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Annual report of the Indiana State Board of Health. 1887 online

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Isaac D. Smead system of dry closets healthful in every way."

Mr. P. D. Bricker, of Jersey Shore, Pa., says : ** The dry closets are effica-
cious, novel, and highly appreciated by us, as they work well."

A special committee of the Board of Education of Englewood, 111., August 5,
1886, reports: "We inspected the building (a school building in Toledo, Ohio)
very thoroughly. Each vault was about 24x3 feet and 20 feet long. These are
connected with a ventilating shaft, which is 4x5 and 69 feet high. In the base of


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the shaft was an iron furnace with a very moderate fire in it. Nothing had been
removed from either vault since they wei:e erected one year ago. The dhor at th^
end of the girPs vaiUt was wide open, and closet connected directly with the janitor^s living
rooms, all%e doors being wide open. In approaching this vault, and even in stand-
ing within the vault door, there idos not even a suggestion of disagreeable odor. We were
astoi^hed at the small amount of excrement left after a yearns use by 800 children,
showing that almost all of it goes up the flue as vapor.

" We tested the draught through the privy vaults with an anemometer, and the
result showed a passing 1,250 cubic feet per minute in each. It must be remem-
bered that the mercury on the outside of the building stood at 85^ and 90°. We
burned some of the dry excrement in a furnace fire, and it burned as readily as
cannel coal."

In the same report of another building this committee says: ** Five hundred
children have been in attendance at this school, and no excrement has been removed for two
years. We went into this vault and found no disagreeable odor whatever. There
was no fire in the ventilating shaft, but the current of air from the closets was
very strong. In the boys' closet some holes had been bored through the floor into
the vaults for the accommodation of urine accidentally spilled. Tested with a
match there was found to be a strong current of air down through the auger holes.
The vaults could be easily cleand by one man in two hours, and the system works
perfectly, and the entire cost was less than one hundred and fifty dollars."

Dr. G. W. Keely, a member of the school board of Oxford, Ohio, after recit-
ing the encomiums of various parties whom he came in contact with on a tour of
inspection of school apparatus, says :

" At the South-street school building, Toledo, we saw the best test of the dry
closet system. This is an eight-room building. The Superintendent and janitor
informed me that at least four hundred pupils had been using these closets for two
school years, and that the vault had never been cleaned. I examined the vault
carefully, crawling by the side of at least three stalagmites made by deposits from
the boys, striking them with my cane. They were hard and dry, and it seemed to
me that a bushel basket would hold all the vault contained. When necessary to
clean the vault the deposits can be pushed into the foul air flue and burned."

D. W. Jefferis, of Chester, Pa., in a paper read before the State Sanitary Con-
vention at Philadelphia^ says:

" Somebody has said that he could judge of the civilization of a people by the
condition of their privies. Between the foul-air-gathering rooms and the venti-
lating shaft we have placed our closets. Through each set of closets will ruf^h
150,000 cubic feet of dry, warm air every hour. This air has already accom-
plished the two-fold purpose of warming and ventilating the rooms above, now is
called to another office as it sweeps up the big chimney, carries with it all the mois-
ture and bad odor of the excreta, leaving behind only a small quantity of inodorous
material, which burns readily, and which may be actually burned in situs or thrown
into the furnace. No mal-odor can possibly reach the school-room."

The apparatus necessary to the most economical and efficient application of
the system is as yet limited to that of Isaac D. Smead & Co., Toledo, Ohio, so far as
I am able to find, and to whom I am indebted for the references to prove their
efiectiveness, and of course whose acts in the premises have to be taken with the
much swallowed cum grano salis. But they forestall objections by guaranteeing sat-

But per contra what have we? The privy vaults and cesspools are the same
authorized by Moses, and have not been improved since the Children of Israel


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crossed Jordan te the Promised Land after the exodus. And without any intent
of disparaging the sanitary regulations of the translated law-giyer, must say, after
four thousand years of experience, that they are methods of hiding a poison, filling
the earth with traps and snares to destroy those who follow us ; that the germs of
pestilence and death thus planted and cultured, carrying yearly victims to untimely
graves, is the reproach of the system, and mankind cries aloud to he spared.

The sewer, while it has a fair appearance in many respects, is only passing the
evil to the next neighbor, with the compromise that it shall continue to pass, but
finally is stranded on the first shoal of river or bay, only to be compromised with
again by some new contrivance and expensive outlay. London has two thousand
miles of sewer, at an expense of one hundred and fifty millions of dollars, and her
filth on hand yet. New York, only a short time since, had an estimate for repairs
on her sewers, amounting to six million dollars.

If you wish to puzzle a man of science, who has given attention to the subject,
yoQ only need ask him what is to be done with future accumulations of effete

The theory of dry closets is very simple. The practical application is simple
and efficient. Instead of hiding away in pits and sinks — traps and snares for the
unwary — or slushing miles of filth into rivers of pollution, and passing it from
hand to hand, the giant is to be strangled in its cradle by the constant watchfulness
of draft and evaporation.

When every house shall have a shaft to evaporate its filth ; when the human
brain shall set down to cheapen and render efficient this system, then sewer and
vault will be the adjuncts of the drying process.

Permit me to imagine a large city, having every habitated point set with a
drying shaft; having the accumulating filth continually on the move upward, and
by this means constantly creating space to gather in pure air from the hills and
valleys, rivers, lakes and seas ; from where contamination has been spared in the
same way ; imagine the new impulses, the growth of brawn and brain, the profits,
the pleasures, giving life all a new lease and deeper leasehold where aggregation
means growth, instead as now, decay and death.

If vital economy and health genesis is the purpose of these public boards, and
that they are no one who observes their efforts will deny, then the questions and
knowledge regarding them should be laid before the millions who are the inevitable
partakers of their fruits, be they good or bad, in such a manner that they who are
the final arbiters may see and feel the right^and select with intelligence and cor-



If the medical law in the State of Indiana is to be given the interpretation
which it may be fairly argued is put upon it by the Supreme Court of the State,
then, perhaps it would be well for the State Board of Health to consider whether
under this interpretation it is not their duty as well as their privilege to abate the
patent medicine nuisance once for all.


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The doctrine that it is within the power of the State to interfere in the private
concerns of her citizens so far as to fix a standard of qualification for those who
presume to take charge of the health and the lives of their fellow citizens, seems to
be well settled. The absolute fairness and justice of the workings of this doctrine
would, it is true, be much more apparent were it possible to determine the actual
qualifications of practitioners upon their apparent qualifications — that is, to make
the possession of a license under our law the absolute guaranty of the possession of
actual skill on the part of the licentiate. Under our present law such a degree of
accuracy can not be attained. Only under a well devised system of frequent exam-
inations before the State Board of Health and the granting of license based upon
the percentage determined for the licentiate upon his examination can the best re-
sults be had. since a rigid surveillance of the medical colleges of the country can
scarcely be brought about.

But the law is a step in the right direction, and, as I have heretofore hinted,
probably comprehends much more of active interference in behalf of the public
health than has been thought even by the State officers having this matter within
their official functions. In short, I am led to believe that under the interpreta-
tion giv^n this law by the Supreme Court every sale of a pat^t medicine or a
proprietary medicine except upon the prescription of a duly licensed practitioner
of medicine is an infraction of the law, provided, of course, that the medicine is sold
for the use of some resident or citizen of the State. Moreover, every ** treatment "
of any citizen by electricity, or by laying on of hands, or by animal magnetism, Ib
an infraction of this law if administered by any one not having a license to prac-
tice medicine in the county in which he practices.

In the case of Eastman vs. State, decided so recently as January 26, 1887, not
only the validity of the law itself is sustained by the Supreme Court of Indiana^
but in discussing the grounds for medical legislation ceitain propositions are bo
stated as to affi;>rd definitions of what is to be included in the practice of medicine,
and, therefore, indicates fairly that certain acts done without authority, although
not specifically named in the decision, are in violation of the law. The Supreme
Court says :

" The practice of medicine and surgery is a vocation that very nearly concerns
the comfort, health and life of every person in the land. Physicians and surgeons
have committed to their care the most important interests, and it is an almost im-
perious necessity that only persons possessing skill and knowledge should be per-
mitted to practice medicine and sui^gery. For centuries the law has required
physicians to possess and exercise skill and learning, for it has mulcted in damages
those who pretend to be physicians and surgeons, but have neither learning nsr
skill. It is, therefore, no new principal of law that is asserted by our statute ; but
if it were, it would not condemn the statute, for the statute is an exercise of police
power inherent in the State. It is, no one can doubt, of high importance to the
community that health, limb and life should not be left to the treatment ot igno-
rant pretenders and charlatans. It is within the power of the Legislature to enact
such laws as will protect the people from ignorant pretenders and secure them the
services of reputable, skilled and learned men, although it is not within the power of
the Legislature to discriminate in favor of any particular school of medidnt. When inUU
ligent and edueaied men differ in their theories the Legidature has no power to condemn the
one or approve the other, but it may require learning and skill in the school <f medicine
which the physician professes to projCticeJ^

i have underscored that portion of the opinion which relates to discrimination
for and against different schools in medicine, because it sets at rest the only exist*


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ing objection to the every way worthy plan universally favored by physicians and
intelligent laymen of transferring the function of licensing physicians from the
County Clerk to the State Board of Health, and further amending the law by ad-
ding a clause granting license upon an open examination by the Board of Health.
The next General Assembly, it is very generally thought, should so amend the law
as to bring about these very desirable changed, since our present law does not pre-
vent the banding together of three or more mountebanks who present a bogus
diploma or false affidavits upon which a license is secured, and the charlatans are
up and away before the fraud can be proven. Upon this branch of the subject
something more will be said hereafter.

Again the Supreme Ck)urt say :

*' It is the purpose of the statute to prevent persons who do not possess the
necessary qualifications to practice medicine and surgery, from inflicting injury
upon the citizens, by undertaking to treat diseases, wounds and injuries. It is the
plain intention of the statute to keep out of the professions of medicine and sur-
gery all who do not possess learning and skill sufficient to enable them to properly
discharge the duties incumbent upon members of those honorable professions, and
courts have no right to create an exception which will defeat that intention. It is
immaterial whether the person who undertakes to treat diseases or wounds does it
for hire or not, for unless he is qualified as the statute requires he must not under-
take the treatment of diseases or wounds at all. The court can not divide professional
persons inio classes, and assert that one class is within the law and the other not, for the law
applies to all who assume the responsible duty of treating the sick, wounded or injured citi-
zens, as well those who expect compensation for their services as those who do not."

Now, under this broad ruling it is very clear that any one who undertakes to
treat the sick or wounded must be licensed to practice medicine or surgery or his
acts are in violation of this statute. Is the vender of proprietary and patent nos-
trums, then, within or without this law ?

The word " treat " can have no more than its ordinary signification, and this
is what is understood in general by the word " treat '^ as used in relation to the
practice of medicine. So used it must be held to signify anything used or recom-
mended for the cure or relief of diseases and injuries.

Can a medicine or drug be sold for human use without implying necessarily
the previous recommendation of some person? Clearly not. Does the recommen-
dation of the proprietor or vender constitute simply an ordinary mercantile act,
although that mercantile act has the effect of subjecting the purchaser of a nos-
trum to the very danger against which he is sought to be protected by this law?
This question precludes any other answer than the negative. The assumption of
the vender of patent and proprietary medicines that his act is merely an ordinary
mercantile act will not serve him in face of the declaration of the Supreme Court
that ** the courts can not divide professional persons into classes, and assume that
one class is within the law and another not." It is the acts of a person that make
him a professional person or otherwise. And the fact that the vender of nostrums
is at the same time engaged in other pursuits can not interpose to obscure his atti-
tude in assuming to " treat " sick and injured persons, nor be used to take him out
of the application of the statute. The vender of a nostrum is bound either as
•principal or agent by the printed labels and wrappers accompanying the com-
pound, and these invariably abound in extravagant promises not only to '' treaft "
but to " cure," an undertaking involving, in almost every instance, an amount of
-" skill " and " learning " that no educated and really learned practioner of medl-
•cine ever assumes.


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Very clearly, then, the selling of a nostrum, except upon the prescription of a
licensed physician, for the use of any sick or wounded citizen, is in violation of the
law. Nor can the private citizen, upon his own motion and without the prescrip-
tion of a licensed physician, purchase and use upon himself any medicine what-
ever. He can no more be permitted to endanger his own life, limb and health than
he can be permitted to endanger tboiise of other citizens.

Nor can this law be ignored because of mere oppressive and unjust workings.
The opinion quotes Judge Cooley as saying : ^' Nor can a Court declare a statute
unconstitutional and void solely on the ground of unjust and oppressive provis-
ions, or because it is supposed to violate the natural, social or political rights of
the citizen, unless it can be shown that such injustice is prohibited, or such rights
guaranteed or protected by the Constitution." Cooley Const. Lim. (5th Ed.) 197.

Upon this view of our statute it is the imperative duty of our State Board of
Health to take immediate action looking to the bringing of a test case up before
the Supreme Court for final adjudication of this question, since it is conceded by
all skilled and learned men in medicine that the promiscuous and unadvised use
of drugs and nostrums by the citizens is one of the greatest sources of injury to the
public health.



Originally the word ** statistics" was used to denote inquiries into the political
condition of a State or Government, but about the close of the seventeenth century
the meaning of the word appears to have been extended, or mada to apply to sub-
jects which were only remotely connected with politics. However, let us bear in
mind that statistics in some form or other has existed as long as States or Govern-
ments have existed.

It ,was probably one of the first acts of the first regularly organized Govern-
ments to number its fighting men, that its officials might be the better enabled to
levy with accuracy the amount of tax that could with propriety be collected from
the remainder of the people.

AchenwaU is thought by some to be the father of modern statistics, and it is
generally admitted that it was his effort that gave the study a prominent place in
scientific pursuits, though Conring, a professor of medicine and politics in the
University of Helmstad, as early as the year 166^, frequently discussed and an-
alyzed the circumstances tending to affect the public health and happiness of the
people generally. However, it was reserved for a Prussian clergyman to introduce
the idea that the population of this w^rld was governed in their movements by
laws, and that such phenomenon recurred with such regularity that it might be
foreseen by careful observers.

,This gave the public mind a new interest in statistics, and established its pro-
gressive character according to the principles of mathematics, as the most useful
means of investigation, as human society is an aggregate, so far as the individuals
composing it are concerned.

They, like nations, are changing every moment of time by the operation of
laws, though human society appears to remain the same, despite this ever changing
and constantly renewing of particles. Therefore, the only correct means we can


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use to ascertain these changes in human society is that of statbtically grouping the
individuals composing social organizations, year after year.

But still in onr day of culture there is found much opposition among the edu-
cated to sanitary science. Especially do they direct their opposition to public
sanitary inquiries into the nature of human society, on the ground of public

But the London Statistical Society, which was organized in the year 1835, had,
without doubt, a most potent influence in carrying out statistical investigations, so
that at the present time most of our modern writers claim that statistics is a
science which especially relates to the social life of man, and that as a method of
inyestigation it inay, with propriety, be applied in all scientific investigations, where
a systematic statement or explanation of actual events are desired. In this way
the laws of man^s social life may be deduced from the statements made on a basis
of the quantitive observation of aggregates. Thi^ being true, statbtics in an ex-
tended sense may be called a method, but in a restricted sense it becomes a science,
which proposes the study of the actual possibilities of man's social and political
life, by mathematical induction, which is the only correct method of making the
facts perceptible in relation to the constitution of society, upon which sociology is
based But statistics will never furnish facts sufficient to enable sociologists to
formulate a correct theory of life ; they can only give quantitive expression to cer-
tain facts.

It is the office of statistics to systematically arrange figures so that an observer
may perceive a phenomena at a given time, or the a/ccretwn which may occur during
a given time. ^

There is a great variety of statistical matter published annually by the various
departments of our Government.

To this class of statistics we are indebted for our information in regard to the
schools, public charities, etc., in our State. All the heads of departments in our
general government publish statistics for which they alone are responsible.

I believe that the government of England was first in enacting a law in regard
to vital 9tati8ticA which was first done in the year 1837, then in 1847.

It seems strange that a matter of so much importance should have been over-
looked so long, when we remember that history says that until the middle of the
seventeenth century the plague^ the most distressing of all contagions, had spread
over Europe sixteen times, depopulating cities, towns and countries, filling their
inhabitants with consternation, sorrow and distress, Huch as beggars' description.
Still no one thought seriously of its being a contagion. Then all epidemics were
thought to be scourges, sent from heaven, whose progress no human hands could
stay. Therefore, it was the early part of the seventeenth centure before preventive
measures were earnestly considered. I believe the authorities of the city of Mar-
ines were the first to adopt rules and regulations to prevent the spread of Con-
tagious disease. And the success which attended the enforcement of the wise and
strict regulations then adopted attracted the attention of thoughtful men through-
out all Christendom, and led to the organization of Boards of Health, who are
charged with the special and responsible duty of devising ways and means of pro-
tecting the public from contagious and infectious diseases, and of studying all
disease producing causes, that they may be able to point out such causes and direct
their removal, that the health of communities and the public in general may be
preserved. This system of investigation has led to the establishment of quaran-
tine stations, this being the best mode now known of protecting the public from in-
vasions of pestilential diseases.


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When our modern quarantine regulations are promptly and thoroughly carried
out, as directed by our Boards of Health, there is but little danger of the spread of
contagious and infectious diseases among the people, though many of our com-
mercial men, who have the loye of gain more at heart than the welfare of their
fellow-men, strongly oppose quarantining. They urge that it is injurious to com-
merce and drives trade from us.

There are many among us whose minds are thoroughly impressed with the
dogma of predestination, who willingly neglect all preventive measures and perish,
victims of their own blindness, rather than profit by the experience and observa-
tion of others, who have faithfully recorded such experience that we might have
historical evidence of the practicability of preventive measures.

Now, after these experiences and observations have been confirmed by repeated
trials, and the fact has been established beyond a reasonable doubt that man pos-
sesses the ability to protect his health, it does seem strange that the masses dis-
regard the truth established by this evidence.

And the optimist comes forward and gleefully tells us that the world's progress
keeps pace with man's ambitions and his desires, and that we ought to be content
with the achievements of our own days.

But thoughtful men, such as study nature and her laws, base their conclusions
in regard to all progress upon carefully collected vital statistics, and if we consult

Online LibraryBoston and Worcester Railroad CorporationAnnual report of the Indiana State Board of Health. 1887 → online text (page 18 of 40)