Annotations and comments

Background Lurker has posted 15 annotations/comments since 22 January 2017.

The most recent first…


Second Reading

About Friday 10 May 1667

Background Lurker  •  Link

Dear Kyle
In this blog the webmaster is usually referred to (with a slight bow of the head) as "Phil the Magnificent". Why? Just because he is.
Phil (the M) will likely look into any bad links if you email him. Maybe you can even suggest some updated links. ;)

From About This Site above:
"This site is run by Phil Gyford. If you have questions about the site you can email me at If you have questions about Samuel Pepys, the diary, or 17th century London you may be better off joining the discussion group at Yahoo! Groups and asking people there."

About Tuesday 12 June 1666

Background Lurker  •  Link

Who is it who’s having a problem?
It comes from a higher authority apparently:
"which is unsuitable to that distinction of sexes which the Lord hath made" - Robert Bolton quoted by SDS above.

About Friday 13 April 1666

Background Lurker  •  Link

"I can't think of any other meaning to this sentence."
"I am happy with the thought of her living close to me in Thames Street, for I love the girl mightily." Perhaps?
18 March: "they are to live nearer me in Thames Streete, by the Old Swan."

When reading between the lines it's often the case we find what we are looking for. ;-)

About Monday 26 March 1666

Background Lurker  •  Link

"Are you sure Pepys was the "Principal Officer" of the Navy Board?"
Yes, but not "the" Principal Officer, "a" Principal Officer. It's all in the Encyclopedia:

Officers of the Navy :…
There were four principal officer positions in the Navy Board when it began in 1660:
Treasurer — Sir George Carteret.
Comptroller — Sir Robert Slingsby (followed by Sir John Mennes when Slingsby died within a year).
Surveyor — Sir William Batten.
Clerk of the Acts — Pepys.
As well as the Officers, the Navy Board consisted of the Commissioners.

Clerk of the Acts
A note on the relative importance of the Clerk of the Acts with respect to the other Principal Officers (posted by vincent/cgs)…
"It hath been objected by some that the Clarke of the Acts ought to be subordinate to the rest of the Commissioners, and not to be joyned in equall power with them, although he was so constituted from the first institution, which hath been an opinion only of some to keep him at a distance, least he might be thought too forward if he had joynt power in discovering or argueing against that which peradventure private interest would have concealed; it is certaine no man sees more of the Navye's Transactions than himselfe, and possibly may speak as much to the project if required, or else he is a blockhead, and not fitt for that imployment."
(Surely written by SP himself)

About Monday 26 March 1666

Background Lurker  •  Link

"He's a harried middle management sort on the make."
At this stage SP was a bit more than that. He was a Principal Officer of the Navy Board.
SP was in the C-suite of the largest organisation in 17th century England.

About Tuesday 16 January 1665/66

Background Lurker  •  Link

“I am surprised that Sam didn't try it on with the young woman ..."
"Who’s to say he didn’t..."
Let's not get carried away, Kate Joyce was SP's first cousin whom he met quite regularly. There is never any suggestion of hanky panky.

About Sunday 2 July 1665

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"I hear this night that Sir J. Lawson was buried late last night at St. Dunstan’s by us, without any company at all, and that the condition of his family is but very poor..."
Lawson was a high ranking naval officer, admiral and vice admiral, and it would be more correct to say that he was a colleague of Sandwich rather than SP.
The following quote from L & M by Michael Robinson puts the "very poor" description of his family's position into perspective:
"He died far from wealthy but not penniless. His pension (L500 p.a.) was continued (since he had died in service.) He had two houses, and an interest in a ballast quay and the Tangier mole."…

About Saturday 4 February 1664/65

Background Lurker  •  Link

"English was her second language and culture"
As has been discussed earlier, this is incorrect. Mrs Pepys was born in England (Bideford) and her mother was either English or Irish. Mrs P attended a convent school in France.

About Wednesday 21 December 1664

Background Lurker  •  Link

"Apparently Mrs Turner gave Pepys the old heave-ho."
SP gave Mrs Turner an eagle which he was glad to be rid of.
There is nothing there to indicate what Mrs Turner gave SP. Perhaps a nice cup of tea.

About Tuesday 11 October 1664

Background Lurker  •  Link

"we sat all the morning"

I'm sure this has been discussed before.
SP is using "sat" in the following sense "sit: to hold an official meeting of a committee, court, etc." (Cambridge Dictionary).
SP was a member of the Navy Board which was *jointly responsible* under the direction of the Lord High Admiral for the civil administration of the Navy. Two members of the Board constituted a quorum. So when SP says that they sat all morning it means two or more members of the Navy Board were present and were officially in session as the Board. When they were sitting they were legally doing business on behalf of the navy.

About Monday 4 July 1664

Background Lurker  •  Link

'She wouldn't even get a household or clothing "allowance." '
Louise, there is already some evidence that EP had a housekeeping allowance, for example 6 July 1662: "then rose and settled my accounts with my wife for housekeeping".

Spoiler alert:
If you do a search on "my wife's kitchen accounts" you will see that discrepancies in these accounts are a source of friction between SP and EP in the future. Sam wonders whether Liz is cooking the books as well as the venison pasties. Perhaps she took lesson from Sir WB.

About Tuesday 24 May 1664

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A daughter and three children?
As Aunt Hester belongs to SP's parents' generation and is "old", it more likely means a daughter and three grandchildren of Hester's. It sounds like a widowed daughter that Uncle Fenner had to take care of.
Women definitely had a lower social status than men in those times but is there any evidence that they were "not considered fully human"?

About Thursday 21 January 1663/64

Background Lurker  •  Link

Louise, the article states that James Turner, the Scottish soldier, was in southern Scotland in the 1660s having a jolly time suppressing Presbyterian Covenanters. He was far too busy being a loyal soldier of Charles II to be hanging around London. So, yes, your tree was not well-chosen.