Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Dick Wilson has posted 45 annotations/comments since 18 February 2013.
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About Sunday 20 May 1660
Except Pepys mistook the 4AM gun for the 8PM gun, so, maybe twice daily would serve.
My Google Search turned up references to ship's bells at a date early enough for them to have become in common use by the 1660's. Pendulum clocks would not work at all on shipboard. They had a half-hour sand glass (How do you call a half-hour glass, an hourglass?) and a ship's boy appointed to watch it. He would turn it over every half hour, and they would ring the bell, adding one stroke to it until 8 bells signaled the end of a 4-hour watch. As MarkS reports, it makes sense for the flagship to coordinate the time aboard all ships of a flotilla at anchor, by firing a gun. Once daily would do it; not every half hour. Thanks, MarkS!
I was of the impression that they rang bells aboard ship to mark the passing hours of the watch but here they are shooting guns at 4 in the morning. Are they going to do that after the King comes aboard?
About Saturday 19 May 1660
Pepys' entry about meeting the King on the 17th, was very short. Why? He begins that entry saying that he got up early to put down his observations for two days. Which two days? Well, he started the 17th aboard ship, where his diary was, and slept ashore the 17-18-19th. Ergo the "two days" must have been the 15th and 16th. So here it is the evening of the 19th and he has not been back aboard ship to make any entries in his diary. As we follow this narrative, we will reach some point at which he returns to the Naseby to write of his adventures ashore. The result of writing about several very busy days at once, would explain why the entry for meeting Charles was surprisingly brief, and why losing track of "the child", was a matter of concern, but not too much concern, because by the time he was writing about it, the child was safe and sound and all was well.
About Wednesday 16 May 1660
Let us hope that King Charles makes a better entrance than poor Mr. North. One can picture Montague saying "Go below Sam, See that the Royal cabin is tidy, the Royal Bunk made fresh, and the Royal bucket near at hand. Then do the same for the Duke of York's cabin."
About Tuesday 15 May 1660
Bill, Morland won the Kings' approbation by betraying his friends. Once that betrayal became public knowledge, everyone on both sides would look at him askance, and his former friends would sharpen their daggers.
About Thursday 10 May 1660
Count yourselves lucky, oh Ye of the Mother Country, that your counties have unique names. I live in Jefferson County, Kentucky. I hate to think how many Jefferson Counties there may be in other states. I would guess twenty, maybe thirty? Jefferson County Indiana is not far from here, so when the TV announces a tornado warning for Jefferson County, "Which One?" is a vital question. There are scores of Springfields and Lexingtons and Washingtons. I recall hearing of a British couple who bought airline tickets to "Panama City" in New York. They arrived in Panama City Florida aboard the last plane to land before a hurricane closed the airport.
About Wednesday 9 May 1660
With reference to non-related people...To address a woman as "Sister" can be both an honoring, honorable title and also a condescending put-down, quite apart from the British practice of addressing all female nurses as "Sister", whether they are religious or not. "Uncle" can be both positive and negative. "Gramps" or "Grandma" to someone not your grandparent, is negative. "Auntie" can be both. There are plenty of uses for "son" and related terms, but few for "daughter". I cannot think of any uses for niece or nephew. Perhaps these meanings derive from stereotypical characters within in a family, used to describe a person outside the family.
About Tuesday 8 May 1660
Without too much work I found a reference to a ship's bell aboard the Grace Dieu in 1485, and in 1495 an inventory of the Regent included two "watch bells" so presumably they were being used to measure the watches even at that early date. A century and a half is plenty of time for the practice to spread from one ship to all the major vessels of the fleet. In 1676 there is reference to ships caught in fog ringing their bells (and firing guns and muskets) to avoid collision. That implies that bells were standard equipment on all ships shortly after the diary period. I conclude that a watch bell was being rung every half hour, and that listening for them would be what woke Pepys to duty, betimes.
From the glorious to the mundane: Pepys resolved to rise betimes. On board ships they took to ringing bells to tell the passing and changing of the watches. My question is, when did this practice start? Was Pepys resolving to wake up and get to work when he heard 4 bells in the morning watch, or what? Did it begin in the Naval service and transfer to merchant ships or vice versa? Was the Royal Navy the first to adopt it, or did someone else's navy do it first? I am going to google this and see what I can find out.