HC Deb 08 July 1867 vol 188 cc1192-3

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies, If he is aware of the extraordinary mortality caused by fever in the Island of Mauritius during the present year; can he say whether it is true that the deaths have exceeded 30,000, out of a population of about 340,000 persons; and that the deaths in the city of Port Louis in the month of April last exceeded 6,000 out of a population estimated at 80,000; has he any information whether the virulence of the fever has abated or not; and, does he not think that something is due by way of assistance to the large number of persons who have been left destitute by this extraordinary and almost unprecedented calamity?


said, the mortality from fever in this colony had unhappily been very great, though not quite so great—as far as the information at the Colonial Office went—as the hon. Gentleman supposed. The hon. Gentleman supposed that upwards of 30,000 persons had died from fever; but that was the total amount of the mortality of the island during the present year. At the same time, according to the information at the Colonial Office, up to the 2nd of May, there were 17,000 deaths from fever, 10,000 of them occurring at Port Louis alone; and he was afraid that the latest intelligence from the island showed no abatement of the scourge. At the commencement of the cool season it was hoped that a change for the better would take place. Already a private subscription had been started in the City for the relief of the distress occasioned by the fever, and the Colonial Office had sent medicines for the use of the sick. The Government had no information as to the extent of the distress, so as to be able to judge whether a contribution from the public funds—for which there was no precedent, except in certain cases of hurricanes in the West Indies—was necessary.