God’s Terrible Voice in the City: New England Connections to the Bills of Mortality

God’s Terrible Voice in the City by Thomas Vincent describes the disastrous judgments of plague and fire that devastated London in 1665-1666. Today, two different editions of this work appear in the collections of Early English Books Online and Evans Early American Imprint Collection, the former published in London in 1667 and the latter published in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1668. The American publication of a book on a London disaster shows how a religious culture of providentialism- the belief that God cast down supernatural favor and punishment on the world- stretched across the Atlantic in the early modern English world (See Kierner, Inventing Disaster for more).  Disaster in Europe mattered in North America.   The Bills of Mortality offered a way to calculate the scale of disaster, and this distinction is clear in Cambridge printer Marmaduke Johnson’s title page.  The American version of the text […]