Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/330

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3i6 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

to block the onward progress of sauitation. In Pennsylvania, added to indifference and ignorance, "was the direct and persist- ent opposition of manufacturers of every kind, the prosecution of whose business led them to dispose of their waste, no matter of how offensive a character, in the least expensive way, that is, by dump- ing it into the public streams." In Rhode Island there was " the usual and expected objection to the prevention of the sale of glan- dered and other diseased animals." In Maryland the obstacles were " ignorance, selfishness, obstinacy, old habits and customs, and the difficulty of obtaining such legislation as was necessary to sustain the authority of the board in suppressing nuisances." In Missouri it was " the opposition of all the unclean and dishonest who are practicing or pretending to practice medicine, and of the ignorant people outside of the profession who seem to be anxious to be humbugged and defrauded." In Michigan it was " the inertia due to the general ignorance of the people on sanitary subjects, and the sentiment of economy prompting to opposition on account of the cost ; in North Carolina, " apathy, indifference, in some cases positive hostility, when the demand was made for money or for work that was inconvenient " ; in Iowa, " ignorance of the masses." " Ignorance," " lack of funds," runs with tiresome iter- ation through many, for, though there are ample legal powers, there must be money to aid in their enforcement. One writer puts the difficulty very delicately as " civilization imperfectly developed " ; while the Connecticut secretary comes down to details thus : " The obstacles in the way have been the unsuita- bleness of the persons who, ex officio, constituted the local boards of health, the paralysis of these boards resulting from long years of inaction and torpidity, and the settled conviction on the part of the majority of the old communities, that the habits and customs of their ancestors were good enough." The Rhode Island man goes still deeper into the psychological mysteries of the matter thus : " From the early instructions and habits of our first settler, Roger Williams, we have all been led to believe that we severally and individually are a law unto ourselves, and as soon as any new law or change is ordered, even by the representatives of the individual, it becomes at once our duty to oppose it"; and the secretary of Tennessee says, " Those obstacles usually encoun- tered by missionaries in any field, who come to teach the new gospel that *' thou art thy brother's keeper.' "

The third question was, " What positive results has your Board achieved ? " Before going into details, we would say the first great collective beneficial result of sanitation is in the moral realm the successful propagation of the idea that a man has no more right to poison the water which his neighbor must drink, or the air he must breathe, than he has to put strychnine in his food

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