Friday 27 February 1662/63

Up and to my office, whither several persons came to me about office business. About 11 o’clock, Commissioner Pett and I walked to Chyrurgeon’s Hall (we being all invited thither, and promised to dine there); where we were led into the Theatre; and by and by comes the reader, Dr. Tearne, with the Master and Company, in a very handsome manner: and all being settled, he begun his lecture, this being the second upon the kidneys, ureters, &c., which was very fine; and his discourse being ended, we walked into the Hall, and there being great store of company, we had a fine dinner and good learned company, many Doctors of Phisique, and we used with extraordinary great respect. Among other observables we drank the King’s health out of a gilt cup given by King Henry VIII. to this Company, with bells hanging at it, which every man is to ring by shaking after he hath drunk up the whole cup. There is also a very excellent piece of the King, done by Holbein, stands up in the Hall, with the officers of the Company kneeling to him to receive their Charter. After dinner Dr. Scarborough took some of his friends, and I went along with them, to see the body alone, which we did, which was a lusty fellow, a seaman, that was hanged for a robbery. I did touch the dead body with my bare hand: it felt cold, but methought it was a very unpleasant sight. It seems one Dillon, of a great family, was, after much endeavours to have saved him, hanged with a silken halter this Sessions (of his own preparing), not for honour only, but it seems, it being soft and sleek, it do slip close and kills, that is, strangles presently: whereas, a stiff one do not come so close together, and so the party may live the longer before killed. But all the Doctors at table conclude, that there is no pain at all in hanging, for that it do stop the circulation of the blood; and so stops all sense and motion in an instant. Thence we went into a private room, where I perceive they prepare the bodies, and there were the kidneys, ureters [&c.], upon which he read to-day, and Dr. Scarborough upon my desire and the company’s did show very clearly the manner of the disease of the stone and the cutting and all other questions that I could think of … [Poor Mr. Wheatley could not even stand a medical lecture on physiology. D.W.] how the water [comes] into the bladder through the three skins or coats just as poor Dr. Jolly has heretofore told me. Thence with great satisfaction to me back to the Company, where I heard good discourse, and so to the afternoon Lecture upon the heart and lungs, &c., and that being done we broke up, took leave, and back to the office, we two, Sir W. Batten, who dined here also, being gone before. Here late, and to Sir W. Batten’s to speak upon some business, where I found Sir J. Minnes pretty well fuddled I thought: he took me aside to tell me how being at my Lord Chancellor’s to-day, my Lord told him that there was a Great Seal passing for Sir W. Pen, through the impossibility of the Comptroller’s duty to be performed by one man; to be as it were joynt-comptroller with him, at which he is stark mad; and swears he will give up his place, and do rail at Sir W. Pen the cruellest; he I made shift to encourage as much as I could, but it pleased me heartily to hear him rail against him, so that I do see thoroughly that they are not like to be great friends, for he cries out against him for his house and yard and God knows what. For my part, I do hope, when all is done, that my following my business will keep me secure against all their envys. But to see how the old man do strut, and swear that he understands all his duty as easily as crack a nut, and easier, he told my Lord Chancellor, for his teeth are gone; and that he understands it as well as any man in England; and that he will never leave to record that he should be said to be unable to do his duty alone; though, God knows, he cannot do it more than a child. All this I am glad to see fall out between them and myself safe, and yet I hope the King’s service well done for all this, for I would not that should be hindered by any of our private differences. So to my office, and then home to supper and to bed.

30 Annotations

TerryF   Link to this

"Commissioner Pett and I...to Chyrurgeon's Hall...; where we were led into the Theatre" -- for a performance!

"The rise of general interest in anatomy in the 16th century springs directly from experience of the plague, and Vesalius's De Humani Corporis Fabrica (1543) quickly became the Bible of a resurgent and spectacular science. As Neill demonstrates, in this context, too, the theatrical mode remained the dominant form of engagement with the grim reaper. Anatomy lectures and public demonstrations of dissection became increasingly popular, and the construction of lavish, purpose-built anatomy 'theatres' enabled 'performances' to be advertised and tickets sold. In London, the Company of Barber-Surgeons put on four public dissections of criminal bodies a year and by 1636 Inigo Jones had designed them a new building, modelled on the teatro anatomico of Padua. In what amounted to carefully staged productions, 'the anatomist acted out a drama of the human encounter with death' and the anatomy theatre became an active adjunct to pulpit and playhouse, offering, like them, entertainment as well as instruction. The use of the bodies of criminals was one further aspect of the culture's preference for punishment by means of public humiliation and display, while the spectacle of the anatomist stripping away surfaces to disclose enfolded secrets obviously linked him with the exponents of dramatic art. As Sidney put it, tragedy works like a kind of moral surgery: it 'Openeth the Greatest Wounds and Showeth forth the Ulcers that are Covered with Tissue'. This is a recurrent trope, as is the idea of the anatomist as the explorer of mysterious regions. The body, rather than its condition, takes on the standing of an 'undiscovered country' and the title-page of Vesalius's great work accordingly features Christopher Columbus, gesturing knowingly towards the dissected corpse, as if to reinforce the words of Sir Thomas Browne: 'We carry with us the wonders we seek without us; there is all Africa and her prodigies in us.'"
On the Way in which Tragedy 'Openeth up the Greatest Wounds and Showeth forth the Ulcers that are Covered with Tissue' - Terence Hawkes
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v19/n24/hawk01_.html

TerryF   Link to this

"There is also a very excellent piece of the King, done by Holbein, stands up in the Hall, with the officers of the Company kneeling to him to receive their Charter."

"The merged Barber's Company and Guild of Surgeons in 1540 "was then named the Company of Barber-Surgeons. Holbein painted a picture of Henry VIII. and the Barber-Surgeons. The painting is still preserved, and may be seen at the Barber-Surgeons' Hall, Monkwell Street, London.... It is the largest and last work of Holbein.
"The date assigned for its commencement was 1541, and it was completed after the death of the artist in 1543. It is painted on vertical oak boards, 5 ft. 11 in. high, and 10 ft. 2 in. long. It has been slightly altered since it was delivered to the Barber-Surgeons. The figures represent notable men belonging to the company and leaders of the healing art of the period at which it was painted." http://homepages.ius.edu/kaleksan/files/pgdp/ba...
Henry VIII. receiving the Barber-Surgeons.
http://homepages.ius.edu/kaleksan/files/pgdp/ba...

TerryF   Link to this

There are several anatomical phrases written accurately by Pepys that Wheatley elided.

"this being the second upon the kidneys, ureters, &c."

L&M have "this being the second upon the Kidnys, Ureters, and yard"
Here "yard" is the term (perhaps in the lecture itself) used for penis.

"the kidneys, ureters [&c.], upon which he read to-day"

L&M have "the Kidnys, Ureters, yard, stone and semenary vessels upon which he read today"
Clearly "semenary vessels" = testicles.

"questions that I could think of . . . how the water "

L&M have the "questions that I could think of, and the manner of that seed, how it comes into the yard, and how the water...." Again, "seed" = semen; Pepys is very clinical..

and a scanning error:

"I hope the King's service well done for all this"

L&M have "I hope the King's service will [be] done for all this"

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

"and yet I hope the King’s service well done for all this, for I would not that should be hindered by any of our private differences"

The secret of his success...

Bradford   Link to this

"all the Doctors at table conclude, that there is no pain at all in hanging, for that it do stop the circulation of the blood; and so stops all sense and motion in an instant."

Oh, I'm so relieved. When it's my turn, make mine hanging. I wonder where you can find a pattern for a silken hanging-cord? I'll just tuck one into my already-purchased pre-need casket.

Curious that in this lecture, complete down to its "semenery vessels" (which would also seem to include the vas deferens, epididymis, usw., in addition to the testicles), no mention is made of the prostate. Or was that "discovered" later, as with---we're all adults here, aren't we?---certain constituents of the female anatomy? (Inflect with knowing sarcasm.)

DonB   Link to this

Chyrurgeon’s Hall
http://www.library.northwestern.edu/spec/hogart...

A Hamilton   Link to this

swear that he understands all his duty as easily as crack a nut, and easier, he told my Lord Chancellor, for his teeth are gone

Neat how Pepys gives us both the prattling character of the old man and through it a visual picture as well. (Minnes may be years younger than I, but here he appears to be ages older.)

Nate   Link to this

<Oh, I’m so relieved. When it’s my turn, make mine hanging. I wonder where you can find a pattern for a silken hanging-cord? >

No need for silk, just use nylon cordage, of course it stretches so you may bounce a little. Best to have a good fat hangmam's knot that will break your neck but I think hemp or sisal is better for that.

Stolzi   Link to this

Stone

This, I am guessing, should have been plural and would have meant the testicles - the "semenary vessels" being the other attachments carrying the "seed" into the "yard" (starting to sound like gardening, here).

daniel   Link to this

"But all the Doctors at table conclude, that there is no pain at all in hanging, for that it do stop the circulation of the blood; and so stops all sense and motion in an instant. "

fascinating to contrast this statement with conjectures of present day death penalty practitioners and researchers. death by injection proponents give a similar example as Sam does without the requisite data to back up this conjecture.

TerryF   Link to this

Stone

Stolzi, you are correct: its first occurrence is singular, but (my error earlier) L&M have “the Kidnys, Ureters, yard, stones and semenary vessels..."

Between you and Bradford (and, laggardly, me), we may find out what the Lecturer truly demonstrated.

dirk   Link to this

Stone

"Dr. Scarborough upon my desire and the company’s did show very clearly the manner of the disease of the stone and the cutting."

This seems to refer to the anatomy and technique behind the surgery Sam himself had to go through a couple of years ago for the removal of his famous "Stone".

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"But to see how the old man do strut, and swear that he understands all his duty as easily as crack a nut, and easier, he told my Lord Chancellor, for his teeth are gone; and that he understands it as well as any man in England; and that he will never leave to record that he should be said to be unable to do his duty alone;..."

Brilliant bit, Sam. Your love of Shakespeare showing.

Poor Sir John...I wonder if, he being a Shakespearian scholar, he himself later caught a sense of his little drunken railing as a classic scene? A little Falstaff, a little Lear...

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Anice long winded speech put top ink , suitable for those that want to comprehend the finer understanding of the King's English:
Address on Declaration and Speech.

From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 27 February 1663', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667 (1802), pp. 441-43. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com.... Date accessed: 28 February 2006.

TerryF   Link to this

fuddled

adj : slang for `drunk' [syn: besotted, blind drunk, blotto, crocked, loaded, pie-eyed, pissed, pixilated, plastered, potty, slopped, sloshed, smashed, soaked, soused, sozzled, squiffy, stiff, tiddly, tiddley, tight, tipsy, wet]

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Fuddle \Fud"dle\, v. t. [imp. & p. p., Fuddled; p. pr. & vb.
n. Fuddling.] [Perh. formed as a kind of dim. of full. Cf. Fuzzle.]
To make foolish by drink; to cause to become intoxicated. [Colloq.]

I am too fuddled to take care to observe your orders. --Steele.
http://dict.die.net/fuddled/

[Not the OED, but true to Mennes's ravings.'

Peter Last   Link to this

Death by hanging

The celebrated anatomist Frederic Wood Jones exploited an early appointment to the Egyptian corner's service in about 1910 to make a detailed study of what happens anatomically when a man (or a woman) is hanged. He concluded and demonstrated elegantly that the traditional placement of the knot of the noose behind the ear usually prolonged the agonal process. What is required is to have the knot under the point of the chin. This forces the spine of the neck into acute hyper-extension and drives the odontoid peg into the medulla oblongata. The outcome is instantaneous death.

No truly civilised country practices judicial execution, but those seeking self-destruction and wanting it to be irrevocable and quick could use this information. In barbaric jurisdictions (like the United States, Malaysia and Singapore) this may help the executioner. Here in Australia we do not have such a functionary.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

to Chyrurgeon’s Hall ... and promised to dine there

What's really going on is a PR lunch with some pretty fancy edutainment -- remember that this is the C 17th. and dinner took place at mid day – to promote the business interests of the “Chyrurgeon’s,” as distinct from the Apothecaries, who in their turn had split from the grocers in the early C 14th.

The surgeons were associated with the barbers, and as shedders of blood were historically denied the status of medical men (hence the English inverted snobbery of a consultant surgeon being called "Mr.") are putting on the PR dog and pony show for their perceived influential guests: In C 17th terms they were pretty close to the social bottom of the City Livery Company totem pole. Dissection just replaced hanging and drawing as a punishment and the surgeons were grateful for the association with royalty, who sent them the bodies, and the legal system , which enhanced their social status. It’s somewhat similar being invited to and attending the quarterly dinner of the “Lethal Injection Practitioners Association.” in certain states in the US today.

Apothecaries Hall is one of the few buildings to have escaped the Great Fire and conveys a little of what must have been the flavor of such in Pepys’ day.

For Photos (and much else of interest) see:-
http://www.apothecaries.org/

Michael Robinson   Link to this

one Dillon, of a great family, ... was,to have saved him, hanged with a silken halter.

I think the Dillons were made Viscounts in the Irish peerage in the early/mid C 17th.

Silk ropes wre a priviledge of the gentry/ aristocracy. For those interested in a detailed review of the history of the technlogy of hanging see:-
http://www.richard.clark32.btinternet.co.uk/han...

Joe   Link to this

Quite a contrast in tone between today's decription of the anatomy theater and the entry ten days ago (Tuesday 17 February 1662/63), where the story of Charles II's interest in dissection was discussed.

Joe   Link to this

Sorry--"today's DESCRIPTION"

Michael Robinson   Link to this

… for that it do stop the circulation of the blood …

An example of the latest “thing” being used logically, but inacurately pace Peter Last above, to explain everything: De Mortu Cordis by the physician (not surgeon) William Harvey was published first in 1628.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"how the water[comes]into the bladder through the three skins or coats"
methinks the cortex, medulla and callyces.

Justin   Link to this

For those commenting on Pepys use of such terminology as 'seed' for semen, it may be of interest to point out that semen is merely the latin for seed. Its continuing use in modern medicine is a hangover from the era of obfuscation of knowledge.

Ruben   Link to this

"obfuscation of knowledge"
I think that a new word to describe things that are different is the best way to enrich knowledge and to allow interchange of ideas. The use of Latin or Greek words was the best way to overcome the shortage of technical vocabulary, specially considering that they came from more or less dead languages, known all over Europe.

Clement   Link to this

"...there is no pain at all in hanging..."
What I am fascinated by is that these physicians and other scientifically-interested parties, including Sam, WANT to believe that there is no pain in hanging, and so create this consensual fiction. Their queasiness at the thought of hanging, or perhaps execution in general, seems to set them apart from most.

What about their (middle-upper class?)sensibilities sets them apart from the rest of society? Is it their interest in scientific examination of natural systems and the seeming waste of extinguishing life (probably too anachronistic), or that they generally represent a class of citizen that has moved from the lower socio-economic classes (more likley to hang) toward the upper (more likely to not care who hanged)?

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

"The use of Latin or Greek words was"
the Esperanto means of communication of Europe. A Man of educational and knowledge could communicate with another of the same persuassion tru out the land mass, west of the Urals, but tribal egos, wanted to keep their ideas unto ones own group [monopolies in all shades of prevention of sharing basic thoughts, only to be used to dominate not share].
WE had the printed matter spreading thoughts, then we had to limit that, Trading was ok til it to had to be limited to a selected few. Strange now we have the ether to spread the word but many are trying to limit the content.

TerryF   Link to this

The theme of today's entry is disclosure, methinks --
literally revelation of what is ususally hidden, beneath the skin.

In major theatres, (1) at the Chyrurgeon’s Hall; (2) "aside" where Sir J. Mennes let out his feelings about Sir W. Penn; (3) in Sam's Diary where he shares his feelings about (1) and (2).

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Strange now we have the ether to spread the word but many are trying to limit the content.

Verily, verily

Interesting how the efforts of some men of education and knowledge to spread the gospel's true words to those with litle Latin and less Greek and absolutely no Hebrew led to the education of the masses but also the death of the old common language of the congnoscenti

wisteria53   Link to this

For those interested in surgical history, visit "The Old Operating Theatre" website for St Thomas's Hospital
http://www.thegarret.org.uk/oot.htm

The operating theatre is closed for roof repair until Summer 2006, but the museum are still having lectures and demonstrations. It's all a bit too grisly for me....

Terry Foreman   Link to this

A nice background piece on C 17 dissections

"'With much nausea, loathing, and foetor': William Harvey, dissection, and dispassion in early modern medicine" by Lynda Payne, UMKC.edu
http://www.bium.univ-paris5.fr/ishm/vesalius/VE...

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