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has posted 55 annotations/comments since 7 November 2013.

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About Thomas Povey

Robert Harneis  •  Link

S.PEPYS to JOHN PEPYS (Sam’s father) March 27th 1680, York Buildings

Sir,

it is long since I have expressed my duty to you, and truly everyday has followed one another with some new occasion of care, so as that, though I have been in a great measure restored to the liberty of my person, my mind has continued still in thralldom, till now that it has pleased God, in a miraculous manner, to begin the work of my vindication by laying his hand upon James my butler, by a sickness whereof he is some days since dead, which led him to consider and repent the wrongs he had done me in accusing me in Parliament, which he has solemnly and publicly confessed upon the holy Sacrament to the justifying of me and my family to all the world in that part of my accusation which relates to religion; and I question not but God Almighty will be no less just to me in what concerns the rest of my charge, which he knows to be no less false than this. In the meantime his holy name be praised for what he has done in this particular.

What I have to add is the letting you know that I am commanded to attend the King the next week at Newmarket, and, by the grace of God, will go and wait on you one day in my going or return, which I presume will be either Tuesday or Saturday next, I designing to set forth hence on Monday and shall rather choose to call upon you in my going (which will be on Tuesday), for fear lest I should be commanded to accompany the court to London, where the King designs to be this day seven nights. In the meantime trusting in God to find you in good health, and with my most humble duty presented to yourself, and my kind love to my brother and sister, and their family,

I remain

Sir, your ever obedient son,

S. P.

About Thomas Povey

Robert Harneis  •  Link

Robert Harneis 2 days ago • Link • Flag
'God deliver me in my owne business of my bill out of his hands, and if ever I foul my fingers with him again let me suffer for it!' Just as well he continued to put up with the 'foole' Povey. Long after the diary it was Povey who saved his bacon after an attempt to frame him during the Popish plot which caused hime to spend six weeks in the Tower of London.

From Pages 91 & 93, The Letters and the Second Diary of Samuel Pepys F.R.S. J.M.Dent and sons London 1932

S.PEPYS to THOMAS POVEY

Ash Wednesday night, February 25, 1679-80

Sir,

An occasion offers itself wherein you may exercise that kindness which you have sometimes exchanged with me; and it is this. You may, I doubt not, have heard that one James, who had sometimes been my servant, has been made use of as my accuser. He is now upon his sickbed, and, as I am told, near the point of death, and has declared himself inclined to ease his conscience of something wherein I may be nearly concerned, with a particular willingness to open himself to you, whom he says he has known and observed during his serving the Duke of Buckingham and me. You may please, therefore in charity to me as well as to the dying man, to give him a visit tomorrow morning, when I shall appoint one to conduct you to his lodging. It may be you may hesitate herein, because of the friendship which I no less know you to have with Mister Harbord than you know him to have of ill will against me, and of the effects of it under which I still remain, of being held obnoxious to others, to whom you bear great reverence. But that makes me rather to importune you to the taking this trouble upon you, because your candour is such, that, with a fair and equal indifferency, you will hear and represent what that dying man shall relate to you, who, it is likely, will reveal nothing at this hour but truth; and it is truth only, and the God thereof, to which I appeal, and which will, I hope, vindicate my reputation, and free me from the misunderstandings which I find many ingenuous and worthy persons have had of me, from their being seduced by the false testimonies which have engained and improved to my disadvantage, even to the hazard of my life and estate, and no less to the disturbing of the government, than to the raising injurious reflections upon those public trust in which I have (much to your knowledge) carried myself diligently, and (I am sure) faithfully. And in this I the rather take the liberty of opening myself thus freely and amply to you upon this occasion, because I would move you the more strongly, to take upon you this just and charitable office, so much importing others, as well as

Your most humble servant

S.Pepys

James died March 20, 1680


Robert Harneis 2 days ago • Link • Flag
This is a the letter he sent to his father after James died letting him know how it all turned out - and indirectly how he was back in favour with the King.

About Thursday 16 February 1664/65

Robert Harneis  •  Link

This is a the letter he sent to his father after James died letting him know how it all turned out - and indirectly how he was back in favour with the King.

S.PEPYS to JOHN PEPYS (Sam’s father) March 27th 1680, York Buildings

Sir,

it is long since I have expressed my duty to you, and truly everyday has followed one another with some new occasion of care, so as that, though I have been in a great measure restored to the liberty of my person, my mind has continued still in thralldom, till now that it has pleased God, in a miraculous manner, to begin the work of my vindication by laying his hand upon James my butler, by a sickness whereof he is some days since dead, which led him to consider and repent the wrongs he had done me in accusing me in Parliament, which he has solemnly and publicly confessed upon the holy Sacrament to the justifying of me and my family to all the world in that part of my accusation which relates to religion; and I question not but God Almighty will be no less just to me in what concerns the rest of my charge, which he knows to be no less false than this. In the meantime his holy name be praised for what he has done in this particular.

What I have to add is the letting you know that I am commanded to attend the King the next week at Newmarket, and, by the grace of God, will go and wait on you one day in my going or return, which I presume will be either Tuesday or Saturday next, I designing to set forth hence on Monday and shall rather choose to call upon you in my going (which will be on Tuesday), for fear lest I should be commanded to accompany the court to London, where the King designs to be this day seven nights. In the meantime trusting in God to find you in good health, and with my most humble duty presented to yourself, and my kind love to my brother and sister, and their family,

I remain

Sir, your ever obedient son,

S. P.

About Thursday 16 February 1664/65

Robert Harneis  •  Link

'God deliver me in my owne business of my bill out of his hands, and if ever I foul my fingers with him again let me suffer for it!' Just as well he continued to put up with the 'foole' Povey. Long after the diary it was Povey who saved his bacon after an attempt to frame him during the Popish plot which caused hime to spend six weeks in the Tower of London.

From Pages 91 & 93, The Letters and the Second Diary of Samuel Pepys F.R.S. J.M.Dent and sons London 1932

S.PEPYS to THOMAS POVEY

Ash Wednesday night, February 25, 1679-80

Sir,

An occasion offers itself wherein you may exercise that kindness which you have sometimes exchanged with me; and it is this. You may, I doubt not, have heard that one James, who had sometimes been my servant, has been made use of as my accuser. He is now upon his sickbed, and, as I am told, near the point of death, and has declared himself inclined to ease his conscience of something wherein I may be nearly concerned, with a particular willingness to open himself to you, whom he says he has known and observed during his serving the Duke of Buckingham and me. You may please, therefore in charity to me as well as to the dying man, to give him a visit tomorrow morning, when I shall appoint one to conduct you to his lodging. It may be you may hesitate herein, because of the friendship which I no less know you to have with Mister Harbord than you know him to have of ill will against me, and of the effects of it under which I still remain, of being held obnoxious to others, to whom you bear great reverence. But that makes me rather to importune you to the taking this trouble upon you, because your candour is such, that, with a fair and equal indifferency, you will hear and represent what that dying man shall relate to you, who, it is likely, will reveal nothing at this hour but truth; and it is truth only, and the God thereof, to which I appeal, and which will, I hope, vindicate my reputation, and free me from the misunderstandings which I find many ingenuous and worthy persons have had of me, from their being seduced by the false testimonies which have engained and improved to my disadvantage, even to the hazard of my life and estate, and no less to the disturbing of the government, than to the raising injurious reflections upon those public trust in which I have (much to your knowledge) carried myself diligently, and (I am sure) faithfully. And in this I the rather take the liberty of opening myself thus freely and amply to you upon this occasion, because I would move you the more strongly, to take upon you this just and charitable office, so much importing others, as well as

Your most humble servant

S.Pepys

James died March 20, 1680

About Wednesday 7 December 1664

Robert Harneis  •  Link

‘I was sorry I had no better cheer for Povy; for the foole may be useful, and is a cunning fellow in his way, which is a strange one, and that, that I meet not in any other man, nor can describe in him.’
It is a long lane that has no turning. The ‘foole’ turned out to be very useful indeed at a crucial moment during Sam’s adventures at the height of the Popish plot. Sam was falsely accused of treason and being a Catholic. James, Pepys former butler was a key prosecution witness who had been suborned by one of the Earl of Shaftesbury’ s shadier hangers on, Colonel Scott. In February 1680, James unexpectedly fell mortally sick and, in a religious age, wanted to clear his conscience before death of the wrong he had done Pepys. He was prepared to make a deathbed confession but only to Thomas Povey who had always treated him kindly. In a dramatic late night appeal, Sam wrote to Povey asking him to go to James’ death bed and take down his confession, which Povey did. As a result Sam was cleared and James died happy, or at least happier, shortly afterwards.

When I have five minutes I will add the letter from Sam to Povey which is in the 1935 edition of Samuel Pepys Letters & the Second Diary 1656-1703 Ed. R.G.Howarth Dent & Sons.
I apologise to readers who already know the story but I was struck by the irony of today’ s entry.

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.

About Tuesday 23 February 1663/64

Robert Harneis  •  Link

After the the diary ends, during the Popish plot paranoia that seized England - a bit like the current Russophobia but much more vicious, - he does take a bad fall but he does have the heart and perhaps the luck, to deal with it. He understood very well the shifting political sands and dangerous currents he and his contempories had to contend with. As did Charles II.

About Sunday 21 February 1663/64

Robert Harneis  •  Link

RSGII I seem to remember, on visiting a castle in the Dordogne, being told they kept them in baths full of brine to harden for at least ten years before use. After the big storm in eastern and northern France in 1996(?) that devastated many forests, for years afterwards huge amounts of pine tree trunks were piled up and sprayed continually with water to stop them decaying.

About Saturday 6 February 1663/64

Robert Harneis  •  Link

More than a little off subject is the tragic life of Ignaz Semmilweis 1818-1865, a Hungarian obstetrician who drastically reduced mortality amongst mothers by washing hands and instruments with chlorinated lime. Unfortuately he could not explain why the procedure was so effective which enabled his numerous medical enemies to prevent the spread of his ideas. They eventually got him sacked and as a result the mortality rate soared again, which troubled them not a bit. To read the whole astonishing story see - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignaz_Semmelweis

About Wednesday 3 February 1663/64

Robert Harneis  •  Link

@ Louise - I think it is a bit of an assumption that rape was more likely by upper class cads. There were and are plenty of lower class cads. Expendable babies - I have observed over time that concern for children has increased as the number of them has decreased. I suspect that is no coincidence and does not mean we are necessarily 'better' than our ancestors. Whatever, this is indeed a chilling entry but on the other hand Pepys is astonishly frank about his feelings, God forgive him.