Thursday 17 May 1660

Up early to write down my last two days’ observations. Dr. Clerke came to me to tell me that he heard this morning, by some Dutch that are come on board already to see the ship, that there was a Portuguese taken yesterday at the Hague, that had a design to kill the King. But this I heard afterwards was only the mistake upon one being observed to walk with his sword naked, he having lost his scabbard.

Before dinner Mr. Edw. Pickering and I, W. Howe, Pim, and my boy, to Scheveling, where we took coach, and so to the Hague, where walking, intending to find one that might show us the King incognito, I met with Captain Whittington (that had formerly brought a letter to my Lord from the Mayor of London) and he did promise me to do it, but first we went and dined at a French house, but paid 16s. for our part of the club. At dinner in came Dr. Cade, a merry mad parson of the King’s. And they two after dinner got the child and me (the others not being able to crowd in) to see the King, who kissed the child very affectionately. Then we kissed his, and the Duke of York’s, and the Princess Royal’s hands. The King seems to be a very sober man; and a very splendid Court he hath in the number of persons of quality that are about him, English very rich in habit. From the King to the Lord Chancellor, who did lie bed-rid of the gout: he spoke very merrily to the child and me. After that, going to see the Queen of Bohemia, I met with Dr. Fullers whom I sent to a tavern with Mr. Edw. Pickering, while I and the rest went to see the Queen, who used us very respectfully; her hand we all kissed. She seems a very debonaire, but plain lady.

After that to the Dr.’s, where we drank a while or so. In a coach of a friend’s of Dr. Cade we went to see a house of the Princess Dowager’s in a park about half-a-mile or a mile from the Hague, where there is one, the most beautiful room for pictures in the whole world. She had here one picture upon the top, with these words, dedicating it to the memory of her husband:— “Incomparabili marito, inconsolabilis vidua.” Here I met with Mr. Woodcock of Cambridge, Mr. Hardy and another, and Mr. Woodcock beginning we had two or three fine songs, he and I, and W. Howe to the Echo, which was very pleasant, and the more because in a heaven of pleasure and in a strange country, that I never was taken up more with a sense of pleasure in my life. After that we parted and back to the Hague and took a tour or two about the Forehault,1 where the ladies in the evening do as our ladies do in Hide Park. But for my life I could not find one handsome, but their coaches very rich and themselves so too. From thence, taking leave of the Doctor, we took wagon to Scheveling, where we had a fray with the Boatswain of the Richmond, who would not freely carry us on board, but at last he was willing to it, but then it was so late we durst not go. So we returned between 10 and 11 at night in the dark with a wagon with one horse to the Hague, where being come we went to bed as well as we could be accommodated, and so to sleep.


23 Annotations

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mw  •  Link

we had two or three fine songs, he and I, and W. Howe to the Echo, which was very pleasant, and the more because in a heaven of pleasure and in a strange country, that I never was taken up more with a sense of pleasure in my life.

There is a wonderful recognition of individual sensiblility here. Sense of self and personal experience. It is no wonder that he is so capable and intelligent a fellow. The self awareness and independence of mind along with the nuturing of his abilities is a delight to watch.

To follow on from a previous post of (I think) David Smith. I am not sure that his services and work proprieties will require the sycophancy I feel your post implies. This will be interesting to watch.

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language hat  •  Link

debonaire (OED):
adj. a. Of gentle disposition, mild, meek; gracious, kindly; courteous, affable (obs.); b. Pleasant and affable in outward manner or address

1545 T. RAYNALDE Byrth Mankynde Prol. (1634) 6 By honest, sober, debonnaire and gentle manners. 1590 SPENSER F.Q. I. ii. 23 Was neuer Prince so meeke and debonaire. 1685 EVELYN Mem. (1857) II. 216 He was a prince of many virtues, and many great imperfections: debonaire, easy of access.

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language hat  •  Link

Incomparabili marito, inconsolabilis vidua:
'To an incomparable husband, from his inconsolable widow.'

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Ed Brickell  •  Link

"... there was a Portuguese taken yesterday at the Hague, that had a design to kill the King. But this I heard afterwards was only the mistake upon one being observed to walk with his sword naked, he having lost his scabbard."

A reflection of our own troubled era, with everyone obviously in a heightened state of tension due to the political turmoil of the times. According to notes in the L&M edition of the Diary, there were apparently several other plots (imagined and real) against the King's life at around this time, in addition to the one SP reports here.

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Jenny Doughty  •  Link

'...where the ladies in the evening do as our ladies do in Hide Park'. This was the equivalent to the Italian "passegiata". In the late afternoon/early evening in Italy, everyone steps out for a little walk. The purpose of this nowadays is to hang out, have some ice cream or coffee, shop a little, and strut your stuff up and down the main street. In Pepys' day, and right up into the Regency period, the place to show off your fine clothes and carriage, to see and be seen in London, was in Hyde Park. Evidently the custom existed in Holland too.

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Andrew Stephenson  •  Link

"we went and dined at a French house, but paid 16s. for our part of the club" This seems incredibly expensive for a meal. Presumably the party was numerous and they were reserving a section of the place. Any thoughts re the value of 16s?

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A. De Araujo  •  Link

"There was a portuguese" It was probably a portuguese Jew; there were many in Holland at around this time ,the most famous being the philosopher Spinoza

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Paul Brewster  •  Link

a house of the Princess Dowager's
per Wheatley: “The House in the Wood (Huis ten Bosch) at the Hague is still a show place, and the picture described by Pepys can still be seen in the Oranje Zaal (Orange Hall). The hall was built by a Princess of Solms, grandmother of our William III, and decorated with paintings in honour of her husband, Prince Frederick Henry of Orange.

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Paul Brewster  •  Link

Incomparabili marito, inconsolabilis vidua
The Wheatley note to this passage (included in our Biographical Note) comments: "She was not supposed to be inconsolable, and scandal followed her at the court of Charles II ..."

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Paul Brewster  •  Link

She had here [own] picture upon the top
L&M translates the text as "her own" instead of "here one". Their footnote then goes on "A half-length by Gerrit van Honthorst(d. 1656), now in Berlin. The inscription was probably composed by Constantijn Huygens."

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Ian  •  Link

Do you think Pepys ever meets or mentions Spinoza? I don't know how famous he would have been at the time (I know Spinoza was once offered a post in some coutry as court philosopher, but that doesn't mean Pepys would have heard of him). That would have been a very interesting meeting of the minds.

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Jackie  •  Link

A sober man? The nation has a lot to learn about Charles II!

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Michiel van der Leeuw  •  Link

The Oranjezaal at Huis Ten Bosch can be viewed on the official site of the Dutch Royal House: http://www.koninklijkhuis.nl/UK/tour/tour.html
Step in and see "What mr. Pepys saw"

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maureen  •  Link

Pepys and Spinoza? SP certainly knew Henry Oldenburg - both Fellows of the Royal Society - and Oldenburg, who appears in the Diary later, was in regular correspondence with Spinoza. So Sam must have known of Spinoza but did they meet? Anyone else know?

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language hat  •  Link

Spinoza
has no entry in the Companion, for what that's worth.

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Tina  •  Link

Did "fray" mean something different in Pepys' day (maybe just words being exchanged), or did it still have the connotations of a brawl, as affray does today?

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mary  •  Link

'fray' could mean a noisy quarrel, or a war of words. OED

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David Quidnunc  •  Link

Spinoza (1632-1677)
has no entry in the L&M Index, either.

Neither does John Milton (1608-1674, who Pepys [1633-1703] must have known of in the years just before the diary).

Also missing in action:
--John Locke (1632-1704)
--John Bunyan (1628-1688),
--Andrew Marvell (1621-1678),
--Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679; often at the court of Charles II). Actually, Pepys mentions his "Leviathan" in 1668 and another work in 1661. The index mentions that in the "Books" section, but there's no index entry for Hobbes.

If I could only collect, I'd lay money down that 343 years from now someone could come up with a longer list of our contemporaries who at that time will be highly regarded -- and who we don't care a fig about or don't even know exist.

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vicenzo  •  Link

Off with the old; On with the new:Titles conferred by Cromwell, &c.
Resolved, That the Titles of Honour received from the late Protectors Oliver and Richard, or from Henry Cromwell, Son of the said Oliver, by any Person named a Commissioner in the Ordinance for Three Months Assessment, be omitted and struck out of the said Ordinance.

From: British History Online
Source: House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 17 May 1660. Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8, (1802).
URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com...
Date: 12/03/2005
Copyright 2003-2005 University of London & History of Parliament Trust

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Nicola Cornick  •  Link

Footnote 2 refers to "The Queen" as Henrietta Maria but I think this Elizabeth of Bohemia as it is recorded elsewhere that Pepys called her "debonair but plain."

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