BEFORE I enter on the consideration of this disorder, it may not be improper to offer a few introductory remarks on the situation of Philadelphia previous to its commencement, which will reflect light on some of the circumstances mentioned in the course of the narrative.
The manufactures, trade' and commerce of this city, had, for a considerable time, been improving and extending with great rapidity. From the period of the adoption of the federal government, at which time America was at the lowest ebb of distress, her situation had progressively become more and more prosperous. Confidence, formerly banished, was universally restored. Property of every kind rose to, and in many instances beyond, its real value: and a few revolving years exhibited the interesting spectacle of a young country, with a new form of government, emerging from a state which had approached very near to anarchy, and acquiring all the stability and nerve of the best-toned and oldest nations.
In this prosperity' which revived the almost extinguished hopes of four millions of people, Philadelphia participated in an eminent degree. Numbers of new houses, in almost every street, built in a very neat, elegant style, adorned, at the same time that they greatly enlarged, the city. Its population was extending fast. House-rent had risen to an extravagant height; it was in many cases double, and in some treble what it had been a year or two before; and, as is generally the case, when a city is advancing in prosperity, it far exceeded the real increase of trade. The number of applicants for houses, exceeding the number of houses to be let, one bid over another; and affairs were in such a situation, that many people, though they had a tolerable run of business, could hardly do more than clear their rents, and were, Literally, toiling for their landlords alone. Luxury, the usual, and perhaps inevitable concomitant of prose perity, was gaining ground in a manner very alarming to those who considered how far the virtue, the liberty, and the happiness of a nation depend on its temperance and sober manners. Many of our citizens had been, for some timed in the imprudent habit of regulating their expenses by prospects formed in sanguine hours, when every probability was caught at as a certainty, not by their actual profits, or income. The number of coaches, coachees, chairs, lately set up by men in the middle rank of life, is hardly credible. Not to enter into a minute detail, let it suffice to remark, that extravagance, in various forms, was gradually eradicating the plain and wholesome habits of the city.
However, from November, 1792, to the end of last June, the difficulties of Philadelphia were extreme. The establishment of the Bank of Pennsylvania, in embryo for the most part of that time, had arrested in the two other banks such a quantity of the circulating specie, as embarrassed almost every kind of business; to this was added the distress arising from the very numerous failures in England, which had extremely harassed several of our capital merchants. During this period, many men experienced as great difficulties as were ever known in this city. But the commencement, in July of the operations of the Bank of Pennsylvania' conducted on the most generous and enlarged principles' placed business on its former favourable footing. Every man looked forward to the coming autumn as likely to produce a vast extension of trade. But how fleeting are all human views! how uncertain all plans founded on earthly appearances! All these flattering prospects vanished "like the baseless fabric of a vision."
In July, arrived the unfortunate fugitives from Cape Francois. And on this occasion, the liberality of Philadelphia was displayed in a most respectable point of light. Nearly 12,000 dollars were in a few days collected for their relief. Little alas! did many of the contributors, then in easy circumstances, imagine, that a few weeks would leave their wives and children dependent on public charity, as has since unfortunately happened:--an awful instance of the rapid and warning vicissitudes of affairs on this transitory stage.
About this time, the destroying scourge, the malignant fever, crept in among us, and nipped in the bud the fairest blossoms that imagination could form. And oh! what a dreadful contrast has since taken place! Many women, then in the lap of ease and contentment, are bereft of beloved husbands' and left with numerous families of children to maintain, unqualified for the arduous task--many orphans are destitute of parents to foster and protect them--many entire families are swept away, without leaving " a trace behind"--many of our first commercial houses are totally dissolved, by the death of the parties, and their affairs are necessarily left in so deranged a state, that the losses and distresses which must take place, are beyond estimation.1
"THE symptoms which characterized the first stage of the fever, were, in the greatest number of cases, after a chilly fit of some duration, a quick, tense pulse--hot skin--pain in the head, back, and limbs--flushed countenance--inflamed eye--moist tongue--oppression and sense of soreness at the stomach, especially upon pressure--frequent sick qualms, and retchings to vomit, without discharging any thing, except the contents last taken into the stomach--costiveness. And when stools were procured, the first generally showed a defect of bile, or an obstruction to its entrance into the intestines. But brisk purges generally altered this appearance.
"These symptoms generally continued with more or less violence from one to three, four, or even five days; and then gradually abating, left the patient free from every complaint, except general debility. On the febrile symptoms suddenly subsiding, they were immediately succeeded by a yellow tinge in the opaque cornea, or whites of the eyes--an increased oppression at the praecordia--a constant puking of every thing taken into the stomach, with much straining, accompanied with a hoarse, hollow noise.
"If these symptoms were not soon relieved, a vomiting of matter, resembling coffee grounds in colour and consistence, commonly called the black vomit, sometimes accompanied with, or succeeded by haemorrhages from the nose, fauces, gums, and other parts of the body--a yellowish purple colour, and putrescent appearance of the whole body, hiccup, agitations, deep and distressed sighing, comatose delirium, and finally, death. When the disease proved fatal, it was generally between the fifth and eighth days.
"This was the most usual progress of this formidable disease, through its several stages. There were, however, very considerable variations in the symptoms, as well as in the duration of its different stages, according to the Constitution and temperment of the patient, the state of the weather, the manner of treatment.
"In some cases, signs of putrescency appeared at the beginning, or before the end of the third day. In these, the black vomiting, which was generally a mortal symptom, and universal yellowness, appeared early. In these cases,also, a low delirium, and great prostration of strength, were constant symptoms, and coma came on very speedily.
"In some, the symptoms inclined more to the nervous than the inflammatory type. In these, the jaundiced colour of the eye and skin, and the black vomiting, were more rare. But in the majority of cases, particularly after the nights became sensibly cooler, all the symptoms indicated violent irritation and inflammatory diathesis. In these cases, the skin was always dry, and the remissions very obscure.
"The febrile symptoms, however, as has been already observed, either gave way on the third, fourth, or fifth day; and then the patient recovered; or they were soon after succeeded by a different, but much more dangerous train of symptoms, by debility, low pulse, cold skin, (which assumed a tawny colour, mixed with purple) black vomiting, hemorrages, hiccup, anxiety, restlessness, coma. Many, who survived the eighth day, though apparently out of danger, died suddenly in consequence of an hemorrhage."
This disorder having been new to nearly all our physicians, it is not surprising' although it has been exceedingly fatal, that there arose such a discordance of sentiment on the proper mode of treatment, and even with respect to its name. Dr. Rush has acknowledged, with a candour that does him honour, that in the commencement, he so far mistook the nature of the disorder, that in his early essays, having depended on gentle purges of salts to purify the bowels of his patients, they all died. He then tried the mode of treatment adopted in the West Indies, viz. bark, wine, laudanum, and the cold bath' and failed in three cases out of four. Afterwards he had recourse to strong purges of calomel and Flap, and to bleeding, which he found attended with singular success.
The honour of the first essay of mercury in this disorder, is by many ascribed to Dr. Hodge and Dr. Carson, who are said to have employed it a week before Dr. Rush. On this point, I cannot pretend to decide. But whoever was the first to introduce it, one thing is certain, that its efficacy was great, and rescued many from death. I have known, however, some persons,who, I have every reason to believe, fell sacrifices to the great reputation this medicine acquired; for in several instances it was administered in immoderate quantities' in which case, with persons of a previous lax habit, it brought on a speedy dissolution.
The demand for purges of calomel and jalap, was so great, that some of the apothecaries could not mix up every dose in detail; but mixed a large quantity of each, in the ordered proportions; and afterwards divided it into doses; by which means, it often happened that one patient had a much larger portion of calomel, and another of jalap, than was intended by the doctors. The fatal consequences of this may be easily conceived.
An intelligent citizen, who has highly distinguished himself by his attention to the sick, says, that he found the disorder generally come on with costiveness; and unless that was removed within the first twelve hours, he hardly knew any person to recover; on the contrary, he says, as few died, on whom the cathartics operated within that time.
The efficacy of bleeding, in all cases not attended with putridity, was great. The quantity of blood taken was in many cases astonishing. Dr. Griffits was bled seven times in five days, and appears to ascribe his recovery principally to that operation. Dr. Mease, in five days, lost seventy-two ounces of blood, by which he was r ecovered when at the lowest stage of the disorder. Many others were bled still more, and are now as well as ever they were.
Dr. Rush and Dr. Wistar have spoken very favourably of the salutary effects of cold air, and cool drinks, in this disorder. The latter says, that he found more benefit from cold ails than from any other remedy. He lay delirious, and in severe pain, between a window and a door, the former of which was open. The wind suddenly changed, and blew full upon him, cold and raw. Its effect was so grateful, that he soon recovered from his delirium--his pain left him--in an hour he became perfectly reasonable--and his fever abated.
A respectable citizen who had the fever himself, and likewise watched its effects on eleven of his family, who recovered from it, has informed me, that a removal of the sick from a close, warm room to one a low degrees cooler, which practice he employed several times daily, produced a most extraordinary and favourable change in their appearance, in their pulse, and in their spirits.
IT was some time before the disorder attracted public notice. It had in the meanwhile swept off many persons. Thc first death that was a subject of general conversation, was that of Peter Aston, on the 19th of August, after a few days illness. Mrs. Lemaigre's, on the day following, and Thomas Miller's, on the 25th, with those of some others, after short sicknesses, spread an universal terror.
The removals from Philadelphia began about the 25th or 26th of this month: and so great was the general terror, that, for some weeks, carts, wagons, coachees, gigs, and chairs, were almost constantly transporting families. and furniture to the country in every direction. Many people shut up their houses wholly; others left servants to take care of them. Business became extremely dull. Mechanics and artists were unemployed; and the streets wore the appearance of gloom and melancholy.
The first official notice of the disorder, was on the 22d of August, on which day the Mayor of Philadelphia, Matthew Clarkson, Esq. wrote to the city commissioners; and after acquainting them with the state of the city'issued most peremptory orders, to have the streets properly cleaned and purified by the scavengers, and all the filth immediately hauled away. These orders were repeated on the 27th, and similar ones given to the clerks of the market.
The 26th of the same month, the college of physicians had a meeting, at which they took into consideration the nature of the disorder, and the means of prevention and of cure. They published an address to the citizens, signed by the president and secretary, recommending " to avoid all unnecessary intercourse with the infected; to place marks on the doors or Windows where they were; to pay great attention to cleanliness and airing the rooms of the sick; to provide a large and airy hospital in the neighbourhood of the city for their reception; to put a stop to the tolling of the bells; to convey to the burying ground, those who died of the disorder, in carriages, and as privately as possible; to keep the streets and wharves clean; to avoid all fatigue of body and mind, and standing or sitting in the sun, or in the open air; to accommodate the dress to the weather, and to exceed rather in warm than in cool clothing; and to avoid intemperance; but to use fermented liquors, such as wine, beer and cider, with moderation. They likewise declared their opinion, that fires in the streets were very dangerous, if not ineffectual means of stopping the progress of the fever, and that they placed more dependence on the burning of gunpowder. The benefits of vinegar and camphor, they added, were confined chiefly to infected rooms; and they could not be too often used on handkerchiefs, or in smelling bottles, by persons who attended the sick."
In consequence of this address, the bells were immediately stopped from tolling. The expedience of this measure was obvious; as they had before been almost constantly ringing the whole day, so as to terrify those in health, and drive the sick, as far as the influence of imagination could produce that effect, to their graves. An idea had gone abroad, that the burning of fires in the streets, would have a tendency to purify the air, and arrest the progress of the disorder. The people had, therefore, almost every night, large fires lighted at the corners of the streets. The 29th, the Mayor, conformably with the opinion of the college of physicians, published a proclamation, forbidding this practice. As a substitute, many had recourse to the firing of guns, which they imagined was a certain preventive of the disorder. This was carried so far, and attended with such danger, that it was forbidden by an ordinance of the Mayor.
The 29th, the Governor of the state wrote a letter to the Mayor, strongly enforcing the necessity of the most vigorous and decisive exertions " to prevent the extension of, and to destroy, the evil." He desired that the various directions given by the college of physicians, should be carried into effect. The same day, in his address to the legislature, he acquainted them, that a contagious disorder existed in the city; and that he had taken every proper measure to ascertain the origin, nature, and extent of it. He likewise assured them that the health-officer and physician of the port, would take every precaution to allay and remove the public inquietude.
The number of the infected daily increasing, and the existence of an order against the admission of persons labouring under infectious diseases into the Alms House, precluding them from a refuge there (2) some temporary place was requisite; and three of the guardians of the poor, about the 26th of August, took possession of the circus, in which Mr. Ricketts had lately exhibited his equestrian feats, being the only place that could be then procured for the purpose. Thither they sent seven persons afflicted with the malignant fever, where they lay in the open air for some time, and without any assistance.3 Of these, one crawled out on the commons, where he died at a distance from the houses. Two died in the circus, one of whom was seasonably removed; the other lay in a state of putrefaction for above forty-eight hours, owing to the difficulty of procuring a person to remove him. On this occasion occurred an instance of courage in a servant girl, of which at that time few men were capable. The carter, who finally undertook to remove the corpse, having no assistant, and being unable alone to put it into the coffin, was on the point of relinquishing his design, and quitting the place. The girl perceived him, and understanding the difficulty he laboured under, offered her services, provided he would not inform the family with whom she lived.4 She accordingly helped him to put the body into the coffin, though it was, by that time, in the most loathsome state of putrefaction. It gives me pleasure to add, that she still lives, notwithstanding her very hazardous exploit.
The inhabitants of the neighbourhood of the circus took the alarm, and threatened to burn or destroy it, unless the sick were removed; and it is believed they would have actually carried their threats into execution' had compliance been delayed a day longer.
The 29th, seven of the guardians of the poor had a conference with some of the city magistrates on the subject of the fever, at which it was agreed to be indispensably necessary, that a suitable house, as an hospital, should be provided near the city, for the reception of the infected poor.
In consequence, in the evening of the same day, the guardians of the poor agreed to sundry resolutions, viz. to use their utmost exertions to procure a house, of the above description, for an hospital, (out of town, and as near thereto as might be practicable, consistently with the safety of the inhabitants,) for the poor who were or might be afflicted with contagious disorders, and lie of the means of providing necessary assistance otherwise; to engage physicians, nurses, attendants and all necessaries for their relief in that house, to appoint proper persons in each district, to inquire after such poor as might be afflicted; to administer assistance to them in their own houses, and; if necessary, to remove them to the hospital. They reserved to themselves, at the same time, the liberty of drawing on the Mayor for such sums as might be necessary to carry their plans into effect.
Conformably with these resolves, a committee of the guardians was appointed, to make inquiry for a suitable place; and on due examination, they judged that a building adjacent to Bushhill, the mansion house of William Hamilton, Esq. was the best calculated for the purpose. That gentleman was then absent, and had no agent in the city; and the great urgency of the case admitting no delay, eight of the guardians, accompanied by Hilary Baker, Esq. one of the city aldermen, with the concurrence of the Governor, proceeded, on the 31st of August, to the building they had fixed upon; and meeting with some opposition from a tenant who occupied it, they took possession of the mansion-house itself, to which, on the same evening, they sent the four patients who remained at the circus.
Shortly after this, the guardians of the poor for the City, except James Wilson, Jacob Tomkins, Jun. and William Sansom ceased the performance of their duties, nearly the whole of them having removed out of the city. Before this virtual vacation of office, they passed a resolve against the admission of any paupers whatever into the Alms House during the prevalence of the disorder.5 The whole care of the poor of the city the providing for Bushhill, sending the sick there, and burying the dead, devolved, therefore, on the above three guardians.
THE consternation of the people of Philadelphia, at this period, was carried beyond all bounds. Dismay and affright were visible in almost every person's countenance. Most of those who could' by any means, make it convenient, fled from the city. Of those who remained, many shut themselves up in their horses, being afraid to walk the streets. The smoke of tobacco being regarded as a preventive, many persons, even women and small boys, had segars almost constantly in their mouths. Others, placing full confidence in garlic, chewed it almost the whole day; some kept it in their pockets and shoes. Many were afraid to allow the barbers or hair-dressers to come near them, as instances had occurred of some of them having shaved the dead, and many having engaged as bleeders. Some, who carried their caution pretty far, bought lancets for themselves, not daring to allow themselves to be bled with the lancets of the bleeders. Many houses were scarcely a moment in the day, free from the smell of gunpowder, burned tobacco, nitre, sprinkled vinegar. Some of the churches were almost deserted, and others wholly closed. The coffee-house was shut up, as was the city library, and most of the public offices--three, out of the four, daily papers were discontinued,6 as were some of the others. Many devoted no small portion of their time to purifying, scouring, and whitewashing their rooms. Those who ventured abroad, had handkerchiefs or sponges, impregnated with vinegar or camphor, at their noses, or smelling-bottles full of thieves' vinegar. Others carried pieces of tarred rope in their hands or pockets, or camphor bags tied round their necks. The corpses of the most respectable citizens, even of those who had not died of the epidemic, were carried to the grave on the shafts of a chair, the horse driven by a negro, unattended by a friend or relation, and without any sort of ceremony. People uniformly and hastily shifted their course at the sight of a hearse coming towards them. Many never walked on the foot-path, but went into the middle of the streets, to avoid being infected in passing houses wherein people had died. Acquaintances and friends avoided each other in the streets, and only signified their regard by a cold nod. The old custom of shaking hands, fell into such general disuse, that many shrunk back with airtight at even the offer of the hand. A person with a crepe, or any appearance of mourning, was shunned like a viper. And many valued themselves highly on the skill and address with which they got to windward of every person whom they met. Indeed it is not probable that London, at the last stage of the plague, exhibited stronger marks of terror, than were to be seen in Philadelphia, from the 25th or 26th of August, till late in September. When the citizens summoned resolution to walk abroad, and take the air, the sick cart conveying patients to the hospital, or the hearse carrying the dead to the grave, which were travelling almost the whole day soon damped their spirits, and plunged them again into despondency.
While affairs were in this deplorable state, and people at the lowest ebb of despair, we cannot be astonished at the frightful scenes that were acted, which seemed to indicate a total dissolution of the bonds of society in the nearest and dearest connexions. Who, without horror, can reflect on a husband, married perhaps for twenty years, deserting his wife in the last agony--a wife, unfeelingly, abandoning her husband on his death bed--parents forsaking their children--children ungratefully flying from their parents, and resigning them to chance, often without an inquiry after their health or safety--masters hurrying off their faithful servants to Bushhill, even on suspicion of the fever, and that at a time, when, almost like Tartarus, it was open to every visitant, but rarely returned any--servants abandoning tender and humane masters, who only wanted a little care to restore them to health and usefulness--who, I say, can think of these things, without horror? Yet they were often exhibited throughout our city; and such was the force of habit, that the parties who were guilty of this cruelty, felt no remorse themselves--nor met with the censure from their fellow citizens, which such conduct would have excited at any other period. Indeed, at this awful crisis, so much did self appear to engross the whole attention of many, that in some cases not more concern was felt for the loss of a parent, a husband, a wife, or an only child, than, on other occasions, would have been caused by the death of a faithful servant.
This kind of conduct produced scenes of distress and misery, of which parallels are rarely to be met with, and which nothing could palliate, but the extraordinary public panic, and the great law of self-preservation, the dominion of which extends over the whole animated world. Men of affluent fortunes, who have given daily employment and sustenance to hundreds, have been abandoned to the care of a negro, after their wives, children, friends, clerks, and servants, had fled away, and left them to their fate. In some cases, at the commencement of the disorder, no money could procure proper attendance. With the poor, the case was, as might be expected, infinitely worse than with the rich. Many of these have perished, without a human being to hand them a drink of water, to administer medicines, or to perform any charitable office for them. Various instances have occurred, of dead bodies found lying in the streets, of persons who had no house or habitation, and could procure no shelter.7
A man and his wife, once in affluent circumstances, were found lying dead in bed, and between them was their child, a little infant, who was sucking its mother's breast. How long they had lain thus, was uncertain.
A woman, whose husband had just died of the fever, was seized with the pains of parturition, and had nobody to assist her, as the women in the neighbourhood were afraid to go into the house. She lay, for a considerable time, in a degree of anguish that will not bear description. At length, she struggled to reach the windows, and cried out for assistance. Two men, passing by, went up stairs; but they came at too late a stage.-- She was striving with death--and actually, in a few minutes, expired in their arms.
Another woman, whose husband and two children lay dead in the room with her, was in the same situation as the former, without a midwife, or any other person to aid her. Her cries at the window brought up one of the carters employed by the committee for the relief of the sick. With his assistance she was delivered a child, which died in a few minutes, as did the mother, who was utterly exhausted by her labour, by the disorder, and by the dreadful spectacle before her. And thus lay, in one room, no less than five dead bodies, an entire family, carried off within a few hours. Instances have occurred, of respectable women, who, in their lying-in, have been obliged to depend on their maid-servants, for assistance--and some have had none but from their husbands. Some of the midwives were dead--and others had left the city.
A servant girl, belonging to a family in this city, in which the fever had prevailed, was apprehensive of danger, and resolved to remove to a relation s house, in the country. She was, however, taken sick on the road, and returned to town, where she could find no person to receive her. One of the guardians of the poor provided a cart, and took her to the Alms House, into which she was refused admittance. She was brought back, but the guardian could not procure her a single night's lodging. And in fine, after every effort made to provide her shelter, she absolutely expired in the cart. This occurrence took place before Bushhill hospital was opened.
To relate all the frightful cases of this nature that occurred, would fill a volume. To pass them over wholly would have been improper--to dwell on them longer would be painful. Let these few, therefore, suffice. But I must observe, that most of them happened in the first stage of the public panic. Afterwards, when the citizens recovered a little from their fright, they became rare.
These horrid circumstances having a tendency to throw a shade over the human character, it is proper to shed a little light on the subject, wherever justice and truth will permit. Amidst the general abandomnent of the sick that prevailed there were to be found many illustrious instances of men and women, some in the middle, others in the lower spheres of life, who in the exercise of the duties of humanity, exposed themselves to dangers, which terrified men, who had often faced death without fear, in the field of battle. Some of them, alas! have fallen in the good cause! But why should they be regretted? never could they have fallen more gloriously. Foremost in this noble groupe stands Joseph Inskeep, a most excellent man in all the social relations of citizen, brother, husband, and friend.--To the sick and the forsaken has he devoted his hours, to relieve and comfort them in their tribulation, and his kind assistance was dealt out with almost equal freedom to an utter stranger as to his bosom friend. Numerous are the instances of men restored, by his kind cares and attention, to their families7, from the very jaws of death.--In various cases has he been obliged to put dead bodies into coffins, when the relations had fled from the mournful and dangerous office. The merit of Andrew Adgate., Joab Jones, James Wilson, Jacob Tomkins, and Daniel Offley, in the same way, was conspicuous, and of the last importance to numbers of distressed creatures, bereft of every other comfort. The Rev. Mr. Fleming, the Rev. Mr. Graessel and the Rev. Mr. Winkhause, exhausted themselves by a succession of labours, day and night, attending on the sick, and ministering relief to their spiritual and temporal wants.
Of those who have happily survived their dangers, and are preserved to their fellow citizens, I shall mention a few. They enjoy the supreme reward of a self-approving conscience; and I readily believe, that in the most secret recesses, remote from the public eye, they would have done the same. But next to the sense of having done well, is the approbation of our friends and fellow men; and when the debt is great, and the only payment that can be made is applause, it is surely the worst species of avarice, to withhold it. We are always ready, too ready, alas! to bestow censure--and, as if anxious lest we should not give enough,we generally heap the measure. When we are so solicitous to deter by reproach from folly, vice, and crime, why not be equally disposed To stimulate to virtue and heroism, by freely bestowing the well earned plaudit? Could I suppose that in any future equally-dangerous emergency, the opportunity I have seized of bearing my feeble testimony, in favour of those worthy persons, would be a means of exciting others to emulate their heroic virtue, it would afford me the highest consolation I have ever experienced.
The Rev. Henry Helmuth's merits are of the most exalted kind. His whole time, during the prevalence of the disorder, was spent in the performance of works of mercy, visiting and relieving the sick, comforting the afflicted, and feeding the hungry. Of his congregation, some hundreds have paid the last debt to nature, since the malignant fever began; and I believe he attended nearly the whole of them. To so many dangers was he exposed, that he stands a living miracle of preservation. The Rev. C. V. Keating, the Rev. Mr. Ustick, and the Rev. Mr. Dickens, have been in the same career, and performed their duties to the sick with equal fidelity, and with equal danger. The venerable old citizen, Samuel Robeson, has been like a good angel, indefatigably performing, in families where there was not one person able to help another, even the menial offices of the kitchen, in every part of his neighbourhood. Thomas Allibone, Lambert Wilmer, Levi Hollingsworth, John Barker, Hannah Paine, John Hutchinson, and great numbers of others have distinguished themselves by the kindest offices of disinterested humanity. Magnus Miller, Samuel Coates, and other good citizens, in that time of pinching distress and difficulty, advanced sums of money to individuals whose resources were cut off, and who, though accustomed to a life of independence, were absolutely destitute of the means of subsistence. And as the widow's mite has been mentioned in scripture with so much applause, let me add, that a worthy widow, whose Name I am grieved I cannot mention, came to the city-hall, and, out of her means, which are very moderate, offered the committee twenty dollars for the relief of the poor. John Connelly has spent hours beside the sick, when their wives and children had abandoned them. Twice did he catch the disorder--twice was he on the brink of the grave, which was yawning to receive him--yet, unappalled by the imminent danger he had escaped, he again returned to the charge. I feel myself affected at this part of my subject, with emotions, which I fear my unanimated style is ill calculated to transfuse into the breast of my reader. I wish him to dwell on this part of the picture, with a degree of exquisite pleasure equal to what I feel in the description. When we view man in this light, we lose sight of his feebleness, his imperfection, his vice --he resembles, in a small degree, that divine Being, who is an inexhaustible mine of mercy and goodness. And, as a human being, I rejoice, that it has fallen to my lot, to be a witness and recorder of a magnanimity, which would alone be sufficient to rescue the character of mortals from obloquy and reproach.
RARELY has it happened, that so large a proportion of the gentlemen of the faculty have sunk beneath the labours of their very dangerous profession, as on this occasion. In five or six weeks, exclusive of medical students, no less than ten physicians have been swept off, Doctors Hutchinson, Morris, Linn, Pennington, Dodds, Johnson, Glentworth, Phile, Graham and Green. Scarcely one of the practicing doctors who remained in the city, escaped sickness. Some were three, four, and five times confined.
To the clergy it has likewise proved very fatal. Exposed, in the exercise of the last duties to the dying, to equal danger with the physicians, it is not surprising that so many of them have fallen. Their names are, the Rev. Alexander Murray, of the Protestant Episcopal church--the Rev. F. A. Fleming and the Rev. Laurence Graessl of the Roman Catholic--the Rev. John Winkhause, of the German Reformed--the Rev. James Sproat, of the Presbyterian--the Rev. William Dougherty, of the Methodist church--and likewise four noted preachers of the Friends society, Daniel Offley, Huson Langstroth, Michael Minier, and Charles Williams. Seven clergymen have been in the greatest danger from this disorder, the Rev. R. Blackwell, Rev. Joseph Pilmore, Rev. William Rogers, Rev. Christopher V. Keating, Rev. Frederic Schmidt, the Rev. Joseph Turner, and the Rev. Robert Annan; but they have all recovered.
Among the women, the mortality has not, by any means, been so great, as among the men,8 nor among the old and infirm as among the middle-aged and robust.
To tipplers and drunkards, and gourmands, and persons of a corpulent habit of body, this disorder was very fatal. Of these, many were seized, and.the recoveries were very rare.
To the Filles de joie, it has been equally fatal. The wretched, debilitated state of their constitutions, rendered them an easy prey to this dreadful disorder, which very soon terminated their miserable career.
To hired servant maids it has been very destructive. Numbers of them fled away--of those who remained, very many fell, who had behaved with an extraordinary degree of fidelity.
It has been dreadfully destructive among the poor. It is very probable, that at least seven-eighths of the number of the dead, were of that class. The inhabitants of dirty houses have severely expiated their neglect of cleanliness and decency, by the numbers of them that have fallen sacrifices. Whole families, in such houses, have sunk into one silent, undistinguishing grave.
The mortality in confined streets, small alleys, and close houses, debarred of a free circulation of air, has, as might naturally be expected, exceeded, in a great proportion, that in the large streets and well-aired houses. In some of the alleys, third or fourth of the whole of the inhabitants are no more. In thirty houses, the whole number in Pewter Platter alley, thirty-two people died: but in a part of Market street, containing one hundred and seventy houses, only-thirty nine. The streets in the suburbs, which had the benefit of a free circulation of air, especially towards the west part of the city, have suffered little. Of the wide, airy streets, none lost so many people as Arch, near Water street, which may be accounted for, by its proximity to the original seat of the disorder. It is tb be particularly remarked, that in general, the more remote the streets were from Water street, the less of the calamity they experienced.
From the effects of this disorder the French newly settled in Philadelphia, have been in a very remarkable degree exempt.9 To what this may be owing, is a subject deserving particular investigation.10 By some it has been ascribed to their despising the danger. But, though this may have had some effect, it will not certainly account for it altogether; as it is well known that many of the most courageous persons in Philadelphia, have been among its victims. By many of the French, the great fatality of the disorder has been attributed to the vast quantities of crude and unwholesome fruits brought to our markets, and consumed by all classes of people.
When the yellow fever prevailed in South Carolina, the negroes, according to that accurate observer, Dr. Lining, were wholly free from it. "There is something very singular in the constitution of the negroes," says he, "which renders them not liable to this fever; for though many of them were as much exposed as the nurses to this infection, yet I never knew one instance of this fever among them' though they are equally subject with the white people to the bilious fever."11 The same idea prevailed for a considerable time in Philadelphia; but it was erroneous. They did not escape the disorder; however, there were scarcely any of them seized at first, and the number that were finally affected, was not great; and it is asserted, by an eminent doctor, "it yielded to the power of medicine in them more easily than in the whites." The error that prevailed on this subject had a salutary effect; for, at an early period of the disorder, few white nurses could be procured; and, had the negroes been equally terrified, the sufferings of the sick, great as they actually were, would have been exceedingly aggravated. At the period alluded to, the elders of the African church met, and offered their assistance to the Mayor, to procure nurses for the sick, and aid in burying the dead. Their offers were accepted; and Absalom Jones, Richard Allen, and William undertook the management of these two several services. The great demand for nurses, afforded an opportunity for imposition, which was eagerly seized by some of those who acted in that capacity, both coloured and white. They extorted two, three, four, and even five dollars a night for such attendance, as would have been well paid for, by a single dollar. Some of them were even detected in plundering the houses of the sick.
On examining the books of the hospital at Bushhill, it appears, that there were nearly twenty coloured people received there, of whom about three-fourths died.
THOSE who reflect on the many shocking cases of cruelty and desertion of friends and relations which occurred in Philadelphia, however they may regret, cannot be surprised that in the country, and in various towns and cities, inhumanity should be experienced by Philadelphians, from strangers. The universal consternation extinguished in people's breasts the most honourable feelings of human nature; and in this case, as in various others, the suspicion operated as injuriously as the reality. Many travellers from this city, exhausted with fatigue and with hunger, have been refused shelter and sustenance, and have fallen victims to the fears, not to the walls of charity, of those to whom they applied for relief.12 Instances of this kind have occurred on almost every road leading from Philadelphia. People under suspicion of having this disorder, have been forced by their fellow travellers to quit the stages, and it is said, have perished in the woods without a possibility of procuring assistance. It is reported that at Easton, in Maryland, a wagon-load of goods from Philadelphia was actually burned; but for the truth of the report I do not vouch, and presume it cannot be correct.
In a town in Jersey, an association was entered into to prevent all intercourse with Philadelpllia, and the inhabitants agreed to mount guard, alternately. One man, who was principled against this severity, refused to do duty, or join in the combination. He was advertised, and all people forbidden to have any communication with him--indeed he was absolutely refused the necessaries of life--a butcher, who passed his door, told him, when applied to for provisions, that he had meat enough, but none for him. Having gone, for a short time, from home, in the direction towards Philadelphia, but not within thirty miles of the city, the sentinel on duty stopped him on his return--and he persisting in his determination to proceed, the other presented his firelock, and it is supposed would have shot him, but for the interference of a third person.
The son of a citizen of Philadelphia arrived at a town in Virginia fourteen days before the time of fixing the quarantine, which was for twenty days. However, he was still obliged to undergo the full quarantine after that time, which made thirty-four days, exclusive of above six days spent on the road.
An emigrant from Philadelphia, who had been away nearly three weeks, had to cross a ferry in the neighbouring state, and was provided with proper certificates of the length of time he was absent. He got into the scow, with his wife, and carriage, and was rowed over to the opposite side. There he was refused permission to land, as he had not a certificate from a particular magistrate in that part of the country. He leaped out of the scow, on a rock, and the sentinel swore he would blow his brains out, if he advanced a step farther. His wife, who was in the boat, was under the most dreadful apprehensions, as the ferrymen were drunk, the horses in the carriage fretful, and the wind high. In spite of his intreaties, and his offers to prove the length of his absence, he was obliged to return in quest of the magistrate pointed out. When he arrived at his house, which was several miles from the ferry, the justice concealed himself, through fear of catching the disorder. He then went to another, some miles further back. By the time he returned to the ferry, it was nine o'clock, and he had to wait till next morning.
A poor man was taken sick on the road at a village not far from Philadelphia. He lay calling for water a considerable time in vain. At length, an old woman brought a pitcher full, and not daring to approach him, she laid it at a distance, desiring him to crawl to it, which he did. After lying there about forty-eight hours, he died; and the body lay in a state of putrefaction for some time, until the neighhours hired two black butchers to bury him, for twenty-four dollars. They dug a pit to windward--with a fork, hooked a rope about his neck--dragged him into it--and, at as great a distance as possible, cast earth into the pit to cover him.
In a small town not far distant from Philadelphia, very arbitrary attempts were unfeelingly made to oblige one of our fugitives to mount guard against his own fellow citizens. He refused; and finding him resolute against every effort, they were obliged to desist.
The 17th of September, the western shore Baltimore stage was stopped about two miles from that town, by an armed guard. The hour of arrival was about eight o'clock at night. There was a tavern at pistol shot from the place. But the tavern keeper refused to receive the passengers, twelve in number. They were detained on the road all night without any shelter but the stage, in which they dozed a part of the night; during the remainder of it, they lay before a fire which they had kindled in the woods. Next morning, the tavern keeper, one Murray, an inhuman Goth, when they sent to him for breakfast, refused to give them any. But about two hours afterwards, he let them have some bread, cheese, wine, and cider, with which they breakfasted on the road. In this situation they remained until the afternoon, that is, for eighteen hours. A captain in the French navy, with his wife and several French gentlemen, were among the passengers.
A respectable citizen of Philadelphia left the city with his family Sept. 17th, intending to reside on Long Island till the disorder ceased. He was taken ill on the road--and prevented from proceeding, near Newark. He took lodgings at a captain Littel's, near Second river. The alarm spread of an infected man being in the house--the neighbours assembled--fixed a fence on each side of Littel's house, and obliged the people to remove out of a house near to it, which the fence likewise enclosed. The road and river lay before Littel's door; the former was entirely cut off by the fence, which run clear to the river. At the distance of a hundred yards, was a church, in which public worship was intermitted for some time through fear. Travellers took a circuitous route of nearly a mile, to avoid danger.
At length he died--and his Son, about nine years old, had to assist in performing the last melancholy rites for him. The fence remained for ten days after his death, to ascertain whether or not his family had taken the disorder.
Justice requires me to add, that they were not suffered to be in want of any necessaries. They were directed to write what they had occasion for, on a paper, and fasten it on the fence. Persons were appointed to supply them with whatever was requisite.
[Another man] was determined to secure himself by night as well as by day; And accordingly tied a tarred rope twice about his neck, and afterwards buttoned his collar with some difficulty. He woke in the night, half strangled, and black in the face. He may with justice be said to have nearly choked himself, to save his life.
It would be extraordinary if so very favourable an opportunity of inventing marvellous stories, should have been suffered to pass over without some prodigies being recorded. Mankind are ever prone to the extravagant, especially when their passions are warmed. And pity and terror, two passions particularly calculated to foster this disposition, being roused into action to the highest degree, the marvcllous stories, which were every where current, and which even stole into print, can be easily accounted for. Some of the Maryland papers relate, that " a voice had been heard in the streets of Philadelphia, warning the inhabitants to prepare for their doom, as written in the prophet Ezekiel, ch. 27." The Marylander who heard this voice, was certainly gifted with a most extraordinary ear, as, at the distance of above Hundred miles, he heard what we could not hear on the spot. And it would appear that his sight was equally good with his hearing; for he saw two angels conversing with the watch. It is true, he is too modest to say, he saw them himself--he only says " two angels were seen conversing with the watch at midnight, about the subject of what the voice had previously proclaimed." But no person here having ever seen them--it is fairly presumable, as it would be highly criminal to doubt of facts resting on such authority, that he must have been the eye-witness himself.
A merchant of Philadelphia, who had been absent for several weeks, was returning to the city in the second week of November, having heard that the danger was no more. He met a man on the road going from Philadelphia; and naturally inquired into the state of affairs. The other, to indulge the contemptible propensity of hoaxing, told him, that a coffin maker, who had been employed by the committee for relief of the sick, had found such a decrease of demand two weeks before, that he had a large supply of coffins on hand; but that the mortality had again so far increased, that he had sold all, and had seven journeymen employed day and night. This so alarmed the Philadelphian, that he again returned with his family, to wait a more favourable issue.
A drunken sailor lay in the street, in the Northern Liberties, for a few hours asleep, and was supposed by the neighbours to be dead with the disorder; but they were too much afraid to make personal examination. They sent to the committee at the city hall for a cart and a coffin. The carter took the man by the heels, and was going to put him into the coffin. Handling him roughly he awoke, and damning his eyes, asked him what he was about? the carter let him drop in a fright, and ran off, as if a ghost was at his heels.
A lunatic, who had the malignant fever, was advised, by his neighbours, to go to Bushhill. He consented, and got into the cart; but soon changing his mind, he slipped out at the end, unknown to the carter, who, after a while, missing him, and seeing him at a distance running away, turned his horse about, and trotted hard after him. The other doubled his pace; and the carter whipped his horse to a gallop; but the man turned a corner, and hid himself in a house, leaving the mortified carter to return, and deliver an account of his ludicrous adventure.
Several instances have occurred of the carters on their arrival at Bushhill, and proceeding to deliver up their charge, finding, to their amazement, the carts empty.
A woman whose husband died, refused to have him buried in a coffin provided for her by one of her friends, as too paltry and mean. She bought an elegant and costly one--and had the other laid by in the yard. In a week she was herself a corpse-- and was buried in the very coffin she had so much despised.
The wife of a man who lived in Walnut street, was seized with the malignant fever, and given over by the doctors. The husband abandoned her, and next night lay out of the house for fear of catching the infection. In the morning, taking it for granted, from the very low state she had been in, that she was dead, he purchased a coffin for her; but on entering the house, was surprised to see her much recovered. He fell sick shortly after, died, and was buried in the very coffin, which he had so precipitately bought for his wife, who is still living.
The powers of the god of love might be imagined to lie dormant amidst such scenes of distress as Bushhill exhibited. But we find that his sway was felt there with equal force as any where else. John Johnson, and Priscilla Hicks, two of the patients, who had recovered, and officiated as nurses to the sick, were smitten with each other's charms--and, procuring leave of absence for an hour or two, they came to the city on the [3d?] of September, were joined in the bands of matrimony, and returned to their avocation at the hospital. A long chasm took place in the hymeneal records; for no adventure of the same kind occurred, until the 5th of November, when Nassy, a Portuguese mulatto, took to wife Hannah Smith, a bouncing German girl, who, as well as himself, was employed as nurse.
The state of the police and of society in Philadelphia, appears to no small advantage, when we consider one circumstance. Notwithstanding the absence of the magistrates, and the immense value of property left unprotected through the fears of the owners, and the deaths of the persons left to take care of it, only one or two burglaries were committed.--One was attempted: but the rogues were discovered and taken. A hardened villain from a neighbouring state, formed a plot with some negroes to plunder houses. He was a master rogue, had digested a complete system, and formed a large partnership for the more successful execution of his schemes. However, he was soon seized, and the company dissolved.
The jail of Philadelphia is under such excellent regulation, that the disorder made its appearance there only in two or three instances, although such abodes of misery are places where contagious disorders are very frequently generated. When the yellow fever raged most violently in the city, there were in the jail one hundred and six French soldiers and sailors, confined by order of the French consul; besides eighty convicts, vagrants, and persons for trial; all of whom, except two or three, remained perfectly free from the complaint. Several circumstances conspired to produce this salutary effect. The people confined were frequently cleansed and purified by the use of the cold bath--they were kept constantly employed--vegetables formed a considerable part of their diet--in the yard, vegetation flourished--and many of them being employed in stone-cutting, the water, constantly running, kept the atmosphere in a moist state, while the people of Philadelphia were almost uninterruptedly parched up by unceasing heat. Elijah Weed, the late jailer, caught the disorder in the city, and died in the jail, without communicating it to any of the people confined. I hope I shall be excused for paying a tribute to the memory of this valuable citizen, under whose government of the jail, and with whose hearty co-operation, most of the regulations in that institution have been effected, which, with the successful experiments made in England, prove that jails may be easily converted from sinks of human depravity and wretchedness, into places of reformation; so that, instead of rendering the idle vagrant, confined merely on suspicion, or for want of friends to protect him, obdurate, wicked, and ripe for rapine and spoil,-- the profligate and abandoned may be so reclaimed in them, as, on their liberation, to become useful members of society. For the honour of human nature, it ought to be recorded, that some of the convicts in the jail, a part of the term of whose confinement had been remitted, as a reward for their peaceable, orderly behaviour, voluntarily offered themselves as nurses, to attend the sick at Bushhill, and have in that capacity conducted themselves with great fidelity. Among them are some who were formerly regarded, and with justice, as hardened, abandoned villains, which the old system usually rendered every tenant of a jail, who remained there a few weeks. According to the same summary system, these men's lives would have been long since offered up as an atonement to society for the injury they had done it. That is, in plain English, because society had suffered one injury by rapine, it was necessary it should suffer another by law. But by the present improved and humane plan, they and great numbers of others are restored to society and usefulness once more. So much better, although a little more troublesome, is it, to reform men, than to butcher them under colour of law and justice.
The sympathy for our calamities, displayed in various places, and the very liberal contributions raised for our relief, reflect the highest honour on their inhabitants, and demand our warmest gratitude. The inhabitants of Gloucester county, in New Jersey, have the honour of being first in this laudable race. So early as the 30th of September, they had a considerable suits collected, with which they purchased a quantity of provisions for the use of the hospital at Bushhill. They have, from that time, regularly continued copious supplies twice a week. In addition to this they have made, and are now making, considerable purchases of wood, for the relief of the poor during the winter. From a few citizens of Philadelphia, near Germantown, there have been received two thousand dollars; from others near Darby, fourteen hundred; from New York, five thousand; from a person unknown five hundred; from Bucks' county, sixteen hundred; from Delaware county, twelve hundred; from Franklin county, nearly five hundred; from Boston, sundry articles, which have been sold for nearly two thousand; and from sundry other persons and places,contributions equally liberal and honourable.
There has been a very strong analogy between the state of Philadelphia, and that of an army. About the close of August, and till the middle of September, when the dangers were few and, by prudent management, might have been easily surmounted, an universal trepidation benumbed people's faculties; and flight and self-preservation seemed to engross the whole attention of a large proportion of the citizens. Just so, with an army of recruits. Every breath of wind terrifies them. Vague rumours are heard with fear and trembling. In every tree at a distance is beheld a formidable enemy, to whom they are ready to lay flown their arms, and surrender at discretion. But when the "din of arms, and cannon's rattle" have familiarized them with the horrid trade of death, the obstinate phalanx beholds, unmoved, its ranks mowed down, and death advancing, with rapid strides, to terminate their (as it is falsely termed) glorious career.--Even thus was it here. Towards the close of September, and during the first part of October, when the horrors of the scene were constantly increasing, and from fifty to a hundred were interred daily, then people cast away their various preventives--thieves' vinegar, tarred ropes, garlic, camphor bags, smelling bottles.--And then it was, that they assumed a manly fortitude, tempered with the sober, serious pensiveness, befitting such an awful scene.
A friend, to whom I communicated this idea, has endeavoured to explain the matter differently. He says, that those who were terrified at first, generally fled away--and left behind such as were repossessed of a stronger frame of mind. This is an error; as many men, who were among the most striking instances of the influence of terror at first, behaved, in the end, with the most exemplary fortitude.
Shall I be pardoned for passing a censure on those, whose mistaken zeal led them, during the most dreadful stages of the calamity, to crowd some of our churches, and aid this frightful enemy in his work of destruction? who, fearful, lest their prayers and adoration at home would not find acceptance before the Deity, resorted to churches filled with bodies of contagious air, where, with every breath, they inhaled noxious miasmata? To this cause may probably be ascribed a considerable proportion of the mortality--And it is remarkable, that those congregations, whose places of worship were most crowded, have suffered the most dreadfully. Will men never acquire wisdom? Are we yet to learn, that the Almighty architect of the heavens and earth, does not require "temples made with men's hands?" that going to a place of worship' against the great law of self-preservation, implanted in indelible characters by his divine hand, on the breast on every one of his creatures, constitutes no part of the adoration due to the maker and preserver of mankind? That a " meek and humble heart" is the temple wherein he delights to be worshipped? I hope not--I hope the awful lesson some of our congregations hold forth on this subject, by a mortality out of all proportion to their numbers, will serve as memento at all future times, in the like critical emergencies!"13
Some of those who remained in the city have absurdly been in the habit of reproaching those who fled, with criminality as deserters, who abandoned their posts.14 I believe, on the contrary,that as the nature of our government did not allow the arbitrary measures to be pursued, which, in despotic countries, would probably have extinguished the disorder at an early period--it was the duty of every person to avoid the danger, whose circumstances and situation allowed it. The effects of the desertion were, moreover, salutary. The sphere of action of the disorder was diminished. Half a dozen empty houses arrested the disease in its progress, as it was slowly, but surely travelling through a street, and probably rescued a neighbourhood from its ravages. We shall long have to mourn the severe loss our city has felt, in being bereft of so many valuable citizens: and had the 17,000, who retired, been in the city during the prevalence of the disorder, and lost as large a proportion of their number, as those did who remained, we should, instead of 4000 dead, have probably lost 6000; and perhaps had to deplore in the number, another Clow, a Cay, a Lea, a Sims, a Dunkin, a Strawbridge, men of extensive business, whose loss will be long felt--a Pennington, a Glentworth, a Hutchinson, a Sergeant, a Howell, a Waring, men endowed by heaven with eminent abilities--a Fleming, a Graessl, a Sproat, men of exalted piety and virtue--a Wilson, an Adgate, a Baldwin, a Carroll, a Tomkins, an Offley, citizens of most estimable characters.
Let those then who have remained, regard their long-absent friends, as if preserved from death by their flight, and rejoice at their return in health and safety. Let those who have been absent, acknowledge the exertions of those who maintained their ground. Let us all unite in the utmost vigilance to prevent the return of this fell destroyer, by the most scrupulous attention to cleansing and purifying our scourged city--and let us join in thanksgiving to that Supreme Being, who has, in his own time, stayed the avenging storm, ready to devour us, after it had laughed to scorn all human efforts.
1 It cannot be improper to state some of the effects of this
calamity beyond the sacrifice of life, so far as trade and commerce
are concerned. The protests of notes for a few weeks past, have
exceeded all former examples; for a great proportion of the merchants
and traders having left the city, and been totally unable, from the
stagnation of lousiness' end the diversion of their expected
resources, Lo make any provision for payment, most of their notes
have been protested, as they became due. The Bank of the United
States, on the 15th of October, passed a resolve, empowering the
cashier to renew all discounted notes, when the same drawers and
indorsers were offered, and declaring that no notes should be
protested when the indorsers bound themselves in writing, to be
accountable in the same manner as in oases of pro test. The
disadvantages resulting from this visitation extended far beyond
Philadelphia. Many parts of Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia,
North and South Carolina, and Georgia, exclusive of the back
settlements of Pennsylvania, and the western slates, drew their
supplies, if not wholly, at least principally, ftrom Philadelphia,
which was in general the mart whither they sent their produce. Cut
off from this quarter, their merchants have had to seek out other
markets, which being unprepared for such an increased demand, their
supplies have been imperfect; and, owing to the briskness of the
sales, the prices have been, naturally enough, very considerably
enhanced. Besides, they went to places in which their credit was not
established--and had in most cases to advance cash. And many country
dealers have had no opportunity of sending their produce to market,
which has consequcutly remained unsold. Business, therefore, has
languished in many parts of the union, and it is probable, that,
considering the matter merely in a commercial point of light, the
shock caused by the fever, has been felt far to the south and west of
2 At this period, the number of paupers in the Alms House was between three and four hundred; and the managers, apprehensive of spreading the disorder among them, enforced the abovementioned order, which had been entered into a long time before. They, however, supplied beds and bedding, and all the money in their treasury, for their relief, out of that house.
3 High wages were offered for nurses for these poor people,--but none could be procured.
4 Had they known of the circumstance, an immediate dismissal would have been the consequence.
5 The reason for entering into this order, was, that some paupers, who had been admitted previous thereto, with a certificate from the physicians, of their being free from the infection, had, nevertheless, died of it.
6 It would be improper to pass over this opportunity of mentioning, that the Federal Gazette, printed by Andrew Brown, war uninterruptedly continued, and with the usual industry, during the whole calamity, and was of the utmost service, in conveying to the citizens of the United States authentic intelligence of the state of the disorder, and of the city.
7 The novel of Arthur Mervyn, by C. B. Brown, gives a vivid and terrifying picture, probably not too highly colourod, of the horrors of that period.
8 In many congregations, the deaths of men have been nearly twice as numerous as those of women.
9 The French who had been long established here, were nearly as much affected as the natives.
10 The frequent use the French make of lavements, at all times, may probably account for their escaping So very generally as they did. These purify the bowels, help to discharge the foul matter, and remove costiveness, which is one of the most certain supports of this and various other disorders.
11 Essays and Observations, vol. ii. page 407.
12 The fugitive Philadelphians were in general as strict in their precautions against those who fled later than they, as any of the country people.
13 This paragraph, although erroneous, is retained, that I may have an opportunity, which I cheerfully embrace, of acknowledging the mistake I have committed On a revision of the bills of mortality, it appears, that those congregations who kept up religious worship regularly, did not lose more than. and some not so many as, their usual proportions. In one year, ending July 3l, 1793, the German Lutherans buried more than a sixth of the whole number of the dead in the city--the German Reformed, a fifteenth--the Friends, a tenth--and St. Mary's an eighth. From August 1, to November 9, 1793, the burials among the German Lutherans were not quite a sixth-- among the German Reformed, nearly a sixteenth--among the Friends, an eleventh--and in St. Mary's grave yard, a sixteenth. These were the congregations I alluded to, in the above remarks.
14 If they were even guilty of a crime, it brought its own punishment; as I am fully convinced, that those who were absent, and a prey to the anxiety caused by the frightful reports current, suffered as much as those who remained in the City.