Saturday 28 February 1662/63

Waked with great pain in my right ear (which I find myself much subject to) having taken cold. Up and to my office, where we sat all the morning, and I dined with Sir W. Batten by chance, being in business together about a bargain of New England masts.

Then to the Temple to meet my uncle Thomas, who I found there, but my cozen Roger not being come home I took boat and to Westminster, where I found him in Parliament this afternoon. The House have this noon been with the King to give him their reasons for refusing to grant any indulgence to Presbyters or Papists; which he, with great content and seeming pleasure, took, saying, that he doubted not but he and they should agree in all things, though there may seem a difference in judgement, he having writ and declared for an indulgence: and that he did believe never prince was happier in a House of Commons, than he was in them.

Thence he and I to my Lord Sandwich, who continues troubled with his cold. Our discourse most upon the outing of Sir R. Bernard, and my Lord’s being made Recorder of Huntingdon in his stead, which he seems well contented with, saying, that it may be for his convenience to have the chief officer of the town dependent upon him, which is very true.

Thence he and I to the Temple, but my uncle being gone we parted, and I walked home, and to my office, and at nine o’clock had a good supper of an oxe’s cheek, of my wife’s dressing and baking, and so to my office again till past eleven at night, making up my month’s account, and find that I am at a stay with what I was last, that is 640l. So home and to bed.

Coming by, I put in at White Hall, and at the Privy Seal I did see the docquet by which Sir W. Pen is made the Comptroller’s assistant, as Sir J. Minnes told me last night, which I must endeavour to prevent.

22 Annotations

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"... that he did believe never prince was happier in a House of Commons, than he was in them."

"Sire...How did you manage that with a straight face?"

"Practice, brother James. Practice."

Clement  •  Link

"Sir W. Pen is made the Comptroller’s assistant...which I must endeavour to prevent."
It will be intersting to see in coming days if Sam is over-estimating his own influence in Naval office politics, or if he is truly able to effect a change in this development.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Our discourse most upon the outing of Sir R. Bernard..."

Ah, how the meanings change over the centuries.

Unless of course...

"And he really...Caught with his footman?" an eagerly curious Sam.

"Hmmn-hmmn. And out of the Recordership he goes." Roger nods. "Though if you ask me,it's rather unfair considering Buckingham and Barkeley..."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

How could Sam prevent the action now that it's been posted? I doubt even an earnest appeal to Coventry that it will impede the office's efficiency could work at this stage.

Or by "prevent" is his meaning "take precautions against?"

Ox's cheek...Yum. (Errgh.)

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"I dined with Sir W. Batten by chance, being in business together about a bargain of New England masts"

Meaning, we know what a fair price is (i.e., what the Navy considers a fair price), and what the seller is selling at (less than that), and intend to pocket the difference?

Bradford  •  Link

Inevitably one has to ask how much there is to eat on an ox's cheek baked or otherwise. Now a yak would have dewlaps hanging down, but that's mostly skin and hide. Is there a butcher in the house?

Rod McCaslin  •  Link

Sorry. First time I've posted.
Here are the recipes found at a Scottish cooking website-


Wash very clean half a head; let it lie in cold water all night; break the bone in two, taking care not to break the flesh. Put it on in a pot of boiling water, and let it boil from two to three hours; take out the bone. Serve it with boiled carrots and turnips, or savoys. The liquor the head has been boiled in may be strained and made into Scots barley broth, or Scots kale.


Clean the head, as before directed, and parboil it; take out the bone; stew it in part of the liquor in which it was boiled, thickened with a piece of butter mixed with flour, and browned. Cut into dice, or into any fancy shape, carrots and turnips, as much, when cut, as will fill a pint basin. Mince two or three onions, add the vegetables, and season with salt, black and Jamaica pepper. Cover the pan closely, and stew it two hours. A little before serving, add a glass of port wine or ale.


Prepare it as directed for stewing. Cut the met into square pieces; make a sauce with a quart of good gravy, thickened with butter mixed with flour; season with salt, black and Jamaica pepper, a little cayenne, and a table-spoonful of vinegar. Put in the head, and simmer it till quite tender. A few minutes before serving, add a little catsup or white wine. Forcemeat balls may be added.


May be made of the meat that is left from any one of these dishes. It is cut into small bits, or minced and heated up with a little of the liquor in which the cheek was boiled, seasoned with black and Jamaica pepper, salt, nutmeg, and a little lemon juice or vinegar, then put into a mould, and turned out when required for use. It is used for supper or luncheon, and is eaten with mustard and vinegar.

Many excellent and economical dishes are made of an ox cheek; and it is particularly useful in large families."

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"...where I found him in Parliament this afternoon. The House have this noon been with the King to give him their reasons for refusing to grant any indulgence to Presbyters or Papists; ..."
Read it thy self;

GrahamT  •  Link

Ox Cheek as described above, sounds very like tête de veau (calf's head) I have eaten in France. The cheek is fine, it is the eyebrows and nostrils that are off-putting.

J A Gioia  •  Link

being in business together about a bargain of New England masts

no one with any understanding of america's indigenous people can read that without a profound chill. the rape of north america, the pilaging of her landscape and destruction of her native nations, has begun.

JWB  •  Link

"...rape of north america..."
What hateful nonsense. The number of indigenous people in my state, Ohio, when white settlers enter could be seated in today's Ohio State University football stadium and they eager to trap, cut & burn to get white men's goods as white men were.

Ruben  •  Link

New England masts
In Pepys times and for 300 more years they would cut trees wherever they were, if it resulted commercially profitable.
Indigenous population was small, really small, especially after the smallpox, measles, variola and other epidemics inflicted on them by the European Gods. This population would have rebounded, if not by the invasion by settlers.
Then we got this extraordinary State, different from anything known to human experience.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

17th Century New England ...

Anyone interested in the state of indigenous Americans by the time of Sam's diary, from New England to the Incan empire, should begin with the remarkable recent book "1491" by Charles C. Mann. Having read it and other histories of the era, it seems to me that all of the three previous comments, from JAGioia, JWB and Ruben, have a certain validity.

Ruben  •  Link

and now let's go back to Pepys London.

Bob T  •  Link

New England Masts
Here in New Brunswick there are still large areas that have been planted with "Navy Pines", as they are known locally.

Dana Haviland  •  Link

Re: Indigenous exploitation, it may behoove all commentators, new and old world, to step carefully when addressing the rapine of native peoples and cultures. A bit of nose-holding may be required of both parties.

Tom C  •  Link

New England Masts
Here in Connecticut many places were once called Mast Swamp, including my hometown of Torrington. However, Torrington wasn't used as a source of masts until about 1745. I guess it would have taken them some 80-100 years to build roads to New Haven or Windsor.

The New Haven settlers were welcomed by the Quinnipiack tribe in 1638. The tribe sold their land to the settlers in exchange for military protection from the neighboring Pequot tribe.

Bradford  •  Link

Thanks to Rod for not blenching straight off when confronted with "Wash very clean half a head." Half of an ox's head, mind you. Care to swap places with Elizabeth, anyone?

TerryF  •  Link

Interesting that no one has remarked about Sam's month's-end accounting of his own net worth.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

The King has requested information of his powers from the House of Laudes today, What is it that he can command of his people and control over their positions, can he bann people to the far nether reaches or keep them in the GAOL people like John Bunyon for ever,etc., etc., when he sites an Ecclesiastical Law. He be testing his powers.

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