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Answer to Question 5th. We know of no reason for believing or suspecting, that the disease lately existing in the State Prison, has been occasioned by any deleterious substance, of a cognizable nature, taken into the stomach. Our deductions on this head are drawn from the following reasons :-Ist. We have caused separate interrogatories to be made to fifty of the Convicts, who were taken ill on the evening and night of the 5th, in regard to the particular articles of food taken by them on the morning, noon, and evening, of that day. From this examination it appears that no one article of food was taken by all the Convicts, with the exception of water. For example : -Some of them had taken no meat,-others had taken no bread,-others no rice,-and so in regard to each particular article given out on that.day. The water used by the Prisoners is from the same source as that used by the Warden and his family, none of whom have experienced disease. 2d. No deleterious or medical substance has been discovered in or about the food of the Prison, after diligent scrutiny.* 3d. A considerable number of the Convicts, who partook of the same food, have remained in health. 4th. Cases of disease similar to those which first appeared, continued to occur in the Prison during the remainder of the week, though the most vigilant care has been taken to insure the purity of the food. 5th. Sporadic, or scattering cases, greatly resembling those of the Prison disease, have occurred, during all the present month, in Boston, and its vicinity. In certain cases these have occurred in groups, or families under the same roof. In some instances, four or five persons in a family have been simultaneously affected with
* A Report of an analysis of the food, &c. made by Dr. Webster, los bcen subınitted by that gentleman to the Inspectors..
pain in the bowels, vomiting, and diarrhæa; and in onc case, ten individuals, constituting a whole family, were severely affected in this manner without reason for suspecting any particular articles of food used by them to have been the cause. A similar affection has been announced as occurring among a considerable number of the inmates in the House of Industry at South Boston.
We are therefore of opinion that the source of the late endemic in the Massachusetts State Prison, must be sought for in other causes than that of any substance, capable of detection, received into the stomachs of those who were its subjects. We have the honor to be, Your obedient servants,
I have the honor to enclose a copy of the answers given by Dr. Bigelow, and others, to the questions submitted to them by the Chairman of the Board of Inspectors, on the 9th inst.
The Warden requests that I should state, that nothing of moment has occurred at the Prison since inailing his letter to your Excellency yesterday.
The number remaining in the Hospital last evening, sick of the peculiar disease, was 13 ;—the number of invalids, and those on light labor, was 17 ;-and there have been no attacks this day. I have the honor to be Your Excellency's most ob’t serv't,
V. H. BRYANT,
Clerk M. S. Prison.
Of an epidemic Diarrhea, attended with peculiar symp
toms, which prevailed in Massachusetts State Prison, in the months of August, September and October, 1832,made to His Excellency Levi Lincoln, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by
WM. J. WALKER,
Physician of M. S. P.
December 3d, 1832.
The subscribers, having attended the Convicts at the Massachusetts State Prison during the epidemic disease which prevailed there in August last, fully agree in the description given by Dr. Walker, of its symptoms and character.
To His Excellency Levi Lincoln, Governor of the Com
monwealth of Massachusetts.
On the evening of the fifth of August, about sunsetting, I received a message from the Warden of the State Prison, stating that many of the Convicts wer suffering severe pain, and requesting my attendance. I repaired immediately to the Prison, and found that two men had been removed to the Hospitel during the afternoon, that others had since sickened, and that the disease was becoming general among them. My attention was first drawn to several who had been taken from their cells, and placed in the gallery, that they might be more easily assisted. An examination of these cases convinced me that I had to do with a disease of no ordinary grade or character.
In answer to my inquiry what made them sick, they cach informed me that they had been well up to that day, and knew not what had produced their malady. I next visited some in their cells, and found a remarkable similarity in all ;—that although the disease had but recently commenced, its effects had been truly wonderful and distressing. The contortions of countenance, writhing of body under pain, and outcries of suffering issuing from every part of the Prison, presented a picture of distress, which, familiar as I have been with scenes of suffering at Military Hospitals, I have never seen equalled. The occasion required prompt and decisive measures, but here