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the report, and abolished the office of Medical Inspector, for politi. cal purposes, though admitting that the office had been useful and well served. At the first meeting of this Board, the Presidents of the principal medical associations and other prominent physicians sent a communication requesting the Board of Education to continue the office of Sanitary Superintendent in the interest of School Sanitation.
Notwithstanding the sanitary defects in the school-houses re. ferred to, medical inspection largely contributed to the protection of the health of the children; in the isolation of the sick, the reduction of overcrowded class-rooms, frequent recess during school hours, and other incidental sanitary measures, unnecessary here to allude to. An eminent citizen and school officer of twenty-five years' standing had stated, in a letter recommending medical inspection, that the medical officer had accomplished more in a sanitary sense than had been done during his long service. In this connection, I refer to a Report to the Massachusetts Board of Health on “School Hygiene." The author of the report, Dr. Frederic Winsor, says
" Every city should have a sanitary inspector and instructor of schools, who should be a physician. Of sanitary matters, physi- . cians are confessedly the best judges; their professional interest and enthusiasm would lead them to undertake labors in such a cause, which could not be expected from men of other occupations, while their acquaintance with the amount and nature of disease prevailing from month to month would both furnish and obtain valuable illustration in connection with their official school inspections. By their reports, public attention would be drawn to whatever mistakes and evils of this order might be shown to exist, and when this great point can be gained, the evils will certainly be abated.”
In a large proportion of the churches of the city of New York there exists defective ventilation. In those churches that are largely attended at the morning service on Sunday, this defect is very noticeable, especially in the winter season, when the windows are shut. The oppressive atmosphere of the church is surcharged with carbonic acid gas; decaying organic matter, and moisture from the respiration and perspiration of those present. The only means of ventilation at any season, is, by opening a window, and this is only available when the weather is fine. After a brief pe. riod, the irritation of the mucous membrane of the air passages is very apparent, keeping up a chorus of coughing indicative of the irritating effects of poisoned air. In the construction and management of these buildings, the commonest dictates of sanitary prudence are disregarded.
An instance of the palpable ignorance of sanitary laws of those in charge of our churches is apparent where the church is situated on the corner of streets or opposite open squares. The upper windows in many of them are hermetically closed, even in summer; the air in the galleries is so oppressive that, in large congregations, persons are not unfrequently taken out fainting. This I have myself witnessed on many occasions. In my immediate vicinity, there is a church such as I have referred to. During the past winter in the severest weather, I have seen persons worship with a temperature below zero, to the imminent danger of their lives. It is not surprising that pneumonia and catarrhal affections have been so prevalent and fatal during the past winter, owing to such reckless disregard of public health.
The construction of court-houses, prisons, and hospitals, furnishes abundant evidence of the deleterious effects of defective ventilation. The court-house in a neighboring city, where the celebrated case of Tilton and Beecher is now being tried, will serve as an illustration. This will apply to a large majority of court-houses in the populous towns and cities in this and contiguous States. The room where the court is beld is in an angle of the main building in an apartment capable of thorough ventilation by the simplest contrivance, if the architect had given the least attention to it. The only means of light and ventilation are two narrow windows in the side walls, these, when open, expose the densely packed audience to catarrhal affections. In some instances, dangerous cases of illness have ensued. When the windows are closed, the air is so vitiated that those who are compelled to breathe it very soon manifest evidence of its poisoning effect. Frequent cases of sick. ness among counsel and members of the press are reported to have occurred; indeed, as I write, a reporter of one of the city papers is in a critical condition, his illness being attributed to this cause.
Another source of disease is the escape of sewer-gas. At a public school in Nassau, N. E., the escape of this gas caused a large number of cases of illness from diphtheria and other diseases among the pupils. The alleged cause was owing to the janitor using saw-dust instead of earth in the closets. This, I apprehend, is a common practice in several of our educational institutions
during the winter season, and has, I doubt not, contributed to induce the epidemics in various parts of the country, which have been attributed to other causes. The escape of sewer-gas and other deleterious gases in and about our colleges, it is now ascer. tained beyond any reasonable doubt, is a predisposing cause of phthisis. Several instances are also reported where epidemics have occurred from this cause. One of these colleges is, or was up to a recent period, closed from such a cause; the students being ordered home by the physicians who made an examination of the premises. In two other colleges in the same State (New Jersey) epidemics have broken out. In this report I have confined myself to a general review of the unsanitary condition of schools, feeling assured that the chairman of the committee and our colleague, Dr. Stuart, will do ample justice to that portion of the report which refers to the construction of buildings, warming, etc.
R. J. O'SULLIVAN.
CLIMATOLOGICAL AND SANITARY REPORT OF
BY JOHN P. WALL,
HISTORICAL SKETCH.–From the earliest discovery of Florida in 1497, by Sebastian Cabot, five years after the first voyage of Columbus, up to the present time, she has ever and anon been the object of considerable interest. As early as 1512, Ponce de Leon landed on her shores in search of health, hoping to find in her glades or forests the rejuvenating fountains of “eternal youth.' Other Spanish expeditions, for the conquest of Florida, followed, the most noted of which was that under Hernando De Soto in 1539. This bold and chivalric adventurer, with a thousand mail-clad followers, landed at Tampa Bay (San Espiritu), and amid the hardships and dangers of penetrating and traversing an unexplored country, inhabited by barbarous and hostile savages, made his way northward beyond the present confines of the State, and thence pursued a westward route to the Mississippi, where his own restless career and that of his ill-starred expedition terminated. His failure to find among the natives the precious metals in abundance, as his compatriots, Pizarro and Cortez, had done in Peru and Mexico, cooled the ardor of the avaricious Spaniards for conquest and domination in the vast territory then claimed as Florida.
The first permanent settlement was made in the sixteenth century, by some French Huguenots, on and near the mouth of the St. Jobd's River. In a few years they were massacred as heretics and foreigners. A similar fate soon overtook the perpetrators of this barbarous deed. In 1565, the Spanish Governor, Menendez, founded St. Augustine; and consequently for antiquity its claims to priority over every other place in the United States are conceded. From this time, Florida became a petty colony of Spain, only attracting a little attention now and then during the continental wars of Europe. From 1713 to 1784, Florida was a British possession,