Annotations and comments

Paul Chapin has posted 849 annotations/comments since 17 January 2003.

The most recent first…


First Reading

About A new Pepys walk: Greenwich

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Thank you, Glyn. Now I have yet another reason to go back to London. Your first two walks guided me through a full week in 2007, and made it a great experience.

About Monday 31 May 1669

Paul Chapin  •  Link

And so the time machine that let us witness daily life for more than nine momentous years in London has come to rest. Although Sam won't be telling us about them, great things lie ahead in his lifetime. Jeannine's must-read essay about Sam's life after the diary gives us a well researched and beautifully written look at that life. Let me mention here just a few particularly significant events.

1685: J.S. Bach and G.F. Handel are born
1687: Newton publishes _Principia Mathematica_, with the imprimatur of S. Pepys, President of the Royal Society
1688: The Glorious Revolution establishes Parliament as the supreme political authority in England
1690: John Locke (SP's exact contemporary) publishes _Treatises on Government_, laying the philosophical foundation for the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution

Many have amply and justly lauded Phil for making this adventure happen, and Terry for filling in so many blanks. In farewell to our happy band of time travelers, I'd like to give a shout out to a few annotators who have not been so widely mentioned, but who have added immensely to the pleasure of this journey and its value as a learning experience:

- Michael Robinson, bibliographer extraordinary
- Mary, whose brief contributions revealed her wealth of historical and linguistic knowledge
- Language Hat, with whom I had the fun of debating several issues that only linguists could love
- Australian Susan, for buoyant good humor and vast understanding of the religious milieu of SP's life
- Glyn, whose walking tours were my guides during my visit to London at the diary's midpoint
- Jeannine, for her wonderful sidebar essays
- Our inimitable (in the strictest sense of the word) man of many monikers, Michael Vincent (CGS, IAS, etc., etc.), who shared with us his experiences of a world in some ways closer to Sam's than our own, in a delightfully eccentric prose style. Language Hat aptly said of him, "I may not understand all the words, but I sure like the music."

Thanks to all for an experience I'll never forget. And now, adieu.

About The Next Chapter of Samuel Pepys

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Jeannine, a spectacular finale. Huge thanks for the time and effort you put into the research, and for the beautiful writing.

I was interested to read in the fine print on the base of Sam's monument in St. Olave's that the main force behind its erection was Henry B. Wheatley, our editor.

About Wednesday 26 May 1669

Paul Chapin  •  Link

The most common use today of "monger" in American English, I believe, is in an extended or metaphorical sense, as in warmonger, fearmonger, rumormonger. Mary's 'scandalmonger' is in this class, but I don't remember ever encountering that particular word.

About What are your favourite diary moments?

Paul Chapin  •  Link

For the writing: Sam's multilingual mashups when describing his amorous adventures - thanks to Terry and others for filling out the dots left in place of these passages by our prim editor.

For the content: May Day of 1665, when Sam spent the day in the company of intellectual giants - Robert Hooke, John Wilkins, William Brouncker, John Evelyn - and "noble discourse all day long did please me."…

About Roll Call. Say hello!

Paul Chapin  •  Link

My son John, who seems to be aware of everything that happens on the Internet, called my attention to the Diary during its first week, in January 2003 (or 1660). Having recently retired, I was just at the right time and frame of mind to get hooked. John, in his very busy life, soon gave up following it, but I stayed with it up until now, and I guess I might as well stay on through to the end and see how it comes out. No spoilers, please.

Maybe a little self-revelation is in order in this context. After some early flailing about, I got a Ph.D. in Linguistics from MIT in 1967. I spent the first part of my career as an academic, at the University of California, San Diego. There I learned that my talents and interests were more in the direction of administration than research and teaching, and in 1975 I went to the U.S. National Science Foundation, where I became the first Program Director for Linguistics. That job suited me so well that I stayed there until I retired in 2001.

A couple of years after that my wife Susan retired from her career as a software engineer. We uprooted ourselves from the Washington, D.C. area and wandered in the wilderness for a while, finally settling in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where we continue to live happily.

As a linguist, my special interest in the Diary has been the language, how it differs and how it doesn't from ours of the present. The Diary has been a time machine, taking me into the daily parlance of 17th century London, an enormous treat.

Last weekend I had the great pleasure to attend a gathering of Pepysians at Jeannine Kerwin's lovely home in Weston, Massachusetts. The redoubtable Terry Foreman and Carl Wickstrom were there as well, among other distinguished guests. I wish I could join the group gathering in London as well, but I did have that pleasure at the midpoint of the Diary, in September of 2007 (1664).

My profound thanks to Phil, the impresario who conceived of and produced this extravaganza, and to all of my fellow members of the audience, for your wit and wisdom, your civility, and your countless contributions to our joint effort to get the most from this extraordinary experience.

About Monday 17 May 1669

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Todd, a while back he specifically complained about being painfully dazzled by the brightness of the stage lights.

About Saturday 17 April 1669

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"the leisure he hath yet had do not at all begin to be burdensome to him, he knowing how to spend his time with content to himself; and that he hopes shortly to contract his expence, so as that he shall not be under any straits in that respect neither; and so seems to be in very good condition of content."

A happily retired man, and an excellent role model. Good for you, Sir William. Enjoy!

About Sunday 11 April 1669

Paul Chapin  •  Link

I trust that future readers will realize that contra the rollover and link for "Our Parson," that person (parson?) was Daniel Milles, not Anthony Deane.

About Sunday 4 April 1669

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"my invitation with my head"
I take this to mean that Sam made eye contact with her, then jerked his head back slightly in a "come here" gesture.

Also, I doubt (in the modern sense) that Mrs. Backwell's mother was also named Mrs. Backwell, as the rollover suggests.

About Monday 8 March 1668/69

Paul Chapin  •  Link

I agree with Terry. The syntax of the first sentence is awkward, with the subject of "had the misfortune" ambiguous between the writer, SP, and the King and DoY, but the overall passage makes it pretty clear that Sam was not personally involved. He would surely have had more to say about the consequences for his coach and himself if he had been.

About Tuesday 2 March 1668/69

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"Tom where he uses to lie"

A startling usage. The present tense of "used to", it seems. I've never seen this construction before. Today we would say "where he usually lies."

About Thursday 31 December 1668

Paul Chapin  •  Link

The Mayans tell us this is the last New Year for the whole world. Maybe not, but for us and the diary the prophecy is all too true. But let us revel in the time that is left to us. A happy and peaceful 2012 to all.

About Saturday 12 December 1668

Paul Chapin  •  Link

@Carl in Boston, re Sam's income:
Sam's salary has been fixed at 350L per annum since he first took the position of Clerk of the Acts. He had to give his predecessor, Thomas Barlow, 100L a year of that until Barlow died in 1664/65. But his income from other sources has greatly exceeded his salary, as can be seen in the chart tracking his wealth at… .
His net worth increased fairly steadily by about 300L a year until mid-1665, at which time it moved sharply upward, increasing by about 4000L in the next year alone, at which point he stopped reporting it, but there's no reason to suppose it didn't continue to increase at the same rate or more. Which means the purchase of the coach and horses was not that extravagant in terms of his overall wealth.

About Sunday 6 December 1668

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"...she to read a little book concerning speech in general, a translation late out of French; a most excellent piece as ever I read, proving a soul in man, and all the ways and secrets by which nature teaches speech in man, which do please me most infinitely to read."

Can this have been the Port-Royal Grammar, published in French in 1660? That book worked out in some detail, with special reference to French, Descartes' ideas about language, viz., that the creativity available in human language distinguishes it absolutely from animal communication systems and from the products of mechanical automata. Descartes took this as reliable evidence of the existence of other minds - the "cogito ergo sum" demonstrates one's own existence, but not necessarily that of others.

Noam Chomsky published a book in 1966 called "Cartesian Linguistics" in which he called attention to this book as an intellectual predecessor of his program of generative grammar. It's fun for me, as a linguist, to think of Sam Pepys reading the book when it was (nearly) new, and being impressed by it.

For a little more information about the Port-Royal Grammar, see…
For Chomsky's take on it, see…

About Friday 4 December 1668

Paul Chapin  •  Link

As so often happens, two things in today's entry ring true across the centuries. The "doting fool" who makes impolitic remarks in a setting where they can damage your interests (RG thinks Minnes knew what he was doing and didn't care, but that's clearly not how Sam viewed the situation). And then the sharpies who are so eager to meet your transportation needs - used horses then, used cars now - to their own advantage.