Sunday 25 March 1660

(Lord’s day). About two o’clock in the morning, letters came from London by our coxon, so they waked me, but I would not rise but bid him stay till morning, which he did, and then I rose and carried them in to my Lord, who read them a-bed. Among the rest, there was the writ and mandate for him to dispose to the Cinque Ports for choice of Parliament-men. There was also one for me from Mr. Blackburne, who with his own hand superscribes it to S.P. Esq., of which God knows I was not a little proud. After that I wrote a letter to the Clerk of Dover Castle, to come to my Lord about issuing of those writs.

About ten o’clock Mr. Ibbott, at the end of the long table, begun to pray and preach and indeed made a very good sermon, upon the duty of all Christians to be stedfast in faith.

After that Captain Cuttance and I had oysters, my Lord being in his cabin not intending to stir out to-day. After that up into the great cabin above to dinner with the Captain, where was Captain Isham and all the officers of the ship. I took place of all but the Captains; after dinner I wrote a great many letters to my friends at London.

After that, sermon again, at which I slept, God forgive me! After that, it being a fair day, I walked with the Captain upon the deck talking. At night I supped with him and after that had orders from my Lord about some business to be done against to-morrow, which I sat up late and did and then to bed.

46 Annotations

First Reading

David Bell  •  Link

Sam's shipboard Sunday

is interesting for what we see, and how it compares with the later customs depicted in the many novels of Naval exploits in the wars against France.

In particular, it seems that My Lord is not displacing the ship's Captain in the way that later Admirals did, perhaps because this is not formally his flagship. Also, Sam is being treated as an important person, his place at the dining table being higher than all but the ship's captains there.

Obviously, this is a consequence of his job, and we've already seen him decide whether or not to wake my Lord. My own reckoning is that his recent life in London, reporting to Montagu (and others?) must have been important work. The apparent insignificance of his place in the earlier pages of the Diary is misleading.

Now he has his reward.

Keith Wright  •  Link

As might be expected, "coxon" is a variant of "coxswain"---which aside from its significance in rowing means "a sailor who has charge of a ship's boat and its crew".
As for terms of address:
On 22 March, John Simmons noted Pepys's rise to "gentleman" in regards to his sword, and looked ahead to the receipt of the letter addressed to "S.P. Esq." Plainly Pepys has not became "a member of the English gentry ranking below a knight," so this is "a title of courtesy usu. placed in its abbreviated form after the surname". But what particular mark of social distinction transforms Mr. Samuel Pepys into Samuel Pepys, Esquire, in the eyes of his contemporaries?

David Quidnunc  •  Link

"sermon again, at which I slept"


--Sam didn't get back to sleep quickly after he was woken up the night before.

--He wasn't sleeping too well now that he was aboard ship.

--Mountagu hadn't adjusted to shipboard sleeping either.

Nix  •  Link

Perhaps, too, he drank bountifully at dinner, in celebration of his elevated status. If the sermon was belowdecks -- even in the "Great Cabin" -- it was likely quite stuffy.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Sam's sleeping

Sam did sleep well the first night on board (23 March entry), so it's unlikely that it was a problem adjusting to his new sleeping quarters.

john s.  •  Link

Terms of address...
Esquire and gentleman both derive from old French usage, of the two, esquire:
"a man belonging to the higher order of the English gentry" takes precedence over gentleman,"in later use it denoted a man of good family." Both from "The Oxford Dictionary of Word Histories." Our Sam, by land ownership (his uncle), by his great aunt Paulina's marriage to Sir Sydney Montagu, mother to My Lord, and his education, lived on the edges of being a gentleman. His father's occupation held him back, however. It is his own hard work and association with Montagu's rising star that will allow him to wear a sword and incline others to address his letters, SP, esq. It might not be correct usage, but a little flattery, well butter...

Pauline  •  Link

Sam’s sleeping
So we are ruling out the possibility that the sermon was soporific?

Alan Bedford  •  Link

Happy New Year!
(It's March 25th, Lady Day, first day of 1660, for those living then!)

language hat  •  Link

Pauline, I was thinking the same thing!

This is a lively and action-packed entry; I'm glad he managed to find time for the diary during his busy shipboard days.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Now just hold on there a minute

The good Reverend Ibbott did such a fine job in the morning sermon! He couldn't have had only one good sermon up his sleeve.

Pauline  •  Link

"After that, sermon again"
Almost sounds like he had only one up his sleeve for this Sunday.

Alfred Pinkham  •  Link

As to Sam's sleeping. He is on a ship that always has some movement with the tide or wind. He has been working hard and has been aboard long enough to become accustomed to the motion. For some the first few days at sea are very sleepy days I think it is the lesser form of sea sickness. No air below decks and a droning voice and it's nap time.

PHE  •  Link

Although just an ordinary bloke, I received letters addressing me as 'Esq' up to about 10 years ago (normally from mailshots aiming to flatter me I think), but I don't see it now. Either its just gone out of fashion, or I've dropped down in the social scale.

Glyn  •  Link

The English class system
I agree with Peter that "Esq" seems to have finally dropped out of usage. My English teacher once said that he was mildly flattered to receive letters addressed to "Gilbert Bennett Esq"; and happy to receive letters addressed to "Mr Gilbert Bennett"; but not to receive letters addressed to "Mr Gilbert Bennett Esq" because that was ungrammatical - you couldn't be both a Mister and a Squire simultaneously.

So Pepys being addressed as "Esquire" means people are perceiving him as moving up the social scale and Pepys realises it; and class was important in England in those days (not now, of course).

The Swiftsure seems to be riding at anchor at present, with no immediate plans to leave harbour. Do we know which port they are moored in? I am guessing somewhere at the mouth of the Thames such as Deal or Gravesend. I suppose Montagu and his staff have moved out of London to be closer to the Fleet and so cut down on delays liaising with the ships and their captains.

helena murphy  •  Link

Pepys career to date is a wonderful example of well merited social mobility. He is highly educated, reliable and capable, associated with the aristocracy and at The Admiralty and in Whitehall seen in the corridors of power. He is courteous and convivial,yet does not lack the common touch. He represents the new breed of bureaucrat which sprang up in the seventeenth century.
In France, in the same century,there were two classes of nobility, the nobless de l'epee or sword nobility based on birth, and the noblesse de la Robe or robe nobility whose members were often drawn from men of talent within an increasing important and expanding bureacracy.Very often their offices, and they were ennobled. Social attitudes were changing and Mr. Blackburne addresses Sam as Esquire,simply because he feels that he deserves it. I like to think of Montague giving the nod also had he seen that letter.

Keith Wright  •  Link

As Helena says, part of Pepys's pride is that he knows others have seen how Blackburne addressed his letter.
Merriam-Webster's "Word Histories" (New York, 1989) adds that in American English esquire "has been largely appropriated by lawyers, who since the nineteenth century have used it when referring to or addressing each other in writing." (Should like to know if this still obtains.)
The only person who's ever used it on snail-mail to me was a fellow American, a long-time UK resident and member of the C of E clergy, with obviously jocular intent---and, as PHE notes, dropped it about a decade back. The precise format of egalitarian e-mail addresses don't abet social climbing, much.

j.a. gioia  •  Link


almost 20 years ago i wrote lord snowden in regards to some photo-related business and recieved a reply addressed to me as 'esq'. i must admit i felt a faint echo of sam's thrill at seeing the envelope.

and, yes, in the states 'esq' is used now only among lawyers as an address of professional courtesy.

Laura K  •  Link

american attys & "esq"

My day-job is in the legal field. Attorneys in the US are addressed in writing as "Jane Doe, Esq." once they are formally admitted to the bar. Not every law firm does this, but the older, larger firms all do.

Mark  •  Link

I'm a day behind...
I'm curious about the term "box of the ear". When I first read it I didn't think anything of it as the idea of boxing someone's ears was still relatively common in my youth. Does the term, as I'd assume (and we all know what that can get you), from the sport of boxing. A quick Google showed that official rules for ungloved boxing won't be written for another 40 years or so, and the famous Marquis' decades after that. So, was boxing called boxing then? Was it a common "sport" in the sense of today, with professional boxes etc? Or was it more a matter of two guys just "fightin'"?

Ed Marr  •  Link

Where is the Swiftsure?

Last noted as being moored in Long Reach, current maps show this as in Barking Creek, with Barking to the north and Beckton to the South.


Nix  •  Link

I'd assume they are still at anchor -- there hasn't been any indication of getting under sail, which seems likely to be an event Samuel would note.

tamara  •  Link

boxing ears

I think it is related to the same "boxing" that is the fighting. My Random House dictionary (the only one handy) says it's from Middle English, ca. 1300–1350, of uncertain origin. I've always thought of it more as a slap to the side of the head than a boxing-style punch, however.

I think competitive boxing, at least as far back as the eighteenth century, was usually known as a "prizefight," or a "mill." But as a sport it was definitely called boxing, even though the men didn't wear gloves (in some pictures I've seen they do seem to have cloth wrapped around their hands).

Ann  •  Link

Re: Boxing of ears:

OED Online says: " 1. trans. orig. To beat, thrash; later, to strike with the fist, to cuff, to buffet: now usually, to strike (the cheek, ear, etc.) with the hand.

1519 W. HORMAN Vulg. 137 §17 He was boxed out of the place: as he had been a started hare. 1589 R. HARVEY Pl. Perc. 12 To boxe a shadowe, and beate their knuckels against a bare wall. 1601 SIR J. OGLE in Sir F. Vere Comm. 150 He..must sit with his hands bound, whilest boyes and devils come and box him about the ears. a1661 B. HOLYDAY Juvenal 206 Xerxes commanded them to give the sea 300 strokes with a scourge, and to box it. 1666 PEPYS Diary 20 Jan., I become angry, and boxed my boy..that I do hurt my thumb. 1704 STEELE Lying Lover II. (1747) 31 LetticeI'll down right box youHold your Tongue, Gipsy. 1783 AINSWORTH Lat. Dict. (Morell) I. s.v. Ear, Boxed on the ear, colaphis, vel alapis, cæsus. 1837 DISRAELI Venetia I. ix. (1871) 42 Attempting to box her son's ears. 1876 BLACK Madcap V. i. 3 I've a good mind to box your ears."

In modern usage: He hit him upside the head. Interesting that Pepys does it again, in 1666.....

Emilio  •  Link

As a sport boxing has been around at least since ancient Greece, where it was one of the Olympic sports from 632 BC. The Greeks wore leather straps on their hands for protection, and were allowed to do anything except biting and gouging to bring down their opponent - ouch.
It took the Romans, however, to really accentuate the brutality factor. On their hands they wore the cestus, which was leather straps wrapped around lead or other metal. Fighters did periodically die in those bouts.
I read a note on the web that boxing was only reestablished in England in the 18th century, where they fought bareknuckle. I haven't found any other information, though.

mw  •  Link

A curio: concerning the ESQ and helena murphy's interesting observations concerning the development of the bureaucrat. As SP nears the end of a significant period in English history without royality, is he witnessing the increasing importance of both personal ability and institutions? In comparison to our age (are we at the end of the age of the small man?) it would seem to have a somewhat different authority and control balance. Hence the delight at the esq but also SPs continual desire for humility. Related to that our almost morbid fear at the absence of authority and institutions. Something SP has observed as being no great difficulty when it has occurred in London.

Tom  •  Link

I live in Belfast and my bank statement every quarter is addressed to Thomas Ferguson Esq.

Hhomeboy  •  Link

boxing comments belong in March 24 annotations...

where I have posted my interpretive remarks on Sam's tantrum tap...

Bored  •  Link

I opened a bank account here in the UK when I was 18 and my bank kept sending me things addressed to "A. Bored, Esquire" for many years afterwards. Esquire has never been used by anyone else. At that time it was used for someone who was too young to be a Mister. It is no longer used.

The remark above that SP's rise was due to a meritocracy as he was well educated - then as now it is the access to education in the first place that determines your life and career. Educational institutions now hold the the power to determine your life's chances as your birth once did.

Jim  •  Link

Esquire used for children...
Yes, back in my youth (and I am but a few weeks short of my 60th natal anniversary) I would receive mail (usually birthday cards from aunts and such) addressed to "James Lawrence, Esquire" (or, sometimes to "Master James Lawrence") -- those being days when even even five year olds in blue collar families in upstate New York wore white shirts, neckties, suit jackets and Fedora hats when dressed for Sunday church services. My mother explained that it would be a sign that I was grown up when the Esquire would be dropped and I would become "Mister" -- Today, however, I think it is only used by lawyers.

michael f vincent  •  Link

Esquire: squire- Language Hat should ave a good answer when 's' for 'es' came into being for many words .
Esquires are the 5th in list of 32 family classifications (1.35 mil fam , 5.5million pop total ) only 30000 esquires)
ref p248 Restoration London Liza Picard

squire was the first major rung to get recognition for ones effort in life
people paid good money to get this title registered. The tax man does so love the extra income.

language hat  •  Link

esquire: squire
Both are from French esquier (modern écuyer); "squire" is attested earlier but that may be chance. Note that there are two different kinds of es- from Old French, one from Latin ex- (usually later re-Latinized, as in "example" and "exchange," but left when the Latin form was not classical, as in "escape") and one added for euphonic reasons to Latin words starting with s + consonant (as in "esquire").

Pauline  •  Link

Let's not forget to consult
ESQUIRE (0. Fr. escuyer, Mod. Fr. ~cuyer, derived through the form escudier from Med. Lat. scutarius, “ shield-bearer “), originally the attendant on a knight, whose helm, shield and lance he carried at the tournament or in the field of battle. The esquire ranked immediately below the knight bachelor, and his office was regarded as the apprentice stage of knighthood. The title was regarded as one of function, not of birth, and was not hereditary. In time, however, its original significance was lost sight of, and it came to be a title of honour, implying a rank between that of knight and valet or gentleman, as it technically still remains. Thus in the later middle ages esquire (armiger) was the customary description of holders of knight’s fees who had not taken up their knighthood, whence the surviving custom of entitling the principal landowner in a parish “the squire” (see SQUIRE). Camden, at the close of the ióth century, distinguished four classes entitled to bear the style: (i) The eldest sons of knights, and their eldest sons, in perpetual succession; (2) the eldest Sons of the younger sons of peers, and their eldest sons, in like perpetual succession; (3) esquires created by royal letters patent or other investiture, and their eldest sons; (4) esquires by office, e.g. justices of the peace and others who bear any office of trust under the crown. To these the writer in the 3rd edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1797) added Irish peers and the eldest sons of British peers, who, though they bear courtesy titles, have in law only the right to be styled esquires. Officers of the king’s courts, and of the royal household, counsellors at law and justices of the peace he described as esquires only “ by reputation “; and justices of the peace have the title only as long as they are in commission; while certain heads of great landed families are styled “esquires” by prescription. “But the meaner ranks of people,” he adds indignantly, “who know no better, do often basely prostitute this title; and, to the great confusion of all rank and precedence, every man who makes a decent appearance, far from thinking himself in any way ridiculed by finding the superscription of his letters thus decorated, is fully gratified by such an address.”

Sounds like the writer had read Pepys and noted his gratification!

Modern écuyer = rider, horseman

Nigel Pond  •  Link


As an English lawyer having lived in the US for 8 years, it still bothers me to see my female lawyer colleagues referred to as "Esq." - a term which per my upbringing should only apply to males...

Eric Strasser .  •  Link

SP was sworn a justice of the peace on 23 September 1660 and was thereafter entiled to the title of an esquire while in commission. The fact that his family were armigers didn't have any connection, neither did his grand relations although the 'Squires of Impington' branch the family probably were esquires.Unlike a present-day use of the title in SP's time it was a definite title.

pat Stewart Cavalier  •  Link

I know I'm over nine years late, but maybe someone will read it : in present day France, female lawyers and notaries are addressed as "Maître", although the word "maîtresse" does exist - it means either a regular sexual partner or a school teacher.

Katherine  •  Link

Thanks for your post, Pam. I'm still reading recent activity, and I'm sure many others are also.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Diary of Ralph Josselin (Private Collection)
25.3.1660, 26.3.1660, 27.3.1660, 29.3.1660, 3.4.1660, 7.4.1660, 10.4.1660 (Sunday 25 March 1660)
document 70012380

- 25. I preached twice, the minister desirous to leave all his work on me, and I very ready. god moved and startled people. they said those sermons would not be forgotten, god grant they be practised;

26: 27. we had but one Tenant with us, riding out into the meadow by Severn(,) Mrs H. resolved to return on Friday seeing there was no business. I prayed her patience and submission to gods will, at night one came to us with whom we could never agree, yet afterwards divers did to our very great satisfaction

29. I preached the Lecture I hope with some success

as also April 1. twice. on Monday we kept the Court, very quietly,

and 3 dispatched our business

and returned to London April 7th.

and so home to Colne April. 10th.

praise to the name of my gracious god where I found all well and safe, for which my soul blesses him.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"There was also one for me from Mr. Blackburne, who with his own hand superscribes it to S.P. Esq., of which God knows I was not a little proud."

L&M: Esquires constituted the rank above gentlemen. 'Any that are in superiour Publick Office for King or State are reputed Esquires or equal to Esquires': E. Chamberlayne, Angl. Not. (1669), p. 475. Pepys became an indubitable esquire when in the summer he was appointed Clerk of the Acts to the Navy Board. Most of his colleagues on the Board were knights, and the Clerk was often known as 'Squire Pepys', e.g., to the plumber who helped with the alterations in 1661 to the office: PRO, SP 29/81, no. 21. But he did not protest at the end of 1660 when under the poll-tax he was rated as a mere gentleman:…

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Among the rest, there was the writ and mandate for him to dispose to the Cinque Ports for choice of Parliament-men. ... After that I wrote a letter to the Clerk of Dover Castle, to come to my Lord about issuing of those writs."

I'm guessing that Montagu was being entrusted with the job of inviting appropriate men to declare themselves as candidates for the next Parliament from the Cinque Ports (his mandate). It was customary for people to run in a declared interest (i.e. with an important sponsor).

Dover, being the most important cinque port at the time, had a clerk who could officially issue the writs with Montagu's direction and signature.

That's a guess. Anyone?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"There was also one for me from Mr. Blackburne, who with his own hand superscribes it to S.P. Esq., of which God knows I was not a little proud."

Mr. Blackburne liked Pepys, and probably did this to remind his young friend of his new position, and to bolster his courage in performing his duties as an Esquire.
The word "secretary" means keeper of the secrets. Pepys would know what the plans for the fleet were before the Captains. He would read the correspondence from Parliament and Charles II. He would know where the money was, and when the food was arriving. And he would have to keep silent about it all.
Likewise, if the men wanted to give the Admiral information, they would tell Pepys, and if it went against their Captain -- well, he would have to be discreet.
Letter writing in a good hand without beer stains is a minor part of the role. He is about the only person on board to whom Montagu can speak personally.

James B  •  Link

San Diego Sarah, that’s very interesting about the SECRETarial role. Does it cast some light on SP’s relationship with the diary?

We think of SP as the sharer’s sharer of information, esp personal information but perhaps there was a limit. Perhaps the confidences you talk about were kept even from the encoded diary. Intriguing to think that there may have been a part of his life and brain that he kept even from his diary.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Now you mention it, James, I think you've nailed something.

Pepys definately leaves out some pertinent personal information about his sex life with Elizabeth -- from ignorance or discretion? He had frequent, lengthy wartime meetings with Lord High Admiral James, duke of York, and gives us few details, and rarely mentions James' mistresses or bawdy behavior while Charles II's activities are extensively covered. And in his money-gathering times, he usually gives us enough information to leave us confused.

After all, loose lips sink ships, especially if you live next door to Mrs. Williams.

None of the above are spoilers -- look on them as teasers!

3Lamps  •  Link

Re: gentlemen and esquires

The College of Arms in London, which has been the official heraldic authority for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and much of the Commonwealth since 1484, still includes an armiger's noble rank (gentleman or higher) within the letters patent granting new coats of arms. Indeed, the sole criteria for being eligible for a grant of arms is to prove oneself a gentleman or higher rank; this has historically always been the criteria. How this is assessed is ultimately at the discretion of the Kings of Arms, though there are certain things that help (tertiary qualifications, military or public service, one's standing within the community, honours given by the Crown, etc., can all be factors).

At this point in the diary, Pepys is likely sitting on the line between being considered a gentleman or an esquire. Either way, his ranking would be by virtue of his appointment (i.e., his employment; Pepys would not have been considered a gentleman by birth due to his father's profession). Very soon, once he takes on more prestigious appointments and in particular once he becomes a Justice of the Peace later in 1660, he would certainly have qualified as an "esquire by appointment". On a personal note, I successfully petitioned to be granted arms a few years ago and was surprised to find that by virtue of my own appointment I too am an esquire. Reading today's entry, I strongly relate to Pepys' pride in the title, even though today it is of no practical use and therefore simply makes for a good story.

The next rank above an esquire is a knight. I cannot help but wonder why, much later in life, Pepys was not knighted for his lifetime of service to the Crown. I suspect the answer is Pepys' fall from Royal favour following the Glorious Revolution. Perhaps if James II had remained on the thrown, such an honour would have been bestowed on Pepys?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

3Lamps -- why wasn't Pepys knighted is one of the on-going themes in the annotations. We generally conclude that Charles wasn't that involved with Pepys, and James probably planned on doing it but left town before he did it. William looked at this aging man, and suggested bluntly that he retire. They cannot be awarded after the person is dead. Frustrating.

3Lamps  •  Link

SDS - I am reading the diary for the first time, one day at a time, and am avoiding jumping ahead. If there is an ongoing theme about knighthood (or lack of it) for Pepys in the comments, then I have not yet reached the part where those comments begin. I look forward to coming up to that conversation in due course.

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