London in the Time of the Stuarts

By Walter Besant | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
PUBLIC MORALITY

IN 1679 the Lord Mayor issued a Proclamation in favour of religion, morality, and cleanliness which ought to have converted and convinced a whole City. It did not, because sinners observed with satisfaction that there was no possibility of the pains and penalties being enforced. This instructive document deserves to be set forth at length:--

"The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, having taken into his serious consideration the many dreadful afflictions which this City hath of late years suffered, by a raging plague, a most unheard-of devouring fire, and otherwise: and justly fearing that the same have been occasioned by the many hainous crying sins and provocations to the Divine Majesty: and his Lordship also considering the present dangers of greater mischiefs and misery which seem still to threaten this City, if the execution of the righteous judgments of God Almighty be not prevented by an universal timely repentance, and reformation: hath, therefore, thought it one duty of his office, being intrusted to take all possible care for the good government, peace, and welfare of this City, first, to pray and persuade all and every the inhabitants thereof to reform, themselves and families, all sins and enormities whereof they know themselves to be guilty: and if neither the fear of the Great God, nor of His impending judgments shall prevail upon them, he shall be obliged to let them know that, as he is their chief Magistrate, he ought not to bear the sword in vain: and therefore doth resolve, by God's grace, to take the assistance of his brethren the Aldermen, and to require the aid of all the Officers of this City in their several places, to punish and suppress according to the laws of the land, and the good customs of this City, those scandalous and provoking sins which have of late increased and abounded amongst us, even without shame, to the dishonour of Christianity, and the scandal of the government of this City, heretofore so famous over the world for its piety, sobriety, and good order.

To the end therefore that the laws may become a terror unto evil-doers, and that such, in whose hearts the fear of God and the love of virtue shall, not prevail,

-355-

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London in the Time of the Stuarts
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • 49079 Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xi
  • Sovereigns 1
  • Chapter I James I 3
  • Chapter II Charles I 22
  • Chapter III the City and the Civil War 53
  • Chapter IV the Commonwealth 64
  • Chapter V the Restoration 74
  • Chapter VI 82
  • Chapter VII: James II 103
  • Chapter VIII William the Third 117
  • Chapter IX Queen Anne 127
  • Religion, Government, and Trade 135
  • Chapter I Religion 137
  • Chapter II Tiie Church and Dissent 154
  • Chapter III Superstitions 159
  • Chapter IV Sanctuary 168
  • Chapter V City Government and Usages 172
  • Chapter VI Trade 190
  • Chapter VII the Irish Estates 206
  • The Great Plague and Fire 213
  • Chapter I Plague 215
  • Chapter II Plague and Medicine 233
  • Chapter III the Fire 240
  • Chapter IV Ii. the Fire of London 244
  • Chapter V Contemporary Evidence 258
  • Chapter VI London After the Fire 269
  • Manners and Customs 285
  • Chapter I Food and Drink 287
  • Chapter II Dress and Manners 298
  • Chapter III Weddings and Funerals 308
  • Chapter IV Places of Resort 311
  • Chapter V Theatre and Art 318
  • Chapter VI: Sports and Amusements 328
  • Chapter VII Coaches 338
  • Chapter VIII Punishment and Crime 345
  • Chapter IX Public Morality 355
  • Chapter X General Notes 359
  • Appendices 363
  • Index 385
  • Ogilby and Morgan's Map of London, 1677 397
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