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A SOCIAL EVIL.

CRITICISM OF DR. FINDLAY'S PROPOSALS. Wo have been asked to publish the following criticisms by the legal and parliamentary department of the New Zealand Women's Christian Temperance Union of the proposed introduction by Dr. Findlay of penal clauses under the Public Health Act, 1908, with regard to special contagious diseases: — ' It appears to the department that a scheme of the kind proposed contains elements likely to defeat its own object and endanger, rather than protect, the public health. This department believes that there are only two sound lines upon Which to proceed to combatthe undoubted evils of syphilis, viz: — (1.) THE EDUCATION OF THE YOUNG. This was strongly advocated by therecent International Conference held at Brussels. -This conference was composed of some 360 members of 33 nationalities. Of these, 107 were Government delegates representing 29 different countries, mostly European, but including tho United States, Persia, and Japan. Our own War Office and the India Office were represented, together with the Royal College of Surgeons, the Irish College of burgeons, and the British Medical Association. Out of the entire number, 295 wer.e doctors, and a large number of these held public posts in the " Service of Health," or as professors of the special subject. The 65 nonmedical members included Ministers of State, heads of police or health departments, delegates of municipalities, legal authorities and professors, and a, few other persons individually invited on the ground of special competence, and representing, for the most part, the sociological side of the subject ; among these were several women. To show what is being done to combat this disease in those countries where they are supposed to manage these things better than in England, it may be pointed out that Dr. Boureau, of Paris, gives public lectures on the subject every year to students and to working-men. Professor Neisser has a full course every winter for the university students generally, each of whom also receives on matriculation a notice warning him of the dangers attending an irregular life, and putting before him the moral aspects of the 'juestion. The Minister of Education had recommended that similar measures should be taken in all the Prussion universities. Professors Fournier, Troisfontaines, and others proposed, or had already adopted, a system whereby to diffuse information, thus affording "protection by knowledge." Mr. Jonathan Hutchinson, the English specialist, who attended as one of the representatives of the Royal College of Surgeons, and whose European reputation made him the object of the most respectful attention, advised that young men in public schools and colleges should be warned and instructed, and the instruction should include moral considerations and respect for the purity of _ women. A diminution of vice would bring with it a diminution of disease. With regard to men in. the army, Mr. Hutchinson said that if the matter were put before the men in a reasonable way he was convinced that they would respond, and that would do more to diminish disease in the army than all the regulation that could be devised. This department suggests that the Education Department of New Zealand should procure the services of specialists to educate the young people in our schools and universities by means of scientific teaching concerning the functions of their bodies, and dangers consequent on the misuse of them, and tho value of healthful self-control. This course has not yet been tried in New Zealand, and the legal and parliamentary department of the New Zealand Women's Christian Temperance Union considers that, in view of the statements of such eminent specialists as are above quoted, it should be given a fair trial. The department is convinced that this is much the most hopeful method of dealing with the evil, for it is a question of divided opinion whether, once the disease has been contracted, any subsequent treatment can cure th« victim, or remove the danger to the community. FREE TREATMENT. The second line is the absolutely free treatment of every patient suffering from any form of this disease. Such treatment can only be carried out where the patient cheerfully and freely offers him or herself for treatment, and both on the Continent of Europe and in England this has been effected only where the patients have been convinced that they are perfectly free to come and go. At the recent Brussels Conference, several speakern laid stress on fche absence of compulsory detention as an essential of voluntary applications for treatment. Dr. Nevins instanced the case- of the Glasgow Infirmary, where for some years patients of this kind were required on entering to sign a promise to remain until discharged. It was found that patients refused to sign, and prosently ceased to come at all, and the rule had to be rescinded. The fear of compulsory, detention had been fatal to success of the scheme everywhere. Dr. Boureau said that there was a philanthropic society in Paris which maintained a free dispensary for these patients. "The clan destines whom the police fail to reach come to us," he said. "At first they feared we would detain them, but now they come freely, and often bring their companions." The fact that prominent medical men of high standing declare emphatically that they will not notify all cases, no matter what the law may provide, is in itself a proof of the uselessncss of the proposed legislation. \ FANNY COLE, , President. M. B. LOVELL SMITH, Superintendent of Dept.

A correspondent of the Lytteltoa Times states that dry weather and north-west winds have dried up the Selwyn River, with the result that large numbers of big trout which went upstream for spawning have not been a-ble to get back, and shags, which are very plentiful just now, are having a' royal time poaching in the holes as they dry up. "1 think I am within the mark, ' he adds, "when I say that thousands of troUjt die every year along the Greendale portion of the Selwyn Biver. Usually a good number of the large ones that come up for spawning fail to get back, and as the river goes dry they fall a prey to gulls and 'shags. * Then later in the summer nearly every small pool is stocked with Tieallhv young trout up to about fouv or five inches in length, and these clio in large numbers as the water 'dr'irs up. It seems a pity 4jiat the societies interested cannot remove these smalt ones to, rivers that require slocking, as they always >eem perfectly strong and healthy, and it would probably he less expensive than breeding the fkh for this purpose." Mr. (Jhas. Palliaer, of Palliser's Prescription Pharmacy, Kent-terrace, notifies in our advertising columns that he has acquired the business of Mr. G. E. Elson, who is retiring for a rest after eighteen years in business. Mr. W. K. Scholefinld. of 39, Mannersstroet, advertises his anniiiil clearnuce «ilo of jowoilery, watches, and field glasses at London tale prices.

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A SOCIAL EVIL. Evening Post, Volume LXXX, Issue 57, 5 September 1910

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