Wednesday 21 March 1659/60

To my Lord’s, but the wind very high against us, and the weather bad we could not go to-day; here I did very much business, and then to my Lord Widdrington’s from my Lord, with his desire that he might have the disposal of the writs of the Cinque Ports. My Lord was very civil to me, and called for wine, and writ a long letter in answer. Thence I went to a tavern over against Mr. Pierce’s with judge Advocate Fowler and Mr. Burr, and sat and drank with them two or three pints of wine. After that to Mr. Crew’s again and gave my Lord an account of what I had done, and so about my business to take leave of my father and mother, which by a mistake I have put down yesterday. Thence to Westminster to Crisp’s, where we were very merry; the old woman sent for a supper for me, and gave me a handkercher with strawberry buttons on it, and so to bed.

33 Annotations

First Reading

Susanna  •  Link

Cinque Ports

The Cinque Ports (although there were and are more than five of them) have had a special legal status since the time of Edward the Confessor. Certain cities along the English Channel were allowed to keep the legal fees from their court cases, in exchange for providing ships and men for the crown in time of war. Dover is probably the most important of these "ancient towns."…

Emilio  •  Link

Below is a little more information about the Cinque Ports, to be found at… .
It sounds like Montagu is perhaps seeking official credentials to act as Lord Warden.
"In Medieval times, the responsibility for the defense of the South East Coast and the Channel, fell to a Confederation of the five main ports at that time. These were, Sandwich, Dover, Hythe, Romney and Hastings, plus two other towns, Rye and Winchelsea. Their correct title is, The Cinque (pronounced 'sink') Ports and Two Ancient Towns. They supplied the Crown with ships and men, and in return were granted privileges.
Over the years there have been a varying number of member towns associated with them, called corporate and non corporate members, the present main associates can be seen on the map.
The Great Storm of 1287 was the beginning of the end for many of the ports, it silted up harbours, blocked rivers, and submerged towns. Despite this, the Cinque Ports still retained their status and privileges, probably in recognition of their service to the Crown Fleet, but not necessarily their loyal support of the Crown! The people of the Ports were notoriously independent and tended to go their own way.
Today, these towns are still known as the Cinque Ports, but the coastline has changed considerably over the centuries (see maps in the other sections) and only Dover remains as a major port.
There was always an overall Warden of the Cinque Ports, and this tradition is still carried on today. Former Wardens include, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and lately, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who will be greatly missed. The present Lord Warden has yet to be appointed."

Pauline  •  Link

"...which by a mistake I have put down yesterday."
Here is hard evidence that Sam at times collects notes and memories and writes a day's events in fair copy in the diary a day or so later.

Keith may have a different interpretation of this sentence for us.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

". . . by a mistake I have put down yesterday"

This is also evidence that he's keeping his diary with him for the trip, not just writing down notes to copy into it when he returns.

Or does he think he'll have enough time once his departure time is confirmed to rush home and stow it with the rest of his things? I doubt it.

Keith Wright  •  Link

a) Maybe Pepys is already catching up now---that is, later---when he's actually on board ship, going
b) wherever he thinks or doesn't think he's headed, depending on whichever volunteer expert witness you trust, to
c) fetch someone---who, oh who could it be?---from Over the Water; or else just to cruise the North Sea in springtime, the only pretty ring-time, when birds do sing, &c. &c. (He wasn't much impressed by "Twelfth Night" either time he saw it.)
Now everybody fight fair over the True Meaning of all this, and no, you can't skip ahead in Vol. 1 and make out like you're psychic.

KVK  •  Link

Cinque Ports
According to this list…
the last person appointed Lord Warden was Admiral Blake (I think Winchelsea was appointed after the Restoration). Blake has been dead for over a year, so there might be a vacancy in the office of Lord Warden.

From the way Pepys describes it, it sounds as though Montagu is trying to take on one of the responsibilities of the office of Lord Warden, rather than the office itself. Widdrington is Commissioner of the Great Seal, which means he's responsible for issuing writs for the new Parliament.

This might allow Montagu to influence the election of MPs for the Cinque Ports. Each of the Cinque Ports sends two members to the Commons.

KVK  •  Link

Lord Warden's influence
According to Blackstone's Commentaries:…

"By vote alfo of the houfe of commons, to whom alone belongs the power of determining contefted elections, no lord of parliament, or lord lieutenant of a county, hath any right to interfere in the election of commoners ; and, by ftatute , the lord warden of the cinque ports fhall not recommend any members there."

This legislation, of course, will come long after Pepys' time - what it will outlaw are the practices that still prevail in 1660. That the Commons will find it necessary to curb the Lord Warden's influence by statute indicates that the Warden exercises the same kind of political patronage that lords or gentrymen exercised over many provincial elections.

Warren Keith Wright  •  Link

Brief biographical notes added for Mr. [John] Burr today and Thomas Doling yesterday.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

A handkercher with strawberry buttons on it.

Buttons on a handkerchief? Why? Or am I totally misreading this? It can't be real but small strawberries in England in March 1660.

mary  •  Link

Strawberry buttons

I take this to mean that the handkerchief is embroidered with a raised stitch, such as the French knot. Any other suggestions?

Pauline  •  Link

Strawberry buttons
Mary's got the only explanation that makes any sense to me. Buttons fashioned in any design would be very rare at this time (not to mention in the way on a handkerchief--except to fasten it as a neckerchief).

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Minor Plot Spoiler: Dover's MP

KVK's annotation just above ("Lord Warden's influence") refers to the Warden of the Cinque Ports influencing the selection of members of Parliament.

Mountagu's cousin, George Mountagu, will become a member of Parliament for one of the Cinque Ports, Dover, later this year.

This post from 7 March describes the relationship between the two Mountagus:…

language hat  •  Link

"By vote alfo...", or the Perils of Scanning
One problem with scanned texts is that the scanner inevitably reads the "long s" as an f (though it doesn't have the arm sticking out to the right). I move that when we reproduce old texts here from such sources, we silently correct to s, which is true to the original fource and doefn't confufe the modern reader.

mary  •  Link

more strawberry buttons.

One OED definition for Button is: a bud; also the small, round flower-head of some compositae.

Perhaps the handkerchief is embroidered with a pattern of buds and/or small flowers, similar to Bachelor's Buttons but strawberry coloured. Or, indeed, strawberry flower-buds? Though these last are not especially pretty.

Hhomeboy  •  Link

Restoration chronicles...

Any biblioliterates or scholarly readers/17th century aficionados out there have authoritative text suggestions for the best/most detailed account(s) of the events of '59-'60, including the return of Charles II.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

"My Lord was very civil to me"

Pepys must have remarked on Mountagu's "civility" two or three times before today. (I assume "civility" encompasses courtesy for Pepys.) It seems that he's noting a change in the relationship between Mountagu and himself, with Mountagu acting a little less "high" because Pepys's value to him is rising.

I'm sure it's not news to anyone that when employees are easily replaced (because they are unskilled, perhaps, or because the economy is bad and there's a lot of competition for their job), employers often tend to treat them less well, including matters of courtesy, even civility, between supervisors and underlings.

Mountagu has seen that Pepys is a good, trustworthy worker, and he's promoting him to a more lucrative job -- and treating him as a more valued employee. Contrast this treatment with Mountagu's peremptory letters to Pepys in the 1650s:…

A final point: Since his late teens, Mountagu has been commanding troops or sailors. Neither situation generally calls for a high priority on avoiding hurt feelings. Of course, Mountagu has also been a politician, so he's also needed to know how to turn on the charm.

mary  •  Link

My lord was very civil to me

Surely it's Widdrington's civility that is being noted here. It is he who calls for the wine whilst he writes the long reply to Mountagu.

gerry  •  Link

Homeboy, for an excellent overview of the period try Britain in Revolution 1625-1660 by Austin Woolrych

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Oops! Surely, you're right, Mary!
Sorry -- too distracted by current events.

Helena Murphy  •  Link

The old woman who gives Pepys this embroidered hankerchief before he sets out 0n his sea voyage calls to mind Othello, a general-at-sea who gives an embroidered handkerchief to the ill-fated Desdemona.He got it from his mother who got it from a sybil. It is to be hoped that Pepys will not pass it on to Elizabeth.

Warren Keith Wright  •  Link

Bravo Helena.
"Have you not sometimes seen a handkerchief
Spotted with strawberries in your wive's hand?"
"I gave her such a one; 'twas my first gift."
---"Othello" (1604), III.iii.434-36.
Apparently a popular pattern from doubtless even further back.

Pauline  •  Link

And bravo Keith
And old mother Crisp calls to mind the sybil.

Curiouser and curiouser--suppose the design took off after the play was produced? Product placement, product tie-in?

mary  •  Link

These strawberry buttons must have significance

The fruit itself had been thought to have healing qualities since Roman times and its image could represent healing/health. Thus Mrs. Crispe may be offering Sam the contemporary or traditional equivalent of a St. Christopher medallion, wishing him protection on his travels.

The strawberry was also held to represent both passion and purity; these two attributes are more relevant to Desdemona's handkerchief.

In 16th Century emblematic art, the strawberry is said to stand for the human soul, but that doesn't necessarily apply in our context.

Nix  •  Link

More on the Cinque Ports --

This may be construed as a plot spoiler, so skip it if you don't want to know:

The Cinque Ports had their own representatives in Parliament, known as barons (per Black's Law Dictionary).

Samuel will one day be a baron of the Cinque Ports (per Encyclopedia Britannica Online). Doesn't say when.

KVK  •  Link

Restoration Chronicles
As far as I know, the best current restoration histories are R Hutton, The Restoration (1985), and P Seaward, The Restoration (1991). The problem is that 1660 is the major breaking point within 17th historiography; thus there are lots of books that begin with 1660 and lots that end with 1660, but not many that incorporate 1659-60 as their central focus. Those events tend to be treated as epilogue or prologue. I believe Hutton's book starts in '59.

A biography of, say, Monck or Lambert might have more detail for this precise period. Ashley's bio of Monck is probably still the standard.

Mary  •  Link

Antonia Fraser's "King Charles II"

provides a complementary view of these events from the royalist perspective before, during and after the restoration period.

michael f vincent  •  Link

"Strawberry" British wild berry small, size of a farthing or smaller,very very tasty maybe found still on old commons very pretty too . So much nicer than those ugly items in the market place,

Emilio  •  Link

Back to ". . . which by a mistake I have put down yesterday"
In the actual journal books, toward the end of the diary years he left blank pages for periods of up to 2 weeks that he filled in later, but I'm surprised to see that back-filling began so early.
I don't think that writing entries from a day or few in the future is Sam's regular practice, at least not yet. There was at least one moment (the mysterious drum beats as Monk was entering London, 5 Feb.) at which Sam makes clear he's writing the entry precisely as an event is happening. Also, however thorough his note-taking, he would tend to lose the feeling of the moment the farther away from it he was writing, not to mention that the later he waited the more material he would have to catch up on.
For these reasons I think he would probably try to write for the diary as soon as he could after the events, on the same day if possible, and that he would certainly have the diary along with him at sea.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Barons of the Cinque Ports were listed in Magna Carta:

"[9] The city of London shall have all the old liberties and customs, which it hath been used to have. Moreover we will and grant, that all other Cities, Boroughs, Towns, and the Barons of the Five Ports, and all other Ports, shall have all their liberties and free customs."…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Pepys was himself one of the Barons of the Cinque Ports -- one of those who carried the Canopy over the Sovereign -- at the Coronation of James II, 6 February 1685.

Second Reading

Pat McCann  •  Link

An interesting aside. Whilst we all rely heavily on the internet these days as a source of information, and the reliance on the printed word holds less value, its interesting to see how many source links that were part of these annotations in just the last 10 years no longer link to their original information. It may be that the information is available, albeit at a different address, but it does give a cautionary hint at the temporary state of internet based information.
For those dedicated to commiting our history to print, long may you continue!

This is my second spin around this daily diary, having first come in about 5 years ago. Its fantastic and really fired up my enthusiasm for the history of the period. Thanks Phil!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"to my Lord Widdrington’s from my Lord, with his desire that he might have the disposal of the writs of the Cinque Ports"

Mountagu's request to be appointed Warden of the Cinque Ports was successful:… Perhaps as a result he chose Sandwich as the title of the earldom bestowed on him at the Restoration. (L&M)

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