Sometimes, though rarely, malaria attacks the eyes, producing little hard granules on the inner side of the lid, which cause great irritation and inflammation, occasionally resulting in blindness more or less prolonged. In the summer of 1856 this form of the disease made its appearance in San Francisco, though any form of malarious disease is exceedingly rare in that city. There were 200 or 300 cases, and a few of the prominent business men were blind for two or three months with it.
But the most dreadful of all forms of malarious disease is chronic diarrhea. This was the pestilence that decimated our army in Mexico, and filled our hospitals with the returned soldiers after the war. General Taylor died of it, and it is said that General Scott and Jefferson Davis are both still suffering from its effects. It is a slow, wasting, debilitating disease, and almost entirely incurable. Fortunately, no part of this country is very much subject to this form of malarious disease.
REMEDIES FOR MALARIOUS DISEASES
The investigations of Louis and his followers have demonstrated that almost all of the diseases to which mankind is subject are nearly or quite uninfluenced by medicine; at all events, by any substances at present known. But there are a few exceptions. There is a small number of diseases that may be cured, and a small number that, like the small pox, may be prevented. The milder types of malarious diseases belong to both of these categories. They may be either cured or prevented. Two substances have been discovered to act as specifics on all intermittent diseases. One of these is a harmless vegetable substance, and the other is one of the most terrible and deadly of the metallic poisons. One is Peruvian bark, the other is arsenic.
In the year 1521, a gallant young Spanish soldier; Don Inigo Lopez do Recalde do Loyola, afterwards called Saint Ignatius do Loyola, received a wound while defending the city of Pampeluna against the French. During his convalescence he spent his time in reading the lives of the saints, and his devotional feelings were so excited that he determined to consecrate his life to the cause of religion. In 1534 he founded a small society which took the holy name. of Jesus, and which has since grown upon into the great order of Jesuits. In its early days the society was composed of men who were animated by the most earnest zeal for the Christian faith, and who were ready to make the greatest efforts for its propagation. As missionaries they penetrated into every corner of the globe, from Japan to California, and from Siberia to Terra del Fuego. Among the countries which they visited was Peru that singular rainless region that lies upon the western slope of the Andes in South America. Here the natives told them of a certain lake, the waters of which preserved all who used them from all kinds of sickness. The missionaries soon discovered that the medicinal properties of the water were derived from the bark of a particular kind of tree which grew in great abundance on the borders of the lake. With their extraordinary powers of credulity, they eagerly swallowed the tales of the natives, and concluded that among the marvels of that wonderful land they had discovered the elixir of life that was to banish all disease from the world.
Quantities of the new medicine were sent to Europe, with glowing accounts of its power, and it rapidly acquired a wide fame under the name of Jesuits bark. Enlarged experience, however, soon showed that its power had been overrated, and that its scope was limited to the treatment of intermittent, and especially of malarious diseases. When used for these diseases, the practice of 300 years, and especially the inexorable statistics of modern investigators, have shown that its effects are more marked and more constant, than those of any other remedy for any disease, in the whole materia medica. It has become proverbial. We have heard a physician, in recommending a new medicine, remark, Its effects are almost as certain as those of Peruvian bark in fever and ague.