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With regard to the proportionate nutritive properties of potatoes and wheat, and the amount per acre of each produced, deductions have been made as to the number of persons that could be supported on an acre of land planted with the former, compared with those that might be supported on an acre sown with wheat. -By some, the proportion is stated to be as high as six to one, and by others as only two to one. M'Culloch supposes four pounds of potatoes to be equal to one pound of wheat, now the average produce of potatoes in Ireland is stated to be 82 barrels, or 22,960 pounds the Irish acre, and if we divide this by four, we have the standard in nutritive power of wheat, as 5,740 pounds. The average produce of wheat by the Irish acre, is estimated by Mr. Young at 4 quarters, or about 1,920 pounds, or only about one-third part of the solid nutriment afforded by an acre of potatoes. Even in Great Britain, the soil of which is better adapted to the growth of wheat, and thought to be less suitable to that of the potato, it admits of demonstration that “ an acre of potatoes will feed double the number of individuals that can be fed from an acre of wheat.”

It is clear, therefore, says Mr. McCulloch, that the population of a potato-feeding country may become, other things being about equal, from two to three times as dense as it would have been had the inhabitants fed wholly on corn. But it is exceedingly doubtful whether an increase of population, brought about by a substitution of potato for wheat, is desirable. Its use as a subordinate or subsidiary species of food, is attended, continues Mr. McCulloch, with the best effects-producing both an increase of comfort and security ; but there are certain circumstances inseparable from it, which would seem to oppose the most formidable obstacles to its advantageous use as a prime article of subsistence. Potatoes are a crop that cannot be kept on hand; they are irregular in the amount of produce, more so than wheat; they are not capable, owing to their bulk and weight, and difficulty of preserving them on ship-board, of being imported in quantities when the home supply is deficient, or of exporting them when in excess.

Various estimates have been made of the entire value of potatoes annually consumed in Great Britain and Ireland. According to McCulloch, the yearly produce of potatoes may be taken at twelve millions sterling. In France it has been estimated that the average annual product, in three years, of potatoes and chesnuts, was nearly one hundred and thirty millions of bushels.

The final Chapter of the work is devoted to the consideration of longevity ; from this we can only extract a short passage respecting the relative mortality of different nations, merely remarking that the estimates are not to be taken as, strictly speaking, accurate.

“ The absolute mortality of the Russians, was, within the last twenty years 1 in 27 ; the Prussians 1 in 36•2; the French 1 in 39.7; the Dutch 1 in 38; the Belgians 1 in 43:1; the English 1 in 43•7; the Sicilians 1 in 32 ; the Greeks 1 in 30. We have no estimate of the mortality of the people of the United States. In Philadelphia, the annual mortality is 1 in 42-3; in Boston, 1 in 45; in New York, 1 in 37.83.” 419.

The work, without much pretention to originality, is interesting and amusing

TRANSACTIONS OF THE MEDICAL AND Physical Society OF

BOMBAY. No. V. There is a self-asserting power in scientific investigation, which, however long kept in abeyance, is sure, at length, to develop itself, some time or other. It may be kept depressed for many years by a variety of coun. teracting circumstances that would almost seem to indicate its non-existence, until, rising superior to conventional neglect, or official contempt, it forces itself upon the notice of the public. In no country has this been more remarkably the case than in India, where the spirit of research and improvement, unless it could be shown at once to have a cogent reference to revenue, has received but a very negative kind of encouragement from the State. That a field so extensive, so varied in character, and so fruitful withal, should have remained so long uncultivated, and have contributed, comparatively with its resources, so little until a very recent date, to the granaries of professional knowledge, may be a matter of regret, but ought not to be one of surprise. A tenure founded on trading monopoly, in no case can be considered as friendly to literature and science for their own sake. The spirit of its sway is not a liberal one, but, on the contrary, one opposed to such speculations on the score of expense. Nothing is admitted as laudable that does not furnish a conclusive array of figures on the profit side of the balance sheet. “I hate Boetry and Bainting,”said the first “wie German Lairdie "-who succeeded the Stuart Line on the English throne. His Majesty, the Georgius primus of that ilk, disliked what ran counter to his usual wie German lairdyism of ideas, and this is precisely the case with the counting-house genius, when it is invested with the truncheon of dominion.

Our Rulers in the East, for a long time, tried to manage an empire as if it were a shop in which some secret process of manufacture was going on, which the patentee dreaded an invasion of. A restless jealousy was continually in operation, lest " outside barbarians” should pry too narrowly into what was going on over the way.” A morbid anxiety was ever betraying itself, lest undue attention should be attracted even to the locality of the shop. (which distributed its wares to distant customers by agents of its own,) for fear some rival interest should set up another. Nay, there was even an unwillingness to let those who once entered the shop as operatives, out again in a hurry, lest they might, by their gossip, or influence, be the means of directing too much of the public attention to the said emporium. To turn the present to the best possible account and to let the future shift for itself, was the general rule. The dominant class had too much to do, to provide good investments for their masters (not forgetting themselves), to think of posterity, or to dream of fostering science and letters. At length, however, (for such things will happen) a taste for these, in the abstract, sprung up from the midst of bales and purwannahs, and the Asiatic Society of Bengal became a centre of archeological, mystic, and statistical information. Here judges, and philological civilians, and field officers of observant or scribbling habits, delighted to exhibit their callow plumage, in days when, to appear in print was not the vulgar thing of course it is now, perhaps, considered. The thing had a smack

of aristocraticism, and there was a certain savour of dignity about it, while all kept up the ball with a grave sedateness that made it the more deli, cious desipere in loco. A stray Doctor Sahib, was occasionally caught, who, by his learned lore, gave great zest to the whole affair, and was frequently the social steel whose collision struck sparks of lore from the silicious, measured and dried-up philosophers around him. Members of the medical profession, as a class, have nevertheless never been a popular or favoured one in India, nor are they, most probably, so anywhere. In general they were, and are, considered a necessary evil, an indispensable annoyance, to whom, or which, the rationale of reward was to be doled out with rather a niggardly hand; and who, as respected either the Civil or Military classes, were deemed with, but not of them. The government never dreamed of consulting them, individually or collectively, no more than it would of taking the advice of their Lascars. They were not supposed to know anything beyond a pill-box range of intellectual acquisition. It was considered proper and decent to maintain them as a compulsory sort of establishment for fear of conventional and legal reproach. They were looked upon as a kind of mechanical or gastric necessity, and, to this very day, the type of the Company's policy towards their medical officers may be pithily recognised in some Skipper's advertisement, who informs the world, that the admirable craft he commands, will leave Blackwall, or the Downs, by a specified day, and clinches the attractive. ness of her merits, by adding that—" she carries a Cow and an experi: enced Surgeon.” To Apollo alone must be left the boast

Opifer per Orbem dicor. To be hailed as Opifer anywhere, one must have something of a genial sphere of action. There must be an audience, before there can be the award of applause for “ the poor actor who struts and frets his hour upon

While we acknowledge how little, for a long time, was done for medieine by medical men in the East, we keep in mind, and beg of others not to forget, the difficulties they had to bear up against. There was no stimulus whatever in the Department itself, and, consequently, all who could do so, made it a point to cut it as soon as possible and get under the sunny side of something better, and almost anything else was better than the medical service. Occasionally when the State, in the Commissariat or lower grades of the political department, might require the services of a tolerably clever fellow, he was borrowed (when no better could be found elsewhere) from the medical corps; and his energies became from that hour lost in the walk of his profession for ever. He thenceforward turned his back upon it with disgust, glad to be well rid of a calling in which honor and profit were upon a parity of foundation, and both so low as to be out of sight of common spectators. Others, seeing that the possession of rupees was the veritable Aladdin's lamp, and that, in the capacity of medical drudges to military establishments, the attainment of wealth could only be looked for ad Græcas Kalendas, became a sort of bastard merchants, or underwent some other novel mețempsychosis, changing into Indigo Planter, or any other form of being that gave a riddance from that

the stage.

long alley without turning, from which not a single solitary vista opened to ambition.

In spite, however, of all discouragements, the scornful neglect of superiors, and the leaden apathy of equals; now and then, and far between, a few might venture to shew the genuine Esculapian inspiration, and that their talk was not wholly of bullocks, (Commissariat, perhaps ?) by directing themselves to the languishing interests of their profession. Some even ventured to publish the results of their experience. Such, however, were caviare to the multitude, and perhaps in the end would be out of pocket by the venture, at which the drones of the hive rejoiced, deeming that it served them right. The very circumstance of possessing a superior understanding might, at times, owing to the unfortunate concatenation of circumstances, be rather prejudicial than otherwise to medical officers, unless they were perfectly cognizant of the arcana of booing." as laid down, in a very edifying manner, in a certain ethical treatise of a dramatic form, called “ The Man of the World.” But then, was there not the Medical Board, the natural head of the Medical Staff ? Yes, a head much like that of the snake which we occasionally see as an emblem of time, devouring its own tail. The Presidencies of Bengal, Madras, and Bombay, each had its snake devouring its own tail! These Boards in their own estimation did much. They did not exactly extract sunbeams from cucumbers, or convert cobwebs into silk; but then, in order to demonstrate to the Government that they were good for something, they laboriously bebustled themselves in a much ado about nothing circle of gallipot surveillance, and vexatious interference with their juniors, who not unfrequently were their superiors in all that constitutes a good medical officer, save and except the invaluable quality of seniority in the list! On the other hand, for the encouragement of true science, for fostering zeal, and exciting emulation, and the spirit of philosophical observation, and drawing radii of results to themselves as the grand professional centre of the Service—they had no more vocation than the sounding-board has to tune the keys of a musical instrument. You might hear of them in any annals, but those of the healing art, and its collateral branches. Excellent tiger hunters, cotton merchants, pig-stickers, horse-jockies, or hoarders of gold mohurs they might be, but in the vestibule of “ Augur Apollo”-you never heard of them. To them, indeed, the god always appeared

Nube, candentes humeros amictus, or, in other words, wrapped up in his cloak, so as not to be known to them.

It is a curious fact, but it is believed to be a fact notwithstanding, that with few exceptions, Medical Boards have always been found in hostile apposition to those most distinguished on the Medical Staff for talent, information, and independence of character. Possessing, fortunately for the Service at large, but little power, yet, of the little they did possess, they too often made a mean, invidious or contemptible use; merging their energies in petty objects, or paltry savings, which they mistook for economy. They took in its narrowest and most literal sense, what otherwise might be a lesson of true wisdom

"Magnum Vectigal parsimonia,"

and thus compromised real efficiency, or worse still, the well-being of the sick and the weak. Thus it was that in Calcutta, during Lord William Bentinck's time, they being anxious to add a hue to the rose of his economy, at the expense only of their juniors, suggested to his Lordship, quietly from themselves, and a-propos to nothing, that the situation of Surgeon to the General Hospital might be abolished, even though it was held by one of his own personal staff, who was acknowledged to be an honor to the service. The Board further modestly suggested, that an Assistant-Surgeon might do the duty performed by the Surgeon, while the pay of the latter might thus be saved to the Government. His Lordship, who clearly saw through this liberal proposal, and thoroughly appreciated the purity of generous public spirit, no less than the taste and delicacy in which it was offered, is understood to have replied, that he did not deem it expedient, and that, with reference to an Assistant-Surgeon doing the duty, he might by parity of qualification, perform the duties of a member of the Medical Board also.

To the paralysing influence of the Medical Boards is partly, or in a great measure owing, the slow rate, for so many years, of medical progress in India.

Occasionally, a man much above the average, a Gibb, an Annesley, or a Playfair, might get into the Board, hut what could he do as a minority, or at any rate as a counterpoise against a radically bad system? The best men must have pined in such a position. To generous talent, and aspiring nobility of soul, it must have been crushing. Sickened by the withering sense of their own insignificance for purposes

of umelioration, and real ineffectiveness with the Government for large and systematic good, (whatever might be professed by secretaries and officials in high places,) such men must have felt that it was useless to struggle against the stream. As a deliberative body, the Government has generally evinced total indifference to its suggestions, or its measures. Boards, indeed, have usually been considered a kind of paddock, where the wornout hacks of the profession might graze out the remainder of an inglorious official existence in peace.

A dawn of better times broke upon the profession in the formation, some seventeen years ago, of the Medical and Physical Society of Calcutta, which has ever since continued a moving spring for eliciting information on a variety of topics of the greatest scientific interest; although at one time it was reduced, we hear, nearly to the verge of bankruptcy by injudicious management, and a party-spirit that, it is to be hoped, has been laid in the Red Sea for ever! That it is now flourishing again in a state of vigour, is in a great measure due to the tact, talents, and conciliatory spirit of its present accomplished and worthy Secretary, J. J. Jackson, Esq. In regard to the Medical Society of Calcutta, justice demands it to be acknowleged, that the members of the Medical Board, have always, so far as our information goes, shewn themselves its friends, and, as far as their power might go, its patrons. It is indeed pleasing to have any thing to read that redounds to their credit. O si sic omnia! years the Medical Officers of Madras and Bombay (including those of the Royal service) generously supported the Calcutta Association, enriching its annals with valuable contributions. But in process of time the other Presidencies instituted societies of their own upon similar principles, and No. LXXXI.

D

For many

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