Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Dick Wilson has posted 130 annotations/comments since 18 February 2013.
The most recent…
About Friday 8 March 1660/61
"Homely" is one of those words that can get you in trouble in a hurry. British English: Warm, friendly, comfortable, familiar, pleasant. American English: Plain, drab, dull, uninteresting, slapped upside the head with a ugly stick. So to say of a woman, that she is homely, can be a high compliment or a low insult. Handle with care.
About Friday 15 February 1660/61
Diana's question defies accurate answer, so here's a try at an inaccurate one. Using Vincent's price of 2 pounds 10 and 3 per (troy) ounce of gold in Sam's day, his 350 pounds could have bought 139.3 ounces. That could be sold today (Feb. 2014) for $183,416.31 in US Dollars. That's a good solid base of savings for an upper middle class household, but nowhere near enough for retirement. Also, the US did not really have a national currency until the Lincoln Administration. Prior to that, every bank printed its own money.
About Thursday 7 February 1660/61
Dueling was so hard to stamp out that even today, in Kentucky, part of the oath of office for any office, however minor, is a statement that you have never sent or accepted a challenge or acted as a second. The governor, every police officer, city councilman, attorney, justice of the peace, everybody, must so swear. Ladies, too.
About Thursday 31 January 1660/61
I had some cousins called by their middle names because both brothers had the first name Samuel. My grandfather called them "First and Second Samuel".
About Monday 21 January 1660/61
Bligh was a superb navigator -- sailing a longboat to Timor proved that. But later, assigned to a land post in Australia, guess what, he provoked another mutiny. Royal Naval officers were expected to be gentlemen, not just by birth, but in character and behavior.
About Saturday 19 January 1660/61
Lyn Believeau raises a question: How many of us keep diaries? Watch out. Here is another word that separates British and American English. What an American Businessman would call an "Appointments Calendar", a British Businessman calls "A Diary". When one uses the word "Diary", the other may misunderstand. It is common office practice on both sides of the pond to keep a schedule of upcoming appointments, work that should be done today, deadlines etc., and at days end, to annotate them to record actions completed or which scheduled tasks were not completed. Filed away, they thus become a record of both expected events and completed events. SP's form of Diary is a whole lot more fun. In the future, will people using electronic "organizers" or "day planners" use them to keep records of who did what, when, where and how? Will the technology to read their files survive?
About Sunday 13 January 1660/61
I'll bet that the seamen were mightily disappointed that they didn't get to join in a monster brawl. These men, confined aboard ship, are turned out in the nighttime. They pour ashore and are issued clubs and are all keyed up to have some fun. "Let's go get 'em!" But then " 'em " turns out to be a half dozen drunks who ran past the guards and are now long since gone. Turn in the handspikes? Go back aboard ship? What a let down!
About Tuesday 11 December 1660
Bill: One of the annotators mentioned "Camels". Those are not dromedaries. They are floodable floats, that could be lashed to the side of a ship and pumped dry. They would then heave the vessel out of the mud. They were most commonly used to help ships get over shallow spots, sand bars and the like, and could help refloat a ship that ran aground. I suppose they might be used to help the Assurance. Did the ship capsize at night? The disorientation of people caught below decks, and December water temps, and the tendency of non-swimmers to panic when their faces go underwater, could easily drown a score of men. The Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that ran aground and capsized off the Italian coast, lost 32 people, with half the ship above water. Tragic.
About Monday 19 November 1660
The Treasurer, Sir George Carteret, is a Very Important Person in American History , too. He was (I believe) Lord Proprietor of New Jersey, which he named, and was deeply concerned in the affairs of the Carolinas and Maryland.
About Wednesday 7 November 1660
"My Lord did advise with me how to get this received, and to put out 3000l. into safe hands at use ..." In modern English, I would take this to mean "into safe hands at interest...", a process we would call "investment" while they would call it an "adventure". The safest of hands in those days were still very risky.