a journal of the plague year pdf
0000025740 00000 n And that which was still worse, those that did thus break out spreadthe infection farther by their wandering about with the distemper uponthem, in their desperate circumstances, than they would otherwisehave done; for whoever considers all the particulars in such casesmust acknowledge, and we cannot doubt but the severity of thoseconfinements made many people desperate, and made them run out oftheir houses at all hazards, and with the plague visibly upon them, notknowing either whither to go or what to do, or, indeed, what they did;and many that did so were driven to dreadful exigencies andextremities, and perished in the streets or fields for mere want, ordropped down by the raging violence of the fever upon them. I am very wellsatisfied that it cannot be reconciled to religion and principle anymore than it can be to generosity and Humanity, but I may speak ofthat again. 0000000016 00000 n This lay close to me, and my mind seemed more and more encouragedto stay than ever, and supported with a secret satisfactionthat I should be kept. Daniel Defoe's Journal of the plague year Item Preview remove-circle Share or Embed This Item. But to return to the people, whose confusions fitted them to beimposed upon by all sorts of pretenders and by every mountebank.There is no doubt but these quacking sort of fellows raised great gainsout of the miserable people, for we daily found the crowds that ranafter them were infinitely greater, and their doors were more throngedthan those of Dr Brooks, Dr Upton, Dr Hodges, Dr Berwick, or any,though the most famous men of the time. And that no company orperson be suffered to remain or come into any tavern, ale-house, orcoffee-house to drink after nine of the clock in the evening, accordingto the ancient law and custom of this city, upon the penalties ordainedin that behalf.
'Theroyal antidote against all kinds of infection'; - and such a numbermore that I cannot reckon up; and if I could, would fill a book ofthemselves to set them down. 'Exact regulationsfor the conduct of the body in case of an infection.' The people about her seemed disgusted as well as she; and I foundthere was no persuading them that I did not laugh at them, and thatI should be rather mobbed by them than be able to undeceive them.So I left them; and this appearance passed for as real as theblazing star itself. But at the other end of the towntheir consternation was very great: and the richer sort of people,especially the nobility and gentry from the west part of the city,thronged out of town with their families and servants in an unusualmanner; and this was more particularly seen in Whitechappel; that is tosay, the Broad Street where I lived; indeed, nothing was to be seen butwaggons and carts, with goods, women, servants, children, &c.;coaches filled with people of the better sort and horsemen attendingthem, and all hurrying away; then empty waggons and carts appeared,and spare horses with servants, who, it was apparent, were returningor sent from the countries to fetch more people; besides innumerablenumbers of men on horseback, some alone, others with servants, and,generally speaking, all loaded with baggage and fitted out fortravelling, as anyone might perceive by their appearance. But this being found out, the officersafterwards had orders to padlock up the doors on the outside, andplace bolts on them as they thought fit. Not far from the same place they blew up a watchman withgunpowder, and burned the poor fellow dreadfully; and while he madehideous cries, and nobody would venture to come near to help him,the whole family that were able to stir got out at the windows onestorey high, two that were left sick calling out for help. But we werenot to expect that the physicians could stop God's judgements, orprevent a distemper eminently armed from heaven from executing theerrand it was sent about. Reading these old books on an iPhone or Kindle can sometimes be challenging because they are arranged in such an old fashioned way. But even those wholesome reflections - which, rightly managed,would have most happily led the people to fall upon their knees, makeconfession of their sins, and look up to their merciful Saviour forpardon, imploring His compassion on them in such a time of theirdistress, by which we might have been as a second Nineveh - had aquite contrary extreme in the common people, who, ignorant andstupid in their reflections as they were brutishly wicked andthoughtless before, were now led by their fright to extremes of folly;and, as I have said before, that they ran to conjurers and witches, andall sorts of deceivers, to know what should become of them (who fedtheir fears, and kept them always alarmed and awake on purpose todelude them and pick their pockets), so they were as mad upon theirrunning after quacks and mountebanks, and every practising oldwoman, for medicines and remedies; storing themselves with suchmultitudes of pills, potions, and preservatives, as they were called,that they not only spent their money but even poisoned themselvesbeforehand for fear of the poison of the infection; and prepared theirbodies for the plague, instead of preserving them against it. My brother, though a very religious man himself, laughed at all Ihad suggested about its being an intimation from Heaven, and told meseveral stories of such foolhardy people, as he called them, as I was;that I ought indeed to submit to it as a work of Heaven if I had beenany way disabled by distempers or diseases, and that then not beingable to go, I ought to acquiesce in the direction of Him, who, havingbeen my Maker, had an undisputed right of sovereignty in disposingof me, and that then there had been no difficulty to determine whichwas the call of His providence and which was not; but that I shouldtake it as an intimation from Heaven that I should not go out of town,only because I could not hire a horse to go, or my fellow was runaway that was to attend me, was ridiculous, since at the time I had myhealth and limbs, and other servants, and might with ease travel a dayor two on foot, and having a good certificate of being in perfect health,might either hire a horse or take post on the road, as I thought fit. One mischief was, that if the poor peopleasked these mock astrologers whether there would be a plague or no,they all agreed in general to answer 'Yes', for that kept up their trade.And had the people not been kept in a fright about that, the wizardswould presently have been rendered useless, and their craft had beenat an end. 'And that no corpse dying of infection shall be buried, or remain inany church in time of common prayer, sermon, or lecture. What is the most life changing book that you have ever read? It would have been present death to have gone into somehouses. What are the best books to read during lockdown? These terrors andapprehensions of the people led them into a thousand weak, foolish,and wicked things, which they wanted not a sort of people reallywicked to encourage them to: and this was running about to fortune-tellers, cunning-men, and astrologers to know their fortune, or, as it isvulgarly expressed, to have their fortunes told them, their nativitiescalculated, and the like; and this folly presently made the town swarmwith a wicked generation of pretenders to magic, to the black art, asthey called it, and I know not what; nay, to a thousand worse dealingswith the devil than they were really guilty of. The Government encouraged their devotion, andappointed public prayers and days of fasting and humiliation, to makepublic confession of sin and implore the mercy of God to avert thedreadful judgement which hung over their heads; and it is not to heexpressed with what alacrity the people of all persuasions embracedthe occasion; how they flocked to the churches and meetings, and theywere all so thronged that there was often no coming near, no, not tothe very doors of the largest churches.
I say, as many did, because several did so atlast, especially those who had been in the armies in the war which hadnot been many years past; and I must needs say that, speaking ofsecond causes, had most of the people that travelled done so, the plaguehad not been carried into so many country towns and houses as it was,to the great damage, and indeed to the ruin, of abundance of people.
But the city itself began now to be visited too, I mean within thewalls; but the number of people there were indeed extremely lessenedby so great a multitude having been gone into the country; and evenall this month of July they continued to flee, though not in suchmultitudes as formerly. Several private families also, as well ofone opinion as of another, kept family fasts, to which they admittedtheir near relations only.
Again, the public showed that they would bear their share in. And itshall be lawful to any person that hath two houses to remove either hissound or his infected people to his spare house at his choice, so as, ifhe send away first his sound, he not after send thither his sick, noragain unto the sick the sound; and that the same which he sendeth befor one week at the least shut up and secluded from company, for fearof some infection at the first not appearing.
Next to these public things were the dreams of old women, or, Ishould say, the interpretation of old women upon other people'sdreams; and these put abundance of people even out of their wits.Some heard voices warning them to be gone, for that there would besuch a plague in London, so that the living would not be able to burythe dead. In thetwo first of them, however, they were entirely mistaken, for we had nodroughty season, but in the beginning of the year a hard frost, whichlasted from December almost to March, and after that moderateweather, rather warm than hot, with refreshing winds, and, in short,very seasonable weather, and also several very great rains. When she's not writing or spending time with her family, Liz enjoys road trips, astronomy, music, and knitting. And even those that were, the Government did not allow, butendeavoured to suppress them and shut up their meetings.
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