Part of a letter from a journalist 1665 (SP 29/132 f28)
[This letter was written by Henry Muddiman, a journalist who published newsletters and also wrote for the newly founded ‘London Gazette’. The letter is to Joseph Williamson, an important politician in Charles II ‘s government, who was Under Secretary to the Secretary of State.]
The totall of the burialls this week 8252 plague 6978 increase 756 parishes infected 118. This Bill had numbered one more but for a remarkable providence which was thus. A Butcher in Newgate Market being by the Searchers given out to be dead of the Plague and by the neglect of the Boarders not carried away the same night was laid out in an upper room wither his daughter going next day the father beckoned to her and bade her bring him ale for he was cold. The daughter called up her mother who giving him clothes, the man took a pipe of tabacco eat a rabbit and on Sunday went to Church to give God thanks for his preservation.
Bill – the weekly mortality bill which was a printed list of the number buried in each parish who died of the plague and of other causes
providence – intervention from God
Searchers – officials appointed to view dead bodies and to make reports on the cause of death
wither – where
tabacco – tobacco
preservation – safety or protection« Return to Great Plague of 1665-1666
1. This letter was written by Henry Muddiman, a journalist who published newsletters and also wrote for the newly founded ‘London Gazette’.
- Can you work out how many people died from the plague in the previous week?
- What is the total for other causes of death for this week?
- Can we rely on the figures given in this source? Give reasons for your answer
- What did the job of a searcher involve?