Saturday 24 December 1664

Having sat up all night to past two o’clock this morning, our porter, being appointed, comes and tells us that the bellman tells him that the star is seen upon Tower Hill; so I, that had been all night setting in order all my old papers in my chamber, did leave off all, and my boy and I to Tower Hill, it being a most fine, bright moonshine night, and a great frost; but no Comet to be seen. So after running once round the Hill, I and Tom, we home and then to bed. Rose about 9 o’clock and then to the office, where sitting all the morning. At noon to the ‘Change, to the Coffee-house; and there heard Sir Richard Ford tell the whole story of our defeat at Guinny. Wherein our men are guilty of the most horrid cowardice and perfidiousness, as he says and tells it, that ever Englishmen were. Captain Raynolds, that was the only commander of any of the King’s ships there, was shot at by De Ruyter, with a bloody flag flying. He, instead of opposing (which, indeed, had been to no purpose, but only to maintain honour), did poorly go on board himself, to ask what De Ruyter would have; and so yielded to whatever Ruyter would desire. The King and Duke are highly vexed at it, it seems, and the business deserves it. Thence home to dinner, and then abroad to buy some things, and among others to my bookseller’s, and there saw several books I spoke for, which are finely bound and good books to my great content. So home and to my office, where late. This evening I being informed did look and saw the Comet, which is now, whether worn away or no I know not, but appears not with a tail, but only is larger and duller than any other star, and is come to rise betimes, and to make a great arch, and is gone quite to a new place in the heavens than it was before: but I hope in a clearer night something more will be seen. So home to bed.

16 Annotations

Pedro   Link to this

The Rev Ralph on Xmas eve…

Dec. 24. a star appeared in the South with a stream, for about an hour

jeannine   Link to this

“Journal of the Earl of Sandwich” edited by R.C. Anderson

24th Saturday. After sunset I saw the Blazing Star again the Whale’s Mouth (being in Stokes Bay by Portsmouth, where I have rid all this while) and observed his distance – from Aldebaran - 24° 26’, Head of Eridanus - 28° 12’, Whale’s Mouth 8° 00’. The stream of his light like a brush besom stretched out towards Orion’s head above 10° 00’ in length. The Little Dog was just even with the horizon at the time of my observation.

Pedro   Link to this

"Captain Raynolds, that was the only commander of any of the King’s ships there, was shot at by De Ruyter, with a bloody flag flying. He, instead of opposing (which, indeed, had been to no purpose, but only to maintain honour), did poorly go on board himself, to ask what De Ruyter would have; and so yielded to whatever Ruyter would desire."

The background points to Reynols Jacob but he is in the Fleet with Sandwich!

jeannine   Link to this

The Pepysian elves are preparing for their holiday!

http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1488151075

cgs   Link to this

"... that the bellman ..." now we know how the hours get to the people, he that turns the watch glass.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

comets
Sam's disappointment on finally seeing the comet reminds me of my own when Halley's comet came around in 1986. I had heard of it since I was a child, and was excited at the opportunity to see it, but when it actually appeared, it was barely visible, you had to be told exactly where to look and what to look for before you could see the faint blur.

Wikipedia now tells me that "The 1986 approach was the least favourable for Earth observers of all recorded passages of the comet throughout history: the comet did not achieve the spectacular brightness of some previous approaches, and with increased light pollution from urbanization, many people never saw the comet at all." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet_Halley
Better luck to my grandchildren in 2061, when it next appears.

Terry F   Link to this

Also on behalf of Dirk Van de Putte, on this Christmas eve day, alas, no good cheer from the correspondence indexed in the Carte Calendar

Ormond to Ossory
Written from: Whitehall

Date: 24 December 1664

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 48, fol(s). 179
Document type: Copy

Communicates various particulars concerning restraints on the trade of Ireland; propositions for securing to the Kingdom the victualling of some of the ships to be employed in the War with Holland - in partial compensation of the loss by such restraints; other pending matters. ...

Notices threats given out by Colonel Richard Talbot & his brothers - lay and ecclesiastical - against the writer's life; given out so that he would be sure to hear of them, and as a stratagem to secure themselves against an obnoxious clause, in one of the Draught Bills, now under consideration. ...

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William Coventry to Sandwich
Written from: Whitehall

Date: 24 December 1664

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 75, fol(s). 289
Document type: Holograph [with seal of arms]

Sends further particulars as to the despatch of ships specified and as to Commissions. The Dutch letters brought little of importance but that they are preparing Trump's fleet for Sea. The writer adds: "If the frost go on as it hash begun here, I presume they will be mistaken in their measures. ... The story of Cape-de-Verde grows every day worse & worse; having in it great suspicions that the Company's commanders have sold them"

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Dungannon to Ormond
Written from: Dublin

Date: 24 December 1664

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 215, fol(s). 121
Document type: Holograph. Signed: "D."

Gives the purport of a conversation with Sir Hans Hamilton about the malicious spreading of rumours, in Ireland, as to the Duke's dislike of the "1649 men". Amongst others, Lord Inchiquin has been heard to say that "to his own knowledge, the Duke did not care if they were all hanged". The writer mentions this as a matter which his Grace ought to know, but has no desire to do "the least prejudice to any man", and therefore asks the Duke to burn this letter, as soon as read.

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Ossory to Ormond
Written from: [Dublin]

Date: 24 December 1664

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 220, fol(s). 193
Document type: Holograph

Encloses some papers relating to political plots and agitations [not now appended]. Some packets of letters have, "by the negligence of the seamen", been left at Holyhead, but are now sent for. An application in respect to a reversionary office, of small value, is sent by desire of the Lord Chancellor, on behalf of his purse-bearer.

http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/projects...

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"tells us that the bellman tells him that the star is seen ... it being a most fine, bright moonshine night, and a great frost; but no Comet to be seen. "

The Bellman himself they all praised to the skies--
Such a carriage, such ease and such grace!
Such solemnity, too! One could see he was wise,
The moment one looked in his face!

He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.

"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
"They are merely conventional signs!

"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we've got our brave Captain to thank:"
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best--
A perfect and absolute blank!"
....

" 'You may seek it with thimbles--and seek it with care;
You may hunt it with forks and hope;
You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
You may charm it with smiles and soap--' "

("That's exactly the method," the Bellman bold
In a hasty parenthesis cried,
"That's exactly the way I have always been told
That the capture of Snarks should be tried!")

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext91/snark12.txt

Tony Eldridge   Link to this

Having sat up all night to past two o’clock this morning

Nine hours since dusk with only smelly candles to read by! No wonder he thought his eyesight was fading.

Merry Christmas to all who believe in it - and to everyone else.

Carl in Boston   Link to this

Pepsyian Elves and all:
This evening I being informed did look and saw the Comet, which is now, whether worn away or no I know not, but appears not with a tail, but only is larger and duller than any other star, and is come to rise betimes, and to make a great arch, and is gone quite to a new place in the heavens than it was before: but I hope in a clearer night something more will be seen. So home to bed.

The Pepsyian Elves looked up and saw a star in the East
and nodded their heads, and waggled their beards
for Samuel Pepys always gets it right.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Carl in Boston   Link to this

I forgot some of the reindeer.
Some of them get a hearty Mazltov and others Salaam Eleikum.
There's four other reindeer I forget how to address, but have a good holiday.
Then there's Samuel the Red Nosed Pepysian up front. I understand he pulls a bit to the left.

cape henry   Link to this

Thanks to Jeannine's uncovering that old parchment transfer film, we now know that Mrs. P was by far more athletic and better coordinated than Mr.

Ruben   Link to this

Thanks, Jeannine, for this very important document that demonstrates that the dancing classes payed of. Evidently Mrs Pepys dances much better that Samuel does. Another important clue that we can obtain from this document is that climate was much colder 350 years ago. London looks like Lapland here, something I will have to denounce to Mr. Gore immediatly.

Pedro   Link to this

“heard Sir Richard Ford tell the whole story of our defeat at Guinny. Wherein our men are guilty of the most horrid cowardice and perfidiousness, as he says and tells it, that ever Englishmen were.”

So Sir Richard Ford, a big noise on the board of the Guinea Company, and from the safety of the coffee house, accuses the front line troops of cowardice. This seems to have a familiar ring to it.

From the Life of Admiral De Ruyter by Bok; a summary of events taken from De Ruyter’s log...

De Ruyter arrived with I2 warships and prepared an attack to be led by Colonel De Mortaigne who would command 350 landing troops. Nine English ships were lying under the shore consisting of a royal worship and eight belonging to the English West India Company. De Ruyter’s fleet drawn up in a crescent and began to invest the English ships. The warship when asked what its attitude would be said it would be neutral and the English merchantmen argued that they did not belong to the West Indiana Company, but were only carrying their goods.

The English Governor asked for a I0 day delay in the request for surrender hoping for assistance to arrive from England, but De Ruyter refused and the 8 captains were placed under provisional arrest. The warship prepared to sail, but De Ruyter signaled that he would not allow this and fired a warning shot across its bows. The next day the Governor accepted the surrender and De Ruyter, after taking what he believed to belong to the Dutch Company, allowed the English to sail with their possessions to the Gambia, Sierra Leone or Gold Coast. The warship was allowed to leave.

cgs   Link to this

"...it being a most fine, bright moonshine night, and a great frost..." How dothe Samuell stay warm, day and nite.
No mention of the warming pan, provided by the upstairs help.
How things that be taken for granted never change expect every one to know the answer. I with heating central now.
Then it it be cuddle up closer, long johns maybe, or were they thicker bluded,
The heat from all those fire places, taxed they be but never give out much warmth.

Pedro   Link to this

“Wherein our men are guilty of the most horrid cowardice and perfidiousness, as he says and tells it, that ever Englishmen were.”

Another version of De Ruyter at Goree…

In response to an inquiry made by the English as to his intentions DeRuyter replied that he had come to punish the Royal Company for Holmes' hostile actions. He demanded the surrender of the company's factors and goods on shore and on the several ships. Since the English were unable to resist they surrendered the goods of the Royal Company after which the vessels were permitted to depart. In this way DeRuyter attempted to show plainly that he was not carrying on hostilities against the English nation, but was only aiding the West India Company to recover its property and goods, and to punish the Royal Company for the actions of Sir Robert Holmes.

The Journal of Negro History, Volume 4, 1919
by Various Authors

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