xiv                                    CALCUTTA AND THE SUBURBS.

open to any vagrant or stranger in Calcutta so to conduct himself as to make it a work of
great difficulty to prevent small-pox from becoming epidemic. Occasions also occur when
those inhabiting lodging-houses ought for the public good to be removed to places provided
for them by the public, where they will cease to be foci of danger to the public health.

Argument for legislative restriction.
selves from feeling the law a grievance.

9. It seems advisable to bring every one within the provisions of the law providing for
isolation, as the great majority of the inhabitants of
the metropolis could without any trouble save them-
selves from feeling the law a grievance.

Even in the case of those who would never require to be sent to a hospital, the law pro-
posed would provide for the prevention of any glaring neglect in keeping themselves separate
so far as to avoid becoming dangerous. All past experience of small-pox in Calcutta shows that
such a law would effectually check the spread of small-pox without requiring to be put in
operation on an average in the case of one person a month.

In estimating the value of the last statement, it must be borne in mind that the remark
implies the exercise of a vigorous and unceasing vigilance in carrying out the law. For
allow a score or more of small-pox cases to occur without being reported, and accord to a few
of them the privilege of spreading the disease unrestrained which they now enjoy, and in
the course of two months the multitude of cases to whom the law would extend and affect
in a harsh and grievous manner, would have become such a formidable one, as by the mere
force of numbers to render the law futile. A law providing for effective isolation becomes
practically a dead letter in a crowded metropolis while it is being devastated by an epidemic.
A few hundreds may be shut up in hospitals, similar numbers may be encouraged to keep
themselves more or less secluded, but with regard to the masses of the population affected,
the thousands suffering from small-pox, all action of the executive is practically paralized.
When every quarter in Calcutta is overrun with small-pox, when every lane, alley, and
bustee teems with scores of pestilence-stricken persons, the proposed law would fail so far in
its objects, and affect so many interests, that it would not be warrantable, even were it possible,
to force its provisions on the population. The proposals, however, are preferable to what they
would be, even could they meet such a contingency, inasmuch as they entirely do away with
the possibility of such a deplorable state of things ever again occurring. The crucial merit of
such law lies in the fact, that by taking care of the few and by providing for their safe dis-
posal, it protects the many from the danger by which they were menaced, without making
them to feel in any way the incidence of the law.


History of this Establishment.

10. As previously explained in three Special Reports on the Presidency Vaccine Estab-
lishment, in 1863 an experiment was made, by means
of the establishment sanctioned for Calcutta, to
introduce vaccination into the surrounding country. The small-pox epidemic of 1864 was
seized on as a favorable time for pushing the experiment farther, and a small temporary addi-
tional establishment of vaccinators was entertained. As detailed in the third Special Report,
&c., these vaccinators were year by year temporarily entertained till finally the establishment
was sanctioned as a permanent one. In September 1868 sanction was received for the forma-
tion of three circles of vaccination round Calcutta, in which these vaccinators were to work,
superintended by three Sub-Assistant Surgeons, and the complete scheme originally placed
before the Government in 1865 has now during the last vaccinating season been in active

General superintendence.

11. In proposing the formation of these new circles, attention was drawn to the fact that
general superintendence would require to be provided
for them, and it was suggested that if the interests of
the public service demanded that this duty should be undertaken by the Superintendent General
at the Presidency that he should receive some remuneration for the large amount of extra work
thus thrown on him. As a temporary measure, he was directed to assume charge of the new
circles, and an allowance of Rs. 300 per mensem was granted to him for this duty. As a per-
manent arrangement, a provision of Rs. 500 a month was made as the salary of a Commissioned
Medical Officer as Superintendent. As the whole of this scheme has been originated by me,
and, consequently, quite independently of the interest I naturally feel in it, the Government
must in a manner hold me responsible for the success of the undertaking, 1 most respectfully
seize on this as the first opportunity I have had for bringing the matter forward, and to urge
the Government to reconsider the question of general superintendence.