Saturday, January 16, 2010


Gottlieb Mittelberger, a musician, traveling from Germany to America around 1750, wrote about his voyage:
During the journey the ship is full of pitiful signs of distress—smells, fumes, horrors, vomiting, various kinds of sea sickness, fever, dysentery, headaches, heat, constipation, boils, scurvy, cancer, mouth-rot, and similar afflictions, all of them caused by the age and the high salted state of the food, especially of the meat, as well as by the very bad filthy water ... Add to all that a shortage of food, hunger, thirst, frost, heat, dampness, fear misery, vexation, and lamentation as well as other troubles ... On board our ship, on a day on which we had a great storm, a woman about to give birth and unable to deliver under the circumstances, was pushed through one of the portholes into the sea ...
Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States, pp.42-43