Saturday 4 November 1665
I have six or seaven men who have spent us a greate deale of mony, and care at Deale, who are likely never to be cured, having some of them been dissmembrd2, others dissabl’d by ulcerate sores of inveterate malignity, totaly unfit for any service: I once made it my suite to you (and you seemd to consent) that such persons might be discharg’d: be pleas’d to signifie what my Deputy, and Chirurgeon (who are both ready to certifie this) shall do with them to
most obedient Servant
Source: PRO S.P. 29/136, f.31. Endorsed by P, “4 9ber. 65 Says=Court. Esqr Evelin.” The letter is included by Marburg (her M8) who did not note that the surviving manuscript seems only to be the second half of the original letter. For this reason no destination address survives. The missing text probably amounted to at most around six or seven lines. However, the clear space immediately above the first line suggests that there is a possibility that only an opening “Sir” may be missing. The letter, like most of those from this period, is not represented in E’s copy-letter book and its original length cannot therefore be verified.
- MS: “Says-Court 4th:9br:-65” at foot of letter. The following day the men found time to relax as Pepys described in remarkable and memorable detail (diary, 5 November 1665). E, typically, restricts his own diary entry for 5 November to a notice of a sermon ↩ .
E’s diary entry for 24 March 1672 during the Third Dutch War is a particularly graphic account of the misery such amputations created:
I din’d with Mr. Commissioner Cox having seene that morning my Chirurgeon cut off a poore creaturs Leg, a little under the knee, first cutting the living and untainted flesh above the Gangreene with a sharp knife, and then sawing off the bone in an instant; then with searing and stoopes stanching the blood, which issued aboundantly; the stout and gallant man, enduring it with incredible patience, and that without being bound to his chaire, as is usual in such painefull operations, or hardly making a face or crying oh: I had hardly such courage enough to be present, nor could I endure to see any more such cruel operations.