Home -> James H. Barry Press -> Eurasia -> Chapter 17

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I learned that the Department of Health had greater responsibilities than any other department of the Government, for the physical, mental and moral welfare of the people was in its keeping. One of its duties was to prevent the introduction of any diseases into Eurasia, and to make it effective every person coming into the country had to undergo a physical examination by three Government physicians, and all persons that were idiotic or insane or had any of the following diseases, viz.: syphilis, tuberculosis, cancer, leprosy, yellow fever, smallpox, or any other contagious disease or fever, or was shown on examination to be addicted to vicious habits, were denied admission. Another of the duties of the Department of Health was to examine every person that applied to practice medicine and surgery or to engage in any professional calling. The law required a medical examination to be made of the person, who was granted a license every year, so as to keep the professions up to a high standard.

Before granting license to any man, three male physicians in Government employ examined him, and if a female three female physicians examined her. The first examination was physical, and if found to be in good physical health they were passed up for a mental examination, and if they qualified for their profession they were examined morally, when they were asked the following questions: "Do you believe in the Brotherhood of Man? Will you do unto others always as you would desire that others should do to you? Do you promise that you will not render obedience directly or indirectly to any person or persons outside of Eurasia and that you will render willing obedience to the laws and do all that lies in your power to maintain the honor of the country?" If they did not agree to those rules of conduct they were denied a license. If any person attempted to practice any profession without a license he was punished by six months' imprisonment at hard labor.

Any person practicing fortune-telling or any other fraudulent calling was tried for obtaining money under false pretenses, and on conviction thereof was sentenced to five years' imprisonment at hard labor at the rock crusher. The result of this wise law showed in the total absence of bands of gypsies, dancing dervishes, holy rollers and strolling vagabonds of every description in Eurasia. If a man or woman was found anywhere in Eurasia without visible means of support the Department of Health found work for them until such time as they could better their condition. They were required to work eight hours a day if they were able to do manual labor and if not able to work they were sent to a Government Sanatorium.

The Department of Health had charge of the sewerage system in every district, city as well as country. In the cities it supervised the erection of every new building, and any old buildings that it pronounced unsanitary had to be torn down. It saw also to the removal of all garbage and refuse material. The Department of Health had charge of all births, marriages and deaths, and could order the cremation of any dead body when it believed that it would be to the benefit of the health of the community to do so. The Department of Health was also required by law to make a physical examination of children when they were born and to take care of them if the mother was unable to do so and to send all illegitimate children to the Government Orphan College. It superintended the sale of all medicine and drugs, having a Government physician at every Government warehouse where they were sold. It had also charge of all idiots and insane persons as well as dangerous criminals.

The Superintendent and two Assistant Superintendents of the lunatic asylums (of which there were only two, one for males and one for females) were required by law to castrate male lunatics and emasculate females who had become insane through masturbation or other vicious habits and to chloroform dangerous lunatics who had homicidal tendencies. Those three physicians in committee examined every dangerous lunatic and two of them could order the person chloroformed if in their judgment it was necessary. Lady physicians had charge of the female lunatic asylum with the same authority as the men. The two asylums were located in the center of a fine tract of farming land in the Southern part of Eurasia, consisting of ninety-two thousand one hundred and sixty acres in a high state of cultivation with flourishing orchards and vineyards, and at the time I visited it had a population of sixty thousand male inmates and thirty-five thousand female inmates-besides the officers and guards.

The mildest and most tractable of the inmates were in communities organized in military style in different parts of the grounds and were busily employed in doing everything that was required to make the institution self-stustaining. The physicians of the State prisons were required by law after one year's imprisonment (one year after sentence was passed was allowed to prove innocence) to castrate all males convicted of rape, incest, or any other infamous crime against nature, and to castrate every male prisoner who committed sodomy or other infamous crime while in prison; but only after trial and conviction for the crime before the District Court, and they could by a majority vote chloroform any dangerous criminal that showed homicidal tendencies.

I saw no red-light sign of houses of prostitution, and on making inquiries I was informed that there were no houses of prostitution in Eurasia, for as soon as information was given to any Magistrate the law required him or her to issue an order for the arrest of the female practicing prostitution, and on conviction she was committed to the female reformatory for five years, subject to parole after one year, and for a second offense of the same crime she was deprived of the power to propagate the race. Gentle reader, don't think that this law is cruel or unjust, for the amount of evil that a depraved woman can commit in spreading, that loathsome disease, syphilis, is incalculable, and Christ when he told the woman that had committed adultery that he did not condemn her also added: "Go and sin no more." A committee of six physicians, three males and three females, in the service of the Government in every district were required by law to examine every person desiring marriage and if the person examined was affected with tuberculosis, cancer, scrofula, leprosy, syphilis, or any other loathsome or contagious disease, then that person was denied a license to marry; and also if they were mentally unsound.

Under the law no person was allowed to marry until twenty-one years of age, male and female, and any person violating this law was punished by one year's imprisonment at hard labor in the district in which this law had been violated. In no case was a Government physician permitted to receive any compensation for services rendered as physician, for they were the servants of the people, elected by the people in every district and paid by the Government a salary fixed by law, and no bonds were required of them or of any public official, for the people elected every public official with the exception of officers in the Army and Navy, who were elected by the soldiers up to the grade of Colonel, and the Brigadiers and Major-Generals were appointed by the Minister of War, was was Commander-in-Chief and directed all the operations of the Army and Navy in war, and also the agents of the Department of Information, who were appointed by the Minister of that department on the recommendation of his assistant chiefs, of whom there was one in every district who was elected by the people after having passed a successful examination showing their ability to do the work required of them.

Every person appointed to office, as well as those elected by the people, had to be examined physically, mentally and morally in the same manner as those applying for a license to practice a profession or desiring to marry. All were placed on the same footing. The law for divorce was enforced by the Department of Health, as doctors were, from their knowledge of human frailty, the best judges to decide whether a man and woman should live together in the married state or be separated, and while the law provided for a compulsory decree of divorce for adultery, which was a felony, it also allowed divorce for incompatibility of temperament. A court of six Government physicians, three males and three females, heard all divorce cases in every district.

The Minister of Health gave me the reasons why the marriage law was passed fixing twenty-one years of age as the time when young men and women could marry. He said it was done to allow the youths of both sexes to become well acquainted with one another before being united in marriage, and also to be well trained in useful callings, so that both parties to the marriage contract would be able to assist each other, for many an innocent young girl had ruined her life by marrying a man at an age when she was ignorant of the duties of wifehood and motherhood, "but by keeping our boys and girls in training schools until they are eighteen and then teaching them trades in the Army until they are twenty-one years of age we fit them for the duties of life."

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