Mr. Morris to Mr. Seward

No. 120.]

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.

The cholera.

To the Editor of the Levant Herald:

Sir: During the prevalence of the cholera morbus in the different ports of Turkey, any remarks that may tend to the better knowledge of the mysterious disease and its development may be acceptable, and I have, therefore, taken the liberty of addressing you the following—the result of my observations:

Cholera can be communicated—

1. By persons direct, who carry the seeds of the disease (or vitiated air) with them.

2. By clothes or other articles used by the sick.

3. By infected vessels or lazarettos, which, though isolated, are too near healthy towns, and these generating vitiated air, it soon passes the imaginary boundaries of quarantine.

In proof of these assertions I may remark:

1. The cholera in the present instance was introduced into Arabia by pilgrims from India, bringing with them the seeds of the disease. It did not develop itself until the period of the Courbam-Baivam, when the thousands of animals sacrificed, of every size, from a camel downward, were left to putrefy; the effluvium, combined with the ascent of the holy hill by the pilgrims bear-headed in a burning, tropical sun, and the free use of all kinds of unwholesome fruits and vegetables, was immediately succeeded by the outbreak of the disease. At Djeddah it assumed a comparatively mild form, only ten per cent, of the cases proving fatal. The pilgrims in their passage through Egypt communicated the disease, which unfortunately proved to be of a much more fatal type.

The cholera was also introduced into Turkey at the commencement of the Crimean war by a French steamer with troops from Algiers. On her arrival at Gallipoli it was whispered a few cases had occurred during her voyage. The troops were, however, landed; in a few days cholera raged, and the French lost upwards of 2,000 men from the disease in this town alone. From Gallipoli the disease was introduced into the French hospital at Abydos by a few patients attacked with the malady sent from thence. Neatly the whole of the other patients were shortly after taken with the cholera.

2. The disease from the Abydos hospital was communicated to the Dardanelles. The first persons attacked were the washer-woman and her daughter, who washed the dirty linen sent to them from the hospital; they died, and the malady soon spread in the town.

3. During the present outbreak of cholera, the precaution of placing in quarantine vessels and passengers from Alexandria has not prevented the malady from spreading beyond the vessels and boundaries of the lazarettos, as instanced as Constantinople, Smyrna, and the Dardanelles, where it commenced chiefly in the immediate neighborhood of the lazarettos. It is certain the Egyptian frigate should never have been admitted into the vicinity of Constantinople, nor the steamer from Alexandria allowed to anchor near Smyrna or the Dardanelles, still less the passengers landed in the different lazarettos. Security, as far as we can judge of this mysterious malady, can only be attained by an early attention in preventing vessels from infected places performing their quarantine near healthy towns; for although the disease may not develop itself with the same intensity in one place as another, owing to atmospheric and other causes, still there is no doubt that cholera can be communicated (when the vicinity is too close) through the medium of the air, malgré quarantine and all its present regulations. Some distant point should have been chosen for the complete isolation of vessels coming from Alexandria, and there to perform their quarantine; for instance, one of the numerous islands of the Archipelago, far away from any of the thickly populated towns in Turkey.

I am, &c.,

F. C.

Dardanelles, July 26.