SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT NO. 358
NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 11, 1882
Scientific American Supplement. Vol. XIV, No. 358.
Scientific American established 1845
Scientific American Supplement, $5 a year.
Scientific American and Supplement, $7 a year.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. ENGINEERING AND MECHANICS.—Hydraulic Filtering Press for Treating Oleaginous Seeds.—Details of construction and manipulation.—15 figures
Laurent & Collot's Automatic Injection Pump.—6 figures.
Improved Dredger.—1 figure.—One ton bucket dredge.
History of the Fire Extinguisher.
How to Tow a Boat.—1 figure.
Railways of Europe and America.
Locomotive Painting. By JOHN S. ATWATER.
Crackle Glass.—New Process.
How Marbles are Made.
II. TECHNOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY.—Drawing Room Photography.
A New Method of Preparing Photographic Gelatine Emulsion by Precipitation of the Bromide of Silver. By FRANZ STOLZE.
Taylor's Freezing Microtome.—1 figure.
Vincent's Chloride of Methyl Ice Machine. 10 figures.— Longitudinal and transverse sections of freezer.—Half plan of freezer.—Longitudinal and vertical sections and plan of pump.— Details.—Vertical section of the liquefier.
Carbonic Acid in the Air. By M. DUMAS.
Influence of Aqueous Vapor on the Explosion of Carbonic Oxide and Oxygen. By HAROLD B. DIXON.
Composition of Beers Made Partly from New Grain.
III. BOTANY, HORTICULTURE, ETC.—Double Buttercups.—1 figure.
Ligustrum Quihoui.—1 figure.
Raphiolepis Japonica.—1 figure.
Apples in Store.
IV. ELECTRICITY, LIGHT, HEAT. ETC.—Before it happened.— How the telegraph gets ahead of time.
The Ader Relay.—By R.G. BROWN.
The Platinum Water Pyrometer.—By J.C. HOADLEY. 2 figures. —Description of apparatus.—Heat carriers.—Manipulating.
V. HYGIENE AND MEDICINE. ETC.—The British Sanitary Congress. —Address of President Galton.—The causes of disease. Researches of Pasteur, Lister, Koch, Klebs, etc—Germ theory of malaria.—Cholera.—The water question.—Effects of sewering.— Influence of smoke and fogs.—Importance of a circulation of air. —Health conditions of different classes.—Economic advantages of sanitary measures.
Psychological Development in Children.—By G.J. ROMANES.
The Racial Characteristics of Man.
Eccentricity and Idiosyncrasy.—By DR. WM. A. HAMMOND.
Pyorrhea Alveolaris—By DR. J.M. RIGGS.—A curious disease of the teeth and its treatment.
Sulphur as a Preservative against Marsh Fever.
VI. ARCHITECTURE, ART, ETC.—The New Parliament Building, Berlin. 4 figures.—Thiersch's design.—Portrait, Prof. Thiersch. —Wallot's design.—Portrait of M.P. Wallot.
VII. ASTRONOMY, ETC—On Determining the Sun's Distance by a New Method.—By T.S.H. EYTINGE.
Professor Haeckel on Darwin.
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THE NEW PARLIAMENT BUILDING, BERLIN.
In the accompanying engravings are represented the two prize designs for the new Capitol or Parliament Building at Berlin, of which one is by Prof. Friedrich Thiersch, of Munich, and the other by Mr. Paul Wallot, of Frankfurt a. M., the portraits of which gentlemen are also shown. The jury has decided that Mr. Wallot's design shall be executed. The building is to be erected on the Pariser Platz, near the Brandenburger Thor, in Berlin. Mr. Wallot's design will have to be somewhat changed before it can be carried out, for he has arranged the main entrance in the side of the building, and that has not satisfied the jury, as they wish to have the entrance of the Capitol more imposing. The building is provided with four corner pavilions and with a large, highly ornamented, square dome, below which the Reichsrath Chamber, or Hall of Representatives, is located. However, the most important feature of the entire design is the ground plan, which is superior to all others entered for competition. Prof Thiersch's design also has four corner pavilions, with a large circular central dome and four smaller cupolas surrounding it. The front of the building is very imposing, and is highly ornamented with statuary. An emperor's crown surmounts the central dome.
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THE BRITISH SANITARY CONGRESS.
ADDRESS OF PRESIDENT GALTON.
The Congress of the Sanitary Institute of Great Britain was opened in Newcastle on September 26. The inaugural public meeting was held in the Town Hall. Prof. De Chaumont presided, in the place of the ex-President, Lord Fortescue, and introduced Captain Galton, the new President.
The President commenced his inaugural address by thanking, in the name of the Sanitary Institute of Great Britain, the Mayor and Corporation of Newcastle for the invitation to visit this important industrial metropolis of Northern England. The invitation, he said, was the more satisfactory because Newcastle was advancing in the van of sanitary improvement, and was thus proving the interest of this great city in a subject which was contributing largely to the moral and material progress of the nation. Of all the definite questions which were made the subject of the instruction by congresses at the present time, there was scarcely one which deserved a greater share of attention than that which called that congress together—namely, the subject of the public health.
Within the last half century the whole community had been gradually awakening to the importance of a knowledge of the laws of health, and the energies of some of the ablest intellects in the world had been employed in investigating the causes of disease, and in endeavoring to solve the problem of the prevention of disease. There was much that was still obscure in this very intricate problem, but the new light which was daily being thrown upon the causes of disease by the careful and exact researches of the chemist and physiologist was gradually tending to explain those causes and to raise the science of hygiene, or science of prevention of disease, out of the region of speculation, and enable it to take rank as one of the exact sciences. Long ago the careful observation of facts had shown that the preservation of health required certain conditions to be observed in and around dwellings, conditions which, when neglected, had led to the outbreaks of epidemic disease from the days of Moses to the present time. But while the results had been patent, it was only in recent years that a clew had been obtained to the occult conditions in air and water to enable their comparative healthful purity to be distinguished.
The researches of Pasteur in respect to the forms of disease in French vineyards opened a fruitful field of inquiry, and the theories of Dr. Bastian on spontaneous generation gave rise to the beautiful series of experiments by Tyndall on bacterian life. A large band of leading scientific men, both in this country and over the whole world, were devoting their energies to a knowledge of the recent theories on the propagation of disease by germs. In a lecture on fermentation, Tyndall remarked that the researches, by means of which science has recently elucidated the causes of fermentation, have raised the art of brewing from being an art founded on empirical observation—that is to say, on the observation of facts apart from the principles which explain them—into what may be termed an exact science.
In like manner, if recent theories on the propagation of disease by germs were proved to be correct, and if the laws which govern the propagation or destruction of those germs were known, the art of the physician would be similarly raised. Upon these questions leading scientific men all over the world were devoting their energies. Research had shown that putrefaction was only another form of organized life, and Tyndall had shown that in the moving particles of fine dust discovered by a ray of light in a dark room the germs of low forms of life, which would cause putrefaction, were ever present, and ready to spring into life when a favorable "nidus" for the development of the organism was provided.
Professor Lister had turned this knowledge to useful account in surgery in causing the air to be filtered by means of a carbolic spray during surgical operations, by which means germs or organisms in the air were prevented from reaching the wounds, and from developing organisms, the presence of which caused putrefaction or suppuration. This antiseptic treatment, which had arisen from the observation of germs in the air, had had a material influence on the art of surgery throughout the world.
The speaker then reviewed the declarations of physiologists regarding the theories that some diseases arise from minute organisms in the blood—Pasteur holding that the disease in silkworms was from this cause; Dr. Davaine, that splenic fever in cattle arose thus; Dr. Klein alleging that pig typhoid was due to an organism; Toussaint attributing fowl cholera to a similar cause; Professor Koch attributing tubercular disease to specific germs; Dr. Vandyke Carter contending that there was a connection between the presence of bacillus spirillum and relapsing fever; and Mr. Talamon claiming to have discovered that diphtheria was due to an organism by means of which the virus could be conveyed from human beings to animals, and vice versa.
Taking another branch of the same subject, the causes of zymotic diseases being traced to controllable sources, he said: Drs. Klebs and Crudelli allege that malarial fever arises from germs present in the soil and which float over the air of marshes; and that by treating with water the soil of a fever-haunted marsh of the Campagna the germs of this organism could be washed out; and that the water containing the organisms thus obtained, introduced into the circulation of a dog, produced ague more or less rapidly, and more or less violent, according to the numbers in which the organisms were present in the water.
This theory, no doubt, agrees with certain well-known facts. In a tropical climate, if soil which has been long undisturbed, or the soil of marshy ground, be turned up, intermittent fever is almost certain to ensue. In illustration of this, I recollect that at Hong Kong the troops were unhealthy, and a beautiful position on a peninsula exposed to the most favorable sea-breezes was selected for a new encampment. The troops were encamped upon this spot for some time to test its healthiness, which was found to be all that could be desired. It was then resolved to build barracks. As soon as the foundations were dug, fever broke out.
As an instance of this nearer home, I may mention that last winter at Cannes, in the south of France, some extensive works adjacent to the town were begun which required a large quantity of earth to be moved. The weather was exceptionally warm; an outbreak of fever occurred among the workmen, of whom fifteen died. This fever was attributed to the turning up of the soil.
If a strong solution of quinine be let fall in the water containing these organisms they at once die; the efficacy of quinine as a preventive of this form of fever would therefore not be inconsistent with this theory. Upon this subject the President called attention to the view of Sir Joseph Fayrer, who acknowledged the importance of the discovery if it should be confirmed, but considered that there was a possibility that the results attributed to these influences might, to some extent, be due to disturbance of the system in a body predisposed to be deranged by peculiarity of constitution, climatic or other influence of the nature of which we are ignorant, though it is conceivable by analogy.
The marvelous facility of reproduction of various germs, as shown by Pasteur in the case of chicken cholera, was dwelt upon; and the President said that it would be a wonder how any higher form of life could exist subject to the possibility of invasion by such countless hosts of occult enemies were it not seen that the science of the prevention of disease advanced quite as rapidly as our knowledge of the causes. Holding that the attitude of the sanitarian, in regard to the germ theory of diseases, as applied to all diseases of the zymotic class, must be one of reserve, yet, he said, even if the views of those who are prepared to accept the germ theory of disease to its fullest extent were shown to be true, it seems to be certain that if the invasion of these occult enemies present in the air is undertaken in insufficient force, or upon an animal in sufficiently robust health, they are refused a foothold and expelled; or, if they have secured a lodgment in the tissues, they, so to speak, may be laid hold of, and absorbed or digested by them.
In corroboration of this view, Professor Koch and others state that the minor organisms of tubercular disease do not occur in the tissues of healthy bodies, and that when introduced into the living body their propagation and increase is greatly favored by a low state of the general health. The President held that for the present sanitary procedure was independent of these theories on the germ origin in particular of zymotic disease; but gave the facts as worthy of consideration, as indicating points for the direction of those who aimed at preventing disease.
The President dealt with the important subject of isolation in the cases of contagious zymotic diseases, and then, proceeding to discuss the subject of epidemic diseases, said: Notwithstanding the numerous experiments and the great efforts which have been made in recent times to endeavor to trace out the origin of disease, the sanitarian has not yet been able to lift up the veil which conceals the causes connected with the occurrence of epidemic diseases. These diseases come in recurring periods, sometimes at longer, sometimes at shorter intervals. Animals, as well as the human race, are similarly affected by these diseases of periodical recurrence; but why they prevail more in one year than in another we are entirely ignorant. They appear to be subject to certain aerial or climatic conditions.
Cholera affords an illustration of this. There is a part of India, low-lying, water-logged, near the mouth of the Ganges, where cholera may be said to be endemic. In certain years, but why we know not, it spreads out of this district, and moves westward over the country; the people are sedentary, and seldom leave home, but the cholera travels on. At last it arrives on the borders of the desert, where there are no people, and no intercourse, no alvine secretions, and no sewers, yet the statistician sitting in Calcutta can tell almost the day on which the epidemic influence will have crossed the desert. But it exercises discrimination in its attacks, It will visit one town or village and leave many others in the vicinity untouched. Similarly it will attack one house and leave another. But it has been generally found that the attacked house or village held out special invitation from its insanitary condition. The same houses or the same localities will be revisited in recurring epidemics, because the conditions remain the same; remove those conditions, and at the next recurrence the locality will escape. At Malta it was found that the same localities and houses which yielded the majority of plague deaths there in 1813 yielded the majority of the deaths in the cholera epidemics of 1839 and 1867, and that in the intervals the same localities yielded the majority of cases of small-pox, fever, and of an anthrax, a very special eruptive epidemic attended by carbuncles. Hence, while we are unable either to account for the cause or to prevent the periodic recurrence of epidemics, the sanitarian has learnt that it is possible to mitigate the severity of the visit; and that, whether these evils arise from the occult causes to which I have alluded, or from other causes, pure air and pure water afford almost absolute safeguards against most forms of zymotic diseases.
In speaking of the pure-water question, he remarked: Although there are many theories as to how far water which has once been contaminated by sewage may again after a time become fit to drink, I am disposed to think that there has never been a well-proved case of an outbreak of disease resulting from the use of drinking water where the chemist would not unhesitatingly on analysis have condemned the water as an impure source; and it appears probable that, whatever may be the actual causes of certain diseases—i.e., whether germs or chemical poisons, the materies morbi which finds its way into the river at the sewage outfall is destroyed, together with the organic impurity, after a certain length of flow. He pressed that there should be no further delay in bringing the Act for the Prevention of Pollution of Rivers into operation, and in enforcing the provisions of the Acts. In regard to the pollution of the air, he called attention to the fact that nearly fifty years ago Mr. Edwin Chadwick impressed upon the community the evils which were caused by the impure condition of the air in our towns owing to the retention of refuse around houses. The speaker remarked that the gases, which were the result of putrefaction, were offensive to the smell, and some of them, such as sulphureted hydrogen, when present in undue proportions in the air, would kill persons outright, or when those gases were in smaller proportions in the air breathed by people, there would be a lowered tone of health in the individuals exposed to them. Continued exposure might lead to the development of other conditions, which, in their turn, might lead to disease or death.
From this point the President proceeded to speak of the increased toxical power of volatile compounds given off by neglected decomposed matter, and was thence led to dwell upon the dangers arising from decomposed substances in cesspools and in badly constructed drains. There was no doubt, he said, that in the sewering of towns want of experience in the construction of works had in some cases led to deposits in the sewers, and evil consequences had ensued; but it might be accepted as certain that in every case where the sewerage had been devised on sound principles, and where the works had been carried on under intelligent supervision, a largely reduced death-rate had invariably followed.
Evidence of this fact he adduced from the history of Newcastle, for in the ten years beginning in 1867 the death-rate was 27.6, while in the ten years ending 1881 (during which there had been improved sewerage in operation) the death-rate was only 23, while in 1881 it was only 21.7. He instanced the like results in Munich, where the entire fever mortality sank from 24.2 in the period when there were no regulations in regard to cleanliness to 8.7 when the sewerage was complete, at Frankfort-on-the-Main, at Dantzic, and at Hamburg, where similar results obtained of a heavy zymotic mortality previous to the sewering of the cities, and a lighter mortality on the completion of the works.
These results were set forth in figures, and after dealing with the beneficial results of purifying the air of towns by the rapid abstraction of refuse matter, he passed on to review "other fertile causes of mischief" in poisoning the air of towns, the chief of these being horse manure, the dust of refuse, and smoke.
On this subject he quoted Dr. Angus Smith, who in his "Contributions to the Beginnings of a Chemical Climatology," shows that the air in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, on the sea-shore, and on uncontaminated open spaces, commands the greatest amount of oxygen; that at the tops of hills the air contains more oxygen than at the bottom; and that places where putrefaction may be supposed to exist are subject to a diminution of oxygen.
For instance, a diminution of oxygen and an increase of carbonic acid is decidedly apparent in crowded rooms, theaters, cowhouses, and stables. It is well known that oxygen over putrid substances is absorbed, while carbonic acid and other gases take its place; and hence all places near or in our houses which contain impurities diminish the oxygen of the air. The average quantity of oxygen in pure air amounts to 21 parts out of 100. In impure places, such, for instance, as in a sleeping-room where the windows have been shut all night, or in a lecture-theater after a lecture, or in a close stable, the oxygen has been found to be reduced to as little as 20 parts in 100.
That is to say, a man breathing pure air obtains, and he requires, 2,164 grains of oxygen per hour. In bad air he would, if breathing at the same rate, get little over 2,000 grains of oxygen an hour—that is, a loss of 5 per cent.; and this diminished quantity of oxygen is replaced with other, and in almost all cases, pernicious matters. The oxygen is the hard-working, active substance that keeps up the fire, cooks the food, and purifies the blood; and, of course, as the proportion of oxygen in the air breathed diminishes, the lungs must exert themselves more to obtain the necessary quantity of oxygen for carrying on the functions of life. If the air is loaded with impurities the lungs get clogged, and their power of absorbing the oxygen that is present in the air is diminished. An individual breathing this impure air must therefore do less work; or, if he does the same amount of work, it is at a greater expense to his system.
The influence of smoky town air on health is to some extent illustrated by the fact that the death-rate of twenty-three manufacturing towns, selected chiefly for their smoky character, averaged 21.9 per 1,000 in 1880; while the rural districts in the counties of Wilts, Dorset, and Devon, excluding large towns, averaged 17.7 per 1,000; and the deaths from the principal zymotic diseases in the towns were more than double those in the rural districts.
The President quoted the experiments of Mr. Aitkin, of Edinburgh, on the creation of fogs—that the vapor of water injected into air, from which particles had been strained out, was not visible; whereas as soon as foreign matter, such as dust, or smoke, or fumes, and especially fumes of sulphur, were introduced, the aqueous vapor condensed on the particles, and became visible as fog, and pointed out the fact that the barbarous method which we adopt for burning coal in this country adds to the dust the fumes which necessarily result from combustion, as well as a quantity of soot and tarry matter, a soot which assists in forming the black canopy which it is the fashion in England to consider the proper attribute of a large town.
He quoted the opinions of eminent scientific men to show that it was possible, under proper methods of burning coal, to lessen the intensity of fogs, and so to lessen materially the causes of ill-health, terminating in fatal disease of those subject to them. In dealing with the wide subject of the "general effect of sanitary conditions upon health," he gave some remarkable facts showing that sanitary work had reduced the death-rate of the European army in India from 60 per 1,000 to 16 per 1,000; that the deaths from tubercular disease in the army at home used to be 10 per 1,000—the sum total now of the total deaths from all causes in a time of peace—a reduction due to the improved hygienic conditions under which soldiers now live; that the death-rate in a certain part of Newcastle (now removed) used to be 54 per 1,000, and of the entire borough 26.1 so lately as seven years ago, while now it was 21.8; that in parts of London, where the people were ill-lodged and crowded, as in parts of Limehouse, Whitechapel, Aldgate, and St. Giles's, the death-rates were 50 per cent. above the death-rates in more open parts of the same districts, and that when proper dwellings were erected the death-rates fell from 50 in the 1,000 to not more than 20 per 1,000. He then spoke of the advantage arising to the health of the population generally by the new dwellings for artisans.
He remarked that these improved dwellings "afford accommodation to a population per acre as dense as, and in most cases even denser than, that afforded by the buildings which they replaced. Within limits it is not the density of population which regulates the health. But if a dense population is spread over the surface or close to the surface of the ground, by which means all movement of air is prevented, and if there are numerous corners in which refuse is accumulated, it will be difficult to prevent disease. Dr. Angus Smith's experiments show that while there is less oxygen and more carbonic acid in the eastern and in the more crowded parts of London, yet in open spaces the amount of oxygen rises and the carbonic acid diminishes very considerably; and that we are exposed to distinct currents of good air in the worst, and equally to currents of bad air in the best atmosphere, in towns like Manchester.
Dr. Tyndall showed that where there is quiescence in the air the tendency of his sterilized infusions to produce organisms was increased. The conclusion from all these experiments is to show the importance of laying out the general plan of dwellings in a town so that currents of air shall be able to flow on all sides with as little impediment as possible, by which means the air will be continually liable to renewal by purer air. The dwellings which have been constructed in the place of the very defective dwellings condemned by the medical officers of health in various parts of London specially illustrate the importance of this question of the circulation of air. These dwellings replace those in which the normal mortality was as much as 33, 44, and 50 per 1,000. But these improved dwellings provide ample space all round the blocks of building, so that air can flow round and through them in every direction, and so that there are no narrow courts and hidden corners for the accumulation of refuse. The mortality in the new dwellings is as low as 13 per 1,000 in some, and does not rise above 20 per 1,000 in any of them, and upon an average of years it may be taken at from 14 to 16 per 1,000. It is to this point that I specially desire to draw attention—namely, that these facts prove the possibility of bringing down the death-rate of the class of population which inhabits this sort of accommodation to rates varying from 15 to 16 per 1,000. I say of the class of population, because habits and mode of life have an important influence on health and on longevity.
Mr. Chadwick and Dr. Richardson obtained some statistics for Westminster, for the use of a committee of the Society of Arts, which indicate the very different conditions of health to which the different classes of population are subject. It appeared from these statistics that out of one hundred deaths of the first class, or gentry, six were those of children in their first year, and nine of children within their fifth year; while out of one hundred deaths of the wage classes twenty-two are those of children in their first year, and thirty-nine within their fifth year. If we take the average duration of life of all who have died of the first class, men, women, and children, we find that they have had an average of fifty-five years and eight months of life; while of the wage classes they have had a mean of only twenty-eight years and nine months. And if we take the average duration of life of those who have escaped the earlier ravages of death up to twenty years of age, the males who have died of the first class have had sixty-one years of life, while of the wage class the males have had only forty-seven years and seven months. Moreover, of the first class in Westminster, the proportion who have attained the old age, and died of natural causes, is 3.27 per cent., but of the wage classes only a fraction, or two-thirds per cent., did so. I have obtained similar returns for this town. It was considered desirable, for the purpose of this return, to divide the population into the following five classes: First, gentry and professional men; second, tradesmen and shopkeepers; third, shipwrights, chain and anchor smiths, iron forge laborers, etc., fourth, seamen, watermen, fishermen, etc.; fifth, other wage clashes and artisans; and each of these classes represents distinct sanitary conditions and habits of life. The healthiest class is that of the seamen, watermen, and fishermen. The mean age at death of all who died of that class, men, women, and children, is thirty-seven years, as compared with thirty five years for gentry and professional men; while the mean age of shipwrights, chain and anchor makers, and iron forge laborers is only twenty-two years. The President considered that these points gave much food for reflection. He then touched upon the important question of the effect of occupation upon health, and remarked: If we take the professional and merchant class, who attend at their offices during the daytime, we may be sure that, as a rule, they are placed in unhealthy surroundings during that time, and in many cases have to breathe during their hours of work as bad an atmosphere as that in which the wage classes work. He also quoted returns showing that the great mortality among the tradesmen class in Westminster was explained from the fact that the best rooms in the houses in which they live were let for lodgings, the tradesmen contenting themselves with living in the basements or back premises, which were frequently unhealthy. He looked for great improvements in the health of the wage classes by the construction of improved dwellings; but, he confessed, in many cases workmen required to be taught to attend to precautions devised for their health.
On the subject of sickness caused by insanitary conditions, he quoted the remark of an East London clergyman that the "poor go on living in wretched places, but have much ill-health." He showed from Mr. Burdett's figures that the London voluntary hospitals and dispensaries cost nearly L600,000 a year to administer—an expenditure incurred mainly for the purpose of "patching up" the wretched poor who had been injured by bad drainage, want of ventilation and the like; and he urged that it might be safely assumed preventive measures would bring down the death-rate of the wage class to one-half, reducing also the sickness rate in at least a similar proportion. By means of this item alone the wage-earning power of the industrious classes would be enlarged by some millions of pounds, and their comfort correspondingly increased. There would also, he contended, be other distinct economies, for there would be less need for much of the accommodation in prisons, reformatories, and workhouses now needed from evils incident to unhealthy circumstances and crowded dwellings.
He dwelt upon the economic advantages of sanitary measures generally, dealing first with the subject of the conversion of sewage into manure, and then, in relation to the provision of healthful dwellings, such as those of the Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrial Classes, he showed that the cost of such dwellings had been about L1,900,000 for 11,000 persons. By the saving in life and health, through the continuance in earning power of men, whose lives would otherwise have been cut short, he estimated that the expenditure of the L1,900,000 for the 11,000 persons, by the addition often years' earning power to the heads of families, brought in a return of L4,600,000, and urged these facts as showing the pecuniary advantages accruing to the nation from sanitary improvements which led to decreased death and sickness rates. On the one hand, he said, insanitary dwellings and insanitary conditions of life engendered sickness, entailed poverty, and fostered crime, while improved dwellings insured improved health, and by affording a security for the more continuous earning of wages created the possibility of a comfortable home. Advanced sanitarians had long preached these doctrines, and he was happy to think that they were at last beginning to hear some results, and in those results he saw the means of developing morality, contentment, and happiness among the people.
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PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDREN.
[Footnote: Die Seele des Kindes Beobachtungen ueber die geistige Entwickelung des Menschen in den ersten Lebensjahren. Von W. Preyer, ordentlichen Professor der Physiologie an der Universitaet und Director des physiologischen Instituts zu Jena, etc. Leipzig: Th. Grieben. 1882.]
This is a large octavo volume, extending to over four hundred pages, and consisting of daily observations without intermission of the psychological development of the author's son from the time of birth to the end of the first year, and of subsequent observations less continuous up to the age of three years. Professor Preyer's name is a sufficient guarantee of the closeness and accuracy of any series of observations undertaken with so much earnestness and labor, but still we may remark at the outset that any anticipation which; the reader may form on this point will be more than justified by his perusal of this book. We shall proceed to give a sketch of the results which strike us as most important, although we cannot pretend to render within the limits of a few columns any adequate epitome of so large a body of facts and deductions.
The work is divided into three parts, of which the first deals with the development of the senses, the second with the development of the will, and the third with the development of the understanding.
Beginning with the sense of sight, the observations show that light is perceived within five minutes after birth, and that the pupils react within the first hour. On the second day the eyes are closed upon the approach of a flame; on the eleventh the child seemed to enjoy the sensation of light; and on the twenty-third to appreciate the rose color of a curtain by smiling at it. Definite proof of color discrimination was first obtained in the eighty-fifth week, but may, of course, have been present earlier. When seven hundred and seventy days old the child could point to the colors yellow, red, green, and blue, upon these being named.
The eyelids are first closed to protect the eyes from the sudden approach of a threatening body in the seventh or eighth week, although, as already observed, they will close against a strong light as early as the second day. The explanation of their beginning to close against the approach of a threatening body is supposed to be that an uncomfortable sensation is produced by the sudden and unexpected appearance, which causes the lids to close without the child having any idea of danger to its eyes; and the effect is not produced earlier in life because the eyes do not then see sufficiently well. On the twenty-fifth day the child first definitely noticed its father's face; when he nodded or spoke in a deep voice, the child blinked. This Professor Preyer calls a "surprise-reflex;" but definite astonishment (at the rapid opening and closing of a fan) was not observed till the seventh month. The gaze was first fixed on a stationary light on the sixth day, and the head was first moved after a moving light on the eleventh day; on the twenty-third day the eyeballs were first moved after a moving object without rotation of the head; and on the eighty-first day objects were first sought by the eyes. Up to this date the motion of the moving object must be slow if it is to be followed by the eyes, but on the one hundred and first day a pendulum swinging forty times a minute was followed. In the thirty-first week the child looked after fallen objects, and in the forty-seventh purposely threw objects down and looked after them. Knowledge of weight appeared to be attained in the forty-third week. Persons were first distinguished as friends or strangers in the sixth month, photographs of persons were first recognized in the one hundred and eighth week, and all glass bottles were classified as belonging to the same genus as the feeding-bottle in the eighth month.
With regard to the sense of hearing, it is first remarked that all children for some time after birth are completely deaf, and it was not till the middle of the fourth day that Professor Preyer obtained any evidence of hearing in his child. This child first turned his head in the direction of a sound in the eleventh week, and this movement in the sixteenth week had become as rapid and certain as a reflex. At eight months, or a year before its first attempts at speaking, the infant distinguished between a tone and a noise, as shown by its pleasure on hearing the sounds of a piano; after the first year the child found satisfaction in itself striking the piano. In the twenty-first month it danced to music, and in the twenty fourth imitated song; but it is stated on the authority of other observers that some children have been able to sing pitch correctly, and even a melody, as early as nine months. One such child used at this age to sing in its sleep, and at nineteen months could beat time correctly with its hand while singing an air.
Concerning touch, taste, and smell, there is not so much to quote, though it appears that at birth the sense of taste is best developed, and that the infant then recognizes the difference between sweet, salt, sour, and bitter. Likewise, passing over a number of observations on the feelings of hunger, thirst, satisfaction, etc., we come to the emotions. Fear was first shown in the fourteenth week; the child had an instinctive dread of thunder, and later on of cats and dogs, of falling from a height, etc. The date at which affection and sympathy first showed themselves does not appear to have been noted, though at twenty-seven months the child cried on seeing some paper figures of men being cut with a pair of scissors.
In the second part of the book it is remarked that voluntary movements are preceded, not only by reflex, but also by "impulsive movements," the ceaseless activity of young infants being due to purposeless discharges of nervous energy. Reflex movements are followed by instinctive, and these by voluntary. The latter are first shown by grasping at objects, which took place in Preyer's child during the nineteenth week. The opposition of the thumb to the fingers, which in the ape is acquired during the first week, is very slowly acquired in the child, while, of course, the opposition of the great toe is never acquired at all; in Preyer's child the thumb was first opposed to the fingers on the eighty-fourth day. Up to the seventeenth month there is great uncertainty in finding the mouth with anything held in the hand—a spoon, for instance, striking the cheeks, chin, or nose, instead of at once going between the lips; this forms a striking contrast to the case of young chickens which are able to peck grains, etc., soon after they are hatched. Sucking is not a pure reflex, because a satisfied child will not suck when its lips are properly stimulated, and further, the action may be originated centrally, as in a sleeping suckling. At a later stage biting is as instinctive as sucking, and was first observed to occur in the seventeenth week with the toothless gums. Later than biting, but still before the teeth are cut, chewing becomes instinctive, and also licking. Between the tenth and the sixteenth week the head becomes completely balanced, the efforts in this direction being voluntary and determined by the greater comfort of holding the head in an upright position. Sitting up usually begins about the fourth month, but may begin much later. In this connection an interesting remark of Dr. Lauder Brunton is alluded to ("Bible and Science," page 239), namely, that when a young child sits upon the floor the soles of his feet are turned inward facing one another, as is the case with monkeys. When laid upon their faces children at earliest can right themselves during the fifth month. Preyer's child first attempted to stand in the thirty-ninth week, but it was not until the beginning of the second year that it could stand alone, or without assistance. The walking movements which are performed by a child much too young to walk, when it is held so that its feet touch the ground, are classified by Preyer as instinctive. The time at which walking proper begins varies much with different children, the limits being from eight to sixteen months. When a child which is beginning to walk falls, it throws its arms forward to break the fall; this action must be instinctive. In the twenty-fourth month Preyer's child began spontaneously to dance to music and to beat time correctly.
A chapter is devoted to imitative movements. At the end of the fifteenth week the child would imitate the movement of protruding the lips, at nine months would cry on hearing other children do so, and at twelve months used to perform in its sleep imitative movements which had made a strong impression while awake—e.g., blowing; this shows that dreaming occurs at least as early as the first year. After the first year imitative movements are more readily learned than before.
Shaking the head as a sign of negation was found by Preyer, as by other observers, to be instinctive, and he adopts Darwin's explanation of the fact—viz., that the satisfied suckling in refusing the breast must needs move its head from side to side. In the seventeenth month the child exhibited a definite act of intelligent adjustment, for, desiring to reach a toy down from a press, it drew a traveling-bag from another part of the room to stand upon. We mention this incident because it exhibits the same level of mental development as that of Cuvier's orang, which, on desiring to reach an object off a high shelf, drew a chair below the shelf to stand upon. Anger was expressed in the tenth month, shame and pride in the nineteenth.
Between the tenth and eleventh month the first perception of causality was observed. Thus on the three hundred and nineteenth day the child was beating on a plate with a spoon and accidentally found that the sound was damped by placing the other hand upon the plate; it then changed its hands and repeated the experiment. Similarly at eleven months it struck a spoon upon a newspaper, and changed hands to see if this would modify the sound. In some children, however, the perception of causality to this extent occurs earlier. The present writer has seen a boy when exactly eight months old deriving much pleasure from striking the keys of a piano, and clearly showing that he understood the action of striking the keys to be the antecedent required for the production of the sound.
The third part of the book is concerned, as already stated, with the development of the understanding. Here it is noticed that memory and recognition of the mother's voice occurs as early as the second month; at four months the child cried for his absent nurse; and at eighteen months he knew if one of ten toy animals were removed. In Preyer's opinion—and we think there can be no question of its accuracy—the intelligence of a child before it can speak a word is in advance of that of the most intelligent animal. He gives numerous examples to prove that a high level of reason is attained by infants shortly before they begin to speak, and therefore that the doctrine which ascribes all thought to language is erroneous.
Highly elaborate observations were made on the development of speech, the date at which every new articulate sound was made being recorded. The following appear to us the results under this head which are most worth quoting.
Instinctive articulation without meaning may occur as early as the seventh week, but usually not till the end of the first half year. Tones are understood before words, and vowel sounds before consonants, so that if the vowel sounds alone are given of a word which the child understands (thirteen months), it will understand as well as if the word were fully spoken. Many children before they are six months old will repeat words parrot-like by mere imitation, without attaching to them any meaning. But this "echo-speaking" never takes place before the first understanding of certain other words is shown—never, e.g., earlier than the fourth month. Again, all children which hear but do not yet speak, thus repeat many words without understanding them, and conversely, understand many words without being able to repeat them. Such facts lead Professor Preyer to suggest a somewhat elaborate schema of the mechanism of speech, both on its physiological and psychological aspects; but this schema we have not sufficient space to reproduce.
Although the formation of ideas is not at first, or even for a considerable time, dependent on speech (any more than it is in the case of the lower animals), it constitutes the condition to the learning of speech, and afterward speech reacts upon the development of ideation. A child may and usually does imitate the sounds of animals as names of the animals which make them long before it can speak one word, and, so far as Preyer's evidence goes, interjections are all originally imitative of sounds. Children with a still very small vocabulary use words metaphorically, as "tooth-heaven" to signify the upper gums, and it is a mistake to suppose that the first words in a child's vocabulary are invariably noun-substantives, as distinguished from adjectives or even verbs. As this statement is at variance with almost universal opinion, we think it is desirable to furnish the following corroboration. The present writer has notes of a child which possessed a vocabulary of only a dozen words or so. The only properly English words were "poor," "dirty," and "cook," and of these the two adjectives, no less than the noun-substantive, were always appropriately used. The remaining words were nursery words, and of these "ta-ta" was used as a verb meaning to go, to go out, to go away, etc., inclusive of all possible moods and tenses. Thus, for instance, on one occasion, when the child was wheeling about her doll in her own perambulator, the writer stole away the doll without her perceiving the theft. When she thought that the doll had had a sufficiently long ride, she walked round the perambulator to take it out. Not finding the doll where she had left it she was greatly perplexed, and then began to say many times "poor Na-na, poor Na-na," "Na-na ta-ta, Na-na ta-ta;" this clearly meant—poor Na-na has disappeared. And many other examples might be given of this child similarly using her small stock of adjectives and verbs correctly.
According to Preyer, from the first week to the fifth month the only vowel sounds used are ue and a. On the forty-third day he heard the first consonant, which was m, and also the vowel o. Next day the child said ta hu, on the forty-sixth day goe oeroe, and on the fifty-first arra All the vowel sounds were acquired in the fifth month. We have no space to go further into the successive dates at which the remaining consonants were acquired. In the eleventh month the child first learnt to articulate a certain word (ada) by imitation, and afterward repeated the taught word spontaneously. The first year passed without any other indication of a connection between articulation and ideation than was supplied by the child using a string of different syllables (and not merely a repetition of the same one) on perceiving a rapid movement, as any one hurriedly leaving the room, etc.; but this child nevertheless understood certain words (such as "handchen geben") when only fifty-two weeks old. Inefficient attempts at imitative speaking precede the accurate attempts, and at fourteen months this inefficiency was still very apparent, being in marked contrast with the precision whereby it would imitate syllables which it could already say; the will to imitate all syllables was present, though not the ability. At the beginning of the fourteenth month on being asked: "Wo ist dein Schrank?" the child would turn its head in the direction of the cupboard, draw the person who asked the question toward it (though the child could not then walk); and so with other objects the names of which it knew. During the next month the child would point to the object when the question was asked, and also cough, blow, or stamp on being told to do so. In the seventeenth month there was a considerable advance in the use of sign-language (such as bringing a hat to the nurse as a request to go out), but still no words were spoken save ma-ma, pa-pa, etc. In the twentieth month the child could first repeat words of two unlike syllables. When twenty-three months old the first evidence of judgment was given; the child having drunk milk which was too hot for it, said the word "heiss." In the sixty-third week this word had been learnt in imitative speaking, so it required eight and a half months for it to be properly used as a predicate. At the same age on being asked, "Where is your beard?" the child would place its hand on its chin and move its thumb and fingers as if drawing hair through them, or as it was in the habit of doing if it touched its father's beard; this is evidence of imagination, which, however, certainly occurs much earlier in life. At the close of the second year a great advance was made in using two words together as a sentence—e.g., "home, milk," to signify a desire to go home and have some milk. In the first month of the third year sentences of three or even four words were used, as "papa, pear, plate, please." Hitherto the same word would often be employed to express several or many associated meanings, and no words appeared to have been entirely invented. The powers of association and inference were well developed. For instance, the child received many presents on its birthday, and being pleased said "bursta" (=Geburtstage); afterward when similarly pleased it would say the same word. Again, when it injured its hand it was told to blow upon it, and on afterward knocking its head it blew into the air. At this age also the power of making propositions advanced considerably, as was shown, for instance, by the following sentence on seeing milk spilt upon the floor: "Mime atta teppa papa oi," which was equivalent to "Milch fort (auf den) Teppich, Papa (sagte) pfui!" But it is interesting that at this age words were learnt with an erroneous apprehension of their meaning; this was particularly the case with pronouns—"dein Bett," for example, being supposed to mean "das grosse Bett." All words which were spontaneously acquired seemed to be instances of onomatopoeia. Adverbs were first used in the twenty-seventh month, and now also words which had previously been used to express a variety of associated or generic meanings, were discarded for more specific ones. In the twenty-eighth month prepositions were first used, and questions were first asked. In the twenty-ninth month the chief advance was in naming self with a pronoun, as in "give me bread;" but the word "I" was not yet spoken. When asked: "Wer ist mir?" the child would say its own name. Although the child had long been able to say its numerals, it was only in this month that it attained to an understanding of their use in counting. In the thirty-second month the word "I" was acquired, but still the child seemed to prefer speaking of itself in the third person.
The long disquisition on the acquirement of speech is supplemented by a chapter conveying the observations of other writers upon the same subject. This is followed by an interesting chapter on the development of self-consciousness, and the work concludes with a summary of results. There are also lengthy appendices on the acquirements of correct vision after surgical operations by those who have been born blind, and on the mental condition of uneducated deaf mutes; but we have no space left to go into these subjects. Enough, we trust, has been said to show that Professor Preyer's laborious undertaking is the most important contribution which has yet appeared to the department of psychology with which it is concerned. GEORGE J. ROMANES.
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THE RACIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF MAN.
DR. ZERFFI, F. R. Hist. S., recently delivered the first of the inaugural lectures in connection with the opening of the Crystal Palace Company's School of Art, on "The Racial Characteristics of Man Scientifically Traced in General History." He complained that the study of man from a scientific point of view, especially in history as enacted by him, was mostly neglected, although it ought to be—nay, would and must more and more become—our most important subject, as forming the only real basis of all our higher culture. History was undoubtedly a deductive science, but it could be verified and put to the best uses by the purely inductive study of facts. Any change, whether progressive or retrospective, in the social, political, or religious condition of men, would be a fact. The acting forces were men, of whom there were on the globe more than a thousand millions, all endowed with three principal faculties—of receiving impressions, which produced sensations, and were reflected in their intellectual consciousness. But neither in comparing individuals with one another, nor race with race, were these faculties equally developed. They varied with a race's average facial angles and lines, its amount of brain, the color of its skin, and its general organization. The facial angle of the black races might be taken at 85 deg., and the number of cubic inches of brain might range between 75 and 80. In an ethnological chart hung behind the lecturer, the main body of the Nigritian races, which was made up of the Asiatic and African negroes, was credited with 83 cubic inches of brain as a general statement. It was remarked however, that the brain was very small relatively to the body, while the cerebellum formed a very large portion of the organ. The statical and dynamical forces of the intellect were said to be undeveloped, the animal propensities predominating. The long extinct American Toltecs, ranking as one section of a subdivision under this head, figured for 79 cubic inches of brain. In both directions the intellectual forces were marked as undeveloped, but the Toltecs were credited with great imitative powers. The other section, comprising the Hottentots and Australian black fellows, were allowed but 75 cubic inches of brain, or not more than 10 above the highest anthropoid apes, and in neither did the statical or dynamical intellect pass beyond a transitory stage of the lowest degree. The typical facial angle of the yellow or Turanian races—the bulk being Chinese, Mongols, Finns, Turks, with Malay, Gangetic, Lohitic, Tamulic, and American tribes—was given as 871/2 degrees. In cubic inches, the brain ranged between 82 and 95. In the chart the figure given was 831/2. Here, too, the statical or conservative energy of the intellect was made the great characteristic, the dynamical or progressive developing for the most part in technical products only. The tendency was to become herdsmen, farmers, and traders. As a division were classed the aborigines of India and of Egypt, with an average 80 cubic inches of brain, a very large cerebellum, and a cerebrum comparatively small. Their intellect was as characteristically statical as that of the other yellow races, the dynamic impulse manifesting itself only in symbolism, mysticism, and the like. At the head of all stood the white races, Aryans for the most part, but with the Semites—Chaldeans, Phoeniceans, Hebrews, Carthaginians, Arabs—as a subdivision. Ideally, their facial angle was 90 deg.—the right angle—and their cubic inches of brain ranged from 92 to 120, rising in individual instances—the lecturer named Byron—as high as 150. The number in the chart for the Aryans—Sanskrit-speaking Indians, the Greeks and Romans, the Goths, Kelts, Slavs, and their progeny—was 92, and for the Semitic peoples 88. The Aryans were credited with a due balance between the dynamical and statical energy of their intellect, to which they owed nearly all the great inventions and discoveries, and with all the systematic development of science. They brought forth the philosophers, moralists, engineers, sculptors, musicians. The Semitic intellect was predominantly statical, being but little developed in the creative or dynamical direction, and then mostly in theological thought. They produced, however, musicians, traders, and conquerors.
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ECCENTRICITY AND IDIOSYNCRASY.
[Footnote: An extract from a Treatise on Insanity shortly to be published by D. Appleton & Co.]
By WILLIAM A. HAMMOND, M.D., Surgeon-General U.S. Army (Retired List), Professor of Diseases of the Mind and Nervous System in the New York Post-Graduate Medical School, etc.
ECCENTRICITY.—Persons whose minds deviate in some one or more notable respects from the ordinary standard, but yet whose mental processes are not directly at variance with that standard, are said to be eccentric. Eccentricity is generally inherent in the individual, or is gradually developed in him from the operation of unrecognized causes as he advances in years. If an original condition, it may be shown from a very early period of life, his plays, even, being different from those of other children of his age. Doubtless it then depends upon some peculiarity of brain structure, which, within the limits of the normal range, produces individuality of mental action.
But eccentricity is not always an original condition, for, under certain circumstances, it may be acquired. A person, for instance, meets with some circumstance in his life which tends to weaken his confidence in human nature. He accordingly shuns mankind, by shutting himself up in his own house and refusing to have any intercourse with the inhabitants of the place in which he resides. In carrying out his purpose he proceeds to the most absurd extremes. He speaks to no one he meets, returns no salutations, and his relations with the tradesmen who supply his daily wants are conducted through gratings in the door of his dwelling. He dies, and the will which he leaves behind him is found to devote his entire property for the founding of a hospital for sick and ownerless dogs, "the most faithful creatures I have ever met, and the only ones in which I have any confidence."
Such a man is not insane. There is a rational motive for his conduct—one which many of us have experienced, and which has, perhaps, prompted us to act in a similar manner, if not to the same extent.
Another is engaged in vast mercantile transactions, requiring the most thorough exercise of the best faculties of the mind. He studies the markets of the world, and buys and sells with uniform shrewdness and success. In all the relations of life he conducts himself with the utmost propriety and consideration for the rights and feelings of others. The most complete study of his character and acts fails to show the existence of the slightest defect in his mental processes. He goes to church regularly every Sunday, but has never been regarded as a particularly religious man. Nevertheless, he has one peculiarity. He is a collector of Bibles, and has several thousand, of all sizes and styles, and in many languages. If he hears of a Bible, in any part of the world, different in any respect from those he owns, he at once endeavors to obtain it, no matter how difficult the undertaking, or how much it may cost. Except in the matter of Bibles he is disposed to be some what penurious—although his estate is large—and has been known to refuse to have a salad for his dinner on account of the high price of good olive-oil. He makes his will, and dies, and then it is found that his whole property is left in trust to be employed in the maintenance of his library of Bibles, in purchasing others which may become known to the trustees, and in printing one copy, for his library, of the book in any language in which it does not already exist. A letter which is addressed to his trustees informs them that, when he was a boy, a Bible which he had in the breast-pocket of his coat preserved his life by stopping a bullet which another boy had accidentally discharged from a pistol, and that he then had resolved to make the honoring of the Bible the duty of his whole life.
Neither of these persons can be regarded as insane. Both were the subjects of acquired eccentricity, which, in all likelihood, would have ensued in some other form, from some other circumstance acting upon brains naturally predisposed to be thus affected. The brain is the soil upon which impressions act differently, according to its character, just as, with the sower casting his seed-wheat upon different fields, some springs up into a luxuriant crop, some grows sparsely, and some, again, takes no root, but rots where it falls. Possibly, if these individuals had lived a little longer, they might have passed the border-line which separates mental soundness from mental unsoundness; but certainly, up to the period of their deaths, both would have been pronounced sane by all competent laymen and alienists with whom they might have been brought into contact; and the contest of their wills, by any heirs-at-law, would assuredly have been a fruitless undertaking.
They chose to have certain ends in view, and to provide the means for the accomplishment of those ends. There were no delusions, no emotional disturbance, no hallucinations or illusions, and the will was normally exercised to the extent necessary to secure the objects of their lives. At any time they had it in their power to alter their purposes, and in that fact we have an essential point of difference between eccentricity and insanity. We may regard their conduct as singular, because they made an unusual disposition of their property; but it was no more irrational than if the one had left his estate to the "Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals," and the other had devoted his to sending missionaries to Central Africa.
Two distinct forms of eccentricity are recognizable. In the one, the individual sets himself up above the level of the rest of the world, and, marking out for himself a line of conduct, adheres to it with an astonishing degree of tenacity. For him the opinions of mankind in general are of no consequence. He is a law unto himself; what he says and does is said and done, not for the purpose of attracting attention or for obtaining notoriety, but because it is pleasing to himself. He does not mean to be singular or original, but he is, nevertheless, both. For every man is singular and original whose conduct, within the limits of reason and intelligence, differs from that of his fellow-men. He endeavors to carry out certain ideas which seem to him to have been overlooked by society to its great disadvantage. Society usually thinks different; but if the promulgator is endowed with sufficient force of character, it generally happens that, eventually, either wholly or in part, his views prevail. All great reformers are eccentrics of this kind. They are contending for their doctrines, not for themselves. And they are not apt to become insane, though sometimes they do.
The subjects of the other form occupy a lower level. They affect singularity for the purpose of attracting attention to themselves, and thus obtaining the notoriety which they crave with every breath they inhale. They dress differently from other people, wearing enormous shirt-collars, or peculiar hats, or oddly cut coats of unusual colors, or indulging in some other similar whimsicality of an unimportant character, in the expectation that they will thereby attract the attention or excite the comments of those they meet.
Or they build houses upon an idea perhaps correct enough in itself, as, for instance, the securing of proper ventilation; but in carrying it out they show such defective judgment that the complete integrity of the intellect may, perhaps, be a matter of question. Thus, one gentleman of my acquaintance, believing that fireplaces were the best ventilators, put four of these openings into every room in his house. This, however, was one of the smallest of his eccentricities. He wore a ventilated hat, his clothing was pierced with holes, as were even his shoes; and no one could be in his company five minutes without having his attention directed to these provisions for securing health.
In addition to these advanced notions on the subject of ventilation, he had others equally singular in regard to the arrangement of the furniture in his dwelling and the care that was to be taken of it. Thus, there was one room called the "apostles' room." It contained a table that represented Christ, and twelve chairs, which were placed around it, and typified the twelve apostles; one chair, that stood for Judas Iscariot, was covered with black crape. The floor of this room was very highly polished, and no one was allowed to enter it without slipping his shod feet into cloth slippers that were placed at the door ready for use. He had a library, tolerably large but of little value, and every book in it which contained Judas's name was bound in black, and black lines were drawn around the name wherever it occurred. Such eccentricity as this is not far removed from insanity, and is liable at any time, from some cause a little out of the common way, to pass over the line.
Thus, a lady had since her childhood shown a singularity of conduct as regarded her table furniture, which she would have of no other material than copper. She carried this fancy to such an extent that even the knives and forks were of copper. People laughed at her, and tried to reason her out of her whim, but in vain. She was in her element as soon as attention was directed to her fancy and arguments against it were addressed to her. She liked nothing better than to be afforded a full opportunity to discuss with any one the manifold advantages which copper possessed as a material to be used in the manufacture of every article of table ware. In no other respect was there any evidence of mental aberration. She was intelligent, by no means excitable, and in the enjoyment of excellent health. She had, moreover, a decided talent for music, and had written several passably good stories for a young ladies' magazine. An uncle had, however, died insane.
A circumstance, trifling in itself, but one, as it afterward resulted, of great importance to her, started in her a new train of thought, and excited emotions which she could not control. She read in a morning paper that a Mr. Koppermann had arrived at one of the hotels, and she announced her determination to call upon him, in order, as she said, to ascertain the origin of his name. Her friends endeavored to dissuade her, but without avail. She went to the hotel, and was told that he had just left for Chicago. Without returning to her home, she bought a railway ticket for Chicago, and actually started on the next train for that city. The telegraph, however, overtook her, and she was brought back from Rochester raving of her love for a man she had never seen, and whose name alone had been associated in her mind with her fancy for copper table furniture. She died of acute mania within a month. In this case erotic tendencies, which had never been observed in her before, seemed to have been excited by some very indirect and complicated mental process, and these in their turn developed into general derangement of the mind.
In another case, a young man, a clerk in a city bank, had for several years exhibited peculiarities in the keeping of his books. He was exceedingly exact in his accounts, but after the bank was closed always remained several hours, during which he ornamented each page of his day's work with arabesques in different-colored inks. He was very vain of this accomplishment, and was constantly in the habit of calling attention to the manner in which, as he supposed, he had beautified what would otherwise have been positively ugly. His fellow-clerks amused themselves at his expense, but his superior officers, knowing his value, never interfered with him in his amusement. Gradually, however, he conceived the idea that they were displeased with him, and at last the notion became so firmly rooted in his mind that he resigned his position, notwithstanding the protestations of the directors that his idea was erroneous. Delusions of various other kinds supervened, and he passed into a condition of chronic insanity, in which he still remains. In most of the cases occurring under this head the intellectual powers are not of a high order, though there may sometimes be a notable development of some talent, or even a great power for acquiring learning. Painters, sculptors, musicians, mathematicians, poets, and men of letters generally, not infrequently exhibit eccentricities of dress, conduct, manner, or ideas, which not only merely add to their notoriety, but often make them either the laughing-stocks of their fellow-men or objects of fear or disgust to all who are brought into contact with them.
IDIOSYNCRASY.—By idiosyncrasy we understand a peculiarity of constitution by which an individual is affected by external agents in a manner different from mankind in general. Thus, some persons cannot eat strawberries without a kind of urticaria appearing over the body; others are similarly affected by eating the striped bass; others, again, faint at the odor of certain flowers, or at the sight of blood; and some are attacked with cholera-morbus after eating shellfish—as crabs, lobsters, clams, or mussels. Many other instances might be advanced, some of them of a very curious character. These several conditions are called idiosyncrasies.
Begin, who defines idiosyncrasy as the predominance of an organ, a viscus, or a system of organs, has hardly, I think, fairly grasped the subject, though his definition has influenced many French writers on the question. It is something more than this—something inherent in the organization of the individual, of which we only see the manifestation when the proper cause is set in action. We cannot attempt to explain why one person should be severely mercurialized by one grain of blue mass, and another take daily ten times that quantity for a week without the least sign of the peculiar action of mercury being produced. We only know that such is the fact; and were we to search for the reason, with all the appliances which modern science could bring to our aid, we should be entirely unsuccessful. According to Begin's idea, we should expect to see some remarkable development of the absorbent system in the one case, with slight development in the other; but, even were such the case, it would not explain the phenomena, for, when ten grains of the preparation in question are taken daily, scarcely a day elapses before mercury can be detected in the secretions, and yet hydrargyriasis is not produced; while when one grain is taken, and this condition follows, the most delicate chemical examination fails to discover mercury in any of the fluids or tissues of the body.
[Footnote 1: "Physiologic Pathologique," Paris, 1828, t.i., p. 44.]
Begin's definition scarcely separates idiosyncrasy from temperament, whereas, according to what would appear to be sound reasoning, based upon an enlarged idea of the physiology of the subject, a very material difference exists.
Idiosyncrasies are often hereditary and often acquired. Two or more may exist in one person. Thus, there may be an idiosyncrasy connected with the digestive system, another with the circulatory system, another with the nervous system, and so on.
An idiosyncrasy may be of such a character as altogether to prevent an individual following a particular occupation. Thus, a person who faints at the sight of blood cannot be a surgeon; another, who is seized with nausea and vomiting when in the presence of insane persons, cannot be a superintendent of a lunatic asylum—not, at least, if he ever expects to see his patients. Idiosyncrasies may, however, be overcome, especially those of a mental character.
Millingen cites the case of a man who fell into convulsions whenever he saw a spider. A waxen one was made, which equally terrified him. When he recovered, his error was pointed out to him. The wax figure was put into his hand without causing dread, and shortly the living insect no longer disturbed him.
[Footnote 1: "Curiosities of Medical Experience," London, 1837, vol. ii., p. 246.]
I knew a gentleman who could not eat soft crabs without experiencing an attack of diarrhea. As he was exceedingly fond of them, he persevered in eating them, and finally, after a long struggle, succeeded in conquering the trouble.
Individuals with idiosyncrasies soon find out their peculiarities, and are enabled to guard against any injurious result to which they would be subjected but for the teachings of experience.
Idiosyncrasies may be temporary only—that is, due to an existing condition of the organism, which, whether natural or morbid, is of a transitory character. Such, for instance, are those due to dentition, the commencement or the cessation of the menstrual function, pregnancy, etc. These are frequently of a serious character, and require careful watching, especially as they may lead to derangement of the mind. Thus, a lady, Mrs. X, was at one time under my professional care, who, at the beginning of her first pregnancy, acquired an overpowering aversion to a half-breed Indian woman who was employed in the house as a servant. Whenever this woman came near her she was at once seized with violent trembling, which ended in a few minutes with vomiting and great mental and physical prostration, lasting several hours. Her husband would have sent the woman away, but Mrs. X insisted on her remaining, as she was a good servant, in order that she might overcome what she regarded as an unreasonable prejudice. The effort was, however, too much for her, for upon one occasion when the woman entered Mrs. X's apartment rather unexpectedly, the latter became greatly excited, and, jumping from an open window in her fright, broke her arm, and otherwise injured herself so severely that she was for several weeks confined to her bed. During this period, and for some time afterward, she was almost constantly subject to hallucinations, in which the Indian woman played a prominent part. Even after her recovery the mere thought of the woman would sometimes bring on a paroxysm of trembling, and it was not till after her confinement that the antipathy disappeared.
Millingen remarks that certain antipathies, which in reality are idiosyncrasies, appear to depend upon peculiarities of the senses. Rather, however, they are due to peculiarities of the ideational and emotional centers. The organ of sense, in any one case, shows no evidence of disorder; neither does the perceptive ganglion, which simply takes cognizance of the image brought to it. It is higher up that the idiosyncrasy has its seat. In this way we are to explain the following cases collected by Millingen:
[Footnote 1: Op cit., p. 246.]
"Amatus Lusitanus relates the case of a monk who fainted when he beheld a rose, and never quitted his cell when that flower was blooming. Scaliger mentions one of his relatives who experienced a similar horror when seeing a lily. Zimmermann tells us of a lady who could not endure the feeling of silk and satin, and shuddered when touching the velvety skin of a peach. Boyle records the case of a man who felt a natural abhorrence to honey; without his knowledge some honey was introduced in a plaster applied to his foot, and the accidents that resulted compelled his attendants to withdraw it. A young man was known to faint whenever he heard the servant sweeping. Hippocrates mentions one Nicanor, who swooned whenever he heard a flute; even Shakespeare has alluded to the effects of the bagpipes. Julia, daughter of Frederick, King of Naples, could not taste I meat without serious accidents. Boyle fainted when he heard the splashing of water; Scaliger turned pale at the sight of water-cresses; Erasmus experienced febrile symptoms when smelling fish; the Duke d'Epernon swooned on beholding a leveret, although a hare did not produce the same effect; Tycho Brahe fainted at the sight of a fox; Henry III. of France at that of a cat; and Marshal d'Albret at a pig. The horror that whole families entertain of cheese is generally known."
He also cites the case of a clergyman who fainted whenever a certain verse in Jeremiah was read, and of another who experienced an alarming vertigo and dizziness whenever a great height or dizzy precipice was described. In such instances the power of association of ideas is probably the most influential agent in bringing about the climax. There is an obvious relation between the warnings given by the prophet in the one case, and the well-known sensation produced by looking down from a great height in the other, and the effects which followed.
Our dislikes to certain individuals are often of the nature of idiosyncrasies, which we can not explain. Martial says:
"Non amo te, Sabidi, nec possum dicere quare; Hoc tantum possum dicere, non amo te;"
or, in our English version:
"I do not like you, Doctor Fell, The reason why I can not tell; But this I know, and that full I do not like you, Doctor Fell."
Some conditions often called idiosyncrasies appear to be, and doubtless are, due to disordered intellect. But they should not be confounded with those which are inherent in the individual and real in character. Thus, they are frequently merely imaginary, there being no foundation for them except in the perverted mind of the subject; at other times they are induced by a morbid attention being directed continually to some one or more organs or functions. The protean forms under which hypochondria appears, and the still more varied manifestations of hysteria, are rather due to the reaction ensuing between mental disorder on the one part, and functional disorder on the other, than to that quasi normal peculiarity of organization recognized as idiosyncrasy.
Thus, upon one occasion I was consulted in the case of a lady who it was said had an idiosyncrasy that prevented her drinking water. Every time she took the smallest quantity of this liquid into her stomach it was at once rejected, with many evident signs of nausea and pain. The patient was strongly hysterical, and I soon made up my mind that either the case was one of simple hysterical vomiting, or that the alleged inability was assumed. The latter turned out to be the truth. I found that she drank in private all the water she wanted, and that what she drank publicly she threw up by tickling the fauces with her finger-nail when no one was looking.
The idiosyncrasies of individuals are not matters for ridicule, however absurd they may appear to be. On the contrary, they deserve, and should receive, the careful consideration of the physician, for much is to be learned from them, both in preventing and in treating diseases. In psychiatrical medicine they are especially to be inquired for. It is not safe to disregard them, as they may influence materially the character of mental derangement, and may be brought in as efficient agents in the treatment.—N.Y. Medical Journal.
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[Footnote: Abstract from a paper lately read before the Southern Dental Association, Baltimore, Md.]
By Dr. J. M. RIGGS, of Hartford, Conn.
A gentleman, a physician, aged thirty-two years, strong and vigorous, with no lack of nerve-energy, calls to have his teeth attended to, with the disease in the first stage throughout the mouth. Upon examination, he observes upon the gum of one of the lower cuspids a dark purplish ring encircling the neck, from one-sixty-fourth to one sixteenth of an inch in depth; the tooth in situ is white and clean. With the aid of the mouth and hand mirror he shows the condition to the patient, and, taking up an excavator, endeavors to pass it down between the tooth and gum, on the labial surface. After it gets down a little way the instrument meets with an obstruction, over which, calling the patient's attention to the fact, he carefully guides the instrument until it drops down on the tooth-substance beyond it; then, turning the instrument and pressing it upward, he breaks off a portion of the concretion; which proves to be what is ordinarily called lime-salts, or tartar. That is the cause of the purple ring on the gum, which is merely the outward manifestation of the disease. Take it off thoroughly, polish the surface of the tooth, and in three days' time the gum will show a perfectly healthy color. The condition described is the first stage of the disease, and the treatment given is all that is required for a cure of the case at this time. But take the same man and let him go for ten years without the simple operation detailed. The disease spreads, and causes inflammation of the process, and, finally, its absorption—sometimes on the labial surface for one half or two-thirds the length of the tooth. It runs its course, the tartar accumulating, all the time following up the line of attack. At the end of ten years what has become of the line of tartar? Sometimes it will be found extending clear around the tooth. Sometimes it will not be found at all; it has done its work—the tooth is loose, but the concretion is gone, in whole or in part. In this case the patient wants the tooth out, but, he asks, what has become of the tartar? The answer is that the natural acids found in the oral cavity have dissolved it, and it has passed into the stomach or out of the mouth in the saliva. But the tooth is so loose that it is a torment to the man; it lies in its socket, entirely loose, almost ready to drop over. It hurts so that he cannot bear the pain. The tooth is taken out. There is no tartar on it, or very little; there is a little speck near the point that looks like a foreign body; but the point of the tooth—the apex—is as sharp as a needle. After the disease has done its work of separating the tooth from its socket, the destroying agent begins to absorb the tooth at the point, irregularly, causing the sharpness described. Now, because no tartar is found upon the tooth, does that argue that it has never been there? Not at all; the loosened tooth shows simply that it has been there and has been absorbed. The speaker has never seen a tooth in that condition on the point of which he could not show patches or specks; we may not see the tartar, but it certainly once existed there, and has accomplished its work.
Now suppose we find a patient with all the teeth loosened; he has neuralgia pains in the face, for which medicine seems to furnish no remedy; he has also catarrh, and the malar and nasal bones are all affected. In the third and fourth stages a low inflammatory action pervades all the bones of the face, accompanied by neuralgic pains, extending to the brain itself. In such a case the disease of the teeth intensifies the catarrh. A medical man called upon him for treatment for pyorrhea alveolaris; the patient was also afflicted with catarrh. He cured the pyorrhea alveolaris, and cured the catarrh, too, at the same time.
Another case.—A lady called in great distress. Nearly all her teeth were affected, and the discharge was most offensive and abundant; if she lay on her side in bed, the pillow would be covered with large splotches of the discharge in the morning; if she lay on her back, the mass was swallowed, and the result was that the whole alimentary canal was demoralized by the pus, blood, and vitiated secretions. When she arose she wanted no breakfast, only two or three cups of strong coffee and some crackers. She was nearly blind, could only see a great light, and was totally unable to see to read. He told her that the trouble with her sight was caused by the diseased condition of the teeth; that unless that was remedied, she might live three months, but she would die suddenly. He treated three or four teeth at a time at each sitting. This consumed three weeks. The teeth became firm, her appetite returned, her sight was restored, and she was able to walk a mile or two without disturbance. He was called to Brooklyn, where they had a live society, and an infirmary for the treatment of dental diseases, at which members of the society were delegated to attend from day to day. He was invited to give a clinic upon pyorrhea alveolaris, and he told them of this patient, whom he showed to some fifteen members. The woman was apparently in fair health. It was not loss of nerve-energy which started the disease in this case, but the disease caused the loss of appetite and the vitiated condition of the whole alimentary canal. Her physician would have sent this woman to the grave, not recognizing the disease and its management.
He maintains that it is not lack of nervous energy that causes this disease, but the disease will lead to loss of nerve-energy. That small purple ring on the gum of the cuspid in the case first mentioned would eventually have led to the loss of the whole set, if left to work its way unopposed. He had tried in these remarks to controvert the old ideas, and to present the cause of the disease and its treatment as he sees it. You may see it differently; if so, give us your information, in order that we may correct our views, if wrong.
One gentleman says he finds it is only those who are strong and vigorous who have this disease. The speaker finds some cases of this kind; he also finds consumptives who have not a trace of it, but he would take the strongest man in the room and cause a beautiful case of pyorrhea alveolaris in his mouth in three weeks, with a fine cotton thread tied around one of the lower front teeth at the line of the gum. The thread will work its way under the gum, and the gum will become inflamed; it will work its way down between the gum and the tooth, and in the meantime the flour and the particles of food will also work down under the loose gum, finding a rallying-point on the thread; the mass will become impregnated with lime-salts, and will then begin to harden, and in a very short time you will have an excellent example of the disease under discussion. Patients suffering from salivation fall an easy prey to this disease, due to the action of the drug on the glands and the hard and soft tissues of the mouth, the gums in such cases affording a ready pocket under their edges for the deposits.
When you find a tooth with the characteristic concretion of tartar upon it, the first principle of surgery demands that you clean that tooth thoroughly. Go down beyond the line of the disease, go around the tooth thoroughly, and break up the diseased tissue, and apply tincture of myrrh, and in three days you will notice a marked improvement for the better, and if the patient takes proper care of the teeth the disease will not return. Practitioners should watch the teeth of the young people under their care, and see that the mouth is kept scrupulously clean and healthy.
In reply to a question, Dr. Riggs stated that whenever absorption goes on irregularly, unless the inflammatory action is extreme, it will sometimes absorb one or two bone-cells, and then skip one or two, and these last, being isolated, naturally die, or become necrosed to some extent. In treating this disease you must break up the line of disintegrated tissue. You must, as it were, transfer your eyesight to the end of the instrument, so that when you strike dead bone you will know it. Live bone will feel smooth and greasy.
It requires some years of experience to treat this disease properly, because you have not your eyesight to aid you, but must depend absolutely upon the sense of touch. With experience, however, you will learn to give a great deal of relief in one of the most annoying conditions to which the teeth are subject. The reason the profession are not familiar with the treatment of this disease is, they fail to recognize it until it reaches its third or fourth stage, and then they treat it by depletion and therapeutic remedies. Some treat it by stippling in acids underneath the gum, thinking thereby to dissolve away not only the tartar, but the necrosed bone. Another writer takes off patches of the diseased tissue, and another a strip of the gum, from wisdom-tooth to wisdom-tooth. This treatment he could only characterize as simply barbarous. The treatment of this disease is purely surgical. Any therapeutic treatment is to alleviate the pain and soreness immediately after the operation.
Dr. W. N. Morrison, St. Louis, referring to the method of treating pyorrhea alveolaris described by Dr. Riggs, said he cheerfully bore testimony to the importance of loosening the scales of tartar, and teaching patients the value of cleanness of the mouth. In his experience he had found that all instruments will occasionally fail to dislodge the deposit. In such cases he used as an assistant a little ring of para gum about an eighth of an inch wide. This was sprung on the tooth at the edge of the gum. If this is done and the ring allowed to remain a few hours, you will see an entirely new revelation, and you will readily be able to get at the tooth to clean it. He had found it advisable to give patients practical showing how the brush should be used.