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extinction, Mr. Lowe became Education Vice-President, and his first action in health matters was to lead Parliament to make the medical officership a permanent appointment in the public service. It was manifest to him-just as now, at the distance of a third part of a century, it must be manifest to all who consider the question, that the office would be valueless for public interests unless it were to be exercised in a far more judicial spirit than could be expected to combine with precarious and dependent tenure of appointment; and Mr. Lowe achieved a very great success for the sanitary cause when he prevailed on Parliament to accept his principle. The victory was gained in the face of real difficulties; for (as I have described in detail in my printed volume) there was a strong, though strangely organised, resistance to Mr. Lowe's proposal; but the victory, once gained, was final; and through this legislation Mr. Lowe made it for the first time possible to the Medical Officer of the Privy Council to enter upon a continuous system of departmental work. Thenceforth, subject to departmental estimates annually before the House of Commons, the Medical Officer was enabled to organise those systematic studies of the Distribution of Disease in England, which for many following years gave chief interest to his annual reports laid before Parliament, and formed the main basis for subsequent extensions and amendments of English sanitary law.
'As soon as Mr. Lowe had secured the stability of the office which was to work under him, he proceeded to deal with such exterior problems of reform as were at that early date appearing to be urgent. The evil which first claimed his attention was the then extremely unsatisfactory state of our system of public vaccination; an unsatisfactoriness not to have been expected in the country which had taught vaccination to the world, and all the more to be regretted in this country because, in connection with the requirements of the Compulsory Vaccination Act of 1853, it inflicted grave injustice on
the public. Under the Public Health Acts of 1858-9, the Privy Council had been invested with authority to deal with the roots of that scandal; on the one hand, namely, to direct the application of moneys voted by Parliament for maintaining the supply of vaccine lymph, and, on the other hand, to issue regulations (enforceable by the Poor-law Board) for securing the due qualification of persons to be contracted with as public vaccinators, and for securing the efficient performance of all vaccinations under contract. It was a prompt administrative outcome of Mr. Lowe's vice-presidency that, before the end of 1859, the Privy Council, acting to the limit of its powers for the purposes in question, and treating all those purposes as parts of one system, had issued such regulations and recommendations, and had established such collateral machinery, as covered with coherent reforms the entire ground in which reforms were needed, and thus initiated what from then till now has proved a most successful new era in the history of vaccination in England.
A second pressing need of the early time was that Parliament should amend the Nuisances Removal and Diseases Prevention Acts of 1855 (Sir B. Hall's) in respect of certain failures and insufficiencies which had already become manifest in their working; and for that object Mr. Lowe, in 1860, introduced a Bill which became law. This Act (the main provisions of which are still operative through subsequent consolidating statutes) made such additions as the Parliament of 1860 was prepared to concede to the sanitary powers of local authorities; and it provided therewith, as essential improvements on the legislation of 1855, first, that the powers of magistrates under the Nuisances Act should be exercisable on the basis of individual complaints as well as on complaints by the local authorities; and, secondly, that in rural districts (where hitherto the Nuisances Act of 1855 had been little more than a dead letter) the administrative authority in future should be the Board of Guardians.
'It was under Mr. Lowe's sanction throughout his tenure of office, and with the cheer of his warm personal sympathy, that the Medical Department, from 1859 onward, prosecuted largely and systematically those exact studies of the Distribution of Disease in England, to which I have before adverted, and which at the time were necessary preliminaries to further practical progress; studies which we believed would prove to be of most important concern to the welfare of the masses of the people; and which soon justified that belief by their bearing on the great strides of sanitary legislation which signalised the years 1864-8. In connection with that work, and à propos of the census of 1861, Mr. Lowe, with the consent of the then Registrar-General, moved in the House of Commons for the production of certain specialised Mortuary Statistics for the decennial period 1851-61; information which was essential for enabling exact sanitary comparison to be drawn between different parts of the country; statistics, namely (tabulated to plan) of the average annual proportions of deaths from all causes and from certain specified causes, and with certain specifications of age and sex, in England generally, and in each registration division and registration district of England, as well as in certain standard areas, during the decennium in question. The parliamentary return of 1864, which the General Register Office still knows as "Lowe's Return," and which furnished facilities, such as the public had never before possessed, for estimating the comparative amount of mortal injury suffered in each district of England from each chief sort of morbific influence, was meant to be, and in effect has been, a precedent for successive decennial compendia of like sort; enabling exact comparison to be drawn between different parts of the country and different periods of time, with regard to the respective proportions of deadly diseases prevailing in them.
'When Mr. Lowe, in 1864, under circumstances memorable in his career, retired from office as Vice-President of the
Education Committee, his official relations with the Medical Department were ipso facto closed; but the interest he had learnt to take in its objects continued to animate him as an unofficial member of Parliament, and made him on several occasions an invaluable ally to his official successors. Thus, for instance, in 1866, when he had readily consented to serve on Mr. Bruce's Select Committee on the Vaccination Bill of that year, he there proposed and carried a clause (afterwards § 5 of the Act of 1867) which powerfully supplemented the conditions already provided in the Privy Council Order of 1859 for securing a high standard of quality in public vaccination the enactment now added by him being, that a special parliamentary grant, to be awarded on the school-code principle of "payment for results," should be applied by the Privy Council to the object of providing for meritorious public vaccinators a better remuneration than they had yet received. At the same time, too, Mr. Lowe was serving as a member (in fact, a very influential member) of the Cattle Plague Commission, and in that capacity was contributing importantly to secure right applications of medical knowledge in a sphere of very large popular interest.
Mr. Lowe's particular steps of advance on behalf of the Medical Department during the years of Lord Palmerston's administration were but a part of what we owed him in those years. At the early date when he presided over us, not only was the cause of sanitary reform counting for little more than a fad in the political world, but also it had been mismanaged into extreme disrepute among the comparatively few politicians who had heard of it; and it was a striking phenomenon in party politics under those circumstances, that a Minister of Mr. Lowe's power and promise should be ready to identify himself with our cause. We could not but derive encouragement from the spirit which Mr. Lowe displayed in his command over us. To him, with our technical information before him, and with his own intellectual gifts and habits, it of
course was no difficult matter to understand (though, indeed, it was far ahead of anything his average political contemporaries had yet learnt) what vast magnitudes of human suffering can be caused, and what great national interests can be wronged, through the want of proper sanitary law and administration; and while in such respects he almost intuitively grasped the case of our department, so too, as he advanced in it, generous indignation on behalf of the " masses for which we chiefly had to strive, and most of all on behalf of the poor and weak and ignorant who could not strive for themselves, became a new guiding light to him in his political career, as well as a close bond of union with the pioneering department which was his staff.
'Participating in the work of the Medical Department, and brought by it into constant observation of the practice of Preventive Medicine, Mr. Lowe rapidly arrived at a vivid perception, such as he never before had had, of the vast extent to which the welfare of mankind can be promoted by the physical and physiological sciences; and this perception was of lasting influence with him. I have often thought that its growing strength in his mind contributed greatly to explain the new tone (so mysterious to many contemporaries) in which he thenceforth often spoke of his old familiar friends, the classics of Greek and Roman literature. It was not that he ever for a moment forgot the fascination of those fountain-heads of wisdom and wit and pathos, or depreciated the discipline and delight and adornment which individual minds could derive from access to them; and of course he did not deny that grammar and literary style have their proportionate place as fitting studies for the young; but he had become deeply aware, and he felt it his duty to admit and even to emphasize, that since the days of his own youth new values had come to show themselves in the world of study; that, in these changed times, prowess in Greek and Latin could no longer count for as much as in the day when they yielded him his