William Godwin's Diary


The Examiner reported on 6 November ‘six cases and five deaths of most decided Asiastic cholera’ in Sunderland and, a week later, that ‘there appear to be about 22 alleged cases of Asiastic cholera, of which 18 have terminated fatally’. The disease, originally from Bengal, had been feared in Britain for several years as doctors watched its inexorable movement through Europe. Its seemingly unstoppable progress and the violent sufferings of cholera patients made it an especially terrifying disease and the 1831-2 epidemic killed 52,000 people in Britain including, on 8 September 1832, Godwin’s son William.

See Examiner, 6 November and 13 November 1831; St Clair, p. 483 and Laurelyn Douglas, ‘Health and Hygiene in the Nineteenth Century’, www.victorianweb.org/science/health/health10.html.