Thursday 26 April 1660

This day came Mr. Donne back from London, who brought letters with him that signify the meeting of the Parliament yesterday. And in the afternoon by other letters I hear, that about twelve of the Lords met and had chosen my Lord of Manchester Speaker of the House of Lords (the young Lords that never sat yet, do forbear to sit for the present); and Sir Harbottle Grimstone, Speaker for the House of Commons. The House of Lords sent to have a conference with the House of Commons, which, after a little debate, was granted.

Dr. Reynolds preached before the Commons before they sat.

My Lord told me how Sir H. Yelverton (formerly my school-fellow) was chosen in the first place for Northamptonshire and Mr. Crew in the second. And told me how he did believe that the Cavaliers have now the upper hand clear of the Presbyterians.

All the afternoon I was writing of letters, among the rest one to W. Simons, Peter Luellin and Tom Doling, which because it is somewhat merry I keep a copy of.

After that done Mr. Sheply, W. Howe and I down with J. Goods into my Lord’s storeroom of wine and other drink, where it was very pleasant to observe the massy timbers that the ship is made of. We in the room were wholly under water and yet a deck below that.

After that to supper, where Tom Guy supped with us, and we had very good laughing, and after that some musique, where Mr. Pickering beginning to play a bass part upon the viall did it so like a fool that I was ashamed of him.

After that to bed.

33 Annotations

First Reading

Nix  •  Link

Sir Harbottle Grimstone?

That has to be something out of Dickens. Or Wodehouse.

By any chance has the "somewhat merry" letter survived?

Paul Brewster  •  Link

"Somewhat merry" letter
The L&M footnote to this is short and to the point: "Untraced."

Hhomeboy  •  Link

Q: letters and copies thereof...

In order to make a copy did Sam need to rewrite the original or was there some sort of carbon paper available?

As for office practices, would some letters forwarded by Sam to the Admiralty then be copied by a clerk for record keeping and/or the need to furnish duplicates to other offices?

Laura K  •  Link


I don't know when carbon paper was invented, but even in Victorian times (well after this diary was written), copies were made by copying the original, by hand.

Nix  •  Link

It would be mighty tough to get a carbon copy from the pressure of a quill pen on the thick paper of the 17th centry.

Roger Miller  •  Link

James Watt's copying machine

"In 1780 he had patented what was probably the earliest form of copier, a press-copier which he marketed through his own company, James Watt & Co. The process involved writing with ink mixed with gum arabic. When a sheet of damp tissue paper was pressed against the manuscript, some of the ink stuck to it, creating a mirror image of the original on the tissue paper. By turning the copy over it could then be read through the tissue paper."…

Not any help to Pepys though. He must have kept summary records of the documents he issued and received even if he didn't keep complete copies otherwise he would lose track of what he had done. On Saturday 21st April he made a point of mentioning that he kept the 'very well writ' letter from Mr Moore so that implies that he didn't ordinarily retain letters.

vincent  •  Link

"copy" Distribution if warranted it was type set and printed for posterity.

Hhomeboy  •  Link

Ask a silly Q...

and you get all the rt. answers. I knew of Watt's machine but it is much later of course....

I was really wondering whether we could tell from the diary entries aboard if Sam had someone he dictated to or who made clerk's copies of some of his correspondence...although even if he had someone qualified/able, my impression is that Sam would not want to let a mere clerk into his confidence: he is his own confidant (and millions of readers are the beneficiaries!)...

mary  •  Link

Mr. Moore's well writ letter

could, of course, be a wholly private communication, as Moore is Sam's own place-man in the Exchequer. In this case, Sam would be commenting on the exceptional preservation of a personal letter rather than the mere noting of its contents.

tamara  •  Link

Thomas Jefferson
also invented a copying machine which was essentially a duplicate pen yoked side by side to the pen (or perhaps pencil) with which the writer was actually writing, so that it simply reproduced the words on another piece of paper simultaneously. No extra work required except, I suppose, adding ink (or sharpening pencil). If I remember rightly you can see it at Jefferson's house, Monticello.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

This invention has since been rediscovered many times by schoolchildren condemned to write 'lines' as a punishment.

Nigel Pond  •  Link

Ah yes line-writing machines. Some of the pupils at school with me in the 70's were very inventive, producing wooden sticks with holes spaced a line's height apart. Insert pens and away you go. I think someone made a 20 pen version, but it was rather unwieldy.

Was't there also a children's toy based on the Jeffersonian idea, that allowed you to copy drawings, not only at their original size, but also enlarge them? What was that thing called?

Emilio  •  Link

Today's political happenings
There are political cross-currents in today's news that aren't obvious on the surface.
First, according to an L&M footnote, both Manchester and Grimstone are strong Presbyterians, who are thus now in leading positions in both houses. However, Montagu confides that after the elections "the Cavaliers have now the upper hand clear of the Presbyterians." We see the results of this jockeying for power in the upcoming days.
However, the most significant sentence in the entry is the short one about the concurrence between Lords and Commons. L&M explain in another footnote: "The Lords had sent a message proposing the concurrence of the Commons in keeping a fast on the following Monday. [See entry for 30 Apr.] By receiving the message the Commons recognised the legal existence of the Lords." And just like that, there is an upper house again after more than a decade; no muss, no fuss, no bother.
And note to LH: The sentence in L&M is that the young Lords had never "sot" yet, noted in the OED as a dialectal form of 'sat'. I just love seeing the occasional odd verb form turn up in Pepys.

vincent  •  Link

"Sot" ME - fool , an habitual Drunkard, besotted, make dull or stupid
my take is "would be still be wet behind the ears"…

"Suleyman the Magnificent 1494 -1556 known for his son
he introduced coffee houses and other events,
his son and Hurrem sultan wife most powerful
Her son Selim was known as The Sot, became the next Sultan
sat would be too PC

language hat  •  Link

Emilio: Yes, I like "sot" too!
(vincent: nothing to do with the noun)

vicenzo  •  Link

Thanksgiving Day.
Resolved, &c. That this Day Fortnight be set apart, for a Day of Thanksgiving to the Lord, for raising up his Excellency the Lord General, and other eminent Persons, who have been instrumental in Delivery of this Nation from Thraldom and Misery.
Resolved, &c. That this Day Fortnight be set apart for a Day of Thanksgiving, for this House, the Cities of London and Westminster, and late Lines of Communication; and this Day Month, for the whole Nation.
Resolved, &c. That the Lords Concurrence be desired herein; and that Mr. Herbert be sent up with this Message to the Lords.

From: British History Online
Source: House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 26 April 1660. Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8, (1802).
Date: 05/03/2005

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"All the afternoon I was writing of letters, among the rest one...I keep a copy of."

Until the 19th century, the papers of government officials and other "people of quality" would contain letters to and from correspondents (see the Letters on this site ).

This was the result of the habit of first making a draft, emending it as needed, then when it was satisfactory, making a "fair copy" to send.… The draft copy could be kept for the files.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The House of Commons registers its relief:…

Gen. Monck thanked.

Resolved, &c. That his Excellency the Lord General George Monck have the Recognition, Acknowledgment, and hearty Thanks, of this House, for his eminent and unparalleled Services done for these Nations.

Mr. Speaker did accordingly give the Thanks of this House unto his Excellency the Lord General Monck, standing in his Place, to the Effect following:

That he is commanded by this House to take Notice of his eminent Services; his Wisdom being such, and God having so blessed him in his great Affairs, that he hath made a Conquest of those who are Enemies and disaffected to the Government, Happiness, and Welfare of this Church and State, without a bloody Nose; that That hath much advanced the Honour of his Services, having been effected without the Expence of Blood or Treasure, of both which the Nation had been so much exhausted, that nothing but a Necessity could rationally have satisfied any Man to draw out more; that his Lordship hath been our Physician, and hath cured us with his Lenitives; that Statues have been heretofore set up for Persons meriting much of their Country; but his Lordship hath a Statue set up higher, and in another Place, as high as may be, in the Hearts of all Wellwishers to the Good of this Nation, and a Crown of Glory, he doubts not, laid up for him in Heaven; that God hath made him instrumental, by his helping Hand, to keep the Nation from sinking, when no Way was represented to our Understanding whence Deliverance should arise; so that God's raising him up, accompanying, blessing, and assisting, him in his Counsels, in such Sort as to accomplish his Work to that Height, cannot be otherwise owned by those that look upon him, and his Actions, than as a Miracle; and therefore, in the Name of the House, he returns to his Lordship the hearty Thanks of this House; adding, He is sure his Lordship would believe it, if he had not said so.

Dick Wilson  •  Link

An earlier annotation asked for clarification of codes, ciphers, and characters from annotators who had worked with codes. In my youth I was an Air Force codes officer, however, these days, the message encryption process is so highly automated that it bears no resemblance to the processes Pepys used. A very few pen and paper ciphers remain, and they are so very weak that they are changed daily, and are used only to protect information that needs security for a brief period of time. For instance, you might want to tell someone that an aircraft has taken off, while concealing that fact from hostile eavesdroppers long enough for the plane to land.
In Pepys’s day they used nomenclators that were part code, part cipher. A box with a dot in it might mean “The Pope”. Two boxes one atop the other with a dot in the top might mean “The King” and a dot in the bottom might mean “The Duke of York”, and dots in both boxes “the King and Duke of York”. Special meanings were assigned to Greek letters, and all of these had to have a spelling table to encipher words and phrases for which no symbols were provided. You can see how Pepys would have trouble alphabetizing the list of entries. Does Theta come after T? Where do you put this symbol that looks like a backwards R? If they were reasonably short – one or two pages – you could use the same “character” for both enciphering and deciphering messages. If they were long, you needed a two-part character, one part with the symbols in order, and the second with the meanings in order. Again there were problems with alphabetizing the list. Suppose one entry was for the phrase “His Most Christian Majesty King Louis of France”, would you put the entry under H for “His”, L for “Louis” or F for “France”?

These characters were hard to use, slow and cumbersome both to send, and to receive. A trusted messenger with unenciphered text was often faster, and just as secure.
They avoided transposition ciphers, in which the order of letters or words were scrambled, largely because almost any error would render the message gibberish from the point of the error to the end, and errors are very hard to avoid. Steganography, which has seen a modern resurgence in use, was used in the 17th Century, but often as a one-time message. For example, if someone received a gift of two oranges, it might mean “burn your papers and get out of town, quick!” If the authorities intercepted the message, it would just be a snack.
I recommend David Khan’s books if anyone is seriously interested in the subject.

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Sorry, spelling error. Make that David "Kahn".

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"All the afternoon I was writing of letters, among the rest one to W. Simons, Peter Luellin and Tom Doling, which because it is somewhat merry I keep a copy of."

Pepys would usually have a clerk make a copy or make one in shorthand like the clerk he still was. The need for copies at that time produced jobs!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Dr. Reynolds preached before the Commons before they sat."

L&M identify the preacher as the moderate Presbyterian, Dr Edward Reynolds, and the service held in St Margaret's. The sermon was printed as The author and subject of healing in the church set forth in a sermon preached before the Right Honorable the Parliament of England at St. Margarets Church in Westminster, on Wednesday, April 25, 1660, being the day of their assembly / by Dr. Edward Reynolds ...
Reynolds, Edward, 1599-1676.
London: Printed by Tho. Newcomb for George Thomason ..., 1660.
Early English Books Online [full text]…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Commons Journal yesterday

Parliament meet.

THE Parliament being summoned to meet at Westminster this present Day; the Members of the House of Commons repaired, about Ten of the Clock in the Forenoon, to Margarett's, Westminster, to hear a Sermon which was preached by Dr. Reignolds: And that being ended, they repaired to the Parliament House, went in, and sat in their Places; Edward Birkenhead Esquire, formerly Serjeant at Arms, attending at his Place within the Door of the House.

Sir H. Grimston chosen Speaker.

Whereupon Wm. Peirepont Esquire rose up, and put the House in Mind, that their first Work was to choose their Speaker; and that there was a worthy Person of the Long Robe in his Eye, whom he conceived well experienced, and every way qualified for that Trust; and by the Leave of the House proposed Sir Harbottle Grimston Baronet, who was fully approved of by a general Call of him to the Chair.

He standing up in his Place, offered his Excuse in Respect of the Weakness and Indisposition of his Body and Mind; and there being many others amongst them of the Long Robe, more fit and worthy than himself, he desired the House to pitch upon one of them, to serve them as their Speaker.

But being generally called on by the House; he was by the Lord General Monck, Mr. Holles, and Mr. Peirepont, conducted to and placed in the Chair, the usual Place of the Speaker; where being set, the Mace was called for, and brought in by the Serjeant, and placed on the Table.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I hear, that about twelve of the Lords met and had chosen my Lord of Manchester Speaker of the House of Lords (the young Lords that never sat yet, do forbear to sit for the present); and Sir Harbottle Grimstone, Speaker for the House of Commons. The House of Lords sent to have a conference with the House of Commons, which, after a little debate, was granted."

L&M: CJ, viii. 1.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

At some point in April, 1660, Elizabeth Bourchier Cromwell (AKA Protectoress Joan) left London. She was soon accused of stealing jewels and other possessions belonging to the crown, charges she vigorously denied. Her whereabouts during this time was not known; rumor had it she was in Switzerland, however, her letter to Charles II denying the thefts appeared to have been written from Wales. She denied having taken part in Oliver’s regime and promised her obedience as Charles’ subject.

Apparently Charles believed her, even when some hidden Royal artwork was found which had been taken when she left.

Elizabeth Bourchier Cromwell was later allowed to take up residence with her widowed son-in-law John Claypole at Northborough Manor, Northamptonshire, where she lived quietly until she (supposedly) died in November, 1665.

But even that is a mystery. Mark Nobel, 18th century antiquarian writer and author of the much criticised "Memoires of the Protectoral House of Cromwell" suggests the date in the parish registers might have been a ruse to draw attention away from Elizabeth, who was still worried about possible attacks of revenge.
John Heneage Jesse, writing 60 years later in "The Memoirs of the Court of England, from the Revolution in 1688 to the death of George II" adds credence to this by stating that Elizabeth Cromwell died on October 8, 1672.


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"All the afternoon I was writing of letters, among the rest one to W. Simons, Peter Luellin and Tom Doling, which because it is somewhat merry I keep a copy of."

These are all friends of Pepys, and my guess is that it was a slow day, so he was sending them his impressions of life aboard, and the funny things that had happened so far.

It sounds like Pepys sent these 3 friends one letter to share. Back when I used to write personal letters by hand, I frequently made a draft complete with arrows, insertions and changes, which I then copied fairly faithfully. Another way of doing this is to write a list of topics, but it's harder to write humerously from a list. "Merry" takes work.

MartinVT  •  Link

"Massy timbers" — Massy is a nice word, rarely used today, supplanted by massive. Seems to have peaked in the early 1800s.

No mention of any of the boss's wine being sampled during that storeroom visit, so probably not. Maybe some of it came up with them to supper. In any case, this is another example of the kind of access that Sam is reveling in, every day.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Thanks for the explanation about massy timbers. I was worried Pepys meant mossy timbers, and was about to call out the coast guard.

On your thought about Pepys taking a tippler while he was checking out the wine "cellar": In the Navy, where no one has much privacy or room for personal belongings, the idea of theft or making trouble of any sort is always met with great severity, even today. Your Honor has to mean something when living in cramped quarters like this.
So no, Pepys would have kept his acquisitiveness to himself -- and waited until he got back to his quarters and asked the purser for whatever he wanted. I'm sure he and Montagu and the officers had as much booze as they desired.
It was the unlucky fellows below in the hammocks who had rations of whatever passed for grog at this time? Small beer maybe? Grog per se didn't arrive until 1740, and the Royal Navy has never been entirely sober to my knowledge. But no one stole it, on pain of the cat-o'nine-tails or keel-hauling or something equally unpleasant.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

To be really clear, I should have said "Your PERSONAL Honor has to mean something when living in cramped quarters like this."

His Honor, Lord Montagu is a whole other subject.

Buffalo Gal  •  Link

Re copies - I spent my working life in the Hudson's Bay Company Archives and so became familiar with 'letterpress copies' - but they came along in the 19th century - interesting the different ways of avoiding the tedious business of making copies simply by writing the document again…

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