Item #010209 1892 – A report by the port physician in Philadelphia describing the Cholera danger posed by steerage passengers from Europe arriving at that city. E. O. Shakespeare.

1892 – A report by the port physician in Philadelphia describing the Cholera danger posed by steerage passengers from Europe arriving at that city

Washington DC: U. S. Senate, 1892. Disbound.

Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury in response to a resolution of the Senate of the 12th instant, transmitting a communication of the port physician of Philadelphia relative to the danger from the introduction of cholera through immigration. 52nd Congress, 2nd Session, U.S. Senate Executive Document #13. Washington, DC: 1892. Complete and in nice shape

In this 10-page pamphlet which has been removed from a bound volume, E. O. Shakespeare, the Philadelphia Port Physician described the Cholera risk posed by steerage passengers arriving from Europe and argues against removing immigration restrictions. He specifically noted:

“It is true that official declarations now indicate that cholera is no longer widely epidemic in Germany, Holland, or Belgium . . . the disease still lingers in those countries, and I wish to warn you that such official declarations rarely. . . represent the real truth. . .. Cholera exists to-day in southwestern Russia [and] continues to exist in the capital of Hungary, and [throughout] Austria. It still lingers in . . . France. . .. In short. . . a great portion of the emigration from . . . southeastern Europe, as well as from . . . Russia, Poland, and Germany, to this country embarks at Hamburg, Antwerp, and Havre [or] have gone to England in order to take ship to America. [Although] it is not my province, nor is this the time or place, to discuss [this] most objectionable class of immigrants. I feel it to be my duty [to identify] the danger to the public health with which this class of people have threatened this country. . ..

“Many of these recent immigrants “have recently been, infected with cholera, [and] are liable to carry [it] in their filthy clothing or personal effects often as far as their ultimate destination . . . and let loose the active germs of the disease. . .. In their enormous numbers (500,000 to 750,000 a year), their poverty and squalor, and in their frequent transportation of all sorts of infections and contagions, these immigrants can be likened best to Oriental pilgrims, in whose track pestilence has so frequently followed. The closure of our ports against them during the period [is necessary.] I wish to warn your board that . . . the public health of the United States is not safe against an outbreak of cholera unless constant care be taken to guard against the probability that the germs of the disease may be transported in the clothing and personal effects of those classes of transatlantic travelers who usually come to this country in the steerage.”

Shakespeare then continued, describing his recommendations to provide health security for the country, especially the suspension of immigration from Europe, or at least severe restrictions placed on the International Navigation Company, then the largest transporter of immigrants to the United States.

. Very good. Item #010209

A scarce document. At the time of listing, no other examples are for sale in the trade. No examples have appeared at auction per the Rare Book Hub. While digital and microform examples can be found, OCLC shows only Harvard holds a physical printing of this import document addressing the intersection of immigration and public health.


Price: $200.00

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