Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK October 9, 1761, "Journeys from Dublin to London, 1761, 1773," Additional Manuscripts 27951, British Library, fol. 66; A particularly intriguing reference  (I am unable to discern what is ‘particularly intriguing’ about this passage) to segmented sleep lies in an unpolished manuscript  (there is no evidence that the manuscript is unpolished) scrawled (While the handwriting for that entry may be difficult to decipher it is no different to the proceeding and succeeding entries in the journal) by an anonymous Irishman (We do know he is a clergyman) in October 1761 describing his journey home to Dublin. Upon leaving London between midnight and one a.m. by coach "in the midst of thick darkness," "twas nigh an hour" before he "cleared the [northern] suburbs, where the people had not yet [all?] (not implied by the original ) gone to bed as their Lights were not yet put out. Nay we discovered (actually discerned’ in the original) some faint glimmerings Here & there as we drove thru Highgate." Between one and two a.m., the coach and its passengers passed through Barnet, six miles to the north of Highgate. In this Hertfordshire town, noted the traveler, the "Good Folks seemed to be in their first sleep." A wild guess, in view of the advanced hour? Or was the traveler's inference based on an apparent absence of activity, normally visible perhaps in communities after "first sleep" due to the dim glow of scattered candles, rushlights, and oil lamps? Ekirchs argument is logically fallacious at Highgate people had not yet gone to bed and yet in Barnet, six miles and perhaps 1-1.5 hours further on Ekirch suggest that the traveller’s observation was a “wild guess” rather than a very obvious statement. Or was the traveller's inference based on an apparent absence of activity, normally visible perhaps in communities after "first sleep"  due to the dim glow of scattered candles, rushlights, and oil lamps?  The ‘perhaps‘ in this sentence is telling  and it reduces it to mere speculation.  And yet the traveller  goes on to say  ”and we found very few [around] when we arrived at St. Albans’ a further 10 miles and approx 1.5 -2 hours further on,  so there seems to be no evidence of the period “after first sleep”   A Description of the Towns and Villages, &c. on and Adjoining the Great North Road, From London to Bawtry (London, 1782), 4, 5. The book contains nothing relevant to Ekirch’s argument, it is merely as the title most helpfully suggests a “Description of the Towns and Villages” BACK
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2018