Mr. McMath to Mr. Seward.

No. 51.]

Sir: It is with regret I have the honor to inform you that the cholera appeared in this city yesterday, and to-day our board of health commenced to issue touched bills of health. The disease appeared among a very wretched class of Moors and Jews who have been suffering for want of food and clothing. In consequence of the great influx of Moors who have been driven from their houses on the Riffian coast by famine, now collected within and about this city, I fear we shall have this scourge in its worst form. I have never before witnessed such extreme wretchedness and misery as now appears among the lower classes in this country. By reason of the partial failure of the last harvest, and the apprehension of a short harvest to come for the want of rain thus far during the winter months, the price of grain and breadstuffs has risen so high that they are absolutely beyond the reach of the poor, and but for private charity hundreds more would have already starved. The doors of our consulate are besieged day and night by the starving poor, and through the entire twenty-four hours one hears nothing but the cry for bread. This state of things will continue, if it does not grow worse, until next July, when, it is to be hoped, if our harvest fails not, the cry will cease. Some of my colleagues, and particularly the minister plenipotentiary of Spain, have had a fund placed in their hands by their governments to relieve to a certain degree the pressing wants of the poor, while others have contributed relief from their private purses. I respectfully suggest that if you can place a few hundred dollars in my hands for this purpose it shall be promptly and judiciously applied as a government charity, and together with what I shall continue to contribute out of my already overtaxed and small salary, it shall appear that our government is not behind others in relieving the pressing necessities of the starving and scourge-stricken poor.

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


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