Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/478

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riding-regulations, which entail ruptures on the soldiers, and against "our ridiculous drill-book," as independent officers are now agreeing to call it. Even limiting ourselves to sanitary administration in the army, the files of our journals and the reports of our commissions would yield multitudinous instances of scarcely credible bungling—as in bad barrack arrangements, of which we heard so much a few years ago; as in an absurd style of dress, such as that which led to the wholesale cutting-down of the Twelfth Cameronians when they arrived in China in 1841; as in the carelessness which lately caused the immense mortality by cholera among the Eighteenth Hussars at Secunderabad. Or, not further to multiply instances, take the long-continued ignoring of ipecacuanha as a specific for dysentery, which causes so much mortality in our Indian service:

"It is a singular fact that the introducers of the ipecacuanha into European practice, the Brazilian traveller Marcgrav, and the physician Piso (in 1648), explicitly stated that the powder is a specific cure for dysentery, in doses of a drachm and upward; but that this information appears never to have been acted upon till 1813, when Surgeon G. Playfair, of the East Indian Company's service, wrote testifying to its use in these doses. Again, in 1831, a number of reports of medical officers were published by the Madras Medical Board, showing its great effects in hourly doses of five grains, till frequently 100 grains were given in a short period; testimony which, notwithstanding its weight, was doomed to be similarly overlooked, till quite recently, when it has been again brought directly under the notice of the Indian Government, which is making very vigorous efforts to introduce the culture of the plant into suitable districts of India."[1]

So that, notwithstanding the gravity of the evil, and the pressing need for this remedy from time to time thrust on the attention of the Indian authorities, nearly sixty years passed before the requisite steps were taken.[2]

That the State, which fails to secure the health of men, even in its own employ, should fail to secure the health of beasts, might perhaps be taken as self-evident; though possibly some, comparing the money laid out on stables with the money laid out on cottages, might doubt the corollary. Be this as it may, however, the recent history of cattle-diseases and of legislation to prevent cattle-diseases yields the same

  1. "Report on the Progress and Condition of the Royal Gardens at Kew, 1870," p. 5.
  2. My attention was drawn to this case by one who has had experience in various government services; and he ascribed this obstructiveness in the medical service to the putting of young surgeons under old. The remark is significant, and has far-reaching implications. Putting young officials under old is a rule of all services—civil, military, naval, or other; and, in all services, necessarily has the effect of placing the advanced ideas and wider knowledge of a new generation under control by the ignorance and bigotry of a generation to which change has become repugnant. This, which is a seemingly ineradicable vice of public organizations, is a vice to which private organizations are far less liable; since, in the life-and-death struggle of competition, merit, even if young, takes the place of demerit, even if old.