PRIVY COUNCIL ANTI-PLAGUE QUARANTINE ORDER SIGNED BY LORD NORTH

ID: 25880
£850.00
At the Court at Kensington the 24 day of July 1759 Present The Kings most Excellent Majesty in Council.

MANUSCRIPT: GEORGE II ORDER IN COUNCIL,, At the Court at Kensington the 24 day of July 1759 Present The Kings most Excellent Majesty in Council. Whitehall Treasury Chambers 25 July 1759.

single sheet (2pp.), 32 x 20 cms., written on both sides in a secretary hand, signed by W. Sharpe, H.B. Legge and Lord North, with embossed Privy Council paper seal attached, inner margin of document strengthened, in very good state of preservation.

A Privy Council Order to extend the anti-plague quarantine regulations, in particular by extending the scope of the Order in Council of 2nd June 1758. That Order had ruled that "all privateers and all persons, goods and merchandizes on board the same, coming from the Mediterranean, should make their quarantine for forty days, and strictly conform themselves in all respects, to the rules and regulations required to be observed by ships and vessels coming from Smyrna and other parts of the Levant, and the coast of Barbary .....". The present, July 1759, Order notes that "whereas His Majesty hath received information that the plague doth at this time rage with great violence in many parts of the Levant, the Morea, and other adjacent places" and that all ships in the Mediterranean may have contact with vessels coming from infected ports, therefore it was ordered that the quarantine would now apply to "all ships and vessels whatsoever, coming from, or through, the Mediterranean". The document is signed by four officials, including: W. Sharpe (probably the clerk to the Privy Council), H.B. Legge (i.e. Henry Bilson Legge, 1708-1764, politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer and expert on Admiralty affairs) and Lord North (1732-1792, then a junior Lord of the Treasury. Although the plague had disappeared from England by the 1670s, the first Quarantine Act was passed in 1710 in response to an alarm that plague might be imported from Poland and the Baltics. A second Act in 1721 was due to the disastrous prevalence of plague at Marseille and other places in Provence: it was renewed in 1733 and again in 1743 following a disastrous epidemic at Messina. In 1752 a rigorous quarantine clause was introduced into an Act regulating the Levantine trade, and various arbitrary orders were issued during the following twenty years to meet further supposed dangers, the present being one such Order. No plague cases actually reached Britain in all those years.