Friday 11 April 1662

Up early to my lute and a song, then about six o’clock with Sir W. Pen by water to Deptford; and among the ships now going to Portugall with men and horse, to see them dispatched. So to Greenwich; and had a fine pleasant walk to Woolwich, having in our company Captn. Minnes, with whom I was much pleased to hear him talk in fine language, but pretty well for all that. Among other things, he and the other Captains that were with us tell me that negros drowned look white and lose their blackness, which I never heard before. At Woolwich, up and down to do the same business; and so back to Greenwich by water, and there while something is dressing for our dinner, Sir William and I walked into the Park, where the King hath planted trees and made steps in the hill up to the Castle, which is very magnificent. So up and down the house, which is now repayring in the Queen’s lodgings. So to dinner at the Globe, and Captain Lambert of the Duke’s pleasure boat came to us and dined with us, and were merry, and so home, and I in the evening to the Exchange, and spoke with uncle Wight, and so home and walked with my wife on the leads late, and so the barber came to me, and so to bed very weary, which I seldom am.

18 Annotations

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"that negros drowned look white and lose their blackness"
Such gullibility Sam! I hope you don't go ahead and drown Mingo to see if it is true!

daniel   Link to this

"that negros drowned look white and lose their blackness"

I believe this is simply an indicator of what one sees so often in the dairy, Sam's constant curiosity about all that he does not yet know. Whether it is true or not, whether it is even plausible, that is for the experts to decide. Until then, Sam and his lute enjoy the scenery.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Not surprised Sam felt weary at the end of the day - what a busy one! Up early for Sam must mean around 5 am. Would it have been light enough by then for him to see what he was doing? I hope either he played well or that the rest of the household was awake anyway and didn't mind the dawn chorus from the head of the household! Was Elizabeth burying her head under the pillows one wonders?

jan   Link to this

So what is going on in the Queen's lodging? Repayring?

vicenzo   Link to this

I doth think it be repairing [and or refurbishing] said Palace.
" repayring in the Queen's lodgings…”
the y and i thing; spelling not yet fit for microsoft and Webster’s insight.

vicenzo   Link to this

For those that want their beer from a bottle, the Invention is being blessed to-day:
Glass Bottles Bill.
Hodie 1a vice lecta est Billa, "An Act for confirming the Invention and Manufacture of Glass Bottles, and for preventing of Frauds and Abuses in the Making and public Vending thereof."

From: 'House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 10 April 1662', Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11: 1660-1666 pp. 425-27 URL: Date accessed: 12 April 2005

vicenzo   Link to this

To-day The House of Commons is trying to solve a grave problem of children and Servants being stolen and shipped to far off lands. [problem still not solved]

Ant   Link to this

"that negros drown look white"
I once worked on a crime documentary about drowning. After a long time in the water there is a change in the composition of a corpse's tissues, the resulting state being called "adiposity" - a sort of hard fat. (All explained with grim relish on camera by a Home Office pathologist.)

This may account for the captains' observations.

Mihael Robinson   Link to this

... the King hath planted trees and made steps in the hill ...

The Le Notre design for Greenwich Park was implemented in 1661-2. For a description and photos of what remains to day see:-

Michael Robinson   Link to this


The Queens House was being enlarged by John Webb.

Mary   Link to this

"that negros drowned look white

L&M remark that removal of the epidermis by putrefaction makes the body look paler, though not really white.

Glyn   Link to this

He and Sir William Penn must have been at Deptford before 7 am: I presume it was this early so that the ships could catch the morning tide and be at the mouth of the Thames by the end of the day, but that's just a guess.

Yesterday he was discussing the imminent departure of a fleet to Jamaica, now they're sending a fleet to Portugal. The preparation for all of this must have been substantial but it's hardly mentioned in the diary entries.

I’m fairly sure that the “Queen’s House” in Greenwich now has a later portrait of Pepys hanging in one of its rooms - he may have walked through the very same room today with no realization that his portrait would be there some day.

Glyn   Link to this

Wouldn't there be a bleaching effect on the skin of all drowned people as the blood near the skin's surface stops circulating and sinks downwards into the body? (Where is CSI when you need them.) It's not naive of Pepys to trust the experienceof several expert witnesses on something that he himself hasn't seen personally. I'm just wondering on what occasions these captains have seen "drowned negroes".

Mary   Link to this

Where were the drowned negroes?

Jamaica, perhaps? Note background info. on Sir Wm. Penn.

vicenzo   Link to this

Ds. Windsor still in attendance [sitting] in the House of Lauds:
"the imminent departure of a fleet to Jamaica"

Ebo   Link to this

"Where were the drowned negroes?"

I seem to recall hearing that many ship's crews were fairly diverse, as crewmen of many races and ethnicities moved, voluntarily or not, from vessel to vessel. Obviously, even if this is so, the closer to a black population, the more likely one is to see a drowned black person -- but a naval officer might have seen one anywhere at sea, if what I hear is true.

But did Minnes actually see the skins of drowned black people bleaching, or is this phenomenon a myth? I'm sure not buying it based on Minnes's word.

john lauer   Link to this

"...which I never heard before.”
Sam gives no hint that he believes it either; just that it’s ‘remarkable’.

vicente   Link to this

"...having in our company Captn. Minnes, with whom I was much pleased to hear him talk in fine language, but pretty well for all that. Among other things, he and the other Captains..." does not sound like the same guy as referenced, he be called Admiral , although it has been known for some who be famous by the rank of Captain, to be called Kapitan, even tho. they have Grander titles. "------ be this really Mennes, Sir John .

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