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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

Dr. Bond and Mr. A. R. Wallace
(S547aa: 1898)

Editor Charles H. Smith’s Note: A letter to the Editor printed on page one of the 8 July 1898 issue of the London newspaper The Echo. Dated Parkstone, 6 July. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S547AA.htm

To the Editor of “The Echo.”

     Sir,--Having waited a fortnight for Dr. Bond’s further reply, I now ask you to give me space for a few remarks on his last three letters.

     His long rejoinder on the Chelsea Asylum case is entirely beside the question at issue, because he continues to quote what he terms "the original paper of Dr. Balfour," a paper which I have never mentioned or seen. In the appendix to Sir John Simon's original paper--an official document presented to Parliament, and which alone I have referred to--there were no details as to how many of the boys had been vaccinated, and how many had had small-pox, but merely the statement that they were "all protected," that the small-pox death-rate was 126 per million, and that these facts "appear to offer most conclusive proofs of the value of vaccination." It was on account of this last statement alone that I referred to the case; and as the small-pox mortality of the outside population of comparable ages was 94 per million, the statement was obviously untrue, and could only have been made through ignorance or carelessness. Hence Dr. Bond's three long letters on the subject, dealing with a different paper, and with details which have nothing to do with the question at issue, leave my statement and inference untouched.

     His two letters on what he calls the French vaccination case are equally beside the question, since they are not referred to in my book; while his remarks upon it are both erroneous and misleading, as the following statement will show. In order to construct the diagrams to which he refers I had to copy out and add up nearly a hundred columns of figures; and that there should have been some errors in the MSS. before I had a proof for correction was not extraordinary. Dr. Bond leads your readers to think that it was on account of these and other errors (which would have been all corrected on revision) that I withdrew the diagrams. But this had nothing whatever to do with it. For at the head of the diagrams and the tables in the report there is a note, stating, that they "were handed in by me and subsequently withdrawn, the official tables on which they were based having been shown by the Commissioners to be untrustworthy."

     The tables above referred to are those of births, vaccinations, and small-pox deaths in the various departments of France, given in the annual reports of the Imperial Academy of Medicine to the Minister of Agriculture. They are the only official statistics on the subject, and I assumed, as anyone would be justified in assuming, that the figures were correct: but the Commissioners discovered that in some cases the detailed medical reports in the body of the work gave many small-pox deaths which were omitted in the tables. Being thus shown to be untrustworthy, I at once withdrew them, though the Commissioners decided that they should be printed in the reports.

     I now leave your readers to judge of the purpose for which Dr. Bond has, lengthily and incorrectly, gone into this case (now ancient history) instead of discussing those authoritative statistics of the Commissioners and the Registrar-General which are alone used in my recent work. And as he has not proved or justified any one of his adverse criticisms in the seven letters he has already written on the subject, but is now repeating these letters to various local newspapers, I must ask them to consider any further communications from the same source as equally untrustworthy, since it will not be worth my while to spend more time in unravelling the wordy tissue of his evasions and blunders.

--Yours, etc., Alfred R. Wallace. Parkstone, July 6.

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