« PreviousContinue »
Q. It is down in the South Bay?
A. It would take a northerly or northwesterly wind to do that.
Q. Did you ever hear of any complaints in South Boston of a nuisance from Pine Island?
A. I don't know that I have.
Q. Wouldn't it be a direct southerly wind that would bring it down here? [Indicating on the map.]
A. A southerly wind would bring it directly into ward nine, or ward ten, which might be more disagreeable.
Q. Just where the complaints were. Do you remember that they were talked of, and that they were almost continually annoyed there by that smell?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Then would not that argue that the winds were southerly, mostly? From the evidence we have, is it not a fact that the southerly winds are the prevalent ones?
A. I do not know how frequently the complaints were made. Q. You probably know as much as I do?
A. I know that it was mostly in Chester square. That would make it a little east of south. We have often winds from different points of the compass at the same time in different parts of the city.
Q. You have spoken of the cholera on these made lands. Isn't it a fact that one of the worst places was Bread alley or Jacob's steps on Fort Hill?
A. Jacob's ladder is not a very large part of Fort Hill; it was a very peculiar place, boxed in, and cut under and into the hill, rather than placed upon it.
Q. The peculiar locality was high lands?
A. I think not; I know that there was not a single fatal case of cholera which originated on the top of Fort Hill. I think the main place of infection was about the area at the foot of Jacob's ladder which ran up over the side of Fort Hill.
Q. (By Mr. CROSBY.) It would not be upon the made
A. No, sir.
Q. (By Mr. KIMBALL.) You say you would be likely to have epidemics on made land. Would you have reason to suppose that that would be the case down on Arlington street and Marlborough street?
A. There might not be, because there the houses are large and not crowded; but still, there would likely to be more cases of epidemic disease there than there would be on this hill, taking an equal area and the same class and an equal number of inhabitants.
Q. But that would be attributable to the closeness of living? A. No, sir; I say, that with an equal number of inhabitants upon a given area there would be more cases of cholera in this locality than on the solid land of Beacon Hill.
Q. (By Mr. CROSBY.) Would that be so if it were down under the hill?
A. It would then be worse.
Q. The difference of altitude has some effect upon it?
Q. (By the CHAIRMAN.) But yet the lands on this side of the Back Bay are better ventilated?
A. They are more open to the air.
Q. (By Mr. HILL.) Other things being equal, I understand you to say that made land, no matter how well made it is, is not so healthy as the original soil ?
A. Certainly not.
Q. (By the CHAIRMAN.) You say that, so far as you have any vital statistics of the Back Bay lands, they prove very healthy?
A. I cannot give you these statistics.
Q. (By Mr. CROSBY.) I should like to ask the doctor a further question. This land near West Cedar street, which is
not filled land, which has been exposed to the influences of the poor land beyond, whether he expects it to be more healthy when that poor land is filled? I want to ask Dr. Clark if that land would not be more healthy after it is filled than to let it be left open in the way that it has been for the last thirty years? A. After the Charles River was filled?
Q. No, sir; after the rest is filled.
A. South Cedar street you mean?
Q. Yes, sir.
A. It will be better when it is filled up.
Q. Then there are circumstances in which made land is better than natural land?
A. I think that is true when the natural land is very low, and incapable of being drained.
Q. (By the CHAIRMAN.) You say that the mortality on the made land is six times as great?
A. I so estimate it. I would not say precisely, but it is pretty nearly in that proportion.
Q. And yet that made land is pretty nearly all on the outskirts of the city?
A. No, sir; the Mill Pond lands cut pretty directly in between Copp's Hill and Beacon Hill.
Q. But as a rule, the lands that have been filled have been near the water?
A. Yes, sir; and low lands.
Q. And they are the most unhealthy; showing that the sanitary conditions are controlled by other causes, and not very decided. Is not that very clear?
A. That is one of the things to be considered.
Q. Have you ever had in Boston any epidemic that was more virulent than that in the Maplewood Seminary?
A. That was due to the presence of drains under the house, and to the direct communication of the vaults with its inhabited apartments.
Q. Have you heard of the recent case of a similar nature at Phillips Academy at Exeter; not so fatal as that at Maplewood, but there was a club of young boys who were attacked with typhoid fever?
A. I have not heard of it; but there is generally some fault of drainage, which is the cause of the epidemic in these
Q. And more potent than all causes put together?
TESTIMONY OF CHARLES E. BUCKINGHAM, M. D.*
Q. (By Mr. INGALLS.) Doctor Buckingham, how long have you been a practising physician in Boston?
A. Twenty-five years last April.
Q. You reside at the South end?
A. I do, sir.
Q. You are one of the consulting physicians at the City Hospital?
A. I am; I was at the opening of the hospital for several years.
Q. Now, doctor, won't you give your opinion as to the effect upon the sanitary condition of the city by any material reduction of the tidal area of the Charles River? Suppose, for instance, if you want a definite proposition, that the filling extends out fourteen hundred feet from Beacon street into the channel?
A. I suppose I am not to be confined in my answers as I should be in court?
Q. No, sir; I want you to give your answers, and then give your reasons for them.
A. So far as the filling up of any particular point is con
* Professor of Obstetrics and Medical Jurisprudence in Harvard University.
cerned, I know very little about it. I have felt for a long time that the city of Boston was making too much land. On general principles I have been opposed to a filling up to the extent which has already been done, no matter whether it were filled up with shavings and oyster shells and refuse, or whether it were filled up with gravel. Wherever the water has been filled up, no matter what it has been filled with, the filth that is underneath has gradually worked toward the surface. I know that as long ago as when I began business, they were filling in the Back Bay lands. I cannot give you the direction, but I should say south or southwest. I cannot say precisely, but I believe somewhere about the foot of Fayette and Marion and Piedmont streets, they were filling in with mud there, and yet five or six years afterwards, although there had been ten or fifteen feet of gravel placed on top of it, you could not dig down a few feet without finding the effect of this filth which had percolated through this gravel. It is lighter than the sand to be sure in solution, and although the sand when it is first put on falls at an angle of twenty-five or thirty degrees, this filth would gradually work itself up. You go through these streets in this locality in the summer season, the best streets that are built there, and you find that the silver door-plates that have been left for a few days, have been turned by sulphuretted hydrogen that has arisen from the filth of the mud that has been buried in the
Back Bay for years. This is noticeable even on some of the
houses on Commonwealth avenue.
Q. Whether or not, doctor, the effect of these tidal basins being filled with salt water, which is changed twice a day, and has the wind blowing over it, is very beneficial to the sanitary condition of the city?
A. Well, I should think it would cool the air very much.
A. I should say that it was, certainly. So far as the direction of the winds is concerned, I cannot say. I have listened to what