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The next slate contains a message signed “Judge Edmonds," addressed to myself and Mr. Owen, on the general subject of spirit manifestations. It is written very distinctly in a flowing hand.
The next is the slate written in five colours, and signed " John Gray,” one of the well-known early advocates of spiritualism in America. It is also on the general subject of spirit-return. Then comes a slate containing a portrait and signature of “Jno. Pierpont,” one of the pioneers of spiritualism, and around the margin three messages in different handwritings. One is from Stanley St. Clair, the spirit-artist, who says he has produced the portrait for me, at the request of the medium. The others are short messages from Elizabeth Wallace and R. Wallace, the latter perhaps one of the unknown Scotch uncles of my father, the other beginning, “God bless you, my boys,” is probably from our paternal grandmother, who is buried at Laleham. The last is my brother's folding-slate, containing on one side a short farewell from “John Gray," the signature being written three times in different styles and tints; the other side is a message signed, "Your father, T. V. Wallace.” This, again, was a test, as no one present would have been able to give my father's unusual initials correctly, and as he was accustomed to sign his name.
The six portraits on paper with the lips tinted are those of Jno. Pierpont (signed); Benjamin Rush (an early spiritualist, signed); Robt. Hare, M.D., whose works I had quoted (signed); D. D. Home, the celebrated medium who had died the year before—a likeness easily recognized; a girl (signed “The Spirit of Mary Wallace "), probably my sister who had died the year before I was born, when eight years old ; and a lady, who was recognized as Mrs. Breed, a medium of San Francisco. These are all rather rude outlines, in somewhat irregular and interrupted dashes, but they are all lifelike, and considering that they must have been precipitated on the six surfaces while in contact with each other between the slates, as placed by myself, are exceedingly curious. The whole of these seven slates and six papers were produced
so rapidly that the séance occupied less than an hour, and with such simple and complete openness, under the eyes of four observers, as to constitute absolutely test conditions, although without any of the usual paraphernalia of tests which were here quite unnecessary. A statement to this effect was published, with an account of the séance, signed by
During the last fifteen years I have not seen much of spiritualistic phenomena; but those who have read the account of my early investigations in my book on the subject, and add to them all that I have indicated here, will see that I have reached my present standpoint by a long series of experiences under such varied and peculiar conditions as to render unbelief impossible. As Dr. W. B. Carpenter well remarked many years ago, people can only believe new and extraordinary facts if there is a place for them in their existing“ fabric of thought.” The majority of people to-day have been brought up in the belief that miracles, ghosts, and the whole series of strange phenomena here described cannot exist; that they are contrary to the laws of nature ; that they are the superstitions of a bygone age; and that therefore they are necessarily either impostures or delusions. There is no place in the fabric of their thought into which such facts can be fitted. When I first began this inquiry it was the same with myself. The facts did not fit into my then existing fabric of thought. All my preconceptions, all my knowledge, all my belief in the supremacy of science and of natural law were against the possibility of such phenomena. And even when, one by one, the facts were forced upon me without possibility of escape from them, still, as Sir David Brewster declared after being at first astounded by the phenomena he saw with Mr. Home, “spirit was the last thing I could give in to." Every other possible solution was tried and rejected. Unknown laws of nature were found to be of no avail when there was always an unknown intelligence behind the phenomena-an intelligence that showed a human character and individuality, and an individuality which almost invariably
claimed to be that of some person who had lived on earth, and who, in many cases, was able to prove his or her identity. Thus, little by little, a place was made in my fabric of thought, first for all such well-attested facts, and then, but more slowly, for the spiritualistic interpretation of them.
Unfortunately, at the present day most inquirers begin at the wrong end. They want to see, and sometimes do see the most wonderful phenomena first, and being utterly unable to accept them as facts denounce them as impostures, as did Tyndall and G. H. Lewes, or declare, as did Huxley, that such phenomena do not interest them. Many people think that when I and others publish accounts of such phenomena, we wish or require our readers to believe them on our testimony. But that is not the case. Neither I nor any other well-instructed spiritualist expects anything of the kind. We write not to convince, but to excite to inquiry. We ask our readers not for belief, but for doubt of their own infallibility on this question ; we ask for inquiry and patient experiment before hastily concluding that we are, all of us, mere dupes and idiots as regards a subject to which we have devoted our best mental faculties and powers of observation for many years.
THE ANTI-VACCINATION CRUSADE
I was brought up to believe that vaccination was a scientific procedure, and that Jenner was one of the great benefactors of mankind. I was vaccinated in infancy, and before going to the Amazon I was persuaded to be vaccinated again. My children were duly vaccinated, and I never had the slightest doubt of the value of the operation-taking everything on trust without any inquiry whatever—till about 1875-80, when I first heard that there were anti-vaccinators, and read some articles on the subject. These did not much impress me, as I could not believe so many eminent men could be mistaken on such an important matter. But a little later I met Mr. William Tebb, and through him was introduced to some of the more important statistical facts bearing upon the subject. Some of these I was able to test by reference to the original authorities, and also to the various Reports of the RegistrarGeneral, Dr. Farr's evidence as to the diminution of smallpox before Jenner's time, and the extraordinary misstatements of the supporters of vaccination. Mr. Tebb supplied me with a good deal of anti-vaccination literature, especially with “Pierce's Vital Statistics," the tables in which satisfied me that the claims for vaccination were enormously exaggerated, if not altogether fallacious. I also now learnt for the first time that vaccination itself produced a disease, which was often injurious to health and sometimes fatal to life, and I also found to my astonishment that even Herbert Spencer had long ago pointed out that the first compulsory Vaccination Act had led to an increase of sm all-pox. I then began
to study the Reports of the Registrar-General myself, and to draw out curves of small-pox mortality, and of other zymotic diseases (the only way of showing the general course of a disease as well as its annual inequalities), and then found that the course of the former disease ran so generally parallel to that of the latter as to disprove altogether any special protective effect of vaccination.
As I could find no short and clear statement of the main statistical facts adverse to vaccination, I wrote a short pamphlet of thirty-eight pages, entitled “Forty-five Years of Registration Statistics, proving Vaccination to be both Useless and Dangerous.” This was published in 1885 at Mr. W. Tebb's expense, and it had the effect of convincing many persons, among whom were some of my personal friends.
A few years later, when the Royal Commission on Vaccination was appointed, I was invited to become a member of it, but declined, as I could not give up the necessary time, but chiefly because I thought I could do more good as a withess. I accordingly prepared a number of large diagrams, and stated the arguments drawn from them, and in the year 1890 gave my evidence during part of three days. As about half the Commissioners were doctors, most of the others gave way to them. I told them, at the beginning of my evidence, that I knew nothing of medicine, but that, following the principle laid down by Sir John Simon and Dr. Guy, that “the evidence for the benefits of vaccination must now be statistical,” I was prepared to show the bearing of the best statistics only. Yet they insisted on putting medical arguments and alleged medical facts to me, asking me how I explained this, how I accounted for that; and though I stated again and again that there were plenty of medical witnesses who would deal with those points, they continually recurred to them; and when I said I had no answer to give, not having inquired into those alleged facts, they seemed to think they had got the best of it. Yet they were so ignorant of statistics and statistical methods that one great doctor held out a diagram, showing the same facts as one of mine, and asked me almost triumphantly how it was that mine was so different. After comparing