Minutes of the proceedings of the committee, appointed on the 14th September, 1793, by the citizens of Philadelphia, the Northern Liberties and the District of Southwark, to attend to and alleviate the sufferings of the afflicted with the malignant fever, prevalent, in the city and its vicinity, with an appendix.
Page  [unnumbered]

In compliance with the preceding ADDRESS, a Number of CITIZENS met at the CITY-HALL the 12th Sep|tember, 1793.

The MAYOR in the Chair.

MR. James Wilson an overseer of the poor reported the situation of the sick and poor at Bush-Hill, and that Dr. Physick, Dr. Cathral, Dr. Annan and Dr. Leib, are the attending Physicians at that place.

The following persons have offered to assist the overseers of the poor, viz.

  • Samuel Wetherill,
  • Israel Israel,
  • Thomas Wistar,
  • Andrew Adgate,
  • Caleb Lownes,
  • Henry Deforest,
  • Thomas Peters,
  • Joseph Inskeep,
  • Stephen Girard,
  • John Mason.

Who are requested to report the state of the sick and poor in the city and vicinity, and measures for their relief.


At a meeting of the citizens of the city and its en|virons held at the City-Hall September 14th 1793.

Samuel Wetherill was appointed Chairman and Ca|leb Lownes Secretary.

Page  4 The report of the committee appointed at the last meeting, to make enquiry into the situation of the afflicted under the present prevailing malignant disorder in the city, being produced, was read and is as follows.

PhiladelphiaSeptember 12th 1793.

At a meeting of a number of citizens held at the Court-House, this evening, in consequence of an ap|pointment of the Mayor and others, convened at the City-Hall, to take into consideration the present cala|mitous state of the city and its environs.

  • Present, Stephen Girard,
  • Thomas Wistar,
  • Samuel Wetherill,
  • Israel Israel,
  • Thomas T. Peters,
  • Henry Deforest,
  • Andrew Adgate,
  • Joseph Inskeep,
  • John Hawkins,
  • Caleb Lownes,
and several of the overseers of the poor,

Samuel Wetherill in the chair.

Having made enquiry into the situation of the poor and afflicted, they are of opinion, that it is not in the power of the overseers and guardians of the poor to af|ford the necessary aid which the cases of the sick require, that the citizens be again convened, in order that some effectual means may be used, and a plan adopted to mitigate, and, if possible, to afford relief to the afflict|ed, both in the city and at the Hospital at Bush-Hill.

On Motion, Resolved,—That the Secretary be directed to pub|lish the foregoing minute and to request the citizens to attend a meeting, to be held at the City-Hall at 12 Page  5 o'clock, on the 14th instant: and that in the mean time Israel Israel, Thomas Wistar and Caleb Lownes be desired to confer with the Physicians who have the charge of the sick at Bush-Hill, and obtain information of their situation, and furnish the necessary aid and re|lief in their power to afford.

On Motion, Resolved,—That, as this city is much exposed, for want of a suitable place to receive and accommodate those that are afflicted with malignant disorders—and that as the increased trade and population subjects the citizens to constant danger from the numbers that are daily arriving from foreign parts, where infectious dis|orders are frequently prevalent; that this subject be laid before the citizens at their next meeting, in order that some steps may be taken to bring the subject before the Legislature, that the evils now experienced may be avoided in future, by suitable and comfortable pro|vision for those who may suffer a similar affliction.

At an adjourned meeting held at the Court-House—September 14th 1793.

  • Present, Samuel Wetherill,
  • Andrew Adgate,
  • Thomas Wistar,
  • Stephen Girard,
  • Joseph Inskeep,
  • Israel Israel,
  • Henry Deforest,
  • Thomas Harrison,
  • Caleb Lowness
and several of the overseers of the poor.

The committee appointed to confer with the Phy|sicians who have the charge of the sick at Bush-Hill.

Report, that they have attended to their appoint|ment, and have produced the following account of the situation of that Hospital—as given by Doctors Cathral and Physick.

Page  6

That the Hospital is without order o arrangement, far from being clean, and stands in immediate need of several qualified persons to begin and establish the necessary arrangements.—There are five or six female attendants; but none qualified for the proper manage|ment of the sick.—it is attended by four Physicians, viz. Doctors Cathral, Physick, Annan and Leib—the latter is indisposed, and unable to attend.

That there are immediately wanted,

A person qualified to arrange and manage a Hospi|tal, as steward.

A person qualified to act as barber and bleeder,—and eight nurses.

That it is unnecessary to enumerate all the wants: they are numerous, and call for speedy attention but the above mentioned require instant attention, which, when supplied, will reduce the number to a few, and render the institution useful and beneficial.

Whereupon it was agreed, that the following propo|sitions be laid before the general meeting of the citizens, viz.

  • 1. That a sum of money be instantly procured.
  • 2. That a large committee be appointed from the different parts of the city, Southwark and the Northern Liberties to aid the sick and distressed.
  • 3. That they have full power to act as circumstan|ces may require.
  • 4. That they keep a just account of their proceed|ings and expenditures, and report to a future general meeting of the citizens.

Page  7Resolved, that the chairman and secretary attend the ensuing general meeting with the proceedings of the committee.

Extract from the minutes

〈1 span left blank〉 Caleb Lownes


Agreed unanimously. That fifteen hundred dol|lars be immediately procured for the purpose of furnishing suitable accommodation and supplies for the use of the afflicted under the prevail|ing malignant fever, and that Thomas Harrison, Tho|mas Wistar, and Caleb Lownes, be appointed a committee to procure the said sum at the Bank of North America.

  • That, Matthew Clarkson, MAYOR of the city,
  • Samuel Whetherill,
  • Jo•• D. Sergeant,
  • Caleb Lownes,
  • Thomas Wistar,
  • Israel Israel,
  • Thomas Harrison,
  • Stephen Girard,
  • Joseph Russel,
  • Andrew Adgate,
  • Matthew Carey,
  • Thomas Savery,
  • William Cliffton,
  • Samuel Benge,
  • John Connelly,
  • Jacob Weaver,
  • John M'Culloch,
  • Joseph Inskeep,
  • William Robinson,
  • Jacob Whitman,
  • Henry Deforest,
  • John Letchworth,
  • James Swain,
  • James Sharswood,
  • John Haworth,
  • James Kerr, and
  • Peter Helm,
be a committee to transact the whole of the business relative to mitigating the sufferings of those that are or may be afflicted with the disorder prevalent in this city and vicinity—to procure Physicians, nurses, and at|tendants, Page  8 and generally to furnish those things that now are or may become necessary to be procured for the above mentioned purposes.

That they or a majority of them, have full powers to appropriate such sums as may be necessary for obtain|ing supplies—for compensating those who may be employed in the business under their direction, that they keep a fair account of their proceedings and expenditures and report to a future meeting of the citizens.


That Matthew Clarkson, be President of the board.

  • Samuel Wetherill, Vice President.
  • Thomas Wistar, Treasurer, and
  • Caleb Lownes, Secretary.

Resolved, that the said committee take under their consideration the propriety of providing suitable accom|modations for the reception of such as may hereafter be afflicted by similar complaints, and to guard against the dangers to which this city is exposed from its en|creased trade and population, and the danger which the daily arrivals from foreign parts, where malignant disorders are frequently prevalent, constantly subject it to, and to report thereon at a future meeting.

Caleb Lownes,