Monday 11 February 1660/61

At the office all the morning. Dined at home, and then to the Exchange, and took Mr. Warren with me to Mr. Kennard, the master joiner, at Whitehall, who was at a tavern, and there he and I to him, and agreed about getting some of my Lord’s deals on board to-morrow.

Then with young Mr. Reeve home to his house, who did there show me many pretty pleasures in perspectives,1 that I have not seen before, and I did buy a little glass of him cost me 5s. And so to Mr. Crew’s, and with Mr. Moore to see how my father and mother did, and so with him to Mr. Adam Chard’s (the first time I ever was at his house since he was married) to drink, then we parted, and I home to my study, and set some papers and money in order, and so to bed.

23 Annotations

First Reading

Emilio  •  Link

"with young Mr. Reeve home"

L&M identify this young man as "John, son of Richard Reeves, optical instrument maker, Long Acre".

Emilio  •  Link

"to the Exchange"

In L&M Sam goes to the Exchange rather than the Exchequer, which is a shorter trip and a much more likely place for him to meet Warren the timber merchant. For a little more info on the Royal Exchange, go here:…

Bradford  •  Link

"agreed about getting some of my Lord's deals on board to-morrow.”

“Deals” not in the sense of “business arrangements” (which doesn’t quite fit the sense here anyway), but “sawn timber for decks etc.”—-“Shorter Pepys” glossary.

Susan  •  Link

"Deal" was used as a term for cheap timber until recently. Presumably Pepys was arranging (in his capacity as general family helper) to have cut timber sent by sea round from the Thames to a port in Essex, or possibly up the River Ouse, towards Hinchinbrooke?? Was there no supply of timber on the estate? Or had it been overcropped for shipbulding??

vincent  •  Link

Around the Ouse from Lyne to Huntington, I would believe there would be very little timber wood. It being Fen country,[ although the Dutch did drain the areas ( unfortunate for the stilt men) to turn marshes[fens] into great vegetable farming land which came latter] exception being small copses[woods] on the 'pimples' fighting with the locals for dry land.

Nix  •  Link

"Perspective" -- from OED:

"2. An optical instrument for looking through or viewing objects with; a spy-glass, magnifying-glass, telescope, etc. Also fig., esp. in such phrases as to look through the wrong end of the perspective = to look upon something as smaller or of less consequence than it is. Obs.

"In early use applied to various optical devices, as arrangements of mirrors etc. for producing some special or fantastic effect, e.g. by distortion of images. (Cf. also 4b.)

"[In the Chaucer quotation, the word in all the ancient MSS. has the prefix contracted, the Hengwrt, Corpus, and Lansdowne having (according to the Six-text ed.) the contraction p for per, the Ellesmere, Cambridge, Petworth, and Harleian 7334, having that for pro-, which is also the form in the 16th c. printed edd. Notwithstanding this preponderance of MS. testimony, there can be little doubt that the correct reading is perspective, as shown by the history of the two words; prospective, as a genuine word, having arisen only c1590.]

"c1386 CHAUCER Sqr.'s T. 226 (Hengwrt MS.) They speke of Alocen and Vitulon Of Aristotle at writen in hir lyues Of queynte Mirours and of perspectyues. a1529 SKELTON Wks. (1843) I. 25 Encleryd myrroure and perspectyue most bryght. c1532 G. DU WES Introd. Fr. in Palsgr. 1045 The perspectif or glasse in the whiche the kindes [printed kindnes] and symilitudes of thynges ben shewed. 1601 SHAKES. All's Well V. iii. 48 Contempt his scornefull Perspectiue did lend me, Which warpt the line of euerie other fauour. 1634 SIR T. HERBERT Trav. Ded. Aijb, Like an ill-sighted man, who sees with Spectacles or Perspectives. 1634-5 BRERETON Trav. (1844) 60 Wm. Daviseon offered to furnish me with a couple of these perspectives, which shew the new-found motion of the stars about Jupiter. 1646 BUCK Rich. III Ded., To looke at other mens actions and memory by the wrong end of the perspective. 1668 PEPYS Diary 13 July, To Reeves's; and there saw some [books], and bespoke a little perspective, and was mightily pleased with seeing objects in a dark room. 1692 DRYDEN St. Euremont's Ess. 280 By the means of Great Perspectives, which Invention becomes more perfect every Day, they discover new Planets. 1709 STEELE & ADDISON Tatler No. 103 13, I..refused him a Licence for a Perspective, but allowed him a Pair of Spectacles. 1716 CIBBER Love's Last Shift I. i, If we look thro' Reason's never-erring Perspective. 1748 Anson's Voy. II. vi. 195 By means of our perspectives..we saw an English flag hoisted. 1789 BURNS Let. to Mrs. Dunlop 4 Mar., As a snail pushes out his horns, or as we draw out a perspective."

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

Was all timber for ships home grown in those days? British oakwoods almost disappeared during the days of wooden ships, but for masts they uses "spars".
Holland fetched those from the countries around the Baltic; did the British do that as well?
Further to another discussion a few days ago: the Dutch also used a lingua franca on their travels in Scandinavia and Poland etc. There was a Dutch settlement in Danzig (Gdansk) and you can still see quite a few Dutch houses there.

Susan  •  Link

Organising supplies for the Navy and ensuring continuity and adequacy was one of Pepys' commendable obsessions. At Chatham, one can see the long troughs used to soak masts. Not sure if these are Pepsian or later. Getting good wood for masts seems to have been a problem for years. When Lt Cook surveyed the eastern coast of Australia in 1770, one of the places he noted was what became Norfolk Island. Cook thought the pines which grew there would make good masts (they didn't, they snapped) and that flax for sailcloth could be grown there, turning Norfolk Island into a southern supply station. The flax idea didn't work either, but one can appreciate how the practical Navy man's mind was working.I'm sure Pepys would have approved.

Jesse  •  Link

"pretty pleasures in perspectives"
Could be a kaleidoscope? Not too expensive and used "for producing some special or fantastic effect, e.g. by distortion of images"

john lauer  •  Link

Sam bought another perspective glass from him for 8s on 23 Mar last year; we discussed extensively whether that was a sailor's spyglass (not an astronomical telescope, which inverts), a hand magnifier, or even a handheld reducing lens. So these might be "various devices".

Harry  •  Link

"pretty pleasures in perspectives"

Kaleidoscope would have my vote.Even now I get simple “pretty pleasures” from playing with them, and so does my grandson.

Susanna  •  Link

It's probably a microscope, although Richard Reeves also made telescope lenses; later in 1661 (on Charles II's coronation day, actually), the famous astronomer Christian Huygens, on a visit to London, will observe the transit of Mercury with one of Reeves' telescopes, at Reeves' shop. But Reeves' microscopes were also famous; Christopher Wren in 1655 called them "the best of any microscopes to be had." There's more information on Reeves, Pepys, and the science of the day in "Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution", by Lisa Jardine.

It is exceptionally unlikely to have been a kaleidoscope, as it wasn't invented until 1816.

Nigel Pond  •  Link


Isn't/wasn't deal actually a species of wood rather than a generic term? Rick's Wood Species Search lists eight different deal species:


Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Nigel, it looks rather like there are deals available at Rick's made of any of eight different species of woods.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Was all timber for ships home grown in those days? "

Wim, You are quite right to note that "British oakwoods almost disappeared during the days of wooden ships...," and the issue of such deforestation is raised in the course of this Diary. As we will see, as an officer of the Navy Board, Pepys will contract for timber, esp. for masts, to be harvested on both sides of the North Atlantic, in Scandinavia and New England and Maritime Canada.

So, your question is resolved in the negative, as Susan's post (above) suggested.

Long Memory  •  Link

Re Pepys' use of the word 'perspective' for a glass lens, this is remembered in the trade name for acrylic 'glass' in Britain i.e. 'perspex' (marketed as 'plexiglass' or 'lucite', in the USA).

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:
‘deal, n.3 . . Introduced from Low German c1400
1. a. A slice sawn from a log of timber (now always of fir or pine), and usually understood to be more than seven inches wide, and not more than three thick; a plank or board of pine or fir-wood . . The word was introduced with the importation of sawn boards from some Low German district, and, as these consisted usually of fir or pine, the word was from the first associated with these kinds of wood.

. . 2. As a kind of timber: The wood of fir or pine, such as deals (in sense 1) are made from.
white deal, the produce of the Norway Spruce ( Abies excelsa); red deal, the produce of the Scotch Pine ( Pinus sylvestris); yellow deal, the produce of the Yellow Pine ( P. mitis), or kindred American species . . ‘

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

" 1. Telescope’ and ‘microscope’ are both as old as Milton, but for long while ‘perspective’ (glass being sometimes understood and sometimes expressed) did the work of these. It is sometimes written ‘prospective.’ Our present use of ‘perspective’ does not, I suppose, date farther back than Dryden. — Trench’s Select Glossary. — M. B."

And this is as close as Pepys gets to mentioning John Milton! What a missed opportunity. I'd love to hear Pepys' pithy comments on the old blind Parliamentarian who somehow escaped being a Regicide.

To my surprise I learned that many scholars believe Thomas Browne and Shakespeare’s “new word” contributions are much lower than Milton’s, although the history of language is tricky — it’s impossible to know if a writer created a new word from scratch or was simply the first to use an existing word in print.

Other writers who’ve made sizable contributions include Geoffrey Chaucer, John Donne, and Ben Jonson.

For more on how language evolves, and the 17th century contributions to our expansive language (which draws from over 350 other languages) see…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The deals:

"Thursday 31 January 1660/61
"This morning with Mr. Coventry at Whitehall about getting a ship to carry my Lord’s deals to Lynne, and we have chosen the Gift."

EITHER Sandwich planned to buy planks in France for whatever reason, and asked Pepys and Coventry to find a way to ship them from Deal to King's Lynne.

OR while sitting idle in Portsmouth for a month, Sandwich found a local supplier of New Forest lumber, and needed planks shipped from Portsmouth to King's Lynn

Pepys doesn't answer this question.

LKvM  •  Link

Re San Diego Sarah's "I'd love to hear Pepys' pithy comments on the old blind Parliamentarian [Milton] who somehow escaped being a Regicide," I agree that it's a shame that they didn't meet, but the fact that Milton was already in his 40s and blind by the time young Sam launched his diary in 1660 meant that Pepys wasn't likely to rub elbows with him while traipsing from tavern to tavern, and Sam also wasn't likely to bump into Milton at church, since Milton didn't believe in organized religion and possibly? used blindness as his reason to skip the compulsory attendance.

Mountain Man  •  Link

Let me add to SDS's comment of Jan. 19, that contemporary scholars, using sophisticated computer analysis, have concluded that Shakespeare's vocabulary and addition of "new" words were not, as claimed by many since the 19th century, astoundingly large, but, compared to his fellow writers, about average for the time. For example:…. It's just that he put an ordinary vocabulary to better use.

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