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tody's face; they who would hardly go on the same side of the way with one another before, now shook each other by the hands in the streets. Where the streets were not too broad, they would open their windows and call from one house to another, and ask how they did, and if they had heard the good news that the plague was abated; some would return, when they said good news, and ask, 'What good news?' And when they answered that the plague was abated, and the bills decreased almost 200O, they would cry out, ' God be praised!' and would weep aloud for joy, telling them they had heard nothing of it; and such was the joy of the people, that it was, as it were, life to them from the grave. I could almost set down as many extravagant things done in the excess of their joy as of their grief, but that would be to lessen the value of it.
Counting from the 20th of December 1664, when it was first rumoured that the plague had broken out in Drury Lane, to the 19th of December 1665, when the plague had so far abated that the weekly deaths were about 250, the entire number of victims swept off by the pestilence in the city of London in these twelve months was, according to the official returns, 68,596; • but according to the computation of Defoe and others, at least 100,000. In order to give as accurate a notion as possible of the symptoms, and its mode of attacking people, we may add, in conclusion, one or two particulars of an interesting kind, from a manuscript account of the plague preserved in the British Museum, and written by Mr William Boghurst, a medical practitioner in London during the fatal period.
"In the summer before the plague," he says, "there was such a multitude of flies, that they lined the insides of the houses; and if any threads or strings did hang down in any place, they were presently thick-set with flies, like ropes of onions; and swarms of ants covered the highways, that you might have taken up a handful at a time, both winged and creeping ants; and such a multitude of croaking frogs in ditches, that you might have heard them before you saw them. The plague was ushered in with seven months of dry weather and westerly winds. It fell first upon the highest grounds, as St Giles's and St Martin's, Westminster; but afterwards it gradually insinuated and crept down Holborn and the Strand, and then into the city; and at last to the east end of the suburbs; so that it was half a year at the west end before the east end and Stepney were affected. The disease spread not altogether by contagion at first, nor began only at one place, and spread farther and farther, as an eating and spreading sore doth all over the body; but fell upon several places of the city and suburbs like rain, even at the first. Almost all that caught the disease with fear died with tokens (spots on the body) in two or three days. About the beginning, most men got the disease with drinking, surfeiting, overheating themselves, and by disorderly living. Some died eight, ten, twelve, or twenty days after they had been sick; yet the greatest part died before five or six days. In the summer, about half of those who were taken sick died; but towards winter, three parts in four lived. None died suddenly, as though struck with lightning or apoplexy. I saw none die under twenty or twenty-four hours.* Spots appeared not much till the middle of June, and carbuncles not till the latter end of July, and seized mostly on old people, choleric and melancholy people, and generally on dry and lean bodies. Children had none. If very hot weather followed a shower of rain, the disease increased. Many people, after a violent sweat, or taking a strong cordial, presently had the tokens come out, so that every nurse would say, 'Cochineal wasa fine thing to bring out the tokens.' Authors speak of several kinds of plagues—some which took only children, others maids, others young people under thirty; but this of ours took all sorts. Yet it fell not very thick upon old people till about the middle or slack of the disease. Old people that had the disease, many of them were not sick at all; but they that were sick, almost all died. I had one patient fourscore and six years old. Though all sorts of people died very thick, both young and old, rich and poor, healthy and unhealthy, strong and weak, men and women, of all constitutions, of all tempers and complexions, of all professions and places, of all religions, of all conditions, good or bad— yet, as far as I could discern, more of the good people died than of the bad, more men than women, and more of dull complexions than of fair. Black men of thin and lean constitutions were heavy-laden with this disease, and died, all that I saw, in two or three days; and most of them thick with black tokens. People of the best complexions and merry dispositions had least of the disease; and, if they had it, fared best under it. This year in which the plague hath raged so much, no alteration nor change appeared in any element, vegetable or animal, besides the body of man. All other things kept their common integrity, and all sorts of fruit, all roots, flowers, and medicinal simples were as plentiful, large, fair, and wholesome, and all grain as plentiful and good as ever. All kine, cattle, horses, sheep, swine, dogs, wild beasts and tame, were as healthful, strong to labour, and wholesome to eat, as ever they were in any year. Hens, geese, P'geons, turkeys, and all wild fowl were free from infection.f
There is an apparent contradiction on this point between Boghurst and Defoe; probably, however, Defoe's cases of sudden deaths were cases of persons who had been ill for some time without being tally aware of it.
t There would seem to be a. difference in this respect between the Plague of London and the plague of 1348 at Florence, regarding which, Boccaccio tells us that "such was the quality of the pestilential matter, as to pass not only from man to man, but, what is more strange, and has ocen often known, that anything belonging to the infected, if touched by any other creature, would certainly infect, and even kill that creature in a short space of time: and one instance of this kind I took particular The summer following the plague very few flies, frogs, and suchlike appeared. Great doubting and disputing there is whether the plague be infectious or not; because some think if it were infectious, it would infect all, as the fire heats all it comes near; but the plague leaves as many as it takes. Generally, every one is apt to judge by his own experience; and if any one may draw his conclusion from this, I have as much reason as any to think it not infectious, having passed through a multitude of continual dangers, being employed every day till ten o'clock at night, out of one house into another, dressing sores, and being always in the breath of patients, without catching the disease of any, through God's protection; and so did many nurses that were in like danger. Yet I count it to be the most subtle infectious disease of any."
Strange as it may appear, the doubts which were entertained in 1665 respecting the contagious nature of the plague remain till the present day unsettled; some inquirers arguing that the disease is communicated by touch, or infection from proximity with the diseased, while others consider it extends its influence by other means. The subject of this controversy is of little practical consequence. It is sufficient to know that plague, like its modem prototype cholera, is aggravated by insalubrious conditions of the atmosphere, and is intimately connected with neglect of cleanliness. In old London, as till the present day in eastern cities, it found scope for its ravages in confined alleys and courts, or wherever there was any lack of ventilation, sewerage, or a plenteous supply of water. The great fire which half destroyed London in 1666, twelve months after the disappearance of the pestilence, may be said to have banished plague from the metropolis; for the city was rebuilt on a more open scale, with some degree of reference to the health of the inhabitants. Much, however, still remains to be done. Many thoroughfares require to be opened up in densely-crowded neighbourhoods, streets and lanes need to be widened, slaughter-houses to be removed; besides not a little as respects improved dwellings for the humbler classes of society. It is gratifying to know that attention is now very generally directed to this important subject, and that ere long considerable improvements, calculated to insure the health of the metropolis, are likely to be carried into execution.
notice of; namely, that the rags of a poor man just dead, being thrown into the street, and two hogs coming by at the same time, and rooting amongst them, and shaking them about in their mouths, in less than an hour turned round and died on the spot." Of the plague at Athens also, Thucydides tells us that "the birds and beasts which usually prey on human flesh either never approached the dead bodies, of which many lay about uninterred, or if they tasted, died." Possibly, however, Mr Boghurst did not mean to deny that, under certain circumstances, the infection might be communicated from a sick patient to any brute with whom he might come in contaot, but only that the contagion did not spread among the lower animals.
SCHOOLS OF INDUSTRY.
! N every large seat of population there may be observed to exist a class of children, less or more in \ point of numbers, who, notwithstanding all ordinary [ means for education, habitually loiter in the streets in a state of rags and wretchedness, attend no school, and - glean a miserable livelihood from the practice of mendicancy. In cities and towns, where the Poor-Law is administered on a comprehensive and humane scale, the number of such incumberers of the public thoroughfares is of comparatively small amount; nevertheless there, as well as elsewhere, juvenile mendicancy and vagrancy are painfully visible, and demand investigation and correction. What may be the special reasons for this social disorder, it would be beyond our present purpose to inquire; in intemperance, and other depravities in parents, we should perhaps find a sufficient explanation of the phenomenon. Be the causes what they may, it must be obvious that the evil requires to be remedied. Thrown ruthlessly on public commiseration, the juvenile vagrants almost invariably fall into the commission of crime. From begging, the transition to petty pilfering seems easy and imperceptible, and from smaller to greater delinquencies the path is not by any means more difficult. Thus, from less to more, little by little, the infant beggar becomes the infant thief; and the infant thief becomes the youthful burglar. It is a curriculum of misery and crime, commencing with neglect, and ending in ruin.
The number of children brought before the various criminal tribunals of England is, I understand, about three thousand annually; and before the courts of Scotland a proportionally large aumber make their appearance. This host of juvenile criminals may be said to form the corps out of which the higher order of depredators spring. At eight or nine years of age, the unfortunate creature is brought before one of the lower police tribunals; at ten, he advances to the assizes; and from twelve to fourteen, having regularly matriculated, he is prepared for the Central Criminal Court, or the High Court of Justiciary. Before he is fifteen, he has most likely been convicted from six to eight times, and cost society some hundreds of pounds for trials and imprisonments.
The spectacle of a child arraigned for the commission of some technically grave offence is one of the most distressing which can be witnessed; yet its occurrence appears to have become so common, that it scarcely excites more than a transient remark. A few years ago, I was summoned to appear as a juror in the sheriff's criminal court at Edinburgh. On attending at an early hour in the morning, I found that! was one of forty-five persons. No. 125. 1
brought together on the same errand; many from distant parts of the county, and the whole, from the care on their countenances, appeared to feel that the sacrifice they were making to the injunctions of the law was by no means a light one. At length the court met, and was constituted by the chair being taken by the sheriff. The culprit was brought in, and arraigned. He was a little boy of twelve or thirteen years of age, dressed in a pair of tattered corduroy trousers; and his tangled hair, dirty face, and bare feet, told plainly to what class of the population he belonged—one of those poor wretched vagrant urchins whom I have mentioned as living on charity, and whose winnings for halfpence are the annoyance of well-dressed passengers. If he had a father or mother, neither appeared on the present occasion. He was alone, and friendless. When addressed by the judge, he seemed puzzled in making a reply before so large an assembly. It was at length gathered from him that he pled "not guilty," and so the case went to a jury, of which I was one. There was something exceedingly affecting, yet droll, in the whole affair. The apparatus evoked to try the little vagrant seemed like erecting a steam-engine of five hundred horse-power to kill a mouse. On the one side were the judge, prosecutor, solicitors, pro. and con., sundry subordinate officials, and the jury—a selection of fifteen from five-and-forty men, dragged from their daily avocations over a compass of at least thirty miles; on the other was a poor little dirty urchin, so short in stature, that his face barely reached the top of the table behind which he was placed; and to have a proper look of him, he was caused to stand upon a chair in front of the court. Crime charged —stealing an old brass candlestick worth sixpence. The theft was proved, as a matter of course; and in a very cool commonplace sort of way the Culprit was condemned to six months' imprisonment—the hint being added, that as this was his third offence of the kind, he should, on the next occasion, be brought before a higher tribunal. The warning was well meant; but as the poor creature could neither read nor write, and had been a neglected child since infancy, it may be doubted if he understood a single word that was addressed to him. After another case of a similar kind, the entire members of the jury were informed they might depart, and the court broke up. The expense to the country, and to the individuals employed in these miserable trials, could not, I am told, be estimated at less than one hundred pounds.
Nine months later, I was summoned as a juror in the supreme criminal court; and there, amidst a much more imposing apparatus of law and lawyers—for one thing, three learned judges on the bench—appeared to undergo his trial the same unfortunate little boy whom I had formerly seen before the sheriff. Working his way up, as it is called, he had passed through all the inferior tribunals, and improving as he proceeded, had com