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Page 1: THE SANITARY CONDITION OF MERCHANT SEAMEN

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and Mr. Henry Lee. One candidate prints twelve testi-monials, another seven, and the third six. We see no

resource for a lay governor but to cancel altogether thenames we have mentioned, and to decide in accordancewith the testimonials that remain. We are greatlyindebted to Mr. Jabez Hogg for furnishing us with thisreductio ad absurdum,; and if he will also tell us in what

way the testimonials will help the lay governors, or whatpurpose they fulfil other than that of very undesirable

advertisements, we shall be indebted to him in a still largermeasure.

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SMALL-POX IN LONDON.

THERE were 157 deaths from small-pox registered inLondon last week, or less by 31 than in the week preceding.The disease continues as fatal as ever in the east districts,and is increasing in the districts south of the Thames. TheRegistrar-General wishes to distinguish in his returns thenumber of deaths occurring among vaccinated and unvac-cinated persons; but the large proportion of cases in whichthe medical certificates do not specify whether vaccinationhas or has not taken place has hitherto prevented him fromdoing so. He has therefore issued a circular to the regis-trars, instructing them to obtain, if possible, the necessaryinformation from death informants, where the medicalcertificate does not give it. The matter is one of greatpublic importance, and we would urge upon medical men inall fatal cases of small-pox coming under their charge, totake a little extra trouble, if necessary, in order to satisfythemselves whether the deceased had been vaccinated or

not, and to state the fact on their certificates. We doubtif ordinary death informants will be able to help the regis-trars much in an inquiry of this kind. It would be pre-mature to attach much importance to the registrationof fewer deaths than in the previous week. The numberof cases reported to the Poor-law Board increases still weekby week. It is most unfortunate that we have not a regis-tration of sickness as well as of deaths. ;

THE SANITARY CONDITION OF MERCHANTSEAMEN.

AMONG the many members whose "out-of-town" lucu-brations have been particularly laborious or specially vo-luminous, Mr. S. Plimsoll, member for Derby, occupies aconspicuous place. He has been occupied for two or threedays lately in descanting to the people of Manchester uponthe condition of our merchant seamen, and the unsea-worthiness of ships, intending to take legislative action onthe subject during next session, and having we supposeas his object in this instance, to arouse the enthusiasm ofinland as well as waterside constituencies. It appears, fromthe report given in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph, that hesucceeded in this endeavour passing well, though, to quotethe words of the honourable member, he 11 might not be ableto talk to them like John Bright." Mr. Plimsoll, however,omitted several important points in connexion with his

subject, so that, on the eve of a new session, we take leaveto remind him and those interested in the question, of thesanitary enactments that exist, and those that are requiredto be made, to ensure the safety of our ships at sea, and ofthe crews that man them.

Since the year 1865 reports well authenticated, and factsfully proved, have gone to show that sailors were frequentvictims of scurvy in our sea-going, and of fever in our

coasting vessels, and that unhealthy men signed articles,went to sea, and-to quote from the 11 Ship- Captains’Medical Guide"-" laid up for days, weeks, and months,gave thereby additional labour to the rest of the watch, andeventually took money from the owners that they had in

nowise earned." It was also shown that the diet commonlygiven to sailors was provocative of scurvy, absurdly mono-tonous, and quite as costly as a varied scale of rations; andlastly, overwhelming evidence was recorded, setting forththat the lime- and lemon-juice furnished to the crews ofships was in most cases useless, and in many cases utterlyand entirely worthless. Urged on by countless representa-tions, public, private, and journalistic, the Board of Tradedetermined, in 1867, to bring in a small Bill to remedy someof these evils, and, accordingly, the Merchant Shipping Billwas introduced into the House of Lords, and became lawunder the conduct of the Duke of Richmond.

It is unnecessary in this place to recapitulate the objectsof this Act, because they have been exhaustively set forth

many times in these columns. It suffices to say that theclauses relating to lime- and lemon-juice have worked well,and that scurvy has diminished. But no improvementhas taken place as to the kind of diet given to our sea-men, and no sort of care is taken that healthy hands areshipped. It is notorious that British vessels go to sea

considerably undermanned. It is equally notorious, ac-

cording to Mr. Plimsoll, that they go to sea in an unsea-worthy state. It is therefore our duty to point out to thisgentleman that, in endeavouring to improve the conditionof the mercantile marine of this country, it is necessary, aswe have continually and persistently maintained, to inspectand survey the vital material carried, fully as much as thehull, spars, and gear that constitute the ship. Healthycrews, and proper scales of diet for these crews, are twonecessities of nautical success, and two very importantitems in computing the safety of ships at sea.

DECAPITATION BY HANGING.

AT a meeting of the Surgical Society of Ireland heldon the 20th ult., Mr. Humphrey Minchin, surgeon to theDublin city prisons, exhibited several cervical vertebræ

belonging to a man executed for murder some months sinc&in Dublin, and whose head during the execution was-

wrenched off. On examination there was not found anydislocation, the atlas was intact, but the axis was fractured.A peculiar point in this remarkable case was that the neckwas severed below where the injury to the axis had oc-curred. The quantity of blood which flowed from thehead after the execution was twice as much as that ob-tained from the trunk, which may be explained by theunskilful manner in which the executioner performed hisduty-tying the noose round the unfortunate man’s neckso tightly as to cause great congestion in the cerebralvessels. The carotid arteries, it may be mentioned, beatfor fully five minutes after death, ejecting at stated intervalsa jet of blood. This peculiar termination of the case causedsuch excitement in Dublin that it was investigated, by orderof the Lord Lieutenant, by Drs. Lentaigne and Hatchell,who attributed it, not to the fall of fourteen feet, but tothe badness of the rope, which was incapable of resiliency.

A COTTAGE HOSPITAL FOR SWINDON.

FOLLOWING in the wake of its near Gloucestershire neigh-bour, Cirencester, a proposal to establish a cottage hospitalhas just been discussed at a public meeting in Swindon, butwith a different result, as the inhabitants of the latter townhave affirmed the desirability of such an institution, andhave appointed a committee to take the necessary steps forraising the funds, and the like. Our remarks of last weekrelative to Cirencester apply with equal force to Swindon.Only one of the Swindon practitioners attended the meet-ing, and he holds the post of medical officer of health to thelocal board; the others seem to have been invited to co-

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