Sunday 24 January 1668/69

(Lord’s day). An order brought me in bed, for the Principal Officers to attend the King at my Lord Keeper’s this afternoon, it being resolved late the last night; and, by the warrant, I find my Lord Keeper did not then know the cause of it, the messenger being ordered to call upon him, to tell it him by the way, as he come to us. So I up, and to my Office to set down my Journall for yesterday, and so home, and with my wife to Church, and then home, and to dinner, and after dinner out with my wife by coach, to cozen Turner’s, where she and The. gone to church, but I left my wife with Mrs. Dyke and Joyce Norton, whom I have not seen till now since their coming to town: she is become an old woman, and with as cunning a look as ever, and thence I to White Hall, and there walked up and down till the King and Duke of York were ready to go forth; and here I met Will. Batelier, newly come post from France, his boots all dirty. He brought letters to the King, and I glad to see him, it having been reported that he was drowned, for some days past, and then, he being gone, I to talk with Tom Killigrew, who told me and others, talking about the playhouse, that he is fain to keep a woman on purpose at 20s. a week to satisfy 8 or 10 of the young men of his house, whom till he did so he could never keep to their business, and now he do. By and by the King comes out, and so I took coach, and followed his coaches to my Lord Keeper’s, at Essex House, where I never was before, since I saw my old Lord Essex lie in state when he was dead; a large, but ugly house. Here all the Officers of the Navy attended, and by and by were called in to the King and Cabinet, where my Lord, who was ill, did lie upon the bed, as my old Lord Treasurer, or Chancellor, heretofore used to; and the business was to know in what time all the King’s ships might be repaired, fit for service. The Surveyor answered, in two years, and not sooner. I did give them hopes that, with supplies of money suitable, we might have them all fit for sea some part of the summer after this. Then they demanded in what time we could set out forty ships. It was answered, as they might be chosen of the newest and most ready, we could, with money, get forty ready against May. The King seemed mighty full that we should have money to do all that we desired, and satisfied that, without it, nothing could be done: and so, without determining any thing, we were dismissed; and I doubt all will end in some little fleete this year, and those of hired merchant-men, which would indeed be cheaper to the King, and have many conveniences attending it, more than to fit out the King’s own; and this, I perceive, is designed, springing from Sir W. Coventry’s counsel; and the King and most of the Lords, I perceive, full of it, to get the King’s fleete all at once in condition for service. Thence I with Mr. Wren in his coach to my cozen Turner’s for discourse sake, and in our way he told me how the business of the Parliament is wholly laid aside, it being overruled now, that they shall not meet, but must be prorogued, upon this argument chiefly, that all the differences between the two Houses, and things on foot, that were matters of difference and discontent, may be laid aside, and must begin again, if ever the House shall have a mind to pursue them. They must begin all anew. Here he set me down, and I to my cozen Turner, and stayed and talked a little; and so took my wife, and home, and there to make her read, and then to supper, and to bed. At supper come W. Batelier and supped with us, and told us many pretty things of France, and the greatness of the present King.

15 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Tom Killigrew...told me and others, talking about the playhouse, that he is fain to keep a woman on purpose at 20s. a week to satisfy 8 or 10 of the young men of his house "

L&M remind "his house" was the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, of which Killigrew was manager.

"to my Lord Keeper's, at Essex House, where I never was before, since I saw my old Lord Essex lie in state when he was dead; a large, but ugly house "

Essex House, Strand, from Hollar's View of London, 1647.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"hired merchant-men"

So merchant shipping could be adapted for warfare? Or was this just a question of having some ships sailing about under the Royal flag to intimidate a bit? Or was this for troop transport for a land war?

Chris Squire  •  Link

' ' . . on purpose . . to satisfy . . the young men of his house' . . P6 . . b. In order to do something; with the particular design or aim that. Also: expressly for or †to (something).
. . 1600    Shakespeare Much Ado about Nothing ii. iii. 38   How stil the euening is, As husht on purpose to grace harmonie.
. . a1713    T. Ellwood Hist. Life (1714) 166   [He] had thrust himself among our Friends,‥on purpose to be sent to Prison with them . . ' [OED]

'cunning . . 4. Possessing keen intelligence, wit, or insight; knowing, clever.
. . 1671    J. Webster Metallographia vi. 106   Wiser heads, and cunninger wits.
1710    A. Philips Pastorals ii. 55   Against ill Luck all cunning Foresight fails . . ' [OED]

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...met Will. Batelier,.." I imagine Will was glad to know he wasn't drowned...

"Sorry about that, Will."

"That's ok, every one thought you were losing your head after Chatham."

Truly, life upon Tom Killigrew's wicked stage ain't no place for a girl...Though the same might be said for Samuel Pepys' office given the fate of many there.

George Mosley  •  Link

"a woman on purpose at 20 s. a week":

Drury Lane had a reputation, to say the least. In particular, it had a reputation as the wit's house, and the women who worked there in menial positions were constantly charged by the reformist press with prostitution and quasi-prostitution. It is difficult at any historical remove to separate the pseudo-scandal of women on the stage and on display from the genuine sex trade that might or might not have taken place, but there is plenty of primary evidence that the actresses did not, but the other women working at the house might.

The orange seller girls were notorious in that respect. For a contemporary lashing, see Robert Gould, "The Play House: A Satyr." The revised edition of the poem (1709) is in *The London Stage,* but the contemporary edition (1692) is quite, quite explicit.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

a woman on purpose at 20 s. a week .... difficult subject, deftly handled by George. Let George do it. I was mightily interested, but held my breath until George explained it so clearly. If a shilling was a day's wages, this woman was doing all right, so she must have been doing something.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"my Lord Keeper.., who was ill, did lie upon the bed, as my old Lord Treasurer, or Chancellor, heretofore used to"

L&M note all three had suffered serious and prolonged attacks of gout.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Thanks for the excellent links, Allen!

Phil Stokes  •  Link

Australian Susan- Merchant ships were often hired to make up any shortfalls. They were often armed already, but were usually given additional guns. Their advantage was that they were manned by experienced sailors, but the disadvantage was that their captains would often avoid battle in order to safeguard their ship. In the Dutch Navy hired merchantmen were often larger and carried more guns than the regular warships!

Australian Susan  •  Link

The Merchant Marine

In the Napoleonic wars, ships belonging to some of my forebears were requisitioned for the King's service. All were lost. Then the same thing happened in WWII (same family business). These were all used in support, not as ships of the line.

languagehat  •  Link

Did the government compensate your family?

Australian Susan  •  Link

LH - I don't know. Probably only in long term government bonds or some such. My Uncle drowned sailing the Atlantic convoys in 1940 - he was 19.

languagehat  •  Link

Damn. War is hell. Thanks for the response!

Phil Stokes  •  Link

In Pepys day Merchantmen were put in the line of battle. Unlike Napoleonic era fleets, during the 17th century, all ships were in the line. As an example in the battle of Lowestoft (June 3rd 1665), the English fleet consisted of 100 warships, ranging in size from 14 to 86 guns, of which 24 were merchantmen of 32 to 46 guns. Thus merchantmen were not the largest ships, but the equivalent of 4th rates. The Dutch fleet consisted of 107 ships of 14 to 78 guns, of whom 12 were East India Merchantmen of 18 to 78 guns, and thus some were as big as 1st rate warships. When merchantmen were lost the owners would, in theory, be compensated, but they would never get back the full value of their vessels. However it was in the merchants interests to help the navy, since it would be their vessels that would be attacked and seized by the enemy in time of war.

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