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Just when it seems we've learned all we might about the plague of the 1600s, the great-great-grandfather of our current killer, Wikipedia reveals that Daniel Defoe’s reports may well not be exactly an eye-witness account.

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Eye-witness ... Prolific author Daniel Defoe is an authority on plague of the 1600s, even if he was just a five-year-old at the time.
By Unknown, style of Sir Godfrey Kneller - Many thanks to Wikipedia.
Daniel Defoe’s reports are stunning and scary, particularly given the increasing number of victims now of our own present-day plague.

Perhaps, though, the eye-witness observations I mentioned last week may not really be entirely his, Wikipedia reveals.

Gifted

For example, the gifted writer was actually just a five-year-old at the time.

Still, Wikipedia accepts that A Journal of the Plague Year’s listed facts are likely to be correct.

Presented as an eye-witness account of the events at the time, it was written in the years just prior to the book's first publication in March 1722, we learn.

Defoe was only five in 1665 when the Great Plague happened, and the book itself was published under the initials 'HF' and is probably based on the journals of Defoe's uncle, Henry Foe, a Whitechapel, East London, saddler.

Historical accounts from ancient China and medieval Europe detail the use of infected animal carcasses, such as cows or horses, and human carcasses, to contaminate enemy water supplies. ...
Wikipedia notes, 'Defoe goes to great pains to achieve an effect of verisimilitude, identifying specific neighbourhoods, streets, and even houses in which events took place.

Casualty figures

'Additionally, it provides tables of casualty figures and discusses the credibility of various accounts and anecdotes received by the narrator.

'The book is often compared to the actual, contemporary accounts of the plague in the diary of Samuel Pepys. Defoe's account, which appears to include much research, is far more systematic and detailed than Pepys's first-person account.'

It's not a pleasant surprise to learn that the plague has been manipulated by humans as a biological weapon for a very long time.

Historical accounts from ancient China and medieval Europe detail the use of infected animal carcasses, such as cows or horses, and human carcasses, by the Xiongnu/Huns, Mongols, Turks and other groups, to contaminate enemy water supplies.

Catapulted

Plague victims have been tossed by catapult into cities under siege ...Given the situation in Britain at the moment, perhaps that's just about enough plague history for one day.

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