OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

In Time of Plague.

From "Diary".
Pages: <1>

April, 1665. 30th (Lord's day). Great fears of the sickness here in the City, it being said that two or three houses are already shut up. God preserve us all!

May, 24th. To the Coffee House where all the news is of the Dutch being gone out, and of the plague growing upon us in this town, and oi remedies against it: some saying one thing, and some another.

28th. (Lord's day.) To Sir Philip Warwick's to dinner. Thence to my Lady Sandwich's. My poor lady, who is afraid of the sickness, and resolved to be gone into the country, is forced to stay in town a day or two.

June 7th. This day, much against my will, I did in Drury Lane see two or three houses marked with a red cross upon the doors, and "Lord have mercy upon us!" written there; which was a sad sight to me, being the first of the kind that, to my remembrance, I ever saw.

10th. In the evening home to supper; and there, to my great trouble, hear that the plague is come into the City; but where should it begin but in my good friend and neighbour's, Dr. Burnett, in Fenchurch Street; which, in both points, troubles me mightily.

11th. (Lord's day.) I out of doors a little, to show, forsooth, my new suit. I saw poor Dr. Burnett's door shut; but he hath, I hear, gained great goodwill among his neighbours; for he discovered it himself first, and caused himself to be shut up of his own accord; which was very handsome.

15th. The town grows very sickly, and people to be afraid of it; there dying this last week of the plague 112, from 43 the week before; whereof but one in Fenchurch Street, and one in Broad Street, by the Treasurer's office.

17th. This afternoon going with a hackney coach from Lord Treasurer's down Holborn, the coachman I found to drive easily and easily, at last stood still, and came down hardly able to stand, and told me that he was suddenly struck very sick, and almost blind - he could not see; so I alight, and went into another coach, with a sad heart for the poor man and for myself also lest he should have been struck with the plague.

22nd. In great pain whether to send my mother into the country to-day or no; I hearing, by my people, that the poor wretch hath a mind to stay a little longer, and I cannot blame her. At last I resolved to put it to her, and she agreed to go because of the sickness in town and my intentions of removing my wife. She was to the last unwilling to go, but would not say so, but put it off till she lost her place in the coach, and was fain to ride in the waggon part.

29th. By water to Whitehall, where the Court full of waggons and people ready to go out of town. This end of the town every day grows very bad of the plague. The Mortality Bill is come to 267, which is about ninety more than last; and of these but four in the City, which is a great blessing to us. July 3rd. The season growing so sickly, that it is much to be feared how a man can escape having a share with others in it, for which the good Lord God bless me! or make me fitted to receive it.

13th. Above 700 died of the plague this week.

18th. I was much troubled this day to hear at Westminster how the officers do bury the dead in the open Tuttle fields, pretending want of room elsewhere.

20th. Walked to Redriffe, where I hear the sickness is, and indeed is scattered almost every where, there dying 1,089 of the plague tins week. My Lady Carteret did give me a bottle of the plague- water home with me . . . Lord! to see how the plague spreads!

22nd, To Fox-hall, where to the Spring Garden; but I do not see one guest there, the town being so empty of anybody to come thither. Only, while I was there, a poor woman came to scold with the master of the house that a kinswoman, I think, of hers that was nearly dead of the plague, might be buried in the churchyard; for, for her part, she should not be buried in the commons, as they said she should. I by coach home, not meeting with but two coaches and but two carts from Whitehall to my own house, that I could observe, and the streets mighty thin of people.

August 3rd. Mr. Marr telling me by the way how a maidservant of Mr. John Wright's, who lives thereabouts, falling sick of the plague, she was removed to an out-house, and a nurse appointed to look to her; who being once absent the maid got out of the house at the window and ran away. The nurse coming and knocking, and having no answer, believed she was dead, and went and told Mr, Wright so, who and his lady were in a great strait what to do to get her buried. At last resolved to go to Brentwood, hard by, being in the parish, and there get people to do it. But they would not; so he went home full of trouble, and in the way met the wench walking over the common, which frightened him worse than before, and was forced to send people to take her, which they did, and they got one of the pest-coaches, and put her into it to carry her to a pest-house.

12th. The people die so, that now it seems they are fain to carry the dead to be buried by daylight, the nights not sufficing to do it in. And my Lord Mayor commands people to be within at nine at night, all, as they say, that the sick may have liberty to go abroad for air.

30th. Abroad, and met with Hadley, our clerk, who, upon me asking how the plague goes, told me it increases much, and much in our parish; for, says he, there died nine this week, though I have returned but six; which is a very ill practice, and makes me think it is so in other places: and therefore the plague much greater than people take it to be.

31st. In the City died this week 7,496, and of them 6,012 of the plague. But it is feared that the true number of the dead this week is near 10,000; partly from the poor that cannot be taken notice of, through the greatness of the number, and partly from the Quakers and others that will not have any bell ring for them.

September 3rd. (Lord's day). Among other stories, one was very passionate, methought, of a complaint brought against a man in the town, for taking a child from London from an infected house. Alderman Hooker told us it was the child of a very able citizen in Gracious Street, a saddler, who had buried all the rest of his children of the plague, and himself and wife now being shut up in despair of escaping, did desire only to save the life of this little child; and so prevailed to have it received stark-naked into the arms of a friend, who brought it, having put it into new fresh clothes, to Greenwich; where, upon hearing the story, we did agree it should be permitted to be received and kept in the town.

20th. Lord! what a sad time it is to see no. boats upon the river; and grass grows all up.and down Whitehall court, and nobody but poor wretches in the streets! And which is worst of all the Duke (of Albemarle) showed us the number of the plague this week, brought in the last night from the Lord Mayor; that it is increased about 600 more than the last, which is quite contrary to our hopes and expectations, from the coldness of the late season. For the whole general number is 8,297, and of them the plague 7,165; which is more, in the whole, by above 50, than the biggest bill yet: which is very grievous to us all.

November 24th. To London, and there in my way at my old oyster shop in Gracious Street, bought two barrels of my fine woman of the shop, who is alive after all the plague, which is now the first observation or inquiry we make at London concerning everybody we know.

December 31st. (Lord's day). Thus ends this year, to my great joy.... It is true we have gone through great melancholy because of the great plague. But now the plague is abated almost to nothing.... Pray God continue the plague's decrease! for that keeps the Court away from the place of business, and so all goes to wreck as to public matters, they at this distance not thinking of it.

Pages: <1>

Pictures for In Time of Plague.

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About