Source 3: Letter protesting Compulsory Vaccination Bill

Letter from Andrew Lowden to the Secretary of State, May 1856 protesting about the compulsory vaccination bill. (Catalogue ref: MH 13/250/188 f430.)

To Sir George Grey Secretary of State for the Home Department


I humbly beg to protest against the passing of the Bill on Compulsory Vaccination, which I look upon as a gross infringement on the Medical liberty of the Subject.

I further beg to represent to you, that many professional persons and others are of opinion that Vaccination not only does not prevent small-pox, but it is productive of worse and more dangerous diseases, such being the case, I hope you will present this my protest to the House of Commons,

I am Sir,

Your obedient servant,

Andrew Lowden

Barrhead by Glasgow



May 5th / 56

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  • Why does the author of the letter object to the compulsory vaccination bill?
  • Why do you think he wrote to the Home Secretary, Sir George Grey?
  • Why would the author mention that other people shared his opinion?
  • Why do you think he would like his protest presented to the House of Commons?
  • What do you think the red blotch on the letter might mean?