Daniel Defoe: administrative measures during the great plague of London in 1665

 Daniel Defoe: administrative measures during the great plague of London in 1665

Probably in June, the mayor of London and the city Senate meeting, as I said, began to pay more attention to the management of the city.

The magistrate of Middlesex, at the order of the Secretary of state, has begun to close the houses of St. Giles, St. Martins, St. Clemente Danes and other parishes in fields, and has been very successful; because in several streets where the plague broke out, due to strict vigilance against the infected houses, carefully bury those who died, and immediately after knowing that they died Buried, the plague ceased in those streets. In addition, it can be seen that the plague, after the diocese attacked by it reached its peak, fell faster than that in Bishopsgate, shodditch, eldgate, Whitechapel, Stepney and other dioceses. In that way, early measures have become an important means to contain it.

In my opinion, this method of closing houses was first adopted by the plague in 1603, when King James I was crowned, and the power to close people in their own houses was authorized by law, which is called the regulation on charity rescue and arrangement of plague infected people [this regulation is based on an earlier regulation (15 83) established to segregate people in their homes]. On the basis of this law, the mayors and city senators of London made laws and regulations at that time, which came into force on July 1, 1665. At that time, there were only a few infected people in the city, and the latest statistics of 92 parishes were only 4. Some houses in the city had been closed, and some patients had been transferred to the infectious disease isolation center in the state Outside of silvers, on the way to Islington; I mean, by these means, when nearly 1000 people die in a week, there are only 28 in the city, and during the whole epidemic, the city is proportionally healthier than anywhere else.

These Regulations of the mayor, as I said, were promulgated at the end of June and will be implemented from July 1 as follows

Mayor and Senator of London

Laws and regulations to be drafted and promulgated,

About the epidemic. 1665.

In view of our late King James I, who signed the same law in 1646 The happy memory of being in office, a regulation on charity rescue and arrangement and rectification of plague infected people was formulated; according to this, the public security counsellor, mayor, municipal magistrate and other administrative directors were authorized to appoint inspectors, searchers, watchmen, administrators and undertakers within their respective terms of reference, who were responsible for the infected people and areas, and charged everyone to swear to perform their duties. The decree also authorizes the issuance of other orders, in consideration of their current needs. At present, for special consideration, in order to prevent and avoid infectious diseases (I hope the Almighty God will help), it is very appropriate to think that the following officials are appointed and these Regulations are strictly followed afterwards.

Each parish assigns inspectors

First of all, we think it is necessary to do so. Therefore, it is stipulated that the senators and their deputies of each diocese, as well as the District Councils of each diocese, shall select and appoint one, two or more persons with good quality to continue to perform their duties in the name of inspectors for at least two months: if any suitable person is appointed and unwilling to undertake the duties, and the above-mentioned parties refuse to do so, then They were jailed until they subsequently complied.

Duties of inspector

Such inspectors shall swear to the senator that they shall always inquire about and find out which houses in the diocese are attacked, who is sick and what kind of disease they are suffering from; in case of any doubt, they shall order to prohibit contact until the condition is confirmed: if an existing person is suffering from an infectious disease, they shall order the police to close his house; if the police are found to be negligent, they shall Inform senators in the district immediately.


Two watchmen shall be assigned to each infected house, one for the day and the other for the night: the watchman shall pay special attention to prevent personnel from entering and leaving such infected houses, and they shall supervise this, and the violator shall be severely punished. The above warden shall further perform such duties according to the needs of the sick house: if the warden is dispatched, he shall lock the house and take the key with him: the warden in charge of the day shall be on duty until 10:00 p.m.; the warden in charge of the night shall be on duty until 6:00 a.m.

Search agent

The diocese shall pay special attention to the appointment of female searchers, who are of good standing and can be among the best candidates in this list: they shall swear to strictly perform their search duties, make correct reports to the best of their knowledge, and check as far as possible whether the bodies of the persons they are ordered to search have died of infectious or other diseases. Those physicians who are ordered to take charge of the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases shall summon the above-mentioned searchers face to face, and those who have been or will be assigned to take charge of several parishes shall be supervised by them respectively, so that they can assess whether they are qualified for their duties, and if they are incompetent in their posts, they shall be disciplined from time to time according to their reasons.

During the period of the outbreak of this infectious disease, the searcher shall not be employed in any public office or occupation, or in any shop or stall, or as a laundrywoman, or in any other public occupation.

Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), a prolific and versatile writer, has published about 500 books on a wide range of topics, including politics, geography, crime, religion, economy, marriage, psychology and superstition. In 1719, he published his imaginative work Robinson Crusoe. Since then, Moore Flanders and pestilence age were published in 1722, and Roxana, the last novel, was published in 1724. Defoe has a great influence on the development of English novels. Many people think he is the first real novelist.


In addition, the above-mentioned surgeons shall visit and examine such personnel, who are either sent by the inspector of each parish for inspection, or named by the inspector of each parish and sent directly to them, and make a thorough understanding of the condition of the above-mentioned personnel.

In view of the fact that the said surgeons are to be separated from all other medical work as far as possible to take care of the infectious disease, it is stipulated that the said surgeons shall receive twelve pence for each corpse examined from the property of the examined person or, if he is able to pay, from the parish.


If, less than twenty-eight days after the death of an infectious disease, the carer himself moves out of the infected house, the house so moved out by the carer himself shall be closed until the expiration of the said twenty-eight days.

Provisions on infected houses and persons suffering from plague

Disease notification

The owner of each house shall inform the health inspector within two hours after the appearance of the signs if someone in the house is ill, or if there are pimples, purple spots or lumps in any part of the body, or if there is a disease in other aspects and there is no obvious cause for some other disease.

Patient isolation

If any of the above inspectors, surgeons or searchers find any person suffering from plague, they shall isolate him from the house on that night. In case of such isolation, but he does not die afterwards, the house in which he fell ill shall also be closed for one month after the rest of the people have taken proper preventive medicine.

Fabric ventilation

In order to isolate the articles and fabrics with infectious diseases, their bedding, clothes and indoor curtains must be properly ventilated with fire and specified spices before they are used again: This is to be done by the inspectors instruction.

Close the house

No one is allowed to move out of the infected house, exception, etc

As above, no one is allowed to move out of the house where he was infected with the disease and into any other house in the city (unless he moves into a pestilence isolation center or a tent, or such house, which is owned by the head of the house, and where his servants live), and where such move is to be guaranteed to the diocese where he is located; the care and fees of the infectious patients Therefore, all the detailed rules mentioned above shall be followed. The parish shall not bear any expenses for any such accidental relocation, which shall be completed at night: any person who owns two houses shall move the healthy or infected into his spare house at his own option. If the healthy person is sent away first, then he does not send the patient there, nor will he be healthy again Its legal to send them to the patients. The people he sent had to be shut down for at least a week, isolated from his companions, for fear of some kind of infectious disease, which had not been shown at first.

Bury the dead

If the dead are buried because of this disaster, they should be executed by the deacon or the police in private when it is appropriate, either before dawn or after sunset. Otherwise, they should not be buried. Neighbors or friends should not accompany the dead to church or enter the infected house. The violator should be closed down or imprisoned.

During prayer, sermon or speech, no body that has died of an infectious disease shall be buried or remain in a church. When a body is buried in a church, churchyard, or burial place, children are not allowed to approach the body, coffin, or grave. All graves must be dug at least six feet deep.

In addition, all public gatherings at other funerals will be banned during the duration of the disaster.

Infectious disease fabrics shall not be used in circulation

No clothes, fabrics, bedding or robes shall be carried or carried out from the infected house, while hawkers or porters shall be strictly prohibited and prevented from spreading bedding or old clothes for sale or pawn, and bedding or old clothes in any pawnshop shall not be shown to the outside, or hung in front of the display platform, shop planks or windows for sale, facing the street, alley, public The sale of any old bedding or clothing is punishable by imprisonment. If a pawnbroker or other person buys bedding, clothing or other fabrics in the infected house, his house will be closed for at least 20 days due to the infection within two months after the infectious disease exists there.

No one is allowed to move out of any infected house

If any infected person happens to come from the infected place or be moved to another place due to poor care or by any other means, the parish of the party who has left or been moved shall, in accordance with the notice, bring to justice the party who has been infected and escaped and transport them back at night, which is illegal in this case The person concerned is to be punished under the supervision of the senators of the District, and the house where such an infected person is admitted is to be closed for 20 days.

Mark every house visited

The practice of marking Red Cross and characters on the doors of houses infected with plague dates back to the late 16th century. According to the Chinese translator, visited originally refers to the plague rather than the inspector; according to the specific context, the Chinese translator also translates the words visited and visitation into infected, attacked, disaster and so on.)

Every house visited should be marked with a foot long red cross in the middle of the door, clearly and conspicuously, and then the words should be added in ordinary printing, that is, God has mercy on us, and the position should be close to the cross, until the law allows the house to be opened.

Every house visited must be guarded

The police monitor every closed house and keep it under the watchmans care so that they are not allowed to go out and help provide daily necessities at their own expense (if they are able to do so), or at public expense, if they are unable to do so: after everything is OK, close for a period of four weeks.

It is expressly stated that a searcher, surgeon, carer and undertaker shall hold a three foot long red stick or rod (generally speaking, the infected person shall hold a white stick; the physician, carer and inspector shall hold a red stick), be frank and obvious, otherwise they shall not pass through the street except in their own house, or designated to go or called by others No other room is allowed to enter, but please be patient and abstain from social intercourse, especially when they are employed in such affairs or nursing recently.

Fellow residents

Several co occupants are in the same room, and it happens that someone is infected in that room; other family members in such houses are not allowed to move him or them unless there is a certificate issued by the parish health inspector; without such a certificate, the house he or they moved out like this will be closed down for the case of plague.


Cabbies should be aware that after sending infectious patients to an infectious disease isolation facility or other place, they are not allowed to serve (as some of them have already seen) public transport until the carriage is properly ventilated and employment is stopped for five to six days after such service.

Provisions for purifying and maintaining the fragrance of streets

First of all, it is necessary to do so, so it is stipulated that every household should make the street in front of their house ready every day, so that it can be cleaned all the time for a whole week.

The sweeper cleared the rubbish out of the house

The dumps were removed as far away as possible from the city and public roads, and the dungmen or others were not allowed to pour the empties from the catacombs into any garden near the city perimeter.

Be careful with unsanitary fish or meat and moldy grains

Special care should be taken that no matter what kind of stinky fish, or unsanitary meat, or moldy grain, or other rotten fruits, they should not be sold around or in any part of the city.

The wineries and pubs should be supervised to prevent mildew and unsanitary wines.

No pig, dog, cat, pigeon or rabbit shall be kept in any part of the city, no pig shall be found in any street or lane, no pig shall be lost, otherwise, such pig shall be imprisoned by the vicar or any other official, and the owner shall be punished in accordance with the regulations of the City Council, and the dog shall be killed by the dog butcher appointed for this purpose.

Regulations on idle personnel and unreasonable assembly


Because there are many complaints, such as a large number of jobless vagrants and vagrant beggars, gathered around the city and become a major factor in the spread of infectious diseases, which will be unavoidable. Although the opposite provisions have been issued, now they are as follows: the police and other personnel, who may be related to this matter, should pay special attention to them, and vagrant beggars are not allowed to be appointed Whatever way or method appears on the streets of the city, regardless of the situation, they shall be punished severely according to the penal regulations provided by the law.


All games, bear shows, entertainment contests, folk songs, Yuan Dun games, or other mass gatherings shall be strictly prohibited, and the violators shall be severely punished by the senators of each diocese.

No eating and drinking

All public banquets, especially those held by groups in the city, as well as those held in pubs, beer shops and other public places of entertainment, shall be forbidden until further regulations and permits are made; the money thus saved shall be reserved for the purpose of helping and relieving the poor with infectious diseases.


As the common sin of this era and the greatest opportunity to spread the plague, the disorderly drinking in pubs, beer shops, coffee shops and cellars must be strictly supervised. According to the ancient law and practice of the city, and in accordance with the penal regulations prescribed for this purpose, no group or individual shall stay or enter any pub, beer shop or coffee shop for drinking after 9 p.m.

In order to better implement these regulations, there are other regulations and orders that need to be implemented after in-depth consideration; here, senators, acting senators and members of the city council are required to meet once, twice, three times, or more times a week (as the case may require) in their respective parishes at a usual place (to exclude the epidemic), to discuss how to formally implement them To do so; no one living in or near an infectious disease area shall be required to attend such a meeting if their presence is doubtful. The said senators, acting senators and members of the City Council, in their respective dioceses, shall put into effect other appropriate provisions that they have formulated and formulated in the said meetings, so as to protect his Majestys subjects from the epidemic.

Sir John Lawrence

Lord Mayor

Sir George Waltman

Sir Charles doe


Needless to say, these Regulations are only popularized in the places under the jurisdiction of the mayor; therefore, it must be seen that in those parishes and places called small villages, as well as in those peripheral areas, the security agents have taken the same measures: according to my memory, the regulations on closing up houses have not been implemented so quickly on our side, Because, as I said before, the plague didnt reach the east of the city, at least until the beginning of August, it didnt start to become very rampant. For example, from July 11 to 18, the total number is 1761, but only 71 people died of the plague, among all the parishes we call tawahamritz; their data are as follows.

This is actually a rough number; because in the same week, the number of burials adjacent to those parishes is as follows.

The move to close houses was initially seen as very cruel and non Christian, while the poor people who were locked up like this lamented that the houses were locked up for no reason (and some were maliciously) against their harsh complaints, and they were reported to our mayors every day: I only knew through inquiry Many of the people who cried out so loudly were still in the same situation as before, while those who had been examined for plague again were not as sick as infectious diseases, or if they could not be sure but were willing to be sent to the infectious disease isolation center, they were released.

Lock the door of peoples houses, and put guards there day and night to prevent them from rushing out, or to prevent people from coming to find them. At this time, it may be that the healthy people in the family, if they move away from the patients, would have escaped, which seems to be very cold and cruel indeed. Many people perish in these miserable confinement Now, there is reason to believe that although there is a plague in the house, if they are free, they would not have suffered from the plague; people were very upset at first, making a lot of noise, and committing several atrocities, and causing harm to those people, who were sent to guard the closed house; and several people forced to break out of the door, in many places, just like me for a while Thats what Im going to say: but being good for the public also gives a justifiable reason for this kind of private damage, and at that time, by sending any application to the chief executive or the government, things wont get any relief. At least, I havent heard of that. So in order to run out, people have to use all kinds of tricks. It takes a little space to record the tricks used by people living in such houses. They ask the hired guards to close their eyes, deceive them and run away, or put them off. There are many scuffles and mischief in the process, which is natural.

One morning, at about eight oclock, I was walking on the way to huntsdich when I heard a loud noise. Indeed, there were no large groups of people there, because at that time, people were not so free to get together or stay together for a long time, and I didnt stay there for a long time: but the noise was loud enough to arouse my curiosity, so I went to A man looking out of the window said hello and asked what was going on.

There is a watchman, who is said to have been hired to stand guard in front of the door of a house, and the house has been infected, or said to be infected, and has been closed; he has been on duty all night there, and has been on duty for two nights, as he said, while the watchman on duty has been on duty there for a day, and has taken over his shift: during the whole period There was no noise in the house, no light; they didnt ask for anything, they didnt send him to do anything, which is the main work that the watchman often does; and they didnt make any trouble for him, as he said, until Monday afternoon, when he heard the house crying and shouting, and this, as he expected, just Its because someone in the family was dying at that time. Its said that before dark, there was a so-called corpse carrier parked in that place, and then a dead maid was put down at the door, and then it was the kind of undertaker or porter that people said, who stuffed her into the vehicle, wrapped a green blanket and pulled her away.

The watchman heard the noise and cry as mentioned above. It is said that at that time, he knocked at the door, but for a long time, no one answered. But finally someone looked out, in a tone of desperation, but with a cry, or a cry, he said, what do you want to do when you knock like this? And he answered, I am the keeper! How are you doing? What happened? Whats the matter with you? Stop a body truck. Its said that its about one oclock. Soon, as the man said, he stopped a corpse carrier and began to knock at the door, but no one answered: he knocked again, and the watchman called several times to bring out the dead people in your family. But no one answered, until the driver was called by another room and could not wait any longer, he drove away u3002

The watchman didnt know what to do with all this, so he left and didnt care, until the man on the morning shift, or the day watchman, as people said, came to take his place and gave him a detailed explanation. They knocked on the door for a long time, but no one answered. Then they noticed that the window, or the door window, was the person who answered The window, which looked out, continued to open, above the two stories.

Age of plague (translated classic hardcover Series), written by Daniel Defoe, translated by Xu Zhiqiang, Shanghai Translation Press, November 2013.

So, to satisfy their curiosity, the two men got a long ladder. One of them climbed to the window and looked into the room, where he saw a woman lying dead on the floor, looking miserable and miserable, wearing nothing but a sweatshirt: but despite shouting, he poked a long stick in and pounded the floor, no one startled or answered; he I cant hear any noise in the room.

So he came down again and told his companions. They climbed up and found out that this was the case. They decided to tell the mayor or some other chief executive, but they didnt ask to climb in through the window. It is said that the chief executive, after hearing the reports of the two men, ordered to break in and assign the police and other personnel to come You cant swallow anything; then you can do everything according to this. At that time, no one in the room can be found. Except for the young woman, she was infected and no one can save her. The rest left her and let her die. Then they all left. They came up with some way to cover the guard, and then they opened the door, or from what back door, or from what back door He went out over the roof, so he didnt know anything; as for the crying and shouting he heard, it was the familys sad parting. For all of them, it must be like this, because it was the sister of the hostess of the family. The owner of the house, his wife, several children, and servants all fled. I had no idea whether they were ill or not. In fact, I didnt ask too much later.

(function() {(window. Slotbydup = window. Slotbydup| []). Push ({ID: u5811557, container: ssp_, async: true});))) (); there are many such escape situations, escaping from the infected house, especially when the watchman is called to run errands; because his job is to run any errands that others call him to run, that is, to get necessities, such as Food and medicine; to pick up the physician, if they will come, or the surgeon, or the nurse, or to call the corpse carrier, and so on; but also because of this situation, when he left, he had to lock the outermost door of the house, and then take the key with him; in order to escape this, to deceive the guards, people matched their locks Two or three keys; or trying to loosen the screws of the lock; such a lock is screwed on, and then the lock is removed in the house like this. At the same time, they send the watchman to the market, to the bakery, or to do such trivial things as this. They open the door at once and come out as many times as they want: but because this kind of thing is exposed, the officials He ordered padlocks to be placed outside the gate, and pins to them if he felt fit. The other house, as I have learned, is on the street next to eldgate, where the whole family is closed and locked in because the maid is ill. The owner of the house complains to the senator next to him through friends, and then to the mayor, and agrees to send the maid to the infectious disease isolation center, but is refused, so the Red Cross is painted on the door No, there is a padlock outside, as mentioned above, and then a watchman is appointed to guard the door in accordance with the public regulations. This article is selected from Daniel Defoes the age of plague and published by authorization of Shanghai translation. Source: responsible editor of Beijing News: Shu Chengyu and Na 1864

Many of these escapes have occurred, especially when the watchman is called to run errands, because his job is to run any errand that he is called to run, that is, to get necessities, such as food and medicine, to get the physicians, if they will come, or the surgeons, or the nurses Or to call a corpse carrier, etc.; but also because of this situation, when he left, he had to lock the outermost door of the house, and then take the key with him; in order to escape this pass and deceive the watchman, people equipped their locks with two or three keys; or to find a way to loosen the screws of the locks; such locks were screwed on, and then in the house At the same time, they sent the watchmen to the market, to the bakery, or to do such trivial things. They opened the door at once and came out as many times as they wanted. But because such things were exposed, the officials ordered to add padlocks outside the door and plug them if they felt appropriate.

The other house, as I have learned, is on the street next to eldgate, where the whole family is closed and locked in because the maid is ill. The owner of the house complains to the senator next to him through friends, and then to the mayor, and agrees to send the maid to the infectious disease isolation center, but is refused, so the Red Cross is painted on the door No, there is a padlock outside, as mentioned above, and then a watchman is appointed to guard the door in accordance with the public regulations.

This article is selected from Daniel Defoes the age of plague and published by authorization of Shanghai translation.