20 AUGUST 1881, Page 3

If it be true, as was stated in a meeting

held in Edinburgh against the practice of vivisection, and addressed by Miss Cobbe with her usual eloquence whenever she speaks on this subject, that a licence to perform experiments has been refused by the Home Secretary to one of the Edinburgh Professors, Professor Fraser, who has recently condemned the whole anti- vivisection movement as a form of hysteria, we. trust that Sir William Harcourt has taken a step in the right direction, and that Professor Rutherford may in future be refused the licence for experiments under curari-which he has, in our opinion, so unworthily employed. But while saying thus much, and doing full justice to the great revolution of sentiment which Miss Cobbe, more than any other person in these realms, has the unspeakable credit of bringing about, we cannot but regret to see the organ of her society, the Zoophilist, bringing charges which are not worthy of it against Dr. Carpenter, for not only having stated before the Commission what was false, but having omitted to rectify it, after he discovered that it was false. Dr. Carpenter is wholly incapable of such a course. No doubt his book on physiology did contain an account of a very cruel and horrible experiment,—perfectly useless, as well as cruel,—of the effect of boiling-water on a dog's

stomach, which he recorded without the condemnation with which he ought to have accompanied the record ; and, no doubt, at a distance of twenty years, he made the mistake of sup- posing that he himself had not written the passage in which that experiment was recorded, but that it had been introduced by a later editor. In point of fact, however, he did desire to correct his evidence on this point before the report was pub- lished, but was mistakenly assured by one of the Commissioners that he had no means of doing so. It is as wrong to be unjuit and cruel to men as to animals, and it is a pity that so admir- able a Society should incur the discredit of unjust and cruel imputations which are not true. It is true, however, that hitherto physiologists have felt no moral responsibility what- ever in regard to the duty of condemning as they ought to condemn the horrible cruelties of their fellow-workers iu experiment.