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Eric the Bish has posted 30 annotations/comments since 9 July 2020.

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About The end of the second cycle

Eric the Bish  •  Link

Many many thanks, Phil, for all your efforts. In a world full of lunacy the diary has been a daily thread of sanity. Dare we hope, please, for a third cycle?

About Friday 28 May 1669

Eric the Bish  •  Link

@Phil, having come late to the party, may I request - please - that you go the third mile and when Samuel puts away his pen; you once more re-run the entire diary from the start?

About Tuesday 20 April 1669

Eric the Bish  •  Link

“… no doubt but it will be of profit to merchantmen and others, to have guns of the same force at half the charge.”
Good military leaders pay attention to logistics: with this gun you can carry less powder, or keep fighting longer. Either way is “profitable”.
“Point blank”: in popular usage, point-blank range has come to mean extremely close range; here it may mean the range where the gun will hit a target without the need to adjust the standard elevation.

About Friday 2 April 1669

Eric the Bish  •  Link

With grateful thanks to a random WordPress website – link below:
“Pothecary, Potticary — Middle English: apotecarie, ultimately from Latin apothecarius “store-keeper” (specifically of spices and drugs — only later came to mean some-one who prepared drugs, an apothecary).”
https://namenookdotcom.wordpress.com

About Thursday 25 March 1669

Eric the Bish  •  Link

Public announcement of punishment was retained in the RN until around 2000 in the “Warrant Reading” - a sailor who had, for example, been found guilty of theft from his messmates (a heinous offence and one which is highly damaging to teamwork) would be brought, under arrest, in front of a parade of those same messmates and the warrant of punishment read. He was then marched immediately to the van which would take him to military detention at Colchester.

About Wednesday 17 February 1668/69

Eric the Bish  •  Link

We “had each of us a ring”. Does anyone know what you did with the ring when you had it? I assume that over time there would be too many to continue wearing them all.

About Wednesday 17 February 1668/69

Eric the Bish  •  Link

“I have reason to thank God, and so I do now, that I was not tempted to go further.” Slight difference of language between then and now: in modern usage he certainly was “tempted to go further”! He means something like “I was not successfully tempted”. The temptation is seen as extraneous to the man himself, not coming from within but from without. Samuel does not say who is tempting him: there is no hint that the woman, the occasion of temptation, is seen as the agent of it, but nor does he name, for example, the devil as his tempter.

About Sunday 20 December 1668

Eric the Bish  •  Link

Few ships have topsails now, but the custom of saluting is maintained by dipping the ensign to a warship of one’s own nation. The flag is lowered a few feet, and kept down until the salute is returned in the same way. Once the warship’s flag is re-hoisted the first vessel re-hoists and the salute is complete. The Royal Navy certainly still take such courtesies very seriously. A sailing dinghy, without an ensign, salutes by letting the sheets fly (so the sails flap); a rowing boat by lifting the oats to the vertical, but I doubt one warship in 100 would recognise the salute. :)

About Thursday 10 December 1668

Eric the Bish  •  Link

“to the end that here as well as in Italy Obseruations may be made to fi[n]de out the precise Difference of Meridians.”

Close observation of the moons of Jupiter does provide a method of calculating longitude, that vital question for mariners, but the practical problems were insurmountable at sea. It would be 70 years before Harrison, with his clock H1, provided the necessary accuracy in measuring time which would allow the problem to be solved.

About Sunday 6 December 1668

Eric the Bish  •  Link

“A lazy sermon”. As a preacher, I too would love to know what Pepys means by this.
I could only suggest:
First, a sermon which is inadequately prepared so that the points made bear no resemblance to what the text actually says, and which may in fact reflect a misunderstanding of what the text actually says.
Second, a short sermon: there just isn’t much of it.
Third, one which was delivered in a lazy manner; especially if a full text is written beforehand which is read hurriedly, or inaccurately, or inaudibly.
Finally one which is not original to the preacher but where they have simply gone to a book of sermons and read someone else’s text.
But this is all speculation, unless anyone can point me to some examples of what Pepys actually meant!

About Sunday 22 November 1668

Eric the Bish  •  Link

“… set down my journall, for some days leaving it imperfect”. Could “some days” be five or six weeks, and “imperfect” refer to the 13 days gap in October? But it feels too long ago.

About Wednesday 4 November 1668

Eric the Bish  •  Link

“… these counsels are very mad.” - I take the “very” here to mean “truly”, rather than “extremely”. Does that sound correct?

About Sunday 23 August 1668

Eric the Bish  •  Link

… and my Shorter OED gives “offal” as an adjective which can also mean “rejected”. If this is the meaning here, and these pieces were simply too short, or the wrong shape, or otherwise unsuitable for use in a warship subject to all the stresses and strains of the sea and the enemy, then this timber would certainly have a value in another context, but it would need some administrative action to move it out of the “waste wood“ compound and get it sold.

About Sunday 23 August 1668

Eric the Bish  •  Link

Thanks San Diego Sarah. “Offal timber” was a new one on me; but this waste left over from squaring off round trunks clearly had a value; perhaps in construction on shore?

About Monday 18 May 1668

Eric the Bish  •  Link

“ coming up with the Dutch fleet riding at the Texel, with his topsails a-trip, the admiral fired at her, upon which she lowered a little; but the pilot, a Dutchman, saying they shot not at her, the master hoisted the sails again, upon which the admiral made another shot which passed between the masts, when he lowered and bore up”

A civilian vessel is bound to salute a military vessel. Nowadays we dip the ship’s ensign; or if in a small boat without one “let all fly”, so that the sails flap. Here the Yarmouth boat should have lowered her topsail yard, making the sail flap.
He was ready to do so – everything was “atrip“. But either he had not quite done it yet, and the admiral (well, the duty officer on the flagship) was impatient, or possibly he was hoping to sneak by without having to go through the labour of lowering and raising the sail. Either way, the first gun reminded him of his duty! So he began lowering the sails, but the pilot told him the gun was not a signal to them. So he hoisted the sail again.
Now the duty officer is really cross, because the captain appears to have paid mere lip-service to his duty. Hence the second gun, impressively fired between the two masts of the vessel. That would certainly get my attention! Sails down, stop the vessel, collected by boat from flagship, “interview without coffee” with the admiral, grovelling apology and excuse: “It’s all the pilot’s fault“. Pilot collected, put in irons, vessel’s captain gets away with it (admirals are often much more understanding than their juniors).

The courtesies of saluting are still observed, and the incident above could happen, amended only by modern technology, today.

About Sunday 3 May 1668

Eric the Bish  •  Link

I believe “cast away” means to be wrecked on the shore (in this case, the French coast or, perhaps, the Isle of Wight) as opposed to sunk, burned or taken by an enemy. With a limited ability to sail upwind, being cast away is a risk, hence the second half of the Navy’s Friday toast: “a willing foe, and sea-room”. The Naval hymn neatly summarises the risks to the mariner: “… in danger’s hour, from rock and tempest, fire and foe …“.
With best wishes to everyone.

About Friday 1 May 1668

Eric the Bish  •  Link

“ Thence by water, not being able to get a coach, nor boat but a sculler”. From other references, were not all the boats used for these trips up and down the river propelled by oars? So does Samuel mean that he could not get a large boat with one person per oar either side, but a small boat with only a single rower operating both oars? This would presumably be a slow trip!

About Wednesday 1 April 1668

Eric the Bish  •  Link

Ref Robert Gertz’ queston (1 Apr 2011): “Does Sam never worry that one of these girls will tell Bess?”

Well sometimes yes: 1 Aug 1662: “I had also a mind to my own wench, but I dare not for fear she should prove honest and refuse and then tell my wife.”

Wishing you all a blessed 2021 Good Friday (Easter a little later this year than in 1668).

About Tuesday 24 March 1667/68

Eric the Bish  •  Link

Teehee “ ... bagpipes, ... at the best, it is mighty barbarous musick.”
It is said that the definition of a gentleman is a man who can play the bagpipes, but doesn’t.