Social Studies Blog Post #4: 17th Century Letter

January 12, 1679 

Dear Mother, 

I do apologize for not writing to you for a while, finding time and scraping up a penny to

send you this letter has been very difficult. After losing my job at the plantation, I have

been wandering the streets of London, searching for any job. Competition is high, and

jobs are scarce. For a common laborer like me, finding a job in the city is a

barely attainable feat, if not impossible. Alas, it appears that I have resorted to a life of

crime, stealing bread and beer from the local market stalls. Oh, how I would love to sink

my teeth into a juicy piece of meat; the stale bread and bitter beer is not up to my

palate. So far, my punishments have not been so severe. While I do not get caught very

often, I still get the odd whipping here and there. The whippings leave bruises and

gashes on my back, making my back very sore, but compared to the broken bones of

poor Henry down the corner, I would say that I was let off easy. It’s astonishing to think

that the middle and upper class think that we are being lazy. Do they think that we

chose this lifestyle? Seriously, mother, do these people not have even the slightest bit of

pity on us? It’s not our fault that we are condemned to a life of poverty and have to

resort to crime just to live by. Witch hunts are becoming more and more common, and a

man by the name Hopkins has been trialing witches everyday. Apparently, they were the

ones responsible for us losing the war and the plague breaking out. I do feel pity for

these women, but only heaven knows if they are truly witches or scapegoats for

the upper class. I fear that staying here in London might endanger my life. Who knows

who they’ll blame next? I have decided to travel north to a plantation nine miles yonder.

Hopefully there will be work there. I would love to write more, but the cost of mailing

more than one page is a luxury I cannot afford, so I shall have to conclude abruptly.


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