Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Nate Lockwood has posted 18 annotations/comments since 10 April 2013.
The most recent…
About Friday 31 May 1661
To judge if some one is 'old' or not I think one must ask the question: "What is the average life expectancy for those how have lived to be 25." (Pick your own threshold age.) IMHO the threshold age should be at least after childhood diseases are past although for males it perhaps should be later as males tend to engage in dangerous activities until they are 25 or so. I would expect that the differences between then and now would be evident but not as great as most people might think - except somewhat for females because of the dangers of childbirth and pregnancy.
About Wednesday 10 April 1661
"in which he intends to ride as Vice-Admiral in the narrow seas all this summer."
What are the narrow seas, the English Channel?
About Monday 4 March 1660/61
Bill, I think your sentence needs a little restructuring. Perhaps if "the current ..." were changed to "the then current ..." my cognitive dissonance bells would quiet. :-)
About Thursday 28 February 1660/61
The candles of this period were not like the candles of today which are mostly made from petroleum wax and have a type of wick that was not yet invented in Pepys' time.
In the 17th century candles were mostly made from tallow and and the wicks were probably from the pith of a reed. I think that they smoked and know that they had an unpleasant smell. They could melt in warm weather. Of course there were beeswax candles but they were probably quite a bit more expensive.
The behavior of a pin in one of today's candles might not be quite the same as in Pepys' day.
About Monday 25 February 1660/61
I suspect that it lagged far behind other areas and, remember, no germ theory; bleeding was popular as was expertise in the four humors.
IIRC in the mid 19th century Physicians were arguing strongly that bloomers would be very injurious to women's health.
About Thursday 14 February 1660/61
I miss the "salty" Vincent. Has anyone been in contact with him? He would be about 80 now.
About Friday 1 February 1660/61
I think that the sword just sits around in a humid environment, the air is probably a bit acid from burning coal and wood, that the blade may be a bit rusty, the brass tarnished, and perhaps mold and nicks on the scabbard. He probably seldom removes the sword from the scabbard, doesn't have the wherewithal or supplies to clean it and doesn't want to do it himself; thus hires the refurbishing out.
My guess is that it's bad enough that he doesn't want to be seen with it in that condition as it certainly won't look ready for use and would imply that he doesn't really know how to use it well. Of course there might also be an event on the horizon that will require him wear it ceremonially.
About Thursday 31 January 1660/61
A minor note of the difference between "stevedore" and "longshoreman" that I learned early on in the US Merchant Marine (aka Merchant Navy in GB). A longshoreman actually does the labor of loading and unloading vessels and is employed by a stevedore who represents or owns the company that provides those services. The words are often confused.
In my experience in foreign ports the stevedore would provide baksheesh in the form of perhaps some wine or whisky to the captain, and also sometimes to the chief engineer and first mate.
About Tuesday 15 January 1660/61
A cable, made of three hawser laid lines, must also be more than 10 inches in circumference to properly be called a cable. In the days of sail a cable's prime use was to attach the anchor. The cable was 100 fathoms long or approximately a tenth of a nautical mile so cable was also used as a measure of length or distance. A cable of this length would allow a large sailing vessel to anchor in as much as 14 fathoms of water in decent weather although I doubt very many ships ever anchored in water this deep.
Most of the cordage in the days of sail were termed lines but had specific names such as halyard, shroud, etc. Almost none were called "ropes" by the sailors although they did use the term "know your ropes". Lines were also described by their lay such as cable laid and hawser laid.
About Monday 14 January 1660/61
Lieutenant Lambert was not just a "junior officer" but would have been second in command of his ship and would assume command in the absence, incapacitation, or death of the Captain.
Apparently he was Mountagu's Lieutenant, or chief assistant, at one point and so could speak for Mountagu.
I think that the British Navy didn't have many of ranks for officers at this time - at least up to and including the skipper.