Wednesday 16 May 1660

Soon as I was up I went down to be trimmed below in the great cabin, but then come in some with visits, among the rest one from Admiral Opdam, who spoke Latin well, but not French nor English, to whom my Lord made me to give his answer and to entertain; he brought my Lord a tierce of wine and a barrel of butter, as a present from the Admiral.

After that to finish my trimming, and while I was doing of it in comes Mr. North very sea-sick from shore, and to bed he goes. After that to dinner, where Commissioner Pett was come to take care to get all things ready for the King on board.

My Lord in his best suit, this the first day, in expectation to wait upon the King. But Mr. Edw. Pickering coming from the King brought word that the King would not put my Lord to the trouble of coming to him; but that he would come to the shore to look upon the fleet to-day, which we expected, and had our guns ready to fire, and our scarlet waistcloathes out and silk pendants, but he did not come.

My Lord and we at ninepins this afternoon upon the Quarterdeck, which was very pretty sport.

This evening came Mr. John Pickering on board, like an ass, with his feathers and new suit that he had made at the Hague. My Lord very angry for his staying on shore, bidding me a little before to send to him, telling me that he was afraid that for his father’s sake he might have some mischief done him, unless he used the General’s name.

To supper, and after supper to cards. I stood by and looked on till 11 at night and so to bed.

This afternoon Mr. Edwd. Pickering told me in what a sad, poor condition for clothes and money the King was, and all his attendants, when he came to him first from my Lord, their clothes not being worth forty shillings the best of them.1 And how overjoyed the King was when Sir J. Greenville brought him some money; so joyful, that he called the Princess Royal and Duke of York to look upon it as it lay in the portmanteau before it was taken out.

My Lord told me, too, that the Duke of York is made High Admiral of England.

29 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"one from Admiral Opdam,who spoke latin well"
Interesting to know that people that were apparently not from the Clergy and probably protestant woul speak latin in the middle of the 17th century! Did Sam know latin?

language hat  •  Link

"Did Sam know latin?" Sure; anybody with even a grammar-school education in those days knew Latin. In fact, that's what the "grammar" in grammar school was. The Companion volume to L&M says "At St. Paul's the teaching of Latin was, as in all grammar schools of the period, the basis of the curriculum... Pepys's Latin was convenient as a vehicle for communication with Admiral Opdam and other foreigners whose native tongue he did not know; it was also the medium for some of the reading he most relished... Pepys also took an evident pleasure in teaching Latin, and commented tartly on those who attempted more in that language than they could adequately accomplish. He could be equally critical of 'False Greek' in a sermon."
In that day, Latin was still the indispensible international language, as English is now.

maureen  •  Link

Hell! I needed Latin to get into a UK university in 1960.

Ed Brickell  •  Link

"a tierce of wine ..."

From Webster's: "1. A cask whose content is one third of a pipe; that is, forty-two wine gallons; also, a liquid measure of forty-two wine, or thirty-five imperial, gallons."

Also fun to imagine everyone, after being snubbed by the King, playing skittles in their Sunday best on board ship ...

mary house  •  Link

But how well did Montagu know and speak Latin? He did after all seem to employ Pepys as translator in speaking to Admiral Opdam.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

My Lord very angry for his staying on shore ...

The sentence is certainly jam packed with he's and him's. From what I get from the L&M footnote I think the sentence should be parsed as follows:

"My Lord very angry for his [John Pickering's (JP)]staying on shore, bidding me a little before to send to him [JP], telling me that he [Montagu] was afraid that for his father

Paul Brewster  •  Link

... but he did not come.
L&M excuses the King's non-appearance with the footnote: "His day was over-busy with audiences and visits: Lower, Relation (1660), pp.34-37"

sounds quite like the visit of a modern corporate CEO ... the staff wasting a day to fix the place up and all for nought ... too busy to visit the staff.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Admiral Opdam
L&M Footnotes Admiral Opdam as "Montagu's opponent in the Baltic, 1659"

Seems a friendly meeting for old enemies ...

Michiel van der Leeuw  •  Link

Admiral Opdam
Officially named Jacob van Wassenaer, heer van (lord of) Obdam, he was a member of what is considered the oldest noble family of Holland. He was really an exception among the Dutch admirals, as -opposed to army officers- most of them started their naval careers as mere sailors.
As I read it, the admiral was not on board himself, but someone on his behalf.

David A. Smith  •  Link

Sam is growing into both his roles: as diarist and as Montagu's advisor. He no longer hesitates to voice his private opinions ("like an ass, with his feathers and new suit"), nor to hear or convey Montagu's ("My Lord very angry for his staying on shore"). It is a measure of confidence when the superior shows naked feelings to his subordinate, and I think Sam is aware that in peeping into Montagu's true feelings he is being honored with trust. I expect Sam, sensible of these honors being done him, to repay that trust many-fold in future.

gerry  •  Link

Maureen I well remember the requirement for a Latin or Greek O level for the Uni. of my choice in the same year. My school insisted on 1 year of Greek and 2 of Latin or vv. Is anything like that still required?

gerry  •  Link

Regarding the barrels of butter or oysters that are mentioned, how big were they? I'm thinking barrels of oil but surely they were not that big.

Grahamt  •  Link

Latin in UK Universities:
By 1968, Latin was no longer a requirement for university entrance in which Latin wasn't an integral part of the degree. (Outside of Oxbridge, anyway)
My daughter studies French and English literature at a London college and didn't need Latin to enter. However, she found that the French students she worked with when she spent a year at a French university had all studied Latin at school, and were very surprised that she hadn't.

j a gioia  •  Link


when james joyce lived in trieste, ca. 1910, latin was still the common conversant tongue of the various artists and intellectuals gathered in the cafes there, or so ellmann reports in his biography of j.j.

the practice was apparently another european modality that didn't survive the great war.

vincent  •  Link

besides Amo amas I loved a lass I did remember caveat emptor Oh well!

Jackie  •  Link

It's also an interesting reflection on how much people are aware as to just how desperate the King's situation was - flat broke and until a few weeks ago no sign of a way back.

Now there's a ship full of the Great and the Good ready to welcome him - all kitting themselves out in their best outfits while the King's appearance until recently was distinctly threadbare.

Revelations to emerge in the next few weeks (but I don't know if or how the diaries will cover it) relating to the Duke of York will show just how unlikely he'd thought a Stuart restoration to be!

fimm  •  Link

When I went to Oxford in 1990 you didn't need Latin - and I don't think that had been a particularly recent change. I didn't learn Latin at school (although it was, in fact, offered as an option, but hardly anyone took it!) My father did learn Latin in school (in the 1950s) - his father taught it!

tamara  •  Link

I started Latin when I was twelve, in 1965 (at the school I was at then you could choose either Latin or German as your second language after French). My father insisted I do Latin in case I wanted to take Oxford entrance down the road. As it turned out, the year I applied to Oxford (1971) I believe was the very last that Latin was a requirement. It was also the last year that the Oxford colleges were completely sex-segregated. Luckily, I didn't get in!

Nigel Pond  •  Link

Re: Latin

I went up to Oxford (Wadham College) in 1979 and Latin as an entry requirement was long gone. I was a Classicist however so Latin was a large part of the Oxford Entrance Exam that I took. I actually read Law and Latin came in very useful as the Law degree (or rather Law Moderations, the First Public Examination) had a compulsory paper in Roman Law. I also took an optional paper in Roman Law in Finals. However the Institutes of Justinian did not move me as much as some of the other Latin texts I had read...

Linda Camidge  •  Link

Just staying with the Latin O level theme - I also applied for university in 1971, and I'm pretty sure Latin was required at most of the more prestigious older universties such as Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds. The new universities such as York and Sussex didn't require it and neither did Wales, which is how I ended up....

I was badly advised, as I was told when choosing options that Latin was no longer necessary. Not that I'm bitter, or anything, nearly 40 years on.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Latin was an option at the public (compulsory and tax-funded) high school I attended 1956-60 in San Marino, California (just south of Caltech), as it was in Hamden, Connecticut (just north of New Have, where Yale University is) where my wife-to-be attended 1957-61. We each took 4 years. This was uncommon in the US at the time; we were fortunate.

Knowing Latin had no bearing on college admission by that time, but was an asset when I "read" philosophy, theology and history for an AB at Stanford; for her BFA in graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design, not so much.

Bill  •  Link

The once and future opponent. Opdam will once again meet "my Lord" at the battle of Lowestoft in June 1665.

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Let us hope that King Charles makes a better entrance than poor Mr. North. One can picture Montague saying "Go below Sam, See that the Royal cabin is tidy, the Royal Bunk made fresh, and the Royal bucket near at hand. Then do the same for the Duke of York's cabin."

John Matthew IV  •  Link

Three years late but please no spoilers Bill.

I am reading this diary day-by-day so I'll have most likely long forgotten this note about Opdam but please let's not include future history here.

Bill  •  Link

Quite right John, this was early days here for me, I mostly do better now. But links into the encyclopedia, which shouldn't be avoided, will give similar spoilers.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"After that to dinner, where Commissioner Pett was come to take care to get all things ready for the King on board."

L&M: Peter Pett had been Commissioner of the /navy at Chatham since 1648, The Council had on 5 May orderwed him to join the fleet for this porpoise: CSPD 1659-60, pp. 431-2.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"This evening came Mr. John Pickering on board, like an ass, with his feathers and new suit that he had made at the Hague. My Lord very angry for his staying on shore, bidding me a little before to send to him, telling me that he was afraid that for his father’s sake he might have some mischief done him, unless he used the General’s name."

L&M: Sir Gilbert Pickering, his father, was an unpopular republican, and brother-in-law of the General (Mountagu).

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"My Lord told me, too, that the Duke of York is made High Admiral of England."

L&M: His patent of appointment was not issued until 29 January 1661.

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