in the higher and best educated 
section of the middle class as in the ranks of the 
workers. 

The people are being educated to understand the real 
causes of the social evils that now injure all classes alike, 
and render many of the advances of science curses in- 
stead of blessings. An equal rate of such educational 
progress for another quarter of a century will give them 



CONCLUSION. 



381 



at once the power and the knowledge required to initiate 
the needed reforms. 

The flowing tide is with us. We have great poets, 
great writers, great thinkers, to cheer and guide us; and 
an ever-increasing band of earnest workers to spread the 
light and help on the good time coming. And as this 
century has witnessed a material and intellectual ad- 
vance wholly unprecedented in the history of human 
progress, so the coming century will reap the full frui- 
tion of that advance, in a moral and social upheaval of an 
equally new and unprecedented kind, and equally great 
in amount. That advance is prefigured in the stirring 
lines of Sir Lewis Morris, with which I may fitly close 
my work: 

" There shall come, from out this noise of strife and groaning, 

A broader and a juster brotherhood, 
A deep equality of aim, postponing 

All selfish seeking to the general good. 
There shall come a time when each shall to another, 
Be as Christ would have him, brother unto brother. 

" There shall come a time when brotherhood grows stronger 
Than the narrow bounds which now distract the world; 

When the cannons roar and trumpets blare no longer, 
And the ironclad rusts and battle-flags are furled; 

When the bars of creed and speech and race, which sever, 

Shall be fused in one humanity forever." 



APPENDIX. 

THE REMEDY FOR WANT IN THE MIDST OF WEALTH. 

The end of Government is to unfold 

The Social into harmony, and give 

Complete expression to the laboring thought 

Of universal genius ; fin-t to feed 

The body, then the mind, and then the heart. 

T. L. Harms. 

New Times demand new measures and new men ; 
The world advances, and in time outgrows 
The laws that in our fathers' days were best. 

-Lowell. 

THE experience of the whole century, and more especially of the 
latter half of it, has fully established the fact that, under our present 
competitive system of capitalistic production and distribution, the 
continuous increase of wealth in the possession of the capitalist and 
land-owning classes is not accompanied by any corresponding dim- 
inution in the severity of misery and want or in the numbers of those 
who suffer from extreme poverty, rendered more unendurable by 
the presence of the most lavish waste and luxury on every side of 
them. Even the most cautious writers who really look at the facts 
are compelled to admit so much as this; but, as I have shown, the 
actual facts prove more than this. They show clearly that Avith the 
increase of wealth there has been a positive and very large increase 
of want; while, if we take account of all the facts, and without 
prejudice or prepossession consider what they really imply, we are 
driven to the conclusion that, during the latter half of this most 
marvellous of all the centuries, while science lias been enlarging 
man's power over nature in a hundred varied ways, resulting in 
possibilities of wealth-production a hundred-fold that of any preced- 
ing century, the direst want of the bare necessaries of life has seized 
upon, not only a greater absolute number, but a larger proportion 
of our population; and this has happened notwithstanding an 
increase of charity and benevolent work among the poor which is 
equally unexampled. 

Many of our greatest writers and clearest thinkers have observed 



THE REMEDY FOR WANT. 



these facts, and have plainly declared that our social system has 
broken down. The number of those who see this is increasing- 
daily; and the public conscience is being aroused by the heart-rend- 
ing misery and suffering' of millions of those who work, or beg to be 
allowed to work, in order to produce comforts and luxuries for 
others while living in poverty, hunger, and dirt themselves. I take 
it for granted that we shall not much longer permit this social hell 
to surround us on every side without making some strenuous efforts 
to abolish it. To do this with the slightest chance of success we 
must recognize the absolute inefficiency of the old methods of charity 
and other small ameliorations, except as admittedly temporary 
measures; and we must devote ourselves to work on new lines, 
which must be fundamental in their nature and calculated to remove 
the causes of poverty. 

I have myself indicated those lines in an address to the Land 
Nationalization Society in 1895, reprinted with alterations and addi- 
tion in "Forecasts of the Coming Century," of which it forms the 
first article, under the title " Reoccupation of the Land." The prin- 
ciple is, briefly, the Organization of Labor, in Production, for the 
Consumption of the Laborers. Nobody has attempted, seriously, to 
show why this should not be done. Even if the land and stock nec- 
essary to start each such co-operative colony were given free, it 
would be the wisest and most profitable public expenditure ever 
made, because it is certain to abolish all unmerited poverty, by ab- 
sorbing all the unemployed. I have shown by sufficient examples 
the enormous economies of such organization of labor economies so 
great and acting in so many directions that, they are quite certain to 
result, not only in a subsistence for the workers, but in an abundance 
of all the necessaries, comforts, and rational enjoyments of life. 

Just consider for a moment. The workers of the country, very 
imperfectly organized by the capitalists in their own interests, do 
actually produce every year all the wealth that is consumed, includ- 
ing not only necessaries and comforts, but an enormous quantity of 
luxuries, consumed only by the wealthy. All these workers, when 
in full work, do earn enough to live on, and many of them to live 
comfortably, although they are paid less than half, often only a 
quarter of the value of their work in the finished article. It is only 
because the value they add to the product is many times more than 
the wages they receive that there is a surplus sufficient to give a 
profit to the capitalist-manufacturer and to two or three middlemen, 
to pay for railway carriage, for travellers, and for advertisements, as 
well as for loss upon unsalable goods. All these expenses would be 



384 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 

saved when almost everything was made to be consumed on the spot 
by the producers themselves, only a few surplus products being sold 
in the nearest market to pay for some foreign luxuries. How could 
such an organization fail to succeed? If it is said that the unem- 
ployed are not first-rate workmen, we reply, second or even third- 
rate men will do very well. Average mechanics carpenters, masons, 
plumbers, tanners, tailors, shoemakers, spinners, weavers, agricul- 
tural laborers, etc. will be able to build second-class houses, make 
second-class clothing, and produce plain food. Again, why not? 
If every kind of trade and manufacture can be carried on and well 
managed by public companies, whose shareholders know nothing of 
the business, why not by the local authorities? Every company has 
to compete with other companies and with great capitalists in the 
sale of its products. Here there would be no competition, as the 
great bulk of the products would be consumed by the producers 
themselves, and in some cases exchanged for the products of other 
similar settlements when it is found to be beneficial to do so. Why, 
then, is this not done? Why ,is it nowhere attempted? There is 
really only one answer. Manufacturers and capitalists are afraid it 
would succeed. They know, in fact, that it would only succeed too 
well; that it would render those who are now unemployed self-sup- 
porting; and, by abolishing the spur of starvation, or the dread of 
starvation, would raise wages all round. Hence, so long as we have 
capitalist governments, and the workers are so blind as to send man- 
ufacturers and capitalists and lawyers to misrepresent them in Parlia- 
ment, a really effective remedy will not be tried. 

But will advanced thinkers and the educated workers continue 
much longer to permit myriads to suffer penury that a few may get 
rich? for that is really what it comes to The mere consideration 
that the powers of production are now practically unlimited, and 
that not only enough for every human being, but far more than 
could possibly be consumed, can be produced by the machinery and 
labor now in existence, shows how cruel and unnecessary is the sys- 
tem that condemns so many men and women and children either to 
long hours of grinding labor or to idleness and its attendant want and 
misery. 

The ingenious sophistries of modern writers, from the point of view 
of the competitive and capitalistic system as an absolute fundamental 
fact, have rendered it difficult for most people to comprehend the 
reason of the paradox, that with an enormous increase of wealth and 
of power of producing all commodities there should be a correspond- 
ing perpetuation, or even increase, of poverty. We owe it to an 



THE REMEDY FOR WANT. 385 

American writer to have cleared up this difficulty more completely 
and more intelligently than has ever been done before; and I strongly 
recommend those who wish to understand how it is that our capital- 
istic individualism necessarily produces and perpetuates poverty, to 
read chapter xxii. of Mr. Edward Bellamy's new book " Equality," 
entitled "Economic Suicide of the Profit System." Although the 
form of this chapter is not perhaps the best, being that of a school 
examination, it is, nevertheless, an admirably reasoned discussion of 
the problem, and is, in my judgment, absolutely conclusive. Chap- 
ter xxvi. extends the discussion to the effects of foreign trade, both 
free and protectionist; and shows that under our capitalist and com- 
petitive system this only further intensifies the evil as regards the 
poverty of the masses. Another chapter (xxiii.), entitled "The 
Parable of the Water Tank," is an amusing illustration of the absurd- 
ity of our system, in which a superabundance of all the necessaries 
of life, produced by the labor of the people, actually increases the 
want and starvation of the same people! 

Seeing, then, that the actual facts of the case, at the end of our 
century of ever-increasing capacity of wealth production, are in com- 
plete accordance with its necessary results logically reasoned out from 
the premises of competitive capitalism, we are bound as rational be- 
ings to get rid of this system with as little disturbance as possible, 
and, therefore, by some process of evolution; but, nevertheless, in 
such a way as at once to remedy its most cruel and disgraceful 
effects. The method I have suggested is one of the least revolution- 
ary, while it is both the easiest and the most effective; and, during 
its gradual extension, experience will be gained as to the best 
methods of carrying it out over the whole country. 

How to Stop Starvation. 

But, till some such method is demanded by public opinion, and 
forced upon our legislators, the horrible scandal and crime of men, 
women, and little children, by thousands and millions, living in the 
most wretched want, dying of actual starvation, or driven to suicide 
by the dread of it MUST BE STOPPED! I will therefore conclude 
with suggestions for stopping this horror at once; and also for 
obtaining the necessary funds, both for this temporary purpose and 
to carry out the system of co-operative colonies already referred to. 

The only certain way to abolish starvation , not when it is too late, 
but in its very earliest stages, is free bread. I imagine the outcry 
against this" pauperization! fraud! loafing! " etc., etc. Perhaps so; 



380 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 

perhaps not. But if it must be so, better a hundred loafers than a 
thousand starving; and if my main proposal or something equally 
effective is adopted, the loafers will soon be disposed of. I have 
thought over this plan of free bread for a couple of years, and I now 
believe that all the difficulties may be easily overcome. In the first 
place, all who want it, all who have not money to buy wholesome 
food, must be enabled to get this bread with the minimum of trouble. 
There must be no tests, like those for poor-law relief. A decent 
home with good furniture and good clothes must be no bar; neither 
must the possession of money, if that money is required for 
rent, for coals, or for any other necessaries of life. The bread 
must be given to prevent injurious penury, not merely to alleviate it. 
Whenever a man (or woman) is out of work from no fault of his 
own, however good wages he earns when in work, he must have a 
claim to bread. The bread is not to be charity, not poor-relief; but 
a rightful claim upon society for its neglect to so organize itself that 
all, without exception, who have worked, and are willing to work, 
or are unable to work, may at the very least have food to support 
life. 

Now for the mode of obtaining this bread. All local authorities 
shall be required to prepare bread tickets, duly stamped and num- 
bered, of a convenient form, with coupons to be detached, each rep- 
resenting a four-pound loaf. These tickets are to be issued in suitable 
quantities to every policeman, to all the clergy of every denomina- 
tion, to all medical men, and to such other persons as may be willing 
to undertake their distribution and are considered to be trustworthy. 
Any person in want of food, on applying to any of these distributors, 
is to be given a coupon for one loaf (initialled or signed by the giver) 
without any question whatever. If the person wants more than one loaf, 
or wishes to have one or more loaves a day for a week or a month, 
he or she must give name and address. The distributor, or some 
deputy, will then pay a visit during the day, ascertain the facts, give 
a suitable number of bread tickets, and, if needful, as in case of sick- 
ness or delicate health, obtain further relief from charitable persons 
or from any funds available for the purpose. 

Now there are only two possible objections to this method of tem- 
porarily stopping starvation while more permanent measures are 
preparing. The first is that it would pauperize; the next, that, as 
wages tend to sink to the minimum for bare subsistence, it would 
still further lower wages, so that it would then become needful to 
give coals free, and a little later rent free, till wages were reduced 
to the Scriptural penny a day, and the whole of the unskilled 



THE REMEDY FOR WANT. 



387 



workers had to be supported. The first objection is absurd; because 
the effect of this free bread would be to check and almost abolish 
pauperization. It would enable the home to be kept up; it would 
prevent that cruel mockery of the present poor-law system that the 
home must be denuded or given up, the children's clothes pawned, 
all self-respect lost, before relief is given. The second objection, if 
valid, would be the strongest condemnation of our actual competitive 
wage-system. But it is not valid. It is the pressure of absolute 
hunger, of the still more cruel pang of seeing their children pining 
for want of bread, that makes men and women consent to work for 
anything they can get, and gives all the power to the sweater's trade. 
The being able to hold out a week or a month would give strength 
to the poor half-starved women and children now working their 
lives out in misery and destitution. It w r ould give them power and 
time to bargain. In each shop or factory they could combine. They 
could afford to strike against oppression, which they dare not do 
now, and the result would be a rise, not a fall of wages. But, for 
some persons, that will be an equal objection; and as no one can tell 
exactly what would happen except that starvation would be abolished, 
perhaps it is simpler to ignore all such theoretical and imaginary 
evils. Let us first stop the starvation, and leave other difficulties to 
be dealt with as they arise. 

How to get tJie Funds. This question ought not to require asking, 
in a country where there is such enormous accumulated wealth in 
the hands of individuals that a large part of it is absolutely useless 
to them, gives them no rational pleasure, and is, really and funda- 
mentally, the cause of the very poverty we seek to abolish. 

There are now in Great Britain sixty-six persons whose incomes 
from "trades and professions " are 50,000 a year and upward. 
The total amount of the sixty-six incomes is 5,632,577, so that the 
surplus, over 50,000 a year each, amounts to 2,332,577 a year. 
Up to the end of thg last century it is probable that no one person in 
Great Britain had an income of 50,000 a year. It would then have 
been considered what Dr. Johnson termed "wealth beyond the 
dreams of avarice," and even to-day it is far beyond what is suf- 
cient for every luxury which one family ought to have or ought to 
want. Surely, for the one purpose of giving BREAD to those who 
need it, to save MILLIONS from insufficiency of food culminating in 
absolute starvation, there can be few of these sixty-six who, when 
appealed to by the humanity, by the intellect, and by the religion of 
the nation, will refuse to give up this enormous superfluity of wealth 
to the bread fund, to be taken charge of, perhaps, by the Local Gov- 



THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



eminent Board, and administered, on the principles here suggested, 
by the local authorities. For those who refuse there will be the 
scorn and contempt of all good men. In the burning words of 
Scott, 

" High though his titles, proud his name, 
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim, 
Despite those titles, power, and pelf, 
The wretch, concentred all in self, 
Living, shall forfeit fair renown, 
And doubly dying, shall go down 
To the vile dust from whence he sprung, 
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung." 

But the above-named amount is only a part, a very small part, of 
the wealth that is immediately available. There are sitting in the 
House of Lords sixty peers who hold possession of land producing 
a rental of over 50,000 a year each. The sum total of these sixty 
rentals is 5,405,900, so that the amount of the surplus is 2,405,000 
a year, and as the average rental is something over a pound an acre, 
this surplus represents considerably more than two million acres of 
land. The owners of this surplus land should also be invited to 
make it over to the nation, to be used, temporarily, for the bread 
fund, but ultimately for the establishment of the co-operative col- 
onies. Surely these sixty noble lords will not refuse, from their 
great superfluity, to return a portion to the nation, for the use of 
those workers who give to the land all its rental value! 

But these two surplus revenues, amounting to more than four and 
a half millions a year, are over and above the enormous revenues 
derived from the great London estates. Some of these would be 
wholly available as surplus, since their owners possess incomes of 
50,000 a year from other sources; while, in other cases the total 
incomes would be brought to a higher amount than 50,000 by the 
addition of the London property. There is thus^ available a fund of 
at least six or seven millions a year, without reducing any rich man's 
income below 50,000 a year. 

But we should not wish to shut out from this great act of restitu- 
tion to the nation those persons who possess the comparatively mod- 
erate wealth of from 10,000 a year upward, who might be invited 
to contribute 10 per cent., 20 per cent., 30 per cent., or 40 per cent, 
of their surplus over the same number of thousands in their income; 
and this would certainly produce another million or two million per 
annum, as there are over a thousand persons in this class with an 
average income of about 18,000 per annum. 



THE REMEDY FOR WANT. 389 



It is estimated that two pounds of bread a day is a full average for 
the consumption per head, even if no other food is available. The 
cost of this at 5d. the four-pound loaf would be 3 16s. a year, so 
that to supply a million people the whole year would require 
3,800,000. This might be enough, or there might be a demand of 
double this; but the very fact of there being so large a want for 
mere bread would incite to the adoption of permanent means by 
which all could be rendered at least self-supporting; and for this 
purpose the two millions of acres of land would be at once available 
as a beginning. 

It will probably be objected that none of these millionaires will 
give up their surplus wealth, how 7 ever piteously we may appeal to 
them in the name of the suffering millions, from whose labor every 
pound has been derived, and without whose labor they themselves 
would be reduced to destitution. Perhaps it may be so. But, if so 
it be, the people will know the characters of those whom they have 
to deal with, and will be driven to use their power as voters to obtain 
by the forms of law what they have not been able to obtain by 
appeals to either the mercy or the justice of these rich men who, 
while calling themselves Christians, will not part with their super- 
fluity of gold and land even to give bread to the poor and needy, and 
to save widows and the fatherless from misery and starvation. 

The means to do this is plain. They must vote for no candidate 
who will not promise to support first, a progressive income-tax on 
that portion of all incomes above 10,000, rising to 100 per cent, 
on the surplus above 50,000, as here suggested; and, secondly, to 
support a corresponding or even larger increase in the death duties. 
The law now permits a man to disinherit his children, or other legal 
heirs, whenever he chooses; and, in thus permitting him, recognizes 
the important principle that no one has an indefeasible claim to suc- 
ceed to any property whatever! For great public purposes, therefore, 
the State may justly declare itself the heir to any proportion of the 
property, or even to the whole property of deceased persons. But 
the State w T ould at the same time recognize the duty which the 
owner of property does not always recognize of providing for all 
persons dependent on the deceased, either by means of an ample 
annuity for those past middle life, or by a suitable education and 
start in life for younger relatives or dependents, and for children. 

In this way ample funds would be available for the various pur- 
poses here suggested, without really injuring anyone. These pur- 
poses the abolition of starvation, penury, and the degraded life of 
millions are the greatest and most important which any govern- 



390 THE WONDERFUL CENTURY. 



ment can undertake, and should, now, constitute its first duty. 
They are the essential first step to any really effective social ad- 
vance; and if all earnest reformers of every class would unite their 
forces, their efforts would soon be crowned with success. I have 
done what I can to prove the utter breakdown of our present state of 
social disorganization a state which causes all the advances in 
science, and in our command over the forces of nature, to be abso- 
lutely powerless to check the growth of poverty in our midst. Every 
attempt to salve or to hide our social ulcers has failed, and must 
continue to fail, because those ulcers are' the necessary product of 
Competitive Individualism. 

I therefore call upon all earnest, thinking men and women to 
devote their energies to advocating those more fundamental changes 
which both theory and experience prove to be needed, and which 
alone have any chance of success. 

For now though oft mistaken, oft despairing, 

At last, raethinks, at last I see the dawn; 
At last, though yet a-faint, the awakening nations 

Proclaim the passing of the night forlorn ; 
Soon shall the long-conceived child of Time 
Be born of Progress soon the morn sublime 
Shall hurst effulgent through the clouds of Earth. 
And light Time's greatest page O Right, thy glorious birth! 

J. H. Dell. 



INDEX. 



Academy of medicine and ani- 
mal magnetism, 196 

Adams, discovery of Neptune 
by, 93 

Air, importance of pure, 257 

Alcoholism, increase of deaths 
from, 8(i2 

Alexis, clairvoyance of, 204 

Alkali works dangerous, 355 

Alloys, properties of, 56 

Amiens, flint implements of, 131 

Anaesthetics, 147 

Animal magnetism discovered by 
Mesmer, 194 
report on, 196 

Antiseptic surgery, 148 

Antiquity of man, 130 

Argand lamps, 28 

Armies, enormous modern, 335 

Army and navy, revaccination of 
useless, 280 

statistics of small-pox in, 
281 

Astronomy, discoveries in, 93 



Bacteria, uses of, 146 
Barometer, when invented, 152 
Battleships, modern, 334 
Bavaria, small-pox and vaccina- 
tion in, 265 
proves uselessness of vacci- 

tion, 266 

Bellamy's "Looking Backward," 
22 

" Equality," 385 
Berlin, severe epidemics in, 264 
Bicycle, speed of, 9 



Biggs, Mr. T., statistics of Leices- 

ter mortality, 271 

cross-examination of, 279 
Bills of mortality and dissenters, 

245 
Birch, John, on failure of vac- 

cination, 220 
Birmingham and Leicester small- 

pox, 275 
Births, premature, increase of, 

362 
Blood, function of white corpus- 

cles of, 144 

Blue color of sky and ocean, 70 
Bombay, insanitary condition of, 

339 

Bread, free, suggested, 385 
Britain, glaciation of, 125 
Brodie, Sir B., on painless opera- 

tions under mesmerism, 208 
Brown of Musselburgh on small- 

pox after vaccination in 1809, 

220 



Cairns, Professor, on necessary 

results of capitalism, 358 
Calcutta, sanitary report on, 340 
Candles, 28 

in lighthouses, 29 
Carpenter, Dr. W. B., on clair- 

voyance, 202, 204 
Carriages in Homer's time, 6 

earliest in England, 6 
Cell theory, 143 
Certificates of death after vacci- 

nation often erroneous, 229 
Ceylon, destruction of fertility 

in, 373 
Chariots, Egyptian and British, 



392 



INDEX. 



Chawls of Bombay, 339 
Chemistry, great problems of, 
86 

atomic theory of, 87 
organic, 81 

Chloroform, deaths from, pre- 
ventable, 147 
Churchyards of London in 

eighteenth century, 318 
City Press on increase of Profit, 

357 

Christianity of modern govern- 
ments verbal only, 379 
Clairvoyance, 198, 200, 204 
Climate deteriorated by increase 

of dust, 84 
Cloquet, operation by, during 

mesmeric trance, 206 
Clouds and rain due to dust, 77 
Coal, export of, immoral, 369 
Color photography, 35 
Combe, George, studies phrenol- 
ogy, 162 

his life and character, 164 
practical tests of phrenology, 

167 
and Archbishop Whately, 

173 

Comets and meteor-streams, 101 
Commissioners should have been 
statisticians, 235 

on decline of small-pox after 

1800, 252 

on Scotch and Irish small- 
pox, 255 

do not use the diagrams, 256 
why conclusions of wrong, 

259 

do not compare small-pox 
and general mortality, 261 
illogical reasoning of, 259 
neglect the method of com- 
parison, 270, 284 
on case of Leicester, 278 
on small-pox in Army and 

Navy, 280 

on treatment of Army and 
Navy small-pox mortality, 
287 
put opinions above faces, 

294 

Communication, sketch of prog- 
ress of, 17 



Comte on no possible knowledge 
of the stars, 49 

Conclusion, plain speaking justi- 
fied, 313 

Continental small-pox, teaching 
of diagrams of, 308 

Convulsionists and uniformitari- 
ans, 113 

Cosmos, origin of, an insoluble 
problem, 107 

Cox, Serieant, on clairvoyance, 
204 

Creightou, Dr., history of epi- 
demics, 246 

on substitution theory, 249 
on variolous test, 217 

Crime and punishment, 325 
increase of, 364 

Crookshank, Professor, on Inoc- 
ulation, 216, 218 

Cuvier's Theory of the Earth, 
111 



Daguerrotype 32 
Dalton's atomic theory, 86 
Dangerous trades, 355 
Darwin, Dr. Erasmus, predicted 

steam carriages, 7 
Darwin, Charles, effect of his 
" Origin of Species," 141 
his work comparable with 

Newton's, 142 

Davidson, Mr., on injurious ef- 
fects of vaccination, 231 
Davy, Sir H., discovery of so- 
dium, 89 

Death from vaccination, a dread- 
ful, 233 

certificates inaccurate, 229 
Deaths stated to be of the vacci- 
nated or unvaccinated, why 
untrustworthy, 304 

in public institutions, 347 
from alcoholism increasing, 

362 
Defects, congenital, increase of, 

362 

Denudation, 116 
rate of, 118 

Development, theory of, 144 
De Ville, good phrenological test 
by, 172 



INDEX. 



393 



Dew, formation of, 78 
Dewsbury, Leicester, and War- 

rington small-pox, 277 
Diphtheria and scarlatina in 

London, 250 
Diseases, theory of substitution 

of, 249 
Doctors often misstate figures, 

223 

Double stars, motion of, deter- 
mined by spectroscope, 47 
Drift, glacial, 122 
Dust, the importance of, 69 
meteoric in ocean, 76 
as causing clouds and rain, 77 
summary of uses of, 81 
causes diffused daylight, 81 
increase of, has affected cli- 
mate, 84 

E 

Early evolutionists, 135 
Earth uninhabitable without 
dust, 79 

the plunder of, 369 
Eighteenth century, few inven- 
tions in, 151 

theoretical discoveries in, 153 
Electric telegraph, 20 
oceanic. 21 
lighting, 29 

Elements, Mendeleef's arrange- 
ment of, 90 

Elliotson, Dr., good phrenologi- 
cal test by, 170 
on operations during mes- 
meric trance, 209 
Energy, conservation of, 52 
English small-pox, 1838-1895, 
253 

teaching of diagram of, 307 
Erratic blocks, 123 
Ether and matter, 58 
European cities, improvement of, 

322 

Evolution, 135 

Experiments adverse to vaccina- 
tion, 270 



Failures of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, 159 
Famine in India, 339 



Farr, Dr., on decrease of infant 
mortality, 274 
on improvement of health of 

London, 1771-1810, 321 
Ferrier, Prof., on localization of 
functions of the brain, 183 
his experiments confirm 

phrenology, 186 
Fevers in London, 250 
"Final Report" valueless and 
misleading, 288 
critical remarks on, 288 
on advantage of revaccina- 

tion, 291 

hesitating tone of, 293 
on Army and Navy, 312 
Fire, the beginning of civiliza- 
tion, 2 
probable mode of discovery 

of, 25 
Fizeau and Foucault, on velocity 

of light, 61 
Flint implements near Amiens, 

131 

Flint and steel, early use of, 25 
Food of London in eighteenth 

century, 319 

Forces of the universe offer in- 
soluble problems, 108 
Foucault measures velocity of 
light, 61 
shows rotation of the earth, 

64 

Fox, Mr. C., on 56 cases of ill- 
ness or death following vacci- 
nation, 230 

Free bread to stop starvation, 
385 

objections to considered. 386 
how to get funds for, 387 
Fur-pullers of South London, 353 



G 



Gall, Dr.. discovers phrenology, 
160 

Gas for lighting, 29 

natural, waste of, 370 

Gases, molecular theory of, 54 
solidification of, 55 

Gay on state of London in eight- 
eenth century, 316, 318 

Geology, foundations of, 110 



394 



INDEX. 



Geometry, early development of, 

154 

Glacial epoch, 119 
proofs of, 120 
striae, height of, 126 
probable antiquity of, 130 
Glass-blowing very unhealthy, 

855 
Gloucester epidemic due to in- 

sanitation, 277 
Gold, the struggle for, 371 

is not wealth, 372 
Goldson, William, on small-pox 

after vaccination in 1804, 220 
Great Western, first ocean steam- 
ship, 8 
Great powers, plunder of the 

earth by, 374 
Greed, the demon of, 343 
Gregory, Prof., on clairvoyance, 

201 
Guy, Dr., figures alone can prove 

value of vaccination, 235 



II 



Hall, Dr. Marshall, on painless 
operations undej mesmerism, 
208 

Hamilton, Sir William, an oppo- 
nent of phrenology, 178 

Harrison, Fred., condemns mod- 
ern society, 366 

Hart, Mr. E., on small-pox at 
Ceara, 301 

Harvesting machine, 14 

Heat, mechanical equivalent of, 
51 

effect of total absence of, 58 
only known sources of, 106 

Helium, discovery of, 44 

Herschel, Sir J., opposed evolu- 
tion, 138 

Hogg, Mrs., on fur-pullers' lives, 
353 

Hollander, Dr. Bernard, on 
Ferrier's confirmation of phre- 
nology, 186 

Horse, early use of, 6 

Hospital statistics prove vaccina- 
tion to be useless, 242 

Houdin convinced of clairvoy- 
ance, 204 



Humphrey, Prof. G. M. , on cor- 
respondence of brain with 
skull, 192 

Humanity, true, is increasing, 
380 

Huxley on phrenology, 182 

on misery and its causes, 358 

Hypnotism, opposition to, 194 



Ice, properties of, 55 
Ice-age, period of, 128, 129 
Ice-sheets in the British Isles, 
126 

in .North America, 127 
India, our rule of, 339 

evils of our government of, 

376 
Infant mortality in London and 

England, 273 

Inoculation, diseases which pre- 
vented successful, 216 
Insane, improved treatment of, 

327 

Insanity, increase of, 360 
Ireland, imperfect vaccination 
in, 258 

compared with Army and 
Navy, 283 



Jenner awarded 10,000. 218 
20,000 voted by House of 

Commons in 1807, 222 
Jenner's Inquiry, 215 
Joule, measurement of mechani- 
cal equivalent of heat, 52 
Jupiter, fifth satellite of, 96 
Jura, erratic blocks on, 124 

K 

Kent's cavern, flint weapons in, 
132 

Kirchoff s discovery of spectrum 
analysis, 43 

Krakatoa, red sky after eruption 
of, 75 

L 

Labor-saving machinery, 12 

Labor, organization of, neces- 
sary, 383 



INDEX. 



395 



Lamps, 27 

Lamarck's theory of evolution, 

136 

Lancet on vaccination disasters, 
292 

the, on revaccination, 312 
Land, the re-occupation of, 383 
Lee, Dr., on clairvoyance, 204 
Leicester affords a test experi- 
ment, 271 

vaccination and infant mor- 
tality in, 272 

Leicester, how dealt with by 
Commissioners, 278 
compared with Army and 

Navy, 285 
Leprosy, and plague in England, 

249 

Letters carried on horseback, 18 
speed of conveyance station- 
ary till railroads, 18 
Leverrier discovers Neptune, 95 
Leucocytes, function of, 145 
Light, measure of velocity of, 

60 

Lighting, new modes of, 30 
Linen trade unhealthy, 355 
Lippnmn's color-photography, 35 
Local Government Board's mis- 
statements as to the steamship 
Preussen,, 302 
Locomotion, three new modes 

of in nineteenth century, 10 
London small-pox, 244 

small-pox mortality dis- 
cussed, 245 

zymotic diseases in, 247 
growth from 1845, 251 
main drainage of 1865, 251 
sanitary advance from 1800, 

252 
small-pox, teaching of the 

diagram of, 306 
zymotics, teaching of dia- 
gram of, 308 
sanitary improvement of, 

1780-1820, 316 
effect of great fire on health 

of, 317 

mode of life in, 317 
improvement in streets of at 
end of eighteenth century, 
319 



London, scattering of population 
after 1800, 320 
effect of potatoes and tea on 

health of, 321 
sanitary improvement from 

1770 to 1810. 322 
Lower races, our dealings with, 

378 

Lunacy Act of 1890, very bad, 
329, 331 

laws, evils of, 328 
Lyell, Sir Charles, at first op- 
posed evolution, 141 
Lyell's Principles of Geology, 
112 

objections to, 113 
Lymph, erroneous use of the 
term, 313 



M 



Macaulay on filth of London in 

eighteenth century, 317 
MacCabe, Dr., on vaccination in 
Ireland, 258 

on the unvaccinated in tene- 
ment-houses, 290 
Maclean, Dr., 545 cases of small- 
pox after vaccination, 97 of 
them fatal, 221 
Mail-coaches first used, 18 
Mallet, Mrs., on dangerous 

trades, 355 

Man, antiquity of, 130 
pre-glacial, 132 
older than other species of 

animals, 133 
Mariner's compass, discovery of, 

152 

Mars, discovery of satellites of, 
95 

discovery of canals in, 96 
Match -factories often deadly, 356 
Matches, friction, discovery of, 

26 
Mathematicians witty or poetical, 

176 

Matter, states of. 55 
Mayo, Dr., on painless operations 

under mesmerism, 208 
Measles, the Commissioners on, 
248 

in London, 250 



396 



INDEX. 



Mechanical inventions of nine- 
teenth century, 15 

Medical men who accepted 
phrenology, 179 

Mendeleef's prediction of new 
elements, 91 

Mesmer and animal magnetism, 
194 

Mesmeric trance, operations dur- 
ing, 206 

Mesmerism now generally ac- 
cepted, 210 

Metals, transmutation of, 91 

Meteorites, 99 

Meteoritic theory of the universe, 
103 

Militarism, 325, 335 

Military power, development of, 
333 

Millionaires, growth of, 344 

Mill, J. S., on uselessness of 
small remedies, 367 

Mills, H. V., "Poverty and the 
State," 359 

Milnes, Mr. A., estimated deaths 
from vaccitiiition, 230 

Minor planets, discovery of, 93 

Misstatements of National Vac- 
cine Establishment in Reports, 
223 

by Dr. Lettsom, 225 
by Sir Lyon Playfair. 226 
by Dr. W. B. Carpenter, 226 
by Mr. Ernest Hart, 226, 301 
by the National Health So- 
ciety, 227 

as to small-pox at Ceara, 301 
as to steamship Preussen, 302 

Molecular thcoiy of gases, 54 

Money-orders, illogical mode of 
charging for, 20 

Moraines, 121 

Morrison, Rev. "W. D., on in- 
crease of crime, 364 

Moseley, Dr., on failure of vac- 
cination in 1804, 219 

Motion of stars measured by 
spectroscope, 46 



N 



National Health Society's mis- 
statements, 227 



National selection, 135 

Navies, enormous power of 

modern, 343 
Navigators, early, 8 
Navy, causes of reduction of 

mortality in, 282 
Nebulae, spectroscopic observa- 
tions of, 45 
and stars form one system, 

104 

Nebular hypothesis less satisfac- 
tory than the meteoritic, 106 
Neptune, discovery of, 94 
Newcombe, Prof., measures 

velocity of light, 63 
Newspaper, a telephonic, 23 
Nineteenth century, new modes 
of locomotion in, 10 
compared with earlier cen- 
turies, 150 
theoretical discoveries of, 

153 
tabular comparison of with 

earlier ages, 154 
concluding remarks on, 378 
North America, glaciation of, 
125 

erratic blocks of, 125 
Numerals, invention of, 152 
Nurses in hospitals, immunity 

of, 291 

Nutmegs, injudicious cultivation 
of, 373 



O 



Ocean, cause of blue color of, 

70, 76 
Operations during mesmeric 

trance, 206 
Organized labor, economies of, 

384 
"Origin of Species," effect on 

public opinion, 142 
" Outcast London," 350 



Painless operations under mes- 
merism, 2o6 

Penal system, evils of, 326 
Penny-postage reform, 18 
principle of, 19 



INDEX. 



397 



Petroleum oils, waste of, 370 
Phagocytes, 145 
Phonograph, 66 
Phosphorus matches very deadly 

to make, 356 

Photography, discovery of, 32, 
development of, 33 
application of to astronomy, 

34 
uses in illustrating books, 

etc., 35 

in colors, 35-37 
its use in ethnology, 38 
Phrenology, neglect of, 159 
discovered by Dr. Gall, 160 
what it is, 166 
tests of, 167. 172 
personal experience of, 174 
why it has been rejected, 177, 

181 

confirmed by Ferrier's ex- 
periments, 186, 188 
blind prejudices against, 190 
Physics, theoretical discoveries 

in, 50 
Physiology, great discoveries in, 

143 

Plague in India, 339 
Planets, discovery of minor, 93 

comparative sizes of, 102 
Pleiades are nebulous, 105 
Plunder of the earth, 369 
Poetical mottoes and quotations, 
Anonymous, 51, 86, 135, 

159, 194 

Ballad of Reading Jail, 325 
from Mathilde Blind, 110, 

135, 343 
H. Brooke, 143 
Campbell, 59 
J. H. Dell, opp. p. 1, 93, 

150, 157, 158, 390 
Emerson, 51 
Gay, 316, 318 
T. L. Harris, opp. Con- 
tents, 325, 343, 382 
Hood, 12 
A. H. Hume, 213 
Kipling, 17 
Longfellow, 69, 332 
Lowell, 367, 382 
Sir L. Morris, opp. Title, 
opp. Preface, 381 



Poetical mottoes and quotations, 
F. T. Mott, 31, 42, 59 
F. T. Palgrave, 42, 86 
Prof. Rankiue, 1 
Scott, 388 

Shakespeare, 24, 159 
Shelley, 69, 143, 194, 332, 

369 

Swift, 317 

Tennyson, 110, 355, 367 
Population, density of, affecting 
disease, 256 

in Scotland and Ireland, 258 
Post-chaise, 4 

Post-office, first establishment of, 
18 
no real statistics of small-pox 

mortality in, 286 
Potatoes helped to abolish scurvy, 

321 

Potteries very unhealthy, 355 
Poverty, one-third population of 
London in, 346 
increase of, 348 
illustrations of, 350 
Powers, Great, and Turkey, 337 
Preston, Staff-surgeon, on im- 
proved health of Navy, 282 
Preussen, steamship, small-pox 

on, 302 

Prison-system, evils of, 326 
Profit-system, economic suicide 

of, 385 
Property, no indefeasible right of 

succession to, 389 
Prosperity, great commercial, 

357 

Prussia, small-pox in, 264 
Putrefaction caused by bacteria, 
148 



Radiometer, 59 
Railways, early, 3 

London and Birmingham, 

first opening of, 4 
2d and 3d class carriages, 4 
Rain and cloud due to dust, 77 
Ravines and precipices, how 

formed, 116 

Remedy for want in the midst of 
wealth, 382 



INDEX. 



Revaccinatiou, officials on the 
value of, 280 
alleged benefits of, 291 

Rhone glacier, ancient, 124 

River basins, rate of lowering of, 
117 

Rivers crossing hills and moun- 
tains, 119 

Rocks smothered by ice, 123 

Roads near London about 1750, 
316 

Roches moutonnees, 122 

ROntgen rays, 40 

Rostan. Dr., on animal magnet- 
ism, 195 

Rowley, Dr., on injury and 
death after vaccination, 1805, 
219 

Royal Commission accepts the 
variolous test, 218 

Royal Commissioners should have 
been statisticians, 235 

Rumford, Count, on heat as 
motion, 51 



S 



Sanitary improvement in London, 
1780-1820, 316 

Saturn's rings, nature of, 97 

Scandinavia, erratic blocks from, 
123 

Scarlatina and diphtheria in 
London, 250 

Scurvy common in the eighteenth 
century, 319 

Seaports, cause of unhealthiness 
of, 269 

Seventeenth century, inventions 
in, 152 

theoretical discoveries in, 
154 

Sewing-machine, 13 

Sherrard's " White Slaves of Eng- 
land," 355 

Sherwell's " Life in West Lon- 
don," 352 

Ships, antiquity of, 8 
of war, modern, 334 

Shoe-making by machinery, 13 

Simon, Sir John, evidence for 
vaccination must now be statis- 
tical, 235 



Sixteenth century, discoveries in, 

152 

Sky, cause of blue color of, 70 
Small-pox in London, 244 
mortality in London, 246 
in England, during registra- 
tion, 253 

in Scotland and Ireland, 255 
on the Continent, 259 
in Sweden after vaccination, 

260 
mortality not reduced by 

vaccination, 263 
in Prussia, 263 
in Bavaria, 264 
in seaports, 268 
and zymotics follow same 

laws, 270 
in Leicester, 272 
in Leicester and Birmingham, 

275 
in German army, statistics 

unreliable, 292 
no immunity against second 

attack, 295 
liability to, increased by 

vaccination, 298 
and overcrowding, 299 
in Sweden, Prussia, and 

Bavaria, 308 

in Leicester, a test case, 309 
in army and navy, a crucial 

test, 310 

Snuffers, use of, 28 
Socialism, a feature of the end of 

our century, 380 
Social evils of gold-seeking, 372 
Solar-system full of planets and 

meteoric matter, 103 
Solids, partial intermixture of, 56 

evaporation of, 57 
Southern hemisphere, glaciation 

of, 128 
Spanish conquests compared with 

ours, 374 
Species, origin of. supposed to be 

unknowable, 136 
Spectrum analysis, 42 
description of, 43 
accuracy of measurement of 

star motions by, 48 
Spencer, Herbert, on the Inscru- 
table Power, 109 



INDEX. 



399 



Spencer, Herbert, on evolution, 
138 

on education and crime, 363 

Spurzheim, Dr., in England, 162 

induces Combe to study 

phrenology, 163 

Squirrel, Dr., on injury and 
death after vaccination, 1805, 
220 

Stars, nature of, discovered by 
spectroscope, 45 
motion of, measured by 

spectroscope, 46 
falling, 99 

Starvation, how to stop, 385 
Statistics alone can show value of 
vaccination, 235 
of vaccinated and unvacci- 

nated worthless, 236 
Scientific treatment of, 244 
Steam engine, improvement of, 

152 
Steamships, first use of, 8 

greatest speed of, 9 
Stockholm, first vaccination in 

1810, 261 
Strahan, Dr., on suicide and 

insanity, 361 
Striated rocks, 122 
Suicides, increase Of, 349, 361 
Summary of argument against 

vaccination, 300 
Sunset tints, cause of, 74 
Surgery, advance in, due to anaes- 
thetics, 149 

Sweden, vaccination and small- 
pox in, 260 

shows uselessness of vaccina- 
tion, 263 

Swift on London streets in 
eighteenth century, 317 



Tea, increased use of, after 1775, 

321 

Tebb, Mr. W., on 535 cases of 
small-pox, after vaccination 
before 1810, 221 
Telephone, 22 
Telephonic newspaper, 23 
Telescope, invention of, 152 
Theoretical discoveries of nine- 
teeth century. 156 



Thermometer, when invented, 
152 

Thought, conveyance of, 17 

Tinder-box, use of, 26 

Torches, 27 

Trades, dangerous and un- 
healthy, 355 

Travelling, early modes of, 5 

Tropical cultivation, injury 
caused by, 373 

Type-writer, 13 



U 



Unhealthy trades, 355 
Uniformitarian theory, objec- 
tions to, 113 
Universe, meteoritic theory of, 

103 

Unvaccinated a different class 
from the vaccinated, 241 
evidence as to, not trusted 
in Germany, 242 



Vaccinated and unvaccinated, 
how determined by doctors, 
237 
persons wrongly registered, 

238 

and unvaccinated death-rates 
of, as given by doctors, 
239 

and unvaccinated death-rates 
of, as given by doctors in 
last century, 240 
and unvaccinated, how they 

differ, 289 

Vaccination, early history of, 215 
injury and death from, 219 
and the medical profession, 

222 

doctors not best judges, 222 
deaths caused by, 228 
illness and death from, 229 
estimated deaths from, 230 
official evidence of, not trust- 
worthy, 231 
a dreadful case of death 

from, 233 

evidence for, often worth- 
less, 233 



400 



INDEX. 



Vaccination, how it affects the 

poor, 234 
can only be proved useful 

by statistics, 235 
marks not permanent, 238 
marks hidden by eruption, 

238 
proved useless by modern 

hospital statistics, 242 
in England 1872-95, 254 
on the Continent, 259 
iii Stockholm from 1810, 261 
in Stockholm not especially 

deficient, 262 
false assertions as to value 

of, 266 

uselessness of, proved, 267 
and small-pox in Leicester, 

272 
and infant mortality in 

Leicester, 272 
injuries from increased 

death-rate, 273 
disasters at Sliorncliffe Camp 

concealed, 292 
increases liability to small- 
pox, 298 

Vacher, Dr., on registration of 
vaccinated and unvaccinated, 
237 

Variolous test, fallacy of, 216 
Vegetables, scarcity of, in Lon- 
don in eighteenth century, 319 
Velocity of light, measurement 

of, 61 

Vestiges of creation, 137 
Vogt, Prof. A., on vaccination 
increasing small-pox, 268 
no immunity from a pre- 
vious attack of small-pox, 



Vortex-theory of matter, 108 

W 

Wallace on species, 139 

on survival of the fittest, 140 
personal test of phrenology, 

Want and wealth increase to- 
gether, 366, 382 

Warrington and Leicester small- 
pox, 276 

War, the vampire of, 332-37 

Wars of the century all dynastic, 

Wealth, cause of unequal dis- 
tribution of, 345 

increasing rate of increase 

of, 365 

Webb, Mr. James, on Terrier's 
confirmation of phrenological 
organs, 188 
Wedderburn, Sir William, on 

Indian misgoverument, 377 
Wit and mathematics, 176 
Whitelead-making deadly, 355 
Whooping-cough in London, 250 
Wonderful Century, name justi- 
fied, 156 



Zero of temperature, absolute, 

58 
Zymotics diseases and sanitation, 

146 
Zymotic diseases in London, 250 

in Leicester, 272 
Zymotics in bills of mortality, 

245 



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