This noble frigate has now been laying at anchor in the lower bay for about three months, entirely deserted and exposed to the action of the elements, by reason of a supposed prevalence of the dreaded yellow fever infection on board of her. The Navy Department having at length decided to relieve the vessel from her present position, the Board of Health have adopted the recommendation of Health Officer Thompson, which is, " that the stores and supplies of the frigate be discharged, and that she be disinfected," and in pursuance of the above plan, the Health Officer has issued his orders for the removal of the stores to the government warehouses, and has requested Commander Kearney to detach stevedores and lighters for this purpose. The subsequent disinfection he proposes to accomplish as follows :—" To sweep, scrape, scrub, fumigate, whitewash and ventilate in the ordinary manner ; and then to place in contact with the walls and flooring of the vessel a mixture of pounded ice and salt, and to keep the same on board till a temperature far below the point of frost be secured in the hold of the frigate, and until the effect of the freezing mixture shall be decidedly manifest upon the internal woodwork of the vessel." We are tempted to exclaim upon reading this sapient proposal, " Was there ever such official stupidity ?" Having waited until the yellow fever season and the hot term are fairly upon us, aud having allowed the favorable spring months to pass by, the Health Officer now proposes to commence operations by exposing a number of laborers to the influence of the infection, and at the same time to disseminate the disease by distributing the supplies of this vessel throughout the public storehouses. It certainly does not require any great amount of common sense to see that disinfection should at all events precede any attempt to discharge the contents of the vessel, and we hold that the Health Officer, by pursuing any other course, .is liable to the individuals and the community whose safety he thus endangers. We should also like to know what expediency can demand the prosecution of this work at this season. The vessel has, as we understand, nothing on board but ordinary naval stores, and the value of these will not be essentially impaired by remaining in their present condition another three months, or until the arrival of autumnal frosts. Whatever is perishable on board the frigate has probably been already rendered entirely worthless. It were better, as far as dollars and cents are concerned, that the vessel itself should be set on fire or scuttled, rather than that the life of a single one of our citizens should be endangered. In the name of humanity, we protest against this movement.
This article was originally published with the title "The Susquehanna—Official Stupidity"