Page images

well on potatoes. Peas and beans are found highly nutritious where there are digestions to suit them, but the dyspeptics would make nothing of them. In Kamtschatka nourishment is extracted from sawdust steeped in train oil. The nutrition, whatever may be its degree, belongs to the oil, but the sawdust is necessary for bulk, which the stomach demands.

All this we take the liberty of characterising as learned twaddle-if sincerely penned; and if not-it is something much more reprehensible and disgusting. Of course, "the stomach, after all, is a party concerned, and has a laboratory peculiar to itself, which will not always conform to the principles of alimentary science.” So much the worse for the stomach, it may be; but surely the editor of the Examiner did not suppose that Dr. Ed. Smith or Dr. John Simon were oblivious of the primary fact he so sapiently or pedantically obtrudes, with his flourish of " for after all!"' Doubtless these eminent medical gentlemen, who have been commissioned by the Privy Council to inquire into all matters having an intimate and important bearing upon PUBLIC HEALTH, have made themselves perfectly acquainted with the anatomical, physiological, and gastronomic fact, that "the stomach" has something to do with the question of diet "after all." Nor are these gentlemen unaware of the "idiosyncrasies" of some stomachs, as well as of some "brains." But what, after all, has that to do with the broad general question. SCIENCE can hold its own—on alimentary and on psychological questions, notwithstanding the "idiosyncrasies" of gluttonous stomachs in Kamtschatka, or of excited brains in London. To assert, without shadow of attempted proof, that tea is a necessary of the Chinese, a third of the human race, &c, is about as wise and logical as to assert that opium is a necessary of life to those infatuated mortals who indulge themselves in the use of the sensual and degrading drug. Tea is no doubt a social luxury, but not a necessary. As a substitute for intoxicating liquors it is a boon and a blessing. But the true Dietetic reformer must admit that it is not a 66 necessary" "element of nutrition. As Dr. Smith remarks (p. 253), "when the infinitessimal nutriment which is contained in 1 oz. of tea, costing 3d., is compared with that in 12 pints of skimmed milk costing in Devon the same money, it is matter of regret that the latter should not be more generally attainable, and be universally used by the poor. 12 pints of skimmed milk contain 5,238 grains of carbon and 523 grains of nitrogen. 1 oz. of tea contains scarcely any carbon and only 10 grains of nitrogen." But after all, the cute critics will no doubt say, "It is impossible not to entertain a suspicion (!) that some subtle influence (!) of the stimulating food (!) is overlooked by this bare chemical analysis." We leave the reader to estimate the full value of the "subtle influence" that is suspected to play an important over-riding part among the "idiosyncrasies" of disordered stomachs.

Turning to Dr. Smith's report (p. 263), we find among the "observations in the nature of conclusions," the following statements :

10. In reference to foods it has been shown:

1. That it is most important to the labourer to be able to grow a large quantity of potatoes and other fresh vegetables, and thus to convert his spare time into money directly, by supplying food, and indirectly by feeding a pig, and avoiding the necessity for more costly food.

2. That good and cheap bread is everywhere obtained, and that white bread is universally preferred. Barley and rye constitute no noticeable part of the dietary in England.

3. Sugar, separated fats, meat, and milk are almost universally obtained. Treacle is not so much used as sugar. Butter is the favourite fat, and bacon and pork are the most frequently selected of meats. Cheese is largely eaten in a very small minority of the counties. Tea is universally drank, whilst coffee is much less frequently selected. Beer is most rarely drank by the labourer's family, and but sparingly by himself.

11. It is of the greatest importance that milk, in one of the forms of new milk, skimmed milk, or butter milk, should be more universally attainable, and that the health of the working man should not be thought of less consequence than the welfare of calves, pigs, and hounds. The sale of milk is practically a monopoly, since the poor cannot procure it for themselves, neither can they go to places distant from their own village to buy it. Hence a deep moral responsibility rests upon the farmers who have it, aud refuse to sell it to the poor.

16. The habit of giving beer and cider as allowances instead of money is disadvantageous to the poor, since they are not necessary, and therefore are dear foods.

"I was desirous," says Dr. Smith (p. 288), "to ascertain the opinion of persons so circumstanced as to the necessity for the use of [flesh] meat, and when I met with a thoughtful and intelligent labourer I asked the question. The answer generally was that they should like to have more of it, but it was not necessary either for health or strength." This testimony more especially refers to families in Tipperary, Kerry, Limerick, and Clare, where it appears "both bacon and butchers meat were less commonly obtained than in the other localities visited. Some families obtained it only for the Sunday's dinner; others lb. a month; 3 lbs. a month; 5lbs. once a month; 1lb. in three months; six times a year; and many procured it only on two feast days in the year." These poor hard-working, simpleminded people liked the meat, and would like to have had more of it; but they had sense enough to know that "it was not necessary either for health or strength." Of course they overlooked the subtle influence of the stimulating food, not being readers of the Times and the Examiner. It may be that their stomachs and brains were not plagued with "idiosyncrasies." But it may perhaps be surmised that these healthy and industrious Irish farm labourers got their needful "subtle influence" from some "stimulating" drink instead of food. That, however, is not the case, for Dr. Smith expressly states (p. 289): "Beer and cider were not drank at all by the farm-labouring populations."

On the other hand, he remarks: "Milk is one of the two or three staple foods of these populations, and was obtained by 98 per cent" of the families whose dietaries were observed. "New milk was eaten by 22 per cent, skimmed milk by 53 per cent, and buttermilk by 42 per cent; so that more than one kind was eaten by many families. The total average quantity of milk consumed was 30 pints per family, and 6 pints per adult, weekly." Again, Dr. Smith states :

When living at farmhouses, either altogether or for the day, men have either Indian meal and oatmeal stirabout, with milk, three times a day, or when potatoes are plentiful, they have two meals of potatoes and milk and one of stirabout and milk, or they have potatoes at all the meals. The allowance when the quantity is limited is 104 lbs. of potatoes and three pints of milk daily. A single woman in Tipperary had for breakfast and supper oatmeal and Indian meal stirabout with new milk and skimmed milk, and for dinner potatoes and milk with brown bread, and eggs perhaps twice in the week. The quantity was unlimited. The following are the examples which I noted down of the food eaten at meals by the farm labourers at their own houses:

Tipperary (Case No. 586.) Breakfast:-Stirabout and milk. Dinner:-Potatoes and milk. Supper-Stirabout and milk.

Ditto (Case No. 587.) Breakfast:-Stirabout aud milk. Dinner:-Bread and milk. Supper:-Stirabout and milk.

Ditto (Case No. 588.) Breakfast:- Stirabout and milk or potatoes and milk. Dinner: -Stirabout or potatoes and milk. Supper:-Stirabout and milk or potatoes and milk. Kerry (Case No. 595) Breakfast:-Stirabout and milk. Dinner:-Stirabout and milk. Supper-Stirabout and milk.

Westmeath (Case No. 622.) Breakfast: Stirabout and milk. Dinner:-Bread and bacon or potatoes and milk, or both. Supper:-Stirabout and milk, or potatoes and milk.

Ditto (Case No. 624.) Breakfast:-Stirabout and milk. Dinner:-Potatoes, milk,

and butter. Supper :-Potatoes and milk.


Cavan (Case No. 625.) Breakfast:-Stirabout and milk. Dinner:-Potatoes or cabbage. Supper:-None, except in full work.

Ditto (Case No. 626.) Breakfast:-Bread and milk. Dinner:-Potatoes and milk. Supper:-None.

Armagh (Case No. 628.) Breakfast:-Tea, bread and butter, or eggs. Dinner :-Potatoes, milk, and butter. Supper :-Tea, bread, and butter.

Thus the chief food is stirabout and milk, and in the west of Ireland the chief variation in the meals consisted in the addition of potatoes. In the central and northern parts bread is used, but at the breakfast and supper or at the dinner only, and is not used regularly at all the meals. Bacon is sometimes added, and in Armagh the luxuries of tea, butter, and eggs are obtained.

Among the general considerations advanced by Dr. Smith, bearing upon the facts advanced regarding the dietaries of the Irish farm labourer referred to, we can only quote the following:

5. The abundance of meal, potato and milk, which is obtained, is of the greatest value. 6. No attempt should be made to reduce the quantity of these necessary and cheap

foods until the wages of the labourer have so far increased that he may purchase an equal amount of nutriment in other forms.

7. The general introduction of tea and coffee into the western part of the country is to be deprecated, since it would not only lessen the economic value of the foods, but would lead to the diminished use of the highly nutritious milk.

8. The introduction of meat in greater abundance would be desirable, as indicating an improved condition of the populations,-one above that of constant peril from want, but is not necessary for the maintenance of health and strength, so long as a good supply of potato, meal, and milk exists.

17. The increase of the cottage garden system, whereby the labourer may profitably occupy his spare time in the production of a larger quantity of potatoes or other foods, would be of material benefit.

Our space, we regret, will not permit us to quote further facts and observations from this interesting report; nor can we allow ourselves to indulge in further comment of our own. We may, however, return to the topic, and continue our review of the inquiry in future numbers. Our readers will peruse with interest an excellent and well-timed letter, copied on another page, from our valued friend Mr. James Haughton, of Dublin, whose valiant pen is ever ready to do effective service in behalf of DIETETIC REFORM, and of every other good cause.

We are also glad to observe that the editor of the Times has opened his columns to various correspondents who have ably advocated the claims of the "poor labouring classes," and in favour of more ample supplies of milk, potatoes, and other garden produce. All these are pleasing signs of progress; and they cannot but stimulate us to yet more earnest endeavours to promote the cause we are engaged in as Temperance, Dietetic, and Sanitary Reformers.



OUR readers will no doubt be amused, if not disgusted, with the following extract from the Paris correspondent of the London Times, dated September 7th, 1864, on the subject of horseflesh as human food:

"One of the secretaries of the Society for the Protection of Animals has just given a lecture at the Garden of Acclimatisation on the subject of horseflesh as human food. He advocates the employment as butchers' meat of horses free from disease, but past work. He calculated that the adoption of this system would yield daily in Paris alone between 5,000lb, and 6,000lb. weight of wholesome meat, after making

a large deduction for diseased horses. As representative of a humane society, he insisted upon the great mercy it would be to the horses to be killed before old age, and consequent ill-treatment, overtook them. There would be no more working them to death when once the cook came to compete with costermongers and cabdrivers. In the course of the lecture it was mentioned that the celebrated Larrey thrice in the course of his military career made use of horseflesh as food for sick soldiers, and that in Egypt, especially, he had found it check the progress of a scorbutic malady which had assumed an epidemical character. In the Crimea, the lecturer stated, two batteries of artillery, fed, in conformity with the advice of Dr. Baudens, on the flesh of cast horses, had been free from the diseases prevailing in the rest of the army. Reference was made to the efforts of protective societies in Germany to extend the use of horseflesh; and it was stated that a prosperous trade is carried on in it by butchers in Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg, Altona, and other cities, where it is sought and relished not only by the poor but by all classes of society. The lecture over, a tureen of horse soup, and a dish of horseflesh à la daube, prepared by a restaurateur in the Bois de Boulogne, were served up, and were partaken of by a number of persons, including many ladies, who are related to have expressed high approval of their flavour and quality."

No doubt the use of horseflesh as human food would open up another lucrative branch of trade for the butcher in London, Manchester, and other large towns of England; and possibly the new Dietetic luxury would be sought and relished not only by the poor but by all classes of society. There is no accounting for gastronomic predilections and stomachic idiosyncracies; and, for our part, we doubt not but that a good deal of the flesh of used up cab horses would be quite as savoury, quite as wholesome, and as well relished as much of the animal food disposed of by the butchers and their dainty customers at the present time. The horse is as cleanly an animal in its habits as the pig-at any rate-and a vast deal more so.

True the veterinary surgeon will tell us of some loathsome diseases that the poor ill-used and ill-fed horse is subject to; but, of course, none of these diseased animals would ever be killed by the horse butchers for human food; they are too highminded and conscientious a class of men ever to kill any but the very best meat they can obtain, whatever the price may be! Racers, hunters, and brewers' dray horses, in the best condition would, no doubt, be selected for the English meat market. John Bull likes his joints to be prime, well-trimmed with fat and full of gravy. Frenchmen and Austrians may prefer lean animals, but we English like fat oxen, and should not easily take to such specimens as the knacker's yard exhibits. But our French neighbours are very ingenious, and they have invented or discovered a way in which horseflesh can be used up, and eaten by the most delicate lady, through the medium of another animal. The following article from a recent issue of the Daily News will illustrate what we now refer to :

HORSE-FED POULTRY.-There are certain Robinson Crusoe conditions in which a Parisian would knowingly eat a horse, but he would not eat it at the bidding of a "school." The "school, not to be beaten, have merely shifted their ground, and Paris is now nourished with horse-fed poultry. Those who know how largely poultry enters into the system of French cookery will know how largely horses are thus eaten through the medium of another animal; and the following facts, taken from the Society of Arts Journal, will show that we are not drawing upon our imagination:-"It has been observed that poultry does not thrive best on a pure grain diet, but that, on the contrary, a mixture of animal matter has great advantage. Acting upon this hint, or rather starting from it, and proceeding to the extremity of the animal food theory, a person commenced some years since at Belleville, an outskirt of Paris, the production of poultry out of horseflesh. There are at present several of these hippophagus farms, which supply a considerable portion of the fowls consumed in the capital of

France. The system answers well, provided the creatures are not kept too long on an exclusively animal diet, in which case they become diseased and totally blind. Some time since an interprising individual introduced great improvements into the system of raising poultry. This new establishment occupies nearly 30 acres of land, and is capable of accommodating about 100,000 poulets at a time. The poulets are divided into parties, according to their age, and each party has its yard and dormitory, both of which are kept with the utmost possible regard for the health and comfort of the boarders. The food consists almost entirely of horse flesh, supplied from a slaughter-house adjoining the farm, and belonging to the same proprietor."

This mode of feeding, we are told, is kept as secret as possible, as the old prejudice against horse-flesh still prevails: and the hippophagi are, therefore, not much benefitted by this application of their principles. They have succeeded in inserting the thin edge of a wedge, but the wedge is very small, and the end is very brittle. The market value of a dead horse-that great economical fact upon which the hippophagi based so much solid argument is thus stated in the journal we have quoted:-"Skin, weighing from 50lb to 75lb., 13f. to 18f.; long hair, from one-fifth of a penny to d. per lb.; flesh from 35f. to 45f.; blood, about 2.50 to 3.50; intestines, 160 to 1.90; tendons, 1-20; grease, from 4f. to 30f.; hoofs and bones, about 2.50; and shoes and nails, about 24c. to 50c. Total, from 60f. to 120f. (£2. 85. to £4. 163.) The number of horses slaughtered averages about 20 a day, and the affair is so well organised that the sales pay all expenses, leaving the flesh as clear profit. This last product is boiled in enormous coppers, chopped up, as if for sausages, and conveyed to the farm, after being seasoned with a small quantity of salt and pepper, which prevents putrefaction, and also contributes to the health of the poultry."

It is not only in the form of poulets that the Parisians eat horse, but the delicate omelette is now largely flavoured with that noble animal. We are told that the production of eggs is more profitable than the sale of chickens, as under a meat diet the hens lay all the year round, and never exhibit an inclination to sit. "During last winter," says the Journal"This establishment sent 40,000 dozens of eggs per week to market, at about 64. per dozen. The hens yield on an average about 12s. per head per annum, and they lay for four years, at the end of which time they are fattened for three weeks with bruised grain and sent to market alive. The steam hatching apparatus of the establishment is on a grand scale, furnishing employment for fifty or sixty women. The spare cocks are sent to market, and these amounted last autumn to more than 1,000 dozen in three months.'

There is no sound reason why the hippophagi-the faithful few who are left of that advanced school-should not turn their attention to England. In Paris every part of the horse now appears to be satisfactorily accounted for; the blood of the animals is carefully saved, and fetches a good price; the hides go to the tanners, the head and hoofs to the Prussian blue makers, the marrow to the perfumers, the large bones to the button makers, the refuse is converted into manure-a most important product-and the flesh, as we have seen, is given to the poultry. In London we can account for many of these parts of the noble animal in an equally satisfactory manner, but the flesh sometimes disappears a little too mysteriously. We can occasionally trace it to the copper of the cat's-meat boiler, but even then we miss the heart and tongue, which are not used in manufactures. Very little doubt exists in the minds of those who have studied the subject that these parts of the horse are eaten by human beings-perhaps in the form of "Westphalian delicacies."

Our readers will not fail to observe that the tendency of this system of feeding poultry is to cause disease and blindness. What is this but nature's vehement protest against an unnatural and pernicious system? But we cannot pursue the subject. Our readers will know how to appreciate the facts and statements we have laid before them. We need not caution them against the "Westphalian delicacies;" but it will be well for them to take care in their purchase of eggs that they do not invest in the French article-many millions of which, no doubt, find their way to John Bull's larder. B.


To have given another word to the English language is an achievement of no small importance; and by his pamphlet on Corpulency, Mr. Banting has certainly accomplished that feat-at least temporarily. The want of a word to express the process of becoming lean has led a practical people, who are fond of short cuts in performing their duties, whether of speaking or working, to accept the rather uneuphonious

« PreviousContinue »