Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/443

This page has been validated.

and it has been made not merely a study for information, but a study for discipline. And here let me say that, as a starting-point for scientific studies, the study of Hygiene and of Sanitary Science seems to me to have great value. It is not, perhaps, the best point theoretically from which to start, but practically it has been found to be as good as any other.

Next, as to instruction in our Medical Colleges, I speak here with great diffidence, for there are those about me more competent to discourse on this subject than I am. I am well aware that all the effective knowledge that is given to sanitary science in the country, so far as its advanced branches are concerned, is now given in the medical colleges. But it seems to me that not yet is sufficient place given for good instruction in Public Hygiene—sufficient study of that kind which gives to town authorities, county authorities, State authorities, the national authority, a body of experts who can be relied upon in various public emergencies, or, indeed, for ordinary care of public health.

Next, as to instruction in Departments of Engineering, and in our Scientific, Polytechnic, and Technological institutions. Within the past twenty-five years there has been created a science of Sanitary Engineering. I say within the past twenty-five years, although I know that engineering, even in ancient times, had frequent reference to sanitary considerations. Any one who has walked along the Tiber at Rome, as far as the mouth of the Cloaca Maxima, is well aware of that; but it is within the past twenty-five years that the science has been placed on solid foundations. Vital statistics have shown the effects of the introduction of sunlight, of pure water, and air, into our dwellings and cities, and engineering has shown us the best methods of introducing them. Any one who will take up the recent work on this subject by Mr. Baldwin Latham will see what great conquest has here been made. The statistics show that, of seven leading towns and districts in England, such as Croydon, Ely, Salisbury, and others, where careful and thorough modes of sewerage prevail, the percentage of deaths has been reduced from forty to twenty per cent. I also see, from calculations made on the basis of Dr. Allen's tables, that there is a saving to these districts pecuniarily. Taking into view the fact that, for every death prevented, about twenty cases of disease are prevented, I will say that, judged even from a cold financial point of view, the result has been magnificent. What the result would be by good modes of sanitary engineering may be judged from the statement in Dr. Lionel Beales's book on "Disease Germs," which is, that by a good system of sewerage 100,000 lives might be saved annually in England.

But I am aware of the opposition that will be made to any attempt to introduce these studies. First, it will be said that there is little material in this subject for advanced instruction, and that we know