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Sunday, December 11

17th Century Scientific History in the Headlines

A century before Jane Austen's birth a statistician named John Gaunt recorded the deaths of London's citizens. showcases some details from his “Natural and Political Observations Made Upon the Bills of Mortality.” Gaunt noted:
“The old Streets are unfit for the present frequency of Coaches.” He speculated that overpopulation and squalid conditions accounted for Londoners’ mediocre health and frequent bouts with plague, foreshadowing the work of early epidemiologists. “London, the Metropolis of England, is perhaps a Head too big for the Body, and possibly too strong,” 

The highest number of recorded deaths were from the plague, but he also recorded a malady of teeth and worms, excessive drinking, lethargy, itch, and fainting in the bath. Nine people perished after being frightened. The treatise will go on display at London’s Royal Society on Monday as part of an exhibition celebrating 350 years of scientific book collecting. It will be shown through June.

Itch, Fear, And Grief Listed Among The Causes Of Death For 17th Century Londoners, Daily Mail

1 comment:

Mom Walds Place said...

This really makes one rethink the phrase, "the good old days".