Sunday 12 February 1659/60

In the morning, it being Lord’s day, Mr. Pierce came to me to enquire how things go. We drank our morning draft together and thence to White Hall, where Dr. Homes preached; but I staid not to hear, but walking in the court, I heard that Sir Arth. Haselrigge was newly gone into the City to Monk, and that Monk’s wife removed from White Hall last night. Home again, where at noon came according to my invitation my cos. Thos. Pepys and his partner and dined with me, but before dinner we went and took a walk round the park, it being a most pleasant day as ever I saw. After dinner we three went into London together, where I heard that Monk had been at Paul’s in the morning, and the people had shouted much at his coming out of the church. In the afternoon he was at a church in Broad-street, whereabout he do lodge. But not knowing how to see him we went and walked half a hour in Moorfields, which were full of people, it being so fine a day. Here I took leave of them, and so to Paul’s, where I met with Mr. Kirton’s apprentice (the crooked fellow) and walked up and down with him two hours, sometimes in the street looking for a tavern to drink in, but not finding any open, we durst not knock; other times in the churchyard, where one told me that he had seen the letter printed. Thence to Mr. Turner’s, where I found my wife, Mr. Edw. Pepys, and Roger and Mr. Armiger being there, to whom I gave as good an account of things as I could, and so to my father’s, where Charles Glascocke was overjoyed to see how things are now; who told me the boys had last night broke Barebone’s windows. Hence home, and being near home we missed our maid, and were at a great loss and went back a great way to find her, but when we could not see her we went homewards and found her there, got before us which we wondered at greatly. So to bed, where my wife and I had some high words upon my telling her that I would fling the dog which her brother gave her out of window if he [dirtied] the house any more.

56 Annotations

First Reading

Eric Walla  •  Link

Dang! But he LIKED that dog!

I could have told you that was going to happen (and to most of you I'm sure it wouldn't have been much of a spoiler).

Such a fine day--is this as much a comment on the atmosphere as the weather? It is rather enlightening to see Sam in pursuit of the latest information, but stymied at every turn. Too bad the taverns were all closed.

(oh, and I promised myself I wouldn't be the first poster this time, but that incident with the dog couldn't be passed up)

Keith Wright  •  Link

Only because you beat me to it, Eric. The "pretty little" critter first appeared just on Wednesday the 8th, so the realities of keeping a house-dog have been borne in swiftly on Sam. Pet rage, 17th-century style.

Wayne Steele  •  Link

What Letter?
"...where one told me that he had seen the letter printed."
Does anyone know what this is referring to?

Maura Labingi  •  Link

Presumably Monk's letter, from yesterday's entry.

Bil-in-Georgia  •  Link

Shakespeare and Pepys

I went to a Shakespeare play last night and, as most of us have experienced, had to listen carefully to understand and follow the action. Why is Pepys, writing only 60 years later, so easy to follow? (Even if we need language hat every now and then :) )

I realize that Pepys wrote more formally for public consumption but is anything else going on here? Has the language become more "modern" by Pepys time or is Pepys creating "modernity"?

michael f vincent  •  Link

"I would fling the dog which her brother gave her out of window "
that used be a common phrase
throw the cat (dog) out i.e put the animal out side for the night. Those whom are not used to the country idiosyncrasy thought it was meant literally. Any connection?

C.Short  •  Link

I'm assuming [dirtied] was not the original word Pepys used to describe the poor mutt's offense...What does the unabridged say?

Martin K. Foys  •  Link

Moorfields, which were full of people . . .

Moorfields was originally a fen out of which (I think) ran the Walbrook, the little stream between the two hills of London. In early modern London, strips of development ran north up either side of it (at Aldersgate and Bishopsgate). In the 1520's, the marsh was drained to create a pleasure park, and obviously still remained undeveloped in Sam's day.

Directly north of the City and accessible by two or three gates, the fields were, I imagine, an ideal place to congregate.

I wonder when they were finally developed?

steve h  •  Link

Shakespeare's language versus Pepys

Good observation, Bil-in-Geogia. The English language changed radically in the first half of the 17th century. In fact, Shakespeare was pretty old-fashioned linguistically compared to his contemporaries after 1605 or so. If you compare a play by Beaumont & Fletcher (late contemporaries) with one by Shakespeare, the linguistic change is obvious; the B & F play needs very little footnoting and sounds far more modern. In fact, the two plays that Shakespeare clearly collaborated with Fletcher on, Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen, are less archaic, though far duller, than other parts of the Shakespeare canon. Shakespeare will be adapted and simplified when the theatres do open.
The causes for this change: One was the increase of French/neo-Platonic influence in the court of Charles I, where simplicity in prose and poetry was considered the highest virtue. Another might be the ascendancy of the middle class (both Puritan and Anglican), so that plain common sense style had more appeal to non-courtly readers. A third reason for Pepys's understandability is its private nature, so he was not tempted to put on a rhetorical pose.

Susanna  •  Link


The area had certainly been developed by the 1740s, as one can tell from this section of a map of London:…

It was near Bethlehem ("Bedlam") Hospital and Moorgate (presumably the origin of the name "Moorfields").

Keith Wright  •  Link

What the Dog Did:

In "The Shorter Pepys," prepared in 1985 by Robert Latham from the complete Latham-Matthews edition, the entry concludes:

"my wife and I had some high words upon my telling her that I would fling the dog which her brother gave her out at the window if he pissed the house any more."

---sic for "out at" and not "[in] the house" (in case you're wondering).

Re Michael F.V.'s intriguing comment on this idiom: what "country"side in which country?

Martin K. Foys  •  Link

More on Moorfields

Susanna, thanks for the link. Braun and Hogenberg's 1572 map shows the area from Aldergate to Moorgate already developed, but Bishopsgate is still just a thin ribbon.…
The fields look less like landscaped gardens than in 1742; I imagine in Pepys' time they may have been more like the later gardens, given that people appeared to want to stroll around them when the weather was nice . . .

michael f vincent  •  Link

idiom N/W Essex uk 1940's

David Quidnunc  •  Link

The Cast

Source: Latham's index volume (11) to the Latham & Matthews edition of the diary.

HONES -- Dr. Nathaniel Holmes, Rector of St. Mary Staining, 1643-62 and preacher to the Council of State (d. 1678). (Sounds like he's a Puritan; Pepys prefers Anglican services.)

KIRTON, Joshua -- bookseller at St. Paul's. Someone said he employs a crooked apprentice.

PEPYS, Edward -- brother of Jane Pepys Turner, whose home he's visiting in Salisbury Court, along with Roger Pepys, Sam's wife and . . .

ARMIGER, William -- some kind of relative of Pepys's (Latham doesn't say how they're related; the family tree in Tomalin's biography is no help; all this applies to Glascock, too).

GLASCOCK, Charles -- a relative.

Stan  •  Link

Why can he not find any tavern to drink in? I thought that the taverns were open all day every day. I seem to remember him being in a tavern on a previous Sunday.
'...we durst not knock.' Is it likely that the regulars are drinking behind closed doors or is this a 20th century thing?

Glyn  •  Link

D. Menchaca's thoughts about how efficient the mail service in Pepys' time were interesting, so I did some quick research.

Their system was more efficient than I had expected. It was around about this time that a dependable system was created which was helped by the fact that Britain is so small: for instance, London and York are less than 200 miles apart. Not only letters were sent by mail but also newspapers, books, political pamphlets, parcels, business documents etc.

If you had written a letter you sent it to someone care of the 400 or so shops and coffee-houses in London that were licensed to handle them (they were known as "post houses"). Then messengers ("post men") would collect the local mail and drop it off on their "regular routes", or it would be sent to the London "sorting offices" for onward delivery. The sorting offices were at Tower Hill, Charing Cross, Chancery Lane, Paternoster Row and Southwark.

Collections from post houses were every hour in the City and Westminster and up to twice a day in nearby towns.

In 1680 the cost of postage was reduced to a flat rate of a penny for every pound in weight or for every £10 in value for mail within London, and double that for delivery outside London.

It was more expensive in 1660, but Pepys’ letters to Montague would probably cost less than 6 pence and would arrive in a couple of days. He would, however, put the sensitive letters into code before trusting them to the country mail.

I guess country farmers wouldn’t get deliveries of mail direct to their door, but instead would call in on their local post house (probably the local tavern) to see if any mail was waiting for them - it would be a good excuse to give to the wife anyway.

Apologies for the length of this entry.

Glyn  •  Link

Stan: "Why can he not find any tavern to drink in? I thought that the taverns were open all day every day. I seem to remember him being in a tavern on a previous Sunday."

The taverns were open on Sundays EXCEPT during the hours of church services. And as you'll see, this is one of the few times that Samuel isn't going to an afternoon service. Instead he and his friend are trying to find a place that will serve them drinks surreptitiously.

I'm sure if he was at home in King Street he would know lots of places to drink in, but in this area "he durst not knock" because he's a stranger. I've had the same problem myself.

"my wife and I had some high words"
This is one for Language Hat but I'll state the obvious and say that it means that they are quarrelling over Elizabeth's puppy that is "peeing" all over the house. Is this the 2nd quarrel between them in the diary? (Although not a serious one.)

"High" in the sense of "significant" or "important": this word is still sometimes used like this in English-English (High Street rather than Main Street; High King; High Court).

Christo  •  Link

'High words' = angry talk. Pocket Oxford Dictionary 6th edn. p.407.

tamara  •  Link

high words
This is still in use, as in such expressions as "feelings ran high," i.e., hot and angry.
This later became the site (and name) of London's most important eye hospital--my father stayed there after being blinded in one eye while chopping wood.

Rita  •  Link

"the boys had last night broke Barebone’s windows”
The London member of the parliament appointed by Cromwell in 1653 to replace the rump had the wonderful name of Praise-God Barebone. The parliament became known as the Barebones parliament. Now he is cowering in his home a discreditied republican. More information at…

Andrea  •  Link

"Monk’s wife removed from White Hall last night”

Why did Monk bring his wife right into the hub of the turmoil. Surely she would have been saver tucked away at some country house?

It seems pretty established now that it was really normal to go to church twice on a Sunday - Monk went to St Pauls in the morning and to Broadstreet in the afternoon.

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

The Crooked Apprentice
My first guess, when I read about Mr. Kirton’s “crooked” apprentice, is that Mr Pepys is referring to a crooked spine or a limp or some such, and not the fellow’s honesty. Does any one think that I’m right?

Mary  •  Link

The Crooked Apprentice

John Tom is undoubtedly right.

Compare the children's rhyme:

There was a crooked man
Who walked a crooked mile
And found a crooked sixpence
Beside a crooked stile.......

helena murphy  •  Link

I dare say that Mrs Monk is in the hub of it all because she wishes to be there. Like many a strong man in public, Monk comes under the influence of his wife in private. She apparently influenced him in restoring Charles II to the throne.Mrs Pepys seems more aware of the nuances of social class.keeping a little dog was also associated with the leisured classes as is evident in the court painting of the time. The pepys are certainly a couple on the up and up,and after all Mrs Monk does end up as Duchess of Albemarle.

language hat  •  Link

"high words":
This is OED's def. 14:
14 a Showing pride, self-exaltation, resentment, or the like; haughty, pretentious, arrogant, overbearing; wrathful, angry. Of words, actions, feelings, etc.: hence (now only dial.) of persons. In "high words" now often blended with sense 10 b [Of the voice: Raised, elevated, loud].

c.1205 Lay. 1503 Heye word he speketh Th?t alle heo [she] wullet quellen [kill] Quic [alive] that heo findeth. c.1450 tr. De Imitatione i. i. 2 High wordes makith not a man holy & rightwise. 1523 Ld. Berners Froiss. I. ccxxxi. 313 A man of hye mynde, right cruell, and full of yuell condycions. 1647 Clarendon Hist. Reb. vi. ?166 The Soldiery.. grew very high, and would obey no Orders.. but of their own making. 1648 Milton Tenure Kings (1650) 13 No Prince not drunk with high mind would arrogate so unreasonably above human condition. 1660-1 Pepys Diary 20 Mar., Indeed the Bishops are so high, that very few do love them. 1806 R. Cumberland Mem. (1807) II. 156 The wild woman.. was at high words with the witches.

Note in the first citation the old form “heo” for “she”; this dropped out in the 12th century in most of England but “survived in the south and w. midl. as a literary word till the 15th c., and is still vernacular from Lancashire to Devon and Sussex, under the forms hoo, huh (the latter often mistaken for the objective her), uh, u.” Does anybody know if “hoo” is still used anywhere? “Still” in this part of the OED means 1898.

michael f vincent  •  Link

"Hoo": language hat does luton hoo count? it is a nice place to visit.
Thanks for the great bumff;

paul  •  Link

I find I'm starting my workday with Pepys: it puts things in perspective for me.

And I do like the idea of a morning draft: I suspect he's not talking about fruit juice.

j.simmons  •  Link

No Paul, it's not orange juice. In Scotland it's called a stirrup cup, on mounting his horse for the morning rounds/hunt, whatever, the rider was handed his cup of whiskey.

Martin K. Foys  •  Link

Hoo Hoo!

Hoo as in Sutton Hoo or Luton Hoo derives from the Old English "high," and means a high place or cliff.

L.H. -- funny you should mention the shift from heo to she -- I am teaching a History of the English Language class tonight on that very topic, and just today reviewed it.

"She" (and "they" and other pronouns begining with "th") come from Scandinavian loan-words in northern dialects of Old English which never made it into the south, and so were not a part of the West Saxon literary dialect of Old English. But they did survive in the East Midlands dialect, which covered parts of the former Danelaw, but also included Cambridge and London and so went on to be the basis of Modern English.

Martin K. Foys  •  Link

Oh, and . . .

Don't know if "heo/hoo" is still used, but "'em" is actually a survival of "hem" (initial "h" regualrly lost in unstressed words), the Old English pronoun for "them" which comes from the same southern dialect as "heo."

Glyn  •  Link

Shakespeare’s language versus Pepys

Bil-in-Georgia and Steve H have given reasons why Pepys’ language sounds more understandable than Shakespeare’s, and I’m sure they are right. But I’d like to add another reason: the creation of the King James Authorized Version of the Bible, which was first published in 1611 and became the standard bible in England and America up until very recently. It still sells millions of copies every year. The relatively simple vocabulary and speech patterns that it laid down became the basis of modern English, and Pepys would have grown up with it. It would have been the only book that every family would have owned.

The Bible was translated afresh by a committee of Hebrew scholars over several years and (it is said) various distinguished men of letters, poets and playwrights were then asked to put it into good prose. Since scholars aren’t necessarily good writers.

There is a tradition that Shakespeare was one of these committee of experts and was responsible for putting into English verse many of the psalms including Psalm 46, into which he playfully inserted his own name (Psalm 46 - 46th word from the beginning is “Shake” - 46th word from the end is “Spear”). No-one can prove it either way, but it’s a nice story.…

Anyway, the Authorized Version of the Bible affected the speech and writing patterns of English for centuries.

Glyn  •  Link

What is the maid's name?

Phil says it is Jane Beech and Language Hat says it is Jayne Wayneman.

Pauline  •  Link

The maid's name is Jane Birch
(This is from the Claire Tomalin book)
And at some later point Sam hires her brother Wayneman into the household. I assumed that was his last name, but it could be his first name. This is a little muddy. She (or someone easy to confuse with her) does get called Jane Wayneman somewhere.

language hat  •  Link

Sorry about the confusion.
I was using an old biography of Pepys, which for some reason calls her Jane Wayneman. Actually, Wayneman appears to be the name of her brother. I must get Tomalin's bio!

dichroic  •  Link

Actually the King James Bible was written in a time of great linguistic change and used some words that were a bit on the archaic side even then. One famous example is the description of Eve as "an helpe mete for him" (Adam). The use of the word meet, meaning suitable, died out right after that, leading to the words being read as "helpmate" and thus the formation of a new word.

steve h  •  Link

King James Bible and archaisms

Certainly the language in the King James Bible stands somewhere between Elizabethan and the early modern English of Pepys and Dryden, You might say that Shakespeare's works retained whatever comprehensibility they have thanks to the way in which the Bible kept alive expressions and grammatical usages that otherwise had perished from common diction. Another such preserver is the Book of Common Prayer.

Grahamt  •  Link

Comparing Shakespeare's and Pepys' use of English...
Isn't this comparing apples and oranges? Shakespeare was writing in verse, telling stories for the theatre, Pepys was reporting daily happenings. This is like saying that there has been a huge change in English since Victorian times based only on comparing Gilbert & Sullivan's operettas (which I find unintelligable) with Alistaire Cooke's diaries!
Yes, there were changes between Shakespeare and Pepys, but the major changes in English took place before Shakespeare. Compare another poet, John Donne (1572-1631), with Shakespeare:

First line Canterbury tales for comparison: (C 1400)
That it was May thus dremed me
In time of love and jollite
That al thyng gynneth waxen gay
For there is neither busk nor hay

First line Twelfth Night: (1601)
If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.

First line of Donne's The Flea: (1635)
Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is ;
It suck'd me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be.

First Line of Pepys' Diary: 1660
Blessed be God, at the end of the last year I was in very good health, without any sense of my old pain, but upon taking of cold. I lived in Axe Yard having my wife, and servant Jane, and no more in family than us three.

The language, to me, changes little between the two poets, in fact Shakespeare sounds more modern than Donne, but there is a difference between the poetry and the prose of Pepys, based purely on the phrasing.
Anyway, there is more of modern English from Shakespeare than from Pepys. Take away "And so to bed" and what can you quote from the diaries? Whereas from Shakespeare:
seven ages of man, all that gitters is not gold, There are more things in heaven and Earth, much ado about nothing, once more into the breach, If you prick us do we not bleed?, The course of true love never did run smooth, forget and forgive, a rose By any other name would smell as sweet, etc, etc, etc...
Let us not, in enjoying the simple clear prose of Pepys forget that he is writing a language that Shakespeare helped to form. (Descends from soapbox)

michael f vincent  •  Link

it ain't 'alf luverly
thank you;

Allan Russell  •  Link

One thing that strikes me about this diary is the value of communications. We use email ( and the older ones amongst us can remember snail mail) but I never ever expected that information flowed as freely as it did in SPs time. It is almost as if he were clicking on his inbox every day to see what mail was awaiting him. He did not have to suffer spam though.

Pauline  •  Link

"He did not have to suffer spam though"
Nice observation, Allan. From time to time Sam meets someone in these peregrinations who he appears to barely have time or sociabilty for--this is his spam. His brother-in-law Balty is his spam.

Shirley Weaver Sipler  •  Link

Thank you, David Quidnunc, for the info above. I was doing a search for our ancestor, Edward Weaver, baptised at St. Mary Staining in 1643 and this website came up. His wife was Mary Skidmore.
I wish I could find more about Edward or Mary's families.
But now, at least I know the rector's name....and interesting to see the history of the area at that time.

Second Reading

David Willis  •  Link

"First line Canterbury tales for comparison: (C 1400)
That it was May thus dremed me..."

Grahamt, thank you for the interesting comparisons. There is a bit of a mix-up though. The Canterbury Tales quote is actually from "The Romance of the Rose" starting at line 51. The quote illustrates your point in the same way but Canterbury Tales begins:

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I heard that Sir Arth. Haselrigge was newly gone into the City to Monk"

The Council of State was trying to persuade Monck to return to Westminster; no doubt Hesilrige, who was commonly thought to have some influence over Monck, was visiting him for the Council's purpose. (Per L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"In the afternoon he was at a church in Broad-street, whereabout he do lodge."

He lodged at the Glasshouse, Broad Street; the church was probably St Peter-le-Poer. [… ]
The entry is more accurate than the account of Monck's movements in the government newspapers, Mercurius Politicus and Publick Intelligencer, 16 February 1660. (Per L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

In London, the Moorfields were one of the last pieces of open land in the City of London, near the Moorgate. The fields were divided into three areas, the Moorfields proper, just north of Bethlem Hospital, and inside the City boundaries, and Middle and Upper Moorfields to the north. The headwaters of the Walbrook formed much of the eastern boundary.
After the Great Fire of London in 1666, refugees from the fire evacuated to Moorfields and set up temporary camps there. King Charles II of England encouraged the dispossessed to move on and leave London, but it is unknown how many newly impoverished and displaced persons instead settled in the Moorfields area. In the early 18th century, Moorfields was the site of sporadic open-air markets, shows, and vendors/auctions. Additionally, the homes near and within Moorfields were places of the poor, and the area had a reputation for harbouring highwaymen, as well as brothels and public cruising areas for gay men.[1] James Dalton and Jack Sheppard both retreated to Moorfields when in hiding from the law.
Much of Moorfields was developed in 1777, when Finsbury Square was developed; the remainder succumbed within the next few decades, notably when Moorfields proper was replaced by the modern Finsbury Circus in 1812. Until that time the fields separated the western and eastern growth of London beyond the city wall - with the eastern extension being better known as the East End.…

Evan Stansbury  •  Link

It should be noted that Praise-God Barebone's son was an economist named "Nicholas If-Christ-had-not-died-for-thee-thou-hadst-been-damned Barebone" (c. 1640 – c. 1698).
One shudders to think what his son, in turn, was named...

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Diary of Ralph Josselin (Private Collection)
12.2.1660 (Sunday 12 February 1660)
document 70012285
Feb: 12. God good to me and mine in many mercies, yet our healths in Tom , Jane , and An . a little crazed, god sanctify the providence to us all, and remove the stroke that with heart, and life we may praise him. a sweet day, the word very good in mercy to me, the lord affect me with his goodness, a sad and troublesome time at London, the Parliament much displeased with the city, and showing it, the spring rises, god prevent new troubles if it be his pleasure.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Mrs. Pepys seems more aware of the nuances of social class: keeping a little dog was also associated with the leisured classes as is evident in the court painting of the time. The Pepys are certainly a couple on the up and up, ..."

Helena is jumping the gun here. I think Balty had a puppy to dispose of, and gave it to his sister. I suspect Elizabeth took the pup as they are a good way to handle stress. It makes noise, so it is a guard dog (lots of unemployed, hungry young men around). And if Pepys hates it, at worst it could be eaten.

Pepys didn't have the money for the rent last month, and is wondering how long he will have this job. No one was secure -- a revolt somewhere, followed by another civil war, could break out tomorrow. Those troops were owed 2 years of back pay.

SPOILER: The Pepys will go up the social ladder -- months from now, after the Restoration. There are a lot of delicate political moves to be made between now and then, and it could all easily go horribly wrong.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Since we are discussing vocabulary, Dr. Ros Barber recommends the following site for information on the origins of words, and what was correctly used when.
She is a senior lecturer in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Director of Research at the Shakespearean Authorship Trust and is three times winner (2011, 2014, 2018) of the Hoffman Prize for a distinguished work on Christopher Marlowe.

The Historical Thesaurus of English is available from the University of Glasgow. Their thesaurus allows you to find out how language is used through the ages. As an example, you can search “toilet” and find out how to refer to that in 1563, or parts of a person’s body in 1603, etc.

Explore at

Terry Foreman  •  Link

""so to Paul’s, where I met with Mr. Kirton’s apprentice (the crooked fellow) and walked up and down with him two hours, sometimes in the street looking for a tavern to drink in, but not finding any open, we durst not knock."

L&M: Alehouse-keepers were forbidden, by the terms of their licenses, to serve drink during the hours of divine service. But see… Joshua Kirton was a bookseller.

Third Reading

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Where's Monk? He seems to be sleeping in a different bed every night. Thomas Rugg's summary of the Mercurius Politicus reports, right after its account of the Roasting (last night) that "his Excellency left his quarters att the Glass House and tooke up his quarters next doore to Drapers Hall, att Aldermans Wales".

The Glass House (map at…) is in Blackfriars. Drapers Hall is apparently at its post-1667 (and 2023) location (its history at, around 500 meters and many streets from the Glass House. There's a good Peruvian restaurant nearby but that may not have been the General's motivation. It could have been security; that he took the wife out of Westminster shows he knows the wind has turned and that Sam didn't know Monk's whereabouts suggests the relocation wasn't advertised. Monk may also have been cultivating the guilds, whose halls are numerous in that area, are all good pitstops on the way to power and must now be fighting to host his Excellency. Interestingly it's also close to the Wall, and perhaps to one of those portcullis he recently demolished; is the General making a point?

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Oh, the flustered red faces, oh the furious huffing and the askew wigs in the State Papers today. The Council of State, having grasped its collective quill, writes to Monk of "the tumultuous assemblies and outrageous disorders of last night, continued till this morning", that were "notorious in themselves [I say!] and so resented by us", what with "the affronts put upon Mr Speaker", &c. [They roasted WHAT? The ruffians!] And so we're writing to you, General, to "offer it to you as our desire [pleease] that a good guard may be appointed to attend Parliament", and that you please come 'round to-morrow, so that "we may have more easy recourse to you for advice upon extraordinary occasions", and you know how VERY highly we value your advice, now it's not easy when you're off in Moorgate, isn't it. &c &c, so together we'll make it alright again, "the honour of Parliament vindicated, and the friends of true freedom encouraged". And that's you and us, right, the Friends of True Freedom! "All this we know will be very acceptable to you, as well as to us, and therefore we can with more assurance rely upon your compliance with us therein" - 'coz we're still BFF, right, General? Right? (Full version at…)

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Next, the Council pulls out a fresh piece of paper and writes to "the several garrisons in England". How to explain the situation, to troops already barely under control? Now, here's a gem for the Museum of Embarrassed Literature:

"We had tought fit to let you know that General Monk, by letter sent to the Parliament yesterday, desired among other things the filling up of their [Parliament's] number with due qualifications". Aye, that letter is spreading as fast as the presses and the post-horses can spread it, but thanks for telling us.

Alas, "many persons (...) who are ready to embrace and improve whatever may advantage the common enemies' interest, took an occasion from thence, groundlessly and falsely, to interpret that he had declared, and is resolved for a full and free Parliament, in that sense wherein those would understand it who long to see the good ends defeated which the Parliament has hitherto labored for, and are now faithfully pursuing, and the honest interest and dear concernments thereof ruined".

Say what? I know it's the 17th century and convoluted sentences are the norm, but we're only poor soldiers and had to re-read this three times to unwind all the hand-wringing. (Actually there ain't a one of us that can read, so it's our colonel who did). "Full and free parliament" doesn't appear in that letter but Monk's said he wants elections, right? "The People will have assurance that they shall have a Succession of Parliaments of their own Election", that be "the sense" at page 13 in…. So ye're toast, Council of State.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Oh, and old Barebone and his windows, since we're still on his case. Monk's letter devotes a full page (page 9) to his petition for an anti-royalist oath: "a bold Petition (...) lately presented to you", of "dangerous consequence", of which we "[can]not silence our deep resentment" as it's full of "Venome". He almost seems to have grabbed his quill in response to Praise-God Barebone, though one doesn't just improvise a 14-page letter with 15 co-signatories on impulse. Very much in the eye of the storm, Barebone put 'imself. Or was put ("better if it comes from a saintly poor man like you, brother Praise-God. You'll have our full support of course.")

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