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The Conclusion.: AN APPENDIX 1 . - Sir William Petty, The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, vol. 2 
The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, together with The Observations upon Bills of Mortality, more probably by Captain John Graunt, ed. Charles Henry Hull (Cambridge University Press, 1899), 2 vols.
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IT may be now asked, To what purpose tends all this laborious bustling and groping? To know,
To this I might answer in general, by saying, that those, who cannot apprehend the reason of these Enquiries, are unfit to trouble themselves to ask them.
2. I might answer by asking, Why so many have spent their times and Estates about the Art of making Gold? which, if it were much known, would only exalt Silver into the place which Gold now possesseth; and if it were known but to some one Person, the same single Adeptus could not, nay, durst not enjoy it, but must be either a Prisoner to some Prince, and Slave to some Voluptuary, or else skulk obscurely up and down for his privacy and concealment.
3. I might answer, That there is much pleasure in deducing so many abstruse and unexpected inferences out of these poor despised Bills of Mortality; and in building upon that ground, which hath lain waste these eighty years. And there is pleasure in doing something new, though never so little, without pestering the World with voluminous Transcriptions. ‖
4. But I answer more seriously, by complaining, That whereas the Art of Governing, and the true Politicks, is how to preserve the Subject in Peace and Plenty; that men study only that part of it which teacheth how to supplant and over-reach one another, and how, not by fair out-running, but by tripping up each other's heels, to win the Prize.
Now, the Foundation or Elements of this honest harmless Policy is to understand the Land, and the hands of the Territory, to be governed according to all their intrinsick and accidental differences: As for example; It were good to know the Geometrical Content, Figure, and Situation of all the Lands of a Kingdom, especially according to its most natural, permanent, and conspicuous Bounds. It were good to know how much Hay an Acre of every sort of Meadow will bear; how many Cattel the same weight of each sort of Hay will feed and fatten; what quantity of Grain and other Commodities the same Acre will bear in one, three, or seven years, communibus Annis; unto what use each soil is most proper. All which particulars I call the intrinsick value: for there is also another value meerly accidental, or extrinsick, consisting of the Causes why a parcel of Land, ‖ lying near a good Market, may be worth double to another parcel, though but of the same intrinsick goodness; which answers the Queries, why Lands in the North of England are worth but sixteen years purchase, and those of the West above eight and twenty. It is no less necessary to know how many People there be of each Sex, State, Age, Religion, Trade, Rank, or Degree, &c. by the knowledge whereof, Trade and Government may be made more certain and Regular; for, if men knew the People, as aforesaid, they might know the consumption they would make, so as Trade might not be hoped for where it is impossible. As for instance, I have heard much complaint, that Trade is not set in some of the South-western and North-western Parts of Ireland, there being so many excellent Harbours for that purpose; whereas in several of those places I have also heard, that there are few other Inhabitants, but such as live ex sponte creatis, and are unfit Subjects of Trade, as neither employing others, nor working themselves.
Moreover, if all these things were clearly and truly known (which I have but ghessed at) it would appear, how small a part of the People work upon necessary Labours and ‖ Callings, viz. how many Women and Children do just nothing, only learning to spend what others get; how many are meer Voluptuaries, and as it were meer Gamesters by Trade; how many live by puzling poor people with unintelligible Notions in Divinity and Philosophy; how many by perswading credulous, delicate, and ligitious Persons, that their Bodies or Estates are out of Tune, and in danger; how many by fighting as Souldiers; how many by Ministries of Vice and Sin; how many by Trades of meer Pleasure, or Ornaments; and how many in a way of lazy attendance, &c. upon others: And on the other side, how few are employed in raising and working necessary Food and Covering; and of the speculative men, how few do study Nature and Things! The more ingenious not advancing much further than to write and speak wittily about these matters.
I conclude, That a clear knowledge of all these particulars, and many more, whereat I have shot but at rovers, is necessary, in order to good, certain, and easie Government, and even to balance Parties and Factions both in Church and State. But whether the knowledge thereof be necessary to many, or fit for others than the Sovereign and his chief Ministers, I leave to consideration. ‖
AN APPENDIX1 .
FOrasmuch as a long and serious perusal of all the Bills of Mortality, which this great City hath afforded for almost fourscore years, hath advanced but the few Observations comprised in the fore-going Treatise; I hope very little will be expected from the few scattered Papers that have come to my hands since the publishing thereof, especially from one that hath learned from the Royal Society, how many Observations go to the making up of one Theoreme, which (like Oaks and other Trees fit for durable Building) must be of many years growth.
The Accounts which follow, I reckon but as Timber and Stones; and the best Inferences I can make, are but as hewing them to a Square: as for composing a beautiful and ‖ firm Structure out of them, I leave it to the Architecture of the said Society, under whom I think it honour enough to work as a Labourer.
My first Observation shall be, That at Dublin2 the Number of Weekly Burials being about 20, and those of London about 300, as also the Number of People reckoned to be within the Limits of the Bills of Mortality at London to be 460000; it will follow, that the Number of Inhabitants of Dublin be about 30000, viz. about one fifteenth part of those in and about London, which agrees with that Number which I have heard the Books of Poll-Money, raised but little before the time of this Bill, have exhibited as the Number of Inhabitants of that City: So as although I do not think one single Weekly Bill is sufficient to ground such a Conclusion upon, yet I think that several yearly Bills are the best of the easie ways from which to collect the Number of the People.
Secondly, Although I take it for granted, that in Dublin there be more Born than Buried, because the same hath appeared to be so in London by the Bills of Mortality before the year 1641, when the Civil Wars began, and much more eminently in Amsterdam, as shall be hereafter shewn; yet there are but 14 set down as Christned; which shews, that ‖ the defect there is much the same as at London, whether the cause thereof be negligence in the Register, on non-conformity to Publick Order, or both, I leave to the curious. I believe the cause is also the same, forasmuch as I heard it to be a Maxim at Dublin, to follow, if not forerun, all that is, or as they understand will be, practised in London; and that in all particulars incident to humane affairs.
I have here inserted two other Country-Bills, the one of Cranbrook1 in Kent, the other of Tiverton2 in Devonshire, which with that of Hantshire3 , lying about the midway between them, give us a view of the most Easterly, Southerly, and Westerly parts of England: I have endeavoured to procure the like account from Northumberland, Cheshire, Norfolk, and Nottinghamshire; Thereby to have a view of seven Counties most differently situated, from whence I am sorry to observe that my Southern friends have been hitherto more curious and diligent than those of the North. The full observation from these Bills is, that all these three Country Bills agree, that each Wedding produces four Children, which is likewise confirmed from the Bills of Amsterdam. Secondly, they all agree that there be more Males born than Females, ‖ but in different proportions, for at Cranbrook there be 20 Males for 19 Females, in Hantshire, 16 for 15, in London 14 for 13, and at Tiverton, 12 for 11. Thirdly, I have inserted the Bills themselves, to the end that whoever pleases may examin, by all three together, the Observations I raised from the Hantshire Bill alone; conceiving it will be more pleasure and satisfaction to do it themselves, than to receive it from another hand. Only I shall add, as a new Observation from them all, that in the years 1648 and 1649, being the time when the people of England did most resent the horrid Parricide of his late Sacred Majesty, that there were but nine weddings in that year in the same places, when there were ordinarily between 30 and 40 per Annum; and but 16, when there were ordinarily at other times between 50 and 60. And it may be also observed that something of this black murder appeared in the years 1643 and 1644, when the Civil war was at the highest, but the contrary in the years 1654, 1655, &c. to prevent the new way of Marriage then imposed upon the people1 .
I have also supplied the Tables from the three general Bills for the years 1662, 1663, and 1664, which you will find to justifie ‖ the former Observations. But most eminently that which I take to be of most concernment, namely, of the difference between the numbers of Males and Females.
In the former Observations I did endeavour to deduce the number of the Inhabitants about the City of London, from the Bills of Mortality, concluding them to be about 4600002 , and did likewise set forth by what steps the people of the said City have increased from two to five since the year 16003 .
And particularly in what proportions the City increased in its several parts from time to time: I have now procured an Account of the Men, Women, and Children, which were Anno 16311 . found within the Liberties of London, which are circumscribed by Temple-Bar, Holborn-Bars, Smithfield-Bars, Shoreditch-Bars, White-chappel-Bars, and to the Tower Liberties, and Meal-market in Southwark; by which Account I hope it will appear, that I computed too many rather than too few, although the most part of men have thought otherwise. Nor do I wonder at it, since I never observed more enormous mistakes in any matter than concerning the number of people, Ale-houses, Coaches, Ships, Sea-men, Water-men, and several ‖ other Tradesmen, &c. The proportions of all which I have always thought is necessary to be known, in order to an exact Symmetry of the several members of a Common-wealth. I say, that the whole number of Inhabitants exceeds not 460000.
1. The number of Men, Women, and Children, found in the City and Liberties 1631, was 130178.
2. The Liberties of the City of London consist of the 97 Parishes within the Walls, and of ⅔ of the 16 Parishes next without them, which estimate of mine, nevertheless, I leave to examination.
The Liberties of London from the year 1631 to the year 1661 increased from 8 to 11, as may appear by the Tables, and consequently the said 130000 found in the year 1631, were increased to 179000, in Anno 1661.
Lastly, the Liberties of London in the year 1661 were in proportion to the whole, as 4 to 9, and consequently if there were 179000 souls, in the said Liberties, there was not above 403000 in the whole number of Parishes then comprehended in the Bills of Mortality.
The substance of the Amsterdam Bills of Mortality is, viz.
1. That there died in the several years of the Plague, as followeth: ‖
2. That there are eleven burying-places, besides the Hospital and Pest-house, 257 Streets and Lanes, with 43 Burgwalls and Grachts in that City.
3. That in seven years, beginning from the 15 of August 1617 to the same day 1624, there were Christned in the reformed Churches of Amsterdam 52537, and that there died in the same time 32532. So as there were 20005 more born than buried, besides those that were Christned in other Congregations. And in the same time were 16430 publisht Marriages.
4. That in the first week of September 1664 there died 1041, and in eighteen weeks before the Burials increased from 331 up to the said number of 1041, ‖ and in twelve weeks after decreased back to the like number of 330.
5. In February following there died but 118 a week, and the ordinary number of weekly Burials is about 100, so as London seems to be three times as big as Amsterdam.
6. I have likewise hapned on some other Accompts, relating to Mortalities of some great Cities of the World, of what Authority I know not, but as printed at Amsterdam 1664, viz. Anno 1619 there died in Grand Cairo in ten weeks 73500, without any visible diminution of the people.
7. Anno 1625 there died in Leyden 9597. Anno 1635 there died in the same City of Leyden from the 14 of July, to the 29 of December 14381, the greatest week of mortality being the latter end of October was 1452. This Plague in 15 weeks increased from 96, to the said number of 1452, and in ten weeks after decreased to 107. Answerable to the time of Increase and Decrease afore-mentioned in Amsterdam, Anno 1655, there died in 21 weeks from July to November 13287, the greatest week being Septemb. 25. when died 896.
8. At Harlem there died in the same year, in the months of August, September, October and November 5723. ‖
9. Anno 1637, in Constantinople there died 1500 per diem, but how long this Plague lasted, appeareth not.
10. The same year died in Prague 20000 Christians, and 10000 Jews.
11. Anno 1652 there died in Cracovia 17000 Christians, and 20000 Jews.
12. Anno 1653 there died in Dantzick in the last week of September 640, and in Conningsburg 490.
13. 1654 there died in Copenhagen for several weeks 700 per week.
14. Anno 1655 there died at Amsterdam and Leyden, as above-mentioned; and at Deventer 70, 80, and 90 per diem.
15. At Leeuwardeen 56 per diem.
16. Anno 1656 there was so sweeping a Plague at Naples, that there died of it at the latter end of May 1300, or 1400 per diem. The sixth of June there were 80000 sick, that the well were not able to help, or bury the dead; presently after there died 5000 in three days; in August it began to cease, after it had destroyed 300000 people.
17. The Town of Scala in Italy was quite dispeopled, and at Minory there scaped but 22. At Rome there died in the same year about 100 per diem for a great while together. ‖
18. 1657 There died at Genoa in Midsummer week 1200, afterwards there died 1600 per diem; insomuch that in the beginning of August they burnt the dead Corps for want of hands to bury them, which great Mortality decreased to five or six per diem before September was out. The total sum of all that died was about 70000.
19. At Bergen in Norway, Anno 1618 the Plague is represented to have been very terrible, by saying that there died 50 or 60 per diem, and that the whole City was in tears, that the Coffin-makers refused to make Coffins, that parents carried their children, and children their parents to the grave. But forasmuch as it was not mentioned how populous this place was, nor for how many days the Mortality continued, I can make but little estimate of this Plague, by what is above related.
20. The general Observations arising from the above-mentioned particulars, are as followeth:
First, That Northern, as well as Southern Countries are infested with great Plagues; although in the Southern Countries they are more vehement, and do both begin and end more suddenly.
21. Secondly, from the year 1652 the ‖ Plague was at Cracow, 1653 at Dantzick and Coningsburg, 1654 at Copenhagen, 1655 at Leyden and Amsterdam, and other Towns in the Netherlands, 1656 at Naples and Rome, 1657 at Genoa; So as it well deserves enquiry, whether the Plague in all these places were a sickness of the same kind, and did successively perambulate the several Countries above-mentioned; or whether it were a several disease in each place.
22. Thirdly, that the Plague is longer in rising to its heighth, than in decreasing to the same pitch; and the proportion thereof, in such cases where it hath most plainly appeared, is about three to two; for at Amsterdam it was eighteen weeks rising, and twelve decreasing; and at Leyden fifteen upon the increase, and ten decreasing.
It may be further observed, that in the four several times of great Mortality, the height was not always in the same month; for Anno 1592 it was the second week in August, when there died 1550 of all diseases; in the year 1603 the height was the second week of September, when there died 3129 of all diseases; in 1625 the extremity was in the third week in August, when there died 5205. Anno 1636 the like extremity was in the first week of October, there then dying 4005 of ‖ all diseases. In this place I think fit to intimate, that considering the present increase of the City from Anno 1625 to this time, which is from eight to thirteen, that until the Burials exceed 8400 per week, the Mortality will not exceed that of 1625. Which God for ever avert.
It may be further observed, that the time of the Plagues continuance at the height was of several durations, for Anno 1592 it continued from the first week in July to the second of September, without increasing or decreasing above 100 in 1600; whereas in 1603 it remain'd but three weeks at the state, decreasing near ¼ the next week after the height; Anno 1625 it remain'd not three weeks at a stay, increasing part the next week before the height, and decreasing as much the next week after. Anno 1636 it stood five weeks without increasing or decreasing above part afore-mentioned.
Concerning the disease of the Plague, Anno 1592 it increased to of the greatest number that died in twenty weeks; Anno 1603, it did the same in eleven; Anno 1625, in nine weeks; Anno 1636, as it was not so fierce as in the other years, so it was of longer continuance, as hath been else-where noted1 . ‖
The last thing I shall observe is, that in all the four great years of mortality above-mentioned, I do not find that any week the Plague increased to the double of the precedent week above five times.
Anno 1631. Ann. 7. Caroli I.
THE number of Men, Women, and Children, in the several Wards of London, and Liberties: taken in August 1631, by special command from the Right Honourable the Lords of His Majesties Privy Council2 .
The Table following contains the Number of Burials and Christenings in the seven Parishes hereafter mentioned, from the year 1636 unto the year 16592inclusive; all which time the Burials and christenings were jointly mentioned: the five last years the Christenings were omitted in the yearly Bills. This Table consists of seventeen Columns, the Total of all the Burials being contained in the sixteenth column: which Number being added to the Total in the Precedent Table of Burials and Christenings, makes the Total of every yearly or general Bill. ‖
The number of the Weddings, Christnhtgs and Burials that were in the Town and Parish of Tiverton, from March 1560 to January 1664; as appeareth by the Registers.
The number of the Weddings, Christnings and Burials that were in the Parish of Cranbrooke, from March 26. 1560 to March 24. 1649; (as appeareth by the Register) only in the years 1574 and 1575 the Christnings are wholly omitted, because the Register is very imperfect for the greater part of those years.
Dublin, A Bill of Mortality from the 26 of july to the 2d of August 1662.
Jacob Thring, Reg. ‖
Notes to the Table shewing how many died weekly.
Advertisements for the better understanding of the several Tables: videlicet,
Concerning the Table of Casualties consisting of thirty Columns.
THE first Column1 contains all the Casualties hapning within the 22 single years mentioned in this Bill.
The 14 next Columns contain two of the last Septenaries of years, which being the latest are first set down.
The 8 next Columns represent the 8 first years, wherein the Casualties were taken notice of.
Memorandum, That the 10 years between 1636 and 1647 are omitted as containing nothing Extraordinary, and as not consistent with the Incapacity of a Sheet2 . ‖
The 5 next Columns are the 8 years from 1629 to 1636 brought into 2 Quaternions, and the 12 of the 14 last years brought into three more; that Comparison might be made between each 4 years taken together, as well as each single year apart.
The next Column contains three years together, taken at 10 years distance from each other; that the distant years, as well as consequent, might be compared with the whole 20, each of the 5 Quaternions, and each of the 22 single years.
The last Column contains the total of all the 15 Quaternions, or 25 years1 .
The Number 229250 is the total of all the Burials in the said 20 years, as 34190 is of the Burials in the said three distant years. Where note, that the ⅓ of the latter total is 11396, and the of the former is 11462; differing but 66 from each other in so great a sum, videlicet scarce part. ‖
The Table of Burials and Christnings, consisting of 7 Columns.
IT is to be noted, that in all the several Columns of the Burials those dying of the Plague are left out, being reckoned all together in the sixth Column: whereas in the original Bills, the Plague and all other diseases are reckoned together, with mention how many of the respective totals are of the Plague.
Secondly, From the year 1642 forwards, the accompt of the Christnings is not to be trusted, the neglects of the same beginning about that year: for in 1642 there are set down 10370, and about the same number several years before, after which time the said Christnings decreased to between 5000 and 6000, by omission of the greater part.
Thirdly, The several Numbers are cast up into Octonaries, that Comparison may be made of them as well as of single years. ‖
The Table of Males and Females, containing 5 Columns.
First, The Numbers are cast up for 12 years; videlicet from 1629, when the distinction between Males and Females first began, until 1640 inclusive, when the exactness in that Accompt ceased.
Secondly, From 1640 to 1660 the Numbers are cast up into another total, which seems as good for comparing the Number of Males with Females, the neglect being in both Sexes alike, and proportionable.
The Tables concerning the Country-Parish, the former of Decads beginning at 1569, and continuing until 1658, and the later being for single years, being for the same time, are so plain, that they require no further Explanation than the bare reading the Chapter relating to them, &c.
The Appendix first appears in the third edition, (1665).
See p. 421. On the history of the Dublin bills, see Petty's Observations. It is not improbable that Graunt secured this Dublin bill from Petty. While Petty was in Ireland he corresponded with Graunt, and 4 February, 1662–3, he wrote to Lord Brouncker from Dublin, “when I first landed here some matter presented it selfe whereuppon to make observations uppon Ireland, not unlike those which Mr Graunt made uppon the London Bills of Mortality. I have done so much uppon it, as hath cost me some pounds, but not so much as is worth more than a bare mention.” Royal Society's Letter Book, P 1, f. 14.
See pp. 419–421.
See pp. 416–418.
See pp. 412–415.
Cromwell's act requiring civil marriage was passed 24 August, 1653, and went into legal effect September 29 of the same year. If, therefore, a desire to “prevent the new way of Marriage” caused an increased number of weddings in 1654, 1655, &c., the actual enforcement of the act must have been somewhat lax.
In the Index, p. 331, note.
See pp. 378–380.
See p. 405.
On this census see Maitland, London, 11., 742.
The original bills being lost, it is impossible to check most of Graunt's figures before 1658. Bell's Remembrancer, however, gives the christenings, the plague burials, and the aggregate burials, week by week, with the total of each year, for seventeen of the years included in Graunt's table, viz. for 1606–1610, 1625, 1630, 1636–37, and 1640–47. In 13 years Bell's figures agree with Graunt's. The disagreements in the remaining four years are exhibited by the following table:
|Year||Christened||Buried of the plague||Total buried (i.e. the plague burials and Graunt's “buried in all”)|
The small discrepancies in the christenings, in 1641–42 are obviously due to a transposition of figures, and the error is probably Graunt's, since Bell's figures here, as in all the years in question, are the correct footings of his weekly returns. The discrepancies in the number of burials, particularly in 1641, are more serious. Contemporary letters afford a check upon four of Bell's weekly bills as follows: 19–26 August, 1641, Bell's total burials are 610, plague burials, 139; Wiseman to Pennington, 26 August: “131 dying here this week of the pest, and 118 of the small-pox, and 610 in the whole of all diseases.” Cal. State Papers, Dom., Charles I., 1641–43, p. 105. 2–9 September, Bell's plague burials are 185; Cogan to Pennington, 9 September: “there died this week of the plague 185.” Ibid., 120. 23–30 September, Bell's decrease of plague burials over previous week is 30; Wiseman to Pennington, 30 September: “the sickness, I hope, will every day diminish, [the deaths] being less by 42 than the last [week].” Ibid., 128. 1–7 October, Bell's total burials are 654, plague burials, 239, anincrease of 24; Wiseman to Pennington, 7 October: “The sickness is increased by 24 this week, there being dead of all diseases 650 persons [perhaps intended as a round figure], whereof 239 of the plague.” Ibid., 134. Pennington's Correspondents, therefore, substantially confirm Bell's figures for four weeks. If his figures for the remaining weeks of 1641 are equally accurate, Graunt's figures for that year must be far too small.
The total requires 6923 here if 3613 and 4443 be assumed to be correct.
In the third edition the table was brought down to 1664, but the text stood unchanged.
This table beginning with 1569, is for a parish of 12 miles compass (p. 393), located in Hampshire (p. 388). Petty's native town of Romsey corresponds entirely to the description. Moreover “The Register of Romsey begins in 1569 y° 12th year of y° Regin of Q. Elizabeth–Jan. 1 [i.e. 1570 N. S.] and is divided into 3 Columns viz. Christenings, Weddings, & Burrals, in which year there were chirst. 73 weddin 13, & Burials 44.” Dr John Latiam's MS. Collections for a History of Roumsey, in f. 5 (Brit. Mus. Addl. MS. 26776). At f. 14 ff. Dr Latham gives a table of the marriages, bapisms and burials at Romsey from 1570 to 1658. The figures do not agree precisely with those of Graunt's table, but no great importance should be attached to trifling discrepancies as the register was in part carelessly kept and badly preserved, and Latham himself admits (f. 16 b) that other (unspecified) abstracts of it do not agree with his. The general similarity between his figures and Graunt's is much too close to be the result of chance.
20 as the total christenings in 1573 is evidently a misprint. The third edition has 70, Latham has 76.
The total btlrials for 1599 have dropped out. The other editions have 43.
In 1591 there was plague at Tiverton. The cause of the high mortality in 1597 is obscure. Creighton, Epidemics, 1. 351, 411.
In 1644 there was war typhus at Tiverton. Creighton, Epidemics, 1. 552–555.
The origin, or at least the publication of the Paris bills may be traced, with some degree of probability, to the influence of Graunt's Observations. The review of the Observations in the Journal des S¸avans, 2 August, 1666, begins “C'est une chose particuliere aux Anglois de faire des Billets de mortalite,”–words which seem to indicate that no similar bills were then published in Paris. The code of April 1667, provided that “estant important au public, pour la sante et pour la subsistance des habitans, d'en connoistre l'etat en tout terms et d'observer soigneusement les causes qui augmentent ou diminuent le peuple de chacun des quartiers de Paris, il sera fait, tous les seconde jours du mois, une feuille qui contiendra le nombre des baptemes, des mariages et des mortuaires du mois pracedant et de chacune des paroisses en particulier.” Serpillon, Code civil, ou commentaire sur l'ordonnance du mois d’ Avril, 1667. Paris, 1776, pp. 336–338, titre 20, articles 8–14; Recherches stat. sur la Ville de Paris, II. pp. XIII–XIV; Levasseur, La statistique officielle en France, in Journal de la Soc. de stat. de Paris, XXVI. 225, 279, June 1885. The close similarity of these Paris bills to the London bills lends probability to the assertion of Sir Peter Pett, that the idea was suggested to the counsellors of Louis XIV. by Graunt's Observations. Happy future State of England, (written 1680) p. 249.
The discussion on London and Paris was continued by Petty in his Two Essays.
Obviously a slip. It should be “more than a fifth and yet not more than a fourth.”
A misprint for 16,816, which is the correct footing, see Recherches statistiques, tables, 53.
Although Graunt himself makes little use of this table, the discrepancies between various parts of it, its divergence from the figures which Bell gives, and the criticisms which Creighton has passed upon it, necessitate an examination of its authenticity. The loss of all sets of the original bills before 1658 forces the inquirer to compare the table for the earlier years with figures drawn, for the major part, from secondary sources not always trustworthy. Of these sources the chief are: A, an original printed bill for the week ending 20 October 1603, preserved at the Guildhall library (in “Political Tracts, 1680, PP.”). Upon the margin of this bill are printed summaries of former visitations. B, Bell's London's Remembrancer (see Introduction). C, a broadsheet beginning “Lord have Mercy upon us,” printed for M. S. junior, and dated 1636 (Brit. Mus. 816. m. 9. (23).). D, a broadsheet beginning “Londons Lord have Mercy upon us. Written by H. C[rouch]. Printed for Richard Harper,” 1637. E, a broadsheet entitled “London's Lord have Mercy upon us. Printed by T. Mabb for R. Burton, and R. Gilberson,” and bringing its figures down to 18 July, 1665. (Brit. Mus. 816. m. 9. (25).). F, a broadsheet entitled “London's Loud Cryes to the Lord by Prayer. Made by a Reverend Divine. Continued down to this present day August 8, 1665. Printed by T. Mabb for R. Buiton, and R. Gilberson” (Brit. Mus. 816. m. 9. (26).). G, a broadsheet entitled “London's Lord have Mercy upon us. A true Relation of Seven modern Plagues or Visitations in London,” bringing its figures down to 31 Oct., 1665 (Brit. Mus. 816. m. 9. (24).). Of these only the two first are presumptively worthy of confidence, the remainder being the product of those “ignorant scribblers” whose “many and gross mistakes” Bell, as clerk to the Company of Parish Clerks, thought it his duty to rectify out of the undeniable records of those times. Nevertheless the broadsides were printed by persons who might have had access to original bills, now destroyed, and inasmuch as they give figures for some years concerning which Bell himself is silent, use has been made of them in default of better information. There are also two editions of the “Reflections upon the Bills of Mortality” (1665) which Bell particularly condemns, but the book adds nothing useful to the broadsheets upon which it is evidently based. In the following notes the authorities are referred to by the letters (A, B, etc.) prefixed to them above.
The figures for 1592, although confirmed by D, E, F, G and H, are worthy of no confidence. The reasons for rejecting them entirely are three:
First, For the London of 1592 they are preposterous. Creighton reports (Epidemics, 1. 341–344) that the total of burials in the city, liberties and suburbs for the five years 1578–1582 (eight weeks missing) was 24,802, of which 8,288 were caused by the plague, and that the total of christenings was 16,470. From abstracts of the weekly bills for 1597–1600 preserved at the Bodleian Library (Ashmole MS., 824, f. 196–199), but apparently unknown to Dr Creighton, it
appears that the corresponding figures for those four years were 16,935 burials, 86 burials of the plague, and 17,906 christenings respectively. (The summaries are printed at length on pp. 433–435.) Thus it becomes possible to make a comparison of weekly averages:
|Total burials||Of the plague||Other causes||Christenings|
Second, The various figures in each column bear such a relation to one another as at least suggests fraud. If we disregard the week ending 21 July and the last week in the column of total burials, and also disregard the first four weeks and the weeks ending 23 and 30 June in the plague column, the remaining significant integers in the units place in both columns are arranged in pairs whose sum is invariably ten. For example, the figures at the bottom of the plague column run 9 & 1, 6 & 4, 3 & 7, 9 & 1, 2 & 8, etc. throughout.
Third, Neither total printed is the true sum of the figures at whose foot it stands. A note upon the bill of 1603 (A) declares that “in the last visitation, from 20 December, 1592 to the 23. of the same moneth in the yeare 1593 there died in all 25886. Of the Plague in and about London, 15003.” This confirms Graunt's total of all buried as to numbers, but not as to time covered. His total of plague deaths may have originated in a misprint. The true sums of his columns are 26,407 and 11,106 respectively.
In addition to these reasons, Bell's chronological objection, as quoted in the Introduction, should also be noted. On the whole we must consider Graunt's figures for 1592 spurious.
If 1146 (A, D, E, F, and G) be substituted for 1149 on 13 October and 585 (D, E, F, and G) be substituted for 545 on 10 November, Graunt's totals become the correct footings of his columns, and the figures are, doubtless authentic as far as they go. But they do not cover the whole year, they omit the burials in the out parishes before 14 July, and they omit entirely the burials in Westminster, the Savoy, Stepney, Newington, Islington, Lambeth and Hackney. The bill of 20 October, 1603 (A), informs us that, from the beginning of the plague to that date there were “buried in all within the 7 places last aforenamed 4378, whereof of the plague, 3997.” Cf. Creighton, 1. 477.
The figures are probably authentic, being confirmed for four scattered weeks by letters at the Record Office. Cal. S. P. Dom., 1625–26, pp. 84, 144, 179. But the columns as printed add up 50,823 and 35,400 respectively, and the corrections noted below do not explain Graunt's totals. The figures, furthermore, omit Westminster, etc., where there were buried in the whole year 8,736, of whom 5,896 of the plague. Ibid., 84, 184. Creighton (p. 508) gives the figures, from Bell, for the weeks preceding 17 March, making the total mortality for the year, including Westminster, 63,001, whereof of the plague 41,313, and these totals are further confirmed by an original yearly bill. Cal. S. P. D., 1625–26, pp. 177, 184.
Corrections of specific numbers: 12 May, for 232 read 332 (B, D, E, F, G), 16 June, for 161 read 165 (B, D, E, F, G); 14 July, for 1781 read 1741 (B only); 29 Sept., for 236 read 1236 (B, D, E, F, G, 3rd and 4th editions of the Observations); 1 Dec., for 190 read 290 (D, E, F, and G; B has 190).
The figures are authentic and, with one exception, correct. 16 Dec. B, E & G have 217 where Graunt has 212. The columns as printed add 6193 and 1166 respectively. The figures given at the foot have no obvious relation to the columns beneath which they stand. They are, apparently, totals for the full year, as they sum up, without Westminster, at 10,544 burials and 1,344 plague burials, whereas the corresponding figures on p. 116, confirmed by D, E, F and G, are 10,554 and 1,317.
Bell here fails us, as he gives the figures (reproduced by Creighton, 1,530) for London without Westminster and the six parishes. Graunt's figures, which include Westminster, etc., are confirmed by D, E, F, and G, save as specifically noted below. The columns, as printed, foot 23,902 and 12,101 respectively. The totals given by Graunt have nothing to do with the columns beneath which they stand, but agree with Bell's totals for the whole year, Westminster omitted. By adding them to the total deaths and the plague deaths at Westminster, etc., which, according to the table on p. 410, were 4056 and 1702 respectively, we get a grand total of 27,415 burials, whereof of the plague 12102. These results agree with D, E, F, and G.
Corrections of specific numbers: 2 June, for 77 read 67 (D, E, F, G); 21 July, for 365 read 395 (D, E, F); 4 Aug., for 491 read 461 (D, E, F, G); 13 Oct., for 1302 read 1402 (G only).
The third edition of the Observations carries this table down to 4 July, the 4th to 26 September. Comparison of the figures with the original weekly bills shews the necessity of correcting Graunt's figures as follows: 27 December insert one burial of the plague; 14 February, read 462 for 461; 25 April, read 398 for 390; 30 May, read 400 for 399; 20 June, read 615 for 611; 11 July, read 725 for 727; 29 August, read 7490 for 7496. With these alterations, Graunt's footings are correct.
In fact the first column was omitted from the table in the fourth and fifth editions, leaving but twenty-nine.
“One could wish that the worthy citizen had made no difficulty about the size of his paper. The omitted years are not only those of great political revolution, which may have had an effect upon the public health, but they are of special interest for the beginning of that great period of fever and smallpox in London which continued all through the 18th century.” Creighton, 1. 532.
Should be “five quaternions or twenty years.”