Natural and political observations mentioned in a following index, and made upon the bills of mortality by John Graunt ... ; with reference to the government, religion, trade, growth, ayre, diseases, and the several changes of the said city.
Graunt, John, 1620-1674., Petty, William, Sir, 1623-1687.
Page  12

CAP. II. General Observations upon the Casualties.

IN my Discourses upon these Bills I shall first speak of the Casualties, then give my Observations with reference to the Places, and Parishes comprehended in the Bills; and next of the Years, and Seasons.

1. There seems to be good reason, why the Ma∣gistrate should himself take notice of the numbers of Burials, and Christnings, viz. to see, whether the City in∣crease or decrease in people; whether it increase pro∣portionably with the rest of the Nation; whether it be grown big enough, or too big, &c. But why the same should be made known 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 Fe∣males is inserted, or at all taken notice of; or why that of Marriages was not equally given in? Nor is it obvious to every body, why the Accompt of Casu∣alties (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 de∣pends most upon the Accompts of Epidemical Disea∣ses, and upon the chief of them all, the Plague; where∣fore the mention of the rest seems onely matter of curiosity.

Page  13 4. But to this we answer; That the knowledg even of the numbers, which die of the Plague, is not suffici∣ently deduced from the meer Report of the Search∣ers, which onely the Bills afford; but from other Ra∣tiocinations, and comparings of the Plague with some other Casualties.

5. For we shall make it probable, that in Years of Plague a quarter part more dies of that Disease then are set down; the same we shall also prove by the other Casualties. Wherefore, if it be necessary to im∣part to the World a good Accompt of some few Ca∣sualties, which since it cannot well be done without giving an Accompt of them all, then is our common practise of so doing very apt, and rational.

6. Now, to make these Corrections upon the per∣haps, ignorant, and careless Searchers Reports, I con∣sidered first of what Authority they were in them∣selves, 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 curi∣ous determination, whether such Aged persons died purely of Age, as for that the Innate heat was quite ex∣tinct, 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 Page  14 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. More∣over, 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 Coughs.

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 In∣fans 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, or of the Con∣vulsion, &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 tor∣mented with it, though the Physicians were of Opini∣on, 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,Page  15 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 another.

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 me.

12. Having premised these general Advertise∣ments, 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 ⅓. 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 Convulsions, 12210. of which number we suppose likewise, that about ½. 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 Page  16 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 refer∣ence to health, or rather to longaevity: for as the pro∣portion of Acute and Epidemical Diseases shews the aptness of the Air to suddain and vehement Impressi∣ons, 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 229000. not 4000. died of outward Griefs, as of Cancers, Fistulaes, Sores, Ʋlcers, 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 Page  17 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 under∣stand the hazard they are in.

Table of notorious Diseases.
Apoplex 1306
Cut of the Stone 0038
Falling Sickness 0074
Dead in the streets 0243
Gowt 0134
Head-Ach 0051
Jaundice 0998
Lethargy 0067
Leprosy 0006
Lunatique 0158
Overlaid, and starved 0529
Palsy 0423
Rupture 0201
Stone and Strangury 0863
Sciatica 0005
Sodainly 0454
Table of Casualties.
Bleeding 069
Burnt, and Scalded 125
Drowned 829
Excessive drinking 002
Frighted 022
Grief 279
Hanged themselves 222
Kil'd by several accidents 1021
Murthered 0086
Poysoned 014
Smothered 026
Shot 007
Starved 051
Vomiting 136

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 longaevity of the Inhabitants, we Page  18 shall in the next place come to the more absolute Standard, and Correction of both, which is the pro∣portion 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 pro∣perly 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 esteem∣ed 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 dis∣eases, whereunto the City is most subject; as for Example, Consumptions, Dropsies, Jaundice, Gowt, Stone, Palsie, Seurvy, 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.