HC Deb 13 July 1883 vol 281 cc1363-4

I stated yesterday that I hoped to be able to-day to inform the House of the name of the gentleman whom it was proposed to despatch to Egypt in connection with the outbreak of cholera there. I am glad to be able to redeem that promise. Her Majesty's Government having obtained the valuable advice of Sir Joseph Fayrer, has offered the post which I described yesterday to Surgeon General William Hunter, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and Honorary Surgeon to Her Majesty. He is a gentleman of the greatest Indian experience, and formerly served in the Bombay Presidency in the service of that Government, from which, however, he has now retired. I am quite sure that the House will feel that Her Majesty's Government have been fortunate in being able to secure the advice and assistance of a gentleman of his knowledge and experience. As I am speaking on this subject, I will ask the permission of the House to read the last telegram that has been received with regard to the number of deaths from cholera. It is dated the 12th of July, and is sent by Mr. Cookson from Alexandria. It states that the number of deaths at Damietta was 40, at Mansourah 73, at Samannoud 11, and at Tantah three. There has been no return of any deaths at the other places, and that is decidedly favourable. I also wish to read two telegrams from Sir Edward Malet to Earl Granville, in order to remove a painful impression which has prevailed in consequence of some information which appeared a few days ago in certain telegrams in the daily Press. The first impression which I wish to remove is as to the accusation which appeared in the daily Press, not of this country, but of foreign countries, that the outbreak was caused distinctly by infection through the arrival at Damietta of a person from British India, who had been allowed to enter in consequence of the mistaken views of Her Majesty's Government on the subject of quarantine. Sir Edward Malet telegraphed on the 11th of July in these terms— Cairo, July 11,1883, 11.25 a.m.—Following from Main, Consular Agent, Damietta, with reference to alleged importation of cholera from Bombay by Muhammed Halifa:—'Muhammed Halifa, for some years inhabitant Port Said, shipped as fireman on board steamer Timor; made voyage to Bombay, returning 18th ult., all on board in perfect health. Obtained discharge at Port Said, and commenced course of drunkenness and excess. This continued four days, when he was imprisoned by Governor of Port Said, and finally exiled by that official on 23rd ult., and arrived at Damietta on 24th, when he recommenced same course of excess, and was imprisoned on 25th. He is now at liberty, and apparently in perfect health. Sir Edward Malet goes on to say— This disposes of theory, as epidemic broke out at Damietta on the 22nd. That statement may be taken as conclusive on the point. The next telegram from Sir Edward Malet to Earl Granville relates to the condition of things at Mansourah, and says— With reference to affairs at Mansourah, President of the Board of Health informs me that the Governor of that place has not resigned; that he declares there to be sufficient food; and that he had punished vendors who had taken advantages of circumstances to sell food at an advanced rate. Orders had been given by the Minister of the Interior and General Baker to those under them to facilitate the passage of doctors, provisions, and medicines to all places attacked. The President adds that, when passenger traffic was interrupted with infected places, a special service was organized by the Railway Administration for Government use.