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EXTRACT FROM THE
satisfy 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 2nd inst., at one o'clock in the morning, there happened to break out a sad and deplorable fire in Pudding-lane, 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 the lamentable fire in a short time became too big to be mastered by any engines, or working near it. It fell out most unhappily 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 downward from Cannon-street to the water side, as far as the Three Cranes in the Vintry.
The people in all parts about it were distracted by the vastness of it, and their particular care was 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 places, 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 means to prevent it; calling upon and helping the people with their guards, and a great number of nobility and gentry unwearedly 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 Wednesday morning we began to hope well, and his royal highness never departing nor 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; Pye 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; in 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 burst out 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 labour and diligence used, and especially by applying powder to blow up the houses about it, before day, happily mastered it.
Divers strangers, Dutch and French, were, during the fire, apprehended, upon suspicion that they contributed maliciously to it, who are all imprisoned, and informations prepared to make 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 forward 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 were the danger and mischief was greatest, till this morning that he hath sent his Grace the Duke of Albermarle, 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 pulling down houses to secure the magazines of powder, was most especially successful, that part being up the wind ; notwithstanding which, it came almost to the very gates of it, so as, by the early provision, the several stores of war lodged in the Tower were entirely saved; and we have hitherto this infinite cause particularly to give God thanks that the fire did not happen in any of those places were 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.
SUPPLY OF PROVISIONS.
It must be observed, that this fire happened at a part of the town, where, though the commodities were not very rich, yet they were so bulky that they could not be removed, so that the inhabitants of that part where it first began, have sustained very great loss; but, by the best inquiry 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 poss:bly 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 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 on 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 orders issued to the neighbouring justices of the peace, to encourage the sending provisions into 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 market 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 made of it.
And we cannot but observe, to the confusion of all his Majesty's enemies, who endeavoured 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 now been given in this sad and most deplorable accident, when, if at any time, disorder might have been expected, from the losses, distractions, and almost desperation of some persons in their private fortunes--thousands of people not having habitations to cover them. And yet all this time it hath been so far from any appearance of designs or attempts against his Majesty's government, that his Majesty and his royal brother, out of their care to stop and prevent the fire, exposing frequently their persons, with very small attendants, 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 render their conditions most desperate, and to be fit objects of others' prayers, bebolding 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.
Whitehall, Sept. 12.—His Majesty, in a religious sense of God's heavy hand upon this kingdom, in the late dreadful fire happened in the city of London, hath been pleased to order that the tenth of October next, be observed as a general and solemn fast throughout England, Wales, &c.; and that the distresses of those who have more particularly suffered in that calamity be on that day most effectually recommended to the charity of all well-disposed Christians, in the respective churches and chapels of this kingdom, to be afterward, by the hands of the Lord Mayor of the city of London, distributed for the relief of such as shall be found most to need it.
Whitehall, Sept. 15.-His Majesty pursuing, with a gracious impatience, his pious care for the speedy restoration of his city of London, was pleased to pass, the twelfth instant, his declaration, in council to his city of London upon that subject, full of that princely tenderness and affection which he is pleased on all occasions to express for that, his beloved city.
In the first place, upon the desires of the lord mayor and court of aldermen, he is pleased to prohibit the hasty building of any edifice, till such speedy care be taken for the re-edification of the city as may best secure it from the like accidents, and raise it to a greater beauty and comeliness than formerly it had; the lord mayor and aldermen being required to pull down what shall, contrary to this prohibition be erected, and return the names of such refractory persons to his Majesty and his council, to be proceeded against according to their deserts.
That any considerable number of men addressing themselves to the court of aldermen, and manifesting in what places their ground lies upon which they intend to build, shall in short time receive such order and direction that they shall have no cause to complain.
That no person erect any house or building, but of brick or
REGULATIONS RESPECTING NEW BUILDINGS.
stone, that they be encouraged to practise the good husbandry of strongly arching their cellars, by which divers persons have received notable benefit in the late fire.
That Fleet-street, Cheapside, Cornhill, and all other eminent streets, be of a breadth to prevent the mischief one side may receive from the other by fire; that no streets, especially near the water be so narrow as to make the passages uneasy or inconvenient; nor any allies or lanes erected, but upon necessity, for which there shall be published rules and particular orders.
That a fair quay and wharf be left on all the river side, no honses to be erected, but at a distance declared by the rules. That none of those houses next the river be inhabited by brewers, dyers, or sugar-bakers, who by their continual smokes contribute much to the unhealthiness of the adjacent places; but that such places be allotted them by the lord mayor and court of aldermen, as may be convenient for them, without prejudice of the neighbourhood.
That the lord mayor and court of aldermen cause an exact survey to be made of the ruins, that it may appear to whom the houses and ground did belong, what term the occupiers were possessed of, what rents were paid, and to whom the reversions and inheritances did appertain, for the satisfying all interests, that no man's right be sacrificed to the public convenience. After which a plot and model shall be framed of the whole building, which no doubt may so well please all persons, as to induce them willingly to conform to such rules and orders as shall be agreed to.
His majesty likewise recommends the speedy building some of those many churches which have been burnt, to the charity and magnanimity of well-disposed persons, whom he will direct and assist in the model, and by his bounty encourage all other ways that shall be desired.
And to encourage the work by his example, his majesty will use all expedition to rebuild the Custom House, and enlarge it for the more convenience of the merchants, in the place where it formerly stood: and upon all his own lands, will part with
any thing of his own right and benefit, for the advancement of the public benefit and beauty of the city; and remit to all persons who shall erect any new buildings, according to this his gracious declaration, all duties arising from hearth-money for the space of seven years; as by the declaration itself more at large appears.