Annotations and comments

Nate Lockwood has posted 76 annotations/comments since 10 April 2013.


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’"

About Wednesday 23 March 1663/64

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

RSGII: Is the 'sister destroyer' by any chance the USS Frank Knox DD-742? I was on site for a couple of days while they attempted to get her off. Celestial navigation could be difficult in the South China Sea. Coincidently it was said that a new cocktail appeared in Pearl Harbor - the Knox on the Rocks.

About Tuesday 15 March 1663/64

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Why would Tom and Sam have not learned French in school? Sam studied until he had a speaking knowledge of Latin and at least some Spanish and could probably read ancient Greek which I assume he knew before attending University. It's multiplication and division (and probably some other arithmetic) he had to learn later as those are tools of merchants and not particularly suitable or necessary for gentlemen).

About Tuesday 8 March 1663/64

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Urea in urine has a low ph and breaks down with ammonia as one of the products so was used for cleaning. It was used to remove hair from hides and the Romans used it to whiten teeth. I read something some time ago that suggested that indigenous women of Greenland or Iceland (can't remember which) used it to wash their hair.
My physician advised me to use a lotion for my skin, gave me a brand name and told me that the important thing was the urea in the lotion as it 'dissolves' dead skin. It does help but I don't think I'll try to save money by collecting my urine and using instead.

About Thursday 17 December 1663

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

Some time ago, but less than a decade I think, I read about a study that compared the length of marriages (before divorce) vs. ages of the couple in societies that supported both arranged marriages and (presumably) love marriages. If the couple were under about 26 arranged marriages were longer lasting but above that age love marriages lasted longer. I think that around 25 - 26 years of age men tend to have become more mature, less impulsive, etc.