A mastery of the principles of household sanitation is essential not only for the welfare of the individual owner and occupants, but also to a greater or less extent for that of all neighboring property owners. Disease originating in one locality may "dispatch invisible messengers of death to poison the air" miles away, and both science and phil-anthropy now unite in teaching us that every man is in large measure responsible for the well being of his fellow men, and no where more clearly than in the domain of household sanitation is it shown that man is in reality his brother's keeper. Nowhere is the doctrine that society is an organism in which the individual members correspond to the separate cells of the animal organism in being mutually dependent for their complete health and development more clearly illustrated than here. Nowhere is it made more evident that sanitation should become the subject of wise legislation to the end that the health of the community may not be prejudiced either by ignorance or poverty.

Influence On The Community Of Sanitary Engineeing 27

Fig. 24.

In the middle ages cities even as magnificent as Paris and London were very dirty places, the streets being described as more foul than the most abominable sewers, the horse manure standing in them, according to one writer, sometimes as much as "a yard deep." It is recorded by the royal physician Rigord that one day while King Philip Augustus was looking for recreation from his audience chamber window, he saw some citizens' carriages passing below "when the substance forming the street, being stirred up by the revolution of the wheels, emitted a stench so powerful as to overpower Philip. This so disgusted the king that he urged the citizens to pave the streets; and to assist in effecting the purification of the city, he built a wall around the cathedral to prevent it from remaining longer a common corner of convenience."

Fig. 24 shows the common manner in which house refuse was disposed of in these beautiful cities. The people seemed ignorant in those days of the first principles of household sanitation and hygiene and the result of their ignorance was the spread of the cruel plagues and pestilences everywhere in the populous districts, mowing down both rich and poor alike in their relentless path.

The floors of their dwellings in those ungodly times were not drained, but as refuse collected upon them, straw was spread over the matter to cover it, and this was so rarely removed "that the lower part remained sometimes for twenty years together!" Mr. Bayles* quotes the old chroniclers as saying of the ladies of that day, that "they wore clean garments on the outside, but the dirty ones were often worn underneath until they fell away piecemeal from their unwashed bodies." "The people prayed," says Bayles, "for deliverance from sickness and death, but forgot their garbage heaps, their foul streets, dirty houses and personal uncleanliness."

Much as we are shocked at hearing these stories of the old chroniclers, we have, after all, much less reason to congratulate ourselves on our progress since those dark ages than is generally supposed because we have been criminally slow in applying for the general good knowledge which we have since acquired. Mediaeval conditions still exist in the tenements of the poor, a rebuke and a menace to modern society, because we have not yet learned that the real and only perfect welfare of each lies in the perfect welfare of all. Our ground for congratulation is proportional only to our progress in the acceptance of this truth. To this is due our sanitary legislation and the aid society gives in the execution of these laws to those too poor to make application of them themselves. Mr. Simon of the English Local Government Board, writes: "It seems certain that the deaths which occur in this country are fully a third more numerous than they would be if our existing knowledge of the chief causes of disease were reasonably well applied throughout the country; that, of deaths which in this sense may be called preventable, the average yearly number in England and Wales is about 120,000; and that of the 120,000 cases of preventable suffering which thus in every year attain their final place in the death register, each unit represents a larger or smaller group of other cases in which preventable disease not ending in death, though often far-reaching ill effects on life has been suffered.† Then there is the fact that this terrible continuing tax on human life and welfare falls with immense overproportion upon the most helpless classes of the community: upon the poor, the ignorant, the subordinate, the immature; upon classes which, in great part through want of knowledge, and in great part because of their dependent position, cannot effectually remonstrate for themselves against the miseries thus brought upon them, and have in this circumstance the strongest of all claims on a legislature which can justly measure, and can abate their sufferings."

*"House Drainage and Water Service," by James C. Bayles.

The next picture, Fig. 25, shows a tenement house of New York described by Leeds* in the "Technologist" for February, 1870. It illustrates a dwelling quite as wretched and unsanitary as anything to be found in the dark ages, and infinitely more disgraceful as existing under the full light of modern science. It recalls to us the lines of Burns, quoted by Baldwin Latham in this connection: "Man's inhumanity to man Makes countless thousands mourn."

But Mr. Latham in his inaugural address as President of the Society of Engineers of London, shows that in addition to the injustice and cruelty of permitting these unsanitary conditions to exist, there is also great economic folly in it. He took for illustration the town of Croydon showing an expenditure in sewerage and general sanitary improvements of $975,000. He then showed figures which made a saving of over $1,200,000 in the short space of thirteen years in the increased effectiveness of labor due to these sanitary measures, and concludes in these words: "Although it has here been attempted to put a money value on life we individually feel that life is priceless, and that we may look to the 2,439 persons saved from the jaws of death in this single town (of Croydon), as the living testimony of the great value of sanitary work. To allow to perish by sanitary neglect is Dr. Lyon Playfair calculates that for every unnecessary death we have twenty-eight cases of sickness.

A Treatise on Ventilation, by Lewis W. Leeds. Wiley & Sons, New York. P. 166.

Fig. 26. Plan of New York Tenement House,

Fig. 26. Plan of New York Tenement House, just the same as to take so many persons out of their homes, and forcibly put them to death; and yet if this were done the whole nation would revolt at the crime. Yet in how many instances do our local authorities calmly look on while poor and innocent victims are condemned to breathe poisoned atmosphere, or drink poisoned water which is a great crime in the eyes of humanity."

Some of the worst of these dens are being removed to give place to better. But the question is, how the former inmates will be able to pay the higher rents the improved quarters command until the public recognizes its full duty and true self-interest in the matter.

fig. 25. Section of a New York Tenement House.

Fig. 25. Section of a New York Tenement House.