THE TIMES (London) Wednesday April 25th 1866 page 14 column c
THE CHOLERA ON BOARD THE ENGLAND
Letters from Halifax state that cholera broke out among the German emigrants on board this vessel during her passage from Liverpool. She left the Mersey on the 28th of March and Queenstown on the 29th, and she had then over 1000 passengers, of whom 400 were Germans, on board. On the fifth day after leaving Queenstown cholera appeared among the steerage passengers, and raged with great virulence despite the efforts of two doctors, who were fortunately on board. By the time the England put into Halifax deaths were 46; and in two days after her arrival they had increased to 140. On the 11th of April when letters left there were 25 deaths per day. The whole of the deaths were among the steerage passengers and the crew; among the latter there were 5 deaths. The authorities at Halifax took prompt measures to alleviate the condition of the sufferers, and at the same time to prevent the spread of the disease. The Admiral sent down the hulk Pyramus as a hospital ship, and the Governor eighty tents, in which the healthy survivors were encamped on McNab's Island. The England has been placed in the care of Messrs. Cunard of Halifax and they are fumigating her as rapidly as possible. It is supposed that the outbreak of the disease is due to the dirty habits of the Germans and their great consumption of sauer-kraut.
THE TIMES (London) Monday April 30th 1866 page 12 column a
LATEST INTELLIGENCE (Reuter's Telegrams)
130 additional deaths have taken place on board the steamer England at Halifax. The disease is decreasing and there is no sickness among the cabin passengers. The Halifax physicians pronounced the disease to be decidedly cholera.
THE TIMES (London) Tuesday May 1st 1866 page 7 column c
Cholera at Sea
To the Editor of the Times:
The outbreak of cholera in its most virulent form on board the steamship England a few days after leaving this port for New York, full particulars of which have now come to hand, is a warning to us of such vital importance that we shall be most culpable if we do not take heed to it. Without recapitulating the facts already published regarding this outbreak I would draw attention to two or three points. It is clearly established that the cholera appeared first among the German passengers, and that it spread rapidly among them - satisfactory proofs that they brought the disease on board; the England is quite a new vessel, this being her first voyage. Now where did these Germans come from? From the very country where we learn by the latest intelligence that cholera has made its appearance - namely Holland. They were East Frieslanders and have been described to me as of the lowest class, stunted in growth, filthy in habits, dressed in linsey-woollen clothing, and in preference to the wholesome food provided for them, subsisting almost entirely on their saur-kraut (sic), an abominable mess of itself sufficient to disorder an Englishman's stomach. I mention these particulars as with overcrowding superadded, what happened only confirms an hygienic axiom that if such conditions exist such results are pretty sure to follow.
The next question is, how did they come to this country? And that is what we have to do with, for it concerns us most nearly. They came via Rotterdam to Hull, from there, by special arrangements with the East Lancashire Railway, to Liverpool, where they remained two or three days before sailing. Within the last few months this has become a much frequented route, offering in its cheapness and its directness great facilities to emigrants to America from the north of Europe. As cholera has broken out in two or three places in Holland, it is therefore advisable that stringent measures should be at once taken to prevent these emigrants, either on their arrival at Hull or in their transit on the railway from Hull to Liverpool, or while remaining in the latter place, leaving, as it were, the germs of the disease among us, as these latter would only need the hot months of summer to burst forth.
We have had an escape in that cholera did not break out among these poor Germans before they left our shores, and so spread to ourselves. Let us profit by the warning that the poison may exist and be carried about long before it developes (sic) into the disease, and that it can even remain innocuous if deprived of all favouring conditions.
The extreme language of the subject must be my apology for making this short space in your valuable column for this letter.
I am Sir yours &c.
Robert Hamilton, F.R.C.S.
1 Princes Road, Liverpool
Back to the S.S. England Page
Your comments and contributions are welcome. Please contact me Joe Miller firstname.lastname@example.org