Thursday 2 February 1659/60

Drank at Harper’s with Doling, and so to my office, where I found all the officers of the regiments in town, waiting to receive money that their soldiers might go out of town, and what was in the Exchequer they had. At noon after dining at home I called at Harper’s for Doling, and he and I met with Luellin and drank with him at the Chequer at Charing Cross, and thence he and I went to the Temple to Mr. Calthrop’s chamber, and from thence had his man by water to London Bridge to Mr. Calthrop, a grocer, and received 60l. for my Lord. In our way we talked with our waterman, White, who told us how the watermen had lately been abused by some that had a desire to get in to be watermen to the State, and had lately presented an address of nine or ten thousand hands to stand by this Parliament, when it was only told them that it was to a petition against hackney coaches; and that to-day they had put out another to undeceive the world and to clear themselves, and that among the rest Cropp, my waterman and one of great practice, was one that did cheat them thus. After I had received the money we went to the Bridge Tavern and drank a quart of wine and so back by water, landing Mr. Calthrop’s man at the Temple and we went homewards, but over against Somerset House, hearing the noise of guns, we landed and found the Strand full of soldiers. So I took my money and went to Mrs. Johnson, my Lord’s sempstress, and giving her my money to lay up, Doling and I went up stairs to a window, and looked out and see the foot face the horse and beat them back, and stood bawling and calling in the street for a free Parliament and money. By and by a drum was heard to beat a march coming towards them, and they got all ready again and faced them, and they proved to be of the same mind with them; and so they made a great deal of joy to see one another. After all this, I took my money, and went home on foot and laying up my money, and changing my stockings and shoes, I this day having left off my great skirt suit, and put on my white suit with silver lace coat, and went over to Harper’s, where I met with W. Simons, Doling, Luellin and three merchants, one of which had occasion to use a porter, so they sent for one, and James the soldier came, who told us how they had been all day and night upon their guard at St. James’s, and that through the whole town they did resolve to stand to what they had began, and that to-morrow he did believe they would go into the City, and be received there.

After all this we went to a sport called, selling of a horse for a dish of eggs and herrings, and sat talking there till almost twelve o’clock and then parted, they were to go as far as Aldgate. Home and to bed.

41 Annotations

M. Stolzenbach  •  Link

"I this day having left off my great skirt suit, and put on my white suit with silver lace coat"

Here Mr Pepys shows, I think, his almost childlike delight in fine clothes.

The watermen had indeed been gravely tricked, it would seem, by being, in such uncertain times, sucked into unknowingly signing a petition with political implications.

Rita  •  Link

The political background to this exciting scene of Pepys observing the street theatre of a revolution in progress, is that no-one was really in charge of the government. There was a struggle between parliament and the army for control (at this point the common soldiers are calling the shots) - it was this chaos that led everyone, even some old Cromwell hands, Pepys's "my lord" among them, to finally throw their support to the restoration of the monarchy - I trust no-one will take this as a spoiler!

Fred Coleman  •  Link

"Selling of a Horse for a Dish of Eggs and Herrings" - now what in the world is THAT all about??!!! We may never know - the best that Latham and Matthews could come up with in their footnote was "possibly a game of chance". I wonder if someone out there has access to a reference work of games played in England at this time. It would be interesting to know more.

oliver  •  Link

"...I this day having left off my great skirt suit..."

What is a skirt suit? Does anyone have
access to a picture or drawing?

Susanna  •  Link

"my great skirt suit"

As noted on January 1, 1659/60, Pepys seems to have taken up the French fashion of wearing "petticoat breeches". There is an illustration of these, and of other 17th Century fashions, at this website:

Andrew Caley  •  Link

The Thames back then must have been a great sight with thousands of watermen working on it. To see the Thames today largely unused and bare of river traffic is a sad one.
The following links give an idea of the importance of the watermen at that time. A profession now virtually gone. Will computer programmers go the same way, I wonder!
History of Thames Watermen

Records of the Company of Waterman and Lightermen at Guildhall Library

Still questions today about competition to the watermen!

The Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames

PHE  •  Link

Every pub in London?
You get the impression that Sam has an ambition to visit every tavern in London, as he is continually visting ones not mentioned before. It's interesting, as today, most regular pub goers will have a small number of favourites. I'm sure someone has counted up the number of different taverns mentioned in the diaries. If not, maybe someone wants to volunteer!

James Casey  •  Link

Hackney coaches. Presuming these are the ancestors of taxis? Because taxis are still called 'hackney carriages' in London to this day.

Jackie  •  Link

It seems that the sharp practice of getting people to sign a petition for one thing and submitting it as something else goes back a long way.

No wonder that the Watermen were upset - told that they were putting their support to a petition to stop Hackney coaches from taking business off them and then discovering that apparently that instead they'd made a strong political stand that looked like it might turn out very dangerous in the next few weeks!

PHE  •  Link

Hackney carriages
Many UK cities have taxis that are "licensed Hackney Carriages". I beleive this applies to taxis that are permitted to display a 'for hire' sign and can pick up passengers who hail them on the street. Other taxis are not permitted to do this and can only collect passengers by appointment. Licensing as a hackney carriage is more rigorous than for a standard taxi - particularly in London where they must pass the famous 'Knowledge'. When was this requirement introduced? Its interesting to see how the watermen saw the new Hackney Carriages as a threat to their livlihood. Obviously, the river was the major means for travelling larger distances around London, particularly when there was only one bridge. As history shows, the hackney carriages won in the end .

Joe  •  Link

I believe even to this day there is an old law in effect that hackney carriages must carry a bale of hay for the horse.
Can anyone confirm this, or have I fallen for an urban myth?

j a gioia  •  Link

In New York City

"hack" is still slang for a taxi cab.

Jackie  •  Link

It's true - Hackney carriages (as opposed to private hire cabs) must carry a bale of hay "for the horse".

The same applies in Manchester too which has a proper licenced hackney cab (or black cab) system. All hackney carriage drivers must be able to display their bale of hay on demand as part of a condition of their licence.

In exchange for this, and the drivers having the "knowledge" the public know that their cab driver has their criminal record thoroughly checked and their insurance up to date, so that if anything goes wrong, the fare paying public are as protected as it's possible for them to be, as well as knowing where they are going.

Incidentally, the law does not state how BIG the bale of hay must be - there's a company which specialises in making minature bales of hay which fit into the glove compartment.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: mini-bales of hay...

Hilarious! If only we in the U.S. could be as sure of the contents of a NYC hack's glove compartment ... plenty of "HEY!!" abounds in that environment, but not much hay...

Sounds like it'll be interesting the next time Pepys meets up with "Cropp, my waterman and one of great practice, [who] was one that did cheat them thus."

Phil  •  Link

Can you point us at any of the manufacturers of these miniature bales of hay Jackie? I'm less than convinced.

There may well have been a law along these lines at some time, but I reckon it's since been repealed (although maybe not until fairly recently).

Glyn  •  Link

Hackney carriages could carry up to 4 people and were pulled by 2 horses. Minimum fare was one shilling and then it went up according to distance. They were useful if you were in a hurry but you would probably have to share with 2 or 3 strangers going in the same direction. However, the driver would get annoyed if you tried to share the fare - each person had to pay their own amount - so he would get 4 times as much if the carriage was full.

So General Monck and the army have finally marched into London - dangerous times.

Phil  •  Link

Half way down this page it says "Pity the poor taxi driver who, until 1976,. could be commanded by a policeman to reveal his or her bale of hay. If they did not have one in the boot [trunk], then they were clearly ill-treating their horse."

This would presumably be the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, which I can't find online. (Thanks Nick!)

language hat  •  Link

Great story about the hay.
There are a great many sites (mainly of the "dumb laws" kind; Google "bale of hay" and hackney) that say London taxis/hackneys must carry a bale of hay, but none of them bother to mention the law was repealed. (Assuming it was; now I want to see the law!)

Jackie  •  Link

I believe that the provisions for the bale of hay were actually local by-laws rather than laws set by Parliament, so the provision may have gone in London, but I'm not sure about Manchester - I honestly thought that it was still in place I'll have to check.

Interestingly, many hackney carriage drivers still seem rather amused by (and proud of) the tradition and carry the minature in the glove compartment anyway to show that they're part of the old and honourable profession.

Warren Keith Wright  •  Link

Granted that at this date there was nowhere "safe" to stash one's cash---I suppose if you had it with you, at least you would know you were being robbed---but why hide it at a seamstress's? As a blind, since she was probably not suspected of having much? But then he takes it home again and leaves it, as though he'd just been giving it an airing. Surely it couldn't have been light to carry round---perhaps an exercise substitute!

Nix  •  Link

The "Sempstress" --

Perhaps he had her sew the coins into the lining of his clothing, or some similar form of concealment, for safety.

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

The “Sempstress”

Good question from Mr. Wright. I don’t really know, but it reads to me like, seeing a disturbance, Mr Pepys is filled with the proverbial pepysian-curiosity. Mrs. Johnson is someone he knows nearby, who also has a good view of the action, so he and his friend run into her house. But he is worried about the cash on him, so he gives it to her to hide temporarily on his way upstairs to the window.

Maybe after having satisfied his curiosity, he decided it would be safe enough to take it home with him (or at least safer than leaving at Mrs. J’s). I don’t know, this is just speculation on my part. Does anyone have a more authoritative interpretation?

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Hackney and Hack

The word "hack" and the adjective "hackneyed" come up more often when describing writers and writing than they do describing taxicabs, at least in America. It's easy to see how the word came to be used for writers (who often can follow well-worn routes). Here's the American Heritage Dictionary definitions:

hackney -- "1. A horse suited for routine riding or driving 2. A coach or carriage for hire ... v. To make banal or trite"

hack -- "1. a Hackney 2. A worn-out horse for hire 3a. A hireling b. A writer hired to produce routine writing 4. informal a. A taxicab. . . ."

David Quidnunc  •  Link

RE: Every Pub in London?

PHE writes: "I'm sure someone has counted up the number of different taverns mentioned in the diaries. If not, maybe someone wants to volunteer!"

Stop counting! My Vol. 11 of the Latham & Matthews edition of the diary (the index volume) just got delivered today (much delayed -- there must have been a run on them for some reason . . .) and I can report that under the word "tavern" there are four solid pages of references (under various headings) -- and L&M warn that these are only London-area taverns, alehouses and eating houses that are named. Unnamed taverns are listed under street names; taverns elsewhere are listed under place names.

By the way, PHE, I only count musical instruments, turkey meals and numbers of times that Pepys doesn't use the title "Mr." with Luellin. I draw the line at taverns. Nice try though . . . ;)

michael f vincent  •  Link

re: Mr?
In my circle of acquaintances "our good buddy" was called by his surname and "Mr" was reserved for respect or a dressing down, only in the USA did I get called by my christian name. It came as a shock to me but I got used to it, but now I don't know if its a friend or enemy or boss talking. No warning 'til words hit. It takes quite a while for tradition to change habits.

chris  •  Link

As it happens, I was at the Watermen's Hall of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen on Monday 3 February. It was an event to present the prizes for the annual Dogget's Coat and Badge race. The winner be-decked in the traditional waterman's garb. I mentioned this site so perhaps others more knowledgeable will add some more notes. They tell me that there were 40000 watermen on the thames in Pepys' day.

Try this link, has pics of the scarlet livery and much more

McDuck  •  Link

Re: Every Pub

It would have taken a lot of time for Sam to visit every pub in London... In his book "London" Peter Ackroyd writes about 17.000 gin houses in 1750 and 20.000 pubs 1870. I guess in 1660 the number will be a little bit smaller, but still liver crushing :-)

laura  •  Link

NYC taxi drivers have hack licenses.

While it's true that writers are disparagingly called "hacks", in New York City, at least, a license to drive a taxi is often referred to as a "hack license". It seems safe to assume that expression shares a common root with the hackneyed carriages Pepys mentions.

Grahamt  •  Link

Re: Hack licenses
As mentioned above Hackney carriage (not hackneyed, though they are commonplace) is still the official (British) term for a taxi. Apparently it comes from the London borough of Hackney where horses used to be pastured. You won't find much pasture, nor horses, in Hackney nowadays! (Plenty of taxis though)
It is interesting to think that there is a link between NY taxi drivers and the East End of London.

Colin Gravois  •  Link

Sam's always paying the soldiers, as is part of his job to do, but at no set time or place? Could someone tell us where (when?) he gets the money, who "controlled" the payments? Is there a record of his accounts with the gov't paymaster? I presume he received orders to pay, but from whom? Who figured the sums? And these had to be huge amounts, or what? Where did he keep the funds until paytime? Leftovers?

michael f vincent  •  Link

Colin G: Soldiers pay:
there are 5 references to Excise office in sp diary so far.
just around the corner is the Mint and the HM Customs & Excise organisation :
a source:
part of the time line of tax dollar:
1644 Salt Tax introduced

1660 Tobacco Duty introduced

The excise officers and their duties in an English market town: Kingston Upon Thames 1643-1973
JRP, 1995
History of the collection of Excise duties in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, from the introduction of beer duty in 1643 to the start of Value Added Tax in 1973.

Curiosities of the Customs in South West England
Privately published, 1994
Regional history of HM Customs & Excise c.1500-1900 and in particular of the custom houses (their premises, furnishings, historical collections of equipment and administrative records) at Avonmouth,

I hope this will help.

dumb blonde  •  Link

Even though these comments are five years old I thought I would inform all those people who are of the opinion that a bale of hay is a statutory requirement in law to be carried in or on all hackney carriages in London, or indeed the UK, that you are not only miserably wrong but you are also a victim of your own failing to "understand fact from fiction".

The moral is, "never put your blind faith in that which cannot be substantiated.


language hat  •  Link

I appreciate the info, but could you provide a link to a source so we don't have to take your word for it? Thanks!

Montresor  •  Link

Is it possible that this rebellious display by the republican soldiery was directed in protest against the impending trial, in the very same courtroom that once was the Star Chamber's own, of Col. John Jones, for his participation in the execution of Charles I --- a trial that Pepys was to participate in, and in which he was supposed to testify against Jones? No wonder he hid in the attic during these martial demonstrations.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the watermen had lately been abused by some that had a desire to get in to be watermen to the State, and had lately presented an address of nine or ten thousand hands to stand by this Parliament, when it was only told them that it was to a petition against hackney coaches; and that to-day they had put out another to undeceive the world and to clear themselves, and that among the rest Cropp, my waterman and one of great practice, was one that did cheat them thus."

The bogus petition (organised by William Wetton) had speciifically declared against a King and a House of Lords. It had been presented on 31 January:
To the supreme authority, the Parliament of the Common-wealth of England: The humble address and congratulation of many thousands of watermen belonging to the River of Thames. England and Wales. Parliament. London: Printed by John Streater, and John Macock, Printers to the Parliament, 1659. [i.e., 1660] The reply (written by Prynne) was presented this day CSPClar., 14. 543: A declaration of all the watermen in and about the city of London, between Gravesend and Stanes, or, A hue and cry after Col. Whitton and his decoys Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames (Guild) London . [London: s.n., 1659] EEBO [full text] This repudiated the the forner petition and in the name of 10,000 watermen demanded a full and free parliament. On the day before this second address was presented the Council of State had drawn up its list of officiam watermen -- places coveted principally because they gave freedom from impressment: CSPD 1659-60, p. 343. For the watermen's jealousy of the hackney coaches, see J. Parkes, Travel in England in the Seventeenth Century (Oxford, 1925).p. 98. Both Robert and William Cropp signed the bogus address.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"we went homewards, but over against Somerset House, hearing the noise of guns, we landed and found the Strand full of soldiers."

Early in the afternoon thew regisment of foot lately given to the Speaaker's som, Col. Sit Johm Lenthall, had attacked some of their officers and seized cintril of their headquarters in Somerset House: Rugge, ;, f.54r-v.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I met with W. Simons, Doling, Luellin and three merchants, one of which had occasion to use a porter, so they sent for one,"

For Street porters, see The Porters of London. By Walter M. Stern. London, Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd., 1960. They divided the territory among themselves. (L&M)

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