Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK  A. Roger Ekirch, At Day's Close: Night in Times Past (forthcoming). John 9:4. King James Bible “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work”.  Given the numerous the biblical injunctions to praise God at night this is not an injunction to “rest at nighttime” as Ekirch claims, merely a statement of what should be a slightly self evident truth that in biblical times man could not carry the work activates of the day during the night.  Rev. John Clayton, Friendly Advice to the Poor . . . (Manchester, 1755), 37; Rather than the “pre-industrial subsistence pressures and demands of the workplace” keeping “many from slumber as Ekirch assert the  Rev. John Clayton actually blames the poor for their habit of “slothful spending the Morning in bed” “One more Inftance of the Poor’s Mifmanagement and I have done, I mean that flothful fpending the Morning in Bed, with which in Winter Time efpecially, they ftand but too juftly chargeable” page 36 “In all Reafon therefore the Labours of the Day, fhould be finifhed before the night comes on, as that is the Seafon, when both Reafon and Revelation bear their Teftimony, that no Man can work. And yet for Want of good Hufbandry in the Management of Time, the hardeft Part of the Day’s Service often falls upon our Poor, at that Time which God and Nature have alloted to Reft. By confuming the Morning in Sloth, a Watchfulnefs is entailed upon them till Midnight; And becaufe they will not rife with the Day Spring, they are forced to fit up when it is late, and to have the additional Burthen of working by Candlelight, when aking Bones and languid Spirits powerfully invite them to feek the Refreshment of beloved Sleep.” page 37 Thomas Porter, A Witty Combat: or, The Female Victor (London, 1663); Draw. No more of this; go, go thy wayes to sleep. Cellerm. Sleep, Pox of sleep, I care not for sleep, I did not sleep ten wincks all last night, I never sleep, am up early and late for my Masters profit, yes Carleton, I am Carleton, what say you to that now Carleton, hah! The passage seems to be a reflection of the characters personal view on sleep rather than his being kept from his slumbers by “pre-industrial subsistence pressures and demands of the workplace” Franco Sacchetti, Tales from Sacchetti, Mary G. Steegmann, trans. (1908; rpt. edn., Westport, Conn., 1978), 223–32 here describes an artist who gets up early to paint but as said  “Ye have not such great need of earning money that, if what Bonamico saith be true, ye could not do without painting at night” it seems therefore that it is his choice to paint (work) at night and certainly not “pre-industrial subsistence pressures” as Ekirch claims. The is a further related quote “Tafo called Botiamico up one night because he was obliged to finish a picture for the Abbot of Bonsellazzo” but again this is hardly “pre-industrial subsistence pressures and demands of the workplace”  Thomas Dekker, The Seven Deadly Sinnes of London, H. F. B. Brett-Smith, ed. (New York, 1922), 29–30; here  “Fidlers that scrape for a poore lining both day and night” You would have to be completely literal in your reading of this fragment to interpret it as implying that “pre-industrial subsistence pressures and demands of the workplace” where keeping ‘fidlers’ from their slumbers  Richard Baxter, The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, 4 vols. (London, 1838–45), 1: 242, 466; here : Page 242,  Thief II. The second thief or time-waster is excess of sleep. Necessity cureth most of the poor of this; but many of the rich are guilty of it. If you ask me. What is excess ? I answer. All that is more than is needful  to our health and business. Note that he is talking about the poor being  “cureth” of excess sleep not that they are being kept from their slumber as such by “pre-industrial subsistence pressures and demands of the workplace” . Page 466;  Direct. I. Proportion the time of your sleep aright, (if it be in your power,) that you waste not your precious morning hours sluggishly in your bed. Let the time of your sleep be rationally fitted to your health and labour, and not sensually to your slothful pleasure. About six hours is meet for healthful people, and seven hours for the less healthful, and eight for the more weak and aged, ordinarily. The morning hours are to most the preciousest of all the day, for all our duties; especially servants that are scanted of time, must take it then for prayer, if possible, lest they have none at all. This only talks about servants that are “scented of time” not necessarily kept from their slumber by “pre-industrial subsistence pressures and demands of the workplace” Robert Greene, Ciceronis Amor: Tullies Love (1589) and A Quip for an Upstart Courtier (1592) (Gainesville, Fla., 1954); contains nothing about work but does contain the line “although she had a sound and long sleep” here  which somewhat contradicts Ekirch’s contention that “Until the close of the early modern era, Western Europeans on most evenings experienced two major intervals of sleep bridged by up to an hour or more of quiet wakefulness.” In A Quip for an Upstart Courtier (1592) the word poor does not necessarily refer to the workman’s financial status rather then to the problems of ‘watching at night’ with such poorly made candles “For you, chandler, I like not of your tricks; you are too conversant with the kitchen-stuff wives; you, after your wick or snaste is stiffened, you dip it in filthy dross, and after give him a coat of good tallow, which makes the candles drop and waste away,to the great hindrance of the poor workmen that watcheth in the night.” Anthony Horneck, The Happy Ascetick: or, The Best Exercise ([London], 1680), 394, 409; The quote on page 394 is hardly a description of “pre-industrial subsistence pressures and demands of the workplace” give the fact that is actually referring to something written in the 4th Centuary A.D by St. Chryfoftom,  “The night was not made that we fhould fpend, and confume it all in fleep, witnefs your Seamen, Tradefmen, and Artificers”. The quote on page 409  again implies that it is their choice to sit up till midnight and not as a result of “pre-industrial subsistence pressures and demands of the workplace” “In this Age Tradesmen , and thofe that have any toiling Employment in the World, have brought themfelves to an ill cuftom of fitting up at their Trade till midnight almoft, and having tired themfelves with running after their Worldly profit all day , it cannot be otherwife , but they muft find themfelves very unfit for this nocturnal Exercife” Statement of Anne Russel, Old Bailey Sessions Papers, January 16–21, 1755; seems to suggest that it is her choice to stay awake  here  “Anne Russel. On the 2d of January, between nine and ten o'clock in the evening, the prisoner came up stairs into a room where I and his wife were, at Constantine Phipps, Esq; at Sionhill near Brentford, I live with a lady that is there, the prisoner's wife waits upon Mr. Phipps's lady, and he was principal servant there; he asked his wife why she did not go to bed? her answer was, she could not go for her lady was not in bed; she said, Moody, why don't you go to bed, you have got a nack of sitting up on nights, and my master is afraid you should fall asleep, and is afraid of an accident by fire, and she said she should let her master know it; he said he should not go to bed yet, for he had something else to do” However I have found a statement from an Ann Russell (10th July 1734) here which may be slightly more relevant and indeed may have been the one that Ekirch had intended to quote. However although there is mention here that she slept with “the old woman” because her “Husband who is a Shoemaker, worked at Battersea” (while this may technically be describing “pre-industrial subsistence pressures and demands of the workplace” it is in fact simply a description of shift work). The other activity described in detail in this passage is that of the crime of ‘coining’ that takes place in the middle of the night, which I suppose could be described as a  “pre-industrial subsistence pressures”if one were feeling extremely generous in interpretation. BACK  
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