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"Concluding debate on contagion or non-contagion of cholera"

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(5 May 1832): 146-50, 156-57

PDF from photocopy, courtesy of the Taubman Medical Library, University of Michigan.

Reporter's notes from the 28 April 1832 meeting of the Westminster Medical Society, the final meeting of the session. The evening's topic shifted unexpectedly into a point/counter-point reprise of the previous discussion of cholera. Near the end of time allotted for the meeting, one member asked for a vote on a "declaration" that "the evidence brought forward to prove the said malady [cholera] a contagious disease has completely failed, and that every circumstance which has come to the knowledge of the Society shows the disease in question to have begun, progressed, and ended, in the ordinary way of every other epidemic disease" [ie., it is non-contagious] (150). The declaration passed, 24 to 22.

According to the reporter, and a follow-up letter to the editor by James Greenwood a contagionist member of the Society, many members who had argued the contagionist position at previous meetings were absent.

The PDF also contains an editorial rebuttal to James Johnson's comments about the Lancet's shifting position on the question. This editorial shows what happens to those who crossed Thomas Wakley. The "rookery in Sackville-street" is a reference to the fact that at the time the WMS was meeting at a house there.

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