In the summer of 1905, whilst passing through San Antonio, Texas, the writer was suffering from a simple ailment that needed medical relief; consequently he enquired as to the name and location of the leading physician of the city, and was directed to Dr. Campbell. After the medical attention was given, the Doctor and the writer drifted into a friendly discourse and discovered in the course of conversation that they possessed many tastes in common, but especially a love for scientific investigation and research. At this meeting there was formed between them a firm friendship that has endured ever since.
Meeting for a while once every few years and of late once or twice a year, and by a somewhat irregular correspondence, the writer has been able to follow closely the Doctor's important investigations; and it is really due to his suggestion and oft-reiterated requests that the preparation of this book was undertaken and brought to a conclusion. The writer has long felt that the results of all of his friend's wonderful and intensely interesting nature-studies should be brought to the attention of not only the medical profession throughout the world but also of all those intelligent, thinking people who are interested in the works of nature and in the methods of utilizing them for the benefit of mankind. For this reason the writer advised that the subjects of the book, while being treated from a truly scientific standpoint, should be handled in a semi-popular style, in order to catch and hold the interest of the intelligent layman; and a perusal of the manuscript has shown the writer that his advice has been closely followed in a most successful manner.
At their first meeting the Doctor told the writer in close detail about his experiments on bedbugs and smallpox, and then-and-there converted him to a belief in the theory of their connection. The writer, recalling some of his personal experiences, stated that French Canadians are much afflicted with smallpox and that most of their houses are over-run with bedbugs -- also that the Canadian Indians are great sufferers from that dread disease, which has often been picked up by going into their abandoned tepees or huts. This is so well known in the Canadian wilds that such old habitations are avoided with dread and passed with a shudder. Old discarded clothing has long been recognized as a carrier of contagion, although nobody in Canada had ever dreamed of the transmission of the disease being due to insects, in spite of the fact that such abandoned huts and clothing were known to contain bedbugs. The writer has seen lumbering shanties, both occupied and deserted, swarming with bedbugs and fleas -- in truth, it was never safe in Canada to enter them, if one dreaded the contact of such filthy and pestiferous insects.
Dr. Campbell told the writer of his ardent desire to go to Mexico, in order to experiment upon jail-birds, who would be only too happy to lend themselves to the cause of science, provided they were given their liberty after the investigations were finished. It seems that there is no law in Mexico to prevent the making of experiments that would jeopardize the lives or health of human beings, but that in our country there is such a law -- and a stringent one.
All that Dr. Campbell then needed for his proposed investigation was the pitifully small sum of twelve thousand dollars. The writer gladly promised his aid in securing that amount from some rich American philanthropist or from some established fund for research; and during several years he did his level best to keep that promise, but all his endeavors were unsuccessful. The fund moneys appeared to be so tied up with red tape that they could not be utilized for outside purposes; and the millionaires did not care to spend their dearly loved dollars for any such philanthropic purpose. The writer must have made at least a dozen distinctly different attempts to raise this money. Once he had great hope of success, because the individual approached was a Texan who had inherited considerable wealth and had much more money than he knew how to spend. In spite of all the writer's eloquence and his demonstration of the undying fame that would accrue to the donor of such a fund, he was curtly told "nothing doing," thus proving the said Texan to be as effective a "tight-wad" as had notoriously been his sainted parent.
However, the Doctor was not in the least disheartened quite the contrary. This failure to procure for him financial aid only sharpened his dogged pertinacity; and, notwithstanding the burden and care of a family to be met by the lucrative ( ?) occupation of practicing medicine for a living, he has never swerved from the goal he had set for himself, viz., aiding humanity by the results of his numerous and varied experiments on insect-borne diseases and how to combat them. This is proved by the success of his monumental work in relation to the prevention of malaria by the extermination of the malaria-bearing mosquito through the propagation of its natural enemy, the bat. This work he accomplished unaided, single-handed, and under most trying conditions; and, in no uncertain terms, it testifies to his great value and places him in the front rank with the world's leading scientists.
The writer has not yet given up all hope of seeing these bedbug experiments carried out in Mexico, because the conditions there today are just as favorable for the purpose as they ever were. It may be that the publication in book form of the wonderful results of Dr. Campbell's life-work will induce some rich man or woman to offer the necessary money for the prosecution of the good cause.
Such a person, though, would have to be of a different temperament and caliber from those of one of the directors of the Rockefeller Institute, who, when approached by Dr. Campbell himself with a request for this money, held up his hands in holy horror and exclaimed "What! Furnish you with money to experiment upon human beings! What do you think the American people would say, were I to do such a thing as that?"
Some seven years after his first meeting with Dr. Campbell, the writer read in a scientific paper that a Russian scientist, whose name has escaped his memory, had, independently without doubt, made the same discovery as did Dr. Campbell in relation to the connection between bedbugs and smallpox. Curiously enough, although the fact of such a relation has been mentioned several times in the press, very few members of the medical profession appear to have heard anything about it. This has repeatedly been made evident to the writer during conversations with medical men.
In the writer's opinion,
Dr. Campbell has proved beyond the peradventure of a doubt that smallpox
is transmitted in one way only -- by the bite of an infected bedbug,
or possibly in rare cases by that of another blood-sucking insect,
the “chinche volante.” Such being the case, is it any
longer necessary to continue that most objectionable practice, vaccination?
While the great mass of humanity may have been benefited by that practice,
many individuals have suffered greatly and even died from the poisons
vaccine sometimes introduces into the blood. The writer has long felt
that he would far rather risk catching the smallpox than undermining
his health by taking into his system a poison that might have much
worse effects than those of la petite vérole.