Saturday 14 January 1659/60

Nothing to do at our office. Thence into the Hall, and just as I was going to dinner from Westminster Hall with Mr. Moore (with whom I had been in the lobby to hear news, and had spoke with Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper about my Lord’s lodgings) to his house, I met with Captain Holland, who told me that he hath brought his wife to my house, so I posted home and got a dish of meat for them. They staid with me all the afternoon, and went hence in the evening.

Then I went with my wife, and left her at market, and went myself to the Coffee-house, and heard exceeding good argument against Mr. Harrington’s assertion, that overbalance of propriety1 was the foundation of government.

Home, and wrote to Hinchinbroke, and sent that and my other letter that missed of going on Thursday last. So to bed.

  1. i.e., property

26 Annotations

Scott Knight   Link to this

I guess from the above "I posted home" we can resolve the earlier questions about whether Pepys was physically walking all over London or not.

Nicholas Laughlin   Link to this

"good argument against Mr. Harrington’s assertion”:

At a meeting of the Rota club.

Latham-Matthews: “It was one of Harrington’s favourite theses that no government is secure unless the governing classes possess a preponderence of landed wealth.”

David Gurliacci   Link to this

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About James Harrington (But Were Too Bored to Ask) is in my note "James Harrington (1611-77) and 'Oceana'" to the January 9 entry (listed near the end, 11 January, 5:03 p.m.). If you click on my name (and if I've done this right) you can go to that annotation directly.

Susanna   Link to this

Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper

Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, later the first Earl of Shaftsbury, was a highly prominent politician (later he would found the Whig party). In American history he is probably best known as one of the Lords Proprietors of the Carolina colonies. (Some Charlestonians like to say they live where "the Ashley and the Cooper form the Atlantic Ocean"; Charleston's two principal rivers are named in his honor.) He was also a friend of the philosopher John Locke.

There is more information about him available here:

http://www.bartleby.com/65/sh/Shaftes1.html

PHE   Link to this

Posted?
Does this mean he took himself home or that he sent a messenger ahead? As highlighted later in the diary, the use of messengers, often several times a day, allowed for relatively efficient communication - without the use of today's technology. Pressumably the messangers of the day were very similiar to today's couriers and probably just as quick.

Mik Swork   Link to this

Posted Home. I've seen this phrase elsewhere more than once (can't remember somewhere in Jane Austen?) and have always taken it to be an abbreviation for 'went Post-Haste' that is 'went quickly' which seems to make sense here.

Eunice Muir   Link to this

Seems they had carry-in meals back then.

From the number of times Mr. Pepys has taken a dish home it seems these women never learned to cook. Perhaps without servants it was difficult, as cooking was done over an open fire; therefore, it would make sense to purchase a take-out from the cook shop, or go to the tavern - which Mr. Pepys does frequently for breakfast and lunch.

Nicky   Link to this

Saturdays And So To Bed

Well, my question about whether Saturdays were a normal office day has been answered - Pepys turned up and then did the 17th century equivalent of surfing the net all day !

But we are now 2 weeks into the diary and not one entry has ended "And So To Bed" (though some entires have come close). Is this in fact the Pepysian equivalent of "Beam me up, Scotty" or "Elementary, my Dear Watson" ?

Phil   Link to this

I think we'd be making a mistake to apply our 21st century standards of what makes a day's work to the 17th century. It was only relatively recently that it became the norm to work 9-5 (or whatever). Before that it was far more irregular, probably in part due to the fact that clocks were rarer and less accurate items.

George Peabody   Link to this

Pepys might not have much choice in getting around London. I don't think there was much in the way of wheels available to him. Coaches were privately owned and restricted to the rich - way out of his price range - and even then were mostly used for going out of town. He couldn't afford to keep a horse. I think "chairs" - canopied, curtained seats on poles, carried by two or more "chairmen" - were in use by this time and would have been available for hire, but wouldn't have been faster than walking. The other possibility was to go by water: there were many boatmen on the Thames looking for fares. But most everyone walked.

j a gioia   Link to this

'post' takes up about six pages in the OED; a handy and mutable word. here pepys seems to use it in the sense of 'hurryed', as messengers hurried letters along the post roads.

OED: III 5. to carry in the manner of a post; to convey swiftly.

i will now post this.

David QuidnuncGurliaci   Link to this

"And so to bed" actually does appear in the last sentence of the 4 January entry. I meant to point it out back then because I was looking for it too.

But Sam doesn't seem to have written it since, although he's come close. It will be interesting to see how often he uses it in the future.

Play it again, Sam. (Another line that was never said where everybody thinks it was said.)

Glyn   Link to this

I disagree with those who say that the places that Pepys were visiting were particularly far apart. His maximum walk so far seems to have been for about 30 minutes from his home to Westminster. London was incredibly compact and measured only 3 or 4 miles across.

Regarding the hours of his working day, I wonder if we're overlooking something really obvious. In global terms, London is very much a Northern city (an American comparison would be that it's further north than the mainland USA and is slightly more northerly than Calgary in Canada). Which means that in winter the sun rises late and sets early. I'm in London and this morning the sun didn't rise until after 8am and set at around 4pm. It's just gone 5pm now and without electricity London would be pitch black. So maybe they had fewer working hours in the winter, so allowing Samuel more time to walk around visiting people and coffee houses

Phil   Link to this

I agree that he wasn't really walking far, except for people who are used to travelling everywhere by car. In fact his walk to Westminster from his home is only about 5 minutes (not 30). Walking to Will's coffee shop in Covent Garden would be perhaps 15 minutes, little more. And walking to the Guildhall or Tower of London (30 mins or more from Covent Garden) would no doubt be perfectly normal and reasonable in those days.

Glyn   Link to this

Argh! All the good bits will be cut out!

I've just seen this bit in the Victorian preface to the diary: "It has now been decided that the whole of the Diary shall be made public, with the exception of a few passages which cannot possibly be printed. It may be thought by some that these omissions are due to an unnecessary squeamishness" Yep, that's exactly what I think - are we going to suffer from the squeamishness of a man who probably thought table legs should be covered up lest they give rise to impure thoughts?

Glyn   Link to this

Street Maps with modern names
Or maybe the people who know about this could get ready to annotate anything that the Victorians tried to hide.

Before I finally shut up, someone was asking about relating old names to modern names: have a look at these 2 books, which you may want to get if you're going to stick with this project:
"The A-Z of Elizabethan London", compiled by Adrian Prockter and Robert Taylor. London Topographical Society (122), 1979. If you want to reconstruct what London used to look like, have a look at this A-Z series, which takes early maps (usually woodcuts or engravings on metal) and imposes the contemporary street names onto the reproduction." and also "Street names of the City of London".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/insideldn/radio/rob...

This is from the Robert Elms Show (BBC London) which is essential listening for anyone interested in the city.

Someone was asking about pubs at the time: Westminster City Archives have just this year published a book about this but I forget its name: http://www.westminster.gov.uk/libraries/archive...

Tim   Link to this

I don't know if this is the place to ask questions but will give it a try anyway. Why does our diary introduction say "unabridged" if it is censored?

Nicky   Link to this

The Westminster pub book is called One on Every Corner - the history of some Westminster pubs

Bored   Link to this

Pepys office was in Seething Lane, which is five or ten minutes walk from the Tower Of London, and a very long walk to the Houses Of Parliament in Westminster. I think an earlier posting a few days ago gave the wrong address for his office.

Craig   Link to this

Was Pepys a fairly well off person by the standards of his day? At what time did he ever mention his income/net worth?

Roger Miller   Link to this

I got the impression that Sam's office was somewhere in Westminster at this time.

Doesn't he move to Seething Lane when he gets the job with the Admiralty later in the year?

Phil   Link to this

"Why does our diary introduction say 'unabridged' if it is censored?"

Tim, that's a good question! I guess the Victorian compilers considered this version unabridged compared to previous versions which were much more condensed. Even so, they obviously couldn't bring themselves to print *quite* everything! No doubt myself or others will attempt to fill in any such gaps.

Phil   Link to this

Location of Pepys' office and Will's

Pepys' office at this time was in Westminster, as he said on Jan 3rd "so went to Westminster, where I found soldiers in my office."

I got confused a few posts back -- Will's isn't a coffee house in Covent Garden, but a "place of entertainment" in Westminster. Sorry! All very convenient for getting to and from home though!

Roger Miller   Link to this

According to The Cambridge History of English and American Literature Pepys was worth only £6,700 by June 1667. He did very well out of the jobs at the navy office and the admiralty.

(see http://www.bartleby.com/218/1012.html )

Marcie   Link to this

What do you mean by a "place of entertainment"? What kind of entertainment?

language hat   Link to this

Will's:
Phil's confusion is understandable, because there was a very famous Will's Coffee House (established by William Urwin) in Covent Garden, where Dryden ruled the roost; there is a description of London coffee houses in general and Will's in particular here:
http://home.att.net/~waeshael/coffee.htm

The one Pepys mentions is not, as far as I know, otherwise known, but it was in Westminster, and Bryant calls it a "drinking house" (so, Marcie, you can draw your conclusions from that).

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