Mr. Morris to Mr. Seward
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Sir: I regret to state that the cholera still continues its ravages—the deaths for the last two weeks averaging, according to the official reports alone, about three hundred daily. The actual number is in excess of this estimate. It has spread over all the environs of Constantinople, and along both the Asiatic and European shores of the Bosphorus to the Black sea. Since the nights have grown cool, and the humidity has increased, it seems to have become more malignant, and to have assumed an almost contagious character.
Great consternation prevails among the population, and they are fleeing in all directions from the pestilence, many of them establishing themselves on remote mountain heights. The government has, at its own expense, transported over 80,000 of the laboring classes to ports on the Black sea, and it is safe to say that at least 150,000 people have left Constantinople. They seem to have carried the pestilence with them, for it has broken out at Trebizond, Sulina, at the mouth of the Danube, Salonica, Sansoum, and among the islands of the Grecian Archipelago.
Unfortunately, hardly any of the villages where Franks do not reside are provided with either physicians or pharmacies. In exclusively Mussulman villages, for want of medical aid, the mortality is very great and the epidemic has full sway. Apparently the weather is of the most salubrious character, the days being temperately warm, and the nights cool and refreshing, though humid. That the atmosphere is deranged, however, is evident from the fact that the slightest error in diet is sure to be followed by an attack of some of the premonitory symptoms of cholera. Vegetables, with the exception of potatoes, as well as fruits, are generally proscribed, and meats, such as beef, mutton, and poultry, constitute the staple food. These are the very articles, however, the most out of reach of the poor, and for want of means they are obliged to supply themselves with such cheap but pernicious food as melons, cucumbers, and other like vegetables.
Subscriptions have been raised on all sides to relieve the sufferings of the poor, many of whom, having lost the means of existence, actually perish with famine. The distress, destitution, and misery, is heart-rending and it is to be feared will be the prelude to yet sadder scenes in the coming winter.
It is generally supposed that the epidemic will prevail here, in a greater or less degree of intensity, to the month of October. It appears within the last few days to be very slowly declining.
Vessels arriving from any of the ports of the Ottoman empire are now released from quarantine restrictions.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State.