Source 3a

Part of a letter from a civil servant, 8 October 1665 (SP 29/134 f31)

[This letter was written by Thomas Povey, a civil servant in the Naval Office who knew Samuel Pepys. The letter is to Joseph Williamson, an important politician in Charles II ‘s government, who was Under Secretary to the Secretary of State.]


… there having dyed more than 300 in Brentford and Isleworth, and Death is now become so familiar, and the People soe insensible of danger, that they look upon such as provide for the publick safety, as Tyrants and Oppressors, whilst neither the richer sort, will be brought to contribut, nor the meaner to submitt, though to their own apparant good, and preservation.


insensible – not caring about, having no regard for

Tyrants – people who exercise power in a cruel way

meaner – low in social status, poor

preservation – safety, protection

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3. What do sources 3a and 3b reveal about peoples attitudes to the authorities during the plague?