Mr. Morris to Mr. Seward
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of despatch No. 90. I regret to be obliged to state that the cholera continues to extend its ravages, notwithstanding the efforts making by the government to arrest its progress. Whatever may be the opinion of medical men, it is evident that it is propagated by contagion, as it fixed itself in the locality where the first deaths from an Egyptian man-of-war took place, and has thence gradually extended itself over the Christian quarter of Pera, and through Stamboul, (Constantinople proper.) In the most infected region, Cassim Pacha, where it originally broke out—a quarter inhabited chiefly by workmen connected with the navy yard, and situated in a low valley encompassed by high hills, with imperfect drainage—it has been very fatal, having attacked almost the entire population. Such have been its ravages there that the government has ordered all the large khans and buildings occupied by many persons together to be vacated, and has provided tents for them on the heights surrounding the city.
Had proper quarantine measures been taken at first, the introduction of the cholera from Egypt might have been prevented. It seems to me, from our experience here, that it will be advisable in the United States to guard against it by the most rigid quarantine regulations. Otherwise, if it once enters the country [Page 299] it will be very fatal, in consequence of the great destitution prevailing in Virginia and other of the ‘southern States, and of the diseases which always follow in the train of war.
The published number of deaths per day is about 160, but they are known to largely exceed that number. The whole number of deaths from the origin of the disease to the present time is about 2,000. A great panic prevails among the population, particularly the Christian portion of it, and people are fleeing by thousands in every direction from the city. It is to be hoped, however, that the sanitary measures adopted by the government and pursued with great energy will have the effect sooner or later to arrest the epidemic.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of Slate.