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She passed from him into the crowd then, naturally look for the coolest judgment, the without asking him to come and see them at calmest and most dispassionate weighing of eviRiverview, and Landon saw her disappear in dence, the most laborious, extensive, and painsthe brilliant billows, lovelier to his eyes than taking research. We find, on the contrary, the loveliest, fairer than them all.
that the strongest passions of man's nature have As the sun drew toward the western horizon, been roused, conclusions have been leaped to lighting up grandly the superb October forests from insufficient premises, and the discussion and the smiling fields, a great company of friends has assumed the rancor and dishonesty of a gathered round the hospitable board of honest partisan controversy. The love of money has Jack Digby, and afterward with vast accessions blinded men to truth, and commerce has been from the neighborhood, the bridal party turned so short-sighted as to save a few cargoes at the their attention to the minuet and reel which hazard of a whole season's profits, to say nomade the golden hours of the autumn night glide thing of the tremendous cost of human life at by like thoughts in the breasts of happy lovers. which the small and transient gains have been
In a corner, the two brothers interchanged a purchased. It shall be our effort, in the few hundred details; and then, for the first time, remarks we have to make, to state candidly the elder heard from the laughing youth the and briefly the prominent facts, and then to anhistory of his affair with Kate Digby. That nounce the conclusions we have drawn from a young lady, according to Alfred's account, had somewhat attentive study of the subject. discarded him six months before, in the flattest Two prominent theories of the propagation and most decisive manner- had wounded his of epidemics now divide the medical world. heart so deeply that he felt the absolute need of One of these attributes their origin and spread inducing some other damsel to heal it. Carrie to purely local and atmospheric causes, while had succeeded; and really she was the noblest the other insists upon human intercourse as the girl in all the world! and what a beauty! what most important, if not the solitary factor in a happy dog he was!
the deadly product. About these two grand Landon returned laughing to the crowd, and ideas revolve many minor hypotheses, such as was soon dancing a minuet with Miss Kate, the animalcular, fungoid, and gaseous origin whose cheeks seemed colored by the heat of the of pestilence, and the evolution of miasmatic room. There was a little tremor in her hand, gases from the fiery centre of the earth. The also, when she gave it to Landon; but there advocates of either theory have brought forwas none when, a year afterward, she gave it to ward a vast number of facts, amply sufficient him, in the old church, for life. He was not to prove to any unprejudiced mind the existignorant then of the least detail relating to the ence of much truth in both opinions. old scenes. She had loved him almost from the Before examining either of these apparently moment of his return from Europe—had mourn- conflicting views, it is necessary to settle the ed bitterly in secret over his departure for the meaning of certain often-repeated phrases, and mountains— she had loved him always, and to take a general survey of some physiological neither as an uncle nor a cousin.
and chemical facts which are necessary to the Assembled around the great board at "Riv- proper understanding of the subject. There erview" again, the concourse of friends and rel- are two words universally employed, and often atives wished Landon and his beautiful bride in a very loose and inexact manner, by all who long life, and health and happiness; and Mrs. kave paid any attention to the class of diseases Digby whispered to the bridegroom,
in question. These words are contagion and “Are you satisfied, Sainty, with my educa- infection. In many instances we read page tion of your bride ?”
after page of learned disputations, which would “Yes, Kate," said Landon, smiling with hap- never have been written bad their author clearpiness, “from the very cradle, and I'll never ly apprehended the sense in which these phrases leave you any more.”
were understood by his opponent. Contagion He kept his promise. St. George Landon, has been used by some to express every method Esquire, and Mistress Catherine Digby Landon, by which disease can be communicated from lived at the “Neck” for the remainder of their one individual to another, while it has been days, as did Alfred and his wife at the “Bay- limited by others to those cases in which actual shore” estate near by. The gentleman from contact is necessary. Infection has been emwhom this history is derived enjoyed the per- ployed to indicate not only the tainted and more sonal acquaintance of the son of St. George Lan- bific condition of the atmosphere arising from don by this marriage.
the effluvia of sickness, but also to express the And so terminates our chronicle.
same ideas as the word contagion. In the fol
lowing pages we shall employ the word con CAUSES AND PREVENTION OF EPI- tagion to denote the reproduction of disease DEMICS.
by a direct and unchanged emanation from a THE fallibility of human reason is in nothing body affected by the same disorder, whether it
ry of the opinions entertained in reference to mosphere; while we shall use the word infecthe method of propagation of epidemics. In tion, to imply the propagation of disease by a a matter of such vital importance, we would poison which is developed from emanations of
any sort that have become active morbid agents Nor does the evil stop here. The lungs by undergoing a change, either by fermenta- throw off water as well as carbonic acid gas, tion or otherwise.
and in that water is contained an animal subThere are many circumstances which, though stance which rapidly decomposes. alone wholly insufficient to produce pestilence, one knows who enters a room in which persons yet, when acting together, may generate it, have been sleeping all night. The air is close and must, if it should arise from other causes, and stifling, and the nose becomes sensible of greatly increase its intensity. Everyone knows a peculiarly offensive odor—the smell of comthat epidemic diseases are most fatal in low, mencing putrefaction. This exhaled substance filthy, ill-ventilated, and crowded houses. There is of a viscous nature, and clings to the wall, are numerous reasons for this. One of the the wood-work, the bed-clothes-a fact which most palpable is the direct vitiation of air by travelers often discover on retiring to their respiration.
rooms in crowded hotels. Now, if it is rememWhen a mouse is put under a bell-glass he bered that the lungs absorb from the air as well is at first as vivacious as he was in the open as exhale to it, we perceive how easy it is for air.
He frisks about, nibbles his cheese, and this putrefying poison to be introduced to the seems quite contented with his new abode. blood through the delicate membranes of these Presently he becomes anxious and restless, en- organs. Our readers must be content to take deavors to escape, exhibits much uneasiness, our word for the fact that these effluvia are enand finally grows listless, languid, lethargic, ergetic in the production of disease, as we have and expires. Few readers have not shuddered no space for the proofs that could be accumuat the record of the awful night spent by the lated to establish it.
English prisoners of Suraja ud Dowlah in the It is evident that the depressing effects of
Black Hole of Calcutta—how they raved and foul air are not confined to those cases in which struggled for a snuff of fresh air, and how, when the immediate results of its poison are seen. morning broke, its rays shone upon twenty- Because it requires a given quantity of carbonic three ghastly survivors of the unhappy band of acid in the air to exhibit decided effects, it does one hundred and forty-six who had been shut not follow that a much lower proportion does up the previous evening. But even these had not seriously impair the vital energies, and esnot yet escaped the horrors of that night. Sev- pecially the power of resisting disease. We eral of them died of typhus fever, the effect of are firmly convinced that many a case of scarthe poison they had then inhaled.
let fever or of measles proves fatal on account We have not far to seek for the cause of of an unperceived depression of the little sufthese unhappy effects. The blood, as it trav- ferer's strength by previous continued exposure erses the system, carrying nutriment to every to an atmosphere tainted with carbonic acid part, takes up from all the changing, wasting and other exhalations from his own lungs. tissues the products of their decay. Carbonic We know that all diseases of low grade, such acid is one of the chief of these products—a del- as typhoid and typhus fever, prevail to a very eterious gas which, if allowed to remain in the great extent in ill-ventilated houses; we know blood, must speedily extinguish the flame of that an epidemic inflammation of the eyes has life. To prevent this fatal result, an escape for been frightfully prevalent in the Irish workthis deadly fluid has been provided in the lungs. houses, and that it has been traced to imperIn the minute cells of their delicate tissue an fect ventilation-the eye disease being merely interchange of gases is effected. Carbonic acid the index of the general depression of the vital escapes, and oxygen from the atmosphere takes powers; we know, too, that in one of the transits place. Health is impossible if this great atlantic hospitals, the mortality went down from function be interfered with, in even a slight forty in a thousand to nine upon the adoption deyree. Every man uses daily, in respiration, of a proper system of ventilation, and that it thirty-three hogsheads of pure air, and gives rose again to twenty-four on the subsequent off ten cubic feet of carbonic acid gas. He abandonment of that system. These are only must have his supply of air, from seven to eight illustrations; hosts of similar facts could be hundred cubic feet. But it will not answer to cited from the records of medical science. tie him to this. If you give him this supply Now, what bearing has imperfect ventilation in a close room, he will still be embarrassed; upon the progress of epidemics? As far as because, after he has contaminated it with his cholera is concerned, we have most significant breath, the carbonic acid which he has exhaled answers to that question in the British reports. begins to act like a poison upon him long be- We cite but one instance as an illustration. At fore he has exhausted his stock of oxygen. It Tooting, the cholera broke out violently among paralyzes his respiratory function, preventing the children in the work-house, while the prison the free escape of the gas contained in his entirely escaped. Upon inquiry it was ascerblood. He then grows heavy. If he has slept, tained that the inmates of the jail enjoyed the he is not refreshed; if he has been awake, he luxury of pure air at the rate of eight or nine becomes languid, has headaches; he loses his hundred cubic feet for each individual, while energy, and does not recover it till after he the unhappy little paupers were limited to from has exposed himself for a sufficient length of one hundred and thirty-three to one hundred time in the open air.
and fifty cubic feet each. The school-rooms
are particularly accused, as they were low and house, fever of a low, malignant type prevailed very badly ventilated. It was remarked that among the unfortunate inmates of the latter. the boys enjoyed a comparative immunity from In 1848, when cholera was sweeping over Enthe attacks of the pestilence. This was attrib- gland, the wind blew from that quarter. In uted to the fact that the turbulent little fellows one morning, sixty children were taken ill with could not be restrained from breaking the win- the Asiatic plague. The authorities, aroused dows of their room, while the more docile girls, to a sense of the peril of these poor people, innot availing themselves of that rude method of dicted the establishment as a nuisance, and obtaining a little fresh air, wilted in the foul compelled the proprietor to close. Very speedåtmosphere of their confined dens.
ily the epidemic ceased. Five months afterIt is not only in close apartments that a viti- ward the filthy business was resumed; again ation of the air to an extent capable of pro- the wind blew from the direction of the factory. ducing disease is possible. The whole atmos- The stench which pervaded the work-house was phere of a neighborhood may be tainted so as overpowering. Forty-five boys, whose dormito lay prostrate an entire population. Every tories faced the factory, died of cholera ; while one knows that powerfully-offensive odors are the girls, whose windows looked in another dicapable of inducing weakness amounting to rection, escaped. actual fainting, in persons of a highly sensi This striking case might be fortified by nutive, nervous temperament. The exhaustion so merous instances in which malignant disease speedily manifested in these cases exists, though has broken out on ship-board immediately after not to a perceptible degree, in fur sturdier pumping out putrid bilge-water. The history frames. The reports of the Registrar-General of the epidemic of cholera in the Baltimore almsof England disclose to us some very startling house, is also very instructive on this point. facts in reference to this matter. If any one The city of Baltimore was that year blessed were to select from among all the different occu- with a very energetic Board of Health, which pations the healthiest men of a nation, he would enforced, in spito of all opposition, the thorough probably choose the farmers and the butéhers. cleansing of the city. Not a single case of the Both are usually stout in frame and ruddy in disease occurred within the city limits; while complexion. Both are actively employed, have in the alms-house, just outside of the boundaries plenty of exercise and abundance of food. In of the corporation, over a hundred of the inone point, however, their circumstances widely mates died. The investigation of the physician differ. The farmer breathes the pure air of the revealed the presence of an exceedingly offenscountry; the butcher inhales the atmosphere of ive cess-pool on that side of the house which the shambles and the slaughter-house, tainted was most severely affected. with putrefying animal effluvia. The result is Dampness is another cause which predisposes an instructive lesson as to the value of pure air. to an attack of an epidemic disease. This need The rate of deaths per thousand among farmers not surprise us, for we know that the skin is a between the ages of forty-five and fifty-five was great draining apparatus to sweep impurities out 11.99 per thousand. The butchers of the same of the system. In every full-grown man, so age died at 23•1 per thousand, so that their mor- closely are its minute tubes packed away that tality is above double that of farmers. These their entire length amounts to twenty-seven two classes, indeed, occupy arly the extremes miles. If this extensive sewerage is dammed of the table of mortality. The farmer is the up, it is easy to see that a poison received by healthiest man on the list, while there is but the lungs can not be so readily eliminated one who is worse off than the butcher, the inn- through the outer surface of the body. Every keeper. Any one who knows how large a pro- one is aware, by his own sensations, how a damp, portion of taverns are mere grog-shops, reeking close atmosphere oppresses him, and how eviwith impurities and environed in filth, will not dently the action of the skin is interfered with. be surprised that the mortality among this class These considerations alone would lead us to anascends to 28.34 in the thousand. To make ticipate a greater prevalence of epidemic diseases the matter still more striking, let us compare in damp than in dry districts. This is eminentthe “bull-fronted, ruddy" butcher with the sal- ly true of Asiatic cholera, which follows the low shoemaker, whose figure on this list stands banks of rivers, and loves to dwell in damp, low 15:3 in the thousand. The superior comfort situations. New Orleans and St. Petersburg of the butcher's circumstances increases our ---two cities which suffered terribly from this surprise at this unexpected discovery.
Oriental plague-are proverbial for their low, Let us now inquire how the history of pesti- marshy site and the great humidity of their atlence bears upon this question. A single case mosphere. is sufficient for our purpose.
In Spitalfields It must not be supposed that the air is dry there is a manufactory of artificial manure, because there is little or no rain, or because where the exhalations of drying blood and the dampness is not directly perceptible to the night-soil taint the atmosphere, and fill it with senses. In long droughts, modern meteoroldisgusting odors. Immediately opposite this ogy has taught us that the air is often heavily establishment is the work-house of the parish. charged with moisture, which is made manifest It had been long observed that when the wind by the proper instruments. When this damp set steadily from the factory toward the work- / atmosphere is also a hot one, disease, in some
form, is almost inevitable. The reports of the ton very truly says, “is town air," and all the Sanitary Commission of New Orleans on the impurities in the latter are speedily absorbed by Yellow Fever of 1853, and of the Special Com- the former, so that water which stands exposed mittee of the American Medical Association on for any time to the atmosphere of a city during the Influence of the Hygrometric State of the an epidemic is at least to be suspected. Much Atmosphere on Health, are full of information more may we anticipate disease from the use on this head. In the latter we learn that, dur- of water which is tainted by infiltration from a ing that remarkable prevalence of sun-stroke in soil charged with organic impurities. Many the city of New York in the summer of 1853— facts have been cited in proof of the danger of a prevalence so great as almost to deserve the using such water. name of an epidemic—the dew-point had reach A very striking instance is recorded in one ed the remarkable height of 84°. In Buffalo, of the reports of the Registrar-General of Great during the summer of 1854, the cholera seemed Britain. In the city of Manchester was a well, steadily to increase with the humidity of the at- in the immediate vicinity of a sewer, so badly mosphere until the epidemic attained its height. walled that the contents of the drain leaked into
It is probably to this that we are to attribute it. Of ninety houses in its neighborhood, thirty the remarkable fact, often noticed during chol- used its water and sixty did not. In the forera epidemics, that the lower floors of buildings mer, there occurred nineteen cases of diarrhea, suffer more severely than the upper. The air twenty-six of cholera, and twenty-five deaths; is always damper nearer the ground. Thus a in the latter, eleven cases of diarrhæa, none of difference in altitude of sixty feet, in the same cholera, and no death. As far as could be asexposure, has been known to make a difference certained, the houses were, in other respects, of 104 degrees in the dew-point.
similarly situated. Our account of the atmospherical conditions The epidemic of 1854, in London, was very of pestilence would be very incomplete without decidedly influenced by the character of the some notice of that mysterious agent, ozone. water, Two companies, the Lambeth and the Van Maram was the first who gave any hint of Southwark and Vauxhall, supplied nine districts the remarkable change induced in oxygen by on the south side of the Thames. The former the electric fluid. After passing five thousand pumped up their water from the Thames at Ditsparks from a powerful battery through a tube ton, the latter at Battersea. The fluid from the of oxygen gas, he observed that the gas had ac- last-named place was very impure, brackish from quired the peculiar smell so often noticed dur- the influence of the tide, tainted with the offal ing the action of an electrical machine. The of the city, and swarming with infusoria. The announcement of this fact created little stir in water pumped up at Ditton was comparatively the scientific world, and led to no new discov- pure. eries. The whole matter was forgotten, till, in The results of the use of these two liquids 1849, Schönbein, a German chemist, while de- were very striking. Out of a population of composing water by means of the galvanic bat- 166,906 persons drinking the water of the Lamtery, observed the same odor, and turned his beth Company, there died 611 from cholera ; attention to the examination of the product. while out of 268,171 drinking the water supplied At first he thought it to be a new compound of by the Southwark and Vauxhall Company, there hydrogen and oxygen, but afterward adopted perished, of the same disease, 3476.
A more the opinion of the French chemists, that it was exact comparison was made in a district cona peculiar modification of the latter.
taining about 20,000 inhabitants, one-half of It manifests all the properties of oxygen in a whom were supplied by one company and onehighly energetic degree. It greatly increases half by the other. Those who drank the better the rapidity of oxydation in all oxydizable bodies. water lost 57 by cholera, while those who drank Its action upon public health appears to be de- the worse lost 164 by that pestilence. The facts cided. When it is present in excess, diseases are so strong that comment would only weaken of the lungs, especially influenza, are prevalent. their force. When it is deficient, on the contrary, fevers and Other depressing causes which favor the all those diseases which are believed to depend spread of pestilence might be noticed. Indeed, upon a species of fermentation induced in the it may be said, in general terms, that any course blood are common. The ordinary interpreta- of life which tends to lower the vital powers tion of this fact is, that these disorders depend must predispose to epidemic disease. Hence, upon the presence in the atmosphere of various we find that there seem always to be certain organic matters which are undergoing a molec- predestined thousands who must succumb to an ular change in their progress toward complete epidemic; and when they are slaughtered, the disorganization, and that ozone hastens their malignant power, as if appeased by the sacrifice, oxydation, burns them up, as it were, and so passes on, and leaves untouched many who renders them innocuous. Epidemics of cholera seemed exposed to equal peril. are said to be characterized by a total absence After making all these allowances, however, of this purifying agent.
there still remains the question, What is the The drinking water used by large communi- exciting cause of a given form of epidemic disties is another matter to which great attention ease-cholera, for example ? For ages, cities should be paid. “ Town water," as Dr. Bar- | have been filthy, men have drunk foul water,
ozone has been at times deficient; dampness communicability. The people of Cromarty dehas been abundant, the air has been stagnant, termined to establish a cordon sanitaire against and all these conditions have frequently coin- the inroads of this dreaded pestilence, which was cided. Why, then, should cholera have been ravaging their neighborhood. They accordingunknown to the civilized world till these last ly stationed guards along the few lines of comyears? What is the specific cause which has munication leading into their village. “When given rise to this peculiar form of disease ? Why engaged, however, in keeping up our cordon with should it have remained for so many ages pent apparent success,” says our author, “cholera up in the hot, damp jungles of its native India, entered the place in a way which it was imposand only issued to devastate the world during sible we could have calculated. A Cromarty the nineteenth century? Granting the possibil- fisherman had died of the disease at Wick rathity of its local origin, it seems impossible to ac er more than a month previous, and all the count for the facts of its progress by the doctrine clothes which had been in contact with the body of exclusive local origin. The chances against were burned by the Wick authorities in the open the successive recurrence of local causes along air. He had, however, a brother on the spot, the lines of human intercourse, in a regular who had stealthily appropriated some of the betgeographical progress, become so overpowering ter pieces of dress ; and these he brought home that the mind refuses to believe in the with him in a chest; though such was the dread bility of such a systematic course of accidents. with which he regarded them that for more There remains but one hypothesis, which, in than four weeks he suffered the chest to lie bethe present state of our knowledge, seems at all side him unopened. At length, in an evil hour, tenable, that which attributes the spread of the the pieces of dress were taken out, and, like the disease to the movements of men. Those who goodly Babylonish garment, which wrought hold this opinion maintain that cholera is com- the destruction of Achan and the discomfiture municable. This term is adopted to avoid the of the camp, they led, in the first instance, to words contagion and infection, to which mean- the death of the poor, imprudent fisherman, and ings are attached that render them imperfect to that of not a few of his townsfolk immediexponents of the sense in which the transmissi- | ately after. He himself was seized by cholera bility of this disease from man to man is under on the following day; in less than two days more stood.
he was dead and buried; and the disease went There are many facts which appear inex- creeping about the streets and lanes for weeks plicable on any other theory. Our readers have after-here striking down a strong man in the only to recall the history of the journeys from full vigor of middle life—there shortening, apIndia over the continent of Asia—the route by parently by but a few months, the span of some which it entered Europe--and its subsequent worn-out creature, already on the verge of the passage to America, to be convinced that it fol- grave.” lowed the lines of greatest travel. How it could Many other cases, similar to this, might be have done this in two universal epidemics, oc- cited, but we forbear to multiply individual facts. curring at an interval of nearly twenty years from The whole history of the pestilence shows that one another, without being in some manner de- cholera is undoubtedly communicable. Those pendent upon human intercourse, it is difficult who deny this, level their arguments against the to imagine.
hypothesis of contagion, and cite numerous inThis notion, which we derive from a general stances to prove that the disease is not directly survey of the history of Asiatic cholera, is transmissible. In doing this, however, they strengthened by numerous individual facts. We are attacking a man of straw which themselves refer our readers to the paper on this epidemic, have set up. It is not claimed that the disease for the very striking cases of Sarepta, the Mora- is communicated, like small-pox, by an immevian colony in Russia, and of the English and diate emanation from the body of the cholera French colonies of Mauritius and Isle de Bour-patient. It is simply asserted that the pestibon. It is remarkable that the history of the lence is propagated in some way from man to recent epidemic in the Mauritius, in 1854-5, is man, the method of the propagation being left almost an exact repetition of that of 1819. for future observation. Again, the disease broke out in Port Louis Concerning that method, there are a variety shortly after the arrival of a ship from India, of opinions. Dr. Snow, of London, thinks that and spread thence over the island. Again, the it takes place through the drinking water. This, Isle de Bourbon established a long and strict he conceives, becomes tainted with the discharges Quarantine for all vessels arriving from the Mau- from cholera patients, and so propagates the disritius, and this time it entirely escaped a visit- ease. This view, while supported by numeration of the epidemic, although prior to the out- ous facts, is too exclusive to account for all the break of the pestilence in the neighboring island, phenomena. Others believe the atmosphere to there had been a few cases of cholera in Bour- be the medium of communication. Numerous
examinations, chemical and microscopic, have The introduction of the disease into the little been made, but have failed to reveal any thing village of Cromarty is very circumstantially peculiar, save the absence of ozone. Spores of narrated by Hugh Miller, the Scottish geolo- fungi and microscopic animalcules called ribrigist, and throws much light on the question of ones were discovered in the air of a cholera ward,