Friday 20 December 1667

Up, and all the morning at the office with Sir R. Ford and the same company as on Wednesday about my Lady Batten’s accounts. At noon home to dinner, where my poor wife in bed in mighty pain, her left cheek so swelled as that we feared it would break, and so were fain to send for Mr. Hollier, who come, and seems doubtful of the defluxions of humours that may spoil her face, if not timely cured. He laid a poultice to it and other directions, and so away, and I to the office, where on the same accounts very late, and did come pretty near a settlement. So at night to Sir W. Pen’s with Sir R. Ford, and there was Sir D. Gawden, and there we only talked of sundry things; and I have found of late, by discourse, that the present sort of government is looked upon as a sort of government that we never had yet — that is to say, a King and House of Commons against the House of Lords; for so indeed it is, though neither of the two first care a fig for one another, nor the third for them both, only the Bishops are afeard of losing ground, as I believe they will. So home to my poor wife, who is in mighty pain, and her face miserably swelled: so as I was frighted to see it, and I was forced to lie below in the great chamber, where I have not lain many a day, and having sat up with her, talking and reading and pitying her, I to bed.

11 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Anglesey to Ormond
Written from: London
Date: 20 December 1667

Sends a copy of Lord Clarendon's petition, and narrates the proceedings in Parliament thereupon. Notices also certain proceedings upon Irish affairs. ...

It is said that Major Wildman, of whom his Grace hath heard, is made the Duke of Buckingham's Secretary. As little wonders at that, as at many other things now seen. The said Wildman, and several other republicans are designed to be "Commissioners of Accounts". It had been fitter they had been first called to account themselves. .

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...having sat up with her, talking and reading and pitying her..." Good man Sam. Poor Bess, that must be some abcess.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Hollier seems to prefer to avoid surgery whenever possible, I notice. Understandable given what must be a high mortality rate among patients but still one would think he'd be among those more inclined to cut em up. I wonder that Sam's never invited him, it seems to meet Hooke, etc, and attend medical discussions at Gresham. Too low on the social pole I suppose or perhaps too busy?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Dental abscess
The Turkana boy apparently died of a dental abscess millions of years ago.

Fern  •  Link

Are there no pain-relieving substances available?

Mary  •  Link

Pain relief

Thomas Sydenham, who began practising medicine in King Street in 1655, is reputed by some to be the first Western physician to introduce the use of laudanum for the relief of pain ( the use of quinine for malaria is also accredited to him). However, some of his ideas were viewed as distinctly new-fangled, so Pepys/Hollier may either not have known of these specifics or perhaps did not trust them. Sam does not seem to have been given any effective pain relief for his operation for the stone.

Laudanum did not come fully into fashion until the next century.

Fern  •  Link

Thank you, Mary.

Aroaldo De Araujo  •  Link

Pain relief
Willow bark has also been used for centuries for pain relief and reducing fever.

Christopher Squire  •  Link

These entries remind us that access to the scientific conservative dentistry that those of us that can afford it enjoy is the one unequivocal benefit of living in the modern age.

it is not long ago that in Britain the working class had their teeth [rotten from a diet of cheap sugar] pulled out in their 20s so that they would not be troubled by them and hoped to receive a good set of dentures as a wedding present.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Aspirin is/was derived from willow bark. This was used by the Romans in Britain, but its efficacy seems to have been lost after the Romans left - well, when the Army surgeons left - in the 5th century. But didn't people bring back opium poppies from the Crusades? Weren't derivatives from these in use in the Middle Ages for pain relief?

Mary  •  Link


According to various histories, opium was known in early mediaeval times in western Europe, but it was banned by the Church circa 1300 because, coming from the non-Christian east, it was viewed as evil. For the next 200 years it's use disappears from the west European record, only resurfacing in Portugal circa 1500.

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