Monday 30 January 1659/60

This morning, before I was up, I fell a-singing of my song, “Great, good, and just,” &c.1 and put myself thereby in mind that this was the fatal day, now ten years since, his Majesty died.

Scull the waterman came and brought me a note from the Hope from Mr. Hawly with direction, about his money, he tarrying there till his master be gone.

To my office, where I received money of the excise of Mr. Ruddyer, and after we had done went to Will’s and staid there till 3 o’clock and then I taking my 12l. 10s. 0d. due to me for my last quarter’s salary, I went with them by water to London to the house where Signr. Torriano used to be and staid there a while with Mr. Ashwell, Spicer and Ruddier. Then I went and paid 12l. 17s. 6d. due from me to Captn. Dick Matthews according to his direction the last week in a letter. After that I came back by water playing on my flageolette and not finding my wife come home again from her father’s I went and sat awhile and played at cards with Mrs. Jem, whose maid had newly got an ague and was ill thereupon.

So homewards again, having great need to do my business, and so pretending to meet Mr. Shott the wood monger of Whitehall I went and eased myself at the Harp and Ball, and thence home where I sat writing till bed-time and so to bed.

There seems now to be a general cease of talk, it being taken for granted that Monk do resolve to stand to the Parliament, and nothing else. Spent a little time this night in knocking up nails for my hat and cloaks in my chamber.

40 Annotations

First Reading

Warren Keith Wright  •  Link

The Marquis de Montrose's verse would challenge even Purcell, whose Court Odes of the 1680s and 1690s set their share of contorted imagery. One wonders what Pepys made of it. Briareus had 100 arms, Argus 100 eyes; the sense of this stanza seems to be that, rather than waste time weeping, the mourner is going to put the boot in. To whom, exactly?

Paul  •  Link

To whom? The Regicides, surely. Montrose didn't live to see it (he was executed in 1650; definitive account of that event at… ) but at the Restoration, bloody vengeance was certainly taken for the 'fatal day', as we shall see in the Diary before too long. As usual, Pepys had a ringside seat.

language hat  •  Link

waterman (from the OED):

A man working on a boat or among boats, esp. a boatman (as the licensed wherry-man of London) who plies for hire on a river, etc.
1580 Hollyband Treas. Fr. Tong, Payer le port, pay the waterman his fare. 1583 Melbancke Philotimus, And so imitate the waterman whiche lookethe one waye, and roweth another. 1610 Holland Camden's Brit. i. (1637) 389 The Inhabitants whereof [of Henley on Thames] be for the most part Watermen, who make their chiefest gaine by carrying downe in their Barges wood and Corne to London. 1697 Vanbrugh Relapse i. ii, Come, pay the Waterman, and take the Portmantle [portmanteau]. 1824 Friendship's Offering 220 Rates of Watermen. From London Bridge. 1835 Dickens Sk. Boz, River, Groups of watermen are assembled at the different stairs.

Warren Keith Wright  •  Link

Thanks to Paul, not only for this particular link which will enlighten those of us whose British history is hazier than we'd like to admit, but also for entree to a site devoted to the highly impeachable verse of the majestically awful William McGonagall:…

Emilio  •  Link

Great, good, and just
As I read these lines I can't help but reflect on the irony of them. I wonder how many of his mourners had been so fervent ten years earlier, after decades of pitched battles with Parliament and heavy taxes to raise the money that Parliament wouldn't give him.
Time does make all the difference.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Sam's off by a year

Charles I was actually executed 30 January 1649, eleven years before, not ten.

Emilio  •  Link

Oops, I meant the battles with Parliament literally AND metaphorically - the Civil War didn't last quite that long.
And thanks to both Paul and Warren for the intro to the McGonagall site. I feel I've been changed in subtle ways that will only appear in years to come.

John (Grahame) Simmons  •  Link

A much better poem re the execution of Montrose is in Aytoun' "Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers."
The Civil War in Scotland played out in part along clan lines that had been established well before. Montrose lead
an army mostly comprised of Highladers
against one of lowland/Covenanters. He did well at first, winning a series of small battles against larger armies.
The culmination of this campaign came
at Inverlochy when his army defeated the
Campbells and many old scores were settled. Argyll of course saw Montrose
hanged, and lay in Edinburgh castle waiting his own execution in May of 1661, when the quartered remains of
Montrose were gathered and buried in
state. A good biography is John Buchan's "The Marquis of Montrose".

Allan Russell  •  Link

Glad to see Sam gets around to a bit of DIY at the end of the day, things never change

Grahamt  •  Link

"Scull the waterman..."
Is this his name and just a coincidence that it describes his job, or slang at the time for all boatmen?
The Shorter Oxford has:
2 A small boat propelled with a scull or a pair of sculls; a light racing craft for a single rower. E17.
3 A person who sculls, a sculler. rare. M17-E18

Grahamt  •  Link

So here we have it in his own words, he earns 12l. 10s. 0d a quarter or £50 a year, though he then has to pay out 12l. 17s. 6d to Captn. Dick Matthews. One wonders how he “do find myself to be worth 40l. and more” when his outgoings exceed his income! Presumably this was just a bad quarter, though he seems happy enough in the rest of the entry.

Grahamt  •  Link

"having great need to do my business, ... I went and eased myself at the Harp and Ball" I think that is self explanatory: he was caught short, but the middle phrase: "...and so pretending to meet Mr. Shott the wood monger of Whitehall ..." seems odd. However, the SOED has for "pretend":
12 Move forward, direct one’s course. (Foll. by to, for.) LME-M17.
So we could read this as “…heading towards a meeting with Mr. Shott…” Have I read this right?

Larry Bunce  •  Link

Sam has the execution anniversary right. The old calendar kept January with the previous year, so January 30 1649 would be 1650 to us. Although Pepys considered the current year to be 1660, is was legally 1659. I can't figure out why calendar dates are so confusing. Every time I think I have it figured out, it turns out I am wrong.

Gus  •  Link

pretend -

I believe modern day translation is intend .. thus _intending_ to meet Mr. Shott ..."

M.Stolzenbach  •  Link

”…and so pretending to meet Mr. Shott the wood monger of Whitehall …”

I thought this was his excuse - he couldn’t exactly tell Mrs. Jem what he was going off to do.

language hat  •  Link

Hey, lay off McGonagall --
I don't care what you say, this is a rousing quatrain!

"When he told him he shouldn't be so particular with his head,
For in a few hours he would be dead;
But Montrose replied, While my head is my own I'll dress it at my ease,
And to-morrow, when it becomes yours, treat it as you please. "

And look here, he puts his source reference *right in the poem itself* – so much for Eliot and his namby-pamby footnotes:

“And when on the scaffold he had, says his biographer Wishart,
Such a grand air and majesty, which made the people start.”

By the way, this line contained a word that made me sit up and take notice:

“From the prison, bareheaded, in a cart, they conveyed him along the Watergate”

I’d never really thought about the word “watergate” – it was only a hotel to me – but it turns out it means ‘a gate (of a town, a castle, etc.) giving access to the water-side’ (OED) and is the name of a street at the east end of the Old Town of Edinburgh, next to Holyrood Palace; it can be seen at the bottom (east) of this 1817 map:…

Dai B  •  Link

'The facilities' at public houses are still sternly marked 'for patrons only'. Which of us has not traversed the public bar with a convincing act of 'looking for someone' when actually en route to the john? Perhaps the patrons at public houses then were much better known to mine host, and so the act had to include a question to the effect "Schott bin in?" to achieve veracity...

David Quidnunc  •  Link

10th or 11th anniversary?

Larry makes an excellent point that we have to watch out for those tricky calendar differences in figuring out years. I should have explained in my annotation above that Sam being mistaken was something I'd picked up in some Pepys biography -- not my own calculation.

A Yahoo search (of the words "Charles I" 1649 "new style") turns up some sites that confirm Charles I was executed on 30 January 1648/49 (eleven years before Pepys wrote in 1659/60).

These authors aren't the most authoritative of authorities perhaps, but hey -- at least they sound convincing:……

At Doc Weevil's site, scroll down to Brian Swisher's posting.)

j a gioia  •  Link

came back by water playing on my flageolette

What a lovely image - being rowed across the Thames while playing his little pipe. We are increasingly aware of how important music is to Sam. I wonder if somewhere in his library is the tune he set to "Great, Good, and Just".

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Pepys and musical instruments

Henry B. Wheatley's "Samuel Pepys and the World He Lived In" (1889 edition) gives this list of musical instruments (p. 98) mentioned in the diary (and he gives dates each instrument was mentioned). These 20 items are on the list:

lute (8 mentions in the diary), viol (7 mentions), lyre viol (3), bass viol (2), arched viol (1), treble (1), violin (7), therobo (8), guitar (2), cittern (2), bandore (1), recorder (1), flageolet (9), triangle (4), triangle virginal (1), virginals (2), spinet ("espinette") (3), harpsichord (6), dulcimer (1), trumpet marine (1).

Pepys's favorites: flageolet, lute, therebo, viol, violin, harpsichord.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

ague -- a fever

Niki Barnes  •  Link

"Waterman". This term is still in use , at least in America. It refers to men who make their living on the water. Such as the Chesapeak Bay watermen who harvest oysters and crabs.

michael f vincent  •  Link

having great need to do my business, and so pretending to meet Mr. Shott the wood monger of Whitehall I went and eased myself at the Harp and Ball,
I still make this excuse when caught short and need the WC. Pub's the only place.

language hat  •  Link

theorbo (from the OED):

A large kind of lute with a double neck and two sets of tuning-pegs, the lower holding the melody strings and the upper the bass strings; much in vogue in the 17th century. (Cf. archlute.)

1605 Chapman All Fooles Plays I. 144 Cor. Take thy Theorbo for my sake a little. Val. By heauen, this moneth I toucht not a Theorbo. 1611 Coryat Crudities 252 Two singular fellowes played together vpon Theorboes. 1690 Shadwell Am. Bigot iv. i, I had provided this drum to sing to, which is better than a Theorb, or Harpsychord.

Roger Miller  •  Link

The Thames watermen were important players in English politics at this time.

See Christopher O'Riordan's book "The Thames Watermen in the Century of Revolution"

Here's a quote from the preface - "The watermen were the taxi-drivers of olden times. Their services were of great importance for the transportation of passengers in London and the Thames Valley area, both along and across the Thames. The poor development of the rural roads (they were often no more than a cart track) and the narrow, congested streets of the capital meant that the Thames was the most convenient highway in the region. And until the mid eighteenth century, London Bridge was the only one across the river below Kingston."

Django Cat  •  Link

Dai and Michael F's readings of "pretending to meet Mr. Shott the wood monger of Whitehall" certainly sound convincing - Sam needs an excuse to use the pub's facilities in an age before public ones. But the alliteration and rhythm of the phrase makes one wonder if this was actually a euphemism on the lines of 'see a man about a dog'. A touch of Blackadder here methinks.

language hat  •  Link

Great link, Roger!

Another quote:

"The watermen were constituted a Company – a gild-type organization – by an Act of Parliament of 1555. They became increasingly discontented with the ruling elite of their Company, and this discontent culminated in two great revolts in the earlier seventeenth century and finally a revolution in 1641-42.

“The watermen’s revolution was the most spectacularly successful example of the gild democracy movement which broke out during the English Revolution – the Civil War and Commonwealth period of the 1640s and 50s. The democracy which the watermen achieved was a durable one, surviving, with vicissitudes, until 1827.”

Paul  •  Link

Thanks to Roger and language hat for these very interesting annotations.

michael f vincent  •  Link

Blackadder? whats that Django cat,
if it was a case of the bladder, the wall at the back is the normal place. It worked well for centuries.

Susanna  •  Link


I think Django Cat was referring to the classic British tv series of that name.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"So here we have it in his own words, he earns 12l. 10s. 0d a quarter or £50 a year, though he then has to pay out 12l. 17s. 6d to Captn. Dick Matthews. One wonders how he “do find myself to be worth 40l. and more” when his outgoings exceed his income! Presumably this was just a bad quarter, although he seems happy enough in the rest of the entry."

I've checked the other two entries for Capt. Dick, and none of them support the idea that Pepys has bought his position from Matthews. Unless someone knows something to support this, I think we should discount the idea.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Oh I was confused 3 years ago when I joined the Diary mid-session!

Of course Capt. Dick had nothing to do with Pepys' position at the Navy Board; Pepys is just doing him a favor, as they both were attached to Adm. Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, and that favor was either prepaid or will be repaid.

You will recall that it was necessary for Pepys to first to buy out Thomas Barlow, who had been Clerk of the Acts under King Charles, and Pepys, observing that he was 'an old, consumptive man,' offered him £100 a year on 17 July, 1659/60.

Third Reading

LKvM  •  Link

"... and so pretending to meet Mr. Shott ...”

Wouldn't this use of "pretending" mean that Sam was "claiming" to meet Mr. Shott, i.e., it was a ruse? After all, the "Old Pretender," the son of the deposed King James II, was so called because he "pretended" or "claimed" to be the rightful King of England. And his son, Bonnie Prince Charlie, was likewise the "Young Pretender," who also "claimed" to be the rightful King of England.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... having great need to do my business, and so pretending to meet Mr. Shott the wood monger of Whitehall I went and eased myself at the Harp and Ball, ..."

Pepys doesn't say that he actually met Mr. Shott, so whether he pretended to look for in the modern sense, or unsuccessfully aimed to meet in the old sense, really doesn't matter. His intent in going to the Harp & Ball was to relieve himself. I therefore lean to the modern usage -- which we all have done.

Jim Mullins  •  Link

An earlier comment suggested that Mr. Shott was Sam's polite excuse to leave Mrs. Jem. That sounds likely to me.

GrahamT  •  Link

"Scull the waterman" Nowadays we call that nominative determinism.

Croakers Apprentice  •  Link

Re: Montrose’s poem in the footnote, the final lines. Fascinating that he rhymes sounds and wounds; how is he pronouncing them - soonds and woonds? Or sownds and wownds?

Mary K  •  Link

Montrose's spelling elsewhere shows a distinctly Scottish aspect to his language (e.g. "airth" for "earth") so one could justifiably guess that what here appears as an eye-rhyme does represent his own true, rhyming pronunciation of the two words. However, my knowledge of 17th century spoken English in Scotland isn't detailed enough to let me decide which of the two possible pronunciations dominated at the time.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys doesn't mention this, so I don't have a date to record that Charles II gave Montrose a fitting buriel: Hanged, and with his body mutilated and cut to pieces in 1650, in 1661 James Graham, Marquis of Montrose’s limbs were brought back from Glasgow, Perth, Stirling and Aberdeen, his head removed from a spike, and he was re-buried in Holyrood Abbey.

The first book in 50 years to tell this honorable soldier's story will be released on May 15, 2023.

The King's Only Champion: James Graham, First Marquess of Montrose
by Dominic Pearce

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