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ment, more radiant with delight, than this man whom the record called old, but whom his unquenchable vitality preserved ever youthful and ever happy in illustrating some fact by a new preparation, or in rendering presentable some dilapidated tenant of his immortalizing receptacles.
In many points he resembled that model of all the finest qualities which belong to the student of science, Dr. Jeffries Wyman. In both the love of knowledge for its own sake was the divine gift which set them apart from the men of mixed motives, who have a conditional liking for truth among many other things. It is truly an inspiration, as much so as that of the poet, which renders students of nature like Wyman and Jackson restless under the stimulus of half knowledge, and keeps them wakeful until they have got at some secret which seems to hide itself from their search. Few, very few of our men of science pass so large a part of their lives in their laboratories. In both there was the same union of modesty of statement with confidence in the accuracy of what they alleged as the result of their own observation. Each knew the other's exactness and trustworthiness. Dr. Jackson often cited the keen observations of Dr. Wyman with the evident feeling that he was referring to a man whose eyes were as sharp as his own, the highest compliment one observer can pay another. He would not have claimed the discursive range or the inventive ingenuity which so eminently belonged to the Cambridge biologist and comparative anatomist, whose large outlook took a wider field of knowledge for its province. But differing in their special gifts, their noblest qualities were such as belonged equally to both. If such a title were known to the calendar as Saints of Science, both these faithful, sincere, modest, pure-minded students of nature would be numbered among them.
A new generation had grown up since Dr. Jackson had passed the middle term of life. The aspect of his chosen branch of knowledge bad greatly changed since he stood forth as its oracle among us. But the whole profession knew what he had done for it; the older members had seen him building up the two museums of which he was the chief architect; the younger knew, in some measure at least, the breadth and depth of his long-continued labors. So when a few years since the proposal was made that he should be invited to sit for his portrait, it met with a response which showed that the profession which he had served so long and well could not wait to bear their testimony to the universal esteem and veneration in which he was held until that term should be reached when praise wastes itself unheard by those upon whom it is lavished. His quiet life will be long remembered in the truly monumental works it has left as his record. But ah, how much else that cannot be for. gotten! Many friends remain with us, but there is not one who can fill just that place in our affections which he leaves vacant. Who is there so young in heart while so far along in years? What friend is there whose thorough goodness and truthfulness are rendered so interesting by the individual traits which made him unlike all others ? 'We may thank God that many are left to love and to honor, but one smile, one voice, one companionship, one character, with all its ennobling essentials and all its endearing accidents, we count henceforth only as a memory, and sadness is in all our bearts. O. W. H.
A DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH. A Bill to establish a department of public health was lately brought before the senate at Washington by Mr. Lamar, of Mississippi, read twice, and referred to the select committee to investigate and report the best means of preventing the introduction and spread of epidemic diseases. We imagine that nothing will be done hastily or without due consideration in so very important a matter; but its very importance, and the not unusual presence in Washington of men who, even in regard to the public health, have their minds set rather upon personal profit than upon the public weal, make it desirable that any step toward establishing a department or board of health should be subjected to careful scrutiny and criticism.
The present bill proposes “ that there shall be established at the seat of government of the United States a department of health, the general design and duties of which shall be to acquire and diffuse among the people of the United States useful information on subjects connected with the public health ; to direct the establishment and management of efficient sanitary and quarantine systems and regulations; to supervise the marine hospital service; and to organize and direct a corps of sanitary engineers competent to superintend all public works so far as their construction may affect the public health.” This preamble is the first of ten sections, in which the department immediately disappears. We are promptly introduced in section two to a director-general of health at a salary of seven thousand five hundred dollars per annum, who figures extensively through the remaining sections, giving the department an opportunity to come to the surface a moment for air at the close of the bill. The director-general's duties and powers are, as might be supposed, sufficiently multifarious and extensive ; if he performed the one thoroughly and wielded the others sagaciously he would richly earn his salary, nor would he escape a good deal of active malevolence, and we are afraid but little time would be left him to cherish the union of his official head with its departmental trunk.
A man of unquestioned fitness and unusual executive ability might not find such an outlay of time necessary; any other certainly would. In section three the director-general of health swallows up the supervising surgeon-general of the marine hospital service, with his duties and powers, records, papers, and other matters pertaining to that service. It would be of the first importance that there should be the most cordial coöperation between the department of public health and the marine hospital service, but we should suppose that this might be secured without merging the one into the other. The excellent work of preceding years shows that there is ample room for the exercise of first-rate abilities in the marine hospital service alone. Section four contains
the pith of the bill, for in it our director general assumes the duty to make and enforce all quarantine and other regulations for preventing the introduction and spread of epidemic diseases. The manner of discharging this very grave duty would of necessity depend much upon the individual views of the director-general with reference to the value of quarantine. Section five imposes upon the already hard-worked officer the duty of preparing suitable tables for the taking of each census, these tables to embody such data as will
furnish a basis for securing a complete system of registration of vital statistics for the United States. Section six requests the director-general to procure information relating to climatic, meteorological, geological, and other conditions affecting the public health, and to furnish the same when wanted; in section seven he is empowered to employ and pay specialists; and section eight allows this omnipresent director-general to make his annual general report accompanied by papers and special reports on particular subjects, to hand in his accurate accounts, and to take a little well-earned repose ; while we turn in section nine to our well-nigh forgotten department, with its additional officers which may be required, — for instance, a chief clerk, chemist, engineers, experts, and so forth. We shall doubtless have to revert to this whole question again, as it is one of such vital consequence to the country at large and to every individual.
MEDICAL NOTES. — The Gazette des Hôpitaux, of October 26, 1878, says that Mr. A. Preterre, the surgeon dentist of Paris, known to medical practitioners by his works of dental prothèse and his apparatuses for palatine restorations and other buccal operations, obtained at the Universal Exhibition of Paris the sole gold medal awarded to dentists.
– The death of eighty-one physicians from yellow fever is reported by a Southern journal.
- Dr. Klein has shown that the infectious pneumo-gastritis or typhoid fever of the pig, like splenic fever, was due to a bacillus. Having succeeded in cultivating this bacillus so as to raise crops free from all other organisms, Dr. Klein inoculated healthy pigs with a fluid containing the bacilli, and in due time the disease arose and followed its ordinary course. This experiment distinctly proved that two diseases of the higher animals, namely, “splenic fever" and “infectious pneumo-gastritis," are generated by a contagium vivum. Messrs. Downes and Blunt have commenced an inquiry into the influence of light upon bacteria and other fungi. The investigations seemed to show that strong solar light checked and even arrested the development of these organisms.
In the Richmond and Louisville Medical Journal for November is related the story, disgraceful in all its bearings, of the origin of the use of belladonna as a prophylactic against scarlet fever, in the hands of two disciples of Hahnemann, whose method of introduction revealed cupidity, quackishness, and inhumanity.
The Deutsche med. Wochenschrift relates a case in which Dandridge and Connor examined the pelvis of a man by Simon's method, with a view to obtain accurate information concerning a psoas abscess. They assert that absolutely no force was used, and that they did not go higher than the bifurcation of the aorta. Immediately after the exploration, however, symptoms of peritonitis bet in, and the patient died. The autopsy revealed a rupture of the peritonæum, five inches above the anus. The mucous membrane was also torn above the sphincter. This is another case proving that Simon's method introduction of the whole hand into the rectum — is not entirely harmless.
– Mr. Spencer Wells has been elected honorary member of the Dresden Gesellschaft für Natur-und-Heilkunde “in recognition of his eminent merits in medical science.”. Dr. Fordyce Barker bas resigned his position as one of the surgeons of the Woman's Hospital of New York. - Professor Grüber, of Vienna, has written a scathing review of Professor Politzer's book on diseases of the ear. See the Allgemeine Zeitung, No. 46.
- At the recent adjourned annual meeting of the County Medical Society, the committee on hygiene presented through its chairman, Dr. E. G. Janeway, of the board of health, a report which contained much information of interest. From it we learn that if a comparison of different years is instituted on the basis of mortality proportioned to population, the citizens of New York enjoyed better health during 1877 than during any previous year since careful mortuary records have been kept, and that when the reports for 1878 have been completed this year will be found to have proved almost as favorable as its predecessor.
Only two deaths have occurred from small-pox in 1878, and only two individuals have contracted the disease within the city limits during the year. One of these was a barber who shaved a man suffering from the disease who had just arrived in the city; and the other was a man who worked along the docks, and was thus exposed to it. At no period since 1822 has there been as little variola in New York, and the mortality from the disease has been less than thirty in the year only six times since that date. Vaccination is constantly performed by a special corps employed by the board of health for the purpise. There has been some increase over the mortality from croup and diphtheria for 1877, but a marked diminution as contrasted with the other years since 1872. The mortality from typhoid and typhus fever is decreasing, and is less (notwithstanding the increase of population from 515,000, in 1850, to 1,083,000, in 1878) than it was in 1848.
The report goes on to say, “ We think that no one can have any hesitation in stating that there has been a marked improvement in the public health. Nor should this be wondered at when we consider that much improvement has been made in the sanitary condition of dwelling-houses, as well as in other matters : soil-pipes having been ventilated, traps placed beneath sinks, etc., privies ventilated so as to remove foul odors from tenement-house yards, sewers reconstructed, etc.”
In regard to the summer mortality in 1878, it says : « There were five hundred and twenty less deaths than in 1877, and we feel justified in claiming that comparatively fewer deaths happened in the summer quarter of this year than in any of its immediate predecessors for twenty years, over which our study on this subject has extended.
“We know of no other table which has been presented, except, perhaps, that of variola, which offers so much of interest for the humanitarian and sanitarian. Notwithstanding a marked increase of population (more than one hundred thousand) from 1871 to 1878, we behold in this latter year a less number of deaths from diarrhoeal disorders than in 1871 by two hundred and five, and, as contrasted with other years, still more noticeable. . . This improvement we believe to be due to the efforts made in the summer season by the corps of fifty physicians employed by the board of health to visit tenement houses in search of cases of infantile diarrhæa not under treatment, and to give advice and treatment to such as had no physician, as well as to the efforts in a similar direction (though not on so large scale) conducted by the Children's Aid Society, and to the excursions for sick children offered by the St. John's Guild, and the visits of the sick children to sanitaria. There can be no doubt to a careful investigator of the value of these remedies, as the study extends not over one year, but over six years."
- This year the ladies of the Flower Charity undertook to decorate all the principal hospitals, not only of the city, but also of Blackwell's Island, for Christmas, and as their friends were very liberal with their contributions of evergreens, autumn leaves, grasses, berries, and ferns the result was a great
December 29th was “ Hospital Sunday” in all the Protestant Episcopal churches, when the collections made were devoted to the support of either St. Luke's Hospital or St. Mary's Free Hospital for Children, and in some instances the amount raised was divided equally between the two institutions. In the annual report of St. Luke's, just published, the superintendent mentions, as an instance of the gratitude of patients for the services rendered them, that during the past year he received fifty-nine dollars, which was left by a poor seamstress in Ireland as a thank-offering for the care she received as a patient eighteen years ago.
LETTER FROM ST. LOUIS.
The Regulation of Prostitution. - A New Journal. MR. EDITOR, - I had intended telling you in this letter something of St. Louis in its purely medical relations, but as there are certain matters of more extended interest under discussion here at present, I shall reserve that information for another occasion. The city fathers have of late been considering the various arguments for and against the advisability of reënacting what is known as the “social evil ordinance." This ordinance, which was in force some years back, and then was repealed, gave the board of health and police department authority for the registration of all prostitutes, provided for their periodical examination by official physicians, and gave the power to isolate in the Female Hospital those found to be diseased. The women were compelled to pay a weekly stipend, which was expended solely for their benefit, and went to the support of their hospital. They were entitled to care in this institution, not only when suffering from venereal disease, but also when sick from other causes. After this scheme had been in successful operation for a length of
1 This hospital was subsequently converted into a woman's general hospital.