« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
that dare attempt it. Besides, chiefs of police are men of senseare human and would not force these women into open prostitution. To enforce these laws in France bas been a failure, and we cannot expect to do any better in this country, where the liberty of all classes is prized more highly than in France. It is this clandestine prostitution that carries the syphilis, and every one can readily perceive the inutility of trying to get this disease under control, when only one-seventh of this class of women can be brought under supervision.
There are some other objections, which, to physicians, need not so much explanation. In the first place, there is a carrying of syphilitic virus from man to man without the contamination of the female. It is perfectly well known that women may have illicit intercourse with men infected with disease and not contract it, but the contagium is left in the parts of the female to poison the next man that calls. She may be inspected to-day at eleven o'clock, when at one o'clock she will inoculate one man and at four another. The fact that these women are inspected does away with all fear of contracting disease, and hence removes a very great restraint upon vicious men; and, by taking these things into consideration, it will be seen that the inspection of prostitutes tends only to advertise the business and circulate syphilis.
As an evidence that men do fear disease and believe that inspec. tion or police supervision protects from it, I will mention an inci. dent that came under my own observation.
In the steamer in which I crossed the Atlantic there were four young men. In discussing the many ways in which they were to enjoy themselves across the water, they came to the conclusion that in London they would live an upright life, owing to the loose manner in which prostitution was there conducted, but that when they got to Paris they would let out a little, because the government there restricts prostitution and endeavors to keep it under control. So when they reached London they were very staid young men, but the moment Paris was reached they all went off on a wild frolic, each of them taking a lover, and the result was to my own certain knowledge that one of them contracted syphilis, and to this day is frequently reminded of his escapade in Paris, but cannot understand why he should get syphilis in a city where prostitutes were kept clean.
In addition to the above, as before intimated, there is a great ocean of private licentiousness with which no police in the world
dare meddle. It rolls on unceasingly, creating and spreading its disastrous effects over the entire earth, and the few ladlefuls dipped out here and there from this immense caldron of vice and disease, make no impression whatever.
Now, if the results of these efforts have been so unfortunate elsewhere, why should we go on repeating them here? If you will look over the statistics you will find that the diminution of the first registry is interpreted as a diminution of licentiousness. For instance, the St. Louis Chief of Police thinks he has reformed half of that city. This can be told to the marines! If some forty European cities be taken and classified, a portion under these regulations and others free from them, it will be found that there are sixteen per cent. more prostitutes in those which have bad license laws than in those cities which have been exempt from them. True, this may be accounted for, in a measure, by saying, of those cities in which prostitution was licensed, that the inhabitants were more depraved, but still, it shows that, as far as dimin. ishing disease was concerned, license laws were a lamentable failure. The general hospitals of those European cities which had the license system show a small per cent. more disease than those that were under no regulations. This system of espionage, as the Chief of Police of Berlin says, appears very simple at first glance, but is found to be a very different thing in its execution, so that the result of the license system has been merely a delusive advertisement, people thinking that they were more protected from the virus than the facts would warrant.
I hope, therefore, that we will be cautious, and, while I am willing to vote for some reasonable measures to be adopted for the purpose of carrying on improvements in this matter, I shall not be willing to vote for anything like a free copy of the “British Contagious Diseases Act,” or the French or Prussian systems.
These plans have failed in Europe, and will prove still greater failures here where the police have not such despotic power. I believe that any attempt to accomplish a material diminution of the diseases of the public body through attention to legislation will prove a total failure; that the improvement must take place pari passu; and I regret that any impression should go abroad that prostitution is by us thought worthy of being encouraged by law. I do not believe such a result was intended by the honorable committee, but such would be the result did we interfere in this matter in the manner proposed.
Dr. BRONSON, of Massachusetts. It seems to ine that the remarks of Prof. Andrews cover largely the views designed to be presented in opposition to legislation upon this subject. I feel that he strikes the key-note when he says that syphilis is propagated, in the great majority of instances, not by women who make prostitution alone a business, but by women who have some other visible means of support as well, and who are patronized by clerks and the better class of mechanics and apprentices. This is the class of women who distribute this disease. I do not believe there is a city or town in the United States of 10,000 inhabitants or under, that has a prostitute walking the streets in the plying of her trade; nor do I believe that any community of this size would tolerate a prostitute who publicly announced herself to be such ; nor in these towns or cities do I believe there is a single house of ill-fame known as such and where prostitutes are kept and paid for plying their avocation.
Now if this proposition be sound, is it not true that this disease is disseminated from a source which legislation will not reach? for, however rigid the law, it must be applied to persons who have inherent rights which no government dare interfere with. Cer. tainly, if prostitution could be confined to those who make it a business, I would not object to asking our legislatures to give us some law looking towards the diminution of disease, a law which was imperative and which would be gratifying to us as physicians and citizens; but, in view of the facts presented to us by Prof. Andrews, there is a large class of people who could not be brought under the pressure of any legislation. I believe, sir, that the elevation of our morals will do more than suppression. I do not believe in creating a statute which, from its inapplicability, will prove a failure, and I hope, therefore, that unless the committee can recommend specific action which will embrace sentiments in accord with the moral sentiments of the country, something tangi ble upon which we can build, we will not take any action.
Dr. CHAMBERS, of Illinois. During the war, gentlernen, I had considerable experience in these matters, having been a surgeon in the army, with control of the prostitutes in Tennessee, and, I must add, that many of the remarks of Prof. Andrews are correct according to my experience. It occurs to me in the first place, however, that Dr. Gross had great courage in bringing this before the convention, and in proposing the suggestion of measures to the
Government, by which we can get rid of this terrible curse which is tearing down our race.
I feel, gentlemen, considerable diffidence in addressing so many intelligent and distinguished men of the profession, but I desire to say that during my administration of affairs in that department, official surveillance of prostitutes worked wonders.
This was accomplished by first selecting two or three bad women, and from the information gained from them others were arrested ; and from the information gained from the latter still further arrests were made, so that 1300 were brought up for examination, only two of them saying that they were kept women. The army at that time had 2000 cases of venereal diseases, and in four months it was reduced to thirty-six cases in the arıny of the Cumberland. I am satisfied, in my own mind, that if prostitution exists in a city, that disease can be, at least in a very great measure, stamped out by the police using the plan that was adopted in the army of the Cumberland. There were such beneficial results obtained at that time, that I have been convinced for years, that the only plan for us to pursue is to devise in some way a method by which these bad women can be examined. It occurs to me that men who frequent these places should be examined as well as women.
Dr. KENNARD, of Missouri. I feel great delicacy in saying any. thing upon tbis subject; in fact, the committee, as well as the gentlemen who have entered into this discussion, seem to have forgotten that we have a little town west of the Mississippi, of 500,000 inhabitants, where a law of this kind has been in existence. I do not propose to discuss this matter, but merely to mention a few points.
I have heard all that Dr. Andrews has said upon this subject, and have gone over this whole matter in discussions with the clergy, old women, and others. I wish to say that the law was a very excellent one; we were about to stamp out syphilis; we had about stamped out prostitution, and we had a quiet city. I have examined about 11,000 women, and ought to know something about the subject, and to have some data on which to base my opinions, and I repeat that we can stamp out syphilis, that we did stamp it out. The women supported the work themselves by weekly contributions, but through the fanaticism of old women, preachers, and I am sorry to say, a few doctors of Cincinnati, Chicago, and other moral cities, they succeeded finally in inducing
our legislature to abolish this law. And what has been the consequence? At this time in St. Louis you cannot walk half a dozen blocks without being asked to come in.
This invitation was ex. tended to me eight times one evening, while walking three blocks.
Such scenes as occur to-day in St. Louis would not have been tolerated during the existence of this law. Another thing, the women themselves did not oppose it. They are, or were, healthy. They saved more of their earnings than previously, although the tax upon them was in some instances oppressive. We kept respectable (?) women from houses of prostitution, and in our little village we were enabled to stop clandestine prostitution as well as that form which openly disgraces the streets of St. Louis to-day.
It is my understanding that the object of this report is to devise some means for the suppression of syphilis, and it favors legislation to attain this result; and to prove that legislation can in a very great measure crush syphilis out, I would call your attention to my own practice among this class of patients which, previous to the enactment of the law mentioned, was very extensive, but which during its enforcement almost destroyed my syphilitic practice in St. Louis.
One of the gentlemen suggested that men should be examined as well. When men set themselves up as a plantation bull or country stallion, it will do; men do not earn a living by prostitution.
Again, more women married during the existence of this law than for the same period since its abolition, and many of them to respectable men, so called. We then had a quiet, comparatively virtuous and good city, but now, through the fanaticism and efforts of preachers, old women, and my friend here, we are going to the devil as fast as possible.
Dr. ANDREWS. There are some interesting facts in St. Louis, which, if they were better known and fully vouched for, it would be well. My friend well knows, that when we favor one side of a question, inaccuracies are liable to slip in a report, especially a hospital report, not intentionally, of course, but through the weakness of poor human nature, making a record appear a little different from what it really is. Whether there is any such thing in St. Louis, I do not know; but I do know that these reports were contrary to European experience. Of one thing, however, I am certain, and that is that the St. Louis Marine Hospital shows less syphilis than before.