April 9th, 2006, 03:55 PM
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The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866
Good afternoon everyone,
First I would like to give my thanks from all my heart to M. Donaldson, one of the brightest engineers that Québec & Canada has.
Despite his cardiac incident and his consequent handicap, this man spends all his energy and his wealth to sensibilise people and to produce medicinal products for all, and that since 1997, when he found out about Avian Influenza.
I have known him for quite awhile now, and we still work on pragmatic project to face what we will encountered down the road.
Since 1997, he became deeply convinced that a virulent pandemic was on the way.
Having lost his dear son tragically, he decided to devoted the rest of his days and his wealth in preparedness and in research.
He has understood very early Doctor Niman Recombination Understanding.
M. Donaldson was in Big Pharma up to few years ago and decided to put his knowledge, energy and money to the production of a prophylactic and therapeutic syrup.
I have the priviledge to work with him since more than a year now and he is a source of inspiration to me.
He is Truly what I called a True Public Health Care Officer.
M. Donaldson encyclopaedic knowledge has produced many fruits, and here is one of his finding
His historical knowledge and privilege access allowed us here at Flu Trackers and to share with you a small book written in English in Canada around 1866 by Charles M. Godfrey. B.A., M.D., C.R.C.E. at former Seccombe House in Toronto & Montréal.
The Cholera Epidemic In Upper Canada 1832-1866
We hope that this book with all its datas, will provide some hints and tips in our understanding of the coming pandemic.
Again I express my deepest gratitude to M. Donaldson for his tenacity in adversity and his generosity for all of us.
I invite Flu Trackers and Flu Wiki Members to take the time to read this book and to share their thoughts on it in the thread The Epidemic of 1832-1866 Comments in this Forum Room.
Thank you and enjoy this book.
Let’s hope that history will not repeat itself in disorganised policies and under-funded Health Care Institutions that happened then.
Last edited by Snowy Owl; April 9th, 2006 at 04:37 PM.
April 9th, 2006, 04:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: South of the North Pole
The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 - Part I
The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866
By Charles M. GodfreyB.A., M.D., C.R.C.E. ©
Seccombe House - Toronto and Montreal
WHILE Canada has been invaded several times by epi*demics; there had never been as severe an attack as in 1832 when cholera arrived. The epidemics of smallpox and typhus which occurred throughout the eighteenth century caused great morbidity but never reached the severity of the cholera invasion. Full accounts of the disease in Lower Canada may be found in Heagerty (1)but there is not a complete account of the disease in Upper Canada
Hippocrates, Galen and Wang-shooho have left descriptions of cholera. The name of the disease was presumed by Ceisus to stem from xonu (the bile) and by Alexander Tralianus from xonabes (the intestines), Sydenham (1624-89) in London, de*scribed an outbreak of bilious diarrhoea which he termed cholera. (2)
However, the cholera described by these authors, and most other writers until the beginning of the nineteenth century was not the epidemic form of cholera morbus which was first truly described in 1783 as present on the banks of the Ganges. That it was not described well before that is possible, as only in the year 1786 was the hospital board set up in Madras and Calcutta, which subsequently issued regular reports on the incidence of cholera amongst European and native soldiers. (3)
Vomiting, nausea, and diarrhoea were not uncommon, particu*larly during the summer months in most parts of the world. In many cases this was labelled cholera. The variety of names such as cholera nostra, or cholera simplex was used to denote the comparatively benign course of the above mentioned symptoms. However, cholera morbus, cholera Indicus, or Asiaticus, cholera asphyxia, blue cholera, or epidemic cholera, was a malignant, severe episode. “First, diarrhoea, though often of only short duration, then nausea and vomiting, though in some instances the vomiting was slight, to which succeeded a sinking of the circulation, coldness and blueness of surface, burning thirst, spasms and death. In most cases I have seen the discharges from the stoma*h and bowels were light coloured, resembling arrow*root and water or starch and water and were without odour”. (4)
This disease, which had been endemic in parts of India since 1783, became pandemic in 1817. It spread by 1821 to Ceylon, Borneo and Java; China and Japan were invaded by 1822. A British army carried it to Oman, from whence it proceeded to Bahrain, Persia, Shiraz and Teheran and to Astrakhan by 1824. It remained quiescent until 1829 when once again it appeared in Astrakhan and the following year it was in Moscow. In 1831 it was transmitted by the Russian army to the Polish army and appeared in Austria. From here invasion proceeded to Germany and thence via Baltic craft to the port of Sunderland in England. The first case was announced in that city on October 3lst, 1831. By February 1832 it was recognized in London, England. (5)
There are many vivid descriptions of the disease. It might begin insidiously with bowel upsets leading to a sickness of two to three weeks. Alternatively, it might have a violent sudden onset with vomiting and purging “followed by muscle cramps, anuria, pulselessness, and the bluish, shrunken appearance of the skin” (6)which lead to death in twelve to twenty-four hours. The violence of the onset, the rapid course leading to death, the uncertainty as to who would be next struck down, caused great fear and a feeling of helplessness in the populace.
The march across Europe (and the Eastern Hemisphere as well) was made in spite of quarantine regulations, cordon sani*taires, medical skills or prayers. That this march was inevitable may be seen by consideration of the theories then current re*garding the disease’s etiology.
There were two main theories of causation as well as other less attractive ideas. The miasmatists argued the epidemic was due to bad air, which hovered over marshes, refuse areas, stagnant pools and filthy vicinities. It was carried on the air, and thus could not be stopped by quarantine. The contagionists did not know the exact cause of epidemics, but were convinced they were carried through human contacts. This disagreement was present not only amongst the medical men but spread to the lay public as well. The Lancet argued in favour of contagionists -The Glasgow Medical Journal was just as strong in its arguments in favour of the miasmatjsts.
Daniel Drake (1785-1852) a Philadelphia doctor who pub*lished several textbooks on the history and treatment of cholera described the causes of diseases as:
Sol-lunar hypothesis— epidernic cholera was ascribed to the influence of the sun and the moon.
Cometary influence—it was presumed the approach of a cornet had an effect on the electricity of the earth or its atmos*phere, unfavourable to human life.
Geology theory—the malady was attributed to exhalations from the bowels of the earth. In support of this argument, it was noticed that earthquakes in Persia had been concurrent with the spread of the disease. Actually this had been first suggested by Sydenham.
Miasmatic theory—malaria or poisonous air formed by the decomposition of dead fish and animal matters, acted upon by heat and moisture, has caused the diseases by miasmatic exhalations.
Meteoratious theory—the disease resulted from some change in the mode of union, or relative proportions of the gaseous and ethereal fluids which constitute the atmosphere. This related particularly to the electric fluid, and connected in some way with an excess or deficiency of oxygen, azotes, or carbonic acid.
Contagion—it was pointed out that contagion everywhere had its advocates. However, the majority of European phy*sicians practising in India were opposed to the doctrine. “The people of Europe, however, have dreaded it as contagious, the governments of Europe have met it as contagious, and the physicians of that continent have observed, experimented, dis*puted, wrangled and written about its contagiousness, until they have spilt into several sects. It would seem with the pro*gress of the malady over Europe, the number of ultra-conta*gionists has been constantly diminishing and that of non*-contagionjsts increasing”. While Drake felt that actual exposure to the atmosphere of the sick was indispensable in order to cont~a4ctthe disease, he felt such exposure would affect a small number only.
Animalcular hypothesis. “Let us assume the existence of poisonous, invisible, aerial insects, of the same or similar habits with the gnat .“, postulating that these insects could deposit eggs as a mosquito which in some way cause cholera, Drake concluded, “I am far from avowing my belief in its reality, but am disposed to think that it explains more of the fact than either of the hypotheses”.
However, Drake went on to point out it was fruitless to pursue the principal and universal remote cause of epidemic cholera. In*stead he preferred to study the auxiliary causes. (7)
Eiam Stimson, in describing the epidemic in Upper Canada, noted, “. . . the remote cause of cholera to be some atmospheric impurity and approximate cause an imperfection in the perfor*mance of a chemical function of the lungs.” (8)Amongst other proximate causes were listed drunkenness, filth, eating fruit and seafish, fear and ungodliness.
With the multiplicity of theories of the cause of cholera and bearing in mind that Koch did not propose bacilli as the causative factor until 1884, it is not surprising there were many treatments for the patient. Most remedies were directed at correcting the disorder of the stomach. The traditional remedies were calomel (mercurous chloride) and opium. These drugs comprised the “English Treatment”. However, practical experience soon medicated they were of no particular value. If attempts to stop the diarrhea were not successful in treating the disease, possibly induction of further diarrhoea could relieve the symptoms. Castor oil as a laxative or mustard and water as an emetic were given freely. The muscle cramps were treated with turpentine stupes, flannel soaked in warm turpentine and then various liniments and massage. “The Cholera BeIt” which is still used today for various digestive disorders was usually a red flannel belt soaked in turpentine.
Stimulants such as brandy and quinine were used to combat collapse. Patients frequently were cold and had rigors for which hot blankets, bags full of hot sand, bran, or sulphur, were used in varying amounts. Hot baths were recommended although it was usually not possible to give them in the average home. As heat did not seem effective, some physicians used cold, shocking the patient with cold water plunges or several buckets of ice water. On the theory that the body could not manage more than one irritant at a time, counter-irritation was applied to the head, heart or stomach, consisting of blistering, cupping, or boiling water.
“A proposal of a new method of treating the blue cholera epidemic by the injection of highly oxygenated salts into the venous system” was put forth in Lancet I; 366, 1831-1832. This proposed the injection of potassium nitrate and potassium chlo*rate into the vein. W. D. O’Shaughnessy had found that “urea exists in the cases where suppression of urine has been a marked symptom” and proposed injection to stabilize the patient. The suggestion was taken up by Thomas Latta of Leith, Scotlandwho injected muriate of soda and sub carbonate in water at a tempera*ture of 112 F restoring a moribund woman after a 900cc. injection.
Intravenous treatment was used by Dr. Sampson, the principal practitioner in Kingston, Ontario in 1832. He injected saline fluid into the veins of twenty bad cases, but unsuccessfully in ail. However, the first effect in every instance was “the apparent restoration of the powers 0f life; and in one remarkable case, of a poor emigrant from Yorkshire, life was protracted seven days by constant pumping.. . the man instantaneously recovered voice, strength, colour and appetite . . . (9) Intravenous transfusion continued to intrigue the medical fa*culty after the first cholera epidemic, and in July, 1854 James Bovell of Toronto reported transfusion of whole milk into the veins of six patients. 0f these, two lived and were discharged’, and four died. (10) A rationale of treatment was that milk most closely of ail possible fluids resembled blood in its organic con*stituents.
Dr. Nelson in Montreal reported two cases of intravenous in*jection, both of whom died.
Elam Stimson of London, Ontario, treated with calomel, half a pint of hot ginger tea laced with brandy. If there was tightness or fullness in the pit of the stomach he suggested . . . “the neces*sity of blending. From an adult draw three half pints or more and give five grams of calomel with five of capsicum. . . . If the case shah have made a more dangerous progress . . . draw blood until it flows a full stream”. (11)
In addition to the specific measures there were general measures along the line of prevention. In order to prevent the miasma it was strongly suggested that tar should be burned on ail streets. To prevent animalcules from causing disease, the firing of cannon was advocated. This was carried out extensively in Montreal
Various foodstuffs were interdicted at one time or another, including fruit and shellfish. Susannah Moodie noted, while in the stage-coach from Prescott, that she had “partiality for applies which was regarded by a fellow traveller with a species of horror”. (12)
Many physicians felt that fear of the disease was a major cause of its occurrence. Stimson, in The Cholera Beacon, stated “cholera is easily cured if taken in time”. “The object of The Cholera Beacon”, he wrote, “is to remedy these evils—to allay unfounded fears—to eradicate erroneous impressions, and in their places to substitute that knowledge of the disease as ap*propriate treatment as will enable the reader to avert the fatal attack”. The knowledge of the disease was presumed to be the exclusive property of qualified physicians and numerous injunc*tions were made in the literature against accepting the advice of quacks. In England and in Canada there were numerous non*medical persons who assayed to treat the disease. Even in medi*cine there were many physicians who were trying one remedy and then another in attempt to make the miraculous cure. The example of Jenner, who only thirty years previously had pro*posed vaccination (and had been rewarded with at least 30,000 pounds in prize money), was constantly in front of the profes*sional and lay healer.
Mrs. Moodie in her book mentions a Stephen Ayres, an ac*cused quack who gave patients two teaspoons full of charcoal, two teaspoons full of lard and two teaspoons full of maple sugar. In addition, the patient was rubbed ail over with lye of wood ashes and water as hot as it could be boiled. This same practi*tioner was mentioned by W. L. Smith in “Pioneers of Old Ontario”.
The other major area of prevention lay in advising temperance. It was strongly felt that cholera was a disease of intemperance, associated with those who ate or drank too much. Usually the lower classes were charged with this type of behavior. Indeed, in some places it was a disgrace to have an attack of cholera, as this indicated some lapse of moral behavior. In reporting the cholera epidemic of 1832 in New York City, C. E. Rosenberg (13) pointed out that “cholera was not the scourge of mankind, but of the sinner”—the intemperate, the irregular, the filthy were pecu*liarly vulnerable. Rosenberg reports it was possible by a careful mixture of faith and reason to interweave science to provide a useable context in which to place the epidemic. A letter to the editor of The New York American for the Country, June 26th, 1832, noted that”.. . could not credit letters from Canada report*ing cholera beginning to attack the better sort”.
That cursed cholera. Left it in Russia—found it on my return to Leith—meets me again in Canada. No escape the third time”, said the captain of Susannah Moodie’s ship (The Anne, 192 tons) as he arrived in Montreal. But the captain carried the chief vector of cholera—the emigrant.
Susannah Moodie gave two main motives for emigration. Either the emigrant’s hope of bettering his condition or that love of independence, “which springs up spontaneously in the breasts of high souled children of a glorious land…“ (14) To these reasons, of course, must be added pressure from governments and landlords to move the dispossessed to another country. Lower points out the wave of immigration was a reflection of The In*dustrial Revolution in combination with the virgin soul of the new world. In 1815 the total population of British North America> was about one-half a million. In 1865 It was three and a half million. (15)
Although it is highly likely that cholera would have arrived in Canada even if there had not been a great wave of immigration, it is not known whether the attack would have been as wide spread, or as malignant. The fact that many of the emigrants came from endemic areas; their journey to this country in crowded, unsanitary conditions causing further spread of infec*tion; and the unhygienic conditions on landing—all these factors combined to r*ake immigration the major cause of the epidemic m North America Appendix A shows that 1832 was the heaviest year for immigration with the exception of 1847, the year of the great Irish potato famine. While it is interesting to speculate that the overcrowded migration facilities were a prime cause of the epidemics, it must be noted some years of heavy migration showed no cholera. However the two heaviest years 1832 and 1847, were associated with epidemics (cholera and typhus).
To Robert Neison, M.D., writing Asiatic Cholera in 1866,there was no doubt where the disease came from and its order of pro*gression. “… The first entry of the new pestilence into a new country, to be substantiated by positive and precise data. . . with a leap off point from the old to the new continent. . . .“ (16)
Examples of overseas propagation of the disease were well known. Its spread to Mauritius and Japan are well documented. The Ieap-off point suggested by Nelson was undoubtedly from The British Isles and predominantly Liverpool, London, Gree*nock, Leith, Belfast, Dublin, Londonderry and Sligo. During the year 1832, 51,185 emigrants arrived at the port of Quebec from The British Isles and Europe.
In Great Britain steps were taken to prevent the spread of disease to the colonies. On March 27th, 1832 orders were given that any ship carrying more than fifty persons could not be cleared from port unless it was provided with a surgeon, and a proper medicine chest and that sanitary precautions were taken to cleanse the bedding of the patient daily. However, this action aroused considerable opposition, as it was felt by some that it hindered emigration. On June 7th it was rescinded and an exam*ination of all passengers prior to sailing was ordered.
But to make such precautions of value required the active co*operation of ship owners. “The emigration to Canada was left to the individual greed of ship owners, and the emigrant ships rivaled the cabins of Mayo or the fever sheds of Skibereen. Crowded and filthy, and carrying double the legal number of passengers, who were il-fed and imperfectly clothed, and having no doctor on board, the holds were like the ‘black hole of Cal*cutta’ and deaths occurred in myriads”. (17)
April 9th, 2006, 04:13 PM
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The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 Part II
The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 Part II
The crossing was thirty-six to eighty days. Passengers were herded into small crafts, usually 150-200 per boat. Decks were ail flush, “with a caboose on galley and the cookhouse over the long boat between the fore and main mast. The longboat, secure*ly lashed, carried the meat and supplies and the livestock. There were either private provisions, which were principally oatmeal, or provisions were issued once a week from the ship’s stores and were cooked by the passengers in a little galley in the waist of the ship…sleeping and living quarters were in the low, dark steerage in between decks and midships…ventilation was fur*nished by a windsail at each hatch. Sanitation facilities, if any, were of the siop jar variety…“ (18)
A ship would put to sea with apparently ail well. Then within twenty-four hours or a little over, there would be one or two pas*sengers attacked. By the third day nearly ail the susceptible would be down with the malady. Following this, there would be few new cases until landing. However, after landing, the disease might well break out amongst the contacts on shore.
Many of the emigrants embarked penniless. This was fre*quently the case as sailings were not carried out on a strict time*table and oftimes emigrants arrived at the boat dockside, prior to sailing, and had to maintain themselves on shore. On landing in Canada, they were frequently met by considerate friends who helped them regain pawned articles which had been soid to the ship’s store in order to secure food or pay for fire privileges. Fre*quently the emigrant did not have sufficient money to get accom*modation at an inn…“When a large party are gathered together they come and get housed in a barn, which is seldom charged for and may have offered some employment“… (19)
The trip from Quebec to Montreal was done by a smaller vessel. From Montreal to Prescott was done by a combination of coaches and small boats. From Cobourg the journey might be made by a lake boat. In 1832 Mrs. Moodie described the William IV. as “a fine new steamer, crowded with Irish emigrants, pro*ceeding to Cobourg and York”…(20)Alternatively, emigrants might take a stage-coach. Over “horrible corduroy roads with considerable hardship during the trip”. (21)
There is considerable dispute as to the actual date that cholera morbus came to North America. With the endemic situation in Great Britain It is highly likely that the disease arrived with the first ship of the year. The Constancia from Limerick (April 2Sth, 1832) The Robert from Cork (May l4th, 1832) or The Elizabeth from Dublin (May 28th, 1832) aIl lost passengers on the voyage across the Atlantic. However, there is no record of a severe out*break of disease following their arrival in Canada.
Most evidence points to the Carricks from Dublin, which ar*rived at Grosse IsIe on June 3rd, 1832. She had lost forty-two passengers on route. (22)She passed through quarantine grounds for inspection without any hindrance. Her passengers boarded the Voyageur for Montreal and Quebec on June 7th. The first appearance of cholera “took place Friday, the eight of June, as was made public by the Quebec Mercury of Saturday, the ninth. ‘Since yesterday morning eight cases have occurred and three deaths… the patients are emigrants’ “. (23)
On June 9th the first case was reported in Montreal, and was attended by Dr. Nelson. On June l0th, cases were reported at Sorel; June l3th, Plattsburg; June l4th, Lake Champlain; June 2Oth, Albany. To fill out the southern spread of the disease the first case was reported in New York City on July 2nd. (However, there is some speculation that the disease had appeared earlier in New York, but it had not been as malignant (24)).
The westward progress of the disease showed cholera at Pres*cott on June l6th, and at Brockvjfle on June l9th, and Kingston on June 2Oth. Cornwall reported its first case on June 2lst. York reported two cases on the 2lst, with the arrival of the steamboat the Great Britainfrom Kingston. Cobourg reported its first case on the 27th, and Brantford on the 2Sth. By July 7th there were cases reported at Buriington Bay, and by July 2lst there were several deaths in Hamilton. London reported cases on July 8th, and the Welland Canal on August l6th.
Seaborn (25)reports the first cases in Gait on the 24th of July, Dundas on the 6th of August (and London on the 5th of August). He also reports cases in Detroit on July 2nd. Question arises whether these cases came from Canada, or actually came up from the United States via a troop ship. If this were the case, it is conjectured that it arose either from an early nidus in New York City, or was an out-cropping from the Lake Champlain route.
Proceeding north from Montreal via the Ottawa River, Nelsonreports successive cases of cholera at Carillon, Greenville, Point Fortune, Fox Point and Plantagenet, and on to Bytown by July 5th. At Rigaud there were several cases by July 8th. By August 29th there were reports of the disease from Lac Coulonge.
By September 29th cholera “had ceased with us”. (26)By Sep*tember 1st it had disappeared from London (Seaborn) and Sir John Colbourne had announced to the opening of the Legislature on October 31, 1832 that cholera had nearly disappeared in every district of the province.
In spite of the fact that there was ample evidence that the spread of cholera could not be stopped by the scientific knowl*edge of the day, Upper Canada was singularly unperturbed. In the Fall of 1831, with the disease spreading to ail parts of Eng*land, the colonial secretary warned the Canadian authorities, that, “cholera was epidemic in Europe, and in view of the increasing amount of emigration from England and Ireland some steps should be taken to prevent its entrance into Canada”. (This com*munication was publicized by the Executive of Lower Canada leading to a meeting of the medical profession in Quebec which dispatched Dr. Tessier of Quebec, to New York to study methods which were in force to prevent the spread of cholera into Can*ada.) The bishop of Quebec circularized a letter to the clergy of Quebec recommending, “that you advise your parishioners not to visit vessels coming from overseas moored in the vicinity of your parishes . . . take up with representative people in your neighborhood, effective measures to prevent the crews ofvessels from coming ashore before they are visited by the officer of health”. (27)
The Quarantine Act of February 25th, 1832 was passed in anticipation of cholera. It remained in force until February 1st, 1833. It provided “for a quarantine station at Grosse Isle just above Quebec City”. A second act created a fund for defraying the expense of providing medical assistance for sick emigrants, and “of assisting indigent persons of that description to proceed to the places of their destination”. A tax (of five shillings a head) was levied on the emigrants, with the proceeds to be divided between The Quebec Emigrant Hospital, The Montreal General Hospital, The Emigrant Society of Quebec and The Emigrant Society of Montreal. By this action it was possible to partiality protect Quebec from cholera, either by quarantine, or by making sure the emigrant passed quickly onto his destination. Inasmuch as most of the emigrants were from The British Isles they did not stay in French Quebec.
It was impossible for the Quarantine Station at Grosse Isle to do more than a simple inspection which merely separated those obviously sick from those who did not have obvious disease. If a passenger was iii he was forced to remain in the cholera sheds. Others proceeded immediately. There was no isolation of con*tacts. However, it was impossible to adequately inspect ail pas— singers. From June 2nd to June 5th, 7151 persons passed through this station, and in three weeks from June 2nd to June 23rd, 30,000 arrived. 0f these about 11,000 eventually reached York.
April 9th, 2006, 04:21 PM
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The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 Part III
The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 Part III
With the appreciation that cholera had appeared at Quebec and Montreal, the leading citizens of Upper Canada realized that action must be taken. However, there was no machinery existing at that time to cope with such a plague. There were no Boards of Health. The only hospitals available were those associated with the Military at Niagara Fails, York, Kingston, and other garrison posts. The only other hospital was at York.
Upper Canada was divided into thirteen districts. These were actually judicial units which were administered by The Quarter Sessions. The Quarter Sessions were made up of magistrates and justices of the peace appointed by the Lieutenant Governor.
It was the duty of these sessions to administer roads, bridges, drains, dams, the peace and institutions of correction. In effect, the role of the justices of the peace was all pervasive. (28) It was doubtful that. the Quarter Sessions had authority which extended to health matters according to Aitchison. (29)
With the threat of cholera, the District Quarter Sessions un*dertook to mobilize the defenses of the country against the epi*demic. On May 22nd the Medical Board of Upper Canada was asked to consider such rules and regulations as they thought best for securing the general health and cleanliness of the town. On the same day instructions were given that masters of steamers and schooners frequenting the harbor of York, should report to the health officer (Dr. King) every facility to ascertain the nature and description of any contagious disease. (30)
In the Home District (York), magistrates on June 18th, 1832, under power to abate nuisances, adopted regulations dealing with the cleanliness of York, and appointed superintendents and in*spectors for each ward. (31)The regulations included instruc*tions to keep areas clean and wholesome, removing filth and dirt, using town carts, and to wash wooden buildings with lime inside and out. This applied particularity to all privies.
Although the Quarter Sessions were initiating health measures it was obvious that further local committees would be needed. On June 20th, 1832 instructions went forth from The Quarter Sessions to establish a Board of Health in ail districts. At the same time, 500 pounds were placed by the Lieutenant Governor at the disposal of the magistrates of each district to defray the expenses of providing for hospitals and medical attendants. (32)It may be seen that this would have entailed an expense of 6500 pounds if all funds were used. It was expected that the legislature would sanction these measures. In addition, he authorized the magistrates to form Boards of Health to assume ail necessary authority to preserve health. Eventually that year, legislation was enacted, similar to that of England, providing authority for the establishment of central Boards of Health with local boards to serve during the time of emergency. (33)
It was the intention of the Lieutenant Governor that Boards of Health be organized on the basis of Quarter Sessions and be responsible to a central authority. However, several districts had set up their own Board of Health before this instruction went forth. In Kingston a Quarter Session had established a Board of Health. In Hallowell, Belleville and Port Hope the Board of Health was set up as a result of a public meeting rather than being appointed by the Quarter Sessions.
In Brockville, which at that time was a municipal corporation, there had been appointed a Board of Police. This Board took upon itself to appoint the Board of Health. Another anomalous situa*tion was in Prescott, where The Emigrant Society, on its own initiative, appointed a Board of Health on June 18th. (34) This Board of Health lost no lime in appealing to the Lieutenant Governor for funds.
The action by the Lieutenant Governor in requesting that Boards of Health be established may have been precipitated in face of local organizations which were appointing Boards on their own. There was an absence of detailed instruction insofar as the make up of the Board of Health was concerned, (35) which may be explained by precipitancy on the part of the government.
One of the main tasks for the Board of Health was to provide reception centres for patients with cholera. Many communities did not have facilities to receive patients or even to effect the necessary quarantine measures. Several hospitals or receiving centres were erected throughout the province. However, not all of these were needed and some were a little extravagant. Belle*ville, which spent 140 pounds building a hospital, did not have a serious invasion by the disease. Peterborough spent 49 pounds, Otter Creek converted a school house to a hospital. In the London district a projected building of 40’ x 20’ was arrested in its con*struction, as it was felt after sober consideration that this was too large. The total district allowance for Norfolk (which con*tained London) was spent by July 30th. (36)
The method of getting funds also varied greatly. The Emigrant Society of Prescott received funds directly from the Lieutenant Governor on request. In other areas funds were disbursed only through the Quarter Sessions. In York, this led to a great deal of difficulty, as there were many daily disbursements to be made and it was frequently difficult to get a quorum of magistrates for the Quarter Sessions. This eventually was one of the factors in the resignation of the first Board of Health in York.
A second duty of Boards of Health was to establish and at*tempt to enforce reporting and quarantine measures. The Quarter Sessions had attempted to deal with the situation with their in*structions of June 20th. However, there was no way of enforcing these regulations, with the result the captains of steamboats be*gan to land passengers without inspection. The steamer, William IV, discharged its passengers at Queenston in contravention to the regulations of The Quarter Sessions. The practice became more wide spread, and the Board asked the government to point out means which could be used legally to effect the local health measures. It was felt by the Lieutenant Governor that it would be necessary to have the authority of parliament before necessary punitive measures could be made.
This problem, plus the voting of funds in order to cover money spent (4,064 pounds in ail), was made good with the meeting 0f the legislature in the winter. (37)This legislation also provided authority for the establishment of central Boards of Health, with local Boards to serve during a time of emergency. (38) Penalties up to twenty pounds were prescribed for violation of any of the rules of either the health officers or the government.
On April 26, 1832 Sir John Colbourne, the Lieutenant Gover*nor of Upper Canada, proclaimed, “May l6th, a day of public fasting, humiliation and prayer, against the dangers threatened by the progress of a very grievous disease which it hath pleased the Almighty God in the dispensation of his providence to visit several parts of our Dominion”. This proclamation was in keeping with the current philosophy that cholera was a disease visited upon the people for their sins. In England, Wales and Ireland, March 2lst, and in Scotland, March 22nd, were proclaimed days of fasting and humiliation when the nation would acknowledge its sins and plead with God to remove the affliction of the pesti*lence. However, President Andrew Jackson, in the United States, “while concurring in the efficacy of prayer and sympathizing with the movement, had declared such designation (a day of prayer) beyond his constitutional powers”. (39)
The Town of York was the largest town in Upper Canada at that time, with a population of 5,505. The County of York had a population of 31,158. The town had a small self-conscious upper class, composed of senior government officials, a strong middle class composed of prosperous merchants, a growing body of men connected with industries, a group of small shop keepers, clerks, and skilled tradesmen and finally a growing number of urban poor in small old log houses and in squatters huts on the Don.
The Canadian Freeman, May l7th, 1832 said, “stagnant pools of water, green as a leek, and emitting deadly exhalations are to be met with in every corner of the town—yards and cellars send forth a stench from rotten vegetables sufficient almost of itself to produce a plague and the state of the bay, from which a large proportion of inhabitants are supplied with water, is horrible”. (40)… On the face of this bay, ail the filth of the town—dead horses, dogs, cats, manure, etc. are heaped together on the ice to drop down in a few days into the water which is used by almost ail of the inhabitants on the bay shore…There is not a drop of good well water about the market square and the people are obliged to use the bay water however rotten…We think the authorities ought rather adopt the measures to supply the town from the pure fountain that springs from the Spadina and Davenport Hill which could be done at a trifling expense”. (41)
The most populous area of the town was the St. Lawrence Ward. A particularity heavily populated area was Stuart’s Lane. Emigrants landed at the steamship wharves and took available accommodation in the nearby hotels or stayed on the beach. “The town measured approximately two miles long by one mile broad… with an excellent assortment of stores, wholesale and retail as well as auction rooms enhanced by a most blessed collection of hotels, taverns, inns and a supernumerjes of oyster shops, dram shops and sham shops, which last mentioned re*spectable establishments are concentrated to love and debauchery. The sign of oysters and hot coffee always ready is generally a wink to the midnight customers to walk into artificial darkness at midday and dose away their time in the fascinating arms of intoxication or pay their adoration to the enchanting goddess of licentiousness and debauchery. These subterranean caverns are exactly the same as the Canadian halfpenny token—for public accommodation”. (42)
As mentioned above, there was a well in the market square.
There were numerous other wells in the city; however, the mar*ket square well would have served most of Stuart’s Lane and other buildings in that vicinity. “A curbing or box arrangement was put around the top to prevent anyone from falling in. There was a pole with a crook at one end for hanging the pail on. It was used for pressing the pail down into the water, then drawing it up, or else, heavy rope and windlass. The pole and bucket may have been replaced with a sucker pump. This was made by boring a hole lengthwise through a tamarac or pine log. A rod ran through this, at the lower end of which was a sucker made of leather, in which was a valve which opened as the pump handle was raised and allowed the water to flow through and closed as the handle was lowered, raising the water up”. (43)
Cast iron pipes for carrying water were first used in the United States in 1817. However, until 1846 tamarac, or pine logs which had been hollowed out, were used. (44) Filtered water was not proposed until 1829, when James Simpson of Chelsea, London, first proposed its use. It is to be noted that in the second Toronto General Hospital (1854)it was almost impossible to get a bath, and even then it had to be done with very special arrangements, going into the basement, etc.
In 1843 The Toronto Gas, Light and Water Company began to supply water from the lake. Very few people aided the enterprise by taking water. Even in 1858 there were only 850 customers in a city of 7500, and the city refused to pay adequately for fire plug service. (45)
“Drains and sewers were at first of very primitive construc*tion, and waste matter was commonly dumped in the fields set aside for that purpose. Private wells and town pumps supplied water to those who did not live near springs or creeks, and carters delivered barrels of water to customers”. (46) It is not known whether toilets were available in York in 1832. In 1855, it was noted in the Daily Leader, (March 20th) “there was no water closet in The Toronto General Hospital from top to bottom”. In England, tin toilets—which consisted of a hinged metal pan, which held a few inches of water, and emptied on being tipped into a receiver, had been used since the beginning of the nineteenth century. However, these were very rare. In 1848 cesspits were still used extensively in London, and it was not until 1865 that acceptable sewers were laid. Toilets were frequently discharged by open water courses or improperly connected wooden pipes.
The town of York had the only major hospital facility in Upper Canada. The York General Hospital was located on the northwest corner of King and John Streets. It was a red brick building of two stories. The rooms were large and airy. It could accommodate approximately 100 patients. (47)The first report, published in 1830, commented on the appearance of fever among indigent poor during the summer months, and mentioned the “benefits of free ventilation and a cooler atmosphere on the disease”. (48) Other episodes of epidemic illness mentioned subsequent to that included a measles and scarlet fever epidemic in December, 1831, at which time, “scarce a family without sickness or death in their dwellings”. (49)The Upper Canada Medical Board, established 1819, was situated in York. This Board included Drs. W. W. Baldwin, Diehl, Home, King, Lee, Powell, Rolph and Widmer. In April of 1832 a recommendation of this Board was made that a lying-in hospital should be provided for “the destitute condi*tion in which many arrive (emigrants) and the unavoidable pub*licity of their scanty and crowded lodgings to which they are sometimes inevitably exposed at an hour so critical and delicate, often renders their situation during their sufferings, most dis*tressing. .. .“ (50)
This same medical board met on June l8th, 1532, and recom*mended that the York Hospital be converted for the reception of cholera patients and that a temporary building be erected on the hospital grounds for the present patients and future ordinary cases. (51)Further preparation for cholera was made by The Quarter Sessions on June 2lst, 1532 at which time a Board of Health for the town of York was appointed. Cholera had been reported, although not officially, on June l9th at which time three cases were hospitalized, according to James Lesslie. (52)
The Board of Health was composed of W. W. Baldwin, Presi*dent and seven citizens and the fourteen doctors who were the medical profession of the town. It held its first meeting on the day of its appointment, and made up regulations which required medical practitioners to make a daily report of cases, and for health wardens to be stationed in the several wards of the town, in order to acquaint the inspectors in several wards of cleanliness and state of disease. Sickness in any house was to be reported by the health warden to the nearest medical gentleman. They were to “impress upon several householders within their respective wards, the necessity of immediately calling in the assistance of a medical practitioner”. (53)
On June 22nd a report was made of the arrival of the steam*ship, the Great Britain, the previous evening, with definite cases of cholera on board. The steamer had disembarked passengers at Cobourg and Kingston who were actually iii. The Board recom*mended a proper carnage be stationed close to the court house in order to evacuate sick emigrants to the hospital as quickly as possible. It also published a notice urging towns people to pre*vent the spread of the malady by burning before their houses and in their yards, pitch, tar, resin, sulphur, and other anticon*tagious combustibles. (54)
Notifiable cases continued to mount. By June 25th the Board felt it necessary to issue a strong recommendation to advise those sick with cholera to be removed to the cholera hospital or to the choicer “sheds” which had been erected on the hospital grounds. These were a long row of wooden buildings. However, resistance to treatment in the cholera hospital continued. This was particularity so in the well-to-do families where by custom sickness was nursed at home and not in a hospital. it was also strongly urged by the Board that early internment in a coffin lined with pitch be practiced.
By June 26th it was obvious to the Board that the area around Church Street, near Market Lane and Stuart’s Lane was pro*ducing many cases. It was recommended that persons residing in that part of town should be moved to a shed alongside the Parliament Houses until the area could be cleansed. (55)This was land which had been alienated by the Rev. G. O. Stewart from The Church of England. He divided it into small lots and the area consisted of low cost housing of the poorest type. (56)This area continued to provide a great many victims. It was reported by James Lesslje, on Thursday, July 5th, “a pensioner and four
or five of his associates were carousing and ail became intoxi*cated and he died there, in the cholera, unknown to his com*panions, and that every one of them afterwards were seized by it and are now in their graves”. (57)
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The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 Part IV
The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 Part IV
Daily reports continued to appear in the Minutes. Sometimes the patient was identified by name, sometimes by sex alone. Fre*quently, their report said, “a woman dead of the cholera was found on the street”. By June 28th queries were coming to the capital for advice from other parts of the province. The town of Niagara requested and received directions on how to handle the epidemic.
On June 29th it was reported that a prisoner in jail was sent to the hospital. On Friday, the l3th, the jailer died. (58)It was not surprising that cholera appeared in the jail, as active measures adopted by the magistrates to prevent disease spreading hadconsisted of putting ail drunkards found on the streets in jail or in stocks.
On the day prior to the death of the inmate, seven prisoners had petitioned the Lieutenant Governor for remittance on the basis that, “the appearance of cholera amongst the debtors, in airy, well ventilated apartments in the prison of the Home Dis*trict, has caused great alarm amongst the prisoners more closely confined in the ceils, and although every precaution has been tried to avoid contagion, yet when persons are closely confined, without the means of preventing a contact with persons of filthyhabit, the danger is considered great”. It was noted that if clem*ency was granted it would tend to impress upon the prisoner’s mind the necessity of abstaining from crime for the future. Two of the seven had been sentenced to death. The Lieutenant Governor suggested that five be released and two banished for life and the Chief Justice concurred. (59)
On June 29th Dr. King, the health officer, requested the hospital to provide more assistance for care of patients. It was also suggested that carters employed to convey the bodies to the graves and to the hospital be sworn in as special constables. Once again The Board of Health implored persons in cases of threatened sickness to resort to medical advice. This was neces*sary inasmuch as many persons were dosing themselves with brandy spirits, opium, or resorting to quacks for various reliefs. It was pointed out on several occasions that the records of The Board of Health were incomplete, particularly as far as deaths were concerned, inasmuch as many persons died unattended by physicians but attended by quacks or were self-medicated.
The incidence of disease continued to mount and during the first few weeks of July reached a peak, with a heavy load on personnel and hospital facilities. This heavy schedule may have led to the circulation of the rumor of a young girl being put in a coffin “yet living”. Her husband had demanded to see her, noted that she moved, carried her home and she recovered.
Magistrates of the July Quarter Sessions ordered a grand jury inquiry into the facts. The report of the grand jury exonerated the hospital, the doctors and the carters and proved the rumor to be baseless. (Post-mortem twitching and movements, especially in the face and the extremities, had been reported by Daniel Drake.)(60)Following this exoneration, however, the Board of Health was still quite sensitive to public pressure and rumors, and there is record of a complaint against the carter for not picking up patients as quickly as ordered on Friday, August 10th.
Internment of so many victims posed a serious problem for the normal burying grounds. In some places it was not possible to provide separate graves. Sentiment was usually high against burying cholera victims in the normal burying ground. In Exeter, England, there were riots when attempts were made to use the common burial ground, with the result a separate burial ground was urged.
In York, most of the victims were buried in Potter’s field, which at that time was at the corner of Yonge and Bloor. There was considerable criticism of the burying ground of the English Church. It was noted that it was a crowded burying ground, wet and muddy. Bodies were frequently interred at twilight and sometimes clandestinely in the dark. It was suggested that bodies should be buried with six inches of lime far enough below the surface that they could not be disturbed. (61)
Drawing on advice from England, it was suggested that coffins be carried “underhand” suspended on rope webs rather than on shoulders. At the military funeral of Dr Muttlebury, August 14th, 1832, soldiers were forbidden to approach the coffin be*cause of possible infection. It was finally transferred from the wagon to the grave with the help of Dr. Strachan and his son. (62) Seaborne reported that when men died of cholera at Kettie Creek, a volunteer entered the building and put a rope around the body. It was dragged from the building and drawn to the grave and into it. The rope was cut and the end was thrown into the grave and the earth was piled in. (63)
By July 25th the Board of Health was satisfied that it was not necessary to keep vessels in the Roads until visited by the health officer, and recommended that the vessels be allowed to come within a short distance of the wharf and to wait for a visit.
Cases now began to show up in the York Board of Health Minutes, indicating the disease had spread to Pickering, Thom-hill and other small areas around York.
On July 29th “Pipenea, a Canadian, died in the park in the blue stage past recovery”. Several other North American Indians were reported dead subsequently in York.
The Board continued to complain of difficulty in getting ac*curate reports. This was due partially to persons not reporting illness or death, and to inability of physicians to keep their records in order. Many of the physicians were themselves sick and two of them (Muttieberry and Cathcart) died.
The problem of hospitalizing patients continued to be un*solved. Public prejudice against going to hospital was higher than I ever now that there were many cases of cholera there. Because of the diffuseness of symptoms, practically any person who had fever, malaise and diarrhoea, was suspected of cholera and was put into the area where cholera victims were nursed.
It was moved that “… the prejudice that appears to exist at present against the hospital prepared for the reception of the cholera sick… deem it expedient that a receiving house be selected to receive such cholera patients as object to the General Hospital”. On polling the medical representatives on the Board of Health, it was found that ail agreed that a receiving house should be selected with the exception of one—Burnsjde. Cathcart, who died fine days later, stated that his arguments to patients were, “I have told them that if I were attacked with cholera I should have no choice whether I would remain in my own bd8-ing or be removed to the hospital”. John Rolph agreed that a receiving house might be one way ofgetting around popular objections. A recommendation was made to the Lieutenant Gov*ernor, Colbourne, that the old Grammar School (the Old Blue School) at the northwest corner of New and Widmer Streets be made into a receiving house. In addition to setting up the re*ceiving hospital the Board of Health asked for further funds in order to carry on activities and replace the present cart being used to convey the cholera sick. The answer from Colbourne pointed out that he felt he could not hesitate to comply with the wishes of the Board. However, he felt the Board was yielding to prejudice. He wondered whether there was or a danger that in locating at the Grammar School (which was immediately adjacent to Stuart’s Acre) a severe injury might be inflicted upon the class they were so anxious to benefit. He also drew the attention of the Board of Health to a recommendation by the Medical Board on the 18th of June, that the permanent hospital was ideal for cholera patients. To the statement that the new receiving house would be closer than the old hospital, he felt that the marshy atmos*phere around Stuart’s Acre would well make up for the short added journey of traveling to a well ventilated hospital. In addi*tion, he pointed out the prejudice against the temporary hospital might be just as great as that against the permanent hospital within a very short time. He urged the Board to continue its activities and pointed out the exemplar of the garrison which had not yet had a case reported. Further, he pointed out that emi*grants employed on road building, removed from York, continued to be healthy which he put down to the good atmosphere.
He finished the letter by pointing out that the 500pounds which had been made available for cholera care in the country was in the hands of the magistrates and there would be no fur*ther funds forthcoming. However, Colbourne did make the school available although he would put up no funds to put it in order.
When his report was read to the Board of Health, Dr. King submitted that his work as Health Officer to the Board of Health was finished and he felt that his stipend could be suspended. (He had been appointed Health Officer at the beginning of the epi*demic at three pounds per week. This had been increased to four with added activities.) However, by December 5th, 1532 it was necessary for him to write a letter to Baldwin asking, “… you as president of the late Board of Health to put me in the way of getting the remuneration proposed be given to me as Health Officer”.
At this same meeting it was proposed that a messenger be appointed to call at the residence of each medical gentleman in order to receive daily reports. It was also suggested that “Statute Labor, now remaining due in the town, be used in draining and cleaning those yards still in a state of filth where the inhabitants discover an indifference prejudicial to the state of public health”. At the same time chloride of lime should be spread about the area and one hundred barrels were requested.
At the August 7th meeting reply was received from the chair*man of The Quarter Sessions. The request for the new palanquin was turned down as no funds were available. With regard to Statute Labour, no definite decision could be made and this matter was held in abeyance. Fifty barrels of lime were appropriated rather than one hundred. The messenger requested so high a fee as to be unreasonable and this suggestion was turned down.
On August 8th resolutions were forwarded to the Lieutenant Governor. It was noted that cholera within a short time had increased in York to an alarming degree. It was pointed out that neither the Board nor the magistrates of the district had sufficient power to abate nuisances. li was also noted that one hundred pounds only remained unexpended from the five hundred pound allotment. With this in mind it was realized that there would be imperative calls on public benevolence on the behalf of numerous widows and orphans and that no reasonable expectation could be entertained of meeting the needs; and a sum could not be raised by public subscription.
It was, therefore, requested that the Lieutenant Governor surn*mon the Legislature at the earliest possible time to pass enabling legislation which would remedy the current problems. In addition, it was requested that further magistrates be appointed to The Quarter Sessions so that a quorum could be held on a daily basis, thus expediting matters of administration. It was also requested that a sum be made available to place the receiving house in a state ready to receive cholera patients.
The letter was answered by Rowan, secretary to Colbourne. He pointed out that more use should be made of voluntary ser*vices of the inhabitants of every street in order to improve condi*tions of filth and disease. He also pointed out that legislation would be made at the next meeting, but that would not be taking place in the immediate future. He mentioned that reports from other parts of the province were favorable and it seemed as though the affliction was yet comparatively light in this province. However, he must have been aware of the seriousness of the situation. Dr. W. Turner, the Resident Physician of the hospital had reported forty deaths out of eighty-eight patients who had been admitted. He closed by pointing out that his Excellency had already taken measures for increasing the magistracy.
On August l5th a meeting of the Board of Health was called. This was a full meeting in consequence of a special call of ail of the members. The difficulties, under which the Board labored, from want of legal authority and want of funds, were reviewed. One example of the general frustration of the Board was that of J. Bell. He kept a pub at the northeast corner of Jarvis and King Streets. On June l9th the sanitary inspectors reported his prem*ises were in a filthy condition. But Bell refused to improve them because he claimed that that was his landlord’s responsibility. He was buried on August 1st. (64) It was felt that the Board was, “destitute of every means of serving their fellow towns*men”. It was suggested by some members that money could be raised on a public appeal. However, this was voted down by the assembly with only Stanton, Boulton and Armstrong voting forit. A second motion was passed, stating “that the Board of Health being at length fully convinced from want of legal enactment, as well as from want of funds, of their total inability to be of any further service to their fellow townsmen, do this day dissolve themselves as a public body”. (65)At the same meeting it was reported that total cases since commencement of the epidemic had been 327 with the total deaths of 131.
With the dissolution of the Board of Health a new one was appointed immediately, with Robert Cathcart (his brother died that day) remaining secretary, and Boulton as the new chairman. Dr. Baldwjn was not included. This Board continued to function as evidenced by the tally of the epidemic which continued to appear. In the Colonial Gazette, September l3th, it reports statis*tics published by the York Board of Health for the week Septem*ber 6th-l2th as showing total cases from commencement 535, deaths 205.
The Quarter Sessions continued to be active in health affairs, and on August 3lst ordered that John Ritchje’s tender for the addition to the new cholera hospital (fifty pounds) be taken and to be done accordingly to the plan.
On Friday, July 6th James Lesslie noted in his diary, “Cholera does not subside this afternoon a man named Hewitt, a brick-layer at the new market house, was taken with it and died in about two hours” 0f the twenty-one cases reported in the Board of Health which gave time from onset to death, fourteen died within twenty-four hours.
On several occasions, whole families were involved as in the case of Edward, Mary, Delia and James Cox of Newgate Street. A father and two children in Stuart’s Lane were reported sinuously ill.
In Quebec city mortality on one occasion rose to 140 people per day. In York, the figure never went above 35.Weekly graphs showing mortalities in York suggested that there was a rapid rise in three weeks and following this, the disease incidence fell off for awhile to rise again in five weeks’ time. In Quebec city the mortality rate rose to a peak and then dropped off for the rest of the summer.
The reaction of the population was noted by Isaac Fidler who was a minister at Thornhfll. In his, “Observations of Professions, Literature, etc.”, he records that in New York City it, “was every man for himself”. In York, every available assistance was ren*dered. The patients received attendance and consolation to the very last. The Governor, the Archdeacon and other residents in York were conspicuously active in providing care and attention.
The second largest city in the province was Kingston. A local Board of Health was formed on June 20th and resolved that the public be notified by advertisement that any person seized with cholera would be received at the hospital immediately. Inhabitants of the house in which the afflicted person became ill were to assist him to the hospital. In addition, each apothecary was to furnish medicine approved by the medical Board of Health with directions of how to administer it. According to the Montreal Gazette (June 28th) The Committee of Management and The Board of Health allayed the alarm which existed among the patients on the first appearance of the pestilence Doctors visited every portion of the city and removed every particle of filth that could possibly create cholera.
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The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 Part V
The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 Part V
Commodore Barrie effected a system of compelling craft to an*chor at a respectable distance from the wharfs until the medical officer cleared the ship. It was reported that any person who disobeyed the orders of the health officer was liable to a fine offive pounds. Dr. Evans was in charge of the cholera hospital, assisted by Dr. Henry.
DATE RLEPOR.TED CASES DEATHS
In Brockville, the following cases were reported:
June 20 2
DATE REPORTED CASES DEATHS
In Prescott, Drs. Scott, Jessup and McQueen declared the arrival of cholera on June l6th. The village was “in a dreadful state of consternation” according to The Montreal Gazette (June 28th). Many families moved to a distance and business came to a standstill. Crews deserted government boats. Sheds were erected for the sick emigrants on Drummonds Island.
The Emigrant Society of Prescott enforced a regulation to have emigrants remain on Drummonds Island until steamboats were ready to take them up the lake. Dr. McQueen attended to the sick on the island while Scott and Jessup worked in the village. When someone was stricken, the villagers immediately helped him, taking him to a place of comfort.
By July 7th business had resumed and the panic was subsiding.
The following cases were reported in Prescott:
DATE REPORTED CASES DEATHS
In Cornwall the first case was a sick seaman who died within twelve hours. By July 7th a temporary hospital was erected and by July 27th there had been 15 cases with 7 deaths. By the week ending August 15 there had been 3 more deaths.
In Cobourg, according to the Montreal Gazette, June 27th, there was no poverty or filth to engender cholera. “Cleanliness pervades our streets, plenty surrounds our hearth, the breezes from Lake Ontario breathe freshness to the town”. However, the steamship the Great Britaindocked at Cobourg with 3 cases amid general denouncement for landing passengers secretly at night instead of going through inspection at the wharf. On June 27th regulations were passed to make sure that emigrants stayed at the hospital point for 3 days and that a barrier be erected across the wharf to prevent clandestine landings of emigrants. By July l2th there were 6 cases reported and 2 deaths. By July 25th Cobourg was free of disease.
The Hastings Times reported to the Montreal Gazette on July 7th that a superb hospital had been erected in Belleville. How*ever, by July l4th there were no new cases of cholera.
In Hallowell, Dr. Evans (of Kingston) took care of several cases. There was a total of 45 cases in ail with 10 deaths.
In Brantford by July 7th there were 3 cases with 1 death and by Aug. 4th 1 Indian was reported dead. There was further spread of cholera to the Indians with 6 cases by Sept. 6th includ*ing 2 deaths. There were also 3 deaths of Europeans.
By July 2lst there were 2 deaths reported in Hamilton. There was a recrudescence of the disease on Aug. 2nd with 8 new cases and 5 deaths. Cholera appeared in the jail on Aug. 23rd and a woman debtor and a jailor died. In Burlington Bay, there were 18 deaths by July 21st.
Along the Welland Canal cases of cholera were so numerous as to frighten the laborers from turning to their work. Only 25 men of a possible 400 remained on employment. In the canal itself there were 33 cases and 6 deaths by July 27th with serious illness to Dr. F. Ellis who was taking care of the sick.
St. Catharinesdid not report any disease at any time.
In Port Dalhousje, by July 26th, 3 adults and 3 children had died.
Along the Ottawa River, by Aug. 9th, at New Edinburgh, it was reported that one-ninth of the population had died within ten days. In Bytown there were 105 cases with 37 deaths between July 10th and July l9th. The August report showed 21 cases, with 27 deaths.
Further cases and deaths were reported from Osnabruk, Port Hope, Peterborough, Monaghan, Innismore, Dummer, Dourd, and the Trent River.
At St. Regis by June 28th, there were 34 cases and 15 deaths reported. By Aug. 26th it was reported that 75 persons consisting of more than one-tenth of the Indian population had died.
At Lancaster, Pickering, Oxford, Napanee and Bath there were reports of a few cases.
At Fort Coulonge (two hundred miles up the Ottawa River) there were 5 deaths among the lumbermen and settlers. The Indians left immediately for the interior.
In the London District events paralleled those of York. On June 20th, instructions were received to inspect vessels and not to discharge passengers. The Board of Health named inspectors to board craft at various Fort Erie ports. In addition, instruction was given to erect hospitals. With the naming of members of Boards of Health, construction of hospitals began. However, in some places this proceeded too quickly and it was necessary to trim back some of the building.
By July l4th, s deaths had been reported in London and by July 24th, there were 7 more cases with 3 deaths.
Elam Stimson reported an episode on July 28th at Gait. A circus, which attracted 1,000 persons to it, resulted in 200 deaths. (Stimson did not authenticate his report.) (66)Seaborn (67)reported the epidemic in the London district on Aug. 8th. How*ever, no complete data is available on the number of cases, By July 29th, the Montreal Gazette reporty 47 cases, with 13 deaths in London. “The alarm here is so great that only 27 families remain. A great many houses on the line of Dundas Street are closed”. Dr. Stiinson’s charges to the Board of Health included an item of 54 pounds “to attendance during 34 days, the time of the prevalence of the cholera in the town of London”.
On looking over further accounts it is noted that the London physicians charged the Board of Health for those patients who could not pay. This type of accounting is not seen at other centres. In Toronto, Dr. King and Dr. Turner were employees of the Board of Health and were given a daily stipend. However, there is no mention of payment to doctors for treatment of indigent cholera patients. It is also noted in the London accounts that Dr. Duncombe rendered an account 0f 67 pounds, less 11 pounds, 10 shillings, “deducted from this account being for medical attendance on poor emigrants with sickness not cholera”.
From the standpoint of monies paid out in Upper Canada, it is noted on the report of the Select Committee on Cholera, 1833, to The House of Assembly, that the total amount advanced by his Excellency to the several districts 0f the province, had been 4,283 pounds, 17 shillings, 3½ pence while the sum expended was 4,439 pounds, 19 shillings, half pence. Each district, with the exception of Ottawa, used more or up to the full amount of its allotment. Ottawa had used only half 0f the 100 pounds available.
In addition to fees for erecting and maintaining hospitals, there had been payments to medical gentlemen. This added up to 700 pounds with 250 pounds being spent in London, 180 pounds in Gore, 80 pounds in Newcastle, 60 pounds in the Eastern, 50 pounds in Johnstown and the residue in Bathurst, Ottawa, Niag*ara and Western districts. The medical gentlemen of Midiand and Home Districts, where the epidemic raged with great violence, received no remuneration whatever from public funds.
In addition to public funds, private subscription in the town of Kingston had raised 223 pounds. The report closed with an en*joinment to the House to enact a law to ensure judicious applica*tions of any monies that may hereafter be placed at the disposal of different districts.
During the 1831 epidemic at Sunderland, England, one re*markable feature had been the immunity of the 82nd Regiment. During the whole epidemic, which carried a high mortality, not one man was lost. The officer in charge of the barracks, James Butler Kell, had been one of the first to see cholera in Sunderland. He had also seen cholera among the troops in Mauritius where he had managed to stem the epidemic by strict isolation. His chief at that time, Sir James McGrigor (who had been chief of medical staff to the Duke of Wellington) had commended Kell and had posted him to North England on his return to the country. Kell had no control over civilian Sunderland. However, he could control the barracks. The barracks were well built, airy and spacious, with ample accommodation for 400 people including soldiers’ families. There was a forty foot area between the buildings and the back wall. KelI cut the barracks off from the outside world. Only a few trusted N.C.O.’s were allowed into town to obtain supplies, with absolute instructions to keep clear of infected areas. To keep the recruits toeing the mark he had frequent roil calls, and in addition, broke the monotony of bar*rack life with a more than adequate programme of activities.
All this was reported to McGrigor. He in turn issued directions to ail units of the army respecting proper steps to be taken for cholera. Dr. Sky, in Kingston, received and enforced these direc*tions. The barracks and hospitals were carefully cleaned and whitewashed. Duties and fatigues of soldiers were lightened as much as possible. Rigid isolation was practised, and the married soldiers who resided in town were removed with their families to a camp on the other side of the bay. With the appearance of cholera in Kingston, the barrack gates were shut and although the disease raged for the next fortnight there were no episodes within the barracks. However, folioing that, cholera did appear inside the barracks and 36 cases were reported with 7 deaths. (68)
A similar situation endured at Toronto where the garrison was unattached until quite late in the epidemic. So good was their record that the Board of Health invited Dr. Short, the garrison doctor, to report on what measures he had taken. (69) Dr. Short’s report included recommendations with regard to strict cleanli*ness, bathing the body once a day, ventilating houses, draining stagnant or dirty water or strewing it with lime. It also included injunctions against the undue use of ardent spirits and exposure to night air The use of flannel was highly recommended and woollen stockings had been substituted for cotton socks or stock*ings. This state of immunity continued until Aug. 9th when the daughter of a captam was attacked Followmg tius, another fe*male died on Garrison Commons
Nelson reported that the garrison in Montreal, composed of 450 men, lost 46 However, on removal to the Island of St Helene with maintenance of strict secluslon, there were no further deaths (70)
Thus the Canadian situation showed that with the attempts at complete isolation and quarantine it was possible to restrict the disease. However, this. concept was not realized fully until some years later.
The reaction by the general public to cholera varied. As pointed out, some viewed it with panic and attempted to get as far away as possible. Others, however, considering the chief vic*tim of the cholera was the poorest 0f the poor, the intemperate and even the irreligious, went about their daily rounds in a nor*mal manner. Longmate reports in London, England, that the theatres were unaffected, the streets, churches and promenades were never deserted. (71)
In Montreal the Montreal Gazette reported on June l6th, “Business seems paralyzed. Physicians and ministers and vehicles ply with velocity day and night through ail parts of the city and suburbs; druggists and apothecaries keep their shops open ail night”.
Rev. Dale noted regarding York that, “business was well nigh suspended, the prevailing panic keeping ail visitors away from the country. Stillness and death reigned in its deserted streets, traversed continually by cholera carts conveying the dead to the grave and the dying to the hospital”. (72)(However, it would be difficultfor the streets to be deserted considering that some 40,000 emigrants came to York during the summer of 1832.) The merchants on several Occasions felt that there were undue rumors of cholera which were not good for business. “The Mercury is censureable for spreading such a report, creating an alarm that must affect commerce over the continent of America and willprevent the summer influx of pleasure seekers from the United States who spend large sums of money in our cities”. This was a comment made in Quebec City. (73)
York had considerable import and export trade. It served as a base for the Western part of the upper province. Wheat was shipped to the town for storage and sale in the Spring. Fish and other imported foods were brought through the town. In addi*tion, salt from Ononandaga was supplied to most of Upper Can*ada through York. (74)
An extensive wholesale trade had been built up with the rest of the province. John Lesslie, whose diaries are so valuable, was a Dundas shopkeeper who did his purchasing in New York. One firm, Murray and Newbigging, had enough customers on Yonge Street to warrant running a thrice weekly freight wagon to Lake Simcoe. (75)
However, despite the paralysis of business which had occurred in 1832, the following year there was a recovery with a revival of trade. It is not possible to say if the epidemic had any serious effect on commerce. Certainly, it appears there was little long term effect…“The increase of the trade of York is more im*portant than that of its buildings. It is only within the last two years that a wholesale business of any extent was done—during those two years that business had been rapidly increasing until it has now become little inferior to that of Quebec, or even Montreal”. (76)It was not until 1535 when as a result of mounting political tensions and subsequent drop in immigration, that there was a serious business recession.
One of the major economic adventures was the building of canals. The “mania for canalling” was general throughout the province. The Family Compact actively supported the various projects of the 1820’s and 30’s. Money was devoted for projects without too much difficulty. Even William Lyon Mackenzie was enthusiastic (at the beginning). The Welland Canal was com*pleted to provide a direct entrance upon Lake Erie between 1830 and 1833. A great deal of this work was done with emigrantlabour. The Montreal Gazette reported on August 9th that from July 16th to August 2nd there were 22 deaths at Gravelly Bay and on the new route. “Cases of cholera are so numerous as to frighten the labourers from their work”.
One of the complaints the first Board of Health had had was that there would be insufficient funds to take care ofthe widows and children bereaved as a result of the cholera epidemic. How*ever, this was not a new problem that faced York. From the be*ginning of the settlement there had always been a few in the community who required assistance. The Society for the Relief %~ of Strangers in Distress, in 1817, started as a major welfare agency in York. Originally, money was given to those who were in need but in 1820 a works programme was organized. Wages ~ were lower than the standard throughout the town. This was not fourth feasible and the society returned to donations to the sick, of food, clothing and transportation elsewhere. A soup kitchen was established by the society in 1831 against the opposition of William Lyon Mackenzie. It was noted by Lesslie that the kitchen was well attended during the summer of ‘32.
The Female Society for the Relief of Poor Women in Child*birth was the only other relief society. This worked on sums raised by a bazaar held yearly. (77)
On April 24th 1832 the York Emigrant Society was supported by the Lieutenant Governor for the purpose of assisting emigrants who might arrive in York. This kept a list of public boarding houses, helped place emigrants in work, and co-operated with the other societies in looking after the sick and destitute. (78)
Bishop Strachan organized “The Society for the Relief of Or*phan, Widow and Fatherless” towards the end of the cholera epi*demic. This society attempted to supply immediate needs for those left without anything and to place dependents where they could be maintained. This involved binding out girls to the age of eighteen and boys to the age of twenty-one, as the law di*rected, to various Christian homes, On September 3, 1832, there were between 200 and 300 children of both sexes and of ail ages, from a few months to 16 years of age who required placement. It was noted that “children above five years may be immediately useful and the widows would in most cases, be able to render some assistance”. (79)
The appeal for help brought forth good responses from the people of Markham, Whitchurch and Trafalgar
Atternpts were made to furnish work for the widows, making shirts or knitting socks. It was noted in The Christian Guardian, January 3Oth, 1833 that there were now 136 widows and 400 children who required assistance. The committee also collected donations and in over two years collected 1,263 pounds, 9 shil*lings: of this the congregation of St. James Church contributed 1,176 pounds, 3 shillings; Kirk of Scotland, 49 pounds, 15 shil*lings, 8 pence; the Presbyterian congregation, 18 pounds, 11 shillings and the Kirk of Roman Catholics, 19 pounds, 11 shillings. No separate list was kept of the contributions of the Metho*dists although Rev. Egerton Ryerson’s name is set down in the treasurer’s book for 3 pounds, 10 shillings.
Because of the interest in the destitute, the care and considera*tion given particularly by John Strachan, there was an influx of the destitute from other areas into York. Even emigrants from Quebec and Montreal felt that they would receive more help if they came to York. To counteract this, Strachan, who was in fear that York would become “the lazar house of the province” issued an appeal to the surrounding districts to accept children.
It is difficult to compare mortalities and morbidity in the differ*ent parts of the country on a population basis. Quebec, with a population of approximately 28,000 had 2,208 deaths. Montreal, with a population of slightly more, had 1,885 deaths. York, with a population of 5,500 had almost 600 deaths. 0f course all of these figures are only what can be gleaned from reports and are not well authenticated. In addition to this, the population of York was 5,500 who had settled in York, plus thousands of emigrants who passed through.
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The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 Part VI
The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 Part VI
“Modem historians generally have failed to assess diseases’ vital influence in historical development…“ said R. A. McGrew in 1960. (80) He Went on to point out that discussing the after*math of the French Revolution in 1830, The English Reform Bill of 1832 and The Polish Revolt of 1830-31, cholera had scarcely been mentioned. He based his major thesis on the fact that cir*cumstances which favoured epidemic cholera were precisely those most dangerous to stable society. It had been noted that in Paris there was a strong feeling that mass deaths were not due to cholera but were the outcome of a diabolical plot to poison the populace. Similarly “plot” charges were made against the troops of Nicholas I which infected the Poles with cholera leading to decimation and revolution. “Cholera intensified those bitter social tensions which first helped reform along its way”. (81)In Upper Canada there were no charges that disease had been introduced by some forces working to change society. However, in Lower Canada, Joseph Papineau accused Lord Aylmer of “enticing sick emigrants into the country in order to decimate the ranks of French Canadians”. (82) Papineau charged that quarantine regu*lations were conducted purposely in a lax manner to permit dis*ease into the country. But there was never any suggestion of deliberate neglect in Upper Canada. Possibly this was because, although the disease affected a great many poor emigrants, a rela*tively large number of respected figures in the community were also affected.
The only political heritage of the cholera epidemic would ap*pear to be the establishment of the Health Boards and the setting up of quarantine regulations and the first organized effort of pub*lic sanitation. This was the case in other parts of the world. The cholera, which held sway in Britain in 1832, led to more and more government interference in daily living. Doctors were required under threat of legal penalties to notify ail cases and with the passage of The Nuisances Removal Order the local boards were given considerable authority to maintain sanitation. (Jeremy Bentham, who died in 1832, foresaw that the Poor Law Board, the only well are agency in existence in his time, would ultimately be responsible for housing, public health and education).
In Upper Canada, on February 3rd, 1833, “An Act to Establish Boards of Health and to Guard Against the Introduction of Ma*lignant, Contagious and Infectious Diseases In This Province and For the Formation of Local Boards” (83)was passed. This made it lawful for the Governor to appoint three or more persons to act as health officers. It also provided for sanitary control, quar*antining of vessels, and the levying of effective fines for violators. This act was superseded by the Public Health Act passed in 1849 which permitted the function of a Central Board of Health. In 1873 and in 1884 further legislation was passed. It was not until the latter date that full authority was given to a Provincial Board to make regulations for the prevention and mitigation of the disease.(84)
With the reduction in the number of cases of cholera and the formal declaration by the Lieutenant Governor that the epidemic was finished, normal activities in the province resumed. How*ever, with the coming of 1833, once again warnings were sent out from England
. In addition, The United States, particularly in the south and the west, began to report cases.
The province braced itself for a further attack in 1833, and in the town of York a new Board of Health was formed.
On April 17th the Lieutenant Governor constituted a Board of Health for the purpose of watching over the state of public health and making use of such preventative measures as might appear expedient. The area around Terauley Street had many large stagnant pools of water. The area around the market still presented many problems in sanitation. The Board of Health had only Dr. King as a carry over from previous committees. None of the doctors who had been appointed in 1832 were on this committee.
However, 1833 was not a serious year for cholera in any part of Canada. The result of this was that efforts to maintain sanita*tion slacked off somewhat by 1834. In addition, when the epi*demic did appear in 1834 it was at first thought to be mild, and vigorous steps were not taken from the onset.
The first reports of cholera appeared on June 11th whenthe steamer, Constantia, arrived at the quarantine station at Grosse Isle from Limerick. Three of its passengers had died on route to Canada. The next day, the Elizabeth and Sarah arrived at Grosse Isle from Dublin with two hundred passengers who had had cholera. Although there was still a quarantine and inspection station at Grosse Isle, as before, contacts were not detained, nor was a vigorous effort made to separate those infected from those not. The result was that cholera re-entered the country.
According to Heagerty (85)cholera arrived in Canada by July 4th and in Quebec by July 6th. However, the Mon treal Gazette of 1834, gives the first date as June 11th. In Lower Canada the disease did not have a violent course at the onset, but by July rapidly mounting figures pointeci a further serious epidemic.
The Council of the city of Montreal meeting early in July passed several resolutions. One of these included a representa*tion to the Governor-in chief to provide means whereby emi*grants could be conveyed to their destination with the least possible delay. It was anticipated that 1834 would be a heavy year for immigration, and figures published by MacDonald showed that 40,000 arrived in North America. On July l8th, McGill wrote to Rowan, the Lieutenant Governor’s secretary in Upper Canada, that the city corporation of Montreal was bor*rowing and subscribing funds to send emigrants to North America. He stated that 750 had been sent off the previous Monday.
The prospect of caringfor large numbers of the sick and poor caused considerable consternation in the towns along Lake On*tario. In a submission to the Lieutenant Governor the Board of Health of York felt that the inhabitants of the town had a great burden thrown on them to support the ordinary sick and poor... “and requested his Excellency for a sum to procure medical and other attendants for those who were labouring under the disease of cholera”. (86) However, very little financial assistance was forthcoming. Sir John Colbourne granted fifty pounds out of the casual and territorial revenue of thirty thousand pounds, for the care of destitute emigrants. (87)
The general state of unawareness was shown clearly by actions at Kingston.(88) In May the city drew up regulations and asked the government to pass on them. However the Executive Council replied that since no real necessity existed at present, it was felt that it would excite apprehension and interrupt intercourse through the country without a corresponding advantage if the regulation were put into effect.
Similarly in York there was an inability to grasp that a severe epidemic had recurred By this time there had been considerable rebuilding in York. There was now a new market which stood south of King and east of Jarvis Street. There had been some road building and several larger houses had been built. The hos*pital remained as before. There were now 529one storey houses and 485two storey houses, with 100merchant shops. (89)
The oldtown in the east still had the highest population den*sity and the worst slums. Stuart’s Block was still notoriously overcrowdedIn early August the Taranto Patriot mentioned that the gen*eral health of the citywas good and that there were only a few cases of cholera. It wasfelt that many of these terminated fatally, more from neglect than from the epidemic. Business had not been interrupted for a single hour. The article closed with the state*ment that, “we verily think that in 1832 the press killed more on this continent than the cholera” However by August l4th it Was realized that a grave situation existed. “The health of the city... has never been so bad as it has been for the last fortnight. Cholera continued its ravages with unexampled mortality”. (90)
A factor in this rapid spread may have been the weather Dur*ing the previous two weeks there had been torrential ram with flooding of available water supplies and possible contamination.
By July 28th, 32 Cases had been reported with 19 deaths. Dur*ing the next four weeks, the ‘mortality climbed substantiality. By September 4th, it was reported in the Montreal Gazette that there had been a total number of 450deaths. The death rate on many occasions rose to 20 per day.
Patients were Once again admitted to The General Hospital which converted to a cholera hospital In addition the Lieu*tenant Governor made available the east wing of the new Parliament buildings.
Asin the previous epidemic the health of the garrison remained relatively good in spite of the raging disease in the town. At one time it was said that 4,000 of the normal 10,000 inhabitants had fled the town. Once again prisoners in the jail were severely affected.
The Board of Health, which was appointed early in the year, sat with William Lyon McKenzie at its head. Considerable fric*tion developed with the result that eventually the eight other members of the Board of Health refused to act with Mr. McKen*zie. The Board was subsequently dissolved on its own motion, and the Mayor selected alternates consisting of Messrs. Leslie, Doli, Jackes and Dr. Tims (the latter was very reluctant).
Funds were still urgently needed for the cholera hospital and were requested by Dr. Tims of the Lieutenant Governor. However, the government seemed unwiring to give assistance unless the management of the hospital was turned over to the govern*ment. This problem was eventually solved by 250 pounds being placed at the disposal of the Board of Health which disbursed it for the hospital.
Heagerty reports that by the first week of September, the cholera hospital was closed, but not before Dr. Isaac Stephenson, the resident physician, had died. The Christian Guardian of Sep*tember 10th, 1834, reports that a few cases occurred in the city during the week. “The people are returning from the country”. During this epidemic a larger number of people left the town. Clarke (91)reports, “during the height of the panic many victims struck with terrible disease were left without medical or any other assistance, and frequently cholera patients had to trust to the merciful attention of strangers, or a few paid nurses before they could be removed to the hospital. Every twentieth inhabitant was swept away by this visitation. A few heroic men and women banded together for the purpose of visiting the homes of the struck, and securing to them such assistance as was necessary. Frequently, some of this noble band, among whom was the Mayor, might be seen placing the victims in the cholera carts and driving them to the hospital”.
Although the exact cause of cholera was still not understood, there is a recurring emphasis on filth and lack of sanitation. References are made continually to the poor state of cleanliness and note is made of failure of definitive action to be taken to repair this state. W. D. Powell and Bishop Strachan on May 24th, 1833, in a notification to the provincial secretary (92)noted, “They are receptacles for drunkenness and vice surrounded with every kind 0f filth. We have further to state that more houses of a similar description are now building, and if no impediment is thrown in the way, the whole space under the Bank will be covered with the meanest sort of buildings and rendered impos*sible for decent people to walk in front of that part of the town”. In the Act to Establish a Board of Health, June 9th, 1834, Section XIV noted; “No tub shah be removed from any privie or neces*saryhouse except between the hours of eleven at night and three in the morning from the firstday of May to the first day of October under penalty”. Further to this, by An Act To Regulate Paving and Repairing of Streets, June l9th, 1834, (93) an adver*tisement was placed for estimates to contract for well, pumps and sewers, paving and repairing of streets. This act also stated that, “No person shah construct or make use of any sewer or drain leading onto any of the public common sewers of the city of Toronto for the purpose of carrying off the contents of any privie or water closet”. How effectively this act was applied is not known.
Certainly by April 7th, 1835 conditions were still in a, “Most deplorable state of filth and uncleanliness so much so that the Board of Health cannot dwell upon the prospect of the ensuing su4nmer without the most serious apprehension for the lives and health of their fellow citizens”, said T. V. Sullivan, Mayor, and Dr. J. D. Morrison. (94) Later in the year, once again, the Board recommended the construction, as soon as possible, of public sew*ers by which ail cellars might be drained. It pointed out that superficial gutters, so constructed as to readily carry off the water from the surface, might be more immediately within the re*sources of the city. However, the Board despaired of any means proving effectual tu draining shah be carried out to its full extent. It recommended at the same time the daily employment of scavengers to collect offal. (95)
Throughout the province there occurred a similar pattern to that of 1832. In Kingston
, the Board of Health reported 43 cases and 24 deaths by July 2Oth. By the end of the month there were 60cases with 32deaths. A communication from the town clerk to Rowan, dated July 30th, notes that, “Cholera has been raging with great mortality, and no less than 13 internments took place on July 29th”. (96)
By August 9th, there had been 139 cases with 74deaths. The Kingston Chronicle
reported that cholera continued to be a scourge. It urged ail inhabitants to take every •measure for purifying and cleansing their respective premises. The police of the town provided a supply of lime for the poorer classes. On August l3th, a day of public humiliation, fasting and prayer to Almighty God was made. By August l6th, according to the Christian Guardian,
there had been a total of 193 cases with 105dead. By August 30th, the Montreal Gazette
reported 224 cases with 123 deaths. Subsequent to this there were reports of a few more dead but the disease had gone its course.
In Brockville, it was noted on July l9th in a letter to Rowan (97) that a female emigrant had died on route to Brockviile. The Board of Health determined to open the hospital and begged his Excellency to authorize funds to be spent in doing so. By August l9th, there had been 9 deaths.
Cornwall reported 7 deaths (Cornwall Observer, August l2th). In a letter from the emigrant office to John Patton, Esq. Of Prescott, that town was informed that, “During this week every exertion must be sped on your part in providing for the accommo*dation of emigrants”. They were proceeding to that point in great numbers. By August 10th, 96cases were reported with 32 dead; 131 cases and 44 dead by August 23rd and 173 cases and 59 dead by September 1st were reported in the Montreal Gazette.
Scattered reports of deaths were reported at Port Stanley, St. Thomas, London and Brantford. At Brantford it was reported that the Indians on The Grand River refused the medicine offered to them. 0f 26 cases reported 3 died. At Dumfries, it was reported by the Montreal Gazette that on August 2nd, “We have been visited with a noisome pestilence that walketh in darkness and wasteth at noonday. Within thirty hours there were thirty deaths. The scene it exhibited was awful: here you could see men digging graves and burying their dead at night by torches and fires built in the graveyard, and every few minutes hearing the clattering of horses’ feet—a messenger dispatching in haste for a physician or something for the sick”.
In Niagara, Dundas Port, Bytown and Hamilton numerous cases were reported, with deaths of approximately 50 persons.
The financing of the epidemic continued to be a difficult problem.
As noted, the Brockville Board of Health proposed to open the hospital if funds could be made available. By July 23rd, a letter from the emigrant office said, “A stated daily allowance will be authorized for each patient admitted into the hospital… similar communication to the Board of Health at Prescott…“ (98) A request was received from Toronto on July 29th pointing out that the disease had been rapid in its progress. Query was put to His Excellency whether his powers to assist with funds to meet the extraordinary expenses could be invoked. li was pointed out this application was urgent, both from the number of victims being recent emigrants and the limited means at the disposal of the corporation arising out of city assessments.(99)Further action to this appeal was made by the Toronto Council on July 3lst. According to The Minute Book on that date a resolution was passed that 250 pounds be placed at the disposal of the Board of Health, inclusive of wages of surgeons, nurses, bedding, furni*ture, victualling and medicines. This amount was to be taken out of the funds of the corporation.
With no answer forthcoming from the Lieutenant Governor, the Board of Health met again on August 9th. It was noted in The Minutes that the Corporation of Toronto had assessed the inhabitants two pence in the pound for this year (being double the rate for last year) but owing to irregularities of the Assessment Law, “this tax was found to bear heavily on the humble classes of the citizens. In addition, about 400 pounds of arrear*ages had been left unpaid by the district magistrates and made chargeable on the funds of the city. (The original assessment of one penny over and above the city assessment had been paid to district funds, and the surplus funds derived from the market stalls and lot, over and above the interest of the bank debt, were by charter employed to liquidate the debt to the bank). Under those circumstances some of the members of the corporation became security to the agricultural bank for a ban of 1,000 pounds payable in three months—With this money the corpo*ration had been improving the streets and lanes, removing nuisances, making sidewalks and ail necessary alterations in buildings—nor have they hesitated to relieve distress as far as it was their power, and to make provisions for the reception of patients at the cholera hospital”.
“If the funds derived from the tavern licenses within the city was under their control, there would be no difficulty in pro*ceeding with a further supply of money, but under existing cir*cumstances…“ the Board of Health directed its chairman to apply to His Excellency for 500pounds or any sum.
This had the effect of the Lieutenant Governor placing, “At the disposal of every Board of Health in the province, such a sum as the members of the board may consider indispensably neces*sary….“. (100)
In spite of this it should be noted, as previously mentioned, the application ofthe hospital to the Lieutenant Governor for funds met with little success. Part of this may have been due to the feeling that monies were being spent improperly. A letter from The Toronto City Council Papers states, …“His Excel*lency reported to the House by this Committee a very imperfect account of the funds and property ofthe hospital has been obtained. Statements made seem to indicate the necessity of a change in the system under which that institution has hitherto been managed”.
In addition to the demands for actual cash for acute treat*ment, there continued to be a problem for those who survived the epidemic. The Society for the Relief of Orphans, Widow and Fatherless continued its work. The Christian Guardian reports on August l6th that one hundred and sixty-nine widows came fore the committee and were assisted, advised and put insome way of doing for themselves. In addition, twenty-two widows with large families were assisted Five hundred and thirty-five orphan children, fatherless and motherless, were provided for invarious ways from 1832 to 1834 The 1834 epidemic showed that the province had learned little from the lessons of 1832. The epidemic was not anticipated. There was little preparation made for it. At the beginning, its malignancy was under-estimated. The difficulties in day to day management and the securing of necessary funds continued to be major problems. There was still no feeling that there should be a continuing Board of Health charged with, and given authority and resources, to maintain the health of the province.
During the next fifteen years there was no serious outbreak of cholera in Upper Canada. But in 1847 there was a major outbreak of typhus or shipboard fever. This was associated with the mas*sive immigration to Canada, (109,680) attendant to the great Irish potato famine. The major care for this epidemic was carried by Montreal and Quebec, although Toronto did have an epidemic, as is attested to by the plaque which can still be read today in St. Michael’s Cathedral to “… Right Reverend Michael Power, D.D., First Bishop of the Diocese of Toronto, who lay down his life for the stricken members of his flock. In consequence of the epidemic in which more than 800 died the House of Assembly of Canada forwarded an address to the Queen pointing out the impossibility of looking after so many emigrants, and the danger of a continued immigration.
In 1849 there was a further heavy outbreak of cholera in Eng*land, and particularly in London. Although Pollitzer (101)states that the third pandemic began in 1852, there undoubtedly was a major epidemic in England in 1849. The year was significant inasmuch as for the first time in England there was a Registrar General to study the cause of death, and a permanent Board of Health to direct the campaign against disease. In the same year The Royal College of Physicians of England launched an investi*gation of its own into cholera. The results did not appear until 1854. The year is also notable for the fact that Dr. John Snow published a thirty page pamphlet, On the Mode of Communica*tion of Cholera in which he maintained that cholera was swal*lowed in the drinking water and that it spread by the excretions of the sick, infecting the water drunk by the healthy. “… These opinions respecting the cause of cholera are brought forward not as matters of certainty, but as containing a greater amount of probability in their favour than any other in the present state to our knowledge”. (102)A few months later William Budd in his book, Malignant Cholera; Its Mode and Propagation and Its Pre*vention, suggested that cholera was a living organism of a distinct species… taken by the act of swallowing into. the intestinal canal. Neither man’s pronouncement was greebet with accep*tance. The concept and treatment of cholera remained the same.
In April of 1849, an act was passed in the House of Upper Canada, “To Make Provision for the Preservation of Public Health in Certain Emergencies”. (103) This act made it lawful for the governor of the province, after due proclamation, to ap*point by commission under his hand and seal, five persons to be called, “The Central Board of Heath”. In addition, after a procla*mation, the chief municipal officer of every place affected by such proclamation, was to take steps for the constitution of a local Board of Health. The local Board of Health could be com*posed of three persons living within the limits of their respective jurisdictions. Alternatively, the Mayor or head of the municipal corporation was required, after written requisition by ten inhabi*tants, to form a Board of Health. Failing this, His Excellency in council, could forthwith appoint a local Board of Health.
The Central Board of Health was given the power to issue regulations and directions for the prevention and medication of disease. This included frequent and effectual cleansing of the streets; cleansing, purifying, ventilating and disinfecting of houses, dwellings, etc.; provision for dispensing of medicines, and for affording to persons afflicted by, or threatened with such epidemic, such medical aid as might be required. In addition, in-habitants of dwellings deemed unsuitable might be required to remove therefrom.
The members of the local Board of Health were to be called peace officers. They had power to enter and inspect dwellings, to require local citizens to obey the regulations laid down by the Central Board of Health. Constables and peace officers could be called on to assist the health officer.
The expenses of the Central Board of Health were to be de*frayed out of monies appropriated from the Consolidated Reve*nue Fund of the province Expenses incurred by the local Board of Health in execution, or superintending the execution of the directions and regulations of the Central Board of Health, were to be defrayed by the municipal corporations, councils and other municipal bodies.
The first news of cholera arriving in Canada was in Kingston, where it appeared at the beginning of June 1849. Following this, it appeared in Montreal in the middle of June and in Toronto towards the end of June.
On June 18th the Mayor of Toronto called the council together for the purpose of nominating a local Board of Health. At the same council meeting (104) it was noted there was objection by inhabitants of the west end of the city to council’s determination to build a cholera hospital on the hospital block, west of Brock Street, or near the market reserve adjoining. It was pointed out such a hospital would be ~ dangerous nuisance both as to the health and cleanliness of the neighborhood. The city council did not appoint a Board of Health. Rather, it referred the matter to a Select Committee. The Select Committee reported back on July 2nd and recommended that the council appoint a Board of Health. However, it could not, “Pass over the extreme injustice to this city as enacted by the seventh section in the act of forcing to be defrayed out of its local revenues the entire expense of the local Board of Health including that incurred on behalf of emigrants as well as that required for the relief of the destitute inhabitants”.
The report was accepted but its recommendations were de*feated eleven to five.
On July 7th the Mayor called a special meeting of the council, in consequence of receipt 0f a requisition of about fifty influential inhabitants, to appoint a Board of Health. Two letters were read from John King, M.D. to the Mayor concerning several cases of Asiatic cholera which had occurred in the city on July 7th and July 9th. In the second letter King urged the necessity for hospital care and accommodation. This recommendation for hospital care for cholerous patients was not in keeping with current prac*tices. Usually the patients were kept in a special hospital. But in 1848 The General Emigrant Agent had entered a request to the Board of Trustees of The Toronto General Hospital that ail pa*tients should be hospitalized, and this was agreed to. (105)There ensued a great debate which turned on the point that 1f the coun*cil recognized the said law, it rendered itself liable to all of the provisions of the seventh section, and the council would be com*pelled by means of a general taxation of the citizens of Toronto to afford any unlimited sum of money that might be required to carry out the orders and directions of the Central Board at Mon*treal. After considerable argument a Board of Health was ap*pointed, a strong remonstrance was forwarded to His Excellency in the Executive Government, and the local Board of Health was requested to determine that portion of expenses which were in*curred for local purposes in order that Parliament might be peti*tioned to defray that part of expenses as would be shown by the Central Board of Health.
With the appointment of a Board of Health a request was made for a small sum of money to be placed at the disposal of the Board for enabling provisions to meet emergencies. One hun*dred pounds was voted.
At the same meeting an offer was received from Albert Furniss to supply water to the poor gratis, in certain parts of the city during the prevalence of the cholera. A Select Committee was appointed to investigate this. It was noted that a Water Works was established in Toronto in 1843. The proposal was considered again on July 23rd. Furniss proposed to erect seven water points from which, “The poor of the city may be gratuitously supplied with water during the season of sickness, with the understanding that the council adopt some means by which the water shah not be allowed to run waste or to be used by such persons in the community as are able to provide themselves with it”. (106)By September 10th Furniss was ready to proceed with the project (by that time the epidemic had passed).
On July 30th the council appointed a delegate to proceed to Montreal to urge upon the governments the injustice of burden*ing the city with the expense of healing indigent emigrants. On November l9th the final report of the local Board of Health was received. This listed expenditures of 1615 pounds over approxi*mately six weeks. This included payment for the erection of cholera sheds, victualling, medical aid including physician ser*vices, transportation of bodies, coffins, and clothe for patients.
They had received 877pounds from the funds of the city leaving 737 pounds to be received from other sources. It was noted by the Board that two-fifths of the expenditures had been for tran*sients and it was felt that this amount should be secured from the provincial consolidated funds. It was urged that payment of the unliquidated claims on the Board be made as soon as possible.
Toronto was now a city of 20,500. The population of the prov*ince was 725,879. (107)
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The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 Part VII
The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 Part VII
Cases appeared sporadically towards the end of June and the beginning of July. In the week of July 6th there was a death per day. By July 12th there were 14 cases and 8 deaths and by July l6th, 66 cases and 31 deaths.
The Globe of July l9th commented, “So natural is the charac*ter of the disease that there is some difference of opinion among the medical men whether Asiatic cholera is really among us. Many positively deny its existence who are well acquainted with that frel distemper and ail its symptoms. Still the deaths are numer*ous, whatever the disease”. This was reiterated by the Christian Guardian of July 25th which noted that cholera does not appear to be either as obstinate or as rapid as in the corresponding periods of 1832 and 1834. The proportion of deaths was smaller now than then. It was felt that this was due to sanitary regula*tions observed in the city. It was pointed out, “Never was To*ronto so cleanly as now, and although persons may fall victim to the disease who are clean, frugal and temperate, yet an overwhelming majority of the patients already numbered in the dif*ferent infected cities in Europe and America belong to a class whose intemperate and irregular habits predispose them to disease”.
By July 24th there were 149 cases with 86 deaths and by July 27th, 182 cases with 105 deaths. Cases increased rapidly follow*ing this. By July 2lst there were 213, with 126 deaths and by August 7th, 322 with 189 deaths. By August l3th there were 398 cases with 241 deaths. By August l7th there were 436 cases with 265 deaths and by August 22nd, 513 cases with 314 deaths. By September 4th there were 713 cases with 432 deaths. It was noted on September 4th in the Globe, that, “Cholera is on the increase. The Mayor’s opening address to the Grand Jury of the magistrates court appealed for help from the public, to come forward and place their services at the disposal of the Board of Health”. By September 11th there were 747 cases with 451 deaths. The last case seems to have been on September 18th.
Kingston (population 5,416) had the first case of cholera. How*ever, it did not go on to a severe epidemic. The return of diseases for the Kingston hospital shows 15 deaths from cholera from May 1st, 1849 to May 1st, 1850. (108) There were cases that died outside the hospital.
The Montreal Gazette of July 31st reported the Cobourg Star as complaining, “That several steamships between Toronto and Kingston have lately deposited numbers of sick and helpless emi*grants on the wharf although their passages were paid to To*ronto, Hamilton and other places. Now if this be so, and the Toronto people really have power to prevent the influx of the sick and needy, the same power must extend to Cobourg and must be used, for it is preposterous that a small town like Cobourg should be deluged with these people, while wealthy cities turn them off. It appears that on Sunday, July 22nd she left no less than eighty poor emigrants, many of them sick (two since died) upon the wharf. There they huddled together by the dozens, with no covering save their few boards to protect them from chills by night and the heat by day”.
Hamilton (population 9,889) where the emigrants were con*signed, had 63 cases and 25 deaths by August l3th and 105 cases with 47 deaths by August 2st.
A Board of Health was organized in London on June 18th. There is no record of the number of cases.
During 1851, 52 and 53, cholera appeared only sporadically on Canadian shores. There were 280 deaths in and about Quebec City in an outbreak which lasted two months in 1851. In 1552 the disease broke out again in the month of September in Quebec, and 145 deaths resulted. In 1853, once again Quebec bore the brunt of the epidemic. However, there is no mention in news*papers or public reports of cholera reaching Upper Canada in those years.
The remainder of Europe continued to have many cases. 1852 is described by R. Pollitzer (109)as the third pandemic while 1856-73 was the fourth pandemic In the Winter o! ‘53-’54 the disease was confined to the northern part o! The British Isles.
By 1854 the city of Toronto numbered ~ persons with 36physicians This was the year in which the new general hospital was erected on Gerrard Street East. “. . The new hospital grounds are more secure from miasmata than King Street. (110)However, in spite of a new hospital there remained extreme difficulties with sanitation“It ishardly short of a miracle that so little disease occurs in the central portions o! the city, when it is Considered what a deposit o! filth rests in the waters o! the bay, and that disgusting mixture is constantly agitate~ by the action o! steam paddles which rake up the deposits of the pre*ceding days and by exposing them to the air, produce a most fertile Source o! menace The delicious mixture o! feculent matter in bay water is served up through pipes and distributed through the city to be swallowed by the citizens” (111)
One “epidemic» doctor John Rolph, was no longer available Re was in Quebec as a member of the Legislatjve Assembly representing Toronto From that assembly an appointment of a Central Board o! Health was made on July 13 th,1854rn It noted that ~ epidemic o! cholera had been in existence in the province o! Quebec for three weeks Previously, and that in Quebec City 25, and in Montreal 50,per day had died. The Board noted that its appointment was made too late for efficacy (112) However later in the report it noted the, “Impossibility of Preventing the importation o! the disease to this Country whose extensive fron*tier, and great and every day increase in intercourse with the United States, would, were it to be desirable by the advocates o! contagion, render a complete and thorough quarantine impracticable and many in whose minds the disease bears a Contagious nature, are free to admit that its operations are so remote and inscrutable that rigid quarantine or sanitary cordons would prove but delusive measures to watch Preventing its introduction to a countrys0 Situated»
In January o! 1854, John Snow published in The Lancet (113), “It was use Jess to attempt to bring the patient out of a state ofcollapse by stimulants and the applicant of heat; they should be given watery drinks unless in desperate cases, in which itmight be desirable to inject into the blood vessels a weak saline solu*tion, resembling that portion of the blood which has been lost.” His theory that the poison of cholera was swallowed and passed through the body much increased with the discharge, which were then mixed in drinking water in - rivers or wells thus causing disease in others, was quoted as the third theory, of six, by the Royal College of Surgeons. (114)
In the same year M. Pettenkoffer, in Bavaria, began a study of the cholera outbreak which convinced him that contaminated water had nothing to do with the spread of cholera. He believed that the specific cholera germ occurred principality in the stools, but that its transmission was bound up with certain conditions of soil and ground water. He laid great stress on disinfection of stools, and of everything else the cholera patient contacted. (115)
The level of immigration continued between 30,000 and 50,000 per year. The first cases of cholera appeared at Grosse Isle on June 20th, and in Quebec the next day. Cases then appeared at Montreal on June 22nd, Kingston on June 25th, Toronto on June 25th and Hamilton on June 23rd.
For this epidemic a greater preparation was made at Grosse Isle. There was a good division of the healthy emigrants from those who were affected. It was recommenced! (and carried out somewhat later) that the sheds be raised for the purposes of cleanliness and health, and that an adequate system of drainage and sewage be installed. A supply of pure spring water was stressed in this year in which Snow was to do his monumental work on contaminated well water. Working under Act XII Vic. cap. 8, the Central Board of Health called for the formation of local Boards of Health in the remainder of Canada (i.e. Quebec and Ontario) Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the island of Prince Edward. One require*ment was that ail stagnant water about dwellings, yards, streets ah drains, sewers and water courses . . . be immediately drained off. (116)
In Ontario the Board of Health on March 6th suggested a sum of fifty pounds be placed at their disposal to meet incidental ex*penses. On April 18th an order was passed that,“… Ah stagnant water and other filthy nuisances therefrom (be removed) within two days from the date of such notice….“. (117)By thi5 act it wasStipulated that unless orders were carried out within twenty.. four hours, the person wasto be brought before the Chief of Police and ordered to clean up, or pay a fine, or go to jail for not less than seven, or not more than thirty days.
On May 22nd councilordered a water cooler and filter to be used in the city hall. On May 29th an enlarged Board of Health, in keeping with the statute, was formed. This Board proposed to set up a commissariat storehouse in front of the Parliament Buildings to be used as a reception centre for emigrants on June l2th. Cholera had not yet appeared in Canada. By June 25th, two cases were reported in the city.
By August 7th, The Standing Committee on Finance for the Corporation of Toronto estimated 1,000 pounds would be needed to meet expenditures in connection with the cholera epidemic.
In spite of the excellent preparatory arrangements which were made, if was not possible to, “secure accurate returns, the state of public health cannot with any accuracy be defined. . .“ according to the Toronto Examiner of July l9th. This state of lack of daily reports and information to the public contjnued throughout the entire epidemic In additjon to the normal difficulties in estimating the morbidity and mortality from the disease, the Board did not make regular reports.
According to the Toronto Examiner “… it is reported that physicians have refused to visit the sick poor unless their fee is paid...“. However the Board did set up, on July 26th, eleven apothecary stations where the sick could secure medicine gratis. Inaddition more than three hundred pounds were spent during the epidemic on medical attendants medicine at the hospital and gratis medicine. (118)
Water continued to be a main concern in the city. “The Water Works of the city are little better than a public nuisance. For the last three or four days such has been the state of the only reservoir apparently now inuse - we mean that on Queen Street - that parties on the lower levels about King Street have been deprived of water entirely an the third stories…the quality of the water is such that it smells, and one might liken if to that taken from some old ram water tank… “. (119)
The Toronto Examiner on August 2nd reported continued lack of co-operation between the Board and medical doctors to fur*nish daily returns. A reporter had established that during the month of June there were twenty internments at The Toronto General Burying Grounds, whereas in July there were almost two hundred. Fragmentary reports show that in The Toronto General on Monday, July 3lst, there were 47cholera patients. Four were admitted the following day and on the same day, five died.
The Toronto Examiner stated on August 9th, that for the past five weeks, 117 patients had died from cholera in the cholera hospital. However, this did not take into account those who had died outside.
The final report of the Board of Health on November l4th stated the number of cases admitted to hospital from June 26th to September 2nd was 292, of which 142died. No mention was made of patients who may have died outside of hospital. “They tell us what is going on in the Hospital, but when the whole city is converted into a hospital, where is the use in giving us the cases in this establishment only” (120)
The Toronto Examiner reported, “One new aspect of the dis*ease at present, is its universality. Formerly, itwas confined to the large towns and cities, and generally broke out in neighborhoods where the accumulation of filth and dirt were such as would seem conductors to any disease. Now in The United States there is not a section of the whole country where it hasn’t ap*peared, and around Montreal cases are reported in villages where it has never been heard of before. It is no use attempting to move away from the disease, for the cleanest and quietest folks in the country appear to be as subject to it as most crowded parts of the city”. In spite of the admonition from the Examiner, the Mon*treal Gazette quoted “… All who can afford time and money are preparing to push off to some wild retreat for pure air and country exercises. The different villages on the Northern Railroad arid on the shores of Lake Simcoe are much patronized in this way…in fact the difficulty seems to be to decide where to go, but the ladies will settle that”.(121)
On the 24th, the Gazette reported that cholera was raging at Cornwall A great number 0flock tenders died with members of their families, and others deserted their places through fear, so that vessels had to lock themselves through the canal. In three days, 31 persons died.
At Niagara there were a great number of fatal cases of cholera at the Elgin or Suspension Bridge. Death rate was about 10 a day. It was felt there would not be sufficient men left in the village to attend to the working of the railway station and the bridge. “The alarm was go great that persons could not be got to go into some shanties to bring out the dead for internment, and so the houses were burned down in order to consume the bodies”. By August 12th the hotels at Niagara Falls were deserted. Be*cause of the intensity of the disease at St. Catharines and Corn*wall, it was recommended by the Central Board of Health that in both places stagnant water was a factor. It was recommended that traffic through the canals be stopped on Sundays, and the collections of stagnant water be drawn off every week.
Kingston suffered several fatalities, particularly in the higher parts of the city. It was noted by the Central Board of Health that the lower part was spared because those, “inhabitants of the parts bordering on the lake are able to construct private drains into this reservoir; while, in the upper parts of the town, no such facility exists—drainage is imperfect and disease has resulted”. Heagerty (122) estimated the death rate was at 25 per day for several weeks. On August i&th Brockville had a day of thanks*giving and prayer for the exemption of that area from the ravages of cholera. (123)
The Central Board of Health estimated approximately 3500 persons lost their lives in the province of Canada during the 1854epidemic. In Quebec, there were approximately 750deaths and in Montreal, 1300 deaths.
“The sanitary condition of the city is very far from satisfac*tory. Toronto stands facile princeps as the dirtiest city in Upper Canada. Filth everywhere within the corporation limits stares one in the face. Go where you will, stagnant pools, pest heaps, lanes and alleys reeking with the stench of decaying matter are to be met with”. (124) Very little change had been made in general sanitary conditions in Toronto by 1866. This was the last year in which cholera is recorded to any extent in Canada.
In March of that year a medical conference was convened in Ottawa
by the Minister of Agriculture. Dr. Aikins of Toronto
was among the members of the conference. The conference re*ported that there had been little incidence of cholera in the coun*try since 1854. A world pandemic of 1863 had not reached Can*ada
. The conference issued a Memorandum on Cholera under the authority of the Minister of Agriculture. It was pointed out the problem of cholera could be handled by separation, hygienic precautions, diffusion of sound ideas, and judicious advice, pro*phylactic timely interference and intelligent curative treatment.
In the matter of separation or sequestration itwas pointed out that if steamers of the passenger line, particularity that one sub*sidized by the Canadian Government, should be subjected to strict quarantine, itwould result in, “. . . even absolutely ruinous for the company and calamitous for commerce in general .(125) Instead of quarantine itsuggested “a special medical health officer should be placed on each steamer to determine if there is disease on board, which, dependent on his advice, quarantine would be invoked”. It was felt that if five days had elapsed since the last attack of cholera on board at the moment of arrival at Grosse Isle, those who were well could proceed to Quebec, less those who were sick, or on the convalescent list. It devolved upon the local Boards of Health to create such temporary estab*lishments as might be necessary to take care of disease in the local regions. Under hygienic precautions it was noted, “Every possible means to furnish plenty of good wholesome water to the population of villages…ought to be put in requisition by municipal authorities…“. (126) In support of this, the experi*ence in London was quoted, of the Southwark Company provid*ing to a section of London water which had a large quantity of human excrement, with resultant cholera deaths. By this tine opinion had swung to the “contagious” theory of cholera trans*mission. 1-lowever, the mode of propagation was in great dispute. It was felt by most scientists that transmission was by emanation into the air, although water night serve as a vehicle.
In preparation for an epidemic the Toronto Council on March l9th appointed scavengers to improve the state of cleanliness in the city. On April l6th the council approved the appropriation of $1,000 for the purpose of carrying out necessary sanitation precautioris against cholera.
By April 27th, a by-law #431 was passed in which a physician was required to report persons infected with cholera or smallpox. In addition, the owner of any dwelling to which a priie was con*nected was required to furnish sufficient drain under ground to carry off the waste water. It was declared unlawful for any night soil to be deposited upon the streets of the city. (It was noted by the same Board in a report on November l7th of the same year that “… the habit of making use of street and lane as a deposit for house refuse of every kind is so established in this city, that inhabitants of even respectable houses, or at any rate their ser*vants, regularly violate the by-laws in this respect, often selecting the vicinity of their neighbor’s back gate as a specially eligible spot…“. (127)
On April 27th, the Minutes of the Council stated that it was felt, “Inexpedient to create any more official appointments, the present salary bill chargeable on the revenue of the city being as large as the city can pay; but that this council pledges itself when it may be deemed necessary to employ such medical ser*vices as the urgency of the case may require...“. On May 2nd, by the regulations of the Central Board of Health, medical health officers were appointed in Toronto (Roland and Tempest). This Board of Health reported on July 2nd that approximately $11,000 was needed for the year to maintain the health of the city. This included an item of $4,000 for the erection of cholera sheds. In*cluded in the item was an opinion that, “Cleaning of streets, and repairing of sewers and culverts are properly chargeable to, and should be executed under direction of, the Board of Works. .This work continued to be a function of the Board of Health. The Board reported that the removal of house offal was proceed*ing in an organized manner. This was usually carried by scows to the jail farm, where it was used for manuring the land, the property of the city. This was comparable to the practise that was being carried on in Great Britain at that time. Sir Edwin Chad*wick, the author of the Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain, 1842, was a keen student of Jeremy Bentham with whom he had been associated in earlier times. With the principle 0futilitarianism in the forefront, Chad*wick in 1846 published a Report on the Best Mode of Distributing the Sewage of Towns and Applying it to Beneficial and Profitable Uses. This report included detailed figures on increased milk yield of cows which had been fed on sewaged grass.
The Board of Health also arranged for a regular scale of prices for disinfectants which would be sold to citizens with the out*break of the epidemic. It reported the inadequacy of water supply to the city. It is reported that, “The mud and catfish drawn by the steam fire-engine from the hydrant at the corner of King and Yonge Streets may have astonished the uninitiated, but it is cer*tain that ail the mud was not got out on that occasion… the supply pipe runs out from the esplanade a long way, but it is broken in several places, one within 150 feet of the espla*nade…“. (128)
Cholera appeared on the continent on April 9th in Halifax. A steamer lost forty passengers to cholera in transit from England. Despite expectation that it would appear in cities inland, there was never any severe attack. On August 25th, the Canadian Freeman reported, “There is already one decided case of Asiatic cholera in the General Hospital, who, if not dead, is in a mori*bund state”.
The final report of the Board of Health on November 17th lists 145 “zymotic” deaths in 1866 in Toronto. Zymotic diseases were considered to be those as a result of fermentative processes, such as cholera, typhus and other types of fever.
“The cholera was brought into our city on at least five occa*sions. The vigilance of the employees of the Board of Health was fully exercised to prevent its spread without causing any panic by public announcement. No great wave of dread pestilence reached us; only the drops betokening the nearness of the storm”. (129)
Cholera never again appeared in epidemic form in Ontario.
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The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 Part VIII
The Cholera Epidemic in Upper Canada 1832-1866 Part VIII
1. Heagerty, John J. Four Centuries cf Medical History in Canada (1928).
2. MacNamara, C. A History of Asiatic Cholera (1876).
3. Pollitzer, R. Cholera Studies, History of the Disease. In Bulletin of World Health Organization, 1954, 10, p. 424.
4.Brigham, A. Treatise on Epidemic Cholera, (1832).
5. History of the Blue Cholera of India. Lancet 1; 241,1831-32.
6. Loc. cit.
7. Drake, Daniel. Epidemic Cholera (1832). p. 25-40.
8. Stimson, Elam. Dundas. The Cholera Beacon (1835).
9. “Staff Surgeon”, Henry, Walter. Trifles From My Port*folio-Quebec (1839). p. 118.
10. Transactions of the Canadian Institute, Jan. 27fb, 1855. p. 188.
11. Stimson, Elam. The Cholera Beacon, (1835).
12. Moodie, Susannah. Roughing If In the Bush. (1923)
13. Bulletin cf the History of Medicine, 33/1959 p. 37-49.
14. Moodie, Susannah. Roughing It In the Bush. (1923) Intro*duction.
15. Lower, Arthur R. M. Colony of Nation. p. 186. (1946)
16. Nelson, Robert. Asiatic Cholera. (1866) p. 26.
17. McDonald, Norman. Canada 1763-1841, Immigration and Settlement. p. 34.
18. Chambers, J. S. The Conquest of Cholera. (1938) p. 25.
19. Guillet, Edwin C. Pioneer Travel in Upper Canada. (1933) p. 106.
20. Moodie, Susannah. Roughing If In the Bush. (1923) p. 62-3.
21. Guillet, Edwin C. Pioneer Travel in Upper Canada. (1933) p. 183.
22. Chambers, J. S. The Conquest of Cholera. (1938) p. 29.
23. Nelson, R. Asiatic Cholera (1866) p. 117.
24. Rosenberg, C. E. The Cholera Epidemic of 1832 in New York City. Bulletin of History of Medicine. 33/1959 p. 37-49.
25. Nelson, Robert. Asiatic Cholera. (1866) p. 26.
26. lbid. p. 144
27. Heagerty, John J. Pour Centuries of Medical History in Canada. (1928) p. 179.
28. Aitchison, James Hermeston. Development of Local Government in Upper Canada, 1783-1850. Thesis, Ph.D. 1953. University of Toronto. p. 2.
29. Ibid., p. 661.
30. Patterson, M. A. The Cholera Epidemic 1832, In York, Up*per Canada. Buil. Med. Lib. Assoc. 46 :118, April 1958.
31. Aitchison, James Hermeston. Development of Local Government in Upper Canada, 1783-1850. Thesis, Ph.D. 1953. University of Toronto. p. 662
32. Patterson. M. A. The Cholera Epidemic 1832, In York, Upper Canada. Buil. Med. Lib. Assoc. 46:115, April 1958
33. Defries, R. D. Development of Public Health in Canada, (1940).
34. Aitchison, James Hermeston. Development of Local Government in Upper Canada, 1783-1850. Thesis, Ph.D. 1953. University of Toronto. p. 666.
35. Ibid., p. 664.
36. Seaborn, Edwin. Asiatic Cholera in 1832 in The London District. In Transactions of the Royal Society, Canada, Sec*tion 11, 1937. p. 153-59.
37. Aitchison, James Hermeston. Development of Local Government in Upper Canada, 1783-1850. Thesis, Ph.D. 1953. University of Toronto. p. 674.
38. Defries, R. D. Development of Public Heath in Canada, (1940).
39. Chambers, J. S. The Con quest of Cholera. (1938) p. 73.
40. Firth, Edith. The Town of York. 1815-1834. (1966) p. 238.
41. Ibid., p. 236.
42. Ibid., p. 337.
43. Guillet, Edwin C. Early Pioneer Life in the County of York. (1946)
44. Robbins, F. W. The Story of Water Supply. (1946).
45. Guillet, Edwin C. Pioneer Life in the County of York. (1946).
47. Clarke, C. K. A History of the Toronto General Hospital. (1913) p. 38.
48. Firth, Edith. The Town of York 1815-1834. (1966) p. 234.
49. Ibid., p. 235.
50. Ibid., p. 237.
51. Ibid., p. 239.
52. Ibid., p. 240.
53. Minutes Book of the Board of Health. 1932. p. 2. The To*ronto Public Library, Baldwin Room.
54. Ibid., p. 6.
55. Ibid., p. 9.
56. Firth, Edith. The Town of York 1815-1834. (1966) p. 242.
57. Loc. cit.
58. Ibid., p. 243.
59. Ibid., p. 250.
60. Drake, Daniel. A Practical Treatise on the History, Preven*tion and Treatment of Epidemic Cholera. (1832) p. 94.
61. Firth, Edith. The Town of York 1815-1834. (1966) p. 259.
62. Ibid., p. 239.
63. Seaborn, Edwin. Asiatic Cholera in 1832 in The London District. Transactions of the Royal Society, Canada, Section
II, 1937. p. 153-169.
64. Firth, Edith. The Town of York 1815-1834. (1966) p. 243.
65. Ibid., p. 251
66. Stimson, Elam. Dundas. The Cholera Beacon, (1835).
67. Seaborn, Edwin. Asiatic Cholera in 1832 in The London District. In Transactions of the Royal Society, Canada, Sec*tion 11, 1937. p. 153-169.
68. “Staff Surgeon”, Henry Walter. Trifles From My Portfolio
69. The Minute Book of the Board of Health, August 7, 1832. The Toronto Public Library, Baldwin Room.
70. Nelson, Robert. Asiatic Cholera (1866) p. 138.
71. Longmate, Norman. King Cholera (1966). p. 95.
72. The Canadian Journal. Vol. 7. 1862.
73. Firth, Edith. The Town of York. 1815-1834. (1966) p. 327.
74. Ibid., p. 211.
75. Ibid., p. XXVII.
76. Ibid., p. 83.
77. Ibid., p. XLV.
78. The Upper Canada Gazette. April 1832.
79. Firth, Edith. The Town of York 1815-1834. (1966) p. 255.
80. McGrew, R. E. The First Cholera Epidemic in Social History. In Bulletin of History of Medicine. 34; 61, 1960. p. 61.
81. Ibid., p. 67.
82. DeCelles, Alexander. Papineau/Cartier, (1906). p. 88.
83. Canada. Laws, statutes, etc. Stat. III Wm. Iv. (Upper Can*ada) 1833. p. 166.
84. Defries, R. D. Development of Public Health in Canada, (1940).
85. Heagerty, John J. Four Centuries of Medical History in Canada (1928).
86. Aitchison, James Hermeston. Development of Local Government in Upper Canada, 1783-1850. Thesis, Ph.D. 1953. University of Toronto. p. 676.
87.Heagerty, John J. Four Centuries of Medical History in Canada (1928). p. 198.
88. Aitchison, lames Hermeston. Development of Local Government in Upper Canada, 1783-1850. Thesis, Ph.D. 1953. University of Toronto. p. 679.
89. Firth, Edith. The Town of York 1815-1834. (1966) p. LXXXII.
90. The Toronto Patriot, August 14th, 1834.
91. Clarke, C. K. A History of the Toronto General Hospital. (1913) p. 43.
92. Firth, Edith. The Town of York 1815-1834. (1966) p. 258.
93. The Toronto Council, Minute Book, 1834-48.
94. Canniif, Wm. History of the Medical Profession in Upper Canada. (1894) p. 81.
95. Loc. cif.
96. Province of Ontario. Sundry Reports #118.
97. Loc. cit.
98. The Toronto City Council Papers. (N.B. The records of the Toronto City Council were burned in 1849 which may ac*count for some lack of detailed description of the expenses of some of the epidemics.)
99. Province of Ontario. Sundry Reports #118.
100. Loc. cit.
101. Pollitzer, R. Cholera Studies, History of the Disease. In Bulletin of World Health Organization, 1954, 10, p. 421-461.
102. Snow, J. On the Mode of Communication of Cholera. Lon*don. (1849).
103. Canada. Laws, Statutes, etc. 12~ Victoria cap. 8. 1849.
104. The Toronto City Council Papers, 1849.
105.Minutes of the Board of Governors of the Toronto General Hospital. April l8th, 1848.
106. The Toronto Council Minute Book, 1849. Report of the Select Committee July 23rd, 1849.
107. Census of Canada, Vol. 4. 1870-71.
108. Journals of the Legislative Assembly, Vol. 9, 1850. Appen*dix #1-A-2.
109. Pollitzer, R. Cholera Studies, History of the Disease. Bulle*tin of World Health Organization, 1954, 10, p. 421-461.
110. Clarke, C. K. A History of the Toronto General Hospital. (1813) p. 68.
111. Loc. cit.
112. The Toronto City Council Papers. Report of the Central Board of Health. 1854.
113. Lancet 1: 109, 1854.
114. Baly, Wm. and Gull, W. Report of Epidemic Cholera, drawn up at the desire of the Cholera Committee of the Royal College of Surgeons. London. (1854).
115. Pettenkoffer, M. Uber die Verbreitungsart der Cholera. (1854).
116. Canada. Laws, Statutes, etc. l8th Victoria, A. 1854. Ap*pendix T.
117. The Toronto Council Minute Book, 1854.
118. The Toronto City Council Papers. Report of the Board of l-Iealth. #5. 1854.
119. The Toronto Examiner, July, 1854.
120. Heagerty, John J. Four Centuries of Medical His tory in Canada (1928). p. 204.
121. The Montreal Gazette, July l4th, 1854.
122. Heagerty, John J. Four Centuries of Medicaid History in Canada (1928). p. 204.
123. The Toronto Examiner, August 3Oth, 1854.
124. The Canadian Freeman, April 26th, 1866.
125. Memorandum on Cholera. Bureau of Agriculture and Sta*tistics, 1866. p. 18.
126. Ibid., p. 21.
127. The Toronto City Council Papers. Report #5 of The Board of Health, Nov. 17, 1866.
128. The Toronto City Council Papers. Appendix to the Board of Health report #5. Nov. 17, 1866.
129. The Toronto City Council Papers. Report #5 of The Board of Health, Nov. 17, 1866.
Emigration From The British Isles, with Destination, 1815-1865
Year N. America USA Australia c. All other Total
colonies N Zealand places
1815 680 1,209 — 192 2,081
1816 3,370 9,022 — 118 12,510
1817 9,979 10,280 — 557 20,634
1818 15,136 12,429 — 222 27,787
1819 23,534 10,674 — 579 34,787
1820 17,921 6,745 — 1,063 25,729
1821 12,995 4,958 — 384 18,297
1822 16,018 4,137 — 279 20,429
1823 11,355 5,032 — 163 16,550
1824 8,774 5,152 — 9914,025
1825 8,741 5,551 485 114 14,891
1826 12,818 7,063 903 116 20,900
1827 12,648 14,526 715 114 28,003
1828 12,084 12,817 1,056 135 26,092
1829 13,307 15,678 2,016 197 31,198
1830 30,574 24,887 1,242 204 56,907
1831 58,067 23,418 1,561 114 83,160
1832 66,339 32,872 3,733 196 103,140
1833 28,808 29,109 4,093 517 62,527
1834 40,060 33,074 2,800 288 76,222
1835 15,573 26,720 1,860 325 44,478
1836 34,226 37,774 3,124 293 75,417
1837 29,884 36,770 5,054 326 72,034
1838 4,577 14,332 14,021 292 33,222
1839 12,658 33,536 15,786 227 62,207
1840 32,293 40,642 15,850 1,958 90,743
1841 38,164 45,017 32,625 2,786 118,592
1842 54,123 63,852 8,534 1,835 128,344
1843 23,518 28,335 3,478 1,881 57,212
1844 22,924 43,660 2,229 1,873 70,686
1845 31,803 58,538 830 2,330 93,501
1846 43,439 82,239 2,347 1,826 129,851
1847 109,680 142,154 4,949 1,487 258,270
1848 31,065 188,233 23,904 4,887 248,089
1849 41,367 219,450 32,191 6,490 299,498
1850 32,961 223,078 16,037 8,773 280,849
1851 42,605 267,357 21,532 4,472 335,966
1852 32,873 244,261 87,881 3,749 368,764
1853 34,522 230,885 61,401 3,129 329,937
1854 43,761 193,065 83,237 3,366 323,429
1855 17,966 103,414 52,309 3,118 176,807
1856 16,378 111,837 44,584 3,755 176,554
1857 21,001 126,905 61,248 3,721 212,875
1858 9,704 59,716 39,295 5,257 113,972
1859 6,689 70,303 31,013 12,427 120,432
1860 9,786 87,500 24,302 6,881 128,469
1861 12,707 49,764 23,738 5,561 91,770
1862 15,522 58,706 41,843 5,143 121,214
1863 18,083 146,813 53,154 5,808 223,758
1864 12,721 147,042 40,942 8,195 208,900
1865 17,211 147,258 37,283 8,049 209,801
Source: Parliamentary Paper, 1847, XXXIII (809), 39; 1861, XXII (2842), App. 1; 1867, XIX (3855), App. 1.
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