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THE CANADIAN SHIP-FEVER. I [From the Times.] I The great Irish famine and pestilence will have a place in that melancholy series of similar calamities to which historians and poets have contributed so many harrowing details and touching expressions. Did Ire- land possess a writer endued with the laborious truth of Thucydidos, the graceful felicity of Virgil, or the happy invention of De Foe, the events of this miserable year mightjbe quoted by the scholars, for ages to corne, toe- ther with the sufferings of the pent-up multitudes of Athens, the distempered plains of northern Italy, or the hideous ravages of our own great plague. But Time is ever improving on the past. There is one horrible feature of the reeut, not to say the present, visitation which is entirely new. The fact of more than a hundred thousand souls flying from the very midst of the cala- mity across a great ocean to a new world, crowding into insufficient vessels, scrambling for a footing on a deck and a berth in a hold, committing themselves to these worse than prisons, while their frames were wasted with ill-fare and their blood infected with disease, fighting for months of unutterable wretchedness against the elements without and pestilence within, giving almost hourly victims to the deep, landing at length on shores already terrified and diseased, consigned to encampments of the dying and of the dead, spreading death wherever they roam, and having no other prospect before them than a long continuance of these horrors in a stiil farther flight across forests and lakes under a Canadian sun and a Canadian frost, all these are circum- stances beyond the experience of the Greek historian or the Latin poet, and such as an Iri,h pestilence alone could pioduce. By the end of the season there is iittie doubt that the immigration into Canada alone will have amounted to 100,000 nearly all from Ireland. We know the condition in which these poor creatures em- barked on their perilous adventure. They were only tlyin frolll one form of death. On the authority of the' Montreal Board of Health we are enabled to state that they were allowed to ship in numbers two or three times greater than the same vessels would have presumed to carry to a United States port. The worst horrors of that slave trade which it is the boast or the ambition of this empire to suppress, at any cost, have been re- enacted in the flight of British subjects from their native shores. In Lilly ten vessels that arrived at Mon- treil in July, fojr from Cork and six from Liverpool, out of 4,127 passengers, 804 had died on the passge, and 817 were sick on their arrival; that is, 847 were visibly diseased, for the result proves that a far larger number had in them the seeds of disease. The Larch," says the Board of Health on August 12, "reported this morning from Sligo, sailed with 440 passengers, of whom 108 died on the passage, and 150 were sick. The Vi rg,ni,,s' sailed with 496-158 died on the passage, 186 were sick, and the remainder landed feeble and totteriiig-tlie captain, mates, and crew were all sick. The Black Hole of Calcutta was a mercy compared to the holds of these vessels. Yet simultaneously, as if in reproof of those on whom the blame of all this wretch- edness must fall, foreigners, Germans from Hamburgh and Bremen, are daily artiving, all healthy, robust, and cheerful." This vast unmanageable tide of population thus thrown upon Montreal, like the fugitives from some bloody defeat, or devastated country, has been greatly augmented by the prudent, and we must add, most necessary precautions adopted in time by the United States, where more stringent sanitary regula- tions, enforced by severer penalties, have been adopted to save the ports of the Union from those very horrors which a paternal Government has suffered to fall upon Montreal. Many of these pest ships have been obliged to alter their destination, even while at sea, for the St. Lawrence. At Montreal a large proportion of these outcasts have lingered from sheer inability to proceed. The inhabitants of course have been infected. From the odicial returns of burials at Montreal, for the nine weeks ending August 7, it appears that in the city there died during that period 924 residents and 306 emigrants, rnaking a total of 1,730 deaths. Besides these, 1,510 emigrants died at the sheds, making a grand total of 3,240 in the city of Montreal and its extempore Laza. retto against only 488, including residents and emi- grants, for the corresponding weeks last year, A still more horrible sequel is to come. The survivors have to wander forth and find homes. Who can say how many will perish on the way, or the masses of houseless, famished, and half-naked wretches that will be strewed on the inhospitable snow when a Canadian winter once sets in? Of these awful occurrences some account mitst be given. Historians and politicians will home day sift and weigh the conflicting narrations anù docu- ments of this lamentable year, and pronounce, with or without affection, how much is due to the inclemency of heaven.and how much to the cruelty, heaitlessness, or improvidence of man. The boasted institutions and spirit of this empire are on trial. They are weighed in the balance. Famine andpe.stitenee are at the gates, and a consciencc-stricken nation might almost fear to see the writing on the wall." We are forced to con- fess that, whether it be the fault of our laws or our men, this new act in the terrible drama has not been met as humanity and common sense would enjoin. The re- sult was quite within the scopc of calculation and even of cure. But simple as precaution was, what has been done ? In the first place, our usual regulations as to the proportions of passengers to tonnage are la$enough. Then, it appears that British vessels bound,to Canada, owing to the recent repeal of a former enactment, nred not, and do not, take out surgeons. Then, as a correspondent informs us, the inspectors appointed ;o sre that emigrant ships chartered from British ports observed such regu- lations as there are, have generally failed in their duty. Into this part of the business we hope that Parliament will tlot omit to inquire. Further, notwithstanding the assurances given to the Legislature last session, it is quite cleiir that due preparation has not been made at the colony. As the Montreal Board of Health justly complains, there have been no adequate funds, or even competent aothority, ptovided for the crisis; the estitt)- lishment at Grosse Isle has been ridiculously insuffi- cient, nor have any measures whatever been adopted or thought of tor the transmission of the helpless and des- titute crowd beyond Montreal, much less for their employment and settlement. Such neglect is an eternal scandal to the British name nor do we see any way to escape the opprobrium of a national inhumanity, except by takin the earlic8t and most effective means to rectify by taking the eariicst and most pnfctive means to rectify «>



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