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and successful manipulators of fine colors in this country, and what is of more importance, knows whereof he speaks. He says:
"Much has been said having reference to the poisonous nature of arsenite of copper; and as this branch of the subject is most important, we propose to discuss it in the light of experience, reason and common sense. One would conclude,-putting faith in the marvelous facts given to the reading world from time to time by scientists,-that an inhalation of air which had been in contact with Paris green would prove more deadly than the breath of the fabled upas tree. Harrowing tales are periodically told of whole families being poisoned almost to death because of the presence of this terrible pigment in the paper-hangings. The reading of a paper at a recent scientific convention, on the possible consequences of the use of Paris green in the destruction of the potato beetle, called forth the remark from one of the learned professors that there are well authenticated cases of poisoning by arsenic through the Paris green present as a stain in the wall paper. Now, we submit that such a statement might have been expected from a medical doctor, whose practice and profession is in the nature of things empirical, but from a scientist such a statement is surprising!"
The medical doctors do have a disagreeable habit of saying what they believe to be true, and when they find that people are poisoned by any substance they are apt to denounce its use. But scores of scientists, not only in this country but in France, Germany, and England, have pronounced the use of arsenical colors in paper-hangings dangerous. Prof. Wormley, the highest authority in this country, says: "Within the last several years, numerous instances of chronic poisoning by this substance have occurred from persons occupying rooms hung with paper stained with arsenite of copper. In these cases the results are due to portions of the coloring matter becoming detached and inhaled."
Prof. Alfred Swayne Taylor, in his Medical Jurisprudence (a work everywhere regarded as standard authority), says: "Another form of poisoning by this substance, which has attracted some attention, is where the green pigment exists in the state of vapor or fine dust, and comes in contact with the membrane of the lungs or with the skin. * Wall-papers covered with the loosely-adhering aceto-arsenite of copper are, from their cheapness as well as the brightness of color, extensively used in dwellings. This pigment contains fifty-nine per cent of arsenic, and from some of these papers in the unglazed state, the noxious material may be easily scraped or removed by friction. A square foot may yield from 28 to 70 grains of the arsenical compound, and in rooms exposing five or six hundred square feet arsenic is thus liable to be distributed in the state of fine dust or powder through the air of a room. I have detected this poisonous dust on books, picture-frames, furniture, and projecting cornices in rooms thus papered. * * * * Various deaths from the use of these arsenical papers are recorded, and it is probable that to the noxious practice of covering the walls of our sitting and bed rooms with arsenic, many insidious cases of illness and chronic disease may be referred."
But I need not detain you to quote authorities on this point. You cannot take up a treatise on Toxicology and Medical Jurisprudence that does not abound with cases of this kind. So well are these facts known, both by scientists and by officers of government, that the sale and use of arsenical colors are regulated by stringent laws in France, Germany, and Sweden.
Let me give you one or two more quotations from this circular:
"The uncontradicted assertion is public, that arsenic may be administered in ever increasing doses until the human system can bear frightful quantities with apparent impunity. This being admitted, it would seem to follow that all the green arsenite of copper, which would be present in any ordinary apartment as coloring matter for the paper hangings,
might be eaten by the members of the family with their bread and butter in the course of a month without danger of serious results."
In commenting on this extraordinary quotation, I will take the estimate of Schneider, Bell & Co. that "the quantity of Paris green upon the paper of an ordinary-sized sleeping-room does not exceed one pound." But a pound of Paris green contains more than 4,000 grains of arsenic. A fatal dose of arsenic is stated to vary from two and a half to five grains, call it four grains, and then we find that a pound of Paris green contains enough arsenic to kill 1,000 men! An yet this man "who knows whereof he speaks," and who "proposes to discuss this subject in the light of experience, reason, and common sense," actually says that enough poison to kill 1,000 men might be eaten by the members of the family with their bread and butter in the course of a month without danger of serious results!" A farmer in Eaton county swallowed some of this Paris green last year and died soon after in horrible agony. Perhaps the reason was he did not "eat it with his bread and butter!"
Once more: "There is no reason to suppose that this salt undergoes any change when exposed to the air; but, on the contrary, there is proof positive and abundant that it is inert and unchangeable to the last degree, even as much so as quartz crystals or silica."
Quartz crystals or silica is one of the most insoluble and unalterable bodies in nature. It is insoluble in water, ammonia, and in every acid except the hydrofluoric. Let us test Paris green by these agents. I add to some of the material a little nitric acid, and you see it dissolves at once; I add some ammonia water and solution instantly takes place. Tested by his knowledge of the action of Paris green on the human system, or by his knowledge of its chemical properties, I am charitable enough to say that Mr. John W. Masury does not "know whereof he speaks."
Do not suppose that this circular to which I have called your attention is some antiquated thing. It bears date New York, February 1, 1875, and seems to be sent out to disarm suspicion and to lead the public to suppose that they are using a perfectly safe material which may be eaten with bread and butter without danger, whereas it is a most dangerous and deadly thing. These facts show you that the duty of the chemist is not completely performed when he announces some source of deadly peril to life and health.
POISONED DRESS FABRICS.
But this poison is not confined to wall paper. Here is some green tarlatan which I bought the other day, which contains more than half its weight of Paris green. Let me test this tarlatan and see what it contains. I dip the cloth in some ammonia water, and see how rapidly the color dissolves. I add to this ammoniacal solution, some nitrate of silver, and see what an abundant yellow precipitate of arsenite of silver is thrown down!
A dress of ordinary dimensions (if any knows what that is) would contain four or five ounces of arsenic. A lady in such a dress might look very beautiful in the flashing light of a ball-room, and she might draw after her a host of admirers, even death himself she drags in her train, for she carries in her dress enough arsenic to poison every lover she ever will win.
I will call your attention to only one more source of danger to public health, and that is well water. I began an investigation of this matter some months ago, but have not had time to complete it.
Most people think that well-water, if the well is kept clean, and especially if the water is clear and bright, must be safe to use. They think that the only way by which the water can become unwholesome is by some animal falling in and decomposing there. They do not realize that foul and dangerous matter may flow in by underground currents. Currents of water are always flowing through the deep soil, and if any source of contamination is near, such as a cesspool, privy, graveyard, etc., such material may flow into the well and be a source of great danger.
WELL-WATER NEAR CEMETERIES.
Last month I received a letter from a doctor in Grand Rapids, calling my attention to the serious sickness which has prevailed in families living in a certain alley in that city. I gather the following facts from the letter: There is in Grand Rapids a graveyard called the Fulton-street Cemetery. The soil in this cemetery, to the depth of ten or fifteen feet, is gravelly and sandy, and beneath this is a tenacious clay. The land dips to the east, towards the alley, on which are ten residences. The people derive their water from wells, which penetrate two or three feet into the clay. The layer of clay serves to carry the water of the graveyard directly into these wells. In seven of these ten houses severe sickness of a typhoid or typho-malarial type has prevailed, the sickness lasting from fifteen to thirty-five days. In the family which has resided longest in the alley, of six persons, five had the fever,-three of them in a very severe form. Some of the wells are not more than twenty feet from graves. Who can doubt that these unfortunate families have been drinking the very drippings of death? What wonder that sickness has swept through the alley, visiting almost every household? I sent for a specimen of the water for analysis, but have not received it.
When it is a dry season, and water in wells is low, the danger is increased, because we get the contamination in a more concentrated form. This is probably the cause of so much typhoid fever throughout the State last fall and this winter. I have examined the water from a number of wells where typhoid was prevailing, and in every instance found the water loaded with decomposing organic matter.
Take one striking instance: The block which corners on this State House square to the southwest has a well from which a large number of families obtain water. Late last fall Dr. Ranney informed me that eleven persons who used water from that well were sick with typhoid fever. At his request I analyzed the water, found it contained sewage matter in large quantity, and pronounced it unfit for domestic use. This information was published in the Lansing Republican; but the people continued to use the water, and the sickness continued. Winthrop Hudson took the fever, and went down to his grave. I visited the well a few days ago, and found four privies near the well-one not more than eighteen feet from the well,-while a little farther off were two more, or six in all. A specimen of this water is before you, and you see the proof of its impurity.
Now do not say, "This is just like Lansing." Think ye that the men of Lansing are sinners above all that dwell in Michigan because they suffer such things? I tell you nay, for here is a specimen from Kalamazoo. This wellwater you will see, from the action of the chemicals I add, is very foul; and well it may be, for it receives the drippings from a large privy-vault, and the
washings of a hen-house. It is very dangerous, for three persons have already died from its use!
Let us briefly retrace the steps we have taken this evening while following the subject of public health: Dangerous Kerosene; Bad Ventilation; Poisoned Walls, and Poisoned Wells! Do not the people need warning, as by trumpet blast, to guard them against these hideous perils?
But when the watchman has sounded his warning his duty is done. Men may hear, or forbear: the responsibility rests with them. "If, when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet and warn the people; then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head."
A FAMILIAR ADDRESS TO THE STUDENTS OF THE STATE AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE, BY PRESIDENT ABBOT.
I propose to give you, this afternoon, some thoughts on the relations of manual labor to the formation of character.
I do not suppose I can make you believe that it is all play,--all easy and delightful. I cut from a paper the other day a half-column on the Dignity of Labor, by Henry Ward Beecher. I might read it to you, but you would say, It is all very well for Mr. Beecher. Does he not sit shaded from the sun, surrounded by all the luxuries of life, while we, this burning weather, are bearing the heat and burden of the day?
There are many things, you say, admirable in a painting, that would be wretched in actual life. A lowly, thatched cottage, a beggar, a decayed mill are beautiful on canvas or in poetry, but they are wretched in actual life. So labor wears a dignified or fascinating countenance as pictured in addresses at county fairs, but puts on another aspect when it comes to hard and anxious exertion for one's daily bread.
There are many kinds of labor. Let me mention, as two kinds, manual and intellectual. The laborer who has his hands upon the plough looks upon his employer in gloves and says, I work: he lives without work. He talks it over with his neighbors, and they give to themselves the name of laborers. They exclude those who do not toil with the hands from their ranks, and so form themselves into what they please to call the laboring class. They envy the rich outside their own ranks, and so breed discord and insurrection for the State.
In all this the laboring man shows the narrowness of his views and the conceit of his ignorance.
Merely to copy the things that Henry Ward Beecher both thinks out and writes out each month would prove a hard work to most persons. Think of Gladstone. What numberless State cares were on his mind for more than a dozen years! Yet his pen was always active. His thinkings, while they were leading British politics, found time to range freely over European matters, to write admirable reviews of theological works like Ecce Homo, and give us books and papers on the civilization, the government, the religion, and habits of the early