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DanielDefoe



AJournal of the Plague Year

beingobservations or memorials
of the most remarkable occurrences
aswell public as privatewhich happened in London
during the lastgreat visitation in 1665

Writtenby a Citizen who continued all the while in London.
Never madepublic before

 

 

 

 

Itwas about the beginning of September1664that Iamong the rest ofmy neighboursheard in ordinary discourse that the plague wasreturned again in Holland; for it had been very violent thereandparticularly at Amsterdam and Rotterdamin the year 1663whitherthey sayit was broughtsome said from Italyothers from theLevantamong some goods which were brought home by their Turkeyfleet; others said it was brought from Candia; others from Cyprus. It mattered not from whence it came; but all agreed it was come intoHolland again.

Wehad no such thing as printed newspapers in those days to spreadrumours and reports of thingsand to improve them by the inventionof menas I have lived to see practised since.  But such thingsas these were gathered from the letters of merchants and others whocorresponded abroadand from them was handed about by word of mouthonly; so that things did not spread instantly over the whole nationas they do now.  But it seems that the Government had a trueaccount of itand several councils were held about ways to preventits coming over; but all was kept very private.  Hence it wasthat this rumour died off againand people began to forget it as athing we were very little concerned inand that we hoped was nottrue; till the latter end of November or the beginning of December1664 when two mensaid to be Frenchmendied of the plague in LongAcreor rather at the upper end of Drury Lane.  The family theywere in endeavoured to conceal it as much as possiblebut as it hadgotten some vent in the discourse of the neighbourhoodtheSecretaries of State got knowledge of it; and concerning themselvesto inquire about itin order to be certain of the truthtwophysicians and a surgeon were ordered to go to the house and makeinspection.  This they did; and finding evident tokens of thesickness upon both the bodies that were deadthey gave theiropinions publicly that they died of the plague. Whereupon it wasgiven in to the parish clerkand he also returned them to the Hall;and it was printed in the weekly bill of mortality in the usualmannerthus -

 Plague2. Parishes infected1.

 

 The people showed a great concern at thisand began to be alarmedall over the townand the morebecause in the last week in December1664 another man died in the same houseand of the same distemper.And then we were easy again for about six weekswhen none havingdied with any marks of infectionit was said the distemper was gone;but after thatI think it was about the 12th of Februaryanotherdied in another housebut in the same parish and in the same manner.

Thisturned the people's eyes pretty much towards that end of the townand the weekly bills showing an increase of burials in St Giles'sparish more than usualit began to be suspected that the plague wasamong the people at that end of the townand that many had died ofitthough they had taken care to keep it as much from the knowledgeof the public as possible.  This possessed the heads of thepeople very muchand few cared to go through Drury Laneor theother streets suspectedunless they had extraordinary business thatobliged them to it

Thisincrease of the bills stood thus: the usual number of burials in aweekin the parishes of St Giles-in-the-Fields and St Andrew'sHolbornwere from twelve to seventeen or nineteen eachfew more orless; but from the time that the plague first began in St Giles'sparishit was observed that the ordinary burials increased in numberconsiderably.  For example: -


From December 27 to January 3


   "     January 3          "        "  10


   "     January 10        "        "  17



   "     January 17        "       "   24



   "     January 24        "       "   31


   "     January 30        " February 7


   "     February 7        "       "   14
St Giles's
St Andrew's

St Giles's
St Andrew's

St Giles's
St Andrew's

St Giles's
St Andrew's

St Giles's
St Andrew's

St Giles's
St Andrew's

St Giles's
16
17

12
25

18
28

23
16

24
15

21
23

24

Whereof one of the plague.The like increase of the bills was observed in the parishes of StBride'sadjoining on one side of Holborn parishand in the parish ofSt JamesClerkenwelladjoining on the other side of Holborn; in bothwhich parishes the usual numbers that died weekly were from four tosix or eightwhereas at that time they were increased as follows: -


From December 20 to December 27


   "      December 27   to January 3


   "      January 3         "       "   10



   "      January 10       "       "   17



   "     January 17        "       "   24


   "     January 24        "       "   31


   "     January 31        "     February 7


   "     February 7        "       "   14


St Bride's
St James's

St Bride's
St James's

St Bride's
St James's

St Bride's
St James's

St Bride's
St James's

St Bride's
St James's

St Bride's
St James's

St Bride's
St James's


0
8

6
9

11
7

12
9

9
15

8
12

13
15

12
6



Besidesthisit was observed with great uneasiness by the people that theweekly bills in general increased very much during these weeksalthough it was at a time of the year when usually the bills are verymoderate.

Theusual number of burials within the bills of mortality for a week wasfrom about 240 or thereabouts to 300.  The last was esteemed apretty high bill; but after this we found the bills successivelyincreasing as follows: -                                          


December the 20th to the 27th
        "             27th  "  3rd January
January the 3rd        "      10th
        "            10th   "      17th
        "            17th   "      24th
Buried.
291
349
394
415
474
Increased.
...
58
45
21
59



Thislast bill was really frightfulbeing a higher number than had beenknown to have been buried in one week since the preceding visitationof 1656.

Howeverall this went off againand the weather proving coldand the frostwhich began in Decemberstill continuing very severe even till nearthe end of Februaryattended with sharp though moderate windsthebills decreased againand the city grew healthyand everybody beganto look upon the danger as good as over; only that still the burialsin St Giles's continued high.  From the beginning of Aprilespecially they stood at twenty-five each weektill the week fromthe 18th to the 25thwhen there was buried in St Giles's parishthirtywhereof two of the plague and eight of the spotted-feverwhich was looked upon as the same thing; likewise the number thatdied of the spotted-fever in the whole increasedbeing eight theweek beforeand twelve the week above-named.

Thisalarmed us all againand terrible apprehensions were among thepeopleespecially the weather being now changed and growing warmand the summer being at hand.  Howeverthe next week thereseemed to be some hopes again; the bills were lowthe number of thedead in all was but 388there was none of the plagueand but fourof the spotted-fever.

Butthe following week it returned againand the distemper was spreadinto two or three other parishesviz.St Andrew'sHolborn; StClement Danes; andto the great affliction of the cityone diedwithin the wallsin the parish of St Mary Woolchurchthat is tosayin Bearbinder Lanenear Stocks Market; in all there were nineof the plague and six. of the spotted-fever.  It washoweverupon inquiry found that this Frenchman who died in Bearbinder Lanewas one whohaving lived in Long Acrenear the infected houseshadremoved for fear of the distempernot knowing that he was alreadyinfected.

Thiswas the beginning of Mayyet the weather was temperatevariableand cool enoughand people had still some hopes.  That whichencouraged them was that the city was healthy: the whole ninety-sevenparishes buried but fifty-fourand we began to hope thatas it waschiefly among the people at that end of the townit might go nofarther; and the ratherbecause the next weekwhich was from the9th of May to the 16ththere died but threeof which not one withinthe whole city or liberties; and St Andrew's buried but fifteenwhich was very low.  'Tis true St Giles's buried two-and-thirtybut stillas there was but one of the plaguepeople began to beeasy.  The whole bill also was very lowfor the week before thebill was but 347and the week above mentioned but 343.  Wecontinued in these hopes for a few daysbut it was but for a fewfor the people were no more to be deceived thus; they searched thehouses and found that the plague was really spread every wayandthat many died of it every day.  So that now all ourextenuations abatedand it was no more to be concealed; nayitquickly appeared that the infection had spread itself beyond allhopes of abatement. that in the parish of St Giles it was gotten intoseveral streetsand several families lay all sick together; andaccordinglyin the weekly bill for the next week the thing began toshow itself.  There was indeed but fourteen set down of theplaguebut this was all knavery and collusionfor in St Giles'sparish they buried forty in allwhereof it was certain most of themdied of the plaguethough they were set down of other distempers;and though the number of all the burials were not increased abovethirty-twoand the whole bill being but 385yet there was fourteenof the spotted- feveras well as fourteen of the plague; and we tookit for granted upon the whole that there were fifty died that week ofthe plague.

Thenext bill was from the 23rd of May to the 30thwhen the number ofthe plague was seventeen.  But the burials in St Giles's werefifty-three - a frightful number! - of whom they set down but nine ofthe plague; but on an examination more strictly by the justices ofpeaceand at the Lord Mayor's requestit was found there weretwenty more who were really dead of the plague in that parishbuthad been set down of the spotted-fever or other distempersbesidesothers concealed.

Butthose were trifling things to what followed immediately after; fornow the weather set in hotand from the first week in June theinfection spread in a dreadful mannerand the bills rose high; thearticles of the feverspotted-feverand teeth began to swell; forall that could conceal their distempers did itto prevent theirneighbours shunning and refusing to converse with themand also toprevent authority shutting up their houses; whichthough it was notyet practisedyet was threatenedand people were extremelyterrified at the thoughts of it.

Thesecond week in Junethe parish of St Gileswhere still the weightof the infection layburied 120whereof though the bills said butsixty-eight of the plagueeverybody said there had been 100 atleastcalculating it from the usual number of funerals in thatparishas above.

Tillthis week the city continued freethere having never any diedexcept that one Frenchman whom I mentioned beforewithin the wholeninety-seven parishes.  Now there died four within the cityonein Wood Streetone in Fenchurch Streetand two in Crooked Lane.Southwark was entirely freehaving not one yet died on that side ofthe water.

Ilived without Aldgateabout midway between Aldgate Church andWhitechappel Barson the left hand or north side of the street; andas the distemper had not reached to that side of the cityourneighbourhood continued very easy.  But at the other end of thetown their consternation was very great: and the richer sort ofpeopleespecially the nobility and gentry from the west part of thecitythronged out of town with their families and servants in anunusual manner; and this was more particularly seen in Whitechappel;that is to saythe Broad Street where I lived; indeednothing wasto be seen but waggons and cartswith goodswomenservantschildren&c.; coaches filled with people of the better sort andhorsemen attending themand all hurrying away; then empty waggonsand carts appearedand spare horses with servantswhoit wasapparentwere returning or sent from the countries to fetch morepeople; besides innumerable numbers of men on horsebacksome aloneothers with servantsandgenerally speakingall loaded withbaggage and fitted out for travellingas anyone might perceive bytheir appearance.

Thiswas a very terrible and melancholy thing to seeand as it was asight which I could not but look on from morning to night (for indeedthere was nothing else of moment to be seen)it filled me with veryserious thoughts of the misery that was coming upon the cityand theunhappy condition of those that would be left in it.

Thishurry of the people was such for some weeks that there was no gettingat the Lord Mayor's door without exceeding difficulty; there weresuch pressing and crowding there to get passes and certificates ofhealth for such as travelled abroadfor without these there was nobeing admitted to pass through the towns upon the roador to lodgein any inn.  Nowas there had none died in the city for allthis timemy Lord Mayor gave certificates of health without anydifficulty to all those who lived in the ninety-seven parishesandto those within the liberties too for a while.

ThishurryI saycontinued some weeksthat is to sayall the month ofMay and Juneand the more because it was rumoured that an order ofthe Government was to be issued out to place turnpikes and barrierson the road to prevent people travellingand that the towns on theroad would not suffer people from London to pass for fear of bringingthe infection along with themthough neither of these rumours hadany foundation but in the imaginationespecially at-first.

Inow began to consider seriously with myself concerning my own caseand how I should dispose of myself; that is to saywhether I shouldresolve to stay in London or shut up my house and fleeas many of myneighbours did.  I have set this particular down so fullybecause I know not but it may be of moment to those who come aftermeif they come to be brought to the same distressand to the samemanner of making their choice; and therefore I desire this accountmay pass with them rather for a direction to themselves to act bythan a history of my actingsseeing it may not he of one farthingvalue to them to note what became of me.

Ihad two important things before me: the one was the carrying on mybusiness and shopwhich was considerableand in which was embarkedall my effects in the world; and the other was the preservation of mylife in so dismal a calamity as I saw apparently was coming upon thewhole cityand whichhowever great it wasmy fears perhapsaswell as other people'srepresented to be much greater than it couldbe.

Thefirst consideration was of great moment to me; my trade was asaddlerand as my dealings were chiefly not by a shop or chancetradebut among the merchants trading to the English colonies inAmericaso my effects lay very much in the hands of such.  Iwas a single man'tis truebut I had a family of servants whom Ikept at my business; had a houseshopand warehouses filled withgoods; andin shortto leave them all as things in such a case mustbe left (that is to saywithout any overseer or person fit to betrusted with them)had been to hazard the loss not only of my tradebut of my goodsand indeed of all I had in the world.

Ihad an elder brother at the same time in Londonand not many yearsbefore come over from Portugal: and advising with himhis answer wasin three wordsthe same that was given in another case quitedifferentviz.'Mastersave thyself.' In a wordhe was for myretiring into the countryas he resolved to do himself with hisfamily; telling me what he hadit seemsheard abroadthat the bestpreparation for the plague was to run away from it.  As to myargument of losing my trademy goodsor debtshe quite confutedme.  He told me the same thing which I argued for my stayingviz.that I would trust God with my safety and healthwas thestrongest repulse to my pretensions of losing my trade and my goods;'for'says he'is it not as reasonable that you should trust Godwith the chance or risk of losing your tradeas that you should stayin so eminent a point of dangerand trust Him with your life?'

Icould not argue that I was in any strait as to a place where to gohaving several friends and relations in Northamptonshirewhence ourfamily first came from; and particularlyI had an only sister inLincolnshirevery willing to receive and entertain me.

Mybrotherwho had already sent his wife and two children intoBedfordshireand resolved to follow thempressed my going veryearnestly; and I had once resolved to comply with his desiresbut atthat time could get no horse; for though it is true all the peopledid not go out of the city of Londonyet I may venture to say thatin a manner all the horses did; for there was hardly a horse to bebought or hired in the whole city for some weeks.  Once Iresolved to travel on foot with one servantandas many didlie atno innbut carry a soldier's tent with usand so lie in the fieldsthe weather being very warmand no danger from taking cold.  Isayas many didbecause several did so at lastespecially thosewho had been in the armies in the war which had not been many yearspast; and I must needs say thatspeaking of second causeshad mostof the people that travelled done sothe plague had not been carriedinto so many country towns and houses as it wasto the great damageand indeed to the ruinof abundance of people.

Butthen my servantwhom I had intended to take down with medeceivedme; and being frighted at the increase of the distemperand notknowing when I should gohe took other measuresand left meso Iwas put off for that time; andone way or otherI always found thatto appoint to go away was always crossed by some accident or otherso as to disappoint and put it off again; and this brings in a storywhich otherwise might be thought a needless digressionviz.aboutthese disappointments being from Heaven.

Imention this story also as the best method I can advise any person totake in such a caseespecially if he be one that makes conscience ofhis dutyand would be directed what to do in itnamelythat heshould keep his eye upon the particular providences which occur atthat timeand look upon them complexlyas they regard one anotherand as all together regard the question before him: and thenIthinkhe may safely take them for intimations from Heaven of what ishis unquestioned duty to do in such a case; I mean as to going awayfrom or staying in the place where we dwellwhen visited with aninfectious distemper.

Itcame very warmly into my mind one morningas I was musing on thisparticular thingthat as nothing attended us without the directionor permission of Divine Powerso these disappointments must havesomething in them extraordinary; and I ought to consider whether itdid not evidently point outor intimate to methat it was the willof Heaven I should not go.  It immediately followed in mythoughtsthat if it really was from God that I should stayHe wasable effectually to preserve me in the midst of all the death anddanger that would surround me; and that if I attempted to securemyself by fleeing from my habitationand acted contrary to theseintimationswhich I believe to be Divineit was a kind of flyingfrom Godand that He could cause His justice to overtake me when andwhere He thought fit.

Thesethoughts quite turned my resolutions againand when I came todiscourse with my brother again I told him that I inclined to stayand take my lot in that station in which God had placed meand thatit seemed to be made more especially my dutyon the account of whatI have said.

Mybrotherthough a very religious man himselflaughed at all I hadsuggested about its being an intimation from Heavenand told meseveral stories of such foolhardy peopleas he called themas Iwas; that I ought indeed to submit to it as a work of Heaven if I hadbeen any way disabled by distempers or diseasesand that then notbeing able to goI ought to acquiesce in the direction of Himwhohaving been my Makerhad an undisputed right of sovereignty indisposing of meand that then there had been no difficulty todetermine which was the call of His providence and which was not; butthat I should take it as an intimation from Heaven that I should notgo out of townonly because I could not hire a horse to goor myfellow was run away that was to attend mewas ridiculoussince atthe time I had my health and limbsand other servantsand mightwith ease travel a day or two on footand having a good certificateof being in perfect healthmight either hire a horse or take post onthe roadas I thought fit.

Thenhe proceeded to tell me of the mischievous consequences whichattended the presumption of the Turks and Mahometans in Asia and inother places where he had been (for my brotherbeing a merchantwasa few years beforeas I have already observedreturned from abroadcoming last from Lisbon)and howpresuming upon their professedpredestinating notionsand of every man's end being predeterminedand unalterably beforehand decreedthey would go unconcerned intoinfected places and converse with infected personsby which meansthey died at the rate of ten or fifteen thousand a weekwhereas theEuropeans or Christian merchantswho kept themselves retired andreservedgenerally escaped the contagion.

Uponthese arguments my brother changed my resolutions againand I beganto resolve to goand accordingly made all things ready; forinshortthe infection increased round meand the bills were risen toalmost seven hundred a weekand my brother told me he would ventureto stay no longer.  I desired him to let me consider of it buttill the next dayand I would resolve: and as I had already preparedeverything as well as I could as to MY businessand whom to entrustmy affairs withI had little to do but to resolve.

Iwent home that evening greatly oppressed in my mindirresoluteandnot knowing what to do.  I had set the evening wholly -apart toconsider seriously about itand was all alone; for already peoplehadas it were by a general consenttaken up the custom of notgoing out of doors after sunset; the reasons I shall have occasion tosay more of by-and-by.

Inthe retirement of this evening I endeavoured to resolvefirstwhatwas my duty to doand I stated the arguments with which my brotherhad pressed me to go into the countryand I setagainst them thestrong impressions which I had on my mind for staying; the visiblecall I seemed to have from the particular circumstance of my callingand the care due from me for the preservation of my effectswhichwereas I might saymy estate; also the intimations which I thoughtI had from Heaventhat to me signified a kind of direction toventure; and it occurred to me that if I had what I might call adirection to stayI ought to suppose it contained a promise of beingpreserved if I obeyed.

Thislay close to meand my mind seemed more and more encouraged to staythan everand supported with a secret satisfaction that I should bekept.  Add to thisthatturning over the Bible which laybefore meand while my thoughts were more than ordinarily seriousupon the questionI cried out'WellI know not what to do; Lorddirect me I' and the like; and at that juncture I happened to stopturning over the book at the gist Psalmand casting my eye on thesecond verseI read on to the seventh verse exclusiveand afterthat included the tenthas follows: 'I will say of the LordHe ismy refuge and my fortress: my Godin Him will I trust.  SurelyHe shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowlerand from thenoisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathersand underHis wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield andbuckler.  Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; norfor the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walkethin darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.  Athousand shall fall at thy sideand ten thousand at thy right hand;but it shall not come nigh thee.  Only with thine eyes shaltthou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast madethe Lordwhich is my refugeeven the most Highthy habitation;there shall no evil befall theeneither shall any plague come nighthy dwelling' &C.

Iscarce need tell the reader that from that moment I resolved that Iwould stay in the townand casting myself entirely upon the goodnessand protection of the Almightywould not seek any other shelterwhatever; and thatas my times were in His handsHe was as able tokeep me in a time of the infection as in a time of health; and if Hedid not think fit to deliver mestill I was in His handsand it wasmeet He should do with me as should seem good to Him.

Withthis resolution I went to bed; and I was further confirmed in it thenext day by the woman being taken ill with whom I had intended toentrust my house and all my affairs.  But I had a furtherobligation laid on me on the same sidefor the next day I foundmyself very much out of order alsoso that if I would have goneawayI could not" and I continued ill three or four daysandthis entirely determined my stay; so I took my leave of my brotherwho went away to Dorkingin Surreyand afterwards fetched a roundfarther into Buckinghamshire or Bedfordshireto a retreat he hadfound out there for his family.

Itwas a very ill time to be sick infor if any one complainedit wasimmediately said he had the plague; and though I had indeed nosymptom of that distemperyet being very illboth in my head and inmy stomachI was not without apprehension that I really wasinfected; but in about three days I grew better; the third night Irested wellsweated a littleand was much refreshed.  Theapprehensions of its being the infection went also quite away with myillnessand I went about my business as usual.

Thesethingshoweverput off all my thoughts of going into the country;and my brother also being goneI had no more debate either with himor with myself on that subject.

Itwas now mid-Julyand the plaguewhich had chiefly raged at theother end of the townandas I said beforein the parishes of StGilesSt Andrew'sHolbornand towards Westminsterbegan to nowcome eastward towards the part where I lived.  It was to beobservedindeedthat it did not come straight on towards us; forthe citythat is to saywithin the wallswas indifferently healthystill; nor was it got then very much over the water into Southwark;for though there died that week 1268 of all distemperswhereof itmight be supposed above 600 died of the plagueyet there was buttwenty-eight in the whole citywithin the wallsand but nineteen inSouthwarkLambeth parish included; whereas in the parishes of StGiles and St Martin-in-the- Fields alone there died 421.

Butwe perceived the infection kept chiefly in the out-parisheswhichbeing very populousand fuller also of poorthe distemper foundmore to prey upon than in the cityas I shall observe afterwards. WeperceivedI saythe distemper to draw our wayviz.by theparishes of ClarkenwellCripplegateShoreditchand Bishopsgate;which last two parishes joining to AldgateWhitechappelandStepneythe infection came at length to spread its utmost rage andviolence in those partseven when it abated at the western parisheswhere it began.

Itwas very strange to observe that in this particular weekfrom the4th to the 11th of Julywhenas I have observedthere died near400 of the plague in the two parishes of St Martin and StGiles-in-the- Fields onlythere died in the parish of Aldgate butfourin the parish of Whitechappel threein the parish of Stepneybut one.

Likewisein the next weekfrom the 11th of July to the 18thwhen the week'sbill was 1761yet there died no more of the plagueon the wholeSouthwark side of the waterthan sixteen. But this face of thingssoon changedand it began to thicken in Cripplegate parishespeciallyand in Clarkenwell; so that by the second week in AugustCripplegate parish alone buried 886and Clarkenwell 155.  Ofthe first850 might well be reckoned to die of the plague; and ofthe lastthe bill itself said 145 were of the plague.

Duringthe month of Julyand whileas I have observedour part of thetown seemed to be spared in comparison of the west partI wentordinarily about the streetsas my business requiredandparticularly went generally once in a dayor in two daysinto thecityto my brother's housewhich he had given me charge ofand tosee if it was safe; and having the key in my pocketI used to gointo the houseand over most of the roomsto see that all was well;for though it be something wonderful to tellthat any should havehearts so hardened in the midst of such a calamity as to rob andstealyet certain it is that all sorts of villainiesand evenlevities and debaucherieswere then practised in the town as openlyas ever - I will not say quite as frequentlybecause the numbers ofpeople were many ways lessened.

Butthe city itself began now to be visited tooI mean within the walls;but the number of people there were indeed extremely lessened by sogreat a multitude having been gone into the country; and even allthis month of July they continued to fleethough not in suchmultitudes as formerly.  In Augustindeedthey fled in such amanner that I began to think there would be really none butmagistrates and servants left in the city.

Asthey fled now out of the cityso I should observe that the Courtremoved earlyviz.in the month of Juneand went to Oxfordwhereit pleased God to preserve them; and the distemper did notas Iheard ofso much as touch themfor which I cannot say that I eversaw they showed any great token of thankfulnessand hardly anythingof reformationthough they did not want being told that their cryingvices might without breach of charity be said to have gone far inbringing that terrible judgement upon the whole nation.

Theface of London was -now indeed strangely altered: I mean the wholemass of buildingscitylibertiessuburbsWestminsterSouthwarkand altogether; for as to the particular part called the cityorwithin the wallsthat was not yet much infected.  But in thewhole the face of thingsI saywas much altered; sorrow and sadnesssat upon every face; and though some parts were not yet overwhelmedyet all looked deeply concerned; andas we saw it apparently comingonso every one looked on himself and his family as in the utmostdanger.  Were it possible to represent those times exactly tothose that did not see themand give the reader due ideas of thehorror 'that everywhere presented itselfit must make justimpressions upon their minds and fill them with surprise. London might well be said to be all in tears; the mourners did not goabout the streets indeedfor nobody put on black or made a formaldress of mourning for their nearest friends; but the voice ofmourners was truly heard in the streets.  The shrieks of womenand children at the windows and doors of their houseswhere theirdearest relations were perhaps dyingor just deadwere so frequentto be heard as we passed the streetsthat it was enough to piercethe stoutest heart in the world to hear them.  Tears andlamentations were seen almost in every houseespecially in the firstpart of the visitation; for towards the latter end men's hearts werehardenedand death was so always before their eyesthat they didnot so much concern themselves for the loss of their friendsexpecting that themselves should be summoned the next hour.

Businessled me out sometimes to the other end of the towneven when thesickness was chiefly there; and as the thing was new to meas wellas to everybody elseit was a most surprising thing to see thosestreets which were usually so thronged now grown desolateand so fewpeople to be seen in themthat if I had been a stranger and at aloss for my wayI might sometimes have gone the length of a wholestreet (I mean of the by-streets)and seen nobody to direct meexcept watchmen set at the doors of such houses as were shut upofwhich I shall speak presently.

Onedaybeing at that part of the town on some special businesscuriosity led me to observe things more than usuallyand indeed Iwalked a great way where I had no business.  I went up Holbornand there the street was full of peoplebut they walked in themiddle of the great streetneither on one side or otherbecauseasI supposethey would not mingle with anybody that came out ofhousesor meet with smells and scent from houses that might beinfected.

TheInns of Court were all shut up; nor were very many of the lawyers inthe Templeor Lincoln's Innor Gray's Innto be seen there. Everybody was at peace; there was no occasion for lawyers; besidesit being in the time of the vacation toothey were generally goneinto the country.  Whole rows of houses in some places were shutclose upthe inhabitants all fledand only a watchman or two left.

WhenI speak of rows of houses being shut upI do not mean shut up by themagistratesbut that great numbers of persons followed the Courtbythe necessity of their employments and other dependences; and asothers retiredreally frighted with the distemperit was a meredesolating of some of the streets.  But the fright was not yetnear so great in the cityabstractly so calledand particularlybecausethough they were at first in a most inexpressibleconsternationyet as I have observed that the distemper intermittedoften at firstso they wereas it werealarmed and unalarmedagainand this several timestill it began to be familiar to them;and that even when it appeared violentyet seeing it did notpresently spread into the cityor the east and south partsthepeople began to take courageand to beas I may saya littlehardened.  It is true a vast many people fledas I haveobservedyet they were chiefly from the west end of the townandfrom that we call the heart of the city: that is to sayamong thewealthiest of the peopleand such people as were unencumbered withtrades and business.  But of the restthe generality stayedand seemed to abide the worst; so that in the place we calf theLibertiesand in the suburbsin Southwarkand in the east partsuch as WappingRatcliffStepneyRotherhitheand the likethepeople generally stayedexcept here and there a few wealthyfamilieswhoas abovedid not depend upon their business.

Itmust not be forgot here that the city and suburbs were prodigiouslyfull of people at the time of this visitationI mean at the timethat it began; for though I have lived to see a further increaseandmighty throngs of people settling in London more than everyet wehad always a notion that the numbers of people whichthe wars beingoverthe armies disbandedand the royal family and the monarchybeing restoredhad flocked to London to settle in businessor todepend upon and attend the Court for rewards of servicesprefermentsand the likewas such that the town was computed tohave in it above a hundred thousand people more than ever it heldbefore; naysome took upon them to say it had twice as manybecauseall the ruined families of the royal party flocked hither.  Allthe old soldiers set up trades hereand abundance of familiessettled here.  Againthe Court brought with them a great fluxof prideand new fashions.  All people were grown gay andluxuriousand the joy of the Restoration had brought a vast manyfamilies to London.

Ioften thought that as Jerusalem was besieged by the Romans when theJews were assembled together to celebrate the Passover - by whichmeans an incredible number of people were surprised there who wouldotherwise have been in other countries - so the plague entered Londonwhen an incredible increase of people had happened occasionallybythe particular circumstances above-named.  As this conflux ofthe people to a youthful and gay Court made a great trade in thecityespecially in everything that belonged to fashion and fineryso it drew by consequence a great number of workmenmanufacturersand the likebeing mostly poor people who depended upon theirlabour.  And I remember in particular that in a representationto my Lord Mayor of the condition of the poorit was estimated thatthere were no less than an hundred thousand riband- weavers in andabout the citythe chiefest number of whom lived then in theparishes of ShoreditchStepneyWhitechappeland Bishopsgatethatnamelyabout Spitalfields; that is to sayas Spitalfields was thenfor it was not so large as now by one fifth part.

Bythishoweverthe number of people in the whole may be judged of;andindeedI often wondered thatafter the prodigious numbers ofpeople that went away at firstthere was yet so great a multitudeleft as it appeared there was.

ButI must go back again to the beginning of this surprising time. Whilethe fears of the people were youngthey were increased strangely byseveral odd accidents whichput altogetherit was really a wonderthe whole body of the people did not rise as one man and abandontheir dwellingsleaving the place as a space of ground designed byHeaven for an Akeldamadoomed to be destroyed from the face of theearthand that all that would be found in it would perish with it. I shall name but a few of these things; but sure they were so manyand so many wizards and cunning people propagating themthat I haveoften wondered there was any (women especially) left behind.

Inthe first placea blazing star or comet appeared for several monthsbefore the plagueas there did the year after anothera littlebefore the fire.  The old women and the phlegmatic hypochondriacpart of the other sexwhom I could almost call old women tooremarked (especially afterwardthough not till both those judgementswere over) that those two comets passed directly over the cityandthat so very near the houses that it was plain they importedsomething peculiar to the city alone; that the comet before thepestilence was of a faintdulllanguid colourand its motion veryheavySolemnand slow; but that the comet before the fire wasbright and sparklingoras others saidflamingand its motionswift and furious; and thataccordinglyone foretold a heavyjudgementslow but severeterrible and frightfulas was theplague; but the other foretold a strokesuddenswiftand fiery asthe conflagration.  Nayso particular some people werethat asthey looked upon that comet preceding the firethey fancied thatthey not only saw it pass swiftly and fiercelyand could perceivethe motion with their eyebut even they heard it; that it made arushingmighty noisefierce and terriblethough at a distanceandbut just perceivable.

Isaw both these starsandI must confesshad so much of the commonnotion of such things in my headthat I was apt to look upon them asthe forerunners and warnings of God's judgements; and especiallywhenafter the plague had followed the firstI yet saw another ofthe like kindI could not but say God had not yet sufficientlyscourged the city.

ButI could not at the same time carry these things to the height thatothers didknowingtoothat natural causes are assigned by theastronomers for such thingsand that their motions and even theirrevolutions are calculatedor pretended to be calculatedso thatthey cannot be so perfectly called the forerunners or foretellersmuch less the procurersof such events as pestilencewarfireandthe like.

Butlet my thoughts and the thoughts of the philosophers beor havebeenwhat they willthese things had a more than ordinary influenceupon the minds of the common peopleand they had almost universalmelancholy apprehensions of some dreadful calamity and judgementcoming upon the city; and this principally from the sight of thiscometand the little alarm that was given in December by two peopledying at St Giles'sas above.

Theapprehensions of the people were likewise strangely increased by theerror of the times; in whichI thinkthe peoplefrom whatprinciple I cannot imaginewere more addicted to prophecies andastrological conjurationsdreamsand old wives' tales than everthey were before or since.  Whether this unhappy temper wasoriginally raised by the follies of some people who got money by it -that is to sayby printing predictions and prognostications - I knownot; but certain it isbooks frighted them terriblysuch as Lilly'sAlmanackGadbury's Astrological PredictionsPoor Robin's Almanackand the like; also several pretended religious booksone entitledCome out of hermy Peoplelest you be Partaker of her Plagues;another calledFair Warning; anotherBritain's Remembrancer; andmany suchallor most part of whichforetolddirectly orcovertlythe ruin of the city.  Naysome were soenthusiastically bold as to run about the streets with their oralpredictionspretending they were sent to preach to the city; and onein particularwholike Jonah to Ninevehcried in the streets'Yetforty daysand London shall be destroyed.' I will not be positivewhether he said yet forty days or yet a few days.  Another ranabout nakedexcept a pair of drawers about his waistcrying day andnightlike a man that Josephus mentionswho cried'Woe toJerusalem!' a little before the destruction of that city.  Sothis poor naked creature cried'Ohthe great and the dreadful God!'and said no morebut repeated those words continuallywith a voiceand countenance full of horrora swift pace; and nobody could everfind him to stop or restor take any sustenanceat least that everI could hear of.  I met this poor creature several times in thestreetsand would have spoken to himbut he would not enter intospeech with me or any one elsebut held on his dismal criescontinually.

Thesethings terrified the people to the last degreeand especially whentwo or three timesas I have mentioned alreadythey found one ortwo in the bills dead of the plague at St Giles's.

Nextto these public things were the dreams of old womenorI shouldsaythe interpretation of old women upon other people's dreams; andthese put abundance of people even out of their wits. Some heardvoices warning them to be gonefor that there would be such a plaguein Londonso that the living would not be able to bury the dead. Others saw apparitions in the air; and I must be allowed to say ofbothI hope without breach of charitythat they heard voices thatnever spakeand saw sights that never appeared; but the imaginationof the people was really turned wayward and possessed. And no wonderif they who were poring continually at the clouds saw shapes andfiguresrepresentations and appearanceswhich had nothing in thembut airand vapour.  Here they told us they saw a flaming swordheld in a hand coming out of a cloudwith a point hanging directlyover the city; there they saw hearses and coffins in the air carryingto be buried; and there againheaps of dead bodies lying unburiedand the likejust as the imagination of the poor terrified peoplefurnished them with matter to work upon.  

Sohypochondriac fancies represent  

Shipsarmiesbattles in the firmament;  

Tillsteady eyes the exhalations solve  

Andall to its first mattercloudresolve.

 

Icould fill this account with the strange relations such people gaveevery day of what they had seen; and every one was so positive oftheir having seen what they pretended to seethat there was nocontradicting them without breach of friendshipor being accountedrude and unmannerly on the one handand profane and impenetrable onthe other.  One time before the plague was begun (otherwise thanas I have said in St Giles's)I think it was in Marchseeing acrowd of people in the streetI joined with them to satisfy mycuriosityand found them all staring up into the air to see what awoman told them appeared plain to herwhich was an angel clothed inwhitewith a fiery sword in his handwaving it or brandishing itover his head.  She described every part of the figure to thelifeshowed them the motion and the formand the poor people cameinto it so eagerlyand with so much readiness; 'YesI see it allplainly' says one; 'there's the sword as plain as can be.' Anothersaw the angel.  One saw his very faceand cried out what aglorious creature he was! One saw one thingand one another.  Ilooked as earnestly as the restbut perhaps not with so muchwillingness to be imposed upon; and I saidindeedthat I could seenothing but a white cloudbright on one side by the shining of thesun upon the other part.  The woman endeavoured to show it mebut could not make me confess that I saw itwhichindeedif I hadI must have lied.  But the womanturning upon melooked in myfaceand fancied I laughedin which her imagination deceived hertoofor I really did not laughbut was very seriously reflectinghow the poor people were terrified by the force of their ownimagination.  Howevershe turned from mecalled me profanefellowand a scoffer; told me that it was a time of God's angeranddreadful judgements were approachingand that despisers such as Ishould wander and perish.

Thepeople about her seemed disgusted as well as she; and I found therewas no persuading them that I did not laugh at themand that Ishould be rather mobbed by them than be able to undeceive them. So Ileft them; and this appearance passed for as real as the blazing staritself.

Anotherencounter I had in the open day also; and this was in going through anarrow passage from Petty France into Bishopsgate Churchyardby arow of alms-houses.  There are two churchyards to Bishopsgatechurch or parish; one we go over to pass from the place called PettyFrance into Bishopsgate Streetcoming out just by the church door;the other is on the side of the narrow passage where the alms-housesare on the left; and a dwarf-wall with a palisado on it on the righthandand the city wall on the other side more to the right.

Inthis narrow passage stands a man looking through between thepalisadoes into the burying-placeand as many people as thenarrowness of the passage would admit to stopwithout hindering thepassage of othersand he was talking mightily eagerly to themandpointing now to one placethen to anotherand affirming that he sawa ghost walking upon such a gravestone there.  He described theshapethe postureand the movement of it so exactly that it was thegreatest matter of amazement to him in the world that everybody didnot see it as well as he.  On a sudden he would cry'There itis; now it comes this way.' Then'Tis turned back'; till at lengthhe persuaded the people into so firm a belief of itthat one fanciedhe saw itand another fancied he saw it; and thus he came every daymaking a strange hubbubconsidering it was in so narrow a passagetill Bishopsgate clock struck elevenand then the ghost would seemto startandas if he were called awaydisappeared on a sudden.

Ilooked earnestly every wayand at the very moment that this mandirectedbut could not see the least appearance of anything; but sopositive was this poor manthat he gave the people the vapours inabundanceand sent them away trembling and frightedtill at lengthfew people that knew of it cared to go through that passageandhardly anybody by night on any account whatever.

Thisghostas the poor man affirmedmade signs to the housesand to thegroundand to the peopleplainly intimatingor else they sounderstanding itthat abundance of the people should come to beburied in that churchyardas indeed happened; but that he saw suchaspects I must acknowledge I never believednor could I see anythingof it myselfthough I looked most earnestly to see itif possible.

Thesethings serve to show how far the people were really overcome withdelusions; and as they had a notion of the approach of a visitationall their predictions ran upon a most dreadful plaguewhich shouldlay the whole cityand even the kingdomwasteand should destroyalmost all the nationboth man and beast.

Tothisas I said beforethe astrologers added stories of theconjunctions of planets in a malignant manner and with a mischievousinfluenceone of which conjunctions was to happenand did happenin Octoberand the other in November; and they filled the people'sheads with predictions on these signs of the heavensintimating thatthose conjunctions foretold droughtfamineand pestilence.  Inthe two first of themhoweverthey were entirely mistakenfor wehad no droughty seasonbut in the beginning of the year a hardfrostwhich lasted from December almost to Marchand after thatmoderate weatherrather warm than hotwith refreshing windsandin shortvery seasonable weatherand also several very great rains.

Someendeavours were used to suppress the printing of such books asterrified the peopleand to frighten the dispersers of themsome ofwhom were taken up; but nothing was done in itas I am informedtheGovernment being unwilling to exasperate the peoplewho wereas Imay sayall out of their wits already.

Neithercan I acquit those ministers that in their sermons rather sank thanlifted up the hearts of their hearers.  Many of them no doubtdid it for the strengthening the resolution of the peopleandespecially for quickening them to repentancebut it certainlyanswered not their endat least not in proportion to the injury itdid another way; and indeedas God Himself through the wholeScriptures rather draws to Him by invitations and calls to turn toHim and livethan drives us by terror and amazementso I mustconfess I thought the ministers should have done alsoimitating ourblessed Lord and Master in thisthat His whole Gospel is full ofdeclarations from heaven of God's mercyand His readiness to receivepenitents and forgive themcomplaining'Ye will not come unto Methat ye may have life'and that therefore His Gospel is called theGospel of Peace and the Gospel of Grace.

Butwe had some good menand that of all persuasions and opinionswhosediscourses were full of terrorwho spoke nothing but dismal things;and as they brought the people together with a kind of horrorsentthem away in tearsprophesying nothing but evil tidingsterrifyingthe people with the apprehensions of being utterly destroyednotguiding themat least not enoughto cry to heaven for mercy.

Itwasindeeda time of very unhappy breaches among us in matters ofreligion.  Innumerable sects and divisions and separate opinionsprevailed among the people.  The Church of England was restoredindeedwith the restoration of the monarchyabout four yearsbefore; but the ministers and preachers of the Presbyterians andIndependentsand of all the other sorts of professionshad begun togather separate societies and erect altar against altarand allthose had their meetings for worship apartas they have nowbut notso many thenthe Dissenters being not thoroughly formed into a bodyas they are since; and those congregations which were thus gatheredtogether were yet but few.  And even those that weretheGovernment did not allowbut endeavoured to suppress them and shutup their meetings.

Butthe visitation reconciled them againat least for a timeand manyof the best and most valuable ministers and preachers of theDissenters were suffered to go into the churches where the incumbentswere fled awayas many werenot being able to stand it; and thepeople flocked without distinction to hear them preachnot muchinquiring who or what opinion they were of.  But after thesickness was overthat spirit of charity abated; and every churchbeing again supplied with their own ministersor others presentedwhere the minister was deadthings returned to their old channelagain.

Onemischief always introduces another.  These terrors andapprehensions of the people led them into a thousand weakfoolishand wicked thingswhich they wanted not a sort of people reallywicked to encourage them to: and this was running about to fortune-tellerscunning-menand astrologers to know their fortuneorasit is vulgarly expressedto have their fortunes told themtheirnativities calculatedand the like; and this folly presently madethe town swarm with a wicked generation of pretenders to magictothe black artas they called itand I know not what; nayto athousand worse dealings with the devil than they were really guiltyof.  And this trade grew so open and so generally practised thatit became common to have signs and inscriptions set up at doors:'Here lives a fortune-teller''Here lives an astrologer''Here youmay have your nativity calculated'and the like; and Friar Bacon'sbrazen-headwhich was the usual sign of these people's dwellingswas to be seen almost in every streetor else the sign of MotherShiptonor of Merlin's headand the like.

Withwhat blindabsurdand ridiculous stuff these oracles of the devilpleased and satisfied the people I really know notbut certain it isthat innumerable attendants crowded about their doors every day. Andif but a grave fellow in a velvet jacketa bandand a black coatwhich was the habit those quack-conjurers generally went inwas butseen in the streets the people would follow them in crowdsand askthem questions as they went along.

Ineed not mention what a horrid delusion this wasor what it tendedto; but there was no remedy for it till the plague itself put an endto it all - andI supposecleared the town of most of thosecalculators themselves.  One mischief wasthat if the poorpeople asked these mock astrologers whether there would be a plagueor nothey all agreed in general to answer 'Yes'for that kept uptheir trade. And had the people not been kept in a fright about thatthe wizards would presently have been rendered uselessand theircraft had been at an end.  But they always talked to them ofsuch-and-such influences of the starsof the conjunctions ofsuch-and-such planetswhich must necessarily bring sickness anddistempersand consequently the plague.  And some had theassurance to tell them the plague was begun alreadywhich was tootruethough they that said so knew nothing of the matter.

Theministersto do them justiceand preachers of most sorts that wereserious and understanding personsthundered against these and otherwicked practicesand exposed the folly as well as the wickedness ofthem togetherand the most sober and judicious people despised andabhorred them.  But it was impossible to make any impressionupon the middling people and the working labouring poor. Their fearswere predominant over all their passionsand they threw away theirmoney in a most distracted manner upon those whimsies. Maid-servantsespeciallyand men-servantswere the chief of their customersandtheir question generally wasafter the first demand of 'Will therebe a plague?' I saythe next question was'Ohsir I for the Lord'ssakewhat will become of me?  Will my mistress keep meor willshe turn me off?  Will she stay hereor will she go into thecountry?  And if she goes into the countrywill she take mewith heror leave me here to be starved and undone?' And the like ofmenservants.

Thetruth isthe case of poor servants was very dismalas I shall haveoccasion to mention again by-and-byfor it was apparent a prodigiousnumber of them would be turned awayand it was so.  And of themabundance perishedand particularly of those that these falseprophets had flattered with hopes that they should be continued intheir servicesand carried with their masters and mistresses intothe country; and had not public charity provided for these poorcreatureswhose number was exceeding great and in all cases of thisnature must be sothey would have been in the worst condition of anypeople in the city.

Thesethings agitated the minds of the common people for many monthswhilethe first apprehensions were upon themand while the plague was notas I may sayyet broken out.  But I must also not forget thatthe more serious part of the inhabitants behaved after anothermanner.  The Government encouraged their devotionand appointedpublic prayers and days of fasting and humiliationto make publicconfession of sin and implore the mercy of God to avert the dreadfuljudgement which hung over their heads; and it is not to he expressedwith what alacrity the people of all persuasions embraced theoccasion; how they flocked to the churches and meetingsand theywere all so thronged that there was often no coming nearnonot tothe very doors of the largest churches.  Also there were dailyprayers appointed morning and evening at several churchesand daysof private praying at other places; at all which the people attendedI saywith an uncommon devotion.  Several private familiesalsoas well of one opinion as of anotherkept family faststowhich they admitted their near relations only.  So thatin awordthose people who were really serious and religious appliedthemselves in a truly Christian manner to the proper work ofrepentance and humiliationas a Christian people ought to do.

Againthe public showed that they would bear their share in. these things;the very Courtwhich was then gay and luxuriousput on a face ofjust concern for the public danger.  All the plays andinterludes whichafter the manner of the French Courthad been setupand began to increase among uswere forbid to act; thegaming-tablespublic dancing-roomsand music-houseswhichmultiplied and began to debauch the manners of the peoplewere shutup and suppressed; and the jack-puddingsmerry-andrewspuppet-showsrope-dancersand such-like doingswhich had bewitchedthe poor common peopleshut up their shopsfinding indeed no trade;for the minds of the people were agitated with other thingsand akind of sadness and horror at these things sat upon the countenanceseven of the common people.  Death was before their eyesandeverybody began to think of their gravesnot of mirth anddiversions.

Buteven those wholesome reflections - whichrightly managedwould havemost happily led the people to fall upon their kneesmake confessionof their sinsand look up to their merciful Saviour for pardonimploring His compassion on them in such a time of their distressbywhich we might have been as a second Nineveh - had a quite contraryextreme in the common peoplewhoignorant and stupid in theirreflections as they were brutishly wicked and thoughtless beforewere now led by their fright to extremes of folly; andas I havesaid beforethat they ran to conjurers and witchesand all sorts ofdeceiversto know what should become of them (who fed their fearsand kept them always alarmed and awake on purpose to delude them andpick their pockets)so they were as mad upon their running afterquacks and mountebanksand every practising old womanfor medicinesand remedies; storing themselves with such multitudes of pillspotionsand preservativesas they were calledthat they not onlyspent their money but even poisoned themselves beforehand for fear ofthe poison of the infection; and prepared their bodies for theplagueinstead of preserving them against it.  On the otherhand it is incredible and scarce to be imaginedhow the posts ofhouses and corners of streets were plastered over with doctors' billsand papers of ignorant fellowsquacking and tampering in physicandinviting the people to come to them for remedieswhich was generallyset off with such flourishes as theseviz.: 'Infallible preventivepills against the plague.' 'Neverfailing preservatives against theinfection.' 'Sovereign cordials against the corruption of the air.''Exact regulations for the conduct of the body in case of aninfection.' 'Anti-pestilential pills.' 'Incomparable drink againstthe plaguenever found out before.' 'An universal remedy for theplague.' 'The only true plague water.' 'The royal antidote againstall kinds of infection'; - and such a number more that I cannotreckon up; and if I couldwould fill a book of themselves to setthem down.

Othersset up bills to summon people to their lodgings for directions andadvice in the case of infection.  These had specious titlesalsosuch as these: -

'Aneminent High Dutch physiciannewly come over from Hollandwhere heresided during all the time of the great plague last year inAmsterdamand cured multitudes of people that actually had theplague upon them.'

'AnItalian gentlewoman just arrived from Napleshaving a choice secretto prevent infectionwhich she found out by her great experienceand did wonderful cures with it in the late plague therewhereinthere died 20000 in one day.'

'Anancient gentlewomanhaving practised with great success in the lateplague in this cityanno 1636gives her advice only to the femalesex.  To be spoken with' &c.

'Anexperienced physicianwho has long studied the doctrine of antidotesagainst all sorts of poison and infectionhasafter forty years'practicearrived to such skill as maywith God's blessingdirectpersons how to prevent their being touched by any contagiousdistemper whatsoever.  He directs the poor gratis.'

 

Itake notice of these by way of specimen.  I could give you twoor three dozen of the like and yet have abundance left behind. 'Tis sufficient from these to apprise any one of the humour of thosetimesand how a set of thieves and pickpockets not only robbed andcheated the poor people of their moneybut poisoned their bodieswith odious and fatal preparations; some with mercuryand some withother things as badperfectly remote from the thing pretended toand rather hurtful than serviceable to the body in case an infectionfollowed.

Icannot omit a subtility of one of those quack operatorswith whichhe gulled the poor people to crowd about himbut did nothing forthem without money.  He hadit seemsadded to his billswhichhe gave about the streetsthis advertisement in capital lettersviz.'He gives advice to the poor for nothing.'

Abundanceof poor people came to him accordinglyto whom he made a great manyfine speechesexamined them of the state of their health and of theconstitution of their bodiesand told them many good things for themto dowhich were of no great moment.  But the issue andconclusion of all wasthat he had a preparation which if they tooksuch a quantity of every morninghe would pawn his life they shouldnever have the plague; nothough they lived in the house with peoplethat were infected.  This made the people all resolve to haveit; but then the price of that was so muchI think 'twas half-a-crown.  'Butsir' says one poor woman'I am a poor almswomanand am kept by the parishand your bills say you give the poor yourhelp for nothing.' 'Aygood woman' says the doctor'so I doas Ipublished there.  I give my advice to the poor for nothingbutnot my physic.' 'Alassir!' says she'that is a snare laid for thepoorthen; for you give them advice for nothing; that is to sayyouadvise them gratisto buy your physic for their money; so does everyshop-keeper with his wares.' Here the woman began to give him illwordsand stood at his door all that daytelling her tale to allthe people that cametill the doctor finding she turned away hiscustomerswas obliged to call her upstairs againand give her hisbox of physic for nothingwhich perhapstoowas good for nothingwhen she had it.

Butto return to the peoplewhose confusions fitted them to be imposedupon by all sorts of pretenders and by every mountebank. There is nodoubt but these quacking sort of fellows raised great gains out ofthe miserable peoplefor we daily found the crowds that ran afterthem were infinitely greaterand their doors were more thronged thanthose of Dr BrooksDr UptonDr HodgesDr Berwickor anythoughthe most famous men of the time.  I And I was told that some ofthem got five pounds a day by their physic.

Butthere was still another madness beyond all thiswhich may serve togive an idea of the distracted humour of the poor people at thattime: and this was their following a worse sort of deceivers than anyof these; for these petty thieves only deluded them to pick theirpockets and get their moneyin which their wickednesswhatever itwaslay chiefly on the side of the deceiversnot upon the deceived.But in this part I am going to mentionit lay chiefly in the peopledeceivedor equally in both; and this was in wearing charmsphiltresexorcismsamuletsand I know not what preparationstofortify the body with them against the plague; as if the plague wasnot the hand of Godbut a kind of possession of an evil spiritandthat it was to be kept off with crossingssigns of the zodiacpapers tied up with so many knotsand certain words or figureswritten on themas particularly the word Abracadabra    formed in triangle or pyramidthus: -



ABRACADABRA
ABRACADABR
ABRACADAB
ABRACADA
ABRACAD
ABRACA
ABRAC
ABRA
ABR
AB
A

Others had the Jesuits'
mark in a cross:
I H
S.

Others nothing but this
markthus

* *{*}* *



Imight spend a great deal of time in my exclamations against thefolliesand indeed the wickednessof those thingsin a time ofsuch dangerin a matter of such consequences as thisof a nationalinfection.  But my memorandums of these things relate rather totake notice only of the factand mention only that it was so. How the poor people found the insufficiency of those thingsand howmany of them were afterwards carried away in the dead-carts andthrown into the common graves of every parish with these hellishcharms and trumpery hanging about their necksremains to be spokenof as we go along.

Allthis was the effect of the hurry the people were inafter the firstnotion of the plaque being at hand was among themand which may besaid to be from about Michaelmas 1664but more particularly afterthe two men died in St Giles's in the beginning of December; andagainafter another alarm in February.  For when the plagueevidently spread itselfthey soon began to see the folly of trustingto those unperforming creatures who had gulled them of their money;and then their fears worked another waynamelyto amazement andstupiditynot knowing what course to take or what to do either tohelp or relieve themselves.  But they ran about from oneneighbour's house to anotherand even in the streets from one doorto anotherwith repeated cries of'Lordhave mercy upon us! What shall we do?'

Indeedthe poor people were to be pitied in one particular thing in whichthey had little or no reliefand which I desire to mention with aserious awe and reflectionwhich perhaps every one that reads thismay not relish; namelythat whereas death now began notas we maysayto hover over every one's head onlybut to look into theirhouses and chambers and stare in their faces.  Though theremight be some stupidity and dulness of the mind (and there was soagreat deal)yet there was a great deal of just alarm sounded intothe very inmost soulif I may so sayof others.  Manyconsciences were awakened; many hard hearts melted into tears; many apenitent confession was made of crimes long concealed.  It wouldwound the soul of any Christian to have heard the dying groans ofmany a despairing creatureand none durst come near to comfortthem.  Many a robberymany a murderwas then confessed aloudand nobody surviving to record the accounts of it.  People mightbe heardeven into the streets as we passed alongcalling upon Godfor mercy through Jesus Christand saying'I have been a thief'Ihave been an adulterer''I have been a murderer'and the likeandnone durst stop to make the least inquiry into such things or toadminister comfort to the poor creatures that in the anguish both ofsoul and body thus cried out.  Some of the ministers did visitthe sick at first and for a little whilebut it was not to be done. It would have been present death to have gone into some houses. The very buriers of the deadwho were the hardenedest creatures intownwere sometimes beaten back and so terrified that they durst notgo into houses where the whole families were swept away togetherandwhere the circumstances were more particularly horribleas somewere; but this wasindeedat the first heat of the distemper.

Timeinured them to it alland they ventured everywhere afterwardswithout hesitationas I shall have occasion to mention at largehereafter.

Iam supposing now the plague to be begunas I have saidand that themagistrates began to take the condition of the people into theirserious consideration.  What they did as to the regulation ofthe inhabitants and of infected familiesI shall speak to by itself;but as to the affair of healthit is proper to mention it here thathaving seen the foolish humour of the people in running after quacksand mountebankswizards and fortune-tellerswhich they did asaboveeven to madnessthe Lord Mayora very sober and religiousgentlemanappointed physicians and surgeons for relief of the poor -I mean the diseased poor and in particular ordered the College ofPhysicians to publish directions for cheap remedies for the poorinall the circumstances of the distemper.  Thisindeedwas oneof the most charitable and judicious things that could be done atthat timefor this drove the people from haunting the doors of everydisperser of billsand from taking down blindly and withoutconsideration poison for physic and death instead of life.

Thisdirection of the physicians was done by a consultation of the wholeCollege; andas it was particularly calculated for the use of thepoor and for cheap medicinesit was made publicso that everybodymight see itand copies were given gratis to all that desired it. But as it is publicand to be seen on all occasionsI need not givethe reader of this the trouble of it.

Ishall not be supposed to lessen the authority or capacity of thephysicians when I say that the violence of the distemperwhen itcame to its extremitywas like the fire the next year.  Thefirewhich consumed what the plague could not touchdefied all theapplication of remedies; the fire-engines were brokenthe bucketsthrown awayand the power of man was baffled and brought to an end. So the Plague defied all medicines; the very physicians were seizedwith itwith their preservatives in their mouths; and men went aboutprescribing to others and telling them what to do till the tokenswere upon themand they dropped down deaddestroyed by that veryenemy they directed others to oppose.  This was the case ofseveral physicianseven some of them the most eminentand ofseveral of the most skilful surgeons.  Abundance of quacks toodiedwho had the folly to trust to their own medicineswhich theymust needs be conscious to themselves were good for nothingand whorather oughtlike other sorts of thievesto have run awaysensibleof their guiltfrom the justice that they could not but expectshould punish them as they knew they had deserved.

Notthat it is any derogation from the labour or application of thephysicians to say they fell in the common calamity; nor is it sointended by me; it rather is to their praise that they ventured theirlives so far as even to lose them in the service of mankind. They endeavoured to do goodand to save the lives of others. But we were not to expect that the physicians could stop God'sjudgementsor prevent a distemper eminently armed from heaven fromexecuting the errand it was sent about.

Doubtlessthe physicians assisted many by their skilland by their prudenceand applicationsto the saving of their lives and restoring theirhealth.  But it is not lessening their character or their skillto say they could not cure those that had the tokens upon themorthose who were mortally infected before the physicians were sent foras was frequently the case.

Itremains to mention now what public measures were taken by themagistrates for the general safetyand to prevent the spreading ofthe distemperwhen it first broke out.  I shall have frequentoccasion to speak of the prudence of the magistratestheir charitytheir vigilance for the poorand for preserving good orderfurnishing provisionsand the likewhen the plague was increasedas it afterwards was.  But I am now upon the order andregulations they published for the government of infected families.

Imentioned above shutting of houses up; and it is needful to saysomething particularly to thatfor this part of the history of theplague is very melancholybut the most grievous story must be told.

AboutJune the Lord Mayor of London and the Court of Aldermenas I havesaidbegan more particularly to concern themselves for theregulation of the city.

Thejustices of Peace for Middlesexby direction of the Secretary ofStatehad begun to shut up houses in the parishes of StGiles-in-the- FieldsSt MartinSt Clement Danes&c.and itwas with good success; for in several streets where the plague brokeoutupon strict guarding the houses that were infectedand takingcare to bury those that died immediately after they were known to bedeadthe plague ceased in those streets.  It was also observedthat the plague decreased sooner in those parishes after they hadbeen visited to the full than it did in the parishes of BishopsgateShoreditchAldgateWhitechappelStepneyand others; the earlycare taken in that manner being a great means to the putting a checkto it.

Thisshutting up of houses was a method first takenas I understandinthe plague which happened in 1603at the coming of King James theFirst to the crown; and the power of shutting people up in their ownhouses was granted by Act of Parliamententitled'An Act for thecharitable Relief and Ordering of Persons infected with the Plague';on which Act of Parliament the Lord Mayor and aldermen of the city ofLondon founded the order they made at this timeand which took placethe 1st of July 1665when the numbers infected within the city werebut fewthe last bill for the ninety-two parishes being but four;and some houses having been shut up in the cityand some peoplebeing removed to the pest-house beyond Bunhill Fieldsin the way toIslington- I sayby these meanswhen there died near one thousanda week in the wholethe number in the city was but twenty-eightandthe city was preserved more healthy in proportion than any otherplace all the time of the infection.

Theseorders of my Lord Mayor's were publishedas I have saidthe latterend of Juneand took place from the 1st of Julyand were asfollowsviz.: -


ORDERSCONCEIVED AND PUBLISHED BY THE LORD

MAYORAND ALDERMEN OF THE CITY OF LONDON

CONCERNINGTHE INFECTION OF THE PLAGUE1665.

 

'WHEREASin the reign of our late Sovereign King Jamesof happy memoryanAct was made for the charitable relief and ordering of personsinfected with the plaguewhereby authority was given to justices ofthe peacemayorsbailiffsand other head-officers to appointwithin their several limits examinerssearcherswatchmenkeepersand buriers for the persons and places infectedand to minister untothem oaths for the performance of their offices.  And the samestatute did also authorise the giving of other directionsas untothem for the present necessity should seem good in their directions. It is nowupon special considerationthought very expedient forpreventing and avoiding of infection of sickness (if it shall soplease Almighty God) that these officers following be appointedandthese orders hereafter duly observed.

 Examiners to be appointed in every Parish.

 

'Firstit is thought requisiteand so orderedthat in every parish therebe onetwoor more persons of good sort and credit chosen andappointed by the aldermanhis deputyand common council of everywardby the name of examinersto continue in that office the spaceof two months at least.  And if any fit person so appointedshall refuse to undertake the samethe said parties so refusing tobe committed to prison until they shall conform themselvesaccordingly.



 The Examiner's Office.

'Thatthese examiners he sworn by the aldermen to inquire and learn fromtime to time what houses in every parish be visitedand what personsbe sickand of what diseasesas near as they can inform themselves;and upon doubt in that caseto command restraint of access until itappear what the disease shall prove.  And if they find anyperson sick of the infectionto give order to the constable that thehouse be shut up; and if the constable shall be found remiss ornegligentto give present notice thereof to the alderman of theward.



 Watchmen.

'Thatto every infected house there be appointed two watchmenone forevery dayand the other for the night; and that these watchmen havea special care that no person go in or out of such infected houseswhereof they have the chargeupon pain of severe punishment. And the said watchmen to do such further offices as the sick houseshall need and require: and if the watchman be sent upon anybusinessto lock up the house and take the key with him; and thewatchman by day to attend until ten of the clock at nightand thewatchman by night until six in the morning.



 Searchers.

'Thatthere be a special care to appoint women searchers in every parishsuch as are of honest reputationand of the best sort as can be gotin this kind; and these to be sworn to make due search and truereport to the utmost of their knowledge whether the persons whosebodies they are appointed to search do die of the infectionor ofwhat other diseasesas near as they can.  And that thephysicians who shall be appointed for cure and prevention of theinfection do call before them the said searchers who areor shallbeappointed for the several parishes under their respective caresto the end they may consider whether they are fitly qualified forthat employmentand charge them from time to time as they shall seecauseif they appear defective in their duties.

'Thatno searcher during this time of visitation be permitted to use anypublic work or employmentor keep any shop or stallor be employedas a laundressor in any other common employment whatsoever.



 Chirurgeons.

'Forbetter assistance of the searchersforasmuch as there hath beenheretofore great abuse in misreporting the diseaseto the furtherspreading of the infectionit is therefore ordered that there bechosen and appointed able and discreet chirurgeonsbesides thosethat do already belong to the pest-houseamongst whom the city andLiberties to be quartered as the places lie most apt and convenient;and every of these to have one quarter for his limit; and the saidchirurgeons in every of their limits to join with the searchers forthe view of the bodyto the end there may be a true report made ofthe disease.

'Andfurtherthat the said chirurgeons shall visit and search such- likepersons as shall either send for them or be named and directed untothem by the examiners of every parishand inform themselves of thedisease of the said parties.

'Andforasmuch as the said chirurgeons are to be sequestered from allother curesand kept only to this disease of the infectionit isordered that every of the said chirurgeons shall have twelve-pence abody searched by themto be paid out of the goods of the partysearchedif he be ableor otherwise by the parish.



 Nurse-keepers.

'Ifany nurse-keeper shall remove herself out of any infected housebefore twenty-eight days after the decease of any person dying of theinfectionthe house to which the said nurse-keeper doth so removeherself shall be shut up until the said twenty-eight days beexpired.'

 

ORDERSCONCERNING INFECTED HOUSES AND PERSONS SICK OF THE PLAGUE.



 Notice to be given of the Sickness.

'Themaster of every houseas soon as any one in his house complainetheither of blotch or purpleor swelling in any part of his bodyorfalleth otherwise dangerously sickwithout apparent cause of someother diseaseshall give knowledge thereof to the examiner of healthwithin two hours after the said sign shall appear.



 Sequestration of the Sick.

'Assoon as any man shall be found by this examinerchirurgeonorsearcher to be sick of the plaguehe shall the same night besequestered in the same house; and in case he be so sequesteredthenthough he afterwards die notthe house wherein he sickened should beshut up for a monthafter the use of the due preservatives taken bythe rest.       



Airingthe Stuff.

'Forsequestration of the goods and stuff of the infectiontheir beddingand apparel and hangings of chambers must be well aired with fire andsuch perfumes as are requisite within the infected house before theybe taken again to use.  This to be done by the appointment of anexaminer.



 Shutting up of the House.

'Ifany person shall have visited any man known to be infected of theplagueor entered  willingly into any known infected housebeing not allowedthe house wherein he inhabiteth shall be shut upfor certain days by the examiner's direction.



 None to be removed out of infected Housesbut&C.

'Itemthat none be removed out of the house where he falleth sick of theinfection into any other house in the city (except it be to the pest-house or a tentor unto some such house which the owner of the saidvisited house holdeth in his own hands and occupieth by his ownservants); and so as security be given to the parish whither suchremove is madethat the attendance and charge about the said visitedpersons shall be observed and charged in all the particularitiesbefore expressedwithout any cost of that parish to which any suchremove shall happen to be madeand this remove to be done by night. And it shall be lawful to any person that hath two houses to removeeither his sound or his infected people to his spare house at hischoiceso asif he send away first his soundhe not after sendthither his sicknor again unto the sick the sound; and that thesame which he sendeth be for one week at the least shut up andsecluded from companyfor fear of some infection at the first notappearing.



 Burial of the Dead.

'Thatthe burial of the dead by this visitation be at most convenienthoursalways either before sun-rising or after sun-settingwith theprivity of the churchwardens or constableand not otherwise; andthat no neighbours nor friends be suffered to accompany the corpse tochurchor to enter the house visitedupon pain of having his houseshut up or be imprisoned.

'Andthat no corpse dying of infection shall be buriedor remain in anychurch in time of common prayersermonor lecture.  And thatno children be suffered at time of burial of any corpse in anychurchchurchyardor burying-place to come near the corpsecoffinor grave. And that all the graves shall be at least six feet deep.

'Andfurtherall public assemblies at other burials are to be foreborneduring the continuance of this visitation.



 No infected Stuff to be uttered.

'Thatno clothesstuffbeddingor garments be suffered to be carried orconveyed out of any infected housesand that the criers and carriersabroad of bedding or old apparel to be sold or pawned be utterlyprohibited and restrainedand no brokers of bedding or old apparelbe permitted to make any outward showor hang forth on their stallsshop-boardsor windowstowards any streetlanecommon wayorpassageany old bedding or apparel to be soldupon pain ofimprisonment.  And if any broker or other person shall buy anybeddingapparelor other stuff out of any infected house within twomonths after the infection hath been therehis house shall be shutup as infectedand so shall continue shut up twenty days at theleast.



 No Person to be conveyed out of any infected House.

'Ifany person visited do fortuneby negligent looking untoor by anyother meansto come or be conveyed from a place infected to anyother placethe parish from whence such party hath come or beenconveyedupon notice thereof givenshall at their charge cause thesaid party so visited and escaped to be carried and brought backagain by nightand the parties in this case offending to be punishedat the direction of the alderman of the wardand the house of thereceiver of such visited person to be shut up for twenty days.



 Every visited House to be marked.

'Thatevery house visited be marked with a red cross of a foot long in themiddle of the doorevident to be seenand with these usual printedwordsthat is to say"Lordhave mercy upon us" to beset close over the same crossthere to continue until lawful openingof the same house.



 Every visited House to be watched.

'Thatthe constables see every house shut upand to be attended withwatchmenwhich may keep them inand minister necessaries unto themat their own chargesif they be ableor at the common chargeifthey are unable; the shutting up to be for the space of four weeksafter all be whole.

'Thatprecise order to be taken that the searcherschirurgeonskeepersand buriers are not to pass the streets without holding a red rod orwand of three feet in length in their handsopen and evident to beseenand are not to go into any other house than into their ownorinto that whereunto they are directed or sent for; but to forbear andabstain from companyespecially when they have been lately used inany such business or attendance.



 Inmates.

'Thatwhere several inmate-c are in one and the same houseand any personin that house happens to be infectedno other person or family ofsuch house shall be suffered to remove him or themselves without acertificate from the examiners of health of that parish; or indefault thereofthe house whither he or they so remove shall be shutup as in case of visitation.



 Hackney-Coaches.

'Thatcare be taken of hackney-coachmenthat they may not (as some of themhave been observed to do after carrying of infected persons to thepest-house and other places) be admitted to common use till theircoaches be well airedand have stood unemployed by the space of fiveor six days after such service.'



ORDERSFOR CLEANSING AND KEEPING OF THE STREETS SWEET.



 The Streets to be kept Clean.

'Firstit is thought necessaryand so orderedthat every householder docause the street to be daily prepared before his doorand so to keepit clean swept all the week long.



 That Rakers take it from out the Houses.

'Thatthe sweeping and filth of houses be daily carried away by the rakersand that the raker shall give notice of his coming by the blowing ofa hornas hitherto hath been done.



 Laystalls to be made far off from the City.

'Thatthe laystalls be removed as far as may be out of the city and commonpassagesand that no nightman or other be suffered to empty a vaultinto any garden near about the city.



 Care to be had of unwholesome Fish or Fleshand of musty Corn.

'Thatspecial care be taken that no stinking fishor unwholesome fleshormusty cornor other corrupt fruits of what sort soeverbe sufferedto be sold about the cityor any part of the same.



'Thatthe brewers and tippling-houses he looked unto for musty andunwholesome casks.

'Thatno hogsdogsor catsor tame pigeonsor coniesbe suffered to bekept within any part of the cityor any swine to be or stray in thestreets or lanesbut that such swine be impounded by the beadle orany other officerand the owner punished according to Act of CommonCounciland that the dogs be killed by the dog-killers appointed forthat purpose.'

 

ORDERSCONCERNING LOOSE PERSONS AND IDLE ASSEMBLIES.



 Beggars.

'Forasmuchas nothing is more complained of than the multitude of rogues andwandering beggars that swarm in every place about the citybeing agreat cause of the spreading of the infectionand will not beavoidednotwithstanding any orders that have been given to thecontrary: It is therefore now orderedthat such constablesandothers whom this matter may any way concerntake special care thatno wandering beggars be suffered in the streets of this city in anyfashion or manner whatsoeverupon the penalty provided by the lawto be duly and severely executed upon them.



 Plays.

'Thatall playsbear-baitingsgamessinging of balladsbuckler- playor such-like causes of assemblies of people be utterly prohibitedand the parties offending severely punished by every alderman in hisward.



  Feasting prohibited.

'Thatall public feastingand particularly by the companies of this cityand dinners at tavernsale-housesand other places of commonentertainmentbe forborne till further order and allowance; and thatthe money thereby spared be preserved and employed for the benefitand relief of the poor visited with the infection.



 Tippling-houses.

'Thatdisorderly tippling in tavernsale-housescoffee-housesandcellars be severely looked untoas the common sin of this time andgreatest occasion of dispersing the plague.  And that no companyor person be suffered to remain or come into any tavernale-houseor coffee-house to drink after nine of the clock in the eveningaccording to the ancient law and custom of this cityupon thepenalties ordained in that behalf.

'Andfor the better execution of these ordersand such other rules anddirections asupon further considerationshall be found needful: Itis ordered and enjoined that the aldermendeputiesand commoncouncilmen shall meet together weeklyoncetwicethrice or oftener(as cause shall require)at some one general place accustomed intheir respective wards (being clear from infection of the plague)toconsult how the said orders may be duly put in execution; notintending that any dwelling in or near places infected shall come tothe said meeting while their coming may be doubtful.  And thesaid aldermenand deputiesand common councilmen in their severalwards may put in execution any other good orders that by them attheir said meetings shall be conceived and devised for preservationof his Majesty's subjects from the infection.



'SIRJOHN LAWRENCELord Mayor.

SIRGEORGE WATERMAN

SIRCHARLES DoESheriffs.'



Ineed not say that these orders extended only to such places as werewithin the Lord Mayor's jurisdictionso it is requisite to observethat the justices of Peace within those parishes and places as werecalled the Hamlets and out-parts took the same method.  As Irememberthe orders for shutting up of houses did not take Place sosoon on our sidebecauseas I said beforethe plague did not reachto these eastern parts of the town at leastnor begin to be veryviolenttill the beginning of August.  For examplethe wholebill from the 11th to the 18th of July was 1761yet there died but71 of the plague in all those parishes we call the Tower Hamletsandthey were as follows: -



Aldgate
Stepney
Whitechappel
St KatherineTower
TrinityMinories





14
33
21
2
1
---
71
The next week
was thus:


34
58
48
4
1
---
145
And to the 1st
was thus: of Aug. thus:

65
76
79
4
4
---
228

 

Itwas indeed coming on amainfor the burials that same week were inthe next adjoining parishes thus: -



St Leonard'sShoreditch
St Botolph'sBishopsgate
St Giles'sCripplegate





64
65
213
---
342
The next weekprodigiouslyincreased


84
105
421
---
610
To the 1st of
as: Aug. thus:
110
116
554
---
780

 

Thisshutting up of houses was at first counted a very cruel andunchristian methodand the poor people so confined made bitterlamentations.  Complaints of the severity of it were also dailybrought to my Lord Mayorof houses causelessly (and somemaliciously) shut up.  I cannot say; but upon inquiry many thatcomplained so loudly were found in a condition to be continued; andothers againinspection being made upon the sick personand thesickness not appearing infectiousor if uncertainyet on his beingcontent to be carried to the pest-housewere released.

Itis true that the locking up the doors of people's housesand settinga watchman there night and day to prevent their stirring out or anycoming to themwhen perhaps the sound people in the family mighthave escaped if they had been removed from the sicklooked very hardand cruel; and many people perished in these miserable confinementswhich'tis reasonable to believewould not have been distempered ifthey had had libertythough the plague was in the house; at whichthe people were very clamorous and uneasy at firstand severalviolences were committed and injuries offered to the men who were setto watch the houses so shut up; also several people broke out byforce in many placesas I shall observe by-and-by.  But it wasa public good that justified the private mischiefand there was noobtaining the least mitigation by any application to magistrates orgovernment at that timeat least not that I heard of.  This putthe people upon all manner of stratagem in orderif possibleto getout; and it would fill a little volume to set down the arts used bythe people of such houses to shut the eyes of the watchmen who wereemployedto deceive themand to escape or break out from theminwhich frequent scuffles and some mischief happened; of which byitself.

AsI went along Houndsditch one morning about eight o'clock there was agreat noise.  It is trueindeedthere was not much crowdbecause people were not very free to gather togetheror to stay longtogether when they were there; nor did I stay long there.  Butthe outcry was loud enough to prompt my curiosityand I called toone that looked out of a windowand asked what was the matter.

Awatchmanit seemshad been employed to keep his post at the door ofa house which was infectedor said to be infectedand was shut up. He had been there all night for two nights togetheras he told hisstoryand the day-watchman had been there one dayand was now cometo relieve him.  All this while no noise had been heard in thehouseno light had been seen; they called for nothingsent him ofno errandswhich used to be the chief business of the watchmen;neither had they given him any disturbanceas he saidfrom theMonday afternoonwhen he heard great crying and screaming in thehousewhichas he supposedwas occasioned by some of the familydying just at that time.  It seemsthe night beforethedead-cartas it was calledhad been stopped thereand aservant-maid had been brought down to the door deadand the buriersor bearersas they were calledput her into the cartwrapt only ina green rugand carried her away.

Thewatchman had knocked at the doorit seemswhen he heard that noiseand cryingas aboveand nobody answered a great while; but at lastone looked out and said with an angryquick toneand yet a kind ofcrying voiceor a voice of one that was crying'What d'ye wantthat ye make such a knocking?' He answered'I am the watchman! How do you do?  What is the matter?' The person answered'Whatis that to you?  Stop the dead-cart.' Thisit seemswas aboutone o'clock.  Soon afteras the fellow saidhe stopped thedead-cartand then knocked againbut nobody answered.  Hecontinued knockingand the bellman called out several times'Bringout your dead'; but nobody answeredtill the man that drove thecartbeing called to other houseswould stay no longerand droveaway.

Thewatchman knew not what to make of all thisso he let them alone tillthe morning-man or day-watchmanas they called himcame to relievehim.  Giving him an account of the particularsthey knocked atthe door a great whilebut nobody answered; and they observed thatthe window or casement at which the person had looked out who hadanswered before continued openbeing up two pair of stairs.

Uponthis the two mento satisfy their curiositygot a long ladderandone of them went up to the window and looked into the roomwhere hesaw a woman lying dead upon the floor in a dismal mannerhaving noclothes on her but her shift.  But though he called aloudandputting in his long staffknocked hard on the flooryet nobodystirred or answered; neither could he hear any noise in the house.

Hecame down again upon thisand acquainted his fellowwho went upalso; and finding it just sothey resolved to acquaint either theLord Mayor or some other magistrate of itbut did not offer to go inat the window.  The magistrateit seemsupon the informationof the two menordered the house to be broke opena constable andother persons being appointed to be presentthat nothing might beplundered; and accordingly it was so donewhen nobody was found inthe house but that young womanwho having been infected and pastrecoverythe rest had left her to die by herselfand were every onegonehaving found some way to delude the watchmanand to get openthe dooror get out at some back-dooror over the tops of thehousesso that he knew nothing of it; and as to those cries andshrieks which he heardit was supposed they were the passionatecries of the family at the bitter partingwhichto be sureit wasto them allthis being the sister to the mistress of the family. The man of the househis wifeseveral childrenand servantsbeingall gone and fledwhether sick or soundthat I could never learn;norindeeddid I make much inquiry after it.

Manysuch escapes were made out of infected housesas particularly whenthe watchman was sent of some errand; for it was his business to goof any errand that the family sent him of; that is to sayfornecessariessuch as food and physic; to fetch physiciansif theywould comeor surgeonsor nursesor to order the dead-cartandthe like; but with this conditiontoothat when he went he was tolock up the outer door of the house and take the key away with himTo evade thisand cheat the watchmenpeople got two or three keysmade to their locksor they found ways to unscrew the locks such aswere screwed onand so take off the lockbeing in the inside of thehouseand while they sent away the watchman to the marketto thebakehouseor for one trifle or anotheropen the door and go out asoften as they pleased.  But this being found outthe officersafterwards had orders to padlock up the doors on the outsideandplace bolts on them as they thought fit.

Atanother houseas I was informedin the street next within Aldgatea whole family was shut up and locked in because the maid- servantwas taken sick.  The master of the house had complained by hisfriends to the next alderman and to the Lord Mayorand had consentedto have the maid carried to the pest-housebut was refused; so thedoor was marked with a red crossa padlock on the outsideas aboveand a watchman set to keep the dooraccording to public order.

Afterthe master of the house found there was no remedybut that hehiswifeand his children were to be locked up with this poordistempered servanthe called to the watchmanand told him he mustgo then and fetch a nurse for them to attend this poor girlfor thatit would be certain death to them all to oblige them to nurse her;and told him plainly that if he would not do thisthe maid mustperish either of the distemper or be starved for want of foodfor hewas resolved none of his family should go near her; and she lay inthe garret four storey highwhere she could not cry outor call toanybody for help.

Thewatchman consented to thatand went and fetched a nurseas he wasappointedand brought her to them the same evening.  Duringthis interval the master of the house took his opportunity to break alarge hole through his shop into a bulk or stallwhere formerly acobbler had satbefore or under his shop-window; but the tenantasmay be supposed at such a dismal time as thatwas dead or removedand so he had the key in his own keeping.  Having made his wayinto this stallwhich he could not have done if the man had been atthe doorthe noise he was obliged to make being such as would havealarmed the watchman; I sayhaving made his way into this stallhesat still till the watchman returned with the nurseand all the nextday also.  But the night followinghaving contrived to send thewatchman of another trifling errandwhichas I take itwas to anapothecary's for a plaister for the maidwhich he was to stay forthe making upor some other such errand that might secure hisstaying some time; in that time he conveyed himself and all hisfamily out of the houseand left the nurse and the watchman to burythe poor wench - that isthrow her into the cart - and take care ofthe house.

Icould give a great many such stories as thesediverting enoughwhich in the long course of that dismal year I met with - that isheard of - and which are very certain to be trueor very near thetruth; that is to saytrue in the general: for no man could at sucha time learn all the particulars.  There was likewise violenceused with the watchmenas was reportedin abundance of places; andI believe that from the beginning of the visitation to the endtherewas not less than eighteen or twenty of them killedor so wounded asto be taken up for deadwhich was supposed to be done by the peoplein the infected houses which were shut upand where they attemptedto come out and were opposed.

Norindeedcould less be expectedfor here were so many prisons in thetown as there were houses shut up; and as the people shut up orimprisoned so were guilty of no crimeonly shut up becausemiserableit was really the more intolerable to them.

Ithad also this differencethat every prisonas we may call ithadbut one jailerand as he had the whole house to guardand that manyhouses were so situated as that they had several ways outsome moresome lessand some into several streetsit was impossible for oneman so to guard all the passages as to prevent the escape of peoplemade desperate by the fright of their circumstancesby theresentment of their usageor by the raging of the distemper itself;so that they would talk to the watchman on one side of the housewhile the family made their escape at another.

Forexamplein Coleman Street there are abundance of alleysas appearsstill.  A house was shut up in that they call White's Alley; andthis house had a back-windownot a doorinto a court which had apassage into Bell Alley.  A watchman was set by the constable atthe door of this houseand there he stoodor his comradenight anddaywhile the family went all away in the evening out at that windowinto the courtand left the poor fellows warding and watching fornear a fortnight.

Notfar from the same place they blew up a watchman with gunpowderandburned the poor fellow dreadfully; and while he made hideous criesand nobody would venture to come near to help himthe whole familythat were able to stir got out at the windows one storey hightwothat were left sick calling out for help.  Care was taken togive them nurses to look after thembut the persons fled were neverfoundtill after the plague was abated they returned; but as nothingcould be provedso nothing could be done to them.

Itis to be consideredtoothat as these were prisons without bars andboltswhich our common prisons are furnished withso the people letthemselves down out of their windowseven in the face of thewatchmanbringing swords or pistols in their handsand threateningthe poor wretch to shoot him if he stirred or called for help.

Inother casessome had gardensand walls or palesbetween them andtheir neighboursor yards and back-houses; and theseby friendshipand entreatieswould get leave to get over those walls or palesandso go out at their neighbours' doors; orby giving money to theirservantsget them to let them through in the night; so that inshortthe shutting up of houses was in no wise to be depended upon.Neither did it answer the end at allserving more to make the peopledesperateand drive them to such extremities as that they wouldbreak out at all adventures.

Andthat which was still worsethose that did thus break out spread theinfection farther by their wandering about with the distemper uponthemin their desperate circumstancesthan they would otherwisehave done; for whoever considers all the particulars in such casesmust acknowledgeand we cannot doubt but the severity of thoseconfinements made many people desperateand made them run out oftheir houses at all hazardsand with the plague visibly upon themnot knowing either whither to go or what to doorindeedwhat theydid; and many that did so were driven to dreadful exigencies andextremitiesand perished in the streets or fields for mere wantordropped down by the raging violence of the fever upon them. Others wandered into the countryand went forward any wayas theirdesperation guided themnot knowing whither they went or would go:tillfaint and tiredand not getting any reliefthe houses andvillages on the road refusing to admit them to lodge whether infectedor nothey have perished by the roadside or gotten into barns anddied therenone daring to come to them or relieve themthoughperhaps not infectedfor nobody would believe them.

Onthe other handwhen the plague at first seized a family that is tosaywhen any body of the family had gone out and unwarily orotherwise catched the distemper and brought it home - it wascertainly known by the family before it was known to the officerswhoas you will see by the orderwere appointed to examine into thecircumstances of all sick persons when they heard of their beingsick.

Inthis intervalbetween their being taken sick and the examinerscomingthe master of the house had leisure and liberty to removehimself or all his familyif he knew whither to goand many did so.But the great disaster was that many did thus after they were reallyinfected themselvesand so carried the disease into the houses ofthose who were so hospitable as to receive them; whichit must beconfessedwas very cruel and ungrateful.

Andthis was in part the reason of the general notionor scandal ratherwhich went about of the temper of people infected: namelythat theydid not take the least care or make any scruple of infecting othersthough I cannot say but there might be some truth in it toobut notso general as was reported. What natural reason could be given for sowicked a thing at a time when they might conclude themselves justgoing to appear at the bar of Divine justice I know not.  I amvery well satisfied that it cannot be reconciled to religion andprinciple any more than it can be to generosity and Humanitybut Imay speak of that again.

Iam speaking now of people made desperate by the apprehensions oftheir being shut upand their breaking out by stratagem or forceeither before or after they were shut upwhose misery was notlessened when they were outbut sadly increased.  On the otherhandmany that thus got away had retreats to go to and other houseswhere they locked themselves up and kept hid till the plague wasover; and many familiesforeseeing the approach of the distemperlaid up stores of provisions sufficient for their whole familiesandshut themselves upand that so entirely that they were neither seenor heard of till the infection was quite ceasedand then came abroadsound and well.  I might recollect several such as theseandgive you the particulars of their management; for doubtless it wasthe most effectual secure step that could be taken for such whosecircumstances would not admit them to removeor who had not retreatsabroad proper for the case; for in being thus shut up they were as ifthey had been a hundred miles off.  Nor do I remember that anyone of those families miscarried.  Among theseseveral Dutchmerchants were particularly remarkablewho kept their houses likelittle garrisons besieged suffering none to go in or out or come nearthemparticularly one in a court in Throgmorton Street whose houselooked into Draper's Garden.

ButI come back to the case of families infected and shut up by themagistrates.  The misery of those families is not to beexpressed; and it was generally in such houses that we heard the mostdismal shrieks and outcries of the poor peopleterrified and evenfrighted to death by the sight of the condition of their dearestrelationsand by the terror of being imprisoned as they were.

Irememberand while I am writing this story I think I hear the verysound of ita certain lady had an only daughtera young maidenabout nineteen years oldand who was possessed of a veryconsiderable fortune.  They were only lodgers in the house wherethey were.  The young womanher motherand the maid had beenabroad on some occasionI do not remember whatfor the house wasnot shut up; but about two hours after they came home the young ladycomplained she was not well; in a quarter of an hour more she vomitedand had a violent pain in her head.  'Pray God'says hermotherin a terrible fright'my child has not the distemper!' Thepain in her head increasingher mother ordered the bed to be warmedand resolved to put her to bedand prepared to give her things tosweatwhich was the ordinary remedy to be taken when the firstapprehensions of the distemper began.

Whilethe bed was airing the mother undressed the young womanand just asshe was laid down in the bedshelooking upon her body with acandleimmediately discovered the fatal tokens on the inside of herthighs.  Her mothernot being able to contain herselfthrewdown her candle and shrieked out in such a frightful manner that itwas enough to place horror upon the stoutest heart in the world; norwas it one scream or one crybut the fright having seized herspiritsshe -fainted firstthen recoveredthen ran all over thehouseup the stairs and down the stairslike one distractedandindeed really was distractedand continued screeching and crying outfor several hours void of all senseor at least government of hersensesandas I was toldnever came thoroughly to herself again. As to the young maidenshe was a dead corpse from that momentforthe gangrene which occasions the spots had spread [over] her wholebodyand she died in less than two hours.  But still the mothercontinued crying outnot knowing anything more of her childseveralhours after she was dead. It is so long ago that I am not certainbut I think the mother never recoveredbut died in two or threeweeks after.

Thiswas an extraordinary caseand I am therefore the more particular initbecause I came so much to the knowledge of it; but there wereinnumerable such-like casesand it was seldom that the weekly billcame in but there were two or three put in'frighted'; that isthatmay well be called frighted to death.  But besides those whowere so frighted as to die upon the spotthere were great numbersfrighted to other extremessome frighted out of their sensessomeout of their memoryand some out of their understanding.  But Ireturn to the shutting up of houses.

Asseveral peopleI saygot out of their houses by stratagem afterthey were shut UPso others got out by bribing the watchmenandgiving them money to let them go privately out in the night.  Imust confess I thought it at that time the most innocent corruptionor bribery that any man could be guilty ofand therefore could notbut pity the poor menand think it was hard when three of thosewatchmen were publicly whipped through the streets for sufferingpeople to go out of houses shut up.

Butnotwithstanding that severitymoney prevailed with the poor menandmany families found means to make sallies outand escape that wayafter they had been shut up; but these were generally such as hadsome places to retire to; and though there was no easy passing theroads any whither after the 1st of Augustyet there were many waysof retreatand particularlyas I hintedsome got tents and setthem up in the fieldscarrying beds or straw to lie onandprovisions to eatand so lived in them as hermits in a cellfornobody would venture to come near them; and several stories were toldof suchsome comicalsome tragicalsome who lived like wanderingpilgrims in the desertsand escaped by making themselves exiles insuch a manner as is scarce to be creditedand who yet enjoyed moreliberty than was to be expected in such cases.

Ihave by me a story of two brothers and their kinsmanwho beingsingle menbut that had stayed in the city too long to get awayandindeed not knowing where to go to have any retreatnor havingwherewith to travel fartook a course for their own preservationwhich though in itself at first desperateyet was so natural that itmay be wondered that no more did so at that time.  They were butof mean conditionand yet not so very poor as that they could notfurnish themselves with some little conveniences such as might serveto keep life and soul together; and finding the distemper increasingin a terrible mannerthey resolved to shift as well as they couldand to be gone.

Oneof them had been a soldier in the late warsand before that in theLow Countriesand having been bred to no particular employment buthis armsand besides being woundedand not able to work very hardhad for some time been employed at a baker's of sea-biscuit inWapping.

Thebrother of this man was a seaman toobut somehow or other had beenhurt of one legthat he could not go to seabut had worked for hisliving at a sailmaker's in Wappingor thereabouts; and being a goodhusbandhad laid up some moneyand was the richest of the three.

Thethird man was a joiner or carpenter by tradea handy fellowand hehad no wealth but his box or basket of toolswith the help of whichhe could at any time get his livingsuch a time as this exceptedwherever he went - and he lived near Shadwell.

Theyall lived in Stepney parishwhichas I have saidbeing the lastthat was infectedor at least violentlythey stayed there till theyevidently saw the plague was abating at the west part of the townand coming towards the eastwhere they lived.

Thestory of those three menif the reader will be content to have megive it in their own personswithout taking upon me to either vouchthe particulars or answer for any mistakesI shall give asdistinctly as I canbelieving the history will be a very goodpattern for any poor man to followin case the like publicdesolation should happen here; and if there may be no such occasionwhich God of His infinite mercy grant usstill the story may haveits- uses so many ways as that it willI hopenever be said thatthe relating has been unprofitable.

Isay all this previous to the historyhaving yetfor the presentmuch more to say before I quit my own part.

Iwent all the first part of the time freely about the streetsthoughnot so freely as to run myself into apparent dangerexcept when theydug the great pit in the churchyard of our parish of Aldgate.  Aterrible pit it wasand I could not resist my curiosity to go andsee it.  As near as I may judgeit was about forty feet inlengthand about fifteen or sixteen feet broadand at the time Ifirst looked at itabout nine feet deep; but it was said they dug itnear twenty feet deep afterwards in one part of ittill they couldgo no deeper for the water; for they hadit seemsdug several largepits before this.  For though the plague was long a-coming toour parishyetwhen it did comethere was no parish in or aboutLondon where it raged with such violence as in the two parishes ofAldgate and Whitechappel.

Isay they had dug several pits in another groundwhen the distemperbegan to spread in our parishand especially when the dead-cartsbegan to go aboutwhich was notin our parishtill the beginningof August.  Into these pits they had put perhaps fifty or sixtybodies each; then they made larger holes wherein they buried all thatthe cart brought in a weekwhichby the middle to the end ofAugustcame to from 200 to 400 a week; and they could not well digthem largerbecause of the order of the magistrates confining themto leave no bodies within six feet of the surface; and the watercoming on at about seventeen or eighteen feetthey could not wellIsayput more in one pit.  But nowat the beginning ofSeptemberthe plague raging in a dreadful mannerand the number ofburials in our parish increasing to more than was ever buried in anyparish about London of no larger extentthey ordered this dreadfulgulf to be dug - for such it wasrather than a pit.

Theyhad supposed this pit would have supplied them for a month or morewhen they dug itand some blamed the churchwardens for sufferingsuch a frightful thingtelling them they were making preparations tobury the whole parishand the like; but time made it appear thechurchwardens knew the condition of the parish better than they did:forthe pit being finished the 4th of SeptemberI thinkthey beganto bury in it the 6thand by the 20thwhich was just two weeksthey had thrown into it 1114 bodies when they were obliged to fill itupthe bodies being then come to lie within six feet of thesurface.  I doubt not but there may be some ancient personsalive in the parish who can justify the fact of thisand are able toshow even in what place of the churchyard the pit lay better than Ican.  The mark of it also was many years to be seen in thechurchyard on the surfacelying in length parallel with the passagewhich goes by the west wall of the churchyard out of Houndsditchandturns east again into Whitechappelcoming out near the Three Nuns'Inn.

Itwas about the 10th of September that my curiosity ledor ratherdroveme to go and see this pit againwhen there had been near 400people buried in it; and I was not content to see it in the day-timeas I had done beforefor then there would have been nothing to havebeen seen but the loose earth; for all the bodies that were thrown inwere immediately covered with earth by those they called the burierswhich at other times were called bearers; but I resolved to go in thenight and see some of them thrown in.

Therewas a strict order to prevent people coming to those pitsand thatwas only to prevent infection.  But after some time that orderwas more necessaryfor people that were infected and near their endand delirious alsowould run to those pitswrapt in blankets orrugsand throw themselves inandas they saidbury themselves. I cannot say that the officers suffered any willingly to lie there;but I have heard that in a great pit in Finsburyin the parish ofCripplegateit lying open then to the fieldsfor it was not thenwalled about[many] came and threw themselves inand expired therebefore they threw any earth upon them; and that when they came tobury others and found them therethey were quite deadthough notcold.

Thismay serve a little to describe the dreadful condition of that daythough it is impossible to say anything that is able to give a trueidea of it to those who did not see itother than thisthat it wasindeed veryveryvery dreadfuland such as no tongue can express.

Igot admittance into the churchyard by being acquainted with thesexton who attended; whothough he did not refuse me at allyetearnestly persuaded me not to gotelling me very seriously (for hewas a goodreligiousand sensible man) that it was indeed theirbusiness and duty to ventureand to run all hazardsand that in itthey might hope to be preserved; but that I had no apparent call toit but my own curiositywhichhe saidhe believed I would notpretend was sufficient to justify my running that hazard.  Itold him I had been pressed in my mind to goand that perhaps itmight be an instructing sightthat might not be without its uses. 'Nay' says the good man'if you will venture upon that scorenameof God go in; fordepend upon it'twill be a sermon to youit maybethe best that ever you heard in your life.  'Tis a speakingsight' says he'and has a voice with itand a loud oneto call usall to repentance'; and with that he opened the door and said'Goif you will.'

Hisdiscourse had shocked my resolution a littleand I stood waveringfor a good whilebut just at that interval I saw two links come overfrom the end of the Minoriesand heard the bellmanand thenappeared a dead-cartas they called itcoming over the streets; soI could no longer resist my desire of seeing itand went in. There was nobodyas I could perceive at firstin the churchyardorgoing into itbut the buriers and the fellow that drove the cartorrather led the horse and cart; but when they came up to the pit theysaw a man go to and againmuffled up in a brown Cloakand makingmotions with his hands under his cloakas if he was in great agonyand the buriers immediately gathered about himsupposing he was oneof those poor delirious or desperate creatures that used to pretendas I have saidto bury themselves.  He said nothing as hewalked aboutbut two or three times groaned very deeply and loudand sighed as he would break his heart.

Whenthe buriers came up to him they soon found he was neither a personinfected and desperateas I have observed aboveor a persondistempered -in mindbut one oppressed with a dreadful weight ofgrief indeedhaving his wife and several of his children all in thecart that was just come in with himand he followed in an agony andexcess of sorrow.  He mourned heartilyas it was easy to seebut with a kind of masculine grief that could not give itself vent bytears; and calmly defying the buriers to let him alonesaid he wouldonly see the bodies thrown in and go awayso they left importuninghim.  But no sooner was the cart turned round and the bodiesshot into the pit promiscuouslywhich was a surprise to himfor heat least expected they would have been decently laid inthoughindeed he was afterwards convinced that was impracticable; I saynosooner did he see the sight but he cried out aloudunable to containhimself.  I could not hear what he saidbut he went backwardtwo or three steps and fell down in a swoon.  The buriers ran tohim and took him upand in a little while he came to himselfandthey led him away to the Pie Tavern over against the end ofHoundsditchwhereit seemsthe man was knownand where they tookcare of him.  He looked into the pit again as he went awaybutthe buriers had covered the bodies so immediately with throwing inearththat though there was light enoughfor there were lanternsand candles in themplaced all night round the sides of the pitupon heaps of earthseven or eightor perhaps moreyet nothingcould be seen.

Thiswas a mournful scene indeedand affected me almost as much as therest; but the other was awful and full of terror.  The cart hadin it sixteen or seventeen bodies; some were wrapt up in linensheetssome in ragssome little other than nakedor so loose thatwhat covering they had fell from them in the shooting out of thecartand they fell quite naked among the rest; but the matter wasnot much to themor the indecency much to any one elseseeing theywere all deadand were to be huddled together into the common graveof mankindas we may call itfor here was no difference madebutpoor and rich went together; there was no other way of burialsneither was it possible there shouldfor coffins were not to be hadfor the prodigious numbers that fell in such a calamity as this.

Itwas reported by way of scandal upon the buriersthat if any corpsewas delivered to them decently wound upas we called it thenin awinding-sheet tied over the head and feetwhich some didand whichwas generally of good linen; I sayit was reported that the burierswere so wicked as to strip them in the cart and carry them quitenaked to the ground.  But as I cannot easily credit anything sovile among Christiansand at a time so filled with terrors as thatwasI can only relate it and leave it undetermined.

Innumerablestories also went about of the cruel behaviours and practices ofnurses who tended the sickand of their hastening on the fate ofthose they tended in their sickness.  But I shall say more ofthis in its place.

Iwas indeed shocked with this sight; it almost overwhelmed meand Iwent away with my heart most afflictedand full of the afflictingthoughtssuch as I cannot describe. just at my going out of thechurchand turning up the street towards my own houseI saw anothercart with linksand a bellman going beforecoming out of HarrowAlley in the Butcher Rowon the other side of the wayand beingasI perceivedvery full of dead bodiesit went directly over thestreet also toward the church.  I stood a whilebut I had nostomach to go back again to see the same dismal scene over againsoI went directly homewhere I could not but consider withthankfulness the risk I had runbelieving I had gotten no injuryasindeed I had not.

Herethe poor unhappy gentleman's grief came into my head againandindeed I could not but shed tears in the reflection upon itperhapsmore than he did himself; but his case lay so heavy upon my mind thatI could not prevail with myselfbut that I must go out again intothe streetand go to the Pie Tavernresolving to inquire whatbecame of him.

Itwas by this time one o'clock in the morningand yet the poorgentleman was there.  The truth wasthe people of the houseknowing himhad entertained himand kept him there all the nightnotwithstanding the danger of being infected by himthough itappeared the man was perfectly sound himself.

Itis with regret that I take notice of this tavern.  The peoplewere civilmannerlyand an obliging sort of folks enoughand hadtill this time kept their house open and their trade going onthoughnot so very publicly as formerly: but there was a dreadful set offellows that used their houseand whoin the middle of all thishorrormet there every nightbehaved with all the revelling androaring extravagances as is usual for such people to do at othertimesandindeedto such an offensive degree that the very masterand mistress of the house grew first ashamed and then terrified atthem.

Theysat generally in a room next the streetand as they always kept latehoursso when the dead-cart came across the street-end to go intoHoundsditchwhich was in view of the tavern windowsthey wouldfrequently open the windows as soon as they heard the bell and lookout at them; and as they might often hear sad lamentations of peoplein the streets or at their windows as the carts went alongtheywould make their impudent mocks and jeers at themespecially if theyheard the poor people call upon God to have mercy upon themas manywould do at those times in their ordinary passing along the streets.

Thesegentlemenbeing something disturbed with the clutter of bringing thepoor gentleman into the houseas abovewere first angry and veryhigh with the master of the house for suffering such a fellowasthey called himto be brought out of the grave into their house; butbeing answered that the man was a neighbourand that he was soundbut overwhelmed with the calamity of his familyand the liketheyturned their anger into ridiculing the man and his sorrow for hiswife and childrentaunted him with want of courage to leap into thegreat pit and go to heavenas they jeeringly expressed italongwith themadding some very profane and even blasphemous expressions.

Theywere at this vile work when I came back to the houseandas far asI could seethough the man sat stillmute and disconsolateandtheir affronts could not divert his sorrowyet he was both grievedand offended at their discourse.  Upon this I gently reprovedthembeing well enough acquainted with their charactersand notunknown in person to two of them.

Theyimmediately fell upon me with ill language and oathsasked me what Idid out of my grave at such a time when so many honester men werecarried into the churchyardand why I was not at home saying myprayers against the dead-cart came for meand the like.

Iwas indeed astonished at the impudence of the menthough not at alldiscomposed at their treatment of me.  HoweverI kept mytemper. I told them that though I defied them or any man in the worldto tax me with any dishonestyyet I acknowledged that in thisterrible judgement of God many better than I were swept away andcarried to their grave.  But to answer their question directlythe case wasthat I was mercifully preserved by that great God whosename they had blasphemed and taken in vain by cursing and swearing ina dreadful mannerand that I believed I was preserved in particularamong other ends of His goodnessthat I might reprove them for theiraudacious boldness in behaving in such a manner and in such an awfultime as this wasespecially for their jeering and mocking at anhonest gentleman and a neighbour (for some of them knew him)whothey sawwas overwhelmed with sorrow for the breaches which it hadpleased God to make upon his family.

Icannot call exactly to mind the hellishabominable raillery whichwas the return they made to that talk of mine: being provokeditseemsthat I was not at all afraid to be free with them; norif Icould rememberwould I fill my account with any of the wordsthehorrid oathscursesand vile expressionssuch asat that time ofthe dayeven the worst and ordinariest people in the street wouldnot use; forexcept such hardened creatures as thesethe mostwicked wretches that could be found had at that time some terror upontheir minds of the hand of that Power which could thus in a momentdestroy them.

Butthat which was the worst in all their devilish language wasthatthey were not afraid to blaspheme God and talk atheisticallymakinga jest of my calling the plague the hand of God; mockingand evenlaughingat the word judgementas if the providence of God had noconcern in the inflicting such a desolating stroke; and that thepeople calling upon God as they saw the carts carrying away the deadbodies was all enthusiasticabsurdand impertinent.

Imade them some replysuch as I thought properbut which I found wasso far from putting a check to their horrid way of speaking that itmade them rail the moreso that I confess it filled me with horrorand a kind of rageand I came awayas I told themlest the hand ofthat judgement which had visited the whole city should glorify Hisvengeance upon themand all that were near them.

Theyreceived all reproof with the utmost contemptand made the greatestmockery that was possible for them to do at megiving me all theopprobriousinsolent scoffs that they could think of for preachingto themas they called itwhich indeed grieved merather thanangered me; and I went awayblessing Godhoweverin my mind that Ihad not spared themthough they had insulted me so much.

Theycontinued this wretched course three or four days after thiscontinually mocking and jeering at all that showed themselvesreligious or seriousor that were any way touched with the sense ofthe terrible judgement of God upon us; and I was informed theyflouted in the same manner at the good people whonotwithstandingthe contagionmet at the churchfastedand prayed to God to removeHis hand from them.

Isaythey continued this dreadful course three or four days - I thinkit was no more - when one of themparticularly he who asked the poorgentleman what he did out of his gravewas struck from Heaven withthe plagueand died in a most deplorable manner; andin a wordthey were every one of them carried into the great pit which I havementioned abovebefore it was quite filled upwhich was not above afortnight or thereabout.

Thesemen were guilty of many extravagancessuch as one would think humannature should have trembled at the thoughts of at such a time ofgeneral terror as was then upon usand particularly scoffing andmocking at everything which they happened to see that was religiousamong the peopleespecially at their thronging zealously to theplace of public worship to implore mercy from Heaven in such a timeof distress; and this tavern where they held their dub being withinview of the church-doorthey had the more particular occasion fortheir atheistical profane mirth.

Butthis began to abate a little with them before the accident which Ihave related happenedfor the infection increased so violently atthis part of the town nowthat people began to be afraid to come tothe church; at least such numbers did not resort thither as wasusual. Many of the clergymen likewise were deadand others gone intothe country; for it really required a steady courage and a strongfaith for a man not only to venture being in town at such a time asthisbut likewise to venture to come to church and perform theoffice of a minister to a congregationof whom he had reason tobelieve many of them were actually infected with the plagueand todo this every dayor twice a dayas in some places was done.

Itis true the people showed an extraordinary zeal in these religiousexercisesand as the church-doors were always openpeople would goin single at all timeswhether the minister was officiating or noand locking themselves into separate pewswould be praying to Godwith great fervency and devotion.

Othersassembled at meeting-housesevery one as their different opinions insuch things guidedbut all were promiscuously the subject of thesemen's drolleryespecially at the beginning of the visitation.

Itseems they had been checked for their open insulting religion in thismanner by several good people of every persuasionand thatand theviolent raging of the infectionI supposewas the occasion thatthey had abated much of their rudeness for some time beforeand wereonly roused by the spirit of ribaldry and atheism at the clamourwhich was made when the gentleman was first brought in thereandperhaps were agitated by the same devilwhen I took upon me toreprove them; though I did it at first with all the calmnesstemperand good manners that I couldwhich for a while they insulted me themore for thinking it had been in fear of their resentmentthoughafterwards they found the contrary.

Iwent homeindeedgrieved and afflicted in my mind at the abominablewickedness of those mennot doubtinghoweverthat they would bemade dreadful examples of God's justice; for I looked upon thisdismal time to be a particular season of Divine vengeanceand thatGod would on this occasion single out the proper objects of Hisdispleasure in a more especial and remarkable manner than at anothertime; and that though I did believe that many good people wouldanddidfall in the common calamityand that it was no certain rule to' judge of the eternal state of any one by their being distinguishedin such a time of general destruction neither one way or other; yetI sayit could not but seem reasonable to believe that God would notthink fit to spare by His mercy such open declared enemiesthatshould insult His name and Beingdefy His vengeanceand mock at Hisworship and worshippers at such a time; nonot though His mercy hadthought fit to bear with and spare them at other times; that this wasa day of visitationa day of God's angerand those words came intomy thoughtJer. v. 9: 'Shall I not visit for these things? saith theLord: and shall not My soul be avenged of such a nation as this?'

ThesethingsI saylay upon my mindand I went home very much grievedand oppressed with the horror of these men's wickednessand to thinkthat anything could be so vileso hardenedand notoriously wickedas to insult Godand His servantsand His worship in such a mannerand at such a time as this waswhen He hadas it wereHis sworddrawn in His hand on purpose to take vengeance not on them onlybuton the whole nation.

Ihadindeedbeen in some passion at first with them - though it wasreally raisednot by any affront they had offered me personallybutby the horror their blaspheming tongues filled me with. HoweverI was doubtful in my thoughts whether the resentment Iretained was not all upon my own private accountfor they had givenme a great deal of ill language too - I mean personally; but aftersome pauseand having a weight of grief upon my mindI retiredmyself as soon as I came homefor I slept not that night; and givingGod most humble thanks for my preservation in the eminent danger Ihad been inI set my mind seriously and with the utmost earnestnessto pray for those desperate wretchesthat God would pardon themopen their eyesand effectually humble them.

Bythis I not only did my dutynamelyto pray for those whodespitefully used mebut I fully tried my own heartto my funsatisfactionthat it was not filled with any spirit of resentment asthey had offended me in particular; and I humbly recommend the methodto all those that would knowor be certainhow to distinguishbetween their zeal for the honour of God and the effects of theirprivate passions and resentment.

ButI must go back here to the particular incidents which occur to mythoughts of the time of the visitationand particularly to the timeof their shutting up houses in the first part of their sickness; forbefore the sickness was come to its height people had more room tomake their observations than they had afterward; but when it was inthe extremity there was no such thing as communication with oneanotheras before.

Duringthe shutting up of housesas I have saidsome violence was offeredto the watchmen.  As to soldiersthere were none to be found.-the few guards which the king then hadwhich were nothing like thenumber entertained sincewere dispersedeither at Oxford with theCourtor in quarters in the remoter parts of the countrysmalldetachments exceptedwho did duty at the Tower and at Whitehallandthese but very few.  Neither am I positive that there was anyother guard at the Tower than the wardersas they called themwhostand at the gate with gowns and capsthe same as the yeomen of theguardexcept the ordinary gunnerswho were twenty-fourand theofficers appointed to look after the magazinewho were calledarmourers.  As to trained bandsthere was no possibility ofraising any; neitherif the Lieutenancyeither of London orMiddlesexhad ordered the drums to beat for the militiawould anyof the companiesI believehave drawn togetherwhatever risk theyhad run.

Thismade the watchmen be the less regardedand perhaps occasioned thegreater violence to be used against them.  I mention it on thisscore to observe that the setting watchmen thus to keep the people inwasfirst of allnot effectualbut that the people broke outwhether by force or by stratagemeven almost as often as theypleased; andsecondthat those that did thus break out weregenerally people infected whoin their desperationrunning aboutfrom one place to anothervalued not whom they injured: and whichperhapsas I have saidmight give birth to report that it wasnatural to the infected people to desire to infect otherswhichreport was really false.

AndI know it so welland in so many several casesthat I could giveseveral relations of goodpiousand religious people whowhen theyhave had the distemperhave been so far from being forward to infectothers that they have forbid their own family to come near theminhopes of their being preservedand have even died without seeingtheir nearest relations lest they should be instrumental to give themthe distemperand infect or endanger them.  Ifthentherewere cases wherein the infected people were careless of the injurythey did to othersthis was certainly one of themif not the chiefnamelywhen people who had the distemper had broken out from houseswhich were so shut upand having been driven to extremities forprovision or for entertainmenthad endeavoured to conceal theirconditionand have been thereby instrumental involuntarily to infectothers who have been ignorant and unwary.

Thisis one of the reasons why I believed thenand do believe stillthatthe shutting up houses thus by forceand restrainingor ratherimprisoningpeople in their own housesas I said abovewas oflittle or no service in the whole.  NayI am of opinion it wasrather hurtfulhaving forced those desperate people to wander abroadwith the plague upon themwho would otherwise have died quietly intheir beds.

Iremember one citizen whohaving thus broken out of his house inAldersgate Street or thereaboutwent along the road to Islington; heattempted to have gone in at the Angel Innand after that the WhiteHorsetwo inns known still by the same signsbut was refused; afterwhich he came to the Pied Bullan inn also still continuing the samesign.  He asked them for lodging for one night onlypretendingto be going into Lincolnshireand assuring them of his being verysound and free from the infectionwhich also at that time had notreached much that way.

Theytold him they had no lodging that they could spare but one bed up inthe garretand that they could spare that bed for one nightsomedrovers being expected the next day with cattle; soif he wouldaccept of that lodginghe might have itwhich he did.  So aservant was sent up with a candle with him to show him the room. He was very well dressedand looked like a person not used to lie ina garret; and when he came to the room he fetched a deep sighandsaid to the servant'I have seldom lain in such a lodging as this.'Howeverthe servant assuring him again that they had no better'Well' says he'I must make shift; this is a dreadful time; but itis but for one night.' So he sat down upon the bedsideand bade themaidI think it wasfetch him up a pint of warm ale.  Accordinglythe servant went for the alebut some hurry in the housewhichperhaps employed her other waysput it out of her headand she wentup no more to him.

Thenext morningseeing no appearance of the gentlemansomebody in thehouse asked the servant that had showed him upstairs what was becomeof him.  She started.  'Alas l' says she'I never thoughtmore of him.  He bade me carry him some warm alebut I forgot.'Upon whichnot the maidbut some other person was sent up to seeafter himwhocoming into the roomfound him stark dead and almostcoldstretched out across the bed.  His clothes were pulledoffhis jaw fallenhis eyes open in a most frightful posturetherug of the bed being grasped hard in one of his handsso that it wasplain he died soon after the maid left him; and 'tis probablehadshe gone up with the aleshe had found him dead in a few minutesafter he sat down upon the bed.  The alarm was great in thehouseas anyone may supposethey having been free from thedistemper till that disasterwhichbringing the infection to thehousespread it immediately to other houses round about it.  Ido not remember how many died in the house itselfbut I think themaid-servant who went up first with him fell presently ill by thefrightand several others; forwhereas there died but two inIslington of the plague the week beforethere died seventeen theweek afterwhereof fourteen were of the plague.  This was inthe week from the 11th of July to the 18th.

Therewas one shift that some families hadand that not a fewwhen theirhouses happened to be infectedand that was this: the families whoin the first breaking-out of the distemperfled away into thecountry and had retreats among their friendsgenerally found some orother of their neighbours or relations to commit the charge of thosehouses to for the safety of the goods and the like.  Some houseswereindeedentirely locked upthe doors padlockedthe windowsand doors having deal boards nailed over themand only theinspection of them committed to the ordinary watchmen and parishofficers; bat these were but few.

Itwas thought that there were not less than 10000 houses forsaken ofthe inhabitants in the city and suburbsincluding what was in theout-parishes and in Surreyor the side of the water they calledSouthwark.  This was besides the numbers of lodgersand ofparticular persons who were fled out of other families; so that inall it was computed that about 200000 people were fled and gone. But of this I shall speak again.  But I mention it here on thisaccountnamelythat it was a rule with those who had thus twohouses in their keeping or carethat if anybody was taken sick in afamilybefore the master of the family let the examiners or anyother officer know of ithe immediately would send all the rest ofhis familywhether children or servantsas it fell out to betosuch other house which he had so in chargeand then giving notice ofthe sick person to the examinerhave a nurse or nurses appointedand have another person to be shut up in the house with them (whichmany for money would do)so to take charge of the house in case theperson should die.

Thiswasin many casesthe saving a whole familywhoif they had beenshut up with the sick personwould inevitably have perished. Butonthe other handthis was another of the inconveniences of shutting uphouses; for the apprehensions and terror of being shut up made manyrun away with the rest of the familywhothough it was not publiclyknownand they were not quite sickhad yet the distemper upon them;and whoby having an uninterrupted liberty to go aboutbut beingobliged still to conceal their circumstancesor perhaps not knowingit themselvesgave the distemper to othersand spread the infectionin a dreadful manneras I shall explain further hereafter.

Andhere I may be able to make an observation or two of my ownwhich maybe of use hereafter to those into whose bands these may comeif theyshould ever see the like dreadful visitation. (1) The infectiongenerally came into the houses of the citizens by the means of theirservantswhom they were obliged to send up and down the streets fornecessaries; that is to sayfor food or physicto bakehousesbrew-housesshops&c.; and who going necessarily through thestreets into shopsmarketsand the likeit was impossible but thatthey shouldone way or othermeet with distempered peoplewhoconveyed the fatal breath into themand they brought it home to thefamilies to which they belonged. (2) It was a great mistake that sucha great city as this had but one pest-house; for had there beeninstead of one pest-house - viz.beyond Bunhill Fieldswhereatmostthey could receiveperhapstwo hundred or three hundredpeople - I sayhad thereinstead of that onebeen severalpest-housesevery one able to contain a thousand peoplewithoutlying two in a bedor two beds in a room; and had every master of afamilyas soon as any servant especially had been taken sick in hishousebeen obliged to send them to the next pest-houseif they werewillingas many wereand had the examiners done the like among thepoor people when any had been stricken with the infection; I sayhadthis been done where the people were willing (not otherwise)and thehouses not been shutI am persuadedand was all the while of thatopinionthat not so manyby several thousandshad died; for it wasobservedand I could give several instances within the compass of myown knowledgewhere a servant had been taken sickand the familyhad either time to send him out or retire from the house and leavethe sick personas I have said abovethey had all been preserved;whereas whenupon one or more sickening in a familythe house hasbeen shut upthe whole family have perishedand the bearers beenobliged to go in to fetch out the dead bodiesnot being able tobring them to the doorand at last none left to do it.

(3)This put it out of question to methat the calamity was spread byinfection; that is to sayby some certain steams or fumeswhich thephysicians call effluviaby the breathor by the sweator by thestench of the sores of the sick personsor some other wayperhapsbeyond even the reach of the physicians themselveswhich effluviaaffected the sound who came within certain distances of the sickimmediately penetrating the vital parts of the said sound personsputting their blood into an immediate fermentand agitating theirspirits to that degree which it was found they were agitated; and sothose newly infected persons communicated it in the same manner toothers.  And this I shall give some instances ofthat cannotbut convince those who seriously consider it; and I cannot but withsome wonder find some peoplenow the contagion is overtalk of itsbeing an immediate stroke from Heavenwithout the agency of meanshaving commission to strike this and that particular personand noneother - which I look upon with contempt as the effect of manifestignorance and enthusiasm; likewise the opinion of otherswho talk ofinfection being carried on by the air onlyby carrying with it vastnumbers of insects and invisible creatureswho enter into the bodywith the breathor even at the pores with the airand theregenerate or emit most acute poisonsor poisonous ovae or eggswhichmingle themselves with the bloodand so infect the body: a discoursefull of learned simplicityand manifested to be so by universalexperience; but I shall say more to this case in its order.

Imust here take further notice that nothing was more fatal to theinhabitants of this city than the supine negligence of the peoplethemselveswhoduring the long notice or warning they had of thevisitationmade no provision for it by laying in store ofprovisionsor of other necessariesby which they might have livedretired and within their own housesas I have observed others didand who were in a great measure preserved by that caution; nor weretheyafter they were a little hardened to itso shy of conversingwith one anotherwhen actually infectedas they were at first: nothough they knew it.

Iacknowledge I was one of those thoughtless ones that had made solittle provision that my servants were obliged to go out of doors tobuy every trifle by penny and halfpennyjust as before it beganeven till my experience showing me the follyI began to be wiser solate that I had scarce time to store myself sufficient for our commonsubsistence for a month.

Ihad in family only an ancient woman that managed the houseamaid-servanttwo apprenticesand myself; and the plague beginningto increase about usI had many sad thoughts about what course Ishould takeand how I should act.  The many dismal objectswhich happened everywhere as I went about the streetshad filled mymind with a great deal of horror for fear of the distemperwhich wasindeed very horrible in itselfand in some more than in others. The swellingswhich were generally in the neck or groinwhen theygrew hard and would not breakgrew so painful that it was equal tothe most exquisite torture; and somenot able to bear the tormentthrew themselves out at windows or shot themselvesor otherwise madethemselves awayand I saw several dismal objects of that kind.Othersunable to contain themselvesvented their pain by incessantroaringsand such loud and lamentable cries were to be heard as wewalked along the streets that would pierce the very heart to thinkofespecially when it was to be considered that the same dreadfulscourge might be expected every moment to seize upon ourselves.

Icannot say but that now I began to faint in my resolutions; my heartfailed me very muchand sorely I repented of my rashness. When I hadbeen outand met with such terrible things as these I have talkedofI say I repented my rashness in venturing to abide in town. I wished often that I had not taken upon me to staybut had goneaway with my brother and his family.

Terrifiedby those frightful objectsI would retire home sometimes and resolveto go out no more; and perhaps I would keep those resolutions forthree or four dayswhich time I spent in the most seriousthankfulness for my preservation and the preservation of my familyand the constant confession of my sinsgiving myself up to God everydayand applying to Him with fastinghumiliationand meditation. Such intervals as I had I employed in reading books and in writingdown my memorandums of what occurred to me every dayand out ofwhich afterwards I took most of this workas it relates to myobservations without doors.  What I wrote of my privatemeditations I reserve for private useand desire it may not be madepublic on any account whatever.

Ialso wrote other meditations upon divine subjectssuch as occurredto me at that time and were profitable to myselfbut not fit for anyother viewand therefore I say no more of that.

Ihad a very good frienda physicianwhose name was Heathwhom Ifrequently visited during this dismal timeand to whose advice I wasvery much obliged for many things which he directed me to takebyway of preventing the infection when I went outas he found Ifrequently didand to hold in my mouth when I was in the streets. He also came very often to see meand as he was a good Christian aswell as a good physicianhis agreeable conversation was a very greatsupport to me in the worst of this terrible time.

Itwas now the beginning of Augustand the plague grew very violent andterrible in the place where I livedand Dr Heath coming to visit meand finding that I ventured so often out in the streetsearnestlypersuaded me to lock myself up and my familyand not to suffer anyof us to go out of doors; to keep all our windows fastshutters andcurtains closeand never to open them; but firstto make a verystrong smoke in the room where the window or door was to be openedwith rozen and pitchbrimstone or gunpowder and the like; and we didthis for some time; but as I had not laid in a store of provision forsuch a retreatit was impossible that we could keep within doorsentirely.  HoweverI attemptedthough it was so very latetodo something towards it; and firstas I had convenience both forbrewing and bakingI went and bought two sacks of mealand forseveral weekshaving an ovenwe baked all our own bread; also Ibought maltand brewed as much beer as all the casks I had wouldholdand which seemed enough to serve my house for five or sixweeks; also I laid in a quantity of salt butter and Cheshire cheese;but I had no flesh-meatand the plague raged so violently among thebutchers and slaughter-houses on the other side of our streetwherethey are known to dwell in great numbersthat it was not advisableso much as to go over the street among them.

Andhere I must observe againthat this necessity of going out of ourhouses to buy provisions was in a great measure the ruin of the wholecityfor the people catched the distemper on these occasions one ofanotherand even the provisions themselves were often tainted; atleast I have great reason to believe so; and therefore I cannot saywith satisfaction what I know is repeated with great assurancethatthe market-people and such as brought provisions to town were neverinfected.  I am certain the butchers of Whitechappelwhere thegreatest part of the flesh-meat was killedwere dreadfully visitedand that at least to such a degree that few of their shops were keptopenand those that remained of them killed their meat at Mile Endand that wayand brought it to market upon horses.

Howeverthe poor people could not lay up provisionsand there was anecessity that they must go to market to buyand others to sendservants or their children; and as this was a necessity which reneweditself dailyit brought abundance of unsound people to the marketsand a great many that went thither sound brought death home withthem.

Itis true people used all possible precaution.  When any onebought a joint of meat in the market they would not take it off thebutcher's handbut took it off the hooks themselves.  On theother handthe butcher would not touch the moneybut have it putinto a pot full of vinegarwhich he kept for that purpose.  Thebuyer carried always small money to make up any odd sumthat theymight take no change. They carried bottles of scents and perfumes intheir handsand all the means that could be used were usedbut thenthe poor could not do even these thingsand they went at allhazards.

Innumerabledismal stories we heard every day on this very account. Sometimes aman or woman dropped down dead in the very marketsfor many peoplethat had the plague upon them knew nothing of it till the inwardgangrene had affected their vitalsand they died in a few moments. This caused that many died frequently in that manner in the streetssuddenlywithout any warning; others perhaps had time to go to thenext bulk or stallor to any door-porchand just sit down and dieas I have said before.

Theseobjects were so frequent in the streets that when the plague came tobe very raging on one sidethere was scarce any passing by thestreets but that several dead bodies would be lying here and thereupon the ground.  On the other handit is observable thatthough at first the people would stop as they went along and call tothe neighbours to come out on such an occasionyet afterward nonotice was taken of them; but that if at any time we found a corpselyinggo across the way and not come near it; orif in a narrowlane or passagego back again and seek some other way to go on thebusiness we were upon; and in those cases the corpse was always lefttill the officers had notice to come and take them awayor tillnightwhen the bearers attending the dead-cart would take them upand carry them away.  Nor did those undaunted creatures whoperformed these offices fail to search their pocketsand sometimesstrip off their clothes if they were well dressedas sometimes theywereand carry off what they could get.

Butto return to the markets.  The butchers took that care that ifany person died in the market they had the officers always at band totake them up upon hand-barrows and carry them to the next churchyard;and this was so frequent that such were not entered in the weeklybill'Found dead in the streets or fields'as is the case nowbutthey went into the general articles of the great distemper.

Butnow the fury of the distemper increased to such a degree that eventhe markets were but very thinly furnished with provisions orfrequented with buyers compared to what they were before; and theLord Mayor caused the country people who brought provisions to bestopped in the streets leading into the townand to sit down therewith their goodswhere they sold what they broughtand wentimmediately away; and this encouraged the country people greatly-todo sofor they sold their provisions at the very entrances into thetownand even in the fieldsas particularly in the fields beyondWhitechappelin Spittlefields; also in St George's Fields inSouthwarkin Bunhill Fieldsand in a great field called Wood'sClosenear Islington. Thither the Lord Mayoraldermenandmagistrates sent their officers and servants to buy for theirfamiliesthemselves keeping within doors as much as possibleandthe like did many other people; and after this method was taken thecountry people came with great cheerfulnessand brought provisionsof all sortsand very seldom got any harmwhichI supposeaddedalso to that report of their being miraculously preserved.

Asfor my little familyhaving thusas I have saidlaid in a store ofbreadbuttercheeseand beerI took my friend and physician'sadviceand locked myself upand my familyand resolved to sufferthe hardship of living a few months without flesh-meatrather thanto purchase it at the hazard of our lives.

Butthough I confined my familyI could not prevail upon my unsatisfiedcuriosity to stay within entirely myself; and though I generally camefrighted and terrified homevet I could not restrain; only thatindeed I did not do it so frequently as at first.

Ihad some little obligationsindeedupon me to go to my brother'shousewhich was in Coleman Street parish and which he had left to mycareand I went at first every daybut afterwards only once ortwice a week.

Inthese walks I had many dismal scenes before my eyesas particularlyof persons falling dead in the streetsterrible shrieks andscreechings of womenwhoin their agonieswould throw open theirchamber windows and cry out in a dismalsurprising manner.  Itis impossible to describe the variety of postures in which thepassions of the poor people would express themselves.

Passingthrough Tokenhouse Yardin Lothburyof a sudden a casementviolently opened just over my headand a woman gave three frightfulscreechesand then cried'Oh! deathdeathdeath!' in a mostinimitable toneand which struck me with horror and a chillness inmy very blood.  There was nobody to be seen in the whole streetneither did any other window open. for people had no curiosity now inany casenor could anybody help one anotherso I went on to passinto Bell Alley.

Justin Bell Alleyon the right hand of the passagethere was a moreterrible cry than thatthough it was not so directed out at thewindow; but the whole family was in a terrible frightand I couldhear women and children run screaming about the rooms likedistractedwhen a garret-window opened and somebody from a window onthe other side the alley called and asked'What is the matter?' uponwhichfrom the first windowit was answered'Oh Lordmy oldmaster has hanged himself!' The other asked again'Is he quitedead?' and the first answered'Ayayquite dead; quite dead andcold!' This person was a merchant and a deputy aldermanand veryrich.  I care not to mention the namethough I knew his nametoobut that would be an hardship to the familywhich is nowflourishing again.

Butthis is but one; it is scarce credible what dreadful cases happenedin particular families every day.  People in the rage of thedistemperor in the torment of their swellingswhich was indeedintolerablerunning out of their own governmentraving anddistractedand oftentimes laying violent hands upon themselvesthrowing themselves out at their windowsshooting themselves.;&c.; mothers murdering their own children in their lunacysomedying of mere grief as a passionsome of mere fright and surprisewithout any infection at allothers frighted into idiotism andfoolish distractionssome into despair and lunacyothers intomelancholy madness.

Thepain of the swelling was in particular very violentand to someintolerable; the physicians and surgeons may be said to have torturedmany poor creatures even to death.  The swellings in some grewhardand they applied violent drawing-plaisters or poultices tobreak themand if these did not do they cut and scarified them in aterrible manner.  In some those swellings were made hard partlyby the force of the distemper and partly by their being too violentlydrawnand were so hard that no instrument could cut themand thenthey burnt them with causticsso that many died raving mad with thetormentand some in the very operation.  In these distressessomefor want of help to hold them down in their bedsor to look tothemlaid hands upon themselves as above.  Some broke out intothe streetsperhaps nakedand would run directly down to the riverif they were not stopped by the watchman or other officersandplunge themselves into the water wherever they found it.

Itoften pierced my very soul to hear the groans and cries of those whowere thus tormentedbut of the two this was counted the mostpromising particular in the whole infectionfor if these swellingscould be brought to a headand to break and runoras the surgeonscall itto digestthe patient generally recovered; whereas thosewholike the gentlewoman's daughterwere struck with death at thebeginningand had the tokens come out upon themoften went aboutindifferent easy till a little before they diedand some till themoment they dropped downas in apoplexies and epilepsies is oftenthe case. Such would be taken suddenly very sickand would run to abench or bulkor any convenient place that offered itselfor totheir own houses if possibleas I mentioned beforeand there sitdowngrow faintand die.  This kind of dying was much the sameas it was with those who die of common mortificationswho dieswooningandas it werego away in a dream.  Such as diedthus had very little notice of their being infected at all till thegangrene was spread through their whole body; nor could physiciansthemselves know certainly how it was with them till they opened theirbreasts or other parts of their body and saw the tokens.

Wehad at this time a great many frightful stories told us of nurses andwatchmen who looked after the dying people; that is to sayhirednurses who attended infected peopleusing them barbarouslystarvingthemsmothering themor by other wicked means hastening their endthat is to saymurdering of them; and watchmenbeing set to guardhouses that were shut up when there has been but one person leftandperhaps that one lying sickthat they have broke in and murderedthat bodyand immediately thrown them out into the dead-cart! And sothey have gone scarce cold to the grave.

Icannot say but that some such murders were committedand I think twowere sent to prison for itbut died before they could be tried; andI have heard that three othersat several timeswere excused formurders of that kind; but I must say I believe nothing of its beingso common a crime as some have since been pleased to saynor did itseem to be so rational where the people were brought so low as not tobe able to help themselvesfor such seldom recoveredand there wasno temptation to commit a murderat least none equal to the factwhere they were sure persons would die in so short a timeand couldnot live.

Thatthere were a great many robberies and wicked practices committed evenin this dreadful time I do not deny.  The power of avarice wasso strong in some that they would run any hazard to steal and toplunder; and particularly in houses where all the families orinhabitants have been dead and carried outthey would break in atall hazardsand without regard to the danger of infectiontake eventhe clothes off the dead bodies and the bed-clothes from others wherethey lay dead.

ThisI supposemust be the case of a family in Houndsditchwhere a manand his daughterthe rest of the family beingas I supposecarriedaway before by the dead-cartwere found stark nakedone in onechamber and one in anotherlying dead on the floorand the clothesof the bedsfrom whence 'tis supposed they were rolled off bythievesstolen and carried quite away.

Itis indeed to be observed that the women were in all this calamity themost rashfearlessand desperate creaturesand as there were vastnumbers that went about as nurses to tend those that were sicktheycommitted a great many petty thieveries in the houses where they wereemployed; and some of them were publicly whipped for itwhen perhapsthey ought rather to have been hanged for examplesfor numbers ofhouses were robbed on these occasionstill at length the parishofficers were sent to recommend nurses to the sickand always tookan account whom it was they sentso as that they might call them toaccount if the house had been abused where they were placed.

Butthese robberies extended chiefly to wearing-clotheslinenand whatrings or money they could come at when the person died who was undertheir carebut not to a general plunder of the houses; and I couldgive you an account of one of these nurseswhoseveral years afterbeing on her deathbedconfessed with the utmost horror the robberiesshe had committed at the time of her being a nurseand by which shehad enriched herself to a great degree.  But as for murdersIdo not find that there was ever any proof of the facts in the manneras it has been reportedexcept as above.

Theydid tell meindeedof a nurse in one place that laid a wet clothupon the face of a dying patient whom she tendedand so put an endto his lifewho was just expiring before; and another that smothereda young woman she was looking to when she was in a fainting fitandwould have come to herself; some that killed them by giving them onethingsome anotherand some starved them by giving them nothing atall.  But these stories had two marks of suspicion that alwaysattended themwhich caused me always to slight them and to look onthem as mere stories that people continually frighted one anotherwith.  Firstthat wherever it was that we heard itthey alwaysplaced the scene at the farther end of the townopposite or mostremote from where you were to hear it.  If you heard it inWhitechappelit had happened at St Giles'sor at WestminsterorHolbornor that end of the town.  If you heard of it at thatend of the townthen it was done in Whitechappelor the Minoriesor about Cripplegate parish.  If you heard of it in the citywhythen it happened in Southwark; and if you heard of it inSouthwarkthen it was done in the cityand the like.

Inthe next placeof what part soever you heard the storytheparticulars were always the sameespecially that of laying a wetdouble clout on a dying man's faceand that of smothering a younggentlewoman; so that it was apparentat least to my judgementthatthere was more of tale than of truth in those things.

HoweverI cannot say but it had some effect upon the peopleand particularlythatas I said beforethey grew more cautious whom they took intotheir housesand whom they trusted their lives withand had themalways recommended if they could; and where they could not find suchfor they were not very plentythey applied to the parish officers.

Buthere again the misery of that time lay upon the poor whobeinginfectedhad neither food or physicneither physician or apothecaryto assist themor nurse to attend them.  Many of those diedcalling for helpand even for sustenanceout at their windows in amost miserable and deplorable manner; but it must be added thatwhenever the cases of such persons or families were represented to myLord Mayor they always were relieved.

Itis truein some houses where the people were not very pooryetwhere they had sent perhaps their wives and children awayand ifthey had any servants they had been dismissed; - I say it is truethat to save the expensesmany such as these shut themselves inandnot having helpdied alone.

Aneighbour and acquaintance of minehaving some money owing to himfrom a shopkeeper in Whitecross Street or thereaboutssent hisapprenticea youth about eighteen years of ageto endeavour to getthe money.  He came to the doorand finding it shutknockedpretty hard; andas he thoughtheard somebody answer withinbutwas not sureso he waitedand after some stay knocked againandthen a third timewhen he heard somebody coming downstairs.

Atlength the man of the house came to the door; he had on his breechesor drawersand a yellow flannel waistcoatno stockingsa pair ofslipped-shoesa white cap on his headandas the young man said'death in his face'.

Whenhe opened the doorsays he'What do you disturb me thus for?' Theboythough a little surprisedreplied'I come from such a oneandmy master sent me for the money which he says you know of.' 'Verywellchild' returns the living ghost; 'call as you go by atCripplegate Churchand bid them ring the bell'; and with these wordsshut the door againand went up againand died the same day; nayperhaps the same hour.  This the young man told me himselfandI have reason to believe it.  This was while the plague was notcome to a height.  I think it was in Junetowards the latterend of the month; it must be before the dead-carts came aboutandwhile they used the ceremony of ringing the bell for the deadwhichwas over for certainin that parish at leastbefore the month ofJulyfor by the 25th of July there died 550 and upwards in a weekand then they could no more bury in formrich or poor.

Ihave mentioned above that notwithstanding this dreadful calamityyetthe numbers of thieves were abroad upon all occasionswhere they hadfound any preyand that these were generally women.  It was onemorning about eleven O'clockI had walked out to my brother's housein Coleman Street parishas I often didto see that all was safe.

Mybrother's house had a little court before itand a brick wall and agate in itand within that several warehouses where his goods ofseveral sorts lay.  It happened that in one of these warehouseswere several packs of women's high-crowned hatswhich came out ofthe country and wereas I supposefor exportation: whitherI knownot.

Iwas surprised that when I came near my brother's doorwhich was in aplace they called Swan AlleyI met three or four women withhigh-crowned hats on their heads; andas I remembered afterwardsoneif not morehad some hats likewise in their hands; but as I didnot see them come out at my brother's doorand not knowing that mybrother had any such goods in his warehouseI did not offer to sayanything to thembut went across the way to shun meeting themaswas usual to do at that timefor fear of the plague.  But whenI came nearer to the gate I met another woman with more hats come outof the gate.  'What businessmistress' said I'have you hadthere?' 'There are more people there' said she; 'I have had no morebusiness there than they.' I was hasty to get to the gate thenandsaid no more to herby which means she got away.  But just as Icame to the gateI saw two more coming across the yard to come outwith hats also on their heads and under their armsat which I threwthe gate to behind mewhich having a spring lock fastened itself;and turning to the women'Forsooth' said I'what are you doinghere?' and seized upon the hatsand took them from them.  Oneof themwhoI confessdid not look like a thief - 'Indeed' saysshe'we are wrongbut we were told they were goods that had noowner.  Be pleased to take them again; and look yonderthereare more such customers as we.' She cried and looked pitifullyso Itook the hats from her and opened the gateand bade them be gonefor I pitied the women indeed; but when I looked towards thewarehouseas she directedthere were six or seven moreall womenfitting themselves with hats as unconcerned and quiet as if they hadbeen at a hatter's shop buying for their money.

Iwas surprisednot at the sight of so many thieves onlybut at thecircumstances I was in; being now to thrust myself in among so manypeoplewho for some weeks had been so shy of myself that if I metanybody in the street I would cross the way from them.

Theywere equally surprisedthough on another account.  They alltold me they were neighboursthat they had heard anyone might takethemthat they were nobody's goodsand the like.  I talked bigto them at firstwent back to the gate and took out the keyso thatthey were all my prisonersthreatened to lock them all into thewarehouseand go and fetch my Lord Mayor's officers for them.

Theybegged heartilyprotested they found the gate openand thewarehouse door open; and that it had no doubt been broken open bysome who expected to find goods of greater value: which indeed wasreasonable to believebecause the lock was brokeand a padlock thathung to the door on the outside also looseand not abundance of thehats carried away.

Atlength I considered that this was not a time to be cruel andrigorous; and besides thatit would necessarily oblige me to go muchaboutto have several people come to meand I go to several whosecircumstances of health I knew nothing of; and that even at this timethe plague was so high as that there died 4000 a week; so that inshowing my resentmentor even in seeking justice for my brother'sgoodsI might lose my own life; so I contented myself with takingthe names and places where some of them livedwho were reallyinhabitants in the neighbourhoodand threatening that my brothershould call them to an account for it when he returned to hishabitation.

ThenI talked a little upon another foot with themand asked them howthey could do such things as these in a time of such generalcalamityandas it werein the face of God's most dreadfuljudgementswhen the plague was at their very doorsandit may bein their very housesand they did not know but that the dead-cartmight stop at their doors in a few hours to carry them to theirgraves.

Icould not perceive that my discourse made much impression upon themall that whiletill it happened that there came two men of theneighbourhoodhearing of the disturbanceand knowing my brotherfor they had been both dependents upon his familyand they came tomy assistance.  These beingas I saidneighbourspresentlyknew three of the women and told me who they were and where theylived; and it seems they had given me a true account of themselvesbefore.

Thisbrings these two men to a further remembrance.  The name of onewas John Haywardwho was at that time undersexton of the parish ofSt StephenColeman Street.  By undersexton was understood atthat time gravedigger and bearer of the dead.  This man carriedor assisted to carryall the dead to their graves which were buriedin that large parishand who were carried in form; and after thatform of burying was stoppedwent with the dead-cart and the bell tofetch the dead bodies from the houses where they layand fetchedmany of them out of the chambers and houses; for the parish wasandis stillremarkable particularlyabove all the parishes in Londonfor a great number of alleys and thoroughfaresvery longinto whichno carts could comeand where they were obliged to go and fetch thebodies a very long way; which alleys now remain to witness itsuchas White's AlleyCross Key CourtSwan AlleyBell AlleyWhiteHorse Alleyand many more.  Here they went with a kind of hand-barrow and laid the dead bodies on itand carried them out to thecarts; which work he performed and never had the distemper at allbut lived about twenty years after itand was sexton of the parishto the time of his death.  His wife at the same time was a nurseto infected peopleand tended many that died in the parishbeingfor her honesty recommended by the parish officers; yet she never wasinfected neither.

Henever used any preservative against the infectionother than holdinggarlic and rue in his mouthand smoking tobacco.  This I alsohad from his own mouth.  And his wife's remedy was washing herhead in vinegar and sprinkling her head-clothes so with vinegar as tokeep them always moistand if the smell of any of those she waitedon was more than ordinary offensiveshe snuffed vinegar up her noseand sprinkled vinegar upon her head-clothesand held a handkerchiefwetted with vinegar to her mouth.

Itmust be confessed that though the plague was chiefly among the pooryet were the poor the most venturous and fearless of itand wentabout their employment with a sort of brutal courage; I must call itsofor it was founded neither on religion nor prudence; scarce didthey use any cautionbut ran into any business which they could getemployment inthough it was the most hazardous.  Such was thatof tending the sickwatching houses shut upcarrying infectedpersons to the pest-houseandwhich was still worsecarrying thedead away to their graves.

Itwas under this John Hayward's careand within his boundsthat thestory of the piperwith which people have made themselves so merryhappenedand he assured me that it was true.  It is said thatit was a blind piper; butas John told methe fellow was not blindbut an ignorantweakpoor manand usually walked his rounds aboutten o'clock at night and went piping along from door to doorand thepeople usually took him in at public-houses where they knew himandwould give him drink and victualsand sometimes farthings; and he inreturn would pipe and sing and talk simplywhich diverted thepeople; and thus he lived.  It was but a very bad time for thisdiversion while things were as I have toldyet the poor fellow wentabout as usualbut was almost starved; and when anybody asked how hedid he would answerthe dead cart had not taken him yetbut thatthey had promised to call for him next week.

Ithappened one night that this poor fellowwhether somebody had givenhim too much drink or no - John Hayward said he had not drink in hishousebut that they had given him a little more victuals thanordinary at a public-house in Coleman Street - and the poor fellowhaving not usually had a bellyful for perhaps not a good whilewaslaid all along upon the top of a bulk or stalland fast asleepat adoor in the street near London Walltowards Cripplegate-and thatupon the same bulk or stall the people of some housein the alley ofwhich the house was a cornerhearing a bell which they always rangbefore the cart camehad laid a body really dead of the plague justby himthinkingtoothat this poor fellow had been a dead bodyasthe other wasand laid there by some of the neighbours.

Accordinglywhen John Hayward with his bell and the cart came alongfinding twodead bodies lie upon the stallthey took them up with the instrumentthey used and threw them into the cartandall this while the piperslept soundly.

Fromhence they passed along and took in other dead bodiestillashonest John Hayward told methey almost buried him alive in thecart; yet all this while he slept soundly.  At length the cartcame to the place where the bodies were to be thrown into the groundwhichas I do rememberwas at Mount Mill; and as the cart usuallystopped some time before they were ready to shoot out the melancholyload they had in itas soon as the cart stopped the fellow awakedand struggled a little to get his head out from among the deadbodieswhenraising himself up in the carthe called out'Hey!where am I?' This frighted the fellow that attended about the work;but after some pause John Haywardrecovering himselfsaid'Lordbless us! There's somebody in the cart not quite dead!' So anothercalled to him and said'Who are you?' The fellow answered'I am thepoor piper. Where am I?' 'Where are you?' says Hayward.  'Whyyou are in the dead-cartand we are going to bury you.' 'But I an'tdead thougham I?' says the piperwhich made them laugh a littlethoughas John saidthey were heartily frighted at first; so theyhelped the poor fellow downand he went about his business.

Iknow the story goes he set up his pipes in the cart and frighted thebearers and others so that they ran away; but John Hayward did nottell the story sonor say anything of his piping at all; but that hewas a poor piperand that he was carried away as above I am fullysatisfied of the truth of.

Itis to be noted here that the dead-carts in the city were not confinedto particular parishesbut one cart went through several parishesaccording as the number of dead presented; nor were they tied tocarry the dead to their respective parishesbut many of the deadtaken up in the city were carried to the burying-ground in theout-parts for want of room.

Ihave already mentioned the surprise that this judgement was at firstamong the people.  I must be allowed to give some of myobservations on the more serious and religious part.  Surelynever cityat least of this bulk and magnitudewas taken in acondition so perfectly unprepared for such a dreadful visitationwhether I am to speak of the civil preparations or religious. They wereindeedas if they had had no warningno expectationnoapprehensionsand consequently the least provision imaginable wasmade for it in a public way.  For examplethe Lord Mayor andsheriffs had made no provision as magistrates for the regulationswhich were to be observed.  They had gone into no measures forrelief of the poor.  The citizens had no public magazines orstorehouses for corn or meal for the subsistence of the poorwhichif they had provided themselvesas in such cases is done abroadmany miserable families who were now reduced to the utmost distresswould have been relievedand that in a better manner than now couldbe done.

Thestock of the city's money I can say but little to.  The Chamberof London was said to be exceedingly richand it may be concludedthat they were soby the vast of money issued from thence in therebuilding the public edifices after the fire of Londonand inbuilding new workssuch asfor the first partthe GuildhallBlackwell Hallpart of Leadenhallhalf the Exchangethe SessionHousethe Compterthe prisons of LudgateNewgate&c.severalof the wharfs and stairs and landing-places on the river; all whichwere either burned down or damaged by the great fire of Londonthenext year after the plague; and of the second sortthe MonumentFleet Ditch with its bridgesand the Hospital of Bethlem or Bedlam&c.  But possibly the managers of the city's credit at thattime made more conscience of breaking in upon the orphan's money toshow charity to the distressed citizens than the managers in thefollowing years did to beautify the city and re-edify the buildings;thoughin the first casethe losers would have thought theirfortunes better bestowedand the public faith of the city have beenless subjected to scandal and reproach.

Itmust be acknowledged that the absent citizenswhothough they werefled for safety into the countrywere yet greatly interested in thewelfare of those whom they left behindforgot not to contributeliberally to the relief of the poorand large sums were alsocollected among trading towns in the remotest parts of England; andas I have heard alsothe nobility and the gentry in all parts ofEngland took the deplorable condition of the city into theirconsiderationand sent up large sums of money in charity to the LordMayor and magistrates for the relief of the poor.  The kingalsoas I was toldordered a thousand pounds a week to bedistributed in four parts: one quarter to the city and liberty ofWestminster; one quarter or part among the inhabitants of theSouthwark side of the water; one quarter to the liberty and partswithin of the cityexclusive of the city within the walls; and one-fourth part to the suburbs in the county of Middlesexand the eastand north parts of the city.  But this latter I only speak of asa report.

Certainit isthe greatest part of the poor or families who formerly livedby their labouror by retail tradelived now on charity; and hadthere not been prodigious sums of money given by charitablewell-minded Christians for the support of suchthe city could never havesubsisted.  There wereno questionaccounts kept of theircharityand of the just distribution of it by the magistrates. But as such multitudes of those very officers died through whosehands it was distributedand also thatas I have been toldmost ofthe accounts of those things were lost in the great fire whichhappened in the very next yearand which burnt even thechamberlain's office and many of their papersso I could never comeat the particular accountwhich I used great endeavours to haveseen.

Itmayhoweverbe a direction in case of the approach of a likevisitationwhich God keep the city from; - I sayit may be of useto observe that by the care of the Lord Mayor and aldermen at thattime in distributing weekly great sums of money for relief of thepoora multitude of people who would otherwise have perishedwererelievedand their lives preserved.  And here let me enter intoa brief state of the case of the poor at that timeand what wayapprehended from themfrom whence may be judged hereafter what maybe expected if the like distress should come upon the city.

Atthe beginning of the plaguewhen there was now no more hope but thatthe whole city would be visited; whenas I have saidall that hadfriends or estates in the country retired with their families; andwhenindeedone would have thought the very city itself was runningout of the gatesand that there would be nobody left behind; you maybe sure from that hour all tradeexcept such as related to immediatesubsistencewasas it wereat a full stop.

Thisis so lively a caseand contains in it so much of the real conditionof the peoplethat I think I cannot be too particular in itandtherefore I descend to the several arrangements or classes of peoplewho fell into immediate distress upon this occasion.  Forexample:

1. All master-workmen in manufacturesespecially such as belonged toornament and the less necessary parts of the people's dressclothesand furniture for housessuch as riband-weavers and other weaversgold and silver lace makersand gold and silver wire drawerssempstressesmillinersshoemakershatmakersand glovemakers; alsoupholsterersjoinerscabinet-makerslooking-glass makersandinnumerable trades which depend upon such as these; - I saythemaster-workmen in such stopped their workdismissed their journeymenand workmenand all their dependents.

2. As merchandising was at a full stopfor very few ships ventured tocome up the river and none at all went outso all the extraordinaryofficers of the customslikewise the watermencarmenportersandall the poor whose labour depended upon the merchantswere at oncedismissed and put out of business.

3. All the tradesmen usually employed in building or repairing of houseswere at a full stopfor the people were far from wanting to buildhouses when so many thousand houses were at once stripped of theirinhabitants; so that this one article turned all the ordinary workmenof that kind out of businesssuch as bricklayersmasonscarpentersjoinersplastererspaintersglazierssmithsplumbersand all the labourers depending on such.

4. As navigation was at a stopour ships neither coming in or going outas beforeso the seamen were all out of employmentand many of themin the last and lowest degree of distress; and with the seamen wereall the several tradesmen and workmen belonging to and depending uponthe building and fitting out of shipssuch as ship- carpenterscaulkersropemakersdry cooperssailmakersanchorsmithsandother smiths; blockmakerscarversgunsmithsship-chandlersship-carversand the like.  The masters of those perhaps mightlive upon their substancebut the traders were universally at astopand consequently all their workmen discharged. Add to thesethat the river was in a manner without boatsand all or most part ofthe watermenlightermenboat-buildersand lighter- builders inlike manner idle and laid by.

5. All families retrenched their living as much as possibleas wellthose that fled as those that stayed; so that an innumerablemultitude of footmenserving-menshopkeepersjourneymenmerchants' bookkeepersand such sort of peopleand especially poormaid- servantswere turned offand left friendless and helplesswithout employment and without habitationand this was really adismal article.

 

Imight be more particular as to this partbut it may suffice tomention in generalall trades being stoppedemployment ceased: thelabourand by that the breadof the poor were cut off; and at firstindeed the cries of the poor were most lamentable to hearthough bythe distribution of charity their misery that way was greatly abated.Many indeed fled into the countiesbut thousands of them havingstayed in London till nothing but desperation sent them awaydeathovertook them on the roadand they served for no better than themessengers of death; indeedothers carrying the infection along withthemspread it very unhappily into the remotest parts of thekingdom.

Manyof these were the miserable objects of despair which I have mentionedbeforeand were removed by the destruction which followed. These might be said to perish not by the infection itself but by theconsequence of it; indeednamelyby hunger and distress and thewant of all things: being without lodgingwithout moneywithoutfriendswithout means to get their breador without anyone to giveit them; for many of them were without what we call legalsettlementsand so could not claim of the parishesand all thesupport they had was by application to the magistrates for reliefwhich relief was (to give the magistrates their due) carefully andcheerfully administered as they found it necessaryand those thatstayed behind never felt the want and distress of that kind whichthey felt who went away in the manner above noted.

Letany one who is acquainted with what multitudes of people get theirdaily bread in this city by their labourwhether artificers or mereworkmen - I saylet any man consider what must be the miserablecondition of this town ifon a suddenthey should be all turned outof employmentthat labour should ceaseand wages for work be nomore.

Thiswas the case with us at that time; and had not the sums of moneycontributed in charity by well-disposed people of every kindas wellabroad as at homebeen prodigiously greatit had not been in thepower of the Lord Mayor and sheriffs to have kept the public peace. Nor were they without apprehensionsas it wasthat desperationshould push the people upon tumultsand cause them to rifle thehouses of rich men and plunder the markets of provisions; in whichcase the country peoplewho brought provisions very freely andboldly to townwould have been terrified from coming any moreandthe town would have sunk under an unavoidable famine.

Butthe prudence of my Lord Mayor and the Court of Aldermen within thecityand of the justices of peace in the out-partswas suchandthey were supported with money from all parts so wellthat the poorpeople were kept quietand their wants everywhere relievedas faras was possible to be done.

Twothings besides this contributed to prevent the mob doing anymischief.  One wasthat really the rich themselves had not laidup stores of provisions in their houses as indeed they ought to havedoneand which if they had been wise enough to have doneand lockedthemselves entirely upas some few didthey had perhaps escaped thedisease better.  But as it appeared they had notso the mob hadno notion of finding stores of provisions there if they had brokenin. as it is plain they were sometimes very near doingand which: ifthey badthey had finished the ruin of the whole cityfor therewere no regular troops to have withstood themnor could the trainedbands have been brought together to defend the cityno men being tobe found to bear arms.

Butthe vigilance of the Lord Mayor and such magistrates as could be had(for someeven of the aldermenwere deadand some absent)prevented this; and they did it by the most kind and gentle methodsthey could think ofas particularly by relieving the most desperatewith moneyand putting others into businessand particularly thatemployment of watching houses that were infected and shut up. And as the number of these were very great (for it was said there wasat one time ten thousand houses shut upand every house had twowatchmen to guard itviz.one by night and the other by day)thisgave opportunity to employ a very great number of poor men at a time.

Thewomen and servants that were turned off from their places werelikewise employed as nurses to tend the sick in all placesand thistook off a very great number of them.

Andwhich though a melancholy article in itselfyet was a deliverance inits kind: namelythe plaguewhich raged in a dreadful manner fromthe middle of August to the middle of Octobercarried off in thattime thirty or forty thousand of these very people whichhad theybeen leftwould certainly have been an insufferable burden by theirpoverty; that is to saythe whole city could not have supported theexpense of themor have provided food for them; and they would intime have been even driven to the necessity of plundering either thecity itself or the country adjacentto have subsisted themselveswhich would first or last have put the whole nationas well as thecityinto the utmost terror and confusion.

Itwas observablethenthat this calamity of the people made them veryhumble; for now for about nine weeks together there died near athousand a dayone day with anothereven by the account of theweekly billswhich yetI have reason to be assurednever gave afull accountby many thousands; the confusion being suchand thecarts working in the dark when they carried the deadthat in someplaces no account at all was keptbut they worked onthe clerks andsextons not attending for weeks togetherand not knowing what numberthey carried.  This account is verified by the following billsof mortality: -

Of all of the
Diseases.
From August 8 to August 15
"             "    15   "        22
"             "    22   "       29
"             "    29 to September 5
"   September 5   "      12
"             "    12     "    19
"             "    19     "    26
"                   26 to October 3
"       October 3   "       10




Plague
5319
5568
7496
8252
7690
8297
6460
5720
5068
------
59870





3880
4237
6102
6988
6544
7165
5533
4979
4327
------
49705

 

Sothat the gross of the people were carried off in these two months;foras the whole number which was brought in to die of the plaguewas but 68590here is 50000 of themwithin a triflein twomonths; I say 50000becauseas there wants 295 in the numberaboveso there wants two days of two months in the account of time.

Nowwhen I say that the parish officers did not give in a full accountor were not to be depended upon for their accountlet any one butconsider how men could be exact in such a time of dreadful distressand when many of them were taken sick themselves and perhaps died inthe very time when their accounts were to be given in; I mean theparish clerksbesides inferior officers; for though these poor menventured at all hazardsyet they were far from being exempt from thecommon calamityespecially if it be true that the parish of Stepneyhadwithin the year116 sextonsgravediggersand theirassistants; that is to saybearersbellmenand drivers of cartsfor carrying off the dead bodies.

Indeedthe work was not of a nature to allow them leisure to take an exacttale of the dead bodieswhich were all huddled together in the darkinto a pit; which pit or trench no man could come nigh but at theutmost peril.  I observed often that in the parishes of Aldgateand CripplegateWhitechappel and Stepneythere were fivesixsevenand eight hundred in a week in the bills; whereas if we maybelieve the opinion of those that lived in the city all the time aswell as Ithere died sometimes 2000 a week in those parishes; and Isaw it under the hand of one that made as strict an examination intothat part as he couldthat there really died an hundred thousandpeople of the plague in that one year whereas in the billsthearticles of the plagueit was but 68590.

IfI may be allowed to give my opinionby what I saw with my eyes andheard from other people that were eye-witnessesI do verily believethe sameviz.that there died at least 100000 of the plague onlybesides other distempers and besides those which died in the fieldsand highways and secret Places out of the compass of thecommunicationas it was calledand who were not put down in thebills though they really belonged to the body of the inhabitants. It was known to us all that abundance of poor despairing creatureswho had the distemper upon themand were grown stupid or melancholyby their miseryas many werewandered away into the fields andWoodsand into secret uncouth places almost anywhereto creep intoa bush or hedge and die.

Theinhabitants of the villages adjacent wouldin pitycarry them foodand set it at a distancethat they might fetch itif they wereable; and sometimes they were not ableand the next time they wentthey should find the poor wretches lie dead and the food untouched. The number of these miserable objects were manyand I know so manythat perished thusand so exactly wherethat I believe I could goto the very place and dig their bones up still; for the countrypeople would go and dig a hole at a distance from themand then withlong polesand hooks at the end of themdrag the bodies into thesepitsand then throw the earth in from as far as they could cast itto cover themtaking notice how the wind blewand so coming on thatside which the seamen call to windwardthat the scent of the bodiesmight blow from them; and thus great numbers went out of the worldwho were never knownor any account of them takenas well withinthe bills of mortality as without.

ThisindeedI had in the main only from the relation of othersfor Iseldom walked into the fieldsexcept towards Bethnal Green andHackneyor as hereafter.  But when I did walkI always saw agreat many poor wanderers at a distance; but I could know little oftheir casesfor whether it were in the street or in the fieldsifwe had seen anybody comingit was a general method to walk away; yetI believe the account is exactly true.

Asthis puts me upon mentioning my walking the streets and fieldsIcannot omit taking notice what a desolate place the city was at thattime.  The great street I lived in (which is known to be one ofthe broadest of all the streets of LondonI mean of the suburbs aswell as the liberties) all the side where the butchers livedespecially without the barswas more like a green field than a pavedstreetand the people generally went in the middle with the horsesand carts.  It is true that the farthest end towardsWhitechappel Church was not all pavedbut even the part that waspaved was full of grass also; but this need not seem strangesincethe great streets within the citysuch as Leadenhall StreetBishopsgate StreetCornhilland even the Exchange itselfhad grassgrowing in them in several places; neither cart or coach were seen inthe streets from morning to eveningexcept some country carts tobring roots and beansor peashayand strawto the marketandthose but very few compared to what was usual. As for coachestheywere scarce used but to carry sick people to the pest-houseand toother hospitalsand some few to carry physicians to such places asthey thought fit to venture to visit; for really coaches weredangerous thingsand people did not care to venture into thembecause they did not know who might have been carried in them lastand sickinfected people wereas I have saidordinarily carried inthem to the pest-housesand sometimes people expired in them as theywent along.

Itis truewhen the infection came to such a height as I have nowmentionedthere were very few physicians which cared to stir abroadto sick housesand very many of the most eminent of the faculty weredeadas well as the surgeons also; for now it was indeed a dismaltimeand for about a month togethernot taking any notice of thebills of mortalityI believe there did not die less than 1500 or1700 a dayone day with another.

Oneof the worst days we had in the whole timeas I thoughtwas in thebeginning of Septemberwhenindeedgood people began to think thatGod was resolved to make a full end of the people in this miserablecity.  This was at that time when the plague was fully come intothe eastern parishes.  The parish of Aldgateif I may give myopinionburied above a thousand a week for two weeksthough thebills did not say so many; - but it surrounded me at so dismal a ratethat there was not a house in twenty uninfected in the MinoriesinHoundsditchand in those parts of Aldgate parish about the ButcherRow and the alleys over against me.  I sayin those placesdeath reigned in every corner.  Whitechappel parish was in thesame conditionand though much less than the parish I lived inyetburied near 600 a week by the billsand in my opinion near twice asmany. Whole familiesand indeed whole streets of familieswereswept away together; insomuch that it was frequent for neighbours tocall to the bellman to go to such-and-such houses and fetch out thepeoplefor that they were all dead.

Andindeedthe work of removing the dead bodies by carts was now grownso very odious and dangerous that it was complained of that thebearers did not take care to dear such houses where all theinhabitants were deadbut that sometimes the bodies lay several daysunburiedtill the neighbouring families were offended with thestenchand consequently infected; and this neglect of the officerswas such that the churchwardens and constables were summoned to lookafter itand even the justices of the Hamlets were obliged toventure their lives among them to quicken and encourage themforinnumerable of the bearers died of the distemperinfected by thebodies they were obliged to come so near.  And had it not beenthat the number of poor people who wanted employment and wanted bread(as I have said before) was so great that necessity drove them toundertake anything and venture anythingthey would never have foundpeople to be employed.  And then the bodies of the dead wouldhave lain above groundand have perished and rotted in a dreadfulmanner.

Butthe magistrates cannot be enough commended in thisthat they keptsuch good order for the burying of the deadthat as fast as any ofthese they employed to carry off and bury the dead fell sick or diedas was many times the casethey immediately supplied the places withotherswhichby reason of the great number of poor that was leftout of businessas abovewas not hard to do.  This occasionedthat notwithstanding the infinite number of people which died andwere sickalmost all togetheryet they were always cleared away andcarried off every nightso that it was never to be said of Londonthat the living were not able to bury the dead.

Asthe desolation was greater during those terrible timesso theamazement of the people increasedand a thousand unaccountablethings they would do in the violence of their frightas others didthe same in the agonies of their distemperand this part was veryaffecting.  Some went roaring and crying and wringing theirhands along the street; some would go praying and lifting up theirhands to heavencalling upon God for mercy.  I cannot sayindeedwhether this was not in their distractionbutbe it soitwas still an indication of a more serious mindwhen they had the useof their sensesand was much bettereven as it wasthan thefrightful yellings and cryings that every dayand especially in theeveningswere heard in some streets.  I suppose the world hasheard of the famous Solomon Eaglean enthusiast.  Hethoughnot infected at all but in his headwent about denouncing ofjudgement upon the city in a frightful mannersometimes quite nakedand with a pan of burning charcoal on his head.  What he saidor pretendedindeed I could not learn.

Iwill not say whether that clergyman was distracted or notor whetherhe did it in pure zeal for the poor peoplewho went every eveningthrough the streets of Whitechappelandwith his hands lifted uprepeated that part of the Liturgy of the Church continually'Spareusgood Lord; spare Thy peoplewhom Thou has redeemed with Thy mostprecious blood.' I sayI cannot speak positively of these thingsbecause these were only the dismal objects which representedthemselves to me as I looked through my chamber windows (for I seldomopened the casements)while I confined myself within doors duringthat most violent raging of the pestilence; whenindeedas I havesaidmany began to thinkand even to saythat there would noneescape; and indeed I began to think so tooand therefore kept withindoors for about a fortnight and never stirred out.  But I couldnot hold it.  Besidesthere were some people whonotwithstanding the dangerdid not omit publicly to attend theworship of Godeven in the most dangerous times; and though it istrue that a great many clergymen did shut up their churchesandfledas other people didfor the safety of their livesyet all didnot do so.  Some ventured to officiate and to keep up theassemblies of the people by constant prayersand sometimes sermonsor brief exhortations to repentance and reformationand this as longas any would come to hear them. And Dissenters did the like alsoandeven in the very churches where the parish ministers were either deador fled; nor was there any room for making difference at such a timeas this was.

Itwas indeed a lamentable thing to hear the miserable lamentations ofpoor dying creatures calling out for ministers to comfort them andpray with themto counsel them and to direct themcalling out toGod for pardon and mercyand confessing aloud their past sins. It would make the stoutest heart bleed to hear how many warnings werethen given by dying penitents to others not to put off and delaytheir repentance to the day of distress; that such a time of calamityas this was no time for repentancewas no time to call upon God. I wish I could repeat the very sound of those groans and of thoseexclamations that I heard from some poor dying creatures when in theheight of their agonies and distressand that I could make him thatreads this hearas I imagine I now hear themfor the sound seemsstill to ring in my ears.

IfI could but tell this part in such moving accents as should alarm thevery soul of the readerI should rejoice that I recorded thosethingshowever short and imperfect.

Itpleased God that I was still sparedand very hearty and sound inhealthbut very impatient of being pent up within doors without airas I had been for fourteen days or thereabouts; and I could notrestrain myselfbut I would go to carry a letter for my brother tothe post- house.  Then it was indeed that I observed a profoundsilence in the streets.  When I came to the post-houseas Iwent to put in my letter I saw a man stand in one corner of the yardand talking to another at a windowand a third had opened a doorbelonging to the office.  In the middle of the yard lay a smallleather purse with two keys hanging at itwith money in itbutnobody would meddle with it.  I asked how long it had lainthere; the man at the window said it had lain almost an hourbutthat they had not meddled with itbecause they did not know but theperson who dropped it might come back to look for it.  I had nosuch need of moneynor was the sum so big that I had any inclinationto meddle with itor to get the money at the hazard it might beattended with; so I seemed to go awaywhen the man who had openedthe door said he would take it upbut so that if the right ownercame for it he should be sure to have it.  So he went in andfetched a pail of water and set it down hard by the pursethen wentagain and fetch some gunpowderand cast a good deal of powder uponthe purseand then made a train from that which he had thrown looseupon the purse.  The train reached about two yards.  Afterthis he goes in a third time and fetches out a pair of tongs red hotand which he had preparedI supposeon purpose; and first settingfire to the train of powderthat singed the purse and also smokedthe air sufficiently.  But he was not content with thatbut hethen takes up the purse with the tongsholding it so long till thetongs burnt through the purseand then he shook the money out intothe pail of waterso he carried it in.  The moneyas Irememberwas about thirteen shilling and some smooth groats andbrass farthings.

Theremight perhaps have been several poor peopleas I have observedabovethat would have been hardy enough to have ventured for thesake of the money; but you may easily see by what I have observedthat the few people who were spared were very careful of themselvesat that time when the distress was so exceeding great.

Muchabout the same time I walked out into the fields towards Bow; for Ihad a great mind to see how things were managed in the river andamong the ships; and as I had some concern in shippingI had anotion that it had been one of the best ways of securing one's selffrom the infection to have retired into a ship; and musing how tosatisfy my curiosity in that pointI turned away over the fieldsfrom Bow to Bromleyand down to Blackwall to the stairs which arethere for landing or taking water.

HereI saw a poor man walking on the bankor sea-wallas they call itby himself.  I walked a while also aboutseeing the houses allshut up.  At last I fell into some talkat a distancewiththis poor man; first I asked him how people did thereabouts. 'Alassir!' says he'almost desolate; all dead or sick.  Hereare very few families in this partor in that village' (pointing atPoplar)'where half of them are not dead alreadyand the restsick.' Then he pointing to one house'There they are all dead'saidhe'and the house stands open; nobody dares go into it.  A poorthief'says he'ventured in to steal somethingbut he paid dearfor his theftfor he was carried to the churchyard too last night.'Then he pointed to several other houses.  'There'says he. 'they are all deadthe man and his wifeand five children. There'says he'they are shut up; you see a watchman at the door';and so of other houses. 'Why' says I'what do you here all alone? ' 'Why' says he'I am a poordesolate man; it has pleased God I amnot yet visitedthough my family isand one of my children dead.''How do you meanthen' said I'that you are not visited?' 'Why'says he'that's my house' (pointing to a very littlelow-boardedhouse)'and there my poor wife and two children live' said he'ifthey may be said to livefor my wife and one of the children arevisitedbut I do not come at them.' And with that word I saw thetears run very plentifully down his face; and so they did down minetooI assure you.

'But'said I'why do you not come at them?  How can you abandon yourown flesh and blood?' 'Ohsir' says he'the Lord forbid! I do notabandon them; I work for them as much as I am able; andblessed bethe LordI keep them from want'; and with that I observed he liftedup his eyes to heavenwith a countenance that presently told me Ihad happened on a man that was no hypocritebut a seriousreligiousgood manand his ejaculation was an expression ofthankfulness thatin such a condition as he was inhe should beable to say his family did not want.  'Well' says I'honestmanthat is a great mercy as things go now with the poor.  Buthow do you livethenand how are you kept from the dreadfulcalamity that is now upon us all?' 'Whysir' says he'I am awatermanand there's my boat' says he'and the boat serves me fora house.  I work in it in the dayand I sleep in it in thenight; and what I get I lay down upon that stone' says heshowingme a broad stone on the other side of the streeta good way from hishouse; 'and then' says he'I hallooand call to them till I makethem hear; and they come and fetch it.'

'Wellfriend' says I'but how can you get any money as a waterman? Does an body go by water these times?' 'Yessir' says he'in theway I am employed there does.  Do you see there' says he'fiveships lie at anchor' (pointing down the river a good way below thetown)'and do you see'says he'eight or ten ships lie at thechain thereand at anchor yonder?' pointing above the town). 'All those ships have families on boardof their merchants andownersand such-likewho have locked themselves up and live onboardclose shut infor fear of the infection; and I tend on themto fetch things for themcarry lettersand do what is absolutelynecessarythat they may not be obliged to come on shore; and everynight I fasten my boat on board one of the ship's boatsand there Isleep by myselfandblessed be GodI am preserved hitherto.'

'Well'said I'friendbut will they let you come on board after you havebeen on shore herewhen this is such a terrible placeand soinfected as it is?'

'Whyas to that' said he'I very seldom go up the ship-sidebut deliverwhat I bring to their boator lie by the sideand they hoist it onboard.  If I didI think they are in no danger from mefor Inever go into any house on shoreor touch anybodynonot of my ownfamily; but I fetch provisions for them.'

'Nay'says I'but that may be worsefor you must have those provisions ofsomebody or other; and since all this part of the town is soinfectedit is dangerous so much as to speak with anybodyfor thevillage'said I'isas it werethe beginning of Londonthough itbe at some distance from it.'

'Thatis true' added he; 'but you do not understand me right; I do not buyprovisions for them here.  I row up to Greenwich and buy freshmeat thereand sometimes I row down the river to Woolwich and buythere; then I go to single farm-houses on the Kentish sidewhere Iam knownand buy fowls and eggs and butterand bring to the shipsas they direct mesometimes onesometimes the other.  I seldomcome on shore hereand I came now only to call on my wife and hearhow my family doand give them a little moneywhich I received lastnight.'

'Poorman!' said I; 'and how much hast thou gotten for them?'

'Ihave gotten four shillings' said he'which is a great sumasthings go now with poor men; but they have given me a bag of breadtooand a salt fish and some flesh; so all helps out.' 'Well' saidI'and have you given it them yet?'

'No'said he; 'but I have calledand my wife has answered that she cannotcome out yetbut in half-an-hour she hopes to comeand I am waitingfor her.  Poor woman!' says he'she is brought sadly down. Shehas a swellingand it is brokeand I hope she will recover; but Ifear the child will diebut it is the Lord - '

Herehe stoppedand wept very much.

'Wellhonest friend' said I'thou hast a sure Comforterif thou hastbrought thyself to be resigned to the will of God; He is dealing withus all in judgement.'

'Ohsir!' says he'it is infinite mercy if any of us are sparedand whoam I to repine!'

'Sayestthou so?' said I'and how much less is my faith than thine?' Andhere my heart smote mesuggesting how much better this poor man'sfoundation was on which he stayed in the danger than mine; that hehad nowhere to fly; that he had a family to bind him to attendancewhich I had not; and mine was mere presumptionhis a true dependenceand a courage resting on God; and yet that he used all possiblecaution for his safety.

Iturned a little way from the man while these thoughts engaged meforindeedI could no more refrain from tears than he.

Atlengthafter some further talkthe poor woman opened the door andcalled'RobertRobert'.  He answeredand bid her stay a fewmoments and he would come; so he ran down the common stairs to hisboat and fetched up a sackin which was the provisions he hadbrought from the ships; and when he returned he hallooed again. Thenhe went to the great stone which he showed me and emptied the sackand laid all outeverything by themselvesand then retired; and hiswife came with a little boy to fetch them awayand called and saidsuch a captain had sent such a thingand such a captain such athingand at the end adds'God has sent it all; give thanks toHim.' When the poor woman had taken up allshe was so weak she couldnot carry it at once inthough the weight was not much neither; soshe left the biscuitwhich was in a little bagand left a littleboy to watch it till she came again.

'Wellbut'says I to him'did you leave her the four shillings toowhichyou said was your week's pay?'

'Yesyes' says he; 'you shall hear her own it.' So he calls again'RachelRachel' which it seems was her name'did you take up themoney?' 'Yes' said she.  'How much was it?' said he. 'Four shillings and a groat' said she.  'Wellwell' says he'the Lord keep you all'; and so he turned to go away.

AsI could not refrain contributing tears to this man's storysoneither could I refrain my charity for his assistance.  So Icalled him'Hark theefriend' said I'come hitherfor I believethou art in healththat I may venture thee'; so I pulled out myhandwhich was in my pocket before'Here' says I'go and call thyRachel once moreand give her a little more comfort from me. God will never forsake a family that trust in Him as thou dost.' So Igave him four other shillingsand bid him go lay them on the stoneand call his wife.

Ihave not words to express the poor man's thankfulnessneither couldhe express it himself but by tears running down his face. He calledhis wifeand told her God had moved the heart of a strangeruponhearing their conditionto give them all that moneyand a greatdeal more such as that he said to her.  The womantoomadesigns of the like thankfulnessas well to Heaven as to meandjoyfully picked it up; and I parted with no money all that year thatI thought better bestowed.

Ithen asked the poor man if the distemper had not reached toGreenwich.  He said it had not till about a fortnight before;but that then he feared it hadbut that it was only at that end ofthe town which lay south towards Deptford Bridge; that he went onlyto a butcher's shop and a grocer'swhere he generally bought suchthings as they sent him forbut was very careful.

Iasked him then how it came to pass that those people who had so shutthemselves up in the ships had not laid in sufficient stores of allthings necessary.  He said some of them had - buton the otherhandsome did not come on board till they were frighted into it andtill it was too dangerous for them to go to the proper people to layin quantities of thingsand that he waited on two shipswhich heshowed methat had laid in little or nothing but biscuit bread andship beerand that he had bought everything else almost for them. I asked him if there was any more ships that had separated themselvesas those had done.  He told me yesall the way up from thepointright against Greenwichto within the shore of Limehouse andRedriffall the ships that could have room rid two and two in themiddle of the streamand that some of them had several families onboard.  I asked him if the distemper had not reached them. He said he believed it had notexcept two or three ships whosepeople had not been so watchful to keep the seamen from going onshore as others had beenand he said it was a very fine sight to seehow the ships lay up the Pool.

Whenhe said he was going over to Greenwich as soon as the tide began tocome inI asked if he would let me go with him and bring me backfor that I had a great mind to see how the ships were rangedas hehad told me.  He told meif I would assure him on the word of aChristian and of an honest man that I had not the distemperhewould. I assured him that I had not; that it had pleased God topreserve me; that I lived in Whitechappelbut was too impatient ofbeing so long within doorsand that I had ventured out so far forthe refreshment of a little airbut that none in my house had somuch as been touched with it.

Wellsir' says he'as your charity has been moved to pity me and my poorfamilysure you cannot have so little pity left as to put yourselfinto my boat if you were not sound in health which would be nothingless than killing me and ruining my whole family.' The poor mantroubled me so much when he spoke of his family with such a sensibleconcern and in such an affectionate mannerthat I could not satisfymyself at first to go at all.  I told him I would lay aside mycuriosity rather than make him uneasythough I was sureand verythankful for itthat I had no more distemper upon me than thefreshest man in the world.  Wellhe would not have me put itoff neitherbut to let me see how confident he was that I was justto himnow importuned me to go; so when the tide came up to his boatI went inand he carried me to Greenwich.  While he bought thethings which he had in his charge to buyI walked up to the top ofthe hill under which the town standsand on the east side of thetownto get a prospect of the river.  But it was a surprisingsight to see the number of ships which lay in rowstwo and twoandsome places two or three such lines in the breadth of the riverandthis not only up quite to the townbetween the houses which we callRatcliff and Redriffwhich they name the Poolbut even down thewhole river as far as the head of Long Reachwhich is as far as thehills give us leave to see it.

Icannot guess at the number of shipsbut I think there must beseveral hundreds of sail; and I could not but applaud thecontrivance: for ten thousand people and more who attended shipaffairs were certainly sheltered here from the violence of thecontagionand lived very safe and very easy.

Ireturned to my own dwelling very well satisfied with my day'sjourneyand particularly with the poor man; also I rejoiced to seethat such little sanctuaries were provided for so many families in atime of such desolation.  I observed also thatas the violenceof the plague had increasedso the ships which had families on boardremoved and went farther offtillas I was toldsome went quiteaway to seaand put into such harbours and safe roads on the northcoast as they could best come at.

Butit was also true that all the people who thus left the land and livedon board the ships were not entirely safe from the infectionformany died and were thrown overboard into the riversome in coffinsand someas I heardwithout coffinswhose bodies were seensometimes to drive up and down with the tide in the river.

ButI believe I may venture to say that in those ships which were thusinfected it either happened where the people had recourse to them toolateand did not fly to the ship till they had stayed too long onshore and had the distemper upon them (though perhaps they might notperceive it) and so the distemper did not come to them on board theshipsbut they really carried it with them; or it was in these shipswhere the poor waterman said they had not had time to furnishthemselves with provisionsbut were obliged to send often on shoreto buy what they had occasion foror suffered boats to come to themfrom the shore.  And so the distemper was brought insensiblyamong them.

Andhere I cannot but take notice that the strange temper of the peopleof London at that time contributed extremely to their owndestruction.  The plague beganas I have observedat the otherend of the townnamelyin Long AcreDrury Lane&c.and cameon towards the city very gradually and slowly.  It was felt atfirst in Decemberthen again in Februarythen again in Aprilandalways but a very little at a time; then it stopped till Mayandeven the last week in May there was but seventeenand all at thatend of the town; and all this whileeven so long as till there diedabove 3000 a weekyet had the people in Redriffand in Wapping andRatcliffon both sides of the riverand almost all Southwark sidea mighty fancy that they should not be visitedor at least that itwould not be so violent among them.  Some people fancied thesmell of the pitch and tarand such other things as oil and rosinand brimstonewhich is so much used by all trades relating toshippingwould preserve them.  Others argued itbecause it wasin its extreamest violence in Westminster and the parish of St Gilesand St Andrew&c.and began to abate again before it came amongthem - which was true indeedin part.  For example -

From the 8th to the 15th August
St Giles-in-the-Fields
Cripplegate
Stepney
St MargaretBermondsey
Rotherhith
Total this week New

From the 15th to the 22nd August
St Giles-in-the-Fields
Cripplegate
Stepney
St MargaretBermondsey
Rotherhith
Total this week


242
886
197
24
3
4030


175
847
273
36
2
5319

 

N.B.- That it was observed the numbers mentioned in Stepney parish atthat time were generally all on that side where Stepney parish joinedto Shoreditchwhich we now call Spittlefieldswhere the parish ofStepney comes up to the very wall of Shoreditch Churchyardand theplague at this time was abated at St Giles-in-the- Fieldsand ragedmost violently in CripplegateBishopsgateand Shoreditch parishes;but there was not ten people a week that died of it in all that partof Stepney parish which takes in LimehouseRatdiff Highwayandwhich are now the parishes of Shadwell and Wappingeven to StKatherine's by the Towertill after the whole month of August wasexpired.  But they paid for it afterwardsas I shall observeby-and-by.

ThisI saymade the people of Redriff and WappingRatcliff andLimehouseso secureand flatter themselves so much with theplague's going off without reaching themthat they took no careeither to fly into the country or shut themselves up.  Naysofar were they from stirring that they rather received their friendsand relations from the city into their housesand several from otherplaces really took sanctuary in that part of the town as a Place ofsafetyand as a place which they thought God would pass overandnot visit as the rest was visited.

Andthis was the reason that when it came upon -them they were moresurprisedmore unprovidedand more at a loss what to do than theywere in other places; for when it came among them really and withviolenceas it did indeed in September and Octoberthere was thenno stirring out into the countrynobody would suffer a stranger tocome near themnonor near the towns where they dwelt; andas Ihave been toldseveral that wandered into the country on Surrey sidewere found starved to death in the woods and commonsthat countrybeing more open and more woody than any other part so near Londonespecially about Norwood and the parishes of CamberwellDullegeandLusumwhereit seemsnobody durst relieve the poor distressedpeople for fear of the infection.

Thisnotion havingas I saidprevailed with the people in that part ofthe townwas in part the occasionas I said beforethat they hadrecourse to ships for their retreat; and where they did this earlyand with prudencefurnishing themselves so with provisions that theyhad no need to go on shore for supplies or suffer boats to come onboard to bring them- I saywhere they did so they had certainlythe safest retreat of any people whatsoever; but the distress wassuch that people ran on boardin their frightwithout bread to eatand some into ships that had no men on board to remove them fartheroffor to take the boat and go down the river to buy provisionswhere it might be done safelyand these often suffered and wereinfected on board as much as on shore.

 

Asthe richer sort got into shipsso the lower rank got into hoyssmackslightersand fishing-boats; and manyespecially watermenlay in their boats; but those made sad work of itespecially thelatterforgoing about for provisionand perhaps to get theirsubsistencethe infection got in among them and made a fearfulhavoc; many of the watermen died alone in their wherries as they ridat their roadsas well as above bridge as belowand were not foundsometimes till they were not in condition for anybody to touch orcome near them.

Indeedthe distress of the people at this seafaring end of the town was verydeplorableand deserved the greatest commiseration.  ButalasI this was a time when every one's private safety lay so near themthat they had no room to pity the distresses of others; for every onehad deathas it wereat his doorand many even in their familiesand knew not what to do or whither to fly.

ThisI saytook away all compassion; self-preservationindeedappearedhere to be the first law.  For the children ran away from theirparents as they languished in the utmost distress.  And in someplacesthough not so frequent as the otherparents did the like totheir children; naysome dreadful examples there wereandparticularly two in one weekof distressed mothersraving anddistractedkilling their own children; one whereof was not far offfrom where I dweltthe poor lunatic creature not living herself longenough to be sensible of the sin of what she had donemuch less tobe punished for it.

Itis notindeedto be wondered at: for the danger of immediate deathto ourselves took away all bowels of loveall concern for oneanother.  I speak in generalfor there were many instances ofimmovable affectionpityand duty in manyand some that came to myknowledgethat is to sayby hearsay; for I shall not take upon meto vouch the truth of the particulars.

Tointroduce onelet me first mention that one of the most deplorablecases in all the present calamity was that of women with childwhowhen they came to the hour of their sorrowsand their pains comeupon themcould neither have help of one kind or another; neithermidwife or neighbouring women to come near them. Most of the midwiveswere deadespecially of such as served the poor; and manyif notall the midwives of notewere fled into the country; so that it wasnext to impossible for a poor woman that could not pay an immoderateprice to get any midwife to come to her - and if they didthose theycould get were generally unskilful and ignorant creatures; and theconsequence of this was that a most unusual and incredible number ofwomen were reduced to the utmost distress. Some were delivered andspoiled by the rashness and ignorance of those who pretended to laythem.  Children without number wereI might saymurdered bythe same but a more justifiable ignorance: pretending they would savethe motherwhatever became of the child; and many times both motherand child were lost in the same manner; and especially where themother had the distemperthere nobody would come near them and bothsometimes perished.  Sometimes the mother has died of theplagueand the infantit may behalf bornor born but not partedfrom the mother.  Some died in the very pains of their travailand not delivered at all; and so many were the cases of this kindthat it is hard to judge of them.

Somethingof it will appear in the unusual numbers which are put into theweekly bills (though I am far from allowing them to be able to giveanything of a full account) under the articles of -  

Child-bed. 

Abortiveand Still-born.  

Christmasand Infants.



Takethe weeks in which the plague was most violentand compare them withthe weeks before the distemper beganeven in the same year. For example: -

From January 3 to January 10
  "           "     10        "       17
  "           "     17        "       24
  "           "     24        "       31
  "           "     31 to February 7
February 7                "      14
  "           "     14        "       21
  "           "     21        "       28
  "           "     28 to March 7




From August 1 to August 8
  "           "     8          "       15
  "           "     15        "       22
  "           "     22        "       29
  "           "     29 to September 5
September 5             "      12
  "           "     12        "       19
  "           "     19        "       26
  "           "     26 to October 3


Child-bed.
7
8
9
3
3
6
5
2
5
---
48

25
23
28
40
38
39
42
42
14
---
291


Abortive
1
6
5
2
3
2
2
2
1
---
24

5
6
4
6
2
23
5
6
4
--
61


Still-born
13
11
15
9
8
11
13
10
10
---
100

11
8
4
10
11
...
17
10
9
---
80

Tothe disparity of these numbers it is to be considered and allowedforthat according to our usual opinion who were then upon the spotthere were not one-third of the people in the town during the monthsof August and September as were in the months of January andFebruary.  In a wordthe usual number that used to die of thesethree articlesandas I heardid die of them the year beforewasthus: -

1664
Child-bed
Abortive and still-born

189
458
----
647
1665
Child-bed
Abortiveand still-born

625
617
----
1242

 

ThisinequalityI sayis exceedingly augmented when the numbers ofpeople are considered.  I pretend not to make any exactcalculation of the numbers of people which were at this time in thecitybut I shall make a probable conjecture at that part by-and-by. What I have said now is to explain the misery of those poor creaturesabove; so that it might well be saidas in the ScriptureWoe be tothose who are with childand to those which give suck in that day. Forindeedit was a woe to them in particular.

Iwas not conversant in many particular families where these thingshappenedbut the outcries of the miserable were heard afar off. As to those who were with childwe have seen some calculation made;291 women dead in child-bed in nine weeksout of one-third part ofthe number of whom there usually died in that time but eighty-four ofthe same disaster.  Let the reader calculate the proportion.

Thereis no room to doubt but the misery of those that gave suck was inproportion as great.  Our bills of mortality could give butlittle light in thisyet some it did.  There were several morethan usual starved at nursebut this was nothing.  The miserywas where they werefirststarved for want of a nursethe motherdying and all the family and the infants found dead by themmerelyfor want; andif I may speak my opinionI do believe that manyhundreds of poor helpless infants perished in this manner. Secondlynot starvedbut poisoned by the nurse.  Nayevenwhere the mother has been nurseand having received the infectionhas poisonedthat isinfected the infant with her milk even beforethey knew they were infected themselves; nayand the infant has diedin such a case before the mother.  I cannot but remember toleave this admonition upon recordif ever such another dreadfulvisitation should happen in this citythat all women that are withchild or that give suck should be goneif they have any possiblemeansout of the placebecause their miseryif infectedwill somuch exceed all other people's.

Icould tell here dismal stories of living infants being found suckingthe breasts of their mothersor nursesafter they have been dead ofthe plague.  Of a mother in the parish where I livedwhohaving a child that was not wellsent for an apothecary to view thechild; and when he cameas the relation goeswas giving the childsuck at her breastand to all appearance was herself very well; butwhen the apothecary came close to her he saw the tokens upon thatbreast with which she was suckling the child.  He was surprisedenoughto be surebutnot willing to fright the poor woman toomuchhe desired she would give the child into his hand; so he takesthe childand going to a cradle in the roomlays it inand openingits clothsfound the tokens upon the child tooand both died beforehe could get home to send a preventive medicine to the father of thechildto whom he had told their condition.  Whether the childinfected the nurse-mother or the mother the child was not certainbut the last most likely. Likewise of a child brought home to theparents from a nurse that had died of the plagueyet the tendermother would not refuse to take in her childand laid it in herbosomby which she was infected; and died with the child in her armsdead also.

Itwould make the hardest heart move at the instances that werefrequently found of tender mothers tending and watching with theirdear childrenand even dying before themand sometimes taking thedistemper from them and dyingwhen the child for whom theaffectionate heart had been sacrificed has got over it and escaped.

Thelike of a tradesman in East Smithfieldwhose wife was big with childof her first childand fell in labourhaving the plague upon her.He could neither get midwife to assist her or nurse to tend herandtwo servants which he kept fled both from her.  He ran fromhouse to house like one distractedbut could get no help; the utmosthe could get wasthat a watchmanwho attended at an infected houseshut uppromised to send a nurse in the morning.  The poor manwith his heart brokewent backassisted his wife what he couldacted the part of the midwifebrought the child dead into the worldand his wife in about an hour died in his armswhere he held herdead body fast till the morningwhen the watchman came and broughtthe nurse as he had promised; and coming up the stairs (for he hadleft the door openor only latched)they found the man sitting withhis dead wife in his armsand so overwhelmed with grief that he diedin a few hours after without any sign of the infection upon himbutmerely sunk under the weight of his grief.

Ihave heard also of some whoon the death of their relationshavegrown stupid with the insupportable sorrow; and of oneinparticularwho was so absolutely overcome with the pressure upon hisspirits that by degrees his head sank into his bodyso between hisshoulders that the crown of his head was very little seen above thebone of his shoulders; and by degrees losing both voice and sensehis facelooking forwardlay against his collarbone and could notbe kept up any otherwiseunless held up by the hands of otherpeople; and the poor man never came to himself againbut languishednear a year in that conditionand died.  Nor was he ever onceseen to lift up his eyes or to look upon any particular object.

Icannot undertake to give any other than a summary of such passages asthesebecause it was not possible to come at the particularswheresometimes the whole families where such things happened were carriedoff by the distemper.  But there were innumerable cases of thiskind which presented to the eye and the eareven in passing alongthe streetsas I have hinted above.  Nor is it easy to give anystory of this or that family which there was not divers parallelstories to be met with of the same kind.

Butas I am now talking of the time when the plague raged at theeasternmost part of the town - how for a long time the people ofthose parts had flattered themselves that they should escapeand howthey were surprised when it came upon them as it did; forindeeditcame upon them like an armed man when it did come; - I saythisbrings me back to the three poor men who wandered from Wappingnotknowing whither to go or what to doand whom I mentioned before; onea biscuit-bakerone a sailmakerand the other a joinerall ofWappingor there-abouts.

Thesleepiness and security of that partas I have observedwas suchthat they not only did not shift for themselves as others didbutthey boasted of being safeand of safety being with them; and manypeople fled out of the cityand out of the infected suburbstoWappingRatcliffLimehousePoplarand such Placesas to Placesof security; and it is not at all unlikely that their doing thishelped to bring the plague that way faster than it might otherwisehave come. For though I am much for people flying away and emptyingsuch a town as this upon the first appearance of a like visitationand that all people who have any possible retreat should make use ofit in time and be goneyet I must saywhen all that will fly aregonethose that are left and must stand it should stand stock-stillwhere they areand not shift from one end of the town or one part ofthe town to the other; for that is the bane and mischief of thewholeand they carry the plague from house to house in their veryclothes.

Whereforewere we ordered to kill all the dogs and catsbut because as theywere domestic animalsand are apt to run from house to house andfrom street to streetso they are capable of carrying the effluviaor infectious streams of bodies infected even in their furs andhair?  And therefore it was thatin the beginning of theinfectionan order was published by the Lord Mayorand by themagistratesaccording to the advice of the physiciansthat all thedogs and cats should be immediately killedand an officer wasappointed for the execution.

Itis incredibleif their account is to be depended uponwhat aprodigious number of those creatures were destroyed.  I thinkthey talked of forty thousand dogsand five times as many cats; fewhouses being without a catsome having severalsometimes five orsix in a house.  All possible endeavours were used also todestroy the mice and ratsespecially the latterby laying ratsbaneand other poisons for themand a prodigious multitude of them werealso destroyed.

Ioften reflected upon the unprovided condition that the whole body ofthe people were in at the first coming of this calamity upon themand how it was for want of timely entering into measures andmanagementsas well public as privatethat all the confusions thatfollowed were brought upon usand that such a prodigious number ofpeople sank in that disasterwhichif proper steps had been takenmightProvidence concurringhave been avoidedand whichifposterity think fitthey may take a caution and warning from. But I shall come to this part again.

Icome back to my three men.  Their story has a moral in everypart of itand their whole conductand that of some whom theyjoined withis a pattern for all poor men to followor womeneitherif ever such a time comes again; and if there was no otherend in recording itI think this a very just onewhether my accountbe exactly according to fact or no.

Twoof them are said to be brothersthe one an old soldierbut now abiscuit-maker; the other a lame sailorbut now a sailmaker; thethird a joiner.  Says John the biscuit-maker one day to Thomashis brotherthe sailmaker'Brother Tomwhat will become of us? The plague grows hot in the cityand increases this way.  Whatshall we do?'

'Truly'says Thomas'I am at a great loss what to dofor I find if it comesdown into Wapping I shall be turned out of my lodging.' And thus theybegan to talk of it beforehand.

John. Turned out of your lodgingTom I If you areI don't know who willtake you in; for people are so afraid of one another nowthere's nogetting a lodging anywhere.

Thomas. Whythe people where I lodge are goodcivil peopleand havekindness enough for me too; but they say I go abroad every day to myworkand it will be dangerous; and they talk of locking themselvesup and letting nobody come near them.

John. Whythey are in the rightto be sureif they resolve to venturestaying in town.

Thomas. NayI might even resolve to stay within doors tooforexcept asuit of sails that my master has in handand which I am justfinishingI am like to get no more work a great while.  There'sno trade stirs now.  Workmen and servants are turned offeverywhereso that I might be glad to be locked up too; but I do notsee they will be willing to consent to thatany more than to theother.

John. Whywhat will you do thenbrother?  And what shall I do? for Iam almost as bad as you.  The people where I lodge are all goneinto the country but a maidand she is to go next weekand to shutthe house quite upso that I shall be turned adrift to the wideworld before youand I am resolved to go away tooif I knew butwhere to go.

Thomas. We were both distracted we did not go away at first; then we mighthave travelled anywhere.  There's no stirring now; we shall bestarved if we pretend to go out of town.  They won't let us havevictualsnonot for our moneynor let us come into the townsmuchless into their houses.

John. And that which is almost as badI have but little money to helpmyself with neither.

Thomas. As to thatwe might make shiftI have a littlethough not much;but I tell you there's no stirring on the road.  I know a coupleof poor honest men in our street have attempted to traveland atBarnetor Whetstoneor thereaboutsthe people offered to fire atthem if they pretended to go forwardso they are come back againquite discouraged.

John. I would have ventured their fire if I had been there.  If I hadbeen denied food for my money they should have seen me take it beforetheir facesand if I had tendered money for it they could not havetaken any course with me by law.

Thomas. You talk your old soldier's languageas if you were in the LowCountries nowbut this is a serious thing.  The people havegood reason to keep anybody off that they are not satisfied aresoundat such a time as thisand we must not plunder them.

John. Nobrotheryou mistake the caseand mistake me too.  I wouldplunder nobody; but for any town upon the road to deny me leave topass through the town in the open highwayand deny me provisions formy moneyis to say the town has a right to starve me to deathwhichcannot be true.

Thomas. But they do not deny you liberty to go back again from whence youcameand therefore they do not starve you.

John. But the next town behind me willby the same ruledeny me leave togo backand so they do starve me between them.  Besidesthereis no law to prohibit my travelling wherever I will on the road.

Thomas. But there will be so much difficulty in disputing with them at everytown on the road that it is not for poor men to do it or undertakeitat such a time as this is especially.

John. Whybrotherour condition at this rate is worse than anybodyelse'sfor we can neither go away nor stay here.  I am of thesame mind with the lepers of Samaria: 'If we stay here we are sure todie'I mean especially as you and I are statedwithout adwelling-house of our ownand without lodging in anybody else's. There is no lying in the street at such a time as this; we had asgood go into the dead-cart at once.  Therefore I sayif we stayhere we are sure to dieand if we go away we can but die; I amresolved to be gone.

Thomas. You will go away.  Whither will you goand what can you do? I would as willingly go away as youif I knew whither.  But wehave no acquaintanceno friends.  Here we were bornand herewe must die.

John. Look youTomthe whole kingdom is my native country as well as thistown.  You may as well say I must not go out of my house if itis on fire as that I must not go out of the town I was born in whenit is infected with the plague.  I was born in Englandand havea right to live in it if I can.

Thomas. But you know every vagrant person may by the laws of England be takenupand passed back to their last legal settlement.

John. But how shall they make me vagrant?  I desire only to travel onupon my lawful occasions.

Thomas. What lawful occasions can we pretend to travelor rather wanderupon?  They will not be put off with words.

John. Is not flying to save our lives a lawful occasion? And do they notall know that the fact is true? We cannot be said to dissemble.

Thomas. But suppose they let us passwhither shall we go?

John. Anywhereto save our lives; it is time enough to consider that whenwe are got out of this town.  If I am once out of this dreadfulplaceI care not where I go.

Thomas. We shall be driven to great extremities.  I know not what tothink of it.

John. WellTomconsider of it a little.

Thiswas about the beginning of July; and though the plague was comeforward in the west and north parts of the townyet all WappingasI have observed beforeand Redriffand Ratdiffand LimehouseandPoplarin shortDeptford and Greenwichall both sides of the riverfrom the Hermitageand from over against itquite down toBlackwallwas entirely free; there had not one person died of theplague in all Stepney parishand not one on the south side ofWhitechappel Roadnonot in any parish; and yet the weekly bill wasthat very week risen up to 1006.

Itwas a fortnight after this before the two brothers met againandthen the case was a little alteredand the' plague was exceedinglyadvanced and the number greatly increased; the bill was up at 2785and prodigiously increasingthough still both sides of the riverasbelowkept pretty well.  But some began to die in Redriffandabout five or six in Ratdiff Highwaywhen the sailmaker came to hisbrother John expressand in some fright; for he was absolutelywarned out of his lodgingand had only a week to provide himself.His brother John was in as bad a casefor he was quite outand hadonly begged leave of his masterthe biscuit-makerto lodge in anouthouse belonging to his workhousewhere he only lay upon strawwith some biscuit-sacksor bread-sacksas they called themlaidupon itand some of the same sacks to cover him.

Herethey resolved (seeing all employment being at an endand no work orwages to be had)they would make the best of their way to get out ofthe reach of the dreadful infectionandbeing as good husbands asthey couldwould endeavour to live upon what they had as long as itwould lastand then work for more if they could get work anywhereof any kindlet it be what it would.

Whilethey were considering to put this resolution in practice in the bestmanner they couldthe third manwho was acquainted very well withthe sailmakercame to know of the designand got leave to be one ofthe number; and thus they prepared to set out.

Ithappened that they had not an equal share of money; but as thesailmakerwho had the best stockwasbesides his being lamethemost unfit to expect to get anything by working in the countryso hewas content that what money they had should all go into one publicstockon condition that whatever any one of them could gain morethan anotherit should without any grudging be all added to thepublic stock.

Theyresolved to load themselves with as little baggage as possiblebecause they resolved at first to travel on footand to go a greatway that they mightif possiblebe effectually safe; and a greatmany consultations they had with themselves before they could agreeabout what way they should travelwhich they were so far fromadjusting that even to the morning they set out they were notresolved on it.

Atlast the seaman put in a hint that determined it.  'First' sayshe'the weather is very hotand therefore I am for travellingnorththat we may not have the sun upon our faces and beating on ourbreastswhich will heat and suffocate us; and I have been told'says he'that it is not good to overheat our blood at a time whenfor aught we knowthe infection may be in the very air.  In thenext place' says he'I am for going the way that may be contrary tothe windas it may blow when we set outthat we may not have thewind blow the air of the city on our backs as we go.' These twocautions were approved ofif it could be brought so to hit that thewind might not be in the south when they set out to go north.

Johnthe bakerwho bad been a soldierthen put in his opinion. 'First'says he'we none of us expect to get any lodging on the roadand itwill be a little too hard to lie just in the open air.  Thoughit be warm weatheryet it may be wet and dampand we have a doublereason to take care of our healths at such a time as this; andtherefore' says he'youbrother Tomthat are a sailmakermighteasily make us a little tentand I will undertake to set it up everynightand take it downand a fig for all the inns in England; if wehave a good tent over our heads we shall do well enough.'

Thejoiner opposed thisand told themlet them leave that to him; hewould undertake to build them a house every night with his hatchetand malletthough he had no other toolswhich should be fully totheir satisfactionand as good as a tent.

Thesoldier and the joiner disputed that point some timebut at last thesoldier carried it for a tent.  The only objection against itwasthat it must be carried with themand that would increase theirbaggage too muchthe weather being hot; but the sailmaker had apiece of good hap fell in which made that easyfor his master whomhe worked forhaving a rope-walk as well as sailmaking tradehad alittlepoor horse that he made no use of then; and being willing toassist the three honest menhe gave them the horse for the carryingtheir baggage; also for a small matter of three days' work that hisman did for him before he wenthe let him have an old top-gallantsail that was worn outbut was sufficient and more than enough tomake a very good tent.  The soldier showed how to shape itandthey soon by his direction made their tentand fitted it with polesor staves for the purpose; and thus they were furnished for theirjourneyviz.three menone tentone horseone gun - for thesoldier would not go without armsfor now he said he was no more abiscuit-bakerbut a trooper.

Thejoiner had a small bag of tools such as might be useful if he shouldget any work abroadas well for their subsistence as his own. Whatmoney they had they brought all into one public stockand thus theybegan their journey.  It seems that in the morning when they setout the wind blewas the sailor saidby his pocket-compassat N.W.by W. So they directedor rather resolved to directtheir courseN.W.

Butthen a difficulty came in their waythatas they set out from thehither end of Wappingnear the Hermitageand that the plague wasnow very violentespecially on the north side of the cityas inShoreditch and Cripplegate parishthey did not think it safe forthem to go near those parts; so they went away east through RatcliffHighway as far as Ratcliff Crossand leaving Stepney Church still ontheir left handbeing afraid to come up from Ratcliff Cross to MileEndbecause they must come just by the churchyardand because thewindthat seemed to blow more from the westblew directly from theside of the city where the plague was hottest.  SoI sayleaving Stepney they fetched a long compassand going to Poplar andBromleycame into the great road just at Bow.

Herethe watch placed upon Bow Bridge would have questioned thembuttheycrossing the road into a narrow way that turns out of thehither end of the town of Bow to Old Fordavoided any inquiry thereand travelled to Old Ford.  The constables everywhere were upontheir guard not so muchIt seemsto stop people passing by as tostop them from taking up their abode in their townsand withalbecause of a report that was newly raised at that time: and thatindeedwas not very improbableviz.that the poor people inLondonbeing distressed and starved for want of workand by thatmeans for want of breadwere up in arms and had raised a tumultandthat they would come out to all the towns round to plunder forbread.  ThisI saywas only a rumourand it was very well itwas no more.  But it was not so far off from being a reality asit has been thoughtfor in a few weeks more the poor people becameso desperate by the calamity they suffered that they were with greatdifficulty kept from g out into the fields and townsand tearing allin pieces wherever they came; andas I have observed beforenothinghindered them but that the plague raged so violently and fell in uponthem so furiously that they rather went to the grave by thousandsthan into the fields in mobs by thousands; forin the parts aboutthe parishes of St SepulcherClarkenwellCripplegateBishopsgateand Shoreditchwhich were the places where the mob began tothreatenthe distemper came on so furiously that there died in thosefew parishes even thenbefore the plague was come to its heightnoless than 5361 people in the first three weeks in August; when at thesame time the parts about WappingRadcliffeand Rotherhith wereasbefore describedhardly touchedor but very lightly; so that in aword thoughas I said beforethe good management of the Lord Mayorand justices did much to prevent the rage and desperation of thepeople from breaking out in rabbles and tumultsand in short fromthe poor plundering the rich- I saythough they did muchthedead-carts did more: for as I have said that in five parishes onlythere died above 5000 in twenty daysso there might be probablythree times that number sick all that time; for some recoveredandgreat numbers fell sick every day and died afterwards.  BesidesI must still be allowed to say that if the bills of mortality saidfive thousandI always believed it was near twice as many inrealitythere being no room to believe that the account they gavewas rightor that indeed they were among such confusions as I sawthem inin any condition to keep an exact account.

Butto return to my travellers.  Here they were only examinedandas they seemed rather coming from the country than from the citythey found the people the easier with them; that they talked to themlet them come into a public-house where the constable and his warderswereand gave them drink and some victuals which greatly refreshedand encouraged them; and here it came into their heads to saywhenthey should be inquired of afterwardsnot that they came fromLondonbut that they came out of Essex.

Toforward this little fraudthey obtained so much favour of theconstable at Old Ford as to give them a certificate of their passingfrom Essex through that villageand that they had not been atLondon; whichthough false in the common acceptance of London in thecountyyet was literally trueWapping or Ratcliff being no parteither of the city or liberty.

Thiscertificate directed to the next constable that was at Homertononeof the hamlets of the parish of Hackneywas so serviceable to themthat it procured themnot a free passage there onlybut a fullcertificate of health from a justice of the peacewho upon theconstable's application granted it without much difficulty; and thusthey passed through the long divided town of Hackney (for it lay thenin several separated hamlets)and travelled on till they came intothe great north road on the top of Stamford Hill.

Bythis time they began to be wearyand so in the back-road fromHackneya little before it opened into the said great roadtheyresolved to set up their tent and encamp for the first nightwhichthey did accordinglywith this additionthat finding a barnor abuilding like a barnand first searching as well as they could to besure there was nobody in itthey set up their tentwith the head ofit against the barn.  This they did also because the wind blewthat night very highand they were but young at such a way oflodgingas well as at the managing their tent.

Herethey went to sleep; but the joinera grave and sober manand notpleased with their lying at this loose rate the first nightcouldnot sleepand resolvedafter trying to sleep to no purposethat hewould get outandtaking the gun in his handstand sentinel andguard his companions.  So with the gun in his handhe walked toand again before the barnfor that stood in the field near the roadbut within the hedge.  He had not been long upon the scout buthe heard a noise of people coming onas if it had been a greatnumberand they came onas he thoughtdirectly towards the barn. He did not presently awake his companions; but in a few minutes moretheir noise growing louder and louderthe biscuit-baker called tohim and asked him what was the matterand quickly started out too. The otherbeing the lame sailmaker and most wearylay still in thetent.

Asthey expectedso the people whom they had heard came on directly tothe barnwhen one of our travellers challengedlike soldiers uponthe guardwith 'Who comes there?' The people did not answerimmediatelybut one of them speaking to another that was behind him'Alas I alas I we are all disappointed' says he. 'Here are somepeople before us; the barn is taken up.'

Theyall stopped upon thatas under some surpriseand it seems there wasabout thirteen of them in alland some women among them. Theyconsulted together what they should doand by their discourse ourtravellers soon found they were poordistressed people toolikethemselvesseeking shelter and safety; and besidesour travellershad no need to be afraid of their coming up to disturb themfor assoon as- they heard the words'Who comes there?' these could hearthe women sayas if frighted'Do not go near them.  How do youknow but they may have the plague?' And when one of the men said'Let us but speak to them'the women said'Nodon't by any means. We have escaped thus far by the goodness of God; do not let us runinto danger nowwe beseech you.'

Ourtravellers found by this that they were a goodsober sort of peopleand flying for their livesas they were; andas they wereencouraged by itso John said to the joinerhis comrade'Let usencourage them too as much as we can'; so he called to them'Harkyegood people' says the joiner'we find by your talk that you areflying from the same dreadful enemy as we are.  Do not be afraidof us; we are only three poor men of us.  If you are free fromthe distemper you shall not be hurt by us.  We are not in thebarnbut in a little tent here in the outsideand we will removefor you; we can set up our tent again immediately anywhere else'; andupon this a parley began between the joinerwhose name was Richardand one of their menwho said his name was Ford.

Ford. And do you assure us that you are all sound men?

Richard. Naywe are concerned to tell you of itthat you may not be uneasyor think yourselves in danger; but you see we do not desire youshould put yourselves into any dangerand therefore I tell you thatwe have not made use of the barnso we will remove from itthat youmay be safe and we also.

Ford. That is very kind and charitable; but if we have reason to besatisfied that you are sound and free from the visitationwhy shouldwe make you remove now you are settled in your lodgingandit maybeare laid down to rest?  We will go into the barnif youpleaseto rest ourselves a whileand we need not disturb you.

Richard. Wellbut you are more than we are.  I hope you will assure usthat you are all of you sound toofor the danger is as great fromyou to us as from us to you.

Ford. Blessed be God that some do escapethough it is but few; what may beour portion still we know notbut hitherto we are preserved.

Richard. What part of the town do you come from?  Was the plague come tothe places where you lived?

Ford. Ayayin a most frightful and terrible manneror else we had notfled away as we do; but we believe there will be very few left alivebehind us.

Richard. What part do you come from?

Ford. We are most of us of Cripplegate parishonly two or three ofClerkenwell parishbut on the hither side.

Richard. How then was it that you came away no sooner?

Ford. We have been away some timeand kept together as well as we could atthe hither end of Islingtonwhere we got leave to lie in an olduninhabited houseand had some bedding and conveniences of our ownthat we brought with us; but the plague is come up into Islingtontooand a house next door to our poor dwelling was infected and shutup; and we are come away in a fright.

Richard. And what way are you going?

Ford. As our lot shall cast us; we know not whitherbut God will guidethose that look up to Him.

Theyparleyed no further at that timebut came all up to the barnandwith some difficulty got into it.  There was nothing but hay inthe barnbut it was almost full of thatand they accommodatedthemselves as well as they couldand went to rest; but ourtravellers observed that before they went to sleep an ancient man whoit seems was father of one of the womenwent to prayer with all thecompanyrecommending themselves to the blessing and direction ofProvidencebefore they went to sleep.

Itwas soon day at that time of the yearand as Richard the joiner hadkept guard the first part of the nightso John the soldier relievedhimand he had the post in the morningand they began to beacquainted with one another.  It seems when they left Islingtonthey intended to have gone northaway to Highgatebut were stoppedat Hollowayand there they would not let them pass; so they crossedover the fields and hills to the eastwardand came out at theBoarded Riverand so avoiding the townsthey left Hornsey on theleft hand and Newington on the right handand came into the greatroad about Stamford Hill on that sideas the three travellers haddone on the other side.  And now they had thoughts of going overthe river in the marshesand make forwards to Epping Forestwherethey hoped they should get leave to rest.  It seems they werenot poorat least not so poor as to be in want; at least they hadenough to subsist them moderately for two or three monthswhenasthey saidthey were in hopes the cold weather would check theinfectionor at least the violence of it would have spent itselfand would abateif it were only for want of people left alive to heinfected.

Thiswas much the fate of our three travellersonly that they seemed tobe the better furnished for travellingand had it in their view togo farther off; for as to the firstthey did not propose to gofarther than one day's journeythat so they might have intelligenceevery two or three days how things were at London.

Buthere our travellers found themselves under an unexpectedinconvenience: namely that of their horsefor by means of the horseto carry their baggage they were obliged to keep in the roadwhereasthe people of this other band went over the fields or roadspath orno pathway or no wayas they pleased; neither had they anyoccasion to pass through any townor come near any townother thanto buy such things as they wanted for their necessary subsistenceand in that indeed they were put to much difficulty; of which in itsplace.

Butour three travellers were obliged to keep the roador else they mustcommit spoiland do the country a great deal of damage in breakingdown fences and gates to go over enclosed fieldswhich they wereloth to do if they could help it.

Ourthree travellershoweverhad a great mind to join themselves tothis company and take their lot with them; and after some discoursethey laid aside their first design which looked northwardandresolved to follow the other into Essex; so in the morning they tookup their tent and loaded their horseand away they travelled alltogether.

Theyhad some difficulty in passing the ferry at the river-sidetheferryman being afraid of them; but after some parley at a distancethe ferryman was content to bring his boat to a place distant fromthe usual ferryand leave it there for them to take it; so puttingthemselves overhe directed them to leave the boatand hehavinganother boatsaid he would fetch it againwhich it seemshoweverhe did not do for above eight days.

Heregiving the ferryman money beforehandthey had a supply of victualsand drinkwhich he brought and left in the boat for them; but notwithoutas I saidhaving received the money beforehand.  Butnow our travellers were at a great loss and difficulty how to get thehorse overthe boat being small and not fit for it: and at lastcould not do it without unloading the baggage and making him swimover.

Fromthe river they travelled towards the forestbut when they came toWalthamstow the people of that town denied to admit themas was thecase everywhere.  The constables and their watchmen kept themoff at a distance and parleyed with them.  They gave the sameaccount of themselves as beforebut these gave no credit to whatthey saidgiving it for a reason that two or three companies hadalready come that way and made the like pretencesbut that they hadgiven several people the distemper in the towns where they hadpassed; and had been afterwards so hardly used by the country (thoughwith justicetooas they had deserved) that about Brentwoodorthat wayseveral of them perished in the fields - whether of theplague or of mere want and distress they could not tell.

Thiswas a good reason indeed why the people of Walthamstow should be verycautiousand why they should resolve not to entertain anybody thatthey were not well satisfied of.  Butas Richard the joiner andone of the other men who parleyed with them told themit was noreason why they should block up the roads and refuse to let peoplepass through the townand who asked nothing of them but to gothrough the street; that if their people were afraid of themtheymight go into their houses and shut their doors; they would neithershow them civility nor incivilitybut go on about their business.

Theconstables and attendantsnot to be persuaded by reasoncontinuedobstinateand would hearken to nothing; so the two men that talkedwith them went back to their fellows to consult what was to be done. It was very discouraging in the wholeand they knew not what to dofor a good while; but at last John the soldier and biscuit- makerconsidering a while'Come' says he'leave the rest of the parleyto me.' He had not appeared yetso he sets the joinerRichardtowork to cut some poles out of the trees and shape them as like gunsas he couldand in a little time he had five or six fair musketswhich at a distance would not be known; and about the part where thelock of a gun is he caused them to wrap cloth and rags such as theyhadas soldiers do in wet weather to preserve the locks of theirpieces from rust; the rest was discoloured with clay or mudsuch asthey could get; and all this while the rest of them sat under thetrees by his directionin two or three bodieswhere they made firesat a good distance from one another.

Whilethis was doing he advanced himself and two or three with himand setup their tent in the lane within sight of the barrier which thetown's men had madeand set a sentinel just by it with the real gunthe only one they hadand who walked to and fro with the gun on hisshoulderso as that the people of the town might see them. Alsohe tied the horse to a gate in the hedge just byand got somedry sticks together and kindled a fire on the other side of the tentso that the people of the town could see the fire and the smokebutcould not see what they were doing at it.

Afterthe country people had looked upon them very earnestly a great whileandby all that they could seecould not but suppose that they werea great many in companythey began to be uneasynot for their goingawaybut for staying where they were; and above allperceiving theyhad horses and armsfor they had seen one horse and one gun at thetentand they had seen others of them walk about the field on theinside of the hedge by the side of the lane with their musketsasthey took them to beshouldered; I sayupon such a sight as thisyou may be assured they were alarmed and terribly frightedand itseems they went to a justice of the peace to know what they shoulddo.  What the justice advised them to I know notbut towardsthe evening they called from the barrieras aboveto the sentinelat the tent.

'Whatdo you want?' says John.

'Whywhat do you intend to do?' says the constable.  'To do' saysJohn; 'what would you have us to do?' Constable.  Why don't yoube gone?  What do you stay there for?

John. Why do you stop us on the king's highwayand pretend to refuse usleave to go on our way?

Constable. We are not bound to tell you our reasonthough we did let you knowit was because of the plague.

John. We told you we were all sound and free from the plaguewhich we werenot bound to have satisfied you ofand yet you pretend to stop us onthe highway.

Constable. We have a right to stop it upand our own safety obliges us to it. Besidesthis is not the king's highway; 'tis a way upon sufferance. You see here is a gateand if we do let people pass herewe makethem pay toll.

John. We have a right to seek our own safety as well as youand you maysee we are flying for our lives: and 'tis very unchristian and unjustto stop us.

Constable. You may go back from whence you came; we do not hinder you from that.

John. No; it is a stronger enemy than you that keeps us from doing thatorelse we should not have come hither.

Constable. Wellyou may go any other waythen.

John. Nono; I suppose you see we are able to send you goingand all thepeople of your parishand come through your town when we will; butsince you have stopped us herewe are content.  You see we haveencamped hereand here we will live.  We hope you will furnishus with victuals.

Constable. We furnish you I What mean you by that?

John. Whyyou would not have us starvewould you? If you stop us hereyou must keep us.

Constable. You will be ill kept at our maintenance.

John.If you stint uswe shall make ourselves the better allowance.

Constable. Whyyou will not pretend to quarter upon us by forcewill you?

John. We have offered no violence to you yet.  Why do you seem tooblige us to it?  I am an old soldierand cannot starveand ifyou think that we shall be obliged to go back for want of provisionsyou are mistaken.

Constable. Since you threaten uswe shall take care to be strong enough foryou.  I have orders to raise the county upon you.

John. It is you that threatennot we.  And since you are formischiefyou cannot blame us if we do not give you time for it;we shall begin our march in a few minutes.

Constable. What is it you demand of us?

John. At first we desired nothing of you but leave to go through the town;we should have offered no injury to any of youneither would youhave had any injury or loss by us.  We are not thievesbut poorpeople in distressand flying from the dreadful plague in Londonwhich devours thousands every week.  We wonder how you could beso unmerciful!

Constable. Self-preservation obliges us.

John. What!  To shut up your compassion in a case of such distress asthis?

Constable. Wellif you will pass over the fields on your left handand behindthat part of the townI will endeavour to have gates opened for you.John.  Our horsemen cannot pass with ourbaggage that way; it does not lead into the road that we want to goand why should you force us out of the road?  Besidesyou havekept us here all day without any provisions but such as we broughtwith us.  I think you ought to send us some provisions for ourrelief.

Constable. If you will go another way we will send you some provisions.

John. That is the way to have all the towns in the county stop up the waysagainst us.

Constable. If they all furnish you with foodwhat will you be the worse? I see you have tents; you want no lodging.

John. Wellwhat quantity of provisions will you send us?

Constable. How many are you?

John. Naywe do not ask enough for all our company; we are in threecompanies.  If you will send us bread for twenty men and aboutsix or seven women for three daysand show us the way over the fieldyou speak ofwe desire not to put your people into any fear for us;we will go out of our way to oblige youthough we are as free frominfection as you are.

Constable. And will you assure us that your other people shall offer us no newdisturbance?

John. Nono you may depend on it.

Constable. You must oblige yourselftoothat none of your people shall come astep nearer than where the provisions we send you shall be set down.

John. I answer for it we will not.

Accordinglythey sent to the place twenty loaves of bread and three or four largepieces of good beefand opened some gatesthrough which theypassed; but none of them had courage so much as to look out to seethem goandas it was eveningif they had looked they could nothave seen them as to know how few they were.

Thiswas John the soldier's management.  But this gave such an alarmto the countythat had they really been two or three hundred thewhole county would have been raised upon themand

 

theywould have been sent to prisonor perhaps knocked on the head.

Theywere soon made sensible of thisfor two days afterwards they foundseveral parties of horsemen and footmen also aboutin pursuit ofthree companies of menarmedas they saidwith musketswho werebroke out from London and had the plague upon themand that were notonly spreading the distemper among the peoplebut plundering thecountry.

Asthey saw now the consequence of their casethey soon saw the dangerthey were in; so they resolved by the advice also of the old soldierto divide themselves again.  John and his two comradeswith thehorsewent awayas if towards Waltham; the other in two companiesbut all a little asunderand went towards Epping.

Thefirst night they encamped all in the forestand not far off of oneanotherbut not setting up the tentlest that should discoverthem.  On the other handRichard went to work with his axe andhis hatchetand cutting down branches of treeshe built three tentsor hovelsin which they all encamped with as much convenience asthey could expect.

Theprovisions they had at Walthamstow served them very plentifully thisnight; and as for the nextthey left it to Providence. They hadfared so well with the old soldier's conduct that they now willinglymade him their leaderand the first of his conduct appeared to bevery good.  He told them that they were now at a proper distanceenough from London; that as they need not be immediately beholden tothe country for reliefso they ought to be as careful the countrydid not infect them as that they did not infect the country; thatwhat little money they hadthey must be as frugal of as they could;that as he would not have them think of offering the country anyviolenceso they must endeavour to make the sense of their conditiongo as far with the country as it could.  They all referredthemselves to his directionso they left their three housesstandingand the next day went away towards Epping.  Thecaptain also (for so they now called him)and his twofellow-travellerslaid aside their design of going to Walthamandall went together.

Whenthey came near Epping they haltedchoosing out a proper place in theopen forestnot very near the highwaybut not far out of it on thenorth sideunder a little cluster of low pollard-trees.  Herethey pitched their little camp - which consisted of three large tentsor huts made of poles which their carpenterand such as were hisassistantscut down and fixed in the ground in a circlebinding allthe small ends together at the top and thickening the sides withboughs of trees and bushesso that they were completely close andwarm.  They hadbesides thisa little tent where the women layby themselvesand a hut to put the horse in.

Ithappened that the next dayor next but onewas market-day atEppingwhen Captain John and one of the other men went to market andbought some provisions; that is to saybreadand some mutton andbeef; and two of the women went separatelyas if they had notbelonged to the restand bought more.  John took the horse tobring it homeand the sack which the carpenter carried his tools into put it in.  The carpenter went to work and made them benchesand stools to sit onsuch as the wood he could get would affordanda kind of table to dine on.

Theywere taken no notice of for two or three daysbut after thatabundance of people ran out of the town to look at themand all thecountry was alarmed about them.  The people at first seemedafraid to come near them; andon the other handthey desired thepeople to keep offfor there was a rumour that the plague was atWalthamand that it had been in Epping two or three days; so Johncalled out to them not to come to them'for' says he'we are allwhole and sound people hereand we would not have you bring theplague among usnor pretend we brought it among you.'

Afterthis the parish officers came up to them and parleyed with them at adistanceand desired to know who they wereand by what authoritythey pretended to fix their stand at that place. John answered veryfranklythey were poor distressed people from London whoforeseeingthe misery they should be reduced to if plague spread into the cityhad fled out in time for their livesandhaving no acquaintance orrelations to fly tohad first taken up at Islington; butthe plaguebeing come into that townwere fled farther; and as they supposedthat the people of Epping might have refused them coming into theirtownthey had pitched their tents thus in the open field and in theforestbeing willing to bear all the hardships of such adisconsolate lodging rather than have any one think or be afraid thatthey should receive injury by them.

Atfirst the Epping people talked roughly to themand told them theymust remove; that this was no place for them; and that they pretendedto be sound and wellbut that they might be infected with the plaguefor aught they knewand might infect the whole countryand theycould not suffer them there.

Johnargued very calmly with them a great whileand told them that Londonwas the place by which they - that isthe townsmen of Epping and allthe country round them - subsisted; to whom they sold the produce oftheir landsand out of whom they made their rent of their farms; andto be so cruel to the inhabitants of Londonor to any of those bywhom they gained so muchwas very hardand they would be loth tohave it remembered hereafterand have it told how barbaroushowinhospitableand how unkind they were to the people of London whenthey fled from the face of the most terrible enemy in the world; thatit would be enough to make the name of an Epping man hateful throughall the cityand to have the rabble stone them in the very streetswhenever they came so much as to market; that they were not yetsecure from being visited themselvesand thatas he heardWalthamwas already; that they would think it very hard that when any of themfled for fear before they were touchedthey should be denied theliberty of lying so much as in the open fields.

TheEpping men told them againthat theyindeedsaid they were soundand free from the infectionbut that they had no assurance of it;and that it was reported that there had been a great rabble of peopleat Walthamstowwho made such pretences of being sound as they didbut that they threatened to plunder the town and force their waywhether the parish officers would or no; that there were near twohundred of themand had arms and tents like Low Country soldiers;that they extorted provisions from the townby threatening them withliving upon them at free quartershowing their armsand talking inthe language of soldiers; and that several of them being gone awaytoward Rumford and Brentwoodthe country had been infected by themand the plague spread into both those large townsso that the peopledurst not go to market there as usual; that it was very likely theywere some of that party; and if sothey deserved to be sent to thecounty jailand be secured till they had made satisfaction for thedamage they had doneand for the terror and fright they had put thecountry into.

Johnanswered that what other people had done was nothing to them; thatthey assured them they were all of one company; that they had neverbeen more in number than they saw them at that time (whichby thewaywas very true); that they came out in two separate companiesbut joined by the waytheir cases being the same; that they wereready to give what account of themselves anybody could desire ofthemand to give in their names and places of abodethat so theymight be called to an account for any disorder that they might beguilty of; that the townsmen might see they were content to livehardlyand only desired a little room to breathe in on the forestwhere it was wholesome; for where it was not they could not stayandwould decamp if they found it otherwise there.

'But'said the townsmen'we have a great charge of poor upon our handsalreadyand we must take care not to increase it; we suppose you cangive us no security against your being chargeable to our parish andto the inhabitantsany more than you can of being dangerous to us asto the infection.'

'Whylook you' says John'as to being chargeable to youwe hope weshall not. If you will relieve us with provisions for our presentnecessitywe will be very thankful; as we all lived without charitywhen we were at homeso we will oblige ourselves fully to repay youif God pleases to bring us back to our own families and houses insafetyand to restore health to the people of London.

'Asto our dying here: we assure youif any of us diewe that survivewill bury themand put you to no expenseexcept it should be thatwe should all die; and thenindeedthe last man not being able tobury himselfwould put you to that single expense which I ampersuaded'says John'he would leave enough behind him to pay youfor the expense of.

'Onthe other hand' says John'if you shut up all bowels of compassionand not relieve us at allwe shall not extort anything by violenceor steal from any one; but when what little we have is spentif weperish for wantGod's will be done.'

Johnwrought so upon the townsmenby talking thus rationally and smoothlyto themthat they went away; and though they did not give anyconsent to their staying thereyet they did not molest them; and thepoor people continued there three or four days longer without anydisturbance.  In this time they had got some remote acquaintancewith a victualling-house at the outskirts of the townto whom theycalled at a distance to bring some little things that they wantedand which they caused to be set down at a distanceand always paidfor very honestly.

Duringthis time the younger people of the town came frequently pretty nearthemand would stand and look at themand sometimes talk with themat some space between; and particularly it was observed that thefirst Sabbath-day the poor people kept retiredworshipped Godtogetherand were heard to sing psalms.

Thesethingsand a quietinoffensive behaviourbegan to get them thegood opinion of the countryand people began to pity them and speakvery well of them; the consequence of which wasthat upon theoccasion of a very wetrainy nighta certain gentleman who lived inthe neighbourhood sent them a little cart with twelve trusses orbundles of strawas well for them to lodge upon as to cover andthatch their huts and to keep them dry.  The minister of aparish not far offnot knowing of the othersent them also abouttwo bushels of wheat and half a bushel of white peas.

Theywere very thankfulto be surefor this reliefand particularly thestraw was a -very great comfort to them; for though the ingeniouscarpenter had made frames for them to lie in like troughsand filledthem with leaves of treesand such things as they could getand hadcut all their tent-cloth out to make them coverlidsyet they laydamp and hard and unwholesome till this straw camewhich was to themlike feather-bedsandas John saidmore welcome than feather-bedswould have been at another time.

Thisgentleman and the minister having thus begunand given an example ofcharity to these wanderersothers quickly followedand theyreceived every day some benevolence or other from the peoplebutchiefly from the gentlemen who dwelt in the country round them. Somesent them chairsstoolstablesand such household things as theygave notice they wanted; some sent them blanketsrugsandcoverlidssome earthenwareand some kitchen ware for ordering theirfood.

Encouragedby this good usagetheir carpenter in a few days built them a largeshed or house with raftersand a roof in formand an upper floorin which they lodged warm: for the weather began to be damp and coldin the beginning of September.  But this housebeing wellthatchedand the sides and roof made very thickkept out the coldwell enough.  He madealsoan earthen wall at one end with achimney in itand another of the companywith a vast deal oftrouble and painsmade a funnel to the chimney to carry out thesmoke.

Herethey lived comfortablythough coarselytill the beginning ofSeptemberwhen they had the bad news to hearwhether true or notthat the plaguewhich was very hot at Waltham Abbey on one side andat Rumford and Brentwood on the other sidewas also coming toEppingto Woodfordand to most of the towns upon the Forestandwhichas they saidwas brought down among them chiefly by thehiglersand such people as went to and from London with provisions.

Ifthis was trueit was an evident contradiction to that report whichwas afterwards spread all over Englandbut whichas I have saidIcannot confirm of my own knowledge: namelythat the market-peoplecarrying provisions to the city never got the infection or carried itback into the country; both whichI have been assuredhas beenfalse.

Itmight be that they were preserved even beyond expectationthough notto a miraclethat abundance went and came and were not touched; andthat was much for the encouragement of the poor people of Londonwhohad been completely miserable if the people that brought provisionsto the markets had not been many times wonderfully preservedor atleast more preserved than could be reasonably expected.

Butnow these new inmates began to be disturbed more effectuallyfor thetowns about them were really infectedand they began to be afraid totrust one another so much as to go abroad for such things as theywantedand this pinched them very hardfor now they had little ornothing but what the charitable gentlemen of the country suppliedthem with.  Butfor their encouragementit happened that othergentlemen in the country who had not sent them anything beforebeganto hear of them and supply themand one sent them a large pig - thatis to saya porker another two sheepand another sent them a calf. In shortthey had meat enoughand sometimes had cheese and milkand all such things.  They were chiefly put to it for breadforwhen the gentlemen sent them corn they had nowhere to bake it or togrind it. This made them eat the first two bushel of wheat that wassent them in parched cornas the Israelites of old didwithoutgrinding or making bread of it.

Atlast they found means to carry their corn to a windmill nearWoodfordwhere they bad it groundand afterwards the biscuit-makermade a hearth so hollow and dry that he could bake biscuit-cakestolerably well; and thus they came into a condition to live withoutany assistance or supplies from the towns; and it was well they didfor the country was soon after fully infectedand about 120 weresaid to have died of the distemper in the villages near themwhichwas a terrible thing to them.

Onthis they called a new counciland now the towns had no need to beafraid they should settle near them; buton the contraryseveralfamilies of the poorer sort of the inhabitants quitted their housesand built huts in the forest after the same manner as they had done. But it was observed that several of these poor people that had soremoved had the sickness even in their huts or booths; the reason ofwhich was plainnamelynot because they removed into the airbut() because they did not remove time enough; that is to saynot tillby openly conversing with the other people their neighboursthey hadthe distemper upon themor (as may be said) among themand socarried it about them whither they went.  Or (2) because theywere not careful enoughafter they were safely removed out of thetownsnot to come in again and mingle with the diseased people.

Butbe it which of these it willwhen our travellers began to perceivethat the plague was not only in the townsbut even in the tents andhuts on the forest near themthey began then not only to be afraidbut to think of decamping and removing; for had they stayed theywould have been in manifest danger of their lives.

Itis not to be wondered that they were greatly afflicted at beingobliged to quit the place where they had been so kindly receivedandwhere they had been treated with so much humanity and charity; butnecessity and the hazard of lifewhich they came out so far topreserveprevailed with themand they saw no remedy.  Johnhoweverthought of a remedy for their present misfortune: namelythat he would first acquaint that gentleman who was their principalbenefactor with the distress they were inand to crave hisassistance and advice.

Thegoodcharitable gentleman encouraged them to quit the Place for fearthey should be cut off from any retreat at all by the violence of thedistemper; but whither they should gothat he found very hard todirect them to.  At last John asked of him whether hebeing ajustice of the peacewould give them certificates of health to otherjustices whom they might come before; that so whatever might be theirlotthey might not be repulsed now they had been also so long fromLondon.  This his worship immediately grantedand gave themproper letters of healthand from thence they were at liberty totravel whither they pleased.

Accordinglythey had a full certificate of healthintimating that they hadresided in a village in the county of Essex so long thatbeingexamined and scrutinised sufficientlyand having been retired fromall conversation for above forty dayswithout any appearance ofsicknessthey were therefore certainly concluded to be sound menand might be safely entertained anywherehaving at last removedrather for fear of the plague which was come into such a townratherthan for having any signal of infection upon themor upon anybelonging to them.

Withthis certificate they removedthough with great reluctance; and Johninclining not to go far from homethey moved towards the marshes onthe side of Waltham.  But here they found a man whoit seemskept a weir or stop upon the rivermade to raise the water for thebarges which go up and down the riverand he terrified them withdismal stories of the sickness having been spread into all the townson the river and near the riveron the side of Middlesex andHertfordshire; that is to sayinto WalthamWaltham CrossEnfieldand Wareand all the towns on the roadthat they were afraid to gothat way; though it seems the man imposed upon themfor that thething was not really true.

Howeverit terrified themand they resolved to move across the foresttowards Rumford and Brentwood; but they heard that there were numbersof people fled out of London that waywho lay up and down in theforest called Henalt Forestreaching near Rumfordand whohavingno subsistence or habitationnot only lived oddly and suffered greatextremities in the woods and fields for want of reliefbut were saidto be made so desperate by those extremities as that they offeredmany violences to the county robbed and plunderedand killed cattleand the like; that othersbuilding huts and hovels by the roadsidebeggedand that with an importunity next door to demanding relief;so that the county was very uneasyand had been obliged to take someof them up.

Thisin the first place intimated to themthat they would be sure to findthe charity and kindness of the countywhich they had found herewhere they were beforehardened and shut up against them; and thaton the other handthey would be questioned wherever they cameandwould be in danger of violence from others in like cases asthemselves.

Uponall these considerations Johntheir captainin all their nameswent back to their good friend and benefactorwho had relieved thembeforeand laying their case truly before himhumbly asked hisadvice; and he as kindly advised them to take up their old quartersagainor if notto remove but a little farther out of the roadanddirected them to a proper place for them; and as they really wantedsome house rather than huts to shelter them at that time of the yearit growing on towards Michaelmasthey found an old decayed housewhich had been formerly some cottage or little habitation but was soout of repair as scarce habitable; and by the consent of a farmer towhose farm it belongedthey got leave to make what use of it theycould.

Theingenious joinerand all the restby his directions went to workwith itand in a very few days made it capable to shelter them allin case of bad weather; and in which there was an old chimney and oldoventhough both lying in ruins; yet they made them both fit foruseandraising additionsshedsand leantos on every sidetheysoon made the house capable to hold them all.

Theychiefly wanted boards to make window-shuttersfloorsdoorsandseveral other things; but as the gentlemen above favoured themandthe country was by that means made easy with themand above allthat they were known to be all sound and in good healtheverybodyhelped them with what they could spare.

Herethey encamped for good and alland resolved to remove no more. They saw plainly how terribly alarmed that county was everywhere atanybody that came from Londonand that they should have noadmittance anywhere but with the utmost difficulty; at least nofriendly reception and assistance as they had received here.

Nowalthough they received great assistance and encouragement from thecountry gentlemen and from the people round about themyet they wereput to great straits: for the weather grew cold and wet in Octoberand Novemberand they had not been used to so much hardship; so thatthey got colds in their limbsand distempersbut never had theinfection; and thus about December they came home to the city again.

Igive this story thus at largeprincipally to give an account whatbecame of the great numbers of people which immediately appeared inthe city as soon as the sickness abated; foras I have saidgreatnumbers of those that were able and had retreats in the country fledto those retreats.  Sowhen it was increased to such afrightful extremity as I have relatedthe middling people who hadnot friends fled to all parts of the country where they could getshelteras well those that had money to relieve themselves as thosethat had not.  Those that had money always fled farthestbecause they were able to subsist themselves; but those who wereempty sufferedas I have saidgreat hardshipsand were oftendriven by necessity to relieve their wants at the expense of thecountry.  By that means the country was made very uneasy atthemand sometimes took them up; though even then they scarce knewwhat to do with themand were always very backward to punish thembut oftentoothey forced them from place to place till they wereobliged to come back again to London.

Ihavesince my knowing this story of John and his brotherinquiredand found that there were a great many of the poor disconsolatepeopleas abovefled into the country every way; and some of themgot little sheds and barns and outhouses to live inwhere they couldobtain so much kindness of the countryand especially where they hadany the least satisfactory account to give of themselvesandparticularly that they did not come out of London too late.  Butothersand that in great numbersbuilt themselves little huts andretreats in the fields and woodsand lived like hermits in holes andcavesor any place they could findand wherewe may be suretheysuffered great extremitiessuch that many of them were obliged tocome back again whatever the danger was; and so those little hutswere often found emptyand the country people supposed theinhabitants lay dead in them of the plagueand would not go nearthem for fear - nonot in a great while; nor is it unlikely but thatsome of the unhappy wanderers might die so all aloneeven sometimesfor want of helpas particularly in one tent or hut was found a mandeadand on the gate of a field just by was cut with his knife inuneven letters the following wordsby which it may be supposed theother man escapedor thatone dying firstthe other buried him aswell as he could: -

OmIsErY!  

WeBoTH ShaLL DyE 

WoEWoE.

 

Ihave given an account already of what I found to have been the casedown the river among the seafaring men; how the ships lay in theoffingas it's calledin rows or lines astern of one anotherquitedown from the Pool as far as I could see.  I have been told thatthey lay in the same manner quite down the river as low as Gravesendand some far beyond: even everywhere or in every place where theycould ride with safety as to wind and weather; nor did I ever hearthat the plague reached to any of the people on board those ships -except such as lay up in the Poolor as high as Deptford Reachalthough the people went frequently on shore to the country towns andvillages and farmers' housesto buy fresh provisionsfowlspigscalvesand the like for their supply.

LikewiseI found that the watermen on the river above the bridge found meansto convey themselves away up the river as far as they could goandthat they hadmany of themtheir whole families in their boatscovered with tilts and balesas they call themand furnished withstraw within for their lodgingand that they lay thus all along bythe shore in the marshessome of them setting up little tents withtheir sailsand so lying under them on shore in the dayand goinginto their boats at night; and in this manneras I have heardtheriver-sides were lined with boats and people as long as they hadanything to subsist onor could get anything of the country; andindeed the country peopleas well Gentlemen as otherson these andall other occasionswere very forward to relieve them - but theywere by no means willing to receive them into their towns and housesand for that we cannot blame them.

Therewas one unhappy citizen within my knowledge who had been visited in adreadful mannerso that his wife and all his children were deadandhimself and two servants only leftwith an elderly womana nearrelationwho had nursed those that were dead as well as she could. This disconsolate man goes to a village near the townthough notwithin the bills of mortalityand finding an empty house thereinquires out the ownerand took the house.  After a few days hegot a cart and loaded it with goodsand carries them down to thehouse; the people of the village opposed his driving the cart along;but with some arguings and some forcethe men that drove the cartalong got through the street up to the door of the house.  Therethe constable resisted them againand would not let them be broughtin. The man caused the goods to be unloaden and laid at the doorandsent the cart away; upon which they carried the man before a justiceof peace; that is to saythey commanded him to gowhich he did. The justice ordered him to cause the cart to fetch away thegoods againwhich he refused to do; upon which the justice orderedthe constable to pursue the carters and fetch them backand makethem reload the goods and carry them awayor to set them in thestocks till they came for further orders; and if they could not findthemnor the man would not consent to take them awaythey shouldcause them to be drawn with hooks from the house-door and burned inthe street.  The poor distressed man upon this fetched the goodsagainbut with grievous cries and lamentations at the hardship ofhis case.  But there was no remedy; self-preservation obligedthe people to those severities which they would not otherwise havebeen concerned in.  Whether this poor man lived or died I cannottellbut it was reported that he had the plague upon him at thattime; and perhaps the people might report that to justify their usageof him; but it was not unlikely that either he or his goodsor bothwere dangerouswhen his whole family had been dead of the distempersso little a while before.

Iknow that the inhabitants of the towns adjacent to London were muchblamed for cruelty to the poor people that ran from the contagion intheir distressand many very severe things were doneas may be seenfrom what has been said; but I cannot but say also thatwhere therewas room for charity and assistance to the peoplewithout apparentdanger to themselvesthey were willing enough to help and relievethem.  But as every town were indeed judges in their own caseso the poor people who ran abroad in their extremities were oftenill-used and driven back again into the town; and this causedinfinite exclamations and outcries against the country townsandmade the clamour very popular.

Andyetmore or lessmaugre all the cautionthere was not a town ofany note within ten (orI believetwenty) miles of the city butwhat was more or less infected and had some died among them.  Ihave heard the accounts of severalsuch as they were reckoned upasfollows: -

In Enfield
Hornsey
Newington
Tottenham
Edmonton
Barnet and Hadly
St Albans
Watford
Eltham and Lusum
Croydon
Brentwood
Rumford
Barking Abbot
Brentford
32
58
17
42
19
19
121
45
85
61
70
109
200
432


In Uxbridge
Hertford
Ware
Hodsdon
Waltham Abbey
Epping
Deptford
Greenwich
Kingston
Stanes
Chertsey
Windsor

Cum aliis.
117
90
160
30
23
26
623
231
122
82
18
103

 

Anotherthing might render the country more strict with respect to thecitizensand especially with respect to the poorand this was whatI hinted at before: namelythat there was a seeming propensity or awicked inclination in those that were infected to infect others.

Therehave been great debates among our physicians as to the reason ofthis.  Some will have it to be in the nature of the diseaseandthat it impresses every one that is seized upon by it with a kind ofa rageand a hatred against their own kind - as if there was amalignity not only in the distemper to communicate itselfbut in thevery nature of manprompting him with evil will or an evil eyethatas they say in the case of a mad dogwho though the gentlestcreature before of any of his kindyet then will fly upon and biteany one that comes next himand those as soon as any who had beenmost observed by him before.

Othersplaced it to the account of the corruption of human naturewhocannot bear to see itself more miserable than others of its ownspeciesand has a kind of involuntary wish that all men were asunhappy or in as bad a condition as itself.

Otherssay it was only a kind of desperationnot knowing or regarding whatthey didand consequently unconcerned at the danger or safety notonly of anybody near thembut even of themselves also. And indeedwhen men are once come to a condition to abandon themselvesand beunconcerned for the safety or at the danger of themselvesit cannotbe so much wondered that they should be careless of the safety ofother people.

ButI choose to give this grave debate a quite different turnand answerit or resolve it all by saying that I do not grant the fact.  Onthe contraryI say that the thing is not really sobut that it wasa general complaint raised by the people inhabiting the outlyingvillages against the citizens to justifyor at least excusethosehardships and severities so much talked ofand in which complaintsboth sides may be said to have injured one another; that is to saythe citizens pressing to be received and harboured in time ofdistressand with the plague upon themcomplain of the cruelty andinjustice of the country people in being refused entrance and forcedback again with their goods and families; and the inhabitantsfinding themselves so imposed uponand the citizens breaking in asit were upon them whether they would or nocomplain that when theywere infected they were not only regardless of othersbut evenwilling to infect them; neither of which were really true - that isto sayin the colours they were described in.

Itis true there is something to be said for the frequent alarms whichwere given to the country of the resolution of the people of Londonto come out by forcenot only for reliefbut to plunder and rob;that they ran about the streets with the distemper upon them withoutany control; and that no care was taken to shut up housesandconfine the sick people from infecting others; whereasto do theLondoners justicethey never practised such thingsexcept in suchparticular cases as I have mentioned aboveand such like.  Onthe other handeverything was managed with so much careand suchexcellent order was observed in the whole city and suburbs by thecare of the Lord Mayor and aldermen and by the justices of the peacechurch-wardens&c.in the outpartsthat London may be apattern to all the cities in the world for the good government andthe excellent order that was everywhere kepteven in the time of themost violent infectionand when the people were in the utmostconsternation and distress.  But of this I shall speak byitself.

Onethingit is to be observedwas owing principally to the prudence ofthe magistratesand ought to be mentioned to their honour: viz.themoderation which they used in the great and difficult work ofshutting up of houses.  It is trueas I have mentionedthatthe shutting up of houses was a great subject of discontentand Imay say indeed the only subject of discontent among the people atthat time; for the confining the sound in the same house with thesick was counted very terribleand the complaints of people soconfined were very grievous.  They were heard into the verystreetsand they were sometimes such that called for resentmentthough oftener for compassion.  They had no way to converse withany of their friends but out at their windowswhere they would makesuch piteous lamentations as often moved the hearts of those theytalked withand of others whopassing byheard their story; and asthose complaints oftentimes reproached the severityand sometimesthe insolenceof the watchmen placed at their doorsthose watchmenwould answer saucily enoughand perhaps be apt to affront the peoplewho were in the street talking to the said families; for whichorfor their ill- treatment of the familiesI think seven or eight ofthem in several places were killed; I know not whether I should saymurdered or notbecause I cannot enter into the particular cases. It is true the watchmen were on their dutyand acting in the postwhere they were placed by a lawful authority; and killing any publiclegal officer in the execution of his office is alwaysin thelanguage of the lawcalled murder.  But as they were notauthorised by the magistrates' instructionsor by the power theyacted underto be injurious or abusive either to the people who wereunder their observation or to any that concerned themselves for them;so when they did sothey might he said to act themselvesnot theiroffice; ' to act as private personsnot as persons employed; andconsequentlyif they brought mischief upon themselves by such anundue behaviourthat mischief was upon their own heads; and indeedthey had so much the hearty curses of the peoplewhether theydeserved it or notthat whatever befell them nobody pitied themandeverybody was apt to say they deserved itwhatever it was.  Nordo I remember that anybody was ever punishedat least to anyconsiderable degreefor whatever was done to the watchmen thatguarded their houses.

Whatvariety of stratagems were used to escape and get out of houses thusshut upby which the watchmen were deceived or overpoweredand thatthe people got awayI have taken notice of alreadyand shall say nomore to that.  But I say the magistrates did moderate and easefamilies upon many occasions in this caseand particularly in thatof taking awayor suffering to be removedthe sick persons out ofsuch houses when they were willing to be removed either to apest-house or other Places; and sometimes giving the well persons inthe family so shut upleave to remove upon information given thatthey were welland that they would confine themselves in such houseswhere they went so long as should be required of them. The concernalsoof the magistrates for the supplying such poor families as wereinfected - I saysupplying them with necessariesas well physic asfood - was very greatand in which they did not content themselveswith giving the necessary orders to the officers appointedbut thealdermen in personand on horsebackfrequently rode to such housesand caused the people to be asked at their windows whether they wereduly attended or not; alsowhether they wanted anything that wasnecessaryand if the officers had constantly carried their messagesand fetched them such things as they wanted or not.  And if theyanswered in the affirmativeall was well; but if they complainedthat they were ill suppliedand that the officer did not do hisdutyor did not treat them civillythey (the officers) weregenerally removedand others placed in their stead.

Itis true such complaint might be unjustand if the officer had sucharguments to use as would convince the magistrate that he was rightand that the people had injured himhe was continued and theyreproved.  But this part could not well bear a particularinquiryfor the parties could very ill be well heard and answered inthe street from the windowsas was the case then.  Themagistratesthereforegenerally chose to favour the people andremove the manas what seemed to be the least wrong and of the leastill consequence; seeing if the watchman was injuredyet they couldeasily make him amends by giving him another post of the like nature;but if the family was injuredthere was no satisfaction could bemade to themthe damage perhaps being irreparableas it concernedtheir lives.

Agreat variety of these cases frequently happened between the watchmenand the poor people shut upbesides those I formerly mentioned aboutescaping.  Sometimes the watchmen were absentsometimes drunksometimes asleep when the people wanted themand such never failedto be punished severelyas indeed they deserved.

Butafter all that was or could be done in these casesthe shutting upof housesso as to confine those that were well with those that weresickhad very great inconveniences in itand some that were verytragicaland which merited to have been considered if there had beenroom for it.  But it was authorised by a lawit had the publicgood in view as the end chiefly aimed atand all the privateinjuries that were done by the putting it in execution must be put tothe account of the public benefit.

Itis doubtful to this day whetherin the wholeit contributedanything to the stop of the infection; and indeed I cannot say itdidfor nothing could run with greater fury and rage than theinfection did when it was in its chief violencethough the housesinfected were shut up as exactly and as effectually as it waspossible.  Certain it is that if all the infected persons wereeffectually shut inno sound person could have been infected bythembecause they could not have come near them.  But the casewas this (and I shall only touch it here): namelythat the infectionwas propagated insensiblyand by such persons as were not visiblyinfectedwho neither knew whom they infected or who they wereinfected by.

Ahouse in Whitechappel was shut up for the sake of one infected maidwho had only spotsnot the tokens come out upon herand recovered;yet these people obtained no liberty to stirneither for air orexerciseforty days.  Want of breathfearangervexationand all the other gifts attending such an injurious treatment castthe mistress of the family into a feverand visitors came into thehouse and said it was the plaguethough the physicians declared itwas not.  Howeverthe family were obliged to begin theirquarantine anew on the report of the visitors or examinerthoughtheir former quarantine wanted but a few days of being finished. This oppressed them so with anger and griefandas beforestraitened them also so much as to roomand for want of breathingand free airthat most of the family fell sickone of onedistemperone of anotherchiefly scorbutic ailments; only oneaviolent colic; tillafter several prolongings of their confinementsome or other of those that came in with the visitors to inspect thepersons that were illin hopes of releasing thembrought thedistemper with them and infected the whole house; and all or most ofthem diednot of the plague as really upon them beforebut of theplague that those people brought themwho should have been carefulto have protected them from it.  And this was a thing whichfrequently happenedand was indeed one of the worst consequences ofshutting houses up.

Ihad about this time a little hardship put upon mewhich I was atfirst greatly afflicted atand very much disturbed about thoughasit provedit did not expose me to any disaster; and this was beingappointed by the alderman of Portsoken Ward one of the examiners ofthe houses in the precinct where I lived.  We had a largeparishand had no less than eighteen examinersas the order calledus; the people called us visitors.  I endeavoured with all mymight to be excused from such an employmentand used many argumentswith the alderman's deputy to be excused; particularly I alleged thatI was against shutting up houses at alland that it would be veryhard to oblige me to be an instrument in that which was against myjudgementand which I did verily believe would not answer the end itwas intended for; but all the abatement I could get was onlythatwhereas the officer was appointed by my Lord Mayor to continue twomonthsI should be obliged to hold it but three weekson conditionnevertheless that I could then get some other sufficient housekeeperto serve the rest of the time for me - which wasin shortbut avery small favourit being very difficult to get any man to acceptof such an employmentthat was fit to be entrusted with it.

Itis true that shutting up of houses had one effectwhich I amsensible was of momentnamelyit confined the distempered peoplewho would otherwise have been both very troublesome and verydangerous in their running about streets with the distemper upon them- whichwhen they were deliriousthey would have done in a mostfrightful mannerand as indeed they began to do at first very muchtill they were thus restraided; nayso very open they were that thepoor would go about and beg at people's doorsand say they had theplague upon themand beg rags for their soresor bothor anythingthat delirious nature happened to think of.

Apoorunhappy gentlewomana substantial citizen's wifewas (if thestory be true) murdered by one of these creatures in AldersgateStreetor that way.  He was going along the streetraving madto be sureand singing; the people only said he was drunkbut hehimself said he had the plague upon himwhich it seems was true; andmeeting this gentlewomanhe would kiss her.  She was terriblyfrightedas he was only a rude fellowand she ran from himbut thestreet being very thin of peoplethere was nobody near enough tohelp her.  When she saw he would overtake hershe turned andgave him a thrust so forciblyhe being but weakand pushed him downbackward.  But very unhappilyshe being so nearhe caught holdof her and pulled her down alsoand getting up firstmastered herand kissed her; and which was worst of allwhen he had donetoldher he had the plagueand why should not she have it as well as he? She was frighted enough beforebeing also young with child; but whenshe heard him say he had the plagueshe screamed out and fell downinto a swoonor in a fitwhichthough she recovered a littleyetkilled her in a very few days; and I never heard whether she had theplague or no.

Anotherinfected person came and knocked at the door of a citizen's housewhere they knew him very well; the servant let him inand being toldthe master of the house was abovehe ran up and came into the roomto them as the whole family was at supper.  They began to riseupa little surprisednot knowing what the matter was; but he bidthem sit stillhe only came to take his leave of them.  Theyasked him'WhyMr -where are you going?' 'Going' says he; 'Ihave got the sicknessand shall die tomorrow night.' 'Tis easy tobelievethough not to describethe consternation they were all in. The women and the man's daughterswhich were but little girlswerefrighted almost to death and got upone running out at one door andone at anothersome downstairs and some upstairsand gettingtogether as well as they couldlocked themselves into their chambersand screamed out at the window for helpas if they had been frightedout of theirwits. The mastermore composed than theythough bothfrighted and provokedwas going to lay hands on him and throw himdownstairsbeing in a passion; but thenconsidering a little thecondition of the man and the danger of touching himhorror seizedhis mindand he stood still like one astonished.  The poordistempered man all this whilebeing as well diseased in his brainas in his bodystood still like one amazed.  At length he turnsround: 'Ay!' says hewith all the seeming calmness imaginable'isit so with you all?  Are you all disturbed at me?  Whythen I'll e'en go home and die there.' And so he goes immediatelydownstairs.  The servant that had let him in goes down after himwith a candlebut was afraid to go past him and open the doorso hestood on the stairs to see what he would do.  The man went andopened the doorand went out and flung the door after him. It wassome while before the family recovered the frightbut as no illconsequence attendedthey have had occasion since to speak of it(You may be sure) with great satisfaction.  Though the man wasgoneit was some time - nayas I heardsome days before theyrecovered themselves of the hurry they were in; nor did they go upand down the house with any assurance till they had burnt a greatvariety of fumes and perfumes in all the roomsand made a great manysmokes of pitchof gunpowderand of sulphurall separatelyshiftedand washed their clothesand the like.  As to the poormanwhether he lived or died I don't remember.

Itis most certain thatif by the shutting up of houses the sick badnot been confinedmultitudes who in the height of their fever weredelirious and distracted would have been continually running up anddown the streets; and even as it was a very great number did soandoffered all sorts of violence to those they met. even just as a maddog runs on and bites at every one he meets; nor can I doubt butthatshould one of those infecteddiseased creatures have bittenany man or woman while the frenzy of the distemper was upon themtheyI mean the person so woundedwould as certainly have beenincurably infected as one that was sick beforeand had the tokensupon him.

Iheard of one infected creature whorunning out of his bed in hisshirt in the anguish and agony of his swellingsof which he hadthree upon himgot his shoes on and went to put on his coat; but thenurse resistingand snatching the coat from himhe threw her downran over herran downstairs and into the streetdirectly to theThames in his shirt; the nurse running after himand calling to thewatch to stop him; but the watchmanftighted at the manand afraidto touch himlet him go on; upon which he ran down to the Stillyardstairsthrew away his shirtand plunged into the Thamesandbeinga good swimmerswam quite over the river; and the tide being cominginas they call it (that isrunning westward) he reached the landnot till he came about the Falcon stairswhere landingand findingno people thereit being in the nighthe ran about the streetstherenaked as he wasfor a good whilewhenit being by that timehigh waterhe takes the river againand swam back to the Stillyardlandedran up the streets again to his own houseknocking at thedoorwent up the stairs and into his bed again; and that thisterrible experiment cured him of the plaguethat is to saythat theviolent motion of his arms and legs stretched the parts where theswellings he had upon him werethat is to sayunder his arms andhis groinand caused them to ripen and break; and that the cold ofthe water abated the fever in his blood.

Ihave only to add that I do not relate this any more than some of theotheras a fact within my own knowledgeso as that I can vouch thetruth of themand especially that of the man being cured by theextravagant adventurewhich I confess I do not think very possible;but it may serve to confirm the many desperate things which thedistressed people falling into deliriumsand what we call light-headednesswere frequently run upon at that timeand how infinitelymore such there would have been if such people had not been confinedby the shutting up of houses; and this I take to be the bestif notthe only good thing which was performed by that severe method.

Onthe other handthe complaints and the murmurings were very bitteragainst the thing itself.  It would pierce the hearts of allthat came by to hear the piteous cries of those infected peoplewhobeing thus out of their understandings by the violence of their painor the heat of their bloodwere either shut in or perhaps tied intheir beds and chairsto prevent their doing themselves hurt - andwho would make a dreadful outcry at their being confinedand attheir being not permitted to die at largeas they called itand asthey would have done before.

Thisrunning of distempered people about the streets was very dismalandthe magistrates did their utmost to prevent it; but as it wasgenerally in the night and always sudden when such attempts weremadethe officers could not be at band to prevent it; and even whenany got out in the daythe officers appointed did not care to meddlewith thembecauseas they were all grievously infectedto be surewhen they were come to that heightso they were more than ordinarilyinfectiousand it was one of the most dangerous things that could beto touch them.  On the other handthey generally ran onnotknowing what they didtill they dropped down stark deador tillthey had exhausted their spirits so as that they would fall and thendie in perhaps half-an-hour or an hour; andwhich was most piteousto hearthey were sure to come to themselves entirely in thathalf-hour or hourand then to make most grievous and piercing criesand lamentations in the deepafflicting sense of the condition theywere in.  This was much of it before the order for shutting upof houses was strictly put in executionfor at first the watchmenwere not so vigorous and severe as they were afterward in the keepingthe people in; that is to saybefore they were (I mean some of them)severely punished for their neglectfailing in their dutyandletting people who were under their care slip awayor conniving attheir going abroadwhether sick or well.  But after they sawthe officers appointed to examine into their conduct were resolved tohave them do their duty or be punished for the omissionthey weremore exactand the people were strictly restrained; which was athing they took so ill and bore so impatiently that their discontentscan hardly be described.  But there was an absolute necessityfor itthat must be confessedunless some other measures had beentimely entered uponand it was too late for that.

Hadnot this particular (of the sick being restrained as above) been ourcase at that timeLondon would have been the most dreadful placethat ever was in the world; there wouldfor aught I knowhave asmany people died in the streets as died in their houses; for when thedistemper was at its height it generally made them raving anddeliriousand when they were so they would never be persuaded tokeep in their beds but by force; and many who were not tied threwthemselves out of windows when they found they could not get leave togo out of their doors.

Itwas for want of people conversing one with anotherin this time ofcalamitythat it was impossible any particular person could come atthe knowledge of all the extraordinary cases that occurred indifferent families; and particularly I believe it was never known tothis day how many people in their deliriums drowned themselves in theThamesand in the river which runs from the marshes by Hackneywhich we generally called Ware Riveror Hackney River.  As tothose which were set down in the weekly billthey were indeed few;nor could it be known of any of those whether they drowned themselvesby accident or not.  But I believe I might reckon up more whowithin the compass of my knowledge or observation really drownedthemselves in that yearthan are put down in the bill of all puttogether: for many of the bodies were never found who yet were knownto be lost; and the like in other methods of self-destruction. Therewas also one man in or about Whitecross Street burned himself todeath in his bed; some said it was done by himselfothers that itwas by the treachery of the nurse that attended him; but that he hadthe plague upon him was agreed by all.

Itwas a merciful disposition of Providence alsoand which I have manytimes thought of at that timethat no firesor no considerable onesat leasthappened in the city during that yearwhichif it hadbeen otherwisewould have been very dreadful; and either the peoplemust have let them alone unquenchedor have come together in greatcrowds and throngsunconcerned at the danger of the infectionnotconcerned at the houses they went intoat the goods they handledorat the persons or the people they came among.  But so it wasthat excepting that in Cripplegate parishand two or three littleeruptions of fireswhich were presently extinguishedthere was nodisaster of that kind happened in the whole year.  They told usa story of a house in a place called Swan Alleypassing from GoswellStreetnear the end of Old Streetinto St John Streetthat afamily was infected there in so terrible a manner that every one ofthe house died.  The last person lay dead on the floorandasit is supposedhad lain herself all along to die just before thefire; the fireit seemshad fallen from its placebeing of woodand had taken hold of the boards and the joists they lay onandburnt as far as just to the bodybut had not taken hold of the deadbody (though she had little more than her shift on) and had gone outof itselfnot burning the rest of the housethough it was a slighttimber house.  How true this might be I do not determinebutthe city being to suffer severely the next year by firethis year itfelt very little of that calamity.

Indeedconsidering the deliriums which the agony threw people intoand howI have mentioned in their madnesswhen they were alonethey didmany desperate thingsit was very strange there were no moredisasters of that kind.

Ithas been frequently asked meand I cannot say that I ever knew howto give a direct answer to ithow it came to pass that so manyinfected people appeared abroad in the streets at the same time thatthe houses which were infected were so vigilantly searchedand allof them shut up and guarded as they were.

Iconfess I know not what answer to give to thisunless it be this:that in so great and populous a city as this is it was impossible todiscover every house that was infected as soon as it was soor toshut up all the houses that were infected; so that people had theliberty of going about the streetseven where they Pleasedunlessthey were known to belong to such-and-such infected houses.

Itis true thatas several physicians told my Lord Mayorthe fury ofthe contagion was such at some particular timesand people sickenedso fast and died so soonthat it was impossibleand indeed to nopurposeto go about to inquire who was sick and who was wellor toshut them up with such exactness as the thing requiredalmost everyhouse in a whole street being infectedand in many places everyperson in some of the houses; and that which was still worseby thetime that the houses were known to be infectedmost of the personsinfected would be stone deadand the rest run away for fear of beingshut up; so that it was to very small purpose to call them infectedhouses and shut them upthe infection having ravaged and taken itsleave of the house before it was really known that the family was anyway touched.

Thismight be sufficient to convince any reasonable person that as it wasnot in the power of the magistrates or of any human methods ofpolicyto prevent the spreading the infectionso that this way ofshutting up of houses was perfectly insufficient for that end. Indeed it seemed to have no manner of public good in itequal orproportionable to the grievous burden that it was to the particularfamilies that were so shut up; andas far as I was employed by thepublic in directing that severityI frequently found occasion to seethat it was incapable of answering the end. For exampleas I wasdesiredas a visitor or examinerto inquire into the particulars ofseveral families which were infectedwe scarce came to any housewhere the plague had visibly appeared in the family but that some ofthe family were fled and gone.  The magistrates would resentthisand charge the examiners with being remiss in their examinationor inspection.  But by that means houses were long infectedbefore it was known.  Nowas I was in this dangerous office buthalf the appointed timewhich was two monthsit was long enough toinform myself that we were no way capable of coming at the knowledgeof the true state of any family but by inquiring at the door or ofthe neighbours.  As for going into every house to searchthatwas a part no authority would offer to impose on the inhabitantsorany citizen would undertake: for it would have been exposing us tocertain infection and deathand to the ruin of our own families aswell as of ourselves; nor would any citizen of probityand thatcould be depended uponhave stayed in the town if they had been madeliable to such a severity.

Seeingthen that we could come at the certainty of things by no method butthat of inquiry of the neighbours or of the familyand on that wecould not justly dependit was not possible but that the uncertaintyof this matter would remain as above.

Itis true masters of families were bound by the order to give notice tothe examiner of the place wherein he livedwithin two hours after heshould discover itof any person being sick in his house (that is tosayhaving signs of the infection)- but they found so many ways toevade this and excuse their negligence that they seldom gave thatnotice till they had taken measures to have every one escape out ofthe house who had a mind to escapewhether they were sick or sound;and while this was soit is easy to see that the shutting up ofhouses was no way to be depended upon as a sufficient method forputting a stop to the infection becauseas I have said elsewheremany of those that so went out of those infected houses had theplague really upon themthough they might really think themselvessound.  And some of these were the people that walked thestreets till they fell down deadnot that they were suddenly struckwith the distemper as with a bullet that killed with the strokebutthat they really had the infection in their blood long before; onlythat as it preyed secretly on the vitalsit appeared not till itseized the heart with a mortal powerand the patient died in amomentas with a sudden fainting or an apoplectic fit.

Iknow that some even of our physicians thought for a time that thosepeople that so died in the streets were seized but that moment theyfellas if they had been touched by a stroke from heaven as men arekilled by a flash of lightning - but they found reason to alter theiropinion afterward; for upon examining the bodies of such after theywere deadthey always either had tokens upon them or other evidentproofs of the distemper having been longer upon them than they hadotherwise expected.

Thisoften was the reason thatas I have saidwe that were examinerswere not able to come at the knowledge of the infection being enteredinto a house till it was too late to shut it upand sometimes nottill the people that were left were all dead.  In Petticoat Lanetwo houses together were infectedand several people sick; but thedistemper was so well concealedthe examinerwho was my neighbourgot no knowledge of it till notice was sent him that the people wereall deadand that the carts should call there to fetch them away. The two heads of the families concerted their measuresand soordered their matters as that when the examiner was in theneighbourhood they appeared generally at a timeand answeredthatisliedfor one anotheror got some of the neighbourhood to saythey were all in health - and perhaps knew no better - tilldeathmaking it impossible to keep it any longer as a secretthedead-carts were called in the night to both the houses t and so itbecame public.  But when the examiner ordered the constable toshut up the houses there was nobody left in them but three peopletwo in one house and one in the otherjust dyingand a nurse ineach house who acknowledged that they had buried five beforethatthe houses had been infected nine or ten daysand that for all therest of the two familieswhich were manythey were gonesome sicksome wellor whether sick or well could not be known.

Inlike mannerat another house in the same lanea man having hisfamily infected but very unwilling to be shut upwhen he couldconceal it no longershut up himself; that is to sayhe set thegreat red cross upon his door with the words'Lord have mercy uponus'and so deluded the examinerwho supposed it had been done bythe constable by order of the other examinerfor there were twoexaminers to every district or precinct.  By this means he hadfree egress and regress into his house again. and out of itas hepleasednotwithstanding it was infectedtill at length hisstratagem was found out; and then hewith the sound part of hisservants and familymade off and escapedso they were not shut upat all.

Thesethings made it very hardif not impossibleas I have saidtoprevent the spreading of an infection by the shutting up of houses -unless the people would think the shutting of their houses nogrievanceand be so willing to have it done as that they would givenotice duly and faithfully to the magistrates of their being infectedas soon as it was known by themselves; but as that cannot be expectedfrom themand the examiners cannot be supposedas aboveto go intotheir houses to visit and searchall the good of shutting up houseswill be defeatedand few houses will be shut up in timeexceptthose of the poorwho cannot conceal itand of some people who willbe discovered by the terror and consternation which the things putthem into.

Igot myself discharged of the dangerous office I was in as soon as Icould get another admittedwhom I had obtained for a little money toaccept of it; and soinstead of serving the two monthswhich wasdirectedI was not above three weeks in it; and a great while tooconsidering it was in the month of Augustat which time thedistemper began to rage with great violence at our end of the town.

Inthe execution of this office I could not refrain speaking my opinionamong my neighbours as to this shutting up the people in theirhouses; in which we saw most evidently the severities that were usedthough grievous in themselveshad also this particular objectionagainst them: namelythat they did not answer the endas I havesaidbut that the distempered people went day by day about thestreets; and it was our united opinion that a method to have removedthe sound from the sickin case of a particular house being visitedwould have been much more reasonable on many accountsleaving nobodywith the sick persons but such as should on such occasion request tostay and declare themselves content to be shut up with them

Ourscheme for removing those that were sound from those that were sickwas only in such houses as were infectedand confining the sick wasno confinement; those that could not stir would not complain whilethey were in their senses and while they had the power of judging. Indeedwhen they came to be delirious and light-headedthen theywould cry out of the cruelty of being confined; but for the removalof those that were wellwe thought it highly reasonable and justfor their own sakesthey should be removed from the sickand thatfor other people's safety they should keep retired for a whiletosee that they were soundand might not infect others; and we thoughttwenty or thirty days enough for this.

Nowcertainlyif houses had been provided on purpose for those that weresound to perform this demi-quarantine inthey would have much lessreason to think themselves injured in such a restraint than in beingconfined with infected people in the houses where they lived.

Itis herehoweverto be observed that after the funerals became somany that people could not toll the bellmourn or weepor wearblack for one anotheras they did before; nonor so much as makecoffins for those that died; so after a while the fury of theinfection appeared to be so increased thatin shortthey shut up nohouses at all.  It seemed enough that all the remedies of thatkind had been used till they were found fruitlessand that theplague spread itself with an irresistible fury; so that as the firethe succeeding year spread itselfand burned with such violence thatthe citizensin despairgave over their endeavours to extinguishitso in the plague it came at last to such violence that the peoplesat still looking at one anotherand seemed quite abandoned todespair; whole streets seemed to be desolatedand not to be shut uponlybut to be emptied of their inhabitants; doors were left openwindows stood shattering with the wind in empty houses for want ofpeople to shut them.  In a wordpeople began to give upthemselves to their fears and to think that all regulations andmethods were in vainand that there was nothing to be hoped for butan universal desolation; and it was even in the height of thisgeneral despair that it Pleased God to stay His handand to slackenthe fury of the contagion in such a manner as was even surprisinglike its beginningand demonstrated it to be His own particularhandand that aboveif not without the agency of meansas I shalltake notice of in its proper place.

ButI must still speak of the plague as in its heightraging even todesolationand the people under the most dreadful consternationevenas I have saidto despair.  It is hardly credible to whatexcess the passions of men carried them in this extremity of thedistemperand this partI thinkwas as moving as the rest. What could affect a man in his full power of reflectionand whatcould make deeper impressions on the soulthan to see a man almostnakedand got out of his houseor perhaps out of his bedinto thestreetcome out of Harrow Alleya populous conjunction orcollection of alleyscourtsand passages in the Butcher Row inWhitechappel- I saywhat could be more affecting than to see thispoor man come out into the open streetrun dancing and singing andmaking a thousand antic gestureswith five or six women and childrenrunning after himcrying and calling upon him for the Lord's sake tocome backand entreating the help of others to bring him backbutall in vainnobody daring to lay a hand upon him or to come nearhim?

Thiswas a most grievous and afflicting thing to mewho saw it all frommy own windows; for all this while the poor afflicted man wasas Iobserved iteven then in the utmost agony of painhaving (as theysaid) two swellings upon him which could not be brought to break orto suppurate; butby laying strong caustics on themthe surgeonshadit seemshopes to break them - which caustics were then uponhimburning his flesh as with a hot iron.  I cannot say whatbecame of this poor manbut I think he continued roving about inthat manner till he fell down and died.

Nowonder the aspect of the city itself was frightful.  The usualconcourse of people in the streetsand which used to be suppliedfrom our end of the townwas abated.  The Exchange was not keptshutindeedbut it was no more frequented.  The fires werelost; they had been almost extinguished for some days by a very smartand hasty rain.  But that was not all; some of the physiciansinsisted that they were not only no benefitbut injurious to thehealth of people.  This they made a loud clamour aboutandcomplained to the Lord Mayor about it.  On the other handothers of the same facultyand eminent tooopposed themand gavetheir reasons why the fires wereand must beuseful to assuage theviolence of the distemper.  I cannot give a full account oftheir arguments on both sides; only this I rememberthat theycavilled very much with one another.  Some were for firesbutthat they must be made of wood and not coaland of particular sortsof wood toosuch as fir in particularor cedarbecause of thestrong effluvia of turpentine; others were for coal and not woodbecause of the sulphur and bitumen; and others were for neither oneor other.  Upon the wholethe Lord Mayor ordered no more firesand especially on this accountnamelythat the plague was so fiercethat they saw evidently it defied all meansand rather seemed toincrease than decrease upon any application to check and abate it;and yet this amazement of the magistrates proceeded rather from wantof being able to apply any means successfully than from anyunwillingness either to expose themselves or undertake the care andweight of business; forto do them justicethey neither sparedtheir pains nor their persons.  But nothing answered; theinfection ragedand the people were now frighted and terrified tothe last degree: so thatas I may saythey gave themselves upandas I mentioned aboveabandoned themselves to their despair.

Butlet me observe here thatwhen I say the people abandoned themselvesto despairI do not mean to what men call a religious despairor adespair of their eternal statebut I mean a despair of their beingable to escape the infection or to outlive the plague. which they sawwas so raging and so irresistible in its force that indeed few peoplethat were touched with it in its heightabout August and Septemberescaped; andwhich is very particularcontrary to its ordinaryoperation in June and Julyand the beginning of Augustwhenas Ihave observedmany were infectedand continued so many daysandthen went off after having had the poison in their blood a long time;but nowon the contrarymost of the people who were taken duringthe two last weeks in August and in the three first weeks inSeptembergenerally died in two or three days at furthestand manythe very same day they were taken; whether the dog-daysoras ourastrologers pretended to express themselvesthe influence of thedog-starhad that malignant effector all those who had the seedsof infection before in them brought it up to a maturity at that timealtogetherI know not; but this was the time when it was reportedthat above 3000 people died in one night; and they that would have usbelieve they more critically observed it pretend to say that they alldied within the space of two hoursviz.between the hours of oneand three in the morning.

Asto the suddenness of people's dying at this timemore than beforethere were innumerable instances of itand I could name several inmy neighbourhood.  One family without the Barsand not far frommewere all seemingly well on the Mondaybeing ten in family. That evening one maid and one apprentice were taken ill and died thenext morning - when the other apprentice and two children weretouchedwhereof one died the same eveningand the other two onWednesday.  In a wordby Saturday at noon the mastermistressfour childrenand four servants were all goneand the house leftentirely emptyexcept an ancient woman who came in to take charge ofthe goods for the master of the family's brotherwho lived not faroffand who had not been sick.

Manyhouses were then left desolateall the people being carried awaydeadand especially in an alley farther on the same side beyond theBarsgoing in at the sign of Moses and Aaronthere were severalhouses together whichthey saidhad not one person left alive inthem; and some that died last in several of those houses were left alittle too long before they were fetched out to be buried; the reasonof which was notas some have written very untrulythat the livingwere not sufficient to bury the deadbut that the mortality was sogreat in the yard or alley that there was nobody left to give noticeto the buriers or sextons that there were any dead bodies there to beburied. It was saidhow true I know notthat some of those bodieswere so much corrupted and so rotten that it was with difficulty theywere carried; and as the carts could not come any nearer than to theAlley Gate in the High Streetit was so much the more difficult tobring them along; but I am not certain how many bodies were thenleft.  I am sure that ordinarily it was not so.

AsI have mentioned how the people were brought into a condition todespair of life and abandon themselvesso this very thing had astrange effect among us for three or four weeks; that isit madethem bold and venturous: they were no more shy of one anotherorrestrained within doorsbut went anywhere and everywhereand beganto converse.  One would say to another'I do not ask you howyou areor say how I am; it is certain we shall all go; so 'tis nomatter who is all sick or who is sound'; and so they ran desperatelyinto any place or any company.

Asit brought the people into public companyso it was surprising howit brought them to crowd into the churches.  They inquired nomore into whom they sat near to or far fromwhat offensive smellsthey met withor what condition the people seemed to be in; butlooking upon themselves all as so many dead corpsesthey came to thechurches without the least cautionand crowded together as if theirlives were of no consequence compared to the work which they cameabout there.  Indeedthe zeal which they showed in comingandthe earnestness and affection they showed in their attention to whatthey heardmade it manifest what a value people would all put uponthe worship of God if they thought every day they attended at thechurch that it would be their last.

Norwas it without other strange effectsfor it took awayall manner ofprejudice at or scruple about the person whom they found in thepulpit when they came to the churches.  It cannot be doubted butthat many of the ministers of the parish churches were cut offamongothersin so common and dreadful a calamity; and others had notcourage enough to stand itbut removed into the country as theyfound means for escape.  As then some parish churches were quitevacant and forsakenthe people made no scruple of desiring suchDissenters as had been a few years before deprived of their livingsby virtue of the Act of Parliament called the Act of Uniformity topreach in the churches; nor did the church ministers in that casemake any difficulty of accepting their assistance; so that many ofthose whom they called silenced ministers had their mouths opened onthis occasion and preached publicly to the people.

Herewe may observe and I hope it will not be amiss to take notice of itthat a near view of death would soon reconcile men of good principlesone to anotherand that it is chiefly owing to our easy situation inlife and our putting these things far from us that our breaches arefomentedill blood continuedprejudicesbreach of charity and ofChristian unionso much kept and so far carried on among us as itis.  Another plague year would reconcile all these differences;a dose conversing with deathor with diseases that threaten deathwould scum off the gall from our tempersremove the animositiesamong usand bring us to see with differing eyes than those which welooked on things with before.  As the people who had been usedto join with the Church were reconciled at this time with theadmitting the Dissenters to preach to themso the Dissenterswhowith an uncommon prejudice had broken off from the communion of theChurch of Englandwere now content to come to their parish churchesand to conform to the worship which they did not approve of before;but as the terror of the infection abatedthose things all returnedagain to their less desirable channel and to the course they were inbefore.

Imention this but historically.  I have no mind to enter intoarguments to move either or both sides to a more charitablecompliance one with another.  I do not see that it is probablesuch a discourse would be either suitable or successful; the breachesseem rather to widenand tend to a widening furtherthan toclosingand who am I that I should think myself able to influenceeither one side or other?  But this I may repeat againthat'tis evident death will reconcile us all; on the other side the gravewe shall be all brethren again.  In heavenwhither I hope wemay come from all parties and persuasionswe shall find neitherprejudice or scruple; there we shall be of one principle and of oneopinion.  Why we cannot be content to go hand in hand to thePlace where we shall join heart and hand without the leasthesitationand with the most complete harmony and affection - I saywhy we cannot do so here I can say nothing toneither shall I sayanything more of it but that it remains to be lamented.

Icould dwell a great while upon the calamities of this dreadful timeand go on to describe the objects that appeared among us every daythe dreadful extravagancies which the distraction of sick peopledrove them into; how the streets began now to be fuller of frightfulobjectsand families to be made even a terror to themselves. But after I have told youas I have abovethat one manbeing tiedin his bedand finding no other way to deliver himselfset the bedon fire with his candlewhich unhappily stood within his reachandburnt himself in his bed; and how anotherby the insufferabletorment he boredanced and sung naked in the streetsnot knowingone ecstasy from another; I sayafter I have mentioned these thingswhat can be added more? What can be said to represent the misery ofthese times more lively to the readeror to give him a more perfectidea of a complicated distress?

Imust acknowledge that this time was terriblethat I was sometimes atthe end of all my resolutionsand that I had not the courage that Ihad at the beginning.  As the extremity brought other peopleabroadit drove me homeand except having made my voyage down toBlackwall and Greenwichas I have relatedwhich was an excursionIkept afterwards very much within doorsas I had for about afortnight before.  I have said already that I repented severaltimes that I had ventured to stay in townand had not gone away withmy brother and his familybut it was too late for that now; andafter I had retreated and stayed within doors a good while before myimpatience led me abroadthen they called meas I have saidto anugly and dangerous office which brought me out again; but as that wasexpired while the height of the distemper lastedI retired againand continued dose ten or twelve days moreduring which many dismalspectacles represented themselves in my view out of my own windowsand in our own street - as that particularly from Harrow Alleyofthe poor outrageous creature which danced and sung in his agony; andmany others there were.  Scarce a day or night passed over butsome dismal thing or other happened at the end of that Harrow Alleywhich was a place full of poor peoplemost of them belonging to thebutchers or to employments depending upon the butchery.

Sometimesheaps and throngs of people would burst out of the alleymost ofthem womenmaking a dreadful clamourmixed or compounded ofscreechescryingsand calling one anotherthat we could notconceive what to make of it.  Almost all the dead part of thenight the dead-cart stood at the end of that alleyfor if it went init could not well turn againand could go in but a little way. ThereI sayit stood to receive dead bodiesand as the churchyardwas but a little way offif it went away full it would soon be backagain.  It is impossible to describe the most horrible cries andnoise the poor people would make at their bringing the dead bodies oftheir children and friends out of the cartand by the number onewould have thought there had been none left behindor that therewere people enough for a small city living in those places. Several times they cried 'Murder'sometimes 'Fire'; but it was easyto perceive it was all distractionand the complaints of distressedand distempered people.

Ibelieve it was everywhere thus as that timefor the plague raged forsix or seven weeks beyond all that I have expressedand came even tosuch a height thatin the extremitythey began to break into thatexcellent order of which I have spoken so much in behalf of themagistrates; namelythat no dead bodies were seen in the street orburials in the daytime: for there was a necessity in this extremityto bear with its being otherwise for a little while.

Onething I cannot omit hereand indeed I thought it was extraordinaryat least it seemed a remarkable hand of Divine justice:  viz.that all the predictorsastrologersfortune-tellersand what theycalled cunning-menconjurersand the like: calculators ofnativities and dreamers of dreamand such peoplewere gone andvanished; not one of them was to be found.  I am verilypersuaded that a great number of them fell in the heat of thecalamityhaving ventured to stay upon the prospect of getting greatestates; and indeed their gain was but too great for a timethroughthe madness and folly of the people.  But now they were silent;many of them went to their long homenot able to foretell their ownfate or to calculate their own nativities.  Some have beencritical enough to say that every one of them died.  I dare notaffirm that; but this I must ownthat I never heard of one of themthat ever appeared after the calamity was over.

Butto return to my particular observations during this dreadful part ofthe visitation.  I am now comeas I have saidto the month ofSeptemberwhich was the most dreadful of its kindI believethatever London saw; forby all the accounts which I have seen of thepreceding visitations which have been in Londonnothing has beenlike itthe number in the weekly bill amounting to almost 40000from the 22nd of August to the 26th of Septemberbeing but fiveweeks. The particulars of the bills are as followsviz. : -

From August the 22nd to the 29th
      "       "           29th      "     5th September
      "    September the 5th "     12th
      "       "           12th      "     19th
      "       "           19th      "     26th



7496
8252
7690
8297
6460
------
38195

 

Thiswas a prodigious number of itselfbut if I should add the reasonswhich I have to believe that this account was deficientand howdeficient it wasyou wouldwith memake no scruple to believe thatthere died above ten thousand a week for all those weeksone weekwith anotherand a proportion for several weeks both before andafter.  The confusion among the peopleespecially within thecityat that timewas inexpressible.  The terror was so greatat last that the courage of the people appointed to carry away thedead began to fail them; nayseveral of them diedalthough they hadthe distemper before and were recoveredand some of them droppeddown when they have been carrying the bodies even at the pit sideand just ready to throw them in; and this confusion was greater inthe city because they had flattered themselves with hopes ofescapingand thought the bitterness of death was past.  Onecartthey told usgoing up Shoreditch was forsaken of the driversor being left to one man to drivehe died in the street; and thehorses going on overthrew the cartand left the bodiessome thrownout heresome therein a dismal manner.  Another cart wasitseemsfound in the great pit in Finsbury Fieldsthe driver beingdeador having been gone and abandoned itand the horses runningtoo near itthe cart fell in and drew the horses in also.  Itwas suggested that the driver was thrown in with it and that the cartfell upon himby reason his whip was seen to be in the pit among thebodies; but thatI supposecould not be certain.

Inour parish of Aldgate the dead-carts were several timesas I haveheardfound standing at the churchyard gate full of dead bodiesbutneither bellman or driver or any one else with it; neither in theseor many other cases did they know what bodies they had in their cartfor sometimes they were let down with ropes out of balconies and outof windowsand sometimes the bearers brought them to the cartsometimes other people; noras the men themselves saiddid theytrouble themselves to keep any account of the numbers.

Thevigilance of the magistrates was now put to the utmost trial - andit must be confessedcan never be enough acknowledged on thisoccasion also; whatever expense or trouble they were attwo thingswere never neglected in the city or suburbs either : -

 

(1)Provisions were always to be had in full plentyand the price notmuch raised neitherhardly worth speaking.

(2)No dead bodies lay unburied or uncovered; and if one walked from oneend of the city to anotherno funeral or sign of it was to be seenin the daytimeexcept a littleas I have said abovein the threefirst weeks in September.

 

Thislast article perhaps will hardly be believed when some accounts whichothers have published since that shall be seenwherein they say thatthe dead lay unburiedwhich I am assured was utterly false; atleastif it had been anywhere soit must have been in houses wherethe living were gone from the dead (having found meansas I haveobservedto escape) and where no notice was given to the officers. All which amounts to nothing at all in the case in hand; for this Iam positive inhaving myself been employed a little in the directionof that part in the parish in which I livedand where as great adesolation was made in proportion to the number of inhabitants as wasanywhere; I sayI am sure that there were no dead bodies remainedunburied; that is to saynone that the proper officers knew of; nonefor want of people to carry them offand buriers to put them intothe ground and cover them; and this is sufficient to the argument;for what might lie in houses and holesas in Moses and Aaron Alleyis nothing; for it is most certain they were buried as soon as theywere found.  As to the first article (namelyof provisionsthescarcity or dearness)though I have mentioned it before and shallspeak of it againyet I must observe here: -

 

(1)The price of bread in particular was not much raised; for in thebeginning of the yearviz.in the first week in Marchthe pennywheaten loaf was ten ounces and a half; and in the height of thecontagion it was to be had at nine ounces and a halfand neverdearernonot all that season.  And about the beginning ofNovember it was sold ten ounces and a half again; the like of whichI believewas never heard of in any cityunder so dreadful avisitationbefore.

(2)Neither was there (which I wondered much at) any want of bakers orovens kept open to supply the people with the bread; but this wasindeed alleged by some familiesviz.that their maidservantsgoingto the bakehouses with their dough to be bakedwhich was then thecustomsometimes came home with the sickness (that is to say theplague) upon them.

 

Inall this dreadful visitation there wereas I have said beforebuttwo pest-houses made use ofviz.one in the fields beyond OldStreet and one in Westminster; neither was there any compulsion usedin carrying people thither.  Indeed there was no need ofcompulsion in the casefor there were thousands of poor distressedpeople whohaving no help or conveniences or supplies but ofcharitywould have been very glad to have been carried thither andbeen taken care of; whichindeedwas the only thing that I thinkwas wanting in the whole public management of the cityseeing nobodywas here allowed to be brought to the pest-house but where money wasgivenor security for moneyeither at their introducing or upontheir being cured and sent out - for very many were sent out againwhole; and very good physicians were appointed to those placessothat many people did very well thereof which I shall make mentionagain.  The principal sort of people sent thither wereas Ihave saidservants who got the distemper by going of errands tofetch necessaries to the families where they livedand who in thatcaseif they came home sickwere removed to preserve the rest ofthe house; and they were so well looked after there in all the timeof the visitation that there was but 156 buried in all at the Londonpest-houseand 159 at that of Westminster.

Byhaving more pest-houses I am far from meaning a forcing all peopleinto such places.  Had the shutting up of houses been omittedand the sick hurried out of their dwellings to pest-housesas someproposedit seemsat that time as well as sinceit would certainlyhave been much worse than it was.  The very removing the sickwould have been a spreading of the infectionand the rather becausethat removing could not effectually clear the house where the sickperson was of the distemper; and the rest of the familybeing thenleft at libertywould certainly spread it among others.

Themethods also in private familieswhich would have been universallyused to have concealed the distemper and to have concealed thepersons being sickwould have been such that the distemper wouldsometimes have seized a whole family before any visitors or examinerscould have known of it.  On the other handthe prodigiousnumbers which would have been sick at a time would have exceeded allthe capacity of public pest-houses to receive themor of publicofficers to discover and remove them.

Thiswas well considered in those daysand I have heard them talk of itoften.  The magistrates had enough to do to bring people tosubmit to having their houses shut upand many ways they deceivedthe watchmen and got outas I have observed.  But thatdifficulty made it apparent that they t would have found itimpracticable to have gone the other way to workfor they couldnever have forced the sick people out of their beds and out of theirdwellings.  It must not have been my Lord Mayor's officersbutan army of officersthat must have attempted it; and tile peopleonthe other handwould have been enraged and desperateand would havekilled those that should have offered to have meddled with them orwith their children and relationswhatever had befallen them for it;so that they would have made the peoplewhoas it waswere in themost terrible distraction imaginableI saythey would have madethem stark mad; whereas the magistrates found it proper on severalaccounts to treat them with lenity and compassionand not withviolence and terrorsuch as dragging the sick out of their houses orobliging them to remove themselveswould have been.

Thisleads me again to mention the time when the plague first began; thatis to saywhen it became certain that it would spread over the wholetownwhenas I have saidthe better sort of people first took thealarm and began to hurry themselves out of town.  It was trueas I observed in its placethat the throng was so greatand thecoacheshorseswaggonsand carts were so manydriving anddragging the people awaythat it looked as if all the city wasrunning away; and had any regulations been published that had beenterrifying at that timeespecially such as would pretend to disposeof the people otherwise than they would dispose of themselvesitwould have put both the city and suburbs into the utmost confusion.

Butthe magistrates wisely caused the people to be encouragedmade verygood bye-laws for the regulating the citizenskeeping good order inthe streetsand making everything as eligible as possible to allsorts of people.

Inthe first placethe Lord Mayor and the sheriffsthe Court ofAldermenand a certain number of the Common Council menor theirdeputiescame to a resolution and published itviz.that theywould not quit the city themselvesbut that they would be always athand for the preserving good order in every place and for the doingjustice on all occasions; as also for the distributing the publiccharity to the poor; andin a wordfor the doing the duty anddischarging the trust reposed in them by the citizens to the utmostof their power.

Inpursuance of these ordersthe Lord Mayorsheriffs&c.heldcouncils every daymore or lessfor making such dispositions asthey found needful for preserving the civil peace; and though theyused the people with all possible gentleness and clemencyyet allmanner of presumptuous rogues such as thieveshousebreakersplunderers of the dead or of the sickwere duly punishedandseveral declarations were continually published by the Lord Mayor andCourt of Aldermen against such.

Alsoall constables and churchwardens were enjoined to stay in the cityupon severe penaltiesor to depute such able and sufficienthousekeepers as the deputy aldermen or Common Council men of theprecinct should approveand for whom they should give security; andalso security in case of mortality that they would forthwithconstitute other constables in their stead.

Thesethings re-established the minds of the people very muchespeciallyin the first of their frightwhen they talked of making so universala flight that the city would have been in danger of being entirelydeserted of its inhabitants except the poorand the country of beingplundered and laid waste by the multitude.  Nor were themagistrates deficient in performing their part as boldly as theypromised it; for my Lord Mayor and the sheriffs were continually inthe streets and at places of the greatest dangerand though they didnot care for having too great a resort of people crowding about themyet in emergent cases they never denied the people access to themand heard with patience all their grievances and complaints.  MyLord Mayor had a low gallery built on purpose in his hallwhere hestood a little removed from the crowd when any complaint came to beheardthat he might appear with as much safety as possible.

Likewisethe proper officerscalled my Lord Mayor's officersconstantlyattended in their turnsas they were in waiting; and if any of themwere sick or infectedas some of them wereothers were instantlyemployed to fill up and officiate in their places till it was knownwhether the other should live or die.

Inlike manner the sheriffs and aldermen did in their several stationsand wardswhere they were placed by officeand the sheriff'sofficers or sergeants were appointed to receive orders from therespective aldermen in their turnso that justice was executed inall cases without interruption.  In the next placeit was oneof their particular cares to see the orders for the freedom of themarkets observedand in this part either the Lord Mayor or one orboth of the sheriffs were every market-day on horseback to see theirorders executed and to see that the country people had all possibleencouragement and freedom in their coming to the markets and goingback againand that no nuisances or frightful objects should be seenin the streets to terrify them or make them unwilling to come. Also the bakers were taken under particular orderand the Master ofthe Bakers' Company waswith his court of assistantsdirected tosee the order of my Lord Mayor for their regulation put in executionand the due assize of bread (which was weekly appointed by my LordMayor) observed; and all the bakers were obliged to keep their ovengoing constantlyon pain of losing the privileges of a freeman ofthe city of London.

Bythis means bread was always to be had in plentyand as cheap asusualas I said above; and provisions were never wanting in themarketseven to such a degree that I often wondered at itandreproached myself with being so timorous and cautious in stirringabroadwhen the country people came freely and boldly to marketasif there had been no manner of infection in the cityor danger ofcatching it.

It.was indeed one admirable piece of conduct in the said magistratesthat the streets were kept constantly dear and free from all mannerof frightful objectsdead bodiesor any such things as wereindecent or unpleasant - unless where anybody fell down suddenly ordied in the streetsas I have said above; and these were generallycovered with some cloth or blanketor removed into the nextchurchyard till night.  All the needful works that carriedterror with themthat were both dismal and dangerouswere done inthe night; if any diseased bodies were removedor dead bodiesburiedor infected clothes burntit was done in the night; and allthe bodies which were thrown into the great pits in the severalchurchyards or burying- groundsas has. been observedwere soremoved in the nightand everything was covered and closed beforeday.  So that in the daytime there was not the least signal ofthe calamity to be seen or heard ofexcept what was to be observedfrom the emptiness of the streetsand sometimes from the passionateoutcries and lamentations of the peopleout at their windowsandfrom the numbers of houses and shops shut up.

Norwas the silence and emptiness of the streets so much in the city asin the out-partsexcept just at one particular time whenas I havementionedthe plague came east and spread over all the city. It was indeed a merciful disposition of Godthat as the plague beganat one end of the town first (as has been observed at large) so itproceeded progressively to other partsand did not come on this wayor eastwardtill it had spent its fury in the West part of the town;and soas it came on one wayit abated another.  For exampleit began at St Giles's and the Westminster end of the townand itwas in its height in all that part by about the middle of Julyviz.in St Giles-in-the-FieldsSt Andrew'sHolbornSt Clement DanesStMartin-in-the-Fieldsand in Westminster.  The latter end ofJuly it decreased in those parishes; and coming eastit increasedprodigiously in CripplegateSt Sepulcher'sSt James'sClarkenwelland St Bride's and Aldersgate. While it was in all these parishesthe city and all the parishes of the Southwark side of the water andall StepneyWhitechappelAldgateWappingand Ratcliffwere verylittle touched; so that people went about their business unconcernedcarried on their tradeskept open their shopsand conversed freelywith one another in all the citythe east and north-east suburbsand in Southwarkalmost as if the plague had not been among us.

Evenwhen the north and north-west suburbs were fully infectedviz.CripplegateClarkenwellBishopsgateand Shoreditchyet still allthe rest were tolerably well.  For example from 25th July to 1stAugust the bill stood thus of all diseases: -

St GilesCripplegate
St Sepulchers
Clarkenwell
Bishopsgate
Shoreditch
Stepney parish
Aldgate
Whitechappel
All the ninety-seven parishes within the walls
All the parishes in Southwark

    Total
554
250
103
116
110
127
92
104
228
205
-----
1889

 

 So thatin shortthere died more that week in the two parishes ofCripplegate and St Sepulcher by forty-eight than in all the cityallthe east suburbsand all the Southwark parishes put together. This caused the reputation of the city's health to continue all overEngland - and especially in the counties and markets adjacentfromwhence our supply of provisions chiefly came even much longer thanthat health itself continued; for when the people came into thestreets from the country by Shoreditch and Bishopsgateor by OldStreet and Smithfieldthey would see the out-streets empty and thehouses and shops shutand the few people that were stirring therewalk in the middle of the streets.  But when they came withinthe citythere things looked betterand the markets and shops wereopenand the people walking about the streets as usualthough notquite so many; and this continued till the latter end of August andthe beginning of September.

Butthen the case altered quite; the distemper abated in the west andnorth-west parishesand the weight of the infection lay on the cityand the eastern suburbsand the Southwark sideand this in afrightful manner. Thenindeedthe city began to look dismalshopsto be shutand the streets desolate.  In the High Streetindeednecessity made people stir abroad on many occasions; andthere would be in the middle of the day a pretty many peoplebut inthe mornings and evenings scarce any to be seeneven therenonotin Cornhill and Cheapside.

Theseobservations of mine were abundantly confirmed by the weekly bills ofmortality for those weeksan abstract of whichas they respect theparishes which.  I have mentioned and as they make thecalculations I speak of very evidenttake as follows.

Theweekly billwhich makes out this decrease of the burials in the westand north side of the citystands thus -

From the 12th of September to the 19th
St GilesCripplegate
St Giles-in-the-Fields
Clarkenwell
St Sepulcher
St LeonardShoreditch
Stepney parish
Aldgate
Whitechappel
In the ninety-seven parishes within the walls
In the eight parishes on Southwark side

    Total

456
140
77
214
183
716
623
532
1493
1636
-----
6060

 

Hereis a strange change of things indeedand a sad change it was; andhad it held for two months more than it didvery few people wouldhave been left alive.  But then suchI saywas the mercifuldisposition of God thatwhen it was thusthe west and north partwhich had been so dreadfully visited at firstgrewas you seemuchbetter; and as the people disappeared herethey began to look abroadagain there; and the next week or two altered it still more; that ismore to the encouragement of tile other part of the town.  Forexample:

From the 19th of September to the 26th
St GilesCripplegate
St Giles-in-the-Fields
Clarkenwell
St Sepulchers
St LeonardShoreditch
Stepney parish
Aldgate
Whitechappel
In the ninety-seven parishes within the walls
In the eight parishes on Southwark side

   Total


From the 26th of September to the 3rd of October
St GilesCripplegate
St Giles-in-the-Fields
Clarkenwell
St Sepulchers
St LeonardShoreditch
Stepney parish
Aldgate
Whitechappel
In the ninety-seven parishes within the walls
In the eight parishes on Southwark side

Total

277
119
76
193
146
616
496
346
1268
1390
-----
4927



196
95
48
137
128
674
372
328
1149
1201
-----
4382

 

Andnow the misery of the city and of the said east and south parts wascomplete indeed; foras you seethe weight of the distemper layupon those partsthat is to saythe citythe eight parishes overthe riverwith the parishes of AldgateWhitechappeland Stepney;and this was the time that the bills came up to such a monstrousheight as that I mentioned beforeand that eight or nineandas Ibelieveten or twelve thousand a weekdied; for it is my settledopinion that they never could come at any just account of thenumbersfor the reasons which I have given already.

Nayone of the most eminent physicianswho has since published in Latinan account of those timesand of his observations says that in oneweek there died twelve thousand peopleand that particularly theredied four thousand in one night; though I do not remember that thereever was any such particular night so remarkably fatal as that such anumber died in it.  Howeverall this confirms what I have saidabove of the uncertainty of the bills of mortality&c.of whichI shall say more hereafter.

Andhere let me take leave to enter againthough it may seem arepetition of circumstancesinto a description of the miserablecondition of the city itselfand of those parts where I lived atthis particular time.  The city and those other partsnotwithstanding the great numbers of people that were gone into thecountrywas vastly full of people; and perhaps the fuller becausepeople had for a long time a strong belief that the plague would notcome into the citynor into Southwarknonor into Wapping orRatcliff at all; naysuch was the assurance of the people on thathead that many removed from the suburbs on the west and north sidesinto those eastern and south sides as for safety; andas I verilybelievecarried the plague amongst them there perhaps sooner thanthey would otherwise have had it.

Herealso I ought to leave a further remark for the use of posterityconcerning the manner of people's infecting one another; namelythatit was not the sick people only from whom the plague was immediatelyreceived by others that were soundbut the well.  To explainmyself: by the sick people I mean those who were known to be sickhad taken their bedshad been under cureor had swellings andtumours upon themand the like; these everybody could beware of;they were either in their beds or in such condition as could not beconcealed.

Bythe well I mean such as had received the contagionand had it reallyupon themand in their bloodyet did not show the consequences ofit in their countenances: nayeven were not sensible of itthemselvesas many were not for several days.  These breatheddeath in every placeand upon everybody who came near them; naytheir very clothes retained the infectiontheir hands would infectthe things they touchedespecially if they were warm and sweatyandthey were generally apt to sweat too.

Nowit was impossible to know these peoplenor did they sometimesas Ihave saidknow themselves to be infected.  These were thepeople that so often dropped down and fainted in the streets; foroftentimes they would go about the streets to the lasttill on asudden they would sweatgrow faintsit down at a door and die. It is truefinding themselves thusthey would struggle hard to gethome to their own doorsor at other times would be just able to gointo their houses and die instantly; other times they would go abouttill they had the very tokens come out upon themand yet not knowitand would die in an hour or two after they came homebut be wellas long as they were abroad.  These were the dangerous people;these were the people of whom the well people ought to have beenafraid; but thenon the other sideit was impossible to know them.

Andthis is the reason why it is impossible in a visitation to preventthe spreading of the plague by the utmost human vigilance: viz.thatit is impossible to know the infected people from the soundor thatthe infected people should perfectly know themselves.  I knew aman who conversed freely in London all the season of the plague in1665and kept about him an antidote or cordial on purpose to takewhen he thought himself in any dangerand he had such a rule to knowor have warning of the danger by as indeed I never met with before orsince. How far it may be depended on I know not.  He had a woundin his legand whenever he came among any people that were notsoundand the infection began to affect himhe said he could knowit by that signalviz.that his wound in his leg would smartandlook pale and white; so as soon as ever he felt it smart it was timefor him to withdrawor to take care of himselftaking his drinkwhich he always carried about him for that purpose.  Now itseems he found his wound would smart many times when he was incompany with such who thought themselves to be soundand whoappeared so to one another; but he would presently rise up and saypublicly'Friendshere is somebody in the room that has theplague'and so would immediately break up the company.  Thiswas indeed a faithful monitor to all people that the plague is not tobe avoided by those that converse promiscuously in a town infectedand people have it when they know it notand that they likewise giveit to others when they know not that they have it themselves; and inthis case shutting up the well or removing the sick will not do itunless they can go back and shut up all those that the sick hadconversed witheven before they knew themselves to be sickand noneknows how far to carry that backor where to stop; for none knowswhen or where or how they may have received the infectionor fromwhom.

ThisI take to be the reason which makes so many people talk of the airbeing corrupted and infectedand that they need not be cautious ofwhom they converse withfor that the contagion was in the air. I have seen them in strange agitations and surprises on thisaccount.  'I have never come near any infected body'says thedisturbed person; 'I have conversed with none but soundhealthypeopleand yet I have gotten the distemper!' 'I am sure I am struckfrom Heaven'says anotherand he falls to the serious part. Againthe first goes on exclaiming'I have come near no infectionor any infected person; I am sure it is the air. We draw in deathwhen we breatheand therefore 'tis the hand of God; there is nowithstanding it.' And this at last made many peoplebeing hardenedto the dangergrow less concerned at it; and less cautious towardsthe latter end of the timeand when it was come to its heightthanthey were at first.  Thenwith a kind of a Turkishpredestinarianismthey would sayif it pleased God to strike themit was all one whether they went abroad or stayed at home; they couldnot escape itand therefore they went boldly abouteven intoinfected houses and infected company; visited sick people; andinshortlay in the beds with their wives or relations when they wereinfected.  And what was the consequencebut the same that isthe consequence in Turkeyand in those countries where they do thosethings - namelythat they were infected tooand died by hundredsand thousands?

Iwould be far from lessening the awe of the judgements of God and thereverence to His providence which ought always to be on our minds onsuch occasions as these.  Doubtless the visitation itself is astroke from Heaven upon a cityor countryor nation where it falls;a messenger of His vengeanceand a loud call to that nation orcountry or city to humiliation and repentanceaccording to that ofthe prophet Jeremiah (xviii. 78): 'At what instant I shall speakconcerning a nationand concerning a kingdomto pluck upand topull downand to destroy it; if that nation against whom I havepronounced turn from their evilI will repent of the evil that Ithought to do unto them.' Now to prompt due impressions of the awe ofGod on the minds of men on such occasionsand not to lessen themitis that I have left those minutes upon record.

IsaythereforeI reflect upon no man for putting the reason of thosethings upon the immediate hand of Godand the appointment anddirection of His providence; nayon the contrarythere were manywonderful deliverances of persons from infectionand deliverances ofpersons when infectedwhich intimate singular and remarkableprovidence in the particular instances to which they refer; and Iesteem my own deliverance to be one next to miraculousand do recordit with thankfulness.

Butwhen I am speaking of the plague as a distemper arising from naturalcauseswe must consider it as it was really propagated by naturalmeans; nor is it at all the less a judgement for its being under theconduct of human causes and effects; foras the Divine Power hasformed the whole scheme of nature and maintains nature in its courseso the same Power thinks fit to let His own actings with menwhetherof mercy or judgementto go on in the ordinary course of naturalcauses; and He is pleased to act by those natural causes as theordinary meansexcepting and reserving to Himself nevertheless apower to act in a supernatural way when He sees occasion.  Now'tis evident that in the case of an infection there is no apparentextraordinary occasion for supernatural operationbut the ordinarycourse of things appears sufficiently armedand made capable of allthe effects that Heaven usually directs by a contagion.  Amongthese causes and effectsthis of the secret conveyance of infectionimperceptible and unavoidableis more than sufficient to execute thefierceness of Divine vengeancewithout putting it upon supernaturalsand miracle.

Theacute penetrating nature of the disease itself was suchand theinfection was received so imperceptiblythat the most exact cautioncould not secure us while in the place.  But I must be allowedto believe - and I have so many examples fresh in my memory toconvince me of itthat I think none can resist their evidence - IsayI must be allowed to believe that no one in this whole nationever received the sickness or infection but who received it in theordinary way of infection from somebodyor the clothes or touch orstench of somebody that was infected before.

Themanner of its coming first to London proves this alsoviz.by goodsbrought over from Hollandand brought thither from the Levant; thefirst breaking of it out in a house in Long Acre where those goodswere carried and first opened; its spreading from that house to otherhouses by the visible unwary conversing with those who were sick; andthe infecting the parish officers who were employed about the personsdeadand the like.  These are known authorities for this greatfoundation point - that it went on and proceeded from person toperson and from house to houseand no otherwise.  In the firsthouse that was infected there died four persons. A neighbourhearingthe mistress of the first house was sickwent to visit herand wenthome and gave the distemper to her familyand diedand all herhousehold.  A ministercalled to pray with the first sickperson in the second housewas said to sicken immediately and diewith several more in his house.  Then the physicians began toconsiderfor they did not at first dream of a general contagion. But the physicians being sent to inspect the bodiesthey assured thepeople that it was neither more or less than the plaguewith all itsterrifying particularsand that it threatened an universalinfectionso many people having already conversed with the sick ordistemperedand havingas might be supposedreceived infectionfrom themthat it would be impossible to put a stop to it.

Herethe opinion of the physicians agreed with my observation afterwardsnamelythat the danger was spreading insensiblyfor the sick couldinfect none but those that came within reach of the sick person; butthat one man who may have really received the infection and knows itnotbut goes abroad and about as a sound personmay give the plagueto a thousand peopleand they to greater numbers in proportionandneither the person giving the infection or the persons receiving itknow anything of itand perhaps not feel the effects of it forseveral days after.

Forexamplemany persons in the time of this visitation never perceivedthat they were infected till they found to their unspeakablesurprisethe tokens come out upon them; after which they seldomlived six hours; for those spots they called the tokens were reallygangrene spotsor mortified flesh in small knobs as broad as alittle silver pennyand hard as a piece of callus or horn; so thatwhen the disease was come up to that lengththere was nothing couldfollow but certain death; and yetas I saidthey knew nothing oftheir being infectednor found themselves so much as out of ordertill those mortal marks were upon them.  But everybody mustallow that they were infected in a high degree beforeAnd must havebeen so some timeand consequently their breaththeir sweattheirvery clotheswere contagious for many days before. This occasioned avast variety of cases which physicians would have much moreopportunity to remember than I; but some came within the compass ofmy observation or hearingof which I shall name a few.

Acertain citizen who had lived safe and untouched till the month ofSeptemberwhen the weight of the distemper lay more in the city thanit had done beforewas mighty cheerfuland something too bold (as Ithink it was) in his talk of how secure he washow cautious he hadbeenand how he had never come near any sick body.  Saysanother citizena neighbour of histo him one day'Do not be tooconfidentMr -; it is hard to say who is sick and who is wellforwe see men alive and well to outward appearance one hourand deadthe next.' 'That is true'says the first manfor he was not a manpresumptuously securebut had escaped a long while - and menas Isaid aboveespecially in the city began to be over-easy upon thatscore.  'That is true' says he; 'I do not think myself securebut I hope I have not been in company with any person that there hasbeen any danger in.' 'No?' says his neighbour.  'Was not you atthe Bull Head Tavern in Gracechurch Street with Mr - the night beforelast?' 'Yes' says the first'I was; but there was nobody there thatwe had any reason to think dangerous.' Upon which his neighbour saidno morebeing unwilling to surprise him; but this made him moreinquisitiveand as his neighbour appeared backwardhe was the moreimpatientand in a kind of warmth says he aloud'Whyhe is notdeadis he?' Upon which his neighbour still was silentbut cast uphis eyes and said something to himself; at which the first citizenturned paleand said no more but this'Then I am a dead man too'and went home immediately and sent for a neighbouring apothecary togive him something preventivefor he had not yet found himself ill;but the apothecaryopening his breastfetched a sighand said nomore but this'Look up to God'; and the man died in a few hours.

Nowlet any man judge from a case like this if it is possible for theregulations of magistrateseither by shutting up the sick orremoving themto stop an infection which spreads itself from man toman even while they are perfectly well and insensible of itsapproachand may be so for many days.

Itmay be proper to ask here how long it may be supposed men might havethe seeds of the contagion in them before it discovered itself inthis fatal mannerand how long they might go about seemingly wholeand yet be contagious to all those that came near them.  Ibelieve the most experienced physicians cannot answer this questiondirectly any more than I can; and something an ordinary observer maytake notice ofwhich may pass their observations.  The opinionof physicians abroad seems to be that it may lie dormant in thespirits or in the blood-vessels a very considerable time.  Whyelse do they exact a quarantine of those who came into their harboursand ports from suspected places?  Forty days isone wouldthinktoo long for nature to struggle with such an enemy as thisand not conquer it or yield to it.  But I could not thinkby myown observationthat they can be infected so as to be contagious toothers above fifteen or sixteen days at furthest; and on that scoreit wasthat when a house was shut up in the city and any one haddied of the plaguebut nobody appeared to be ill in the family forsixteen or eighteen days afterthey were not so strict but that theywould connive at their going privately abroad; nor would people bemuch afraid of them afterwardbut rather think they were fortifiedthe betterhaving not been vulnerable when the enemy was in theirown house; but we sometimes found it had lain much longer concealed.

Uponthe foot of all these observations I must say that though Providenceseemed to direct my conduct to be otherwiseyet it is my opinionand I must leave it as a prescriptionviz.that the best physicagainst the plague is to run away from it.  I know peopleencourage themselves by saying God is able to keep us in the midst ofdangerand able to overtake us when we think ourselves out ofdanger; and this kept thousands in the town whose carcases went intothe great pits by cartloadsand whoif they had fled from thedangerhadI believebeen safe from the disaster; at least 'tisprobable they had been safe.

Andwere this very fundamental only duly considered by the people on anyfuture occasion of this or the like natureI am persuaded it wouldput them upon quite different measures for managing the people fromthose that they took in 1665or than any that have been taken abroadthat I have heard of.  In a wordthey would consider ofseparating the people into smaller bodiesand removing them in timefarther from one another - and not let such a contagion as thiswhich is indeed chiefly dangerous to collected bodies of peoplefinda million of people in a body togetheras was very near the casebeforeand would certainly be the case if it should ever appearagain.

Theplaguelike a great fireif a few houses only are contiguous whereit happenscan only burn a few houses; or if it begins in a singleoras we call ita lone housecan only burn that lone house whereit begins.  But if it begins in a close-built town or city andgets a headthere its fury increases: it rages over the whole placeand consumes all it can reach.

Icould propose many schemes on the foot of which the government ofthis cityif ever they should be under the apprehensions of suchanother enemy (God forbid they should)might ease themselves of thegreatest part of the dangerous people that belong to them; I meansuch as the beggingstarvinglabouring poorand among them chieflythose whoin case of a siegeare called the useless mouths; whobeing then prudently and to their own advantage disposed ofand thewealthy inhabitants disposing of themselves and of their servants andchildrenthe city and its adjacent parts would be so effectuallyevacuated that there would not be above a tenth part of its peopleleft together for the disease to take hold upon.  But supposethem to be a fifth partand that two hundred and fifty thousandpeople were left: and if it did seize upon themthey wouldby theirliving so much at largebe much better prepared to defend themselvesagainst the infectionand be less liable to the effects of it thanif the same number of people lived dose together in one smaller citysuch as Dublin or Amsterdam or the like.

Itis true hundredsyeathousands of families fled away at this lastplaguebut then of themmany fled too lateand not only died intheir flightbut carried the distemper with them into the countrieswhere they went and infected those whom they went among for safety;which confounded the thingand made that be a propagation of thedistemper which was the best means to prevent it; and this too is anevidence of itand brings me back to what I only hinted at beforebut must speak more fully to herenamelythat men went aboutapparently well many days after they had the taint of the disease intheir vitalsand after their spirits were so seized as that theycould never escape itand that all the while they did so they weredangerous to others; I saythis proves that so it was; for suchpeople infected the very towns they went throughas well as thefamilies they went among; and it was by that means that almost allthe great towns in England had the distemper among themmore orlessand always they would tell you such a Londoner or such aLondoner brought it down.

Itmust not be omitted that when I speak of those people who were reallythus dangerousI suppose them to be utterly ignorant of their ownconditions; for if they really knew their circumstances to be such asindeed they werethey must have been a kind of wilful murtherers ifthey would have gone abroad among healthy people - and it would haveverified indeed the suggestion which I mentioned aboveand which Ithought seemed untrue: viz.that the infected people were utterlycareless as to giving the infection to othersand rather forward todo it than not; and I believe it was partly from this very thing thatthey raised that suggestionwhich I hope was not really true infact.

Iconfess no particular case is sufficient to prove a generalbut Icould name several people within the knowledge of some of theirneighbours and families yet living who showed the contrary to anextreme.  One mana master of a family in my neighbourhoodhaving had the distemperhe thought he had it given him by a poorworkman whom he employedand whom he went to his house to seeorwent for some work that he wanted to have finished; and he had someapprehensions even while he was at the poor workman's doorbut didnot discover it fully; but the next day it discovered itselfand hewas taken very inupon which he immediately caused himself to becarried into an outbuilding which he had in his yardand where therewas a chamber over a workhouse (the man being a brazier).  Herehe layand here he diedand would be tended by none of hisneighboursbut by a nurse from abroad; and would not suffer hiswifenor childrennor servants to come up into the roomlest theyshould be infected - but sent them his blessing and prayers for themby the nursewho spoke it to them at a distanceand all this forfear of giving them the distemper; and without which he knewas theywere kept upthey could not have it.

Andhere I must observe also that the plagueas I suppose all distempersdooperated in a different manner on differing constitutions; somewere immediately overwhelmed with itand it came to violent feversvomitingsinsufferable headachespains in the backand so up toravings and ragings with those pains; others with swellings andtumours in the neck or groinor armpitswhich till they could bebroke put them into insufferable agonies and torment; while othersas I have observedwere silently infectedthe fever preying upontheir spirits insensiblyand they seeing little of it till they fellinto swooningand faintingsand death without pain. I am notphysician enough to enter into the particular reasons and manner ofthese differing effects of one and the same distemperand of itsdiffering operation in several bodies; nor is it my business here torecord the observations which I really madebecause the doctorsthemselves have done that part much more effectually than I can doand because my opinion may in some things differ from theirs.  Iam only relating what I knowor have heardor believe of theparticular casesand what fell within the compass of my viewandthe different nature of the infection as it appeared in theparticular cases which I have related; but this may be added too:that though the former sort of those casesnamelythose openlyvisitedwere the worst for themselves as to pain - I mean those thathad such feversvomitingsheadachespainsand swellingsbecausethey died in such a dreadful manner - yet the latter had the worststate of the disease; for in the former they frequently recoveredespecially if the swellings broke; but the latter was inevitabledeath; no cureno hell)could be possiblenothing could follow butdeath.  And it was worse also to othersbecauseas aboveitsecretly and unperceived by others or by themselvescommunicateddeath to those they conversed withthe penetrating poisoninsinuating itself into their blood in a manner which it isimpossible to describeor indeed conceive.

Thisinfecting and being infected without so much as its being known toeither person is evident from two sorts of cases which frequentlyhappened at that time; and there is hardly anybody living who was inLondon during the infection but must have known several of the casesof both sorts.

(1)Fathers and mothers have gone about as if they had been wellandhave believed themselves to be sotill they have insensibly infectedand been the destruction of their whole familieswhich they wouldhave been far from doing if they had the least apprehensions of theirbeing unsound and dangerous themselves.  A familywhose story Ihave heardwas thus infected by the father; and the distemper beganto appear upon some of them even before he found it upon himself. Butsearching more narrowlyit appeared he had been affected some time;and as soon as he found that his family had been poisoned by himselfhe went distractedand would have laid violent hands upon himselfbut was kept from that by those who looked to himand in a few daysdied.

(2)The other particular isthat many people having been well to thebest of their own judgementor by the best observation which theycould make of themselves for several daysand only finding a decayof appetiteor a light sickness upon their stomachs; naysome whoseappetite has been strongand even cravingand only a light pain intheir headshave sent for physicians to know what ailed themandhave been foundto their great surpriseat the brink of death: thetokens upon themor the plague grown up to an incurable height.

Itwas very sad to reflect how such a person as this last mentionedabove had been a walking destroyer perhaps for a week or a fortnightbefore that; how he had ruined those that he would have hazarded hislife to saveand had been breathing death upon themeven perhaps inhis tender kissing and embracings of his own children.  Yet thuscertainly it wasand often has beenand I could give manyparticular cases where it has been so.  If then the blow is thusinsensibly striking - if the arrow flies thus unseenand cannot bediscovered - to what purpose are all the schemes for shutting up orremoving the sick people?  Those schemes cannot take place butupon those that appear to be sickor to be infected; whereas thereare among them at the same time thousands of people who seem to bewellbut are all that while carrying death with them into allcompanies which they come into.

Thisfrequently puzzled our physiciansand especially the apothecariesand surgeonswho knew not how to discover the sick from the sound;they all allowed that it was really sothat many people had theplague in their very bloodand preying upon their spiritsand werein themselves but walking putrefied carcases whose breath wasinfectious and their sweat poisonand yet were as well to look on asother peopleand even knew it not themselves; I saythey allallowed that it was really true in factbut they knew not how topropose a discovery.

Myfriend Dr Heath was of opinion that it might be known by the smell oftheir breath; but thenas he saidwho durst smell to that breathfor his information? sinceto know ithe must draw the stench ofthe plague up into his own brainin order to distinguish the smell!I have heard it was the opinion of others that it might bedistinguished by the party's breathing upon a piece of glasswherethe breath condensingthere might living creatures be seen by amicroscopeof strangemonstrousand frightful shapessuch asdragonssnakesserpentsand devilshorrible to behold.  Butthis I very much question the truth ofand we had no microscopes atthat timeas I rememberto make the experiment with.

Itwas the opinion also of another learned manthat the breath of sucha person would poison and instantly kill a bird; not only a smallbirdbut even a cock or henand thatif it did not immediatelykill the latterit would cause them to be roupyas they call it;particularly that if they had laid any eggs at any timethey wouldbe all rotten.  But those are opinions which I never foundsupported by any experimentsor heard of others that had seen it; soI leave them as I find them; only with this remarknamelythat Ithink the probabilities are very strong for them.

Somehave proposed that such persons should breathe hard upon warm waterand that they would leave an unusual scum upon itor upon severalother thingsespecially such as are of a glutinous substance and areapt to receive a scum and support it.

Butfrom the whole I found that the nature of this contagion was suchthat it was impossible to discover it at allor to prevent itsspreading from one to another by any human skill.

Herewas indeed one difficulty which I could never thoroughly get over tothis timeand which there is but one way of answering that I knowofand it is thisviz.the first person that died of the plaguewas on December 20or thereabouts1664and in or about long Acre;whence the first person had the infection was generally said to befrom a parcel of silks imported from Hollandand first opened inthat house.

Butafter this we heard no more of any person dying of the plagueor ofthe distemper being in that placetill the 9th of Februarywhichwas about seven weeks afterand then one more was buried out of thesame house.  Then it was hushedand we were perfectly easy asto the public for a great while; for there were no more entered inthe weekly bill to be dead of the plague till the 22nd of Aprilwhenthere was two more buriednot out of the same housebut out of thesame street; andas near as I can rememberit was out of the nexthouse to the first.  This was nine weeks asunderand after thiswe had no more till a fortnightand then it broke out in severalstreets and spread every way.  Now the question seems to liethus: Where lay the seeds of the infection all this while?  Howcame it to stop so longand not stop any longer?  Either thedistemper did not come immediately by contagion from body to bodyorif it didthen a body may be capable to continue infectedwithout the disease discovering itself many daysnayweekstogether; even not a quarantine of days onlybut soixantine; notonly forty daysbut sixty days or longer.

Itis true there wasas I observed at firstand is well known to manyyet livinga very cold winter and a long frost which continued threemonths; and thisthe doctors saymight check the infection; butthen the learned must allow me to say that ifaccording to theirnotionthe disease was (as I may say) only frozen upit would likea frozen river have returned to its usual force and current when itthawed - whereas the principal recess of this infectionwhich wasfrom February to Aprilwas after the frost was broken and theweather mild and warm.

Butthere is another way of solving all this difficultywhich I think myown remembrance of the thing will supply; and that isthe fact isnot granted - namelythat there died none in those long intervalsviz.from the 20th of December to the 9th of Februaryand fromthence to the 22nd of April.  The weekly bills are the onlyevidence on the other sideand those bills were not of creditenoughat least with meto support an hypothesis or determine aquestion of such importance as this; for it was our received opinionat that timeand I believe upon very good groundsthat the fraudlay in the parish officerssearchersand persons appointed to giveaccount of the deadand what diseases they died of; and as peoplewere very loth at first to have the neighbours believe their houseswere infectedso they gave money to procureor otherwise procuredthe dead persons to be returned as dying of other distempers; andthis I know was practised afterwards in many placesI believe Imight say in all places where the distemper cameas will be seen bythe vast increase of the numbers placed in the weekly bills underother articles of diseases during the time of the infection. For examplein the months of July and Augustwhen the plague wascoming on to its highest pitchit was very ordinary to have from athousand to twelve hundrednayto almost fifteen hundred a week ofother distempers.  Not that the numbers of those distempers werereally increased to such a degreebut the great number of familiesand houses where really the infection wasobtained the favour tohave their dead be returned of other distempersto prevent theshutting up their houses.  For example: -

Dead of other diseases beside the plague -
From the 18th July to the 25th
"               25th July      "      1st August
"               1st August   "     8th
"               8th               "     15th
"               25th             "     22nd
"               22nd          "     29th
"               29th             "      5th September
"              5th September to the 12th
"               12th             "     19th
"               19th             "     26th


942
1004
1213
1439
1331
1394
1264
1056
1132
927

 

Nowit was not doubted but the greatest part of theseor a great part ofthemwere dead of the plaguebut the officers were prevailed withto return them as aboveand the numbers of some particular articlesof distempers discovered is as follows: -






Fever
Spotted
Fever
Surfeit
Teeth
Aug.
1
to 8



314
174


85
90
---
663
Aug.
8
to 15



353
190


87
113
---
743
Aug.
15
to 22



348
166


74
111
---
699
Aug.
22
to 29



383
165


99
133
---
780
Sept.
29 to
Sept.5



364
157


68
138
---
727
Sept.
5
to 12



332
97


45
128
---
602
Sept.
12
to 19



309
101


49
121
---
580
Sept.
19
to 26



268
65


36
112
---
481

 

Therewere several other articles which bore a proportion to theseandwhichit is easy to perceivewere increased on the same accountasagedconsumptionsvomitingsimposthumesgripesand the likemany of which were not doubted to be infected people; but as it wasof the utmost consequence to families not to be known to be infectedif it was possible to avoid itso they took all the measures theycould to have it not believedand if any died in their housestoget them returned to the examinersand by the searchersas havingdied of other distempers.

ThisI saywill account for the long interval whichas I have saidwasbetween the dying of the first persons that were returned in the billto be dead of the plague and the time when the distemper spreadopenly and could not be concealed.

Besidesthe weekly bills themselves at that time evidently discover thetruth; forwhile there was no mention of the plagueand no increaseafter it had been mentionedyet it was apparent that there was anincrease of those distempers which bordered nearest upon it; forexamplethere were eighttwelveseventeen of the spotted fever ina weekwhen there were noneor but very fewof the plague; whereasbeforeonethreeor four were the ordinary weekly numbers of thatdistemper.  Likewiseas I observed beforethe burialsincreased weekly in that particular parish and the parishes adjacentmore than in any other parishalthough there were none set down ofthe plague; all which tells usthat the infection was handed onandthe succession of the distemper really preservedthough it seemed tous at that time to be ceasedand to come again in a mannersurprising.

Itmight bealsothat the infection might remain in other parts of thesame parcel of goods which at first it came inand which might notbe perhaps openedor at least not fullyor in the clothes of thefirst infected person; for I cannot think that anybody could beseized with the contagion in a fatal and mortal degree for nine weekstogetherand support his state of health so well as even not todiscover it to themselves; yet if it were sothe argument is thestronger in favour of what I am saying: namelythat the infection isretained in bodies apparently welland conveyed from them to thosethey converse withwhile it is known to neither the one nor theother.

Greatwere the confusions at that time upon this very accountand whenpeople began to be convinced that the infection was received in thissurprising manner from persons apparently wellthey began to beexceeding shy and jealous of every one that came near them. Onceon a public daywhether a Sabbath-day or not I do notrememberin Aldgate Churchin a pew full of peopleon a sudden onefancied she smelt an ill smell.  Immediately she fancies theplague was in the pewwhispers her notion or suspicion to the nextthen rises and goes out of the pew.  It immediately took withthe nextand so to them all; and every one of themand of the twoor three adjoining pewsgot up and went out of the churchnobodyknowing what it was offended themor from whom.

Thisimmediately filled everybody's mouths with one preparation or othersuch as the old woman directedand some perhaps as physiciansdirectedin order to prevent infection by the breath of others;insomuch that if we came to go into a church when it was anythingfull of peoplethere would be such a mixture of smells at theentrance that it was much more strongthough perhaps not sowholesomethan if you were going into an apothecary's or druggist'sshop.  In a wordthe whole church was like a smelling-bottle;in one corner it was all perfumes; in anotheraromaticsbalsamicsand variety of drugs and herbs; in anothersalts and spiritsasevery one was furnished for their own preservation.  Yet Iobserved that after people were possessedas I have saidwith thebeliefor rather assuranceof the infection being thus carried onby persons apparently in healththe churches and meeting-houses weremuch thinner of people than at other times before that they used tobe.  For this is to be said of the people of Londonthat duringthe whole time of the pestilence the churches or meetings were neverwholly shut upnor did the people decline coming out to the publicworship of Godexcept only in some parishes when the violence of thedistemper was more particularly in that parish at that timeand eventhen no longer than it continued to be so.

Indeednothing was more strange than to see with what courage the peoplewent to the public service of Godeven at that time when they wereafraid to stir out of their own houses upon any other occasion; thisI meanbefore the time of desperationwhich I have mentionedalready.  This was a proof of the exceeding populousness of thecity at the time of the infectionnotwithstanding the great numbersthat were gone into the country at the first alarmand that fled outinto the forests and woods when they were further terrified with theextraordinary increase of it.  For when we came to see thecrowds and throngs of people which appeared on the Sabbath-days atthe churchesand especially in those parts of the town where theplague was abatedor where it was not yet come to its heightit wasamazing. But of this I shall speak again presently.  I return inthe meantime to the article of infecting one another at firstbeforepeople came to right notions of the infectionand of infecting oneanother.  People were only shy of those that were really sickaman with a cap upon his heador with clothes round his neckwhichwas the case of those that had swellings there.  Such was indeedfrightful; but when we saw a gentleman dressedwith his band on andhis gloves in his handhis hat upon his headand his hair combedof such we bad not the least apprehensionsand people conversed agreat while freelyespecially with their neighbours and such as theyknew.  But when the physicians assured us that the danger was aswell from the sound (that isthe seemingly sound) as the sickandthat those people who thought themselves entirely free wereoftentimes the most fataland that it came to be generallyunderstood that people were sensible of itand of the reason of it;thenI saythey began to be jealous of everybodyand a vast numberof people locked themselves upso as not to come abroad into anycompany at allnor suffer any that had been abroad in promiscuouscompany to come into their housesor near them - at least not sonear them as to be within the reach of their breath or of any smellfrom them; and when they were obliged to converse at a distance withstrangersthey would always have preservatives in their mouths andabout their clothes to repel and keep off the infection.

Itmust be acknowledged that when people began to use these cautionsthey were less exposed to dangerand the infection did not breakinto such houses so furiously as it did into others before; andthousands of families were preserved (speaking with due reserve tothe direction of Divine Providence) by that means.

Butit was impossible to beat anything into the heads of the poor. Theywent on with the usual impetuosity of their tempersfull of outcriesand lamentations when takenbut madly careless of themselvesfoolhardy and obstinatewhile they were well.  Where they couldget employment they pushed into any kind of businessthe mostdangerous and the most liable to infection; and if they were spokentotheir answer would be'I must trust to God for that; if I amtakenthen I am provided forand there is an end of me'and thelike. Or thus'Whywhat must I do?  I can't starve.  Ihad as good have the plague as perish for want.  I have no work;what could I do?  I must do this or beg.' Suppose it was buryingthe deador attending the sickor watching infected houseswhichwere all terrible hazards; but their tale was generally the same. It is truenecessity was a very justifiablewarrantable pleaandnothing could be better; but their way of talk was much the samewhere the necessities were not the same.  This adventurousconduct of the poor was that which brought the plague among them in amost furious manner; and thisjoined to the distress of theircircumstances when takenwas the reason why they died so by heaps;for I cannot say I could observe one jot of better husbandry amongthemI mean the labouring poorwhile they were all well and gettingmoney than there was beforebut as lavishas extravagantand asthoughtless for tomorrow as ever; so that when they came to be takensick they were immediately in the utmost distressas well for wantas for sicknessas well for lack of food as lack of health.

Thismisery of the poor I had many occasions to be an eyewitness ofandsometimes also of the charitable assistance that some pious peopledaily gave to suchsending them relief and supplies both of foodphysicand other helpas they found they wanted; and indeed it is adebt of justice due to the temper of the people of that day to takenotice herethat not only great sumsvery great sums of money werecharitably sent to the Lord Mayor and aldermen for the assistance andsupport of the poor distempered peoplebut abundance of privatepeople daily distributed large sums of money for their reliefandsent people about to inquire into the condition of particulardistressed and visited familiesand relieved them; naysome piousladies were so transported with zeal in so good a workand soconfident in the protection of Providence in discharge of the greatduty of charitythat they went about in person distributing alms tothe poorand even visiting poor familiesthough sick and infectedin their very housesappointing nurses to attend those that wantedattendingand ordering apothecaries and surgeonsthe first tosupply them with drugs or plastersand such things as they wanted;and the last to lance and dress the swellings and tumourswhere suchwere wanting; giving their blessing to the poor in substantial reliefto themas well as hearty prayers for them.

Iwill not undertake to sayas some dothat none of those charitablepeople were suffered to fall under the calamity itself; but this Imay saythat I never knew any one of them that miscarriedwhich Imention for the encouragement of others in case of the like distress;and doubtlessif they that give to the poor lend to the Lordand Hewill repay themthose that hazard their lives to give to the poorand to comfort and assist the poor in such a misery as thismay hopeto be protected in the work.

Norwas this charity so extraordinary eminent only in a fewbut (for Icannot lightly quit this point) the charity of the richas well inthe city and suburbs as from the countrywas so great thatin aworda prodigious number of people who must otherwise inevitablyhave perished for want as well as sickness were supported andsubsisted by it; and though I could nevernor I believe any oneelsecome to a full knowledge of what was so contributedyet I dobelieve thatas I heard one say that was a critical observer of thatpartthere was not only many thousand pounds contributedbut manyhundred thousand poundsto the relief of the poor of thisdistressedafflicted city; nayone man affirmed to me that he couldreckon up above one hundred thousand pounds a weekwhich wasdistributed by the churchwardens at the several parish vestries bythe Lord Mayor and aldermen in the several wards and precinctsandby the particular direction of the court and of the justicesrespectively in the parts where they residedover and above theprivate charity distributed by pious bands in the manner I speak of;and this continued for many weeks together.

Iconfess this is a very great sum; but if it be true that there wasdistributed in the parish of Cripplegate only17800 in one week tothe relief of the pooras I heard reportedand which I reallybelieve was truethe other may not be improbable.

Itwas doubtless to be reckoned among the many signal good providenceswhich attended this great cityand of which there were many otherworth recording- I saythis was a very remarkable onethat itpleased God thus to move the hearts of the people in all parts of thekingdom so cheerfully to contribute to the relief and support of thepoor at Londonthe good consequences of which were felt many waysand particularly in preserving the lives and recovering the health ofso many thousandsand keeping so many thousands of families fromperishing and starving.

Andnow I am talking of the merciful disposition of Providence in thistime of calamityI cannot but mention againthough I have spokenseveral times of it already on other accountsI mean that of theprogression of the distemper; how it began at one end of the townand proceeded gradually and slowly from one part to anotherand likea dark cloud that passes over our headswhichas it thickens andovercasts the air at one enddears up at the other end; sowhilethe plague went on raging from west to eastas it went forwardseastit abated in the westby which means those parts of the townwhich were not seizedor who were leftand where it had spent itsfurywere (as it were) spared to help and assist the other; whereashad the distemper spread itself over the whole city and suburbsatonceraging in all places alikeas it has done since in some placesabroadthe whole body of the people must have been overwhelmedandthere would have died twenty thousand a dayas they say there did atNaples;nor would the people have been able to have helped orassisted one another.

Forit must be observed that where the plague was in its full forcethere indeed the people were very miserableand the consternationwas inexpressible.  But a little before it reached even to thatplaceor presently after it was gonethey were quite another sortof people; and I cannot but acknowledge that there was too much ofthat common temper of mankind to be found among us all at that timenamelyto forget the deliverance when the danger is past.  ButI shall come to speak of that part again.

Itmust not be forgot here to take some notice of the state of tradeduring the time of this common calamityand this with respect toforeign tradeas also to our home trade.

Asto foreign tradethere needs little to be said.  The tradingnations of Europe were all afraid of us; no port of FranceorHollandor Spainor Italy would admit our ships or correspond withus; indeed we stood on ill terms with the Dutchand were in afurious war with thembut though in a bad condition to fight abroadwho had such dreadful enemies to struggle with at home.

Ourmerchants were accordingly at a full stop; their ships could gonowhere - that is to sayto no place abroad; their manufactures andmerchandise - that is to sayof our growth - would not be touchedabroad.  They were as much afraid of our goods as they were ofour people; and indeed they had reason: for our woollen manufacturesare as retentive of infection as human bodiesand if packed up bypersons infectedwould receive the infection and be as dangerous totouch as a man would be that was infected; and thereforewhen anyEnglish vessel arrived in foreign countriesif they did take thegoods on shorethey always caused the bales to be opened and airedin places appointed for that purpose.  But from London theywould not suffer them to come into portmuch less to unlade theirgoodsupon any terms whateverand this strictness was especiallyused with them in Spain and Italy.  In Turkey and the islands ofthe Arches indeedas they are calledas well those belonging to theTurks as to the Venetiansthey were not so very rigid.  In thefirst there was no obstruction at all; and four ships which were thenin the river loading for Italy - that isfor Leghorn and Naples -being denied productas they call itwent on to Turkeyand werefreely admitted to unlade their cargo without any difficulty; onlythat when they arrived theresome of their cargo was not fit forsale in that country; and other parts of it being consigned tomerchants at Leghornthe captains of the ships had no right nor anyorders to dispose of the goods; so that great inconveniences followedto the merchants.  But this was nothing but what the necessityof affairs requiredand the merchants at Leghorn and Naples havingnotice given themsent again from thence to take care of the effectswhich were particularly consigned to those portsand to bring backin other ships such as were improper for the markets at Smyrna andScanderoon.

Theinconveniences in Spain and Portugal were still greaterfor theywould by no means suffer our shipsespecially those from Londontocome into any of their portsmuch less to unlade.  There was areport that one of our ships having by stealth delivered her cargoamong which was some bales of English clothcottonkerseysandsuch-like goodsthe Spaniards caused all the goods to be burnedandpunished the men with death who were concerned in carrying them onshore. ThisI believewas in part truethough I do not affirm it;but it is not at all unlikelyseeing the danger was really verygreatthe infection being so violent in London.

Iheard likewise that the plague was carried into those countries bysome of our shipsand particularly to the port of Faro in thekingdom of Algarvebelonging to the King of Portugaland thatseveral persons died of it there; but it was not confirmed.

Onthe other handthough the Spaniards and Portuguese were so shy ofusit is most certain that the plague (as has been said) keeping atfirst much at that end of the town next Westminsterthemerchandising part of the town (such as the city and the water-side)was perfectly sound till at least the beginning of Julyand theships in the river till the beginning of August; for to the 1st ofJuly there had died but seven within the whole cityand but sixtywithin the libertiesbut one in all the parishes of StepneyAldgateand Whitechappeland but two in the eight parishes ofSouthwark.  But it was the same thing abroadfor the bad newswas gone over the whole world that the city of London was infectedwith the plagueand there was no inquiring there how the infectionproceededor at which part of the town it was begun or was reachedto.

Besidesafter it began to spread it increased so fastand the bills grew sohigh all on a suddenthat it was to no purpose to lessen the reportof itor endeavour to make the people abroad think it better than itwas; the account which the weekly bills gave in was sufficient; andthat there died two thousand to three or-four thousand a week wassufficient to alarm the whole trading part of the world; and thefollowing timebeing so dreadful also in the very city itselfputthe whole worldI sayupon their guard against it.

Youmay be surealsothat the report of these things lost nothing inthe carriage.  The plague was itself very terribleand thedistress of the people very greatas you may observe of what I havesaid.  But the rumour was infinitely greaterand it must not bewondered that our friends abroad (as my brother's correspondents inparticular were told therenamelyin Portugal and Italywhere hechiefly traded) [said] that in London there died twenty thousand in aweek; that the dead bodies lay unburied by heaps; that the livingwere not sufficient to bury the dead or the sound to look after thesick; that all the kingdom was infected likewiseso that it was anuniversal malady such as was never heard of in those parts of theworld; and they could hardly believe us when we gave them an accounthow things really wereand how there was not above one-tenth part ofthe people dead; that there was 500000left that lived all the timein the town; that now the people began to walk the streets againandthose who were fled to returnthere was no miss of the usual throngof people in the streetsexcept as every family might miss theirrelations and neighboursand the like.  I say they could notbelieve these things; and if inquiry were now to be made in Naplesor in other cities on the coast of Italythey would tell you thatthere was a dreadful infection in London so many years agoin whichas abovethere died twenty thousand in a week&c.just as wehave had it reported in London that there was a plague in the city ofNaples in the year 1656in which there died 20000 people in a dayof which I have had very good satisfaction that it was utterly false.

Butthese extravagant reports were very prejudicial to our tradeas wellas unjust and injurious in themselvesfor it was a long time afterthe plague was quite over before our trade could recover itself inthose parts of the world; and the Flemings and Dutch (but especiallythe last) made very great advantages of ithaving all the market tothemselvesand even buying our manufactures in several parts ofEngland where the plague was notand carrying them to Holland andFlandersand from thence transporting them to Spain and to Italy asif they had been of their own making.

Butthey were detected sometimes and punished: that is to saytheirgoods confiscated and ships also; for if it was true that ourmanufactures as well as our people were infectedand that it wasdangerous to touch or to open and receive the smell of themthenthose people ran the hazard by that clandestine trade not only ofcarrying the contagion into their own countrybut also of infectingthe nations to whom they traded with those goods; whichconsideringhow many lives might be lost in consequence of such an actionmustbe a trade that no men of conscience could suffer themselves to beconcerned in.

Ido not take upon me to say that any harm was doneI mean of thatkindby those people.  But I doubt I need not make any suchproviso in the case of our own country; for either by our people ofLondonor by the commerce which made their conversing with all sortsof people in every country and of every considerable town necessaryI sayby this means the plague was first or last spread all over thekingdomas well in London as in all the cities and great townsespecially in the trading manufacturing towns and seaports; so thatfirst or lastall the considerable places in England were visitedmore or lessand the kingdom of Ireland in some placesbut not souniversally.  How it fared with the people in Scotland I had noopportunity to inquire.

Itis to be observed that while the plague continued so violent inLondonthe outportsas they are calledenjoyed a very great tradeespecially to the adjacent countries and to our own plantations. For examplethe towns of ColchesterYarmouthand Hunon that sideof Englandexported to Holland and Hamburg the manufactures of theadjacent countries for several months after the trade with Londonwasas it wereentirely shut up; likewise the cities of Bristol andExeterwith the port of Plymouthhad the like advantage to Spainto the Canariesto Guineaand to the West Indiesand particularlyto Ireland; but as the plague spread itself every way after it hadbeen in London to such a degree as it was in August and Septembersoall or most of those cities and towns were infected first or last;and then trade wasas it wereunder a general embargo or at a fullstop - as I shall observe further when I speak of our home trade.

Onethinghowevermust be observed: that as to ships coming in fromabroad (as manyyou may be suredid) some who were out in all partsof the world a considerable while beforeand some who when they wentout knew nothing of an infectionor at least of one so terrible -these came up the river boldlyand delivered their cargoes as theywere obliged to doexcept just in the two months of August andSeptemberwhen the weight of the infection lyingas I may sayallbelow Bridgenobody durst appear in business for a while.  Butas this continued but for a few weeksthe homeward-bound shipsespecially such whose cargoes were not liable to spoilcame to ananchor for a time short of the Poolorfresh-water part of the rivereven as low as the river Medwaywhereseveral of them ran in; and others lay at the Noreand in the Hopebelow Gravesend.  So that by the latter end of October there wasa very great fleet of homeward-bound ships to come upsuch as thelike had not been known for many years.

Twoparticular trades were carried on by water-carriage all the while ofthe infectionand that with little or no interruptionvery much tothe advantage and comfort of the poor distressed people of the city:and those were the coasting trade for corn and the Newcastle tradefor coals.

Thefirst of these was particularly carried on by small vessels from theport of Hull and other places on the Humberby which greatquantities of corn were brought in from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.The other part of this corn-trade was from Lynnin NorfolkfromWells and Burnhamand from Yarmouthall in the same county; and thethird branch was from the river Medwayand from MiltonFevershamMargateand Sandwichand all the other little places and portsround the coast of Kent and Essex.

Therewas also a very good trade from the coast of Suffolk with cornbutterand cheese; these vessels kept a constant course of tradeand without interruption came up to that market known still by thename of Bear Keywhere they supplied the city plentifully with cornwhen land-carriage began to failand when the people began to besick of coming from many places in the country.

Thisalso was much of it owing to the prudence and conduct of the LordMayorwho took such care to keep the masters and seamen from dangerwhen they came upcausing their corn to be bought off at any timethey wanted a market (whichhoweverwas very seldom)and causingthe corn-factors immediately to unlade and deliver the vessels loadenwith cornthat they had very little occasion to come out of theirships or vesselsthe money being always carried on board to them andput into a pail of vinegar before it was carried.

Thesecond trade was that of coals from Newcastle-upon-Tynewithoutwhich the city would have been greatly distressed; for not in thestreets onlybut in private houses and familiesgreat quantities ofcoals were then burnteven all the summer long and when the weatherwas hottestwhich was done by the advice of the physicians. Some indeed opposed itand insisted that to keep the houses androoms hot was a means to propagate the temperwhich was afermentation and heat already in the blood; that it was known tospread and increase in hot weather and abate in cold; and thereforethey alleged that all contagious distempers are the worse for heatbecause the contagion was nourished and gained strength in hotweatherand wasas it werepropagated in heat.

Otherssaid they granted that heat in the climate might propagate infection- as sultryhot weather fills the air with vermin and nourishesinnumerable numbers and kinds of venomous creatures which breed inour foodin the plantsand even in our bodiesby the very stenchof which infection may be propagated; also that heat in the airorheat of weatheras we ordinarily call itmakes bodies relax andfaintexhausts the spiritsopens the poresand makes us more aptto receive infectionor any evil influencebe it from noxiouspestilential vapours or any other thing in the air; but that the heatof fireand especially of coal fires kept in our housesor near ushad a quite different operation; the heat being not of the same kindbut quick and fiercetending not to nourish but to consume anddissipate all those noxious fumes which the other kind of heat ratherexhaled and stagnated than separated and burnt up.  Besidesitwas alleged that the sulphurous and nitrous particles that are oftenfound to be in the coalwith that bituminous substance which burnsare all assisting to clear and purge the airand render it wholesomeand safe to breathe in after the noxious particlesas abovearedispersed and burnt up.

Thelatter opinion prevailed at that timeandas I must confessIthink with good reason; and the experience of the citizens confirmeditmany houses which had constant fires kept in the rooms havingnever been infected at all; and I must join my experience to itforI found the keeping good fires kept our rooms sweet and wholesomeand I do verily believe made our whole family somore than wouldotherwise have been.

ButI return to the coals as a trade.  It was with no littledifficulty that this trade was kept openand particularly becauseas we were in an open war with I the Dutch at that timethe Dutchcapers at first took a great many of our collier-shipswhich madethe rest cautiousand made them to stay to come in fleets together. But after some time the capers were either afraid to take themortheir mastersthe Stateswere afraid they shouldand forbade themlest the plague should be among themwhich made them fare thebetter.

Forthe security of those northern tradersthe coal-ships were orderedby my Lord Mayor not to come up into the Pool above a certain numberat a timeand ordered lighters and other vessels such as thewoodmongers (that isthe wharf-keepers or coal-sellers) furnishedto go down and take out the coals as low as Deptford and Greenwichand some farther down.

Othersdelivered great quantities of coals in particular places where theships could come to the shoreas at GreenwichBlackwalland otherplacesin vast heapsas if to be kept for sale; but were thenfetched away after the ships which brought them were goneso thatthe seamen had no communication with the river-mennor so much ascame near one another.

Yetall this caution could not effectually prevent the distemper gettingamong the colliery: that is to say among the shipsby which a greatmany seamen died of it; and that which was still worse wasthat theycarried it down to Ipswich and Yarmouthto Newcastle-upon- Tyneandother places on the coast - whereespecially at Newcastle and atSunderlandit carried off a great number of people.

Themaking so many firesas abovedid indeed consume an unusualquantity of coals; and that upon one or two stops of the ships comingupwhether by contrary weather or by the interruption of enemies Ido not rememberbut the price of coals was exceeding deareven ashigh as 4 a chalder; but it soon abated when the ships came inandas afterwards they had a freer passagethe price was very reasonableall the rest of that year.

Thepublic fires which were made on these occasionsas I have calculateditmust necessarily have cost the city about 200 chalders of coals aweekif they had continuedwhich was indeed a very great quantity;but as it was thought necessarynothing was spared.  Howeveras some of the physicians cried them downthey were not kept alightabove four or five days.  The fires were ordered thus: -

 

Oneat the Custom Houseone at Billingsgateone at Queenhithand oneat the Three Cranes; one in Blackfriarsand one at the gate ofBridewell; one at the corner of Leadenhal Street and Gracechurch; oneat the north and one at the south gate of the Royal Exchange; one atGuild Halland one at Blackwell Hall gate; one at the Lord Mayor'sdoor in St Helen'sone at the west entrance into St Paul'sand oneat the entrance into Bow Church.  I do not remember whetherthere was any at the city gatesbut one at the Bridge-foot therewasjust by St Magnus Church.

Iknow some have quarrelled since that at the experimentand said thatthere died the more people because of those fires; but I am persuadedthose that say so offer no evidence to prove itneither can Ibelieve it on any account whatever.

Itremains to give some account of the state of trade at home in Englandduring this dreadful timeand particularly as it relates to themanufactures and the trade in the city.  At the first breakingout of the infection there wasas it is easy to supposea verygreat fright among the peopleand consequently a general stop oftradeexcept in provisions and necessaries of life; and even inthose thingsas there was a vast number of people fled and a verygreat number always sickbesides the number which diedso therecould not be above two- thirdsif above one-halfof the consumptionof provisions in the city as used to be.

Itpleased God to send a very plentiful year of corn and fruitbut notof hay or grass - by which means bread was cheapby reason of theplenty of corn.  Flesh was cheapby reason of the scarcity ofgrass; but butter and cheese were dear for the same reasonand hayin the market just beyond Whitechappel Bars was sold at 4 pound perload. But that affected not the poor.  There was a mostexcessive plenty of all sorts of fruitsuch as applespearsplumscherriesgrapesand they were the cheaper because of the want ofpeople; but this made the poor eat them to excessand this broughtthem into fluxesgriping of the gutssurfeitsand the likewhichoften precipitated them into the plague.

Butto come to matters of trade.  Firstforeign exportation beingstopped or at least very much interrupted and rendered difficultageneral stop of all those manufactures followed of course which wereusually brought for exportation; and though sometimes merchantsabroad were importunate for goodsyet little was sentthe passagesbeing so generally stopped that the English ships would not beadmittedas is said alreadyinto their port.

Thisput a stop to the manufactures that were for exportation in mostparts of Englandexcept in some out-ports; and even that was soonstoppedfor they all had the plague in their turn.  But thoughthis was felt all over Englandyetwhat was still worseallintercourse of trade for home consumption of manufacturesespeciallythose which usually circulated through the Londoner's handswasstopped at oncethe trade of the city being stopped.

Allkinds of handicrafts in the city&c.tradesmen and mechanicswereas I have said beforeout of employ; and this occasioned theputting-off and dismissing an innumerable number of journeymen andworkmen of all sortsseeing nothing was done relating to such tradesbut what might be said to be absolutely necessary.

Thiscaused the multitude of single people in London to be unprovided foras also families whose living depended upon the labour of the headsof those families; I saythis reduced them to extreme misery; and Imust confess it is for the honour of the city of Londonand will befor many agesas long as this is to be spoken ofthat they wereable to supply with charitable provision the wants of so manythousands of those as afterwards fell sick and were distressed: sothat it may be safely averred that nobody perished for wantat leastthat the magistrates had any notice given them of.

Thisstagnation of our manufacturing trade in the country would have putthe people there to much greater difficultiesbut that themaster-workmenclothiers and othersto the uttermost of theirstocks and strengthkept on making their goods to keep the poor atworkbelieving that soon as the sickness should abate they wouldhave a quick demand in proportion to the decay of their trade at thattime. But as none but those masters that were rich could do thusandthat many were poor and not ablethe manufacturing trade in Englandsuffered greatlyand the poor were pinched all over England by thecalamity of the city of London only.

Itis true that the next year made them full amends by another terriblecalamity upon the city; so that the city by one calamity impoverishedand weakened the countryand by another calamityeven terrible tooof its kindenriched the country and made them again amends; for aninfinite quantity of household Stuffwearing appareland otherthingsbesides whole warehouses filled with merchandise andmanufactures such as come from all parts of Englandwere consumed inthe fire of London the next year after this terrible visitation. It is incredible what a trade this made all over the whole kingdomto make good the want and to supply that loss; so thatin shortallthe manufacturing hands in the nation were set on workand werelittle enough for several years to supply the market and answer thedemands.  All foreign markets also were empty of our goods bythe stop which had been occasioned by the plagueand before an opentrade was allowed again; and the prodigious demand at home fallinginjoined to make a quick vent for all sort of goods; so that therenever was known such a trade all over England for the time as was inthe first seven years after the plagueand after the fire of London.

Itremains now that I should say something of the merciful part of thisterrible judgement.  The last week in Septemberthe plaguebeing come to its crisisits fury began to assuage.  I remembermy friend Dr Heathcoming to see me the week beforetold me he wassure that the violence of it would assuage in a few days; but when Isaw the weekly bill of that weekwhich was the highest of the wholeyearbeing 8297 of all diseasesI upbraided him with itand askedhim what he had made his judgement from.  His answerhoweverwas not so much to seek as I thought it would have been.  'Lookyou' says he'by the number which are at this time sick andinfectedthere should have been twenty thousand dead the last weekinstead of eight thousandif the inveterate mortal contagion hadbeen as it was two weeks ago; for then it ordinarily killed in two orthree daysnow not under eight or ten; and then not above one infive recoveredwhereas I have observed that now not above two infive miscarry.  Andobserve it from methe next bill willdecreaseand you will see many more people recover than used to do;for though a vast multitude are now everywhere infectedand as manyevery day fall sickyet there will not so many die as there didforthe malignity of the distemper is abated'; - adding that he began nowto hopenaymore than hopethat the infection had passed itscrisis and was going off; and accordingly so it wasfor the nextweek beingas I saidthe last in Septemberthe bill decreasedalmost two thousand.

Itis true the plague was still at a frightful heightand the next billwas no less than 6460and the next to that5720; but still myfriend's observation was justand it did appear the people didrecover faster and more in number than they used to do; and indeedif it had not been sowhat had been the condition of the city ofLondon?  Foraccording to my friendthere were not fewer than60000 people at that time infectedwhereofas above20477 diedand near 40000 recovered; whereashad it been as it was before50000 of that number would very probably have diedif not moreand50000 more would have sickened; forin a wordthe whole mass ofpeople began to sickenand it looked as if none would escape.

Butthis remark of my friend's appeared more evident in a few weeks morefor the decrease went onand another week in October it decreased1843so that the number dead of the plague was but 2665; and thenext week it decreased 1413 moreand yet it was seen plainly thatthere was abundance of people sicknayabundance more thanordinaryand abundance fell sick every day but (as above) themalignity of the disease abated.

Suchis the precipitant disposition of our people (whether it is so or notall over the worldthat's none of my particular business toinquire)but I saw it apparently herethat as upon the first frightof the infection they shunned one anotherand fled from oneanother's houses and from the city with an unaccountable andas Ithoughtunnecessary frightso nowupon this notion spreadingviz.that the distemper was not so catching as formerlyand that ifit was catched it was not so mortaland seeing abundance of peoplewho really fell sick recover again dailythey took to such aprecipitant courageand grew so entirely regardless of themselvesand of the infectionthat they made no more of the plague than of anordinary fevernor indeed so much.  They not only went boldlyinto company with those who had tumours and carbuncles upon them thatwere runningand consequently contagiousbut ate and drank withthemnayinto their houses to visit themand evenas I was toldinto their very chambers where they lay sick.

ThisI could not see rational.  My friend Dr Heath allowedand itwas plain to experiencethat the distemper was as catching as everand as many fell sickbut only he alleged that so many of those thatfell sick did not die; but I think that while many did dieand thatat best the distemper itself was very terriblethe sores andswellings very tormentingand the danger of death not left out ofthe circumstances of sicknessthough not so frequent as before; allthose thingstogether with the exceeding tediousness of the curethe loathsomeness of the diseaseand many other articleswereenough to deter any man living from a dangerous mixture with the sickpeopleand make them as anxious almost to avoid the infections asbefore.

Naythere was another thing which made the mere catching of the distemperfrightfuland that was the terrible burning of the caustics whichthe surgeons laid on the swellings to bring them to break and to runwithout which the danger of death was very greateven to the last. Alsothe insufferable torment of the swellingswhichthough itmight not make people raving and distractedas they were beforeandas I have given several instances of alreadyyet they put thepatient to inexpressible torment; and those that fell into itthoughthey did escape with lifeyet they made bitter complaints of thosethat had told them there was no dangerand sadly repented theirrashness and folly in venturing to run into the reach of it.

Nordid this unwary conduct of the people end herefor a great many thatthus cast off their cautions suffered more deeply stilland thoughmany escapedyet many died; and at least it had this public mischiefattending itthat it made the decrease of burials slower than itwould otherwise have been.  For as this notion ran likelightning through the cityand people's heads were possessed withiteven as soon as the first great decrease in the bills appearedwe found that the two next bills did not decrease in proportion; thereason I take to be the people's running so rashly into dangergiving up all their former cautions and careand all the shynesswhich they used to practisedepending that the sickness would notreach them - or that if it didthey should not die.

Thephysicians opposed this thoughtless humour of the people with alltheir mightand gave out printed directionsspreading them all overthe city and suburbsadvising the people to continue reservedandto use still the utmost caution in their ordinary conductnotwithstanding the decrease of the distemperterrifying them withthe danger of bringing a relapse upon the whole cityand tellingthem how such a relapse might be more fatal and dangerous than thewhole visitation that had been already; with many arguments andreasons to explain and prove that part to themand which are toolong to repeat here.

Butit was all to no purpose; the audacious creatures were so possessedwith the first joy and so surprised with the satisfaction of seeing avast decrease in the weekly billsthat they were impenetrable by anynew terrorsand would not be persuaded but that the bitterness ofdeath was past; and it was to no more purpose to talk to them than toan east wind; but they opened shopswent about streetsdidbusinessand conversed with anybody that came in their way toconverse withwhether with business or withoutneither inquiring oftheir health or so much as being apprehensive of any danger fromthemthough they knew them not to be sound.

Thisimprudentrash conduct cost a great many their lives who had withgreat care and caution shut themselves up and kept retiredas itwerefrom all mankindand had by that meansunder God'sprovidencebeen preserved through all the heat of that infection.

Thisrash and foolish conductI sayof the people went so far that theministers took notice to them of it at lastand laid before themboth the folly and danger of it; and this checked it a littlesothat they grew more cautious.  But it had another effectwhichthey could not check; for as the first rumour had spread not over thecity onlybut into the countryit had the like effect: and thepeople were so tired with being so long from Londonand so eager tocome backthat they flocked to town without fear or forecastandbegan to show themselves in the streets as if all the danger wasover.  It was indeed surprising to see itfor though there diedstill from 1000 to 1800 a weekyet the people flocked to town as ifall had been well.

Theconsequence of this wasthat the bills increased again 400 the veryfirst week in November; and if I might believe the physicianstherewas above 3000 fell sick that weekmost of them new-comerstoo.

OneJohn Cocka barber in St Martin's-le-Grandwas an eminent exampleof this; I mean of the hasty return of the people when the plague wasabated.  This John Cock had left the town with his whole familyand locked up his houseand was gone in the countryas many othersdid; and finding the plague so decreased in November that there diedbut 905 per week of all diseaseshe ventured home again. He had inhis family ten persons; that is to sayhimself and wifefivechildrentwo apprenticesand a maid-servant.  He had notreturned to his house above a weekand began to open his shop andcarry on his tradebut the distemper broke out in his familyandwithin about five days they all diedexcept one; that is to sayhimselfhis wifeall his five childrenand his two apprentices;and only the maid remained alive.

Butthe mercy of God was greater to the rest than we had reason toexpect; for the malignity (as I have said) of the distemper wasspentthe contagion was exhaustedand also the winter weather cameon apaceand the air was clear and coldwith sharp frosts; and thisincreasing stillmost of those that had fallen sick recoveredandthe health of the city began to return. There were indeed somereturns of the distemper even in the month of Decemberand the billsincreased near a hundred; but it went off againand so in a shortwhile things began to return to their own channel.  Andwonderful it was to see how populous the city was again all on asuddenso that a stranger could not miss the numbers that werelost.  Neither was there any miss of the inhabitants as to theirdwellings - few or no empty houses were to be seenor if there weresomethere was no want of tenants for them.

Iwish I could say that as the city had a new faceso the manners ofthe people had a new appearance.  I doubt not but there weremany that retained a sincere sense of their deliveranceand werethat heartily thankful to that Sovereign Hand that had protected themin so dangerous a time; it would be very uncharitable to judgeotherwise in a city so populousand where the people were so devoutas they were here in the time of the visitation itself; but exceptwhat of this was to be found in particular families and facesitmust be acknowledged that the general practice of the people was justas it was beforeand very little difference was to be seen.

Someindeedsaid things were worse; that the morals of the peopledeclined from this very time; that the peoplehardened by the dangerthey had been inlike seamen after a storm is overwere more wickedand more stupidmore bold and hardenedin their vices andimmoralities than they were before; but I will not carry it so farneither.  It would take up a history of no small length to givea particular of all the gradations by which the course of things inthis city came to be restored againand to run in their own channelas they did before.

Someparts of England were now infected as violently as London had been;the cities of NorwichPeterboroughLincolnColchesterand otherplaces were now visited; and the magistrates of London began to setrules for our conduct as to corresponding with those cities.  Itis true we could not pretend to forbid their people coming to Londonbecause it was impossible to know them asunder; soafter manyconsultationsthe Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen were obliged todrop it. All they could do was to warn and caution the people not toentertain in their houses or converse with any people who they knewcame from such infected places.

Butthey might as well have talked to the airfor the people of Londonthought themselves so plague-free now that they were past alladmonitions; they seemed to depend upon it that the air was restoredand that the air was like a man that had had the smallpoxnotcapable of being infected again.  This revived that notion thatthe infection was all in the airthat there was no such thing ascontagion from the sick people to the sound; and so strongly did thiswhimsy prevail among people that they ran all together promiscuouslysick and well. Not the Mahometanswhoprepossessed with theprinciple of predestinationvalue nothing of contagionlet it be inwhat it willcould be more obstinate than the people of London; theythat were perfectly soundand came out of the wholesome airas wecall itinto the citymade nothing of going into the same housesand chambersnayeven into the same bedswith those that had thedistemper upon themand were not recovered.

Someindeedpaid for their audacious boldness with the price of theirlives; an infinite number fell sickand the physicians had more workthan everonly with this differencethat more of their patientsrecovered; that is to saythey generally recoveredbut certainlythere were more people infected and fell sick nowwhen there did notdie above a thousand or twelve hundred in a weekthan there was whenthere died five or six thousand a weekso entirely negligent werethe people at that time in the great and dangerous case of health andinfectionand so ill were they able to take or accept of the adviceof those who cautioned them for their good.

Thepeople being thus returnedas it werein generalit was verystrange to find that in their inquiring after their friendssomewhole families were so entirely swept away that there was noremembrance of them leftneither was anybody to be found to possessor show any title to that little they had left; for in such caseswhat was to be found was generally embezzled and purloinedsome goneone waysome another.

Itwas said such abandoned effects came to the kingas the universalheir; upon which we are toldand I suppose it was in part truethatthe king granted all suchas deodandsto the Lord Mayor and Courtof Aldermen of Londonto be applied to the use of the poorof whomthere were very many.  For it is to be observedthat though theoccasions of relief and the objects of distress were very many morein the time of the violence of the plague than now after all wasoveryet the distress of the poor was more now a great deal than itwas thenbecause all the sluices of general charity were now shut. People supposed the main occasion to be overand so stopped theirhands; whereas particular objects were still very movingand thedistress of those that were poor was very great indeed.

Thoughthe health of the city was now very much restoredyet foreign tradedid not begin to stirneither would foreigners admit our ships intotheir ports for a great while.  As for the Dutchthemisunderstandings between our court and them had broken out into awar the year beforeso that our trade that way was whollyinterrupted; but Spain and PortugalItaly and Barbaryas alsoHamburg and all the ports in the Balticthese were all shy of us agreat whileand would not restore trade with us for many months.

Thedistemper sweeping away such multitudesas I have observedmany ifnot all the out-parishes were obliged to make new burying- groundsbesides that I have mentioned in Bunhill Fieldssome of which werecontinuedand remain in use to this day.  But others were leftoffand (which I confess I mention with some reflection) beingconverted into other uses or built upon afterwardsthe dead bodieswere disturbedabuseddug up againsome even before the flesh ofthem was perished from the bonesand removed like dung or rubbish toother places.  Some of those which came within the reach of myobservation are as follow:

(1)A piece of ground beyond Goswell Streetnear Mount Millbeing someof the remains of the old lines or fortifications of the citywhereabundance were buried promiscuously from the parishes of AldersgateClerkenwelland even out of the city.  This groundas I takeitwas since made a physic gardenand after that has been builtupon.

(2)A piece of ground just over the Black Ditchas it was then calledat the end of Holloway Lanein Shoreditch parish. It has been sincemade a yard for keeping hogsand for other ordinary usesbut isquite out of use as a burying-ground.

(3)The upper end of Hand Alleyin Bishopsgate Streetwhich was then agreen fieldand was taken in particularly for Bishopsgate parishthough many of the carts out of the city brought their dead thitheralsoparticularly out of the parish of St All-hallows on the Wall.This place I cannot mention without much regret. It wasas Irememberabout two or three years after the plague was ceased thatSir Robert Clayton came to be possessed of the ground. It wasreportedhow true I know notthat it fell to the king for want ofheirsall those who had any right to it being carried off by thepestilenceand that Sir Robert Clayton obtained a grant of it fromKing Charles II. But however he came by itcertain it is the groundwas let out to build onor built uponby his order. The first housebuilt upon it was a large fair housestill standingwhich faces thestreet or way now called Hand Alley whichthough called an alleyisas wide as a street. The houses in the same row with that housenorthward are built on the very same ground where the poor peoplewere buriedand the bodieson opening the ground for thefoundationswere dug upsome of them remaining so plain to be seenthat the women's skulls were distinguished by their long hairand ofothers the flesh was not quite perished; so that the people began toexclaim loudly against itand some suggested that it might endangera return of the contagion; after which the bones and bodiesas fastas they came at themwere carried to another part of the same groundand thrown all together into a deep pitdug on purposewhich now isto be known in that it is not built onbut is a passage to anotherhouse at the upper end of Rose Alleyjust against the door of ameeting-house which has been built there many years since; and theground is palisadoed off from the rest of the passagein a littlesquare; there lie the bones and remains of near two thousand bodiescarried by the dead carts to their grave in that one year.

(4)Besides thisthere was a piece of ground in Moorfields; by the goinginto the street which is now called Old Bethlemwhich was enlargedmuchthough not wholly taken in on the same occasion.

[N.B.- The author of this journal lies buried in that very groundbeingat his own desirehis sister having been buried there a few yearsbefore.]

(5)Stepney parishextending itself from the east part of London to thenortheven to the very edge of Shoreditch Churchyardhad a piece ofground taken in to bury their dead close to the said churchyardandwhich for that very reason was left openand is sinceI supposetaken into the same churchyard. And they had also two otherburying-places in Spittlefieldsone where since a chapel ortabernacle has been built for ease to this great parishand anotherin Petticoat Lane.

Therewere no less than five other grounds made use of for the parish ofStepney at that time: one where now stands the parish church of StPaulShadwelland the other where now stands the parish church ofSt John's at Wappingboth which had not the names of parishes atthat timebut were belonging to Stepney parish.

Icould name many morebut these coming within my particularknowledgethe circumstanceI thoughtmade it of use to recordthem. From the wholeit may be observed that they were obliged inthis time of distress to take in new burying-grounds in most of theout- parishes for laying the prodigious numbers of people which diedin so short a space of time; but why care was not taken to keep thoseplaces separate from ordinary usesthat so the bodies might restundisturbedthat I cannot answer forand must confess I think itwas wrong. Who were to blame I know not.

Ishould have mentioned that the Quakers had at that time also aburying-ground set apart to their useand which they still make useof; and they had also a particular dead-cart to fetch their dead fromtheir houses; and the famous Solomon Eaglewhoas I mentionedbeforehad predicted the plague as a judgementand ran nakedthrough the streetstelling the people that it was come upon them topunish them for their sinshad his own wife died the very next dayof the plagueand was carriedone of the first in the Quakers'dead-cartto their new burying-ground.

Imight have thronged this account with many more remarkable thingswhich occurred in the time of the infectionand particularly whatpassed between the Lord Mayor and the Courtwhich was then atOxfordand what directions were from time to time received from theGovernment for their conduct on this critical occasion. But reallythe Court concerned themselves so littleand that little they didwas of so small importthat I do not see it of much moment tomention any part of it here: except that of appointing a monthly fastin the city and the sending the royal charity to the relief of thepoorboth which I have mentioned before.

Greatwas the reproach thrown on those physicians who left their patientsduring the sicknessand now they came to town again nobody cared toemploy them. They were called desertersand frequently bills wereset up upon their doors and written'Here is a doctor to be let'sothat several of those physicians were fain for a while to sit stilland look about themor at least remove their dwellingsand set upin new places and among new acquaintance. The like was the case withthe clergywhom the people were indeed very abusive towritingverses and scandalous reflections upon themsetting upon thechurch-door'Here is a pulpit to be let'or sometimes'to besold'which was worse.

Itwas not the least of our misfortunes that with our infectionwhen itceasedthere did not cease the spirit of strife and contentionslander and reproachwhich was really the great troubler of thenation's peace before. It was said to be the remains of the oldanimositieswhich had so lately involved us all in blood anddisorder. But as the late Act of Indemnity had laid asleep thequarrel itselfso the Government had recommended family and personalpeace upon all occasions to the whole nation.

Butit could not be obtained; and particularly after the ceasing of theplague in Londonwhen any one that had seen the condition which thepeople had been inand how they caressed one another at that timepromised to have more charity for the futureand to raise no morereproaches; I sayany one that had seen them then would have thoughtthey would have come together with another spirit at last. ButIsayit could not be obtained. The quarrel remained; the Church andthe Presbyterians were incompatible. As soon as the plague wasremovedthe Dissenting ousted ministers who had supplied the pulpitswhich were deserted by the incumbents retired; they could expect noother but that they should immediately fall upon them and harass themwith their penal lawsaccept their preaching while they were sickand persecute them as soon as they were recovered again; this even wethat were of the Church thought was very hardand could by no meansapprove of it.

Butit was the Governmentand we could say nothing to hinder it; wecould only say it was not our doingand we could not answer for it.

Onthe other handthe Dissenters reproaching those ministers of theChurch with going away and deserting their chargeabandoning thepeople in their dangerand when they had most need of comfortandthe like: this we could by no means approvefor all men have not thesame faith and the same courageand the Scripture commands us tojudge the most favourably and according to charity.

Aplague is a formidable enemyand is armed with terrors that everyman is not sufficiently fortified to resist or prepared to stand theshock against. It is very certain that a great many of the clergy whowere in circumstances to do it withdrew and fled for the safety oftheir lives; but 'tis true also that a great many of them stayedandmany of them fell in the calamity and in the discharge of their duty.

Itis true some of the Dissenting turned-out ministers stayedand theircourage is to be commended and highly valued - but these were notabundance; it cannot be said that they all stayedand that noneretired into the countryany more than it can be said of the Churchclergy that they all went away. Neither did all those that went awaygo without substituting curates and others in their placesto do theoffices needful and to visit the sickas far as it was practicable;so thatupon the wholean allowance of charity might have been madeon both sidesand we should have considered that such a time as thisof 1665 is not to be paralleled in historyand that it is not thestoutest courage that will always support men in such cases.  Ihad not said thisbut had rather chosen to record the courage andreligious zeal of those of both sideswho did hazard themselves forthe service of the poor people in their distresswithout rememberingthat any failed in their duty on either side.  But the want oftemper among us has made the contrary to this necessary: some thatstayed not only boasting too much of themselvesbut reviling thosethat fledbranding them with cowardicedeserting their flocksandacting the part of the hirelingand the like.  I recommend itto the charity of all good people to look back and reflect duly uponthe terrors of the timeand whoever does so well see that it is notan ordinary strength that could support it.  It was not likeappearing in the head of an army or charging a body of horse in thefieldbut it was charging Death itself on his pale horse; to staywas indeed to dieand it could be esteemed nothing lessespeciallyas things appeared at the latter end of August and the beginning ofSeptemberand as there was reason to expect them at that time; forno man expectedand I dare say believedthat the distemper wouldtake so sudden a turn as it didand fall immediately two thousand ina weekwhen there was such a prodigious number of people sick atthat time as it was known there was; and then it was that manyshifted away that had stayed most of the time before.

Besidesif God gave strength to some more than to otherswas it to boast oftheir ability to abide the strokeand upbraid those that had not thesame gift and supportor ought not they rather to have been humbleand thankful if they were rendered more useful than their brethren?

Ithink it ought to be recorded to the honour of such menas wellclergy as physicianssurgeonsapothecariesmagistratesandofficers of every kindas also all useful people who ventured theirlives in discharge of their dutyas most certainly all such asstayed did to the last degree; and several of all these kinds did notonly venture but lose their lives on that sad occasion.

Iwas once making a list of all suchI mean of all those professionsand employments who thus diedas I call itin the way of theirduty; but it was impossible for a private man to come at a certaintyin the particulars.  I only remember that there died sixteenclergymentwo aldermenfive physiciansthirteen surgeonswithinthe city and liberties before the beginning of September.  Butthis beingas I said beforethe great crisis and extremity of theinfectionit can be no complete list.  As to inferior peopleIthink there died six-and-forty constables and head-boroughs in thetwo parishes of Stepney and Whitechappel; but I could not carry mylist oilfor when the violent rage of the distemper in Septembercame upon usit drove us out of all measures.  Men did then nomore (lie by tale and by number.  They might put out a weeklybilland call them seven or eight thousandor what they pleased;'tis certain they died by heapsand were buried by heapsthat is tosaywithout account.  And if I might believe some peoplewhowere more abroad and more conversant with those things than I thoughI was public enough for one that had no more business to do than Ihad- I sayif I may believe themthere was not many less buriedthose first three weeks in September than 20000 per week. Howeverthe others aver the truth of it; yet I rather choose to keep to thepublic account; seven and eight thousand per week is enough to makegood all that I have said of the terror of those times; -and it ismuch to the satisfaction of me that writeas well as those thatreadto be able to say that everything is set down with moderationand rather within compass than beyond it.

Uponall these accountsI sayI could wishwhen we were recoveredourconduct had been more distinguished for charity and kindness inremembrance of the past calamityand not so much a valuing ourselvesupon our boldness in stayingas if all men were cowards that flyfrom the hand of Godor that those who stay do not sometimes owetheir courage to their ignoranceand despising the hand of theirMaker - which is a criminal kind of desperationand not a truecourage.

Icannot but leave it upon record that the civil officerssuch asconstableshead-boroughsLord Mayor's and sheriffs'-menas alsoparish officerswhose business it was to take charge of the poordid their duties in general with as much courage as anyand perhapswith morebecause their work was attended with more hazardsand laymore among the poorwho were more subject to be infectedand in themost pitiful plight when they were taken with the infection. But then it must be addedtoothat a great number of them died;indeed it was scarce possible it should be otherwise.

Ihave not said one word here about the physic or preparations that weordinarily made use of on this terrible occasion - I mean we thatwent frequently abroad and up down streetas I did; much of this wastalked of in the books and bills of our quack doctorsof whom I havesaid enough already.  It mayhoweverbe addedthat theCollege of Physicians were daily publishing several preparationswhich they had considered of in the process of their practiceandwhichbeing to be had in printI avoid repeating them for thatreason.

Onething I could not help observing: what befell one of the quackswhopublished that he had a most excellent preservative against theplaguewhich whoever kept about them should never be infected orliable to infection.  This manwhowe may reasonably supposedid not go abroad without some of this excellent preservative in hispocketyet was taken by the distemperand carried off in two orthree days.

Iam not of the number of the physic-haters or physic-despisers; on thecontraryI have often mentioned the regard I had to the dictates ofmy particular friend Dr Heath; but yet I must acknowledge I made useof little or nothing - exceptas I have observedto keep apreparation of strong scent to have readyin case I met withanything of offensive smells or went too near any burying-place ordead body.

Neitherdid I do what I know some did: keep the spirits always high and hotwith cordials and wine and such things; and whichas I observedonelearned physician used himself so much to as that he could not leavethem off when the infection was quite goneand so became a sot forall his life after.

Iremember my friend the doctor used to say that there was a certainset of drugs and preparations which were all certainly good anduseful in the case of an infection; out of whichor with whichphysicians might make an infinite variety of medicinesas theringers of bells make several hundred different rounds of music bythe changing and order or sound but in six bellsand that all thesepreparations shall be really very good: 'Therefore' said he'I donot wonder that so vast a throng of medicines is offered in thepresent calamityand almost every physician prescribes or prepares adifferent thingas his judgement or experience guides him; but'says my friend'let all the prescriptions of all the physicians inLondon be examinedand it will be found that they are all compoundedof the same thingswith such variations only as the particular fancyof the doctor leads him to; so that'says he'every manjudging alittle of his own constitution and manner of his livingandcircumstances of his being infectedmay direct his own medicines outof the ordinary drugs and preparations. Only that'says he'somerecommend one thing as most sovereignand some another.  Some'says he'think that pill. ruff.which is called itself theanti-pestilential pill is the best preparation that can be made;others think that Venice treacle is sufficient of itself to resistthe contagion; and I'says he'think as both these thinkviz.that the last is good to take beforehand to prevent itand thefirstif touchedto expel it.' According to this opinionI severaltimes took Venice treacleand a sound sweat upon itand thoughtmyself as well fortified against the infection as any one could befortified by the power of physic.

Asfor quackery and mountebanksof which the town was so fullIlistened to none of themand have observed often sincewith somewonderthat for two years after the plague I scarcely saw or heardof one of them about town.  Some fancied they were all sweptaway in the infection to a manand were for calling it a particularmark of God's vengeance upon them for leading the poor people intothe pit of destructionmerely for the lucre of a little money theygot by them; but I cannot go that length neither.  Thatabundance of them died is certain - many of them came within thereach of my own knowledge - but that all of them were swept off Imuch question.  I believe rather they fled into the country andtried their practices upon the people therewho were in apprehensionof the infection before it came among them.

Thishoweveris certainnot a man of them appeared for a great while inor about London.  There wereindeedseveral doctors whopublished bills recommending their several physical preparations forcleansing the bodyas they call itafter the plagueand needfulas they saidfor such people to take who had been visited and hadbeen cured; whereas I must own I believe that it was the opinion ofthe most eminent physicians at that time that the plague was itself asufficient purgeand that those who escaped the infection needed nophysic to cleanse their bodies of any other things; the runningsoresthe tumours&c.which were broke and kept open by thedirections of the physicianshaving sufficiently cleansed them; andthat all other distempersand causes of distemperswere effectuallycarried off that way; and as the physicians gave this as theiropinions wherever they camethe quacks got little business.

Therewereindeedseveral little hurries which happened after thedecrease of the plagueand whichwhether they were contrived tofright and disorder the peopleas some imaginedI cannot saybutsometimes we were told the plague would return by such a time; andthe famous Solomon Eaglethe naked Quaker I have mentionedprophesied evil tidings every day; and several others telling us thatLondon had not been sufficiently scourgedand that sorer and severerstrokes were yet behind.  Had they stopped thereor had theydescended to particularsand told us that the city should the nextyear be destroyed by firethenindeedwhen we had seen it come topasswe should not have been to blame to have paid more than acommon respect to their prophetic spirits; at least we should havewondered at themand have been more serious in our inquiries afterthe meaning of itand whence they had the foreknowledge.  Butas they generally told us of a relapse into the plaguewe have hadno concern since that about them; yet by those frequent clamourswewere all kept with some kind of apprehensions constantly upon us; andif any died suddenlyor if the spotted fevers at any time increasedwe were presently alarmed; much more if the number of the plagueincreasedfor to the end of the year there were always between 200and 300 of the plague.  On any of these occasionsI saywewere alarmed anew.

Thosewho remember the city of London before the fire must remember thatthere was then no such place as we now call Newgate Marketbut thatin the middle of the street which is now called Blow- bladder Streetand which had its name from the butcherswho used to kill and dresstheir sheep there (and whoit seemshad a custom to blow up theirmeat with pipes to make it look thicker and fatter than it wasandwere punished there for it by the Lord Mayor); I sayfrom the end ofthe street towards Newgate there stood two long rows of shambles forthe selling meat.

Itwas in those shambles that two persons falling down deadas theywere buying meatgave rise to a rumour that the meat was allinfected; whichthough it might affright the peopleand spoiled themarket for two or three daysyet it appeared plainly afterwards thatthere was nothing of truth in the suggestion.  But nobody canaccount for the possession of fear when it takes hold of the mind.

Howeverit Pleased Godby the continuing of the winter weatherso torestore the health of the city that by February following we reckonedthe distemper quite ceasedand then we were not so easily frightedagain.

Therewas still a question among the learnedand at first perplexed thepeople a little: and that was in what manner to purge the house andgoods where the plague had beenand how to render them habitableagainwhich had been left empty during the time of the plague.Abundance- of perfumes and preparations were prescribed byphysicianssome of one kind and some of anotherin which the peoplewho listened to them put themselves to a greatand indeedin myopinionto an unnecessary expense; and the poorer peoplewho onlyset open their windows night and dayburned brimstonepitchandgunpowderand such things in their roomsdid as well as the best;naythe eager people whoas I said abovecame home in haste and atall hazardsfound little or no inconvenience in their housesnor inthe goodsand did little or nothing to them.

Howeverin generalprudentcautious people did enter into some measures forairing and sweetening their housesand burned perfumesincensebenjaminrozinand sulphur in their rooms close shut upand thenlet the air carry it all out with a blast of gunpowder; others causedlarge fires to be made all day and all night for several days andnights; by the same token that two or three were pleased to set theirhouses on fireand so effectually sweetened them by burning themdown to the ground; as particularly one at Ratcliffone in Holbournand one at Westminster; besides two or three that were set on firebut the fire was happily got out again before it went far enough tobum down the houses; and one citizen's servantI think it was inThames Streetcarried so much gunpowder into his master's houseforclearing it of the infectionand managed it so foolishlythat heblew up part of the roof of the house.  But the time was notfully come that the city was to he purged by firenor was it faroff; for within nine months more I saw it all lying in ashes; whenas some of our quacking philosophers pretendthe seeds of the plaguewere entirely destroyedand not before; a notion too ridiculous tospeak of here: sincehad the seeds of the plague remained in thehousesnot to be destroyed but by firehow has it been that theyhave not since broken outseeing all those buildings in the suburbsand libertiesall in the great parishes of StepneyWhitechappelAldgateBishopsgateShoreditchCripplegateand St Gileswherethe fire never cameand where the plague raged with the greatestviolenceremain still in the same condition they were in before?

Butto leave these things just as I found themit was certain that thosepeople who were more than ordinarily cautious of their healthdidtake particular directions for what they called seasoning of theirhousesand abundance of costly things were consumed on that accountwhich I cannot but say not only seasoned those housesas theydesiredbut filled the air with very grateful and wholesome smellswhich others had the share of the benefit of as well as those whowere at the expenses of them.

Andyet after allthough the poor came to town very precipitantlyas Ihave saidyet I must say the rich made no such haste.  The menof businessindeedcame upbut many of them did not bring theirfamilies to town till the spring came onand that they saw reason todepend upon it that the plague would not return.

TheCourtindeedcame up soon after Christmasbut the nobility andgentryexcept such as depended upon and had employment under theadministrationdid not come so soon.

Ishould have taken notice here thatnotwithstanding the violence ofthe plague in London and in other placesyet it was very observablethat it was never on board the fleet; and yet for some time there wasa strange press in the riverand even in the streetsfor seamen toman the fleet.  But it was in the beginning of the yearwhenthe plague was scarce begunand not at all come down to that part ofthe city where they usually press for seamen; and though a war withthe Dutch was not at all grateful to the people at that timeand theseamen went with a kind of reluctancy into the serviceand manycomplained of being dragged into it by forceyet it proved in theevent a happy violence to several of themwho had probably perishedin the general calamityand whoafter the summer service was overthough they had cause to lament the desolation of their families -whowhen they came backwere many of them in their graves - yetthey had room to be thankful that they were carried out of the reachof itthough so much against their wills.  We indeed had a hotwar with the Dutch that yearand one very great engagement at sea inwhich the Dutch were worstedbut we lost a great many men and someships.  Butas I observedthe plague was not in the fleetandwhen they came to lay up the ships in the river the violent part ofit began to abate.

Iwould be glad if I could close the account of this melancholy yearwith some particular examples historically; I mean of thethankfulness to Godour preserverfor our being delivered from thisdreadful calamity.  Certainly the circumstance of thedeliveranceas well as the terrible enemy we were delivered fromcalled upon the whole nation for it.  The circumstances of thedeliverance were indeed very remarkableas I have in part mentionedalreadyand particularly the dreadful condition which we were all inwhen we were to the surprise of the whole town made joyful with thehope of a stop of the infection.

Nothingbut the immediate finger of Godnothing but omnipotent powercouldhave done it.  The contagion despised all medicine; death ragedin every corner; and had it gone on as it did thena few weeks morewould have cleared the town of alland everything that had a soul. Men everywhere began to despair; every heart failed them for fear;people were made desperate through the anguish of their soulsandthe terrors of death sat in the very faces and countenances of thepeople.

Inthat very moment when we might very well say'Vain was the help ofman'- I sayin that very moment it pleased Godwith a mostagreeable surpriseto cause the fury of it to abateeven of itself;and the malignity decliningas I have saidthough infinite numberswere sickyet fewer diedand the very first weeks' bill decreased1843; a vast number indeed!

Itis impossible to express the change that appeared in the verycountenances of the people that Thursday morning when the weekly billcame out.  It might have been perceived in their countenancesthat a secret surprise and smile of joy sat on everybody's face. They shook one another by the hands in the streetswho would hardlygo on the same side of the way with one another before.  Wherethe streets were not too broad they would open their windows and callfrom one house to anotherand ask how they didand if they hadheard the good news that the plague was abated.  Some wouldreturnwhen they said good newsand ask'What good news?' and whenthey answered that the plague was abated and the bills decreasedalmost two thousandthey would cry out'God be praised I' and wouldweep aloud for joytelling them they had heard nothing of it; andsuch was the joy of the people that it wasas it werelife to themfrom the grave.  I could almost set down as many extravagantthings done in the excess of their joy as of their grief; but thatwould be to lessen the value of it.

Imust confess myself to have been very much dejected just before thishappened; for the prodigious number that were taken sick the week ortwo beforebesides those that diedwas suchand the lamentationswere so great everywherethat a man must have seemed to have actedeven against his reason if he had so much as expected to escape; andas there was hardly a house but mine in all my neighbourhood but wasinfectedso had it gone on it would not have been long that therewould have been any more neighbours to be infected.  Indeed itis hardly credible what dreadful havoc the last three weeks had madefor if I might believe the person whose calculations I always foundvery well groundedthere were not less than 30000 people dead andnear 100.000 fallen sick in the three weeks I speak of; for thenumber that sickened was surprisingindeed it was astonishingandthose whose courage upheld them all the time beforesank under itnow.

Inthe middle of their distresswhen the condition of the city ofLondon was so truly calamitousjust then it pleased God - as it wereby His immediate hand to disarm this enemy; the poison was taken outof the sting.  It was wonderful; even the physicians themselveswere surprised at it.  Wherever they visited they found theirpatients better; either they had sweated kindlyor the tumours werebrokeor the carbuncles went down and the inflammations round themchanged colouror the fever was goneor the violent headache wasassuagedor some good symptom was in the case; so that in a few dayseverybody was recoveringwhole families that were infected and downthat had ministers praying with themand expected death every hourwere revived and healedand none died at all out of them.

Norwas this by any new medicine found outor new method of curediscoveredor by any experience in the operation which thephysicians or surgeons attained to; but it was evidently from thesecret invisible hand of Him that had at first sent this disease as ajudgement upon us; and let the atheistic part of mankind call mysaying what they pleaseit is no enthusiasm; it was acknowledged atthat time by all mankind.  The disease was enervated and itsmalignity spent; and let it proceed from whencesoever it willletthe philosophers search for reasons in nature to account for it byand labour as much as they will to lessen the debt they owe to theirMakerthose physicians who had the least share of religion in themwere obliged to acknowledge that it was all supernaturalthat it wasextraordinaryand that no account could be given of it.

IfI should say that this is a visible summons to us all tothankfulnessespecially we that were under the terror of itsincreaseperhaps it may be thought by someafter the sense of thething was overan officious canting of religious thingspreaching asermon instead of writing a historymaking myself a teacher insteadof giving my observations of things; and this restrains me very muchfrom going on here as I might otherwise do.  But if ten lepersWere healedand but one returned to give thanksI desire to be asthat oneand to be thankful for myself.

Norwill I deny but there were abundance of people whoto allappearancewere very thankful at that time; for their mouths werestoppedeven the mouths of those whose hearts were not extraordinarylong affected with it. But the impression was so strong at that timethat it could not be resisted; nonot by the worst of the people.

Itwas a common thing to meet people in the street that were strangersand that we knew nothing at all ofexpressing their surprise. Goingone day through Aldgateand a pretty many people being passing andrepassingthere comes a man out of the end of the Minoriesandlooking a little up the street and downhe throws his hands abroad'Lordwhat an alteration is here I Whylast week I came along hereand hardly anybody was to he seen.' Another man - I heard him - addsto his words"Tis all wonderful; 'tis all a dream.' 'Blessed beGod' says a third mand and let us give thanks to Himfor 'tis allHis own doinghuman help and human skill was at an end.' These wereall strangers to one another.  But such salutations as thesewere frequent in the street every day; and in spite of a loosebehaviourthe very common people went along the streets giving Godthanks for their deliverance.

Itwas nowas I said beforethe people had cast off all apprehensionsand that too fast; indeed we were no more afraid now to pass by a manwith a white cap upon his heador with a doth wrapt round his neckor with his leg limpingoccasioned by the sores in his groinallwhich were frightful to the last degreebut the week before. But nowthe street was full of themand these poor recovering creaturesgive them their dueappeared very sensible of their unexpecteddeliverance; and I should wrong them very much if I should notacknowledge that I believe many of them were really thankful. But I must own thatfor the generality of the peopleit might toojustly be said of them as was said of the children of Israel aftertheir being delivered from the host of Pharaohwhen they passed theRed Seaand looked back and saw the Egyptians overwhelmed in thewater: viz.that they sang His praisebut they soon forgot Hisworks.

Ican go no farther here.  I should be counted censoriousandperhaps unjustif I should enter into the unpleasing work ofreflectingwhatever cause there was for itupon the unthankfulnessand return of all manner of wickedness among uswhich I was so muchan eye- witness of myself.  I shall conclude the account of thiscalamitous year therefore with a coarse but sincere stanza of my ownwhich I placed at the end of my ordinary memorandums the same yearthey were written: -

 A dreadful plague in London was   In the yearsixty-five   Which swept an hundred thousand souls  Away; yet I alive!

 H. F.

 

 

 

NOTES:

*Itseems John was in the tentbut hearing them callhe steps outandtaking the gun upon his shouldertalked to them as if he had beenthe sentinel placed there upon the guard by some officer that was hissuperior.

*This frighted the constable and the people that were with himthatthey immediately changed their note.

*Theyhad but one horse among them.

*Here he called to one of his menand bade him order Captain Richardand his people to march the lower way on the side of the marchesandmeet them in the forest; which was all a shamfor they had noCaptain Richardor any such company.

*That part of the river where the ships lie up when they come home iscalled the Pooland takes in all the river on both sides of thewaterfrom the Tower to Cuckold's Point and Limehouse.




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