Monday 20 February 1659/60

In the morning at my lute. Then to my office, where my partner and I made even our balance. Took him home to dinner with me, where my brother John came to dine with me. After dinner I took him to my study at home and at my Lord’s, and gave him some books and other things against his going to Cambridge. After he was gone I went forth to Westminster Hall, where I met with Chetwind, Simons, and Gregory. And with them to Marsh’s at Whitehall to drink, and staid there a pretty while reading a pamphlet1 well writ and directed to General Monk, in praise of the form of monarchy which was settled here before the wars.

They told me how the Speaker Lenthall do refuse to sign the writs for choice of new members in the place of the excluded; and by that means the writs could not go out to-day. In the evening Simons and I to the Coffee Club, where nothing to do only I heard Mr. Harrington, and my Lord of Dorset and another Lord, talking of getting another place as the Cockpit, and they did believe it would come to something. After a small debate upon the question whether learned or unlearned subjects are the best the Club broke up very poorly, and I do not think they will meet any more. Hence with Vines, &c. to Will’s, and after a pot or two home, and so to bed.

10 Annotations

Eric Walla  •  Link

Learned or unlearned subjects ...

It comes as somewhat of a surprise that the Coffee Club would have the focus of mind to decide from the outset what subjects they would allow in their discussions. Sam's previous "Club" references (we have had some, haven't we?) seemed more devoted to food and drink, but obviously the members gave a good deal of thought as to their composition and purpose.

So what would be classified as an "unlearned" subject? Would politics fall into this category? Or is Learned vs Unlearned in fact an indication of a more democratic makeup in membership, where some members may feel unable to discuss more academic topics?

Wade  •  Link

Er, I may have lost track. Although, I've been following Pepys since January 1, is Sam's partner at work John Hawly? Or have I missed something?

Keith Wright  •  Link

Three previous mention of the Club or Coffee Club show that discussion did include politics---when talk was not usurped by administrative detail:

Monday 9 January 1659/60:

Thence I went with Muddiman to the Coffee-House, and gave 18d. to be entered of the Club.

Tuesday 17 January 1659/60:

So I went to the Coffee Club, and heard very good discourse; it was in answer to Mr. Harrington’s answer, who said that the state of the Roman government was not a settled government, and so it was no wonder that the balance of propriety2 was in one hand, and the command in another, it being therefore always in a posture of war; but it was carried by ballot, that it was a steady government, though it is true by the voices it had been carried before that it was an unsteady government; so to-morrow it is to be proved by the opponents that the balance lay in one hand, and the government in another.

Friday 20 January 1659/60:

I went to the Coffee Club where there was nothing done but choosing of a Committee for orders.

---Politics would require knowledge of the day, but not of a technical sort such as (to hazard a guess) anything scientific. Apparently the indecisiveness of the "small debate" did not inspire the members to persevere?

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Note the complicated connections of marriage/family/job between Chetwind, Symons and Lea (who doesn't appear today but helps illustrate the connections). Symons and Lea were later the executors of Chetwind's estate.

CHETWIND, James (a/k/a Chetwin, Chetwynd) -- a CHANCERY clerk. (His sister, Margaret, is married to Thomas Lea/"Leigh", one of the few to keep his job as a clerk to the COUNCIL OF STATE.) His wife, Margaret, is the sister of . . .

SYMONS, Will -- underclerk to the COUNCIL OF STATE (who does NOT keep his job), nephew of Henry Scobell (a CHANCERY official -- Chetwind's boss? -- and a Parliament official who was unfairly censored by the Rump, according to Symons on 9 January). Years from now, Symons will work in another government office with . . .

GREGORY, John -- currently an Exchequer employee.

LORD OF DORSET -- Richard Sackville, 5th Earl of Dorset, who Pepys watched in a Chancery Court case on 9 February (in an annotation for that day I mistakenly called him Charles Sackville, the 9th Earl of D. & a high-ranking lowlife -- sorry, Dick).

-- Latham's Companion volume (10) and index volume (11) to Latham & Matthews edition.

Bob Abeles  •  Link

Learned or unlearned subjects...

Perhaps the club discussed whether learned or unlearned royal subjects were preferable.

helena murphy  •  Link

The long parliament: The Long parliament met on 3rd November 1642 after eleven years of the personal rule of Charles I. The King called this Parliament because he had been defeated by the Scots in the second Bishop's War. These were the Covenanters or Presbyterians who rejected the King's interference with the Scottish Church or Kirk. After their victory the Scots occupied the North of England including Newcastle.Their leader was Alexander Leslie,later First Earl of Leven.They demanded 850 pounds a day for their army in England. Only parliamentary taxation could pay this , therefore the King had no option but to call this Parliament. However, among its members such as John Pym there were many supporters for the Presbyterian and puritan cause. By January 1642 it had driven the King to Hampton Court and eventually from London. On October 23 1642 he raised his standard at Edgehill and thus the civil war commenced.

Keith Wright  •  Link

Pursuant to the Coffee House listing:

Consult the next day's entry, February 21, for a real resurgence of both high-minded discussion and ambitious music-making. How many of us not in a conservatory could muster forces to sing (at sight, it would seem) an 8-part anthem by Locke?

steve h  •  Link

My lord of Dorset

This is not Charles Sackville, the 6th earl, poet, and Restoration rake. The 5th earl (died in 1667) was a pretty obscure fellow (I can find little about him online). His father, the 4th earl, was an ally of Cromwell, and Richard, the fifth, seems to have changed sides to the Cavaliers. One not-very authoritative source, says that Cromwell refused to allow him to take the title of earl when his father died, and that he only became earl after the Restoration. But that seems unlikely, since Pepys refers to him as "lord". Any insights?

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

My lord of Dorset
Since Mr. Pepys refers to other great men, like Edward Montagu, as "my lord" even though they are commoners (currently), it certainly seems possible that he would call Richard Sackville " my lord of Dorset" after the family's old title, even if Mr Sackville had been legally deprived of it (currently).

Keith Wright  •  Link

For a modern-day version of learned vs. unlearned, check out the Website for The Samuel Pepys Club:
The description concludes: “The membership is eclectic and reflects the spirit of a club rather than a learned society.”
Copious links to events commemorating the 300th anniversary of Pepys’s death. (Sorry if that’s a spoiler!)

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