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corrupt body and eoul—is to utter only simple truth. To assert that its endemic influences add forty per cent, to our bills of mortality, sixty per cent, to our pauperism, seventy per cent, to our local crime, would be but the iteration of truisms. To describe it as a gangrene of the social membrane, as a "goitre" (so to speak) upon our community's body, would be but a suggestion of superficial venom and hideousness. For our tenant-house cancer is not merely protrusive; in fact, it does not protrude enough, therefore we lose sight of it; but it is a polypus, secretly and constantly renewing its virus—fatally expansive for mischief, and accretive of all mischievous elements. "It doth make the meat it feeds on."
We do not propose to deal rhetorically with our tenant-house, its incubations, or its progenies. Here it is, in our midst, quite equal to the task of telling its own story eloquently, in mortality-bills, crime-dockets, and the records of pauperism. We are content to marshal facts and array statistics, letting them fight their own battle against prejudice or indifference. Beginning at the social base, we encounter thousands of dwellers in cellars six feet or more underground—cellars that are not simply dark, impure abodes, but clammy, mouldy, obscene abysses, invaded periodically by tide-water, or submerged by drainage of the soil. Life rots in them: seventy per cent, of children born in their gloom perish within five years; many of the residue survive only as victims to future typhoid, rheumatism, hip, or bowel affections. These cellar-born children have pallid skins rickety limbs, watery blood. Hygrometric scrutiny of the holes they inhabit shows a condition of atmosphere actively destructive by night and by day—day, indeed, with its aircurrents and sunshine, is unknown to our city troglodytes. Crawling out of their burrows, Into narrow lanes, close-pent by high walls, they may catch occasional glimpses of the blue sky, just as the cretins and cagots of sunless Alpine chasms may get sight of a heaven far above them. Indeed, our cellar-dwellers have much in common with the cretins. They are not afflicted with goitre or elephantiasis; they do not transmit leprosy and idiocy; but they exhibit the incipient effects of the same destitution of sunlight and proper air which engenders cretinism and its revolting monstrosities. Darkness, moisture, and squalor in our subterrene tenements are constantly operative, producing scrofula, rickets, ophthalmia and erysipelas. We need no subtler agent of disease than darkness alone. All foul or loathsome forms of life or decay multiply under its curtain. Where heaven's sunbeams enter not, health cannot survive. Epidemics are sure to fasten, with deadliest gripe, on the inhabitants of dark, close localities. The sunny side of a street has been known to escape a pestilential visitation which decimated the population opposite. As we find the negro and Indian drinking strength from the solar rays which they delight to bask in, so surely may
we discover our cellar-dwellers emasculated by the dank and putrid emanations of their living tombs.
A traveller visiting Lyons, in France, will notice long lines of stumps bordering on the river; remains of giant trees, which formerly adorned the landscape. Their naked, blasted appearance might indicate the locality of a great conflagration, or the scene of conflict during war. But on inquiry it was found that the fumes of a neighbouring vitriol factory have silently, stealthily, but with deadly influence, destroyed the trees, as effectually as if a cannonade had levelled them to the ground.
Within the limits of our city there exist factories of poison more malignant than the fumes of vitriol, and their tendency, nay, their constant effect is to dwarf, stunt, and kill—not trees, but human beings; more actively destructive than the Lyons laboratory, and operating every hour, both of day and night.
In many localities it appears as if no supervision were ever contemplated. Entire streets seem to be given over to the dominion of dirt. "Fever-nests," where typhoid infection is bred by miasmatic sewers, and "small-pox circles," where loathsome contagion riots on foul house gases and decomposed garbage, horrify the explorer in these quarters. Filth destroys each year its thousands of men, women, and children in our city, as surely as vitriol killed those trees in Lyons. Thirty per cent, of our whole mortality rises from preventible disease. What army, even in an open country and well fed, would not be ravaged by disease under such conditions? But we have numberless aggravations of the packing process. All descriptions of noxious surroundings besiege our tenant-house population. Slaughter-houses, fat-boiling concerns, and similar nuisances, are scattered in the vicinity of populous neighbourhoods. Vegetable decay, animal putrefaction, quite as deleterious as vitriol exhalations, are heaped in dust-bins through many of our streets and back-areas. There are no vigilant police to remove them: no officer of the day responsible for their extirpation. We have no Sanitary Department in the city at all commensurate with what the name implies.
We are, with good reason, alarmed at the occasional encroachments upon local health and comfort by the erection of chemical works, furnaces, glue-factories, and kindred nuisances near our private dwellings. We feel properly aggrieved when one of the slaughter-houses distributed through densely populated neighbourhoods casts forth its noisome stenches " betwixt the wind and our nobility." We can trace a fatal connection between the slow fever which robbed us of a darling child or a dear wife, and that sickening effluvium of which our beloved one had so often complained, as invading the windows. We have a right to complain of the official neglect which allows compost grounds, brickfields, &c, &c, &c, to be permanently located within a few hundred yards of our decent and respectable dwellings. But though ail these nuisances are intolerable, and, in their measure, deadly foes to public health, they cannot be compared, for a moment, with the incessantly-active, ever-malignant forces of death that are ejected constantly from those "laboratories of poison," the tenant-houses. Not isolated, like factories, but agglomerated in certain districts, these building-anomalies not only compress, torture, and murder their wretched inmates, but actually have power to make those inmates the involuntary murderers of their innocent fellow-citizens who dwell elsewhere. Through the potent chemistry of stagnant air, darkness, damp, and filth, these terrible structures are able to create miasmatic poisons that beleaguer both the daily and nightly existence of their unhappy occupants. Entering every pore, fastening on every sense, clinging to every tissue, these tenant-bouse poisons, thus chemically combined, become prolific agents of disease ; developing whatsoever morbific germs may already lurk In the human system. The germs, in their turn, become a portion of the local poison. Disease multiplies its agencies. Corruption, decay, mortality, give out their atoms. All these forces concentrating under tenanthouse roofs,working latently within the precincts of narrow dens, which the sun enters not, where tbe air cannot circulate—constituting in their combination a battery of subtile gases—does it require a scientific disquisition to demonstrate what must be their natural effects upon all surroundings i Let our local epidemics, our chronic diseases answer.
It is a fact, that long and bloody national conflicts are usually precursors of virulent and fatal visitation of disease. Epidemics encamp behind armies. Pestilence is the rearguard of war. In the pages of Thucydides we find harrowing pictures of that dread infection which clung to the skirts of Athens during her Peloponnesian war, fulfilling the oracular prediction that
"A Doric war shall fall,
Calvisius writes in Latin of a terrible plague that scourged the Roman world for fifteen years, about tbe period when Gallus reigned; a period marked by savage intestinal conflicts, resulting in the elevation, successively, of fifty usurpers to the imperial throne. Still later, Procipius describes a pestilential visitation which traversed the Eastern Empire, just after the Persian war of Justinian, and the sanguinary popular quarrels of Red and Green factions in Byzantium—an epidemic so fatal that ten thousand deaths are reported to have occurred daily in Constantinople alone. Following the Roman invasion of Britain, a plague broke out, in Vortigern's reign, of so fierce a type as to sweep off more victims than the survivors could bury. In 1347 began the "six year plague"—known through the pages of Boccaccio as the "Plague of Florence' —which "so wasted Europe," says Calvisius, "that not the third part of tbe men were left alive. One
church-yard alone, in London, received more than fifty thousand bodies in twelve months of the disease. Boccaccio ascribes its origin to India; but like other epidemics we find it following a previous great conflict. Bloody civil wars in France and Italy ,a fierce struggle in Flanders, the battle of Crecy, the siege of Calais, were all immediate forerunners of the great plague. And nearly two centuries after this, in the middle of the Thirty-years' War, another plague arose. Still another succeeded the wars of the Fronde, in France. Then came the great plague of 1664, when there perished, in London and its parishes, 68,000 between April and October. This awful infliction followed the English civil war, which had been ended by the Restoration.
And the cholera! how closely its shrouded form glided after revolution! how its ghastly death-dance attended the red carnival of warl Its birth may have been Asiatic, but its funeral foot-prints traced the map of European battlefields—from Jemappes to Moscow, Are these facts only curious coincidences, or is there an appalling connection between war and pestilence? Is there a mysterious lex talionis in Nature, revisiting on man the plagues which he inflicts upon earth through his bloody contentions? Are battle-plains, with their reeking dead, hospitals, with their fecund exhalations, camps, and their contagions, so many voltaic piles, charged with tbe subtle fluid of latent pestilence? Do wasted fields, abandoned of husbandry, nurse the germs of a future corruption, which floods shall liberate and winds disseminate broadcast over the land? We care not to speculate concerning agencies like these; but if they exist, are we secure against the innoculation of their deadly principle?
It is an inquiry fraught with vital significance. At this very hour, tbe " cloud no bigger than a man's hand" may be densifying over some aceldama of carnage, or some fever-den of war; the cloud which, imbosoming malarious infection, shall hereafter launch its viewless bolts into the reservoirs of carbonic-acid gas; tbe storehouses of sulpbureted hydrogen ; the magazines of putrescent exuviae, that, in crowded cities, await but a communicating virus, to become death-dealing batteries of pestilence.
Here — at the commercial gate of the nation, a point to which converge the most diverse business-highways, and from which radiate the most extended lines of human intercourse—here must pestilence, should it arise, find pivot and fulcrum. We bave built up here our warehouses, and piled them with flour and meats; but we have here, likewise, constructed our tenant-houses, and stored them with pabulum for death. We fill our public squares with gay equipages, and our walks with refined and brilliant strangers and citizens; but we crowd our narrow lanes and hidden courts with diseased, stifled, and stunted outcasts. We appropriate miles of palaces to luxurious occupancy, but we confine thousands of souls under ground in cellars, and in airless dens and sunless rooms—there to sin, there to suffer, there to rot, and there to die, unregarded.
In the city of York, the cholera of 1832 broke out in a crowded court, known as the "Hagworm's Nest." In that locality raged the plague of 1664. In the same court first appeared the pestilence of 1551. During nearly three centuries, that horrid "nest" had kept intact its eggs of pest. Generation after generation dwelt around it, heedlessly, as we dwell around our "fever-nests" of the metropolis.
In following the track of pestilence through different climes and ages, we encounter coincidences which establish the fact that epidemics have an affinity for endemics; or, rather, that the former usurp the dominion of the latter, claiming the localities wherein they flourished, and the subjects which they swayed. Thus, in the passage of the great plague of 1346 over Europe, and in subsequent visitations of similar diseases, the small town of Aigne Morte, in Languedoc, was repeatedly made a centre, or point d'appui, whence the distemper radiated to surrounding districts. This town has always been noted for its local disorders, arising from the malaria which overhangs, and the stagnant water that encompasses it. Milan and the healthful mountain-ranges were notably as exempt from this plague as the coasts and marsh-lands of Italy were ravaged by it. And, as in plague, so in cholera and typhus, the crowded purlieus of great cities have ever been the seats of infection.
When low fevers and their concomitants become naturalized in certain localities, they serve as nuclei for the sporadic propagation of kindred diseases, whenever season and material combine to feed it. The distinctive type of the endemic may merge and be lost in its more virulent successor, but it will have performed its mission; it will have absorbed and given out the principle of poison which constitutes its affinity with plague or cholera. "It appears," says Dr. Southwood Smith, "that in many parts of Bethnal-green and Whitechapel fever of a malignant and fatal character is always more or less prevalent. In some streets it has prevailed in almost every house; in some courts, in every house; and in some few instances, in every room in every house. Cases are recorded in which every member of a family has been attacked in succession, of whom, in every such case, several have died. Some whole families have been swept away. Six persons have been found lying ill of fever in one small room."
Here we have the point d'appui of a pestilence movement. It was said that early plagues might be traced to foetid exhalations from dead locusts; and Dr. Smith, above quoted, says that "the room of a fever-patient in a small, heated apartment in London, with no perflation of fresh air, is perfectly analagous to a standing pool in Ethiopia full of bodies of dead locusts. The poison generated in both cases is the same; the difference is merely in the degree of its potency. Nature, with her burning sun, her stilled and pent-up wind, her stagnant and
teeming marsh, manufactures plague on a large and fearful scale. Poverty, in her hut, covered with rags, surrounded with her filth, striving with all her might to keep out the pure air and to increase the heat, imitates nature but too successfully; the process and the product are the same; the only difference is in the magnitude of results."
To this testimony, a hundred authorities add weight. Another English medical man says that he has encountered localities from which fever is seldom absent. "We find spots where spasmodic cholera located itself are also the chosen resorts of continued fever." "In damp, dark, and chilly cellars of our city, fevers, rheumatism, contagious and inflammatory disorders, affections of the lungs, skin, and eyes, too often successfully combat the skill of the physicians." Again: "The degraded habits of life, the degenerate morals, the confined and crowded apartments, and insufficient food, of those who live in more elevated rooms, comparatively beyond the reach of the exhalations of the soil, engender a different train of diseases, sufficiently distressing to contemplate; but the addition to all these causes of the foul influence of the incessant moisture and more confined air of underground rooms, is productive of evils which humanity cannot regard without shuddering."
How would our "fever-nests" and "choleraholes" be quarantined, should the "pestilence that walketn at noon-day" fling his yellow shadow over this great metropolis r What charmed circle around the "tenant-house" neighbourhood shall taboo its deadly gases, its subtle infections, from contact with the palaces of luxury?
Here, under our nostrils, the virus of smallpox continually eats into society. It is at this time fearfully on the increase, and its dreadful emanations penetrate to the rural districts. They cling to waggons and steamboats; they are dispensed through personal contagion; they lie-in-wait among second-hand garments sold in our slop-shops; they nestle in bed-clothes so plenty after periodical epidemics. But smallpox is only one of the myriad agencies of death in our midst.
Now, it is better for us, as Christians and good citizens, to hear sober truth occasionally, though it be unpalatable, than to listen always to "the voice of the charmer, charm he ever so wisely." We may ignore the fact of there being latent and horrible evils in our midst, or we may, for a season, shirk our responsibility regarding them; but, sooner or later, we shall invoke, and must abide, the consequences of their protracted existence. There is an oriental story, which relates that a certain tyrant used to clothe his fierce soldiers in the skins of tigers, wolves, and other wild beasts, and set them to hunting poor people out of their beds at night, and driving them into the highways and fields, to worry and ! tear them, while the old king rode behind, en1 joying the sport. But in punishment of this cruelty, as the legend runs, the disguised sol| diers were suddenly changed into real wild 'beasts, and made to turn on the wicked monarch himself, who perished miserably under their teeth and claws. We are pursuing a like atrocious chase in this city at this day; hunting not only the bodies but the souls of human beings out of the pale of comfort, repose, and decency, to the highways of pauperism and the commons of crimes. We are making practical the oriental legend, in our heathen neglect of the rights, claims, and sore necessities of hundreds of thousands of the poor inhabitants of this mighty emporium of traffic.
Traffic, did we Bay? And must we repeat that it is traffic, and traffic only, which has become rule and gauge for our action as members of a great community? We traffic not only in silks, and cloths, and jewels, and spices, but in the health, honour, and life of men, women, and children. We traffic not only in bricks and mortar, but in the light of heaven, the sweetness of air, and the purity of earth. We huxter the free sunshine, doling it to human cravings as grudgingly as misers dole out their gold. We compute the minimum of air and space wherein mortal existence may linger, and make our calculation the basis for money-making out of mortal suffering. All this we do in a spirit- of traffic which invests its lucre, not in the broad, noble fields of mercantile adventure, that builds up states and plants colonies, but in a narrow, muckworm track of speculation, wherefrom arise those cells and dens of mason-work that brood over our filthy streets and foul alleys like unclean buzzards over some loathsome lazar-yard. With our billions of capital— that fulcrum on which the lever of enterprise, rightly adjusted, can move the world—we exhibit no commensurate expansion of generous public spirit such as made the Medici of Florence princes as well as merchants, and the Van Horns and Egmonts of Holland sovereigns as well as traders. We emulate not those grand old traffickers of Tyre, who reared colossal cities whenever they halted their caravans or anchored their galleys; cities whose very ruins astonish the beholder; but we rather imitate the grovelling Egyptians, who worshipped tbat creeping thing, the beetle, which ever toils to accumulate a muck-ball, to roll before it, as its wealth. Hence, we never ask if there be relationships connecting spacious streets with public health, or if there be affinities between decent homes and popular morals. We are satisfied to roll up our individual muck-balls to the proportions of stately warehouses and mansions, and are equally content to let other human scarabei enlarge their own filthy piles to the bulk of tenanthouses filled with all uncleanness. So, then, our gorgeous marts, our splendid churches, our stately public edifices, tower above brilliant thoroughfares, while leagues of shipping line our wharves, and untold treasures are borne, as on triumphal cars, over the iron roads of our commercial prosperity. But, all the while, we have mildew at the heart, consuming flame under regal garments, a "carrion death" in the golden casket of our seeming. Under Paris and Rome are catacombs, where
the debris of mortality was allowed to ac emulate for ages, and where, at different epochs, bands of thieves and outlaws sought hidingplaces, and thence emerged to plunder and kill the inhabitants above. Happily, in our day, science and progress have converted these subterranean crypts into viaducts for sewer-drains, gas and water-pipes. The ancient golgothas are now become media of benefits to society, instead of remaining vaults of corruption, sheltering disease and crime. We also have our catacombs, not underground, but on the surface as distinct and loathsome as were the old tombs beneath Seine and Tiber. Our back-streets, alleys, and confined areas, over-populated with decaying humanity, and fecund with all foul things bred from slime and malaria, are nothing more or less than social graveyards in our midst, harbouring death and sheltering evils that are actually worse than death. We cannot deny this. Facts are palpable. Figures will not lie. It needs but a short turn from countries of civilization to stumble upon barbarous and savage districts, given over to society's deadly enemies —squalor and reckless poverty. Is it not time to do something with our catacombs? If capital can erect its miles of massive store-houses and palaces, can it not build, likewise, miles of renovated, comfortable, christianized dwellings for the people who bear all social and political burthens—that mighty mass who are the substructure of our city, our state, and our kings. If capital can call navies, and armies, and governments, and colonies into being, can it not also create Homes? The field is broad in our city. Millions of people are interested directly in the result.
RECEIPT FOR A HEAD.
BY E. E. THACKERAY.
Take a head which wears no bonnet,
MIRIAM GILBERT'S SORROW.
(A Story told in a Train.)
Business rattier thati pleasure obliges me frequently to travel by rati, and in very different directions. One week I am away among the Wolds and moor8 of the North, with long tracts of blackened ground, roaring furnaces, and clanging hammers; next I am gliding swiftly aWay among the bright flower-dotted meadoWs and sloping hills of the western Counties; and anon 1 am above the grimy housetops and poisonous chimneys which hedge in the metropolitan railways. In these frequent journeys I nave not failed to notice many people whose appearance seemed to entitle them to the somewhat doubtful denomination of "a character," and I have riot unfrequently gathered strange stories and anecdotes from their talk.
Although Englishmen, especially travelling Englishmen, are not a communicative race, yet a long railway journey is usually productive of conversation from the most taciturn, and I have seldom been obliged to take refuge in a book or a newspaper during my many journeys. It was about two years ago that I had occasion to travel to a place about sixty miles from London, and found myself, on entering the train at Euston Square, in company with three other travellers. They Were all common -place enough, and not very promising company. In one corner, remote from me, sat a vacuous-looking youth in a stiff collar and alarmingly loud tie, who gazed thoughtfully at nothing out of the window, and seemed to be thinking about it. Next to him was a sickly man in spectacles, who seemed to be hopelessly bewildered by his "Bradshaw," and, knowing the extremely lucid character of that work, there is no reason to suppose that I was wrong in my conjecture. The remaining traveller sat opposite to me, and was a stout, benevolent-looking man, with a shrewd twinkle in his eye, and a certain methodical way about his dress, his hair, and his whole person, which led me to the conclusion that he was a "business-man," probably in some of those mysterious places known as "houses in the city." When we had gone some distance I drew the shrewd man's attention (for I had mentally christened him the shrewd man) to a singular case of bankforgery recorded in the day's newspaper.
"It is a singular case, certainly," said he, in a cheerful, pleasant voice, when he had glanced over theaccount, "but I have known many such: twenty years of banking life initiate a man into many such facts."
"Do you mean that you have yourself witnessed as strange attempts at fraud as this r" asked I,
"Certainly, sir, I know of one case far more
singular, and* I may say romantic, than any which are usually put in the papers."
I pressed him to tell the story, and even the other passengers joined in my request, the young man belngapparently half-bored to death by his own vacuity, and the other completely overpowered by the intricacies of Bradsbaw's agreeable tome.
"The story is a mere trifle," said the banker, "but I can vouch for its truth, and such as it is you are very welcome to it. Some of you, if you know London, may have noticed, ■ some years ago, a woman who used daily to stand near the entrance of the Bank of England. It is a busy noisy spot, as you know, and few people linger about there, but everyone is running to and fro, bent on some pursuit or other. Day after day, however, and week after week, no matter how hot the sun was on the glaring pavement, or how dismally the November foff and rain descended, the same female form, dressed in a quaint suit of black and with a head-dress resembling a nun's veil, was ever seen standing, or wandering disconsolately up and down before the great gates of the Bank of England. Few people noticed her, except those who frequented the same place daily, and they often looked curiously at the pale, sad face, with its large and melancholy brown eyes, and the strange funereal dress which enveloped the woman's body.
They noticed too that she carried a small basket with her always, and that she would sometimes come forward hastily and murmur something about "her papers," and then shrink back with a wild frightened look. Many surmises were current about her. Some said she had been ruined in a law-suit and that it had turned her brain; others thought her money had been lost in some bank-failure, and that she lingered near the great bank, from a sort of fascination; one belief, however, was universal, and that was, that the poor woman was mad.
"I was at that time one of the senior clerks in the bank, and I felt a singular interest in the strange, sad-eyed woman, whom I saw daily on my way home. I noticed that punctually at a quarter past four she left her place and started off in an easterly direction, doubtless to her home; and on one occasion I determined to follow her. She took no notice of me among the crowd, and I was enabled to trace her to a small house in a mean street in Whitechapel. Having seen her enter, I knocked after a few moments' consideration, and was received by a clean-looking old woman, who asked my wishes very civilly. I told her that I had been much struck by the continual appearance of the pale