18 DECEMBER 1880, Page 14


[TO THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR.1 Su:,—It will interest many of your readers to hear the wise observations made by the Lord-Advocate of Scotland on the subject of Vivisection. In reply to a memorial presented to him by a very influential deputation from the Scottish Society for the Suppression of Vivisection, the Lord-Advocate said He confessed that to his own mind the existing Act was not a satisfactory measure, because while it necessitated a licence, it prac- tically (by putting the power of recommendation into the hands of the heads of a number of professional and scientific Societies), obliged the Secretary of State to give a licence to every man of professional or scientific position who applied for it with the imprimatur of one of the heads of Societies named in the Act. That he humbly considered to be no restriction whatever, because it simply gave the authority of the State to any person who, in the name of Science, desired to per- form those experiments ; and no one had said that they were per-

formed by other than men of science, or for other than scientific

purposes The real question he took to be was whether physiological discovery—whether directly or indirectly avail- able for medical purposes, or not available at all— was of itself an object of such importance as to justify the recognition by the State of what not only imposes suffering, but puts a very large power into the hands of men who might, perhaps, in their zeal for science, not have a due regard for the sufferings of dumb creatures."

—I am, Sir, &c.,