“The truth is, the case of poor servants was very dismal, as I shall have occasion to mention again by-and-by, for it was apparent a prodigious number of them would be turned away, and it was so. And of them abundance perished, and particularly of those that these false prophets had flattered with hopes that they should be continued in their services, and carried with their masters and mistresses into the country; and had not public charity provided for these poor creatures, whose number was exceeding great and in all cases of this nature must be so, they would have been in the worst condition of any people in the city.”
Almost 350 years ago, Defoe went through a “plague year” and I am not surprised, nor shocked, to see that he was concerned about the people who had little or no money and those who had been “flattered with hope” by the likes of “priests” and “astrologers”.
You can dip into this volume at Gutenberg.org and reflect upon how little human nature ever changes. We are always repeating and reenacting the woes of the past; the popular delusions and denials; the magical thinking. My son is scornful of those who retreat to their Martha Vineyard’s spreads. So little news, however, concerns the homeless and the deeply financially insecure. I am almost paranoid enough to believe that our republican leaders knew a lot about this in December or January, but refused to entertain the notion that they could not shape the world as they wanted.