Saturday 7 January 1659/60

At my office as I was receiving money of the probate of wills, in came Mrs. Turner, Theoph., Madame Morrice, and Joyce, and after I had done I took them home to my house and Mr. Hawly came after, and I got a dish of steaks and a rabbit for them, while they were playing a game or two at cards. In the middle of our dinner a messenger from Mr. Downing came to fetch me to him, so leaving Mr. Hawly there, I went and was forced to stay till night in expectation of the French Embassador, who at last came, and I had a great deal of good discourse with one of his gentlemen concerning the reason of the difference between the zeal of the French and the Spaniard. After he was gone I went home, and found my friends still at cards, and after that I went along with them to Dr. Whores (sending my wife to Mrs. Jem’s to a sack-posset), where I heard some symphony and songs of his own making, performed by Mr. May, Harding, and Mallard. Afterwards I put my friends into a coach, and went to Mrs. Jem’s, where I wrote a letter to my Lord by the post, and had my part of the posset which was saved for me, and so we went home, and put in at my Lord’s lodgings, where we staid late, eating of part of his turkey-pie, and reading of Quarles’ Emblems. So home and to bed.

48 Annotations

First Reading

Charles Weng  •  Link

"Zeal of the French and the Spaniard": The two colonial powers were certainly quite contentious at this time, as they -- along with Portugal and Britain -- vied for territories in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Here's a question to my fellow readers: would Pepy's cordial conversation with the entourage of the French Embassador address merely the geopolitical context of their day in a superficial manner, or is there something else to the meaning of the word "zeal"?

Charles Weng  •  Link

Back to the "Zeal" question -- Should "Zeal" have a religious context in Pepy's conversation, it would no doubt reflect the fact that Protestant London was particularly sensitive to the Catholic allegiances of the French and the Spaniard. Since this would be a sensitive subject (even more so then than now), it might have shown Pepy's confidence (or plain glibness) regarding his social standing, so as to raise this subject with the French Embassador's entourage.

Susanna  •  Link

Francis Quarles

Francis Quarles (1592-1644) was an attorney who took up writing to help support his eighteen children. Politically he was a royalist, but the Puritans were especially fond of his poetry. His Emblems (1635) was a best-seller.…

Louise  •  Link

OK, I can't resist asking: Who was Dr. Whores?

Nicholas Laughlin  •  Link

William Hoare, physician of Cannon Row, Westminster, according to the Latham-Matthews edition.

David Gurliacci  •  Link

I just KNEW he didn't spell it that way.

David Gurliacci  •  Link

Gobbble gobble

In the course of seven days. . .

Jan. 1 - "Dined at home in the garret, where my wife dressed the remains of a turkey . . ."

Jan. 5 - "I dined with Mr. Sheply, at my Lord's lodgings, upon his turkey-pie."

Jan. 6 - "This morning Mr. Sheply and I did eat our breakfast at Mrs. Harper's . . . upon a cold turkey-pie and a goose."

Jan. 7 - ". . . at my Lord's lodgings, where we staid late, eating of part of his turkey-pie."

4 turkey meals
3 of them in the past three days
3 turkey pies
2 of them at Montagu's (a good cook?)
2 eaten with Shepley

Turkey for breakfast. Turkey at midday, Turkey for the evening meal. Turkey as a late night snack.

I think we can safely conclude that Mr. Pepys likes his turkey, and for that matter, so do other people.

Mark Diller  •  Link

A love of turkey can also explain Pepys' evident tendency to knock off early -- he was sleepy!

Wooden Rivet  •  Link

Mr. Pepys certainly consumes a lot of meat (and plenty of sack)! I don't see any mention of fruits or vegetables in his diet. I would think that this would cause vitamin deficiencies and/or intestinal upset.

Phil  •  Link

When Pepys says "my Lord" in this entry (and others) I'm assuming he means Montagu. However, part of me wonders whether he might be referring to Lambert -- would Pepys write a letter to Montagu just before "putting in" at his lodgings?

Danski  •  Link

As we've been on the subject of food, those that have been wondering (as I have) what a "Sack-Posset" consisted of can find an excellent recipe here:…

More effective at inducing sleep than a mug of Horlicks, I would imagine!

Ed  •  Link

I've noticed that everyone seems to have spent an awful lot of time playing cards. The 17th century equivalent of slumping front of television, perhaps?!

Phil  •  Link

The last time I went past the Anchor pub (a few months back) it looked like it had been completely gutted and was being renovated. The rest of the area around Clink Street and Borough Market has been vastly changed over the last few years by new restaurants, bars, etc and while it's still a lovely area, it's now a little bit harder to imagine how it might have been in Pepys' day.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Re: Wooden Rivet's note about the consumption of meat and sack, I wonder if possibly vegetables simply didn't merit mention in Pepys' recollection of the day's events? Meat was certainly the centerpiece of each meal, and fruit was probably in short supply, it being winter. Also, does anyone know if the meat pies mentioned are like the meat pies today -- that is, a mixture of meat and vegetables in some sort of sauce, enclosed in a crust? If so, that would account for *some* vegetables in the diet.

BTW, I love the diary and appreciate the effort that everyone is putting into it. Thanks for providing this opportunity to step out of the madness of modernity for a moment each day.

language hat  •  Link

Montagu was out of town.
The previous August he had sailed to England in anticipation of a royal restoration; when this did not materialize, "after making a careful and noncommittal statement to a suspicious Council of State, he retired, as was his wont in times of trouble, to Hinchingbrooke... And when he reached Hinchingbrooke, there to remain obscure and out of action till the clouds had blown over, it was to Pepys, watching the great world from his office in the Exchequer and from Whitehall and Westminster taverns, that he turned for news of all that was passing."
--Arthur Bryant, Samuel Pepys: The Man in the Making, 48-49

naomi  •  Link

Thanks for answering my "Sack Posset" sounds like way to much meat in their daily diet to me.

Robert Sulentic  •  Link

I think 'zeal' in this context is more superficial, a conversation on preceived national characteristics, much the same way one today may refer to the British 'stiff upper lip' or German 'efficiency' or something like that.

Charles Weng  •  Link

I'm inclined to agree with Robert Sulentic on the "zeal" issue. Polite conversations with foreign dignitaries can only go so far. I don't think Pepys would be so gauche as to discuss such taboo subjects as Protestants vs. Catholics so readily...or would he?

caleb crosby  •  Link

re: Zeal

Pepys says, "the reason for the difference in zeal"

This seems to be an observation that one of the parties is more 'inclined' than the other- more enthused.

The object of this warmth is unmentioned. Some 'question of the day' ...

mike  •  Link

Regarding Turkey

1660 is early enough in the commerce between Europe and the Americas that one wonders if turkey is some sort of novelty of the day. Evidently, it's being farmed in Britain by this time for it to be so very readily available; but how long had this been the case?

A generation? a few years?

David Gurliacci  •  Link

"My lord" and political maneuvering

My guess is that every single "my Lord" reference in the diary is to Montagu. I think if Pepys had other people to call "my Lord," he would have specifically named Montagu to avoid confusion.

More guesswork:
It's been said that Pepys, as Montagu's agent in London, was supposed to keep Montagu informed of the political developments. One interesting development would be Downing meeting the French ambassador.

In fact, Pepys might be holding that political no-show job in Downing's office for just this opportunity to keep Montagu informed of Downing's doings. (Downing's hiring of Pepys might be a political favor to Montagu -- that would explain why Pepys is being paid for a job that seems to give him a lot of free time. Of course, all political appointees in no-show jobs actually do work: but they do sensitive political work for their masters, not for the public.)

Downing and the ambassador might be talking about any government-to-government matter. But in retrospect, if they aren't sounding each other out on the possible ascension of Charles II to the throne, they're rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Actually, gauging Monck's intentions is probably more important at this point than anything else. Monck is on his way to becoming the most powerful person in Britain for a few months. Downing may well be one of the first people in London to realize that.

As former spymaster for Cromwell in Scotland, Downing may have some valuable insight into Monck, who's been ruling Scotland for a while, and even to recent events up north. Downing's father is a government official in Edinburgh right now.

Montagu and Downing each had some secret contact with Charles before the Restoration. Montagu even got into deep trouble in 1659 when his support for Charles was suspected. But their contacts with Charles will turn out to have been the most prudent, intelligent thing they could do at this time.

The French government was supportive of Charles. Just possibly the ambassador might act as a go-between for Downing and Charles, but that wouldn't be prudent for Downing. Most likely, they're just trading information. Downing will want to be friendly with the ambassador -- if his contacts with the king are found out, France would be a good spot to seek asylum. It's interesting that the meeting takes place at night, probably at Downing's home.

Pepys was probably chatting with the French official as both of them were waiting for the meeting to end (Pepys was certainly not in the meeting, or he would have said so). As Montagu's man, Pepys would have been considered trustworthy enough to be outside the door, but -- as Montagu's man -- not trustworthy enough to have been given any information about what sensitive topics may have come up.

Susanna  •  Link

Turkey and Vegetables

The English had been raising and eating turkey for decades before 1660. Indeed, one of London's biggest seasonal "traffic jams" was caused by turkey drovers coming up from East Anglia, Norfolk, and Suffolk with their flocks of up to 1,000 turkeys in the weeks before Christmas. Of course, these turkeys were not as large or fatty as the ones you would buy at your supermarket; we have bred them for size and fattiness in the centuries since Pepys' time.

As for vegetables, there are a number of period vegetable dishes found at…

suggesting that Pepys simply may not have found vegetables noteworthy enough to mention eating.

Wulf Losee  •  Link

Liza Picard has a brief but concise summary of the eating habits of Restoration England in her book "Restoration London" (different publishers in the US and Great Britain).

1. Vegetables (in-season): There are references to veggies in cookbooks of the time. Evelyn evidently wrote a whole book about "salats" (anybody know the title?). Picard quotes from some of the relevant documents of the period. People ate vegetables in-season, but they weren't a status symbol like meat.

2. Vegetables (off-season): My understanding is that canning as way of preserving food wasn't discovered until the late 18th/early 19th Century (please correct me if I'm wrong). I remember reading somewhere that Napoleon put up a reward to whoever could find a reliable way to preserve food (to feed his armies on the march)-- and canning was the result. Therefore, fresh vegetables or preserved vegetables (other than root vegetables that would survive frost) would be unlikely in 17th Century England.

3. Well, what about vitamin deficiencies? Well, cider and cider vinegar contain vitamin C (and whole lot of other useful vitamins). Certainly those were available in the winter months. Apples store well, too. So Apples would be available, as would raisins and other dried fruit. Quince marmalade was a treat in those days (I think the citrus marmalades came later). Also, 17th Century people seemed much less fussy about eating the innards of animals

language hat  •  Link

The single turkey:
Bryant refers to "finishing up that long-lived cold turkey which his wife had redressed."

By the way, if anybody's wondering why we call it a "turkey":

1541, "guinea fowl" (numida meleagris), imported from Madacascar via Turkey, by Near East traders known as turkey merchants. The larger North American bird (meleagris gallopavo) was domesticated by the Aztecs, introduced to Spain by conquistadors (1523) and thence to wider Europe, by way of Africa and Turkey (Indian corn was originally turkey corn or turkey wheat in Eng. for the same reason). The word turkey was first applied to it in Eng. 1555 because it was identified with or treated as a species of the guinea fowl.
(from the Online Etymology Dictionary,…)

David Gurliacci  •  Link

They must've had dried peas and beans, too. . .

. . . because one of each would have been in the twelfth cake for Twelfth Night celebrations earlier this week.

Venison pasty, which Pepys also mentioned, contained some chopped onions.

Todd Bernhardt (note 17 above, "RE: Wooden...") has an excellent point regarding Pepys not mentioning vegetables.

At the mid-day and evening meals on Twelfth Day, it's reasonable to assume that more dishes were served than Pepys mentions. Note that he doesn't mention what he drank at them.

Graham  •  Link

Regarding preserving vegetables the excellent website referred to by Susanna in her post "Turkey and Vegetables" includes methods for doing exactly this.

Warren Keith Wright  •  Link

I believe that Evelyn's book about "sallets" (another spelling) is the "Acetaria." (Memorial reconstruction.)

Second Reading

Autumnbreeze Movies  •  Link

David Gurliacci, thanks for the interesting thread on the work Pepys may have been doing for E. Montagu and all the complicated and intertwining possibilities of intentions the other parties may have had. It really opens up this short diary entry.

Autumnbreeze Movies  •  Link

Cabbage stores very well. I think turnips and swedes do too, as do beetroot and carrots. The Spanish introduced potatoes to Europe in the second half of the 16th century, so they probably ate them in Sam's London and potatoes are rich in vitamin C. I wonder if vegetables were pickled at that time?

Autumnbreeze Movies  •  Link

In Central and Eastern Europe cabbage and cucumbers are fermented in salt and eaten through winter. They are very nutritious.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Quarles' Emblems, Divine and Moral: together with Hieroglyphics of the Life of Man

Emblem book
An emblem book is a book collecting emblems (allegorical illustrations) with accompanying explanatory text, typically morals or poems. This category of books was popular in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I went and was forced to stay till night in expectation of the French Embassador, who at last came, and I had a great deal of good discourse with one of his gentlemen concerning the reason of the difference between the zeal of the French and the Spaniard."

Pepys speaks French. Elizabeth Pepys' father wad a French Huguenot immigrant, "She was educated first in a convent, and then in a seminary of France. " -- from the epitaph Pepys wrote for her:…

"I had a great deal of good discourse with one of his gentlemen concerning the reason of the difference between the zeal of the French and the Spaniard."

I would think a Frenchman in the diplomatic corps would gladly share (in French?) with a young English bureaucrat his views of the superiority to the Spanish of French ambitions in international affairs (zeal?).

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"At my office as I was receiving money of the probate of wills, "

L&M note fees were charged by the clerks for recording in the assignment books of the Exchequer the probate of all wills which affected government revenue.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The only problem with David Gurliacci's theory is that Pepys says he sent his letter to Sandwich by the mail. His old mentor, Samuel Morland at the Post Office, is busy reading the mail for spy-master John Thurloe. They must have used an innocent-looking code not to excite interest. Now, if it had gone by private messenger, it would have been a different story.

With the tension in London and the country, it's interesting the mail was still that reliable.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"In the middle of our dinner a messenger from Mr. Downing came to fetch me to him, ..."

says that George Downing lived at St. Stephen's Court, Westminster. Whether or not that was so in 1660, I do not know.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I went along with them to Dr. Whores (sending my wife to Mrs. Jem’s to a sack-posset), where I heard some symphony and songs of his own making, performed by Mr. May, Harding, and Mallard"

L&M: William Hoare was a physician living in Cannon Row, Westminster. Humphrey Mage , John Harding and Thomas Mallard were professional musicians.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I went along with them to Dr. Whores (sending my wife to Mrs. Jem’s to a sack-posset), where I heard some symphony...." --

The word symphony is derived from the Greek word συμφωνία (symphonia), meaning "agreement or concord of sound", "concert of vocal or instrumental music", from σύμφωνος (symphōnos), "harmonious".[1] The word referred to a variety of different concepts before ultimately settling on its current meaning designating a musical form.

In late Greek and medieval theory, the word was used for consonance, as opposed to διαφωνία (diaphōnia), which was the word for "dissonance".[2] In the Middle Ages and later, the Latin form symphonia was used to describe various instruments, especially those capable of producing more than one sound simultaneously.[2] Isidore of Seville was the first to use the word symphonia as the name of a two-headed drum[citation needed], and from c. 1155 to 1377 the French form symphonie was the name of the organistrum or hurdy-gurdy. In late medieval England, symphony was used in both of these senses, whereas by the 16th century it was equated with the dulcimer. In German, Symphonie was a generic term for spinets and virginals from the late 16th century to the 18th century.[3]…

Third Reading

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

How excellent that, so early in the Diary and at age 27, our Sam is whisk'd off to a nightly meeting with the French ambassador. As for the the Zeal of Spain & France, why, it was quite on display within the last couple of months, as the two crowns, right as they finalized, signed and made their way past the Peace of the Pyrénées, respectively gave a royal welcome (and lotsa money) to Charles, then attended his way to Brussels, with rather more courtesy than could have been expected by someone who, in very recent memory, had actively fought France as a part of the Spanish army. Parliament was allied with France against Spain. Now power in London may be about to switch, and the English alliance is up for grabs. The French ambassador, Antoine de Bordeaux, must be as keen for information as Sam and My Lord.

An interesting game was being played just this autumn, with Charles the pawn, and the pieces still moving. On October 14 a dispatch from the Venetian ambassador to France (at…) reported that Charles had gone to Spain "to break [its] dealings with parliament", aimed at making London switch sides; ambassador Nani, however, knew better and added that "the Spaniards have persuaded him to take this journey precisely in order to alarm the parliamentarians and induce them to cede Dunkirk and Jamaica", the strategic port of Dunkirk having been taken by France from Spain and given to England in 1658. The treaty of the Pyrénées confirm'd this, but Dunkirk remains in contention; on November 25, Nani wrote of its English governor, William Lockhart, that "it is believed that he will want to make his fortune by offering the place for sale". That'd be a way to ascertain who's got The Zeal.

And meanwhile Charles sits in Brussels, right between France and Spain (well, Brussels is Spanish, but near the border). He was receiv'd well enough in France & may start to feel confident enough about the year 1660, to play one side against the other, & test their Zeals. In fact today (old style; January 17 new style, but let's look at it now) Charles' fairthful secretary Edward Nicholas sends to Lord Mordaunt nothing less than "the King's Proclamation signed and sealed, but not dated" (the letter's in the State Papers). C2K isn't quite packing yet, but it sure looks like the endgame. What else could there be for ambassadors to discuss over their cups of chocolate in the quiet of evening?

LKvM  •  Link

Chris Horry,
A sack posset sounds like eggnog.

LKvM  •  Link

Chris Horry, afterthought:
"Posset" is eggnog.
"Sack posset" would be eggnog spiked with the "sack" of that era, or nowadays with another alcohol beverage like brandy, dark rum, or bourbon.

Ensign Tom  •  Link

When I came across this reference to “Dr. Whore”, I couldn’t help but think of that scene in Patrick O’Brian’s “Master and Commander” where Captain Jack Aubrey is on the deck of H.M.S. Sophie admonishing Midshipman William Babbington not to neglect his correspondence to his family and instructs him to write a two-page letter to his parents. Captain Jack wants to assure Babbington’s parents that he is safeguarding their son’s parental allowance and so he tells the young midshipman, “‘Give your father my compliments and tell him my bankers are Hoares.’ … ‘Hoares,’ he repeated absently once or twice, ‘my bankers are Hoares,’ and a strangled ugly crowing noise made him turn. Young Ricketts was clinging to the fall of the main burton-tackle in an attempt to control himself, but without much success.”

As it turns out, there actually was and is a famous London banking firm called C. Hoare & Co. founded in 1672.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Why are you confusing people, Ensign Tom? The Diary entry is about WILLIAM Hoare.

The bank was started by RICHARD Hoare (1648 –1719), so he is currently 12. Maybe they were relatives? I don't know and during the Diary years, nor does Pepys, who well might have gotten to know him after the Diary:
"Our founder, Richard Hoare, completed his apprenticeship as a goldsmith and, as goldsmiths often did in those days, set up a business safeguarding gold and valuables under the sign of the Golden Bottle on Cheapside.
"In 1690 the business moved to our current location in Fleet Street, where it continued to prosper. Richard was knighted by Queen Anne in 1702, and appointed Lord Mayor of London 10 years later."…

Ensign Tom  •  Link

Sorry, San Diego Sarah! I didn't intend to confuse people. I fully realize that Dr. William Hoare and Richard Hoare are two different people. It's just that I'm sure Patrick O'Brian must have read Pepys' Diary and kept the potential humor of the surname Hoare in mind and looked for an opportunity to use it in his first Aubrey/Maturin novel. Just as I can't help but think that O'Brian was inspired to portray the scenes in his novels where Captain Aubrey and his ship's surgeon, Stephen Maturin, take out their instruments and enjoy a musical interlude after a hard day of thrashing the French by the similar scenes of shipboard concerts that Pepys observed and participated in when he and Lord Montagu sailed to Holland in May 1660 as part of the Royal Navy squadron despatched to fetch King Charles back to England.

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