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The Twelfth Annual Meeting of the National Conference of State Boards of Health was called to order promptly at 10 A. M., August 18, 1897, by Dr. J. A. Albright, of Somerville, Tenn.
Dr. C. A. Ruggles, California, President, in the chair, and Dr. E. A. Guilbert, Iowa, acted as Secretary in the absence of Dr. C. 0. Probst, of Columbus, Ohio.
After prayer by Rev. John D. Morris, Chancellor, Nashville, Tenn., on behalf of the Governor, Maj. Jno. P. McCann welcomed the delegates to Tennessee in the following words :
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen of the National Conference of the State Boards of Health: The absence of the Governor, who was to deliver the address of welcome to you, imposes that duty upon me. And in the name of our great state, in the name of our hospitable city, on behalf of the management of the Tennessee Centennial, yea, on behalf of all the people, we bid you a cordial welcome within our borders, and within the sacred circle of national friendship, and beg to assure you that we indulge in no mere oral service when we say so.
The experience of the past has indeliby impressed upon our minds the truth of the aphorism taught us in childhood, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby many have entertained angels unawares." suppose the inspired writer had no conception of the size of the sleeves to be worn by our modern sisters, else he would have taken them for wings and concluded that the proposition was half fulfilled to start upon.
But I want to say, with all the emphasis of my soul, that the brethren are not far behind them in all the graces which tend to bind us in the bonds of a holy and fraternal love. I do not desire that the sons of Esculapius should imagine that I am putting them on an even footing, although their pedal ornaments are usually from five to ten numbers larger than those of our female friends. I am simply trying to put them on the horizon, while I soar away to the zenith with their better halves.
If any of you should feel poor in spirit, rejoice in the fact that you are a millionaire so far as your present visit is concerned. You own this town, boots and breeches. We delight to honor you, and intend to do everything we know how to make your stay bright and pleasant while in our city. If we do not succeed in one direction, we will give you a practical dose of spiritus frumenti Gallici. And we are sure when you have taken the dose you will not be brought from a perpendicular to a horizontal, nor have one headache in a million years.
But I digress. Your business is to stand as sentinels upon the watchtower and prevent the introduction of diseases of any kind, and if they should escape your everwatchful eyes, and obtain a sporadic footing, your efforts are to prevent their spread in epidemic form.
There is an old medical saw which says that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. If any one ever doubts the proposition you can prove it by me, for the Lord only knows how many stomach aches I have avoided by putting on a Tennessee overcoat to avoid them. Lest some of the ladies may not understand what a Tennessee overcoat is, I rise to remark that it is composed of one part water and ninety-nine parts bug juice. I believe, Dr. Lindsley, this is about the average percentage, is it not?
And when, in the language of the Governor of North Carolina to the Governor of South Carolina, it is found that it was a long time between doses, and a poor wayfaring victim fell by the wayside, the ambulance corps, in the shape of the patrol wagon, was always at hand, and the spieler, in the shape of a policeman, never failed to get in his work.
Some one has said that partial evil is universal good. How we Americans do progress! I see that even this convention has caught the cure, and. the President of the National Board of Undertakers is on time, while the light radiating from the countenance of the Superintendent of National Transportation over there seems to say that “hope springs eternal in the human breast," and there is a case or two in sight. But I want to warn him just here that his business will be light. I remember distinctly that nearly half a century ago, when a beardless boy, I was doing my best to build up the city, the cholera slipped in on us, and was killing the people a little faster than we could bury them. A stranger said to one of our city Wags, “I thought people did not die often here.” He replied that the statement was true, and when they died once they buried them, and that was the last die they had at it.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I am powerful glad to see you. For six or seven years of my life I was afflicted with gall stones. How often I watched the coming of the faithful physician, as he would give me an anesthetic and restore me immediately from damnation to salvation. Some fellow has said that the entire system changes every seven years. I am not going to debate the question whether time or the doctors cured me. I will, however, settle the question by saying that, like most of the human race, as I have not settled my doctor's bills as promptly as I should, I will now even up on gratitude toward the fraternity.
The first one comes from my heart, and I will settle it if it stops the machinery of existence. The other comes from pantaloons' pocket, and everybody will tell you that I am a miller and will blow you in wherever you wish to be blown.
Aside now, Mr. Chairman, from levity, and assuring you again of a hearty welcome, you attend to the business which called you together, and I will take these good-looking girls, this whole row of chimes you have brought with you, immediately in hand, and if the town is not heated red hot, it will not be for the lack of a bevy of angels, with the accompaniment of the best-looking fellow there is in the whole show.
Boys, don't be alarmed; we will return them to you in perfect safety, and to-morrow night we will give you a round-up in the shape of a grand reception by the Women's Board of the Tennessee Centennial.
We have not yet completed the program of general entertainment, but I beg to assure you it will be up-to-date on sanitation and expectation.
Wishing you now a successful session, that each and every one of you shall be as wise as owls and as harmless as doves, we say au revoir.
The delegates were then welcomed to and given the freedom of the city by Dr. N. G. Tucker, of Nashville, in the following words:
Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention, unlike my distinguished friend Maj. McCann, upon receiving a notice that I was assigned the duty of welcoming you to this city, on behalf of its Mayor, who could not be present, I did not proceed to compile from fourteen to eighteen sheets of
foolscap. I am simply here to say to you, gentlemen, that we are glad to have you here.
The Mayor, who is very unwell, asked me, as the Health Officer of the city of Nashville, to welcome you to this city, and to throw the gates as wide open as possible for your enjoyment, and trust that you will have a profitable meeting.
I say to you, gentlemen, that we regard it as a very great honor to have such a large number of distinguished gentlemen from nearly every State in our Union, coming to meet us here in the capital of our Štate, to discuss questions not how to cure disease, but how to prevent disease-how to keep people from getting sick-a most important part of a physician's duties.
I say to you, gentlemen, that I prepared no set speech, but as the Health Officer of this city, and in behalf of the Mayor, and on behalf of the citizens of Nashville, we welcome you to our State, to the hospitality of our city, and to our exposition, and we will do all in our power to make your visit a pleasant one, both to the ladies and gentlemen.
We welcome you, ladies and gentlemen, from the lakes on the north to the gulf on the south, from the heights of Abraham to that little village away down on our western shore, I believe they call it the village of Stockton, California. On behalf of the Mayor, ladies, and gentlemen, I take the bridle off, and give you the freedom of the city, and you can make yourselves perfectly at home.
Dr. Albright then introduced the President of the Conference, Dr. C. A. Ruggles, of Stockton, California, who responded to the address of welcome as follows:
We have listened with rapt attention to the words of greeting spoken by the representative of the Governor of the State of Tennessee, and of His Honor the Mayor of the city of Nashville. To those of our number who were here in 1890, and experienced the hospitality of the fair city of Nashville, the capital of the beautiful State of Tennessee, these words of welcome are not empty—they are not void, nor meaningless. And to you, gentlemen, who may not have been fortunate enough to have been here in 1890, I dare predict that when this session closes you will, with unanimity, universally, and with one accord, say it is well that we were here.
Now, as President of the Twelfth Annual Conference of the State Boards of Health, and in the name of that body, I thank these gentlemen for their words of come greeting, and I trust that nothing will happen to mar the pleasure or profit of our meeting, and I am sure that nothing will. Again, gentlemen, I thank you for your words of welcome.
I am sorry to announce to the members of the Conference the absence of the Secretary, Dr. C. O. Probst, of Columbus, Ohio, and I now appoint Dr. E. A. Guilbert, of Iowa, to officiate in his place.
Dr. Benj. Lee, of Pennsylvania, offered the following resolution :
Resolved, That the members of the Tennessee Health Officers' Association, about to be organized in this city, be invited to participate as visiting members, in the deliberations of this Conference.
Upon proper motion, duly seconded, resolution was adopted.
DR. SCHRADER, Iowa: I would suggest, Mr. President, that there should be a financial committee appointed early
in the session to look over the books of Dr. Probst, the Secretary and Treasurer of this Association, in order that an early report may be made to let us know our actual financial condition, that we may know just where we stand.
PRESIDENT: That matter will be attended to at the very first opportunity.
PRESIDENT: Members of the Twelfth Annual Conference of the State Boards of Health herein assembled, and ladies and gentlemen : It has ever been the custom for the presiding officer of this body to make what is called an introductory address. At this particular time that custom will be more honored in the breech than in the observance. Our time is limited, and our work is large, therefore the less time consumed on unimportant matters the better.
I am very glad to see so many members present, and I predict a very profitable and instructive Conference.
There are matters of great importance to be brought before this Conference-matters in which the whole country is interested.
I am glad to see so much space on the programme given to the subject of Tuberculosis, and I hope the papers will be very freely discussed, this disease being one of the greatest enemies of the human family.
I congratulate you, gentlemen, as sanitary representatives and custodians of the public health, that our country has been comparatively free from epidemics during the past thirteen months. To be sure, some portions of the country have been visited by Small-pox, and other portions by Diphtheria, but there has been no general epidemic.
I wish to say in this connection that I regret exceedingly that there is a ruffled condition between the United States quarantine officials and some of the State authorities, and trust that these matters will finally be settled to the satisfaction of all, and to the best interests of the country at large.
The programme of the meeting is before you, and I hope all the papers will receive a full discussion.
I hope and trust that the Twelfth Annual Conference of the State Boards of Health will be exceedingly profitable to the delegates attending and to the country at large.
The Secretary will please call the roll of States.
The Secretary then called the roll and the following States responded :
Alabama-W. H. Sanders.