The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prevalebit. MONDAY MARCH, 1, 1881. The Prevailing 111-health.
TOWN EDITION. [Jsswed at 5 p.m.]
The anxiety felt by many of us, owing to the amount of sickness which is now prevalent in the town and its environs must of necessity be accompanied by feelings of regret that steps have not been taken before this to ascertain whether our much-abused water supply for drinking purposes has been the cause of the sickness, directly or indirectly, through pollution from surface drainage. That some steps should be taken at once to learn if possible, whether the water we drink is impure or not must be apparent to every resident in the town. The medical men tell us that they are extremely busy in every quarter, and that amongst their patients there are not only numerous dysenteric cases, but some of a mild form of cholera. Strong healthy persons have been suddenly taken ill and have died within a few days, yet what steps have been taken to ascertain whether or not the diseases
now common are preventible by any action of-the people themselves or the authorities? The fact must be apparent that unless .we endeavor to induce many of the inhabitants to cease from practising a most obnoxious habit which is very common here —viz., that of having cesspools and wells sunk side by side —serious consequences must be expected. It appears to us extraordinary that, with the full knowledge which even the humblest must have of the porous nature of our soil, and the nearness to the surface of the water we have to drink, wells and cesspools —or “ pitchholes,” as they are sometimes called—should be found in such close proximity to each other as in countless cases in Ashburton we know them to exist. There are many sections in the township on which slush and sewage can be seen in large quantities—left to evaporate and foul the air we breathe, or to percolate through the soil and pollute the water underneath from which the domestic supply is drawn. In too many cases in Ashburton the water is tapped in the first stratum of shingle, and the pipe wells reach only some ten or twelve feet down. Over a large area of the town I he water obtained at this shallow I depth is very impure, and its impurity i-i mainly owing to the fact that it has been polluted by the draining or filtering down to it of accumulations of polluted liquid matter from the surface. That a local Board of Health should make the subject one for close and sifting consideration is only natural to expect, and doubtless they will do so ; but we would infinitely prefer to see the people themselves become more alive to the incalculable benefits of proper sanitation. It is the duty of all Boards of Health to educate their constituents in this direction, and the people ought to understand that every time they disregard the common laws of sanitation, they incur the punishment in ill health that must inevitably follow. The punishment may not fall directly upon the strong and healthy body of the actual offender, but every foul smell raised, every instance of water or air pollution, will tell in its effect upomthe weaker and more delicate constitutions amongst those who have to breathe the one and drink the other. It would be well then if each individual member of of our little community would take a thoroughly intelligent interest in perfecting sanitary arrangements, and it ought to be the duty.of the Boards of health to take the lead, by giving advice and instruction in sanitary matters. An analysis of the water of the district would be a proper first step to take, and such an analysis should be of water taken from both the shallow depth, and the stream found at 25 feet or so from the surface. We should then be in a position to know how far the blame of the prevalent disease is attributable to the water’s impurity, and how much of that impurity may be prevented by simple carefulness and cleanliness on the part of the inhabitants. .
The County Council. —The monthly meeting of the County Council will be held to-morrow, when a more than usual amount of business will be brought before it. Grain Storage. --In an advertisement that appeared in our columns yesterday, the traffic manager of the railway announced that storage would be charged on all grain sent to the railway sheds, and not consigned within twenty-iour hours.
Drunks.— David Alexander and James Henderson were each to-day fined 5s for being drunk. Alexander is the man mentioned in another paragraph as having been accused of larceny. Wm. Boyle, an inveterate, was sent 48 hours to gaol for drunkenness. He had been twice before the Court within a week. The Oddfellows’ Concert. Last night the Oddfellows’ concert came ofl in the Town Hall, and we were disappointed in the audience. It was a large one, no doubt ; but we had expected, from the power and influence of the Oddfellows’ society in Ashburton, to see the house crowded. Dr Stewart, the Lodge surgeon, was to have been chairman ; but owing to the many calls made upon him professionally at present—and indeed upon all our medical men—he was not able to be present at the opening, and another gentleman made an apology for his absence. At a later period in the evening, however, the Doctor appeared, and urged the claims of the order, which he said was one that extended all over the world, and had a membership of over half a million, and an annual income of LBOC,OOO. There was annually expended on sick and funeral benefits no less a sum than LCOOjOOO. During the past thirty years or so the Society’s total income had been expended in sick benefit. He pointed out that the Society was in its very essence a co-operative one, and whoever joined it and reaped its benefits, enjoyed what was his own—bought with his own money, and not the gift of any one. He urged all to join the society while in health, so that when trouble came they would not be beholden to anybody, but would be able to have the Lodge medical man, and the support from the Lodge funds which was their right. The hall was decorated with such mottos as “ Friendship, Love, and Truth, “ United we stand, divided we fall,” and the name of the Lodge. The entertainment began by a piano duet, played by Mias Gates and Master Herman Morris. We would just take the liberty of reminding the Town Hall directors that a few turns of the tuner’s screw would not be wasted on the piano, and would tend to enhance the value of such music as that given by the instrumentalists last night. Following the overture came an exhibition of cavalry sword exercise by Sergeaant G. F. Scott, which was very cleverly done, and took greatly with the audience. Mr Scott showed himsalf to be equally facile with right and left hands in using the heavy cavalry sabre, and his performance was very graceful indeed. The singers were Mr Craighead, who sang in excellent voice, and did full justice to the old favorites “ The Rhine Wine” and the “ Old Sexton;” Mr Harrison, always popular, was more than usually so in “The Stirrup Cup” and “The Vagabond;” Mr Gates, who sang “Adrift” and “ Not so bad for me,” earning an encore on each appearance; Mr Jacobson, who trolled out in fine style the grand old song, “ Tom Bowling ;” and Messrs Walter Dolman and T. Williams, who each essayed comic songs. Mr R. Cullen assumed the nigger business, and sang a song or two with a step or two to set off his melody. The reciters were Messrs Jacobson, who gave “The Battle of the League” in own stylo ; and Mr Williams, who revelled in the Irish brogue. Wo had almost omitted to mention the overture from “Masaniello” with which the second part opened, and which was superbly played by Miss Gates and Master Morris, who between them also undertook the work of accompanying the singers. The entertainment wound up with a piece of nigger funniment, entitled “ Sixteen Thousand Years Ago,” the characters in Which were sustained by Messrs Culjen, Scott, and Elston.
The Interprovincial Boat Race.— The two miles and ahalf boat race between the Otago and Canterbury- Rowing Clubs came off yesterday at Henley, Otago, and resulted in a victory for the Canterbury crew by two lengths. ReugiouSjlnsteuOtion. —At the annual meeting of the Auckland Scripture Association, the report showed that only three ministers in the city of Auckland had responded to the association request, and visited the public schools to impart religious instruction. In the country only three public schools were regularly visited by clergymen. “ When Doctors Differ.” —The Dunedin Board of Assessors yesterday decided it to be incompetent, under the 13th clause of the Property Assessment Act, to determine the capital of a company for the purpose of taxation by the sum total of all its allotted shares taken at their marketable value. Other Boards have held an opposite opinion. Refrigeration. —The provisional committee of the Frozen Meat and Produce Company met at Dunedin yesterday, and resolved to appoint a sub-committee to wait on the largo shipping companies to see how far they are ready to co-operate with the committee to carry out tho scheme, and obtain further information regarding the cost of apparatus.
Fires. —The old accommodation house at Tekapo Ferry was destroyed by fire early on Sunday morning, and nothing was saved of its contents. The building belonged to the Mount Cook Road Board, and was insured for L 250 in the New Zealand Office. The dwelling of Mr D. McKenzie, an old settler at Geraldine, was burned on Sunday night, the inmates barely having time to escape. The Health Statistics. —This month, in which there are only 28 days, does not appear favorably along with its fellows, so far as the statistics of death are concerned. The registrar’s return shows 17 deaths —being five more than in January, which was considered the most fatal month the district has yet experienced. Twelve of the seventeen death were from the prevailing dysentery, and one from cholera morbus. As a set off against the deaths there have been 29 births and two marriages.
What a Cigar is Made of. —The result of a recent analysis is the appalling piece of news that a cigar contains acetic, butric, valeric, and prussic acids, as well as creosote, carbolic ammonia, sulphuretted hydrogen, irrodine, picoline, cabbagine, and brown paper. With such an accumulation of various chemicals as this, and the amount of professional knowledge required to turn them to good marketable account, one would imagine that the tobacco leaf was almost as scarce as gold leaf, and great may be the surprise that even spurious cigars can be sold at as low a figure as they are. The discovery is, nevertheless alarming. Wild Horses in the North.—A writer in the Waikato Mail, in a description of the Tokoroa Plain, which is to come before the Lands Court on the 15th, says “On the plains and in the valleys the wild horse has his home and pasture. Wild horses have been so frequently described that it will suffice for us to say that the horse of Tokoroa is, as seen through the glass a, sturdy-looking, short-legged animal, not by any means the weeds some people suppose. I particularly noticed a fine black stallion, who was in company with a herd of nine others. On some few occasions, we believe these horses have been joined by horses the property of travellers crossing the plains. The natives say there must be fully 2,000 of these horses on Tokoroa.” African Exploration. —Two new expeditions are about to be despatched to the Congo river. The first sent out by the Geographical Society at Vienna is to start from the Cape, and after crossing the Zambesi to explore the sources of the Congo, returning homewards by way of Egypt. This expedition will, in a literal sense, traverse the African continent from South to North. The command of this expeditionary party has been given to Dr. Holub. The second expedition is to start from the French colonies in the Gaboon country and to push towards the basin of the Congo river. Besides these two projected expeditions, there are three others already engaged in exploring the Congo, the Belgian, the Portuguese, and the American expedition under H. M. Stanley. Alleged Larceny. —To-day the Resident Magistrate remanded till Friday a man named David Alexander, who had been accused of larceny from the Prince Albert Boarding-house. There were several charges against him—one being, the larceny of L 5 from James Henderson ; another, of LI 12s ; another, of 13s and a fourth, of 7s —all from lodgers in the boarding-house. Mr O’Reilly defended him, and opposed Sergeant Felton’s application for a remand, inasmuch as he was able for the defence to adduce evidence to show that the money found on Alexander could bo satisfactorily accounted for as having been in his possession before the thefts were committed. The Sergeant said the charge was a very serious one, and he believed himself able to show that, previous to the thefts, Alexander had no money. Prisoner was remanded on bail—himself in L2O, and one surety of L2O. Strange Assertion. —Father Ignatius held a week of Advent mission services at Portsmouth. H® solemnly declared, with regard to what are called the Llanthony miracles, that he and two other persons had seen the whole heavens open, and in dazzling circles of light and glory the form of Majesty appear to them. He would ask Professor Tyndal, with all his peculiar knowledge of light, if he could satisfactorily explain that by any scientific hypothesis. Either he (Father Ignatius) was telling the truth in regard to these apparations, or else it was a blasphemous lie, and what interest could he have in so saying ? He desired it to bo understood that although he was enthusiastic in the cause of Christ, he was in full possession of his faculties. Only a short time ago a female cripple in Brunswick road, Brighton, who had been for thirty-eight years unable to put her foot to the ground, was cured by being touched with a leaf of the hedge where the apparition had appeared. Mr Murdoch in Reply.— Some days ago we printed a pretty severe criticism by the Nelson Colonist of the boorish conduct of the Australians while in Nelson. We give below Mr Murdoch’s reply as printed in the Nelson Mail. The Colonist, how-
ever, does not recede one inch from the position it took up, Mr Murdoch’s letter notwithstanding “ Sir,— Upon reading the report of the late Australian cricket match in the Colonist of the 12th instant, I notice some most uncalled-for remarks made upon the conduct of our team upon our departure from the cricket ground and the wharf. It is a great pity that the person who went so far out of his way to write in such an ungenerous manner about absent persons did not strictly confine himself to the truth, for if he did not or would not see it I can assure him and the general public of Nelson that the cheering compliment paid us waS duly acknowledged by all of us inside the vehicle ; not having such keen eyes as some persons, I could not see through the roof and; notice what those outside did. In conclusion, I must thank the person for his criticism upon us, and assure him that if ever I or any of my team want the finishing touches of a gentleman’s education, if he will kindly furnish his name we will be most happy to consult with him. Hoping you will find room in your valuable columns for this letter, and apologising for having to trouble you.—l am, &c., W. L. Muudocu. Captain Australian Eleven,”
Sing-no and Health.—Some’ researches of Professor Monassein, of St. Petersburgh. daring the autumn of 1878, have led to very interesting results in regard to the influence of singing upon the health. He examined 222 singers ranging between the ages of nine and fiity-three. He laid chief weight upon the growth and absolute circumference of the chest, upon the comparative relation of the latter to the tallness of the subject, and upon the pneumatometric and spirometric condition of the singer. It appears to be an ascertained fact from Dr Monassein’s experiment that the relative, and even the absolute circumference of chests is greater amongst singers • than amongst those who do not sing, and that it increases with the growth and ago of the singer. The professor even says that singing may bo placed physically as the antithesis of drinking spirituous liquors : the latter hinders while the former promotes the vitalisation of the blood, and consequently the norishment of the system.
Electricity.—Two systems of electric lighting have just been tested in New York. Broadway was illuminated for three-quarters of a mile by a series of Brush lamps, fifteen in number. The circuit contained ten thousand feet of wire. Each light was estimated at two thousand candle power, supposing the full force to be concentrated on one point. The lights burned all night, and the exhibition will continue for one month, to enable the company to determine the question of expense and to familiarise the public with the light. Mr Edison gave a similar exhibition of his system at Menlo Park, for the benefit of the Mayor and Common Council of New York. More than three hundred lamps gave a steady mellow light, tinged with enough yellow to relieve the eyes from the intense brightness of the electric light. Mr Edison is to be allowed to operate in the districts between Wall street and Printing-house square, east of Nassau street. He purposes lighting this district and furnishing the power by electricity as a substitute for steam power. Two electric light companies are being formed af Brooklyn.
Messrs A, Moore and Co., grain merchants, Christchurch, are buyers of all kinds tf grain, and make advances on shipments. A new branch of the Union Bank of Australia was opened at Palmerston North to-day. A meeting of the Templar Hall Company, Limited, is to be held on Wednesday week. The Horticultural Society s committee meet to-night in Messrs Jacobson and Eyton’s office.