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Daniel Defoe.

A journal of the plague year, being observations or memorials of the most remarkable occurrences, as well publick as private, which happened in London during the last great visitation in 1665 online

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U. C. L. A.
EDUC. DEPT.



BALLANTYNE, HANSON AND CO., EDINBURGH
CHANDOS STREET, LONDON



A JOURNAL



THE PLAGUE YEAR



BEING OBSERVATIONS OR MEMORIALS OF THE MOST

REMARKABLE OCCURRENCES, AS WELL PUBLICK AS PRIVATE,

WHICH HAPPENED IN LONDON DURING THE

LAST GREAT VISITATION IN



1665



WRITTEN BY A CITIZEN WHO CONTINUED ALL THE \VHILE IN LONDON
NEVER MADE PUBLICK BEFORE



BY DANIEL DEFOE



WITH AM INTRODUCTION BY HENRY MORLEY

LL.D., PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE AT
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, LONDON



SECON D EDITION

LONDON
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS

BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL

NEW YORK: 9 LAFAYETTE PLACE

1886



U. C. L A.
EDUC. DEPT.



MORLEY'S UNIVERSAL LIBRARY.

VOLUMES ALREADY PUBLISHED.
SHERIDAN'S PLAYS.

PLA YS FROM MOLIERE. By English Dramatists.
MA RLO WE'S FA US TUS & GOE THE'S FA US T.
CHRONICLE OF THE CID.
RABELAIS GARGANTUA and the HEROIC

DEEDS OF PANTAGRUEL.
THE PRINCE. By MACHIAVELLI.
BACON'S ESSAYS.

DEFOE'S JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR.
LOCKE O.V CIVIL GOVERNMENT^ FILMER'S

" PA TRIARCHA."

SCOTT'S DEMONOLOGY and WITCHCRAFT.
DRYDENS VIRGIL.
BUTLER'S ANALOGY OF RELIGION.
HERRICK'S HESPERfDES.
COLERIDGE'S TABLE-TALK.
BOCCACCIO'S DECAMERON.
STERNE'S TRISTRAM SHANDY,
CHAPMAN'S HOMER'S ILIAD.
MEDIEVAL TALES.
VOLTAIRE'S CANDIDE fr JOHNSONS

RASSELAS

PLA YS and POEMS by BEN JONSON.
LEVIATHAN. By THOMAS HOUSES.
HUDIBRAS. By SAMUEL BUTLER.
IDEAL COMMON WE A L TI/S.
C A VEX DISH'S LIFE OF WOLSEY.
DON QUIXOTE. IN Two VOLUMES.
BURLESQUE PLA YS and POEMS.
DANTE'S DIVINE COMEDY. LONGFELLOW'S

TRANSLATION.
GOLDSMITH'S VICAR 6f WAKEFIELD, PLA YS

and POEMS.

FABLES and PROVERBS from the SANSKRIT.
CHARLES LAMB'S ESSAYS OF ELI A.
THE HISTORY OF THOMAS ELL WOOD.
" Marvels of clear type and general neatness."

Daily Telegraph.



U. C. L A.
EDUC. DEPT.



INTRODUCTION.

.

DANIEL DE FOE, son of James Foe, a respectable butcher, was born
in the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate, in the year 1661. He was four
years old, therefore, in the Plague year, 1665. The son of James Foe
was named Daniel after his grandfather, who in the time of Charles
the First was a gentleman in Northamptonshire, and kept a pack of
hounds. \Ve may infer, if we please, from the nature of man, that
the family fortunes then went to the dogs, and that the son James,
with energy of character, turned country training to account in the
supply of sheep and cattle to the London food-market.

James Foe prospered and grew old, acquiring, by his good sense,
honour and influence among the London Nonconformists. He in-
tended to train his son Daniel as a Nonconformist minister, and sent
him, when fourteen years old a year after the death of Milton to
an academy at Newington Green, established for the training to such
ministry. The Reverend Charles Morton was its animating spirit.
Defoe always referred to him with gratitude. It is included among
recollections of Charles Morton's influence upon young minds com-
mitted to his charge, that, by his method of teaching, the students
"were made masters of the English tongue, and more of them excelled
in that particular than of any school at that time." He also trained
his boys to reflection upon current politics, that they might not enter
blindly in after-life into controversies of their day. Defoe, almost alone
in his time, brought the historic sense into political discussion. He
also reformed the currency of English speech, which in his time had
been lowered in value by a French alloy. We may join Defoe, there-
fore, in kindly recollection of a teacher who gave the right directing
touch to his young mind.

After about five years' study at Newington Green, Daniel Foe wns
not called to the ministry, but entered into training for the business of
a hose-factor in the City of London. That would be about the time
of the great controversy touching the exclusion of the King's brother,
the Duke of York, from succession to the throne, because he avowed
himself to be a Roman Catholic. On the 25th of June 1680, when
Foe's age was nineteen, the Earl of Shaftesbury presented the Duke of
York to the Grand Jury of Westminster as a Popish Recusant. Out
of this controversy came, in November 1681, Dryden's "Absalom and
Achitophel," and the whole intellectual battle that had at its centre the
best poem of the best poet of that day, and had the English Revolu-
tion among issues of the- strife, was quickening the energies within
young Foe's mind when his age was twenty. Much of the worth of a
man's future work depends upon the lessons taught him in the school
of life when youth is pa-si:ig into manhood, with perception quick,



2224067



viii INTRODUCTION.

At the end of Queen Anne's reign, after daily labour along his own
straight path indifferent to party-cries, crossing the tortuous path now
of one party and now of the other, Defoe was arrested and prosecuted
upon the mere titles of pamphlets for holding the political opinions
against which they were levelled. His titles, designed to catch those
whom the pamphlets themselves might usefully enlighten, were " What
if the Pretender should Come ? " and " Reasons against the Succession
of the House of Hanover." When the House of Hanover succeeded to
the throne, and the danger pressing upon many minds in the last years
of Queen Anne's reign was averted, Defoe, failing in health, wrote an
"Appeal to Honour and Justice, being a True Account of his Con-
duct in Public Affairs." In this pamphlet he summed up his position
truly when he said, " It has been the disaster of all parties in this nation
to be very hot in their turn, and as often as they have been so, I have
differed from them all, and ever must and shall do so."

Even under George I. it was impossible that Defoe should cease to
use his pen in the political service of his country. It is said that he
took advantage of the gross stupidity that counted him an enemy to
the House of Hanover by breaking the back of reactionist arguments
while seeming to uphold them in an opposition journal. But in these
hk latter days Defoe sought rest and quiet means of further provision
for his family by spending his imagination upon story-books. They
never professed to be novels, but from them the modern novel may
be said to take its rise. He was living at Newington with his wife
and six children in 1719 when he produced, at the age of fifty-eight,
" Robinson Crusoe." Other books followed, written in the form of
lives and adventures, memoirs, travels, each with an appearance of
minute fidelity in the narration of events that actually happened.
These pieces were produced during the ten years from 1719 to
1728. Masterpieces among them are " Robinson Crusoe "and "The
Journal of the Plague." The Journal, indeed, deceived Dr. Mead
into quotation of it as the narrative of an eye-witness. It was first
published in 1722, when its author's age was sixty-one. Defoe lived
to the age of seventy. There was trouble about him when he died,
caused by the conduct of a son ; but in his last letter, addressed to a
son-in-law, he looked forward to the rest that he had earned, and said,
"By what way soever He please to bring me to the end of it, I desire
to finish life with this temper of soul 7'e Deum laudatnus?

The literary worth of De r oe's t\vo chief books, " Robinson Crusoe"
and the "Journal of the Plague," is doubtless in part due to his sense
of a certain greatness in the design of each. In one, the tale is of a
man cast on a desert island wholly dependent on the use of his own
energies, with trust in God. In the other, the tale is of a city of men
on whom a great plague falls, a community in which the bonds of
fellowship are tried as by fire, and the imperishable part is separated
from the flax and tow.

HENRY MORLEY.
December 1883.



MEMOIRS OF THE PLAGUE.



TT was about the Beginning of September 1664, that I ?
among the Rest of my Neighbours, heard in ordinary
Discourse, that the Plague was return'd again in Holland ;
for it had been very violent there, and particularly at
Amsterdam and Rotterdam, in the Year 1663, whether
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 matter'd not from whence
it come ; but all agreed, it was come into Holland again.

We had no such thing as printed News Papers in those
Days, to spread Rumours and Reports of Things ; and to
improve them by the Invention of Men, as I have liv'd to
see practis'd since. But such things as these were gather'd
from the Letters of Merchants, and others, who corres-
ponded 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 were held about Ways to prevent its coming
over ; but all was kept very private. Hence it was, that this



io JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR.

Rumour died off again, and People began to forget it, as a
thing we were very little concern'd 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
French men, died of the Plague in Long Acre, or rather at
the upper End of Drury Lane. The Family they were in,
endeavour'd to conceal it as much as possible ; but as it
had gotten some Vent in the Discourse of the Neighbour-
hood, the Secretaries of State gat Knowledge of it. And
concerning themselves to inquire about it, in order to be
certain of the Truth, two Physicians and a Surgeon were
order'd to go to the House, and make Inspection. This
they did ; and finding evident Tokens of the Sickness upon
both the Bodies that were dead, they gave their Opinions
publickly, that they died of the Plague ; Whereupon it was
given in to the Parish Clerk, and he also return'd them to
the Hall ; and it was printed in the weekly Bill of Mortality
in the usual manner, thus

Plague 2. Parishes infected i.

The People shew'd a great Concern at this, and began to
be allarm'd 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 Dis-
temper was gone ; but after that, I think it was about the
1 2th of February, another died in another House, but in
the same Parish, and in the same manner.

This turn'd the Peoples Eyes pretty much towards that
End of the Town ; and the weekly Bills shewing an En-



JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR. n

crease 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, tho' they had taken Care to keep it as much from the
Knowledge of the Publick as possible: This possess'd
the Heads of the People very much, and few car'd to go
thro' Drury Lane, or the other Streets suspected, unless
they had extraordinary Business, that obliged them to it.

This Encrease of the Bills stood thus ; the usual Number
of Burials in a Week, in the Parishes of St. Giles's in the
Fields, and St. Andrew's Holborn, were from 12 to 17 or 19
each few more or less ; but from the Time that the Plague
first began in St. Giles's Parish, it was observ'd, that the
ordinary Burials encreased in Number considerably. For
Example

From Dec. 27th to Jan. 3. St. Giles's 16

St. Andrew's 17

Jan. 3. to 10. St. Giles's 12

St. Andrew's 25

Jan. 10. to 17. St. Giles's 18

St. Andrew's 18

Jan. 17. to 24. St. Giles's 23

St. Andrew's 16

Jan. 24. to 31. St. Giles's 24

St. Andrew's 15

Jan. 30. to Feb. 7. St. Giles's 21

St. Andrew's 23

Feb. 7. to - - 14. St. Giles's 24
whereof one of the Plague.



12 JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR.

The like Encrease of the Bills was observ'd in the
Parishes of St. Brides, adjoining on one Side of Holborn
Parish, and in the Parish of St. James Clarkenwell, adjoin-
ing on the other Side of Holborn ; in both which Parishes
the usual Numbers that died weekly were from 4 to 6 or 8,
whereas at that time they were increas'd, as follows

From Dec. 20. to Dec. 27. St. Brides - o

St. James 8



Dec. 27. to Jan. 3. St. Brides 6

St. James 9



Jan. 3. to - 10. St. Brides n

St James 7



Jan. 10. to 17. St. Brides 12

St. James 9



Jan. 17. to 24. St Brides 9

St James 15

Jan. 24. to 31. St. Brides 8



St. James 12

Jan. 31. to Feb. 7. St. Brides 13

St. James 5

Feb. 7. to 14. St. Brides 12

St. James 6

Besides this, it was observ'd, with great Uneasiness by the
People, that the weekly Bills in general encreas'd very much
during these Weeks, altho' it was at a Time of the Year
when usually the Bills are very moderate.

The usual Number of Burials within the Bills of Mor-



JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR. 13

tality for a Week was from about 240 or thereabouts, to
300. The last was esteem'd a pretty high Bill; but after
this we found the Bills successively encreasing, as follows

Increased

Dec. the 20. to the 27th, Buried 291.

27. to the 3 Jan. 349. 58

January 3. to the 10. - 394. 45

10. to the 17. 415. - 21

17. to the 24. 474. 59

This last Bill was really frightful, being a higher Number
than had been known to have been buried in one Week,
since the preceding Visitation of 1656.

However, all this went off again, and the Weather proving
cold, and the Frost, which began in December, still con-
tinuing very severe, even till near the End of February,
attended with sharp tho' moderate Winds, the Bills decreas'd
again, and the City grew healthy, and every body began to
look upon the Danger as good as over ; only that still the
Burials in St. Giles's continu'd high : From the Beginning
of April especially they stood at 25 each Week, till the
Week from the i8th to the 25th, when there was buried in
St. Giles's Parish 30, whereof two of the Plague, and 8 of
the Spotted-Feaver, which was look'dupon as the same thing ;
likewise the Number that died of the Spotted-Feaver in the
whole increased, being 8 the Week before, and 1 2 the Week
above-named.

This alarm'd us all again, and terrible Apprehensions
were among the People, especially the Weather being now
chang'd and growing warm, and the Summer being at Hand :
However, the next Week there seem'd to be some Hopes



14 JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR.

again, the Bills were low, the Number of the Dead in all
was but 388, there was none of the Plague, and but four of
the Spotted-Feaver.

But the following Week it return'd again, and the Dis-
temper was spread into two or three other Parishes (viz.) St.
Andrew's-Holborn, St. Clement's-Danes, and to the great
Affliction of the City, one died within the Walls, in the
Parish of St. Mary-Wool-Church, that is to say, in Bear-
binder-lane near the Stocks-market ; in all there was nine of
the Plague, and six of the Spotted-Feaver. It was however
upon Inquiry found, that this Frenchman who died in
Bearbinder-lane was one who having liv'd in Long-Acre,
near the Infected Houses, had removed for fear of the Dis-
temper, not knowing that he was already infected.

This was the beginning of May, yet the Weather was
temperate, variable and cool enough, and People had still
some Hopes : That which encourag'd them was, that the
City was healthy, the whole 97 Parishes buried but 54, and
we began to hope, that as it was chiefly among the People
at that End of the Town, it might go no farther; and the
rather, because the next Week which was from the Qth of
May to the i6th there died but three, of which not one
within the whole City or Liberties, and St Andrew's buried
but 15, which was very low : 'Tistrue, St. Giles's buried two
and thirty, but still as there was but one of the Plague,
People began to be easy, the whole Bill also was very low,
for the Week before, the Bill was but 347. and the Week
above-mentioned but 343 : We continued in these Hopes
for a few Days, But it was but for a few ; for the People
were no more to be deceived thus ; they searcht the Houses,
and found that the Plague was really spread every way, and



JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR. 15

that many died of it every Day : So that now all our Ex-
tenuations abated, and it was no more to be concealed, nay
it quickly appeared that the Infection had spread it self
beyond all Hopes of Abatement ; that in the Parish of St.
Giles's, it was gotten into several Streets, and several
Families lay all sick together; And accordingly in the
Weekly Bill for the next Week, the thing began to shew it
self; there was indeed but 14 set down of the Plague, but
this was all Knavery and Collusion, for in St. Giles's Parish
they buried 40 in all, whereof it was certain most of them
died of the Plague, though they were set down of other
Distempers ; and though the Number of all the Burials
were not increased above 32, and the whole Bill being but
385, yet there was 14 of the Spotted-Feaver, as well as 14
of the Plague ; and we took it for granted upon the whole,
that there was 50 died that Week of the Plague.

The next Bill was from the 23d of May to the 3oth, when
the Number of the Plague was 17 : But the Burials in St.
Giles's were 53, a frightful Number ! of whom they set down
but 9 of the Plague : But on an Examination more strictly
by the Justices of the Peace, and at the Lord Mayor's
Request, it was found there were 20 more, who were really
dead of the Plague in that Parish, but had been set down of
the Spotted-Feaver or other Distempers, besides others
concealed.

But those were trifling Things to what followed im-
mediately after ; for now the Weather set in hot, and from
the first Week in June, the Infection spread in a dreadful
Manner, and the Bills rise high, the Articles of the Feaver,
Spotted-Feaver, and Teeth, began to swell : For all that
could conceal their Distempers, did it to prevent their



1 6 JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR.

Neighbours shunning and refusing to converse with them ;
and also to prevent Authority shutting up their Houses,
which though it was not yet practised, yet was threatened,
and People were extremely terrify'd at the Thoughts of it.

The Second Week in June, the Parish of St. Giles's,
where still the Weight of the Infection lay, buried 120;
whereof though the Bills said but 68 of the Plague, every
Body said there had been 100 at least, calculating it from
the usual Number of Funerals in that Parish as above.

Till this Week the City continued free, there having
never any died except that one Frenchman, who I mention'd
before, within the whole 97 parishes. Now there died four
within the City, one in Wood street, one in Fenchurch street,
and two in Crooked-lane : Southwark was entirely free,
having not one yet died on that Side of the Water.

I liv'd without Aldgate about mid-way between Aldgate
Church and White-Chappel-Bars, on the left Hand or North-
side of the Street ; and as the Distemper had not reach'd to
that Side of the City, our Neighbourhood continued very
easy : But at the other End of the Town, their Conster-
nation was very great ; and the richer sort of People, espe-
cially the Nobility and Gentry, from the West-part of the
City throng'd out of Town, with their Families and Servants
in an unusual Manner ; and this was more particularly seen
in White-Chapel; that is to say, the Broad-street where I
liv'd : Indeed nothing was to be seen but Waggons and
Carts, with Goods, Women, Servants, Children, &c., Coaches
fill'd with People of the better Sort, and Horsemen attend-
ing them, and all hurrying away then empty Waggons, and
Carts appear'd and Spare-horses with Servants, who it was
apparent were returning or sent from the Countries to fetch



JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR. 17

more People : Besides innumerable Numbers of Men on
Horseback, some alone, others with Servants, and generally
speaking, all loaded with Baggage and fitted out for travel-
ling, as any one might perceive by their Appearance.

This was a very terrible and melancholy Thing to see,
and as it was a Sight which I cou'd not but look on from
Morning to Night ; for indeed there was nothing else of
Moment to be seen, it filled me with very serious Thoughts
of the Misery that was coming upon the City, and the un-
happy Condition of those that would be left in it.

This Hurry of the People was such for some Weeks, that
there was no getting at the Lord-Mayor's Door without
exceeding Difficulty ; there was such pressing and crowding
there to get passes and Certificates of Health, for such as
travelled abroad; for without these, there was no being
admitted to pass thro' the Towns upon the Road, or to
lodge in any Inn : Now as there had none died in the City
for all this time, My Lord Mayor gave Certificates of Health
without any Difficulty to all those who UVd in the 97
Parishes, and to those within the Liberties too for a while.

This Hurry, I say, continued some Weeks, that is to say,
all the Month of May and June, and the more because it was
rumour'd that an order of the Government was to be issued
out, to place Turn-pikes and Barriers on the Road, to pre-
vent Peoples travelling ; and that the Towns on the Road
would not suffer People from London to pass, for fear of
bringing the Infection along with them, though neither of
these Rumours had any Foundation, but in the Imagination ;
especially at first.

I now began to consider seriously with my Self, concerning
my own Case, and how I should dispose of my self; that is



1 8 JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR.

to say, whether I should resolve to stay in London, or shut
up my House and flee, as many of my Neighbours did. I
have set this particular down so fully, because I know not
but it may be of Moment to those who come after me, if
they come to be brought to the same Distress, and to the
same Manner of making their Choice, and therefore I desire
this Account may pass with them, rather for a Direction to
themselves to act by, than a History of my actings, seeing
it may not be of one Farthing value to them to note what
became of me.

I had two important things before me ; the one was the
carrying on my Business and Shop ; which was considerable,
and in which was embark'd all my Effects in the World ;
and the other was the Preservation of my Life in so dismal
a Calamity, as I saw apparently was coming upon the
whole City ; and which however great it was, my Fears
perhaps as well as other Peoples, represented to be much
greater than it could be.

The first Consideration was of great Moment to me ; my
Trade was a Sadler, and as my Dealings were chiefly not by
a Shop or Chance Trade, but among the Merchants, trading
to the English Colonies in America, so my Effects lay very
much in the hands of such. I was a single Man, 'tis true,
but I had a Family of Servants, who I kept at my Business,
had a House, Shop, and Ware-houses fill'd with Goods;
and in short, to leave them all as things in such a Case
must be left, that is to say, without any Overseer or Person
fit to be trusted with them, had been to hazard the Loss
not only of my Trade, but of my Goods, and indeed of all
I had in the World.

I had an Elder Brother at the same Time in London,



JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR. 19

and not many Years before come over from Portugal ; and
advising with him, his Answer was in three Words the same
that was given in another Case quite different (viz.) " Master,
save thy self." In a Word, he was for my retiring into the
Country, as he resolv'd to do himself with his Family ;
telling me what he had, it seems, heard abroad, that the
best Preparation for the Plague was to run away from it.
As to my Argument of losing my Trade, my Goods, or
Debts, he quite confuted me : He told me the same thing,
which I argued for my staying, (viz.) * : That I would trust
God with my Safety and Health," was the strongest Repulse
to my Pretensions of losing my Trade and my Goods; for,
says he, is it not as reasonable that you should trust God
with the Chance or Risque of losing your Trade, as that
you should stay in so imminent a Point of Danger, and
trust him with your Life ?

I could not argue that I was in any Strait, as to a Place
where to go, having several Friends and Relations in
Northamptonshire, whence our Family first came from ;
and particularly, I had an only Sister in Lincolnshire, very
willing to receive and entertain me.

My Brother, who had already sent his Wife and two
Children into Bedfordshire, and resolv'd to follow them,
press'd my going very earnestly ; and I had once resolv'd


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Online LibraryDaniel DefoeA journal of the plague year, being observations or memorials of the most remarkable occurrences, as well publick as private, which happened in London during the last great visitation in 1665 → online text (page 1 of 23)