National Anti-Vaccination League

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The National Anti-Vaccination League was founded in 1896 in Britain, growing from earlier smaller organizations in London, originally under the title Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League. The organisation opposed compulsory vaccination, particularly against smallpox. It was part of a wider anti-vaccinationist movement, arguing that vaccination did more harm than good.

Early History and Formation of the League[edit]

In 1866 Richard B. Gibbs formed the first Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League in the UK (Address: Office 1 South Place, Finsbury, London E.C.)[citation needed]. After his death in 1871, the League underwent various changes until 1876 when it was revived under the presidency of the Rev. W. Hume-Rothery. In 1880 the movement was enlarged and reorganised by the formation of "The London Society for the Abolition of Compulsory Vaccination," and an office was opened in Victoria Street, Westminster, with William Young as secretary. The "Vaccination Inquirer", established by William Tebb in 1879, was adopted as the organ of the Society. A series of fourteen "Vaccination Tracts" was begun by Young in 1877 and completed by Garth Wilkinson in 1879.

The movement grew, and as the influence of the London Society soon became national, it was decided in February 1896 to re-form the Society as "The National Anti-Vaccination League." Its objectives were defined as:

The entire repeal of the Vaccination Acts; the disestablishment and disendowment of the practice of vaccination; and the abolition of all regulations in regard to vaccination as conditions, of employment in State Departments, or of admission to Educational, or other Institutions.[citation needed]

In 1921 the following clause was added:— and vindication of the legitimate freedom of the subject in matters of medical treatment.

In June 1867, the publication "Human Nature" campaigned against "The Vaccination Humbug". It reported that many petitions had been presented to Parliament against Compulsory Vaccination, and many from parents who alleged that their children had died through the operation, and complained that these petitions had not been made public. The journal reported the formation of an Anti- Compulsory Vaccination League "To overthrow this huge piece of physiological absurdity and medical tyranny, and quoted Richard Gibbs, who ran the Free Hospital at the same address as stating "I believe we have hundreds of cases here, from being poisoned with vaccination, I deem incurable. One member of a family dating syphilitic symptoms from the time of vaccination, when all the other members of the family have been clear. We strongly advise parents to go to prison, rather than submit to have their helpless offspring inoculated with scrofula, syphilis, and mania." [1]

The 1900 Labour Party General Election Manifesto contained a commitment to "No Compulsory Vaccination".[2]

Publications of The National Anti-Vaccination League[edit]

  • 1957, Is Mass Vaccination with B.C.G. always warranted in the Scandinavian Countries? (booklet)
  • 1952, B.C.G. Vaccination, M. Beddow Bayly
  • 1947, Smallpox and Vaccination., Trolridge, Arthur.
  • 1939, The Schick Inoculation Against Diphtheria, Beddow Bayly
  • 1936, The Case Against Vaccination, Beddow Bayly
  • 1952, The Vaccination Inquirer and Health Review, no 817
  • 1929, National Anti-Vaccination League (London) Thirty-third [etc.] Annual Report, etc.
  • 1921, Vaccination and the State, Arnold Lupton MP.
  • 1912, Leicester: Sanitation versus Vaccination, J.T. Biggs, JP. Book.
  • 1911, Smallpox and vaccination in British India
  • 1910, For and Against Vaccination A statement by the Royal College of Physicians, Ireland; (with correspondence thereon, between A. Phelps and T. Percy C. Kirkpatrick)
  • 1904, The Story of the Vaccination Crusade in Hackney & Stoke Newington, 1902–1904, and what came of it. The cases of John Polley, William Pitt, and others, with an account of the action-at-law Polley v. Fordham., Burton, John Francis. Hackney Union Branch of the National Anti-Vaccination League: London.
  • 1902, What about Vaccination, Milnes, Alfred. With other contributions. (When Doctors Disagree. The Wreck of the Preussen. Vaccination an Error.) National Anti-Vaccination League: Westminster.
  • 1902, Smallpox at Middlesbrough. A reply to Dr. Dingle’s Reports ... 2nd edition, rev. by Biggs, John Thomas pp. 24.
  • 1902, Smallpox at Gloucester. A reply to Dr. Coupland’s Report by Walter Hadwen. Reprinted from “The Reformer,” National Anti-Vaccination League: Gloucester
  • 1901, Vaccination a Delusion, Alfred Russel Wallace. Chapter 28 of The Wonderful Century
  • 1901, An Italian Indictment of Vaccination., Carlo Ruata. Public address given at the opening of the session of the University of Perugia, November, 1898. Translated from the Italian. National Anti-Vaccination League: London

Publications of Lily Loat[edit]