connected with those services which must ever be remembered with honor: in the navy we have such men as Lind, Blane, Trotter, Burnett, etc.; and in the army, Pringle, one of the most philosophical physicians who ever lived; Brocklesby, Fergusson, McGrigor, and a host of others. The labors of the late Sir Alexander Tulloch, Deputy Inspector-General Marshall, and Assistant-Surgeon (now Surgeon General) Balfour, in collecting and arranging the army statistics, were of the highest value, and it is not too much to say that the publication of the first army medical statistical report marked an epoch in hygiene, especially in that part that deals with climatology. It exposed the fallacy of the common notions of acclimatization, of the advantages of a seasoning fever, and similar ideas. It showed also that it was possible for men of temperate habits and in hygienic conditions to live and thrive in the tropics, while the death and sickness that were unfortunately so common were due much more to the ignorance and folly of man than the influence of climate in any form. The truth of that is to be seen now when life in the West Indies is actually healthier, especially for young soldiers, than service at home, whereas sixty years ago a tour of service there was looked upon as almost a sentence of death. It is true we have still yellow fever to combat, but we know now much better how to deal with it when it does come, and how to obviate its invasion when it is threatened. The army medical statistics are continued now yearly, but it is a matter of regret that they have been allowed to be published in so abstract and undetailed a shape as to deprive them of much of their utility. It is to be hoped that this mistake may be remedied, and that the saving of a trifling sum, which is said to be the reason, may be recognized as a truly false economy. But perhaps the most remarkable contribution the army has made to sanitation has been by the evidence given to the Royal Commission of 1857, which met after the Crimean War to investigate the causes of the sickness and mortality of our troops. The results of that commission are well known, and from its publication may be dated the reforms which have been productive of much advantage both to our own and foreign armies, and to the civil population as well. The paramount influence of foul air in the production of lung-disease was proved to demonstration, and the art of ventilation was placed upon a secure foundation. The Barrack Hospital Committee, of which Dr. Sutherland and Captain Douglas Galton were the active members, laid down a series of regulations for the construction of barracks and hospitals, which have been followed with the utmost benefit both at home and abroad. Following this came the Indian Commission, which did for that vast dependency what the Home Commission had done for the rest of the empire. The mortality in India was found to be inordinate, and it was equally clearly traced to insanitary habits and surroundings. To recognize an evil and its cause is half-way to curing it, and after a
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/679
THE GROWTH OF HYGIENIC SCIENCE.