Annotations and comments

Sasha Clarkson has posted 752 annotations/comments since 16 February 2013.


Second Reading

About Friday 26 April 1661

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Sam's "today" would be 6th May in the Gregorian Calendar. Hence sunrise would have been at about 4:25 in what would later become GMT. Depending upon weather and pollution, it should have been comfortably light from 4am. So there was 6 hours or so to do a significant morning's work before astronomical noon.

If he WAS up at dawn, he'd have been mightily hungry.

About Monday 25 March 1661

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Were social differences accepted as "the natural order of things"?

Perhaps so, by many. But there was a long history of revolutionary thought in England: the Levellers etc were merely its latest products. Lollardy long predated the reformation: in 1381, John Ball preached the famous lines:

"When Adam delved and Eve span,
Who was then the gentleman?"

Reprtedly , Ball had borrowed them from an earlier source too.…

About Monday 18 March 1660/61

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Glyn et al: the quote is from Queen Elizabeth's godson, Sir John Harington. The correct quote is:

"Treason doth never prosper, what's the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it treason."

Harington also invented Britain's first flush toilet. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica, he installed one for the Queen in her palace at Richmond.…

About Thursday 21 February 1660/61

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

" .... invented by people who desperatedly wanted English grammar to be just like Latin."

Err, not really: the roots of English grammar are German not Latin, although the syntax has "in a different direction evolved". I often find comparisons with German grammar instructive. Also, some case inflections survive, eg "he" nominative -> "him" accusative/dative, -> "his" genitive, etc.

It's also interesting that, as in French and German, Pepys uses "to be" as an auxiliary verb for intransitive verbs*, rather than the modern "to have". Eg "He was come home" rather than "he had come home".

*verbs without a direct object, typically like verbs of motion. Eg "I hit him": him being the direct object. "I went to the pub", the pub being an indirect object.

About Monday 18 February 1660/61

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Mazarin's niece now has a Wikipedia Page:…

Charles did propose to her at one point, but was rejected because, then, he seemed to have few prospects. Later the tables were turned.

Incidentally, George V was also a second son, only becoming heir apparent to his father (Edward VII, then Prince of Wales) at the age of (almost) 27 in 1892. At this point in the diary, James too is 27.

About Friday 15 February 1660/61

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

The US always had a Mint, founded by the coinage Act of 1792. Apart from the revolutionary 'Continental', it also had official paper money issued by its two national banks, the second of which was effectively killed by President Andrew Jackson in 1836. After this, until Lincoln's 'greenbacks', the only legal tender was Mint specie (gold and silver coins), though as Dick said private banks issued their own notes.

About Thursday 7 February 1660/61

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To second what Helena said, the Montagus had been prominent for rather longer than the Villiers family, and were certainly not "nouveau riche".…

The foundation of the Villiers family's fortunes was James I & VI personal attraction to Buckingham's father, the first duke. James other "favourites" also did well: Robert Kerr became Earl of Somerset. His character was, if anything, even worse than that of (either) Villiers.…

About Monday 28 January 1660/61

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Until the end of the diaries, Pepys continues to use 'Oliver' as well as 'Cromwell', and even 'the late Protector' to denote Cromwell in his diary. He's more likely to use 'Cromwell' if associating him with other Commonwealth men as today, or if reporting what others say.

About Saturday 19 January 1660/61

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

What did upset Sam the most? We won't necessarily know, because he doesn't always write down his deepest feelings: sometimes he just records what he deems to be noteworthy. As another Sam (Johnson) sarcastically implied, the loudest noise may not be associated with the greatest emotion!

“If a man who turnips cries,
Cry not when his father dies,
'Tis a proof that he had rather,
Have a turnip than a father.”

About Monday 14 January 1660/61

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Why should Pepys lift a finger himself? Suppose he were single? He wouldn't be managing his own house, he'd be employing a housekeeper. He is the sole source of income, and works a considerable number of hours to bring home the bacon. By the standards of most women of HER time, (and these are really the only valid standards to judge by), Elizabeth has an enviable lifestyle - and what else has she got to do?

About Friday 11 January 1660/61

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

To "like" or not?
Most people of my age (late 50s) were, at some time or other, physically chastised by their parents. If we were lucky, it mas moderate and not very often. I echo those who say that one must judge people by the standards of their own time. In Sam's day the head of the house was, informally, in a position akin to Roman 'paterfamilias', and behaved accordingly. I get the impression that Sam didn't really enjoy throwing his weight around, and regretted his occasional losses of temper. Nonetheless, he had to keep up appearances and satisfy social expectations.

This little phrase from yesterday says a lot " .... whereof he (Hawley) did in his nobleness give the odd 5s. to my Jane." Firstly, he appreciated Hawley's kindness; secondly, it was "MY" Jane. His fondness for her was demonstrated by his later financial provision for her.…

About Thursday 10 January 1660/61

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The corrected JWB's link to George Fox's journal is below. It's well worth a read and generally speaks for itself. Under Cromwell, those most inimicable to Quakers had been the Presbyterians. This explains the persecutions in Massachusetts, and possibly contributed to the extent of harassment in England in the aftermath of Venner's failed putsch. There were still many Presbyterians in positions of influence throughout the land, who may have used the hysterical atmosphere of the time for their own purposes.…

About Monday 7 January 1660/61

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"Some reported 4000 Quaker supporters"

Firstly Vincent's web-source says 1000, but even this number is incompatible with the actual numbers later shown to be involved.

Secondly, Quakers were not fifth monarchists, and nor would they have been involved in any armed uprising. Although some early Quakers were ex-Parliamentary soldiers, a defining principle of the movement was (and is) rejection of all violence.