Annotations and comments

William Crosby has posted 18 annotations/comments since 1 June 2022.

The most recent first…


Third Reading

About Monday 17 June 1661

William Crosby  •  Link

The Society of Friends, or Quakers, were a new religious sect founded in the mid-1600s that faced persecution in England for a number of reasons, including:
Radical beliefs:
Quakers' values and beliefs were considered too different from orthodox Christianity. For example, they believed that everyone, including women, was equal to a minister or preacher and didn't need an ordained clergy to speak directly to Jesus. They also refused to remove their hats to those in authority and used "thee" and "thou" instead of "you".
Anti-authority beliefs:
Quakers excluded separatists from holding office and prohibited them from traveling.
During the Revolutionary War, Quakers followed their pacifist guidelines and refused to take up arms. Some even saw taxation or using continental currency as a way to get involved in the conflict, which led some to believe they were against the new government or helping the British.
Popular hostility:
Quakers were feared and hated as outsiders.
Lack of legal remedies:
In the 1650s, there may have been a lack of legal remedies against Quakers, which contributed to popular violence against them.

About Thursday 17 January 1660/61

William Crosby  •  Link

There is a mention in the comments during the first reading--of Patrick O'Brian's historical novels which deal with the British Navy immediately before, during, and subsequent to the Napoleonic Wars 1800-1815. I read all of these novels sometime after the first reading and while achronological to the Pepys Diary period--those brilliant historical novels really deepen my visualization of the British Navy as depicted by Samuel Pepys. The Hornblower novels also help me picture much of what is happening with the British Navy as depicted by Pepys.

About Friday 4 January 1660/61

William Crosby  •  Link

Apropos of Sarah's post on marital disunion above I am reminded of Thomas Hardy's Mayor of Casterbridge which opens with a famous episode in which a poor hay trusser, Michael Henchard, sells his wife, Susan, by impulsively putting her up for auction in a public market. Susan is purchased by a sailor, with whom she departs, and they subsequently live as husband and wife.

About Tuesday 25 December 1660

William Crosby  •  Link

SD Sarah, I so enjoy your scholarship and other contributions, but you really outdo yourself in setting the context for this first Restoration Christmas by casting it in the historical context of Christmas in the preceding two centuries.

About Tuesday 16 October 1660

William Crosby  •  Link

I am fascinated by Sandwich's use of the word addict[ed] in reference to his gambling at cards. OED indicates that its first usage is traceable to the 15th century--but, such a modern and important word but I would not have thought it dated this far back.

About Thursday 27 September 1660

William Crosby  •  Link

Pepys frequently notes throughout the diary his great satisfaction (even awe) with the outcomes of workmen and artisans of all sorts. This being my third time through--I was struck, this time with this complaint about Pepys and how inconsistent it is with my reading of the diary. Now, the Pepysian complaints about servants--that's another story.

About Thursday 16 August 1660

William Crosby  •  Link

Of the many entries that I recall vividly this one with the advice of Lord Sandwich:
"not the salary of any place that did make a man rich" is the one that I find most prophetic for Sam--especially considering where he starts and where he ends his diary in astonishing wealth.

About Thursday 12 July 1660

William Crosby  •  Link

Working as a law clerk in the years (1979-1982) before I became a lawyer and before the widespread availability of personal computers, word processors, and the internet--this episode of Pepys running about to obtain "Chancery-hand" for his patent-engrossed reminds me of the titanic effort to have the Probate Court referees to finalize transfers but for this or that exception based on arcane and irrelevant formalities. Ugh. BTW, cf Dickens's Bleak House.

About Monday 2 July 1660

William Crosby  •  Link

I was thinking about his lame maid Jane. Way too young for a lot of the normal occupational maladies like tendinitis, or other degenerative orthopedic problems, but it occurs to me that she may well of had referred pain and lameness from a pinched lumbar nerve--her quick recovery after a couple days rest would support that idea.

About Clerk of the Acts

William Crosby  •  Link

The 2023 Pulitzer Prize went to a one-volume biography of founding FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover which as I write I am well-into reading. I am reminded of Pepys--the great ur-bureaucrat since Hoover's mastery wasn't necessarily action; but, strikingly akin to Pepys--a master of files and data. The up and coming young men who mastered the art of finding the file and from that position amassed great expertise and power.

About Tuesday 3 April 1660

William Crosby  •  Link

As to Sam's apprehension about being separate from his wife--in addition to documenting his nearly constant philandering Pepys was also irrationally jealous of any attention paid Elisabeth which we will see more than once in the coming years. Perhaps it was projection.

About Friday 16 March 1659/60

William Crosby  •  Link

If I recall correctly, much of Sam's negative remarks on Shakespeare's plays were based on performances that he liked or disliked not the literary quality of the plays themselves. During the years of the second reading--I read a great deal of history of Shakespeare, the plays, performance styles, Elizabethan and Jamesian theatre, etc. So I am looking forward to re-encountering his comments on these topics. As I recollect there are his experiences as a groundling and many more as someone in the elite seats.

About Tuesday 31 January 1659/60

William Crosby  •  Link

Twenty years later I am moved to augment Django Cat's comment:
In the churchyard of Winchester Cathedral is the tombstone of the 'Hampshire Grenadier.' His epitaph reads:-

"In Memory of Thomas Thetcher a Grenadier in the North Reg. of Hants Militia,
who died of a violent Fever contracted by drinking Small Beer when hot the 12th of May 1764.
Aged 26 Years...
Here sleeps in peace a Hampshire Grenadier,
Who caught his death by drinking cold small Beer,
Soldiers be wise from his untimely fall
And when ye're hot drink Strong or none at all."
There's a picture of the Hampshire Grenadier tombstone at…

This is quoted by Bill Wilson, the great American Alcoholic and co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous in the chapter "Bill's Story." As a result I have seen dozens of photos of sober friends over the years posing at this famous Tombstone.

About Wednesday 18 January 1659/60

William Crosby  •  Link

It's also true, that Pepys is often very critical of Shakespearean performances over the diary years. Bearing in mind that Shakespeare's plays were often cut or performed in various versions this is not at all surprising. Likewise, one should be careful in judging Pepys's taste in such things since it is always possible that he saw a less than stellar performance. A further aspect of Pepysian theatre-going is his reporting where he sat bearing in mind that this was the era of the groundlings and elites in the seats.

About Monday 16 January 1659/60

William Crosby  •  Link

After two complete read-throughs of the diary I am struck by this particular entry as foreshadowing a major turning point in Pepy's career and the wave of history as already noted in the the few days since the (re-)commencement of the Pepysian account: the negotiations with Monk and the imminent sea passage to restore Charles II to the throne.

About Sunday 1 January 1659/60

William Crosby  •  Link

I want to add my expression of great joy at the re-launch for a third journey through the Restoration via the Pepys Diary. A frenzied work schedule kept me from catching up until this morning--but, I sit here in Cleveland, Ohio with a giant smile on my face this morning in the time machine of the Pepys Diary.

Second Reading

About Monday 31 May 1669

William Crosby  •  Link

This is my second complete reading of the diary and I want to extend my great appreciation to Phil and all the amazing annotators, comment contributors, and for the incredible resources added through the years. I hope this Time Machine will be ready to convey us back 1659/60 again next year.