October 16, 1909


JAMA. 1909;LIII(16):1293-1294. doi:10.1001/jama.1909.02550160049006

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In the midst of the attention attracted by the recent meeting of the antivivisectionists in London we were reminded of a corresponding agitation against dissection at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Bodies were extremely difficult to obtain, and they were secured by all sorts of underhand and illegal means. A whole series of murders committed for the sole purpose of obtaining bodies to be sold to medical schools had been unearthed in England and Scotland, yet the opponents of dissection absolutely refused to listen to reason and allow the passage of an anatomy bill by which the bodies of the poor who died in charitable institutions were to be given to medical schools for dissection purposes. The bill met great opposition in parliament from men who sentimentally insisted that such a law would work great harm to the poor. In the course of the debate Lord Macaulay, better known

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