D. S. (David Samuel) Margoliouth.

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Pxihnonary consumption, in its early stages, is perhaps the most
curable of all chronic diseases. The records of the dissecting-room
prove that in numerous cases lungs, wasted to one half of their normal
size, have been healed, and, after a perfect cicatrization of the tuber-
culous ulcers, have for years performed all the essential functions of


the sound organ. Still, the actual waste of tissue is never perfectly-
repaired, and fragmentary lungs, supplying the undiminished wants of
the whole organism, must necessarily do double work, and will be less
able to respond to the demands of an abnormal exigency. But the
lungs of a young child of consumptive parents are sound, though very
sensitive, and, if the climacteric of the first teens has been passed in
safety, or without too serious damage, the problem becomes reduced
to the work of preservation and invigoration : the all but intact lungs
of the healthy child can be more perfectly redeemed than the rudi-
mentary organs of the far-gone consumptive ; the phthisical taint can
be more entirely eliminated and the respiratory apparatus strengthened
to the degree of becoming the most vigorous part of the organism.
The poet Goethe, afflicted in his childhood with spitting of blood and
other hectic symptoms, thus completely redeemed himself by a judi-
cious system of self-culture. Chateaubriand, a child of consumptive
parents, steeled his constitution by traveling and fasting, and reached
his eightieth year. By a relapse into imprudent habits, the latent
spark, which under such circumstances seems to defy the eliminative
efforts of half a century, may at any time be fanned into life-consum-
ing flames, but in ninety-nine out of a hundred cases it will be found
that the first improvement followed upon a change from a sedentary
to an out-door and active mode of life. Impure air is the original
cause of pulmonary consumption ("pulmonary scrofula," as Dr. Haller
used to call it), and out-door life the only radical cure. The first symp-
toms of consumption are not easy to distinguish from those transient
affections of the upper air-passages which are undoubtedly due to long
confinement in a vitiated atmosphere : hoarseness, and a dry, rasping
cough, rapid pulse, and general lassitude. Spitting of blood and pains
in the chest are more characteristic symptoms, but the crucial test is
the degree in which the respiratory functions are accelerated by any
unusual effort. A common catarrh will not prevent a man from run-
ning up-stairs or walking up-hill for minutes together, without anything
like visible distress ; subjected to the same test, a person whose lungs
are studded with tubercles will pant like a swimmer after a long dive,
and his pulse will rise from an average of G5 to 110 and even 140
beats per minute. Combined with a hectic flush of the face, night-
sweats, or general emaciation, shortness of breath leaves no doubt that
the person thus affected is in the first stage of pulmonary consump-
tion. If the patient were my son, I should remove the windows of his
bedroom, and make him pass his days in the open air — as a cow-boy or
berry-gatherer, if he could do no better. In case the disease had
reached its chliquium period, the stage of violent bowel-complaints,
dropsical swellings, and utter prostration, it would be better to let the
sufferer die in peace, but, as long as he were able to digest a frugal
meal and walk two miles on level ground, I should begin the out-door
cure at any time of the year, and stake my own life on the result. I



>lioiild provide Liiu with clothing enough to defy the vicissitudes of
the seasons, and keep him out-doors in all kinds of weather — walking,
riding, or sitting ; he would be safe : the fresh air would prevent the
2)rof/ress of the disease. But improve he could not without exercise.
Increased exercise is the price of increased vigor. Running and walk-
ing steel the leg-sinews. In order to strengthen his wrist-joints a
man must handle heavy weights. Almost any bodily exercise — but
especially SAvinging, wood-chopping, carrying weights, and walking up-
hill — increases the action of the lungs, and thus gradually their func-
tional vigor. Gymnastics that expand the chest facilitate the ac-
tion of the respiratory organs, and have the collateral advantage of
strengthening the sinews, and invigorating the system in general, by
accelerating every function of the vital process. The exjjonents of
the movement-cure give a long list of athletic evolutions, warranted to
widen out the chest as infallibly as French-horn practice expands the
cheeks. But the trouble with such machine-exercises is that they are
almost sure to be discontinued as soon as they have relieved a momen-
tary distress, and, as Dr. Pitcher remarks in his " Memoirs of the Osage
Indians," the symptoms of consumption (caused by smoking and con-
finement in winter quarters) disappear during their annual buffalo-
hunt, but reappear upon their return to the indolent life of the wig-
wam. The problem is to make out-door exercise pleasant enough to
be permanently preferable to the far niente whose sweets seem espe-
cially tempting to consumptives. This pui-pose accomplished, the
steady progress of convalescence is generally insured, for the differ-
ences of climate, latitude, and altitude, of age and previous habits, al-
most disappear before the advantages of an habitual out-door life over
the healthiest in-door occupations.

A tubercular diathesis inherited from both parents need not be
considered an insuperable obstacle to a successful issue of the cure.

The family of my old colleague, Dr. G , of Namur, adopted a

young relative who had lost his parents and his only brother by febrile
consumption, and Avas supposed to be in an advanced stage of the
same disease. The Antwerp doctors had given him up, his complaint
having reached the stage of night-sweats and hectic chills, and, though
by no means resigned to the verdict of the medical tribunal, he had
an unfortunate aversion to anything like rough physical exercise. But
his uncle, having from personal experience a supreme faith in the effi-
cacy of the open-air cure, set about to study the character of the
youngster, and finally hit upon a plan which resulted in the proudest
triumph of his professional career. Pierre Avas neither a sportsman
nor much of an amateur naturalist, but he had a fair share of what
our phrenologists call " construct iveness" — could Avhittle out ingenious
toys and make useful garden-chairs from cudgels and scraps of old
iron. That proved a sufficient base of operations. The doctor had no
farm of his OAvn, and the onlv real estate in the market was a lot of


poor old pastures on a sparsely wooded slope of the Ardennes. Of
this pasture-land he bought some ten or twelve acres, including a hill-
top with a few shade-trees and a fine view toward the valley of the
Sambre. At the first opportunity one of Pierre's garden-chairs was
sent up to the lookout point, but rain and rough usage soon reduced
it to its component elements — scrap-iron and loose cudgels. Pierre
volunteered to repair it, and was supplied with such a variety of ma-
terial and tools that he made two moi-e chairs, and while he was about
it also a rustic round-table with a center-hole, corresponding to the
diameter of one of the shade-trees. The hill was only two miles

from town, and soon became a favorite evening resort of the G

family ; but the road was rather steep, and Mrs. G appealed to the

ingenuity of her constructive nephew : could he not try and make a
winding trail by knocking some of the rocks and bushes out of the
way ? Pierre tried, and his success, the uncle declared, proved him
and intuitive engineer, the peer of Haussmann and Brunei. That new
road had so increased the value of the old pasture that it would be
worth while to put up a pavilion and make it a regular hill-top resort.
The only drawback upon the advantage of its situation was the want
of good drinking-water ; but there was a sort of a spring in an adjoin-
ing pasture on the opposite slope of the ridge : would Pierre make an
estimate of the number of bricks requisite to wall it up and keep the
cattle from muddling it ? The requisition proved an under-estimate,
but Pierre made up the deficiency by collecting a lot of passably
square stones. The water now became drinkable, and somehow the
rumor got abroad that Pierre had discovered the spring, whereupon
his uncle's neighbor urged him to exercise his talent for the benefit of
his valley-meadow, in all but the want of water the best pasture in the
parish. Pierre selected a spot where a lot of day-laborers were set to
work and actually struck water — by digging deep enough. The grati-
tude of the farmer was almost too demonstrative for the modest lad,
who, however, agreed with his uncle that a talent of that sort might
make its possessor a public benefactor, and ov;ght to be cultivated.
Would Pierre undertake to locate a Avell on his uncle's hill-pasture, a
little nearer to the lookout point ? The bi'ick-spi-ing was too far down,
and it would be so convenient to have water on one's own premises !
Judging from analogies, the young hydrologist fixed upon a spot at
the junction of two ravines, but too near the upper boundary of
arboreal vegetation, and after digging down to a stratum of dry sand-
stone detritus, the workmen gave up the job in disgust. But Pierre
himself would not yield his point, and offered to dig the well alone if
they would give him time, and a boy to turn the windlass of the sand-
bucket. His wish was granted, and before he had been a week at
work, his asthma had left him, his digestion improved, and his appetite
became ravenous. The well-project had finally to be relinquished, but
his uncle consoled him by jiurchasing the adjoining lot and letting him


make a winding road from the brick-spring to the hill-toii. The roa(J^
was built, but Pierre indorsed the opinion of a professional engineer
that the well-hole, too, would be full of water if the woods of the
upper ridge had not been so ruthlessly destroyed and that the replant-
ing of forest-trees along the line of the subterranean water-courses
would not only replenish the springs but redeem the arid pastures of
the foot-hills. The doctor conti'overted that point, but — just for the
sake of experiment — procured a hundred beech-tree saplings, which
Pierre planted and watered with untiring assiduity. Some sixty per
cent, of the trees took root, to the unending astonishment of the uncle,
who now declared that his confidence in the fertility of the ridge-land
had increased to a degree which encouraged him to try his luck with
orchard-trees. They procured a lot of young apple, almond, and apri-
cot trees, about two hundred of each, and planted them along the line
of the suppositive water-courses. Pierre superintended the work, and
was kept so bixsy for the next eighteen months that he had no time to
be sick for a single day. The boy that was given up by the Antwerp
doctors is now a well-to-do horticulturist, able to climb without a stop
the steepest ridge in the Ardennes and to fell a forty-years oak-tree in
twenty minutes !

In the beginning of this chapter I have mentioned two forms of
disease which, thus far, have not proved amenable to the hygienic
(non-medicinal) mode of treatment, though it has already been ascer-
tained that a mild vegetable demulcent — sarsaparilla, for instance — is
as efficacious in those cases as the virulent mercurials of the old school.
Antidotes and certain anodynes will, perhaps, also hold their own till
we find a way of producing their effects by mechanical means. But,
with these few exceptions, I will venture the prediction that, before
the middle of the twentieth century, the internal use of drugs will be
discarded by all intelligent physicians.

" If we reflect upon the obstinate health of animals and savages,"
says Dr. Schrodt, " upon the rapidity of their recovery from injuries
that defy all the mixtures of materia medica ; also upon the fact that
the homoeopathists cure their patients with milk-sugar and" mummery,
the prayer-Christians with mummery without milk-sugar, and my fol-
lowers with a milk-diet without sugar or mummery — the conclusion
forces itself upon us that the entire system of therapeutics is founded
upon an erroneous view of disease."

And, moreover, I believe that the chief error can be accounted for :
it is founded upon our erroneous view of the cause and cure of evil in
general. Translated into plain speech, the foundation-principle of our
system of ethics is this : that all natural things, especially our natural
instincts, are essentially evil, and that salvation depends upon myste-
rious, anti-natural, and even supernatural remedies. This bottom-
error has long biased all our physical and metaphysical theories. The
use of our reasoning powers is naturally as agreeable as the exercise of


any other normal function : the anti-naturalists declared war against
free inquiry, assured us that the study of logic and natural science is
highly dangerous, and that the seeker after truth must content himself
with the light of ghostly revelations. "We have since ascertained that
the ghosts are grossly ignorant of all terrestrial concernments, and
that their reports on the supramundane state of affairs are, to say the
least, suspiciously conflicting.

In all but the vilest creatures the love of freedom is as powerful as
the instinct of self-preservation : the anti-naturalists inculcated the
dogma of implicit submission to secular and spiritual authorities. The
experiment was tried on the grandest scale, and the result has demon-
strated that blind faith leads to idiocy, and that absolute monarcbs
must be absolutely abolished.

The testimony of our noses justifies the opinion that fresh air is
preferable to prison-smells ; the anti-naturalists informed us that at
various seasons of the year, and every night, the out-door atmosphere
becomes raortiferous, and that sleepers and invalids ought to be con-
fined in air-tight apartments. We believed, till we found that the
most implicit believers got rotten with scrofula.

Animals seem to live and thrive on the principle that palatable
food recommends itself to the stomach, and that repulsive things ought
to be avoided. The anti-naturalists reversed the maxim, and assured us
that sweetmeats, uncooked vegetables, cold water, drunk when it tastes
best — i. e., on a warm day — raw fruit, etc., are the causes of countless
diseases, and that the execrable taste of a drug is not the least argu-
ment against its salubriousness. During the middle ages parents used
to dose their children with brimstone and calomel, " to purify their
blood," and, for the same purpose, the most nauseous mineral springs
of every country are still pumped and bottled for the benefit of in-
valids. There is not a poison known to chemistry or botany but has
been, and is still, daily prescribed as a health-giving substance, and, in
the form of pills, drops, or powders, foisted upon a host of help-seek-
ing invalids. But, since the revival of free inquiry, we have compared
the statements of ancient historians and modern travelers, and it ap-
pears that the healthiest nations on earth have preserved their health
on the principle that guides our dumb fellow-creatures, and would
guide our children if they were permitted to follow their inclinations.
An overwhelming testimony of facts has proved that the diseases of
the human race can be cured easier without poison-drugs — easier in
the very degree that would suggest the suspicion that every ounce of
poison ever swallowed for remedial purposes has increased the weight
of human misery.* And that same suspicion is forced upon us by

* " It is unnecessary for my present purpose to give a particular account of the results
of homoeopathy ; . . . what I now claim with respect to it is, that a wise and beneficent
Providence is using it to expose and break up a deep delusion. In the results of homoeo-
pathic practice, we have evidence in amount, and of a character sufBcient, most incontestably



very cogent a jviori reasons. If the testimony of our senses helps us
to select our proper food, and warns us against injurious substances,
have we any reason to suppose that such salutary intuitions forsake us
at the time of the greatest need — in the hour of our struggle with a
life-endangering disease ? Shall we believe that at such times our
sense of taste xcarns us against salubrious substances ? And does it
not urgently warn us against ninety-nine out of a hundred "medi-
cines " ? Shall the sick believe that an all- wise Creator has staked the
chances of their recovery upon the accident of their acquaintance with
Dr. Quack's Quinine Bitters or Puff & Co.'s Purgative Pills ? Yet, is
it possible to mistake the analogy between the remedial theories of
our nostrum-mongers and the alleged moral "plan of salvation"?
Is not the key-note of the Semitic dogma, mistrust of our natural in-
stincts and reliance upon abnormal remedies — mummeries, mysteries,
and miracles ?

Poison-mongers, physical or spiritual, will cease to be in request
whenever their customers begin to suspect that this world of ours is
governed by laws, and not by special acts of intervention ; that sick-
ness can be cured only by conformity to those laws, and not by drugs
and prayers — i. e., anti natural and supernatural remedies. To the
children of Xature all good things are attractive, all evil repulsive :
the laws of God proclaim and avenge themselves ; the Author of this
logically-ordered universe can never have intended that our salvation
should depend upon the accident of our acquaintance with the dogmas
of an isolated act of revelation ; and, as surely as the germ of the hid-
den seed-corn finds its way through night to light, the unaided in-
stincts of the lowliest islander would guide him safely on the path of
moral and physical welfare.

These words would be truisms if Truth had not been a contraband
for the last eighteen hundred years : To nine tenths of our Christian
contemporaries God's most authentic revelation is still a sealed book ;
and, before any reformer can hope to turn this chaos of vice, supersti-
tion, and quackery, into anything like a cosmos, he must convince his
fellow-men that the study of Nature has to supersede the worship of
miracles, even though that conviction should imply that the funda-
mental dogmas of our priest-religion are perniciously false.

to establish the fact that disease is a restorative operation, or renovating process, and that
medicine has deceived us. The evidence is full and complete. It does not consist merely
of a few isolated cases, whose recovery might be attributed to fortuitous circumstances,
but it is a chain of testimony fortified by every possible circumstance. ... All kinds and
grades of disease have passed under the ordeal, and all classes and characters of persons
have been concerned in the experiment as patients or witnesses; . . . while the process of
infinitesimally attenuating the drugs used was carried to such a ridiculous extent that no
one will, on sober reflection, attribute an>/ portion of the aire to the medicine. I claim,
then, that homa?opathy may be regarded as a providential sealing of the fate of old
medical views and practice." — (Isaac .TciuiinL's. M. D.. " Medical Reform," p. 247.)





THE mortality tables, forming the theoretical basis of life insurance,
having been explained, it remains to be shown how they are em-
ployed in practice. There is a fundamental difference between life
and fire or marine insurance that must first be considered. The hazard
attaching to a building or a ship may remain unchanged for a very
long term of years, and the rate of premium once determined need not
be altered. Such property is usually insured for one year at a time,
and renewed as often as desirable. But the same methods can not be
applied to human life. If the policy were to terminate annually, and
a new examination could be demanded, many persons whose health
had become impaired would be declined at the beginning of every new
year. Then, as has been shown, from a very young age, upward, the
rate of mortality constantly increases. That Avould necessitate a higher
premium charge from year to year, so that, finally, a person who should
be fortunate enough to reach the highest age of the table would have
to pay one hundred per cent, for that one year. It requires no argu-
ment to prove such a system impracticable, and therefore the plan of
fixing one uniform periodic premium for the whole term of the pro-
posed insurance has been adopted.

The following table shows, in one column, the amount of net
premium that must be paid at the beginning of every year to insure
61,000 for that year ; and, in the other column, the equal net annual
premium to insure for life.

By net premium is meant the amount calculated from a certain
mortality table, and rate of interest, without any addition for expenses.

In all illustrations hereafter given the American Experience Table
and four and a half per cent, interest will be employed, that being the
official standard for the State of New York.


Net premium

Net annual



Net premium

Net annual

for one year.

premium for life.

for oue year.

premium for life.


67 47

$11 97


625 64

654 14


1 51

12 23


69 61

97 00


7 67

12 50


138 24

188 20


4.34 96

494 33


8 06

lo 34


820 22

836 69


9 37

21 30


956 93

956 93


13 19

32 49

From this table it appears that, to insure 61,000 for one year at a
time, it would cost 67.47 at age 20, and that the amount would have
to be continually increased, until at age 90 it would be 6434.96, while




the same purpose would be accomplished for an equal annual premium
of $11.97. The somewhat larger expense in the earlier years of in-
surance avoids the necessity of enormous charges at the high ages.

The method of arriving at the equal annual premium is based upon
very plain reasoning, and can be explained in a simple manner.

Let us assume, with the American Experience Table, that, out of
100,000 persons at age 10, there remain 847 living at age 90, and that
they die, according to the table, as follows :


Number living.

Number of





462 ;












3 i




Were these 847 to form an association, based on the condition that
the payments remain equal throughout, and be collected from the
survivors at the beginning of each year, and that $1 be paid at the
death of each member, there would be 1,628 contributions during the
whole period, to provide for 847 death-claims. The requisite annual
premium would therefore be ^V^V ^^ ^ dollar, or 80.52037 (52 + cents).
Let us examine the working of this fund :

Age 90— living, 847 x -52027= contributions $440 67

Death-claims a85 00

Balance $55 67

Age 91— living, 462 x "52027= contributions $240 37

Balance 55 67

§296 04
Death-claims 246 00

Balance $50 04

Age 92— living, 216 x -52027= contributions $112 38

Balance 50 04

$162 42
Death-claims 137 00

Balance $25 42

Age 93— living, 79 X 52027= contributions $41 10

Balance 25 42

$66 52
Death-chiims 58 00

Balaniv $8 52


Age 94 — living, 21 x -52027= contributions


SIO 92

8 52


§19 44
18 00


Age 95— living, 3 x -52027= contributions


§1 50

1 44



$3 GO
3 00

One important element, however, the investment of money at in-
terest, has been omitted in the above illustration, and will be intro-
duced now. It has already been stated that premiums are payable at
the beginning, while death-claims are due at the end, of the same year.
To bring these different amounts and dates to a common basis we
must determine the present value of each, at the age at which the in-

Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 92 of 110)