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of a bow, a dreadful bow it was, such as and astonishment doth fall upon them at mine eyes never before had seen; a bow this unheard-of, unthought-of, judgment. which had God's arrow in it, with a flam- It would have grieved the heart of an ing point: it was a shining bow; not like unconcerned person to see the rueful that in the cloud, which brings water looks, the pale cheeks, the tears trickling with it; and withal signified God's co- down from the eyes, (where the greatness venant not to destroy the world any more of sorrow and amazement could give leave with water : but it was a bow which had for such a vent,) the smiting of the breast, fire in it, which signified God's anger, the wringing of the hands; to hear the and his intention to destroy London with sighs and groans, the doleful and weepfire.
ing speeches of the distressed citizens, Now the flames break in upon Corn- when they were bringing forth their hill, that large and spacious street, and wives, (some from their child-bed,) and quickly cross the way by the train of their little ones (some from their sick. wood that lay in the streets untaken away, bed,) out of their houses, and sending which had been pulled down from houses them into the country, or somewhere into to prevent its spreading: and so they lick the fields with their goods. Now the the whole street as they go: they mount hopes of London are gone, their heart is up to the top of the highest houses; they sunk; now there is a general remove in descend down to the bottom of the lowest the city, and that in a greater hurry than vaults and cellars; and march along on before the plague, their goods being in both sides of the way, with such a roaring greater danger by the fire than their pernoise, as never was heard in the city of sons were by the sickness. Scarcely are London; no stately building so great as some returned, but they must remove to resist their fury: the Royal Exchange again, and, not as before, now without itself, the glory of the merchants, is now any more hopes of ever returning and invaded with much violence; and wilen living in those houses any more. once the fire was entered, how quickly Now carts, and drays, and coaches, and did it run round the galleries, filling them horses, as many as could have entrance with flames; then came downstairs, into the city, were loaden, and any money compasseth the walks, giving forth flaming is given for help; 5l. 101. 201. 301. for å volleys, and filleth the court with sheets cart, to bear forth into the fields some of fire : by-and-by down fall all the kings choice things, which were ready to be upon their faces, and the greatest part of consumed ; and some of the carinen had the stone-building after them, (the foun- the conscience to accept of the highest der's statue only remaining,) with such a price, which the citizens did then offer in noise as was dreadful and astonishing. their extremity; I am mistaken if such
Then, then the city did shake indeed; money do not burn worse than the fire and the inhabitants did tremble, and flew out of which it was raked. Now casks of away in great amazement from their wine, and oil, and other commodities, are houses, lest the flames should devour tumbled along, and the owners shove as them ; rattle, rattle, rattle, was the noise much of their goods as they can towards which the fire struck upon the ear round the gate : every one now becomes a porter about, as if there had been a thousand to himself, and scarcely a back either of iron chariots beating upon the stones: man or woman, that hath strength, but and if you opened your eye to the opening had a burden on it in the streets: it was of the streets, where the fire was come, very sad to see such throngs of poor citiyou might see, in some places, whole zens coming in and going forth from the streets at once in flames, that issued forth unburnt parts, heavy laden with some as if they had been so many great forges, pieces of their goods, but more heary from the opposite windows, which folding laden with weighty grief and sorry of together, were united into one great fame heart, so that it is wonderful they did not throughout the whole street; and then quite sink under these burdens. you might see the houses tumble, tumble, Monday night was a dreadful night: tumble, from one end of the street to the when the wings of the night had shadowed other, with a great crash, leaving the the light of the heavenly bodies, there was foundations open to the view of the no darkness of night in London, for the heavens.
fire shines now round about with a fearful Now fearfulness and terror doth sur. blaze, which yieldeth such light in the prise the citizens of London; confusion streets, as it had been the sun at noonday. Now the fire having wrought back- break through into Faith church underward strangely against the wind, to Bil- neath; now great flakes of stone scale and lingsgate, &c., along Thames-street, east- peel off strangely from the side of the ward, runs up the hill to Tower-street, walls; the conqueror having got this high and having marched on from Gracechurch fort, darts its flames round about. Now street, making further progress in Fen- Paternoster-row, Newgate-market, the church-street, and having spread its wing Old Bailey, and Ludgate-hill, have subbeyond Queenhithe, in Thames-street, mitted themselves to the devouring fire, westward, mounts up from the water-side, which with wonderful speed rusheth down through Dowgate, and Old Fish-street, the hill into Fleet-street. Now Cheapside into Watling-street : but the great fury of fire marcheth along Ironmonger-lane, Old the fire was in the broader streets; in'the Jewry, Lawrence-lane, Milk-street, Woodmidst of the night it was come down street, Gutter-lane, Foster-lane. Now it Cornhill
, and laid it in the dust, and runs runs along Lothbury, Cateaton-street, &c. along by the Stocks, and there meets with From Newgate-market, it assaults Christanother fire, which came down Thread- church, and conquers that great building, needle-street; a little further with an- and burns through Martin's-lane towards other, which came up from Wallbrook; a Aldersgate, and all about so furiously, as little further with another, which comes if it would not leave a house standing up from Bucklersbury; and, all these four, upon the ground. joining together, break into one great Now horrible flakes of fire mount up fame at the corner of Cheapside, with the sky, and the yellow smoke of London such a dazzling light, and burning heat, ascendeth up towards heaven, like the and roaring noise, by the fall of so many smoke of a great furnace; a smoke so houses together, that was very amazıng'; great, as darkened the sun at noonday: and though it were something stopt in its (if at any time the sun peeped forth, it swift course at Mercers'-chapel, yet with looked red like blood :) the cloud of great force in a while it conquers the smoke was so great, that travellers did place, and burns through it; and then, ride at noonday, some miles together, in with great rage, proceedeth forward in the shadow thereof, though there were no Cheapside.
other cloud beside to be seen in the sky, On Tuesday (the 4th) was the fire burn- And if Monday night was dreadful, ing up the very bowels of London; Cheap- Tuesday night was more dreadful, when side is all in a light, (fire in a few hours far the greatest part of the city was contime,) many fires meeting there, as in the sumed: many thousands who on Saturcentre;
from Soper-lane, Bow-lane, Bread- day had houses convenient in the city, street, Friday-street, and Old Change, the both for themselves, and to entertain fire comes up almost together, and breaks others, now have not where to lay their furiously into the Broad-street, and most head; and the fields are the only recepof that side of the way was together in tacle which they can find for themselves flames, a dreadful spectacle; and then, and their goods; most of the late inpartly by the fire which came down by habitants of London lie all night in the Mercers'-chapel
, partly by the fall of the open air, with no other canopy over them bouses cross the way, the other side is but that of the heavens: the fire is still quickly kindled, and doth not stand long making towards them, and threateneth after it. Now the fire gets into Blacks the suburbs; it was amazing to see how fríars, and so continues its course by the it had spread itself several times in comwater, and makes up towards Paul's pass; and, amongst other things that church, on that side, and Cheapside fire night, the sight of Guildhall was a fearful besets the great building on this side, spectacle, which stood the whole body of and the church, though all of stone out- it together in view, for several hours to. ward, though naked of houses about it, gether, after the fire had taken it, without and though so high above all buildings in Aames, (I suppose because the timber was the city, yet, within a while, doth yield to such solid oak,) in a bright shining coal, the violent assaults of the conquering as if it had been a palace of gold, or a flames, and strangely takes fire at the great building of burnished brass. top: now the lead melts and runs down, On Wednesday morning, (the 5th) when as if it had been snow before the sun; and people expected that the suburbs would the great beams and massy stones with a be burnt, as well as the city, and with great noise fall on the pavement, and speed were preparing their flight, as well as they could, with their luggage into the streets, 13,200 dwelling-houses, eighty countries, and neighbouring villages, then nine churches, (besides chapels,] four o the Lord hath pity on poor London ; his the city gates, Guildhall, many public bowels began to relent; his heart is turned structures, hospitals, schools, libraries, and within him, and he stays his rough wind a vast number of stately edifices. in the day of the east wind; his fury begins to be allayed; he hath a remnant of The preceding relation by Thomas people in London, and there shall a rem- Vincent, with the philosophic' Evelyn's, nant of houses escape: the wind now is will acquaint the reader with as much as husht; the commission of the fire is with- can here be told of the most direful visidrawing, and it burns so gently, even tations the metropolis ever suffered. Evewhere it meets with no opposition, that it lyn's account is in his “ Diary," or " Mewas not hard to be quenched, in many moirs" of himself, a manuscript which is places, with a few hands : now the citi- known to have been preserved from prozens begin to gather a little heart, and bable destruction by Mr. Upcott. encouragement in their endeavours to
John Evelyn's Narrative. quench the fire. A check it had at Leadenhall by that great building; a stop Sept. 2, 1666. This fatal night, about it had in Bishopsgate-street, Fenchurch- ten, began that deplorable fire near Fishstreet, Lime-street, Mark-lane, and to- streete in London. wards the Tower; one means, under God, Sept. 3. The fire continuing, after was the blowing up of houses with gun- dinner I took coach with my wife and powder. Now it is stayed in Lothbury, sonn, and went to the Bankside in SouthBroad-street, Coleman-street; towards the wark, where we beheld that dismal specgates it burnt, but not with any great tacle, the whole citty in dreadful flames violence; at the Temple also it is stayed, neare the water side; all the houses from and in Holborn, where it had got no great the bridge, all Thames-street, and upfooting; and when once the fire was got wards towards Cheapeside downe to the under, it was kept under, and on Thurs- Three Cranes, were now consum'd. day the flames were extinguished. The fire having continu'd all this night
But on Wednesday night, when the (if I may call that night which was as people, late of London, now of the fields, light as day for ten miles round about, hoped to get a little rest on the ground, after a dreadful manner,) when conspiring where they had spread their beds, a more with a fierce eastern wind in a very drie dreadful fear falls upon them than they season: I went on foote to the same had before, through a rumou that the place, and saw the whole south part of French were coming armed against them the citty burning from Cheapeside to the to cut their throats, and spoil them of what Thames, and all along Cornehill, (for it they had saved out of the fire: they were kindld back against the wind as well as now naked and weak, and in ill condition forward,)Tower-streete, Fenchurch-streete, to defend themselves, and the hearts, es. Gracious-streete, and so along to Baipecially of the females, do quake and nard's-castle, and was now taking hold of tremble, and are ready to die within St. Paule's church, to which the scaffolds them; yet many citizens, having lost their contributed exceedingly. The conflagrahouses, and almost all that they had, are tion was so universal, and the people so fired with rage and fury: and they begin astonish'd, that from the beginning, I to stir up themselves like lions, or like know not by what despondency or fate, bears bereaved of their whelps, and now they hardly stirr'd to quench it, so that “ Arm! Arm!" doth resound the fields there was nothing heard or seene but and suburbs with a dreadful voice. We crying out and lamentation, running about may guess at the distress and perplexity of like distracted creatures, without at all the people this night, which was some- attempting to save even their goods, such thing alleviated when the falseness of the a strange consternation there was upon alarm was perceived.
them, so as it burned both in breadth and The ruins of the city were 396 acres; length, the churches, publiq halls, er (viz. 333 acres within the walls, and 63 change, hospitals, monuments, and ornain the liberties of the city,) of the six and ments, leaping after a prodigious manner twenty wards, it utterly destroyed fif- from house to house and streete to streete, teen, and left eight others shattered, at greate distances one from the other; and half burnt; and it consumed 400 for the heate with a long set of faire and warme weather, had even ignited the air, quenching of Fetter-lane end, to preserve and prepar'd the materials to conceive if possible that part of Holborn, while the fire which devour'd after an incredible the rest of the gentlemen tooke their semanner, houses, furniture, and every veral posts (for now they began to bestir thing. Here we saw the Thames cover'd themselves, and not till now, who hitherto with goods floating, all the barges and had stood as men intoxicated, with their boates laden with what some had time hands acrosse), and began to consider and courage to save, as, on the other, the that nothing was likely to put a stop but carts, &c. carrying out to the fields, which the blowing up of so many houses as for many miles were strew'd with move- might make a wider gap than any had ables of all sorts, and tents erecting to yet ben made by the ordinary method of shelter both people and what goods they pulling them down with engines; this could get away. Oh, the miserable and some stout seamen propos'd early enough calamitous spectacle ! such as haply the to have sav'd neare the whole citty, but world had not seene the like since the this some tenacious and avaritious men, foundation of it, nor to be outdone till aldermen, &c. would not permit, because the universal conflagration. All the skie their houses must have ben of the first. was of a fiery aspect, like the top of a It was therefore now commanded to be burning oven, the light seene above forty practic'd, and my concern being particumiles round about for many nights. God larly for the hospital of St. Bartholomew grant my eyes may never behold the like, neere Smithfield, where I had many now seeing above 10,000 houses all in one wounded and sick men, made me the flame; the noise and cracking and thun- more diligent to promote it, nor was my der of the impetuous flames, the shrieking care for the Savoy lesse. It now pleas'd of women and children, the hurry of peo- God by abating the wind, and by the inple, the fall of towers, houses, and dustry of the people, infusing a new spichurches, was like an hideous storme, and rit into them, that the fury of it began the aire all about so hot and inflam'd that sensibly to abate about noone, so as it at last one was not able to approach it, came no farther than the Temple westso that they were forc'd to stand still and ward, nor than the entrance of Smithfield let the flames burn on, which they did for north ; but continu'd all this day and neere two miles in length and one in night so impetuous towards Cripplegate breadth. The clouds of smoke were dis- and the Tower, as made us all despaire: mall, and reach'd upon computation neer it also broke out againe in the Temple, fifty miles in length. Thus I left it this but the courage of the multitude persistafternoone burning, a resemblance of ing, and many houses being blown up, Sodom, or the last day. London was, such gaps and desolations were soone but is no more !
made, as with the former three days' conSept. 4. The burning still rages, and sumption, the back fire did not so veheit was now gotten as far as the Inner mently urge upon the rest as formerly. Temple, all Fleete-streete, the Old Bailey, There was yet no standing neere the Ludgate-hill
, Warwick-lane, Newgate, burning and glowing ruines by neere a Paul's Chain, Watling-streete, now flam- furlong's space. ing, and most of it reduc'd to ashes; the The poore inhabitants were dispers'd stones of Paules flew like granados, the about St. George's Fields, and Mooremelting lead running downc the streetes fields, as far as Highgate, and severall in a streame, and the very pavements miles in circle, some under tents, some glowing with fiery rednesse, so as no under miserable huts and hovells, many horse por man was able to tread on them, without a rag or any necessary utensills, and the demolition had stopp'd all the bed or board, who from delicatenesse, passages, so that no help could be ap- riches, and easy accommodations in stateplied. The eastern wind still more im- ly and well furnish'd houses, were now petuously drove the flames forward. reduc'd to extreamest misery and poverty; Nothing but the Almighty power of God In this calamitous condition I return'd was able to stop them, for vaine was the with a sad heart to my house, blessing help of man.
and adoring the mercy of God to me and Sept. 5. "It crossed towards White- mine, who in the midst of all this ruine hall; Oh, the confusion there was then at was like Lot, in my little Zoar, safe and that court! it pleased his majesty to com- sound. mand me among the rest to looke after the
Sept. 7. I went this morning on foote
from Whitehall as far as London Bridge, burning in stench and dark clouds of thro' the late Fleete-streete, Ludgate-hill, smoke, so that in five or six miles traby St. Paules, Cheapeside, Exchange, versing about I did not see one load of Bishopsgate, Aldersgate, and out to timber unconsum'd, nor many stones but Moorefields, thence thro' Cornebille, &c. what were calcin'd white as snow, The with extraordinary difficulty, clambering people who now walk'd about the ruines over heaps of yet smoking rubbish, and appear'd like men in a dismal desart, or frequently mistaking where I was. The rather in some great citty laid waste by a ground under my feete was so hot, that it cruel enemy; to which was added the even burnt the soles of my shoes. In the stench that came from some poore creamean time his majesty got to the Tower tures bodies, beds, &c. Sir Tho. Gresby water to demolish the houses about ham's statue, tho' fallen from its nich in the graff, which being built intirely about the Royal Exchange, remain'd intire, it, had they taken fire and attack'd the when all those of the kings since the conWhite Tower where the magazine of pow- quest were broken to pieces, also the der lay, would undoubtedly not only have standard in Cornehill, and Q. Elizabeth's beaten downe and destroy'd all the bridge, effigies, with some armes on Ludgate, but sunke and torne the vessells in the continued with but little detriment, whilst river, and render'd the demolition be- the vast yron chaines of the cittie streetes, yond all expression for several miles hinges, bars and gates of prisons, were about the countrey.
many of them mealted and reduced to At my return I was infinitely concern'd cinders by the vehement heate. I was to find that goodly church St. Paules not able to passe through any of the now a sad ruine, and that beautifull por- narrow streetes, but kept the widest, the tico (for structure comparable to any in ground and aire, smoake and fiery vaEurope, as not long before repair'd by pour, continu'd so intense that my haire the king,) now rent in pieces, flakes of was almost sing'd, and my feete unsuffervast stone split asunder, and nothing re- ably surheated. The bie lanes and parmaining intire but the inscription in the rower streetes were quite fill'd up with architrave, shewing by whom it was built, rubbish, nor could one have knowne which had not one letter of it defac'd where he was, but by the ruines of some It was astonishing to see what immense church or hall, that had some remarkable stones the heat had in a manner calcin'd, tower or pinnacle remaining. I then went so that all the ornaments, columns, freezes, towards Islington and Highgate, where and projectures of massie Portland stone one might have seene 200,000 people of flew off, even to the very roofe, where a all ranks and degrees dispers'd and lying sheet of lead covering a great space was along by their heapes of what they could totally mealted; the ruines of the vaulted save from the fire, deploring their losse, roofe falling broke into St. Faith's, which and tho' ready to perish for hunger and being fill?d with the magazines of bookes destitution, yet not asking one penny for belonging to the stationers, and carried relief, which' to me appear'd a stranger thither for safety, they were all consum'd, sight than any I had yet beheld. His burning for a weeke following. It is also majesty and council indeede tooke ail observable that the lead over the altar at imaginable care for their reliefe by prothe east end was untouch’d, and among clamation for the country to come in and the divers monuments, the body of one refresh them with provisions. In the bishop remain'd intire. Thus lay in midst of all this calamity and confusion, ashes that most venerable church, one of there was, I know not how, an alarme the most antient pieces of early piety in begun, that the French and Dutch, with the christian world, besides neere one whom we were now in hostility, were not hundred more. The lead, yron worke, onely landed, but even entering the citty, bells, plate, &c. mealted; the exquisitely There was in truth some days before wrought Mercers'-chapell, the sumptuous greate suspicion of those two nations Exchange, the august fabriq of Christ joyning; and now, that they had been the church, all the rest of the companies occasion of firing the towne. This report halls, sumptuous buildings, arches, all in did so terrifie, that on a suddaine there dust; the fountaines dried up and ruin'd was such an uproare and tumult that they whilst the very waters remain'd boiling; ran from their goods, and, taking what the vorrago's of subterranean cellars, wells, weapons they could come at, they could and dungeons, formerly warehouses, still not be stopp'd from falling on some of