Climate Then and Now

From volume 4 of Churchill’s Marlborough: His Life and Times, about the winter of 1708-9, near the culmination of the long war against Louis XIV:

But there now fell upon France a new and frightful misfortune. Since the beginning of December there had been a hard and almost unbroken frost. On January 6, after a brief thaw, it set in again with a bitterness so intense that two days later the rivers of France, even the Rhone, one of the most rapid rivers in Europe, were almost completely covered with ice. All the canals of Venice were frozen, and the mouth of the Tagus at Lisbon. Masses of ice appeared in the Channel and the North Sea. Communications between England and Holland were suspended; Harwich and the Dutch ports were ice-bound. Olives and vines split asunder. Cattle and sheep perished in great numbers. The game died in the forests, the rabbits in their burrows. From January 25 to February 6 there was an interval of snow followed by a few days’ thaw, and then another month, until March 6, of extraordinary cold. Thereafter gradually the weather became less severe. Thus this almost glacial period lasted into the fourth month. On February 4 it was known at Versailles that the seed corn was dead in the ground. . .

Their sufferings were extreme. In Paris the death-rate doubled. . .  In the countryside the peasantry subsisted on herbs or roots or flocked in despair into the famishing towns. Brigandage was widespread. Bands of starving men, women, and children roamed about in desperation.

But never forget that the industrial revolution and a warming world is a disaster for humanity.