General Observations upon the Casualties.
1. There seems to be good reason, why the Magistrate should himself take notice of the numbers of Burials, and Christnings, viz. to see, whether the City increase or decrease in people; whether it increase proportionably with the rest of the Nation; whether it be grown big enough, or too big, &c. But why the same should be made know to the People, otherwise then to please them as with a curiosity, I see not.
2. Nor could I ever yet learn (from the many I have asked, and those not of the least Sagacity) to what purpose the distinction between Males and Females is inserted, or at all taken notice of; or why that of Marriages was not equally given in? Nor is it obvious to everybody, why the accompt of the Casualties (whereof we are now speaking) is made? The reason, which seems most obvious for this latter, is, That the state of health in the City may at all times appear.
3. Now it may be Objected, That the same depends most upon the Accompts of Epidemical Diseases, and upon the chief of them all, the Plague; wherefore the mention of the rest seems onely matter of curiosity.
4. But to this we answer; That the knowledg even of the numbers,
which die of the Plague, is not sufficiently deduced from the meer
Report of the Searchers, which onely the Bills afford; but from
other Rationcinations, and comparings of the Plague with some other
5. For we shall make it probable, that in Years of Plague a quarter part more dies of that Disease than are set down; the same we shall also prove by the other Casualties. Wherefore, if it be necessary to impart to the World a good Accompt of some few Casualties, which since it cannot well be done without giving an Accompt of them all, then is our common practice of doing so very apt, and rational.
6. Now, to make these Corrections upon the perhaps, ignorant, and careless Searchers Reports, I considered first of what Authority they were in themselves, that is, whether any credit at all were to be given to their Distinguishments: and finding that many of the Casualties were but matter of sense, as whether a Childe were Abortive, or Stilborn; whether men were Aged, that is to say, above sixty years old, or thereabouts, when they died, without any curious determination, whether such Aged persons died purely of Age, as far that the Innate heat was quite extinct, or the Radical moisture quite dried up (for I have heard some Candid Physicians complain of the darkness, which themselves were in hereupon) I say, that these Distinguishments being but matter of sense, I concluded the Searchers Report might be sufficient in the Case.
7. As for Consumptions, if the Searchers do but truly
Report (as they may) whether the dead Corps were very lean, and worn away, it
matters not to many of our purposes, whether the Disease were exactly the same,
as Physicians define it in their Books. Moreover, In case a man of
seventy five years old died of a Cough (of which had he been free,
he might have possibly lived to ninety) I esteem it little errour (as to many of
our purposes) if this Person be, in the Table of Casualties,
reckoned among the Aged, and not placed under the Title of
8. In the matter of Infants I would desire but to know clearly, what the Searchers mean by Infants, as whether Children that cannot speak, as the word Infans seems to signifie, or Children under two or three years old, although I should not be satisfied, whether the Infant died of Winde, or of Teeth, of the Convulsion, &c. or were choak'd with Phlegm, or else of Teeth, Convulsion, and Scowring, apart or together, which they say, do often cause one another: for, I say, it is somewhat, to know how many die usually before they can speak, or how many live past any assigned number of years.
9. I say, it is enough, if we know from the Searchers but the most predominant Symptomes; as that one died of the Head-Ache, who was sorely tormented with it, though the Physicians were of Opinion, that the Disease was in the Stomach. Again, if one died suddenly, the matter is not great, whether it be reported in the Bills, Suddenly, Apoplexie, or Planet-strucken, &c.
10. To conclude, In many of these cases the Searchers are able to report the Opinion of the Phy-
sician, who was with the Patient, as they receive the same from the
Friends of the Defunct, and in very many cases, such as Drowning, Scalding,
Bleeding, Vomiting, making-away them selves, Lunatiques, Sores, Small-
Pox, &c. their own senses are sufficient, and the generality of the
World, are able prettie well to distinguish the Gowt, Stone, Dropsie,
Falling-Sickness, Palsie, Agues, Plurisy, Rickets, &c. one from
11. But now as for those Casualties, which are aptest to be confounded, and mistaken, I shall in the ensuing Discourse presume to touch upon them so far, as the Learning of these Bills hath enabled.
12. Having premised these general Advertisements, our first Observation upon the Casualties shall be, that in twenty Years there dying of all diseases and Casualties, 229250. that 71124. dyed of the Thrush, Convulsion, Rickets, Teeth, and Worms; and as Abortives, Chrysomes, Infants, Liver-grown, and Over- laid; that is to say, that about 1/3. of the whole died of those Diseases, which we guess did all light upon Children under four or five Years old.
13. There died also of the Small-Pox, Swine-Pox, and Measles, and of Worms without Convulsion, 12210. of which number we suppose likewise, that about 1/2. might be Children under six Years old. Now, if we consider that 16. of the said 229 thousand died of that extraordinary and grand Casualty the Plague, we shall finde that about thirty six per centum of all quick conceptions, died before six years old.
14. The second Observation is; That of the said 229250. dying of all Diseases, there died of acute
Diseases (the Plague excepted) but about 50000, or 2/9 parts. The
which proportion doth give a measure of the state, and disposition of this
Climate, and Air, as to health, these acute,
and Epidemical Diseases happening suddenly, and vehemently, upon the
like corruptions, and alterations in the Air. |
15. The third Observation is, that of the said 229. thousand about 70. died of Chronical Diseases, which shews (as I conceive) the state, and disposition of the Country (including as well it's Food, as Air ) in reference to health, or rather to longævity: for as the proportion of the Acute and Epidemical Diseases shews the aptness of the Air to suddain and vehement Impressions, so the Chronical Diseases shew the ordinary temper of the Place, so that upon the proportion of Chronical Diseases seems to hang the judgment of the fitness of the Country for long Life. For, I conceive, that in Countries subject to great Epidemical sweeps men may live very long, but where the proportion of the Chronical distempers is great, it is not likely to be so; because men being long sick and alwayes sickly, cannot live to any great age, as we see in several sorts of Metal-men, who although they are less subject to acute Diseases then others, yet seldome live to be old, that is, not to reach unto those years, which David saies is the age of man.
16. The fourth Observation is; That of the said 229250. not 4000. died of outward Griefs, as of Cancers, Fistulaes, Sores, Ulcers, broken and bruised Limbs, Impostumes, Itch, King's-evil, Leprosie, Scald-head, Swine-Pox, Wens, &c. viz. not one in 60.
17. In the next place, whereas many persons
live in great fear, and apprehension of some of the more formidable, and
notorious diseases following; I shall onely set down how many died of each: that
the respective numbers, being compared with the Total 229250, those
persons may the better understand the hazard they are in.|
18. In the foregoing Observations we ventured to make a Standard of the healthfulness of the Air from the proportion of Acute and Epidemical diseases, and of the wholesomeness of the Food from that of the Chronical. Yet, forasmuch as neither of them alone do shew the longævity of the Inhabitants, we
shall in the next place come to the more absolute Standard, and Correction of
both, which is the proportion of the aged, viz. 15757 to the Total
229250. That is of about 1. to 15. or 7. per Cent. Onely the
question is, what number of Years the Searchers call
Aged, which I conceive must be the same, that David
calls so, viz. 70. For no man can be said to die properly of
Age, who is much less: it follows from hence, that if in any other
Country more then seven of the 100 live beyond 70, such Country is to be
esteemed more healthfull then this of our City.|
19. Before we speak of particular Casualties, we shall observe, that among the several Casualties some bear a constant proportion unto the whole number of Burials; such are Chronical diseases, and the diseases, whereunto the City is most subject; as for Example, Consumptions, Dropsies, Jaundice, Gowt, Stone, Palsie, Scurvy, rising of the Lights, or Mother, Rickets, Aged, Agues, Feavers, Bloody-Flux, and Scowring: nay some Accidents, as Grief, Drowning, Men's making away themselves, and being Kil'd by several Accidents, &c. do the like, whereas Epidemical, and Malignant diseases, as the Plague, Purples, Spotted-Feaver, Small-Pox, and Measles do not keep that equality, so as in some Years, or Moneths, there died ten times as many as in others.