Thursday 28 February 2013

Cholera Cruelty

I love this complaint, from a medical man obliged to scour the Thames for cholera cases:

The gentleman, who was in naval uniform, stated that in purusuance of directions from Her Majesty's Government, he was rowed up and down the river every day in the King's boat, with the pendant flying, to afford immediate assistance to any person on the Thames who might be attached with cholera, and remove them, if necessary, to the floating hospital. While engaged in this duty, he had been frequently called alongside barges and small sailing vessels by the bargemen and others to attend upon a person said to be sick or attacked with cholera; but when he got on board he was laughed at and ridiculed. On the previous day, he was told by some bargemen that a man was attacked with cholera on board a ship off the Tower; but when he proceeded there, he found that he had been misinformed and jeers were thrown out. Only a few minutes previous he heard someone call out "Cholera boat, ahoy!" and on proceeding to the barge from which the noise proceeded he was told that his services were not wanted, and a general laugh was set up. In fact, his duties had become exceedingly irksome from this species of annoyance ...

The Times 3 Arpil 1832

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