Arsenical Paper-Hangings. — Newspapers and periodicals have frequently of late years called attention to the deleterious influence of the Arsenical emanations from Green Paper-Hangings, on the health of those who occupy apartments furnished with such wall paper. In the April number of the British Journal of Homoeopathy for the current year, Dr. Dudgeon gives the details of seven cases which have come under his personal observation. They present various forms of derangement characteristic of the action of Arsenic, and some of them are so remarkable as to warrant our quoting them.
1. “Disease began to prevail among all the members of a family, who, hitherto, had been comparatively healthy. The mother, aged 38, was affected with languor, inability to go about her usual avocations, total loss of appetite, frequent sickness and headache. The oldest daughter, her step-child, aged about 40, was much more seriously ill, she had violent attacks of cough with copious expectoration, a peculiar neuralgic pain in the left arm that took her suddenly after meals, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, frequent diarrhea, extreme debility and constant exhausting menorrhagia at the menstrual period. The other two children were subject to unaccountable. attacks of pain in the abdomen, sickness and debility. Another member of the family, who resided generally at Brighton, was always affected with abdominal pains when she stayed a day or two at her father's house in London. — Those of the family who resided in London, got immediately much better when they went for a day or two into the country.
“Visiting at the house one day, I observed that the room I was shown into had a bright green arsenical paper, and on enquiry I found that every room in the house was hung with arsenical paper. I learned also on investigation that the ill health of the family was coincident in time with the hanging of these brilliant papers in their rooms. The papers were removed at my request. The change was followed by an almost immediate cessation of the gastric and abdominal symptoms of all the family. The case of menorrhagia did not derive such palpable benefit; for though the gastric symptoms were removed, the menorrhagia recurred as violently as ever and was attended with an edematous state of the eyelids, often closing up the eyes for a day or two. I cannot say that the menorrhagia was caused by the poisonous paper-hangings, for she had been subject to it for years, but it seemed that since she had been exposed to their influence, the menorrhagia had certainly increased in intensity and was attended by the edematous symptoms which was not formerly the case.”* * * * *
2. “A young lady of 19, who lived in an apartment hung with a bright Schweinfurt green paper had several very severe gastric attacks, one of which almost amounted to gastric fever. They were marked by violent burning pains in the bowels, increased to sharp pain on pressure, tongue thickly furred, anorexia, great thirst. The worst attack lasted a week. She changed her residence, but oddly enough again took up her abode in an arsenical room. She here became affected with a peculiar skin disease. The skin of her neck, bosom, and shoulders was covered with a rough, cracked-looking, dirty brownish-red eruption which burned and itched. She frequently took cold in her head, during which the itching and burning of the rash were always very much increased. After residing some months in this room, she again removed and went to the country where she speedily improved. This eruption, as well as the gastric attacks, I am disposed to attribute to the influence of the arsenical poisoning.”
6. “A few weeks since I was consulted by a woman, aged 41, nurse in a family at Kingston-on-Thames. Soon after coming to live with the family where she was now, about two and a half years since, she became affected with attacks of ague, which have continued ever since. They were generally of the quotidian type, but sometimes became tertian, and she has never been a week without one. All that time she has been subject to almost constant burning in the epigastrium, frequent attacks of faintness, often nearly amounting to syncope. Diarrhea, pain in the bowels, sickness and vomiting were often present. Before coming to Kingston she had some spots of lepra on her arms; since then the eruption has very much increased and has extended to her face. The room in which she has slept all this time is covered with an arsenical paper. She has now left this room for four days, but is still faint and occasionally sick and has not yet lost her ague fits.
“She never resided in an aguish district nor knew what ague was before sleeping in this room, and Kingston is not supposed to be an aguish place. — A child belonging to the family has occasionally slept in the room with her, but each time it did so was affected with sickness, violent vomiting and fainting.”
Dr. Dudgeon remarks respecting the seven cases of which he gives the details: “It will be observed that the symptoms in the above cases varied considerably, but were all truly characteristic symptoms of arsenical poisoning. In Borne it was the gastric and intestinal mucous membrane that was most affected; in others the respiratory organs suffered most, in several the skin was attacked; and the case numbered six was a most perfect specimen of ague, which,. as far as I could trace, had no other cause than the arsenical room.”
We are inclined to think that the menorrhagia which was so marked a symptom in two of the seven cases, might also be ascribed either in its origin or in its marked aggravation, to the action of the arsenical exhalation at least, if we may judge this, from the great success we have met with in treating passive menorrhagia with Arsenicum, in cases which presented other characteristic symptoms of Arsenicum. Information on the subject of poisoning from Arsenical Paper-Hangings, may be found in the July number of The American Medical Journal, 1861, where Mr. Carey Lee shows that “the greater part of green wall-papers, green borders and green window shades are colored with Scheele's green or Schweinfurt green, both preparations of Arsenic. He adds, “It is a common idea that the quantity of this substance used in coloring is so small that its poisonous character is unimportant. This is a grave error.” Mr. Lee obtained, by precipitating with Nitrate of silver, from two square inches of material prepared for window shades, no less than six grains of the yellow compound of Arsenious acid with silver. If we suppose this to be the salt, 3 Ag. O, As. O3 described by Filhol: it corresponds to a quantity of arsenious acid, which, in an ordinary window shade, three feet by eight, would amount to no less than a third of a pound avoidupois! When a room is papered with paper colored with arsenic, it is safe to say that many pounds of this deleterious substance are spread over the walls.
While on the subject of unhealthy paper-hangings, it may not be improper to state that the atmosphere of a room, especially of a bed-chamber may be rendered exceedingly unwholesome by decomposition of the paste or mucilage used for the purpose of attaching the paper to the wall. The writer was called several years ago to prescribe for a lad who complained of general prostration and gastric derangement, and who presented symptoms of incipient typhoid fever. He said he always felt much worse in the morning, and when I suggested that he should abstain from exertion and should rest a good deal, he expressed a great and unaccountable aversion to his bedroom, and stated moreover that a sister who had formerly occupied it had been similarly affected with himself and had expressed a similar aversion to the room. I requested to be conducted to the apartment, and found it well situated and of good size, but was struck by a peculiarly sickening and unpleasant odor which pervaded it. Without forming any distinct theory on the subject I approached the wall and thought I perceived the odor more strongly. I then with a penknife cut away a portion of the wall-paper, when it appeared that the paste was in a state of moist putrefaction and exceedingly offensive. The paper had been applied about six months before. It was at once removed, and the wall scraped and white washed. The lad's unpleasant symptoms soon vanished and the chamber became sweet and habitable. Dunham.
Ingolee. — To the Editors of the American Homoeopathic Review, Gentlemen: I have received the following letter from the Rev. A. Abbott, who is on duty as a missionary in India. Mr. Abbott has turned Homoeopathy to good account for several years among the natives of India. His letter will speak for itself. With the letter came a vial of the stings alluded to, which are now preparing for provings. Respectfully yours, Ac, Otis Clapp.
I have made use of it prepared homoeopathically, for the Guinea Worm, with perfect success. I have treated upward of thirty cases, and so far as I know, where the remedy has been used according to directions it has always proved successful. I give it internally twice a day, and apply externally a wet bandage moistened with the solution of the same. A cure is affected in from five to twelve days. In a few instances a cure has been effected in three days — When no medicine is taken the patient is usually laid up for a month or six weeks. The allopathic doctors have no remedy for it, and the natives have a proverb “one Guinea Worm and a thousand remedies,” which means one Guinea Worm a match for a thousand remedies.
“In a report just issued by the Registrar-General of Scotland, he calls the attention of the public to the fact that ever since pleuro-pneumonia broke out among the cattle of this country a few years since, the returns of mortality have shown that carbuncle, a disease formerly very rare, has become comparatively common. Dr. Livingston observed in Africa that if the flesh of animals who die from pleuro-pneumonia is eaten it causes carbuncle in the persons who eat it, and that neither boiling nor roasting the flesh nor cooking it in any way gets rid of the poison. It is true that if such cattle are ever sold for food they are killed before they fall victims to the disease naturally, but still the poison is in them. The report suggests, as a subject for inquiry, whether the new form of disease which we term diphtheria may not be partially induced by the use of diseased flesh.”
The above paragraph was taken from The Time,, where it will get no doubt a world-wide circulation; yet it may escape the eye of many whose attention to the subject would be of great moment, particularly when we remember that boils and carbuncles prevailed very much during the spread of pleuro-pneumonia' among cattle; and the conclusion at which one would thereby be likely to arrive is, that the one follows the other. I have spoken to some large farmers on this subject, and their belief is, that when the epidemic first appears among cattle, ”all those taken with it ought to be instantly sent to the butcher, before the disease gets into the blood.“Now I question very much the propriety of so doing; for are not the early symptoms the direct evidence of the poison in the blood?
Allgemeine Homoeopathische Zeitung. — On the 1st July, 1862, appeared the first number of the sixty-fifth volume of this periodical, the oldest Homoeopathic Journal in the world. It was begun in 1832 under the editorial charge of Gross, Hartmann and Runnel, to whose successful management the present editor, Dr. Veit Meyer, in his opening number, pays an appreciative and well-deserved tribute
It is equally true that under his own care the Journal has in no respect depreciated. With the happy faculty of avoiding affiliations with cliques and parties, of preserving an elevated and courteous tone, of sinking personal considerations where science alone is the proper subject of discussion, of obtaining for the pages of his Journal expression of the views of all the working-men of our school, so as to make it what its name implies a “General Homoeopathic Journal,;' Dr. Meyer has shown himself so richly endowed as to have gained for himself and his Journal the confidence of our school in all countries, and an influence surpassing that of any other periodical. It is most earnestly hoped that a long and successful career may still lie before our esteemed Colleague in his editorial position. D.
This announcement will fill the hearts of homoeopathic practitioners everywhere with keen regret. One of our most successful, most learned, most influential colleagues has been suddenly removed from our midst, in the very noonday of his career.
Dr. Tessier was regarded at the period of his graduation as one of the most able of the young physicians of Paris. As soon as he had reached the prescribed age, he competed for the position of hospital physician, and after a most brilliant “concours,” and a triumphant success, he was appointed to the Hospital Ste. Marguerite, an annexe of Hotel Dieu. His colleagues in this hospital were Valliex and Jobert. At the same time he occupied the position of agrege professor of the Ecole pratique.
During his service at Ste. Marguerite Dr. Tessier's attention was attracted to the subject of Homoeopathy, and he proceeded at once to study carefully and at length the writings of Hahnemann and his pupils. Convinced by these of the essential truth of the doctrines of Homoeopathy, he submitted the method to a careful practical test The thorough and conscientious manner in which this last was accomplished may be beet exhibited in his own words.
“After the preliminary study of the writings of Hahnemann and his pupils, I read several collections of observations on the treatment of particular diseases according to this method. Having thus possessed myself of the spirit of the formula similia, similibus curantur, it remained for me now to determine the action of medicines in infinitesimal doses. I devoted six months to this clinical verification in acute and chronic cases, in which experiments of this kind could not in any way injure the patients entrusted to my care. At the end of a few days, the evidence of this action was complete. I nevertheless persevered in experimenting upon this single fact for the space of six months. It was not until after the lapse of this period that I proceeded to investigate the therapeutic value of the new method, applied as vigorously as I could apply it…. I cannot express the anguish which these first experiments caused me. [They were confined to cases of Pneumonia.] In spite of my explicit instructions (to the house physician) to have recourse to blood-letting if the condition of the patient should become aggravated; in spite of my repeated visits to my patients, I seemed to myself always on the eve of witnessing and having to deplore some terrible catastrophe. Nothing of the sort happened; the patients first submitted to the treatment all recovered, and several were very rapidly relieved of suffering. In the space of more than two years only one has died. Two other patients died, but they were received into my wards when in the death agony of a purulent pneumonia. If they figure of right in my statistics, yet they cannot enter into the discussion of therapeutics. Since this time I have employed the same treatment in a great many cases of pneumonia, and my early fears have been gradually dissipated. I desire to say no more; the facts may now speak for themselves… These facts are clinical records published just as they were furnished me by the internes who have succeeded each other in my service. They have, as such, an authenticity which I prefer to all the embellishments which an editor might impose upon them. I can say — See what young physicians, learned and conscientious, have observed under my supervision; they have, in narrating the facts, no other interests but those of truth. I will add that it was our interest rather to shut our eyes; to find the method of Hahnemann inefficacious and illusory. How many insults and injuries of all sorts had I, in that case, avoided;”*[Recherches cliniques sur le traitement de la Pneumonia et du cholera suivant la la methode de Hahnemann, &c. par le Dr. J. P. Tessier. Bailliere: Paris. 1850.]
In comparison with these experiments, which occupied several years, and were preceded by long and laborious studies of Hahnemann's writings both theoretical and practical, how contemptible were the flippant caricatures of experiments in La Pitie to which, though they were really conducted and published by his interne, M. Maxime Vernon, Andral lent the sanction of his name, and which consisted in the administration of but a single dose of a single remedy in each of 64 cases selected at random, and with regard to which we have no details to show whether the remedy given was rightly selected or not, but only enough to make it evident that in several cases at least the diagnosis was faulty†[† e. g. A case diagnosticated as “Gastritis,” and for which Aconite 24 was prescribed. “Next day the small pox eruption appeared.” This is recorded as one of the non-cures.] and the prescription nonsensical!
It created a great sensation in Paris; for here was a heresy within the pale of the medical sanctuary — a pestilence had broken out inside the cordon sanitaire — a leper was at large among the-people. The cry was raised at once — “Unclean! unclean!” and the Executive Committee of hospital physicians was convened to consider the question of expelling Tessier from the hospital staff. The writer was in Paris at the time, in daily attendance in Tessier's wards, and well recollects the excitement. The discussion of the Committee, as briefly reported in the Gazette des Hopitoux, was stormy, and as to the denunciation of Homoeopathy, was sufficiently unanimous to indicate, the orthodoxy, of the Committee. But when it came to the practical question of expelling a physician from the hospital staff because of an innovation in practice, there arose a practical difficulty! Such a precedent in Paris would involve too sweeping a train of sequences. For who could make greater innovations or sadder ones for the patients, than Bouillaud with his bleedings “coup sur coup,” or Piorry with his immense doses of Quinine, or Chomel with his eclecticism, or Louis with his “Great expectations” — and these men were all members of the Committee! The discussion was ended by the argument attributed to Chomel, substantially as follows: “Physicians are not appointed on the hospital staff until they have proved their fitness for the post, and we cannot deny our colleague's fitness. They cannot be dismissed except for bad behavior. If we decide the adoption of a novel mode of treatment to be bad behavior, we not only implicate ourselves, for we have all introduced novelties into our treatment of diseases, but we erect a barrier to all progress in medicine, and destroy the freedom of the practitioner. We cannot then, without establishing a dangerous precedent, expel a physician unless we can show that his new method has clearly and unquestionably increased the mortality of his patients beyond that of any other physicians. Unfortunately, colleagues, for of course I detest and despise Homoeopathy, the records of Dr. Tessier'e practice show a more favorable result than those of any other hospital. We cannot therefore interfere with him.”
Tessier was not officially interfered with — but was given over to those delicate courtesies Of malevolent misrepresentation and detraction at which our brethren of the old school are so happy — the impotent thongs with which they lash the tide of our progress!
Having failed to crush, they concluded to ignore Tessier. His very existence and that of his hospital were denied in a New York Medical Journal in 1856, a medical correspondent sojourning in Paris asserting that, so far was the statement of the Homoeopathists respecting the practice of Homoeopathy by Tessier in Ste. Marguerite from being true, that in fact there was no such hospital as Ste. Marguerite in Paris! Candid and ingenuous correspondent! It is true there was at that time no Hospital Ste. Marguerite — because in 1854 Ste. Marguerite, which was formerly 89 Rue de Charenton, had been pulled down along with several contiguous buildings, and on their site was being constructed the new Hospital Ste. Eugenie, for sick children. But what be same of Tessier? Why, in the regular course of promotion, he had been advanced to the posittou of physician to Hopital Beaujon, 208 Rue du Faubourg St. Honore, where the sapient correspondent of the New York Medical Journal might have found him still practising Homoeopathy, and where in 1855 the writer had the pleasure of renewing his acquaintance with him, and. of again following his practice. He was subsequently advanced to the post of physician to the Hopital des Enfans Malades, which position he occupied until the development of the disease which caused his death.
Soon after the publication of his “Recherches Cliniques,” Dr. Tessier founded the medical journal “L'Art Medical.” in which his writings contributed much towards the establishment of Homoeopathy on a scientific basis — more perhaps than has yet been perceived even by Homoeopathists. A review of his writings and a survey and estimate of his views and modes of practice would be a most valuable contribution to our literature. But labors such as these belong to a period less filled with sorrow than that in which we first hear of his untimely death. It becomes us now rather to offer to his memory the tribute of unfeigned admiration for the honesty of purpose, the moral courage, the clearness, breadth and depth of intellectual action, the moderation and the benignity which were so conspicuous in his career. DUNHAM.
DR. CARL HAUBOLD. — We have to lament the decease of a Colleague whose name has been for many years associated with those which have been most universally honored in our school. Dr. Carl Haubold, of Leipsic, died June 8th, 1862.
He graduated with distinguished honors in the University of Leipsic in 1821, and soon attained a large and lucrative practice being assisted thereto by the prominent position of his father's family in the community. By the influence of Drs. Moritz Muller, Hartmann and Franz, he was induced to investigate Homoeopathy, and as always happens where such investigations are under taken in an honest and docile spirit, he soon became an enthusiastic adherent of the Hahnemannian system.
His abilities and acquirements gave him soon a prominent position among the Homoeopathists, and his genial disposition, his moderation and courtesy, and his strict sense of justice enabled him to preserve a middle position between the two opposing parties into which Hahnemann's early friends most unfortunately divided, and in 1833 he was the means of effecting a reconciliation between Hahnemann and those of his pupils who had so deeply offended him. Dr. Haubold continued in the active practice of his profession until the beginning of the year 1861, when he began to feel the effects of the malady to which he finally succumbed. D.
For many years Dr. Horner had occupied a conspicuous position in Hull, both as a medical and public man, and had acquired considerable reputation as a Naturalist and Botanist. We copy from The Review:
“Dr. Horner had been declining for sometime. He had some obscure heart disease; but his liver and stomach suffered also; and his whole system had long been prostrate. General dropsy supervened and for several nights before he departed this life he could not lie down.”
Dr. Horner was well known to the homoeopathic profession as the author of the able pamphlet entitled Reasons for Adopting the Rational System of Medicine, being a letter to the Governors of the Hull Infirmary, of which he was senior physician. S.