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are found in the elevated lands, they are, generally speaking, greatly modified in degree, and reduced in proportionate frequency. They were for centuries equally fatal in the cities of Europe; they are still prevalent there under the same circumstances, and they are generally most fatal in the summer, when the sun is not so hot as in India, but is above the horizon a greater number of hours. If heat-apoplexy and liver complaints, frequently the results of certain forms of zymotic disease, be added to those which have just been mentioned, the main causes of premature and preventible mortality' in India affecting European life are here included.
The experience of the civil service, of the military officers, of their wives and children, of the English troops in many stations, and of the native troops, proves to the satisfaction of the Commission, that in the present state of India the mortality of the English troops can be reduced to the rate of 20 in 1000. It is not necessary that we should discuss the question whether this rate is not too low. The rate, at all events, can be greatly reduced.†
In India every evil of unwholesome water supply, bad ventilation, or insufficient drainage, becomes tenfold aggravated by the wonderful effects of a high temperature, and the consequent rapid animal and vegetable decomposition. In England, on the other hand, ague and intermittent fever have disappeared in districts well drained and cultivated, jail fever has been lost sight of in our prisons, now well ventilated and kept clean; typhoid fevers have lessened in frequency and intensity, from good household drainage and good free circulation of pure air; and cholera and dysentery have been nearly banished by good sanitary measures, and good water supply. At the same time the congregation of large populations in crowded towns and buildings has engendered another evil; and fever of a contagious character, the result of foul and contaminated air, crowded rooms, illventilated chambers, and want of food and clothing, has taken hold of large portions of the lower classes. Well may the Commissioners feel, that so far as the experience of more temperate climates can be admitted as evidence, it tends to prove that the very class of diseases, formerly so fatal in this country, and which
*Certain forms of bowel complaint, when the sufferers are removed from the plains to the high grounds, are the only exceptions. But even here there is no uniformity of climatic influence, for the bowel complaints of some mountain ranges are unknown in others. A very full and discriminating account of the diseases of India, and the localities in which they are chiefly engendered, will be found in the Evidence of Sir R. Martin.
The rate of mortality among the European troops in the Bombay Presidency in 1863 was only 12 per 1000.
occasion so very high a rate of mortality, both absolute and relative, among the Indian army, is, to a large extent, dependent on removable conditions and habits.'
But although some of the conditions of a soldier's life admit of being modified or removed, others of them are irremediable; and without accurate information relative to the topography and climate of India, it would have been impossible for the Commission to arrive at satisfactory or just conclusions on any sanitary measures. A very interesting chapter is therefore devoted to the consideration of these two important points.
India, with a superficial area of 1,500,000 square miles, is enclosed on the north, east, and west by mountain ranges some 4500 miles in extent, and is girt on the southern, western, and eastern coasts by 4500 miles of sea. Plains traversed by large rivers, with deltas projecting into the sea, and hardly raised above its level, constitute a large portion of the country; but extensive table-lands, of greater or less elevation, rise from the plains; a continuous range of mountains along the west coast intercepts the warm, moist winds of the Indian Ocean, and influences the climate for a considerable distance inland; here and there solitary mountain groups, from their elevation, present very different climates from those of the immediate plains beneath. The Himalayas on the north consist of successive ranges, rising in height as they recede northwards, until their summits are lost in the range of perpetual snow.
Mr. Glaisher, at the request of the Commissioners, who placed in his hands all the documents at their disposal, has for the first time given a comprehensive view of the geographical distribution of atmospheric phenomena over this vast and varied peninsula. His observations, based on wonderfully voluminous calculations conducted with great labour and zeal, confirm the opinions of those who believe that climate is far less dependent on range of latitude or longitude, than on elevation. Several degrees of latitude appear to produce no effect whatever upon the average of extreme high temperature, whereas by elevation a certain fall of the thermometer is secured-a certain cooling of the atmosphere occurs. On the plains, therefore, extremes of heat are to be observed all the year round. There is no winter to produce frost or snow. The rainfall in these parts is abundant, and affords a humid atmosphere, injurious to the European constitution. In the mountain districts, elevation is the regulator of the temperature; but the rainfall is influenced by certain other causes. On the face exposed to the monsoon, the rainfall is enormous; while to the leeward of the same hills, the climate is dry and clear, with little rainfall. The climates of certain isolated mountain groups
and table-lands are almost as healthy as those of southern Europe; while at the base of the same mountains there are local climates which are absolutely pestilential.'
We need but mention one or two instances to show the reader how insignificant is the question of latitude in the consideration of climate, as regards British India, when the temperature is taken below 1000 feet elevation. At Palamcottah, in latitude 8° 43′ N., the mean maximum temperature was found by Mr. Glaisher to be 91°; at Cannanore, in latitude 11° 52′ N., the mean maximum temperature was 86°; whereas at Ferozepore, in latitude 30° 55" N., the mean maximum temperature was 90°. In the first instance, the variation between the hottest and coldest months was 8°; in the second, 8°; in the third, 34°; so that although latitude appears to make, within the district we are considering, but little difference as regards the mean maximum temperature, it certainly makes a considerable difference in the range of the thermometer between the hot and cold months. If we take two instances of elevation in low latitudes, the difference will at once be perceptible. Bangalore is 3000 feet above the level of the sea, in latitude 12° 57', 18° nearer the Equator than Ferozepore, but with a mean maximum temperature of 83°, 7° cooler than Ferozepore, taking the year through, and with only 12° of variation. Wellington, in latitude 11° 25" N., and 6000 feet elevation, has a mean maximum of 72° and 9° of variation.
The Commissioners have arrived at the conclusion,--that climate does exercise some effect on the general health of persons exposed to its influence; that long-continued exposure to Indian climates gradually deteriorates the constitution; that diseases of the epidemic class prevail most severely and extensively in localities where, and at seasons when, the elements of heat and moisture most predominate; and they say, 'If careful inquiry were to show that there were absolutely no other agents at work in producing these results, except high temperature, then we should be driven to the conclusion that nothing short of change of climate and station would preserve the health of the army. But there are many other agencies at work besides those due to climate per se, and first among them, that subtle, unknown agent, or rather that cause of disease known only by its effects, malaria.' In India, as in all tropical climates with undrained soils, swampy lands and luxuriant vegetation, the presence of malaria is known but by its effects on health; but as surely as moisture, heat, and the consequent rank vegetation exist, though no other test detect it, the living human being falls under its dire influence, as surely as the mercury in the barometer falls before the coming gale. It is the
main cause of most of the diseases incident to India, both in the native and European inhabitant; most sure to be met with, and most fatal in low situations; more rare and far less fatal as we rise in height from the sea level. At considerable elevations,' say the Commission, where the air is cool and dry, and the vegetation scanty, it diminishes greatly, or disappears altogether. It is the product of heat, moisture, and vegetable decomposition. It appears to be absorbed largely and retained by the soil, and is given off on the first fall of rain, or on turning up the ground, in sufficient intensity to produce disease in susceptible persons exposed to its influence.' It is only the old story of our own undrained fen districts of England years gone by, minus the excessive heat and the consequent vast mortality.
'The production of malaria can be checked (not extirpated) by the withdrawal of any one of the three elements, on the co-existence of which it depends; but the experience of colder climates would appear to prove that subsoil water has more influence on its production than high temperature. High temperature with a moist state of the air and subsoil are the chief agents which influence the rapid decomposition of dead organised matter, while, at the same time, they produce a certain amount of susceptibility to disease in those exposed to them. Indian climates have, therefore, the double disadvantage of generating malaria and increasing its deleterious influence on health.'
The Commission are content to rest on the experience gained in other countries, viz., that removal of wood-lands, subsoil drainage, and improved cultivation have been most effectual in eradicating its deleterious influences. So in India part of the once deadly country at the foot of certain mountain slopes, has become comparatively healthy by the removal of forests and by the cultivation of the soil.
Malarious influences are observed, no doubt, to act very fatally in elevated districts under peculiar circumstances. For instance, in certain valleys running up mountain-slopes from a low country, it has been supposed that malaria has been carried up thousands of feet above the low-level source of its origin. The Commissioners report an instance of a whole family, living in an otherwise healthy locality, being swept away by malaria, supposed to arise from the adjacent low country. These cases, however, require very careful examination before the evil can be certainly ascribed to its right source. It is as probable that some local, overlooked cause, if carefully sought for, might be found to account for the disaster. In consequence of these causes of disease being ignored or overlooked, many stations were originally formed in districts in the midst of a deadly climate,
which proved so fatal to troops that the stations had to be abandoned after much loss of life and great sacrifice of money.
Under the present system of cultivation of the soil by the native of India, viz., by irrigation, but without any attention to drainage, it may be assumed that the three peculiarities of the climate and causes of disease-heat, moisture, and malaria-are constantly in force, and everywhere influence the sanitary condition of the country. But beyond these causes, potent in the production of disease, in a climate of such a temperature, rainfall, and evaporation, many small circumstances of neglect or disorder which in a cooler climate would produce no prejudicial effects, here may occasion formidable consequences. Crowded sleeping-rooms, slight impurity of drinking-water, want of general or personal cleanliness, want of ventilation and want of drainage, are followed by consequences a hundred-fold more serious than could possibly occur in colder latitudes-though even here neglect of proper sanitary precautions has been occasionally visited by dire mortality. The supreme importance of apparently trivial causes of disease is the lesson to be learned by all our past experience; and not till this is thoroughly understood and practically acted on will any great good be done in reducing the high mortality rate of the Indian army.'
However formidable the effects of climate to European troops during their period of service in India, there are other very important conditions which influence their health, efficiency, and invaliding. In our own climate young growing men, still under twenty years of age, may make efficient or good materials for enlistment, and for training into excellent soldiers; but it is a question whether, while growth is still active, recruits should be sent out to India, or whether it would not be better to allow them to attain maturity in their native air. We are inclined to the opinion that, as a general rule, twenty-five years should be the usual age of soldiers landing in India for long service. Growth is then complete, ossification is then perfect, and the system is capable of enduring the greatest amount of fatigue, and of resisting to the utmost the attacks of disease; and the years gained between eighteen and twenty-five would probably render the soldier more careful of health, and less prone to yield to the evils of drink and debauchery.
The passage to India, by the long sea voyage,' via the Cape, is a portion of the soldier's life-history which certainly has a black side, however bright any one may be inclined to paint the other. In the days of John Company,' whose argosies were annually bound to China, to be freighted home with fragrant