It was about the beginning ...
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It was about the beginning of September, 1664, that I, among
the rest of my neighbors, heard in ordinary discourse that the
plague was returned again in Holland; for it had been very
violent there, and particularly at Amsterdam and Rotterdam, in
the year 1663, whither, they say, it was brought (some said from
Italy, others from the Levant) among some goods which were
brought home by their Turkey fleet; others said it was brought
from Candia; others, from Cyprus. It mattered not from whence
it came; but all agreed it was come into Holland again.[4]

We had no such thing as printed newspapers in those days, to
spread rumors and reports of things, and to improve them by the
invention of men, as I have lived to see practiced since. But
such things as those were gathered from the letters of merchants
and others who corresponded abroad, and from them was handed
about by word of mouth only; so that things did not spread instantly
over the whole nation, as they do now. But it seems that
the government had a true account of it, and several counsels[5]
were held about ways to prevent its coming over; but all was
kept very private. Hence it was that this rumor died off again;
and people began to forget it, as a thing we were very little concerned
in and that we hoped was not true, till the latter end of
November or the beginning of December, 1664, when two men,
said to be Frenchmen, died of the plague in Longacre, or rather
at the upper end of Drury Lane.[6] The family they were in endeavored
to conceal it as much as possible; but, as it had gotten
some vent in the discourse of the neighborhood, the secretaries
of state[7] got knowledge of it. And concerning themselves to
inquire about it, in order to be certain of the truth, two physicians
and a surgeon were ordered to go to the house, and make inspection.
This they did, and finding evident tokens[8] of the sickness
upon both the bodies that were dead, they gave their opinions
publicly that they died of the plague. Whereupon it was given
in to the parish clerk,[9] and he also returned them[10] to the hall; and
it was printed in the weekly bill of mortality in the usual manner,


The people showed a great concern at this, and began to be alarmed all
over the town, and the more because in the last week in December, 1664,
another man died in the same house and of the same distemper. And then
we were easy again for about six weeks, when, none having died with any
marks of infection, it was said the distemper was gone; but after that,
I think it was about the 12th of February, another died in another
house, but in the same parish and in the same manner.

This turned the people's eyes pretty much towards that end of the town;
and, the weekly bills showing an increase of burials in St. Giles's
Parish more than usual, it began to be suspected that the plague was
among the people at that end of the town, and that many had died of it,
though they had taken care to keep it as much from the knowledge of the
public as possible. This possessed the heads of the people very much;
and few cared to go through Drury Lane, or the other streets suspected,
unless they had extraordinary business that obliged them to it.

This increase of the bills stood thus: the usual number of burials in a
week, in the parishes of St. Giles-in-the-Fields and St. Andrew's,
Holborn,[11] were[12] from twelve to seventeen or nineteen each, few
more or less; but, from the time that the plague first began in St.
Giles's Parish, it was observed that the ordinary burials increased in
number considerably. For example:--

Dec. 27 to Jan. 3, St. Giles's 16
St. Andrew's 17
Jan. 3 to Jan. 10, St. Giles's 12
St. Andrew's 25
Jan. 10 to Jan. 17, St. Giles's 18
St. Andrew's 18
Jan. 17 to Jan. 24, St. Giles's 23
St. Andrew's 16
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013787537
  • Publisher: SAP
  • Publication date: 12/6/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 496,416
  • File size: 225 KB

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