Vaccinia is an acute infectious disease caused by vaccination. Vaccination is the inoculation of child or adult, well or sick, with septic matter (pus) derived from suppurating (festering) sores on the abdomen of a previously infected cow. I think this definition is incomplete in an important respect--I should have said that it is a criminal operation.

The disease dates from about the year 1774 when an ignorant and superstitious English farmer, Benjamin Jesty, vaccinated his wife and three children with matter taken from sores on cows suffering with "cow-pox," using a darning needle with which to make the incissions. Jestey believed a superstition, then prevalent among the milk-maids, that one who had had cowpox was immune to smallpox.

Notes of this daring experiment were made by a doctor Nash who died in 1785. At his death these notes passed into the hands of Mr. Thomas Nash who was acquainted with Edward Jenner, a notorious Charlatan, who is credited with having "discovered" vaccination. In 1789 Jenner inoculated his eighteen month's old son with swine-pox matter. He followed this with other inoculations of other children and the filthy practice of vaccination was definitely launched.

An English writer, Arthur Wollaston Hutton, M. A., says of Jenner's training and qualifications: "But his professional acquirements were but slender; his medical degree was the outcome of no examination or scientific work, but merely of a fee of fifteen guineas paid to the University of St. Andrews; while his other and more important distinction, his Fellowship in the Royal Society, was obtained by what even Dr. Norman Moore, his latest biographer and apologist, is constrained to admit was little else than a fraud."

Thus we have a filthy practice, born out of the ignorance and superstitions of the past and fathered by an ignorant imposter and fraud, palmed off on the world today as a scientific procedure. It is really remarkable, the number of instances in the history of medicine, of practices and theories now in vogue, that owe their origin to ancient customs, traditions and superstitions.

It is not known how remote was the belief among the cow hands and dairy maids of England in the immunizing potency of cow-pox; but it is thought to have come out of the practice of inoculation which was introduced into England, from the East, by Lady Mary Wortley Montague, wife of the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Court, in 1717. The practice was abolished by act of Parliment in 1840, due to its evils. In 1754 the Royal College of Physicians issued the following manifesto, which reads strangely like the statements made by physicians today about vaccination:

"The College, having been informed that false reports concerning the success of inoculation in England have been published in foreign countries, think proper to declare their sentiments in the following manner, viz.: That the arguments which at the commencement of this practice were urged against it have been refuted by experience; that it is now held by the English in greater esteem, and practiced among them more extensively than ever it was before, and that the college thinks it to be highly salutary to the human race."

Despite this evident lie, by this august body, the practice was not successful; it was not highly salutary; and experience did not refute the arguments used against it. It was a very damaging practice which caused an increase in small-pox in England and was finally abolished by law.

Edward Jenner, following Benjamin Jesty, grafted the old inoculation practice onto the milk-maid's creed and vaccination (from vacca--cow) was born.

I mentioned that the inoculation practice was introduced from the east. The date of the origin of this superstitious practice is hidden in the darkness of pre-history. Savage and Barbaric peoples; in various parts of the world, practiced inoculation. It is thought to have started in India, where so many of our superstitions originated, and spread from there to Africa and Europe.

From time immemorial the negroes and Arabs of Nubia practiced inoculation against small-pox. The Ashantees and the Moorish and Arab tribes in Northern Africa practiced arm to arm inoculation from ancient times. Savage tribes of the Upper Congo practiced it to prevent "syphilis." The Baris of Lado inoculated themselves over the left breast. The negroes in Senegal inoculated their children on the arms. The Moors and Pouls of Senegambia practiced inoculation against pleuro-pnemonia. A practice of this kind was in vogue in Berne, Switzerland in the 18th century.

The first record of smallpox seems to be in India, where also is the first record of inoculation, where the practice was in vogue over three thousand years ago. Dhanwantari, the Vedic father of medicine, and the earliest known Hindu physician, supposed to have lived 1500 B. C., is said to have been the first to practice inoculation and it is also stated that the Hindus employed a vaccine. For over a thousand years inoculation has been practiced in China.

The practice is so mixed up with the religious superstitions of various peoples that its origin may not be difficult for students of religious history to guess. In India, in Malaba and in other sections of the world, inoculation was mixed up in the worship of the smallpox goddess. Inoculation seems to have been nothing more than a superstitious rite designed to placate and appease the wrath of an irrascible deity. People who imagined all their sufferings were sent upon them because they had offended some of their gods or goddesses originated the filthy rite to get the goddess into a good humor again.

According to a Mr. Porter, who was English Ambassador at Constantinople in 1755 (Gentleman's Magazine, Oct. 1755): "It is the tradition and opinion of the country that a certain angel presides over this disease. That it is to bespeak his favor and evidence their confidence that the Georgians take a small portion of variolous matter, and, by means of scarification, introduce it between the thumb and fore finger of a sound person. The operation is supposed to never miss its effect. To secure beyond all uncertainty, the good will of the angel, they hang up scarlet clothes about the bed, that being the favorite color of the celestial inhabitant they wish to propitiate."

I cannot imagine St. Paul, who refused to eat meat that had been offered up to idols, baring his arm for pus that is being offered up to the goddess of smallpox. I cannot imagine Moses, whose Kosher laws, in, most of their essential particulars, are excellent, commanding the Jews to have this trefe stuff inoculated into their bodies.