THE QUEEN'S COMMEMORATION FUND

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  • 48

    an earnest reformer, not alone in medical afEairs, but in

    general politics. He attracted the attention of the Houseby his zeal, his ability as a politician, and by the force andcharm of his eloquence. In doing this he again advancedthe claims of his professional brethren to public esteem andfuller representation.Flagrant wrong is not to be righted by silken, smooth-

    tongued appeals to the wrong-doer, but by fearless denuncia-tion and strong persistent action. No man more thoroughlybelieved in this axiom than THOMAS WAKLEY and no man

    ever gave it more resolute action. No wonder, then, that an

    opponent so outspoken, so uncompromising, did not fail toarouse envy venting itself in rancorous slander. But anyman might well be proud of the generous and noble testi-

    mony to his work publicly given by a political opponent,the Leader of the House, the great statesman, Sir ROBERTPEEL. It may be said that in founding THE LANCET, in

    getting made coroner, and gaining a seat in Parliament he

    sought and satisfied personal interests and ambition. Butto rest here is to take a narrow view of the career of a

    man fired with the enthusiasm of genius, labouring to uprootevil and to establish truth. Every successful combatant in

    civil, military, political, and scientific warfare in a greatmeasure selects his own battle-fields and fashions or makes

    his own weapons. These weapons are an integral part of his

    being. Rightly viewed, then, THE LANCET, the coronership,and the seat in Parliament were essential weapons for

    accomplishing the work upon which he had set his soul.And all these weapons are still at work by inheritance, byexample, and by trust. We may well say, "the lives in fame,

    though not in life."

    Annotations."Ne quid nimis."

    SEASONABLE CLEMENCY.

    COLONEL WHITE and Colonel Grey were released fromHolloway Prison on Saturday morning last, their sentenceshaving legally expired. No excessive soft-heartedness, nopolitical bias of one sort or another, and no particulardisposition of investments will be required to make generalthe feeling of pleasure that two more of the Transvaaloffenders are free ; for whatever the individual complicity ofDr. Jamesons officers in plots, whose existence has yet tobe proved before a Select Committee, we cannot escape fromthe feeling that all but one of the raiders acted under orders.They were seconded from the army to obey those orders, andif they had not done the thing for which they have beenpunished they would have been disobedient servants. Theywere caught in a logical dilemma, where the alternativespresented were equally conclusive against them, andwithout discussion of what punishment, if any, theydeserved, we can all rejoice as each one goes through theordeal and emerges safely. But there is a reason which willparticularly appeal to readers of THE LANCET for being gladto learn of the freedom of one of these officers. Confine-ment had told terribly upon Colonel Grey. He went intoHolloway last July weighing fourteen stones; he has leftHolloway weighing eleven. What this loss of weight indi-cates where the loser is not a gross man, but, on thecontrary, in hard fighting trim, can be told in a few words.It indicates that confinement has dealt too severely with

    Colonel Grey, and that what was designed to be salutarychastisement has proved to be torture. It indicates morecertainly than streams of supplication from a prisonerslips a sickness of heart as well as a sickness ofbody. It indicates that if Colonel Greys sentencehad not fortunately expired Government would havebeen compelled to relent towards him. With diffidence,but with certainty that we are speaking from soundmedical judgment, we would put forward in behalf ofthe two remaining prisoners a plea for clemency which weknow that they will never bring themselves to utter. Itwould be a terrible thing if the punishment of these unfor-tunate officers should result in a permanent injury to theirphysique, yet this may result despite the assiduous andundoubted skill of the medical officer of Holloway Prison.Justice must be clone, and the law for the rich must be thelaw for the poor. This is the wisdom of every sound social

    scheme, to which no one should lightly ask a Government torun counter. But having regard to the sufferings thatColonel Grey must have endured, we wish to know whetherit would not be possible to anticipate the occurrence of suchmischief in the cases of the remaining two prisoners. SirJohn Willoughby is understood to be a tougher subjectthan Major White and to be more able to bear hispunishment phlegmatically. We are in a position tostate that Major Whites condition gives grave causefor anxiety. He is weak, nervous, and sleepless, and theordeal of imprisonment has proved too much for him. Hasnot the cause of justice been vindicated sufficiently ? 1 If so,we would earnestly beg the Government to let these tworemaining victims of their obedience go free. It was notintended to punish them in such a way that even the remotestchance of a permanent break-down of health should occur.Justice has been done: let clemency begin with theNew Year.

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    THE QUEENS COMMEMORATION FUND.

    THE unparalleled length and glory of Her Majestys reignis a matter for commemoration in the most impressivemanner. Money should be forthcoming in any neededquantities, but it is very desirable that it should not begiven hastily. There is a tendency to rush " in this matter.To be first in the field is an obvious advantage, and thosewith pet schemes are already acting on this principle. Still,those who have the means and the disposition to contributeto some object that will worthily signalise an unprecedentedevent in English history will take time to think. Theobject should be one which expresses the progress and thehumanity which have been the notes of Her Majestysreign and to which she and her family have made themost helpful and sympathetic contributions. It may well bethat more than one great object will be proposed. But it issincerely to be wished that some central body of wiseand influential persons in whom the public have confidencemay be chosen to invite contributions to a central fund tobe devoted to certain objects. The use of such a centralbody would be to define these objects and to try to definethe proportional importance of them. All, of course, wouldhave to be done with the approval of Her Majesty, butdoubtless that would be forthcoming for any purpose whichseemed to commend itself to the public mind. There is onepurpose pre-eminently calculated to excite public interest,the achievement of which would shed a lustre on the

    Queens reign and the century which is nearing its end. Wemean the removal of the debt on our public voluntaryhospitals. If any institutions represent the progressand the humanity which have marked the Victorianera they are our hospitals, where the pain of operationshas been annihilated and the success of measures forthe saving of life has been developed to a degree

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    scarcely equalled in all the previous centunes. The debton these hospitals is having a discouraging and in somecases a demoralising effect on them. They are ceasing tobe institutions only for the poor, but are catering for thosewho are not poor, and are even trying to make a littlemoney out of such catering to maintain what remainsostensibly for the use of the poor. Half a million of moneywould go far to free these institutions from debt and

    give them a new start for a new century. We urgethis great claim on the people of England and especiallyof the metropolis. We do not wish to be drawn intoany disparagement of nursing institutions, which have beensomewhat prematurely put forward as a primary object forthe loyal enthusiam of the subjects of Her Majesty inthis memorable year. We cannot admit that they haveany such claim as hospitals have. They spring out ofhospitals and find in hospitals the training which makesthem useful. Every district with a little self-sacrifice andwithout any heavy responsibility can secure and can pay forits own trained nurse for the poor. To put nursing institu- !,tions before hospitals at a supreme moment like this willbe robbing Peter to pay Paul. Besides they have had theirturn. At the Qaeens Jubilee Her Majesty most graciouslygave 70,000 to found the Institute for Nurses for the Poor,and a great impetus to the supply of this want has beengiven by her generosity. About 600 nurses have beenso supplied to places all over the country. It is now theturn of hospitals and their claims are overpowering andunanswerable.

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    OYSTERS AND DISEASE.

    Mr. WYNTER BLYTH, medical officer of health of Mary- VIlebone, refers in his monthly report for November to a series isof six cases of gastro-enteritis, one of which subsequently irdeveloped enteric fever, in which the evidence pointed pstrongly to the consumption of oysters as the cause of the a,mischief. The six persons in question dined at a well- p;known London restaurant and the only articles of diet bwhich they consumed in common were beef andoysters, e,The oysters are stated to have come from Colchester, cand Mr. Blyth refers to Dr. Bulstrodes detailed report uon that locality to show that thereabouts there are"layings" liable to sewage pollution. It is, however,necessary to differentiate in the matter of layings inthe vicinity of Colchester, since the fattening beds ofthe Colchester Oyster Company, as well as their storage

    0

    pits, appear from the Local Government Board report to abe practically free from pollution. Unfortunately, how-

    s

    ever, in that part of Essex there are certain pits and "

    layings which do not belong to the Colchester Oyster "

    Company, which were at the time the report was written 1]

    liable to contamination in a high degree, and it is, too, r

    further pointed out in the report that no oysters should a

    be despatched direct to market from the bed of the a

    river Colne itself. We would especially insist upon rthe importance in all cases such as those referred to by rMr. Blyth of ascertaining, if such be possible, the exact c whereabouts of the pits or layings from which the !;

    suspected oysters were obtained. Unless this step be :;

    taken injustice may be done to oyster merchants and r

    others whose beds, &c., are free from pollution. Mr. 1

    Blyth also states that in some other cases of enteric fevernotified in November the sufeerers were in the habit of con- i

    suming considerable quantities of oysters. In connexion I ]with the general question of oysters and disease, Mr. Blythpoints out that accidents 6.uch as those to which he has

    referred may be obviated by a proper supervision of the oysterindustry. This subject we recently dwelt on in a leading 1

    article in our columns,l and we can only reiterate that fresh

    1 THE LANCET, Dec. 12th, 1896, p. 1695.

    3 measures of control must follow upon the Local Government: Board report. We notice that in some quarters the oyster) merchants even go so far as to deny the existence of layings and pits liable to pollution. Those who do thus! are simply aiding and abetting the destruction of an im-! portant national industry; but, on the other hand, those-andr they consist of the more intelligent men in the trade-whol are anxious to bring about the closure of the polluted layings and pits are taking the proper steps to re-instate tter industry in the confidence of the public.

    PRIVATE HOSPITALS v. MEDICAL PRACTICE.

    IT would appear from some of the methods employed inthe name of medical practice that one of the least essentialaids in this department of work is the practitioner himself.Mutual interests depending on long acquaintance and inti-mate technical knowledge are no longer needful, it wouldseem, to bind together his patients and himself, nor indeedfor that is any personal bond of value. Such, at least,is the impression conveyed to a casual reader by suchcircular addresses as that lately issued by "The LondonGalvanic and Massage Hospital." This institution, whichis, of course, self-supporting, represents the newest departurein medical touting. It is virtually a pay-hospital, ofthe kind which its title suggests, in which the fee isregulated by the pocket of the patient. The hospital,according to its published prospectus, is under the controland supervision of a solitary director, who is responsible tono authority but his own. The nurses employed are, more-over, as regards their training, native to the establishment.As a bid for the patronage of credulous persons thisventure may have some success. The attempt, however,is at least a bold one in times when our national

    intelligence is supposed to be increasing, when the com-petence of medical practitioners is as general as it isadmittedly high, and when massage and electricity formpart of the well-worn armament of medical skill. There canbe no doubt, therefore, that touting such as appears inevery line of the comment before us, when viewed inconnexion with such considerations as these, ought to beutterly discredited by rational people.

    TRAUMATIC CANCER.

    MANY parts of the East of London are infested by gangsof roughs, who attack wayfarers, maltreat and rob them,and yet,so far as police-court cases show, it is only occa-sionally that any punishment follows these deeds of violence.It is easy to understand that the police find great difficultyin apprehending any of these men, for they disperse rapidlyin the dimly-lighted streets and as readily reassemble.Numbering often more than a dozen, they can without anyanxiety as to the result set upon anyone they may meet,and unless he submits quietly to be robbed they quicklyrender him insensible by blows and despoil him of hismoney and valuables. The danger is a growing one, and inour opinion needs exceptional measures for its repression.Some of the accounts read more as if they had occurredat the commencement than at the close of thenineteenth century. These remarks are called forthby the report of a recent inquest, at which itwas stated that the woman on whose body theinquiry was held had been severely kicked by a gang ofmen about four months before death. A fortnight after

    receiving the injury a cancer appeared in the right breast,and from this she died. The question whether mechanicalinjury can cause malignant disease is a very interesting one,but in this case it may be definitely decided that the injuryhad nothing whatever to do with the appearance of thecancer. The short interval-two weeks-between the blows

    and a noticeable growth is far too short, and, moreover,