Mr. Heap to Mr. Seward.
Sir: The results apprehended from the mortality occasioned by the great destitution and misery which have prevailed here for over a year, [Page 181]the neglect by the authorities of all sanitary laws, and their carelessness in the burial of the dead, are now being unfortunately realized.
A destructive epidemic is prevailing in this city and the principal towns of the regency, which, attacking all classes alike, has already carried off as many, if not more, victims among the foreigners residing here, as the cholera of last year. The disease is a malignant typhus, and it is impossible to guard against it, as the poor starving wretches dying in the streets convey the infection to our very doors.
The famine has considerably diminished. A large number of Arabs, estimated as one-half of this class of the population, have died, and the survivors now find in the herbs and roots they collect in the fields some means of subsistence.
I have received from the United States, and Americans abroad, liberal donations for the “suffering Arabs,” and have been able by these and other means to clothe and feed a considerable number of women and children, which I shall coutinue to do until harvest. Still more considerable sums have been sent to the English consul, who has bread distributed to several hundred Arabs daily.
I regret to say that the Bey has done nothing to mitigate the suffering among his people; on the contrary, when we complained to him of this neglect, he gave orders to collect all the wretched creatures found wandering in the streets and drive them to distant points in the country, where they die by hundreds, monthly, from hunger and disease.
As the promise of abundant harvests are now on the eve of being fully realized, I hope that this afflicted people will soon be able to find relief without being, as so many now are, entirely dependent on a precarious charity.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. William. H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.