Monday 24 February 1667/68

Up, and to my office, where most of the morning, entering my journal for the three days past. Thence about noon with my wife to the New Exchange, by the way stopping at my bookseller’s, and there leaving my Kircher’s Musurgia to be bound, and did buy “L’illustre Bassa,” in four volumes, for my wife. Thence to the Exchange and left her; while meeting Dr. Gibbons there, he and I to see an organ at the Dean of Westminster’s lodgings at the Abby, the Bishop of Rochester’s; where he lives like a great prelate, his lodgings being very good; though at present under great disgrace at Court, being put by his Clerk of the Closet’s place. I saw his lady, of whom the ‘Terrae Filius’ of Oxford was once so merry;1 and two children, whereof one a very pretty little boy, like him, so fat and black. Here I saw the organ; but it is too big for my house, and the fashion do not please me enough; and therefore will not have it. Thence to the ‘Change back again, leaving him, and took my wife and Deb. home, and there to dinner alone, and after dinner I took them to the Nursery, —[Theatre company of young actors in training.]— where none of us ever were before; where the house is better and the musique better than we looked for, and the acting not much worse, because I expected as bad as could be: and I was not much mistaken, for it was so. However, I was pleased well to see it once, it being worth a man’s seeing to discover the different ability and understanding of people, and the different growth of people’s abilities by practise. Their play was a bad one, called “Jeronimo is Mad Again,” a tragedy. Here was some good company by us, who did make mighty sport at the folly of their acting, which I could not neither refrain from sometimes, though I was sorry for it. So away hence home, where to the office to do business a while, and then home to supper and to read, and then to bed. I was prettily served this day at the playhouse-door, where, giving six shillings into the fellow’s hand for us three, the fellow by legerdemain did convey one away, and with so much grace faced me down that I did give him but five, that, though I knew the contrary, yet I was overpowered by his so grave and serious demanding the other shilling, that I could not deny him, but was forced by myself to give it him. After I come home this evening comes a letter to me from Captain Allen, formerly Clerk of the Ropeyard at Chatham, and whom I was kind to in those days, who in recompense of my favour to him then do give me notice that he hears of an accusation likely to be exhibited against me of my receiving 50l. of Mason, the timber merchant, and that his wife hath spoke it. I am mightily beholden to Captain Allen for this, though the thing is to the best of my memory utterly false, and I do believe it to be wholly so, but yet it troubles me to have my name mentioned in this business, and more to consider how I may be liable to be accused where I have indeed taken presents, and therefore puts me on an enquiry, into my actings in this kind and prepare against a day of accusation.

  1. A scholar appointed to make a satirical and jesting speech at an Act in the University of Oxford. Mr. Christopher Wordsworth gives, in his “Social Life at the English Universities in the Eighteenth Century,” 1874, a list of terra-filii from 1591 to 1713 (pp. 296- 298, 680). The ‘terrae filius’ was sometimes expelled the university on account of the licence of his speech. The practice was discontinued early in the eighteenth century.

13 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"I took them to the Nursery, where none of us ever were before"

Not exactly. On 7 January this year Pepys wrote "I away by coach to the Nursery, where I never was yet, and there to meet my wife and Mercer and Willet as they promised; but the house did not act to-day;" http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/01/07/

They "were [there] before" but, true, hadn't seen a play there before.

Christopher Squire   Link to this

‘Nursery n.
. . 2.c. A theatre established in London for the training of actors. Obs.
1664    S. Pepys Diary 2 Aug. (1971) V. 230   Tom Killigrew‥is setting up a Nursery; that is, is going to build a house in Moore fields wherein he will have common plays acted.
1672    Duke of Buckingham Rehearsal ii. 15,   I am resolv'd, hereafter, to bend all my thoughts for the service of the Nursery, and mump your proud Players, I gad.
a1683    J. Oldham Satires in Poems (1684) 179   Then slighted by the very Nursery, May'st thou at last be forc'd to starve, like me.’ [OED]

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

"though at present under great disgrace at Court, being put by his Clerk of the Closet’s place."

Could someone please help me understand this? Thanks in advance.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

“though at present under great disgrace at Court, being put by his Clerk of the Closet’s place.”

See 6 February: “the King hath put out of the Court the two Hides, my Lord Chancellor’s two sons, and also the Bishops of Rochester and Winchester”

L&M note Clarendon's “sons Henry, Viscount Cornbuty, and Laurence Hyde — resp. Lord Chamberlain to the Queen and Mast of Robes to the King — were dismissed the court, but, thanks to the Duke of York, did not lose their posts. The bishops — Dolben of Rochester (Clerk of the Closet) and Morley of Winchester (Dean of the Chapel Royal) — were both dismissed from their court offices….” http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/02/06/#c31...

"put by" here apparently means "put out of, dismissed"

The Clerk of the Closet is responsible for advising the Private Secretary to the Sovereign on the names for candidates to fill vacancies in the Roll of Chaplains to the Sovereign. He presents Bishops for Homage to the Sovereign; examines any theological books to be presented to the Sovereign; and preaches annually in the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace [ -- in 1668 on 6 February, when Dolben's not-preaching prompted Pepys's comment].
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clerk_of_the_Closet

Jesse   Link to this

"though the thing is to the best of my memory utterly false"

I think the diary backs him up on this. I wonder if he'd refer to it if the accusation was within a reasonable range of dates.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Jesse, indeed. L&M note it was Hewer who had received Mason's present.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Pepys's determination to buy himself an organ

"I to see an organ at the Dean of Westminster’s lodgings at the Abby"

16 November 1667 "I did hear the best and the smallest organ go that ever I saw in my life, and such a one as, by the grace of God, I will have the next year, if I continue in this condition, whatever it cost me." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1667/11/16/

Size is key, no?

Christopher Squire   Link to this

Todd:

‘put by 1. trans.
a. To thrust or set aside (lit. and fig.); to reject, discount; to neglect, abandon. Formerly also: †to leave out, except; to stop, desist from (obs.).
. . c. To bar (a person) from a goal or purpose; to divert, turn away, or dissuade from; to distract. Obs.’ [OED]

So “put out of, dismissed” is indeed what is meant here.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

Thanks, Terry and Christopher!

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...but yet it troubles me to have my name mentioned in this business, and more to consider how I may be liable to be accused where I have indeed taken presents, and therefore puts me on an enquiry, into my actings in this kind and prepare against a day of accusation."

Uh-oh. But clearly Sam has always been careful about from whom he takes bribes and presents, avoiding "unreliable" types. The only real danger would be if someone big like Gauden or Warren came to grief and in panic gave testimony against him and others. He would then be in serious threat of becoming the sacrificial lamb for the titled ones, especially as he becomes more and more the face of the Naval Office to Parliament. I suspect there's a strong current of sympathy for him right now in Parliament, as the "plain" man who seems to be struggling to get things done in the Navy...His lack of a title actually working to his benefit here...But if his rep were seriously tarnished he could find himself in Pett's situation quickly.

Clement   Link to this

“…but yet it troubles me to have my name mentioned in this business, and more to consider how I may be liable to be accused where I have indeed taken presents..."

I recall, in earlier days of this site, discussion about whether professional graft was considered "acceptable" in the eyes of Pepys' contemperaries. It clearly had a nod-and-wink character to it, but he didn't seem to feel very threatened by discovery.

His current fears are confirmation that, at least in the current political climate, Sam felt disclosure of his actions would be damaging and perhaps even deemed criminal.
Remembering Sam's recent comment from the 21st, "...it was not an age to take presents in..." perhaps risk is a function of the times.

cum salis grano   Link to this

Law, morality, and acceptable behaviour rarely in agreement.
What is acceptable is made into law where those not accepting standard practices are "corraled" into following the norm.
Like modern times they are adjusting accepted practices with new laws and adjusting the religious concepts.

Evolution if not allowed becomes revolution or devolution.

Money has a funny way of adjusting ones view of the world.
Every one participates in the process but it is a question on how much sticks and does not move on.

Trickle down or pump up, which way does money flow, it is more confusing than watching a river flow up stream.
Charles has no money in the till, so where is it, Palmer has palmed her share,but tars have none.
So where is the loot, swag or be it prizes that Morgan and friends, et al have gathered?
Charles knows that when money passes through hands, some stick he has a method to stop the poorer sort from nicking gold and silver coins, serrate them, now how to stop his upper class buddies from taking too large a piece of the income, goods brought in by trading or by default of being on the wrong ship at the wrong time, prize money.

pepfie   Link to this

"...the acting not much worse, because I expected as bad as could be"

How so? Hadn't he just experienced an overwhelming example of acting, the best he ever saw in his life?

"...though I knew the contrary, yet I was overpowered by his so grave and serious demanding the other shilling, that I could not deny him, but was forced by myself to give it him."

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