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Q. How large a frontage have you on the river?
A. Well, sir, I have not the least idea as to the number of feet.
Q. It is a very large building?
A. It is a very large building; it has accommodation for one hundred inmates, besides the matron, and servants, etc. Q. Have you any notion how much it cost?
A. I am sure I do not know, although I have been a manager of it for some time.
Q. (By Mr. DERBY.) More than one patient to the room? A. Generally one patient to the room, though there are some where there are two; those who prefer can room together.
Q. Then there are from eighty to a hundred rooms?
A. Yes, sir. I should think there must be from eighty to a hundred rooms. There are a hundred inmates. I think there are some rooms in the attic not finished.
Q. (By the CHAIRMAN.) This is on made land?
A. Yes, sir, entirely.
Q. (By Mr. KIMBALL.) And yet you think it is very healthful?
A. We have not had any trouble at all since the land was built up; before it was built up, there was one time when there were two or three epidemics of sickness.
Q (By Mr. HILL.) Do you know how long the land has been filled up?
A. Where the house stands now?
A. I am not sure that I know; I think this house has been occupied about eight years.
Q. (By Mr. DERBY.) The shore was very abrupt, and the channel must have come in near?
A. I think it must be, because the vessels come in and are close to the wall. There are vessels constantly in front of the house.
Q. The river rises rapidly?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. (By Mr. ALLEN.) One witness has testified that the exhalation from new made lands would continue for twenty years, and be more injurious at the end of ten years than at the beginning.
A. I cannot give any information as to that.
Q. (By Mr. CROSBY.) Do you know what kind of land that is which is filled in here near the Mill-dam ?
A. I don't know; the last part that was filled in was filled, I believe, with street sweepings, and oyster shells, and other things. I know some gravel was put on top.
Q. But for all that you haven't discovered any injurious effect?
A. I have not seen it.
Q. (By Mr. ALLEN.) You have occupied that land for eight years?
A. Yes, sir, it has been filled up but a few years.
Q. (By Mr. PUTNAM.) You have been connected with the Old Ladies' Home for a number of years. Have you been there as much of late as before?
A. Not so much as before. I am now consulting physician, but go there occasionally.
Q. (By the CHAIRMAN.) If you were asked to say what is the great want of Boston, in order to improve its sanitary condition, what should you say that is, to improve the sanitary condition of the whole?
A. I am afraid that I could not possibly answer that without a great deal of reflection.
Q. Isn't this the fact, that the seeds of disease and epidemics are invariably in closely crowded populations?
A. Yes, sir, there is no doubt about that on general principles; none at all.
Q. In other words, if you took one of these houses out of the
worst and most unhealthy localities, and placed it in this locality, and have the people eat and drink and sleep just as they do now, they would die just as fast, wouldn't they?
A. Well, I don't know; the situation would be very much more favorable to life.
Q. (By Mr. KIMBALL.) Do you think that an esplanade along here, set out with trees and not occupied, would be injurious?
A. I don't suppose it would do any very great damage.
A. I cannot say. But one thing I feel sure of, and that is, that the cool air blowing over that water is of immense benefit to the inmates of the Home. There are old women who come in there who never take baths; you really can hardly induce them to take a bath, and their condition is such as is supposed would, on the whole, be unfavorable to health, and yet they come in there, and the effect is wonderful. I cannot help attributing a great deal of it to the situation of the building and the ventilation.
Q. (By Mr. CROSBY.) Do you introduce better habits?
Q. (By the CHAIRMAN.) Is the air cooler there than it is in Brookline?
A. That I cannot say. I know it is a remarkably cool place. And I often, for a portion of the season, used to experience it in the Hospital, when my services were there in the summer time. It was a positive comfort on a hot day to go down there. Q. (By Mr. DERBY.) What has been the effect of the filling down there upon the cases at the Hospital?
A. I am afraid that it has not been favorable. I think the surgeons, perhaps, would give you more certain information about that; because the diseases are surgical diseases, which are most influenced by the condition of the atmosphere.
Q. (By Mr. CROSBY.) We have asked two or three gentle
men, and they differ as to the prevailing wind. What is your opinion?
A. I think the prevailing winds are west and southwest. That is my opinion; I cannot say that it is founded upon very much observation.
Q. Have you had any observation of the Pine Island nuisance?
A. No, I do not know anything about that at all.
Q. I should like to ask the same question that has been put by the chairman to a previous witness; and that is, whether if this section should be filled up from the cross-dam (Parker street) here out fifteen hundred feet, or thereabouts, from the line of Beacon street, and so out until you run out to West Boston bridge, and then we will assume, if you please, that it is built up in the same manner in which the section lying next to it is built up, would not that be in your opinion one of the best if not the best ventilated parts of the city?
(By the CHAIRMAN.) Observe, here is this large portion which has the open space of the Public Garden and the Common on one side. Is there any other part of the city that will be better ventilated than that?
A. I don't know that there is, sir, unless there is along here, on the shore of South Boston.
Q. (By Mr. CROSBY.) [Explaining positions by reference to the map.] The prevailing winds being as you state, wouldn't this be one of the very best ventilated parts of Boston?
A. Yes, sir. I take it that the direction of the wind is more southeasterly. I have no doubt that that would be the best ventilated place, but at the same time I think this, farther in, would be much less ventilated than it is now.
TESTIMONY OF Dr. CLARK, re-called.
Q. (By Mr. PUTNAM.) Dr. Clark, I understand you are one of the Surgeons of the Massachusetts General Hospital?
A. Yes, sir; I am.
Q. I should like to ask you whether the surgeons of the General Hospital have noticed any effect from filling out the lands beyond the hospital, between the hospital and the river.
A. I think the condition of the hospital has been altered somewhat, and since then the air is not so good; the drainage is less good, and we have had cases of hospital gangrene which I think we never have had before.
Q. Hospital gangrene is a diseased condition that comes after operations?
A. After operations or wounds.
Q. That is, the fact is, that the healing after the surgical operation does not progress as favorably as it has before.
A. I do not think it does, and we have had to take more precautions than formerly.
Q. (By Mr. KIMBALL.) You mean to say that the more open ventilation and the better air the better for the hospital?
A. Yes, sir.
Adjourned to Wednesday, December 1st, at 10 o'clock.
WEDNESDAY, December 1st.
The committee met according to adjournment, the Hon. F. W. Bird in the chair. Mr. Horace Gray and Mr. Edward Atkinson addressed the committee, and the rest of the session was consumed in hearing parties represented by Mr. GEORGE GRIGGS, in reference to the importance of dredging the Charles River, between Boston and Watertown, and improving its navigability. The committee then adjourned till Thursday, December 2d, at 10 o'clock.
THURSDAY, December 2d.
The committee met according to adjournment, the Hon. F. W. Bird in the chair.