Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/807

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RECLAMATION OF MALARIOUS COUNTRIES.

all competitors. That some one competent, and of influence sufficient to direct such a movement, may shortly arise, is not altogether improbable, for already the president of one of the great Eastern trunk lines, when recently recapitulating what his board of management had done to cultivate such attachment in its employés, said:

"I hope to see the day when this society will be extended into a great cooperative association; when the men in this service will individually have pecuniary interests in this vast property; when the men who run the trains and operate the machinery, and all others having steady employment, will be part owners in this great corporation; when they will in every sense be identified with and form a part of this company."

 

TOMMASI-CRUDELI ON MALARIOUS COUNTRIES, AND THEIR RECLAMATION.[1]

DISMISSING from scientific terminology the words "marsh miasm" and "marsh soil," and replacing them by "malaria" and "malarious soil," the author traces the fever-poison thus indicated to "an agent which can infect the soil of any country, however that soil may differ from other soils in hydrographical and topographical conditions and geological composition."

This agent is a living organism inferred to exist long before microscopy. That its character should remain uniform in soils the most diverse proves that it can not result from the chemical reaction of these soils. This persistent uniformity is easily understood on the admission that malaria is due to a fermentative organism which finds conditions favorable to its life and its multiplication in soils the most various, as is the case with thousands of other organisms much higher than the rudimentary vegetations which constitute living ferments.

The increasing intensity of the poison in malarious soils abandoned to themselves is especially demonstrable in Italy. Etruscan and Latin cities Rome herself arose in malarious regions, and they flourished mainly on account of the soil reclamation, which in the course of centuries diminished the production of the poison, without, however, succeeding in wholly suppressing it. The abandonment of the reclaiming processes led to the redevelopment of the poison first during the Roman domination in the conquered and devastated Etruria, afterward in Rome herself on the fall of the empire, and finally in Southern Italy. This redevelopment of malaria in the Roman Campagna has been witnessed in times not very remote from ours, localities where it was possible to enjoy summer residence (villeggiatura) having at that season become uninhabitable. In these localities the physical condi-

  1. Abstract by the "Lancet" from an article published in the "Nuova Antologia."