Thursday 13 September 1660

Old East comes to me in the morning with letters, and I did give him a bottle of Northdown ale, which made the poor man almost drunk.

In the afternoon my wife went to the burial of a child of my cozen Scott’s, and it is observable that within this month my Aunt Wight was brought to bed of two girls, my cozen Stradwick of a girl and a boy, and my cozen Scott of a boy, and all died.

In the afternoon to Westminster, where Mr. Dalton was ready with his money to pay me for my house, but our writings not being drawn it could not be done to-day. I met with Mr. Hawly, who was removing his things from Mr. Bowyer’s, where he has lodged a great while, and I took him and W. Bowyer to the Swan and drank, and Mr. Hawly did give me a little black rattoon,1 painted and gilt.

Home by water.

This day the Duke of Gloucester died of the small-pox, by the great negligence of the doctors.

26 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Brewster  •  Link

This day the Duke of Glocester dyed of the small-pox -- by the great negligence of the Doctors.
per L&M: "They had forecast recovery and had prescribed nothing."

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Duke of Gloucester died
per Wheatley: "Elegies on the Duke of Gloucester's death were printed. One of these was entitled, 'Some Teares dropt on the Herse of the incomparable Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester'."

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"...two girls...a girl and a boy...a girl"I wonder if they were delivered by the same midwife!

Paul Brewster  •  Link

I in the afternoon to Westminster,
L&M: Insert the "I".

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Aunt Wight was brought to bed of two girls, my cozen Stradwick of a girl and a boy
I assume this means that both Aunt Wight and Cozen Stradwick gave birth to twins? It's interesting that SP doesn't seem to comment on what I would think is a higher than expected instance of twins but does comment on the fact that all of them died. I would have thought that the infant mortality rate was not all that exceptional for the time.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Zero survivable births in a short time span for five children (including, remarkably, two sets of twins,if Samuel is to be taken literally) spread among three mothers all related in some way to Samuel, was certainly "observable," and makes me wonder to what extent scientifically minded medical personnel of the times were seeking reasons for still-born/early infancy deaths, and to what extent Samuel may have been aware of any such speculation.

Jackie  •  Link

It seems from medical pratices at the time, that the poorer a family and helce the less chance that they were able to afford a doctor the better the chances of survival in situations such as childbirth. The future death of Charles II was in effect due to being tortured to death by his doctors, following a minor fever. Each, increasingly appalling, medical pactice was applauded by the doctors of the day.

The survival rate of chldren at the Royal Court was appalling. Several children were poisoned by doctors' insistence that there was "nothing more poisonous" for a child's wellbeing than a mother's milk.

I suspect that, given the main treatment of the day for anything was bleeding, that Prince Henry's survival chances would not have been improved by the doctors working hard.

helena murphy  •  Link

We might also bear in mind Samuel's controlled sense of loss at the deaths of these children. In spite of the high infant and child mortality rates, children were no less cherished then than they are now. This is especially attested to in their portrayal in portraiture , and in 17th century Dutch painting.Letters, memoirs, and autobiographies of the period bear witness as well to this. Milton and Ben Jonson both wrote elegiac verse on the deaths of children.

martha wishart  •  Link

I wonder if infant mortality was even more common with twins that with single births, given the more difficult delivery, as well as the increased risk of prematurity?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Martha Wishart you are right in regard to twin births and increased neonatal mortality,because it is a more difficult delivery and Julius Cesar and
Duncan(from Macbeth)notwithstanding C-Sections were not routinelly done at the time;but the infant mortality was very high at the time because of infectious diseases;

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

For those interested in the history of child care, I highly recommend Christina Hardyment's book 'Dream Babies', which goes into some detail about childbirth practices and the care and feeding of babies and children at this time. I believe it is out of print now, but it should be available through library loans.

Glyn  •  Link

Poor Aunt Wight. She's just lost two newborn babies and last June her only child died:

28 June "and would have gone to my Aunt Wight, but that her only child, a daughter, died last night."

vincent  •  Link

"twins" and J Evelyn on 13 sept 1660 did "I saw in Southwark at St Margarites faire, a monstrous birth of Twinnes, both femals & most perfectly shaped, save that they were joyn'd breast to breast, & incorporated at the navil, having their armes throwne about each other thus:{ a picture ,a sketch } It was reported quick in May last, & producd neere Turne-style Holburn: well extent(e)rated & preserved till now: 'We saw also a poore Woman, that had a living Child of one yeare old, who had its head, neck, with part of a Thigh growing out about Spina dorsi: The head had the Place of Eyes & nose, but none perfected. The Head monstrous, rather resembling a greate Wenn; & hanging on the buttocks, at the side where-off, & not in due place, were(as I remembered) the excretements it avoided,....". Survival ? Faires were very popular places for the strangest Human tragedies o f LIFE..

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"I did give him a bottle of Northdown ale"

Since the Iate Rebellion, England hath abounded in variety of Drinks (as it did lately in variety of Religions) above any Nation in Europe. Besides all sorts of the best wines from Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Grecia, there are sold in London above twenty sorts of other Drinks, as Brandy, Coffee, Chocolate, Tee, Aromatick, Mum, Sider, Perry, Mede, Meheglin, Beer, Ale, many sorts of Ales, very different, as Cock, Stepony, Stich-back, Hull, North-Down, Sambidge, Betony, Scurvy-grass, Sage-Ale, Colledge-Ale, &c. a piece of wantonness whereof none of our Ancestors were ever guilty.
---Angliae Notitia: Or The Present State Of England. E. Chamberlayne, 1684.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Today in Lords the Commons came and The King present.…

The King's Most Excellent Majesty, sitting in His Chair of Estate, commanded the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod to give Notice to the House of Commons, that they speedily attend His Majesty; who being come up with their Speaker, he, after a short Speech, presented His Majesty from the Commons with these Three Bills; videlicet,
Bills brought up by the Speaker of H. C.

"An Act for the speedy raising of Seventy Thousand Pounds, for the present Supply of His Majesty."

"An Act for raising Seven Score Thousand Pounds, for the compleat Disbanding of the whole Army, and paying Part of the Navy."

"An Act for supplying and explaining certain Defects in an Act for the speedy Provision of Money, for the Disbanding of the Army, &c."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Bills passed.…

Then His Majesty gave Command for the passing of these Bills following; the Clerk of the Crown reading the Titles, and the Clerk of the Parliaments pronouncing the Royal Assent; videlicet,

"1. An Act for encouraging and increasing of Shipping and Navigation."

"2. An Act to prevent Fraud and Concealments of His Majesty's Customs."

"3. An Act for the speedy disbanding the Army and Garrisons of this Kingdom."

"4. An Act for enabling the Soldiers of the Army, now to be disbanded, to exercise Trades."

"5. An Act for the confirming and restoring of Ministers."

To these Public Bills the Royal Assent was pronounced in these Words:

"Le Roy le veult."

"6. An Act for the speedy raising of Seventy Thousand Pounds, for the present Supply of His Majesty."

"7. An Act for the raising of Seven Score Thousand Pounds, for the compleat Disbanding of the whole Army, and paying Part of the Navy."

"8. An Act for supplying and explaining certain Defects in an Act, intituled, An Act for the speedy Provision of Money, for disbanding and paying of the Forces of this Kingdom both by Land and Sea."

To these Bills the Royal Assent was pronounced in these Words:

"Le Roy, remerciant Ses bons Subjects, accepte leur Benevolence, et ainsi le veult."

[ And 13 private bills] To all which Private Bills the Royal Assent was pronounced in these Words;

"Soit faict come il est desiré."

Terry Foreman  •  Link


Resolved, That this House doth adjourn itself to the Sixth of November next.
The House adjourned itself till the Sixth of November next, Eight of the Clock.



Dominus Cancellarius declaravit præsens Parliamentum adjournandum esse usque in diem Martis (videlicet) sextum diem Novembris, jam proxime futuri, Dominis sic decernentibus.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Thank-you Terry - just to let you know that your efforts are appreciated! :)

And also Bill, for that fascinating snippet about the dipsomaniac English! :D

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

‘Northdown, n.1 Etym: < the name of Northdown, now a district of Margate, Kent, where the ale was first brewed.
Ale of a style originally brewed in Northdown, Margate. Freq. attrib.
1670 T. Culpeper Necessity abating Usury 12 Accustomed to swill in Spirits, Brandy, Sack, Metheglin, Northdown, and Mum.
. . 1723 J. Lewis Hist. & Antiq. Isle of Tenet 94 About 40 years ago..a particular sort of Ale..from its being first brewed at a place called North-down in this Parish went by the name of North-down Ale, and afterwards was called Mergate Ale.
1987 Financial Times 16 May (Weekend) p. xvii, Invited to Samuel Pepys' house to celebrate New Year's Day, you would have sat down to a buffet of oysters, a dish of neats' tongues, a dish of anchovies, wines of all sorts and Northdown ale.’ [OED]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


23 September, 1660. In the midst of all this joy and jubilee, the Duke of Gloucester died of the smallpox, in the prime of youth, and a prince of extraordinary hopes.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Evelyn's notation about the Duke of Gloucester is 10 days late. I wonder how he got it that wrong.


And I don't see Vincent's post from Evelyn's Diary in my copy. I bet he's got the wrong date as well.

13 September, 1660.

I saw in Southwark, at St. Margaret's fair, monkeys and apes dance, and do other feats of activity on the high rope; they were gallantly clad “a la monde”, went upright, saluted the company, bowing and pulling off their hats; they saluted one another with as good a grace as if instructed by a dancing master; they turned heels over head with a basket having eggs in it, without breaking any; also, with lighted candles in their hands, and on their heads, without extinguishing them, and with vessels of water without spilling a drop.

I also saw an Italian wench dance, and perform all the tricks on the high rope to admiration; all the Court went to see her.

Likewise, here was a man who took up a piece of iron cannon of about 400 lb. weight with the hair of his head only.


Southwark Fair, Hogarth’s painting of the event 75 years later:……


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


Third Reading

MartinVT  •  Link

Regarding the deaths of the babies, Sam may be a little circumspect about them (not noting any particular emotions) because he and his wife have thus far in five years of marriage been unable to conceive a child themselves, and may well be wondering whether they ever will. Certainly this comes to their mind in connection with any news, good or bad, about children of friends or relatives.

Neil Wallace  •  Link

John Evelyn diary from a couple of years earlier on the death of his infant son Richard :
27th January, 1657-58. After six fits of a quartan ague, with which it pleased God to visit him, died my dear son, Richard, to our inexpressible grief and affliction, five years and three days old only, but at that tender age a prodigy for wit and understanding; for beauty of body, a very angel; for endowment of mind, of incredible and rare hopes. To give only a little taste of them ... at two years and a half old, he could perfectly read any of the English, Latin, French, or Gothic letters, pronouncing the first three languages exactly. He had, before the fifth year ... not only skill to read most written hands, but to decline all the nouns, conjugate the verbs regular, and most of the irregular ...
Thou gavest him to us, thou hast taken him from us, blessed be the name of the Lord! That I had anything acceptable to thee was from thy grace alone, seeing from me he had nothing but sin, but that thou hast pardoned! blessed be my God for ever, Amen.

In my opinion, he was suffocated by the women and maids that attended him, and covered him too hot with blankets as he lay in a cradle, near an excessive hot fire in a close room. I suffered him to be opened, when they found that he was what is vulgarly called liver-grown. I caused his body to be coffined in lead, and deposited on the 30th at eight o'clock that night in the church at Deptford, accompanied with divers of my relations and neighbors, among whom I distributed rings…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The death of the Duke of Gloucester:

This event took place September 13, 1660. He died of the smallpox. [Pepys says, "by the great negligence of his doctors."]
"Though mankind," as Mr. Macpherson observes, "are apt to exaggerate the virtues of princes who happen to die in early youth, their praises seem to have done no more than justice to the character of Gloucester. He joined in himself the best qualities of both his brothers; the understanding and good nature of Charles, Prince of Wales to the industry and application of James, Duke of York. The facility of the first was in him, a judicious moderation.
"The obstinacy of the latter was, in Gloucester, a manly firmness of mind. Attached to the religion, and a friend to the constitution of his country, he was most regretted, when his family regarded these the least. The vulgar, who crowd with eminent virtues and great actions the years which fate denies to their favorites, foresaw future misfortunes in his death; and even the judicious supposed that the measures of Charles might have derived solidity from his judgment and promising parts. The king lamented his death with all the vehemence of an affectionate sorrow."

James, Duke of York was much affected by the loss of a brother, whose high merit he much admired. "He was a prince," says James, "of the greatest hopes, undaunted courage, admirable parts, and a clear understanding.”

He had a particular talent of languages. Besides the Latin, he was master of the French, the Spanish, the Italian, and Low Dutch. He was, in short, possessed of all the natural qualities, as well as acquired accomplishments, necessary to make a great prince.
-- Macpherson's History of Great Britain, ch. 1.

Sir Alexander Frazier, one of Charles II's physicians from his days in exile, had a poor reputation as a healer since he let Prince Henry of Gloucester die in 1660, but, possibly doing better as a pox doctor, by 1664 he confidently ran his own department at court.

L&M: Sir Alexander Frazier MD FRS (1610 - 1681) kt 1667, bt. 1673. Physician-in-ordinary to Charles II in exile and after; royalist agent during the Interregnum. F.R.C.P. 1641; F.R.S. 1663. According to Clarendon, 'good at his business otherwise the maddest fool alive.'

And where's his brother James and sister Mary? On opposite sides of the Channel, planning a family reunion. How very sad.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Just suppose for a minute that Gloucester had lived -- Monmouth would never have been spoiled by Charles II, and so many resulting shenanigans would not have happened. No William III and Mary II, Anne and Hanovarians. Sigh.

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