Notes to the Table shewing how many died weekly.
1 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. (23).). 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.
2 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, i. 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