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mastered by any engines, or working near it. ̈ A violent easterly wind spread the flames up Grace-church Street, and downwards from Cannon Street to the water-side.It raged in a bright flame all Monday and Tuesday; but on the evening of the latter day, the fire meeting with brick buildings at the Temple, it was observed to lose its force on that side; and towards Wednesday evening a stop was put to it at the Temple church, near Holborn Bridge, Pie Corner, Aidersgate, Cripplegate, near the lower end of Coleman Street, at the end of Basinghall Street, by the Postern at the upper end of Bishopsgate Street, and Leadenhall Street, in Cornhill, at the church in Fenchurch Street, near Clothworkers' Hall in Mincing Lane, at the middle of Mark Lane, and at the Tower Dock; and on Thursday, September the sixth, it was wholly extinguished.
It was noticed at the time by authority, in the last paragraph of the London Gazette, from Thursday, August 30, to Monday, September 3, 1666, and its whole catastrophe inserted in the next, from the third to the tenth of September, on the authenticity of which, the reader may place the firmest reliance :
"Whitehall, Sept. 8. 1666. "The ordinary course of this paper having been interrupted by a sad and lamentable accident of fire lately happened in the city of London, it has been thought fit, for satisfying the minds of so many of his majesty's good subjects, who must needs be concerned for the issue of so great an accident, to give this short but true account of it.
"On the second instant, at one of the clock in the morning, there happened to break out a sad and deplorable fire in Pudding Lane, near New Fish Street, which, falling out at that hour of the night, and in a quarter of the town so close built with wooden pitched houses, spread itself so far before day, and with such distraction to the inhabitants and neighbours, that care was not taken for the timely preventing the further diffusion of it, by pulling down houses, as ought to have been; so that this lamentable fire, in a short time, became too big to be mastered by any engines, or working near it. It
fell out most unhapily too, that a violent easterly wind fomented it, and kept it burning all that day and the night following, spreading itself up to Gracechurch Street, and downwards from Cannon Street to the water side, as far as the Three Cranes in the Vintry.
"The people in all parts about it, distracted by the vastness of it, and their particular care to carry away their goods, many attempts were made to prevent the spreading of it, by pulling down houses, and making great intervals, but all in vain; the fire seizing upon the timber and rubbish, and so continuing itself, even through those spaces, and raging in a bright flame all Monday and Tuesday, notwithstanding his Majesty's own, and his Royal Highness's indefatigable and personal pains to apply all possible remedies to prevent it, calling upon and helping the people with their guards; and a great number of nobility and gentry unweariedly assisting therein, for which they were requited with a thousand blessings from the poor distressed people. By the favour of God, the wind slackened a little on Tuesday night, and the flames meeting with brick buildings at the Temple, by little and little it was observed to lose its force on that side; so that on Wedensday morning we began to hope well; and his Royal Highness, never despairing or slackening his personal care, wrought so well that day, assisted in some parts by the lords of the council, before and behind it, that a stop was put to it at the Temple church, near Holborn Bridge, Pie Corner, Aldersgate, Cripplegate, near the lower end of Coleman Street, at the end of Basinghall Street, by the Postern at the upper end of Bishopsgate Street and Leadenhall Street, at the Standard in Cornhill, at the church in Fenchurch Street, near Clothworkers' Hall, in Mincing Lane, at the middle of Mark Lane, and at the Tower Dock.
"On Thursday, by the blessing of God, it was wholly beat down and extinguished; but so as that evening it unhappily burst out again afresh at the Temple, by the falling of some sparks (as is supposed) upon a pile of wooden buildings; but his Royal Highness, who watched there the whole night in person, by the great labours and diligence used, and especially by applying powder to
blow up the houses about it, before day, most happily mastered it.
"Divers strangers, Dutch and French, were, during the fire, apprehended, upon suspicion that they contri buted mischievously to it, who are all imprisoned, and informations prepared to make a severe inquisition hereupon, by my Lord Chief-justice Keeling, assisted by some of the Lords of the Privy Council, and some principal members of the city; notwithstanding which suspicions, the manner of the burning all along in a train, and so blown forwards in all its ways by strong winds, makes us conclude the whole was an effect of an unhappy chance, or, to speak better, the heavy hand of God upon us for our sins, shewing us the terror of his judgment in thus raising the fire, and immediately after his miraculous and never-enough-to-be-acknowledged mercy, in putting a stop to it when we were in the last despair, and that all attempts for the quenching it, however industriously pursued, seemed insufficient. His Majesty then sat hourly in council, and ever since hath continued making rounds about the city, in all parts of it where the danger and mischief was greatest, till this morning that he hath sent his grace the Duke of Albemarle, whom he hath called for to assist him in this great occasion, to put his happy and successful hand to the finishing this memorable deliverance.
"About the Tower, the seasonable orders given for plucking down houses to secure the magazines of powder, was more especially successful, that part being up the wind, notwithstanding which it came almost to the very gates of it, so as by this early provision, the several stores of war lodged in the Tower were entirely saved; and we have further this infinite cause particularly to give God thanks that the fire did not happen in any of those places where his Majesty's naval stores are kept, so as though it hath pleased God to visit us with his own hand, he hath not, by disfurnishing us with the means of carrying on the war, subjected us to our enemies.
"It must be observed, that this fire happened in a part of the town where, though the commodities were not very rich, yet they were so bulky that they could not well
be removed, so that the inhabitants of that part where it first began have sustained very great loss; but by the best enquiry we can make, the other parts of the town, where the commodities were of greater value, took the alarm so early, that they saved most of their goods of value, which possibly may have diminished the loss, though some think, that if the whole industry of the inhabitants had been applied to the stopping of the fire, and not to the saving of their particular goods, the success might have been much better, not only to the public, but to many of them in their own particulars.
“Through this sad accident, it is easy to be imagined how many persons were necessitated to remove themselves and goods into the open fields, where they were forced to continue some time, which could not but work compassion in the beholders; but his Majesty's care was most signal in this occasion, who, besides his personal pains, was frequent in consulting all ways for relieving those distressed persons, which produced so good effect, as well by his Majesty's proclamations, and the orders issued to the neighbouring justices of the peace, to encourage the sending in provisions to the markets, which are publicly known, as by other directions, that when his Majesty, fearing lest other orders might not yet have been sufficient, had commanded the victualler of his navy to send bread into Moorfields, for the relief of the poor, which, for the more speedy supply, he sent in biscuit out of the sea stores; it was found that the markets had been already so well supplied, that the people, being unaccustomed to that kind of bread, declined it; and so it was returned in great part to his Majesty's stores again, without any use being made of it.
"And we cannot but observe, to the confutation of all his Majesty's enemies, who endeavour to persuade the world abroad of great parties and disaffection at home against his Majesty's government, that a greater instance of the affections of this city could never be given than hath been now given in this sad and deplorable accident, when if at any time disorder might have been expected from the losses, distraction, and almost desperation of some persons in their private fortunes, thousands of peo
ple not having had habitations to cover them; and yet in all this time it hath been so far from any appearance of design, or attempts against his Majesty's government, that his Majesty, and his royal brother, out of their care to stop and prevent the fire, frequently exposing their persons, with very small attendance, in all parts of the town, sometimes even to be intermixed with those who laboured in the business, yet, nevertheless, there hath not been observed so much as a murmuring word to fall from any ; but on the contrary, even those persons whose losses rendered their conditions most desperate, and to be fit objects of others' prayers, beholding those frequent instances of his Majesty's care of his people, forgot their own misery, and filled the streets with their prayers for his Majesty, whose trouble they seemed to compassionate before their own."
Notwithstanding 'the extent of the conflagration, not more than six persons perished; but the destruction of churches, halls of companies, and other public buildings, and the houses of the inhabitants, was immense. The value of property of all kinds destroyed by the fire, was computed at 7,335,000l. The number of houses burned was about 13,200.
Before the fire, London, which like most great cities, had arisen from small beginnings, was altogether inelegant, inconvenient, and very unhealthy; which latter misfortune, without doubt, proceeded from the narrowness of the streets, and the unaccountable projections of the buildings, that confined the putrid air, and, joined with other circumstances, such as the want of water, rendered the city seldom free from pestilential contagion. The fire which consumed the greater part of the city, dreadful as it was to the inhabitants at that time, was productive of consequences which made ample amends for the losses sustained by individuals; but it is ever to be lamented, that the magnificent, elegant, and useful plan of the great Sir Christopher Wren, for re-building it, was totally disregarded, and sacrificed to the selfish views of private property.
London, however, arose from its ashes with new beauty; the streets were no longer narrow and inconvenient, the