Thursday 9 February 1659/60

Soon as out of my bed I wrote letters into the country to go by carrier to-day. Before I was out of my bed, I heard the soldiers very busy in the morning, getting their horses ready where they lay at Hilton’s, but I knew not then their meaning in so doing.

After I had wrote my letters I went to Westminster up and down the Hall, and with Mr. Swan walked a good [deal] talking about Mr. Downing’s business. I went with him to Mr. Phelps’s house where he had some business to solicit, where we met Mr. Rogers my neighbour, who did solicit against him and talked very high, saying that he would not for a 1000l. appear in a business that Swan did, at which Swan was very angry, but I believe he might be guilty enough. In the Hall I understand how Monk is this morning gone into London with his army; and met with Mr. Fage, who told me that he do believe that Monk is gone to secure some of the Common-council of the City, who were very high yesterday there, and did vote that they would not pay any taxes till the House was filled up. I went to my office, where I wrote to my Lord after I had been at the Upper Bench, where Sir Robert Pye this morning came to desire his discharge from the Tower; but it could not be granted. After that I went to Mrs. Jem, who I had promised to go along with to her Aunt Wright’s, but she was gone, so I went thither, and after drinking a glass of sack I went back to Westminster Hall, and meeting with Mr. Pierce the surgeon, who would needs take me home, where Mr. Lucy, Burrell, and others dined, and after dinner I went home and to Westminster Hall, where meeting Swan I went with him by water to the Temple to our Counsel, and did give him a fee to make a motion to-morrow in the Exchequer for Mr. Downing. Thence to Westminster Hall, where I heard an action very finely pleaded between my Lord Dorset and some other noble persons, his lady and other ladies of quality being here, and it was about; 330l. per annum, that was to be paid to a poor Spittal, which was given by some of his predecessors; and given on his side. Thence Swan and I to a drinking-house near Temple Bar, where while he wrote I played on my flageolet till a dish of poached eggs was got ready for us, which we eat, and so by coach home. I called at Mr. Harper’s, who told me how Monk had this day clapt up many of the Common-council, and that the Parliament had voted that he should pull down their gates and portcullisses, their posts and their chains, which he do intend to do, and do lie in the City all night. I went home and got some ahlum to my mouth, where I have the beginnings of a cancer, and had also a plaster to my boil underneath my chin.

28 Annotations

Keith Wright  •  Link

This isn't Pepys's first mention of sack---that was on the (real) January 2nd. But so far as I know, Williams & Humbert (Jerez and London) still attaches a label by a string to the neck of each 750ml bottle of their "Dry Sack" Sherry (Product of Spain). It bears an "Extract from 'Pepys's Diary' 20th January, 1662" (hardly a spoiler, this!):

"The wine cooper this day did divide the two butts of Sherry, which we did send for, and mine was put into a hogshead; it is the first great quantity of wine that I ever bought."

We can probably assume that a "wine cooper" specialized in making barrels for wine storage.

A butt was any large cask, at one time equal to 108 imperial gallons.

A hogshead, which was standardized in the US at 62 gallons, would seem to be in this case a smaller "large cask or barrel; esp: one containing from 63 to 140 gallons." (I'll leave metricalization to better arithmeticians.)

One trusts that Pepys has not spotted an actual instance of mouth cancer, but rather an oral canker sore (rather than one on the lip), what old Southerners used to refer to as an "ulcer." Would bitter alum numb and alkalize it (I'm on shaky ground here) as modern preparations do?

john lauer  •  Link

Perhaps 'language hat' can tell us why such things as "had wrote", "he do believe", and "who I had promised" were writ down by Mr. P.

francesca  •  Link

I agree with Keith about Pepys' 'beginnings of a cancer' is indeed a mouth ulcer (or canker sore). To me, since being a canker sore sufferer, Pepys is under quite a deal of stress which can manifest itself as such sores in weak body areas, and/or his immunity system is at a low right now creating these sores. Im going to predict they last 7-10 days.

Roger Miller  •  Link


From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]

Spital \Spit"al\, n. [Abbreviated from hospital.] [Written also
A hospital. [Obs.] --Shak.

David Quidnunc  •  Link


According to Robert Latham's index volume (11) to the Latham & Matthews edition of the diary:

SWAN, Will -- called a hypocrite/fanatic and said to have literary ambitions

PHELPS -- "?John, Auditor at the Exchequer"

FAGE, Valentine -- an apothecary

AUNT WRIGHT -- Lady Anne, wife of Sir Henry, she seems to be a sister of Jemima Montagu the eldere, but Latham doesn't say that.

LUCY -- "?Thomas," a soldier; for his vigorous style of partying, see 6 Jan.

LORD DORSET -- Charles Sackville, 9th Earl of Dorset, seems to regularly get into trouble, morally and legally.

ROGERS, BURRELL, HARPER -- Latham has nothing or nothing useful to say on them.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

More on Will Swan

He's a servant to Lord Widdrington, Latham says. Sir Thomas Widdrington is commissioner of the Great Seal.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Correction, re: People

Mr. Thomas Lucy parties vigorously on 24 January, not -- so far as we know -- on 6 January. He was the "Mr. bridegroom," swearer and mad but "handsome" singer at the Pierces' party.

Keith Wright  •  Link

Re Pepys's usages: such were apparently standard English, in this time and this place, for a man of his background and education. Reading Pepys is like taking a short course in historical English, as verbs, pronouns, possessives, &c., continue to metamorphose. For instance, when Pepys writes "my cozen Roger Pepys his wine" (or something similar), he is merely spelling out the contraction "Roger Pepys's wine," though no one would think to do so today, the practice has been so thoroughly absorbed. Consider language and usage today: imagine your response had somebody said to you, in 1983, "dot-com." If 20 years can make such a difference in English, much more so 340.

Kay Robart  •  Link

Did I miss something? Who does Pepys mean by The Rump? Was this person mentioned earlier and I just don't remember? Can anyone give any background?

M.Stolzenbach  •  Link

The Rump Parliament:

'The name given to the Long Parliament after Pride's Purge, December 1648. Also known as the "Purged Parliament", it consisted of a small group of Independent MPs. With the support of the Army, the Rump declared itself "the supreme power in this nation" on 4 January 1649, with powers to pass Acts of Parliament without the consent of the King or the House of Lords. One of its first actions was to set up the High Court of Justice, specially convened for the trial of the King. Following the King's execution, the Rump abolished the House of Lords and the Monarchy itself.'

For more (but with a slight glance ahead of 1660) consult

Phil  •  Link

OK, I'm *really* going to work on getting those background/FAQ pages up!

john simmons  •  Link

Butts, and other uses:
In Shakespeare's Richard III, the brother, Clarence, is stabbed and then drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine.

Nix  •  Link

About that "cancer" --

My dictionary says that cancer, canker and chancre (syphilitic sore) are all variants from the Latin word for crab. Apparently they weren't yet differentiated when Pepys wrote (or when his "character" was deciphered).

helena murphy  •  Link

The Rump: Charles 1 called the Long parliament around 1640 after he had been defeated by the Scots on whom he wished to oppose episcopacy and other religious reforms. Prior to 1640 he had ruled without parliament due to his disputes with it over taxation and religious matters. Civil war broke out in late 1642 leading to a parliamentary victory thanks to Oliver Cromwell and the New Model Army. This army and its prominent officers such as Colonel Thomas Pride purged The lo ng Parliament in 1648 and created The Rump of what was left of it. The Rump tried and executed the King in January 1649 and proclaimed England a Commmonwealth ruled by the House of Commons alone.L

Lynne Day  •  Link

At home when I was a child we had a con-tainer of alum which we used on oral canker sores.This powdery substance was applied directly to the sore and kept there as long as we could stand the bitter taste.It worked!It dried out the sore and anesthesized it so it could heal.My family had it's distant origins in the British Isles-folk remedy?Lynne Day

Nix  •  Link

"Alum" (aluminum sulfate) may be better known today as the active ingredient in the styptic pencils used to stop bleeding from shaving cuts.

Glyn  •  Link

To recap: The nation is in crisis - the "Rump" Parliament is the minority of MPs who are the most fanatical republicans and anti-monarchists. To keep control, they have excluded (or "secluded") the majority of moderate MPs who would probably vote to bring the King back.

Now the Council of the City of London and the people are calling for a "Free Parliament" i.e. the return of the "Secluded MPs" and new elections. Absolutely everyone knows that, if this happens, it means a Royalist Parliament.

And in the background is the Army - who also contain pro- and anti-Monarchy leaders, of whom the most powerful is General Monck. And no-one knows how he will jump or what his own opinions are. He's been in London over a week but his true opinions are still unclear.

OK. So in today's diary Samuel Pepys writes that

"In the Hall I understand how Monk is this morning gone into London with his army; and met with Mr. Fage, who told me that he do believe that Monk is gone to secure some of the Common- council of the City, who were very high yesterday there, and did vote that they would not pay any taxes till the House was filled up."

Sam is showing himself to be a great journalist, and has been to 2 places and found 2 pieces of absolutely Vital information for his boss:

(1) The Rump has panicked and sent Monck and the Army into the City of London to quash any dissent. (Because the City Councillors have called for Parliament to be "filled up" = that is, for the return of the Secluded MPs); and are discussing not paying taxes to the Rump.

(2) Also he's found out that they've ordered Monck to "secure" i.e. imprison, the most important of the Councillors.

Glyn  •  Link

Spoilers - Please don't tell me.

As a British republican and democrat, I'm getting really, really worried about the situation. If we end up with a Monarch again and a lot of royal hangers-on, I don't want to know. So please don't tell me if England is now a monarchy or not.

Derek  •  Link

Thanks, Glyn, for reminding us of one of the key sources of tension that's been running in the background since we (and Sam) started this journey: the dispute between Parliament (or rather the Rump) and the Common Council of the City of London. It's one of the first things Sam notes in his opening entry and it's been surfacing at various points since then. Today it's clear that, with Monck's return, the heat is being turned up. By the end of the day he's occupied the City, imprisoned ('clapt up') some of the Council members, and there's been a vote to tear down their defences.

For more information on the Common Council, its history and current functions, see

Alan Bedford  •  Link

Do I recall correctly that historically (since Magna Carta, anyway) that the City has a certain independence from the Crown? Doesn't the Monarch require the permission of the Lord Mayor and/or the Common Council to enter the City on official business?

This is something that I recall, very vaguely, from my U. S. education, or maybe it's just my mind going?

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

"Their gates and portcullisses"
I'm interested in the part about General Monk pulling down the "gates and portcullisses, their posts and their chains". As I recall, the City of London was a walled city up until the end of the middle ages. Am I right that the gates being pulled down this day belong to those same ancient walls? And was this the moment when London effectively stopped being a walled city?

language hat  •  Link

"had wrote", "he do believe", "who I had promised":
Keith Wright is, er, right; these are the common usages of the day. With respect to "my cozen Roger Pepys his wine" and the like, I should point out that they are not the original form (the English genitive has always ended in -s) but an attempt to rationalize the usage — the 17th century was a great age for rationalizations. The pronunciation was, as now, “peepsiz,” and that final -iz was written artificially as “his,” a fashion which fortunately didn’t last (unlike the misspelling of “autor” as “author” and other such creations.)

Glyn — Thanks for the “spoilers” laugh!

tamara  •  Link

The Lucy family was an old and important one from Warwickshire near Stratford and Shakespeare is thought to have played (and possibly poached) in the park of their estate, Charlecote, as a boy. All this I learned years ago from a lovely historical novel for kids called The Heir of Charlecote--and now I find the house belongs to the National Trust.

Johannm  •  Link

An excellent point was made about the tense situation in the City manifesting itself in boils and cancers - dermatology as history!

Emilio  •  Link

“my cozen Roger Pepys his wine”
More info on LH's point, mostly from Barbara Fennell's -A History of English: A Sociolinguistic Approach-

Not only did writers rationalize -s (an ending derived from Old English -es) into "his", but based on this formed other possessives in the same way: "Ann Harris her lot," "the said Daniel Williams my heirs."

We can also (perhaps) thank this reinterpreting of -s as a contraction that we have our modern-day possessive, apostrophe-s. Pepys uses the apostrophe all the time, but it's nowhere to be found in Chaucer: "For Goddes sake," "Here endeth the Somonours Tale." Chaucer also threw in the odd "his" as a possessive ending, and not just after an "s" sound; it seems the rationalizing began long before the 17th century ("Here bigynneth the Millere his tale").

F. L. Penney  •  Link

Ref: "Williams & Humbert Dry Sack Sherry Label"

"Extract from 'Pepys's Diary'":

"The wine cooper this day did divide the two butts of Sherry, which we did send for, and mine was put into a hogshead; it is the first great quantity of wine that I ever bought."

On my last couple of purchases I noted that the quote previously printed on the external tag of this brand of sherry has been deleted, at least on those sold in Eastern Canada. Never the less the comely maiden tressed & dressed in Dickensonian period style continues to adorn same, and the contents are still a nice tipple too.

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