Saturday 19 January 1660/61

To the Comptroller’s, and with him by coach to White Hall; in our way meeting Venner and Pritchard upon a sledge, who with two more Fifth Monarchy men were hanged to-day, and the two first drawn and quartered. Where we walked up and down, and at last found Sir G. Carteret, whom I had not seen a great while, and did discourse with him about our assisting the Commissioners in paying off the Fleet, which we think to decline. Here the Treasurer did tell me that he did suspect Thos. Hater to be an informer of them in this work, which we do take to be a diminution of us, which do trouble me, and I do intend to find out the truth.

Hence to my Lady, who told me how Mr. Hetley is dead of the small-pox going to Portsmouth with my Lord. My Lady went forth to dinner to her father’s, and so I went to the Leg in King Street and had a rabbit for myself and my Will, and after dinner I sent him home and myself went to the Theatre, where I saw “The Lost Lady,” which do not please me much. Here I was troubled to be seen by four of our office clerks, which sat in the half-crown box and I in the 1s. 6d.

From thence by link, and bought two mouse traps of Thomas Pepys, the Turner, and so went and drank a cup of ale with him, and so home and wrote by post to Portsmouth to my Lord and so to bed.

35 Annotations

Emilio   Link to this

Venner and Pritchard

L&M clarify: "Thomas Venner and Roger Hodgkin were the only two hanged, drawn and quartered. The other two referred to were William Oxman and Giles Pritchard, hanged and beheaded in Wood St. Nine others met the same fate on the 21st. Pepys kept a drawing of one of the sledges used on such occasions."

Emilio   Link to this

we think to decline

And why Sam and co. aren't involved in these particular payings-off: "The parliamentary commissioners (provided since 29 December 1660 with additional funds by 12 Car. II c. 27) had held their first meeting (as the statute required) on 12 January. Local commissioners had been appointed to assist them to pay off 65 ships. The Navy Board (normally in charge of pay) was required by the act to supply information, but not to assist in the paying-off." (L&M)

A lot of men are losing their positions with these events, so it makes sense that Sam prefers to be uninvolved. At the same time, one doesn't want to be ignored completely . . .

Emilio   Link to this

at the Theatre

The Lost Lady - "A tragicomedy by Sir William Berkeley, acted and published in 1638; now at the Theatre Royal, Vere St." (L&M)

Berkeley had a new world connection: "Sir William Berkeley (1605-1677) held office longer than any other governor of Virginia, colonial or modern. He was born in 1605 to Sir Maurice and Elizabeth Killigrew Berkeley, both of whom held stock in the Virginia Company of London. Educated at St. Edmund Hall and Merton College in Oxford, he subsequently studied law at the Middle Temple in London before he toured Europe. In 1632, he gained a place in the household of Charles I. That position gave him entré into a court literary circle know as “The Wits” and led to social ties that stood him well for the remainder of his days. He wrote several plays, one of which—The Lost Lady, A Tragi-Comedy—was performed for Charles I and Henrietta Maria.”
http://www.iath.virginia.edu/vcdh/jamestown/ess...

And about the seating:

“Above the pit there were usually three tiers of seats: the boxes, where a seat cost 4s., the middle gallery, and the top gallery. Pepys was in the middle gallery; the clerks probably in a special box on the same tier.” (also L&M)

dirk   Link to this

"wrote by post to Portsmouth to my Lord"

At the time of Sam's writing, the British postal service was a relatively new thing (1635). How it came into existence, how it was organised and how it evolved, can be found on:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A1082558
http://www.tafsc.com/PostalHistory.htm#ROYAL_POSTS
http://www.consignia.com/heritage/downloads/his...

vincent   Link to this

I'm sure there are patrons who remember a bob for the Gods and 5/- for the stalls.

vincent   Link to this

Oh! that darned cat[must be more interested in the dovecote]. Now for the two mouse traps.

J Bailey   Link to this

Is SP troubled at being seen at the play by the clerks because of the price of the clerk's seats? Or does he not want to be seen not working? Or is it the play itself not appropriate?

Any illumination?

oliverm   Link to this

"Here I was troubled to be seen by four of our clerks..."

The clerks had paid half a crown (2 shillings and six pence) for their seats, while Pepys had paid only 1 shilling and six pence for his. I think that status-conscious Pepys was embarassed that he, rising man in the world, should be seen by not just one but four (!) of his employees in the "lesser status" cheap seats and they in the more expensive section. This kind of social inversion would make for interesting gossip and behind-the-back snickers at the office, I'm sure.

PHE   Link to this

Executions
We are used to Sam's matter-of-fact reference to public executions, but it seems surprising that he never makes any comment on whether it is harsh or barbaric, but just seems to take it all for granted. There was surely some social debate (even then) on whether such exections were reasonable in general, or in the eyes of God. Given Sam's thoughtful character, I would have thought he had some view on it or some conscience about it. We see in his own life that he oftens feels some remorse after passing out physical punishment to his servants.

Kevin Sheerstone   Link to this

... a bob for the Gods.

Yes, I for one certainly remember that. Status-conscious Sam must have been mortified. I don't know if the clerks are mentioned again but it wouldn't surprise me if they noticed a reduction in their next salary payment. 'If you can afford that... '

J A Gioia   Link to this

...and I in the 1s. 6d.

from this it is easy to infer how much sam loves the theater. he goes so often (better two plays for half a crown than one) he is content in the cheap seats, at least until someone sees him slumming.

and i might add parenthetically how natural it seems to write about our man in the present tense.

Pedro.   Link to this

Executions

Sam's attitude to executions does seem rather cold. We know that he was present at the execution of Charles I and commented "The memory of the wicked shall rot." And the at the execution of Thomas Harrison he said "Thus it was my chance to see the king beheaded at Whitehall and to see the first blood shed in revenge for the blood of the King at Charing Cross."
At the time of the execution of Charles I Sam was stronly Republican, along with Montagu and Monck, and now he is a Royalist. We have also seen that when he was reminded of his comments about Charles I by someone from his old school, he became decidedly nervous! After changing sides he cannot aford to show or write his emotions.
The poem "The Vicar of Bray" sums up our Sam;

"And this is law, I will maintain
Unto my Dying Day, Sir.
That whatsoever King may reign,
I will be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!"

Full poem on www.stthomasu.ca/~hunt/braytext.htm

Pedro.   Link to this

"Vicar of Bray" Sorry. It is not a poem but a song from the comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan.

Glyn   Link to this

Pedro: I don't think that he was unfeeling in his reactions to executions. If you look at his entry for 20 October, 3 months ago, you will see that he could be quite upset by them.

I don't think it's a spoiler to say that in roughly 30 years time, he will take early retirement rather than adapt to a new regime.

dirk   Link to this

Sam's feelings

Executions etc. Let's be careful not to impose our modern feelings on Sam!

**I know by now that this is a sensitive issue on the Pepys blog, but I can't help it.**

The 17th c was a "cruel" time. Sam's perception as to what was cruel, and when "cruelty" was acceptable or justified would be radically different from ours, possibly unacceptable to the modern western civilized mind.

He's no less human for that - merely a child of his time.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

Vicar of Bray

A song first published in The British Musical Miscellany or the Delightful Grove, I. Walsh Musick Printer and Instrument Maker to his Majesty at the Harp & Hoboy, [1734-1737]. It traces the tenure of the vicar through five sovereigns, from the 1660s to George I, and many theological and liturgical changes.

The song was a source for the 1882 Savoy Opera of the same name, by Sydney Grundy and Edward Solomon.

Eric Walla   Link to this

On seeing and being seen at the play ...

... I would highly doubt that the clerks will find a decrease in their wages since this episode doesn't appear to be a reflection on them as much as a reflection on himself. What I WOULD look for is a change in seating for Sam. The question becomes: will he insert himself in the half-crown box, or aim for something more expensive?

Maurie Beck   Link to this

Executions

Considering the fifth Monarchy Men where expecting the imminence of the second coming, dispatching them to heaven a little early seems appropriate.

PHE   Link to this

A cruel time?
I disagree with the assumption that times were so different then and that Sam was a "child of his time". One of the most remarkable aspects of Pepys is that he demonstrates through his portrayal of every day life how little human character changes over centuries. Change is not as dramatic as it may appear. Its the details that change not the overall scheme of things. For example, while we may be shocked by the grusomeness of public execution, we are quite capable of accepting equally gruseome actions - but in a form that our realignment of 'right and wrong' makes acceptable to our society. Look at how we justify the attrocities of modern warfare (affecting infinitely more civilians and innocents than in Pepys's day)- and read the details and view pictures and film of it. Pepys teaches us rather more about ourselves than language and history.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"Executions" SP seems to get violent around the time he witness executions e.g.: when he did beat up his maid and now he almost kills the female monkey;also he mentioned sometime ago that someone had said that Charles II was so kind that he might pity the doomed regicides. So it seems to me that these gory executions did upset him.

Eric Walla   Link to this

Is "out of sight, out of mind" the same thing as a lessening of cruelty?

Public executions were still in force well into the 20th century. The only change seems to be that they gradually went for less messy ways of doing it. Less messy can certainly be equated with less graphic and less upsetting. Moving it behind walls so only the select few witness the act only depersonalizes it, it doesn't make it less cruel.

Thus I "vote" with those backing Pepys as every bit as human as today. Nowadays we (in the States) may mutter and shake our heads at the news of an execution; Pepys seems to do the same with the traditional mode of executions in his day.

Oh, and as a half-jesting aside, I would say my fellow Americans want public executions not to make a pro or con statement. They're just running out of new ideas for reality TV shows.

dirk   Link to this

"in a form that our realignment of "right and wrong" makes acceptable to our society”

PHE, what you’re saying is exactly what I said (in other words) above: our perception of what “cruelty” is permissible/acceptable depends on a constantly changing “realignment”, as you call it. That “realignment” is really the way our culture at any given moment tells us to judge these matters - and it has changed/evolved (very slowly) gradually over centuries of history. That’s precisely what is meant by “being a child of one’s time”!

SusanLynn   Link to this

Hi, my first post, although I've been "lurking" since the beginning.

Pepys finds out Mr. Hetley, a longtime acquaintance, has died today. He seems to be more upset that the clerks have seen him in an inappropriate theatre box than about Mr. Hetley's death. I think that when death is a much more common part of a young person's everyday life than it is nowadays, people in Pepys' time must have developed different attitudes towards death in order to be able to "deal with it".

vincent   Link to this

Nowt said? about "a leak" in the Office [brown noseing I think was called {nicer name being a tattle tale or a whistle blower?}] "...Here the Treasurer did tell me that he did suspect Thos. Hater to be an informer of them in this work, which we do take to be a diminution of us, which do trouble me, and I do intend to find out the truth..." So wot's new? SP was informed because BN's were considered the lowest of the low, many modern versions with less than admirable results.

vincent   Link to this

Sam was not the vidictive kind unlike One CO I crossed. When at a fancy movie and had a posher seat than my CO. Mind your the time spent in the Persian Gulf proved interesting and more fun than hanging around Div.

Mary   Link to this

Public hanging

For the record, the last public hanging in England took place in 1868. Thereafter and until the abolition of the death penalty all executions took place behind prison walls.

Lyn Beliveau   Link to this

I have kept a diary for forty years and cannot go to bed without writing the events of the day, dull though they may be. I read Sam daily (love the annotations) and wonder how many of the other faithful readers are also diarists.

Phil   Link to this

This topic has been touched on in the discussion group, and is probably best there: http://www.smartgroups.com/groups/pepysdiary Thanks.

Jenny Doughty   Link to this

I do wonder whether the clerks paid half a crown for the box *between them* whereas Sam paid 1s 6d for his seat on his own. That would make economic sense, but still perhaps leave a lingering sense of social awkwardness on Sam's part.

Sasha Clarkson   Link to this

What did upset Sam the most? We won't necessarily know, because he doesn't always write down his deepest feelings: sometimes he just records what he deems to be noteworthy. As another Sam (Johnson) sarcastically implied, the loudest noise may not be associated with the greatest emotion!

“If a man who turnips cries,
Cry not when his father dies,
'Tis a proof that he had rather,
Have a turnip than a father.”

joe fulm   Link to this

only yesterday SP said the drink was decaying his memory and he would start to cut back. Today he is supping ale.
'Lord help me get sober, but not today'. Seems too with the buying of mousetraps the recently acquired cat is being too well fed and not at its post, maybe it got its fill of the uncooked calf's head SP recently discarded, and couldn't be bothered.

Adam   Link to this

Justice is pretty swift in Pepys' time

Gerald Berg   Link to this

The tense in this entry is confusing me. When SP said he met Venner and Pritchard on a sledge I assumed they were alive. Yet SP adds that they along with two more were hung today. Does that mean they were all sledge dead? If they were D&Q'd that would make for one disgusting sight!
As for cruelty. Last week I read about an execution in Ohio that didn't work out as planned. Gasping and convulsing for 1/2 hour before the final expiation. Now we hide our gruesome, vengeful nature with well worn pieties on judicial justice. SP and cohorts skip the pretend. They were not embarrassed by their need for vengeance.

MarkS   Link to this

Sam met them when they were being taken to their execution.
 
The sentence for hanging, drawing and quartering would normally say something like, "...laid on a hurdle and so drawn to the place of execution...". This hurdle is what Sam calls a sledge, a wooden or wattle framework dragged behind a horse.

Dick Wilson   Link to this

Lyn Believeau raises a question: How many of us keep diaries? Watch out. Here is another word that separates British and American English. What an American Businessman would call an "Appointments Calendar", a British Businessman calls "A Diary". When one uses the word "Diary", the other may misunderstand. It is common office practice on both sides of the pond to keep a schedule of upcoming appointments, work that should be done today, deadlines etc., and at days end, to annotate them to record actions completed or which scheduled tasks were not completed. Filed away, they thus become a record of both expected events and completed events. SP's form of Diary is a whole lot more fun. In the future, will people using electronic "organizers" or "day planners" use them to keep records of who did what, when, where and how? Will the technology to read their files survive?

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