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The Famine In China

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[Letter from Dr. Williams to the Utica Herald.] TL' e piteous tales of woe from the famine-stri,cken districts of China which have reached me desoribe the desolation oaused by the want of food there in such moving terms that I am led to send you an abstract in the hope of moving oharitable people in this land to help. The portions of Shansi provinco, described in the letter received, are now probably beyond our reach, for such destitution must soon depopulate the land. but on their borders, near the seashore, there are myriads who can be reached, and their lives saved by timely relief. The total yet sent in all from the Eastern States cannot much exceed $5,000, and from Great Britain about L14,000 has gone. The writer is T. Kichards, an English missionary, living in the capital, Taiyuen, who made a journey about Feb. 1 to see for himself what was the state of the district south of that city. I abridge his report, which bears the marks of careful exactness and good sense in dealing with the misery around him: "Jan. ?9. - There was a f all of one inch of snow in the night. Saw four deadon the road, and one moving on his hands and knee. One of the dead was a boy 10 years old, carried by his mother; she laid him on the snow. "Jan. 30. - One of the two dead bodies just passed was well dressed, and could not have been a poor man: just beyond them I met one staggering like a drunken man along the road, and as I Iooked a puff of wind blew him over to rise no more. " Jan. 31. - Passed fourteen dead, some of them stripped for their clothes. One corpse was so light that a middlesjzed dog dragged it about. Some were lying face downward, and one had its sheet of snow on, showing that no wolves or foxes were near. I talked with an old man while climbing a hill together, after we had just passed a youth lying dead, and he said, in the most touching manner, 'Our mules and donkeys are all eaten up; our laborers are all dead ; how is it that Heaven Iets us poor people die like this ?' In one place a notice declared that those who rob and steal should be put to death without mercy. "Feb. 1. - Besides four women and two men 3een unburied near the road, I met two youths, apparently brothers, 15 to 18 years old, moving along like men of 80, on their staves ; then a young man, carrying his mother on his back, just ready to breathe her last. Saw two heads put up in cages, a warning to those who rob or steal, and many hats and shoes along the roadside, but no bodies. " Feb. 2. - Saw a group of three lying together, who appeared to be a father, son and grandson. On the snow there weie marks of a Btruggle and blood, it rt vndy near. xwo vinrp heads hung from the trees in cages. For miles many of the trees along the roads were stripped of their bark five, ten and twenty f eet above the ground for food. Several houses were passed with doors and windows open, jars anJ other utensils inside ; nobody was left, and nothing had been touched, for tbey could not be turned into money nor food. "Beyond this I was gladdened by the sight of wheat appearing from under the snow for a distance of ten miles, where the springs had furnished water for irrigation. The people told me that last season the erop was very promising up to the time of plowing, then a sudden flood and mildew blasted their hopes, and left them nothing but straw. "Feb. 5. - This afternoon, at Hungtung, we saw the dead actually heaped on each other. On the main street was a man lying dead with the edge of a big stone between his teeth- he expired biting a stone. Saw two men grinding something very dark, and, on going near, learned it was the husks of millet mixed with old cotton wadding. People are now pulling down their houses for fuel, ior coal is too dear for them. "Feb. 7. - I bonght three stone cakes, which I saw men eating. It was the same stone as our soft stone pencüs (probably talcose slate), and is pounded to dust and mixed with millet husks and baked. It does not look bad, but tastes like what it is - dust. This was the worst day of the journey. There were more dead bodies on the roadside than before when we went by ; we counted twenty-nine in a distance of eighteen miles. Some of them seemed to have beenrobbed and left to die; one woman, robbed of all she had and left, still moved, though unconscious of any one passing by. Another headless trunk proved that some murdered as well as robbed. I was away from my house fourteen days, and send an account of only a few of the dreadful sights I have scan. "Fromothersl learn that along the whole route from Fang-in Szchuen here (a distance of over 500 miles) dead men lay by the rondside every now and then. In Kansuh, far in the Northwest, grain was abundant, but grew scarcer each step as one approached the northern districts of Shansi. This year the cold had been unusually severe in the región of the Yellow river. Soft stone is sold at from a half to a third of a cent per pound, and bark at less than a cent per pound- both for food. But the people die of constipation. Grain is three or four times the usual price, turnips and cabbage five or six times. " It is almest impossible to ascertain how many have died from famine. At Ping-yang, the people said that two large pits had been filled, and two carts were daily employed in carting the dead. The deaths in the hamlets among the hills are far more than in towns along the great thoroughfares or near rivers. In one district it was reported that onethird had died; in another, three-fifths. Whoever I asked coming from tho southern departments of the province, Puchan, Kiang. Ping-yang, declared that one-half of the people were gone; and instanced villages numbering 300, 400 md 500 inhabitants, in whieh only 100 survived. Still, even if these estímate s are exuggerations, what will it be at the end of the famine ! "The Government is doing what it can. The lowest allowance I hoard of was 10 cents, and the highest 30 cents a month to each individual; in the capital 20,000 persons go to three soup kitehons outside tho gates. Whore grain is distributed, two or tbree ounces a day to each person is the limit. I have the best authority for saying that in many districts men are eating human flesh. Coal rises in price because it is unsafo to go to the mines alone to get it, for the persons will be stripped, and their borses, cows, mules or doQeys talbon for food." St. Petersbübg Wöftsèeses 670,000 rxhabited bouses, #a 'first briok dweil ing was built in 1810, two years before the city was made the seat of Government. Exeluding still-born children, no fewer than 5,725 deaths occurred there between May and August last, or over thirty-four in every 1,000 of population.


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