Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Sasha Clarkson has posted 152 annotations/comments since 16 February 2013.
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About Thursday 21 November 1661
The spelling of sirloin as surloyne is interesting, it corroborates the theory that the origin is from the old French "surlonge". It's also "rost" beef. I would love to hear how Sam actually pronounced these words.
About Wednesday 20 November 1661
The crucial thing about today's news is that it is "nothing ... but what Ned Pickering tells me". Pickering is currently a jealous poor relation, being Sandwich's brother "in law in law" via Sandwich's sister. His elder brother Gilbert was a regicide who had his bacon (and lands) saved by Sandwich obtaining a pardon for him. Ned's dubious gossip often has the flavour of anticipated Schadenfreude.
The important revenge, against the regicides, having already been taken, I don't buy that there is a Machiavellian plot by Charles to destroy all Commonwealth/Protectorate supporters. Some, like Sandwich's cousin Manchester, now Lord Chamberlain, had very illustrious careers under the restoration. However, the new court is a venial place; the way to the top is by flattery, bribery and backstabbery. Sandwich has always been a moderate, and is a bit too honourable to thrive in this environment; also, being abroad, he can't defend himself easily against intrigue.
About Monday 18 November 1661
Snide and anachronistic comments and value judgements contribute nothing to our understanding of Pepys' times. Is there any evidence that Sam was regarded as a drunkard by his contemporaries? No, because he held down his job and functioned socially at least as well as his superiors like Admiral Penn. Hence he increased in wealth and influence over the next couple of decades. Pepys' alcohol consumption was normal for his time and class: had it not been, encyclopaedia biographies would mention the exceptional part that alcohol played in his life. Apart from a single incident whilst he was a student at Cambridge, they don't, and Sam lived to a decent old age despite his chronic kidney problems.
The term "alcoholic" did not exist in the 17th century, nor were there even any temperance movements anywhere until around the time of the American Revolution. In cities, these were the days when, because of poor water quality, those who drank beer for breakfast had a longer life expectancy than those who didn't.
When temperance movements did begin, they were largely a reaction to the increased prevalence of strong spirits, and the damage they did to the poor. Even Quakers did not come to temperance until the 19th century; prior to that many were involved in the brewing trade. According to Quaker historian Adrian Cadbury, "Although much concerned with the scourge of cheap spirits, brewing ale was considered acceptable."
Alcoholism, clinically, refers to a disease of addiction and not merely to the regular use of alcohol. That being drunk and being merry are the same thing was not the general view in Pepys time, nor is it now.
About Thursday 14 November 1661
"November is a little early". Today for Pepys would be the 24th November in the Gregorian calendar, so less than four weeks to the winter solstice.
About Tuesday 12 November 1661
The Swedish Ambassador was a distant relative of the astronomer Tycho Brahe.
Re "boloney": in Austrian German, one may dismiss something trivial as "es ist mir Wurst". (It's sausage to me!)
About Sunday 10 November 1661
Canary wine was fortified wine, like sweet sherry. It was probably made from the Malvazio/Malmsey grape like sweet Madeira. It would have been stronger than ordinary wine, and perhaps been more of an irritant to Sam's perpetual kidney problem.
The Canary wine trade was wrecked by the Oidium/powdery mildew plague which arrived from America in the mid-19th century. Unlike with Madeira, the trade never recovered; some Canary was labelled as Sherry in subsequent years.
About Friday 8 November 1661
interesting - thanks Bill :)
Oops - compliment!
"I found Sir J. Minnes a fine gentleman and a very good scholler."
I wonder whether this is the first recorded instance of the term "a gentleman and a scholar" being used as a complement? :)
About Sunday 10 August 1662
William Bates on Wikipedia