Thursday 12 March 1667/68

Up, and to the office, where all the morning, at noon home, and after dinner with wife and Deb., carried them to Unthanke’s, and I to Westminster Hall expecting our being with the Committee this afternoon about Victualling business, but once more waited in vain. So after a turn or two with Lord Brouncker, I took my wife up and left her at the ‘Change while I to Gresham College, there to shew myself; and was there greeted by Dr. Wilkins, Whistler, and others, as the patron of the Navy Office, and one that got great fame by my late speech to the Parliament. Here I saw a great trial of the goodness of a burning glass, made of a new figure, not spherical (by one Smithys, I think, they call him), that did burn a glove of my Lord Brouncker’s from the heat of a very little fire, which a burning glass of the old form, or much bigger, could not do, which was mighty pretty. Here I heard Sir Robert Southwell give an account of some things committed to him by the Society at his going to Portugall, which he did deliver in a mighty handsome manner.1 Thence went away home, and there at my office as long as my eyes would endure, and then home to supper, and to talk with Mr. Pelling, who tells me what a fame I have in the City for my late performance; and upon the whole I bless God for it. I think I have, if I can keep it, done myself a great deal of repute. So by and by to bed.

11 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Royal Society today at Arundel House — from the Hooke Folio Online

March. 12. 1667/8/ mr. smethwicks glasses were tryed againe and his telescope compared with an other Longer telescope and the Obiect glasses exchanged, it was still bound to exceed the other in goodnesse and his burning concaue being compared with a sphericall burning glasse of almost twice the diameter and held to the fire it Burnt gloues whereas the other sphericall ones would not burn at all. the authour was againe encouragd by the Society to proceed with in this inuention with all vigour possible and because It was noe cleer Sky at this time, it was desired that the telescope might be produced once more on their day next.

Mr. Hooke made a proposition of a new way of his for grinding optick glasses which he was desired to giue in Writing

(Sr. R Southwell. tht he had lodged the quadrant wth a body of men at Lisbon that addicted themselues to mathematicks. amongst the rest D: antonio aluarez da Cunha who was now elected [ ])-

Falconieri & magalotti presented Saggi di naturali [ ])

the tying the Arterys of a dog againe tryd vnsuccessfully. -

The Curator brought in a Description of the wind gathering Engine but took it home againe promising to returne it at next meeting

(Sr Th: Devaux . from walsh. of a rock in England whereon were found mosse ferne sticks wood blackberrys & Rasberry all petrifyed). weighing of mixt metalls to be prosecuted next Day.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I to Gresham College, there to shew myself;...."

Pepys may well have gone to Gresham College to "shew himself" -- encountering some Royal Society members where the Royal Exchange was housed following the Great Fire, but the Society's demonstration theatre at this time was at Arundel House and just Mr. Hooke's "home" was in Gresham College, from which he will "returne" his "Description of the wind gathering Engine" next week.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary

12th March, 1668. Went to visit Sir John Cotton, who had me into his library, full of good MSS., Greek and Latin, but most famous for those of the Saxon and English antiquities, collected by his grandfather.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

@ John Evelyn’s Diary "but most famous for those of the Saxon and English antiquities,..."

A splendid understatement: the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts in the world, including the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Beowulf-manuscript, two of the earliest copies of Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, and five manuscripts of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Biblical manuscripts, including an early illustrated copy of the Book of Genesis (the “Cotton Genesis”), the Cotton Hexateuch, the Vespasian Psalter, the Winchester Psalter, and the Heliand (a version of the Gospels in Old Saxon verse). Anglo-Saxon and medieval British charters, including two of the four surviving contemporary exemplifications of Magna Carta (1215).

for the full summary & links to Lindisfarne Gospels and Magan Carta images see:

For the Wikipedia entry, with links to entries and facsimiles of many other of the major Mss:

Mary  •  Link

ladies don't walk.

Sam apparently picks his wife up from Unthankes and conveys her to the New Exchange, the one at Charing Cross and the other a short way up The Strand (a position opposite present day Bedford Street). The distance between the two points cannot have been above half a mile and was probably closer to 500 yards. Perhaps the streets were particularly nasty this morning, or perhaps it simply wasn't done for ladies to be seen walking, especially when one of them is the wife of the Man of the Moment.

Mary  •  Link

postscript to the above.

The New Exchange, for those who are very familiar with The Strand, stood approximately where Top Shop is situated today, roughly halfway between Shell Mex House and Charing Cross Station.

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

Sam's brief concerns about getting a swollen head the other day seem to have vanished. He is basking once again in the fame of his "late performance".

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Here I saw a great trial of the goodness of a burning glass, made of a new figure, not spherical (by one Smithys, I think, they call him), that did burn a glove of my Lord Brouncker’s from the heat of a very little fire, which a burning glass of the old form, or much bigger, could not do, which was mighty pretty."

"With [this] we will win the next war...And the one after that." -"Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid"

I imagine at the best of times then London streets were something you would prefer to avoid...Horse manure, other refuse, dirt, people crowding the streets...Some with ill intent. That Sam can afford to carry Bess even a short distance is probably a great blessing.

Don O'Shea  •  Link

Regarding the burning glass, a biconvex lens (two oppositely facing spherical surfaces), while producing substantial optical power, shorter focal length, also has greater spherical aberration resulting in a softer focus.

Changing to a meniscus lens (two spherical surfaces of different radii with their centers of curvature on the same side of the lens) or to a plano-convex lens (sphere plus flat surfaces) reduces spherical aberration providing a tighter focus. The larger diameter of a lens will collect more light, but it doesn't help if image at the focus is blurred by aberration.

pepfie  •  Link

The Sunday Gazette March 8 1667:

Former roundhead, St. Pepys, patron of the Navy Board, raised to the honours of the altar!

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