Daniel Defoe

[Daniel Defoe]

Daniel Defoe

set text:

Defoe, Daniel. A Journal of the Plague Year. 1722. Ed. Anthony Burgess. 1966. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978.

[September, 1665]:

I think it ought to be recorded to the honour of such men, as well clergy as physicians, surgeons, apothecaries, magistrates, and officers of every kind, as also all useful people who ventured their lives in discharge of their duty, as most certainly all such as stayed did to the last degree; and several of all these kinds did not only venture but lose their lives on that sad occasion.

I was once making a list of all such, I mean of all those professions and employments who thus died, as I call it, in the way of their duty; but it was impossible for a private man to come at a certainty in the particulars. I only remember that there died sixteen clergymen, two aldermen, five physicians, thirteen surgeons, within the city and liberties before the beginning of September. But this being, as I said before, the great crisis and extremity of the infection, it can be no complete list. As to inferior people, I think there died six-and-forty constables and head-boroughs in the two parishes of Stepney and Whitechappel; but I could not carry my list oil, for when the violent rage of the distemper in September came upon us, it drove us out of all measures. Men did then no more die by tale and by number. They might put out a weekly bill, and call them seven or eight thousand, or what they pleased; 'tis certain they died by heaps, and were buried by heaps, that is to say, without account. And if I might believe some people, who were more abroad and more conversant with those things than I though I was public enough for one that had no more business to do than I had, - I say, if I may believe them, there was not many less buried those first three weeks in September than 20,000 per week. However, the others aver the truth of it; yet I rather choose to keep to the public account; seven and eight thousand per week is enough to make good all that I have said of the terror of those times; - and it is much to the satisfaction of me that write, as well as those that read, to be able to say that everything is set down with moderation, and rather within compass than beyond it.

- A Journal of the Plague Year (1978): 245-46.

Select Bibliography:


The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner (1719)

Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719)

Serious Reflections occasioned by the Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1720)

Captain Singleton (1720)

Memoirs of a Cavalier (1720)

Moll Flanders (1722)

Captain Jack (1722)

Roxana, or The Fortunate Mistress (1724)


The True born Englishman (1701)

Hymn To The Pillory (1703)

pamphlets & essays:

The Shortest Way With Dissenters (1702)

The Storm (1704)

Religious Courtship (1722)

A General History of the Pyrates (1724)

The Great Law of Subordination Considered (1724)

A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724-27)

Everybody's Business is Nobody's Business (1725)

The Complete English Tradesman (1726)

The Political History of the Devil (1726)

A System of Magick (1726)

An Essay on the History and Reality of Apparitions (1727)

A General History of Discoveries and Improvements (1727)

The New Family Instructor (1727)

Atlas Maritimus and Commercialis (1728)

Biography & Secondary Literature:

Hassan, Nawal Muhammad. Hayy bin Yaqzan and Robinson Crusoe: A study of an early Arabic impact on English literature. Cairo: Al-Rashid House for Publication, 1980.

Richetti, John J. The Life of Daniel Defoe. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2005.

West, Richard. The Life and Strange, Surprising Adventures of Daniel Defoe, Writer. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1998.

Homepages & Online Information:

Daniel Defoe: A Journal of the Plague Year (1722)

Wikipedia entry

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