Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

children were produced ; in which the husband had been married, before 164; in which the wife had been married before, 143; and in which both parents had been married before, 87.

As to the Sex of the child we have the following observations :

“It is worthy of notice, that even within the period to which these marriages belong, (ten years) the proportion between the sexes of the children is on the whole consistent with the results given throughout Europe generally from marriages whose families are complete, the difference in the age of the parties producing the same effect at any given period of time that would be produced from the same parties by continuance of time. Thus the proportion of male to female children is about 106 to 100, and is somewhat higher in towns than in the country, though it differs considerably in different years. The children appear generally to follow the sex of the elder parent, but this result is not invariable. On the contrary, it will be seen that when the age of the father exceeds by as much as twenty years that of the mother, especially in second marriages, the female births preponderate ; from which circumstance, as well as some others which the tables indicate, it would appear that difference of age has a different value at different periods of life; or, in other words, that the sum as well as the difference of the ages of the parents ought to form an element in a calculation of probabilities on the sex of children. “ It

may also be worthy of remark that, if the children of first marriages during the first five years of these tables be totalled separately from those of the five last years, the male births will somewhat predominate in the latter; from which it perhaps may be inferred that the early births of any given marriage are likely to be male, and that after a few years females begin to predominate; which may also point to the conclusion just adverted to, viz. that difference of

age

diininishes in its effect as the age of both parties advance. If tables of this nature were regularly collected, interesting results of this class might safely be drawn from them. We content ourselves, however, with forming these tables rather as a groundwork for future comparison, than as yet furnishing sufficient data for statistic calculation. But, we may remark in passing, that it will be seen, by reference to the table of Births, which gives the births of the whole community during the last 10 years, that the proportion of males to females is only 104 to 100, instead of 106 to 100, as in these tables, which give only the births from marriages which have taken place since 1830: whence it would appear that the number of female children has been greater in the marriages which still continued productive though they had taken place before 1830."

Deaths.—The number of deaths registered as occurring in the 10 years 1831-41, amounting to 1,187,374, is of course a lower one than the number which really occurred: owing to the emigration and extinction of some families, and the forgetfulness of others who furnished the returns, which were alone obtained from the voluntary statements furnished by the families in existence on the night of the 6th June, 1841. The Commissioners believe the deficiency may be rated as high as one-fourth. But they add

“ On the whole, we think it will be admitted, that however defective these returns of deaths may be in absolute numbers, they possess an extraordinary interest as a classified and digested record of the causes of more than a million of deaths. On these subjects we refer to the Report of Surgeon Wilde, of whose services we have availed ourselves in their compilation, abstaining from any comment of our own on the prevailing sources of mortality and disease, from feeling that his own views and ideas should rest upon his own responsibility,

Surgeon Wilde has devoted much labour and ability to the subject, and as these returns show the distribution and prevalence of disease, they will not be without a peculiar utility at the present moment, while the consideration of that subject excites so much public attention.”

When we state that all these deaths are classed and tabulated, so as to show in what proportions the various diseases which have produced them have prevailed in every country district and town of importance of Ireland, their commanding utility to the statesman and philanthropist must be apparent. Our object, however, is rather with some of the general results than with the examination of the relative condition of particular divisions of the country; and we will content ourselves with the following statement upon this point, viz. that for all Ireland the average age at death for males, has proved to be 29.6 in rural and 24.1 in civic districts; and for females, 28.9 in rural and 24.3 in civic districts : but for the separate provinces it is as follows:-Leinster, Males 32 rural, 25 civic: females 31.5 rural, 25.4 civic. In Ulster, males 31.8 rural, 23.8 civic : females 32 rural and 23.6 civic. In Munster, males 28.2 rural, 23.6 civic : females 27 rural, 23.7 civic. In Connaught, males 26.1 rural, 22.6 civic ; females 24.3 rural, 22.4 civic.

“ The remarkable difference in the duration of life in Leinster and Ulster over Connaught and Munster, is too striking to be overlooked. The latter are the most exclusively agricultural, and from the analogy of Great Britain, should, on that account, seem likely to present the longest, rather than the shortest, average duration of existence. We fear, however, that the very low state, as to food and accommodation, of the rural population of these provinces, would be found, by a more searching inquiry and comparison, to place them in a sanatory point of view, more nearly equal with the crowded inhabitants of the western parts of England and Scotland, rather than the healthy rustics of the English and Scotch agricultural counties.”

Mr. Wilde not only arranged this 1,187,374 deaths thus reported, according to their various causes, ages, and years of occurrence, but obtained additional returns from the various Hospitals, &c. a return of 25,378 deaths from cholera from the Board of Health, a return of deaths and executions occurring in jails, and returns of coroners' inquests and deaths in lunatic asylums. He thus left no source of information unapplied to: and followed in arranging the whole mass for the most part the nosological classification recommended by Mr. Farr,* as the simplest and most scientific yet proposed, and as offering facilities for the comparison of the diseases and mortality of the two countries. He comprises the whole, however, under 93 causes of death only, Mr. Farr enumerating 145.

The detail of these causes of death is preceded by an interesting disquisition upon the antiquity of the practice of medicine in Ireland. It would indeed be expected that the country which, when the rest of Europe was

Those of our readers who do not possess Mr. Farr's pamphlet, detailing his Statistical Nosology, should apply for the same at the Registrar's Office, where they may obtain it gratuitously. It is of great importance that medical men should do all in their

power to render the registration of deaths as accurate as possible, as regards nomenclature ; for if this be left to the friends of the deceased, much of the value of the returns becomes diminished.

plunged in barbaric ignorance, cultivated learning, music, and other attainments of a politer age with earnestness and success, should excel in the simple medical knowledge of the period. The nation which could supply Charlemagne with his preceptor, and Alfred the Great with learned companions, would not be deficient in medical seers. But when our author traces the cultivation of what deserves to be styled medicine, to a period coeval with or anterior to the Christian Æra, we think that the national passion for antiquity, so conspicuous in various historical records, somewhat predominates. None of the writers upon medicine, medieval or modern, furnish an enumeration of the diseases of the country, and no General Bill of Mortality has ever been drawn up before the present, and even Bills for the City of Dublin, if ever they were kept with regularity, have long ceased to be so.

In the First Grand Class, viz. the Epidemic, Endemic, and Contagious Diseases, the total number of deaths amounted to 381,249; 100 males to 92.93 females. A few condensed observations upon each of the sixteen diseases constituting these, may be interesting. We will enumerate them in their order of relative frequency.

1. Fever.-From this, the Plague of Ireland, (it is doubtful whether the true plague ever visited Ireland,) the Census-returns furnish 112,072 deaths : 100 males to 86·14 females, and 1 death in every 10.59 of the mortality from all causes, and 1 in 3.4 of the deaths of the total epidemic class of diseases. The spotted fever or true Typhus Hibernicus is recorded in the early Irish MSS. and existed in the island probably long before any records of its appearance. Although probably always endemic, the first authentic account of its appearing epidemically occurs as late as 1708, since when numerous similar visitations have been recorded. The present returns however prove that the statements of mortality, in some of these roughly put down at 60,000 or 80,000, must have been exaggerated. Drs. Barker and Cheyne calculated the number of persons attacked by the celebrated epidemic of 1817-19 at a million and a half. It spared neither rank or locality, and 100,737 persons were admitted into the hospitals, of whom 4,349 died. These writers are confirmed, by the present Census, in their opinion of the greater prevalence of the disease among males. This was the last pestilential epidemic in Ireland prior to the appearance of cholera in 1832. It is singular that fever has raged nearly decennially.

2. Small-por.–58,006 deaths, 100 males to 96.45 females. Proportion to general mortality-1 in 20.46, and 1 in 6.57 to epidemic disease. The disease especially prevailed in 1837-8. Although constituting so large a share of the mortality, this disease, notwithstanding the rapid progress of population, is but one-half so prevalent in the City of Dublin as it was a century ago. Vaccination was long neglected in Ireland, and even now, in spite of its illegality, people pass from village to village for the express purpose of inoculating children. Two or more epidemics have usually prevailed simultaneously in Ireland, and thus when fever especi, ally prevailed in 1740 and 1817, small-pox likewise raged epidemically and with great fatality. The public hospital returns only give 129 deaths in the ten years.

3. Cholera.-" The total deaths from this disease are 50,769 : but as its duration was limited, being epidemic at most for only three years, 1832-4, it is only in comparison with the general deaths of these years that any fair or just proportion can be made. Upon this period its comparison with the deaths from all causes is 1 in 7.36, and compared with those of the epidemic class, 1 in 2.77. After the year 1834, when 4,419 deaths are returned, the mortality from this cause fell rapidly till the years 1837-8, when it rose again to 968 and 1,222.” No age from 1 to 70 was spared by this disease, but it prevailed most from 35 to 40, and from 45 to 50. In the Dublin Cholera Hospital Records the sexes were 100 males to 137 · 34 females. Upon its first outbreak in 1832 the cholera prevailed most in the towns of the civic districts; and in 1833 it had spread through the country at large, and prevailed most in the rural districts.

4. Croup.42,705 deaths, 100 males to 82.89 females. The males preponderate over the females at every age registered. It prevailed in the rural, compared to civic districts, as 40 to 27; and in comparison with the general mortality 1 in 27.8, with other epidemics 1 in 8.92. As the great numbers above-mentioned were furnished by persons not conversant with nice distinctions, several cases of other diseases may have been included.

5. Hooping-Cough.-36,298 deaths (21,325 within the first year), the proportion of the sexes being reverse to that which prevails in croup, viz. 100 males to 115.43 females. In comparison with other mortality, 1 in 32.71, and with epidemics 1 in 10.5.

6. Measles.Deaths 30,739. Males 100 to 96.12 females. Com. pared with all diseases, mortality 1 in 38.62, with epidemic 1 in 12.4. It was most fatal from birth to the end of the first year; and more than a third of all the deaths occurred in the civic districts. The Irish call it “the boiling disease,” and it is first noticed in Irish records of the 16th century.

7. Pemphigus.-17,799 deaths, as 100 males to 78.93 females : 1 in 66.72 deaths, and epidemics 1 in 21.42. This, the pemphigus gangrenosus, so named by Dr. Whiteley Stokes, has long proved a most destructive disease in Ireland, and is known to the people by the names of " Mortifying Hive,” “Burnt Holes,” Eating Disorder," &c. Dr. Speer observed it was confined to children of three months old, and from that to five years, but it has been observed near Dublin in children · nine years old. The children of the poor, and those of them who live in damp situations, are especially liable, although the finest of the family is usually attacked. The disease as well as its modification Pompholyx, has been seen in adults, and four cases are in the present hospital returns. It prevails especially in rural districts, and in particular counties. In Ulster it was in proportion to other deaths 1 in 17.8, in Connaught 1 in 250.27.

8. Diarrhæa and Dysentery.-10,744 deaths, 100 males to 68.42 fe. males, 1 in 110.51 general deaths, and 1 in 35.48 epidemic. This is a return that can be little depended upon, seeing the diarrhea must frequently have been the mere symptom of var fatal diseases, rather than of dysentery, properly so-called. Dysentery seems in ancient times to hare been endemic in various parts of Ireland, and broke out in occasional violent epidemics, especially among the soldiery. The last period when it was generally and fatally prevalent was 1818; but it has decreased much of late years.

9. Influenza.--Deaths 10,575, as 100 males to 84.65 females : being i in 112. 28 general, and 1 in 36.05 epidemic deaths. Accounts exist of the epidemic prevalence of this disease from time to time from the beginning of the 17th century; but no very violent outbreak occurred until 1833-4, and again a very fatal one in 1836-7; during which last, Dr. Graves calculates the direct mortality from influenza alone in Dublin amounted to 4000. But Mr. Wilde considers this a great over-statement.

10. Scarlatina.Deaths, 7,886; males 100 to 95.97 females; 1 in 150.56 of the total recorded mortality, and 1 in 48.34 of the epidemical. Like cholera, it was especially fatal in towns and crowded districts; and in this respect it is thus compared with other epidemics, 1 death in 24-63 in civic districts, and 1 in 65.07 in rural districts. It is not so destructive as other epidemics during the first year; but ☺ of the total died between the 1st year and the 10th.

11. Thrush.-Deaths 1480. Males 100 to 116.06 females. 1 Death in 802.27 of the entire mortality: of these 1147 occurred in the first year, and 300 from the 1st to the 5th.

12. Erysipelas.Deaths 1232. Males 100 to 73.52 females. i Death in 963.77 from all causes, and 1 in 309.45 from epidemic. Most of the cases recorded were doubtless sporadic, the epidemic appearance of the disease being confined to hospitals. The disease prevailed most in the civic districts.

13. Ague.-Deaths 518. Males 100 to females 44.28. This disease is of comparative rare occurrence, and in course of great diminution in Ireland. By some it has been considered entirely an imported disease, and the greater frequency of its occurrence and mortality in the West of Ireland, the chief locality of the annual emigration to and from England, gives support to the opinion. Ague was a cause of death in frequency to the general mortality in the following proportions : in Leinster 1 in 2,548.77: in Munster 1 in 2,115.73: in Ulster 1 in 3,005.61 ; and in Connaught 1 in 1,696.04.

14. Syphilis.-Deaths 384. Males 171, females 213. In reference to the sex, the disproportion has arisen from the women dying in hospitals, and the men in many cases returning home, and their deaths being registered as from other causes. Of course the returns for a disease of this nature are not to be relied upon.

15. Hydrophobia. There are 31 deaths registered as occurring from this cause—24 males and 7 females. Three of these, reported to have occurred during the first year, may be doubted.

16. The Glanders destroyed 10 males and 1 female.

Sporadic DISEASES.—We can only notice some of the most important of these.

1. The Nervous System.—Total deaths 104,063. Males 100 to fernales 73.87. These deaths, compared with the general mortality, amount to 1 in 11.41.

Hydrocephalus.--Deaths 8,997. Males 100 to 78.93 females. During the first year the deaths amounted to 3002; from the first to the end of

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »