Annotations and comments

Nate Lockwood has posted 81 annotations/comments since 10 April 2013.


Second Reading

About Thursday 23 November 1665

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Nick, there was an age of consent in Pepys day, 12 years old.

"In 1275, the first age of consent was set in England, at age 12 (Westminster 1 statute).[3] In 1875, the Offences Against the Person Act raised the age to 13 in Great Britain and Ireland, and ten years later the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885 raised it to 16.[4][5] In 1917, a bill raising the age of consent in Great Britain and Ireland from 16 to 17 was defeated by only one vote."

The quoted paragraph is from this much longer Wikipedia article:…

Let's not get too self righteous:
In the US many colonies and later the states had ages of consent of 10 or 12 years but a legal defence that the child was not virgin was accepted. Many of those laws were changed starting in the late 19th century but some continued through the late 20th century:…

I think that Europe might have had similar laws.

About Wednesday 12 June 1667

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

"The History Guy' has a short blog explaining the origins of the war, the audacious raid, and the consequences. He shows paintings, drawings, maps, layout of the shipyard, etc. and mentions Pepys. Here's the link:
I wonder how long it will last.

About Sunday 18 June 1665

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Caulking, oakum, etc.
When sailors had ought to do they would be placed on deck far enough apart so it would be hard for them to converse. They'd then painstakingly unravel old hawsers that were no longer strong enough to be used and roll the fibers for caulking. No one is idle shipboard.

About Saturday 25 March 1665

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

I agree with MR and AS and note that a great driving force for very accurate clocks was to solve the longitude problem which was of great interest for navigation especially for the merchant navy; and the search was on, but not solved, in the 17th century.

About Wednesday 1 March 1664/65

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

"townsend 18th century cooking" has videos on 18th century American cooking and living on YouTube and that's only roughly 50 to 100 years after these diaries.

"French" bread is described. It's made with extra ingredients (oil and egg? Can't remember) that results in a thick hard flakey crust, it looks as if one could tap it with a spoon and get a drum sound.

The interesting part is that the brown crust is removed by cutting and reserved for other cooking leaving a sorry looking but apparently really tasty loaf of bread.
I mention this because the recipe quite possibly came from England and might have been used in Pepys time.

Do we have any bread recipes from this era?

About Saturday 25 February 1664/65

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

When I was first in Brazil in 1991 I did some reading to prepare myself. One author said that 'the Portuguese brought Christianity to the Indians and the Indians gave the Portuguese the habit of bathing: The Portuguese got the better deal'.

About Friday 24 February 1664/65

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Re: Navigation. Estimating the ship's latitude by the altitude of the sun at local apparent noon (LAN) or at twilight by Polaris would have been a welcome factor in dead reckoning especially if the desired course should along a meridian or parallel. It's really hard to take a good sight when the ship is in tropical waters.

Using the sun one takes a sight around 9 am and another at LAN, say 3 and half hours later and 'advances' the 9 o'clock line along the track by the distance that they reckon the ship traveled in that time using their best guess for speed (dead reckoning). The Captain now has the important noon position (more or less)j.

BTW 20 years ago, around 1988, I discovered that the California Maritime Academy was no longer teaching celestial navigation. At some point neither was the Annapolis Naval Academy but I've heard that they have recently reinstated the course.

About Monday 20 February 1664/65

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

" Basically you sing repeatedly the sentence 'Oh sir Jasper do not touch me' and at each iteration leave off one of the words. ..."

Try this with a rising pitch for each word the contrast by starting with a high pitch and lowering the pitch for each word. There's a world of difference (neglecting that pesky 'do').

About Tuesday 3 January 1664/65

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

"Light houses". The lights, 'leading lights' in the British Isles, were arranged with the low one some distance from out, toward the channel, from the higher rear light. When the lights were seen one over the other the vessel would be in the channel. Some skill was required even then as often there were currents that would push the vessel to port or starboard unless it crabbed.

Since the vessel needing the light had to enter the harbor it could easily be identified and billed.

Today, or 50 years ago when I was was in the US Navy, we called them 'range lights'.

This link should be good for a few years before it rots:…

About Wednesday 12 October 1664

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

In answer to Ruben those many years ago.
In my experience the flags would be stitched together. Paint would flake off and the dyes, especially those of that time, would fade quickly.

About Tuesday 26 July 1664

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

I doubt that Bess would be mortified that Sam acknowledged that she and Sam are childless as that would be common informationk; but for him to discussed what they had already tried might embarrass her. I'll bet that she has discussed this with some other women as women are wont to do.

About Sunday 12 June 1664

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

I first found it starting a chapter in a novel by Dana Stabenow (if you google the sentence it will show up) but it's listed in Wikiquote:…

I found it interesting because it's the earliest 'freedom of the seas' assertion I've encountered. I know from my long, long, ago naval classes that Alfred Thayer Mahan espoused freedom of the seas and examined it in his book 'The Influence of Sea Power upon History', although I've not read it from cover to cover. Freedom of the seas facilitates commerce and, BTW, projection of power.

About Sunday 12 June 1664

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Regarding the looming war with the Dutch, I found this quote attributed to Elizabeth I

“The use of the sea and air is common to all; neither can a title to the ocean belong to any people or private persons, forasmuch as neither nature nor public use and custom perait any possession, thereof.”

About Friday 10 June 1664

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Maps were expensive, requiring a mapmaker, engraver, printer, papermaker, colorist and helpers. The engraver engraved the mapmaker's map onto large copper plates, in reverse of course. The plates were heated, inked, and pressed onto the dampened paper. Finally the colorist colored the map by hand. The link doesn't explain the heating but I interpret that the plate needed to be cleaned, heated, and re-inked for each pressing. The printer made the maps to be sold by a distributor either separately or in and atlas.

Here's the link:…

About Wednesday 11 May 1664

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Robert, sorry about the tech talk.

1. The ratio of weight of testicles to body weight is correlated 'promiscuity' for most animals, that is, a very low ratio correlates with monogamy and a high ratio with promiscuity such as a bull or a ram. The ratio for humans fall in the low end, nearly or somewhat monogamous.

2. Sexual dimorphism is the difference in appearance of males and females of animals. Some birds mate for life (or at least the breeding season), that is, they are monogamous. They are the same size and color and it's difficult or impossible to tell the males from the females without an examination. Evolutionary pressures are pretty much the same for both sexes. We can tell males from females for most animals as they males tend to be larger than the females and may be colored differently, common in birds, or have other characteristics such as antlers, manes, etc. These are used to intimidate rival males and to attract females. Sexual dimorphism is correlated with promiscuity. The average height and weight of men is greater than the average woman, men, on the average are more muscular and have beards. This indicates that we are not monogamous - on the average but are on the low end of the promiscuity scale.

3. The 'head' of the human penis is shaped in such a way as it can 'scrape' out semen in a woman's vagina. This is not necessary with monogamy so it implies promiscuity.

When I first heard about the study that Paul Dyson referenced I thought the promiscuity kind of high. The more recent study I thought a bit low but it was regional and not world wide and those studies are hard to do. If I can find the reference I'll post it here.

In the last year a new article said that a species of bird in the British Isles in two or three hundred years of birdwatching had never been seen to 'cheat' but males and females could be easily distinguished. Then some watchers got their hands on night vision goggles. In the dark the males would scoot off and mate with females whose mates were doing the same thing!

About Wednesday 11 May 1664

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

"Indeed, studies suggest that as many as one in six of us may have a father out there who is different to the one we thought we had. One piece of research in the 70s accidentally discovered that up to 30% of a group of around 250 women had a child who could not have been the offspring of its putative father."

Unfortunately the data used by this study, or probably a later study, was from a company that would confirm paternity or nonpaternity using DNA. People who used the company's services were already suspicious so the data are biased and merely show that those who had reason to believe in the nonpaternity were correct 30% of the time.

A more recent study published in 2016 (IIRC) has produced a better estimate about an order of magnitude smaller which is more in line with the biological hints (ratio of testicular mass to body mass, sexual dimorphism, shape of the head of the penis, etc.) that suggest that humans are 'mostly monogamous'.

About Friday 8 April 1664

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

I suspect that 'lantern' referred to section of windows in the aft cabin from the online OED although there's no nautical reference and while I was able to find good images, HMS Victory for one, they all used landlubber terminology:

"A square, curved, or polygonal structure on the top of a dome or a room, with the sides glazed or open so as to admit light.
‘the building is well lit by the ring of windows in the octagonal lantern’"