Saturday 13 October 1660

To my Lord’s in the morning, where I met with Captain Cuttance, but my Lord not being up I went out to Charing Cross, to see Major-general Harrison hanged, drawn, and quartered; which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition. He was presently cut down, and his head and heart shown to the people, at which there was great shouts of joy. It is said, that he said that he was sure to come shortly at the right hand of Christ to judge them that now had judged him; and that his wife do expect his coming again.

Thus it was my chance to see the King beheaded at White Hall, and to see the first blood shed in revenge for the blood of the King at Charing Cross. From thence to my Lord’s, and took Captain Cuttance and Mr. Sheply to the Sun Tavern, and did give them some oysters. After that I went by water home, where I was angry with my wife for her things lying about, and in my passion kicked the little fine basket, which I bought her in Holland, and broke it, which troubled me after I had done it.

Within all the afternoon setting up shelves in my study. At night to bed.

26 Annotations

Yonmei   Link to this

...to see Major- general Harrison hanged, drawn; and quartered; which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition.

Blackest of black humour, do you think?

Paul Brewster   Link to this

he looking as cheerfully as any man could do in that condition
L&M add the "-ly". Their footnote reads: "Thomas Harrison, the regicide, had been condemned on the 11th. Cf. [compare] his hagiographer: he was 'mighty cheerful to the astonishment of many': 'The speeches and prayers of Maj. Gen. Harrison ... (1660) [It is odd that SP and the hagiographer (?) pick up the same descriptive word.] Secretary Nicholas reported that he died 'under a hardness of heart that created horror in all who saw him' [Obviously, save SP and the unnamed hagiographer.]"

Paul Brewster   Link to this

he was sure to come shortly at the right hand of Christ to judge them that now have judged him. And that his wife do expect his coming again.
L&M footnote: "The views attributed to Harrison and his wife were commonly attributed to all Fifth Monarchists."

Paul Brewster   Link to this

I was angry with my wife for her things lying about, and in my passion kicked the little fine baskett
One might want to argue that this is a minor example of the unintended side effects of the sanctioned societal violence that SP had witnessed.

stephen   Link to this

the breadth of this entry is overwhelming. From the hanging,drawing,and quatering to kicking his wife's basket!

language hat   Link to this

One of the more memorable entries we've encountered so far.
From a grimly witty description of a gory public execution to an oyster dinner and a domestic quarrel, by way of a little religious rumination and personal reminiscing, in a few short lines. Oh, and of course the sudden anticlimax of "all the afternoon setting up shelves in my study." That's life!

Paul Brewster   Link to this

all the afternoon setting up shelves in my study
I don't think of the shelves as an anti-climax. SP has a life-long love for his books and his book shelves. It can be seen in the care he took in his will to bequeath the shelves and their contents to posterity. To me his choice of activity is a wonderful way of working out the complex feelings he has on the events he witnessed this day. One might think that I'm overstating this but L&M in their footnote to this entry point forward to a November 1 entry where SP will once again remember the King's beheading and where he was and how he felt.

Paul Miller   Link to this

"to see Major- general Harrison hanged, drawn; and quartered"

Gentleman, by reason of some scoffing, that I do hear, I judge that some do think I am afraid to die... I tell you no, but it is by reason of much blood I have lost in the wars, and many wounds I have received in my body which caused this shaking and weakness in my nerves.
[From Thomas Harrison, speech on the scaffold (1660)]

Drawing and Quartering article

http://www.richard.clark32.btinternet.co.uk/hdq...

vincent   Link to this

Rev Josselyn did not hear of this Punishment un-till weds 17
"... oct 17 (1659?) Spent this day in prayer at priory , put up divers very earnest petitions public and private, which the lord in mercy answer(.) heard then that Harrison , and Carew , two of the Kings Judges were executed but to that day 8 in all were executed, Jo: Cooke . Hugh Peters . Tho. Scot . Gregory Clement . Jo. Jones . Adrian Scroope ...."
http://linux02.lib.cam.ac.uk/earlscolne/diary/7...

vincent   Link to this

A great painting of the days excitement and frustration, straight to the point entry, full of vision. At the flicks "Quo Vadis" or watching a fire fight in Bagdad, then on to a spot of lunch at the Club or Simpsons,then home James, home, kick the cat then on to manual work , mow the lawn or dig up the garden, or do a marathon. How normal? [watch death ;feed re birth;get the anger out : create new;]

Phil Rodgers   Link to this

Sam would have been nearly 16 when he saw the King executed, some eleven and a half years earlier.

PHE   Link to this

Life then was so similar/different to today??
This is arguably one of the more profound entries, managing to encompass so many of the attractive qualities of the diaries in one go. The casual attitude to the public execution demonstrates how different life was compared to today (in UK at least), while the pub lunch and domestic squabbles show how little has changed. This entry also encompasses the witnessing of history; everyday life in London; Pepys's humour, his love of food; taverns; preoccupation with home improvement and his relationship with his wife.

Peter   Link to this

This is certainly an extremely powerful entry, as others have mentioned. Although Sam glosses over the execution, surely he can not have been unaffected by it. The link that Paul Miller has provided shows that the kind of evisceration that went on here was reserved only for the most special of circumstances. The beheading of Charles I certainly affected Sam (he has mentioned it several times already), but that must have been very clean compared to this execution. It's unlikely that Sam had ever seen anything like it.
Also, the events of the morning are quite unusual. Sam presents it as if he has just wandered up to the execution as an afterthought. Sandwich seems to have taken to his bed (problems with his conscience perhaps?). I wonder if Sandwich sent Sam to witness the execution and report back to him? If Sam was a reluctant witness, I can imagine he would do Sandwich's bidding without a word of criticism at this point.
Whatever the circumstances, Sam must have had all sorts of emotions running through his mind by the time he got home. Probably Elizabeth and the basket didn't stand a chance. I can imagine a very heavy silence as he sets to work on (stocking or putting up?) his shelves.

J A Gioia   Link to this

(problems with his conscience perhaps?)

yeah, sandwich's indisposition struck me as morally convenient as well. another thing -- sam witnesses one execution. i'm assuming, wrongly perhaps, they they took care of the whole lot that day. also, am i alone feeling a sense of sam's disgust at the 'great shouts of joy'? i see our man hurrying on after just one killing, having performed an important personal task balancing his own history with that of england's.

Paul Brewster   Link to this

they took care of the whole lot that day
According to the Drawing and Quartering web site cited above, the task was spread over several days ...
"Harrison was the first to die, he was executed at Charing Cross on Saturday the 13th of October and was subjected to the full gruesome rigours of his sentence. Two days later John Carew suffered the same fate, although his quartered body was allowed to be buried rather than put on display. The following day John Cooke and Hugh Peters were executed. Cooke's head was displayed on a pole at Westminster Hall with Harrison's whilst Peters' was displayed on London Bridge. Wednesday the 17th saw the executions of Scot, Clement, Scroop and Jones. Finally on Friday the 19th it was Hacker and Axtell's turn. Oliver Cromwell, Henry Ireton, Thomas Pride and John Bradshaw were all dead by this time but were posthumously tried for high treason. They were found guilty and in January 1661 their corpses were exhumed and hung in chains at Tyburn.”

J A Gioia   Link to this

Wednesday the 17th saw the executions of Scot, Clement, Scroop and Jones.

oh, well, then we have that to look forward to...

Glyn   Link to this

Harrison's death strongly reminds me of a poem by Robert Browning.

http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/146/

"The Patriot: An Old Story"

"It was roses, roses, all the way,
With myrtle mixed in my path like mad.
The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,
The church-spires flamed, such flags they had,
A year ago on this very day!"

...

"There's nobody on the house-tops now

S. Spoelstra   Link to this

This must be one of the most quoted lines in the Diary.

I remember walking from Tower Hill to Cheapside the last time I was in Londen and coming across a pub "the Hung, Drawn and Quartered", which had the whole quote on a large sign outside. (Just a few steps from Pepys street).
Maybe not the way Major-General Harrison would have preferred it to be, but people apparently still like to drink to his memory!

http://www.beerintheevening.com/pubs/show.shtml...

Olivier Grimbleweed   Link to this

To be perfectly honset, I think that to be hung, drawn and quartered, is far better than to be gobbled up by monkeys for instance. My favourite quote today is; Cows are mad, but Girls are bad!

Terry F   Link to this

Entertainment for hoi polloi and the Pepys's ilk

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/civil_war_...

JRQuilcon   Link to this

An' I'm willin' t'wager that Sam saw the crowd cheer at th'king's execution...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"An' I'm willin' t'wager that Sam saw the crowd cheer at th'king's execution..."
and he may have joined in as what to do, impressionable youngster at an unprecedented event that he was.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

The Drawing and Bartering page to which Paul Miller linked being 404, this may help:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanged,_drawn_and_...

MarkS   Link to this

"He looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition."

As Monty Python said, "Always look on the bright side of life"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJUhlRoBL8M

Dick Wilson   Link to this

There's nothing like a gory public execution to make you thirsty for your morning draft!

Poor Elizabeth. She doesn't deserve Sam's bad temper.

Chris Squire UK   Link to this

JRQuilcon: not so: Philip Henry recorded that the execution was met with 'such a groan as I have never heard before, and desire I may never hear again'.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=DsNKdbFrP7wC...

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