Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

with their children, every one of whom had greater change for the better, in the moral nursed her child on teetotal principles; and and civil condition of mankind than all other healthier or finer children I have never seen; known remedies whatever.” and did all inothers pursue the same system,

One writer remarks: “ A case has come we should in a dozen years see very few immediately under my notice (and I am such puny, ricketty, diseased children, as so happy to find, by inquiry, that it is not a often meet the eye in the present day. I solitary one,) of a young woman who has know many mothers, who, the first five or taken nothing during her confinement of an six days after their confinement, have enjoyed intoxicating kind, under any shape, neither excellent health, but as soon as they have in drink nor food, the place of it having been returned to the use of malt liquors, either supplied by broth and tea, coffee or gruel, themselves, or their children, or both, have occasionally. The baby is now six months become unwell—a penalty, surely, of the old, and for four months lived entirely upon mother's infringement of the laws which the breast, and does now, in a great meagovern the human constitution; for when sure, being fed only twice a day on baked we consider that the alcohol contained in flour boiled in milk. The mother is in exthese liquors goes directly into the mother's cellent health ; and the baby, the youngest milk, unchanged, and from thence, in the of five children, is a more healthy, lively, same state, into the infant's stomach, how and engaging child than the others were in I would ask, can any other effect be ex. their infancy.” pected ?"

Two or three additional individual exMr. Beaumont, surgeon, of Bradford, says: amples will now suffice. “ I have observed that those females who “I am now nursing,” say one female, have abstained from alcoholic drinks during“ my eighth child, and the third upon the the period of pregnancy, have usually en- principle of total abstinence from all intoxijoyed an immunity from many of the most cating liquors ; and, having formerly drank distressing symptoms incident to this period. both ale and porter while similarly circumThose mothers who have not addicted stanced, I can bear my unqualified testithemselves to the use of wines, or malt mony in favour of nursing without the use liquors, during lactation, have most happily of any such stimulants ; my own health is proved the utter fallacy of those vulgar pre- good, and I never had a finer or more judices, by, which an opinion has so gene- healthy infant than that which is now the rally obtained, that they were absolutely object of my care.” necessary for maintaining the proper quan- “ It is now nearly three years,” says tity of milk.”

another female, “ since I left off drinking Dr. James C. Ferrier, of Leamington, any thing of an intoxicating nature (except observes: “With respect to the influence of when prescribed by my medical adviser), alcoholic beverages on nursing mothers, and during which time I have nursed two chiltheir infants, I may state, that my own wife dren, neither of whom were weaned till suckled our two former children, and is now they were more than nine months old, nor suckling our third child, without their use, had any other kind of nourishment than and a better nurse or more thriving child- that which they derived from me, except ren are not in Britain."

when occasionally left for more than two Mr. William Tothill, surgeon, Egham hours at a time. I am induced to state Hithe, in the following document, shows this for the encouragement of inothers who that total abstinence from inebriating liquors may feel timid at making such an experiduring lactation is not only compatible with ment; and can assure them, that, if their delicacy of constitution, but a valuable aid children thrive upon such a mode of treatto health. “ For the furtherance of the ment as well as mine have done, they will very laudable operations that are now mak- never have any cause to repent having ing to discourage the use of all intoxicating adopted total abstinence principles.” liquors, I am induced, quite voluntarily, to The following testimony of ten mothers state, that my late wife, who was a woman who nursed without the aid of alcoholic of delicate constitution, was enabled to drinks, and who appended their names to nurse her whole family of eight children, the original document, together with the and most of them for nine or ten months, number of children nursed with intoxicatwithout drinking any thing stronger than ing liquors, is important and conclusive : milk and water. She did not in the whole “We, the undermentioned, having fully course of her life drink a quart of beer." tried the total abstinence principle, and “The whole of the children are now living, having formerly drank both ale and porter, and in health, with the exception of one while nursing, can bear our unqualified testiwho died in her thirteenth year. My own mony in favour of nursing without the use opinion, from long practical observation, is, of any such stimulants ; our own health is that any general beverage stronger than good, and we never had finer or more healthy water is seldom necessary; that any thing infants than those which are now the objects stronger, except medicinally, is oftener in- of our care. jurious than beneficial; and that a total These cases might be multiplied to thoudisuse of all alcoholic liquors would make alsands, such is the amount of evidence now

66

collected on this subject. Numerous ex- among the circles of the highest ton, amples have come under the author's own young lady cannot touch wine of any kind, observation.

without materially tarnishing the delicacy II. CHILDREN.–1. Peculiar Temperament of her high breeding thereby. of Children. The tender frame of infancy Much additional evidence might be adand youth led the ancients to interdict the duced on this interesting subject. The use of wine until an advanced stage of life. anxiety manifested by parents, in olden At these precarious periods the organization times, for the welfare of their tender offof the human frame is not duly developed ; spring, strangely contrasts with the practices the muscular fibres are comparatively lax of the present day. Christians, in this reand delicate, and the nervous and vascular spect, may peruse with advantage the resystems predominate. Trivial causes quickly cords of heathen legislation. excite a dangerous state of the body during 2. Disease and mortality of Children inthe period of growth. Every thing in par-duced or aggravated by the use of strong ticular which interferes with the functions drink. Disease and mortality exist among of nutrition exercises at this time a most children at the present time, to a most fearimportant influence. Hence, legislative ful and lamentable extent. The reflective enactments with reference to the use of reader may pertinently inquire, Is this state strong drink at a juvenile age.

of things in accordance with design ? Did Athenäus and Elian both inform us that the all-wise architect of the human system it was a strict law among the Romans that constitute the youthful and tender frame no male should drink wine until he had at- subject to those grievous and fatal influtained the age of thirty or thirty-five years.* ences which render infant existence so preThe prohibition as regards women was ab- carious? Observation and experience consolute during every stage of life. The firm the negative position. The period of Spartans endeavoured to instil into the childhood, indeed, would be one of comparaminds of their children a deep-rooted ab- tively little danger, were mankind to comhorrence of drunkenness.t Plato forbade ply with the requirements of health in the young persons to taste wine at all until they physical education of the young. were eighteen years of age. I The laws A few statistical facts will best suffice to enacted by King Constantine the Second of strengthen these views. The “ Annual Scotland, at Scone, A.D. 861, not only inter- Reports of the Registrar-General of Births, dicted the use of all inebriating liquors to Deaths, and Marriages, in England,” for the young persons of either sex, but enacted the years 1838 and 1839, recently issued under punishment of death to every individual the authority of Parliament, show, from the who was found guilty of infraction of the returns of the whole of England and Wales, law.ll

that rather more than one-third of the total Traces of these ancient acts of legislation deaths occur under two years of age. The are discernable in the manners and customs exact proportion is 342-54 per 1000 of the of continental nations in the present day. deaths registered.* In Manchester, out of Burton, in some allusions to these laws, re- every 1000 deaths of males, not less than 496 marks, that the custom, in relation to "young are of children under three years of age.t folks, is still practised in Italyand some In the same town, out of 9276 deaths, 2384, other countries of Europe and Asia; as or about one-fourth, occurred under one Claudius Minos hath well illustrated in his year of age ; 3680, or more than one-third, Comment on the 23d Embleme of Alcia- under two years; and 5145, or considerably tus.” Howell, in his Familiar Letters, re- more than one-half, under five years of lates a very interesting circumstance, which age. I.“Taking the average of the various will serve as an illustration. “In Ger-countries,” remarks Dr. Combe, “ of civimany,” he remarks, “and all France over, lized Europe, where science has made the 'tis held a great part of incivility for greatest advances, and the comforts of life maidens to drink wine until they are mar- are most abundant, and where the treatment ried. The German mothers, to make their of the young is considered the most rational, sons fall into hatred of wine, do use, when two out of every nine infants ushered into they are little, to put some owl's eggs into the world die within the first year."|| Assuma cup of Rhenish, and sometimes a live eel, ing, according to the same judicious writer, which, twingling in the wine while the child seventy years as the natural term of life in is drinking, so scares him, that many come England, one-third of the race is cut off 'to abhor and have an antipathy to wine all within the first two years of existence. their lives after." Mrs. Trollope, in the The comparative mortality, of diseases present day, assures us, that, in Vienna, mainly affecting the young, in town and

country, may be estimated from the fol

lowing table from the same authentic * Elian., Var. Hist., lib. ij., cap. xxxviii. Athe- sources:næus, lib. X., cap. vii. + Plutarch, in Instit. Laconicis.

* Registrar-General's First Report, &c., p. 45. 1 Plato, de Legib., lib. ii.

† Ibid., Second Report, p. 9. # Hect. Boet., lib. x.

Ibid., p. 19. $ Anatomy of Melancholy.

|| Management of Infancy, p. 10.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

294 .. 394 ..

ars, after

Out of a population in London, lation in the lent Treatise on the Diseases and Physical

Out of a popu- its development. Dr. Eberle, in his excelof 1,594,890.

Counties, of
1,599,024.

Education of Children, assures us, that, Measles,

mortality 1354 only 404 “ although the new-born infant may appear Hooping-cough, 1066

302 to enjoy a good state of health, it frequently Teething,

477

78 happens that the disease or predisposition Convulsions,

1717

652 contracted during gestation remains latent Cephalitis,

92 or dormant for months, or even Diarrhea,

227 birth, before it is developed; and thus there Pneumonia,

1630

592 may be an appearance of a sound and

healthful state of the constitution, during ! Totals ... 6932

2347 infancy, although the seeds of disease may !

be deeply deposited in the system.”* This The above table shows that the diseases fact will be found to be of considerable imwhich chiefly affect young persons are three portance in reference to the present investimes more fatal in a population of equal tigation. number in the metropolis than in the The use of alcoholic liquors may seriously country.* In pneumonia alone, nearly two- influence the child through the medium of the thirds of the deaths occurred in infancy.t mother's milk. This influence may be ef

Insalubrity of the atmosphere and improper fected in two ways. Every thing which imdiet doubtless constitute the main sources of pairs the health of the mother necessarily this excess of mortality in towns. In many deteriorates the health of the child. The respects, such as in regard to higher wages, use of intoxicating liquors materially affects good dwellings, warm clothing, and an ade- the quality and quantity of the milk, and quate supply of nutritious food, the inhabi- the child's health, as a necessary consetants of towns possess advantages over those quence, proportionably participates. A dose resident in the country. The latter class of castor oil or other purgative, as familiar of individuals, however, breathe a purer at- experience proves, taken by the parent, mosphere, and indulge less in those perni- speedily exercises a corresponding effect on cious habits which unfortunately prevail in the infant at the breast. Can we wonder, town populations : among these, the use of therefore, that stimulants so strong in their inebriating liquors occupies the most pro- nature as brandy, gin, wine, and porter, minent position.

should exercise an equally if not more imThe influence of the mother's habits on portant influence ? A vast amount of evithe child has been considered in this and dence testifies the fact. The properties of previous sections. It is a subject, however, tobacco, opium, and other narcotics, are which cannot receive too frequent or serious communicated to the tender nursling in the attention. A few additional particulars same manner. There are, however, strong will now be submitted to the reader. grounds to suppose that the mother's milk,

It is an undoubted fact that the previous in particular, in cases of hard drinking, may health of the mother exercises an important be charged with alcohol, and her offspring influence on her offspring. A great variety suffer from the more immediate contact of of facts testify the truth of this position. the poison. One case, within the author's Dr. Combe remarks, that “a very influen- recollection, corroborates this view. A fetial source of delicacy in children is, a male, with an infant at her breast, at an unhabitually deteriorated state of health in the usually early hour of the morning, before parents, not exactly amounting to active she had broken her fast, drank, quickly disease, but arising chiefly from mismanage- after each other, several glasses of ardent ment or neglect, and showing itself in a spirits. In a remarkably brief space of lowered tone of all the animal functions, and time, the child was seized with painful a general feeling of not being well.”I Habi- vomiting, such as is commonly manifested tual indigestion is, perhaps, the most pre- on the presence of any virulent poison. Dr. valent source of this condition, and, in par- North Observes, that children nursed by inticular, that disordered state of the digestive temperate females are peculiarly liable to functions which is produced by the use of derangements of the digestive organs, and alcoholic drinks. The imprudence of the convulsive affections. With reference to the mother in this way entails upon her inno- latter, he informs us, that he has seen them cent offspring physical tendencies which almost instantly removed by the child being prove the bane of after existence. transferred to a temperate woman.t. These

One serious feature, in reference to the observations might be strengthened by the mother's habits during pregnancy, is the introduction of numerous cases. They are, fact that the seeds of disease may lie dormant however, of too common occurrence to necd in the child's system for an indefinite period, more than simple reference. until some favourable circumstance occasions The pernicious practice among the poor, in

* Reg.-Gen. First Report, Table C., p. 110.

Ibid., First Report, p. 74. * Management of Infancy, p. 70.

* Diseases and Physical Education of Children, p. 3.

† Practical Observations on the Convulsionsof Infants.

particular, of neixing small portions of fer- the appendix of the Registrar's First Report, mented or distilled liquors in the food of in- containing the causes of death, as registered fants, cannot receive too severe condemna- in the thirty-two metropolitan unions, togetion. It is the source of numerous ailments, ther with a corresponding abstract of the and is certain, sooner or later, to destroy the causes of death in five agricultural counties, system of the most healthy and vigorous shows that, out of an equal population, the child. When it becomes necessary, either number of deaths in the metropolitan unions from necessity or time, to wean the infant, is six times greater than in those districts its food ought to consist of articles which where the children breathe a purer atmoapproach as near as possible to the mother's sphere, and are more plainly fed. The relamilk. Certainly no two substances can well tive proportion in some other districts is be found more dissimilar in character than even still greater.* alcohol and human milk. The fiery dele- During teething, the natural irritability terious nature of the one contrasts very of the infant system is much increased, forcibly with the mild, nutritious character Hence, at this period, its peculiar susceptiof the other. It is a fact, testified by every- bility to disease. The diet of the child day experience, that if alcoholic liquors are should be cooling and light. Animal jellies injurious to adults, they are tenfold more so and broths should be interdicted, and it is to infants and children.

often requisite even to dilute its usual vegetaIt is a common practice with idle parents ble and milk food. The niother or nurse must or nurses to administer stimulating liquors, be equally careful in her diet, else serious or quack medicines composed principally of consequences may ensue. The use of inlaudanum and spirits, to soothe restless toxicating liquors, either in the food or by children. This is the source of considerable the mother, excites the already irritable disease and mortality among infants. The system to an alarming extent; and, if peruneasiness in question, in nine cases out of severed in, occasions convulsions, and even ten, arises either from disordered bowels, inflammation of the brain. These remarks attributable to the administration of impro- in particular apply to the acute or active per food, or to the lack of proper nursing stage of dentition. The comparative ease Spirits and narcotics are found to lull them with which children plainly fed pass through to sleep, but the consequences are fatal. the period of teething in the country, pre“ It is well known,” says Dr. Trotter, “that sents an instructive contrast to the weakly, nurses, if they can deserve that name, are irritable, and unhealthy offspring of crowded in the practice of giving spirits, in the form districts. The celebrated Locke long ago of punch, to young children to make them observed, “ that flesh (and we may add, sleep. The effect cannot fail to be hurtful. much more, inebriating liquors) should be Such children are known to be dull, drowsy, forborne, at least till the child is two or and stupid, bloated in the countenance, eyes three years old;" and that by this practice inflamed, subject to sickness at stomach, cos

“ children would breed their teeth with tive, and pot-bellied. The body is often much less danger, be freer from diseases, covered with eruptions, and slight scratches and lay the foundation of a healthy and are disposed to ulcerate. To these bowel vigorous constitution much surer. Dr. complaints may be added."*

Combe corroborates this remark. Children The period of teething is one of consider- who are fed with rich food often become able anxiety to the parent. It is, how- thin, feverish, and restless: a more plain ever, a process of nature, and if the child's and natural diet, however, soon dissipates health be uninfluenced by impure air, or those unpleasant symptoms. improper food, it is found to be a process of These remarks apply with equal force to safety. A reference to the Registrar- other complaints to which children are subGeneral's Second Report forcibly corrobo-ject, such as measles, scarlet fever, hooping rates this statement. The comparative cough, and diarrhæa. Almost all the affecmortality in town and country, from teeth- tions of children are of a highly intlammaing and convulsions, is as follows: tory character, requiring the administration

of cooling and unstimulating food. The In the cities. In the counties. Teething ....1257

system of a child under these circumstances Convulsions.,4337

is like a fire which a trivial cause soon fans

into an inextinguishable blaze. Thousands Totals. 5594

2020

of infants annually die from inattention to

or ignorance of these facts. The chances That is, nearly three times greater in the of recovery from the inflammatory and towns than in agricultural districts. The febrile diseases of children depend for the above relative proportions were taken from most part on the child's previous habits. an equal population on the one part, in the

One fruitful source of mortality among large provincial towns, and on the other, in children is the injudicious administration of the northern counties.† An abstract from stimulants and strong food during sickness.

204 1816

[ocr errors]

* Essay on Drunkenness, page 149.
| Registrar-General's Second Report, Table E.

* Ibid., First Annual Report, Table C, Appendix,

p. 110.

[ocr errors]

The non-professional portion of the com- to withstand the attacks of disease. Mr. munity, ignorant of the child's true state, Sandford, in a publication on wine and often act on the supposition that the in- spirits, relates the following experiment, flammatory symptoms have disappeared, which, remarks the celebrated Dr. Beddoes, and that the only treatment now necessary may be confirmed by thousands equally to pursue is, to supply the greatest possible certain, though made with less precision:” amount of nutriment, with the view to re-“ A late ingenious surgeon, occupied for a cruit its wasted strength. This plan great part of his life in experiments equally is attended with serious consequences. The well conceived, and accurately executed, feeble remains of the fever may again be gave to one of his children a full glass of fanned into a blaze, and a state of utter sherry every day after dinner for a week.and irrecoverable prostration of the animal The child was then about five years old, and powers the consequence. “ Almost all the had never been accustomed to wine. To disorders of infancy,” remarks Dr. Combe, another child, nearly of the same age, and

as might be inferred from the predomi- under similar circumstances, he gave a large nance of the nervous and vascular systems China orange for the same space of time. at that age, are attended with more or less At the end of the week, he found a very fever; and hence, as a general rule, a mild material difference in the pulse, the heat of and moderate diet is required, even when the body, the urine, and the stools of the two the strength is much reduced. Stimulating children. In the first, the pulse was quick-: or highly nutritive food, then, increases de- ened, the heat increased, the urine high cobility, by aggravating the febrile action; loured, and the stools destitute of their usual but, looking to the debility alone, parents quantity of bile, whilst the second had every and nurses think they cannot give too appearance that indicated high health. He strong or too much nourishment. This is then reversed the experiment: to the firstthe source of much mischief, and of the mentioned child he gave the orange, and to occasional inefficacy of the best devised and the other the wine. The effects followed as most appropriate treatment."* It is an ex-before-a striking and demonstrative proof ceedingly common practice, in large towns, of the pernicious effects of vinous liquors on for parents, under these erroneous im- the constitution of children in full health.” pressions, to administer to children large Dr. Beddoes informs us, that John Hunter, a doses of home-made wines long before the name pre-eminently distinguished in medical inflammatory and febrile symptoms have science, was the individual who made this disappeared. The consequences, as may interesting experiment. It is most conclube supposed, are extremely disastrous. sive in its results.

The restlessness and pain occasioned by The use of wine and spirits by children is this injudicious practice often lead to the a more immediately dangerous practice than administration of stimulating liquors. An most persons suppose. Golis, a celebrated overloaded stomach, whether in an infant physician of Vienna, informs us, that he himor adult, soon becomes a weak stomach, un-self witnessed three sudden deaths of infants able adequately to perform its functions, and in the arms of their mother, from Malaga wine consequently the precursor of ill-health.- administered with the view to strengthen An ounce of food, slowly eaten, and well-di-them. “In this country,” says Dr. Combe, gested, will afford double the nourishment “it is certain, that, among the poorer classes, derived from the same, or even a larger, many children fall victims to whiskey, or quantity of food, eaten with baste, or par- gin, administered with a similar view."* tially digested by a stomach enfeebled with The writer does not entertain a doubt that repletion. This fact cannot be too deeply thousands of children fall victims to strong impressed on the memory. Dr. Combe ju- drink from this cause every year. diciously observes, that “ Mischief is often The mortality of children, whose habits done during the second year of life by over are controlled by attention to the laws of anxiety to strengthen the child with strong health, presents a remarkable contrast to food, and the use of stimulants. This is a the statistics extracted from the Registrargreat error. In debility, arising from im- General's Reports. Dr. Macnish informs perfect digestion or assimilation, or from an us, that of the children of the Society of irritable nervous constitution, the milder Friends—a class of people who are remarkthe food, the more nourishment will it af- able for their regular and temperate habits ford; and the stronger and more stimulat- -one-half actually attain the age of fortying, the less likely will it be to restore the seven years,t yet a considerable proportion system to a healthy state.”+ This mode of of these children reside in our large towns. reasoning accords with nature and common The children in the Orphan Asylum of

Albany present a still more instructive The state of the digestive functions in example. This excellent institution was children exercises a paramount influence on opened towards the end of the year 1829, their health, and their consequent capability with about seventy children. The average,

sense.

* Managenjent of Infancy, p. 331.
† Ibid., p. 311.

* Ibid., p. 316.
† Anatomy of Drunkenness, p. 151.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »