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THE DUTY OF THE HOUR. Hard times are indeed upon us, yet not so hard as they might be. Nothing gets so bad but that it might be worse.
We are confronted at this time with two problems of a serious character, and it goes without saying that the conditions here in the Capital City of Tennessee are more or less identical with those at least in the localities reached by this publication. On the one hand we have two serious epidemic diseases threatening our entire seaboard. What, with the grim monster from the Gangetic Jungles knocking at the doors of entrance of our great northern seaports, and Bronze John at the South, each having at least a “toe-hold" and vigorously struggling with our sanitarians for a firm foot-hold, if not a complete invasion, a serious question indeed is presented. Both are communicable, both are portable, and both are preventible. The solution of this problem is in the hands of our medical men, our sanitarians and the executives of our Municipal, State and General Governments.
On the other hand, our Doctors of Finance are struggling with the question of the scarcity of money, depression of trade, closing of manufactories and workshops, and bank suspensions. In this city, as elsewhere, a large number of operatives, and, unfortunately, a large number of whom are those whose sole dependence for meat, bread and shelter are their weekly wage, are turned out of employment, and are now or soon will be in want of the dire necessities of life. The culmination of these two evils will be sad; aye, sad, indeed, even to contemplate, let alone to realize. It is a well-known fact that both our foreign foes, now so threateningly near, reap a rich harvest among those who are in want, even in times of general prosperity.
Time and again have the pages of this journal urged the importance, the necessity, the inestimable value of thorough sanitation of our dwellings, our villages, our towns and our cities. It is well-known that two factors are essential in the development
of the two diseases that now essay to confront us on every handa specific germ and a suitable soil. It is in the hands of our national sanitary officials, aided by the efforts of the local authorities at our seaports, to prevent the advent of the first; and it devolves upon us as individuals, aided by our municipal authorities and executives, to so sterilize the soil, the locality and environments of every dwelling, village, town and city that the coming of the one-should it evade the vigilence of those on the seaport—shall be as harmless as a ray of sunshine or a glittering drop of morning dew.
That thorough sanitation will repay the labor and money expended many hundred fold has been time and again most amply demonstrated is a settled fact, and never more thoroughly and satisfactorily so than in this city during the last twelve months. One year ago cholera did essay to enter the United States, and it did secure a temporary foothold at the great metropolis of America. The result was that such a thorough sanitary scrubbing was given this good City of Nashville that it was made as clean as a new pin. Its alleys, back yards, thoroughfares, dwel. lings, its highways and its by-ways had not received such judicious treatment in years. Well, cholera did not get here, thanks to sanitary measures adopted by National, State and Local Au. thorities at the great port of entry. But, were our local efforts futile, unnecessary and useless? By no means. The past twelve months have shown a greater degree of general good health than has been known in this city for years. Its mortality reports have been most creditable indeed. In fact, in some months, lower than ever in its history. Its doctors and its undertakers have had less business than at any time in its previous history. It has become almost, what it should ever be, one of the healthiest cities in America. It has been universal comment with its medical men all through the spring and summer months, when meeting each other on the streets, in the rounds of their professional duties, in their weekly meetings at the Academy of Medi. cine, that “business is very dull," "I am doing almost nothing," “It is distressingly healthy,” etc., etc.
Having known this city intimately for a full half century, I think I can speak somewhat authoritatively, and do most unhesitatingly say that the year 1893 has beən the healthiest known in
that time, taking into consideration the climatic conditions and its proportionate number of inhabitants. This can unquestionably be attributed to the "spurt" of sanitation of last year, under the threatening impulse that is now again at hand.
While the Doctors of Finance are settling those questions that do not pertain to the scope of this journal, let us see that physi. cal suffering shall not be added to financial distress. An important factor in the solution of the problems that must not be lost sight of is, that while the times are somewhat out of joint as regards the circulating medium of the country, that while money as money is certainly scarce and hard to get, Dame Nature has been most propitious. Our farms have been most productive, and as the good year '93 has made its progress day by day, week by week, and month by month, the crops that have successively come to maturity have been good. The grain crops have been garnered, the hay crop is pretty well secured; and corn, the great staple food for man and beast in this portion of the land, is well assured. There is no danger of famine adding its horrors as it has done in other less-favored countries in the past.
Another factor at the hands of the Doctors or Medicine and the Doctors of Finance is the illimitable, the incalculable resources of our people. If we have not ready money we have prospective resources that can be realized as sure as the morrow's sun will shine; resources so vast, so valuable that “hard times" can but be as temporary as an April shower.
There are many in the land to-day who can look back with vivid recollection to a little less than three short decades ago, when one section of our country was well-nigh exhausted in its eventful struggle with the other; and that other was devasted, desolated and laid waste. Many of its able-bodied citizens lying in distant and unknown graves, its railroads destroyed, its commerce abolished, its cattle, hogs, mules and horses used up, its garners empty, nearly every one of its citizens without one dollar in hand and no credit
any where; if ever a people were flat on their backs they were. Yet it required but a few years to roll by when with the smiles of peace were blended those of prosperity and plenty. Our paper currency became so plentiful that the Doctors of Finance essayed the somewhat risky measure of resuming specie payments. In the struggle, in this financial revolution, came the tightening of the money market, and the banks and financial institutions began to tremble, to crumble, and some even, to crash; and to these worries were added the cholera visitation of 73. Yet we passed safely through it, and while there were many additions to our cemeteries, it had soon passed over and was a thing of the past. To-day, while passing through another financial revolution in regard to metallic currency, whether of gold or silver, we are better prepared, better informed and in far better shape; and, while at this writing, there are in this, as in many other cities throughout the land, large numbers of our workingmen unemployed; many of our manufactories, our workshops and industrial establishments closed, and the clink of the hammer, the whir of wheels and the hum of the spindle is silent, the approachof two distinct epidemics now so near, there is an important, a most imperative, work to be done.
Let the municipal authorities get a move on themselves. Let them use every available dollar and draw on the inexhaustible resources of the future, and employ every idle workman in the work of sanitation. Let them make use of the extraordinary appropriation, as last year, and put every available man to work, thus affording occupation to the unimployed and preventing the loss of life from, not only epidemic invasion, but from other dis. eases that batten and thrive on man's carelessness, indifference and neglect. The extra five thousand dollars expended last year on the impulse developed by the importation of cholera to New York City was one of the most judicious and renumerative ever made in this city's history. The time is most opportune now from two most important standpoints for even more energetic measures. It is far better for man to earn his bread than to beg it. All honorable men so prefer. If the municipality is handicapped by constitutional restrictions, let its wealthier citizens come to the rescue and advance the necessary means until the restrictions can be set aside by proper enactments or amendments. There never was a time when measures of this kind were so important-never a time when they would do so much good.
If the municipal authorities are sluggish, indifferent, or too timid, then let the leading citizens organize themselves into a general sanitary association, with ward or district sub-committees, raise funds
by contributions or otherwise and give employment to as many of our unen ployed workingmen as possible in the grand work of local prevention of disease and death. Far better. this than to raise funds for distribution as charity. There is and will be ample room for the widest expansion of all charitable hearts, yet by the measures suggested you give work by which to earn bread and thus benefit yourselves, and the bread so earned will be far more nutritious than that doled out by the hand of charity. Then let us help ourselves and help each other.
We all need help. This is a measure of relief that will benefit the greater number, and furthermore, in this time of financial stress, labor will be cheaper than before. Many a man will gladly work now for half a dollar who would refuse one dollar in more prosperous times. It is only for a short time that it will be needed. Surely it cannot be long, many days cannot elapse before the inevitable reaction that has always followed fi. nancial distress will come. Let it find us then with the arms of our workmen still inured to honest toil and not weakened by idleness; with our cities, towns and villages clean and healthy, and our numbers undiminished by epidemic disease, and each and every one in prime condition to ride happily on the top of the wave of advancing prosperity. The good city of Nashville, could and should in ten or twenty days be put in such a condition of cleanliness that its doors could safely be thrown wide open to our brothers and sisters of the South who may have to flee from Yellow Jack. And while we should be chary of inviting those who may have been infected by the Asiatic scourge, yet, should they come, they per chance will do us but little harm. Let us put our streets, our alleys, our dwellings and our eutire environment in such a condition that we may defy epidemic visitation.
This is a critical period with us. Our schools, colleges and universities, which are justly our pride, add many a dollar to the coffers of our citizens. They have ever been prosperous and saccessful, and should ever be. Their distant patrons seeing us judiciously at work will continue their support. Let us show them that we deserve it. Nashville enjoys a peculiar and enviable position in the Southern sisterhood of cities. It should ever lead the van in all that pertains to progress and the highest de