Monday 23 January 1659/60

In the morning called out to carry 20l. to Mr. Downing, which I did and came back, and finding Mr. Pierce, the surgeon, I took him to the Axe and gave him his morning draft. Thence to my office and there did nothing but make up my balance. Came home and found my wife dressing of the girl’s head, by which she was made to look very pretty. I went out and paid Wilkinson what I did owe him, and brought a piece of beef home for dinner. Thence I went out and paid Waters, the vintner, and went to see Mrs. Jem, where I found my Lady Wright, but Scott was so drunk that he could not be seen. Here I staid and made up Mrs. Ann’s bills, and played a game or two at cards, and thence to Westminster Hall, it being very dark. I paid Mrs. Michell, my bookseller, and back to Whitehall, and in the garden, going through to the Stone Gallery I fell into a ditch, it being very dark. At the Clerk’s chamber I met with Simons and Luellin, and went with them to Mr. Mount’s chamber at the Cock Pit, where we had some rare pot venison, and ale to abundance till almost twelve at night, and after a song round we went home. This day the Parliament sat late, and resolved of the declaration to be printed for the people’s satisfaction, promising them a great many good things.

25 Annotations

First Reading

Eric Walla  •  Link

OK, let me get this straight ...

I understand that Sam fell in a ditch "it being very dark," but what does it mean when he says he went to Westminster Hall "it being very dark"? Is darkness the reason he went (why?), or is he just emphasizing how dark it is as an excuse for his subsequent tumble?

I would hate to see what condition Scott was in if Sam did all this drinking and yet COULD still be seen!

Warren Keith Wright  •  Link

"[T]he Parliament sat late, and resolved of the declaration to be printed for the people’s satisfaction, promising them a great many good things."
Ah, yes, like the upcoming State of the Union Address. Is there a wry note here, or is it only the present imposing on the past?

Martin  •  Link

"This day the Parliament sat late, and resolved of the declaration to be printed for the people’s satisfaction, promising them a great many good things.”

Some things never change. Prmoises, promises :)

Glyn  •  Link

I met with Simons and Luellin

The latter would be Peter Luellin who is a friend of his of the same age who will die of the Plague in six years time (I don't count that as a Spoiler since it's so far away).

I'm interested in his surname - does anyone know anything about it? I've been told that a Daniel Luellin was an ancestor of President Thomas Jefferson.

It sounds to me like an English attempt to write the Welsh name "Llewellyn", just as Shakespeare attempted to do in his play Henry V with the character "Fluellen". So is Peter Luellin of Welsh origins?

Paul Miller  •  Link

Eating, singing, drinking, falling in ditches, I think Sam's life sounds like a hoot!

Tari Elensar  •  Link

Do we know anything about Mrs. Michell the bookseller?

Brad Walsh  •  Link

“This day the Parliament sat late, and resolved of the declaration to be printed for the people’s satisfaction, promising them a great many good things.”

Some things never change. Promises, promises

I suspect Sam was just as jaded by politicians' empty promises as anyone is today. That's why I read this passage to mean that *even more than usual* the Parl was making the old sideboard groan. Considering the turmoil of the times, he seems to be making an observation about the MPs' choice to court public opinion with lavish generosity.

John Simmon  •  Link

Paul, if you think "eating, drinking
and falling in ditches" is a "hoot"
just are in for a real treat.
As to politicians, Sam was in a very
precarious position of wondering where
they would be leading the government and
him, pro restoration or no. "Boys do
now cry "Kiss my Parliment!" instead of
"Kiss my arse!" re the Rump. Has a much
better ring than kiss my Senate/House?

John Simmons  •  Link

Kiss my Congress?

Nix  •  Link

Or "kiss my bush"?

nick sweeney  •  Link

"That’s why I read this passage to mean that *even more than usual* the Parl was making the old sideboard groan.”

For once, I think this isn’t quite accurate. The restoration of the Rump Parliament on Dec 27th 1659, amid all of the recent political upheavals, represented a point of crisis and of opportunity, whereby the country might stabilise from near-anarchy, or relapse into civil war between pro-parliament and pro-militia factions. The parliamentarians must have known that the moderate General Monck, who’d supported their recall, was about a week’s march away from London, and no-one really had much idea of what he intended, except the hope (as expressed by John Evelyn) that he might ‘settle the Nation in some order’.

So Pepys is looking on to see if the MPs of the Rump, newly reinstated after being expelled by Lambert in his October coup (the Commons only, of course; the House of Lords was dissolved by Cromwell) can come up with a political settlement that has some teeth. No talking shop, this assembly, given that they’d been given a second chance after being replaced by a military junta. How could it be, when the alternative was again to cede power to the militia? No wonder they were all happy to stay up till the small hours.

Dave Bell  •  Link

"It being very dark."

Remember, no street lighting, and we're still on the Julian Calendar in England. So the calendar was out of sync with the seasons.


They skipped days when the change was made in the middle of the next century, when England went into sync with the Gregorian calendar, so this date is in early February, by our reckoning. Sunset will be a little more than five hours after noon by then, but there will be a big difference in the light over the last hour of daylight if there is heavy cloud.

Any idea what the phase of the moon was for Pepys? The full moon could have made a big difference, but if the sky was clouded over it will be dark.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Phases of the Moon

Darrell has found a great site, but (if I understand it correctly) the link seems to go to a page that calculates for one of the centuries before Christ. Here's another link that appears to be for Pepys's century:…

The nice thing about the calculations is that they're in Greenwich Mean Time -- which cover's England. The website above doesn't mention the old style/new style dating problem, so I assume it ignores it. To calculate the change, this website is handy:

Roger Miller  •  Link

So the date conversion site translates 23/1/1659 to 2/2/1660 which according to the moon phase site was just before the last quarter.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

There was a full moon on Jan. 17

And the moon's last quarter was on Jan. 25, old style. Unless I've messed up these calculations (a distinct possibility). It seems the moon was a little more than half way between a half moon and a quarter moon on this night.

The date website to which I linked to above only converts old style into new style, not the other way around, so it's not really that handy. But the conversion rule for the period covered by Pepys's diary is: subtract 10 days to go from new style to old style; (add 10 days to go from old style to new style).

The NASA site says that for 1660, full moon was 27 Jan., last quarter was 4 Feb., presumably new style.

It appears it was relatively light out (if only the moon's phase is taken into account) and all this calculating explains next to nothing. It must've been unusually cloudy out. The smog, presumably, was a constant, unchanging factor (or maybe a lack of wind made it worse?).

It's fun (in a geekish way) to know that we can figure this stuff out using the Internet. Who knows, maybe this will answer a larger question we'll have someday.

George Peabody  •  Link

Not to get overly geekish about this, but a moon more than halfway between a half moon and a quarter moon doesn't throw a great deal of light, and, because it's waning, rises late. Sam seems to have stumbled into the ditch sometime in the evening: very likely the moon wasn't up yet. No, no, don't tell me there's a site for calculating time of moonrise in the 17th C!

Stephen Middleton  •  Link

I see on this page:

Parliament on this day

There are no journals available for this date, probably because neither House was in session.

and yet Pepys refers to a late sitting?

Rainer Doehle  •  Link

"No, no, don’t tell me there’s a site for calculating time of moonrise in the 17th C"

I am sure there are, but I just checked it with one of these astronomy programmes that simulate the skies for any given moment in time. For 23 Jan 1660 old style (2 Feb 1660 new style) the moon would be lit about 2/3 which would make it a fairly bright night, but as George Peabody pointed out correctly, the moon would rise rather late, at around 2 o'clock, while sunset was at around half past six. So between eight and two o'clock it would have been indeed quite dark.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Diary of Ralph Josselin (Private Collection)
23.1.1660 (Monday 23 January 1660)
document 70012230
23: began to plough Sprigs marsh , busy in my husbandry, god in mercy prosper my work, and command his blessing on the labour of my hand. heard sister Anna was returned home again. god in mercy make her wise for her own good, and the good of her friends. god gave a merciful answer of prayer in my Jane whose ague I hope has these two days left her.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The House of Commons making Army appointments seems prudent to me. And Rev. Josselin starting the Spring ploughing seems prudent too. Not being a country girl, I had no idea ploughing began in January -- yesterday he said it was cold and snowy. A hard life all round.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sounds like "Thence to my office and there did nothing but make up my balance." means he got paid his balacnce. Otherwise, where did the money for all this bill paying come from?

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Actually the Commons must have felt their "Declaration on Settling the Government", as it was more or less styled, to be quite a big deal if they went to the trouble of getting "printed for the people’s satisfaction". A "System of Government" has been due for months, and now seems a good time to publish it since Monk, on the march with thousands of troops, is sending signals that he's not on his way to another coup. Was this it?

So imagine the members' disappointment at Sam's dismissive little codicil on this their great worke, and even worse at its near-total disappearance into obscurity and irrelevance. For you can hardly find a mention of this text in parliamentary histories - for instance in "Acts and ordinances of the Interregnum" (HMSO, 1911, at… and…), which notes that a lot of documents from this period were lost, but mentions none for that day. And indeed, 'twas not even a formal Act.

The House of Commons Journal for today only lists minor edits (some perhaps not so minor, e.g. a proposal to replace "a King" by "the King"), so to get a sense of what Sam got to peruse we need to check yesterday's Journal, at…, which has a clear enough if not final draft. Yep, plenty in there to Please the People:

"Ordered, That it be referred to a Committee to bring in a Declaration, That the Parliament intends forthwith to proceed to the Settlement of the Government: And will uphold a Learned and Pious Ministry of the Nation, and their Maintenance by Tythes, and the known Laws of the Land: And that they will proceed to fill up the House so soon as may be; and to settle the Commonwealth without a King, Single Person, or House of Peers: And will promote the Trade of the Nation: And will reserve due Liberty to tender Consciences: And also encourage and settle the Universities: And that the Parliament will not meddle with the executive Power of the Law, but only in Cases of Male-Administration and Appeals; and that Proceedings shall be according to the Laws: And also, That they will ease the Burdens of the Nation, as much as is consistent with the pressing Necessities of the Commonwealth: Viz. unto Lord Chief-Justice St. John, Sir Arthur Hesilrig, Mr. Attorney-General, Mr. Solicitor-General, Mr. Say. And it is especially referred to the Lord St. John and Sir Arthur Hesilrig, to take care, that this Declaration be brought in on Monday Morning next." That would be today.

But it still wasn't a constitution, just a vacuous list of promises ("we'll uphold the law" - well, you betcha) and 'twas still the Rump, which went on to the more pressing task of filling army commissions; and "without a King" was neither a surprise, nor anything like a consensus opinion. So, a damp squib it was, and to wrap that piece of beef it went.

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