Annotations and comments

has posted 148 annotations/comments since 18 February 2013.

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About Wednesday 3 September 1662

Dick Wilson  •  Link

For the past few weeks, it seems that no matter how "betimes" Pepys rises, his workmen are already on the job. If he has been getting up at four AM, and now rises at five AM, those men are at work very early indeed. Does anyone know the usual working hours of craftsmen and laborers in Pepys' day?

About Saturday 30 August 1662

Dick Wilson  •  Link

It has been ten years since Hurricane Katrina broke the levies at New Orleans. The official death toll is 1,833. Thirty bodies remain unidentified. Fifty others remain unclaimed. Glad you made it out, Linda F.

About Friday 15 August 1662

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Incidently, that usage of "Swear (or affirm)" is a nod to the Quakers, who decline to take formal oaths, but will make affirmations. In Sam's day law was used to harass them; now it is used to include them. An affirmation by a Quaker that he has not fought a duel is a might silly.

About Friday 15 August 1662

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Okay, it was Hatfields & the Coys, and half of them were from West Virginia (reckless mountain boys) but you get my point, about the test act...

About Friday 15 August 1662

Dick Wilson  •  Link

The following Test Act is still used,today:
From the Kentucky State Constitution, Section 228:
"Members of the General Assembly and all officers, before they enter upon the execution of the duties of their respective offices, and all members of the bar, before they enter upon the practice of their profession, shall take the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of .... according to law; and I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God."

This is the land of the Martins and the Coys.

About Wednesday 13 August 1662

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Sarah, there are two kinds of "flag abuse". Here, it is the unwarranted overcharge of the King by greedy flag vendors. One suspects that they had been paying kickbacks to the Old Navy Board, and probably expected to do the same for the New Board, including Sam. Sam's attitude probably came as a nasty shock to them.
In Sam's day, corruption was taking too much, while taking too little was stupidity. A 60% increase in price was too much.
The other kind of "flag abuse" was people not saluting them, especially Dutch people.

About Saturday 12 July 1662

Dick Wilson  •  Link

British English and American English differ in counting "floors". A Brit enters a building on the ground Floor, goes upstairs to the first floor, and up again to the second, etc. A Yank enters on the ground Floor which to him is the first floor, then goes up to the second floor, and up again to the third, etc. When Sam has the roof removed and his house extended vertically, this could be confusing. Presumably, he follows the English system of counting floors.

About Monday 17 March 1661/62

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Earlier, Sam had noted that Downing sent his prisoners to England in the "Blackmore" , which is probably Sam's spelling for Blackmoor. Today he notes that the ship is a "Pink", a ship type characterized by having a narrow, overhanging stern. An interesting use of the word.

About Thursday 27 February 1661/62

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Tonyel - I had to look up "Pickthank", and it is marked "archaic" in Mirriam-Webster, but I know what you mean: How can I work this into conversation with some of my more erudite friends?

About Thursday 5 December 1661

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Re: Australian Susan's comment on Churchill's portrait. Churchill detested it, and asked that it be destroyed after his death. Lady Churchill disliked it, too, and burned it. I rather liked it. No honest artist could make Churchill look handsome. A bulldog look was OK.
For more on Christmas, see William Bradford's book, "On Plymouth Plantation": While the "Saints" labored, the "Strangers" played at stool-ball, until the Governor took their playthings away.

About Sunday 27 October 1661

Dick Wilson  •  Link

I believe that in this context, "engrossing" means "Monopolizing". The Navy Board approves contracts with vendors; they accept kick-backs from the vendors, or are themselves the silent partners of the vendors -- but all for the purpose of seeing to it that His Majesty gets the best value for his money, of course.

About Wednesday 21 August 1661

Dick Wilson  •  Link

I do not understand why Will Joyce is angry. It sounds like he was being paid to mourn Aunt Fenner, but not paid enough. Could that be the case? Why would anybody pay him, and his brother, anything?

About Friday 28 June 1661

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Pepys never mentions Elizabeth's name. Re-purposing "the Nursery" is a sign that they may be giving up on having children. The diary is recording, bit by bit, the slow crumbling of their marriage. Pepys takes pride in Elizabeth, especially when she is the prettiest girl in the room, but it seems to be somewhat of a pride of possession. The idea of partnership was alien to the age, and to both of them.

About Tuesday 21 May 1661

Dick Wilson  •  Link

I just Googled "Stetson Hats". They have one priced at $1,000 and several in the $200 range. Ninety pounds would be about $145. Expensive? Yes. Extravagant? Certainly, but maybe not so unheard of as one might think. Me? I have a brown fedora, a cross between Indiana Jones and Phil Hartman, but older than both of theirs.

About Monday 6 May 1661

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Re David Smith's 2004 post: If memory serves, Jefferson freed only 5 of the approximately 150 people he owned.

About Friday 29 March 1661

Dick Wilson  •  Link

I would have assumed, that had the King or Duke wished to dispatch two vessels upon His Majesty's Secret Service, that the entire Navy Board would have been consulted, and fully informed from the outset. I presume that the admiralty would prepare the sailing orders for the Captains, select the captains, and the ships. But the Board should know full details, so they can provide follow-on forces, replacements, supply ships, whatever the mission requires. This procedure does not bode well, for this or future operations.

About Wednesday 27 March 1661

Dick Wilson  •  Link

I like these descriptive collectives. Why not 'A noise of children in the house', or 'A noise of family come to call'.

About Friday 8 March 1660/61

Dick Wilson  •  Link

"Homely" is one of those words that can get you in trouble in a hurry. British English: Warm, friendly, comfortable, familiar, pleasant. American English: Plain, drab, dull, uninteresting, slapped upside the head with a ugly stick. So to say of a woman, that she is homely, can be a high compliment or a low insult. Handle with care.

About Friday 15 February 1660/61

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Diana's question defies accurate answer, so here's a try at an inaccurate one. Using Vincent's price of 2 pounds 10 and 3 per (troy) ounce of gold in Sam's day, his 350 pounds could have bought 139.3 ounces. That could be sold today (Feb. 2014) for $183,416.31 in US Dollars. That's a good solid base of savings for an upper middle class household, but nowhere near enough for retirement. Also, the US did not really have a national currency until the Lincoln Administration. Prior to that, every bank printed its own money.