Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

Dr. GROSS, of Pennsylvania. Gentlemen, I have little or nothing to add to this already extended discussion. The remarks made have been instructive and to the point. It is not the object of the Committee to force this matter before the Association, but take the initiative, and see what can be obtained by discussion and exchange of views

I should like to ask my friend, Dr. Andrews, whether a part of a loaf of bread is not better than no bread at all? I want to know if he can save one person out of seven, or eighteen, or twenty, would be not be doing that person a great deal of good ?

I suggested in the address presented last year that men be inspected as well as women; not respectable men, but sailors, and soldiers, etc. If we can have control over these men and prevent them if diseased from having connection with the women of the town, we can thereby save the women of the town and prevent the disease from extending. As respects the inspection of prostitutes, the experience of Europe and St. Louis shows that this is possible, and that the women themselves favor it, as they are healthier and can save more. What is wanted, Mr. Chairman, is simply to keep the subject before the profession and the people. There is a great deal in what the gentleman from St. Louis says, in regard to the fanatical opposition of the women and the clergy who know nothing of the terrible ravages of syphilis, and it is such people, who are ignorant of what they do, that throw obstacles in our way. The clergy, I know, are obliged, in a measure, to oppose this from the nature of their calling. We want something which will regulate this evil, to prevent the human race from being destroyed. Mr. Chairman, you know as well as I how this disease is progressing; how it leaves its slimny trail over many unsuspecting thresholds; how it cuts down the innocent babe, the fair young girl, and the stalwart man with an affection of the most horrible and disgusting character. It seems to me that we should do everything in our power to stay the ravages of such a disease. When the cattle plague threatens, do we not employ restrictive and preventive measures ? Are we not more than cattle? Are we not human beings made in the image of our Creator ? It seems to me very unwise to oppose this effort which is made for the welfare of the human family.

Dr. HODGEN, of Missouri. The plea that Dr. Gross has made is one that we cannot but feel. It is not only right, but it is our duty to protect the community from disease. But do we protect our people from syphilis by means of legislation ? Dr. Kennard says we do, and gives statements to prove that benefit was derived from legislation in St. Louis. But is there not another side ? I don't deny that Dr. Kennard believes what he says is true in regard to the state of affairs in St. Louis; I know he thinks it is true, but I wish to ask Dr. Kennard a few questions. Will the doctor tell me whether there were more prostitutes registered the first or the last year ?

Dr. KENNARD. I am not prepared to state. I think more during the first year. But one great reason for this was the

many obstacles thrown in our way to prevent the execution of the law during the last year. The prostitutes were not diligently searched after. The opponents of the law even held a meeting denouncing all engaged in supporting the law, and I think Dr. Hodgen was present and addressed the assembly. Another reason was that a great many were caught the first year who supposed they ought not to be considered prostitutes, but who, upon finding they were obliged to register, abandoned the calling. Another and a very great reason why it was diminished was that the lower classes of the prostitutes were taxed too much. The lower orders of these bad women would go out to service because by prostitution they could not save anything, and by going out to service they were reformed.

[The two or three succeeding questions of Dr. Hodgen were not audible to the reporter.]

Dr. HODGEN. Will the doctor tell me if he can discriminate between gonorrhoea and vaginal discharges ?

Dr. KENNARD. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred.

Dr. HODGEN. Will the doctor tell me how long after inoculation by syphilitic virus the disease is manifested ?

Dr. KENNARD. Any one ought to know that.

Dr. HODGEN. I want to show to this Association in the first place the very great improbability of preventing syphilis merely by inspection of women; that venereal diseases are much more frequent than is generally supposed; that women in the second stage of syphilis are capable of transmitting the disease; that the “madame" having charge of houses of prostitution had her women inspected previous to the enactment of this law without any apparent result. It is true, also, that the number of people treated in the St. Louis hospitals, leaving out the Marine Hospital, was one less the last year than the first. If any means can be offered which will satisfy me that this disease can be diminished I will be surprised, and if there be any means by which this disease can be diminished by any form of inspection I am uninformed of it. If it be possible to contrive a law which will save one out of ten or one out of ten thousand I will vote for it, but I doubt the possibility of this. On the contrary, many young men, through the encouragement afforded them by these laws, have subjected themselves to the acquisition of syphilis, when otherwise the terror of contracting the disease would have dissuaded them from the risk of exposure. I am opposed to empowering a committee to get up a law which is not to be referred back to this Association.

Dr. KENNARD. There is no man in the United States whom I respect more than Dr. Hodgen, but I would like him to explain to me how a man can obtain syphilis in the second stage. He further says that most cases of sypbilis are contracted from clandestine prostitutes—that clandestine prostitution spreads the disease, and then refers to the treatment of syphilis in hospitals. Now, clandestine prostitutes do not have connection with that class of men likely to become hospital patients. That fact alone shows that his remarks have no bearing whatever on registration. I have no doubt that not one man here can bring himself to believe that the inspection of eight, ten, or twelve thousand women is not productive of some good. This examination of prostitutes does not increase the vice among men.

Men will seek women whether they be inspected or not; it depends entirely upon whether they have money or not.

Dr. GARCELON, of Maine. In the opinion of those gentlemen who framed the report, does it not carry with it the idea of the license system?

Dr. MORRIS. There is not a word said about licensing.
Dr. GARCELON. Does it not involve that idea ?
.

? Dr. MORRIS. No.

Dr. GARCELON. I cannot see how any law can be framed wbich will be of any use unless this idea goes with it.

Dr. BRONSON. Every community has the right to close houses of ill-fame. The police in Boston have been extraordinarily vigilant in this respect; both sexes have been subject to the penalties of the law. Now, if this proposition does not-

Dr. MORRIS. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I am certain that the discussion has not been confined to the suggestions in the report. Certain things are recommended, by doing which we hope

[ocr errors]

to obtain only a slice of bread—not the whole loaf. The loaf will come in God's good time. We only suggest partial legislation, the regulation of persons in the military service, seamen, etc. This is all we aim at at first; in the end we do not know how far it will extend. We only ask that the Association endorse the sentiments of this Committee. We want you to say “Something must be done." If necessary, bring the action of the Committee back to the Association, and do not trust to the Committee alone.

Dr. GARCELON. Are the efforts of the Committee to be confined to the language of the report? if so, there are very few women under the control of the State government; and if we control them only, what will become of the great mass of prostitutes ? I have no fear of licensing houses of ill-fame, and am very glad to hear the opinions of the gentleman from Missouri in this matter; I only ask, What are we to gain if we accomplish what the Commit. tee desires ?

There is another thing. If we go to our legislatures with a bill wbich the report would recommend, they will ask us “ What do you wish ?” We answer, “to license houses of prostitution," and I know such an answer will raise a howl of indignation, which, if it does not deter the profession from further efforts, will at least put them on their mettle. There is a feeling in the community that this, of all evils, should not be licensed.

There is still another difficulty which I should anticipate in re. spect to this matter; it has been suggested by the remarks of Prof. Andrews, and it is that the very men who would like to manage this thing are the biggest traitors. They encourage the passage of the law to make money of it, and the police I fear take measures to prevent the operation of the law.

Dr. WHITEHEAD, of Mississippi. We already bave a law in every city in this country respecting concubines. It is a penal law, and I think it is a great shame to legislate so unjustly against these unfortunate creatures. I am in favor of putting every house under the license law. License them and charge nothing for it, so that this objection will not obtain hereafter. The idea of permitting the police of a city to blackmail these unfortunates, I think reflects upon our law-makers, and it should be changed.

A MEMBER. What is the motion before the house?

The CHAIR. Shall the recommendations of the report be adopted ?

1

Dr. BRONSON. I move that this report be recommitted to the Committee, with instructions to frame a specific law, and report that law at the next annual meeting of this Association. Seconded.

[The above was the real motion, which was made, seconded, and finally carried, but at the close of the debate, and after the passage of the motion, Dr. Bronson handed the reporter a slip which read as follows, and which he desired should be substituted for the motion just passed, saying that it had received the consent of the Committee and of Dr. Andrews. “Voted that the Report of the Committee on Syphilis be recommitted to the Committee, with instructions to report a law applicable to the subject within national jurisdiction, and, also, recommendations concerning laws applicable to State legislation, with instructions to report to this Association at its next annual meeting."---Reporter.]

Dr. KENNARD. I doubt if anything can be done by drawing a law. I think a more elaborate report can be made by the Com. mittee, and I would suggest this as an amendment.

Dr. BRONSON. Let them draw a law and give a more elaborate

report also.

A MEMBER from Ohio. We do not—at least should not-act the part of law.makers, but indicate to law-makers what should be done.

Dr. MORRIS. I would state that in Great Britain all these measures were devised and carried through by medical men. It is eminently proper that we prepare a law for the national government. Let us show our own people that we appreciate this eyil, and will do our utmost to remedy it, and, if we believe that the destruction of the whole race is imminent, let us not stop or post

pone action.

Calls of question, and the original motion was carried.

Moved and seconded, that Drs. Kennard and Andrews be added to the Committee. The motion was carried, the Chair throwing the casting vote.

Dr. LINK, of Indiana, read a portion of a paper entitled, A New Method of Amputation, which elicited a great deal of interest from the Section, but as the paper appeared incomplete (having been written hastily), and the hour late, it was, with the consent of Dr. Link, referred back to him for further investigation and a more complete report. Dr. Link, in giving his consent to this disposition of his paper, said: My object, gentlemen, in presenting this paper now, in its somewhat unfinished state, is for the purpose of

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »