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178
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

else is considered, the evidence proves too much. The man of pure and upright life; the heroic defender of the weak against the brutal; the tireless organizer of a society, for the main object of which he has secured legislative and legal co-operation, and the sympathy of the better part of the community, surely such a man can not be a common scold and an habitual liar.

Is there a less harsh alternative? After thoughtful consideration of nearly all Mr. Bergh's published writings, and of several courteous private letters, I conclude that, in regard to experimentation upon animals he is not morally perverse, but mentally incapacitated for accurate observation, correct quotation, logical argument, or legitimate conclusion; that, in short, so far as vivisection is concerned, he is of unsound mind.[1] This charitable view of his character may serve to explain passages like the following:[2] "As another proof of the profane extremes to which these dissectors of living animals will go, Robert McDonald, M. D., declared that he had opened the veins of a dying person, remember, and had injected the blood of an animal into them, many times, and had met with brilliant success. In other words, this potentate has discovered the means of thwarting the decrees of Providence, where a person was dying, and snatching away from its Maker a soul which he had called away from earth."[3]

In view of all these things, is Mr. Bergh's single-handed crusade against practical physiology anything more than an unintentional burlesque of reform? Is it compatible with the highest usefulness of the society which he represents or with the dignity of the Legislature of a great State that he should be permitted to repeat the fiasco? Should he persist, in open disregard of his own dictum, "Laws can not precede public opinion, but must be the outgrowth of that opinion," the interests of humanity in its widest sense would certainly be promoted in this State by the authoritative assurance that his extreme views are not shared by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

 

V. The concluding division of this article combines: A. A summary of the facts and views already presented; B. A brief statement of certain matters which could not be fully discussed on this occasion; C. An expression of what I believe to be the sentiment of unprejudiced, humane, well-informed persons respecting the legitimacy of experiments upon animals and the desirability of legal interference therewith.

  1. This idea is suggested, perhaps without design, in Dr. Dalton's characterization of Mr. Bergh's attack upon Magendie as "crazy maledictions." "Magendie as a Physiologist," "International Review," February, 1880.
  2. Vivisection address, p. 15.
  3. See also his letter respecting experiments upon transfusion, "New York Evening Post," Feb. 28, 1883.