Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/664

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its so-called elasticity or bracing properties is yet undetermined. That it is continually fluctuating, and that it varies considerably at different places, is known. When instruments shall have been devised by which this element can be accurately recorded, we may then discover that those climates which are termed bracing possess special peculiarities as to electrical distribution.

We then estimate the climate of Eastern Florida to be mild in winter temperature, moist, sunshiny, relaxing, and for an American climate equable, though not to be compared in this respect with the Genoese Riviera.

What is the value of this climate in the treatment of disease?

We will first consider that scourge of overcrowded populations—consumption—a disease which is limited to no zone, and for which the benefit of change of climate is most frequently sought. The discoveries of Koch, of Berlin, in his researches on the cause of this disease, may, if they are satisfactorily confirmed, enable us in the future to interpose barriers to its invasion. They may also enable us to eliminate "taking cold" as one of the causes of consumption. But they will not change the nature of the bacillus tuberculosis, the habits of which, although itself unknown, have been familiar to the world for many centuries. Persons of feeble constitution, whether hereditary or acquired, will still be the subjects of its incursion, and the disease engendered by its presence will require the same treatment as heretofore, unless happily we find a remedy which will destroy these morbific germs in situ, and thus, by relieving the patient of the exciting cause, lead to immediate recovery.

It is not necessary to cite authorities to show that the prime need of a consumptive is that he shall be a great deal out-of-doors, that he shall breathe pure air, that he shall exercise, that his entire physical organization shall be invigorated. Is the climate of Florida fitted to do this? I answer, No! The climate is simply and delightfully soothing. Being so—being moist and relaxing—it will cause tuberculous deposits to disintegrate rapidly. Expectoration will be increased, and there will be no rally of the system to oppose this new call upon the strength. Instead of exercising freely and expanding his lungs as he should, the consumptive invalid will sit listlessly on the piazzas of the hotels, awaiting his fate. Hundreds are seen, wherever you go, so doing. Seldom do you see one attempting to exercise, and, if one is seen, he is moving in that sluggish and apathetic manner so characteristic of every one living there.

It is unfortunate that, of the thousands of consumptives who go to Florida, we can get no reliable statistics of the result. The people of Florida, the owners of the soil, the railroad and steamboat owners and agents, the hotel-keepers, the physicians residing there, are all so much interested personally in the prosperity of the State, which, since the close of the war, has been opened up like a newly-discovered country,