Friday 6 November 1663

This morning waking, my wife was mighty-earnest with me to persuade me that she should prove with child since last night, which, if it be, let it come, and welcome. Up to my office, whither Commissioner Pett came, newly come out of the country, and he and I walked together in the garden talking of business a great while, and I perceive that by our countenancing of him he do begin to pluck up his head, and will do good things I hope in the yard. Thence, he being gone, to my office and there dispatched many people, and at noon to the ‘Change to the coffee-house, and among other things heard Sir John Cutler say, that of his owne experience in time of thunder, so many barrels of beer as have a piece of iron laid upon them will not be soured, and the others will. Thence to the ‘Change, and there discoursed with many people, and I hope to settle again to my business and revive my report of following of business, which by my being taken off for a while by sickness and, laying out of money has slackened for a little while. Home, and there found Mrs. Hunt, who dined very merry, good woman; with us. After dinner came in Captain Grove, and he and I alone to talk of many things, and among many others of the Fishery, in which he gives the such hopes that being at this time full of projects how to get a little honestly, of which some of them I trust in God will take, I resolved this afternoon to go and consult my Lord Sandwich about it, and so, being to carry home Mrs. Hunt, I took her and my wife by coach and set them at Axe Yard, and I to my Lord’s and thither sent for Creed and discoursed with him about it, and he and I to White Hall, where Sir G. Carteret and my Lord met me very fortunately, and wondered first to see me in my perruque, and I am glad it is over, and then, Sir G. Carteret being gone, I took my Lord aside, who do give me the best advice he can, and telling me how there are some projectors, by name Sir Edward Ford, who would have the making of farthings,1 and out of that give so much to the King for the maintenance of the Fishery; but my Lord do not like that, but would have it go as they offered the last year, and so upon my desire he promises me when it is seasonable to bring me into the commission with others, if any of them take, and I perceive he and Mr. Coventry are resolved to follow it hard. Thence, after walking a good while in the Long gallery, home to my Lord’s lodging, my Lord telling me how my father did desire him to speak to me about my giving of my sister something, which do vex me to see that he should trouble my Lord in it, but however it is a good occasion for me to tell my Lord my condition, and so I was glad of it. After that we begun to talk of the Court, and he tells me how Mr. Edward Montagu begins to show respect to him again after his endeavouring to bespatter him all was, possible; but he is resolved never to admit him into his friendship again. He tells me how he and Sir H. Bennet, the Duke of Buckingham and his Duchesse, was of a committee with somebody else for the getting of Mrs. Stewart for the King; but that she proves a cunning slut, and is advised at Somerset House by the Queene-Mother, and by her mother, and so all the plot is spoiled and the whole committee broke. Mr. Montagu and the Duke of Buckingham fallen a-pieces, the Duchesse going to a nunnery; and so Montagu begins to enter friendship with my Lord, and to attend the Chancellor whom he had deserted. My Lord tells me that Mr. Montagu, among other things, did endeavour to represent him to the Chancellor’s sons as one that did desert their father in the business of my Lord of Bristoll; which is most false, being the only man that hath several times dined with him when no soul hath come to him, and went with him that very day home when the Earl impeached him in the Parliament House, and hath refused ever to pay a visit to my Lord of Bristoll, not so much as in return to a visit of his. So that the Chancellor and my Lord are well known and trusted one by another. But yet my Lord blames the Chancellor for desiring to have it put off to the next Session of Parliament, contrary to my Lord Treasurer’s advice, to whom he swore he would not do it: and, perhaps, my Lord Chancellor, for aught I see by my Lord’s discourse, may suffer by it when the Parliament comes to sit. My Lord tells me that he observes the Duke of York do follow and understand business very well, and is mightily improved thereby. Here Mr. Pagett coming in I left my Lord and him, and thence I called my wife and her maid Jane and by coach home and to my office, where late writing some things against tomorrow, and so home to supper and to bed. This morning Mr. Blackburne came to me to let me know that he had got a lodging very commodious for his kinsman, and so he is ready at my pleasure to go when I would bid him, and so I told him that I would in a day or two send to speak with him and he and I would talk and advise Will what to do, of which I am very glad.

  1. Sir Edward Ford, son of Sir William Ford of Harting, born at Up Park in 1605. “After the Restoration he invented a mode of coining farthings. Each piece was to differ minutely from another to prevent forgery. He failed in procuring a patent for these in England, but obtained one for Ireland. He died in Ireland before he could carry his design into execution, on September 3rd, 1670” (“Dictionary of National Biography”).

23 Annotations

Roy Feldman   Link to this

...he tells me how Mr. Edward Montagu begins to show respect to him again after his endeavouring to bespatter him all was, possible; ...

The gist is clear, but the words don't parse. Is this a transcription error of some kind?

jeannine   Link to this

Roy L&M show commas inserted to read as follows:
"After that, we begun to talk of the Court; and he tells me how Mr. Edward Montagu begins to show respect to him again, after his endeavouring to bespatter him all was, possible - but he is resolved never to admit him into his friendship again."

The reference is to the argument that Lord Sandwich had with Mountagu on Feb 17th of this year.
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/02/17/#ann...

What is confusing to me, if I am reading this correctly, is that the "he" who was involved with Bennet, Buckingham & his wife refers to Edward Mountagu

"He tells me how he and Sir H. Bennet, the Duke of Buckingham and his Duchesse" ....

The reason I find this rather odd is that Edward Mountagu was Master of the Horse to Queen Catherine and very fond of her. It seems odd to me that he'd join in on the "pimping" of Frances Stuart for the King, especially when he must have known how much Catherine loved her husband.

jeannine   Link to this

"This morning waking, my wife was mighty-earnest with me to persuade me that she should prove with child since last night, which, if it be, let it come, and welcome."
I wish this section gave a little more insight into Sam's feelings here. I'm not sure if this is the dignified "let it come, and welcome" of someone who has been through disappointments here and is timid to be over joyous, or if he is thrilled and excited. Can't quite figure out why it seems that that more zest is put into the Court Gossip, etc. then the possibility of parenthood.

Terry F   Link to this

"[If] my wife...should prove with child since last night..., let it come, and welcome."

Jeannine, this seemed to me too a bit dismissive. Then, after several hours, returnng to it, I wonder whether we can expect our lad to be aware of defending hinself against the hurt of what might be dashed - what Elizabeth desperately expresses - what he too feels - the hope too hard to own.

Patricia   Link to this

" my wife was mighty-earnest with me to persuade me that she should prove with child since last night" What woman already thinks she's pregnant the morning after? What was so special about last night's encounter that makes Mrs. P think it caught? Alas, that is something we shall never know, I fear.

Maura   Link to this

I think there's a simple explanation: He's just really not as bothered about parenthood as he is about other aspects of his life. His diary seems to be honestly recording his innermost thoughts, and over its course he's consistently recorded his dreams of rising in the world, of garnering respect from his peers, and of making money, but hasn't mentioned any desire for children. I think if he wanted them badly, we would know, and I conclude he doesn't. He's a 17th century career man, soon to be a bit of a playboy, too, I believe.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"This morning waking, my wife was mighty-earnest with me to persuade me that she should prove with child since last night..."

What, no details? Sam? You rogue.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Poor Bess...I get the strong feeling her source of greatest guilt towards Sam is the failure to produce a child. I wonder if she's been timing herself or taking something...Hopefully no hideous "medicine"...And so is hopeful last night's romp was successful.

"You mean we have to do this at 1am...Every night?!"

"The wise woman Goody Hawks says it's surefire...We've been wrong to try later in the morning."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"He tells me how he and Sir H. Bennet, the Duke of Buckingham and his Duchesse, was of a committee with somebody else for the getting of Mrs. Stewart for the King; but that she proves a cunning slut..."

What is this? The "Pimp" Committee, organized to deliver a fifteen-year girl? Congratulations on your successful Restoration career, my Lord. Perhaps Tom Pepys can make you a velvet hat.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Ah, my possible apologies. I see now Sandwich may have meant that Edward Montagu was a member in good standing of the Committee to Appoint Frances Stewart Chief Courtesan. That at least would be some relief.

Still, if Sandwich did try his hand at procuring, the failure of the Committee might prove a good thing...Imagine if Castlemaine had found out.

"Dog!! Cur!!!" Whack, whack!

"My Lady Castlemaine?! Please!" Sandwich cutting a rather poor figure as he runs from the wrath of Barbara.

Or more likely...

"Charles...You know you can't trust a former Cromwellian like Sandwich."

"Barbie I can't just cut his head off like Vane. Parliament might get nervous."

"I could arrange an 'accident' on the road. Tis dangerous to travel about the country these days, you know. So many discontented, poor seamen and soldiers."

"Barbara..."

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"let it come, and welcome"
Methinks that Sam intuitively knows that he is the one that is "guilty" in this childless marriage thence the dismissive attitude.

language hat   Link to this

"Can't quite figure out why it seems that that more zest is put into the Court Gossip, etc. then the possibility of parenthood."

He's a guy! If I were in the same position, I might go on for pages about my reading about the Russian Revolution or whatever, and only devote one line to my wife's possible pregnancy; that wouldn't in the least mean I didn't care, just that, well, what else is there to say other than "let it come, and welcome"? Personally, I found that quite moving. But then, I'm a guy.

Mary   Link to this

"let it come and welcome"

Sam and Elizabeth have now been married for very nearly 8 years (1st December 1655). There must have been numerous occasions upon which Elizabeth thought that she might be pregnant, only to have her hopes dashed and, presumably, Sam's too. I sense resignation to an uncertain future in this remark, but little hope.

Martin   Link to this

"if it be, let it come, and welcome"
We may be trying to read something into a pretty straightforward statement. With Sam's interest in science he is probably aware there's just no way to know, the morning after. So whatever is causing Beth to get excited, he's saying, "I have no problem with it, but I'll believe it when I see it."

Fitzroy Cyclonic   Link to this

"This morning waking, my wife was mighty-earnest with me to persuade me that she should prove with child since last night,"

Suggests the arithmetique lessons the good man has been pursuing with his wife were along the lines of 1+1=3.

Nix   Link to this

"Committee to Appoint Frances Stewart Chief Courtesan" --

No, no, it was the Royal College of Procurers, Pimps and Panders

Bradford   Link to this

Pepys "heard Sir John Cutler say, that of his owne experience in time of thunder, so many barrels of beer as have a piece of iron laid upon them will not be soured, and the others will."

This interesting piece of brewing lore was still current in 1838-39, when the "peculiar old gentleman" who pays his addresses to Mrs. Nickleby over a garden wall manages to make her weep, and cries "Tears! . . . Catch the crystal globules . . . bottle 'em up . . . seal 'em with a cupid . . . and stow 'em away in the fourteen bin, with a bar of iron on the top to keep the thunder off." (Dickens, "Nicholas Nickleby") ("The fourteen bin" type of designation persists to this day in wine-making; viz. Lindeman's Bin 95 Chardonnay, Southeast Australia.)

Can some intrepid researcher, not fretting over election returns, discover more information about this interesting precaution?

Nate   Link to this

" my wife was mighty-earnest with me to persuade me that she should prove with child since last night"

Perhaps it wasn't last night's romance but a missed period.

Australian Susan   Link to this

"missed period" Alas, Bess seems to have too irregular for her to rely on this, but, conversrely, remember that the opening sentence of the Diary way back in January 1659/60 refers to the possibility of Bess being pregnant as her "termes" had been absent for 3 months. Sam always reacts well to small children wehn he encounters them: I think he wanted children. Wouldn't we have known so much more about 17th century child-raising if he had been a parent!

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"Wouldn't we have known so much more about 17th century child-raising if he had been a parent!"
Or maybe there wouldn't have been a diary at all. Children can occupy an amazing amount of one's time.

A.De Araujo   Link to this

"about 17th century child-raising"
There is the famous Jean Heroard's Journal. He was Luis XIII's Physician and he kept a very detailed journal since his birth; so far I have not been able to read it.

jeannine   Link to this

"There is the famous Jean Heroard's Journal. He was Luis XIII's Physician and he kept a very detailed journal since his birth; so far I have not been able to read it."
As I move a little off -topic here...
A. DeAraujo, when I was writing the article about Elizabeth her father Alexandre was referenced by one of the biographers of Elizabeth (Patrick Delaforce). In his books he details her father's life (Alexandre de St. Michel) and makes a reference to Jean Heroard in regard to an interaction involving Alexandre and the King. I too, would love to find/read the journal, but don't know if it's available and/or if it's in English, but there may be some interesting links to Sam's world (and his father-in-law, perhaps) if any other Pepys site readers can locate it.

Part IV of the article has ths story that is said to appear in the journal of Heroard.
http://www.pepysdiary.com/indepth/2006/05/31/a_...

laura k   Link to this

"We may be trying to read something into a pretty straightforward statement."

There is perhaps no topic in this Diary for which annotators do this more.

Annotators frequently mention the disappointment and sadness that Sam and Elizabeth are supposed to have felt in response to their not having children, but we've never seen any evidence of these emotions.

To my knowledge, Sam has never reported any feelings of expectation, or disappointment, or sadness, or resignation, or anything else, nor has he ever reported Elizabeth expressing any. (Which doesn't mean she didn't, of course - but he's never told us.) If I've missed something, please by all means tell me. I'm always looking out for it and never see any.

For all we know, Sam and Elizabeth both accepted their childless state as god's will and didn't trouble about it further. I realize that some people consider that an impossibility, but at least realize that you're making an assumption that's not backed up in the Diary.

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