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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Health and Education

A Physician's Hints to Mothers

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Transcript from original newspaper article: -
A Physician's Hints to MothersA PHYSICIAN'S HINTS TO MOTHERS – The following “hints” have been handed to us by a gentleman who has much experience in house to house visiting in the district of Oldham, and consequently must have frequently seen the baneful effects of the extensive administration of the so called “cordials,” which is know to exist amongst the working classes of all manufacturing districts, and feeling convinced that his intentions are purely humane, and therefore, prompted by a desire to do good and benefit his fellow-creatures, we consequently here insert the “hints” above-mentioned: -

“You must not give infants any opiate. Whether it be laudanum itself or opium, Godfrey or paregoric; `Drops of Death’ should be upon the label. You have no doubt seen a Bible print with figures `Herod murdering the Innocents.’ Mothers cling in agony around children whose hearts are pierced, and infants struggle in the grasp of brawny soldiers. That was a fearful slaughter, yet it was mercy when compared with the fearful murdering – the yet more devastating slaughter – among which we daily move. In Herod’s time there was one day of slaying; in our time there is not a day of rest. The death came by the sword with one short pain, and mothers struggled to preserve their offspring; now, children perish with the lingering torments of a poison, and drops of death are poured out to them by a mother’s hand. The sale extends through every corner of our land. If you have administered to your children these destructive drugs in ignorance – or under counsel different to that to which you now, I hope and pray, are listening – there can be no reproval upon your consciences. But from this day there will be if you refuse now to be warned. The early death of your own children, or the almost inevitable sorrows of their after life, upon your head be they, if you will not hear advice. According to the constitution, or the doses which your children have received, some who survive will become even idiots, many (reared thus to stimulants from infancy) will become drunkards, some of dull intellect, all more or less broken in constitution, in mind and body, weaker, and less able to struggle onward in the world than otherwise they would have been. To procure for yourselves a selfish gratification – to still the crying of an ill-managed child, instead of seeking to improve your infant’s temper by increased attention to the requirements of its health, you go to the cupboard, you take out a cruel dose. Of course the child is still. You sleep the sleep of health; but your child has not the refreshment of repose. You have called death to stand and watch beside his crib, to hold his cold clenched hand over the baby’s mouth, and fix it in a spell, for your convenience until you awake and come to it again.”