Sunday 5 May 1667

(Lord’s day). Up, and going down to the water side, I met Sir John Robinson, and so with him by coach to White Hall, still a vain, prating, boasting man as any I know, as if the whole City and Kingdom had all its work done by him. He tells me he hath now got a street ordered to be continued, forty feet broad, from Paul’s through Cannon Street to the Tower, which will be very fine. He and others this day, where I was in the afternoon, do tell me of at least six or eight fires within these few days; and continually stirs of fires, and real fires there have been, in one place or other, almost ever since the late great fire, as if there was a fate sent people for fire. I walked over the Park to Sir W. Coventry’s. Among other things to tell him what I hear of people being forced to sell their bills before September for 35 and 40 per cent. loss, and what is worst, that there are some courtiers that have made a knot to buy them, in hopes of some ways to get money of the King to pay them, which Sir W. Coventry is amazed at, and says we are a people made up for destruction, and will do what he can to prevent all this by getting the King to provide wherewith to pay them. We talked of Tangier, of which he is ashamed; also that it should put the King to this charge for no good in the world: and now a man going over that is a good soldier, but a debauched man, which the place need not to have. And so used these words: “That this place was to the King as my Lord Carnarvon says of wood, that it is an excrescence of the earth provided by God for the payment of debts.” Thence away to Sir G. Carteret, whom I find taking physic. I staid talking with him but a little, and so home to church, and heard a dull sermon, and most of the best women of our parish gone into the country, or at least not at church. So home, and find my boy not there, nor was at church, which vexed me, and when he come home I enquired, he tells me he went to see his mother. I send him back to her to send me some token that he was with her. So there come a man with him back of good fashion. He says he saw him with her, which pacified me, but I did soundly threaten him before him, and so to dinner, and then had a little scolding with my wife for not being fine enough to go to the christening to-day, which she excused by being ill, as she was indeed, and cried, but I was in an ill humour and ashamed, indeed, that she should not go dressed. However, friends by and by, and we went by water to Michell’s, and there his little house full of his father and mothers and the kindred, hardly any else, and mighty merry in this innocent company, and Betty mighty pretty in bed, but, her head akeing, not very merry, but the company mighty merry, and I with them, and so the child was christened; my wife, his father, and her mother, the witnesses, and the child’s name Elizabeth. So we had gloves and wine and wafers, very pretty, and talked and tattled, and so we away by water and up with the tide, she and I and Barker, as high as Barne Eimes, it being a fine evening, and back again to pass the bridges at standing water between 9 and 10 at night, and then home and to supper, and then to bed with much pleasure. This day Sir W. Coventry tells me the Dutch fleete shot some shot, four or five hundred, into Burnt-Island in the Frith, but without any hurt; and so are gone.

12 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"there are some courtiers that have made a knot to buy them"

knot = clique, band (L&M Select Glossary)

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Sam in huff...Arms folded...

"Oh. So you're ill?"

"Awfully, Sam'l..."

"Do you intend to visit my would-be future mistress dressed like that?! Mrs. Pepys, you're a disgrace and an embarassment to me. I can't believe what dear Betty will..."

Arghhh....Sam drops to floor...Sword embedded in vitals.

"Jane?" Stares at stabbed Sam gasping his last in agony on floor.

"Mum. Someone had to do it."

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Ald. Sir John Robinson (Lieutenant of the Tower)"and others this day, where I was in the afternoon, do tell me of at least six or eight fires within these few days; and continually stirs of fires, and real fires there have been, in one place or other, almost ever since the late great fire, as if there was a fate sent people for fire."

It would by nice to know how typical this had been BEFORE the Great Fire.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

as if there was a fate sent people for fire

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire,
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

R. Frost

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

(1) ... so home to church, and heard a dull sermon, and most of the best women of our parish gone into the country, or at least not at church.

(2) So home, and find my boy not there, nor was at church, which vexed me, ... and so to dinner, and then had a little scolding with my wife for not being fine enough to go to the christening to-day, which she excused by being ill, as she was indeed, and cried, but I was in an ill humour and ashamed,

Cause and effect? Is Sam saying, "What, most of the best women not here? Spoils my devotions and makes me mad."

JWB   Link to this

"...got a street ordered..."

Public works resulting from the great fire were to be paid for by a city tax on coal. Expenses were to be kept down by breaking guilds hold on labor costs.

JWB   Link to this

"HISTORY OF BURNTISLAND", by Andrew Young

"...in the
summer of 83, A.D., the Roman Governor of Brit-
ain, Agricola,- " sounded the havens and explored
with his fleet the north side of Bodotria" (the Firth
of Forth), and, according- to Sir Robert Sibbald's
reading of Tacitus, " found none so commodious
for g'reat vessels as that at the town now called
Bruntelin.''

p 114 "Mun-
<lay lo April, 1667, This Burgh being- assaulted be
ye comon enemie Sunday to AVitt ane squadron of
ye Dutch shipps who being 1 by God's providence
removed" the Council appeals to the Lord Commis-
sioner his g-race to provide ye inhabitants with
arms and ordinance and r.mmunitioiie for ye
fortis."
http://www.archive.org/stream/historyofburntis0...

Ruben   Link to this

"Samuel Pepys, my very favourite lecher, noted in his diary on May Day 350 years ago that London was ablaze with bonfires, that bells were ringing and that the streets were full of men sunk to their knees, drinking the King’s health. Pepys, ever the kettle-coloured pot, moralised that this excess of drinking was, “methinks a little too much”........"
see this and more at:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/column...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Thanks for that, Ruben, 'tis timely and very well-writ:

"Then there was Oliver Cromwell; parliamentary hero or religious nutter, whose obsession with conquering vice and decent women’s clothing presaged the Taleban. You choose. The judicious killing of the King was an extraordinary event. Kings had been killed in Britain before, with pokers and swords, but none until then had been done in by lawyers.

"Despite all the radicalism and the astonishing act of executing the King, somehow the country drew back from the brink. Somehow, when the body politic lay broken and Puritanism prevailed, we took back a monarch — and a playboy dilettante at that."

djc   Link to this

"The judicious killing of the King..." not well writ I think.
That should be judicial. [The Times is only a Murdoch comic these days.]

Australian Susan   Link to this

Had all the pretty women from Sam's Parish church gone into the country to take part in May Day revels one wonders? bathing their faces in dew and carrying in branches of may blossom and so forth?
I wondered if the "not dressed" part of Sam's rant against Bess was to do with her hair not being "dressed"? If you've been lying in bed ill, then you could sort yourself out some decent clothes with not much notice, but getting your hair fixed could not be done in a hurry - and some hair styles were quite elaborate in those days. And Sam would want his wife's head to look good.

Nix   Link to this

"I hear of people being forced to sell their bills before September for 35 and 40 per cent. loss, and what is worst, that there are some courtiers that have made a knot to buy them, in hopes of some ways to get money of the King to pay them" --

I believe the modern term is "credit default swap."

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