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Letter dated October 1848 to the General Board of Health describing the cholera epidemic of 1832.
(Catalogue ref: MH 13/245)

24 High Street
Marleybone,
19th October 1848

My Lord,
When I did myself the honour to address a letter to your lordship bearing the date the 29th August I adverted to the attention I had paid to the Cholera during the year 1832, and how I crave the indulgence of offering an opinion founded upon the observations I then made, which may in some measure serve to carry out the views of the Legislature.

Sea Port and other Towns in the immediate vicinity of Rivers and Canals, built on marshy ground, were principally visited by the Cholera, and it was remarkable that the supply of water at these places was obtained from ponds or sluggish streams, and of a very impure quality, whilst those on the adjacent hills or mountainous Country escaped its ravages. I noticed this fact more particularly in France, as the mortality was very great at Calais, St Pierre, Guines and St.Omer, but in the intermediate country, being a succession of hills well populated and forming a circumference of many miles, there was not a death arising from Cholera. At the City of Bristol a fourth of which is built on the marshes through which the River Avon and the floating docks pass the cases of cholera were very numerous, whilst the other parts arising to very high ground, and well supplied with spring water were very free from it.

It is now generally admitted by the medical profession, and by other scientific bodies that the cholera is not contagious, but that the Atmosphere travels in a poisoned state, the inhaling of which does not produce the Cholera, and my impression is that it chemically infects exposed water in a quiescent state, and the poorer Classes using such water as a beverage and partaking of it in their food are consequently the greatest sufferers.

The same places as in 1832 no doubt will be revisited by the cholera if there should not have been any improvement in the supply of water.

Stenches and noxious vapours will generate Typhus and putrid Fevers, but those causes I am emboldened to state will not predispose to the disease of Sporadic Cholera.

With the highest respect,
I have the honor to be,
My Lord,
Your Lordship's most obedient and very humble servant
G. Jenkins
The Right Hon'ble, The Earl of Carlisle