Annotations and comments

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


Second Reading

About Saturday 28 April 1660

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

If "My Lord" can play games and enjoy merriment, why not Commissioner Pett? The time of austerity seems to be coming to an end! ;)

From Wiki on Commissioner Pett: "Determined to survive the rigours of the nation's political upheavals, Pett, with great resourcefulness, having withheld Chatham from Charles I, was afterwards in Holland preparing the fleet to accompany the return of Charles II."

It seems that many of the travellers to Holland call on the Naseby on the way.

About Monday 23 April 1660

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

He's certainly dissing the Rump Jackie. I'm not quite sure that's the same as dissing Parliament. :)

The Rump Parliament consisted only of those members of the Long Parliament who remained after Pride's Purge. By the time Cromwell and Harrison kicked them out, they were thoroughly discredited. The recall of the Rump by the army after Richard Cromwell's resignation was a desperate measure, almost universally unpopular except with a few vested interests.

Unfortunately, the Wiki articles aren't particularly reliable or clear. GM Trevellyan, in his 'England Under The Stuarts' gives a pretty good description of the sequences of events and the motivations of the players.

About Monday 9 April 1660

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

There are fine aerial photographs of Deal and Walmer castles in the Wikipedia entries.

It's well worth looking up both castles in Google maps. Look both at the satellite view and also the street view by clicking on various points in and around the forts. The geometric constructions are quite beautiful. In Deal Castle, even some of the gun-holes seem to have the shape of a perpendicular arch.

About Tuesday 3 April 1660

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

As Sam noted in his diary entries of 21st and 25th March, Mountagu sought and obtained "the writ and mandate for him to dispose to the Cinque Ports for choice of Parliament-men." In the Convention Parliament, before being raised to the Peerage, Mountagu was MP for Dover. His colleague as MP for Dover was his cousin George Mountagu, who was reelected for the seat in the Cavalier Parliament.

The post of 'Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports' had been vacant since the death of Blake. Although Mountagu never held the post, as Emilio observed, he may, for practical purposes, have sought to exercise at least some of the functions of the post. It certainly seems as though he was trying to pack the Parliamentary seats with his friends and family.

About Wednesday 28 March 1660

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

It appears that the town of Huntingdon and the county of Huntingdonshire both returned two MPs. Mountagu may have hoped to gain all four for his faction/family interest.

Lord Mandeville, the heir to Mountagu's cousin Manchester WAS elected for Huntingdonshire, but his uncle George, presumably by "my lord" 's influence (as de-facto warden of the Cinque Ports) was elected for Dover instead.

Interestingly, Mandeville's colleague as MP for Huntingdonshire was Henry Cromwell-Williams, a cousin of the Protector. The family name of the Cromwells was originally Williams:…

About Monday 26 March 1660

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

It's very interesting how different people interpret the diaries; perhaps we all read them via the distorting mirror of our own experience.

To me, this entry doesn't seem particularly boastful, but more extremely grateful, firstly for being alive, and secondly for kindness, fellowship and good fortune. I noted that Sheply came to his celebration, presumably with the permission of his master Mountagu. The English Revolution enabled the culture of the 'career open to talent' - if you were in a position to be noticed. I imagine that, rather like a Roman patron with his "clientes", Mountagu would made sure he was informed about the lives/station of his poorer relations. Pepys parents status was middling, but they did make sure that clever Sam was educated to the fullness of his abilities, including, with various financial help, at Cambridge. His less gifted brother Tom had to follow his father into the tailoring trade. But Sam WAS noticed, and entered Mountagu's household soon after taking his degree. It was Mountagu who then recommended him to Downing, whilst still retaining first call upon Sam's loyalties.

His braveness in undergoing the dangerous operation, and good fortune in surviving, may well have earned him more goodwill, which he then made the best advantage of, slowly but surely proving his worth. Good for him!

About Sunday 11 March 1659/60

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Attendance at Church

According to the Act Of Uniformity 1558 , every man had to go to church once a week or be fined 12 pence, unless they had a "reasonable excuse". Its enforcement depended upon the local magistrates, and varied widely over the centuries. Sometimes nonconformists and Catholic recusants were prosecuted, other times not. Compulsory church attendance was abolished under the Protectorate. By "now" in 1659/60 the Long Parliament had been restored, airbrushing the Protectorate out of legal history, but there was probably still de-facto toleration. All Cromwell's laws were rendered null and void at the Restoration, and religious persecution returned with a vengeance.

The Act had generally fallen into disuse by Victorian times. However, some local magistrates used it to punish drunkenness on the Sabbath, inevitably by the working classes. A fine of a shilling with costs was a considerable sum, and inability to pay led to imprisonment.

"the practice that should proceed to search and find a statute, fallen almost into desuetude, for the purpose of inflicting punishments on parties not brought before them for the offence for which they were punished" was strongly condemned in Parliament (see the Hansard link below).

The requirement of weekly church attendance was repealed by section 1 of the Religious Disabilities Act 1846.……

About Monday 5 March 1659/60

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"....many Presbyterians discovered that they were Congregationalists at heart...." - and of course in England and Wales most congregations of the two churches joined together in 1972 to form the United Reformed Church.

About Sunday 4 March 1659/60

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Sam's mother may have been puritan, but I doubt very much whether she was "Quakerish", and I would certainly want some evidence before I used that adjective. Puritans were generally quite hostile to Quakers, whose beliefs and practices were mutually incompatible.

For example, in contrast to the Calvinist tradition, Quakers believe that there is no distinction between the "elect" and the rest of the population, and that the Divine spirit dwells within everyone. For more, see this link below:…

From a version of the traditional "The Pilgrims and the Puritans"

They didn't care for Quakers but
They loathed gay cavaliers
And what they thought of clowns and plays
Would simply burn your ears
While merry tunes and Christmas revels
They deemed contraptions of the Devil's.

But Sunday was a gala day
When, in their best attire,
They'd listen, with rejoicing hearts,
To sermons on Hell Fire,
Demons I've Met, Grim Satan's Prey,
And other topics just as gay.

All of this, whilst Puritan, is completely un-"Quakerish".

About Friday 24 February 1659/60

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"a Priest's Hole ... in which outlawed Catholic priests were concealed during Cromwell's Commonwealth."

In fact, most Priest's holes were constructed before the Commonwealth. The laws against priests were first passed under Elizabeth I, and most rigorously enforced under James I & VI after the Gunpowder Plot.…

About Wednesday 15 February 1659/60

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Re Hilaire Belloc on Cromwell. I wouldn't trust Belloc's opinion on anything, unless backed up by a more objective source. Britannica Online says "Born and brought up a Roman Catholic, he showed in almost everything he wrote an ardent profession of his faith. This coloured with occasional inaccuracy and overemphasis most of his historical writing." I rather suspect that's an understatement.…

His biographies are described as "contentious" and, to me, his attitude to society, religion, and especially heretics, would make him old fashioned even in Pepys' time.…

The best historical biographies of the seventeenth century which I have read are by Antonia Fraser. She too is a Catholic, but much more objective.