Thursday 10 August 1665

Up betimes, and called upon early by my she-cozen Porter, the turner’s wife, to tell me that her husband was carried to the Tower, for buying of some of the King’s powder, and would have my helpe, but I could give her none, not daring any more to appear in the business, having too much trouble lately therein. By and by to the office, where we sat all the morning; in great trouble to see the Bill this week rise so high, to above 4,000 in all, and of them above 3,000 of the plague. And an odd story of Alderman Bence’s stumbling at night over a dead corps in the streete, and going home and telling his wife, she at the fright, being with child, fell sicke and died of the plague. We sat late, and then by invitation my Lord Brunker, Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten and I to Sir G. Smith’s to dinner, where very good company and good cheer. Captain Cocke was there and Jacke Fenn, but to our great wonder Alderman Bence, and tells us that not a word of all this is true, and others said so too, but by his owne story his wife hath been ill, and he fain to leave his house and comes not to her, which continuing a trouble to me all the time I was there. Thence to the office and, after writing letters, home, to draw- over anew my will, which I had bound myself by oath to dispatch by to-morrow night; the town growing so unhealthy, that a man cannot depend upon living two days to an end. So having done something of it, I to bed.

29 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"my she-cozen Porter, the turner's wife, [told] me that her husband was carried to the Tower, for buying of some of the King's powder, and would have my helpe, but I could give her none, not daring any more to appear in the business, having too much trouble lately therein."

That's for sure, Pepys having appealed to King Charles himself on behalf of Thomas Hayter only on 2 June 1665: "Another letter also come to me from Mr. Hater, committed by the Council this afternoon to the Gate House, upon the misfortune of having his name used by one, without his knowledge or privity, for the receiving of some powder that he had bought. Up to Court about these two, and for the former was led up to my Lady Castlemayne’s lodgings, where the King and she and others were at supper, and there I read the letter and returned; and then to Sir G. Carteret about Hater, and shall have him released to-morrow, upon my giving bail for his appearance, which I have promised to do. Sir G. Carteret did go on purpose to the King to ask this, and it was granted." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/06/02/

Despite the need for its industrial use (e.g., in mining or construction), it was a crime to buy or sell powder from the royal store; and apparently there was a de facto royal monopoly on gunpowder manufacture for good historical reason! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder_Plot

CGS   Link to this

There be still fanatiques about , never are all of the populace be satisfied with the system, especially when they feel short changed or when the heavens and the Gods be making themselves known ,by eliminating the unworthies.
The list of potential revolutionaries is very long, the Romanists be at the head of the list..

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... to our great wonder Alderman Bence, and tells us that not a word of all this is true, ..."

SP discovering the significant limitations of gossip as method of information gathering; gossip only discloses what people wish spread about (not even what they might actually 'believe true') rather than what was or is the case. Will be interesting to see if this changes his attitude in the future to the information he gathers from the merchants at the Exchange.

Australian Susan   Link to this

"....by his owne story his wife hath been ill, and he fain to leave his house and comes not to her, which continuing a trouble to me all the time I was there...."

Sam would not abandon Elizabeth if she were ill - reading this comment on the Alderman's actions gives us an insight into a sympathetic Sam.

Sam is prone to believe plague horror stories such as the one he relates about the Alderman, but when confronted with the truth, the gossipy persona vanishes to show the real human being behind that and the depth of his relations with his wife. One hope, also, for the sake of business that he can shift chaff from wheat when listening to Exchange news/gossip/hearsay.

I nearly always find that when a story about someone or something i know appears in the papers, there are errors, but this does not seem to stop me continuing to believe what I read in the papers (or online nowadays).

CGS   Link to this

Nye Bevan: wikiquote
"...I read the newspapers avidly. It is my one form of continuous fiction...."

* Interview in The Times, 29 March 1960.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

One wonders how all these people are managing to get their hands on the King's powder...Can one walk over to a government supply depot and carry off a keg?

***
Nice to hear Sam troubled by the tale of Alderman Bence and his poor wife. Of course one can only tell what one would do in such a crisis when it actually happens but he certainly seems to have been doing everything possible within the limited means of the day to see to Bess' safety.

Though it might wise to limit those trips to Mrs. B and the other ladies till the crisis is over...

Lance Coon   Link to this

"in great trouble to see the Bill this week rise so high, to above 4,000 in all"--in the British navy, after a battle, the captain would ask the surgeon the extent of "the Butcher's Bill," meaning the number of casualties (P. O'Brian, the Aubrey/Maturin Chronicles). Is Sam using the same expression here?

Terry Foreman   Link to this

L&M say the figures for the week 1-8 August are 4,030 total and 2,817 plague burials.

Mary   Link to this

the Bill.

The term 'bill' here used in the sense of 'published document.'

cf. such expressions as - play-bill, "Post no bills," Parliamentary Bill etc.

Bradford   Link to this

"an odd story of Alderman Bence’s stumbling at night over a dead corps in the streete,"

Far preferable to a live one. Didn't Pepys recently say something about his will? Scripture says Be ye ready always.

language hat   Link to this

"Far preferable to a live one."

A corpse at this time was not necessarily dead. The OED's first definition is:

The body of a man or of an animal; a (living) body; a person. Obs.
[...] 1528 LYNDESAY Dreme 136, I thocht my corps with cauld suld tak no harme. 1579 SPENSER Sheph. Cal. Nov. 166 Her soule unbodied of the burdenous corpse [rimes forse, remorse]. 1607 T. WALKINGTON Opt. Glass 38 Wee often see.. a faire and beautifull corpes, but a foule vgly mind. 1667 MILTON P.L. x. 601 To stuff this Maw, this vast unhide-bound Corps. 1707 E. WARD Hud. Rediv. I. x, I shov'd my bulky Corps along.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

So it seems the plague has finally taken front and center, though Sam's spirit will no doubt find distractions in work and life to get him through this grim time. God bless him, if one were stuck in such a desperate situation, he'd be the friend whom you'd want to see each day just to feel the strength of his joy in life.

CGS   Link to this

"...the Bill this week rise so high..."
luverly word is bill

bill: 5 noun versions including name and 3 verbal, Bill as found with Bill of attainer and found Bill of Reform.

No cooing or using it with a hook or cutting down ones enemies to size with ones bill or even making a noise like a bittern, or be Etonian or Harrovian and put on the bill or listening to old Bill checking thy excuse for weaving, or writing it up or paying it, then put thy two cents into legal Bill before it be Act as done at the H OF C, Oh such a luverly word , Oh! must call my Bill to pay it.

CGS   Link to this

"...So it seems the plague has finally taken front and center,..."

Unfortunately, many of those that died, did so with out their pastors being there to help, as so many Ministers were disapproved of by the establishment and were banned, expelled from all corporations authority by a distance of five miles, but a few risked the anger of the king and his side kicks and roamed the streets giving Ministry.
see Bros. Tm. Vincent. God's Terrible voice.

http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=_WoPAAAA...

March 24th 1665, many minsters were banish to distance of five miles from the Corporations legal boundary.

Paul Dyson   Link to this

“…the Bill this week rise so high…”

Does this mean the Bill of Mortality, referred to in some other extracts, by the Rev Josselin and various annotators?

CGS   Link to this

Bill be the official collected list from all of the parishes,collected duly signed..
'tis my take.

Mary   Link to this

Yes, that bill.

CGS   Link to this

book sample:you get the original or translatable and search able from the above URL

"...very sinking fears they have had of the Plague
liath brought the Plague and death upon many
some by the sight of a coffin in the streets,
Lave fallen into a shivering, and immediately
the disease hath assaulted them, and sergeant
death hath arrested them,

and clapt too the
doors of their houses upon them from whence
they have come forth no more, till they have
been brought forth to their graves. We may
imagine the hideous thoughts and horrid perplexity
of mind, the tremblings confusions, and
anguish of spirit,

which some awakened sinners
have had, when the plague hath broke in upon
their houses, and seized upon near relations, '
whose (lying groans sounding in their ears,
have warned them to prepare ; when their
doors have been shut up, and fastened on the
outside with an inscription,

Lord, have mercy
upon us, and none suffered to come in but a
nuvse, whom they have been more afraid, than
the plague itself : when lovers and friends, and
companions in sin have stood aloof, and not dared
to come nigh the door of the house,

lest death should issue forth from thence upon
them ; especially when the diseases hath invaded
themselves,

and first began with a pain Sc
diziness in their head, then trembling in their
ether members ; wheji they have felt boils under their arm, and in their groins, and seen
blains to come forth in other parts ; when the
disuase hath wrought in them to that heighth,

as to send forth those spots which (most think)
are the certain tokens of near approaching
death : and now they have received the sentence
of death within themt{S}elves, and have
certainly concluded, that within a few hours
they must go down into the dust, and their naked
souls,...."

A. Hamilton   Link to this

a man cannot depend upon living two days to an end.

I find this the most striking comment Sam has yet made about his own intimations of mortality.

Araucaria   Link to this

Bill:
In this context think of Bill as "account" or "toll". The form in which the measure is delivered becomes a synonym for the measure.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Bill [of Mortality]

The title was entered in the Stationer’s Register to J. Wolfe 14 July 1593; the first surviving copy of the weekly series is from 1603 (True bill of the vvhole number that hath died
At London : printed by I.R[oberts]. for Iohn Trundle, and are to be sold at his shop in Barbican, neere Long lane end, [1603]
1 sheet ([1] p.) ;c1⁰. STC (2nd ed.), 16743 1-3.
Numbering runs each year from no. 1-52; there are no volume numbers.

These are the weekly statistics list, reported by the Worshipful Company of Parish Clerks, of the deaths in the City of London and of parishes without the walls in Westminster, and out-parishes in Middlesex and Surrey. They include statistics on causes of death, numbers of christenings and burials, details on accidental deaths; includes the Lord Mayor’s assize of bread. The first surviving issue from the ‘Parish Clerk’s Press’ is dated 1630. [Spoiler - The issues from 30 Oct. 1688-c 1700, after the Parish Clerks gave up maintaining their own press ‘in Hall’ have an imprint reading: “Printed by Benj. Motte, printer to the Company of Parish-Clerks,”]

Survivals of the individual weekly issues are of great rarity; only two long runs, Guildhall Library and Welcome Institute Library. (the layout etc is near identical to the pages of Graunt, ' Observations on the Bills ...' ( www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/8786/ )which is what is reproduced on most sites rather than an actual example of a weekly bill; for example the double page image in L&M vi, pp. 234/5, stated to be a “Bill” is in fact from the book issue, note the position of the rules and the printers signature ‘L3’lower right margin.) The third item on this page ( http://www.quaritch.com/# click on the ‘postage stamp’ for a full image and description) is a reproduction of a individual sheet from 1680 — showing the front of sheet only, the data by parish is provided on the verso. The arms, upper left, are those of the Parish Clerks of London.
http://www.londonparishclerks.co.uk/content/vie...

The weekly Bills were sold for 1d. per issue, to help subsidize the cost of printing. There was an annual issue also which SP records purchasing in 1662: "This day also the parish-clerk brought the general bill of mortality, which cost me half-a-crown ..."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/12/24/,

The practice is said to date from c 1538, per Wheatley, and the phrase 'Within the bills ..." colloquially, and officially from c.1640, was used to define the area of the City and out parishes -- eg.:

Proclamation for restraining the number and abuses of hackney coaches in and about the cities of London and Westminster, and the suburbs thereof, and parishes comprised within the Bills of Mortality
London : printed by Charles Bill, Henry Hills, and Thomas Newcomb, printers to the Kings most excellent Majesty, 1687.

[Apologies for duplications and infelicities in this spatchcock of some of my prior posts; I am on the road working on a laptop only and find I have neither the manual dexterity nor patience to function without a a real keyboard and mouse.]

Pedro   Link to this

On this day Sandwich notes...

By intelligence since the Dutch fleet, 100 sail, was this day on Dogger Bank in 55 deg 00 min and 20 fathom water.

dirk   Link to this

From the Carte Papers, Bodleian Library
http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/projects...

Edward, Lord Hinchinbroke [Sandwich's son] to Edward Montagu, Earl of Sandwich [his father]

Written from: Scots Hall [Kent]
Date: 10 August 1665

The King of France, when the writer had his audience of leave, desired him on his return to England to carry a complimentary message from His Majesty to Montagu, as also did Monsieur et Madame, and the Earl of St. Albans. His journey to Scots Hall is to see Sir George Carteret and Lady Carteret the writer's sister.

(in French)

Australian Susan   Link to this

Thank you Michael for details about the bills of mortality. We need to remember that, without the dedication of the parish clerks, we wouldn't know the details of the weekly deaths - the clerks obviously kept to their local areas and kept at this grim task of notation as the plague worsened. (as well as their other work).

CGS   Link to this

Another description by one that stayed ;
It was the Monday when the
maid was smitten, on Thursday see died full of
tokens ; on Friday one of the youths had a
swelling in his groin, and on the Lord's day di-^
ed with the marks of the distemper upon him ;
on the same day onother youth did sicken, and
on the Wednesday following he died ; on the
Thursday night his master fell sick of the disease,
and within a day or two was full of spots;
but strangely, beyond his own, and others' expectations,
recovered. Thus did the plague
follow us, and came upon us one by one :

"...Now most Parishes are
infected, both without and within, yea, there
sre not so many houses shut up by the Plague, »
s by the owners forsaking of them for fear of
it ; and though the inhabitants be so exceedingly
decreased by the departure of so many-
thousands, yet the number of dying persons
increase "fearfully. Now the countries keep
siir:rds, lest infectious persons should, from
the {C}rity, bring the disease unto them. Most
of the rich are gone, and the middle sort will
not stay and abide the storm. Now most faces
gather paleness ; and what dismal apprehensions
do then fill the minds, >hat dreadful
fears do thtre possess the spirits, especially of
those whose consciences are full of guilt, and
have not made their PCECK T/Hh God ? the old
drunkards and swearers and unclean persons
are brought into great straits ; they look on !'
K- right hand and on the left, and death is
marching towards them fiom every part, and
iiity know not whether to fly that they may es-
B
cape it. Now the arrows begin to fly vei y
thick about their ears, and they see many fellow
sinners fall before their faces, expecting «
very hour themselves to be smitten ; and the
very sinking fears they have had of the Plague
liath brought the Plague and death upon many
some by the sight of a coffin in the streets,
Lave fallen into a shivering, and immediately
the disease hath assaulted them, and sergeant
death hath arrested them, and clapt too the
doors of their houses upon them from whence
they have come forth no more, till they have
been brought forth to their graves. We may
imagine the hideous thoughts and horrid perplexity
of mind, the tremblings confusions, and
anguish of spirit, which some awakened sinners
have had, when the plague hath broke in upon
their houses, and seized upon near relations, '
whose (lying groans sounding in their ears,
have warned them to prepare ; when their
doors have been shut up, and fastened on the
outside with an inscription, Lord, have mercy
upon us, and none suffered to come in but a
nuvse, whom they have been more afraid, than
the plague itself : when lovers and friends, and
companions in sin have stood aloof, and not dared
to come nigh the door of the house, lest
death should issue forth from thence upon
them ; especially when the diseases hath invaded
themselves, and first began with a pain Sc
diziness in their head, then trembling in their
ether members

Mary   Link to this

Source of the eye-witness account, please, CGS.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Spoiler -- Source of the eye-witness account,

Vincent, Thomas, 1634-1678.
God’s terrible voice in the city: wherein you have I. The sound of the voice, in the narration of the two late dreadfull judgments of plague and fire, inflicted by the Lord upon the city of London, the former in the year, 1665, the latter in the year 1666. II. The interpretation of the voice, in a discovery, 1. Of the cause of these judgments, where you have a catalogue of London’s sins. 2. Of the design of these judgments, where you have an enumeration of the duties God calls for by this terrible voice. By T.V.
[London? : s.n.], Printed in the year 1667.
[8], 97, 102-103, 124-262 p. ; 8⁰. Text continuous despite pagination. Signatures: A⁴ B-G⁸ H⁴ K-R⁸ S⁴(-S4).
Wing (CD-ROM, 1996), V440

http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/English/Events...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Vincent

Pedro   Link to this

Source of the eye-witness account,

Thanks Michael, I thought it might be Vincent, Michael 1634-

CGS   Link to this

so sorry here it be one source
read it for thy self
origin and scanned http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=_WoPAAAA...

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