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has posted 45 annotations/comments since 10 April 2013.


About Tuesday 29 May 1660

MarkS  •  Link

Oops... question 1 should have said "You and your 2 friends" - for simplicity.

About Tuesday 29 May 1660

MarkS  •  Link

@Dick Wilson
I doubt whether that was true, because routine calculations with currency required a good knowledge of arithmetic. Any tradesman had to be able to do arithmetic, and every gentleman who didn't want to be cheated left, right and centre needed to be able to do arithmetic for everyday expenses.

Some quick examples off the top of my head:

1. You and your 3 friends drink 5 bottles of wine at an inn, 3 bottles at 1s 4d and 2 bottles at 2s 8d. How much do you owe the innkeeper? And how much is that split 3 ways?

2. A carpenter says he will make you a small, plain table for half a crown but he wants a third in advance to buy the wood. How much should you pay him in advance?

3. A new maid is hired at 3s 9d per week, but she is fired after 17 days. How much do you owe her in wages?

4. If you borrowed £20 at 8% interest per year how much interest would you owe after 3 months?

5. If eight farm workers are paid 4d per day for 7 weeks work, how much do you owe each of them, and what's the total?

Not mention ducats, Scotch pounds, and assorted currency conversions for old or unusual coins.

Just about everyone, gentleman or not, needed a good knowledge of arithmetic simply to be able to get by in society.

(I'll post the answers here tomorrow - no calculators allowed!)

About Sunday 20 May 1660

MarkS  •  Link

Regarding time-keeping aboard ship, the problem with clocks in the 17th century was that they were not very accurate. Different clocks might be many minutes apart.

In an individual ship a bell would serve to indicate the official time for the whole ship, but in a fleet there was a need was to coordinate the time across several ships.

The sound of a bell wouldn't carry far enough, particularly in bad weather, so they were using a gun to synchronize the time throughout the whole fleet.

About Monday 9 April 1660

MarkS  •  Link

A note about the word 'gale'. In Pepys' time it didn't mean what it means today.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary defines it as:

GALE. A wind not tempestuous, yet stronger than a breeze.

Winds of gentlest gale Arabian odours fann'd
From their soft wings, and Flora's earliest smells.
- Milton

Fresh gales and gentle air
- Milton

And from a traditional sea shanty, date unknown but probably 18th century,

Was on the fourth of August
From Spithead we set sail
With Ramillies and company
Blest with a pleasant gale.