Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and Herat to Persia. They think that, as cholera travels along the main route which passes through Herat, the Persians might advantageously place a health officer there to arrest its progress. They show that cholera, in its way to the Russian provinces, has. travelled from northern Persia by three routes: 1. By the maritime one, from Astrabad to Astracan, across the Caspian. 2. By creeping along the southern and western shores of the Caspian and running on to Bakoun. 3. By the road of traffic, from Tauris, by Nachivan, to the Trans-Caucasian provinces. Now that these routes are distinctly known, they think that the Russians, with some precautions additional to those that have been hitherto employed, will be able to arrest the progress of the enemy. They hope that Persia will do something in the way of checking the disgusting practice of carrying dead bodies to Mecca, although they have had no positive evidence of this custom having directly helped to spread cholera. Wherever a desert intervenes, and this is an important conclusion, they consider it to afford an excellent cordon, as cholera always becomes exhausted during a passage through a desert; they accordingly look on deserts as barriers against cholera : but they look rather hopelessly on the long Turkish and Persian frontier. None of the measures recommended on these topics of quarantine and cordon appear to us to bear the impress of much practical experience, but they supply various hints which it would be well to follow up, where practical solution of them is possible.

The Conference go on to apply the rules of hygiène to the prevention of the propagation of the disease in all countries, and lay down in great detail, in the Appendix contributed by M. Müblig, their views respecting disinfection. We do not know that these recommendations differ materially from those usually laid down by English authorities, or those put forth in the 'Cholera Regulativ,' or that there is the slightest novelty in them. They insist specially on the absolute necessity of disinfecting the excretions, and all clothes that have been used by cholera patients. The Cattle Plague has given very useful hints to us on the subject of disinfection; and while chloride of lime is not considered to be so efficacious as it used to be formerly, a new agent, carbolic acid, has come into extensive use. Sulphate of iron, the common copperas, seems, on the whole, to be the favourite disinfectant of M. Mühlig, as well as of the German professors. These disinfectants the Conference considers especially applicable to ships, which are the great carriers of cholera ; they recommend that increased attention should be paid to naval hygiène, and indeed they propose that a prize should be offered for the best work on the subject.

There

a

There is one other subject on which the labours of the Conference suggest some remarks to us. The frequent invasions of Europe by cholera assume an additional gravity when we think of the possibility of the disease becoming fixed in our climate, or, as some would say, in our soil. When we consider how closely Indian cholera resembles the form of cholera which was once the autumn plague of London ; when we reflect that the cholera germ has remained in Europe for å period of eleven years at a time, this idea, which was many years ago strongly insisted on in our pages, does not seem by any means a groundless one. Many, indeed, are of opinion that the disease has already obtained a permanent footing in parts of the Persian Gulf and of the coast of Arabia, and that epidemics may occur in Jeddah or in the Hedjaz without fresh importation of the germ from India ; but this view has not been adopted by the Conference, and they do not believe that cholera has as yet become endemic anywhere beyond the limits of India. Still there seems to be no reason why a disease, which has already wandered so much, and has found new homes in India in different periods of its history, and in places varying very considerably in climate, should not find a home at least in countries similarly situated. To guard against this, we must do everything which hygiène can suggest, to render places unfit for the permanent nourishment of the germ; and although at this moment there is nothing very promising in the aspect of affairs, we may hope that, like plague and other pestilences, cholera will after a time begin to die out. It would seem that epidemics are subject to laws of increase, decline, and even extinction. In this respect they resemble individual outbreaks of pestilence. The Conference have said nothing on the average duration of cholera outbreaks, which some have ingeniously calculated at seven weeks; but they have laid down one proposition, which is important in many practical points of view—that the more rapid the extension of an epidemic is, the sooner it is over.

We have now examined some of the principal conclusions at which the Conference has arrived, and must draw to a close this review of a subject which must have been dry and uninteresting to many of our readers. But it in reality bears on what concerns us all very closely. If the poor have suffered most, yet there is scarcely a family in the middle and upper classes of English society whose arrangements have not been very materially influenced during the last few months by the presence of cholera in this country, and if the disease had spread among us with the same intensity as in Belgium and Holland, they would have been interfered with far more seriously. It is indeed dying

out

men,

out now, and only a few instances of it, especially on the east coast of Scotland, attest its virulence, although it shows no great tendency to spread. They remind us strongly of the still more localised outbreak at Epping last year, and their teaching does not encourage us to count on immunity from cholera next year.

The whole tendency of the public and of the professional mind in England has of late been to apply the resources of hygiène to stopping the spread of the disease. It has indeed been again carefully studied and again carefully treated; thoughtful men have watched it attentively, and given many valuable hints, but little that is absolutely new has been observed. Certain special views of the nature and treatment of the disease have been studiously inculcated by some of the leading daily and weekly journals, but we understand that they are not finding their way to acceptance with the medical profession. The treatment of the disease must be disheartening to medical m when they find that, viewing statistics on the large scale, fully one-half of all true cholera seizures die, and this points very significantly to the old adage that prevention is better than cure.

Fortunate it is that our views have taken this practical direction, for, as far as we can at all form a judgment as yet, the results have been most satisfactory.

We cannot, indeed, go quite the length of the RegistrarGeneral. With him it is a mere question of conservancy: keep your homes and everything about them clean, and have good drinking-water, and you shall have no cholera. In his Report of Nov. 20th he thus expresses himself: "The decline of the disease is decisive, and, with due vigilance in London, it will soon be extinguished in London in the epidemic form.' In this, as in many stronger observations addressed to health officers, there is, we would venture to hint, with all due appreciation of the important services he has rendered, a little too much of tone of positive assurance-of the folus manner. Most people would be inclined to say that, judging by past experience, cholera might be expected to die out in winter. It is not surprising that a partial epidemic, like that of London in 1865, should subside by the 15th of November.

The French attribute the general immunity of England from very severe epidemics to the humidity of the climate, and this year the scanty spread of cholera has been connected by many with the specially cold and rainy summer and autumn. Indeed, Mr. Glaisher declares that nearly all the meteorological phenomena are directly opposite to those which have been present in former visitations of cholera, and have probably aided in checking its wider extension.'

With these limitations we are happy to accept the RegistrarGeneral's summary of the late epidemic: It has been most fatal on the sea-coast and in the chief ports of the kingdom. It has never destroyed the people to any extent where the water-supply is pure, where the hygienic conditions were good, and where the authorities adopted judicious and well-organised measures of early treatment and of systematic disinfection. This is the encouraging view of the case. The labours of the medical men in the east of London, and the active co-operation they met with from the public and the civic authorities, the exertions of the Bishop of London and his clergy-exertions the more admirable in the Bishop's case because made under great physical depression-are beyond praise, and appear to have been crowned with the most gratifying success. The house to house visitation, and the visiting of the shipping organised by Dr. Rooke, have all been most successful.

If we cannot just yet form an entirely impartial judgment on the result of our own measures and our own exertions, at all events it is apparent that all our action has been in the right direction. Everything that is done to remove what is noxious from our homes and from our vicinity, every effort made to secure against bad food and bad drinking-water, above all, every endeavour to supply our workmen with more breathing-room in their overcrowded homes, while it serves to protect us against the ravages of typhus and cholera, tends also eventually to raise the moral standard of our population.

ART. III.-1. The Story without an End. Translated by Sarah

Austen. 1858. 2. Virtue and Vice Rewarded ; and Robin Goodfellow. 1815. 3. Æsop's Fables. By Thomas James, M.A. 1863. 4. Æsop's Fables, with New Applications and Morals. By Rev.

G. F. Townsend. 1866. 5. Fables of Æsop and others, with Instructive Applications. By

S. Croxall, D.D. 6. Uncle Jack, the Fault-killer. London, 1857. 7. The Fairchild Family. By Mrs. Sherwood. 1856. 8. Line upon Line, and Peep of Day. 1854. 9. Barefooted Birdie. By T. O'T. 1865. 10. Aunt Judy's Letters. 1865. 11. Parables from Nature. By Mrs. Gatty. 1860.

12. The

12. The Fairy Ring, Stories from the German Translated by

J. E. Taylor. 1846. 13. Nursery Tales from Fairy-land. 1854. 14. Rhymes from Dream-land, London, 1865. 15. Norse Tales. Translated by G. Webbe Dasent. 1859. 16. Andersen's Fairy Tales. 1852. 17. Fairy-land and Fairies, from Sketches by ESA, and other

good Authorities. London, 1867.

JHE mind of a child has been likened to so many dissimilar THE

things, and subjected to such an infinite variety of treatment; it has been urged into so many royal roads to learning, and dosed with so many “infallible cures,' as to leave us amazed that children are still as charming and as naughty as ever. Some famous doctors have treated it more or less as an empty cupboard, into which were to be crammed, with all possible expedition, squares and cubes of knowledge on every possible subject, until the shelves were all filled up with solid facts, and education was completed. Others have set to work on it as something inherently, radically, bad and vicious; to be dosed, restrained, corrected, and perpetually guided, scolded and preached at; to have food only of few and special kinds, all specially prepared, and manipulated,

*As if they thought, like Otaheitan cooks,

No food was fit to eat till they had chewed it; to be taken only in certain fixed ways, under laws and rules as immutable as those of the Medes and Persians. Both these systems, in spite of the inevitable success which crowns the labours of every quack, have miserably failed. They produced, indeed, a multitude of little, abortive, precocious beings, who aimed at being men and women before they were children; but in these, while they lacked none of the conceit and pharisaism of maturer age, the graces of childhood were utterly wanting. Freshness, vivacity, love of mischief, and curiosity, were all but blotted out; and in their place came cunning, none the less crafty because it was demure, and hypocrisy none the less mischievous because the unhappy possessor was unaware only half conscious of its presence. The patent, model, perfect child-if ever met with-W

—was even more intensely disagreeable than he was rare; and the more perfect the cure, the more insufferable was the patient.

[ocr errors]

or

* Hood's · Ode to Rae Wilson.'

It

« AnteriorContinuar »