Annotations and comments

James Morgan has posted 88 annotations/comments since 21 October 2015.

The most recent first…


About Monday 11 January 1668/69

James Morgan  •  Link

I think if Sam were in need of a bodyguard he would find someone more martial than Hewer, his clerk. As noted in earlier comments, Hewer is following him as part of his agreement with his wife, and "guard" is used in the sense of "jailer".

About Saturday 5 December 1668

James Morgan  •  Link

I wondered what they thought of dreams in his time, and why Elizabeth was so suspicous, so searched the diary and found this wonderful passage from 8/15/1665:

"Up by 4 o’clock and walked to Greenwich, where called at Captain Cocke’s and to his chamber, he being in bed, where something put my last night’s dream into my head, which I think is the best that ever was dreamt, which was that I had my Lady Castlemayne in my armes and was admitted to use all the dalliance I desired with her, and then dreamt that this could not be awake, but that it was only a dream; but that since it was a dream, and that I took so much real pleasure in it, what a happy thing it would be if when we are in our graves (as Shakespeere resembles it) we could dream, and dream but such dreams as this, that then we should not need to be so fearful of death, as we are this plague time."

Of course "Huzzy" doesn't sound very complimentary, so perhaps he's resisting temptation in his dreams as well.

About Thursday 8 October 1668

James Morgan  •  Link

"For want of a boat": perhaps there was something for the crossing, but it was too large to approach, so the captain was looking for a suitable small boat to bring the king ashore (and presumable not a smelly fishing skiff), and he built a wharf (that he called a stage) instead. That's really fast action.

About Tuesday 8 September 1668

James Morgan  •  Link

I think the earlier part of the sentence, "I will let my wife go.." implies that Elizabeth had some interest in going, and that he decided it's a good idea. I assume the fair is an attraction. But this is all speculation.

About Friday 3 July 1668

James Morgan  •  Link

My understanding is that physicians and surgeons were two distinct groups. Physicians dealt with all medications, psychological and external treatments. Surgeons were less highly regarded and dealt with amputations. Scientific research by dissection was new to both.

About Sunday 28 June 1668

James Morgan  •  Link

The Mahan book goes on to say "These considerations brought the two countries together in that Triple Alliance with Sweden which has been mentioned, and which for a time checked the onward movement of Louis. But the wars between the two sea nations were too recent, the humiliation of England in the Thames too bitter, and the rivalries that still existed too real, too deeply seated in the nature of things, to make that alliance durable. It needed the dangerous power of Louis, and his persistence in a course threatening to both, to weld the union of these natural antagonists. This was not to be done without another bloody encounter." So the trick referred to was presumably something Louis did earlieer to get the British into the war with th Dutch that lead to the disatrous defeats. I don't know enough detail of that war to say what Louis might have done - other than paying off Charles II, but I don't think that was public knowledge.

About Tuesday 21 April 1668

James Morgan  •  Link

It seems odd that Mrs Turner is along while Pepys plays with Knepp. Unless perhaps he left her at the theater while he went out with Knepp.

About Saturday 28 March 1668

James Morgan  •  Link

I wondered at the reference to a "Holyday week" that he is celebrating by going to a play. What holiday week would end 3/28? I checked and Easter was April 1 in 1668 per a couple of internet sources, so this is the week between palm sunday and easter, and this is the day after Good Friday. I wouldn't think they'd be celebrating until Easter itself.

About Monday 3 February 1667/68

James Morgan  •  Link

Looing at Phil's chart of Pepy's estate above, there is a huge jump, almost a doubling from August 1665-December 1665 then it levels off to a steady increases again.
One of the other notes for today mentions war years profiteering as an explantion. Is there a more detailed explanation somewhere of how he picked up almost 2,000 pounds?

About Tuesday 14 January 1667/68

James Morgan  •  Link

It's great to see in the same entry two people recognized for the quality of their dancing. Mary Davis, despite being "a most homely jade", rises in the world because "dances beyond any thing in the world". Then Captain OBryan, "who spoke and did well, but, above all things, did dance most incomparably" and also gains recognition. His entry says he even became captain of a 56 gun ship for it.

About Tuesday 17 December 1667

James Morgan  •  Link

Thanks for the note about Google Ngram Viewer. I tried the terms plague, fire from 1660-1700 in English texts, and found as might be expected plague mentions declined after the 1665. Interestingly when I did the same search on French texts, plague had few hits. Perhaps I should have used a French term, but fire got hits in both sets of texts. Anyway, two minutes of playing around was entertaining. The viewer is at, and the "About Ngram Viewer" link at the bottom of the page has a very detailed explanation of the viewer for researchers.

About Sunday 17 November 1667

James Morgan  •  Link

To pick up the discussion from 2010 between Jesse and Classicist, I think the "good and sober man" is the Captain's description of the person talking with Buckingham. Cocke describes him this way twice, at the beginning and end of the story, I think trying to convince Pepys of the reliability of his source for this improbable tale.
"But he tells me another thing, which he says he had from the person himself who spoke with the Duke of Buckingham, who, he says, is a very sober and worthy man, that he did lately speak with the Duke of Buckingham about his greatness now with the King, and told him- “But, sir, these things that the King do now, in suffering the Parliament to do all this, you know are not fit for the King to suffer, and you know how often you have said to me that the King was a weak man, and unable to govern, but to be governed, and that you could command him as you listed; why do you suffer him to go on in these things?” — “Why,” says the Duke of Buckingham, “I do suffer him to do this, that I may hereafter the better command him.” This he swears to me the person himself to whom the Duke of Buckingham said this did tell it him, and is a man of worth, understanding, and credit. "

About Sunday 13 October 1667

James Morgan  •  Link

In the early days when Sam reckoned his worth in the hundreds, 20L would have been a lot. But on that trip when he dug up the money and found it a little short he seemed quite happy at the end to be missing only about 20L. I was quite surprised that he would be so calm about it at the end, but I suppose he was afraid at first of losing all the money, and then of losing 50L or so, so the 20L came as a relief.

About Tuesday 24 September 1667

James Morgan  •  Link

Thanks Terry for the letter from Clarendon. I had not known of the loss of his wife. I assume the other affliction is the loss of his office. It is a powerful paragraph:
"... The truth is, I know not what to say, the world is so much altered since I wrote last. The great affliction I lay under, in the unexpected loss of my wife - which I did not apprehend full two days - had, I thought pretty well prepared me to quit this world; yet I cannot tell you that the other, which followed within few days, did not exceedingly surprize, & even astonish, me. Nor, in truth, am I yet recovered out of that trance; nor can I imagine how, from being thought a pretty wise fellow, I became suddenly to have no understanding, & to be of no use." ...

About Friday 13 September 1667

James Morgan  •  Link

It sounded to me like the coal was their common property, and Penn insisted they all hold out for 30s on the sale of any excess. Pepys is anticipating the price will come down with the peace, and thinks they'll eventually be glad to sell for less, but it seems he let Penn have his way. Perhaps Penn is thinking it will go higher with winter coming on.