Epidemic Cholera

This frightful form of Cholera Morbus, which made its appearance on the Banks of tha Ganges, in 1817, and successively through various countries and islands of the East, after having crossed to the Western shores of Europe, made its first appearance on our continent, on the Banks of the St Lawrence, in 1832 soon afterwards appearing at New York, and speedily extending it ravages to our City. About the middle of July, the vagrants and prisoners in the Arch Street prison (at that time.) located at the corner of Arch and Broad Streets, became suddenly affected with Spasmodic Cholera, and a large number died, within a few hours of the attack. The humanity of many of our citizens, was distinguishingly displayed on that occasion and John Swift, Esq. the late Mayor, deserves to be mentioned, for his courage and fortitude, at that time.

The City Councils and Board of Health had made arrangements to ascertain the nature and character of this new and terrific affection, by sending several distinguish medical gentlemen to Montreal as soon as it was known, that it had positively, made its appearance in the neighborhood of that City and agreeable to the advice of those gentlemen ample preparations were made by the organization of a number of City Hospitals, for the treatment of the disease, on its anticipated Invasion.

The public School Houses, in Chester Street, Locust Street, Lombard Street, Penn Street, Catharine Street, Sixth, near Catharine Street, and the public workshops, in Lombard Street, a building in Cherry Street, and a store house, in Jones's Alley, were all fitted up, with bedding, mattresses and all the appropriate apparatus for the occasion. And the Bush Hill Hospital was fitted up as a receptacle, for all the Convalescent patients, from the various establishments enumerated.

Each of the City Hospitals had a principal Physician and several assistants, with male and female Nurses, Sufficient to give prompt and energetic treatment to the patients: And every Hospital was provided with an apparatus, for transporting patients, in a recumbent posture, an expedient necessary to guard against asphyxia, which often occurred, from raising the patient from the horizontal position.

After the terror, which attended its first invasion had subsided, and the Hospital arrangements had got into full operation, the disease seemed decidedly, to yield to the Medical Science, displayed in its treatment, and ample means humanely placed at the disposal of the physicians and gentlemen charged with the care of the Hospitals.

Among those who distinguish themselves for their intrepidity, humanity, and benevolence, in this trying visitation, no man deserves a higher encomium, than the late Rev. Dr. Hurley. He gave up his dwelling house, in Crown Street, for the use of Cholera Patients, and he was instant is season, and out of season, to administer to their aid and comfort, even, freely opening his purse, to all those who needed his support: His Memory will be warmly cherished, by every benevolent heart. It would be highly unjust to omit to give the credit due to the religious order of Sisters of Charity, for their voluntary and fearless assistance in this epidemic.

It is believed, that no City in the Union, presented a more successful treatment of the Cholera, not more than 1,000 patients, having died of the disease, in a population of over 200,000, although the disease continued for more than six weeks gradually thereafter diminishing in number and violence. Doctor Samuel Jackson has published his personal observation, on the Cholera, which displays great scientific research, and accurate investigation.


History of Philadelphia

Source: A History of Philadelphia: With a Notice of Villages, in the Vicinity, Printed and published by Daniel Bowen, 1839

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