Wednesday 27 June 1660

With my Lord to the Duke, where he spoke to Mr. Coventry to despatch my business of the Acts, in which place every body gives me joy, as if I were in it, which God send.1

Dined with my Lord and all the officers of his regiment, who invited my Lord and his friends, as many as he would bring, to dinner, at the Swan, at Dowgate, a poor house and ill dressed, but very good fish and plenty. Here Mr. Symons, the Surgeon, told me how he was likely to lose his estate that he had bought, at which I was not a little pleased.

To Westminster, and with Mr. Howe by coach to the Speaker’s, where my Lord supped with the King, but I could not get in. So back again, and after a song or two in my chamber in the dark, which do (now that the bed is out) sound very well, I went home and to bed.

  1. The letters patent, dated July 13th, 12 Charles II., recite and revoke letters patent of February 16th, 14 Charles I., whereby the office of Clerk of the Ships had been given to Dennis Fleming and Thomas Barlow, or the survivor. D. F. was then dead, but T. B. living, and Samuel Pepys was appointed in his room, at a salary of 33l. 6s. 8d. per annum, with 3s. 4d. for each day employed in travelling, and 6l. per annum for boathire, and all fees due. This salary was only the ancient “fee out of the Exchequer,” which had been attached to the office for more than a century. Pepys’s salary had been previously fixed at 350l. a year.

21 Annotations

Eric Walla   Link to this

Do we have previous dealings ...

... with Mr Symons, the surgeon? I'd love to hear the background history that leads Sam to delight in his suffering.

I can just see Sam standing in the dark of his chamber letting loose in song! A fine image.

Eric Walla   Link to this

Or does "not a little pleased" mean the opposite of my reading?

Tim Bray   Link to this

Did Sam retain his 350l salary, so is this a 10% raise? The footnote leaves me a bit puzzled as to why this was such good news.

Paul Brewster   Link to this

he was likely to lose his estate that he had bought
The L&M footnote gives only the briefest of hints, "The estate had been confiscated from the church." It then points forward in time (23 August 1660) to another discussion of the loss of a church estate. But in August the diary passage refers to W. Symons and not Mr. Symons, the Chyurgeon. On this date, the footnote discusses W. Symons's relationship with his uncle, Henry Scobell. Apparently Scobell was responsible for the sale of the land of deans and chapters during the Commonwealth Parliament. In 1660, Scobell died and passed on some of this property to W. Symons and now the restoration was doing its job of restoring the property to its original owner.

The L&M companion clearly differentiates between Thomas? Symons, the medical man attached to Montagu's Regiment having their party at the Swan, and Will Symons, the clerk who had the useful uncle. My only conjecture is that although there is no mention in L&M, they're somehow related and both profited (?) from this same Uncle's ill-starred position.

This doesn't leave us much closer to SP's state of mind when he says he's "not a little pleased". I suspect that SP now places himself firmly in the Royalist camp and it does his heart good to see the boys that may have leaped ahead of him in the old days taken down a peg or two.

chip   Link to this

What is also noteworthy is SP's honesty about his schadenfreude. His noticing the difference in resonance without the bed (and I assume its harmonics sucking mattress) prove that his ears were astute. But did he sing or play his flute?

vincent   Link to this

"to lose his estate that he had bought, at which I was not a little pleased" my reading is Symons got the estate for a "song" (left in a will?), he having good connections, and our SP is quite "chuffed " that he will lose it, whose property was it, before being taken over by the old regime? was really the churches? Or was it the Deans'? Is the Dean, is or was known by SP ? Did SP like this Character? Symons may not be SP's favourite drinking companion?

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Sam's salary
Re Tim Bray's question, I interpret the footnote as follows. The post had a statutory salary established a century earlier, which was way too low by Sam's time. So they in fact had already told Sam that the salary would be 350l. The 33l+ figure was official but not real.

If this is right, and Sam knew he would shortly be receiving 350l per annum, it would explain why the offer of 500l to pass up the appointment wouldn't be all that tempting.

Paul Brewster   Link to this

Sam's salary
It should also be noted that this potential position was a lifetime appointment. As the L&M companion states “a public official appointed under a royal patent acquired a legal tenure for life and was customarily immune for dismissal for anything short of criminal conviction.

anthony   Link to this

Like Eric and Chip, I was amused by Sam's appreciation of the altered acoustic in his chamber; I recall on the way to Cambridge some months previously he had played his flute in a cellar and remarked on room's echo. Verily a Stuart Phil Spector ...

Pauline   Link to this

"So back again, and after a song or two in my chamber in the dark..."
I am assuming Sam went back to Montagu's lodgings in Whitehall and up to his old room in the garret. After a song or two, he goes "home" to where the bed now resides.

So not only revealing about his feeling for music but in that he takes a quiet interlude in these days of rapid advancement and change to go up to the old chamber where he began his career (and his marriage) and plays/sings in the dark.

Glyn   Link to this

The Swan, at Dowgate, a poor house and ill dressed, but very good fish and plenty.

Sam should have been a restaurant guide - what more would you require in a concise review. Of course, it's right next to the river, so there would have been fresh fish a plenty.

The Swan is thought to have been located on the west side of Dowgate Hill and immediately north of the church of St John the Baptist - just south of what is now Cannon Street.

Like a lot of the places Sam visits, it was a celebrated Elizabethan tavern that was at least 100 years old. At this point in time it was owned by a Thomas Cox, who held it from 1638 to 1661.

It's known that he was promoted to Captain, then Major, then to Lieutenant-Colonel during the early years of the Civil War. I presume from this that he had fought on the Parliamentarian side (because London was strongly Parliamentarian), and that he was quite rich (because important officers had to bankroll their own troops).

Glyn   Link to this

Here's an official letter that he wrote on this day. It's nothing very important but probably fairly typical of his daily work. Capt Thomas Bun appears later in the Diary, but not Capt Mootham so far as I can see.

"To Captain Mootham, commander of the Foresight, Captain Bun, commander of the Essex, or which of these Vice-Admiral Lawson shall appoint convoy to Bilbao.

Whitehall, 27 June 1660


I am to advise you in your passage into the Bay of Biscay that you are to forbear to surprise, block or molest any of the Spanish boats or vessels which you shall meet with there. It was not thought proper to insert this in your instructions, wherefore you are desired to observe it as if it had. I am directed to give you private advice hereor and rest,

Your loving friend and humble servant

Terry Foreman   Link to this

In Commons the surrender of a regicide -- and the tread to judgment day goes on.

MarkS   Link to this

"a poor house and ill dressed, but very good fish and plenty."

The punctuation seems to be wrong here. It should read "a poor house, and ill-dressed (but very good) fish, and plenty."

It was the fish not the house that was 'ill-dressed'. To dress means to prepare a dish of food. It means that the fish, though good in itself and plentiful, was badly prepared.

From Boswell's Life of Johnson, a century later: "At the inn where we stopped he was exceedingly dissatisfied with some roast mutton which we had for dinner. The ladies, I saw, wondered to see the great philosopher, whose wisdom and wit they had been admiring all the way, get into ill-humour from such a cause. He scolded the waiter, saying, 'It is as bad as bad can be: it is ill-fed, ill-killed, ill-kept, and ill-dressed.'"

Bill   Link to this

"but I could not get in"

Does this mean Sam is part of My Lord's entourage? An, as yet, unimportant part?

Weavethe hawk   Link to this

I agree with your correction of the punctuation, but I think by badly dressed, Sam means badly presented rather than badly prepared.

Gillian Bagwell   Link to this

There was no standard punctuation in those days, and I believe the "ill dressed" refers to the house, not the fish. So the punctuation is fine, even by the standards of a copy editor of today!

Weavethe hawk   Link to this

Ill dressed refers to the food.

william wright   Link to this

I'm with Gillian Bagwell on "Ill dressed". Shabby run down premises or "tired" as we say, but good food. Been in several places like that myself.

Gerald Berg   Link to this

If I were Symons I would not be confiding my loss to someone whom I may suspect would be happy to know of my misfortune. That is not how people usually behave. So either Sam is a duplicitous fellow towards Symons or "not a little pleased" means the opposite of what we would now take it to mean. I prefer the latter interpretation.

Bryan   Link to this


The punctuation is Wheatley's, i.e. 19th century. Here's an excerpt from a "future" annotation for the Sunday 30 April 1665 entry by Michael Robinson:

L&M on 'Punctuation' etc.,vol i, p lxiv:-

"The normal marks of punctuation are seldom used in the manuscript, probably because some of them are used instead as arbitrary symbols for common words: the colon and full-stop are thus employed to represent 'owe'/'oh' and 'eye'/'I' respectively. Except for the extremely rare use of a comma (which is used a few times to separate words in series), the only normal punctuation marks found in the manuscript are parentheses (the practice with these is not always the same as ours), new lines for paragraphs (usually flush with the left hand margin, but sometimes indented), hyphens in compound words and compound names (although hyphens are restricted to longhand and even there they are used only seldom), apostrophes for possession (these too are rarely used and only in longhand), colons and full-stops for some abbreviations, dashes and full-stops occasionally in sums of money, full stops and oblique strokes after some title headings, etc., a rarely used square bracket for marking off a quotation."

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