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The Fijian Plague

The Fijian Plague image
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Further information from Fiji conveys still darker accounts of tho plague which has recently passed over the ncw colony. A resident of long standing, writing to a Victoria conteniporary, says: "The death rato is not yet made up, but tho probability is that 40,000 Fijians died during the four months' plague. The native population of Fiji is now about one-third only of what it was when I landed here about twenty-üve years ago. " The accounts given of the magnitude of j the disaster are loss harrowing than thoso of the Bufferings of the victirns. " Very few dicd of the mensles, the majority dying of subsequent disease in the form of dysentery, congestión of the lungs, etc. Want of nourishinent, or starvation, carried off thousands." We are told that "all work was suspended for two months. You could pass through whole towns without meeting any one in the streets, which wero soon completely covOred with grass. Entering a house, you wottld flud men, woincn, and children lying down indiscriminatcly, somc just attackcd, some still in ngony, and somo dying. 8ome who were strong euough attempted suicide, and not always nnsuccessfully. " We are further told that "as the scourge becamo more permanent, somo four or tive were buried together in one grave, and generally j without religious service. In some cases the dead were buried in the earthen floors of the houses. The buriato were hurried, and the probability is that some were buried alive. In maiay instanees tho lmsband, wifo, and children all died. In one vülage all the women died, and in auother all the men." It is interesting to read of the dilïerent mental olïects produced by the torturo of tho disease. It is not surpl'ising thnt "some made fruitless appeals " to tlieir ancieut god. Some inland tribes, who had only recently embraced Clmstianity, considercd that the disease was coilveyed by their religious teachers, and they dismissed them and then abandöned their new religión. Among these some were for killiug the teachers, but wiser counsels prevailod. It is said that ono fcribe buried alive one tcacher's wife and ohild, whose father died of the plague, to stop infection. But whilo somo in thoir distross feil back on their formcr snperstitions, the greater number are said to have borne their calamity with fortitude, Bad to have suftered and died under the


Old News
Michigan Argus