Thursday 13 December 1666

Up, and to the office, where we sat. At noon to the ‘Change and there met Captain Cocke, and had a second time his direction to bespeak 100l. of plate, which I did at Sir R. Viner’s, being twelve plates more, and something else I have to choose. Thence home to dinner, and there W. Hewer dined with me, and showed me a Gazette, in April last, which I wonder should never be remembered by any body, which tells how several persons were then tried for their lives, and were found guilty of a design of killing the King and destroying the Government; and as a means to it, to burn the City; and that the day intended for the plot was the 3rd of last September.1 And the fire did indeed break out on the 2nd of September, which is very strange, methinks, and I shall remember it. At the office all the afternoon late, and then home to even my accounts in my Tangier book, which I did to great content in all respects, and joy to my heart, and so to bed. This afternoon Sir W. Warren and Mr. Moore, one after another, walked with me in the garden, and they both tell me that my Lord Sandwich is called home, and that he do grow more and more in esteem everywhere, and is better spoken of, which I am mighty glad of, though I know well enough his deserving the same before, and did foresee that it will come to it. In mighty great pain in my back still, but I perceive it changes its place, and do not trouble me at all in making of water, and that is my joy, so that I believe it is nothing but a strain, and for these three or four days I perceive my overworking of my eyes by candlelight do hurt them as it did the last winter, that by day I am well and do get them right, but then after candlelight they begin to be sore and run, so that I intend to get some green spectacles.

  1. The “Gazette” of April 23rd-26th, 1666, which contains the following remarkable passage: “At the Sessions in the Old Bailey, John Rathbone, an old army colonel, William Saunders, Henry Tucker, Thomas Flint, Thomas Evans, John Myles, Will. Westcot, and John Cole, officers or soldiers in the late Rebellion, were indicted for conspiring the death of his Majesty and the overthrow of the Government. Having laid their plot and contrivance for the surprisal of the Tower, the killing his Grace the Lord General, Sir John Robinson, Lieutenant of the Tower, and Sir Richard Brown; and then to have declared for an equal division of lands, &c. The better to effect this hellish design, the City was to have been fired, and the portcullis let down to keep out all assistance; and the Horse Guards to have been surprised in the inns where they were quartered, several ostlers having been gained for that purpose. The Tower was accordingly viewed, and its surprise ordered by boats over the moat, and from thence to scale the wall. One Alexander, not yet taken, had likewise distributed money to these conspirators; and, for the carrying on the design more effectually, they were told of a Council of the great ones that sat frequently in London, from whom issued all orders; which Council received their directions from another in Holland, who sat with the States; and that the third of September was pitched on for the attempt, as being found by Lilly’s Almanack, and a scheme erected for that purpose, to be a lucky day, a planet then ruling which prognosticated the downfall of Monarchy. The evidence against these persons was very full and clear, and they were accordingly found guilty of High Treason.” See November 10th, 1666 — B.

8 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

L&M note 3 September was always a preternatural date for the fantasists, for it was the anniversary of Cromwell's death.

Bryan M   Link to this

"I intend to get some green spectacles"

The website of the College of Optometrists shows some seventeenth century spectacles. Sam gets a mention at the bottom of the page.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"I intend to get some green spectacles"
Not indicated for reading by candlelight!

DiPhi   Link to this

"...I perceive my overworking of my eyes by candlelight do hurt them as it did the last winter..."

a sad foreshadowing to the end of the diary.

CGS   Link to this

spectacles [eye glasses] been around awhile....since 1400's?

Jesse   Link to this

“I intend to get some green spectacles”

Why green? From the above link I got the impression that these may be filtering only and not magnifying, i.e. Pepys is looking for better contrast and peak eye sensitivity is in the green (see towards the bottom).

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"they both tell me that my Lord Sandwich is called home"

L&M note this a canard: Sandwich will not return from his embassy in Madrid until September 1668.

John Mallon   Link to this

Re: The reference to Col John Rathbone

The London Gazette (Number 48) of April 26-30 1666 contains the above quote regarding John Rathbone.Is the listed date of publication from above (April 23-26 1666) from Pypes or another source?

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