Friday 17 February 1659/60

In the morning Tom that was my Lord’s footboy came to see me and had 10s. of me of the money which I have to keep of his. So that now I have but 35s. more of his. Then came Mr. Hills the instrument maker, and I consulted with him about the altering my lute and my viall. After that I went into my study and did up my accounts, and found that I am about; 40l. beforehand in the world, and that is all. So to my office and from thence brought Mr. Hawly home with me to dinner, and after dinner wrote a letter to Mr. Downing about his business and gave it Hawly, and so went to Mr. Gunning’s to his weekly fast, and after sermon, meeting there with Monsieur L’Impertinent, we went and walked in the park till it was dark. I played on my pipe at the Echo, and then drank a cup of ale at Jacob’s. So to Westminster Hall, and he with me, where I heard that some of the members of the House were gone to meet with some of the secluded members and General Monk in the City. Hence we went to White Hall, thinking to hear more news, where I met with Mr. Hunt, who told me how Monk had sent for all his goods that he had here into the City; and yet again he told me, that some of the members of the House had this day laid in firing into their lodgings at White Hall for a good while, so that we are at a great stand to think what will become of things, whether Monk will stand to the Parliament or no. Hence Mons. L’Impertinent and I to Harper’s, and there drank a cup or two to the King, and to his fair sister Frances good health, of whom we had much discourse of her not being much the worse for the small pox, which she had this last summer. So home and to bed. This day we are invited to my uncle Fenner’s wedding feast, but went not, this being the 27th year.

32 Annotations

First Reading

Alan Bedford  •  Link

Okay, I'll bite. What's the significance of "the 27th year" that prevented Sam and Elizabeth from attending his uncle's wedding feast?

Bert Winther  •  Link

Alan, this is how I read it: SP thinks the 27th wedding anniversary of a distant relative is no big deal and decides to forego the invitation.

steve h  •  Link

Small pox

Samllpox was the major epidemic disease in Europe in the 17th century, when it really took off. It was a major problem in London in this period, with what seem to be a new series of epidemics from 1659 onward. Demographers believe that factors promoting smallpox in England included low temperatures in winter, low rainfall in autumn, crowding in the city, and malnutrition. Living in London was bad for your health.

It's one of the great sadnesses of history that smallpox was seemingly eradicated in the 1970s, one of the great triumphs of public health and global cooperation, yet we now have to worry about it again.

Bert Winther  •  Link

Alan, here’s another interpretation: The invitation received today was for a feast to be held on February 23, SP’s 27th birthday. He probably had other plans for that day or maybe he didn’t care that much for his poor uncle.

Pauline  •  Link

"...some of the members of the House had this day laid in firing into their lodgings..."
Bert, Steve: And this?

language hat  •  Link

firing (OED):

7a Material for a fire, fuel.

1555 Ridley in Contemp. Rev. (1878) XXXI. 771 To give him both meat, drink, clothing, and firing. 1591 Greene Disc. Coosnage (1592) 23 Fewel or fiering, being a thing necessary. 1667 Pepys Diary 24 Aug., The bells rung; but no bonfires.. any where, partly from the dearness of firing. 1796 Morse Amer. Geog. II. 212 Want of firing is the greatest inconveniency that both islands labour under.

Wulf Losee  •  Link

"...and there drank a cup or two to the King..."

This is the first indication that Pepys is a royalist, or at least sympathetic to the monarchy. Or am I misreading something here?


PHE  •  Link

a drink to the King
This is a highly significant milestone in Pepys's political evolution given that he observed the execution of Charles I, and although only in his teens at the time, was a Roundhead sympathiser. Pressumably it's more than conincidence that his changing allegiances reflected those of Montagu. Even if he did not discuss the matter directly with Montagu, I suspect evereyone was watching the changing mood very carefully and go along with it as much as was reasonable for self protection.

Sari Magaziner  •  Link

The reference to the instrument man, Mr.Hill, is very familiar to all string players, because the venerated instrument house of W.E. Hill and Sons,(in London from the 1800's to the l970's)took great pride in this entry. However, the biography of Arthur Bultitude,one of W.E.Hill's bow makers, in tracing the geneology of the Hill family, now clearly disputes the claim.Nevertheless,those of us who have Hill bows, instruments, or certificates will probably go right on quoting Pepys' mention with pleasure.

Mike Bursell  •  Link

This isn't the first reference to Pepys' royalist tendencies. On January 30th, we had a reference to the song he wrote to about Charles I, and he remembers the anniversary of his death.

Derek  •  Link

I'd just been wondering if 'Mr Hills' should actually be 'Mr Hill' and whether there was any connection with the legendary 19 & 20th century firm of luthiers and dealers, went off to do a little research and returned to find Sari had had the same idea. The genealogy may be challenged but lists the following makers:

HILL, JOSEPH I, London, 1660.
HILL, JOSEPH II, London, b. 1715, d. 1784.
HILL, LOCKEY, London, b. 1756, d. 1810.
HILL, WILLIAM, London, b. 1745, d. 1790.
HILL, WILLLIAM EBSWORTH, London, b. 1817, d. 1895.
HILL AND SONS, London, 140 New Bond St. W. One of the largest and highest
class violin-making institutions in the world. The present members of the
firm are William Hill, Arthur Fred Hill, William Henry Hill and Walter E.

It certainly suggest the likelihood of a dynastic business, with the first Joseph being Sam's man. The prestigious company apparently relocated to Great Missenden in 1975 and went out of business in the early 1990s.

j a gioia  •  Link

a toast to the king

today we get a clear sense of sam's anxiety over civil affairs - "so that we are at a great stand to think what will become of things" - as well as his own tenuous position in life, "I am about; 40l. beforehand in the world, and that is all". he also loves his homely social pleasures; food and drink; his music making and his circle of family and friends. the king - *any* king - would certainly be a much desired post of stability for him.

Sari Magaziner  •  Link

Derek, the information I cited was in "Arthur Bultitude and the Hill Tradition" by Saddler, published in l999, in which the Hill family is traced.It does sound very convincing in refuting the family connection to Pepys' man. W.E. Hill and Sons was on New Bond Street until the land lease was up, and then they left for Missenden. One of the Hills, George, still is still available for confirming records, etc.

language hat  •  Link

"about 40l. beforehand in the world":

This means he has £40 in savings, basically. OED:

1.d. To be beforehand, to be beforehand with the world, to have something beforehand: to have more than sufficient to meet present demands; to have money in hand for future contingencies; to have the balance on the right side. So “to bring, get beforehand”. All arch[aic].

1526 Pilgr. Perf. 133 He wyll.. labour diligently to brynge hym selfe beforehande agayn, & to recouer his losse. c.1645 Howell Lett. (1650) III.9 Hee is the happy man who can square his mind to his means.. he who is before hand with the world. 1651 Featly in Fuller’s Abel Rediv. (1867) II. 228 He brought the college much beforehand, which before..was very much impoverished. 1712 Steele Spect. No. 450 p.3 Having little or nothing beforehand, and living from Hand to Mouth. 1771 Franklin Autobiog. Wks. 1840 I. 59, I now began to think of getting a little beforehand. C. 1812 Miss Austen Sense & Sens. (1849) 25, I shall see how much I am beforehand with the world in the spring.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

40 l. beforehand

This is the second of Pepys's reckonings of his wealth (would "net worth" be a good term?), according to Robert Latham's index volume to the diary (under the heading "Finances" and subheading "Amount of Personal Wealth in Cash," p 103).

Sometime last month (I forget the date, and Latham only gives a page number), Pepys was also worth 40 l., so he's holding steady. In the index volume, the list of page numbers and amounts of money goes on for a quarter of a page (about 100 mentions), ending in Volume 8 (late 1667).

Roger Miller  •  Link

Gunning's weekly fast?

Since fasting means abstaining from eating and drinking how did Pepys observe a fast after first dining with Hawly and then later drinking at both Jacob's and Harper's?

michael f vincent  •  Link

"40l. beforehand in the world, and that is all."
He appears not to count the salable items, only coin.
Was it kept in a vase? just a thought.
My misqote of the day, the one I live by.
"Happy is the ladd that earns a guinea
and spends a pound.
Unhappy is the ladd that earns a pound
and spends a guinea."

helena murphy  •  Link

pepys does not appear to have been a commotted royalist but like all ambitious men, especially of the "middling sort" or middle class he was astutely taking note of what way the political winds were blowing.We must remember that the tide had only turned for the parliamentarians after 1645 with the emergence of the new model army.From 1642-1645 the royalists had had decisive victories. The foundation stone of the commonwealth and protedorate governments had been military might due to a superior army which ironically was paid for by the levelling of greter taxation on all the population by parliament.These governments never had a popular mandate to rule but their rule did indcate the saying that might is right.

M.Stolzenbach  •  Link

Mr. Gunning's Fast

Feb. 17 being a Friday that year, I presumed that Mr. Gunning marked Fridays with a special sermon and probably prayers; the Book of Common Prayer does as I recall designate the Fridays of the year for "fasting."

Then again, perhaps Mr. Gunning simply felt that in the difficult times that were upon the nation, a special day of fasting and prayer for guidance was indicated. These have been held as recently as the ones Abraham Lincoln declared during the American Civil War.

It's also possible that Pepys had marked the "fast" by "abstinence," that is, not eating meat - which is often called "fasting" - at his noonday dinner. But I rather doubt it.

Ann  •  Link

He may have meant "fasting" as a meatless day. The Anglican Church was rooted in Roman Catholicism. Catholics still "fast" on certain days (Ash Wednesday, Fridays during lent). This means no meat at your one meal of the day. Only light snacks to "maintain strength" for the rest of the day. When I was growing up, we fasted every friday, which meant fish sticks or macaroni and glue -- I mean cheese -- for lunch.

JonTom Kitttredge  •  Link

Pepys and Politics
I basically agree with those who say that Mr. Pepys was always very conscious of the way the wind blew. He had thrown in his lot with his patron, Edward Montague, and Montague had, or was about to, throw in his lot with the restorationists.

On the other hand, I doubt that it would be accurate to paint Pepys as nothing but a cynical timeserver. He had been a roundhead in his youth, but I think that his developing royalist leanings reflect a genuine enthusiasm. For one thing, he is so frank in his diary, that I think it would be clear if he were drinking those secret toasts were just to gain favor with the coming side.

Of course it is clear by the events of the last month that the mood of London, if not the country, has swung toward restoration. In this case it may have been hard for Pepys himself, just as it can be us, to separate what are his own beliefs from what is the general mood of his time.

James Casey  •  Link

It's the comments like 'M. L'Impertinent' that really make bring the man out of the literature.

EIS  •  Link

The Parliamentarians did not win
the English Civil war entirely through
'the levelling of greater taxation on all the population'. They were able to secure decisive victories against the royalist forces after the Scots had joined them in an alliance against the king in 1644, an action which certainly occured primarily as a result of King Charles's unwanted interference in the Scottish Presbyterian Church.

Glyn  •  Link

a cup of ale at Jacob's

It was in Threadneedle Street near the Royal Exchange and what is now the Bank of England. It soon changed from a tavern to a coffee house.

Arnfinn Stölen  •  Link

Concerning the instrument maker Hills: I have actually in my custody a very old but well playable instrument with the label of Joseph Hills, Hay Market 2, dated LONDON 82. The history of the instrument in Norway is obscure, but the cultural relations with England were always close. The authenticity of this instrument should then in any case require an s in the spelling of the name for Joseph Hills 1660 in Violin Man's list.Joseph Hill born 1715 then hardly was the son, but of course may have been a nephew or grandson. But why should he change the name? What do the labels in his instruments say?

Second Reading

Irishyankee  •  Link

Regarding the spelling: My original Puritan ancestor spelled the family name ;Smalley'; by 1700 it was 'Small'; The Hill(s) may have likewise dropped the supurflous suffix.

Personal to Phil: Thank you for resurrecting the site, and returning the ability to post replies. Reading the nightly updates have become a part of my daily routine, and I hadn't realised until it ended how much I looked forward to it each evening. My daily routine is now, once again complete.

Geoff Hallett  •  Link

Wonderful to see you back. Came in at half-time last time, looking forward to the first half now.

Phil Gyford  •  Link

Thanks for the thanks.

But, while I don't mean to be ungrateful, seeing as this is the start of another decade, let's get things off to a well-behaved start! Please keep annotations about diary entries on topic, and bear in mind that people will be reading them for many years, hoping they'll explain this entry.

Feel free to post anything further about annotations on the Site News post about them:…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"we went and walked in the park till it was dark. I played on my pipe at the Echo"

The Echo is evidently a place with acoustics that favor the sound of the pipe. L&M wonder if it's a grotto and refer us to these sites well outside London:……
We are not given the name of a place in central London. It's possible a stone wall or passage between stone buildings or a stone stairway could be the Echo, but before the Great Fire of 1666, medieval London was largely wooden.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"So to Westminster Hall...where I heard that some of the members of the House were gone to meet with some of the secluded members and General Monk in the City."

This was the second of a series of meetings between these parties -- the first having been held on the 14th -- which led to the re-admission of the secluded members on 21 February. See Godfrey Davies, Restoration, pp. 287-8. (L&M)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Hence Mons. L’Impertinent and I to Harper’s, and there drank a cup or two to the King, ..."

Drinking a toast to the King could be a radical thing to do. However, Pepys takes care to do it with a friend, albeit in a public place, and I suspect their words were carefully chosen.

In the 17th-century, the practice of administering politico-religious oaths to the general public has sensitized the population to their religious and legal significance.

Significantly, the divisions of the 1640s saw a change in the ‘words of institution’ used for a loyal-health; combining a prayer and a curse in which the ‘health’ of the king and the ‘confusion’ [or worse] of his enemies were drunk.

For instance, Hugh Sheldon was indicted in 1651 for drinking the king’s health and for disparaging Cromwell.

In Hereford in 1685, Stephen Arundell drank to the health of the Duke of Monmouth and the death of James II.

Either prayer or curse could lead to indictment, as in 1641 when a Mr. Readman ‘drank a health to the confusion of the protestants in Ireland’, or in 1650 when William Norman drank ‘to the confusion of parliament’.

When you're drinking, it's easy to get carried away.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


John Evelyn's Diary – he and Mary Browne Evelyn live at Saye's Court, Deptford.


From 17th February to 5th April, I was detained in bed with a kind of double tertian, the cruel effects of the spleen and other distempers, in that extremity that my physicians, Drs. Wetherborn, Needham, and Claude, were in great doubt of my recovery; but it pleased God to deliver me out of this affliction, for which I render him hearty thanks: going to church the 8th, and receiving the blessed eucharist.

During this sickness came divers of my relations and friends to visit me, and it retarded my going into the country longer than I intended; however, I wrote and printed a letter in defense of his Majesty, [62] against a wicked forged paper, pretended to be sent from Brussels to defame his Majesty's person and virtues and render him odious, now when everybody was in hope and expectation of the General and Parliament recalling him, and establishing the Government on its ancient and right basis.

The doing this toward the decline of my sickness, and sitting up long in my bed, had caused a small relapse, out of which it yet pleased God also to free me, so as by the 14th I was able to go into the country, which I did to my sweet and native air at Wotton.


[Footnote 62: With the title of "The Late News, or Message from Brussels Unmasked." This, and the pamphlet which gave rise to it, are reprinted in "Evelyn's Miscellaneous Writings."]

Gen. George Monck…

The “forced paper” was allegedly by Marchamont Needham, a journalist who had backed both sides in pamphlets during the Civil Wars, had recently felt it necessary to flee to Holland. See…

The paper was called, "News from Brussels in a Letter from a Near Attendant on His Majesty's Person ...," published by Praise-God Barbon MP (AKA Barebones) and contained stories about Charles II's morals, just in case people had forgotten the gossip peddled by the previous administration to titilate/outrage their Puritan constituents.
The text:…

Praise-God Barbone MP…

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