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know or prefer not to think that in case of epidemics their untidy homes would be first invaded, and that from them the pestilence would be spread through the community. They do not like to be told that they must maintain cleanliness within their domains or be prosecuted for maintaining a nuisance; that an overflowing privy will not be tolerated; that from hog-pens and cow-sheds odors and gases emanate that are injurious to the health of the people; that damp houses, house-offal on the surface of the ground, surface drainage, &c., are positive sources of malaria, producing typhoid and miasmatic fevers, and that such condi. tions cannot be tolerated by the health authorities. They are very sensitive when they are approached on these questions, and oppose what they are pleased to call 6 sanitary interference." The other class is the one that possesses more property than heart; who speculate on the poverty of the people; build huts and hovels in alleys or on valueless ground, without conveniences and unfit for human habitation. Others carry on filthy trades or manufacturing, such as fat-boiling, crushing bones, and the like; the gases from these establishments poisoning the atmosphere for squares around, and endangering the health and lives of the people. This class oppose sanitary reform not only with their votes and influence, but with the very money they have made at the expense of their neighbors' health. Legislators yield to the pressure of their interested constituents, and the well directed efforts of the board of health are defeated and its usefulness impaired.

In Washington, previous to the organization of the present board by Congress, a board of health was appointed by the mayor, composed generally of physicians. This board was numerous, unpaid, and with little or no authority. In its efforts to effect sanitary reforms, it encountered the combined opposition of these three classes ; filth and money triumphed over science and honesty, and the law creating the board and defining its duties was repealed. Whenever the present board appeared before the late legislature for sanitary measures, it was almost invariably defeated. Some of the very rules and regulations that this board has enforced under a law of Congress, for the success of which our citizens are justly proud, were defeated in that very legislature. This is not true of Washington alone. Our people are no worse than others in this respect, as we see it exemplified in every town where a board of health exists. While in England on sanitary inspection, Mr. John Simon, health officer to privy council of Her Majesty, on reading the law of Congress creating the board of health of the District of Columbia, said, “ If Parliament would pass such a law we could save twenty thousand lives a year in the kingdom.” So even the Parliament of Eng. land is affected by the pressure of the voters.

The political and social position of Washington is peculiar. The President of the United States, his cabinet, the representatives of foreign governments, reside here; Senators, members of Congress, and their families, military and naval officers, &c., congregate here; and they have a right to demand the fostering care in sanitary matters of the Government; and the board of health should be responsible only to Congress, and entirely free from local influences.

Hygiene is the art by which health is preserved, and the hygienist, like the physician, should not be deterred by religion, politics, or selfinterest from performing bis sacred duty, and he should be sustained by the strong arm of the Government.

Laws of health, physiologically speaking, are immutable. Hence a knowledge of them is requisite for the preservation of life, and the duty of the hygienist is to modify all customs and habits, natural or mechan. ical conditions, that interfere with the normal continuation of the same. In view of the historical statements herein made, and the suggestions with regard to boards of health and legislation pertaining thereto, I respectfully submit that the sanitary interests of the District of Colum. bia can, in my judgment, be more largely and thoroughly conserved under such laws as now exist touching this subject, than by legislation of any other character, and I would urge the incorporation of such leg. islation in any bill passed by Congress for the organization and establisbment of a government for the District.

TULLIO S. VERDI, President of the Board of Health.




Washington, November 9, 1876. GENTLEMEN: We have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the board for the year ending October 31, 1876, under authority granted and duties imposed by your orders:


The collection and removal of garbage has been prosecuted under the contract with Messrs. H. F. Turner & Co., to the very general satisfaction of the board and the public.

The number of tons removed from November 1, 1875, to November 1, 1876, was 5,870, an average of 4897 tons per month, or 183 tons per day; expense of the service, $15,600, or $2.65 per ton. All of this material has been transported by rail, in air-tight casks, to a point fourteen miles beyond the District limits.


The number of persons treated by the physicians to the poor, from November 1, 1875, to August 31, 1876, ten months, was 7,233. Expense of the service, $6,650.06. The supervision of the board over this service terminated August 31, 1876, by virtue of the following communication from your office: OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,

Washington, August 19, 1876. GENTLEMEN: I am directed to notify you that on the expiration of the present month, the Commissioners will discontinue the payment of the amount of $500 per month, which, on the 15th ultimo, they directed should be set apart for payment to your board on account of medicines and physicians to the poor, and all expenses on account of same. Very respectfully,


District of Columbia.


From November 1, 1875, to November 1, 1876, the remains of 473 paupers were interred in “potter's field;" thirty were interred in other cemeteries. Total burials at public expense, 503, of which number 90 were still-born children. The number of coffins furnished was 513.


The management of this cemetery by the board terminated in June last, owing to the failure of the authorities to furnish necessary funds for repairs, &c. Ten bodies have been removed therefrom since last report. As a sanitary measure, we respectfully renew our recommendation of last year, regarding this cemetery, viz: "the removal of bodies therefrom and its abandonment as a resting place for the dead.”


The receipts and expenditures of the board for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1876, from the funds of the District appropriated by act of Congress approved March 3, 1875, have been as follows:

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Amount appropriated, $26,117.50.

Vouchers for expenditures enumerated above have been forwarded to the auditor by our treasurer. Estimate of funds required from the District for sanitary purposes for fiscal

year ending June 30, 1878. Item 1. For general sanitary inspection of streets, avenues, alleys, yards, markets, vacant lots, &c., where nuisances injurious to health may exist, and for the removal and abatement of the same. Act Congress, February 21, 1871.

Item 2. To prevent the sale of unwholesome food in the District of Columbia. Act Congress, February 21, 1871.

Item 3. To prevent domestic animals from running at large in the cities of Washington and Georgetown. Act Congress, February 21, 1871.

Item 4. To secure a full and correct record of vital statistics, including the registration of births, marriages, and deaths, the interment, disin. terment, and transportation of the dead, in and through the District. Act Congress, June 23, 1874.

Item 5. The transportation beyond the limits of the District of house. offals, night-soil, and dead animals. Act Congress, February 21, 1871.

Item 6. To prevent the introduction and spread of infectious and contagious diseases. Act legislative assembly, June 19, 1872.

Item 7. The draining of lots bordering on public or private sewers. Act legislative assembly, August 21, 1872.

Item 8. Collection of garbage in cities of Washington and George. town, and suburbs thereof. Order of Commissioners District Columbia, March 19, 1875.

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Order of Commissioners

Item 9. The burial of deceased paupers.
District Columbia, September 8, 1874.
Required for items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
Required for item 8.
Required for item 9.

$26, 117 50 20,000 00 1,000 00


47, 117 50

Very respectfully, your obedient servants,

C. C. COX,


Board of Health District Columbia. The Hon. COMMISSIONERS,

District of Columbia.


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Washington, November 15, 1876. SIR: I have the honor to submit herewith synopsis of the operations of the secretary's office for the year ending September 30, 1876: Letters received.... Replied to, by indorsement. Letters written and recorded.. Referred to health-officer.. Other references.

271 Ninety-six meetings have been held during the year, and the proceedings had at same duly recorded.

Copies of reports of special committees on the matter of the ventilation of the hall of the House of Representatives and the condition of Potomac water are presented herewith for publication, and attention invited to the same. Very respectfully,


Secretary T. S. VERDI, M. D.,



WASHINGTON, D. C., July 31, 1876. SIR: I have the honor to submit herewith statement of receipts and disbursements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1876, from appropriation by Congress, act March 3, 1875:

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