Lewis, by the Grace of God, King of France and Navarre. To our beloved and faithful Counsellors holding our Court of Parliament of Paris, and to all others whom it may Concern: Greeting. Our well beloved Nicholas Carré of Paris, having represented to us, that a Manuscript has been put into his Hands, intitled, A Brief Journal of what passed in the City of Marseilles while it was afflicted with the Plague; and most humbly besought us to grant him our Letters of Privilege, for the sole printing and vending thereof throughout our Dominions.——We being willing to treat the Petitioner favourably, and to acknowledge his Zeal for the Good and Benefit of the Publick, do by these Presents grant to him and his Assigns, the sole Liberty of printing and publishing the said Book, for the term of six Years from the Date hereof:—Forbidding all other Persons to print or counterfeit the same, on the Penalty of Confiscation of such Copies, and of a Fine of three thousand Livres, to be paid by every Offender. Done at Paris, the 17th of July in the sixth Year of our Reign. By the King in Council.
HE Coasts of the Levant being always suspected of the Plague, all Ships which come from thence for Marseilles stop at the Islands of Chateaudif; and the Intendants of Health regulate the Time and Manner of their Quarantaines, and of purifying their Cargoes, by the Tenor of their Patents (or Bills of Health), and by the State of Health of the particular Places from whence they come.
The Beginning of May, 1720. we had Advice at Marseilles, that from the Month of March the Plague was rife in most of the Maritime Towns or trading Ports of Palestine and Syria.
 The 25th of the said Month of May, the Ship commanded by Captain Chataud, which came from thence, that is to say, from Sidon, Tripoli, Syria, and Cyprus, arrives at the said Islands; but his Patents are clean (i.e. his Certificates imported there was no Contagion at those Places,) because he came away the 31st of January, before the Plague was there. He declares, however, to the Intendants of Health, that in his Voyage, or at Leghorn where he touched, Six Men of his Crew died, but he shews by the Certificate of the Physicians of Health at Leghorn, that they died only of Malignant Fevers, caused by unwholesome Provisions.
The 27th of May, one of his Sailors dies in his Ship.
The 28th, the Intendants cause the Corpse to be carried into the Infirmary; Guerard, chief Surgeon of Health, views it; and makes Report, that it has not any Mark of Contagion.
The 29th, the Intendants settle the purifying of the Goods of this Cargo, to Forty Days compleat, to be reckoned from the Day the last Bale shall be carried from it into the Infirmaries.
The last of May, Three other Vessels arrive at the same Islands; viz. Two small Vessels of Captain Aillaud's from Sidon, whence they came since the Plague was there; and Captain Fouque's Bark from Scanderoon.
The 12th of June, Captain Gabriel's Ship arrives there likewise from the same Places, with a foul Patent; (i.e. importing, that the Plague was there.)
The same Day the Officer, whom the Intendants had put on Board Captain Chataud's Ship to see Quarantain duly performed, dies there; Guerard chief Surgeon of Health views the Body, and makes Report that it has not any Mark of Contagion.
The 14th of June, the Passengers who came in the said Ship, are perfumed for the last Time in the Infirmaries; and are allowed to enter the City as usual.
The 23d, being the Eve of St. John Baptist, the Grand Prior arrives at Genoa with the King's Gallies; the Sheriffs have the Honour to welcome him, and I to make a Speech to him in the Name of the City.
The same Day a Cabbin-Boy of Captain Chataud's Ship, a Servant employed at the Infirmaries in purifying the Goods of that Ship, and another who was purifying those of Captain Gabriel's Ship, fall sick; the same Surgeon makes Report that they have not any Mark of Contagion.
The 24th, another Servant employed to purify Captain Aillaud's Goods, falls sick likewise; is visited, and the same Report made.
The 24th, and 26th, all Four dye one after another; their Bodies are viewed, and Report made that they have not any Mark of Contagion.
Notwithstanding the Reports thus made, the Intendants consult and resolve by way of Precaution to cause all these Bodies to be buried in Lime; to remove from the Island of Pomegué the Ships of the Captains Chataud, Aillaud, and Gabriel, and send them to a distant Island called Jarre, there to begin again their Quarantain; and to inclose the Yard where their Goods are purifying in the Infirmaries, without suffering the Servants employed to air them, to come out.
The 28th of June, another Vessel, being Captain Gueymart's Bark, from Sidon, arrives at the foresaid Islands with a foul Patent.
The 1st of July, the Intendants pass a Resolution, to cause all the Vessels which were come with foul Patents, to Anchor at a good Distance off the Island of Pomegué.
The 7th of July, two more Servants shut up to purify in the Infirmaries the Goods brought by Captain Chataud, fall sick; the Surgeon finds Tumours in their Groyns, and says in his Report that he does not believe however it is the Plague: He pays for his Incredulity, perhaps for not right understanding the Distemper, by dying himself soon after, with part of his Family.
The 8th, another Servant falls sick; the Surgeon finds a Swelling in the upper Part of the Thigh, and then declares he takes it to be a Mark of Contagion, and desires a Consultation.
Immediately the Intendants call three other Master Surgeons to visit the said Servants; their Report is, that they have all certainly the Plague.
The 9th those Patients dye, they are buried in Lime, and all their Apparel is burnt.
The Intendants resolve to cause all the Goods of Captain Chataud's Cargoe, to be taken out of the Infirmaries, and sent to be purified on the Island of Jarre; and they repair to the Town-House to acquaint the Sheriffs with what has passed.
The Matter appearing to be of Consequence, they write about it to the Council of Marine, and to the Marshal Duke de Villars, Governor of Provence; and M. Estelle, one of the chief Sheriffs, with two Intendants of Health, are deputed to go to Aix to give an Account of it to M. Lebret, first President of the Parliament and Intendant of Justice and of Commerce.
The same Day, M. Peissonel, and his Son, Physicians, come to the Town-House, to give Notice to the Sheriffs, that having been called to a House in the Square of Linche, to visit a young Man named Eissalene, he appeared to them to have the Plague.
That Instant, Guards are sent to the Door of that House, to hinder any one from coming out of it.
The 10th of July that Patient dies, and his Sister falls sick; the Guard is doubled; and it being judged proper to carry both off; to do it the more quietly, and without alarming the People, it is delayed till Night; when at Eleven a Clock M. Moustier, another of the chief Sheriffs, repairs thither without Noise, sends for Servants from the Infirmaries, encourages them to go up into the House, and they having brought down the Dead and the Sick, he orders them to carry them in Litters without the Town to the Infirmaries, causes all Persons belonging to the House to be conducted thither likewise, accompanies them himself with Guards, that none might come near them, and then returns to see the Door of the House closed up with Mortar.
The 11th Notice is given, that one Boyal is fallen sick in the same Quarter of the Town, Physicians and Surgeons are sent to visit him; they declare he has the Plague, his House is instantly secured by Guards, and when Night is come M. Moustier goes thither, sends for the Buriers of the Dead from the Infirmaries, and finding the Patient was newly dead, causes them to take the Corpse, accompanies it, sees it interred in Lime, and then returns to remove all the Persons of that House to the Infirmaries, and the Door to be closed up.
The 12th all this is told to the Grand Prior, who still remains at Marseilles; the first President is writ to; the Intendants of Health are assembled, to cause all the Vessels come from the Levant, with foul Patents, to go back to the Island of Jarre, and all their Goods that remain in the Infirmaries to be removed thither likewise: M. Audimar, one of the Sheriffs, presided in their Assembly, to influence them to pass this Resolution.
This, and the following Day, the Sheriffs make very strict Enquiry in the Town, to discover all Persons who had Communication with those Dead or Sick of the Plague; the most suspected are sent to the Infirmaries, and the others confined to their Houses.
The 14th, they write an Account of what has passed to the Council of Marine; they resolve not to give any more Patents (or Certificates of Health) to any Vessel, till they can be sure the Distemper is over.
The 15th, left from this Refusal to give Certificates of Health, it should be believed in foreign Countries that the plague is in Marseilles; and lest this should entirely interrupt all Commerce, they write to the Officers Conservators of Health at all the Ports of Europe, the real Fact; that is to say, That there are several Persons ill of the Contagion in the Infirmaries, but that it has not made any Progress in the City.
The 21st of July, nothing of the Plague having since been discovered in the Town, they write it with Joy to the Council of Marine, and continue to provide whatever is necessary in the Infirmaries for the Subsistance of suspected Persons whom they have sent thither, and of those whom they have confined to their Houses.
Already the Publick, recovered from their Fright, begin to explode as useless the Trouble the Sheriffs had given themselves, and all the Precautions they had taken; 'tis pretended, the Two Persons who died in the Square of Linche, were carried off by quite another Distemper than the Plague: The Physicians and Surgeons are upbraided with having by their Error allarmed the whole Town. Abundance of People are observed to assume the Character of a dauntless Freedom of Mind, who are soon after seen more struck with Terror than any others, and to fly with more Disorder and Precipitation; their boasted Firmness quickly forsakes them. The Truth is, the Plague is to be feared and shunned.
The 26th of July, Notice is given to the Sheriffs, that in the Street of Lescalle, a Part of the old Town inhabited only by poor People, Fifteen Persons are suddenly fallen sick: They dispatch thither Physicians and Surgeons; they examine into the Distemper, and make Report; some, that 'tis a Malignant Fever; others, a contagious or pestilential Fever, occasioned by bad Food, which Want had long forced those poor Creatures to live upon: Not one of them says positively it is the Plague. A Man must indeed have been very well assured of it, to say it; the Publick had already shewed a Disposition to resent any false Alarm.
The Sheriffs do not rest wholly satisfied with this Report, but resolve to proceed in the same Way of Precaution, as if those Sick were actually touched with the Plague; to send them all without Noise to the Infirmaries; and for the present to confine them in their Houses.
The 27th, Eight of those Sick dye; the Sheriffs themselves go to their Houses to cause them to be searched; Buboes are found on Two of them: The Physicians and Surgeons still hold the same Language, and impute the Cause of the Distemper to unwholsome Food. Notwithstanding which, as soon as Night comes, M. Moustier repairs to the Place, sends for Servants from the Infirmaries, makes them willingly or by Force, take up the Bodies, with all due Precautions; they are carried to the Infirmaries, where they are buried with Lime; and all the rest of the Night he causes the remaining Sick, and all those of their Houses, to be removed to the Infirmaries.
The 28th, very early in the Morning, Search is made every where for those who had Communication with them, in order to confine them: Other Persons in the same Street fall sick, and some of those who first sicken'd dye. At Midnight M. Estelle (who was come back from Aix) repairs thither; causes the Buriers of the Dead at the Infirmaries to attend; makes them carry off the dead Bodies, and bury them in Lime; and then till Day-break sees all the Sick conducted to the Infirmaries.
The People who love to deceive themselves, and will have it absolutely not to be the Plague, urge a Hundred false Reasons on that Side. Would the Plague, say they, attack none but such poor People? Would it operate so slowly?
Let them have but a few Days Patience, and they will see all attacked without Distinction, with the swiftest Rage, and the most dreadful Havock, that ever was heard of.
Some obstinately contend that the Distemper proceeded wholly from Worms: But while they pretend to argue so confidently, trembling with Fear in their Hearts, they make up their Pack to be the readier to fly: What all others are doing, I leave to be imagined; every one has taken the Fright, and is ready to run out of the Town, to seek Refuge any where.
In the mean while, the Distemper continuing in the Street of Lescalle, the 29th of July, and 10 Days after successively, the Sheriffs are obliged to give Nightly the same Attendance, and in the Daytime to make continual Search after all those who had Communication with the Sick or Dead: People fall sick in several other Parts of the Town; they are confined in Places by themselves by Guards; some of them Dye, and every Night M. Estelle and Moustier, go by Turns to see them carried off, to remove the rest to the Infirmaries, and to fasten up or perfume Houses; Labours as dangerous as toilsome, especially when after having sat up and staid all Night in the Street, they find themselves obliged to apply all the Day after to a thousand other Things no less troublesome.
M. Audimar and Dieudé, the other Sheriffs, are fatigued on their part with continual Care and Pains, arising from the Increase of necessary Business in a Town, where the common Course of Occurrences takes up all the Time the Civil Magistrate can bestow. M. Dieudé, however, goes two Nights together, to accompany the Officers at removing the Dead and the Sick.
The Marquis de Pilles, the Governor, is perpetually co-operating with them all; he is every Day, from Morning till Night, at the Town-House, applying himself indefatigably to all that his Zeal and Prudence suggest to him; and to all that the maintaining of good Order requires on such an Occasion.
The whole Sum in Specie at this time in the City-Treasury, is but 1100 Livres; and 'tis manifest, that if the City come to be thoroughly infected, all must perish for Want of Money: This obliges the Sheriffs to write to the First President, to press him earnestly to be pleased to procure Money for them.
Bread-Corn being scarce, is immediately run up to an exorbitant Price; to prevent therefore its being hoarded up to make it dearer, an Ordinance is issued at my Instance, to forbid the hoarding it, on severe Penalties. Two other Ordinances are published at the same time, forbidding all Persons to have and keep in the Town, any thing that might contribute to the spreading of the Contagion.
The 30th of July, a general View and Inventory is taken of all the Provisions in the City; and the Sheriffs finding hardly any Bread-Corn, Meat, or Wood, and little Money in the Treasury to buy Stores with; all things excessively dear; Disorder increasing; the Populace as poor as frighten'd; all the Persons of Condition and the Rich already fled: They write to M. le Pelletier des Forts, and representing to him the deplorable Condition of Marseilles, beseech him to intercede with his Royal Highness to grant them some Supplies.
The 31st of July, another Ordinance is issued at my Instance, to oblige all strange Beggars to depart the City this Day; and those settled in the Town, to retire into the Hospital de la Charité, on the Penalty of being whipped.
But this Ordinance is not put in Execution, because we learn the same Day, that the Chamber of Vacations of the Parliament of Aix, on the Rumour that the Plague is in Marseilles, has publish'd an Arrêt, forbidding the Marseillians to stir out of the Bounds of their own Territory; the Inhabitants of all the Towns and Places of Provence to communicate with them, or to harbour them; and all Muleteers, Carriers, and all others, to go to Marseilles, for what Cause, or under what Pretext soever, on Pain of Death.
In this Condition, how could 2 or 3000 Beggars, that were then in the City, be turned out of it? Not being able to pass beyond the Limits of the Territory, they would be constrained to stay there, and to ravage it for Subsistance.
The 1st of August, M. Sicard, Father and Son, Physicians, come to the Town-House, to tell the Sheriffs, that it is not to be doubted the Distemper in the City is really the Plague, but that they make sure Account they shall put an end to it, if they will do what they shall prescribe; which is to buy up a great Quantity of Wood, Brushes and Faggots; to lay them in Piles, at small Distances, along the Walls of the Town, and in all publick Walks, open Places, Squares, and Markets; to oblige every private Person to lay a Heap of them before his House, in all the Streets in general; and to set them all on fire at the same time, in the Beginning of the Night; which will most certainly put an End to the Plague.
Every body being willing to make this Experiment; and all the other Physicians, who are called daily to the Town-House to give an Account of the Progress of the Distemper, not disapproving it; the Sheriffs forthwith cause all the Wood, Faggots, and Brushes that can be found, to be bought up; and M. Audimar and Dieudé go with the utmost Ardour to see them placed along the Walls, and in the publick Walks and Places.
The 2d of August they publish an Ordinance, commanding all the Inhabitants to make each a Bonfire before his House, and to light it at 9 a-Clock at Night, the Moment those along the Walls and in the publick Places shall be lighted. This is executed: It is a magnificent Sight, to behold a Circuit of Walls, of so large, so vast Extent, all illuminated; and if this should cure the City, it would certainly be cured in a most joyful and agreeable manner.
The Magistrates, who to satisfy the Publick, and to avoid all Reproach, make such Experiments, cannot however sleep upon the Success promised from them; Prudence requires they should pursue proper Measures, and not be with-held by vain Hopes: They write to the First President, and desire him, since the Roads are barricaded against them, to be pleased to dispatch for them a Courier to the Court, to represent their Misery, and the Inconveniences they have ground to fear, as being without a Penny of Money, while they are in Dread of wanting every thing, and of having the Calamity of Famine superadded to that of the Plague.
They write to the Council of Marine likewise, acquainting them what Number of Sick they actually have, and how many Dead they have carried to, and buried at the Infirmaries.
The same Day, in the Assembly held daily at the Town-House with the municipal Officers, and such of the chief Citizens as have not yet fled, M. de Pilles presiding, it was resolved:
1. That whereas the Number of the Sick increases more and more, especially in the Street of Lescalle, a Corps de Garde shall be posted at every Avenue of that street, to hinder any one's going into, or coming out of it; and that Commissaries of Victualling shall be appointed to go and distribute Provisions to the Families inhabiting that Street.
2. That all the Captains of the City shall each raise a Company of 50 Men of the Militia, to be paid by the City: And that however, the Five Brigades called the Brigades du Privilege du Vin, with their Officers, shall serve every where as a Guard to the Sheriffs in their Marches in the Night, to see the Dead and Sick carry'd off to the Infirmaries.
3. That the Physicians and Surgeons already employ'd, may be induced to serve with the greater Diligence, and not to demand any fee of the Sick, they shall have Salaries from the City, and be allowed Sarrots of oiled Cloth, and Chairs, for their more easy Conveyance every where.
4. That seeing the City has no Money, and that it must indispensibly be had, Advertisements shall be publickly affixed, for taking Loans of Money at 5 per Cent. to try to get some by that means: And that the Treasurer not being able to come to reside at the Town-House, M. Bouys, First Clerk of the Records, shall be Cashier there.
The 3d of August, the Marquess de Pilles, and the Sheriffs, being reassembled with the same Citizens, appoint 150 Commissaries in the 5 Parishes of the City, to look each in the Quarter assigned him to the Wants of the Poor; to distribute to them Bread, and other Subsistance, at the Charge of the City; and to do whatever else they shall be directed for the publick Good and Welfare.
In that Part of the Town called the Rive Neuve, which lies beyond the Port, and extends from the Abbey of St. Victor to the Arsenal, the Chevalier Rose is appointed Captain and Commissary General.
And in the Territory, (i.e. the Country belonging to Marseilles) which is like a vast City, there being above Ten thousand Houses, called Bastides, in the 44 Quarters and dependent Parishes, of which it is composed, besides several pretty large Villages; one Captain and some Commissaries are appointed for each, to take the like Care.
The same Day, for preventing Communication among Children, who, as it is said, are most susceptible of the Plague, the College and all the Publick Schools are shut up.
As for the Fires advised by the Two Sicards, they are forborn: Notice is given, that those Two Physicians have deserted the City; besides, there is no Wood, Faggots, or Brushes, to be had; but a Quantity of Brimstone is bought up, and distributed among the Poor, in all Quarters of the Town, and the Insides of all the Houses are order'd to be perfumed.
In the Evening, the Marquis de Pilles and the Sheriffs, being still assembled in the Town-House, Notice is given them, that four or five Hundred of the Populace are got together in the Quarter called l'Aggrandissement, and are very disorderly, crying out they will have Bread; the Bakers of that Quarter, by reason of the Scarcity of Corn, not having made the usual Quantity, so that many Persons could not be served: The Marquess de Pilles and M. Moustier hasten thither, followed by some Guards; their Presence puts a Stop to the Tumult, and they entirely appease the People, by causing some Bread to be given them.
The 4th, the Officers of the Garison of Fort St. John come to the Town-House, acquaint the Sheriffs that they are in want of Bread-Corn, and desire a Supply from them; declaring, that otherwise they cannot answer that the Troops of their Garison will not come into the City, and take Corn by Force. The Sheriffs reply, that they would willingly furnish them if they had Stores sufficient; but the Want themselves are in, is so great, that they cannot do it; and if Violence should be offered to the Inhabitants, they would appear at their Head to defend them.
The same Day it being taken into Consideration, that the Arrêt issued by the Chamber of Vacations, having interdicted all Communication between the Inhabitants of the Province, and those of Marseilles; if Things should remain at this Pass, and no Body should bring in Corn, and other Provisions, we should soon be reduced to the Extremity of Famine, the Sheriffs resolve to have Recourse to the First President. Accordingly they send to intreat him to establish, as had been done formerly, Markets, and Barriers for Conference, at certain proper Places, whither Strangers, without being exposed to any Risque, might bring us Provisions: At the same time they write to the Procurators of the Country of Provence, to be pleas'd to concur therein. It is impossible, certainly, to exert more Compassion to the Miseries of an afflicted City, than they did; and particularly the Consuls of the several Towns: Marseilles will never forget the Services done her in this Calamity, nor the Kindness, Zeal and Readiness with which they were done.
The same Day, the Sheriffs considering the Disorders which often happen in a Time of Contagion, the Necessity of using speedy Means to suppress them, and of making Examples of Malefactors and Rebels; and that as often as this City has been visited with the Plague, as in 1580, 1630, 1649, and 1650, our Kings have constantly granted to their Predecessors in the Magistracy, by Letters Patents, the Power of judging all Crimes finally, and without Appeal; they write again to the First President, desiring him to procure for them from his Majesty the like Letters Patents.
The 5th, they repeat their Instances to him, to get them supplied with Corn: They write likewise to the same purpose, to the Consuls of Toulon, and to those of all the Maritime Towns of the Coasts of Languedoc and Provence; proposing to go to receive the Corn at any Place distant from the Town which they shall chuse to land it at; and they desire those of the Town of Martignes to send Vessels to Arles, to fetch Corn from thence.
The 6th, an Ordinance is publish'd at my Instance, forbidding all Persons to remove from one House to another the Moveables and Apparel of the Sick or Dead, or to touch them, or make any use of them, on Pain of Death. Another Ordinance fixes the Rates of Victuals and necessary Commodities, to restrain the excessive Price to which, because of the Scarcity, those who would make Advantage of the Publick Misery, would raise them.
The 7th, the Chamber of Vacations having permitted the Procurators of the Country to come to a Conference with the Sheriffs, at a Place on the Road to Aix, call'd Notre-Dame, two Leagues distant from Marseilles; the Marquess de Vauvenargues, first Procurator of the Country, comes thither, accompanied by several Gentlemen, and the principal Officers of the Province, attended by the Marshal de Villars's Guards, and by a Brigade of Archers of the Marshalsea. A Town afflicted with, or suspected of the Plague, out of which even almost all the Inhabitants are ready to run, cannot make a Figure, conformable to such Honour. M. Estelle, one of the chief Sheriffs, goes to the Place, without Retinue, without Attendants, and without any Guard, accompanied only by M. Capus, Keeper of the Records of the City, who, by his Ability, Probity, and Application, is become the Pilot, as it were, of this whole Community.
At this Conference, where the Precaution is used to speak to each other at a great Distance, an Agreement is made, importing, that at that Place a Market shall be establish'd, where a double Barrier shall be fixed; and that another Market shall be settled at the Sheep-Inn, on the Road to Aubagne, which is likewise two Leagues from Marseilles; another for Vessels bringing Provisions by Sea, at a Creek called Lestaque, in the Gulph of the Islands of Marseilles; and that at all these Markets and Barriers, the Guards shall be placed by the Procurators of the Country, and paid by the Sheriffs of Marseilles.
The 8th, this Agreement is confirm'd by an Arret of the Chamber of Vacations: In Consequence of which, the Sheriffs write to all the Consuls of the Towns and Places of Provence, pressing them to send, with all Expedition, Corn, and other Provisions, Wood and Coal, to these Markets and Barriers, where all shall be transacted without Communication.
They apply themselves the same Day to the drawing up of general Instructions, in which they specify all the Duties the Commissaries whom they have already appointed, are to perform, for relieving the Poor, and taking Care of the Sick.
In the mean time, it being evident that M. Estelle and Moustier, who hitherto have sat up by Turns every Night, to see the Dead, Sick, and Suspected, carried to the Infirmaries, and Houses fasten'd up or perfumed, cannot possibly undergo such Fatigues much longer; especially the Distemper beginning to break out in divers Quarters of the Town, far distant from each other; altho' M. Audimar and Dieudé offer'd to relieve them; The Marquis de Pilles judging it necessary they should manage their Health and Life, it was resolved in the Assembly,
1. That Carts shall be used to carry off the Dead; that all the sturdiest Beggars who can be found, shall be seized, and made Buriers of the Dead; that Four Lieutenants of Health shall direct them, and M. Bonnet, Lieutenant to the Governor, shall command them.
2. Men shall forthwith be set to work, to dig large and deep Pits without the Walls of the Town, in which the Dead shall be buried with Lime.
3. A Pest-House or Hospital shall be immediately establish'd: The Hospital de la Charité is first thought of; but the Difficulty of removing out of it, and lodging elsewhere, above 800 of both Sexes who are in it, renders it necessary to resolve upon that des Convalescens, which is near the Walls of the Town, on the side of the Gate of St. Bernard du Bois.
The 9th of August, it is observ'd, that some Physicians, and almost all the Master-Surgeons, are fled. An Ordinance is issued at my Instance, to oblige them to return; on the Penalty to the former, of being expell'd for ever from the College of their Faculty; and to the latter, of being expell'd the Company of Surgeons, and of being proceeded against extraordinarily.
Another Ordinance is publish'd at my Instance, forbidding Butchers, when they flea and cut up Beef or Mutton at the Slaughter-House, to blow it up with their Mouth, by which the Plague might be communicated to the Meat; but to make use of Bellows, on Pain of Death.
Another, forbidding Bakers to convert into Biscuit, the Meal the City gives them to make Bread of for the Poor; or to make any White Bread, in order to prevent their bolting the Meal designed for the Poor's Bread.
And another, forbidding all Persons to divert the publick Waters for overflowing their Grounds; that the Conduits may not become dry, but that Water may run the more plentifully through all the Streets of the City to carry off the Filth.
This Day and the following, it is found not a little difficult, to get all that had been resolved upon the Day before put in Execution: Carts, Horses, Harness are wanted; they must be had from the Country, and no Person will furnish them to serve to carry infected Bodies. Men are wanted to harness the Horses, to put them to the Carts, and to drive them; and every one abhors lending a Hand to so dangerous a Service. Buriers of the Dead are wanted to take them out of the Houses; and tho' excessive Pay be offered, the poorest of the Populace dread such hazardous Work, and make all possible Efforts to shun it. Peasants are wanted to open the Pits, and none will come to dig, such Affright and Horror has seiz'd them: The Sheriffs are oblig'd to exert themselves to the utmost, to get some by Management, and others by Force and Rigor.
To put into Order as speedily as is requisite, a Pest-House, and to furnish it with all Necessaries, which are almost numberless, is a Task no less perplexed with Difficulties. The Hospital des Convalescens, which was resolved to be made use of, is found to be too little; it is necessary to enlarge it, by joining to it a Building called the Fas, which stands very near it; a thousand Things are to be done, and yet none could easily be made to stir about them: M. Moustier is obliged to repair thither, and to abide upon the Spot; and by keeping Hands at Work Night and Day, he makes such Expedition, that in 48 Hours he gets it put in Order, all Necessaries sorted and laid ready, and the whole made fit to receive the Sick.
A very great Difficulty still remains, which is to find Stewards, Overseers, Cooks, and other lower Officers, and especially so great a Number of Servants as are requisite to tend the Sick: Advertisements are affixed throughout the City, to invite those sordid Creatures whom Avarice draws into Dangers, or those of better Minds, whom superabundant Charity disposes to devote themselves for the Publick; and by seeking such out, by encouraging, giving, and promising, they are procured: Apothecaries and Surgeons are engaged; and two Physicians, Strangers, named Gayon, come in voluntarily, and offer their Service, and to be shut up in the Hospital: Unhappily, Death puts an End too soon to their Charity and Zeal.
Three Pits of Sixty Foot long, as many broad, and Twenty four deep, are begun at once without the Walls, between the Gate of Aix and that of Joliette: To compel the Peasants to work at them, M. Moustier is obliged to keep with them daily, exposed to the Heat of the Sun.
The Chevalier Rose, appointed Captain and Commissary-General at the Rive Neuve, beyond the Port, does the same: He puts into proper Order another vast Hospital, under the Sheds of a Rope-yard; causes large and deep Pits to be dug near the Abbey of St. Victor; gets together Carts, Buriers of the Dead, and all Persons needful to look to the Living, the Dying, and the Dead; and what is no less remarkable than his Activity, his Courage, and his Zeal for his unfortunate Country, he furnishes out of his own Purse the great Expences necessary for maintaining that Hospital, and the many Hands he employs, without troubling himself when and how he shall be reimbursed.
No sooner are these Pest-Houses in any Readiness to receive the Sick, but in less than Two Days they are quite filled; but are not long so by those who are carried thither: The Distemper is so violent, that those who are brought in at Night are carried out next Day to the Pits; and so the Dead make Room every Day successively for the Sick.
The 12th of August, M. de Chicoyneau and Verny, the chief Physicians of Montpellier, arrive at the Barrier of Notre-Dame, to come and examine, by Order of his Royal Highness, the true Nature of the Distemper that afflicts this City: Lodgings are made ready for them, and a Coach is sent to bring them hither from the Barrier.
The 13th, the Marquess de Pilles, and the Sheriffs invite them to the Town-House, whither they had summoned all the Physicians and Master-Surgeons of the City; after they had conferred a long Time upon the Symptoms of the Distemper, they agree among themselves, to go together the following Days, to visit as well the sick in the Hospitals, as those in the several Quarters of the Town, and to make such Experiments as they should judge proper.
Hitherto the Distemper has not exerted all its Rage; it kills indeed those it seizes, hardly one escaping; and whatever House it enters, it carries off the whole Family; but as yet, it has fallen only on the poorer Sort of People, which keeps many Persons in a false Notion, that it is not really the Plague, but proceeds from bad Diet and Want of other Necessaries: those who use the Sea, and have frequently seen the Plague in the Levant, think they observe some Difference: In short, Abundance of People still remain in doubt, and expecting with the utmost Impatience the Decision of the Physicians of Montpellier, to determine them whether to stay or fly.
The 14th, the Sheriffs write to the Council of Marine, most humbly to thank his Royal Highness for his Care and Goodness, in sending to them these Physicians.
The 15th they write to the Marshal de Villars, to acquaint him with the Condition of the City, and the extreme Want it is in, having near a hundred thousand Souls in it, without Bread and without Money: they write likewise to M. de Bernage, Intendant in Languedoc, and to the Marquess de Caylus the commanding Officer in Provence, then at Montpellier, to desire them to procure them Bread-Corn, to preserve them from Famine, which they had no less Reason to fear than the Plague. The Marquess de Caylus has the Goodness to engage his own Credit for procuring them a good Quantity.
The 16th being the Festival of St. Roch, which has at all Times been solemnized at Marseilles, for imploring Deliverance from the Plague, the Marquess de Pilles, and the Sheriffs, for preventing Communication, would have the Procession usually made every Year, in which the Bust and Relicks of that Saint are carried, be now forborn; but they are obliged to yield to the Outcries of the People, who become almost raving in Matters of Devotion, when they are under so terrible a Scourge as the Plague, whose dire Effects they already feel; they even judge it convenient to assist at the Procession themselves, with all their Halbardiers and Guards, to hinder its being followed by a Crowd, and to prevent all Disorder.
The 17th the Physicians of Montpellier come to the Town-House, to acquaint the Sheriffs with what they have discover'd of the Nature of the Distemper, and in plain Words declare it to be certainly the Plague.
But considering how many People have already left the City, and that the Terror and Affright in it have put all into Confusion, they think fit, lest they should increase it, to dissemble; and that, for quieting Peoples Minds, a publick Notification should be affixed; importing, that they find the Distemper to be only a contagious Fever, occasion'd by unwholsome Diet, and that it will soon cease by the Supplies which are preparing to be sent in from all Parts, and which will produce Plenty of all Things.
This Notification is forthwith affixed, but without any Effect: The Mortality which for some Days past has extremely increas'd, the Malignity and Violence with which it begins to rage in all Parts without Distinction, and the Suddenness with which it is observ'd to communicate it self imperceptibly, has already convinced the most obstinate, and those who were most disposed to deceive themselves, that it is really the Plague; and without waiting to hear or reason any longer, every one runs away so precipitately, that all the Gates of the Town are hardly sufficient to let out the Crowds.
Were those only the useless Mouths, nothing could be more convenient and beneficial; but the most necessary Persons, and even those whose Functions oblige them most indispensably to tarry, are the forwardest to desert; almost all the Intendants of Health, those of the Office of Plenty, the Councellors of the Town, the Commissaries de Police, the chief Director of the Hospitals and other Houses of publick Charity; the very Commissaries, who but a few Days ago, were established in the Parishes and Quarters to take care of relieving the Poor; the Tradesmen of all Professions, and those who are the most necessary in Life, the Bakers, the Sellers of Provisions and common Necessaries; even those whose Duty it is to watch others, and hinder them from leaving the Town; that is to say, the Captains and Officers of the Militia, do all desert, abandon, and fly from the City: In short, the Marquis de Pilles, and the Sheriffs are left by themselves, with the Care upon them of an infinite Number of poor People, ready to attempt any Thing in the Extremity to which they are reduced by Want, and by the Calamities which are multiplied by the Contagion.
The Town has now an Aspect that moves Compassion; an Air of Desolation appears throughout; all the Shops are every where shut up; the greatest Part of the Houses, Churches and Convents, all the publick Markets and Places of Resort are deserted; and no Person is to be found in the Streets, but poor groaning Wretches; the Port is empty, the Gallies have withdrawn from the Keys, and are enclosed within a Stockade on the Side of the Arsenal, where the Bridges are drawn up, and high Barriers erected, and all the Merchant-Ships and Vessels have left the Wharfs, and gone out to Anchor at a Distance.
This proud Marseilles, but a few Days before so flourishing; this Source of Plenty, and (if I may use the Expression) of Felicity; is become the true Image of Jerusalem in its Desolation: Happy still if it could stop here; and if the Hand which has begun to chastise her, did not within less than Two Weeks, render her the most dreadful Scene of human Misery, that ever Destruction formed in any City of the World.
The 18th, a Crowd of People from the Quarter of St. John come before the Gates of the Town-House, crying out that they will have Wine; and that there is no body left in the Town who will sell any. The Guards make ready to drive them away, M. Estelle repairs thither, and soon after M. Moustier; they pacify them, promise to let them have what they desire; and accordingly an Ordinance is immediately published, commanding all those who have Wine by them, to expose it to Sale all that Day, otherwise their Cellars to be broke open, and the Wine sold by the Guards, who shall go the Rounds through all the Quarters.
At this Time the Contagion has spread into all Parts of the Town, notwithstanding all the Care and Pains taken to hinder Communication, and begins to make a general Ravage: It is necessary for carrying off the Dead, to employ in the Streets a greater Number of Carts, and especially to increase the Number of Buriers of the Dead.
But this is utterly impossible, almost all of that Sort of People of the Town that could be sacrificed in so dangerous a Work are consumed; they do not live in it above Two Days; they catch the Plague the first Corpse they touch, whatever Precaution is used; they are furnished with Hooks fastened to the End of long Staves; but the coming any thing near the Bodies infects them: They are paid no less than Fifteen Livres a Day; but as alluring a Bait as that is to beggarly Wretches, they will not touch it, in the Sight of certain and inevitable Death; they must be hunted for, and dragged to the Work by downright Force: Now whether they are able to keep themselves hid, or whether they are all dead, there are no longer any to be found; in the mean while, the dead Bodies remain in the Houses, and at the Gates of the Hospitals, cast in Heaps one upon another, there being no Means to remove them and bury them in the Pits.
In this Extremity the Sheriffs have recourse to the Officers commanding the Gallies, most earnestly beseeching them to let them have some of their Slaves to serve for Buriers of the Dead, offering them Security for supplying their Room at the Cost of the City, or to make the Loss good to his Majesty. They condescend, considering the absolute Necessity, to give them Twenty Six of their Invalids, to whom they promise Liberty to excite them to the Work.
It cannot be denied that the City was in some Measure saved by the Help of these Slaves, and of those afterwards granted, but it must be allowed too, that to Sheriffs who are oppress'd with the Weight of Business, and deserted by all Persons on whom they could repose any Part of their Care, such Buriers of the Dead are very burdensome.
They are destitute of all Necessaries; they must be provided with Shooes when there are neither Shooes nor a Shooemaker left in the City: They must have Lodgings and Victuals, and no body will harbour, or come near, or have any Communication with Gally-Slaves, Buriers of infected Bodies: A watchful Eye must be kept over them Night and Day; they rob all Houses from whence they fetch the dead Bodies; and not knowing how to harness the Horses, or drive the Carts, they often overturn them, breaking the Carts or the Harness, which cannot be mended, not only because there is neither Wheelwright nor Collarmaker left, but because no body will touch Things infected; so that the Sheriffs must be continually begging or borrowing of Carts from the Country, where every Body contrives to hide them; and must often be at a Stand in a Work requiring the most Haste of all others, which those Slaves affect to perform so slowly and lazily, that it is very provoking.
In what City of the World was it ever seen, that the Consuls were harrassed with so many Cares, and reduced to the Necessity of going through all the dismal and dangerous Offices, to which the Sheriffs of Marseilles are forced to sacrifice themselves? Seeing that very quickly, to oblige those Slaves to make more Dispatch, and carry off putrified Bodies which they cannot endure to touch, nor even so much as to approach, without being excited and urged on, the Sheriffs are forced to put themselves at their Head, and go the foremost where the Infection rages most, to make them carry them off: M. Moustier for near Two Months together was forced to rise constantly at Day-break, to see them put the Horses to the Carts, and prevent their breaking them; to follow them to the Pits, lest they should leave the Bodies on the Sides of the Pits without burying them; and at Night to see the Horses unharnessed; put into the Stables, and the Harness hung where they may be found next Morning, and thereby prevent the Inconveniences which might interrupt the Continuance of a Work, the Delay of which is dangerous. Even the Roman Consuls, so full of the Love of their Country, did certainly never carry their Zeal to so high a Pitch.
The 19th, Persons are chosen in all the Parishes to make Broth for the sick Poor, and to distribute it among them; and a particular Hospital is established, which the most moving Accidents such a Calamity can produce, render absolutely necessary.
Many Women who suckled Children, dye of the Contagion; and the Infants are found crying in their Cradles, when the Bodies of the Mothers or Nurses are taken away; no Body will receive these Children, much less suckle, or feed them: There is no Pity stirring in the Time of a Plague, the Fear of catching the Contagion stifles all Sentiments of Charity, and even those of Humanity: To save as many as possible of these little Innocents, and of so many other unhappy Children of tender Age, whom the Pestilence has made Orphans, the Sheriffs take the Hospital of St. James of Galicia, and the Convent of the Fathers of Loretto, which were become empty by the Death or Flight of all those Monks; and there Care is taken to feed them, with Spoon-Meat, or by holding them to Goats to suck. The Number of them is so great, that tho' 30 or 40 die in a Day, there are always 12 or 1300, by the Addition of those who are brought in successively every Day.
The 20th, Part of the Slaves, which had been received into the Town but Two Days before, are struck with the Plague, and disabled from Working; more are asked of the Officers of the Gallies, who grant Thirty Three.
This Day all the Millers and Bakers ceasing to work, because almost all their Servants have left them and fled, an Ordinance is issued at my Instance, requiring the Deserters to return, and to forbid those who remain to leave their Masters, on Pain of Death. Not one Mason is left in the Town, and divers Works are wanting to be done in the Church-Yards, and the Hospitals. A like Ordinance is published, to compel them to return; and another forbidding the carrying out of the Town, Meal or Brown Bread, designed for subsisting the Poor, on the Penalty of a Fine and Confiscation.
The 21st, the Pestilence begins to rage with so much Fury, and the Number of the dead is multiplied so suddenly, that it appears impossible to carry them off in Carts to the Pits without the Town; because the Carts cannot well go to the upper Quarter of St. John, nor to several others of the old Town, the Streets of which are narrow and steep, and yet the greatest Number of dead Bodies lies in those Streets, which are inhabited by Multitudes of the meanest People; and besides, it is so far from thence to the Pits without the Walls, that there is no doing so much Work without falling into the Inconvenience of leaving many Bodies behind, which would poison the Air, and breed a general Infection.
Upon this and other perplexing Difficulties, which require the Advice of a Number of judicious Persons, the Marquess de Pilles, and the Sheriffs desire the General Officers of the Gallies, to assemble with them at the Town-House, and give them their Advice: It is there resolved,
1. That for the Reasons above specified, and for avoiding the Inconveniencies which 'tis apprehended might be fatal, the Dead shall be buried in the Pits without the Walls, and also in the Vaults of the Churches of the Jacobines, the Observantines, of the Grand Carmelites, and of Loretto; that these Churches being situate in the upper Town, where is the greatest Number of dead Bodies, and where the Carts cannot easily pass; a kind of Biers shall be made, on which the Slaves, shall carry off those Bodies from thence: that at each Church, Heaps of Lime shall be laid, and Barrels of Water placed, to be thrown into the Vaults, and when they are filled, they shall be closed up with a Cement, so that no Infection may exhale.
2. That a trusty Person with some Guards on Horseback, shall march at the Head of the Carts, and with each Brigade of Slaves, to make them work diligently, and prevent their losing Time in stealing.
3. Lest the Pits and the several Church-yards in which the Dead are buried, should exhale the Infection, for want of being filled up and covered with the necessary Quantity of Earth and Lime; a general and exact View shall be taken, and sufficient Heaps of both shall be laid there.
4. Several Parishes and Quarters being destitute of Commissaries, who have fled, and Persons to supply their room not being to be found, each Convent shall be obliged to furnish Monks to act as Commissaries in those Quarters where they are wanted.
5. For preventing Communication, the Bishop shall be desired to cause all Divine Service in the Churches to cease.
6. To keep the Populace in Awe and obedient to Orders, Gibbets shall be set up in all the publick Places.
The 21st, the Sheriffs acquainting the Council of Marine with the Increase of the Contagion, desire them to allow all ordinary Business to remain suspended for the future, that they may apply themselves entirely to what regards the publick Health only.
When the Plague rages thus in a City, every one looking on himself as at the Point of Death, is no longer in a Disposition to apply himself to any thing, but what tends immediately to his own Preservation.
In the mean while every thing is grown scarce in the Town, even such things of which there is ordinarily the greatest Plenty: Linnen cannot be had for covering the Mattresses in the Hospitals, tho' Search is made for it by breaking open all the Warehouses and Shops. The Report of the Plague keeps out whatever used to be brought daily into the Port from all Parts of the World: The Sheriffs are obliged therefore to write to the first President, to desire him to send what Linnen can be had at Aix, and also Shooes for the Slaves, there being no Shooemaker at Marseilles to make them.
Were it not for his Attention to the Wants of the Sheriffs, and his Care to supply them, they would be in a thousand Perplexities: Twice or thrice a Day they take the Liberty to write to him, and always with equal Goodness he exerts himself to answer their Demands, condescending to give Directions in Matters beneath the Functions of his Ministry; and as if it were not enough to employ his own Care and Pains Night and Day, for saving this unfortunate City, he extends his Concern for it yet further, by chusing to be represented here by M. Rigord, his Subdelegate, who acts with so great Application and Zeal, that tho' the Plague has ravaged his House, tho' he has seen his Lady perish by his Side, and all his Family, Clerks, and Servants swept away, these Horrors have not shaken him, nor drawn him aside one Moment from his continual Labours for the Relief of the Town.
This Day, upon Information that several Bakers to conceal their Desertion, have committed their Shops and Ovens to the Management of their Servants, who appear there only for Show, but do nothing; an Ordinance is published at my Instance, enjoyning them to return and look to their own Business, forbidding them to absent themselves again on Pain of Death. Another Ordinance is issued, to oblige likewise the Intendants of Health, those of the Office of Plenty, the Counsellors of the City, and all other municipal Officers, to return within 24 Hours, on the Penalty of a Fine of 1000 Livres, and of being declared incapable of all municipal Offices.
The same Day the Bishop, to whom the Marquess de Pilles had notified the Resolutions taken in the Assembly the Day before, sets forth to him in a Letter several Reasons against burying the infected Dead in the Vaults of the Churches of the Convents chosen for that Use.
Whereupon the Marquess de Pilles, having invited the General Officers of the Gallies to meet again at the Town-House, with the Sheriffs, and some other good Citizens: After the Reasons urged in the said Letter had been well considered, and weighed against that which had determined them to pass the Resolution for burying in the Churches, which is, the absolute and indispensible Necessity of doing it; they unanimously conclude that the said Resolution shall stand, but that the Execution of it shall be forborn 24 Hours, to see whether in that Interval the Mortality shall happen to decrease, so that it may be dispensed with; but that in the mean time, without any Delay, the Vaults in the Churches shall be got ready, and all the Lime and Water necessary carried thither.
The 23d, when this Work was setting about, the Monks of those Churches shut up the Doors, and refused to open them. M. Moustier repairs thither, causes them to be forced open, and all the Lime and Barrels of Water requisite to be brought thither by Carts. As for Biers, for want of Joyners, he puts the first Persons that come in his way upon making them as well as they can: The Publick Services in Cases of Extremity are dispatched, where Magistrates know how to direct and command, and will see themselves obeyed.
This Day, the Mortality is so far from decreasing, that near 1000 Persons dye; and it being evident there is no room to hesitate about burying in the Churches, seeing otherwise the dead Bodies would become gradually too numerous to be carried off, all Dispositions are made for setting about it to-Morrow Morning every where at once, and the Officers of the Gallies are pleased to furnish for this Purpose 20 Slaves more.
The 24th, that all Dispatch might be made, and a Work which disheartens Men by the visible Danger and Terrors of Death not slackened, M. Moustier appears in Person, animating and urging on the Slaves, as well by his Intrepidity and Courage, as by his Actions; and when the Vaults are filled, and the Lime and Water thrown in, he takes care to have them well closed up, and Cement laid over every Hole and Crevice.
The Marquess de Pilles, and the other Sheriffs are as active in the mean time to put in Execution all the other Things resolved on.
They appoint the most trusty Persons they can find, to go on Horseback with Guards at the Head of the Carts, and of each Brigade of Slaves; but those Persons do not hold out long in so perilous an Employment, and they are soon obliged to act themselves in that Station.
They have no Occasion to go to desire the Bishop to cause Divine Service to cease in the Churches, they are generally shut up already: There are hardly any Masses now said any where, no Administration of the Sacraments, not so much as the tolling of Bells, all the Ecclesiasticks are fled, and even some of the Parish-Priests.
As for Monks, they cannot possibly find any to act as Commissaries in the Quarters where they are wanted; some have deserted, others are dead, and not a sufficient Number of them are left, to confess the Sick; Father Milay, a Jesuit, is the only Man of them all, who to satisfy that Holy Zeal, and fervent Charity, by which he has been always actuated, comes voluntarily and offers to be Commissary in the Street of Lescale, and thereabouts; an Employment which none else durst take, because it is the Part of the Town where the Plague makes the greatest Havock, and which is barricaded with Corps de Garde at the Avenues, that no Person may enter, or stir out of it; the Sheriffs make him Commissary there, where from the Beginning of the Contagion he has confessed the infected. He performs Acts of Piety surpassing any thing called Heroick; but the Plague does not spare him long, it snatches from the Faithful this new Apostle.
They go to take a View of the Pits and Churchyards; a horrid Spectacle, dangerous to approach, the vast Number of infected Bodies but lately thrown into them, lying all uncovered, heaped by Thousands on one another.
Formerly Governors and Consuls during all the Time of Contagion, used to keep shut up in the Town-House with very great Precaution; all who have formed Rules for Towns visited with the Plague, have prescribed that Conduct, judging that the Magistrates ought to be more careful than all others, to preserve their Life and Health.
Here, the Marquess de Pilles, and the Sheriffs, think only of preserving the Life and Health of others, exposing their own without any Concern; and are Night and Day in the open Street, wherever they see Danger deter others.
The Marquess de Pilles has so little Regard for himself, that at the first he lets the principal Pest-House (which is that des Convalescens) be settled within 4 Paces of his own House. M. Estelle goes all Night long, so void of fear, to see the dead Bodies carried off the Street Lescale, that slipping on the Pavement he was within a Finger's Breadth of falling full upon a dead Body that lay on the Ground before him: M. Moustier sets so light by Dangers that make others tremble, that a Plaister reeking with the Corruption of the Bubo of an infected Person thrown out of the Window, lighting on his Cheek, and sticking there, he takes it off perfectly unconcerned, and only wiping his Cheek clean with his Spunge dipped in Vinegar, proceeds on the Business he is about. The others behaved much in the same manner.
The 25th, the Plague has spread into the four Corners of the City, and exercises its Rage on all Sides: From this time to the End of September it rages with the same Violence, it strikes like Lightning every where, sweeps all before it, and carries off above a Thousand Souls a Day.
Its Violence now attacks by Crowds only, and its Fury gives a Thousand Deaths at once. In Consequence, the Pest-Houses established are insufficient to receive all the poor Sick; it is resolved to make a new one, large enough to take in any Number; and there not being without the Town, nor in it, a Building capacious enough for that Purpose, it is resolved to erect one (as the Physicians of Montpellier had advised) in the Allies of that spacious Piece of Ground used for playing at Mall, which is without the Gate des faineants, contiguous to the Convent of the Reformed Augustines, with Timber-Work to be covered with Sail-Cloath made of Cotton: This is a new Difficulty for the Sheriffs, to have such an Hospital to build, without being able to reckon upon the Assistance of any Person, and even without any Workmen, for they are generally fled.
The 26th, the Chamber of Vacations being informed that almost all the Bakers of Marseilles have deserted, and being desirous to prevent the Extremity to which the City will be reduced, if at such a Conjuncture sufficient Quantities of Bread should not be made; they publish an Arrêt, commanding all Bakers and their Foremen who have withdrawn, to return on Pain of Death; and enjoining the Consuls of the Places where they may have taken Refuge, to deliver them up, on the Penalty of a Fine and other Punishment.
All the Shops of Retailers being shut up, so that People have no whither to go to buy common Necessaries, an Ordinance is published at my Instance, to oblige the Retailers to open their Shops within Twenty Four Hours, otherwise they shall be broken open.
The 27th, the Chamber of Vacations commiserating the Condition of Marseilles, and the Sufferings of its Inhabitants, publish an Arrêt, enjoining all Artificers, Tradesmen and Wholesale Dealers, to open their Shops and Warehouses within Twentyfour Hours, on Pain of Death.
This Day the Marquess de Pilles, who from the Beginning of the Contagion has been continually at the Town-House, or wherever his Zeal called him, that is to say, where was most Danger and Difficulty, without any Care of his own Safety, sinks at length under the Weight of his Fatigues, and falling sick is unable to stir out of his House; The Fear of losing a Governor, whose Merit and Person are held in Veneration at Marseilles, gives a general Alarm.
The 28th, the Plague redoubles its Ravages, and the whole City is become a vast Church-yard, presenting to the View the sad Spectacle of dead Bodies cast in Heaps one upon another.
In this deplorable State, a thousand Things are to be done, a Thousand Wants to be supplied, and yet there is no Person to have Recourse to for Relief; the People of the Territory are deaf to all Demands, they cannot by any Order issued be wrought upon, to bring in so much as Straw for the Mattresses in the Hospitals, and Hay for the Horses belonging to the Carts: The Sheriffs seeing nothing is to be done but by Force, desire the first President to procure them the Assistance of some Hundred Men of regular Troops.
They apply next to the Officers of the Gallies, remonstrating to them, that the common Safety is at Stake; that almost all the Slaves they have already granted them are dead, and that the Number of dead Bodies the City is fill'd with is so exceeding great, that they cannot be carried off, unless they will be pleas'd to let them have a sufficient Number to make a strong Effort.
M. de Rancé, Lieutenant-General, commanding the Gallies, M. de Vaucresson, Intendant, and all the General Officers, are moved with the miserable Condition they see Marseilles in; they make too noble and eminent a Part or it, not to be thoroughly concern'd to see it wholly perish; they have shewn, on all Occasions, their good Intentions; and in this, there is not one of them, who, to help to save the City, would not hazard his own Life: But not having received Order to the present Purpose from the Council of Marine, they make a Difficulty to grant so great a Number of Slaves as is requisite, and will part with but 80; and this with a Protestation, that they shall be the last.
This Protestation obliges the Sheriffs to exert themselves more than ever, to make these Slaves do all the Service that is possible: M. Moustier, not satisfying himself with the toilsome Care of providing them Lodging and Subsistance, and of going every Morning to see them harness the Horses, and get to work with the Carts, puts himself at the Head of the largest Brigade, leads them to the Places that are least accessible, where lye the greatest Heaps of putrified Bodies, and encourages them to carry them off, either whole, or by Pieces.
In the mean while a Letter is written to the Council of Marine, most humbly to intreat his Royal Highness to be pleased to give Orders for supplying the Town: Which wanting all Things, there being no Meat to make Broth with for the poor Sick, and Famine destroying those whom the Plague might spare, his Royal Highness is earnestly besought to order the neighbouring Provinces to send in the necessary Provisions for subsisting the People.
The 29th, several Ordinances are issued, at my Instance.
1. All the Rakers, and others employed under the Scavengers to clean the Streets, having deserted since the Beginning of the Contagion, for fear of being made use of as Buriers of the Dead: the whole Town since the Second of this Month, is full of Dunghils and Poisonous Filth, which stagnates on the Pavement: They are by an Ordinance commanded to return on Pain of Death.
2. From out of the Houses, the Quilts, Straw-Beds, Bed-Cloaths, Apparel, and Rags used about the Infected, are thrown into the Streets; so that there is no passing them. An Ordinance forbids it, and enjoins that all such Things be drawn to the publick Squares, and immediately burnt, on Pain of Imprisonment.
3. For want of Porters, the very Corn, which the Boats bring up from the Barrier of Lestaque, cannot be carried into the Store-Houses; those Porters are all engaged in the Service of private Persons in the Territory: An Ordinance commands them to come and work as usual in the City, on Pain of Death; and private Persons are forbidden to detain them, on the Penalty of a Fine of 3000 Livres, and of Imprisonment.
4. For want of those who used to ply with Asses, the Bakers cannot get the Wood carried with which the Town furnishes them; and all private Persons are under the like Inconvenience: An Ordinance charges those Ass-Keepers to return with their Beasts, on Pain of Death.
The Chamber of Vacations being informed, that the Intendants of Health, and the Commissaries appointed in the Parishes and Quarters, who have deserted, do not obey the Ordinance of the Sheriffs and return; that Chamber issues an Arrêt this Day, commanding them all to return forthwith to their Duties, on Pain of Death.
All these Arrêts and Ordinances are duly proclaimed by Sound of Trumpet, and affixed at all the Corners of the Streets, and in all the Quarters of the Territories, but to no manner of Purpose; the Dread of the Plague is so strong and terrible, that nothing can overcome it. It is indeed impossible for the Heart of Man to bear up against all the frightful Spectacles that present themselves every where to the Eye in this unhappy City; the dire Effects of a raging Pestilence, which seems to threaten not to be asswaged by the Death only and general Extinction of all the Inhabitants, but by rendring the Place it self a vast Sink of Corruption and Poison, for ever uninhabitable by human Race.
Which Way soever one turns, the Streets appear strowed on both Sides with dead Bodies close by each other, most of which being putrified, are unsupportably hideous to behold.
As the Number of Slaves employed to take them out of the Houses, is very insufficient to be able to carry all off daily, some frequently remain there whole Weeks; and there would remain longer, if the Stench they emit, which poisons the Neighbours, did not compel them for their own Preservation, to overcome all Aversion to such horrid Work, and go into the Apartments where they lye, to drag them down into the Streets: They pull them out with Hooks, and hawl them by Ropes fastened to the Staves of those Hooks into the Streets: This they do in the Night, that they may draw them to some Distance from their own Houses; they leave them extended before another's Door, who at opening it the next Morning is frighted at the Sight of such an Object, which generally infects him, and gives him Death.
The Ring, and all publick Walks, Squares, and Market-Places, the Key of the Port, are spread with dead Bodies, some lying in Heaps: The Square before the Building called the Loge, and the Pallisades of the Port, are filled with the continual Number of dead Bodies that are brought ashore from the Ships and Vessels, which are crowded with Families, whom Fear induced to take Refuge there, in a false Persuasion, that the Plague would not reach them upon the Water.
Under every Tree in the Ring and the Walks, under every Pent-House of the Shops in the Streets and on the Port, one sees among the Dead a prodigious Number of poor Sick, and even whole Families, lying on a little Straw, or on ragged Mattresses; some are in a languishing Condition, to be relieved only by Death; others are light-headed by the Force of the Venom which rages in them: They implore the Assistance of those who pass by; some in pitiful Complaints, some in Groans and Out-cries which Pain or Frenzy draw from them. An intolerable Stink exhales from among them: They not only endure the Effects of the Distemper, but suffer equally by the publick Want of Food and common Necessaries: They dye under the Rags that cover them, and every Moment adds to the Number of the Dead that lye about them. It rends the Heart, to behold on the Pavement so many wretched Mothers, who have lying by their Sides the dead Bodies of their Children, whom they have seen expire, without being able to give them any Relief; and so many poor Infants still hanging at the Breasts of their Mothers, who died holding them in their Arms, sucking in the rest of that Venom which will soon put them into the same Condition.
If any Space be yet left in the Streets, it is filled with infected Houshold-Goods and Cloaths, which are thrown out of the Windows every where; so that one cannot find a void Place to set one's Foot in.
All the Dogs and Cats that are killed, lye putrifying every where among the dead Bodies, the Sick, and the infected Cloaths; all the Port is filled with those thrown into them; and while they float, they add their Stench to the general Infection, which has spread all over the Town, and preys upon the Vitals, the Senses, and the Mind.
Those one meets in the Street, are generally livid and drooping, as if their Souls had begun to part from their Bodies; or whom the Violence of the Distemper has made delirious, who, wandring about they know not whither, as long as they can keep on their Legs, soon drop, through Weakness; and, unable to get up again, expire on the Spot; some writhed into strange Postures, denoting the torturing Venom which struck them to the Heart; others are agitated by such Disorders of Mind, that they cut their own Throats, or leap into the Sea, or throw themselves out of the Windows, to put an End to their Misery, and prevent the Death which was not far off. Nothing is to be heard or seen on all Sides but Distress, Lamentation, Tears, Sighs, Groans, Affright, Despair.
To conceive so many Horrors, one must figure to one's self, in one View, all the Miseries and Calamities that Human Nature is subject to; and one cannot venture to draw near such a Scene, without being struck dead, or seiz'd with unutterable Horrors of Mind.
The 30th, those Heaps of dead Bodies which are in every Quarter of the City, are increas'd by new ones; every Night adds a thousand Dead; and now none of the Slaves are left to work, they are all dead, or sick of the Distemper; nor can more be demanded, after the Protestation made by the Officers of the Gallies.
What can be done in Circumstances so full of Desolation? The Sheriffs have Recourse, as usual, to the First President, and intreat him to dispatch a Courier for them to the Court, to sollicit his Royal Highness to send Orders for their being supplied with as many Galley-Slaves as they shall have occasion for: They desire him also to write to M. de Rancé and de Vaucresson, to persuade them to grant, in the mean while, at least a Hundred.
The 31st, it is impossible for the Hospitals to receive the Number of Sick who crowd thither: As soon as one Person in a House is seized with the Distemper, that Person becomes an Object of Horror and Affright to the nearest Relations; Nature instantly forgets all ordinary Duties; and the Bands of Flesh and Blood being less strong than the Fear of certain Death, shamefully dissolve in an Instant.
As the Distemper which has seized that Person, threatens to attack them; as the Contagion communicates it self with extreme Quickness; as the Danger is almost equal to him that suffers, and to those who approach him; and as those who tend and help him have no other Prospect than that of following him in a few Days; they take at first the barbarous Resolution, either to drive him out of the House, or to fly and desert it themselves, and to leave him alone without Assistance or Relief, abandoned to Hunger, Thirst, and all that can render Death the more tormenting.
Thus Wives treat their Husbands, and Husbands their Wives, Children their Parents, and Parents their Children: Vain Precaution, inspired by Love of Life, and Horror of Death! By that time they take their Resolution, they have already catch'd the subtle Effluvia of the fatal Poison they would secure themselves from; they are soon sensible of its Malignity, a speedy Death is the Punishment of their Cruelty and Baseness: Others have the same Hardness of Heart towards them; they are forced into the open Street in their Turn, or are left alone in their Houses to perish without Help.
Hence proceeds that infinite Number of Sick, of each Sex, and of every Age, State, and Condition, who are found lying in the Streets and publick Places. If all are not cruelly driven out of their own Houses by their Relations or Friends, they prevent that Cruelty; and lest they should run the Hazard of being left alone at home, by the Flight of those Relations or Friends, when they are become quite helpless, they repair to the Hospitals; where not getting Entrance, nay, not being able to get near the Gates, by reason of the Multitudes of Sick, which have got thither before; and who finding them already full, lye down on the Pavement, and stop up all the Avenues; they are obliged to seek room for themselves farther off, among the putrified dead Bodies; the Sight and Stench of which serve to hasten their Death, the only End of this Distemper. These Extremities put the Sheriffs upon double Diligence, to get the New Hospital in the Alleys of the Mall finished: In the mean time, they cause large Tents to be pitched upon that Esplanade without the Town, which is between the Gate des Faineants, and the Monastery of the Capuchins, where they order as many Mattresses to be put, as the Tents will hold. No sooner are those Tents up, and the Mattresses placed, but they are filled with so many poor Infected, that several throw themselves upon one Mattress: A greater Number is requisite to supply them all; and the Misfortune is, that there is neither Straw nor Linnen to be had to make them with.
The 1st of September, the first President having been pleased to write to M. de Rancé, and de Vaucresson, desiring them to let the Sheriffs have a hundred Galley-Slaves more; they are presently sent to them, and a more vigorous Use of them was never made: For M. Moustier, incited by the Extremity to which things are reduced, immediately puts himself at the Head of these Slaves, with 11 Carts, and while they are able, makes them carry off above 1200 dead Bodies a Day.
The 2d, for making this Labour the more easy, as the Bodies in the Houses occasion the most Loss of Time to the Slaves to fetch them away; and besides, being putrified by being left there long, they cannot draw them out with Hooks, but by Pieces; as also for preventing Robberies by the Slaves, who finding no Person in the Houses, steal all they can lay their Hands on; an Ordinance is published at my Instance, importting, that as soon as any one dies in a House, those belonging to that House shall be obliged to convey the Body down into the Street, using all proper and necessary Precautions.
The same Day an Arrêt is issued by the Chamber of Vacations, injoyning all the Rectors of the Hôtel Dieu, de la Charité, of Foundlings, of the Houses of the Penitent, and of Refuge, the Captains of the City, the Physicians appointed for the Hospitals, and all Sorts of Intendants and municipal Officers, to return to their Duty at Marseilles; otherwise declaring them incapable of Publick Offices, and fining them 1000 Livres.
The 3d, the Sheriffs repair to the Town-House almost by themselves, with M. Capus, Keeper of the Records, his eldest Son, so distinguish'd by his Merit and his Virtues, who, from the Beginning of the Contagion, has assisted him to go through the Multiplicity of Business in his Offices; M. Bouis, Cashier; and my self; having no longer any Guards, Domestick Servants, or other Person under Command. The Ravages the Plague has already made in this great City, may be judged by the Number belonging to the Town-House only, that have been carried off, which, is above 500 Persons, viz. 30 Guards wearing the Shoulder-Belt, all the Guards de la Police, all the Captains of the City one excepted, all the Lieutenants except two, almost all the Captains Lieutenants, and Guards of the Five Brigades du Privilege du Vin, all the Sergeants of the Nightly Watch or Patroll, 350 Men of the Companies of the Guard, and all the City-Yeomen appointed to attend the Magistrates, who are now become destitute of all Servants.
Men are become only Shadows; those who are seen well one Day, are in the Carts the next; and, what is unaccountable, those who have shut themselves up most securely in their own Houses, and are the most careful to take in nothing without the most exact Precautions, are attacked there by the Plague, which creeps in no Body knows how.
The 4th, nothing is more deplorable, than to see the vast Number of Sick and Dying which are spread over the whole City, deprived of all spiritual as well as temporal Comforts, and reduced to the lamentable Condition of dying almost all of them without Confession.
There wanted not, indeed, Servants of the Lord, as well of the Secular as Regular Clergy, who devoted their Lives to the saving of Souls, and assisting and confessing the infected; there wanted not even holy Heroes, (for by that Name we ought to call all the Capuchins and Jesuits of the Two Houses of St. Jeaume; and of the holy Cross, and likewise all the Observantins, and the Recollets, and some others) who, with more than heroick Courage, and indefatigable Charity and Zeal, ran about every where, and rushed precipitately into the most deserted and most infected Houses, into the Streets and Places that were thickest strow'd with putrify'd Bodies, and into the Hospitals that reeked most with the Contagion, to confess the infected, assist them in the Article of Death, and receive their last contagious and envenom'd Breath, as if it were but Dew.
But these sacred Labourers, who may well be look'd upon as true Martyrs, (seeing those of Alexandria, under the Prelacy of St. Denis, who had the Charity to assist the infected, were honour'd with the Glory of Martyrdom) are almost all taken away by Death, in the Time of so great a Mortality, when their Help is most wanted: Forty two Capuchins have already perished, Twenty one Jesuits, Thirty two Observantins, Twenty nine Recollets, Ten Barefooted Carmelites, Twenty two Reformed Augustines, all the Grand Carmelites, the Grand Trinitarians, the Reformed Trinitarians, the Monks of Loretto, of Mercy, the Dominicans and Grand Augustins who had kept in their Convent: besides several Secular Priests, and the greatest Part of the Vicars of Chapters and Parishes.
In so great an Extremity, the Bishop recalls those, who, by their peculiar Character, and by the Nature of their Benefice, are under the indispensible Obligation of confessing and administring the spiritual Remedies to the Dying; but who being struck with shameful Terror, have basely sought their own Safety by Flight, without troubling themselves about the Salvation of others.
Had their Concern to discharge their proper Duty been too cold to light up in their Hearts that Fire of Charity with which they ought to glow, the Example of their holy Prelate should have excited them: In vain, from the Beginning of the Contagion was he pressed to leave the City, to endeavour to preserve himself, for the rest of his Diocese; he rejects all such Counsels, and hearkens only to those which the Love the Sovereign Pastor has inspired him with for his Flock, suggest to him; he tarries with unshaken Fortitude, determined to lay down his Life for the Good of his Sheep, if God is pleas'd to require it.
He is not satisfied with prostrating himself at the Feet of Altars, and lifting up his Hands to Heaven to beseech God to mitigate his Wrath; his Charity is active; he is every Day in the open Streets, through all Quarters of the Town; he goes up to the highest and worst Apartments of the Houses to visit the Sick; crosses the Streets among the dead Bodies; appears in the publick Places, at the Port, at the Ring; the poorest, the most destitute of Friends, those afflicted the most grievously and hideously, are the Persons to whom he goes with most Earnestness; and without dreading those mortal Blasts which carry Poison to the Heart, he approaches them, confesses them, exhorts them to Patience, disposes them to die, pours celestial Consolations into their Souls, representing to them the Felicity of Suffering and of Poverty; and drops every where abundant Fruits of his generous Charity, distributing Money where-ever he goes, and especially in secret to indigent Families, whom holy Curiosity prompts him to seek out and to relieve; he has already given away Twenty five thousand Crowns, and takes up what Money he can upon Pledges, to enable him to distribute more. But I should not blaze abroad what his Humility is careful to conceal, it ought to be left under the Veil which that Virtue throws over it.
Death has spared this new Charles Borromeo, but has continually surrounded him, and almost mowed under his Feet: The Plague gets into his Palace, the greatest Part of his Officers and Domesticks are struck with it; he is obliged to retreat into the House of the first President at Marseilles; the Plague pursues him thither, and not only attacks the rest of his Domesticks, but Two Persons who are very dear to him for their distinguished Merit, and are his Assistants in his holy Labours, Father de la Fare a Jesuit, and M. Bourgeret Canon of la Major; the first escapes, but he has the Grief to see the other expire: All this however does not terrify him, nor with-hold him one Moment from any of the Duties of his fervent Charity; he goes every where still to visit the Infected.
But the Plague destroys too fast for the surviving Remnant of Confessors to perform all the Service necessarily required: A greater Number of Workmen should be had; wherefore the Canons of the Collegiate Church of St. Martin, and some of that of Acoules, who have Benefices with Cure of Souls, and who have fled, are those the Bishop recals, to come and confess, each within the Bounds of his parish.
The Sheriffs, who observe all those Parish-Priests are deaf to the Voice of their Bishop, and unconcerned for the Loss of the Souls of their Parishioners, present a Petition to the Bishop, to order them by an Injunction to return forthwith to their Duty; in default of which their Benefices to be declared vacant, and other Persons qualified to fill them, to be nominated.
The 5th, the Regulators of the Fishermen being capable of some Service, and Three of them having fled; an Ordinance is published at my Instance, to oblige them to return, on the Penalty of a Fine of Three Thousand Livres, and of losing their Offices.
This Day the Sheriffs being astonish'd at the Increase of the Mortality, and the deplorable State the City is in, and longing for an Answer to the Dispatches they have sent to Court for necessary Supplies, write to the Marshal de Villars, most earnestly beseeching him to second their Instances: That Illustrious Governor, who among all the Towns of his Government of Provence, has constantly honoured Marseilles with his particular Affection, is so concerned to hear of the extreme Desolation it is in, that he returns Answer, He is resolved to come himself to its Relief, if his Royal Highness will give him Leave.
The 6th, the Sheriffs find themselves reduced to the most terrible of all Extremities; the last Slaves which the Officers of the Gallies had granted, at the Request of the first President, being all either dead, or fallen ill of the Distemper; and notwithstanding all the Efforts M. Moustier had made the preceeding Days, to get all the dead Bodies possible carried off, above Two Thousand still remaining in the Streets, besides what are in the Houses; they see plainly, that if the Officers of the Gallies will not give them more Slaves, at the rate the Mortality goes on, there must be in less than Eight Days above Fifteen Thousand Bodies in the Streets all putrified; from which will ensue a Necessity of quitting the Town, and abandoning it perhaps for ever, to the Putrefaction, Poison, and Infection which will settle in it.
Hereupon they assemble, with the few Citizens still left, among whom are two Intendants of Health who have not stirred a Foot, M. Rose the Elder, and M. Rollaud. Divers Expedients are debated; some propose, that for disposing of the present dead Bodies, and those to be expected daily, a large Pit should be opened in every Street to throw them into: But two things are objected; one is, that such Pits cannot be dug in the Streets, without cutting off, at the same time, all the Conduit-Pipes which are laid through them; the other is, that it would require above Ten Thousand Men to dig speedily so many Pits in so vast a City, while there is none to be found in a Condition to work; besides, no body would dig in Streets actually strewed with infected Bodies, for fear of catching the Infection by touching them. Others propose, to let all the Bodies lie where they are, in the Streets, the publick Places, and the Houses, and there to cover them with Lime to consume them; and that such a Quantity of Lime be carried in Carts, and laid in Heaps in every Street, as may serve to consume all the dead Bodies that shall be there. But to this likewise there are several Objections; Where is Lime enough to be had for consuming so many Bodies? Where are Men to help to cart it? And who could stay in the City amidst the horrible Infection which those Bodies would exhale, as they are consuming?
The Course the Sheriffs think best to take, is, without passing any Resolution, to desire the Citizens assembled with them, to accompany them, in their Hoods, and in a Body, to the House of M. de Rancé to intreat him with all Earnestness, to grant them the Assistance they want for the Preservation of the City.
M. de Rancé calls together M. de Vaucresson the Intendant, and the General Officers of the Gallies; they appear to be touched as much with the Zeal of these Magistrates, and with the burthensome and hazardous Conditions upon which they ask this Assistance, as with the great Extremity the City is in; accordingly they grant them all they demand on those Conditions; and being desirous to have the Agreement put into Writing, I drew up before them the following Act to be entred in the Register of the Town-House, and a Copy of it to be given to them.
This Day, the Sheriffs, Protectors, and Defenders of the Privileges, Liberties, and Immunities, of this City of Marseilles, the King's Counsellors, Lieutenants-General de Police, being assembled in the Town-House, with some of the municipal Officers, the Counsellor Orator of the City and the King's Procurator de la Police, and other eminent Citizens; and taking into Consideration, that though the 260 Slaves, which the Officers of the Gallies have been pleased to grant them at different Times, to bury the Dead since the City was afflicted with the Plague; have been extremely helpful to them hitherto, yet that Assistance is insufficient, above 2000 dead Bodies having actually lain in the Streets several Days; and causing a general Infection; it was therefore resolved, for preserving the City, to desire greater Assistance: And immediately the Sheriffs going out in their Hoods, accompanied by all the said municipal Officers and eminent Citizens, went in a Body to the House of the Chevalier de Rancé, Lieutenant-General, commanding his Majesty's Gallies, and represented to him, that the City has infinite Obligations to him for the signal Services which he has been pleased to do them in this Calamity; but that it is not possible to preserve the City, unless he does them the favour to grant them a Hundred Slaves  more, and 4 Officers of the Whistle (or Boatswains) (almost all those who have formerly been granted, being dead or sick;) in which Case they will make the best Use of them; that to engage them to work with the greater Diligence in carrying off the dead Bodies, they will expose themselves as they have already done; will march on Horseback in their Hoods, before the Carts, and go with them all over the City: That moreover, it being of Importance, that their Authority should be supported by Force, at a time when there remains in the City only a numerous Populace, who must be kept under, for preventing all Tumult, and for maintaining good Order every where; they further intreat him most earnestly to grant them at least Forty stout Soldiers of the Gallies, to obey their Orders, to attend them, and at the same time hinder the Slaves from getting away; that they shall be commanded by themselves only; that they will divide them into 4 Parties, of which each Sheriff will head One; and it being necessary that one of the Sheriffs, at least, should be continually at the Town-House, for the Dispatch of such Affairs as may occur, one of the said Parties shall be commanded by the Chevalier Rose; and in Case they should be hindred by any Accident, they will propose in their Room, Commissaries of the best Distinction they can find, to head and command them. Whereupon the Chevalier de Rancé, being assembled with the Intendant and General Officers of the Gallies, all sensible of the miserable Condition of this great and important City, and willing to grant all that is necessary for saving it, have been pleased to grant to the Sheriffs, and to the Community, a Hundred Slaves more, and 40 Soldiers, among them 4 Corporals, with 4 Officers of the Whistle; and it being necessary to take those who are voluntarily disposed, and to engage them by Rewards, to this dangerous Service; It is resolved and agreed, that besides Subsistance which the Community shall furnish  to them all, ten Livres a Day shall be given to each Officer of the Whistle, and to each Soldier fifty Sols: And after it shall please God to deliver the City from this Visitation, a Gratification of a hundred Livres, to be paid at once, shall be made to each of them who shall then be living. The Corporals shall have each a hundred Sols a Day, and also an annual Pension for Life of a hundred Livres to each of them who shall survive; it being judged they cannot be sufficiently rewarded for so important and perillous a Service, This is agreed by the Assembly, in consideration of the present Exigence, and the Necessity of the Time. Concluded at Marseilles, the 6th of September, 1720. Signed, Estelle, Audimar, Moustier, Dieudé, Sheriffs; Pichatty de Croissainté, Orator, and the King's Procurator; Capus, Keeper of the Records.
The 7th, the Magistrates taking into Consideration, that the Plague being the Instrument of God's Wrath, all the Help of Men, and all the Efforts they resolve to make, will be vain and useless, unless they have Recourse to his Mercy, and seek to appease him; they determine to make a Vow in the Name of the City, to incline him to vouchsafe to deliver it from this cruel Pestilence (as their Predecessors did during the last Plague,) that the Community shall give every Year, for ever, the Sum of 2000 Livres to a House of Charity, to be established by the Title and under the Protection of Our Lady of Good Help, for the Reception of poor Girls, Orphans of this City and its Territory.
The 8th, they make this Vow solemnly in the Presence of the Bishop, in the Chapel of the Town-House, where he celebrates Mass.
The same Day having received the Slaves, and the Officers of the Whistle, together with the Soldiers (whose Corps de Garde is settled in the great Hall of the Loge,) and M. Moustier having got in Readiness the Carts, and divided the Slaves into several Brigades, the Sheriffs in their Hoods put themselves each at the Head of one of those Brigades, with a Division or Guard of Soldiers, and go to the Places that are thickest spread with dead Bodies, and where they are most putrefied, with an Intrepidity that astonishes the very Soldiers, and makes the Slaves work with all their Strength, without fearing the Dangers which they see them so much contemn: They continue this Work daily, from Morning till Night, and the Chevalier Rose on Horseback, constantly supplies the Room of that Sheriff who is obliged in his Turn to sit in the Town-House for the ordinary Dispatch of Business: 'Tis a Miracle that they have not all perished, by exposing themselves to Dangers so great, that the forty Soldiers of the Gallies, who accompanied them, have all perished, except four, by their Sides.
The 9th, they send to the Council of Marine a Copy of the Act, specifying the Conditions on which the Officers of the Gallies granted those Soldiers, and the Slaves; another to the Marshal de Villars, and a third to the Grand Prior.
The 10th, the first President, who is always vigilant to supply their Wants, and who knows that besides Carts, they more need Carters to drive them, sends a Number of both from Aix, which are very helpful: The Officers of the Gallies furnish them with twenty five Slaves more, to replace those of the hundred already granted who are become unable to work; and add to them six, who are Butchers by Profession, to serve in the Slaughter-houses of the Town, where all the Butchers being dead, or having deserted, no body is left to kill Oxen and Sheep.
The 11th, there being hardly any Physicians remaining, and fewer Surgeons, the rest having deserted, or perished, their Art not availing them; the first President sends hither M. Pons and Boutellier, Physicians of the Faculty of Montpellier; and M. Montet and Rabaton, very skilful Master-Surgeons.
The 12th, the Sheriff's are informed that the Commandeur M. de Langeron, Commadore of a Squadron of Gallies, and Major-General of the King's Armies, has been nominated by his Majesty Governour of Marseilles and its Territory, and that he has received his Commission. Such agreeable and salutary News revives them immediately from all the Sorrow, Dejection, and Consternation they were in; and inspires, not only into them, but into all the other Citizens, and into the People in general, both Sick and Well, no less Joy, Pleasure and Content, than Confidence, new Spirit, and Courage: They think it impossible to perish under so worthy a Governour, and the Preservation of Marseilles is looked upon as certain under his Auspices and Conduct: The Affection he has always been observed to bear to this City, and which he has demonstrated since it became afflicted with the Plague; his having been pleased, not only to come and assist in the Assemblies at the Town-House, but to promote very much the giving Assistance to the City by the Officers of the Gallies (in which naval Body of Forces he is distinguished by his Rank, as well as by his Merit and Valour:) His Character so long established, his illustrious Name, his Presence, which by a happy Mixture of Sweetness and Gravity makes him at once respected, loved, and feared; his Wisdom and Foresight, his Courage, his Firmness; Virtues, which qualify and dispose him to chuse the best Expedients in pressing Occasions, and execute with Rigour what he has judiciously resolved; all this, I say, gives every body, and particularly the Sheriffs, the most promising Hopes, which in the Event were soon answered: They go in their Hoods, and in a Body, to his House, to have the Honour to make him a Tender of their Duties.
They learn at the same time, that the Marquess de Pilles (who has newly begun to recover his Health) has also received a Commission to command in the City and Territory; they go in the same manner to his House, to make him the like Compliments: And both their Commissions being sent to be entred in the Register of the Town-House, it appears that M. de Langeron, in the Quality of Major-General of the King's Forces, is to take place, and command in Chief.
The same Day, M. de Langeron mounts on Horseback, and comes to the Town-House, to inform himself of the State of Affairs, that he might thereupon make the proper Dispositions, and take the necessary Measures for applying speedy Remedies to pressing Evils: He is accompanied by the Chevalier de Soissans, an Officer of the Gallies, whom he has taken to his Assistance; and who is so ardent for relieving the Town, that he is every Day on Horseback from Morning till Night, running wherever any thing is to be done, and to provide against, or redress, those Inconveniences which appear most insuperable; contemning Danger, and compelling others, by his Example, not to relax or stop; putting in Execution Things seeming the most impossible, with that Activity, Prudence, and indefatigable Zeal, that every thing is done by his Care, and by his Assistance.
The 13th, the Marquess de Pilles comes to the Town-House; his Presence, after the Grief and Alarm his Sickness had caused, gives every one unspeakable Pleasure. M. de Langeron repairs thither likewise; he never fails to come thither every Day on Horseback, in the Morning and Afternoon, be what Weather it will, and sits generally till eight a Clock at Night; 'tis most frequently after he has taken his Rounds to the Hospitals, the Pits, the Church-yards, and other Places very dangerous to approach, which he will view with his own Eyes, and where he exposes himself without Regard to his Health or Life.
The 14th, the Sheriffs continue to appear constantly, each at the Head of one of the Brigades of Slaves, with the Carts, to set them to work in different Quarters, to take up and carry to the Pits that prodigious Number of dead Bodies, with which the City is filled; and though they take away so many, they find more still, by the Continuance of the Mortality.
But there is one Part, where they have not been able to set foot yet; it is at an Esplanade called la Tourette, which lies towards the Sea, between the Houses and the Rampart, from Fort St. John to the Church of Major: There lie extended about a thousand dead Bodies close to each other, the freshest of which have lain there above three Weeks; so that had they not been infected, the lying so long in a Place exposed to the hot Sun all the Day, might have sufficed to render them contagious: All one's Senses are affected at approaching a Place, whence one smells afar off the contagious Vapours which Exhale from it: Nature shrinks, and the firmest Eyes cannot bear so hideous a Sight; those Bodies have no longer any human Form, they are Monsters that give Horror, and one would think all their Limbs stir, the Worms are in such Motion about them.
Nothing however is of more urgent Necessity than to remove these Bodies from that Place; every Moment they are let lye there, furnishes Exhalations which must poison the Air; but how shall they be taken up and carried to the Pits without the Town, which are at a very great Distance? Bodies so putrefied will not hold in the Carts; the Entrails, the Limbs which are loosened at the Joints by the Worms, would run out, or drop off, which would scatter the Plague and Venom quite through the City.
The Chevalier Rose, who is good at Expedients, and as industrious as intrepid, goes to the Place, and viewing the Rampart, perceives that two antient Bastions, which about two thousand Years ago stood the Attacks of Julius Cæsar's Army, and are near the Esplanade where lye the dead Bodies, tho' they seem to be filled with Earth, are vaulted within, which he discovers at the Foot of one of them through a Hole, which Time has made in a Stone; he presently imagines that no more needs be done, than to take away some Foot of Earth which cover the Vault of each Bastion, to break into that Vault, and finding them quite hollow within down to the Foundation which is level with the Surface of the Sea, nothing is more easy than to cast all those Bodies into them, and then to cover them with as much Earth and Lime as is necessary, to hinder the exhaling of any Infection from them.
This being so judiciously projected, he returns to the Town-house, and tells M. de Langeron and the Sheriffs, that he will take upon him to remove all the dead Bodies from la Tourette, explains to them his Project, they find it admirable; but to be able to execute it, a greater Number of Slaves must be employed, that it may be done suddenly and at once; it being evident, that no Soul that breathes can hold out above a few Minutes in so noisome a Place, when those Bodies are moved, to be drawn off the Ground and thrown into the Bastions. M. de Langeron, who has newly received Orders from Court, to take as many Slaves out of the Gallies as he shall judge necessary for the Service of the City, promises him a hundred for this Enterprize.
The same Day the Mortality continues without Decrease, and all the several Pits which had been opened being filled, M. de Langeron accompanied by M. Moustier, and the Chevalier de Soissans, take a Turn without the City, to see what Place will be most convenient for opening new ones speedily; and some are marked out on the Side of the Gate of Aix, of sixty Foot long and thirty broad: At the same time the Question being where to get at least a hundred Peasants to dig them; M. de Langeron sends all his Guards into the Territory, with Orders to the Captains of the principal Quarters to make them come, either willingly, or by Force.
The 15th, he issues an Ordinance, commanding all the Intendants of Health, Counsellors of the City, Captains of Quarters, and Commissaries of Parishes, who have deserted, to return within twenty four Hours to their Functions, on Pain of Disobedience.
He sets forth another, jointly with the Marquess de Pilles and the Sheriffs, prescribing all that ought to be done, observed, and executed in the Territory, where the Plague makes likewise very great Ravages, and has got into all the Quarters.
The 16th, to remove that horrible Infection which is in the Port, by above ten thousand dead Dogs floating in it, he sends for the Regulators of the Fishermen to the Town-house, and Orders them to work with Boats to inclose them in Nets, and draw them so far without the Chain, that the Current of the Water may not bring them in again.
This Day the Chevalier Rose, who the Day before had caused the Vaults of the two Bastions of the Rampart de la Tourette to be broken into, and found them hollow to the Foundation as he had foreseen, having received the hundred Slaves appointed to remove the dead Bodies from that Part, causes each of them to tye a Handkerchief dipped in Vinegar about his Head to stop his Nose, and having disposed them in such a manner, as to be able to put all Hands to the Work at once, he makes them in half an Hour take away all those Bodies, Limbs of which dropped off in carrying, and throw them into the Caverns of those Bastions, which he immediately causes to be filled with Lime and Earth, up to the Level of the Esplanade.
The 17th, the Sheriffs continuing with yet greater Ardour and Zeal, to go each at the Head of a Number of Carts, to see the dead Bodies taken up and carried off, from the several Streets of the Town, which are more and more filled with them; M. Estelle has Notice that the Pits which had been filled on the Side of la Major, had cleft in the Night; he hastens thither to see them repaired, and takes with him the Peasants who were working at the new Pits without the Gate of Aix: But there's no governing the Peasants at approaching infected Places, the Soldiers of the Gallies who accompany them drive them on, but they give back; he takes a Pick-ax himself and falls to work to encourage them; they are not to be stimulated by his Example, the Soldiers are, they instantly lay down their Arms, wrest the Pick-ax out of his Hands, take each of them one from those dastardly Peasants, and repair the Pits, notwithstanding the Infection, with inexpressible Ardour: It is Pity all those Soldiers perished, they served the City with a Zeal which will make them always lamented.
This Day M. Audimar causes a Heap of Bodies, which were piled up in the Street of Ferrat, and were no less putrid than those of la Tourette, to be carried off.
M. de Langeron studying to relieve the Necessities of the People, who are in want of all Things, and who suffer and even perish by the Desertion of almost all the Surgeons, Apothecaries, Retailers of common Necessaries, as Cooks and others, whose Shops and Stalls are generally shut up every where; he publishes an Ordinance to compel them to return within twenty four Hours precisely, on Pain of Death.
The same Day the Physicians of Montpellier who had come in the Month of August, to examine by Order of his Royal Highness, the Nature and Symptoms of the Distemper, come again, accompanied by M. Soulliers Master Surgeon to the King, who was also with them the first time; after their Departure from hence, they had resided at a Country-house near Aix which had been appointed for them to perform Quarantain in, which done they were to have been admitted into Montpellier; but his Royal Highness being desirous to succour Marseilles, and judging that such a Distemper required the most eminent and skilful Physicians, was pleased to send them new Orders to return hither, and join with them M. Deidier another famous Physician and Professor of Montpellier, who arrived with them.
The Plague had till then been treated as the Plague, the Sick presently judged of the Danger of their Sickness by the Behaviour of the Physicians who visited them: M. de Chicoyneau, Chancellor of the University of Montpellier, M. Verny, and M. Deidier, give them Reason to believe, on the contrary, that 'tis of all Distempers the least dangerous and the most common; they approach them without the least Concern or Mark of Emotion, without Repugnance, without Precaution; they even sit down upon their Beds, touch their Buboes and Sores, and stay by them calmly as long as is necessary to inform themselves of the State of their Case, the Symptoms of their Distemper, and to see the Surgeons perform the Operations they order: They go every where, and pass through all the Quarters, they examine the Sick, in the Streets, in the publick Places, in the Houses, and in the Hospitals; one would think them invulnerable, or tutelar Angels sent by God to save every poor Creature's Life; they refuse the Money the Rich offer them; nor receive any thing from any body, but a thousand Blessings from all; their Manner of proceeding, with the Reputation of their Names, recover the Sick by the Hope and Confidence they raise in them.
The 18th, another Pit is opened, below the Ramparts between the Gate of Aix and the Tower of St. Paule, sixty Foot long and thirty broad: M. de Langeron wrote the Day before to the Captains of the Territory, to send in Peasants: The Chevalier de Soissans goes at Day break to the Entrance of the Suburbs, to conduct them to this Work, which they were extremely averse to, because of the Nearness of other Pits already filled thereabouts. New ones are also opened on the Side of that Ground, by which the Church-yard of the Parish of St. Ferriol was formerly enlarged; this Quarter is the finest and best Inhabited of the City, where M. Serre, no less a good Citizen than a famous and excellent Painter, one of the Commissaries appointed there, zealous even to the Sacrificing of his own Life for the Relief of his Country, has taken upon himself alone the laborious and perillous Care to see carried off and buried, the dead Bodies from thence, with some Carts which the Sheriffs have given him, and a Brigade of Slaves put under his Direction by the Officers of the Gallies, whom he carefully subsists and lodges at his own Expence. A Citizen that so loves his Country, deserves to be beloved by it.
The 19th the Desertion from the City continuing, so that none can be found to carry into the Store-houses of the Community the Corn brought up by Boats from the Barrier of Lestaque, M. de Langeron appoints for that Service twenty six Gally-Slaves, with four of their Companions to dress Victuals for them; no Persons being found fit to be put to do so much as that.
The time of Vintage approaching, it is considered that the Vapours of the new Wine, in a Town where so prodigious a Quantity is made, might contribute very much towards dis-infecting the Houses; and it is called to mind that it was by this Means the last Plague which afflicted Marseilles was stopt: Whereupon an Ordinance is issued, in the Names of M. de Langeron, the Marquess de Pilles, and the Sheriffs, importing that the Vintage shall be got in as usual.
This Day arrive three other Physicians of the Faculty of Montpellier, who came Post from Paris by Order of his Royal Highness, viz. M. Mailhes Professor of the University of Cahors, M. Boyer de Paradis of Marseilles, and M. de Læbadie, accompanied by two Master-Surgeons of Paris: They are provided with excellent Instructions, which they received from M. Chirac first Physician to his Royal Highness, and Sur-Intendant of the Royal Physick-Garden, who has not neglected any thing that might be for the Relief of this unfortunate City: Physicians so well chosen, and so well instructed, cannot fail of doing good Service; the Event will soon shew it.
The 20th, there are no Medicines nor Drugs to be found in the City, by Reason of the Flight and Desertion of all the Apothecaries, Druggists, and Grocers; the Sick dye without being able to use the Liberty of making their Wills, the Royal Notaries having all fled; Women with Child are delivered without any Assistance, the Midwives being all fled likewise: An Ordinance at my Instance is issued by M. de Langeron, the Marquess de Pilles, and the Sheriffs, to oblige them all to return within twenty four Hours on Pain of Death: The Royal Notaries only obey readily. The ordinary Term of letting or quitting Houses being Michaelmas-Day, and almost all the Houses being infected, it would be dangerous to suffer such removing with Houshold-Goods mostly infected; another Ordinance forbids it, till it be otherwise ordered.
The 21st, the Sheriffs have an Increase of Care and Trouble; the Persons who for a long time had the Direction and Management of the Office of Plenty of Corn, and of the Shambles, dye of the Plague; this obliges the Sheriffs to take that Business upon themselves, while they have so much already upon their Hands: M. de Langeron, to facilitate their going through with it all, persuades them to take each a certain part of the Work: Accordingly, M. Estelle is charged with the Dispatch of all the current Affairs at the Town-House, with the Correspondences, and with the Orders for the good Government of the City; M. Audimar with the Shambles; M. Moustier with all that relates to the carrying off and burying of the Dead, the Pits, and the Church-yards, the cleaning of the Streets, the Carts, the Gally Slaves and their Subsistance; and M. Dieudé with what relates to Bread-Corn, Meal, Wood for firing, and the Bakers.
The 22d, new Pits are to be made, M. de Langeron sends his Guards into the Territory, to bring in one hundred and fifty Men to dig them; and the 23d one is opened of one hundred thirty two Foot long, forty eight wide, and fourteen deep, in the Garden of the Observantines near the Ramparts.
The 24th, at the Time when Misery and Calamity are at the Heighth; when all is groaning, lamenting, dying, as well in the Country, as in the Town; when those whom the Fury of the Distemper has spared, are overtaken by Famine, and fall into Despair, more cruel and terrible than the Plague it self; when the Fountains of Charity, which had run till now, are dried up; when, as the Scripture expresses it, the Heavens seem to be of Brass, and the Earth of Iron; and when no Hope at all remain'd, but of Dying; 'tis then a charitable Hand extends it self from afar to this unhappy City.
The 25th, the Heaps of infected Cloaths and Houshold-Goods, with which all the Streets are incumbered, being a greater hindrance to the passing through them, than the dead Bodies and Sick that lye in them; Mons. de Langeron sets twenty five Gally-Slaves to work, to carry all off in Carts, and twenty others to cleave Wood for Firing, for the Use of the Bakers; no other Hands being to be had.
The Refractoriness of the Apothecaries, Druggists, and Grocers, in absenting themselves from the City, and the Necessity of compelling them to return, that the Sick may be supplied with Medicines and Drugs, oblige him to send Guards into the Territory, to seize and bring away the chief of them.
The 26th, the Hospital of Timber-work in the Alleys of the Grand Mall, and which so many Poor infected, who lie in the Streets and publick Places, have been wishing for several Days, is upon the Point of being finished, after incredible Labour; when a North Wind, the most violent that ever was, blows so hard, that it breaks and throws down almost all the Timber-work, with the Sail-cloth that covered it: For repairing speedily this Damage, M. de Langeron goes thither, sends for robust and serviceable Fellows from the Gallies, with Officers to keep them diligently employed; the Sheriffs bestir themselves to provide more Timber and Sail-cloth; all Hands are at Work; the Chevalier de Soissans keeps upon the Spot, to encourage the Men, and give Orders, accompanied by M. Marin and Beaussier, Commissaries appointed to act as Directors General of this Hospital, who sacrificed their Time and private Concerns to see it built, were always active in any thing that was most toilsome; and the principal Assistants of the Sheriffs, from the Time the Fear of the Contagion made every body abandon them.
The 27th, it is considered, that as large as this Hospital is, it cannot serve for such a Multitude of Sick, as are lying in all the Streets, and encreased daily by the Continuance of the Distemper; and therefore another must be timely thought of: After looking about every where, it is resolved to make use of the Hospital General de la Charité, which is in perfect Readiness, actually furnished with near 800 Beds, and all necessary Utensils.
The Difficulty is, whither to remove the Poor maintained in it: No Place seems so proper as the Hôtel-Dieu, where there is Room enough; but there have been infected Patients in it, and above fifty are so now; they must be first removed, and the House disinfected (or perfumed;) those Patients are carried to a Chapel of the Penitents, which is hard by; and M. Estelle performs the Disinfection with all requisite Exactness.
From the 28th of September to the 3d of October, nothing but Action and Labour Night and Day. At the Mall no Time is lost to repair the Damage done by the Wind, and to provide for such an Hospital the infinite Number of Things necessary in it; in fitting up Apartments and Laboratories for the Physicians, Apothecaries, Surgeons, Officers, and Servants of the Hospital, in the Convent of the Reformed Augustines, which is contiguous to it, and in the neighbouring Bastides; and in digging near it large and deep Pits: At la Charité, those already opened in the Garden of the Observantines are just behind it; but for that Hospital, it was found to require more Trouble than the other to provide it with all Necessaries. The Pains taken to disinfect the Hôtel-Dieu, remove from thence the infected Patients, and bring into it all the Poor from la Charité, are inconceivable: M. de Langeron is obliged to be on Horseback from Morning to Night, moving from Place to Place; the Sheriffs give themselves no Respite, but shorten the common Time of Meals, that they may not lose a Moment. Every thing is hard to be got, even Straw to stuff the Mattresses, which no body will bring in from the Territory, without being compelled to it by Force. Officers and Servants must be sought for all these Hospitals; especially a great Number of Surgeons must be had, both Masters and Men; they cannot be drawn hither from other Provinces, but by exorbitant Rewards; Advertisements are affixed every where, promising to all Surgeons who will come, viz. to Master-Surgeons of Principal Towns 2000 Livres a Month; to the licensed Surgeons of those Towns, and the Master-Surgeons of small Places 1000 Livres a Month; and to their Apprentices, or Journeymen, 300 Livres a Month, with the Freedom of the Company of Surgeons of Marseilles; besides Lodging and Diet all the time they are employed.
The 3d of October, Part of the Troops which M. de Langeron expected for the Service of the City, and to execute his Orders, arrive; viz. Three Companies of the Regiment of Flandres, whom he causes to encamp at the Chartreuse without the Walls.
The 4th, the two new Hospitals at the Mall and la Charité, are, at length, in a Condition to receive the Sick; and immediately they creep thither from all Quarters. A Number of Gally-Slaves is employed to fetch those who cannot help themselves, and are lying in the publick Places and Streets, and in the Houses.
The 5th, all the Physicians, as well Strangers, as of Faculty in this City, are convened at the Town-House, in the Presence of M. de Langeron, the Marquess de Pilles, and the Sheriffs; and M. de Chicoyneau and Verny, as Principals, and those others to whom the general Inspection is committed, appoint the Stations where each shall serve, and the Surgeons to be employed under them. If all the Strangers have signalized themselves by their Skill and Zeal, those of the City have equall'd them in both; they have served with so little Care of their own Persons, that three of them have lost their Lives, M. Peissonel, Montagnier, and Audan, and a fourth, Mr. Bertrand, was very near Death's Door.
The 6th, three of the Captains of the City dying, the Sheriffs nominate in their Room M. Desperier, Bonnaneau, and Icard, who from the Beginning of the Contagion have voluntarily gone upon any Service, however toilsome and hazardous, for the City.
The 7th, the Plague being more violent in the Territory than in the City, and it being of Importance to hinder the Sick to come from thence into it; M. de Langeron posts at each Gate a Corps de Garde of Soldiers of the King's Troops, under the Command of the Captains and Officers of the Town; and publishes an Ordinance, which prescribes the Rules to be observed at any Person's coming into, or going out of the Gates.
The 8th, whereas since the two new Hospitals have been opened, the Sick are no longer lying about the Streets, and the dead Bodies are carried off daily, by the great Number of Carts which are continually passing; Dispositions are made for cleaning the Streets throughout the City, as well for making Room to pass, as to take away the horrible Infection caused by the prodigious Quantity of Filth and Nastiness, with which they are all covered. For this Purpose large Boats, used for cleansing the Port, by taking up the Soil, are placed all along the Key at each Pallisade; and while the Sheriffs go each through a Quarter with a Brigade of Gally Slaves, to cause all the Heaps of infected Cloaths and Houshold-Goods, which have been thrown out of the Windows, to be burnt; other Brigades of Slaves go with Carts, to take up the Dunghills and Filth, which they shoot into those Boats, and these carry it out, and throw it into the Sea, as far as they can from the Mouth of the Port: This is so tedious a Work, that be it followed never so close, it will take up a Month at least to finish it.
The 9th, the Sheriffs receive News that fills them with Joy and Consolation; they find by a Letter which the Consuls of Avignon are so kind to write to them, that the common Father of the Faithful Roman Catholicks, moved at hearing of the Calamities of a City, which was the first of all Gaul that received the Catholick Faith, by St. Lazarus its first Bishop; which in all Times has preserved it in its Purity, no Heresy having ever been able to get footing in it; and which has always had a singular Attachment, with a profound and inviolable Respect, for the Holy See; has not thought it enough to order publick Prayers in all the Churches of Rome, and Processions, at which his Holiness assists on Foot, to beseech the Sovereign Father of Mercies to appease his Wrath against Marseilles, and cast away the dreadful Scourge which lays it desolate; but being desirous to succour so many miserable Poor as are in it, and supply them with Bread in their Need, has caused to be bought up in the District of Ancona two thousand Measures (called Roubies) of Bread-Corn, which will be forthwith brought hither by Vessels that are to take it in at Civita-Vecchia, to be distributed to the Poor in such Proportions as the Bishop shall allot.
The 10th, the Canons of the Collegiate Church of St. Martin, having Benefices with Cure of Souls, persisting to absent themselves from their Duty, notwithstanding the several Admonitions signified to them, the Bishop pronounces Sentence, and, conformably to the Petition of the Sheriffs of the 4th of September last, declares their Benefices vacant, and that they shall be filled with others duly qualified; and he nominates to them accordingly.
The 11th, there are in the Hospitals several Patients who have the Happiness to recover of the Plague: A Place is necessary for these to be removed to, where they may stay forty Days after their Buboes and Sores are entirely cured and healed up; it is resolv'd to make use of the grand Infirmaries for this Purpose; they must be made ready, and provided with all Things necessary: M. de Langeron goes thither, with M. Estelle, and Orders are given for doing it out of hand.
The 12th, more Troops arrive for the Service of the City; viz. Three Companies of the Regiment of Brie, which M. de Langeron causes to encamp at the Chartreuse, with the three others already there.
The 13th, 14th, and 15th, while the Infirmaries are getting ready for those who are recover'd from the Plague, he sends Orders into the Territory, to compel those Intendants of Health, who have absented themselves, and several other Municipal Officers, whose Service is absolutely requisite in the City, to return.
The 16th, he posts a Corps de Garde of thirty Soldiers by the Town-House, to guard the Sheriffs, and execute Orders.
The 17th, it is resolved to send into the Infirmaries, not only those who have recovered in the several Hospitals, but likewise all those who wander about the City with their Buboes broke and running, and communicate the Contagion generally to those who, not knowing their Condition, have the Misfortune to touch or approach them.
The 18th, the Difficulties which obstruct the putting the Infirmaries intirely into Order; or closing up the Sides of the Market-House, which are open; Timber, Boards, and Sail-Cloth being not to be had; make it necessary to seek some other Place, which is already in proper Order; such appears to be the College of the Fathers de l'Oratoire, the Halls of which are capable of harbouring a great Number of Persons; and Lodgings for the Officers, Surgeons, and Servants, are ready in the rest of the House, which is quite empty by the Flight of those Priests.
The 16th, the Grand Claustral Prior (i.e. he that resides, and keeps the Monks to their Duty) of the Abbey of St. Victor, and two Monks deputed from that Chapter, come to the Town-House to justify themselves upon their Refusal to carry in Procession the Shrines and Reliques of their Church, to the Square of the Loge. The Continuance of the Contagion, notwithstanding all the Efforts hitherto made to stop it, leaving no Hope, but in the Mercy of the Almighty through the Intercession of the Saints, the Sheriffs resolved to desire the Bishop to cause all the Shrines of Saints, and all the Reliques of the Church of Major to be brought forth, and to accompany them to the Square of the Loge, where they design'd to erect a great Altar, on which to place them in open View, and likewise to desire the Monks of the Abbey of St. Victor, to bring out at the same Time all the Shrines and Reliques of their Church, and to accompany them to the same Place, where being all ranged together on the same Altar, the Bishop was to celebrate Mass, and all the Prayers prescribed against the Plague were to be said. The Bishop instantly agreed to it, with all the Joy and Satisfaction which the Piety that animates him could raise: M. de Langeron had given the most proper Orders, for preventing any Crowd, or even any Communication, at this Holy Procession; nothing remained, but to dispose the Monks of the Abbey of St. Victor to perform their Part: M. Estelle went, and moved it to them; they consent, but on Conditions utterly impracticable: They demand, either that two Altars should be erected, or that the Bishop should not celebrate Mass, lest their Privileges should receive some Diminution by it. And their Grand Prior Claustral, with two Monks of the Abbey, come to Day to the Town-house, to have it understood that their Reasons were solid, and not Pretexts.
The 20th, no Bell having been rung in the Town since the Contagion, not even that which warns the Soldiers and Townsmen to retire to their Houses and Quarters at Night, M. de Langeron orders it to be rung as formerly.
The 21st, he orders the Officers of the City to go the Rounds punctually in all the Quarters, with the Number of Soldiers appointed by him.
The 22d and 23d, the Prisons being filled with Malefactors, and the Effects of a vast Number of Houses being exposed to Robbery, by the Death of all the Persons who inhabited them; he sends Orders into the Territory, to oblige the Commissaries de Police to return, to bring to Tryal those Malefactors, and to secure those Effects for the lawful Claimants.
The 24th M. de Langeron, the Marquess de Pilles and the Sheriffs, publish an Ordinance at my Instance, commanding all those who have taken into their Possession the Keys of Houses, or the Effects of Persons deceased, or who have had them put into their Hands in Trust, of what Nature soever they are, to appear within twenty four Hours at the Town-House, and make Declaration thereof before the Commissaries de Police, that the same may be properly secured.
The 25th another Ordinance is issued for the Publick Safety and Health, importing, that for preventing Robberies in the Night, and the Increase of the Contagion by removing from one Place to another infected Apparel, those who after ringing the warning Bell at Night shall be taken robbing Houses, or removing Apparel, or Houshold Goods, shall be punish'd with Death; and that those who shall have forbidden Arms found upon them, shall be condemned to the Gallies.
The 26th, tho' the Plague seems to have decreased, want of Provisions increases; the Distemper having got into the neighbouring Places, and even into the Capital of the Province, hardly any Corn or other Necessaries are brought any longer to the Markets at the Barriers; even all the Barriers are chang'd and remov'd so far off, that they are out of reach, and Marseilles is in the greatest Extremities that it ever felt. M. de Langeron and the Sheriffs see the Necessity there is, for avoiding a speedy Famine, to send Vessels to divers Parts to fetch Bread-Corn, and other Provisions; but having neither Money nor Means to procure any, they are obliged to send Dispatches to Court for Supplies.
The 27th the Hospitals of the Mall, of La Charité, and of the Rive Neuve, being by the Decrease of the Distemper more than sufficient to hold all the Sick; and that des Convalescens being become altogether superfluous, it is resolv'd to make Use of it for those who have recovered, and not of the College de l'Oratoire, as was design'd.
The 28th and 29th are spent in putting it in Order and Furnishing it with new Beds, after all the Sick who were in it had been remov'd to the Hospital at the Mall.
The 30th the great Number of Surgeons, as well Masters as others, who are come from all Parts, allur'd by the Advertisements of the 30th of September, that had been sent out to be publickly affix'd every where, which promised great Rewards to those that would come and serve; makes it necessary to publish contrary Advertisements, signifying, that the Distemper having happily decreased very much, there is no further Occasion for them.
The 31th, to get together, in Order to confine and put under Quarantain, those who have recovered from the Plague, who with their Buboes broke and running wander about the Streets and infect all whom they approach, the Chevalier de Soissans finds out a very easy Expedient; they are all necessitous People who beg about, and do not fail to go wherever Alms are distributed daily to all Comers; he orders Soldiers to hide themselves near the House whither the Bishop has retir'd; in less than half an Hour above five hundred of these Beggars flock thither, whom the Soldiers surround and carry to the Hospital des Convalescens, where the Surgeons search them, and detain all who ought to be kept there.
The First of November, being the Feast of all Saints, the Bishop comes out of his Palace in Procession, accompany'd by the Canons of the Church des Acoulles, by those whom he has newly nominated Canons of the Church of St. Martin, and by the Parson and Priests of the Parish of St. Ferriol; and chusing to appear like the Scape Goat, loaded with the Sins of all the People, and like a Victim destin'd to expiate them, he walks with a Halter about his Neck, the Cross in his Arms, and bare-Foot; thus he proceeds by the Ring towards the Gate of Aix, where he celebrates Mass publickly, at an Altar which he had caused to be erected; and after a pathetick Exhortation to the People to move them to Repentance, for appeasing the Wrath of God, and obtaining Deliverance from the raging Pestilence; he pronounces a solemn Consecration of the City to the sacred Heart of Jesus, in Honour of which he had instituted a Festival to be kept yearly by a Mandate which he caus'd to be read: The Tears which are seen running down his Cheeks during this devout Ceremony, join'd to his very moving Expressions, excite Compunction in the most obdurate Hearts, and every one pierc'd with unfeigned Sorrow cries to the Lord for Mercy: St. Charles did the like formerly at Milan on the same Festival of all Saints, when that City was under the Calamity of the Plague; and nothing is wanting to this Imitator of the Zeal, Piety, Charity, and all the Virtues of so great a Saint, but the Roman Purple which he deserves, and which a whole People on whom he heaps spiritual and temporal Blessings, wish him from the bottom of their Hearts.
From the second to the fifth, M. de Langeron with the Sheriffs divide all the Quarters of the Town into new Districts, and appoint at every District, containing a certain number of Houses, a Commissary to see to the Execution of the several Orders issued, and to prevent whatever may contribute to the Continuance of the Plague, or to its Return.
The 5th, for restraining the excessive Price of all Provisions, which is raised every Day by those who take Advantage of the general Scarcity, they hold in the Town-house an Assembly of Merchants and Tradesmen to settle a general Rate; they continue drawing it up the next Day, and the 8th they publish an Ordinance forbidding all Shopkeepers, Retailers, and Regraters, to sell at a higher Price than what is specified in that general Rate, on the Penalty of the Pillory, of Refunding the Money taken, and Confiscation of the Goods sold.
From the 6th to the 13th M. de Langeron sends out Orders on all Sides for regulating and relieving all the Quarters of the Territory, where the Plague continues to rage; and the 14th he publishes an Ordinance with the Marquess de Pilles and the Sheriffs, which prescribes such exact and judicious Precautions to be observ'd at the Gates, that the indispensible Commerce between the City and the Territory is maintain'd, and yet the Distemper which is there cannot any way be brought into the City, to make that which still continues here rage the more.
The 15th, the Bakers having almost spent all the Fuel for their Ovens, so that they must leave off Baking, Vessels are sent towards Toulon to fetch Wood.
The 16th the Bishop takes a holy Resolution to exorcise the Plague, which he has the Grief to see continue: In order to this, having called together the Remains of his Clergy in the Church des Acoulles, he begins by causing all the Prayers to be read which his Holiness had sent to him, and which are daily repeated in all the Churches of Rome, to incline the Almighty to deliver Marseilles from this Scourge; and after a very eloquent and very moving Exhortation, he carries up the Holy Sacrament to the Leads over the Roof of the Church, from whence all the City and its Territory lye open to the View, gives his Benediction, and performs the Exorcism against the Plague, with all the Prayers and Ceremonies which the Church has prescribed.
The 17th, M. de Langeron receives an Answer from Court, to the Dispatches he had sent thither: M. le Blanc, and M. le Pelletier des Forts write to him, that his Royal Highness being extremely concerned at the Calamity of Marseilles, had given Orders to the India Company to remit hither twenty five thousand Pieces of Eight, and one thousand nine hundred Marks of Silver, with which he is pleased to assist this City, till he can provide for its further Relief: The Marquess de la Vrilliere writes the same thing to the Sheriffs, and that his Royal Highness will do all that lies in his Power to succour them: That August Prince has had all possible Regard for this unfortunate City; from the Time he knew of its Distress, he has not neglected sending Orders every where, for supplying it with all necessary Help, as well to cure the Distemper, as to provide against Scarcity and Want: All his Ministers have seconded his Intentions with so much Earnestness and Application, that they seem to have had no other Business upon their Hands, than to hasten its Supplies, and to render them effectual. What Gratitude for this will not Subjects so obedient and so faithful ever cherish in their Hearts? This Gratitude for their Preservation, joined to the Ardour and Zeal which have always distinguished them in the Submission and Obedience due to his Majesty; will inflame them with a Desire to sacrifice their Lives and Fortunes, for the Honour and Glory of his Service.
Never was there greater Scarcity, nor ever was such Scarcity so plentifully supplied; so that having been continually just falling into Want, or in fear of wanting every thing, by the Interdiction of Communication and Commerce, we have hardly ever wanted any thing, by Means of the continual Succours which came in successively from all Parts, by the Orders of his Royal Highness, and the particular Care of M. le Pelletier des Forts, and M. le Blanc, to cause them to be executed: Corn and other Provisions, and especially large Cattle, and Sheep, have been brought in such Quantity and Numbers, notwithstanding all Difficulties, that for a long time we have had a kind of Plenty of them; from the Mint at Aix, the first President has remitted very considerable Sums of Money, he has procured all Necessaries to be sent in from divers Parts; he has caused almost whole Forests to be cut down, that we might not want Wood for firing; and not contenting himself with procuring Credit for us to a great Sum, he has had the Goodness to find Means to discharge a considerable Part of that Debt; from Languedoc the Intendant, M. de Bernage, has taken infinite Pains to get sent hither all the Succours that fertile Province could furnish.
Several eminent Citizens have contributed very largely; M. Constans and Remusat, have by their Credit and Money procured twenty thousand Measures (called Charges) of Bread-Corn; M. Martins, Grimaud, and Beoland, have voluntarily taken inconceivable Pains so keep the Shambles supplied, and with very great Success; several others have contributed Money for buying up Corn in the Levant; even some of the Magistrates of the Soveraign Courts of the Province, as soon as the Plague had broke out, moved by their Generosity of Heart, and Grandeur of Soul, offered and even sent in all the Corn that was reaped on their own Lands; such are M. de Lubieres and de Ricardi, Counsellors of the Parliament, and M. de Rauville President of the Court of Accompts, Aids and Finances: We could not perish with so great and various Supplies; but Marseilles and its Territory are an Abyss; it cannot otherwise be filled, than by that prodigious Abundance, which Liberty, and the Concourse of the Commerce of Nations, bring into it.
The 18th M. Taxil, Agent of the India Company at Marseilles, remits to the Sheriffs one thousand six hundred Marks of Bullion, and twenty thousand and forty nine Marks in Pieces of Eight, which they cause to be conveyed to the Mint at Montpellier, there to be converted into new Specie.
The 19th the Distemper which had extremely decreased, having increased again a little, and there being Ground to believe that the Communication in some Churches which were opened, had occasioned it, the Bishop is desired to be pleased to order them to be shut up again.
The 20th, 21st, and 22d Vessels are fitted out to fetch Corn from the Levant, that we might not be wholly in want of it this Winter, and after the Plague and Scarcity fall into Famine.
The 23d Advice comes that one of the Vessels in which his Holiness's Ministers had caused to be laden at Civita-Vecchia, the Bread-Corn designed for the Poor of Marseilles, is unhappily wrecked on the Island of Porcherolles, and that of one thousand Measures it carried, not three hundred could be saved.
The 24th and 25th, the Contagion still continuing in the Territory, and the Persons who live there, or have retired thither, especially those who are struck with it, or suspect they are, using all manner of Artifice to steal into the City, where the Distemper has almost intirely ceased, M. de Langeron establishes such proper and exact Precautions, that no Endeavours of that kind can succeed.
The 26th he publishes an Ordinance, to serve for Rules at the Gates, prescribing the several Certificates which must be brought to obtain Permission to enter, and describing the Condition of Health and other Circumstances a Person must be in to be qualified for a Certificate from the Parish-Priests, Captains, and Commissaries.
The 27th he sends this Ordinance to be published in the Territory, and with it a circular Letter to all the Parish-Priests, Captains and Commissaries of the Quarters, for their more ample Instruction.
The 28th two other Vessels laden with the rest of the Bread-Corn given by his Holiness, arrive at Toulon: The Bishop comes to the Town-house, to concert with M. de Langeron and the Sheriffs, the Means of getting it brought to this City, whither those Vessels will not come because of the Contagion.
The 29th, the Difficulty made by the Masters of Vessels of Languedoc, to come laden with Provisions to the Port of Frioul in the Island of Roteneau, one of the Isles of Marseilles, whither the Barrier is removed from Lestaque, because after they have unladen at that Island, no Ballast is to be had there, without which they cannot sail empty, and return to their own Ports; this Difficulty, I say, obliges M. de Langeron and the Sheriffs to send for the Regulators of the Fishermen to the Town-house, and order them to see that no Boat goes out to fish, till it has first carried a lading of Ballast to that Isle of Roteneau.
The 30th the Chevalier Rose undertakes for the Execution of this Order; and he succeeds so well in it, that all the Ballast necessary for all the Vessels which may come to that Island, is presently carried thither.
The First of December the Hospital of the Rive-Neuve, governed and directed by the Chevalier Rose, being become useless, the few Sick remaining in it are removed to that of la Charité, and the other is entirely shut up: M. Boyer de Paradis, one of the Physicians who came from Paris by Order of his Royal Highness, served in it with all the Ardour and Zeal, that the Love of his native Country could inspire.
From the second to the fifth, Assemblies are held, to settle all the Dispositions and all the Measures necessary for purifying and dis-infecting all the Houses of the City in which the Contagion has been: A tedious Work, which to be very minutely performed, must be as laborious as it is nice and important.
The 6th, the grand Infirmaries having been for some time purified, M. Michel, a Physician of the Faculty of Marseilles, who had been shut up in them from the beginning of the Contagion, comes out with the Surgeons he had with him; he served with a Zeal, Firmness, and Success, which make him admired by all.
The 7th, the Intendants of Health assemble at the Town-house, in the Presence of M. de Langeron and the Sheriffs, to deliberate about purifying all the Vessels that are in the Port, who had taken in their Cargoes before the Plague broke out; these Intendants (those of them who had absented being come back long since) do their Duty so well, that tho' they are obliged to serve only by Turns, they generally all act together, hardly any one excusing himself.
The Directors of the Hospital-general of la Charité and those of the Hôtel Dieu, acquit themselves also of their Duty with the same Ardour: The latter even took upon them the Direction of this Hospital when it was turned into a Pest-House, tho' the coming near such a Place gives Disgust and makes one tremble: The Zeal among them was so extraordinary, that at the beginning of the Contagion, when every Body was running away, M. Bruno Grainier was seen to quit his own House, and take up his Lodgings in the Hôtel Dieu, there to devote himself intirely to the Service of the Poor, and endeavour to prevent the Plague's getting into it; accordingly it never could get in, before it had overthrown this pious Argus, and deprived of Life this Example of the most fervent and active Charity.
Almost all the Municipal Officers, and other Principal Citizens have been come back also some time; most of the Shops of Tradesmen and Artificers are opened; the People, who in their Fright had lost all Hope of Health, and all Measure of Prudence, are brought to themselves, and put into Heart again by the Presence and good Orders of M. de Langeron; and every one is at present assisting each other by mutual Offices, and by an exact and admirable Administration of Government; which cutting off all destructive Communication, allows only what is salutary. As this is but a brief Journal, drawn up in haste in some Moments stolen from Business, the Publick may expect an ample Supplement to it, which shall take in several Things here omitted, and the Services worthy of Notice and Acknowledgment, which several Persons have rendred to the City, as well within it, as Abroad; and the Wonders performed by the Surgeons, whom the Court was pleased to send, and others, shall not be forgotten.
The 8th, the Danger of Communication hindring still the Opening of the Churches, the Bishop orders Altars to be set up in the Streets, and Mass to be said at them in Publick.
This Day M. de Langeron, the Marquess de Pilles, and the Sheriffs, publish an Ordinance, directing the Commissaries of the Quarters and Parishes, all they are to do generally, as well for hindring whatever might contribute to the keeping of the Contagion in the Town, or increasing it by introducing the Distemper from Abroad, as for concurring to the great Work still remaining, of disinfecting all the Houses.
The 9th, upon Notice that several Taverns, Victualing-Houses, Coffee-Houses, and other like Houses of Publick Resort are opened, where People meeting in Crowds, a mortal Communication is to be feared; an Ordinance is published, at my Instance, for their being  all shut up again, on the Penalty of Imprisonment, and of a Fine of thirty Livres.
This present Day (the 10th of December) the Distemper has so abated throughout the City, that no new Patient has been carried into any Hospital: There is Ground to hope, that the Wrath of God will be intirely appeased; that this miserable unfortunate City will be wholly delivered from this cruel Visitation, which has laid it desolate; and that we shall be secured from all Returns of it, by the wise, exact, and judicious Precautions which M. de Langeron takes, in Concert with the Sheriffs, with such indefatigable Zeal, such laborious Assiduity, such prudent Vigilance, and such singular Application, that the Preservation of Marseilles cannot but be looked upon as his Work; and its surviving Inhabitants will be ever obliged to bless his glorious Name, and those of the Sheriffs, who second him so well, and do so justly merit, by the Ardour with which they have exposed their Lives, the Title of Fathers of their Country.
Done at Marseilles, in the Town-House, the 10th of December, 1720.
In the original page numbering is not continuous. The following corrections were made:
le Pellletier des Forts was changed to le Pelletier des Forts
King's Puocurator was changed to King's Procurator
End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of A brief Journal of what passed in the City of Marseilles, while it was afflicted with the Plague, in the Year 1720, by Pichatty de Croissainte *** END OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A BRIEF JOURNAL *** This and all associated files of various formats will be found in: http://www.gutenberg.org/4/5/6/7/45673/