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phere in an open space, or in the country, is much better than in closer parts of a large city.
Q. Is that practically recognized, or ascertained?
A. Yes, sir; and in a single house than in a hospital, if it is a well ventilated house. The accumulation of bodies is an injury to the salubrity of the air, whether healthy or diseased, and of course especially if the latter. The particular objection to filling up the channel-water of the Charles River is, that as it now sweeps by the rear of Beacon, Brimmer and Charles streets it effectually removes the detritus from the drains; no substitute could be found for it. I think the river, as it now runs, of the greatest importance as the means of carrying off the sewage of the city. The general system of the drainage is already too defective.
Q. Is there any observable difference between the sanitary condition of made lands in the city and of the natural land; take a portion of the city where there have been made lands that have existed for a considerable time?
A. Yes, sir. On the made lands of South Cove, and the Mill Pond, and in the neighborhood of Fort Hill; in fact, on all the lands which have been reclaimed from the water, the mortality, in ordinary times, is nearly six times as great as in the better parts.
Q. These figures, I take it, are the result of your observation as City Physician?
A. Yes, sir. And in case of epidemics, when we have them, they always break out in these districts.
Q. (By Mr. DERBY.) In the new-made lands?
A. Yes, sir. We know exactly where to look for them. The very first cases of cholera that occurred at the time of its visit here in 1849 were on the Back Bay, in a place called Allen's Block on Tremont street, near the Roxbury line; and I think the next was in the lower part of Broad street, on Bread street.
Q. I would inquire of you, sir, in regard to the material used
for filling, whether, where you fill in with the refuse of the city, etc., it does not make the soil much worse than filling which is brought from the country?
Q. And the existence of any newly filled land has an effect upon that which is adjacent?
A. Filling in, in whatever mode, which excludes the fresh water, is an injury to the solid land above.
Q. Is there not supposed to be an exhalation coming up which finds its way into the upper air?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Either through cesspools or drains?
A. Yes, sir. That is the case not only in numerous houses in this neighborhood, but also in the district lying between Shawmut avenue and Tremont street. Very many of the people have been compelled to remove. That is perhaps the fault of the imperfect plan of the drainage rather than of the location.
Q. In laying out cities, wouldn't you prefer the natural land, so far as sanitary considerations are concerned, than any filling or encroachment upon the sea?
A. Very much. The worst filling that I know of is the South Cove, which has a bottom composed of dock mud, shavings and the rubbish of the city. That has always been the most sickly part of the city.
Q. Is it the result that a very large part of the South Cove has been devoted to railroads, etc.?
A. That I cannot say, but it has been much deserted by the better class of people for the purposes of residences. Many of these narrow streets became very disagreeable and unhealthy.
Q. (By Mr. HILL.) Dr. Clark, I understand, then, that your conclusions, as the result of your observations, are, that if you reduce substantially the water area in the Charles River it will have a deteriorating influence?
A. Yes; or if the water becomes less deep, or if the territory is uncovered at low tides.
Q. Are you acquainted with that vicinity? Are you down there very often?
A. I have been down there a great deal.
Q. Have you ever noticed how much of the flats is bare at low water?
A. Yes, sir, I have; but I do not believe I could state the proportion with any accuracy. It varies, of course, with the varying fulness of the changing tides.
Q. Have you, from your experience, and from your observation, noticed, or come to a conclusion, as to the effect upon the health of the locality whenever the flats are bare at low water? Whether its effect is such as to make it injurious to the locality?
A. I believe the proportion of flats is quite small in the neighborhood of Charles street. It is deep water.
Q. Do you remember how long they are bare? Can you tell that?
A. I cannot.
Q. Well, do you think that the fact that the flats there may be bare, or a portion of them bare, for one or two hours a day, at low tide is sufficient to lessen seriously the other effects of the air blowing over that basin, filled twice a day with fresh sea water? That is, do you think that that is at all balanced by the fact that at low tide the flats are covered or uncovered?
A. By no means. I think the air from that would be preferable to that from made land. It is not so good as that from deep water, or from a continually full basin.
Q. But nevertheless, as it is there, it is better than to have it filled up solid?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. (By the CHAIRMAN.) With all the sewerage emptying on these flats, do you still think it would be better not to have it covered up?
A. From what section, the Cambridge side?
Q. Well, say, up here. [Indicating upon the map.]
A. I do not think it should stop on the flats, but should be carried off to deep water.
Q. I asked you if you thought, if they continued to empty on these flats, when the population extends up the river, that that would be healthier?
A. No, sir; that would be very objectionable. We had an experience of that below Charles street.
Q. Are the parts of the city in the vicinity of Fort Hill when they get them finished are they, or not, made lands?
A. They are made lands.
Q. Is there any part of Boston that is not made land, the original terra firma, that is particularly unhealthy?
A. No, sir. There is Copp's Hill, at the North end, which is not unhealthy.
Q. How is it with South Boston?
A. The lower parts of South Boston are unhealthy.
Q. Is that, or not, made land?
A. I should think a considerable part of it was made, or partially filled land; I do not know certainly about that; the lower parts, in the region of the railroads, are very sickly, at least they used to be.
Q. (By Mr. PUTNAM.) Doctor, I will ask you a single question, if you please, in relation to this sewerage. Suppose a large sewer should be built down near Brimmer street, and Charles street, intercepting the sewerage (and also from Beacon street) and entering the channel at a lower point, somewhere down by the gas works, or lower still, and supposed it to be flushed also by Stony Brook, would that remove the objections so far as that is concerned?
A. If properly constructed, it would remove it wholly, I suppose. I do not think the sewerage should empty on the flats at all; it is a very improper use to make of them.
Q. (By Mr. CROSBY.) Then you think the system adopted by the city government is wrong?
A. I do not know what it is.
Mr. HILL. I wish to say, gentlemen, at this point, that I am justified in stating here that if the sewerage of Boston is either injurious to the harbor, or to the health of the people, no matter at what expense, the city is ready to provide some other system than the present. No complaint has been heretofore made to us about its effect at this place; and I do not think we should be called upon unexpectedly to discuss it. If the sewerage there is an injury, it will be merely a temporary one.
Q. (By Mr. CROSBY.) In the summer season, what are the prevailing winds that blow here?
Q. Decidedly westerly? Not southwesterly, nor northwesterly?
A. They vary somewhat; they are for the most part rather northwesterly than southwesterly, as nearly west as can be.
Q. Then your opinion as to the prevailing winds and their effect on the city is a little different from that of a physician who has testified before, Dr. Thaxter. You would bring the winds more directly across this part of the city? [Reference to map.] Now, I understand that you testify that the wind blows more westerly, more in the direction of my knife, as it now lies?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Then the value of this open area as it now exists is for the sake of the healthful properties that it will impart blowing across the city here. The area proposed to be filled lies between this point and that point? [Indicating upon the map.] A. Yes, sir.
Q. And the advantage of the westerly wind is for its healthgiving property, which will blow across the city here?
A. Well, sir, the westerly winds coming upon the city near the corner of the Public Garden, or the junction of Charles