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day thin clothing, and in the evening, when exposed to the night air, warm, thick clothing, and making a fire in the grate, whenever, even in the midst of summer, a change of temperature should occur, especially when it begins to rain. But few of those strictly following these rules, will ever be visited by the fever.
Mankind would undoubtedly be happy, were there no graver diseases than fever and ague, which, though disagreeable, are certainly not deleterious, much less dangerous. Deaths in consequence of fever and ague are nowhere reported, however closely the long lists and bills published by the newspapers, of the mortality prevailing in the various, most widely separated, cities may be examined. And where would the ague not be met with ? the ague, which more or less occurs on newly-broken land, or meadows, or lands with a very rich 'humus, from wbich the golden fruits are gathered that fill the farmers' barns. The fever exists as well on the eastern seaboard, and in Europe, as in the Western States. Nobody, will ever venture to call Hoboken, a pretty little city situated opposite New York, a place infected with fevers; though many cases of fever occur in those parts of it touching on meadowy ground, few of those residing in the vicinity of which, along the Hackensack River, having yet escaped being visited by this unwelcome guest, the ague. And on the other side of the
in Europe, you will find the ague in the rich low lands of the Vistula, the great granary of Prussia, on the marshes of the Oder, and in the rich marshy lands of East Frieseland.
Should this book be doomed to reach the hands of none but those residing in Illinois, it would hardly be necessary to say anything concerning the sanitary condition of the State; every inhabitant being from his own experience sufficiently acquainted with it; but as it is designed to furnish information of a reliable character to such as intend to seek their homes in Illinois, the state of health of that country cannot be passed over in silence. The importance of the question as to the salubrity of a country, for those wishing to settle in it, being selfevident, we have felt it incumbent upon us to gather the opinions of men long resident in the State, and we now submit to the reader, the results arrived at by private gentlemen and doctors residing within its limits, from many years personal experience; to which is added the testimony of a gentleman from Massachusetts, who travelled through
Illinois in every direction, for the purpose of comparing the state of her affairs with those of the former. First, however, let us hear the doctors.
Daniel Stahl, M. D., of Quincy, Adams County, a resident of the United States for 22 years, and of Illinois for 14 years, a physician by profession, writes the following:
“ We have here in autumn, bilious diseases, more or less; for instance, the ague, the intermitting, and the properly called bilious fever. In very rare cases, however, do these diseases prove dangerous or deleterious; every new resident of the West acquiring in a short time the knowledge of the very simple remedies by which their cure is effected. Fifteen or twenty years ago, these diseases, together with those always sure to accompany them, the hepatical diseases, hypochondriasis and jaundice, held such a formidable sway, that they spared but very few, especially of the immigrants. But as the land is becoming subjected to culture, as forests are cleared, and swamps and marshes dried up,
these diseases more and more rarely occur, so that I now only render professional services to one-third of the number of feverpatients I formerly had in treatment, some ten or fifteen years ago. Diarrhoea prevails to some extent, but always in a mild form, being very rarely, if ever, dangerous. Infants suffer in great cities, from the “ cholera infantum,” which disease can nowhere be met with in the country; all those diseases, however, which are caused in all other countries by the rapid change of temperature, occur also here.
Upon comparing the state of health of this country with that of Eastern Pennsylvania, of which I was a former resident, I must arrive at the conclusion, that we live in a comparatively very salubrious district."
The following is taken from a letter of Dr. J. G. Zeller, M. D., a physician of Springbay, Woodford County.
“ In summer, miasmatical fevers prevail. Those residing along the ravines of rivers, or in their valleys, are usually visited by them; sometimes, also, particularly in a moist spring, the inhabitants of the prairies suffer from them. In fall and winter, the abdominal typhus fever sometimes occurs; but never the real typhus, properly speaking, as the miasma proceeding from morasses appears to be antagonistic to the typhus miasma. A regular habit of living can do much against these
miasmatical diseases, and after a sojourn of two years in these regions, you may consider yourself acclimated.”
T. A. Hoffman, M.D., a physician and resident since 1835, of Beardstown, Cass County, communicates the following:
“ The tracts of uncultivated soil at that time, and the superabundance, especially in the rich bottom lands, of the exuberant vegetation which, if not used, was left to putrefy, caused, as in all western countries having a rich humus, intermitting fevers, particularly in fall, when the plants cease to perform their office of purifying the air. Ever since, however, the plains overgrown with tall grasses, were converted into fertile, arable land, and the morasses into meadows; whilst the stagnating waters were drained off by ditches dug for that purpose, the state of health has visibly improved."
Frederick Brendel, M. D., a physician of Peoria, communicates to us as follows:
“ Intermitting fevers are the principal diseases of the country. As is the case in Peoria, the malady will remain confined to those portions of a city stretching along some river, whose opposite bank is marshy, while almost all those residing along rivers, both banks of which are dry, will be spared. Near houses on the more elevated prairies, whose inmates are down with the fever, you will almost always discover a pool of stagnating rain-water.
Bilious fevers appear towards the end of summer, intermitting fevers in September and October, and in the latter part of autumn, typhus fevers, which, though lasting a long time, prove but very rarely dangerous. Diarrhoea also prevails. At the time of the raging of that great epidemic, cholera appeared here in a mild form; but in the last years it was chiefly confined to the immigrants, most of whom brought the disease with them. Pulmonary diseases seldom occur; those who came hither afflicted with them, manage to live longer than would have been elsewhere the
F. Wenzel, M.D., of Belleville, St. Clair County, communicates the following:
“The state of health is everywhere very satisfactory, save in marshy districts. The cases of fever, particularly of the intermitting and remitting bilious fevers decrease in number, from year to year. The time in which southern Illinois might with propriety be denounced
as the fever country, has long passed by. The prairie is healthy. The last census of Belleville, and the whole county, exhibits so considerable a number of old people, that the state of health must be considered as in every respect very
excellent." In a letter of Dr. C. Hofman, a physician in Pekin, we notice the following:
* Patients down with intermitting fevers usually suffer but little; they get the fever once or twice, the disease disappearing each time before an adequate dietetical treatment, without any serious consequences; it will then reappear, after the lapse of some two, three, or four weeks, to be again expelled by the same treatment. Many experience but a single attack, after which they remain exempt for entire years.
“Very grave cases. but seldom occur, perhaps only one among a hundred. Whenever they occur, they are chiefly the consequence
of immoderate eating or drinking, incautious exposure during sleep or labor, the use, or rather the abuse, of dangerous remedies, and the neglect of the frequent use of pure cold water.
“ The best preservative is cold water. Every morning, after rising, take a cold bath, or if this be inconvenient, wash your whole body with cold water; after which, while still jejune, drink a few cups of cold water, as also shortly before going to bed; select for your bedchamber a well ventilated room, in one of the upper stories; and be moderate in eating, especially in the use of fruit, bacon, fish, or eggs ; all of which directions, if strictly followed, are well calculated to proyou
from the fever. · The best remedy is acid sulphuric Peruvian bark, in doses of from 2 to 4 grains, at intervals, till 10, 15, 20 grains are taken. There are many nostrums fabricated and sold at wholesale, whose chief substance, however, consists of Peruvian bark intermixed with arsenic.*
“So much in regard to the intermitting fevers.
“ With respect to other diseases, Illinois is not worse off than other countries, nay, even decidedly far more healthy than many of those in which intermitting fevers are less frequently to be encountered.
* Persons should therefore be very cautious in using such remedies, whose substance has not been accurately ascertained.
Tuberculous consumption is extremely rare; people afflicted with it sometimes attain to a very considerable age, provided they came here at a not too far advanced stage of the disease, and did not indulge in any excesses. Illinois is the veritable paradise for those with tuberculous consumption, being in this respect to America, what Southern Italy is to Europe. I have seen men come thither in a very advanced stage of consumption, who by prudent habits of living soon stopped the further progress of the disease, and increasing in strength and corpulence, might deem themselves perfectly cured. A certain Mr. Robertson, from Pittsburg, Pa., was sent by his doctor to reside with his relatives in Illinois, in the vicinity of Pekin, in order to impede the farther advancement of a tubercular disease, with which he had already been afflicted for several years. He speedily improved, regaining his former strength, and becoming more corpulent than ever, and exposing himself to all those obnoxious influences, which in other constitutions superinduce the intermitting fever, without ever getting it. He then, contrary to the advice of his doctor, returned to Pittsburg. The climate of Pittsburg exercising anew its dangerous influence upon the disease, he had a relapse, of wbich he died. Had he remained in Illinois, he might have lived some twenty or thirty years longer.
“During the winter, acute inflammations of the lungs will sometimes occur, probably in consequence of the keen blasts, which rush wildly over the prairies, without encountering mountains or forests to break their fury; this malady, however, seldom presents a serious aspect, the patient easily recovering under an appropriate, careful treatment.”
So far the statements by doctors, residing and practising physic for many years in the State, who must, therefore, have an exact knowledge of her sanitary condition ; let us now listen to what other gentlemen, not physicians, but old inhabitants of Illinois, have to communicate on the subject.
Edward Bebb, Esq., of Fountaindale, Winnebago County, in his letter, dated January 23, 1856, writes as follows:
“ The country is remarkably healthy ;. I cannot give you a better proof than that we have lived here--a family of seven-since the first of August, 1850, and have never had to call in a doctor on professional business.”