Natural and Political Observations Made upon the Bills of Mortality (Graunt 1676)/Chapter 5

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Other Observations upon the Plague, and Casualties.


1.  THE Decrease and Increase of People is to be reckoned chiefly by Christenings, because few bear Children in London but Inhabitants, though others die there. The Accounts of Christenings were well kept, until differences in Religion occasioned some neglect therein, although even these neglects we must confess to have been regular and proportionable.

2. By the numbers and proportions of Christenings therefore we observe as followeth, viz.

First, That (when from December 1602, to March following, there was little or no Plague) then the Christenings at a Medium were between 110 and 130 per Week, few |52| Weeks being above the one, or below the other; but when from thence to July the Plague increased, that then the Christenings decreased to under 90.

Secondly, The Question is, Whether Teeming-Women died, or fled, or miscarried? The latter at this time seems most probable, because even in the said space, between March and July, there died not above 20 per Week of the Plague; which small number could neither cause the death or flight of so many Women, as to alter the proportion 14 part lower.

3. Moreover, We observe from the 21 of July to the 12 of October; the Plague increasing reduced the Christenings to 70 at a Medium, diminishing the above proportion down to 25. Now the cause of this must be flying, and death, as well as Miscarriages and Abortions; for there died within that time about 25000, whereof many were certainly Women-with child: besides, the fright of so many dying within so small a time, might drive away so many others, as to cause this Effect.

4. From December 1624, to the middle of April 1625, there died not above five a Week of the Plague, one with another. In this time, the Christenings were one with ano-|53| ther 180. The which decreased gradually by the 22 of September to 75, or from the proportion of 12 to 5, which evidently squares with our former Observation.

5. The next Observation we shall offer is, The time wherein the City hath been Re-peopled after a great Plague; which we affirm to be by the second year. For in 1627 the Christenings (which are our Standard in this Case) were 8408, which in 1624, next preceding the Plague-year 1625 (that had swept away above 54000) were but 8299; and the Christenings of 1626 (which were but 6701) mounted in one year to the said 8408.

6. Now the Cause hereof, forasmuch as it cannot be a supply by Procreations; Ergo, it must be by new Affluxes to London out of the Country.

7. We might fortifie this Assertion by shewing, that before the Plague-year 1603, the Christenings were about 6000, which were in that very year reduced to 4789, but crept up the next year 1604 to 5458, recovering their former ordinary proportion in 1605 of 6504, about which proportion it stood till the year 1610.

8. I say, it followeth, that, let the Mortality be what it will, the City repairs its loss of Inhabitants within two years; which Ob-|54|servation lessens the Objection made against the value of Houses in London, as if they were liable to great prejudice through the loss of Inhabitants by the Plague.