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N considering the subject of wet-nursing, we assumed that the practice is a great evil, and endeavored to point out the responsibilities of our profession for its continuance, and the duties of individual physicians with reference to the nurse and her own child. The latter, we stated, is too often set aside to make room for the new and more consequential nursling, helpless and uncared for, except by the unfortunate mother. The thoughtful and humane physician (these qualifying terms are important) will recognize here a duty to perform which it would be criminal to neglect. He will see to it that the infant of the nurse is properly provided for, that it may suffer as little detriment as possible by the necessary but deplorable deprivation of its natural source of nutriment, as well as of maternal care and sympathy. This responsibility has hitherto been generally overlooked, but we trust will hereafter be regarded. We shall, indeed, be abundantly rewarded, if we have succeeded in drawing the attention of a single practitioner to this subject, so as to impress him with the importance of his individual efforts, first, in counter

acting the fatal heresy, that a mother may nurse her own offspring or not as she "takes a fancy," and, second, when necessity leaves no choice but the selection of a wet-nurse, that he must as tenderly provide for the helpless child of the nurse, as for the little patient under his immediate charge. Akin to the subject of wet-nursing, and the professional duties and moral obligations of physicians which grow out of it, is the management of illegitimate children. That illegitimacy is an unmitigated evil, no rational person can deny. The very definition of the term implies the moral destruction of one human being, and the physical deterioration or death of another. The history of the miserable victim of seduction may too often be comprised in three words: disappointment, abandonment, prostitution; while the history of her offspring may be still more concisely written: neglect, death. It is a wellestablished fact that this evil widely prevails in this country, and to a deplorable extent in our large towns. This may be inferred from the gradual annual increase of still-births and abortions, and the increasing frequency of applications of unmarried women for admission to our lying-in institutions. While it is true that abortions and still-births are by no means generally the result of an effort to escape this disgrace, it can not be denied that such is very often the case. The experience of medical men tends to prove that, in the majority of instances, this cause un

derlies the greater number of applications to have abortion produced. Dr. Sanger, who carefully investigated the social condition of the prostitutes of New York, says: "To speak in plain terms, of every hundred children borne by women who are now prostitutes, forty-three were born before the mothers (married women or widows) embraced this course of life." Whatever the exact truth may be, it is safe to assume, as above, that illegitimacy is a great and growing social evil in this country. We do not propose to discuss at length the various questions which suggest themselves as we review this subject, but simply to consider the following proposition: What are the claims of the illegitimate? If this question were to receive a judicial decision, we are aware that this unfortunate class would have their civil privileges abridged; society, and even the medical profession, seem to regard them in very nearly the same light. When the victim of seduction first realizes her shame and approaching downfall, she readily finds kind friends, and occasionally a very benevolent physician, who are only too anxious to aid her in destroying the testimony of her dishonor. They place the reputation of one human being in contrast with the life of another, and find no difficulty in deciding that the latter should be sacrificed to save the former. If, however, the victim of this conspiracy eludes the toils of the abortionist and his abettors, and at length breathes the vital air, "a living

soul," it first sees the light in some secret chamber, or distant asylum ward, as if to be born in due time, according to the laws of nature, was a shame and disgrace. The crime against the illegitimate begins even before its birth, and is prosecuted without cessation to its death. Good, religious people, with the most praiseworthy intentions, are anxious to save the mother from ruin, by reinstating her in her former social position. In the accomplishment of this object, one insuperable obstacle must be overcome. This is, such a complete and permanent separation of mother and child as will amount to a perfect obliteration of all natural ties, and render each as independent of the other as if no peculiar relation ever existed between them. In this unhallowed work the physician is a willing accomplice. He watches with painful suspense the last pangs of parturition, in the hope that he can announce a still-birth to the attendants, and should the torch of life flicker in the first breath of animation, he makes no special effort to protect and fan its feeble flame. With nimble fingers he prepares it for its swaddling clothes, and so quietly and dexterously passes it out of the room, that its first helpless petition for maternal care and protection never greets a listening mother's ear. The kidnapping is complete; the little outlaw is conveyed by unknown hands to unknown parents, and after a miserable existence of a few weeks, or months, or years, disappears forever, to the great

relief of the anxious participants in the conspiracy against its existence. A few pious ejaculations, as-"Poor fatherless child! How fortunate that it has died young! What a life of sorrow it has escaped!" and the history of the illegitimate is forgotten. We have recorded here the history of nine-tenths of the pseudoorphan children that enter our alms-houses and many of our asylums. Few of them survive the fifth year of their orphanage, while vast numbers perish within the first twelvemonth. Those who chance to reach adult life are too often the subjects of inveterate diseases, and their manhood is marked by the decrepitude and dependence of old age. The question which we wish to press upon the conscience of every medical man is: Has not the child an inalienable right to its mother, let the accidents of its birth be what they may? Admitting that a child may be reared by a nurse, and that between them the physical relations seem properly adapted, still who can doubt that instinctive sympathies and secret influences exist between parent and offspring, highly essential to the growth and symmetrical development of the latter? How often does the nursling languish in the care of the most attentive nurse, as if from some secret grief to which it can give no utterance? Let him who wishes to prove this truth visit the alms-house, where he may read in the pinched faces of five hundred starving infants, as on so many printed pages,

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