Book 2, Ch. 1
Situation and general view of London

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Centre for Metropolitan History

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Author

John Noorthouck

Year published

1773

Pages

521-533

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'Book 2, Ch. 1: Situation and general view of London', A New History of London: Including Westminster and Southwark (1773), pp. 521-533. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=46744 Date accessed: 17 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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BOOK II.

Containing a Survey of the City of London; with Descriptions of the Public Buildings.

CHAP. I. Situation, and general view of the Metropolis; bills of mortality with other useful tables.

Situation.

The city of London stands in 51° 32' North latitude, but no longitude is given to it in modern English maps, the first meridian being placed over it, and longitude east or west computed from it. It is situated 400 miles S. by E. from Edinburgh, 334 S. E. from Dublin, 190 W. S. W. from Amsterdam, 500 S. W. from Copenhagen, 900 S. W. from Stockholm, 225 N. W. from Paris, 690 N. by W. from Madrid, 750 N. W. from Rome, 660 N. W. from Vienna, and 1500 N. W. from Constantinople (fn. 1) . It lies along the northern side of the Thames, where the river irregularly bending from it at each extremity, receives the opposite borough of Southwark on its inner shore. Being about sixty miles from the mouth of the river, the water is at all times of the tide constantly fresh, while the width and depth of the channel allow merchant vessels to bring their cargoes from every part of the world up to the eastern suburbs, and many of them even to land their goods on the custom house wharf. Rising on a gentle ascent from the river, the opposite low lands in Surrey give it an open exposure to the south; while the high hills of Hampstead and Highgate, with the elevated situation of Islington, behind, intercept and moderate the cold winds from the north.

Extent in popular acceptation.

In strict language, London is still confined to its walls, and the limits of the corporate jurisdiction of the city; but as a contiguity of buildings has connected it with Westminster and all the neighbouring villages and hamlets, the name in common usage has extended over them all, and rendered their respective proper names no more than subdivisions of one great metropolis. In this general view therefore, London may now be said to include two cities, one borough and forty six antient villages: viz. the city of London properly so called, the city of Westminster, borough of Southwark, the villages of Mora, Finsbury Wenlaxbarn, Clerkenwell, Hoxton, Shoreditch, Nortonfalgate, the Spital, White-chapel, Mile-End New-Town, Mile-End Old-Town, Bethnal-Green Stepney, Poplar, Limehouse, Blackwall, Ratcliff, Shadwell, Wapping, Stepney, East Smithfield, the Hermitage, St. Catharine's, the Minories, St. Clements-Danes, the Strand, Charing-cross, St. James's, Knights-Bridge, Soho, St. Martin's in the fields, St. Giles's in the fields, Bloomsbury, Marybone, Portpool, Saffron-Hill, Holborn, Vaux-Hall, Lambeth, Lambeth-Marsh, Kennington, Newington-Butts, Bermondsey, the Grange, Horsleydown and Rotherhithe. Beside which the villages of Chelsea, Paddington, Islington, Hackney, Bow, and Deptford, are so near being united, that they might without any great impropriety have been added to the list, and considered as appendages to this immense capital.

Length and breadth.

Mr. Maitland informs us that in the year 1732, he measured the length and breadth of this city and suburbs with a perambulator, and found the extent as under.

Miles. Yards.
Length, from the upper end of Knightsbridge in the west, to Robin Hood-lane at the lower end of Poplar in the east. 176
Ditto, from Robin Hood-lane, back again, coasting the river westward, to Peterborough house, at the south end of Millbank row, above the Horse-ferry Westminster. 352
Breadth, from Jeffrey's alms houses in Kingsland road to the upper end of Camberwell road Newington Butts. 3 170½

Number of streets and houses.

Within this extensive area there were computed to be 5,099 streets, lanes, squares, &c. composed of 95,968 houses. But so many of the old streets have been since altered, and so many new streets added, that if this computation was accepted as exact at that time, it is no longer so. With regard to the number of houses, it is a vain expectation to endeavour at any thing near the truth; the variations between different estimates are so great, and the alterations so continual, that little confidence can be reposed in them. Maitland appears by his own account to have taken great pains to deliver a more exact calculation of houses than any one before him: yet from circumstances it is natural to think the number of streets much easier to be obtained than the number of houses in them; and if his number of streets, &c. and of the houses are compared, there will not be found an average of 19 houses to each! an allotment which it is imagined few persons acquainted with the metropolis will accept, as sufficient.

Were there any reasonable hopes that the late useful scheme of numbering the doors in streets, &c. would become universal, a more correct actual estimate might be taken than could be formed from any vague resources now in our power; but though the practice is adopted in most of the principal streets of London, and Westminster, as well as in many genteel parts of the suburbs; yet there is little likelihood of seeing it extend through the many populous working neighbourhoods in the out parts, necessary to render the scheme compleat.

If the aggregate of the houses in this vast metropolis has hitherto not been attained with sufficient exactness to be depended on, all conclusions or calculations formed from any assumed number of them for other purposes, must be still more erroneous, and amount to little more than meer conjecture. The number of inhabitants ought therefore if possible to be derived from a more authentic source; and it were to be wished that the bills of mortality, the best materials we can have recourse to on this subject of inquiry, deserved that character. But these are liable to objections that render all deductions that can be drawn from them, inconclusive, excepting the very remark of their imperfection.

Bills of Mortality.

There are several obvious defects in the bills of mortality published by the company of parish clerks. The account of births is taken only from baptisms celebrated according to the church of England; consequently the births of Jews, Roman catholics, with the various sects of dissenters, who have been supposed to amount to a sixth part of the inhabitants, are totally overlooked (fn. 2) , while numbers of them being buried in parochial burial grounds their deaths are received in the bills: consequently the reports of births are much too low, to admit of a comparison with the deaths. There is however a draw-back here; since the registers being parochial, no account is taken of burials in the cemeteries belonging to St. Paul's cathedral, Westminster Abbey, St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower, Temple church, the Rolls and Lincoln's-inn chapels, the Charter-house, and some of the hospitals. Hence those who reason from the bills to the number of inhabitants comprehended within their limits, draw conclusions from very uncertain data; and hence also London has been reproached with being a much more unwholesome place than it really is. The yearly flux of young persons who come from the country to settle in London, and who contribute to the increase of the town, is another occasion of the deaths bearing too great a proportion to the births; since numbers die in London, who were born elsewhere. It is indeed urged that many retire from London in the decline of life; and that others who die in London are carried to be buried in the country: but these are only persons of substance; and but few who die in London are carried beyond the limits of the bills. On the other hand some who die in the country are brought to be buried in town. What allowance is to be made for all these and other circumstances, as the carelessness of the respective parish clerks or their deputies, with the mistakes that may happen in collecting them by the clerk of the company; can only be imagined without the possibility of ascertaining.

Bills of mortality were first made in 1562, and in 1593, on account of great plagues then in London; but were discontinued when the occasions ceased.

The regular series of them commenced December 29th 1603, from which time an account of christenings and burials were kept at the hall of the company of Parish clerks; and this account originally comprehended 96 parishes within the walls, St. James in Duke's Place being exempted; and 13 parishes within the liberties, the three precincts of St. Bartholomew the Great, Bridewell, and Trinity in the Minories, being also omitted.

In 1604, were added to the 13, the above three excluded parishes, together with St. Clements Danes, St. Martin in the fields, St. Giles in the fields, St. James Clerkenwell, St. Leonard Shoreditch, St. Mary in Whitechapel, St. Katharine in the Tower, and St. Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey.

In 1606, St. Mary in the Savoy was included.

In 1625, the bills of mortality being esteemed of some consequence, the company obtained a decree under the seal of the High commission court, for keeping a printing press in their hall to print the bills of mortality: for which purpose a printer was assigned by the archbishop of Canterbury. Accordingly on July 18th a press was erected, and an order made that the weekly reports of the burials should be printed, with the number of the burials against every parish; which had not been done until that time.

In 1626, the precinct or parish of St. James in Duke's place, was added to the then 96 parishes within the walls: all which parishes, from the times of their several additions, as well as the others from the first, brought in not only the number of christenings and burials, but also an account of diseases and casualties, though no such account was then printed. The city of Westminster was likewise included this year; which only brought in the christenings, burials, and the plague, without specifying any other disorders or casualties.

In 1629, the printed bills contained the diseases and casualties, with the distinction of males and females.

In 1636, the parishes of Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Newington, Rotherhithe, and Stepney, were added; and brought in reports of their christenings, burials, and plague, as Westminster had done before.

In 1647, the parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden was added; making the number of ten out parishes.

In 1660, the bills were new modelled, and the account of all the diseases and casualties in all the parishes was brought in; and the then 12 parishes in Middlesex and Surrey, were made a division of themselves, whereas before they were all intermixed with each other.

In 1665, the totals of the christenings were distinctly set down in the bills, under each of the four divisions of the 97, 16, 12, and 5 parishes, respectively.

In 1670, St. Paul's Shadwell, heretofore a part of Stepney, was added to the 12 parishes in Middlesex and Surrey.

In 1671, Christ church in Surrey, heretofore part of St. Saviour's Southwark, was added to the out parishes in Middlesex and Surrey.

In 1685, St. James Westminster was taken in.

In 1686, St. Ann Westminster.

In 1694, St. John Wapping.

In 1726, St. Mary le Strand.

In 1729, St. George Hanover-square, Christ-church Spital-fields, St. George Radcliffe highway, and St. George the martyr Queen's-square (fn. 3) .

In 1730, St. Anne Limehouse.

In 1731, St. George Bloomsbury, and St. John the Evangelist, Westminster.

In 1733, St. John Southwark, and St. Luke Old-street.

In 1744, St. Matthew Bethnal Green.

Such is briefly the history of the Bills of Mortality as given by Dr. Birch; and for the reader's farther satisfaction on this subject, the following tables are formed of the totals of every tenth year, carefully taken from Maitland, collated with the indefatigable Dr. Birch's collection of them published in 1759; and continued for the twelve following years in succession, from the Parish Clerks Registers at their hall in Woodstreet (fn. 4) .

Years. Buried in 97 Parish. Buried in 16 Parish. Buried Out Parish. Total Christened. Total Buried.
1610 2326 3791 1369 6785 9087
1620 2726 4819 2146 7845 9712
1630 2506 4201 2521 9315 10554
1640 2919 5156 3246 10850 12771
1650 2301 4138 2310 5612 8764
1660 3098 5656 6364 6971 15118
Years. Christened 97 Parish. Buried in 97 Parish. Christened 16 Parish. Buried in 16 Parish. Christ in Out Parish. Buried in Out Parishes. Christened in West. Buried in West. Christened Males. Christened Females. Buried Males. Buried Females. Total Christened. Total Buried.
1670 788 1890 4718 7808 4092 6892 2399 3608 6278 5719 10614 9584 11997 20198
1680 1954 3076 4040 7066 4107 7226 2646 3685 6548 6199 11039 10014 12747 21053
1690 2228 2907 4827 6869 4811 7244 3345 4441 7909 7302 11144 10317 15211 21461
1700 1790 2656 4580 5812 5053 6647 3216 4328 7578 7061 9653 9790 14639 19443
1710 1815 2927 4751 7979 5134 8543 3228 5171 7640 7288 11972 12648 14928 24620
1720 1898 2686 5931 8069 5901 9021 3749 5678 8877 8602 12713 12741 17479 25454
1730 1564 2654 5585 8056 6082 10076 3687 5975 8606 8512 13306 13455 17118 26761
1740 1279 2580 3852 8001 6141 13250 3955 6980 7833 7398 14985 15826 15231 30811
1750 1090 1987 4184 5826 5692 11016 3582 4898 7394 7154 11742 11985 14548 23727
1760 1091 1520 4100 4806 6334 9456 3426 4048 7778 7173 9935 9895 14951 19830
A Table of the totals of the Bills of Mortality, for a series of ten years.
Years. Christened 97 Parish. Buried in 97 Parish. Christened 17 Parish. Buried in 17 Parish. Christ in Out Parish. Buried in Out Parish. Christened in West. Buried in West. Christened Males. Christened Females. Buried Males. Buried Females. Total Christened. Total Buried.
1761 1133 1553 4437 5151 6757 10021 3673 4338 8183 7817 10668 10395 16000 21063
1762 1189 1913 4244 6510 6541 12818 3377 5085 7859 7492 13101 13225 15351 26326
1763 1132 1855 4195 6244 6384 12952 3422 5092 7761 7372 13147 12996 15133 26143
1764 1174 1542 4560 5742 7334 11645 3733 4273 8593 8208 11503 11699 16801 23202
1765 1166 1595 4592 5651 7018 11220 3600 4762 8431 7943 11489 11741 16374 23230
1766 1251 1624 4575 5590 6763 11559 3664 5138 8343 7914 11714 12197 16257 23911
1767 1143 1429 4486 5227 6743 10976 3608 4980 8211 7769 11306 11306 15980 22612
1768 1101 1661 4565 5449 6574 11253 3802 5276 8321 7721 12134 11505 16042 23639
1769 980 1368 4672 4929 7286 10453 3776 5097 8569 8145 11033 10814 16714 21847
1770 1137 1504 4687 5156 7083 10265 4202 5509 8761 8348 11210 11224 17109 22434

The totals of the early years are very inaccurately given from the particulars, but it was judged proper to copy them as they are, without assuming the liberty of altering them. It may be observed on inspection that the numbers under the year 1650 are remarkably low; which may be accounted for by considering that between the breaking out of the civil war and the restoration, the established church was greatly reduced by the prevalence of sectaries; and that the active part the city of London took against the king, must have proved a great drawback for some time on the increase of the metropolis. The christenings and burials of the parishes within the walls for the year 1670, shew that the city had not totally recovered the shocks received by the great plague and fire. From 1710 to 1740 we see a visible increase, beyond what appears since; the year 1750 was undoubtedly affected by the long war just then closed, as well as 1760 from that then carrying on: emigrations to our new colonies may have depressed the numbers since.

The present number of parishes with their disposition in the bills of mortality, will appear by the last yearly bill, which is therefore exhibited at large.

A General Bill of all the Christenings and Burials from December 11th, 1770, to December 10th, 1771. According to the report made to the King's most excellent majesty, by the company of parish clerks of London, &c.

bur.
St. Alban in Wood-street 16
Alhallows Barkin 54
Alhallows in Bread-street 4
Alhallows the Great 43
Alhallows in Honey-lane 1
Alhallows the Less 8
Alhallows in Lombard-street 12
Alhallows Staining 14
Alhallows on London-wall 42
St Alphage near Sion-college 17
St Andrew Hubbard 5
St Andrew Undershast 34
St Andrew by the Wardrobe 52
St Ann within Aldersgate 22
St Ann in Black-friars 72
St Anthony, vulgarly Antholin
St Augustin, vulgarly Austin 7
St Bartholomew by Exchange 18
St Benedict, vulg. BennetFink 16
St Bennet Gracechurch 7
St Bennet at Paul's-wharf 24
St Bennet Sherehog 2
St Botolph at Billingsgate 2
Christ Church-parish 87
St Christopher's-parish 3
St Clement near Eastcheap 8
St Dionis Backchurch 12
St Dunstan in tho East 50
St Edmund the king 17
St Ethelburga's parish 12
St Faith under St. Paul's 21
St Gabriel in Fenchurch-street 10
St George in Botolph-lane 1
St Gregory by St Paul's 40
St Helen near Bishopsgate 15
St James in Duke's-place 13
St James at Garlickhith 29
St John Baptist by Dowgate 7
St John the Evangelist 2
St John Zachary 9
St Katherine Coleman 29
St Katherine Cree-church 55
St Laurence Jewry 14
St Laurence Pountney 18
St Leonard in Eastcheap 9
St Leonard in Foster-lane 2
St Magnus by London-bridge-
St Margaret in Lothbury 27
St Margaret Moses 4
St Margaret in New Fish-street 4
St Margaret Pattens 2
St Martin in Ironmonger-lane 4
St Martin within Ludgate 14
St Martin Orgars 8
St Martin Outwich 8
St Martin Vintrey 25
St Mary Abchurch 14
St Mary Aldermanbury 15
St Mary Aldermary 4
St Mary Le Bow in Cheapside 11
St Mary Bothaw at Dowgate 4
St Mary Colechurch
St Mary Hill near Billingsgate 24
St Mary Magd. in Milk-street 2
StMary Magd. Old Fish-street 10
St Mary Mounthaw 20
St Mary Somerset 16
St Mary Staining 11
St Mary Woolchurch
St Mary Woolnoth 16
St Matthew in Friday-street 10
St Michael Bassishaw 23
St Michael in Cornhill 11
St Michael in Crooked-lane 22
St Michael at Queenhith 9
St Michael Le Quern 4
St Michael Royal 12
St Michael in Wood-street 7
St Mildred in Bread-street 6
St Mildred in the Poultry 25
St Nicholas Acons 1
St Nicholas Coleabby 5
St Nicholas Olave 11
St Olave in Hart-street 31
St Olave in the Old Jewry 14
St Olave in Silver-street 14
St Pancras in Pancras-lane 1
St Peter in Cheapside 8
St Peter in Cornhill 29
St Peter near Paul's Wharf 3
St Peter Poor in Broad-street 8
St Stephen in Coleman-street 48
St Stephen in Walbrook 12
St Swithin at London-stone 14
St Thomas the Apostle 5
Trinity Parish 4
St Vedast, alias Foster 19
Christened in the 97 parishes within the walls 1108------Buried 1530
St Andrew in Holborn 954
St Bartholomew the Great 42
St Bartholomew the Less 4
St Botolph by Aldersgate 196
St Botolph by Aldgate 444
St Botolph without Bishops. 410
Bridewell Precinct
St Bridget, vulgarly St Brides 192
St Dunstan in the West 101
St George in Southwark 362
St Giles by Cripplegate 474
St John in Southwark 325
St Olave in Southwark 338
St Saviour in Southwark 553
St Sepulchre's Parish 534
St Thomas in Southwark 130
Trinity in the Minories 15
Christened in the 17 parishes without the walls 4743------Buried 5074
St Ann in Middlesex 171
Christ Church in Surry 150
Christ Church in Middlesex 678
St Dunstan at Stepney 488
St George in Bloomsbury 311
St George in Middlesex 560
St George by Queen's-square 242
St Giles in the Fields 1239
St James at Clerkenwell 576
St John at Clerkenwell 130
St John at Hackney 178
St John at Wapping 237
St Katherine near the Tower 201
St Leonard in Shoreditch 1033
St Luke in Middlesex 1055
St Mary at Islington 204
St Mary at Lambeth 461
St Mary Mag. Bermondsey 478
St Mary at Newington 261
St Mary at Rotherhith 256
St Mary at Whitechapel 767
St Matthew at Bethnal Green 268
St Paul at Shadwell 500
Christened in the 23 Out-Parishes in Middlesex and Surry 7145 ------ Buried 10444.
St Ann in Westminster 610
St Clement Danes 224
St George by Hanover-sq. 918
St James in Westminster 797
St John Evang. in Westm. 228
St Margaret in Westminster 805
St Martin in the Fields 895
St Mary Le Strand 77
The precinct of the Savoy 79
St Paul in Covent Garden 99
Christened in the 10 Parishes in the City and liberties of Westminster 4076 -------- Buried 4732.
The diseases and casualties this year.
Abortive and stillborn 696
Aged 1512
Ague 1
Apoplexy and suddenly 223
Asthma and phthisic 590
Bedridden 9
Bleeding 6
Bloody flux
Bursten and rupture 12
Cancer 42
Canker 1
Chicken pox 1
Childbed 172
Cholic, gripes, and twisting of the guts 48
Cold 7
Consumption 4809
Convulsions 6156
Cough, and hooping cough 249
Diabetes 1
Dropsy 1024
Evil 15
Fever, malignant fever, scarlet fever, spotted fever, and purples. 2273
Fistula 9
Flux 8
French pox 65
Gout 91
Gravel, stone, and strangury 34
Grief 3
Head-ach 2
Headmouldshot, horshoe-head, and water in the head 22
Jaundies 156
Imposthume 5
Inflammation 79
Itch
Leprosy 2
Lethargy 6
Livergrown 2
Lunatic 90
Measles 115
Miscarriage 6
Mortification 199
Palsy 69
Plurisy 13
Quinsy 6
Rash 2
Rheumatism 4
Rickets 4
Rising of the lights
Scurvy 3
Small pox 1660
Sores and ulcers 24
Sore throat 22
St Anthony's fire
Stoppage in the stomach 14
Surseit
Swelling 1
Teeth 809
Thrush 69
Tympany 1
Vomiting and looseness 10
Worms 8
Bit by a mad dog
Broken limbs 2
Bruised 3
Burnt 9
Choaked
Drowned 138
Excessive drinking 11
Executed 8
Found dead 10
Killed by falls and several other accidents 76
Killed themselves 34
Murdered 5
Overlaid 8
Poisoned 2
Scalded 3
Shot
Stabbed
Starved 5
Suffocated 6
Total 320
Christened Males 8839
Females 8233
In all 17072
Buried Males 10921
Females 10859
In all 21780
Whereof have died.
Under two years of age 7617
Between two and five 1830
Five and ten 818
Ten and twenty 844
Twenty and thirty 1671
Thirty and forty 1945
Forty and fifty 2094
Fifty and sixty 1751
Sixty and seventy 1469
Seventy and eighty 1210
Eighty and ninety 460
Ninety and a hundred 67
A hundred 1
A hundred and one 2
A hundred and three
A hundred and seven 1
Decreased in the burials this year 654.

Probabilities of Life in London.

With a view to exhibit the comparative difference between the state and duration of human life in great cities and in the country, Dr. Price, in the Supplement to his Observations on Reversionary Payments, has given five tables, shewing the probabilities of life in the district of Vaud in Switzerland, in a country parish in Brandenburgh, in the parish of Holy Cross near Shrewsbury, at Vienna, Berlin, and at London: these tables are copied here on the credit of that ingenious calculator, for the assistance of those who may be curious in investigations of this nature. The citizens of London will derive very little comfort from the examination, unless they can receive it from reflecting on the defects of the London bills of mortality, from which the probabilities of life in London are formed.

Pais de Vaud. Country Parish in Brandenburgh. Holycross near Shrewsbury. Vienna. Berlin. London.
Proportion of inhabitants dying annually in 1 in 45 1 in 45 1 in 33 1 in 19½ 1 in 26½ 1 in 20¾
Ages to which half the born live 41 25½ 27 2
Proportion of the inhabitants who reach 80 years of age. 1 in 21½ 1 in 22½ 1 in 11 1 in 41 1 in 37 1 in 40
The probabilities of living one year in
Odds. Pais de Vaud. Country Parish in Brandenburgh. Holycross. Vienna. Berlin. London.
At birth 4¼ to 1 3½ to 1 4½ to 1 1 1/5 to 1 1 4/3; to 1 2 to 1
Age 12 160 to 1 112 to 1 144 to 1 84 to 1 123 to 1 75 to 1
25 117 to 1 110 to 1 100 to 1 66 to 1 50 to 1 56 to 1
30 111 to 1 107 to 1 96 to 1 56 to 1 44 to 1 45 to 1
40 83 to 1 78 to 1 55 to 1 36 to 1 32 to 1 31 to 1
50 49 to 1 50 to 1 50 to 1 27 to 1 30 to 1 24 to 1
60 23 to 1 25 to 1 26 to 1 19 to 1 18 to 1 18 to 1
70 9½ to 1 11 to 1 16 to 1 11 to 1 12 to 1 12 to 1
80 4 to 1 6 to 1 8 to 1 7 to 1 7 to 1 7 to 1
Expectations of Life.
Pais de Vand Country Parish in Brandenburgh. Holy-Cross Vienna Berlin. London.
At birth 37 years 32½ years 33¼ years 16½years 18 years 18 years
Age 12 44 1/5 44 43½ 35¾ 35½ 33½
25 34¾ 35½ 35 28⅓ 27½ 26
30 31¼ 31½ 32 25½ 25¼ 23½
35 27½ 28 28¼ 22½ 22¾ 21½
40 24 25 25¾ 20½ 20¾ 19½
45 20½ 21½ 23¼ 17¾ 18¾ 17¾
50 17½ 18 20 16 16⅓ 16
55 14½ 15 17 13½ 14 14 1/5
60 12 12¼ 14½ 11¾ 12½ 12½
65 11¾ 10½ 10½
70 10
75 8 7 7
80 5 6 5

The Dr. observes that it will appear from this comparison, with how much truth great cities have been called the graves of mankind. The major part of that black catalogue of diseases which ravage human life, is the offspring of the tenderness, the luxury, and the corruptions, introduced by the vices and false refinements of civil society. That delicacy which is injured by every breath of air, and that rottenness of constitution, which is the effect of intemperance and debauchery, were never intended by the author of nature: and it is impossible, that they should not lay the foundation of numberless sufferings, and terminate in premature and miserable deaths. Another disadvantage attending great cities, is the foulness of the air occasioned by uncleanliness, smoke, the perspiration and breath of the inhabitants, and the putrid steams from drains, kennels, and common shores. It is in particular well known, that air spoiled by breathing is rendered so noxious, as to kill instantaneously any animal that is put into it. There must be causes in nature, continually operating, which restore the air after being thus spoiled; but in towns it is probably consumed faster than it can be adequately restored: and the larger the town is, or the more the inhabitants are crouded together, the more this inconvenience must take place.

Thus far Dr. Price, whose observations on the fatal tendency of intemperance are clearly just; and the inhabitants of this great metropolis in their convivial hours are but too open to the accusation; but perhaps, reasoning from the bills of mortality, he lays too great stress on the foulness of the air in London. The interior parts of the town are now thrown so open, and the dwellings made so airy, that the winds from the surrounding country, find a free passage through them: while the continual expansion of the air by so many fires, naturally tends to cause an incessant circulation, by the more cool and dense country air rushing in to preserve the equipoise of the atmosphere.

Annual Sale of cattle in Smithfield.

To the foregoing tables another may be added, shewing the annual sale of black cattle and sheep in the great beast market for the supply of London and its neighbourhood: this table was lately published during a controversy concerning the dearness of provisions, and was furnished originally by a gentleman of distinction, whose opportunities of knowing the facts, whose abilities, and whose laudable industry in collecting and digesting materials interesting to the community, will warrant a dependence on it.

A Table, shewing the Number of Sheep and Black Cattle sold at Smithfield-market for forty Years.

From Michaelmas 1730, to ditto Sheep. Average. Black Cattle Average.
1731 480010 568060 88304 93653
2 537250 87571
3 588310 95301
4 597920 94473
5 636740 102628
6 617720 599466 100602 97548
7 637190 100686
8 615000 96762
9 598000 96404
40 527420 93285
1741 555480 531134 85245 85892
2 518700 86913
3 479030 85682
4 513320 87441
5 589140 84179
6 648350 655516 83149 80878
7 646930 81988
8 634750 76060
9 666900 83357
50 680650 79836
1751 673650 680618 79983 80843
2 688970 81847
3 686810 83677
4 669090 77605
5 684570 81106
6 653220 616750 83266 91699
7 594260 89776
8 571660 90559
9 610870 96082
60 653740 98813
1761 718060 842080 1 Yr & ¼ 90232 121175 1 Yr & ¼
2 842030 635247 4 Years 121175 86555 4 Years
3 964190 90991
4 581440 80299
5 547300 84702
6 587520 632812 78387 84244
7 588730 81035
8 655920 84855
9 665240 85862
1770 666650 90979

From this table it appears, that the consumption of mutton increases while that of beef decreases (fn. 5) ; and this being nearly in the proportion which they bear to each other in point of weight, it follows so far as this argument extends, that the metropolis has not actually increased within the above period of time so much as has been apprehended. But this is not altogether a safe conclusion: the luxury of the times causes people to be more delicate in their food: beef and mutton are the articles chiefly consumed by the middle classes of life and all those below them; yet within these 40 years, the consumption of beef is lessened, and that of mutton increased. A corresponding state of the nicer articles of food, as veal, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish, is hardly possible to be procured; but it is probable the call for these is greatly augmented: if it should be found that the decrease in the annual consumption of oxen arises partly from the increased demand for calves, which perhaps may be the real case; it will so far account for the dearness of both; as a large demand for lamb will for the extravagant prices of both that and mutton. But so many circumstances enter into the variations observable in all tables and estimates of this nature, that little certainty can be derived from them.

Though the above table is not to be accepted as the total consumption of those articles in this great metropolis, yet the sale of Smithfield-market cannot be deemed so far short of the whole as is supposed by Maitland; who assumes one third more to make a total. It is to be considered that by charter no market is to be kept within seven miles of London (fn. 6) ; cattle are indeed brought as near to town as the markets at Hounslow, Barnet, Croydon, Rumford, and Bromley, for the supply of those neighbourhoods; and some of these may indirectly be bought by butchers in the outskirts of the town, but in no great proportion. The gentleman who formed the foregoing table found that about 100 oxen were brought weekly to Hounslow, about 70 were sold there, and the remainder were bought by London butchers: if the same quantity is supposed to be sent to London from all the five markets, the annual amount will not make 1 1/1; of the last year's sale at Smithfield in the table. Here the subject must be left; as it is scarcely within the compass of possibility to arrive at minute exactness in such extensive computations. It is true there has been much clamour lately made about forestalling and monopolizing, and the increased price of provisions has given credit to the allegations; but much more natural causes may be assigned for this grievance (fn. 7) : there are confessedly but few dealers whose purses will enable them to attempt such extensive schemes; and the competition of the rest, with the due execution of the laws against such practices, will always render them ineffectual in a general view.

Before the subject of provisions is dismissed, another curious table shall be laid before the reader from the same authority with the last: which will be very useful to the commercial speculator.

Prices of Wheat per quarter at the London Corn-market for the last 40 years.
Yrs. Jan. Feb. Mar. April May June July August Septem. October Novem. Dec.
1732 From 19 21 20 27 21 25 20 24 20 22 22 24 21 26 20 26 25 26
3 24 26 24 25 20 24 22 25 22 24 22 25 22 25 19 25 22 26 20 26 23 28 28 34
4 27 30 27 30 25 28 25 28 25 28 26 30 22 30 30 34 30 34 30 34 30 34 26 30
5 26 30 26 30 26 30 26 30 21 32 30 31 34 40 20 22 30 36 30 36 30 36 30 36
6 21 29 21 29 28 29 28 29 29 32 30 31 26 36 34 36 32 36 30 36 30 34 30 34
7 27 30 30 35 30 33 30 33 31 35 31 35 28 34 28 34 28 34 30 33 29 32 24 28
8 29 30 29 30 29 32 30 31 30 32 24 26 20 26 20 27 27 29 27 28 28 29 26 28
9 23 24 23 24 25 27 26 28 28 30 27 28 27 28 23 28 27 28 30 31 28 29 27 28
1740 28 29 29 31 33 35 37 39 50 53 55 58 40 46 44 50 40 45 38 50 36 48 34 43
1 40 52 38 50 37 47 37 46 45 36 43 26 32 28 32 24 26 24 27 27 28 25 26
2 25 26 24 25 25 26 22 23 22 23 21 22 22 23 23 23 21 22 21 22 20 21
3 19 20 18 19 19 20 20 18 19 18 19 19 20 18 18 18 19 18 19 16 17
4 15 16 15 16 17 18 19 18 18 16 17 16 17 16 17 18 19 19 20 18 19
5 18 19 18 19 19 20 19 20 19 20 21 20 21 22 23 22 23 22 24 24 25 21 22
6 26 27 30 31 31 29 26 27 25 26 26 28 27 28 27 26 27
7 27 28 27 28 27 28 27 28 26 26 27 27 28 24 25 25 26 25 27 24 25 25
8 26 27 26 24 25 29 26 27 26 27 27 28 33 32 29 28 30
9 28 29 27 28 26 27 27 25 26 27 29 30 29 28 26 25 26
1750 24 25 24 25 28 29 30 29 29 26 27 27 25 24 25
1 25 25 25 27 26 27 28 32 32 33 32 32
2 32 31 32 32 33 31 30 31 30 30 28 29 29 30
3 31 32 35 36 34 35 37 34 35 31 29 27 28 28
4 26 26 28 27 26 24 26 24 25 25 24 23
5 23 23 23 24 22 23 22 22 22 23 24 25 25 24 23
6 25 25 26 27 32 32 33 37 38 35 36 43 41 41
7 48 52 53 54 58 63 65 68 55 66 40 56 28 60 23 47 25 47 26 45 25 44
8 25 47 25 45 43 48 42 44 32 38 30 36 30 36 28 34 36 40 34 38 28 33 24 28
9 22 28 22 29 30 32 30 32 26 29 26 29 24 26 20 30 22 29 21 29 22 30 24 27
1760 24 27 27 30 24 29 26 31 28 24 29 27 30 27 31 28 32 27 28 25 28 24 27
1 24 26 25 26 22 24 23 24 22 23 22 24 23 24 22 24 23 24 25 26 25 26 25 27
2 23 25 24 25 30 32 29 34 32 33 30 32 29 32 29 31 32 33 30 33 30 31 32 33
3 33 35 29 31 28 31 27 29 31 32 28 29 29 31 31 33 35 36 31 36 33 34 31 32
4 33 33 34 37 39 38 39 38 39 36 39 34 38 40 41 37 38 37 40 40 42 38 42
5 42 44 40 46 41 45 48 52 40 44 44 48 40 45 40 47 37 39 38 40 39 40 39 41
6 37 38 34 36 34 37 34 36 35 36 34 35 42 44 38 46 40 44 50 54 40 49 44 48
7 46 48 47 49 46 50 38 48 38 48 30 50 38 46 36 44 36 46 38 48 50 38 44 54 40 48
8 40 48 40 48 40 48 40 55 40 50 38 48 43 49 34 42 28 38 40 30 40 28 33 28 35
9 30 37 28 37 25 36 25 36 26 38 30 39 30 38 24 30 37 32 35 33 35 33 36 33 35
1770 30 32 30 33 32 33 31 32 35 36 33 35 36 45 40 44 40 44 34 42 36 39 36 38
1 40 47 40 47 40 46 42 46 38 44 42 48 40 48 38 47 36 49 36 45 34 40 38 45
2 42 48 40 47 46 54

Footnotes

1 Brooke's Gaz.
2 In London, Westminster, and Southwark, there appear to be 37 Presbyterian meeting houses, 31 of Independents, 37 Anabaptists, 11 Quakers, 21 French chapels, 8 of Germans, and 4 Jews Synagogues; beside Romish chapels and Methodist meetings. The number of dissenters however appears to be decreasing, if we may reason from one class to others. About eight years ago, between twenty and thirty Quakers used annually to take up their freedom at the chamberlain's office Guildhall; which at this time are reduced to about eight or nine. The established church may receive a good hint from this circumstance; religious oppression being the most forcible stimulus to a spirit of inquiry into the authority on which ecclesiastical power is founded. The common sense of mankind first revolts, and then they are liable to be carried about with every wind of doctrine.
3 St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower, was added this year; but a contest arising between the inhabitants of the Tower Liberty without and those within the Tower, whether the church of St. Peter ad Vincula was parochial or not, the merits were tried in the court of King's-Bench at Westminster in the year 1730; when being determined in the negative, it was left out of the bill of mortality soon after.
4 The parish clerks are not in possession of a compleat series of their own registers; accident and carelessness having destroyed many which are now missing; so that when the author applied for information at their hall, their clerk furnished him with Dr.Birch's collection of their bills: even this is defective as to some of the early years, while some others are derived from the different authorities of former collectors.
5 In 1532 the number of oxen killed in London were computed to be 33,120. vid. p. 117. ante.
6 Vid. the first charter of Edward III. and the first charter of Charles I. Appendix No. XXIV. and XLV.
7 Vid. p. 428. ante.