Quote of the Day: Plague Year

 

It was about the beginning of September, 1664, that I, among the rest of my neighbours, heard in ordinary discourse that the plague was returned again in Holland; for it had been very violent there, and particularly at Amsterdam and Rotterdam, in the year 1663, whither, they say, it was brought, some said from Italy, others from the Levant, among some goods which were brought home by their Turkey fleet; others said it was brought from Candia; others from Cyprus. It mattered not from whence it came; but all agreed it was come into Holland again.

We had no such thing as printed newspapers in those days to spread rumours and reports of things, and to improve them by the invention of men, as I have lived to see practised since. But such things as these were gathered from the letters of merchants and others who corresponded abroad, and from them was handed about by word of mouth only; so that things did not spread instantly over the whole nation, as they do now. But it seems that the Government had a true account of it, and several councils were held about ways to prevent its coming over; but all was kept very private. — Defoe, Daniel. A Journal of the Plague Year 

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

 

Published in Group Writing
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  1. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    And some people thought we had reached the end of history when the Iron Curtain fell. How naive we have been.

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  2. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    You don’t have to go back that far for outbreaks of the plague. It has occurred recently in Algeria as recently as 2003 and Camus wrote about the outbreak in the early 1950s in his novel the Plague (which I am re-reading at the moment). Some of the death scenes are really graphic in the novel.

    My father was inoculated for bubonic plague and sent into quarantine because he had been in a port city where a Chinese trawler had pulled into port carrying the plague. And that was in the 1980s.

    Comparing what we are going through to a war is off the mark as wars tend to cause people to huddle together – closely. This is much more similar to the plague because it isolates people.

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  3. Vectorman Member
    Vectorman
    @Vectorman

    James Hageman: We had no such thing as printed newspapers in those days to spread rumours and reports of things, and to improve them by the invention of men, as I have lived to see practised since.

    In a quick web search, the London Gazette claims to be the oldest surviving English newspaper, first published on 7 November 1665 as The Oxford Gazette. Before then, there were many pamphlets and broadsides. The definition for 17th century newspapers is that they are published at least once a week.


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    • #3