Monday 7 December 1663

Up betimes, and, it being a frosty morning, walked on foot to White Hall, but not without some fear of my pain coming. At White Hall I hear and find that there was the last night the greatest tide that ever was remembered in England to have been in this river: all White Hall having been drowned, of which there was great discourse. Anon we all met, and up with the Duke and did our business, and by and by my Lord of Sandwich came in, but whether it be my doubt or no I cannot tell, but I do not find that he made any sign of kindnesse or respect to me, which troubles me more than any thing in the world. After done there Sir W. Batten and Captain Allen and I by coach to the Temple, where I ‘light, they going home, and indeed it being my trouble of mind to try whether I could meet with my Lord Sandwich and try him to see how he will receive me. I took coach and back again to Whitehall, but there could not find him. But here I met Dr. Clerke, and did tell him my story of my health; how my pain comes to me now-a-days. He did write something for me which I shall take when there is occasion. I then fell to other discourse of Dr. Knapp, who tells me he is the King’s physician, and is become a solicitor for places for people, and I am mightily troubled with him. He tells me he is the most impudent fellow in the world, that gives himself out to be the King’s physician, but it is not so, but is cast out of the Court. From thence I may learn what impudence there is in the world, and how a man may be deceived in persons: Anon the King and Duke and Duchesse came to dinner in the Vane-roome, where I never saw them before; but it seems since the tables are done, he dines there all together. The Queene is pretty well, and goes out of her chamber to her little chappell in the house. The King of France, they say, is hiring of sixty sail of ships of the Dutch, but it is not said for what design. By and by, not hoping to see my Lord, I went to the King’s Head ordinary, where a good dinner but no discourse almost, and after dinner by coach, home, and found my wife this cold day not yet out of bed, and after a little good talk with her to my office, and there spent my time till late. Sir W. Warren two or three hours with me talking of trade, and other very good discourse, which did please me very, well, and so, after reading in Rushworth, home to supper and to bed.

23 Annotations

Bradford   Link to this

"Anon the King and Duke and Duchesse came to dinner in the Vane-roome, where I never saw them before; but it seems since the tables are done, he dines there all together."

"since the tables are done"
---translation: since dining tables made especially for this room were finished and brought in?

Dear Sam, seeking to cross paths with someone whom you fear may be displeased with you is not likely to bring peace of mind, whether you miss that person, or meet them.

Terry F   Link to this

"last night the greatest tide that ever was remembered in England to have been in this river: all White Hall having been drowned"

L&M note a spring tide and a northerly gale in the North Sea had coincided - not the first time Whitehall - lying along the Thames - had suffered water damage.

"Around new and full moon when the Sun, Moon and Earth form a line (a condition known as syzygy), the tidal forces due to the Sun reinforce those of the Moon. The tides' range is then at its maximum: this is called the 'spring tide,' or just 'springs' and is derived not from the season of spring but rather from the verb 'to jump' or 'to leap up.'" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tide

Glyn   Link to this

Has there been a lot of rain recently? The surge in tides might have coincided with excessive rainwater flowing into the Thames upriver and flowing down to London to meet the tidal water coming the other way.

jeannine   Link to this

"and found my wife this cold day not yet out of bed" ... sounds like Elizabeth is still feeling pretty uncomfortable. Must be bored to tears too!

Kilroy   Link to this

Knew difference between spring and neap tides. But never why they're called such. Reason for spring tide makes sense. But what about neap? Any relation to the pole on a wagon between draft animals?

Terry F   Link to this

neap
O.E. nepflod "neap flood," the tide occurring at the end of the first and third quarters of the lunar month, in which high waters are at their lowest, of unknown origin, with no known cognates (Dan. niptid probably is from English). Original sense seems to be "without power." http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=neap

but the OED likely says more.

Bryan M   Link to this

"last night the greatest tide that ever was remembered in England to have been in this river: all White Hall having been drowned"

The highest spring tides of the year occur each summer and winter. These are "king tides", which seems appropriate since it was Whitehall that was flooded. Extending the regal connection to the limit, the explanation of the occurrence of king tides below is taken from a Queensland government website.

Thinking about the perihelion in early January (below), hasn't there been an adjustment of dates since the seventeenth century so that Sam's 7 December would be a later date by our calendar? (Or is it earlier?)

King Tides:

"In a lunar month the highest tides occur at the time of the new moon and full moon (when the gravitational forces of sun and moon are in line) these are called "spring" tides and they occur about every 14 days. The highest of the spring tides occur during the summer months of December, January and February and also in the winter months of June, July and August.

Accordingly in any one year there will be two spring tides that are the highest for the year - one during summer and one during winter. These are referred to as "king tides".

The "king tides" occur because of the combined influence of a number astronomical factors which are related to the sun and the moon (and their alignments), and the gravitational attraction they each have on the water surface of the earth.

The earth moves around the sun in an elliptical orbit that takes a little over 365 days to complete. The sun has an influence on the tides. Its gravitational force is greatest when the earth is closest to the sun (perihelion early January each year) and least when the sun is furthest from earth (aphelion early July each year).

The moon has a larger effect in the tides than does the sun.

The moon moves around the earth in its elliptical orbit that takes about 29 days to complete. In a lunar month the highest tides occur at the time of the new moon and full moon (when the gravitational forces of sun and moon are in line) these are called "spring" tides and they occur about every 14 days. Because of the elliptical orbit, the distance between the moon and earth changes. The gravitational force is greatest when the moon is closest to earth (perigee) and least when it is furthest from the earth (apogee) about two weeks after perigee.

The combined effect of the moon's phase and the varying gravitational forces of the sun and moon result in the highest of the spring tides occurring during the summer months of December, January and February and also in the winter months of June, July and August."

From: http://www.msq.qld.gov.au/qt/msq.nsf/index/tide...

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Time to play the link-the-pronouns game again.
Here's my guess:
"But here I met Dr. Clerke, and did tell him my story of my health; how my pain comes to me now-a-days. He did write something for me which I shall take when there is occasion. I then fell to other discourse of Dr. Knapp, who tells me he [Knapp] is the King's physician, and is become a solicitor for places for people, and I am mightily troubled with him [Knapp]. He [Clerke] tells me he [Knapp] is the most impudent fellow in the world, that gives himself [Knapp] out to be the King's physician, but it is not so, but is cast out of the Court."

djc   Link to this

The flood is not just a consequence of the spring tide but also of the northly wind.
see
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/regions/th...

(sorry for long stupid URL. links to
a page at www.environment-agency.gov.uk Regions > Thames Region > Key Issues > Flooding > The Thames Barrier > The Flood Threat

Australian Susan   Link to this

King tide is an Australian term, but not, I think, a British one: when I lived in the UK, only the terms spring and neap were used: I have only heard the term King Tide since living here (in same city as Bryan M!) What do others think?

I actually envy Beth being able to snuggle up in bed and stay cosy warm with a good book: the equivalent here is being able to lie about in the air-con whilst others get sweaty and smelly.
In the 19th c book, The Tenent of Wildfell Hall, there is a reference to agricultural workers staying in bed in the winter if they had no work to do as they couldn't afford to waste burning wood or coal for no reason. I don't think beth would be staying in bed to economise on heating, but maybe Sam approves!!

ian   Link to this

Thanks, djc, for this v interesting link where (incredibly) a 2006 British government report actually quotes this day's entry from Sam's diary. I particularly enjoyed the additional information that Thames flooding may also be caused by "the tilting of the British Isles (with the south eastern corner tipping downwards)". All of us living in France are watching with interest for further tilting down of the South East of the British Isles.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

In regards to neap:

Interesting word. The wagon tongue and the tide have different etymological roots, per OED. Of the former it says,

[Prob. the reflex of a borrowing < early Scandinavian (cf. Icelandic neip (17th cent.; also in form gneip) the space between two fingers, Faeroese neip pillar, support, Norwegian (Nynorsk) neip forked pole, brace, fishing tool with two hooks on a crossbar), prob. < an ablaut variant of the Scandinavian base of Old Icelandic gnípa mountain peak (see NIP n.1).]

1. The pole or tongue of a cart. In later use U.S. regional (chiefly New England). Now rare.

And of the latter,

[Origin unknown. Cf. German regional (Low German: East Friesland) Nippflood, Nipptide, German Nippflut (1827 or earlier), Nipptide, Swedish nipflod (1881), niptid (1887), Danish nipflod (1880 or earlier), niptid (1756 or earlier; also in form neptid), all late borrowings, prob. ult. from English. Connections with the Germanic bases of NIP v.1 and NEB n. have been suggested, but are difficult to explain phonologically and semantically.
In Old English only in the compound n{emac}pfl{omac}d except for one isolated (and disputed) attestation Exodus (in a passage describing the destruction of the Egyptian host in the Red Sea) where it app. has the basic sense 'lacking power, enfeebled', specifically in the context 'lacking power (of forward movement)':
OE Exodus 470 Mægen wæs on cwealme fæste gefeterod, for{edh}ganges nep, searwum asæled.
Bright's emendation of this word to weg (Mod. Lang. Notes (1912) 27 18) is unconvincing.]

A. adj. Designating or relating to a tide occurring just after the first or third quarters of the moon, when the high-water level is lowest and there is least difference between high- and low-water levels; opposed to SPRING TIDE n. 2. Formerly also, {dag}of a point in time: coinciding with a neap tide (obs.). Also fig.

Arising from the second meansing, there is the wonderful word "neapness,"

Of a tide: the condition of being at the neap.
1720 J. STRYPE Stow's Survey of London (rev. ed.) I. I. vi. 32/2 The Tydes were very slack, and in a manner at the very neapness. 1972 J. BARTH Chimera 145 All I sense is the current neapness! If Bellerophon might rebegin, unclogged, unsilted! Time and tide, however, et cetera.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Tide in the streets of Whitehall

L&M notes the syzygystical condition of the heavens that brought this about. FYI, "syzygy" from the Greek "yoke, pair, copulation, conjunction" through late Latin (cf French syzygie") has at least seven distinctive meanings that differ when the term is used in astronomy, anatomy, biology, prosody, math, logic and Gnosticism. Within astronomy, the term once applied only to the conjunction of the moon and sun, in the sense used by L&M, but OED says this restrictive usage is now obsolete, and that the word applies equally to the conjunction or opposition of any two heavenly bodies -- and so, I'd suggest, to the plot of most romantic movies.
(In fairness to the OED, they actually say: "Now extended to include both conjunction and opposition (OPPOSITION 3) of two heavenly bodies, or either of the points at which these take place, esp. in the case of the moon with the sun (new and full moon). Often opposed to QUADRATURE 4b, c."

alanB   Link to this

why doesn't Sam suggest to the King that he constructs a Thames Barrier? Sure would help against any Dutch surprises. Didn't we have flooding a lunar month ago(or two) when the kitchens were under water? Two spring tides so close together does not seem right. Frost at night in GB is invariably an anticyclonic(high pressure)event with clear skies and little wind. Perhaps White Hall was simply in the wrong place i.e. too low.

Mary   Link to this

Spring tides.

These occur twice each lunar month: once at new moon and once at full moon. The neap tides, of course, occur during the other two quarters.

As regards flooding, we need to remember that the Thames was not enclosed by embankments until Victorian times, so a high tide, especially if augmented by a following wind, had little to stop it invading the city.

Xjy   Link to this

"neap"
Onions agrees with the OED - weak, without strength.
Skeat is more fun, relating it to "nip" as in pinch, having lost the Germanic k (knip) which gives lots of cognates in German and Swedish etc, including "knife". The tide has a vowel change to the more open ea and a meaning of scanty, originally pinched. Modern Swedish has "knapp" scarce, and "näppeligen" scarcely.

The Germanic origin fits in with old Viking and pre-Viking seafaring traditions. And "spring" has an explosive origin, not so much "leap" (or Mod. Swedish "run") as split, crack, burst, explode (spring a leak, wellspring, spring a mine, spring a prisoner, a sprung cricket bat). So an explosive tide, a sea-burst.
A non-nasalized cognate is eg Mod Swedish "spricka, sprack, spruckit" -- split, burst -- which in turn is related to Mod German "sprechen" and our own r-less "speak", from the Teutonic base SPRAK to make a noise, cf M Sw "spraka" crackle (of a fire) and our metathesized "spark", "sparkle", a crackling of sound or light. Ie as Aqua/Saltygrain might say, thy crackst open thee gob and spoutst.
Spring sprung, and sparkling speech sprang from lovers' lips.

Terry F   Link to this

Thanks, Paul Chapin, for the pronominal clarity (once again).

L&M note that five days ago, 2 Dec., John Knapp, styling himself [somewhat pompously] "'dr. medecinae', had written [presumtously] to his 'honoured friend Mr. Peeps'" concerning the latter's supposed promise to appoint a man named "George Gouye [? Gouge]" surgeon on a frigate.

Having the power to place a man on a ship is evidently both a blessing (?) and a curse.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

To xjy

a tour de force, to which I can only reply, in the immortal words of Walt Keyy,

How distant grows the hazy yon
How myrtle-petalled thou
For spring hath sprung the cyclotron.
How high browze thou, brown cow?

language hat   Link to this

"Onions agrees with the OED"
He would, since he was the OED's etymologist.

Ruben   Link to this

Spring tides
300 years ago water moved freely and inundated the beaches and low places. After enbankment works and the filling of beaches for urban projects and ports, the estuary became "non elastic" concerning the quantity of water it could hold, so the tide become more violent and higher than before.

cumgranosalis   Link to this

Spring tides: Dothe thee all forget, there be a neat bridge that would prevent the barge of the king from being sprung and removed to hide in Hole Haven, that this weir would prevent waters rushing out, there by keeping upstream excess waters for the next inrush of waters from the German ocean..

cumgranosalis   Link to this

Sam studies the tides "...learning to understand the course of the tides, and I think I do now do it...."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/05/22/

Ruben   Link to this

learning to understand the course of the tides,
In those days Samuel could learn the course of the tides but could not understand why they happened, because gravitation was still to be born in Newton's mind.
Newton was a slow writer. May be he knew the answer already, but he kept the new knowledge mums until 1684.

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