Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/137

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127
LITERARY NOTICES.

disease, being chiefly responsible for all our most fatal epidemics. During the last London epidemic, in 1866, when the mortality rose to 904 in a single week, Dr. Farr found that the outbreak was confined mainly to the area supplied with water by the East London Water Company. This was drawn from the river Lea, which on investigation proved to be polluted. Tbe supply was stopped, and the deaths decreased from week to week until the disease disappeared from the district. Other London districts that had suffered terribly in preceding epidemics escaped almost entirely in this one, due likewise to the improved drainage and water-supply that had been provided by the authorities during the interval.

Cases of similar import, coming to light during the present epidemic in Europe, are numerous, and equally striking.

These facts point unmistakably to the means required for limiting the spread of the disease. The strict isolation of the sick, the immediate destruction of all discharges and of any articles tainted by them, careful watchfulness concerning the purity of the water-supply of the city or district, and the use of boiled water where possible taint is suspected, with equal vigilance regarding the quality and purity of the food—in a word, the nearest practicable approach to absolute cleanliness of the person, of what he eats, drinks, and wears, and of the home and its surroundings—is the surest guarantee of safety from attack and a certain protection against the occurrence of epidemics.

To secure these important conditions in the households of the masses in our large cities something more is needed than the mere force of sanitary authority. The people themselves should be made to realize that their individual cooperation is indispensable. This may reasonably be expected when they come to understand the causes which give rise to epidemics, and the protective measures that are within their reach. The result will be hastened by adapting our public-school education a little more closely to the needs of modern life, and teaching a generation of boys and girls the simple principles of household hygiene. Dwellers in cities will then demand sanitary provisions that have now to be forced upon them, and the days of scares and mobs in the face of threatened epidemics will be over.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

The Principles of Ethics. By Herbert Spencer. Vol. I. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 572. Price, $2.

One of the two volumes which form the crowning portion of Mr. Spencer's Synthetic Philosophy is now completed. It contains The Data of Ethics, previously published alone, also The Inductions of Ethics, and The Ethics of Individual Life. In the new parts of the volume Mr. Spencer first sets forth, with his usual wealth of illustration, the astonishingly various and contradictory conceptions of right and wrong which exist among different peoples. Here the unpardonable sin is disrespect of deified ancestors, there it is neglecting to kill a sufficient number of enemies; elsewhere it is smoking! The number of cases in which a man is thought by his fellows to be in duty bound to injure others leads Mr. Spencer to distinguish the ethics of enmity from the ethics of amity. In the stage of society in which intertribal and international wars are frequent the former actually predominates over the latter, and it is only since industrialism has largely repressed militancy that the ethics of amity has gained the ascendant. Under the three heads Aggression (by which he denotes the infliction of bodily harm), Robbery, and Revenge, Mr. Spencer specifies acts that have been required by the ethics of enmity. Thus, "far from being regarded as a crime, child-murder has been, throughout the world in early times and in various parts of the world still is, regarded as not even an offense: occasionally, indeed, as a duty." Then there are the killing of adults at funerals, especially at the obsequies of chiefs, the sacrifices of human victims to gods, and "the religious homicides