« PreviousContinue »
the mortality has decreased 2 per thousand ; but in Madras the improvement has been such that the deaths have fallen from 76 to 41 per
thousand. Whilst India remained in the hands of the East India Company, and the British troops stationed there seldom exceeded 25,000, the high mortality of the presidency of Bengal might have escaped observation; but now that the European soldiers will probably be doubled, the necessity for putting their sanitary condition upon a proper footing must be obvious. Colonel Tulloch has informed me,' says Mr. Martin, in his admirable work on the · Influence of Tropical Climates on the European Constitution,' that between 1815 and 1855 there died of European soldiers belonging to her Majesty's and the East India Company's army in India very nearly 100,000 men, the greater portion of whose lives might have been saved had better localities been selected for military occupation in that country.' Estimating the value of each soldier in India at 1001., this would give a sum of 10,000,000
The barracks and cantonments of India, as regards vastness and solidity, are perhaps not to be equalled by any in the world. The military buildings of Burhampore in Bengal are said to have cost, during the 77 years they were in existence, including capital and interest, 16,891,2061.; yet this costly station, like that of Secunderabad in the Madras presidency, was planted in an absolutely pestiferous locality. All over India the localities of the barracks are bad, and their construction and arrangement extremely faulty. “Nearly the whole station of Cawnpore,' says Mr. Jeffreys, 'running some miles along the river, was so cut up into small" compounds” by high mud walls that a bird's-eye view would have given it the appearance of a divided honeycomb. These walls, with the profusion of trees they enclosed, seemed as if designed to cut off every current of wind from the inhabitants of the ground-floor dwellings hidden within them.' In another case, as if to make stagnation doubly secure, he mentions that there is a square wall within a square wall surrounding a cantonment. Hence we can easily account for the fearful mortality among European troops in India.
uropean troops in India. As if to make patent to us the folly we commit in constructing these vast bakehouses, the native troops who hut themselves outside our lines, and thus get plenty of air, present the unique example of a soldiery whose mortality is below that of the population from which it is recruited. In the Bengal presidency the mutiny has cleared away the difficulty; for it has swept the mass of these pestilential cantonments from the face of the earth. The question, how shall we profit by the loss ? is answered by Mr. Martin in his Suggestions for promoting the Health and Efficiency of the
British Troops serving in the East Indies.' He insists that we must station our troops in future upon the hills, but not on such stations as we have on the Himalaya and Neilgherry mountains, positions of 7000 feet above the sea ; for although they are a security against the fevers of the country, they are apt to induce bowel complaints, which are almost as fatal. His opinion is, that elevations of from 2800 to 6000 feet would yield a climate most congenial for European troops: such, in fact, as we have already found in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. He especially draws attention to the solitary hills—those islands of the plains'-as capable of affording a refuge from the fevers that inundate the low-lying ground. Here the mass of the British army may be lodged until their services are needed. From these eyries, like the Romans of old, they may watch the champaign country, and be ready, at a moment's notice, to move on any threatened position. There is no intention of recommending the abandonment of strategical points, or large cities which
as arsenals, simply because they are not wholesome. There are dangers to be braved in peace as well as in war.
Yet our experience of the heroic qualities of the British soldier justifies the assumption that small bodies of them, placed in strongly-fortified positions, could hold out against all comers until succour should arrive from the hill stations-especially now India is being traversed by railroads and telegraphs. But even these stations are not sufficient to restore patients suffering under chronic disease. These, if possible, should at once be sent home. The sick officer is invalided, and speedily recovers in the air of his native land; the common soldier, on the contrary, is forced to enter the hospital, too often to die. The men, moreover, should be recruited for a shorter time. At present they practically serve seventeen years in India—a period which breaks down the constitutions of the majority. It is the exposure to heat for a great length of time, and not its intensity for a short period, that destroys European life. If we entrap the ignorant labourer by the most unworthy artifices,* we should, at least, be merciful to him. Let the term of service be reduced to ten years, and then the stream of stalwart Britons, fresh from the mother country, would enable us, in conjunction with hill stations, to keep a powerful and resistless grasp upon the country.
It may well be imagined that, if the sanitary condition of our army is so bad in times of peace, its sufferings in war must be greatly ex
* Mr. Jeffreys informs us that he has lately seen a recruiting serjeant's placard in which there is an engraving of British trooper cutting down a Sepoy and taking from him a bag of treasure.
aggerated. The experience of the Peninsula, Walcheren, Burmah, and Sebastopol, has unfailingly proved this to be the case, and in manifold instances the evils were such as could have been avoided
The barracks and the military hospitals,' says Miss Nightingale, exist at home and in the colonies as tests of our sanitary condition in peace; and the histories of the Peninsular war, of Walcheren, and of the late Crimean expedition, exist as tests of our sanitary condition in the state of war. We have much more information on the sanitary history of the Crimean campaign than we have of any other. It is a complete example-history does not afford its equal—of an army, after a great disaster arising from its neglects, having been brought into the highest state of health and efficiency. It is the whole experiment on a colossal scale. In all other examples the last step has been wanting to complete the solution of the problem. We had in the first seven months of the Crimean campaign a mortality among the troops at the rate of 60 per cent. per annum from disease alone-a rate of mortality which exceeds that of the great plague in the population of London, and a higher ratio than the mortality in cholera to the attacks; that is to say, that there died out of the army of the Crimea an annual rate greater than ordinarily die in time of pestilence out of sick. We had during the last six months of the war a mortality among our sick not much more than among our healthy Guards at home, and a mortality among our troops in the last five months two-thirds only of what it is among our troops at home.'
This splendid testimony to the value of sanitary science, exhibited on the largest scale, on an apparently hopeless field, is without appeal. The Commissioners propose a medical officer of health for the army,* second in rank to the principal medical officer, and attached to the quartermaster-general in the field. This officer, says the Report, should be the head of the sanitary police of the army, should be answerable for all the measures to be adopted for the prevention of disease, and should report to the quartermaster-general, and to the principal medical officer. In order to prevent any evasion of responsibility, they further recommend that the sanitary officer shall give his advice in writing, and that the disregard of it on strategical grounds shall be equally recorded by the officer in command. Having thus provided for the army in the field, the Commissioners propose that there shall be associated with the Medical Director-General of the Army a sanitary, statistical, and medical colleague. Each of these officers would be at the head of a distinct department
* This idea of a sanitary officer for armies in the field originated with Mr. J. Ranald Martin, who has long advocated the measure in his correspondence with the medical journals, and with the East India Government. To this gentleman we also owe the suggestion of a health officer in civil life.
the sanitary officer taking cognisance of all questions of food, dress, diet, exercise, and lodging for the soldier; the statistical department gathering together those invaluable details relative to the health of the army, for the want of which the British troops have so long suffered a mortality out of all proportion to the civil community ; while the inedical department would serve as a connecting link between civil and military medicine, keeping the latter up to the last word of science, as spoken by the great medical authorities in all countries. Some of these suggestions will require deep consideration before they are adopted. Nothing, at any rate, must be permitted to fetter the absolute power of the commander in the field, who must have a real as well as a nominal freedom. But every precaution which can guard the health of the soldier without cramping the discretion of the general is demanded alike by humanity and policy. What was so powerfully said in the last century has remained in a great degree true in
«The life of a modern soldier is ill-represented by heroic fiction. War has means of destruction more formidable than the cannon and the sword. Of the thousands and ten thousands that perished in our late contests with France and Spain, a very small
part ever felt the stroke of an enemy; the rest languished in tents and ships, amidst damps and putrefaction ; pale, torpid, spiritless and helpless; gasping and groaning, unpitied among men, made obdurate by long continuance of hopeless misery; and were at last whelmed in pits or heaved into the ocean, without notice or remembrance. By incommodious encampments and unwholesome stations, where courage is useless and enterprise impracticable, fleets are silently dispeopled, and armies sluggishly
Art. VII.-Boswell's Life of Johnson: including their Tour to
the Hebrides. By the Right Honourable John Wilson Croker, LL.D., F.R.S. A new Edition, thoroughly Revised, with much additional Matter. With Portraits. i Vol., royal 8vo.
1 London, 1847. TR. THACKERAY has remarked that the advantages of
who complain of its hardships. The physician must have house and furniture, carriage and men-servants, before patients will confide in him, for nobody is willing to trust in his skill till he puts on an appearance which indicates that he is trusted by others. The barrister must be at the cost of chambers and clerk,
expense of going the circuit. The artist must have his studio and a constant supply of canvas and paint. The author, on the other hand, requires scarce any capital with which to exercise his craft. In large towns public libraries supply him with books, and a few sheets of paper, a pen and a little ink are all which are required to write them. He can live in a cheap lodging, and needs none of the costly appendages of the doctor, lawyer, and painter. Such is Mr. Thackeray's summary of the case, and it is plain enough that every calling has its drawbacks and compensations; but, when all has been said, it will still remain a truth that the worst profession in the world, for those who rely upon it exclusively, is that of an author. With the exception of a very few popular writers and editors of journals, no persons expend so large an amount of talent and toil for so small a return as the better class of literary men. Gifted
persons, whose pens are hardly ever out of their hands, can with difficulty earn three or four hundred a year. Great as is the demand for books in the aggregate, the works of an individual have not often a sufficient sale to furnish much profit. If he chances to make a lucky hit, he can rarely repeat it. Those who make their
way in the ordinary professions have a steady call for their services; the gains of the author, which are dependent upon a taste as variable as the weather, are always precarious. Though the
, public did not require incessant variety and were willing to go listening to the voice of the charmer, he can seldom continue to charm as wisely as at first. Goldsmith urged the introduction of new members into the Literary Club because the original associates had travelled over each other's minds.' This is as true of books as of conversation. Few men are possessed of an inexhaustible stock of ideas, and while in the ordinary callings increased experience gives increased skill, the author often finds in the very prime of his life that his occupation is gone,
and that little besides · mouth-honour' is left hiin. But the chief evil, perhaps, of his employment, when his bread depends upon it, is in the nature of the exertion it imposes. The craft of an artist is in a large degree mechanical, and to paint is usually as much a pleasure as a labour. The duties of a physician soon become a routine in which the intellect is rarely, put to a strain. The barrister has his materials found to his hands, has the comparatively easy task of addressing the understanding instead of captivating the taste, and has the immense advantage of speaking to an audience far from fastidious and which is compelled to listen to him. Literary productions, when they have any particular excellence, generally flow with much less facility. They call for a more exhausting patience Vol. 105.—No. 209.