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Boston (Mass.). Joint Committee on Alien Passengers


Historical note

On 10 May 1847, the four members of the Board of Aldermen formed a committee to consider what further action, if any, was necessary to be adopted by the City government in relation to Alien passengers who may arrive in this port. On 13 May 1847, seven members of the Common Council joined the committee. The committee was formed in response to the overcrowded state of the House of Industry. The committee report of 21 May 1847 indicates that since November of 1846, 6377 alien passengers had arrived in Boston and of those 355 were sent to the House of Industry because of their poor health. They constituted one half of the total number of inmates at the institution and temporary wooden buildings had to be constructed to house all the inmates. The committee reported that the fever had assumed the character of an epidemic at the House of Industry and they recommended finding a separate location to house the sick and pauper alien passengers. They determined that Deer Island in Boston Harbor was the most suitable location to set up a hospital. The City Council passed an order on 21 May 1847 authorizing the Joint Special Committee on Alien Passengers “to procure suitable accommodations…and to take all necessary measures for the support of foreign paupers, and that the expense…be charged to the money collected and paid into the Treasury according to the provisions of the Act of the Legislature of Massachusetts passed April 20th 1837, entitled ‘An Act relating to Alien passengers.’” The Committee hired officers and staff for the institution, ordered the construction of a new wooden building, determined a spot for the burial ground, and commissioned a sailing vessel to convey the sick and the discharged between the city and the island.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

City Council Joint Committee on Alien Passengers records

Identifier: 0140.011
Scope and Contents note The records of the Joint Committee on Alien Passengers span the years 1847-1848. Records of the Consulting Physicians from the 1830s which were found stored with the Alien Passenger Committee records were separated. The collection includes records not only created by the Committee but also submitted to the Committee by private citizens, the Inspector of Alien Passengers, the Port Physician, and the Resident Physician at the Deer Island Hospital. The Committee on Alien Passengers...
Dates: 1847-1848