Annotations and comments

San Diego Sarah has posted 1834 annotations/comments since 6 August 2015.

The most recent…


About Sabbatai Zevi

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Friday 8 December 1665

Henry Oldenburg to Spinoza Letter XVI. (XXXIII.)
"But I pass on to politics. Everyone here is talking of a report that the Jews, after remaining scattered for more than two thousand years, are about to return to their country. Few here believe is, but many desire it. Please tell your friend what you hear and think on the matter. For my part, unless the news is confirmed from trustworthy sources at Constantinople, which is the place chiefly concerned, I shall not believe it. ..." Complete Works -- By Benedictus de Spinoza, Samuel Shirley, Michael L. p. 853.

In the Middle East and throughout Europe, a millennium story was playing itself out:

In 1665, Nathan of Gaza announced that the Messianic age would begin the following year with the conquest of the world without bloodshed. The Messiah would lead the Ten Lost Tribes back to the Holy Land, "riding on a lion with a seven-headed dragon in its jaws".

The self-proclaimed Messiah was Sabbatai Zevi ... It is truly an incredible story which took over 20 years to play out fully. There were people in Germany takjng the roofs off their homes so it would be easier for them to ascent into heaven.

About Sunday 18 February 1665/66

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"At noon comes my uncle Wight to dinner, and brings with him Mrs. Wight, sad company to me, nor was I much pleased with it, only I must shew respect to my uncle. "

18 months ago having Uncle Wight to lunch was a big deal. I'm guessing Mrs. Wight was a daughter, or she would have been called "my aunt". I'm more interested in how Bess felt about this visit.

About Saturday 17 February 1665/66

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"We have newes of Sir Jeremy Smith’s being very well with his fleete at Cales."

This being a stormy time of year, sailing from Cadiz to Portsmouth or London could take a long time -- or be very quick -- depending on the winds. Do we have any independent information on when Smith reached Cadiz?

About Tuesday 13 February 1665/66

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"So Jane 'is very well and do well' and appears to be happy in her current place of employment, yet Sam still refers to her as 'poor wench.'"

I think the words 'poor' and 'wench' have more to do with the paternalistic, dismissive, condescending attitude men had to women (their chattels), in those days. Elizabeth was his 'poor' wife on January 12 when she had spent days sewing new damask hangings for their bedroom. Word like this are almost a substitute for praise. But such terms could never be applied to a woman with higher status.

It doesn't take much soul-searching to come up with similar attitudes today. Women are pushy when men are ambitious. Women are bossy when men are decisive. Women have an obsessed when men are focused, Women are angry when men are passionate. Fred Astaire was famous and very well paid for his dancing, but his sister had to do everything he did, backwards and in high heels -- Adele never made much money.

So come on, don't be mystified by Pepys' attitude -- it is familiar to us all today.

-- signed by the nice little woman at the office who does everything, including making the coffee and emptying the trash, for minimum wage, who was told at school she was too dumb to go to University.

About Tuesday 13 February 1665/66

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Since Pepys is buyng tallow for the office, I think it was for candles. Until paraffin wax became available (what most candles are made of today), the poor had tallow (which smelt nasty) and the rich had beeswax. Because of the smell, a couple of winters back Pepys had insisted on beeswax candles. Recent economies have changed his lifestyle.

Churches used beeswax candles. The poor used rushes as wicks, making lights for themselves by dipping the rush in melted fat. Burning the candle at both ends meant just that: the rush was twisted up so both ends could be lit at the same time giving twice the light for half the time.

(Beeswax candles are easy to make if you have a good sheet of beeswax with straight edges - you simply put a length of cotton wick in the middle and roll it up, then cut in into sections if you want smaller candles. Cotton wicks give the best light and need to be twisted and doubled in order to not burn down too quickly and outrace the wax and get lost in the candle. But cotton wicks were yet to come.)

Had Pepys been buying tallow "for the King" or the Navy, the Salty One’s previous annotation on its uses would have been more likely: Tallow was important to running of a ship, preservation and cleaning , providing cheap lighting, keeping gun wheels running, and scrubbing decks.

Animal rendering, in other words. What the Joyce Brothers used to do for a living.

About Letitia Vaughan (b. Hooker)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

GOOD NEWS: According to Edward Vaughan's Wikipedia page:

"Vaughan married Letitia Hooker, the daughter of Sir William Hooker. Their son John (1670–1721), was created by William III in 1695, baron of Fethard County Tipperary, and viscount Lisburne, in the peerage of Ireland."

So Letitia survived this set back. No word on whether the baby did.

About John Lethieullier

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sir John Lethieullier (1633, London – 4 January 1719, Lewisham) was a British merchant and businessman descended from Huguenots from the Spanish Netherlands. His parents were John le Thieullier and Jane de la Forterie or Delafort, born in Frankfurt and Brabant respectively. He was the eldest of their three sons. John le Thieullier moved to England in 1605. He settled initially in Ilford and then in Lewisham. He began by buying English textiles from East Anglia and the west of England with his business partner Charles Marescoe (husband to John's sister Leonora), superintending their dyeing and finishing and then exporting them to the Levant and southern Europe. He soon diversified and by 1669 was exporting tin and lead to Rotterdam and Venice as well as importing Portuguese sugar and Dutch iron. He became sheriff of London in 1675 and in 1693 bought Aldersbrook Manor in what is now east London. He is buried in the churchyard of St. Alfege Church in Greenwich. He married Anne Hooker at St. Clement's, Eastcheap on 18 May 1659. Their son John was the father of the antiquarian Smart Lethieullier.
For more information:

About Sir Thomas Hervey (Navy Commissioner, 1665-8)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sir Thomas Hervey MP 1625-1694 -- Per L&M Companion: kt 1660. Of Ickworth, Suffolk; Vice-Chamberlain of the Household 1658; Extra Commissioner of the Navy 1665-1668; M.P. for Bury St. Edmunds March 1679-1690. His appointment to the Navy Board was a political one and he earns no praise from Pepys. On the other hand, his memorial in Ickworth church - and memorials do not always lie - records that he and his wife were 'most eminent examples of piety, charity and conjugal affection.'

About Thursday 26 July 1666

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"my Lord Chancellor’s new house"

Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, in his autobiography, admits the "weakness and vanity" he had exhibited in the erection of [Clarendon] house, and "the gust of envy" which it drew upon him; while he attributes his fall more to the fact that he had built such a house than to any misdemeanor he was thought to have been guilty of.

John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester (Clarendon's second son) told Lord Dartmouth that when his father [CLARENDON] left England he ordered him to tell all his friends "that if they could excuse the vanity and folly of the great house, he would undertake to answer for all the rest of his actions himself." -- London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.