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The earliest known reference to the Dublin bills is an order in the city assembly roll for the fourth Friday after Christmas, 1658, for the treasurer of the city to pay, on Mr Mayor's wariant, to John Tadpole, fifty shillings sterling for his employment heretofore in bringing in the weekly bills of mortality within the city and the suburbs thereof[1]. To these bills Petty turned his attention upon the first trip which he made to Dublin after the publication of Graunt's book[2]. It was not, however, until after the death of his friend that he undertook his Observations upon them. Concerning the Observations he writes to Southwell, 25 November, 1682, that he will meddle no more with political arithmetic nor ratiocinations, but will turn beast and grow absurd, as the glorious men of the world are. The accompanying pamphlet is not a startling from his resolutions, "for it was put a printing when I first came to town[3], and hath been kept in hand by my brother beast Mark Pardo, the stationer... I would have you run to the city of Bristol with the same and bore their skulls with the same advice that is here given for Dublin[4]."

  1. Gilbert, Calendar, iv. 154.
  2. Letter, to Brouncker, 4 February, 1663, printed in note 2, p. 398.
  3. June 1682, Fitzmaurice, 250.
  4. Thorpe, Cat. lib. MSS. bibl. Southwellianæ, 405.