Tuesday 28 May 1661

This morning to the Wardrobe, and thence to a little alehouse hard by, to drink with John Bowles, who is now going to Hinchinbroke this day. Thence with Mr. Shepley to the Exchange about business, and there, by Mr. Rawlinson’s favour, got into a balcone over against the Exchange; and there saw the hangman burn, by vote of Parliament, two old acts, the one for constituting us a Commonwealth, and the others I have forgot. Which still do make me think of the greatness of this late turn, and what people will do tomorrow against what they all, through profit or fear, did promise and practise this day. Then to the Mitre with Mr. Shepley, and there dined with D. Rawlinson and some friends of his very well. So home, and then to Cheapside about buying a piece of plate to give away to-morrow to Mrs. Browne’s child. So to the Star in Cheapside, where I left Mr. Moore telling 5l. out for me, who I found in a great strait for my coming back again, and so he went his way at my coming. Then home, where Mr. Cook I met and he paid me 30s., an old debt of his to me. So to Sir W. Pen’s, and there sat alone with him till ten at night in talk with great content, he telling me things and persons that I did not understand in the late times, and so I home to bed. My cozen John Holcroft (whom I have not seen many years) this morning came to see me.

26 Annotations

dirk   Link to this

"So to the Star in Cheapside, where I left Mr. Moore telling 5l. out for me, who I found in a great strait for my coming back again, and so he went his way at my coming."

Am I the only one at a loss here? Anybody has any suggestions as to what's going on here?

Glyn   Link to this

"telling" in the sense of "counting" (hence the American term "bank teller") and 5L is a shortened form of "five pounds".

It sounds as if Mr Moore owed Pepys some money and was supposed to be counting it out for him, but did not expect Sam to return so soon, so tried to skulk away without being seen! The Star probably had lots of little rooms, so he probably thought he could escape without Sam seeing him.

But counting out so much money in a tavern sounds a little risky to me - presumably Mr Moore had just collected it from an early bank in Cheapside.

Or he told Sam that he had the money but did not, and when Sam came back his bluff had been called, so he ran away!

A. De Araujo   Link to this

" and ther saw the hangman burn" I am totally lost here? is it Judas?

Nix   Link to this

The hangman --

-- is burning the old acts of the revolutionary parliament, symbolizing their destruction, and the restoration of the monarchy. (Tomorrow, May 29, is the King's birthday.)

Australian Susan   Link to this

"the greatness of this late turn"
Probably only confiding this to his diary, but Sam seems to be expressing his private amazement at how everyone has changed so much and so quickly and he wonders about their fickleness. He is learning to be careful, and to keep in tune with the melody of the day, whoever is playing it.

Louis Anthony Scarsdale   Link to this

"Which still do make me think of the greatness of this late turn, and what people will do tomorrow against what they all, through profit or fear, did promise and practise this day."

And perhaps with an unspoken concern that he might be among them? The fickleness does not always lie entirely with others.

Emilio   Link to this

"burn, by vote of Parliament, two old acts"

Parliament had just taken this vote yesterday, unreported in the diary. According to an L&M footnote, several acts relating to the Commonwealth were burned today, and more will burn tomorrow. An amusing and significant detail is that the parliamentary order would not refer to the burned documents as 'acts', but only as 'treasonable parchment writings'.

Like A. Susan and Louis, I also loved Sam's reflection on the changed times: the line is perfectly phrased, as always, but also quite moving. It's not often so literally true that the past is a different country.

Pauline   Link to this

"...where I left Mr. Moore telling 5l. out for me, who I found in a great strait for my coming back again, and so he went his way at my coming...."
I took it that they were together at the Star, Sam slipped out to buy plate leaving Moore to pay on his behalf (perhaps a running bill?). Moore is short of the amount and gets embarassed at the wait for Sam to come back and make it good. Sam reappears, Moore sets it back in Sam's hands and beats a quick retreat, perhaps put out with Sam. That's just how it struck me. Is 5L a great amount? A reasonable amount for a running tab?
Sam is VERY fond of Moore and his company.

vicente   Link to this

Yep, for a squaddie [British PFC] in 1948, he got 28/- /wk for his square bashing practice."...Is 5L a great amount? ..." of course inflation has changed that, 'tis a question of how many glasses of Ale that it will put on the table [56 Naffi pints]. Then over a thousand loaves of bread, or 1200 pounds of cheese or it kept Samuel's house a running, for 20 days [ care of Restoration London Liza Picard P 146]

ellen   Link to this

It seemed to me that Mr. Moore had waited for a long time for Sam to arrive so he could pay him off, and then had to go without staying for drinking and talking.

vicente   Link to this

from the Lauds themselves; Lords Order for burning the Covenant"...and there saw the hangman burn, by vote of Parliament, two old acts, the one for constituting us a Commonwealth, and the others I have forgo...."
"The Lords in Parliament assembled, having considered of a Paper sent unto them from the House of Commons, for burning of an Instrument, or Writing called The Solemne League and Covenant, by the Hand of the Common Hangman, do order, That the Instrument, or Writing, called The Solemne League and Covenant, be burned, by the Hand of the Common Hangman, in The New Pallace at Westminster, in Cheapeside, and before The Old Exchange, on Wednesday the 22th of this Instant May; and that the said Covenant be forthwith taken off the Record in the House of Peers, and in all other Courts and Places where the same is recorded; and that all Copies thereof be taken down out of all Churches, Chapels, and other Public Places, in England and Wales, and the Town of Barwicke upon Tweede, where the same are set up."
ORDERED, That this Order be forthwith printed and published
From: British History Online
Source: House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 20 May 1661. House of Lords Journal Volume 11, ().
URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com...

vicente   Link to this

Straight maybe from the latin for narrow i.e. "bl**** Uptight, seething, fe...eling stuck with the bill and no moolar to pay, looking a right proper ruddy idiot being stiffed trying to count out the farthings . With Mr P.[who me] coming back, could now escape the looks of the Landlord." "...where I left Mr. Moore telling 5l. out for me, who I found in a great strait for my coming back again, and so he went his way at my coming..." thats my bias view , he has been known to spunge[SP that is, then he do cough up in the end.].

vicente   Link to this

Human beings at their best, those that comprehend this fallible human psyche/ weakness do become great politicians. "...Which still do make me think of the greatness of this late turn, and what people will do tomorrow against what they all, through profit or fear, did promise and practise this day..."

Australian Susan   Link to this

On Vincent's posting
"in England and Wales and the town of Berwick on Tweed". It was debated for a long while as to whether Berwick was in England or Scotland, so it was appended as an independent borough as in this statement to lists of the countries which make up Great Britain. I think that when war was declared in 1914, this formula was used (including Berwick on Tweed separetely), but that this was ommitted when the Armistice was signed in 1918, so technically Berwick on Tweed is still at war with Germany!

Mary   Link to this

Mr. Moore's straits.

I'm basically with Ellen on this. I think that there was a prior arrangement between Pepys and Moore about meeting at The Star. Pepys needed to be in Cheapside to buy the silverware for tomorrow's christening and had arranged that Moore should wait for him at The Star with a sum of money suitable to the likely cost of the gift. Pepys' busy morning (and convivial dinner) meant that he arrived at The Star later than had been expected, by which time Moore was in difficulties (straits) about fulfilling his other engagements for the afternoon.

Sam's whole account of this transaction seems a bit elliptical. Moore (per L&M) apparently spent a great deal of his time at The Wardrobe, so perhaps the arrangement was made when Sam called there earlier in the day. I cannot see any reason for assuming that the £5 was needed to pay off a running tab at the inn; if that were the case, Moore could have paid the bill on Sam’s behalf and gone promptly about his own business without waiting for Sam to appear.

Jackie   Link to this

It was Russia that Berwick Upon Tweed remained at war with for over a Century, following the Crimean War. In fact, during the Soviet era, the Russians came over to make a very tongue in cheek documentary assessing the defences of this town which had held out against Soviet might for so long. I believe that a few years ago, they signed their own peace treaty with Russia to bring the conflict to an end.

David Cooper   Link to this

"Which still do make me think of the greatness of this late turn, and what people will do tomorrow" We read the diary knowing what will happen in broad terms. However, Pepys and his contemporaries did not know how it would turn out. They did not know if the Restoration would last. They lived in significant uncertainty which we have not experienced.

Xjy   Link to this

"Which still do make me think of the greatness of this late turn, and what people will do tomorrow'
David C writes: “We read the diary knowing what will happen in broad terms. However, Pepys and his contemporaries did not know how it would turn out. They did not know if the Restoration would last. They lived in significant uncertainty which we have not experienced.”
Not so. The nationalization and then denationalization of health, the railways, the mines, etc, are all within living memory in Britain. If we look abroad we can see and visit countries with very similar uncertainties, like the ex-USSR, Yugoslavia etc. Not much stability around. Still a great risk hitching your wagon to a star. As the Swedes say: Up like a sun, down like a pancake…

Wim van der Meij   Link to this

And the others I have forgot...
Warrington adds: "It was an Act for subscribing the engagement. On the same day there had been burned by the hangman, in Westminster Hall, the Act for 'erecting an High Court of Justice for trying and judging Charles Stuart'. Two more Acts were similarly burned the next day."

A. Hamilton   Link to this

So to Sir W. Pen's, and there sat alone with him till ten at night in talk with great content, he telling me things and persons that I did not understand in the late times,

Here’s one way Sam carries “fair” with his co-workers. He happily absorbs Sir W. Penn’s stories of war & politics, which clearly pleases the old knight. Its all grist for Sam’s understanding of the world in which he finds himself, and one source of his growing insight into “the greatness of this late turn, and what people will do tomorrow against what they all, through profit or fear, did promise and practise this day.”

A. Hamilton   Link to this

where I left Mr. Moore telling 5l. out for me, who I found in a great strait for my coming back again,

Mr. Moore is clearly impatient to be gone, but I find nothing else clear in this note. Is "telling" counting or disbursing?
Sam ducks in, asks Moore if he can borrow five pounds to buy christening plate, goes shopping before he has the funds, promising to be back in five minutes, stays away longer, and comes back to collect, finding Moore annoyed at being kept waiting? Or, Moore gets stuck with Sam's bar tab, and waits to let him know how much he owes before scooting off? Or, Moore has been waiting to pay Sam a fiver he owes him? I can't tell.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Thanks, Jackie!

vicente   Link to this

Re: More and the 5 quid: see
"... And they were committed to Mr. Moore to see me paid what remained due to me...."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/05/24/
Reading both anno's together it doth seem that our Moore was slow in handing over the money [telling]he was counting it out in fathings, it doth seem. It was not all Samuels fault at all , he had other work to do while Moore did count.Then Sam takes his time and Moore had run[to the ...]
that teach me to A S U M E.

Brian Durrans   Link to this

Does anyone know whether having a 'common hangman' burn documents is normal or exceptional at this time or any other? The power of their author (monarch, Parliament, whatever) usually rubs off on words and on physical records of those words. Politically important texts (acts, affidavits, warrants, edicts, prohibitions) are even now in some ways treated as if they were social persons. Revoking a document is therefore done as if the parchment were a person, and a document as radical as the one which established the Commonwealth evidently deserved, in the eyes of the restored monarchy, the degrading public spectacle in which its name is demoted (from 'act' to 'treasonable parchment writings' - compare how people who fall foul of an organisation or nation are stripped of titles and trinkets before being expelled) and the physical document criminalised by being destroyed by a 'common' hangman. Burning calls to mind the punishment given to witches, perhaps further evidence of how the establishment sought to place republicanism outside the frame of even standard criminality. Since it's not easy to burn parchment, compared with chopping it up, there must have been a good reason to do so; the spectacle would have been more arresting, memorable and (to republicans) intimidating, and the result more decisive in that the words were then utterly destroyed. History is not only written by the victors; they also try to destroy the bits they don't like with maximum proagandistic effect.
One question is whether it would have gone to the trouble if the restored monarchy were as confident of its position as with hindsight it might have been.

cumsalisgrano   Link to this

The seeds for future major changes in ruling of the masses was sown buy Carolus II and his antics, helping Hobbes, Locke, Newton etal to formulate doctrines for the future of English,[not the United yet] American and French upheavals.
The dismissal of all other thoughts be the norm if one be allowed to get away with the process.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"saw the hangman burn, by vote of Parliament, two [sic] old acts, the one for constituting us a Commonwealth, and the others I have forgot. Which still do make me think of the greatness of this late turn, and what people will do tomorrow against what they all, through profit or fear, did promise and practise this day. "

Here's a link to yesterday's House of Commons resolutions to have six "traiterous Writing, in Parchment...be burned on Tuesday Morning, being the Twenty-eighth of May Instant, in Westminster Hall, by the Hand of the common Hangman: And the Sheriff of Middlesex is to take Order, that the Executioner do perform this Service: And the Serjeant at Arms attending this House is to see it done accordingly" as though the Acts were guilty of capital crimes -- regicide, etc.:
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/05/27/#c53...

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