Mr. Seward to Mr. Hale.

No. 80]

Sir: Herewith I enclose a transcript of a communication from Mr. Emmons Clarke, secretary of the Metropolitan Board of Health, relative to the sanitary condition of certain ports of the United States. In consequence of the recent severe quarantine restrictions which have been imposed by the government of Spain upon vessels of the United States entering the ports of that country, I will thank you to bring the statements therein contained to the knowledge of the Spanish government.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


John P. Hale, Esq., &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Clarke to Mr. Seward.

Sir: I am directed by the Metropolitan Board of Health to forward to you the enclosed copy of a communication from Dr. Elisha Harris, corresponding secretary, and to inform you that it is the opinion of this board that the statements contained therein in respect to the health of the ports of the United States are reliable and correct.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Harris to Mr. Clarke.

Sir: I have the honor to call your attention to the fact, stated in the Washington despatches this morning, that the Spanish government has officially declared “ all ports in the United States foul with epidemic cholera and epidemic yellow fever.”

Though the amount of commercial intercourse with the ports of Spain and the countries up the Mediterranean is not so great as with the Atlantic ports of Europe, it still is sufficient to render the operation of the Spanish quarantines vexatious and burdensome to the commercial interests of the northern ports of the United States; and unless those ports are actually foul, the sanitary authorities and the merchants of Spanish ports will probably be as glad to forego the application of quarantine restrictions as our own shipping merchants to those ports would be to escape such embarrassments.

Permit me, therefore, to state the fact that, from the ports of the Chesapeake, or 38 degrees north latitude, to the most northern limits of the United States, east of the Allegheny mountains, neither yellow fever nor cholera now prevails, and that no port upon all this northern section of our coast has been infected by either of those epidemics the present year. And, further, that the small amount of Asiatic cholera that has existed at military posts, and in a limited district of New York, has not endangered commerce, and is not, and will not, be a source of danger to Spanish ports. Moreover, that yellow fever never has been conveyed to any European port from any portion of this northern coast, even when it was epidemic in some of its ports; and that, as it is not epidemic in any port north of Mobile, (latitude 31°,) [Page 531] and does not exist in any form in New York, except in West Indian and Gulf ships, under strict quarantine, it seems to be a duty to suggest to his excellency the Secretary of State at Washington, that it is desirable the government of Spain, and especially that the United States consuls at Malaga and Port Mahon should be informed of these facts.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ELISHA HARRIS, M.D., Corresponding Secretary and Beg. M.B. H.

Emmons Clarke, Secretary Metropolitan Board of Health.

Hon. I. S. Shultz, President Metropolitan Board of Health.