If there is any field where the philanthropist and reformer is most urgently demanded, it is to limit the infant mortality which prevails to such an alarming extent in our great cities. In New York, Boston, and Philadelphia over one-fourth, in Cincinnati nearly one-third (30 per cent.) of all the children born alive perish within the first year of life! What a portentous fact is this ? What are the causes of this frightful mortality?

We will mention one. A physician of wide experience has calculated, after careful inquiry, that fourth on the list of causes is hereditary syphilis. But even this statement does not at all convey an adequate idea of the effect of this disease on limiting and corrupting population. Of the infants which are stillborn, the number is very great, and of these, the most frequent cause of death, according to that cautious writer, Dr. Berkeley Hill, is syphilis.

But even if the child survives its first year, the danger is not past. It may be the picture of health till five or six years of age, or to the period of puberty, or even to adult age, and then first reveal the long-concealed poison which has lurked in the system ever since its being began. That poison shows itself under a hundred protean forms. It may be in eruptions on the skin and foul ulcerations, or in obstinate "colds in the head," in swelling of the bones, in a peculiar affection of the eyes leading to blindness, in brittle and loose teeth, in the protean symptoms of scrofula, in idiocy, stunted growth, and in insanity.

Such are the legacies which parents who through vice or misfortune have been cursed with this disease have to hand down to their offspring. "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge."

Face to face with these facts, it becomes of the highest general interest to learn what the laws of such transmission are, so far as they have been discovered by careful observation.

They are curious. It is possible for a man in whose con-stitution the taint of disease exists, but is latent, to have perfectly sound offspring. But if he has any symptoms of the disease in any stage, it is probable, nay, almost certain, that his children will show the effects of it, although their mother remains healthy.

Much more generally the mother takes the disease either from the father, or from the unborn child in whose body lurks the paternal taint. But unless she does so before the seventh month of her pregnancy, she will escape.

When both mother and father display unequivocal signs of the disease, the case of the child is desperate. There is hardly any hope of its being born sound.

When such a child is born, it is a dangerous source of infection for all around it. The nurse who applies it to her breast, the friend who kisses it. the attendants who handle it, are in imminent danger of becoming in turn victims of the loathsome disease.

The only person who can nurse or even touch it without danger is the mother who bore it. It is in this form of infantile syphilis that the disease is most easily communicated. In the strong, and yet not too strong language of Dr. Colles. a well-known English surgeon : " The readiness with which syphilis in infants can be communicated by contact cannot be exceeded by any other disease with which I am acquainted. I look upon it as equally infectious with the itch itself." And Dr. Barton adds: " A common mode by which the syphilitic infant spreads the disease is by being kissed by the girl that carries it, or by others."

If this is so - and there is no doubt of it - is it not time that the public received some warning about it ? Are we to shut our mouths and see these perils to public health hourly increasing, and say nothing, do nothing ?

Let such a child by careful attention and sound hygiene survive to adult life, and become in turn the father or mother of a family, even then unrelenting nature may not be satisfied. There are undoubted cases on record where the disease was handed down, in spite of every care and strict virtue, to the third generation, and perhaps to the fourth.

It appears in multiplied forms of disease. " We are compelled to conclude," says Dr. Barton, summing up in his recent work the many observations on the transmission of syphilis, " that a very considerable proportion of those chronic diseases of the eyes, skin, glands, and bones, to which the epithet scrofulous has been applied, are really the results of inherited syphilis."

And all this misery, all these curses long drawn out, these consequences so dire to innocent generations, the penalty of one moment of illicit pleasure, the vengeance of a violated law which knows justice but no mercy !

With these deplorable possibilities in view, it becomes a serious question