4 NOVEMBER 1882, Page 14

through the medium of your paper, are made upon those

who think differently from you, on the question of Vivisection. I have not the least desire to enter into a discussion on this ques- tion, but simply wish to draw your attention to the pain which many admirers of the Spectator suffer from your injudicious advocacy. Upon most subjects, the opinions of the Spectator are the standards of my political faith. My confidence in these -opinions is chiefly due to the fact that the articles are evidently penned by those who have a full knowledge of the subjects they treat, and by the candour and fairness that permeate those articles. But, unfortunately, upon the subject of vivisection the Spectator has given repeated evidence of an anirdus which is contrary to the spirit and traditions of the paper. The bias is very evident, when the Spectator grabs at the least trifle that appears damaging to experimental physiologists, and labours hard to pervert these trifles into a semblance of facts favouring its own ideas,—e.g., the late prosecution of Dr. Ferrier, and the Spectator's innuendoes thereanent. With many others of the Medical profession, I have reviewed my opinions on vivisection, and have perused much of the anti-vivisection literature—con- .stant readers of the Spectator have this disagreeable duty forced on them oftener than they desire—and the result has been that I have been strengthened in my former opinions. This result was in a measure due to the incapacity of many well-meaning, but ignorant, people to write on this subject ; also, from the ,evident fallacies in the arguments of the more able anti- vivisection writers, as well as from the overwhelming con- -victim that is forced upon any intelligent, conscientious practitioner.

Your correspondent "M. 0. Tabor," in last Saturday's Spectator, refers to "the Vivisection clique in the Medical profession," as if he imagined the " lieenaed practitioners" were automatons at the mercy of caucus wire-pullers; whereas, as all intelligent people cannot but be aware, medical practitioners are perfectly independent of any influence that might be supposed to emanate from quarters hinted at. The practical unanimity of such a large body of educated, independent men ought to be a factor of con- aiderable .weight, in the calm contemplation of this subject. Your correspondents, as is usual with writers of his sort, appoint themselves a body of self-constituted mouthpieces of the Creator, and are never tired of telling what he intended. I wonder if, in their perusal of a Book supposed generally to be the authorised mouthpiece of the Creator, they never came across an incident where a great Physician cured one man, but at the expense of -drowning 2,000 pigs. The porcine agony occasioned by this wholesale destruction could only be fitly described and fully appreciated by a present-day anti-vivisectionist. Your cor- respondent of set purpose vilifies the Medical profession in a most absurd manner. Do such "easy-chair philanthropists" ever consider the hardships and sufferings that those whom he so con- temptuously styles "licensed practitioners" have to undergo, in the performance of their duty ? I have known men in the quiet, un- ostentatious performance of their work, put their mouth to a tube inserted into the diphtheritic windpipe of a child, knowing the risk they run, but anxious to save a life P Do they ever con- eider what it is to get up in the middle of a wild, stormy night, .after a day's hard, tedious, killing work, to drag oneself, suffer- ing and ill, to the bedside of other sufferers ? Do they ever con- airier the charity that boasteth not performed by these same believers in vivisection and licensed practitioners? These sacri- tees are of no account, but the imaginary sufferings of a cat will draw forth yards of Olympic leading articles and hysterical letters.

If one looks at results, what good hat the Spectator done, with

its purblind advocacy of Anti-vivisection Sarely, it has not lost all its influence l I believe it to be one of the most power- ful leaders of public opiulo'n in political matters. Yet, wherever -do we hear of a Parliamentary candidate making anti-vivisec- tion a plank in his platform ? The Spectator is fond of dilating upon the rancour and hatred with which the Conservatives pursue Mr. Gladstone, and never fails to point out that, on account of this personal animosity, the public, in a measure, do not sympathise with them. The Spectator has been fulminating, ia season and out of season, against vivisection. And might I suggest that the failure of the Spectator to influence the public is from a cause like unto the failure of Tory politicians, viz., that the public recognise the spirit of the advocate, and refuse to be led by people blinded with prejudice P—I am, Sir, &c.,

Burnley, October 30th. JAMES MACKENZIE, M,D.

[Dr. Mackenzie seems to have appreciated very carelessly our tone and temper in relation to the subject on which he writes. We hope that it has uniformly been something of a contrast to his own. We should be much surprised to find that Dr. Mackenzie has read half as much or half as carefully on the subject in controversy, on either side of it, as the writer of our own articles. Whether we have or have not "failed to influence the public" cannot be tested till we see the result of any attempt made in Parliament to repeal the Vivisection Act of 1875. Then, perhaps, Dr. Mackenzie may find that we have not failed.—En. Spectator.]