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has posted 5 annotations/comments since 23 April 2020.

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About Wednesday 23 September 1668

Sam Ursu  •  Link

Kievit seems to be something of an aristocratic, one-man PR machine in his day, which probably explains how he convinced Evelyn to go all-in on the brick-making scheme to build a permanent embankment on the Thames in central London.

During the First Anglo-Dutch War, a key admiral, Cornelis Tromp, had extraordinarily bad luck with the wind and ended up getting his ships separated from the rest of the fleet (St. James Day Battle). Seen as an Orangist (pro-monarchist), Tromp was "vilified in the press" so to speak, but Kievit's sister was married to Tromp, and Kievit put out an influential pamphlet defending his brother-in-law's actions.

Kievit then began fomenting a coup against the (Republican) De Witt brothers in Holland, which led to Kievit getting exiled to England. But this openly pro-monarchical stance led to his being embraced by the newly restored English King (Charles 2). Kievit's allies then murdered (and ate the roasted livers!) of the De Witt brothers in a coup that finally succeeded in putting a royal on the throne (William 3). And then Cornelis Tromp got his revenge by blasting the English in the second Dutch-English War.

Kievit seems like a really nasty piece of work, but you have to admire just how deftly he managed to stay on the right side of history. Everyone in both England and Holland seems to have known just what a blackguard he was (he fomented at LEAST four different coup attempts), but because he was always acting to support royal power, he enjoyed a pretty swanky life.

PS - The Fire of London and the First Anglo-Dutch War more or less bankrupted Charles 2, which is probably the main reason why the brick embankment on the Thames was never built during his lifetime, rather than some flim-flammery on Kievit's part.

About Wednesday 16 September 1668

Sam Ursu  •  Link

First, reading this from a modern perspective, it truly hurts to see Pepys navigating through a world in which the SLIGHTEST act of disrespect to a man could lead to a duel or other type of violent confrontation, but groping a woman is perfectly okay. And it's not just "okay" but somehow "justified" because she didn't "protest enough." Ugh.

Frankly, today's entry is nothing new, but it does show that rather nasty, predatory side of Pepys' that is often overlooked due to his erudition and the importance of the historical events that he eyewitnessed.

Secondly, while many HUMAN mothers died of childbirth during the 1600s, the same was definitely not true of dogs. Even today, human mothers usually die during childbirth due to a mix of a) poor hygiene and b) malnutrition. Neither of these would've been such a factor for dogs in the 17th century, believe it or not.

About Thursday 6 August 1668

Sam Ursu  •  Link

"(Pistoll bullet voideded by vrine)"

Are you telling me that a guy pissed out a friggin' bullet and nobody here has one thing to say about it? No documentary links? How could such a thing even happen? Astounding!

About Tuesday 14 April 1668

Sam Ursu  •  Link

Sorry to answer your query ten years later, but the reason oranges were as expensive as a theater play is because most oranges at that time were imported from places that were really far away (primarily Palestine during Sam's time).

The greenhouse wouldn't be invented until the Victorian period, so the only way to grow a tropical fruit like oranges in chilly Europe was by constantly pumping vast amounts of heat into a building, so only a few royals (most notably the King of France at Versaille) could afford to do it.

Note: often, the heat was chemical in nature caused by the breakdown of horse manure, so the "orangeries" were powered by tons of decomposing manure changed daily.

As for "orange girls," they were thought to be a half-step above prostitutes (and actresses). They would wear "skimpy" clothing and guys would win their favor by buying overpriced oranges roughly analogous to the modern practice of putting a dollar bill in the garter of a dancer at a strip club.

Orange girls sold oranges both outside the theater (before and after the show, as well as during intermissions) and inside it (during the play), sometimes in a "private" arrangement in a side room, but not always. One orange girl became the mistress of the King of England, which was pretty scandalous.

About Monday 22 April 1667

Sam Ursu  •  Link

Just wanted to add here that that brief aside about "Poleroone" (aka Pula Run, known today simply as "Run") is incredibly important, historically speaking.

In 1664, the Dutch formally swapped the island of Run (now part of Indonesia) for the island of Manhattan. The latter was renamed New York after the Duke of York (a familiar character in Pepys' diary) and the rest, as they say, is history.

Run was officially Britain's first overseas colony and thus marks the beginning of the British Empire.

The Dutch probably thought they got the best out of the Run/Manhattan deal because it consolidated their control over the Spice Islands (now known as the Moluccas in Indonesia), but it was the Brits who had the last laugh.

Britain and France transplanted the most valuable spice plants (nutmeg, clove, et al) to other islands, and soon the price of spices cratered. The ubiquity of spices then led to them no longer being seen as elite and luxury goods, further driving down demand.

Sugar, tea, coffee, and tobacco became the "hot" commodities, and the colonies where these were produced were firmly under British/French control, leaving the Dutch holding the bag.