D. S. (David Samuel) Margoliouth.

The Popular science monthly (Volume 19) online

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the States-General was induced to surrender its restraining powers.
Charles VII

obtained from tlie states of the royal domains which mot in 1439 that tliey
[the tailles] should be declared permanent, and from 1444 he levied them as
such — i. e., uninterruptedly and without previous vote. . . . The permanence
of the tailles was extended to the provinces annexed to the crown, but these
preserved the right of voting them by their provincial states. ... In the hands
of Charles VII and Louis XI the royal impost tended to be freed from all control.
... Its amount increased more and more.

Whence, as related by Dareste, it resulted that, " when the tailles
and aides . . . had been made permanent, the convocation of the
States-General ceased to be necessary. Tliej' were little more than
show assemblies." But, in our own case, during the century succeed-
ing the final establishment of Parliament, continued struggles neces-
sitated by royal evasions, trickeries, and falsehoods, brought an in-
creasing power to withhold supplies until petitions had been at-
tended to.

Admitting that this issue was furthered by the conflicts of politi-
cal factions, which diminished the coercive power of the king, the
truth to be emphasized is that the increase of a free industrial popula-



tion was its fundamental cause. The calling together knights of the
shire, representing the class of small land-owners, which preceded on
several occasions the calling together deputies from toAvns, implied
the growing importance of this class as one from which money was to
be raised ; and, when deputies from towns were summoned to the Par-
liament of 1295, the form of summons shows that the motive was to
get pecuniary aid from portions of the population which had become
relatively considerable and rich. Already the king had on more than
one occasion sent special agents to shires and boroughs to obtain
subsidies from them for his wars. Already he had assembled pro-
vincial councils formed of representatives from cities, boroughs, and
market-towns, that he might get from them votes of money. And,
when the great Parliament was called together, the reason set forth
in the writs was, that wars with Wales, Scotland, and France, were
endangering the realm ; the implication being that the necessity for
obtaining supplies led to this recognition of the towns as well as the

So, too, was it in Scotland. The first known occasion on which
representatives from burghs entered into political action was when
there was urgent need for pecuniary help from all sources — namely,
"at Cambuskenneth, on the 15th day of July, 132G, when Bruce
claimed from his people a revenue to meet the expenses of his glorious
war and the necessities of the state, which was granted to the mon-
arch by the earls, barons, burgesses, and free tenants, in full Parlia-
ment assembled."

In which cases, while we are again shown that the obligation is
original, and the power derived, we are also shown that it is the
increasing mass of those who carry on life by voluntary cooperation
instead of compulsory cooperation — partly the rural class of small
freeholders, and still more the urban class of traders — which initiates
popular representation.

Still there remains the question, How does the representative
body become separate from the consultative body? Retaining the
primitive character of councils of war, national assemblies are at first
mixed. The different " arms," as the estates were called in Spain,
form a single body. Knights of the shire, when first summoned, act-
ing on behalf of numerous smaller tenants of the king, owing military
service, sit and vote with the greater tenants. Standing, as towns
originally do, very much in the position of fiefs, those who represent
them are not unallied, in legal status, to feudal chiefs ; and, at first
assembling with these, in some cases remain united with them, as ap-
pears to have been habitually the case in France and Spain. Under
what circumstances, then, do the consultative and representative
bodies differentiate ? The question is one to which there seems to be
no very satisfactory ansAver.


Quite early we may see foreshadowed a tendency to part, deter-
mined by unlikeness of functions. In the Carlovingian period in France
there were two annual gatherings : a larger, which all the armed free-
men had a right to attend ; and a smaller, formed of the greater per-
sonages and deliberating on more special affairs.

If the weather was fine, all this passed in the open air; if not, in distinct
buildings. . . . When the lay and ecclesiastical lords were . . . separated from
the multitude, it remained in their option to sit together, or separately, accord-
ing to the attairs of which they had to treat.

And that unlikeness of functions is the cause of separation we find
evidence in other places and times. Describing the armed national
assemblies of the Hungarians, originally mixed. Levy writes: "La
derniere reunion de ce genre eut lieu quelque temps avant la bataille
de Mohacs ; mais bientot apres, la diete se divisa en deux chambres :
la table des magnats et la table des deputes." In Scotland, again, in
1307-68, the three estates having met, and wishing, for reasons of
economy and convenience, to be excused from their functions as soon
as possible, "elected certain persons to hold parliament, who were
divided into two bodies, one for the general affairs of the king and
kingdom, and another, a smaller division, for "acting as judges upon
appeals." In the case of England we find that though, in the writs
calling together Simon de Montfort's Parliament, no distinction was
made between magnates and deputies, yet when, a generation after,
Parliament became established, the writs made a distinction, " counsel
is deliberately mentioned in the invitation to the magnates, action and
consent in the invitation to representatives." Indeed, it is clear that
since the earlier-formed body of magnates was habitually summoned
for consultative purposes, especially military, while the representatives
afterward added were summoned only to grant money, there existed
from the outset a cause for separation. Sundry influences conspired
to produce it. Difference of language, still to a considerable extent
persisting and impeding joint debate, furnished a reason. Then there
was the effect of class-feeling, of which we have definite proof. Though
in the same assembly, the deputies from boroughs " sat apart both from
the barons and knights, who disdained to mix with such mean person-
ages " ; and probably these deputies themselves, little at case in pres-
ence of imposing superiors, preferred sitting separately. Moreover, it
was customary for the several estates to submit to taxes in different
proportions ; and this tended to entail consultation among the mem-
bers of each body by themselves. Finally, we read that " after they
(the deputies) had given their consent to the taxes required of them,
their business being then finished, they separated, even though the
Parliament still continued to sit, and to canvass the national business."
In which last fact we are clearly shown that, though aided by other
causes, unlikeness of duties was the essential cause which at length
VOL. XIX. — 38


produced a permanent separation between the representative body and
the consultative body.

Thus at first of little account, and growing in power only because
the free portion of the community occupied in production and distri-
bution grew in mass and importance, so that its petitions, treated with
increasing respect and more frequently yielded to, began to originate
legislation, the representative body came to be that part of the gov-
erning agency which more and more expresses the sentiments and ideas
of industrialism. While the monarch and upper house are the prod-
ucts of that ancient regime of compulsory cooperation, the spirit of
which they still manifest, though in decreasing degrees, the lower
house is the product of that modem regime of voluntary cooperation
which is replacing it ; and in an increasing degree this lower house
carries out the wishes of people habituated to a daily life regulated by
contract instead of by status.

To prevent misconception, it must be remarked before summing up,
that an account of representative bodies which have been in modern
days all at once created is not here called for. Colonial Legislatures,
consciously framed in conformity with traditions brought from the
mother-country, illustrate the genesis of senatorial and representative
bodies in but a restricted sense ; showing, as they do, how the struct-
ures of parent societies reproduce themselves in derived societies, so
far as materials and circumstances allow ; but not showing how these
structures were originated. Still less need we notice those cases in
which, after revolutions, peoples who have lived under despotisms are
led by imitation suddenly to establish representative bodies. Here we
are concerned only wnth the gradual evolution of such bodies.

Originally supreme, though passive, the third element in the triune
political structure, subjected more and more as militant activity devel-
ops its appropriate organization, begins to reacquire power when war
ceases to be chronic. Subordination relaxes as fast as it becomes less
imperative. Awe of the ruler, local or general, and accompanying
manifestations of fealty, decrease ; and especially so where the prestige
of supernatural origin dies out. Where the life is rural, the old rela-
tions long survive in qualified forms ; but clans or feudal groups clus-
tered together in towns, mingled with numbers of unattached immi-
grants, become in various ways less controllable ; while by their habits
their members are educated to increasing independence. The small
industrial groups, thus growing up within a nation consolidated and
organized by militancy, can but gradually diverge in nature from the
rest. For a long time they remain partially militant in their structures
and in their relations to other parts of the community. At first char-
tered towns stand substantially on the footing of fiefs, paying feudal
dues and owing military service. They form within themselves unions,
more or less coercive in character, for mutual protection. They often


carry on wars with adjacent nobles and with one another. They not
uncommonly form leagues for joint defense. And, where this semi-
militancy of towns is maintained, industrial development and accom-
l)anying increase of popular power are arrested.

But, where circumstances have favored manufacturing and commer-
cial activities and growth of the population devoted to them, this, as
it becomes a large component of the society, makes its influence felt.
The primary obligation to render money and service to the head of
the state, often reluctantly complied with, is resisted when the exac-
tions are great ; and resistance causes conciliatory measures. There
comes asking consent rather than resort to compulsion. If absence of
violent local antagonisms permits, then on occasions when the political
head, rousing anger by injustice, is also weakened by defections, there
comes cooperation with other classes of oppressed subjects. Men
originally delegated simply that they may authorize imposed burdens
are enabled, as the power behind them increases, more and more firmly
to insist on conditions ; and the growing practice of yielding to their
petitions, as a means to obtaining their aid, initiates the practice of
letting them share in legislation.

Finally, in virtue of the general law of organization that differ-
ence of functions entails differentiation and division of the parts per-
forming them, there comes a separation. At first summoned to the
national assembly for purposes partially like and partially unlike those
of its other members, the elected members show a segregating ten-
dency, which, where the industrial portion of the community continues
to gain power, ends in the formation of a representative body distinct
from the original consultative body.



'• We can not buy health ; we must deserve it." — Francis Bichat.

" "pi^EVENTIOX is better than cure and far cheaper," said John
-1- Locke, two hundred years ago ; and the history of medical
science has since made it more and more probable that, in a stricter
sense of the word, prevention is the only possible cure. By observing
the health laws of Nature, a sound constitution can be very easily pre-
served, but, if a violation of those laws has brought on a disease, all
we can do by way of " curing " that disease is to remove the cause ;
in other words, to jyrevent the continued operation of the predisposing


Suppressing the symptoms in any other way means only to change
the form of the disease,- or to postpone its crisis. Thus, mercurial
salves will cleanse the skin by driving the ulcers from the surface to
the interior of the body ; opiates stop a flux only by paralyzing the
bowels — i. e., turning their morbid activity into a morbid inactivity ;
the symptoms of pneumonia can be suppressed by bleeding the patient
till the exhausted system has to postpone the crisis of the disease.
This process, the " breaking up of a sickness," in the language of the
old-school allopathists, is therefore in reality only an interrupting of
it, a temporary interruption of the symptoms. We might as well try
to cure the sleepiness of a weary child by pinching its eyelids, or the
hunger of a whining dog by compressing his throat.

Drugs are not wholly useless. If my life depended upon a job of
work that had to be finished before morning, and the inclination to
fall asleep was getting irresistible, I should not hesitate to defy Nat-
ure, and keep myself awake with cup after cupful of strong black
coffee. If I were afilicted with a sore, spreading rapidly from my
temple toward my nose, I should suppress it by the shortest process,
even by deliberately producing a larger sore elsewhere, rather than
let the smaller one destroy my eyesight. There are also two or three
forms of disease which have (thus far) resisted all unmedicinal cures,
and can hardly be trusted to the healing powers of Nature — the lues
venerea^ scabies, and prurigo — because, as Claude Bernard suggests,
their symptoms are probably due to the agency of microscopic para-
sites, which oppose to the action of the vital forces a life-energy of
their own, or, as Dr. Jennings puts it, " because art has here to inter-
fere — not for the purpose of breaking up diseased action, but for the
removal of the cause of that action, the destruction of an active virus
that possesses the power of self-perpetuation beyond the dislodging
ability of Nature."

But with those rare exceptions it is better to direct our efforts
against the cause rather than the symptoms — i. e., in about ninety-nine
cases out of a hundred it is not only the safer but also the shorter way
to avoid drugs, reform our habits, and, for the rest, let Nature have
her course ; for, properly speaking, disease itself is a reconstructive
process, an expulsive effort, whose interruption compels Nature to do
double work ; to resume her operations against the ailment after ex-
pelling a worse enemy — the drug. If a drugged patient recovers, the
true explanation is that his constitution was strong enough to over-
come both the disease and the druggist.

Dr. Isaac Jennings,* the greatest pathologist (or, at least, patho-
gnoraist) of our century, was sadly misunderstood, chiefly, I believe,
because he called his method the "Let-alone Plan." Prevention Plan,
or Unmedicinal Cure, would have been a better word. Diseases do
not want to be let alone ; they call loudly for relief — not, though,
* Author of the " Treatise on Medical Reform."


from their own symptoms, which, in fact, are so many alarm-signals,
but from the obstacle which has forced the vital process to deviate
from its normal course. Pain, in all its forms, is an appeal for help,
and the urgency of the appeal corresponds to the degree of the dis-
tress ; probably, also, to the possibility of relieving that distress. A
deadly blow stuns — the vital forces yield without a struggle. The
last stage of pulmonary consumption is a comparatively painless cldi-
quium — when a conflagration grows uncontrollable, the alarm-bells
cease to ring. Yellow-fever doctors give up their patients for lost
when the burning headache changes into a lethargic stupor. The last
sensations of drowning, strangled, and freezing persons are said to be
rather pleasurable than otherwise. In certain cases the appeal for
help continues into an apparently hopeless stage of the disease. Ap-
parently, I say : Nature is too practical to waste her efforts on a for-
lorn hope ; her resistance yields to necessity ; and, when the art of
healing shall devote itself to the exegesis of disease rather than to the
exorcism of its symptoms, that rule will probably be found to apply to
pathology as well as to chemistry .and ethics.

All bodily ailments are more or less urgent appeals for help ; nor
can we doubt in what that help should consist. The more fully we
understand the nature of any disease, the more clearly we see that the
discovery of the cause means the discovery of the cure. Many sick-
nesses are caused by poisons, foisted upon the system under the name
of tonic beverages or remedial drugs ; the only cure is to eschew the
poison. Others, by habits more or less at variance with the health
laws of Nature ; to cure such we have to reform our habits. There is
nothing accidental, and rarely anything inevitable, about a disease ; we
can safely assume that nine out of ten complaints have been caused
and can be cured by the sufferers (or their nurses) themselves. " God
made man upright " ; every prostrating malady is a deviation from
the state of Nature. The infant, '* mewling and puking in its nurse's
arms," is an abnormal phenomenon. Infancy should be a period of
exceptional health ; the young of other creatures are healthier, as well
as prettier, purer, and merrier, than the adults, yet the childhood years
of the human animal are the years of sorest sickliness ; statistics show
that among the Caucasian races men of thirty have more hope to reach
a good old age than a new-bom child has to reach the end of its second
year. The reason is this : the health theories of the average Christian
man and woman are so egregiously wrong, that only the opposition of
their better instincts helps them — against their conscience, as it were
— to maintain the struggle for a tolerable existence with anything like
success, while the helpless infant has to conform to those theories —
with the above results.

'' I have long ceased to doubt," says Dr. Schrodt, " that, apart
from the effects of wounds, the chances of health or disease are
in our own hands ; and, if people knew only half the facts point-


ing that way, they would feel ashamed to be sick, or to have sick

A vestige of the hygienic insight which in savages appears to be a
gift of Nature, would, indeed, almost obviate the necessity of a treatise
on the diseases of infancy ; nay, wherever people have got rid of four
or five of the grossest physiological prejudices, the art of preserving
the health of a healthy-born child is even now a sort of intuition with
every true mother ; but nurses, physicians, and foster-parents, are often
called upon to mend the mistakes of their predecessors, and to under-
take a task whose less intuitive duties may be facilitated by some of
the following hints on remedial education :

Shakespeare's " mewling and puking " representative of babyhood
was probably overfed. The representative nurse believes in cram-
ming ; babies, like prize-pigs, are most admired when they are ready
to die with fatty degeneration. The child is coaxed to suckle almost
every half-hour, day after day, till habit begets a morbid appetite,
analogous to the dyspeptic's stomach distress which no food can relieve
till over-repletion brings on a sort of gastric lethargy.

" Many hand-fed infants, weighing about ten pounds, will swallow
one and a half quart of cow's milk in one day," says Dr. Page ; * " now,
considering the needs of a moderately working man to be equal in pro-
portion to size, a man weighing one hundred and fifty pounds should
take fifteen times the quantity swallowed by the infant, or twenty-two
and a half quarts — a quart for nearly every hour of the day and night ! "

Vomiting, restlessness, and gross fatness, are some of the symptoms
of the surfeit-disease, and its proper cure is — not soothing-sirups, but —
fasting. Four nursings a day are enough, five more than enough, and
the ejection of milk after suckling is a sure sign that the quantity
given at each meal should be diminished. A jnnt of milk a day is
about as much as a dyspeptic infant can really digest, and to cram it
merely in order to stop its crying is quite mistaking the cause of its
restlessness ; a half -starved child will not cry, because the languor of
insufficient nutrition is a pleasure compared with the gastric torments
of the surfeit-disease. Children actually perishing with hunger will
utter from time to time a peculiar sharp cry, almost like the call of a
hungry nest-bird, but the first mouthful of food makes them relapse
into a sort of dreamy silence.

There are nurslings who get at least four times more milk and pap
than they can possibly assimilate, and whose digestive organs have to
reject the surplus in a M'ay that would make life intolerable to an
adult, though most nurses seem to consider retching and " dripping " as
a normal phase of infant life.

Drugs only complicate the disorder : many children whose consti-
tution would have resisted the cramming process succumb to opiates,
" surfeit- water " and ipecacuanha ; but, unless foul dormitories still f ur-
* "How to feed a Baby to make it healthy and happy,'' p. 23.


ther aggravate the evil, each night generally undoes the mischief of the
day ; the child becomes plethoric with fat ; Nature has shifted the
burden from the vital organs to the tegumental tissues, and in hopes
of final relief manages to hold the fort of life against daily and com-
plicated attacks. Relief comes at last when the nursling is weaned
and reduced from ten or twelve to three meals a day. The after-
effects of medication may retard recovery for a while, but, the main
cause being removed, the morbid symptoms disappear in the course of
four or five months.

A less frequent but (through gross maltreatment) often more
dangerous disease is scrofula, the cachectic degeneration of the hu-
mors resulting from the combined influence of unwholesome food
and foul air. In the rural districts of our milk and corn-bread States
scrofulous children are as rare as white wolves in the tropics ; in
Northern Europe the disease is now far less prevalent than formerly ;
and the operatives of our large cities, in spite of their wretched habi-
tations, might avoid it altogether,- or at least obviate its more serious
consequences, but for the fatuous quackery which so often turns a tran-
sient skin-disease into a chronic lung-complaint. In the middle ages,
when science was at its lowest ebb and supernaturalism in full tide,
the " king's-evil " was considered an almost unavoidable disease,
resisting all common remedies and yielding only to the mandate of
royalty — the touch of a legitimate king, supplemented by the manda-
mus of a clerical exorcist. In the fifteenth century from eight to
twelve thousand families per year performed long journeys to the Eng-
lish capital ; Charles II, in the course of his reign, touched near a
hundred thousand persons. The days on which the miracle was to be
wrought were solemnly notified by the clergy of all parish churches
(Macaulay's " History of England," Chapter XIV). Traveling was ex-
pensive in those days, and, scrofula being distinctively a disease of the
poor, nine out of ten patients of the royal doctor had probably come
:ifoot, and often from distances which suggest the explanation of the
marvelous cures : the pilgrims left the pest-air of their hovels behind,
and Nature availed herself of the respite, as she improves a temporary

Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 75 of 110)