Cholera riots 1832

Liverpool Courier 8th June 1832

Cholera Riots

On Friday last the palanquin, adopted as the best and most easy mode of conveying cholera patients to the Hospital, was taken to the neighbourhood of Great Oxford St, North, for a man, whose wife then lay dead in the house, but the bearers being assailed by the mob, were obliged to retire, and in consequence the poor sufferer could not be promptly removed. A posse of constables was then obtained, and, after considerable delay, during which the disease, which is so rapid in its operation, had made direful progress, he was placed in the Hospital. In the performance of this duty of humanity, it is disgraceful to record, the officers were assaulted, and, if they had not acted with a forbearance and firmness highly creditable to them, it is not unlikely the sufferer, upon whom they were attending, would have been left upon the pavement. Four of the most active of the mob were placed in the Bridewell, namely, Wm GUNNALL, 18, Peter McCANN, 24, Ann BRADEY, 33, and Jane McTAVIS, 19, the first English, the three later Irish, and, on Saturday their were committed, for want of bail, to take their trial at the sessions for an outrage the most senseless we have had to record, and for the character of the community, we trust we shall not hear of any repetition. The poor man did not long survive, and, as the most speedy recourse to proper treatment affords the principal chance of abating the malignity of the disease, this brutal mob, by their conduct, deprived him of the only chance which might have saved his life.

On the same day, a poor woman, who had been seen coming out of the cholera Hospital yard, in Lime St, was attacked by the crowd, who threw mud at her, exclaiming that she was “a Burker!” The mob followed her into Islington, where she escaped from her ignorant and brutal pursuers, by taking refuge in yard of Mr WHITTER, the joiner, the gates of which were instantly shut. On Saturday another cholera riot took place in Vauxhall Rd. A child whose parents reside in Addison St, died, after an illness of 24 hours, and on Saturday its mother was taken ill. A medical man who was passing through the street, on being told that she was ill, advised the neighbours to give her some brandy, and to send for the district surgeons. The surgeons were sent for, but before they arrived, the neighbours, who have imbibed a strange prejudice against the doctors, removed the unfortunate woman from her own to another house, in the same street, in order to defeat the visit of the surgeons. One of these gentlemen arrived soon afterwards, the whole neighbourhood was up to receive him. He was assailed with the most opprobrious language, the ignorant people crying out, that the “doctors merely wanted to get the poor into their clutches to Burke them !” Finding that it was utterly impossible to reach the patient, he was compelled to avoid the violence of the mob and retreat. He was followed by these ignorant wretches, who pursued him as far as Rose Hill, where he sought refuge in a shop.

The police were then sent for, who, under the superintendence of Mr PARLOUR, rescued him from danger, and dispersed the mob, which was chiefly composed of poor Irish. Crowds of people surrounded the Hospital yard on Saturday night. The police were obliged to disperse them, when some men were taken into custody and conveyed to the Bridewell.


Body snatching, to obtain cadavers, for dissection in Medical schools, originating from murders committed in Scotland in 1828 by William Burke and William Hare who sold the corpses of their 16 victims to Dr Robert Knox for dissection for use at his anatomy lectures


Liverpool Mercury 8th June 1832

The cholera and the poor

In consequence of the very disgraceful outrages to which the medical men of Liverpool have been subjected, arising from the most lamentable misconception on the part of those who have been guilty of these violent and unmeaning proceedings, a misconception which there is but too much reason to believe has been wilfully encouraged by individuals actuated by the worst motives, several medical men in the town, eighty in number, have issued an address to the inhabitants of Liverpool relative to these most scandalous proceedings, with a copy of which we have been favoured by his Worship the Mayor.

This address, which will, no doubt, be circulated very widely, ought, in our opinion, to be officially inserted in all the Liverpool papers, as its publicity is of great importance in order to dissipate a gross popular error, which operates very unfairly to the prejudice of a most deserving class of the community. In the address the medical men say :-

“From the dictates of humanity, we trust, as well as from a senses of professional duty, we voluntarily offered our services to attend the poor gratuitously, in the event of the prevailing epidemic occurring here.

It must be obvious to all, that from the contaminated atmosphere, the absence of everything requisite to give efficacy to the plan pursued, and the impossibility of putting some of the most powerful resources into operation in the residences of the poor, the chances of recovery are materially diminished, as well as the danger of the spreading of the disease augmented. But whether it be contagious or not, the necessity and utility of some appropriate place for the reception of the sick, where the requisite means may be immediately employed, must be apparent as constituting the wisest plan for securing the safety of the patients themselves.

We have been called upon to redeem our pledge, by the performance of this public duty, and we have found with astonishment and regret, that our motives are viewed with suspicion, our attentions repelled with distrust, and our persons the objects of insult and outrage.

We are willing and ready, at some risk to ourselves, to devote our time and attention, and the best exercise of our skill, whenever we are called upon to do so, we look for no other recompense than what will arise from the consciousness of having performed our duty, but we cannot allow ourselves to be subjected to insult and violence, and if this system should unhappily continue, we shall be compelled one and all, to withhold our services, and to leave the people to their fate, an alternative which would be alike grievous to ourselves and fatal to them.

We earnestly entreat the attention of our townsmen to the whole of this document, which we presume will be placarded generally throughout the town and which we trust, will have the effect of putting a stop to the lamentable outrages which have resulted from misconception, or the machinations of bad and designing men”.

Cholera, caution to drunkards

Since the appearance of cholera in this country, repeated instances have occurred in which nearly all the most fatal symptoms of the disease have been produced by excessive drunkenness, and we were yesterday furnished, by a respectable medical gentleman, with a statement which all drunkards will do well to take to heart as a warning for their future guidance. On Wednesday morning our informant was conducted by a friend to a house in a court leading out of Barter St, to see what he was told was a case of real cholera, in the person of a carter named John CROSSDALE, who was a lodger in the house. He found the patient labouring under all the symptoms of extreme dissipation, his skin livid, his hands and legs cramped, his extremities cold, and the pulse scarcely perceptible, and, on inquiry, he found that the man had been drinking almost incessantly for 3 or 4 days, without taking any solid nutrient whatever.

Our informant then had recourse to the same mode treatment which he had adopted with perfect success, in a similar case, a week or two previously, but in the meantime the palanquin from the hospital was brought for the patient, accompanied by a mob of persons, who, on its arriving at the place, broke it to pieces, and put the attendants to flight. The man, we are told, expressed much unwillingness to be removed, and he continued, and still continues under the treatment of our informant, who says that he is now much better, and almost out of danger from the effects of his debauch. The brutal and insensate mob displayed much violence, not only towards the persons connected with the hospitals, but against every person whom they took to be a medical man, and our informant himself experienced much difficulty in escaping from their clutches.

We are glad to learn no new cases occurred yesterday and that there were only five remaining. The following report published yesterday by the Board of Health, remaining at last report 9, new cases 0, dead 2, recovered 2, remaining 5, total since the commence on the 12th May, cases 87, deaths 48.

Cures for Cholera

A remedy of very great value in severe attacks of cholera appears to have been discovered by Dr LATTA of Leith. In several cases persons in the last stage of weakness, and apparently on the point of death, have been restored by it, in an incredibly short period, to perfect health, and in those cases in which it has failed, the failure seems to have proceeded [with one exception] from organic disease, which rendered all remedies useless.. The remedy consist in injection into the veins, by means of a syringe, of large quantities of a solution of muriate and subcarbonate of soda, by which means the deficiency in the watery and saline parts of the blood, which is one of the most marked effects of cholera, is remedied.

25th June 1832

Treatment for cholera used in the Middlesex House of Correction, which has been remarkable successful :-

Ist, on immediately being attacked apply over the region of the bowels a poultice of flour of mustard and linseed meal in equal parts.

2nd, the sickness is relieved by one third part of a sodaic powder, taken every 10 or 15 minutes, during effervescence, but if that fail, take ever 10 or 15 minutes a teaspoon of this solution [1 dram carbonate soda, dissolved in one ounce water]

3rd, when the stomach is quiet, and will retain it give the following powder every hour, dissolved in a wine glass of water [Oxymuriate of potash, 10 grains, muriate of soda, 30 grains, carbonate of soda, 30 grains]

4th, constant friction with the hands until the circulation is restored.

5th, in case the cramp in the bowels is excessive enema injections must be used hot, composed of two tablespoons of salt in a pint and a half of water Every 2 or 3 hours. A wine glass of soda water frequently as the common drink.

Of 117 cases which occurred in the above establishment, and were treated as directed, only 37 advanced to the state of collapse, only 16 cases proved fatal.


Place a few red hot cinders in the middle of a room, and pour upon them half a dozen drops of oil of vitriol, the room will be purified in a few minutes.


Liverpool Journal

Cholera among the flies

It is a singular fact, that whenever the cholera prevails, flies die. Never before were there seen so few flies in Liverpool as at present. Butchers, grocers and provision shops are quite free


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