Annotations and comments

Robert Harneis has posted 30 annotations/comments since 7 November 2013.

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About Thursday 22 September 1664

Robert Harneis  •  Link

"he did give me some advice, though not so good as he would have done at any other time of the year"
I wonder if the logic of this is that timber is cut after the leaves are off the trees and the sap has stopped rising. 'Deales', which I take it are planks, would be less available and more expensive in September, immediately before the autumn when felled timber again becomes easily available.

"...she tells me she thinks she is with child, but I neither believe nor desire it. But God's will be done!..."
In the dim and distant (pre-pill) days when having children was still an issue, the world seemed to be divided into those that could hardly stop having children and those that could not have them at all. At the time I recall that, amongst our friends who did not have children, they very often said they did not want them. I tended not to believe them. Maybe I was biased.

About Saturday 28 May 1664

Robert Harneis  •  Link

'Good discourse, Sir W. Rider especially much fearing the issue of a Dutch warr, wherein I very highly commend him.'
Interesting that they are both very doubtful of the wisdom of the whole gung-ho war business. But interesting also for the '...wherein I very highly commend him.' rather than 'commended him'. Does this mean that as someone directly involved he listened approvingly but did not feel able to comment?

About Wednesday 11 May 1664

Robert Harneis  •  Link

Nate Lockwood "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'."
Would you mind giving us a clue as to what the above cryptic utterance means or at least a source to follow up? The only thing I know about this is the old comic line
'Hogamous, higamous Man is polygamous Higamous, hogamousWoman monogamous.'

About Friday 6 May 1664

Robert Harneis  •  Link

The word carpenter comes from the French charpentier but in France a 'charpentier' is a skilled artisan who is an expert in structural woodwork, nowadays mostly roof timbers but in former times also the timber framing of 'olde worldie' timber framed houses that they would construct from green wood, usually oak, cut down in the local forest, laid out on the village square, the joints numbered with roman numerals and then assembled on site. If they could get it they liked to use chestnut because it is resistant to woodworm. Apparently it doesn't taste nice. One of the advantages of the system was that in an inheritance the houses could be taken to pieces and reassembled on another piece of land, so the land could go to one heir and the house to another. Completely off subject, timber framed houses are very resistant to earthquakes in that they bend and twist rather than breaking and are much studied today by Japanese earthquakeologists. A further advantage, discovered in the close quarter fighting of the Second World War, was that high velocity tank shells, more often than not, went through them rather than knocking them down. Household carpentry is done by the 'menuisier' from 'menu' meaning small. Cabinet makers are 'ébinistes' from ebony - 'l'ébène'. The nearest thing to a charpentier in English is what used to be known in the days of wooden sailing ships as the ship's carpenter. Voila!

About Friday 22 April 1664

Robert Harneis  •  Link

Cape Henry 2007 '"...and so by water against tide, it being a little coole, to Greenwich." How often do we pass over this line in the diary without a thought for the man who, by sheer muscle, earned pennies hauling his fare against the elements.'

I doubt that one man however big his muscles would be able to row Sam against the tide to Greenwich.

About Tuesday 5 April 1664

Robert Harneis  •  Link

Hubbub: Filth, Noise and Stench in England, 1600-1770, What about Scotland and Dr Johnson's remark, ' As we marched slowly along, he grumbled in my ear, “I smell you in the dark!"'

About Saturday 2 April 1664

Robert Harneis  •  Link

Pedro on 3 Apr 2007 - 'It does seem strange that the promoters of war think that they only have to turn up to win.' Something happens to war planners when they get into a cosey secret huddle and persuade themselves that it will be a cake walk. They forget the basic rule that if the other guy did not think he had a chance there would be no war. Or as Churchill put in more grandiloquent words written before the Second World War but after the terrible lessons of the Second - ‘Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on that strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events; weak, incompetent or arrogant commanders; untrustworthy allies; hostile neutrals; malignant fortune; ugly surprises and awful miscalculations. They all take their seat at the council board.‘
Every one should read 'The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914' by Professor Christopher Clark. All the contending parties except perhaps the Turks and Hungarians thought it would be 'smooth and easy'
Off topic I'm afraid but horrifically relevant today... and I hope you are still out there Pedro.

About Friday 18 March 1663/64

Robert Harneis  •  Link

'Call no man happy 'til he be dead.'
Burial round the church was the norm in Britain and France as far as I know until quite recent times. Problems of space, and in France, the separation of church and state in 1905 changed things. Historically, you were nearer to God the closer in you were buried. For those outside being buried where the water from the church roof fell on your tomb was a plus. 'Women and men separate'. In a remote village in the Lot until recently and maybe still, the men and women from local families, including married couples, sat on opposite sides of the church durng the service. It was considered 'correct' and showing proper respect to visit the house of the deceased and view the body, the night before the funeral, before the coffin was closed. Funerals for the old were quietly jovial affairs with the men all outside discussing the weather, the price of sheep at the local market, whilst the women were in the church doing the right thing. Occasionally one would come out and tell us to keep our voices down. Local squabbles (numerous) were forgotten for the day. Numbers attending were large. Funerals for the unexpected deaths of the young and the very young were not so funny. Occasionally the local shops closed for the afternoon out of respect. Sometimes everybody was invited to the house for a drink and something to eat. All pretty similar to Tom's funeral and no doubt rapidly passing away along with the accompanying 10,000 year old agricultural society.

About Friday 4 March 1663/64

Robert Harneis  •  Link

I never had so much discourse with the Duke before, and till now did ever fear to meet him.
Andrew Hamilton '-- what's going to be the effect on our man? Hope you are still out there Andrew!

Momentous moment in his life it turns out. The beginning of his close association with the royal family, becoming the Duke's man, which makes his career but also takes him within an inch of the public executioner. With his first glimpse of just how smart Charles is, on March 2nd chatting with Bragby, I think this period marks the moment when the King and the Duke decided he was 'one of us' and fit for the most important business. The apparent reconciliation with Sandwich is no coincidence.

About Wednesday 2 March 1663/64

Robert Harneis  •  Link

'That nobody almost understands or judges of business better than the King, if he would not be guilty of his father’s fault to be doubtfull of himself, and easily be removed from his own opinion.'

Is this the first time that Pepys picks up on the fact that the King is a whole lot smarter than his public 'sex and drugs and rock and roll' image? There is a fascinating account in Arthur Bryant's The Saviour of the Navy around page 30 of Charles' deft management in front of the royal Councilof the accusations against the navy by Commissioners appointed by the House of Commmons. Sam was resposible for preparing and delivering the defence of the navy and the King presided. Every now and then he slips in little bits of information or good humoured comments and makes sure his dog in the fight Sam does not get too carried away. It is an impressive performance and crucial in defeating the anti-Navy Office gang in their attempts to prove that the money spent on the navy was being wasted or that things were much more econonically managed under Cromwell.