2 JULY 1831, Page 21


WE are sorry that any thing we have written on the above subject should for a moment appear to warrant the accusation of injustice, which Mr. KENNEDY somewhat unjustly makes against us. We never said we had read either of Mr. KENNEDY'S articles in the Englishman's Ma- gazine; nor did we ever read them,—though, we admit, our allusion to them may have conveyed the impression that we had. We glanced at

the first, and the foremost fact that met us was that which we extracted ;

a fact we must contend to be perfectly conclusive against the contagion of Cholera—not meaning, of course, to forbid Mr. KENNEDY to contend that it is not. We really thought that the evidence in the letter to the Times, which we did read, was what Mr. KENNEDY chiefly relied on. He may rest assured, that whatever opinion, as non-medical men, we

may come to, nothing could be farther from our thoughts than to bring into question the skill or judgment of a gentleman who deserves the thanks of the public for having directed their attention to a highly in-

teresting subject This stated, in duty to Mr. KENNEDY, we shall, in duty to ourselves and the readers of the Spectator, proceed to examine his evidence, as he himself has now submitted it to us.

He says that Cholera, or as he calls it ." Epidemic Cholera," has tra- velled as often against the wind as with it. This is not new evidence ; it is precisely that to which Major SYKES was called as a witness. Dr. JonNsoN, a gentleman of great experience in respect of Indian diseases, notices it, in a letter in the Times of Monday ; and adds, in the teeth of a fact so much relied on by Mr. KENNEDY, that not 1 in. 100 medical men in India look on Cholera as contagious. We dislike quib- bling about words. In strictness of language, Mr. KENNEDY may affirm 1 in 100 as completely disproves unanimity as 1 in 2 ; still, in com- mon parlance, what 99 believe and 1 disbelieves, is called matter of common belief.

Again, Mr. KENNEDY says Cholera has uniformly followed the great highways of human intercourse. Here be and the Bombay report, quoted by Dr. JonsisoN, are completely at issue-

" The disease," says the report, " would sometimes take a complete circle round a village, and, leaving it untouched, pass on, as it were, wholly to depart from the dist. mt. Then, after a lapse of weeks, or even months, it would suddenly return, and, scarcely reappearing in the parts which had already undergone its ravages, would nearly depopulate the spot that had so lately congratulated itself on Its escape. Sometimes, after running a long course on one side of the Ganges (though with free intercourse between both banks), it would, as if arrested by some un- known agent, stop at once, and, taking a rapid sweep across the river, lay all waste on the opposite bank."

There is very little appearance here of that uniformity with which Mr. KENNEDY describes the Cholera to have tracked the footsteps of the traveller. But Mr. KENNEDY has himself offered the best contradiction to his own statement. In the second number of the Englishman's Ma- gazine, he gives a map of the progress of the disease, in which the fol- lowing dates occur—Calcutta, 1817, August ; Arracan, 1819, no month given ; Bankok, 1819, August ; Canton, 1819, October ; Pekin, 1821. This is on the east coast, and looks very regular, no doubt ; but how stands the fact to the west ? Mauritius, 1819, gepteniber ; Shiraz, in Persia, 1821, August ; Bagdad, 1821, also August ; Madras, 1827, Oc- tober! So this disease, which travels from Calcutta, along the coast of farther India and of China, until stopped by the Great Wall, in four years, with all its rigid adherence to the highways of human intercourse, does not get the length of Vellore in less than ten years ! This is Mr. KENNEDY'S evidence, as he states it : we hope we have examined it in neither a covert nor unmanly way ; and having done so, we conclude with the same opinion of its utter hollowness as we did before. Mr. KENNEDY notices the increased virulence of Cholera in certain si- tuations, as indicating its contagious nature. We confess we have al. ways supposed, that such circumstances as 'he mentions might convert a non-contagious into a contagious disorder; and this opinion we expressed, when discussing the question of Cholera, on the 28th of May ; but we never heard before that they did not aggravate all diseases, whatever their nature might be. Dr. JOHNSON'S sentiments on this point, and likewise on the chances of Cholera existing in England, are so just, that we deem it a duty to give them all the circulation that our pages can offer- " A certain range of temperature," he observes, "is almost essential to the de- velopment of the poison [of cholera], and a strong predisposition must, very gene- rally, be first created by a host of physical and moral agencies, as intemperance, poverty, uncleanliness, want of ventilation, unwholesome food, excessive fatigue, and the various depressing passions. Now, of all climates in the world, that of England is probably the least calculated either to call forth a poison from the soil, or give it activity after being extricated from its inscrutable source. The tem- perature of these islands is not near so high nor so steady as on the Continent In summer and autumn, when cholera prevails. We have cloud and sunshine, heat and cold, winds and calms, drought and rain, in such rapid succession in this coun- try, that it is next to impossible that any morbific poison, whether generated in the earth or in the air, can fail to be dissipated, diluted, and rendered harmless, in the course of a few days. Thus the gloomy, rainy, stormy, ever-changing skies, against which so many complaints are made in this country, are the great physical barriers which will set bounds to the operation of cholera, should it ever approach, our shores."

On another point, which we merely glanced at in the article above alluded to, Dr. JOHNSON says-

" But there are various other checks on our own side of the Channel which would render the contagion of plague itself comparatively innocuous. The breadth and cleanliness of our streets, the ventilation of our houses, the wholesomeness and substantiality of our food, the general comfort of all our domestic economy (im- measurably beyond that of any other country in the world)—these physical circum- stances alone would set very narrow limits to the most deadly contagion that ever scourged mankind." We have gone into this question minutely, and at greater length perhaps than it deserves; but we sit uneasily under imputations of in- justice, and of covert or unmanly courses,—which Mr. KENNEDY cannot detest more cordially than we do ; and which it is our pride, as it has been our study, on no single occasion in our public career to have ever practised either towards friend or enemy.