Saturday 23 March 1660/61

All the morning at home putting papers in order, dined at home, and then out to the Red Bull (where I had not been since plays come up again), but coming too soon I went out again and walked all up and down the Charterhouse yard and Aldersgate street. At last came back again and went in, where I was led by a seaman that knew me, but is here as a servant, up to the tireing-room, where strange the confusion and disorder that there is among them in fitting themselves, especially here, where the clothes are very poor, and the actors but common fellows. At last into the Pitt, where I think there was not above ten more than myself, and not one hundred in the whole house. And the play, which is called “All’s lost by Lust,” poorly done; and with so much disorder, among others, that in the musique-room the boy that was to sing a song, not singing it right, his master fell about his ears and beat him so, that it put the whole house in an uprore.

Thence homewards, and at the Mitre met my uncle Wight, and with him Lieut.-Col. Baron, who told us how Crofton, the great Presbyterian minister that had lately preached so highly against Bishops, is clapped up this day into the Tower. Which do please some, and displease others exceedingly.

Home and to bed.

57 Annotations

First Reading

dirk  •  Link

"Which do please some, and displease others exceedingly."

Diplomatic statement "par excellence". Even in his own private diary Sam is careful with his words. After all, who knows how this matter will turn out - better not to express any clear opinion pro or con as yet!

dirk  •  Link

"All's lost by Lust"

By William Rowley (1585?-1642?), playwright and actor. He collaborated with many other noted dramatists, including Dekker, Ford, Webster and Massinger. Of Rowley’s own plays, All’s Lost by Lust (1622) is considered to be his best.

See i.a.:…

Emilio  •  Link

L&M speculate that today's performance is by "a minor company, probably George Jolly's". The Encyclopaedia Brittanica calls him "the leader of the last troupe of English strolling players". Here's the URL for the article, but it requires a Brittanica membership to read most of it:…

Captain Caveman  •  Link

Why is that diplomatic? It sounds like a straight statement of fact to me.

The Bishop  •  Link

This performance at the Red Bull is rather mysterious. There are only two men licensed to produce plays in London - Killigrew and Davenant. If it's by a third company, it would either have to be a clandestine performance or something allowed by special permission. But Pepys doesn't suggest anything like that.

I suppose another option could be that one of the two licensed companies had to make use of the Bull for an emergency - most likely Davenant, since Salisbury Court isn't a great theater and he's going to relocate this summer.

Louis Anthony Scarsdale  •  Link

It turns out that "On 24 Dec. 1660, in spite of having already granted a monopoly to Davenant and Killgrew, Charles licensed [George] Jolly as well," who had toured Germany with a troupe during the Interregnum and performed for Charles there. "Jolly had not waited for the license," and over the next year and a half his company acted in various London theatres: "it was at the Cockpit Theatre late in 1661,* at the Red Bull in March 1661 when Pepys saw 'All's lost by lust' there, at Salbisbury Court in September (Pepys visited it on 9 September)." Something to look forward to, come fall.
---from the L&M "Companion," article on "Theatre," pp. 433-34.
*This seems to be an error for 1660.

Susan  •  Link

In the annotations made when the Red Bull was mentioned before (Aug 3rd, 1660 - when too much business meant SP was thwarted in his attempts to visit) - reference is made to a Michael Mohun having a compnay of players at the Red Bull in August 1660

daniel  •  Link

This certainly gives the impression that Restoration Theatre as such had not swung into full form yet.

William Crosby  •  Link

And a tireing room is what?

David Goldfarb  •  Link

"Tire" == "attire". A dressing room.

vincent  •  Link

Red Bull. One can can get a good image of this "third" rat[e] production? I guess no flower girls to keep him amused or hide behind. "...At last into the Pitt, where I think there was not above ten more than myself, and not one hundred in the whole house...."

re: legality: I'm sure the Chancellor did not know all the places of entertainment.

vincent  •  Link

note: not every body was entralled with CII and his ways. Lots of unemployment for the dismissed. Other areas of the Economy were booming, the trading desks full, new, never seen before goodies but then only 10,000 bodies earnt above 100 quid a year and a v. rough calculation, our Man received more than 500 Pounds last year putting him in the super annuated tax bracket[ unreported under the counter earnings]. Then a naval officer did only get 80L a year, provided that he stayed aboard that long..[extracted from Liza Picard book Restoration London].

Mary  •  Link

... a seaman that knew me...

Perhaps one of the many of who were only half paid-off, having to make an extra penny or two by acting as an usher in the theatre.

Mary  •  Link

The musique room.

L&M notes that this was probably a small gallery above the stage.

Matthew  •  Link

...seaman that knew me
I believe that at one time sailors were in demand for handling the stage machinery because of their skills in climbing and handling knots.

Rich Merne  •  Link

Susan,...August 4th. not 3rd. The Red Bull..."that degenerate stage, Where none of the unturn'd kennel can rehearse A line of serious sense." Anybody able to give the attribution of this nasty description of the Red Bull? 'Unturned kennel'...archaic description is 'an open sewer or ditch', which would just lie festering,..(unturn'd) or more likely the alternative meaning, 'hovel, ramshackle house, dog house, animal lair., which if unturned, ie. the straw, could be messy indeed.

Xjy  •  Link

"Which do please some, and displease others exceedingly."

Dirk: Diplomatic statement "par excellence". Even in his own private diary Sam is careful with his words. After all, who knows how this matter will turn out - better not to express any clear opinion pro or con as yet!
Capn Caveman thinks this is not diplomatic, just fact. But Sam is a politically attuned weathervane, and well aware that the victory of one of these conflicting parties (= social forces) might damage him . Personally he doesn’t give a toss about bishops or elders or mullahs or rabbis or medicine men, but they catalyse social forces in a way that could mean ruin for him if he ended up waving the wrong flag at the wrong time. He’s doubly aware of this since he’s personally dependent on Montagu, who rode a series of social forces (picked the right thermals to soar on) to his present exalted position.

Susan  •  Link

Sorry, but it is August 3rd!!

PHE  •  Link

I think Sam's statement is interesting. Is he non-commital because he is aware of the risks of others reading his views, or is it simply that he doesn't have a strong view. Given Sam is such an observant person and that he is at the heart of so many political events, it seems surprising that he rarely expresses a personal view - apart from when he started joining in on toasts to the King. You feel he must have a view, which would indicate he is wary of others eyes. However, this doesn't fit with his openess in other matters - such as his comments on people's character, and even recording that he was once a 'roundhead' who was pleased to observe the execution of Charles I. It is true however that in religious issues (as this one arguabley is), he does seem to be open-minded and reluctant to hold strong views.

J A Gioia  •  Link

strange the confusion and disorder that there is among them...

what follows is as fine a precis of the workings of a hack theater troupe, a long and glorious tradition, that i've encountered -- right down to the director coming on stage, aparently, to slap an incompetent singer. think 'noises off', 'the producers' and 'waiting for guffman'.

was the 'musique-room' an offstage box visible to the audience?

Rich Merne  •  Link

Susan, My humblest apologies, you are correct, I checked it out from my 'bible' at home. I am away from home and I brought my knock-about set with me which is the Everyman of the early 20th cent. Most oddly, this gives it as the 4th., an alarming innacuracy and somewhat embarrassing. I think I'll 'bin' it, though it was handy from time to time; useless though, if misleading.

JWB  •  Link

Whose opinion?
There were just three @ Mitre. Baron had just reported the news that had occurred that day. One or two of the three was exceedingly displeased. But then, the entry could have been made days later after sniffing the wind and the last sentence "Home and to bed" misleading.

Pauline  •  Link

"...clapped up this day into the Tower."
Clapped him in jail. Surprised to see this verb-age coming to us from so long ago; it sounds so modern and slangy.

Whose opinion? I think the report of some being pleased and some not is part of Baron's report--bringing not only the news but the street reactions to the news.

Brian McMullen  •  Link

The reference to Aldersgate Street, Charterhouse Yard, and the Red Bull had me off looking at the Rocque map to gauge our boy's strolling distance. At the start of Aldersgate Street there is a gate (Alders Gate?) from an old town wall. I referenced the 1642 map but see nothing to represent a wall but did find a wall on the 1666 map (after the fire). The wall enclosed most of the burnt area and stretched past Sam's house and down to Tower Hill.

From viewing the three maps our sojourn today has us north of St.Pauls in what has to be the outskirts of the town. Maybe that is why this is all appears 'common' to Sam.

1666 map reference:


Captain Caveman  •  Link

Sorry, but I don't buy this Machiavellian reading. Sam has made his preference for high church service clear in earlier entries - which would make it pointless to take an equivocal stance in later entries - and at this point the puritan cause is hopelessly lost.

The Bishop  •  Link

vincent notes: "I’m sure the Chancellor did not know all the places of entertainment."

The question is not whether the Chancellor would know, but whether Killigrew and Davenant would know. Their monopolies were their personal property, and a rival company would be (illegally) taking potential money out of their pockets. Killigrew certainly knew where the Red Bull was, because his company used it for about three days at the beginning of last November.

It's true that Charles II, in an oversight, gave a license to Jolly, but Killigrew and Davenant had his company suppressed and hired him as an acting teacher. And while Jolly pops up in Theatre history of this period, no historian seems to have claimed that there were actually three full-time companies.

The reason I call this 'mysterious' is that we don't know for certain that this is Jolly, and we don't know how often he's putting on plays (is this a rare one-off?), whether this performance was technically illegal, etc.

Keep in mind that Killigrew and Davenant have each obtained rights to perform certain plays. Killigrew has the rights to Shakespeare's most popular plays, which is why Davenant will resort to rewriting Shakespeare - he got stuck with the less popular ones. Even if Jolly has a company in the city, it's hard to tell if he has the rights to stage this particular play.

Emilio  •  Link

Mysterious plays

Judging from today's offering, it certainly doesn't look like Jolly (or whoever) has a regular performing company, or that Killigrew or Davenant have much to worry about by way of competition. I don't imagine it would be worth their trouble to crack down on such an irregular company, particularly if (as is quite possible) today's play was chosen because no one had exclusive rights to it.

Also, did K&D's patents only apply to London? If Jolly was a 'strolling player,' he may have moved around to perform in other towns as well. There was a long tradition of public theatre outside London during the Middle Ages (Mystery plays and such) - has that pretty much died out by this time?

helena murphy  •  Link

The most informative and invaluable intelligence is human intelligence or the spy on the ground, who would have haunted the theatres and alehouses of Restoration London. Sam has to be careful about what he expresses in his diary lest he compromise himself in some way or ,a comment be interpreted as treasonable by somebody else. Living in such close proximity to one's neighbours,separated by a mere door,one wonders who has copies of these door keys or perhaps even of a master key. At home he is attentive to his papers, merely fastidious one may say but maybe also checking to ensure that nobody else has seen them.

vincent  •  Link

Re: Theatre in the provinces, I'm sure the Cities of Norwich , Bristol, and towns like OxCam and other places, had a thriving Theatrical productions , not all the hams were in London. The bright fires[smoke too] always attracted new talent, very little has change the Dick Whittingham syndrom.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

a seaman that knew me that is here as a servant
The L&M substitution of "that" for "but" makes a minor change in the tone of the passage. Sounds like less of surprise that the seaman is working as a servant. More like it's just a change in job not a change in career. It may, in fact, echo the thought that sailors were a common feature of theatrical life.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

I don't think that Sam is worried about others reading his diary. He writes it in a form of shorthand that few can read, and he has previously written about things that could have gotten him in serious trouble.

He wrote a while back about a discussion with a fellow he knew back when he was attending the university. The fellow remarked about how Sam used to be such a Roundhead and shouted for the King's (Charles I) death. Sam was very afraid of someone hearing about this, but he had no problems writing about it in his diary.

I suspect that Sam is simply recording observations of the political climate. Indeed, I've gotten the feeling from reading this diary the past few days that he can empathize with both sides. He respects the current church, but also sees that its bishops are too uppity.

Susan  •  Link

Theatre outside London: The York Mystery plays (which I used to attend) have been performed triennially since 1951, but before that were last recorded as being performed in the 16th century. I don't know if other cities with this tradition (such as Norwich, Coventry and Wakefield) had also lost their plays with the decline of the power of the guilds who were responsible for performing them. There would still be folk dramas associated with Christmas or such oddities as the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, which has dramatic elements.
Pepys and religion: apart from the occasional "praise be to God", we do not have any sense that Pepys had an active prayer life or Bible study - church attendence seems a social necessity, although he is appreciative of a good sermon.

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

Discretion in the Diary
Over the last fifteen months of diary entries, I haven't seen much evidence that SP worries a lot about protecting himself in what he writes here. He has noted down sexual indiscretions (albeit lightly disguised in lingua franca), political indiscretions (like, as a schoolboy, cheering the execution of Charles I), and indicidents that put him in a ridiculous or unflatteringly light.

He seems to like High Church ceremonial, but has several times in the past noted that people resent the high-handedness of the bishops. My guess is that he only notes public opinion in this entry because that is what most interests him at this point.

The Bishop  •  Link

"we do not have any sense that Pepys had an active prayer life or Bible study - church attendence seems a social necessity"

But you aren't leaving room for the authentic religious experience of a High Church Englishman.

In Pepys' time, 'bible study' and (especially) 'an active prayer life' were the hallmarks of puritan religious practice. Non-puritan laymen read the bible, but the idea that you *studied* it in order to learn about God was puritan. After all (from the point of view of a non-puritan), the essential truths of Christianity had been worked out already, and were embodied in the official ceremony of the church - anything you might find by bible study would either be superfluous or heretical.

As for 'an active prayer life' (a term no one then would have understood) - for non-puritans prayer was something done at appropriate times: when you needed help, were giving thanks for some particular benefit from God, or attending service. If someone went around praying all the time for no particular reason - yes, they would be labeled a puritan.

However, we shouldn't take this to mean that non-puritans - Highchurchmen - didn't experience their religion seriously or profoundly. In their view puritans were misdirected rather than more religious.

You have to understand, Calvinist theology held sway at this time. Calvin emphasized the fact that God had predestined a certain elect body to salvation, and individuals had no power to alter their fate. God's elect, in this view, were naturally more pious, and everyone else naturally more irreligious. Because of this, it was widely believed that puritans behaved in an excessively religious manner because they wanted to convince themselves (and everyone else) that they were part of God's elect. Puritanism was rejected not because puritans were unpleasant killjoys, but because people honestly believed they were overly-proud and behaving inappropriately.

jack  •  Link

Was the house in an uproar because they were angry, or because they were laughing at the kid getting beat up? Probably laughing, because this was a light-hearted age, the restoration.

dirk  •  Link

"a form of shorthand that few can read"

Re - Kevin Peter

Keep in mind that Sam's shorthand was by no means a "secret" language. Shorthand was popular in those days with people who could make good use of it professionally. It wouldn't have been very difficult to find somebody who could read Sam's scribbles. The only advantages of using it were
1. that you could write faster and without calligaphic fancies;
2. that inexperienced eyes (like the servants') wouldn't have been able to read it.

The fact that Sam realises this is obvious from his using his own kind of Lingua Franca when he gets really "personal".

Some ("religious") matters may just have been to uncertain to trust to paper - I'm not saying this necessarily applies to today's situation, but it may! (We'll never know for certain, will we?)

alex  •  Link

I thought Pepys made up his own shorthand system, basing it on the Shelton system.

dirk  •  Link

Pepys's shorthand

As far as I know Pepys only introduced some personal variations in an otherwhise well known existing shorthand system - as many shorthand users used to do up to some 10 yrs ago, when stenographic writing fell out of fashion.

For more on Shelton's system, have a look at these BBC links for teachers - it's actually a teaching plan about our very own S.P. !!!………

The second link even shows the Shelton "alphabet".

Louis  •  Link

The entertaining and authoritative L&M "Companion" article on the Theatre goes into intricate detail about which companies were playing where throughout the Diary period, with specific mention on this day's entry (as extracted above).
As others have said in previous annotations, this Vol. X of the complete edition is well worth the asking price.

Susan  •  Link

SP and the Church etc. What I meant by "active prayer life" was something like having household prayers and with reference to the Bible, SP hardly ever gives us the text used by the preacher to base his sermon on and I don't think he gives book, chapter and verse (as Evelyn does). Later on, when work creeps up on him, he frequently spends the whole of the Lord's Day in the office and doesn't seem to have his conscience troubled by this. I think, however, that it is impossible to know what SP's faith was really like - I was just going on clues provided in the diary text.

Pedro.  •  Link

As The Bishop says "it was widely believed that puritans behaved in an excessively religious manner because they wanted to convince themselves (and everyone else) that they were part of God's elect”
Sam is no Puritan but at Church would like to be one of the elect.
11 November 1660/1.” we sat in the foremost pew, and behind us our servants, and I hope it will not always be so, it not being handsome for our servants to sit so equal with us.”

George  •  Link

Sam certainly wants to be "one of the elect", but I think it's society's elect rather than God's. The Diary so far suggests that he reacts to sermons much the same way as he reacts to plays. His religious loyalties are no more evident than his political: his principal allegiances seem to be personal (to Sandwich) and institutional (to the prerogatives and powers of the Navy Office), not ideological or theological.

Emilio  •  Link

Neat find, Dirk, but the 'alphabet' is somewhat misleading

According to the L&M intro, Shelton's shorthand didn't use vowels, but marked them by putting a second consonant small and in a particular position relative to the first consonant: 12 o'clock = a, 2 o'clock = e, etc. Mostly Sam didn't even spell words out to that extent, though; there were a few hundred special symbols that represented a lot of the most common words. On the repro of Jan 1 1660 in Tomalin's book, for instance, the symbol for 'the' is a short slanty line like a comma, 'of' is like a hooked 'i' without a dot, and the first word to be spelled out completely by its consonants is "year".

The shorthand that Sam used was thus more complicated than a simple alphabetic code, but it was still far from a secret. L&M call it "simple, almost naive," and add that "it could have taken no one very long to learn it." Unless, of course, you can't get hold of Shelton's book, which I do hope we track down soon - there are just way too many questions that we can't answer without it.

The Bishop  •  Link

The elect
Since some have taken up this idea of the elect, let me point out that both the defenders of the established church and its puritan critics agreed on the truth of Calvin's doctrine. It was the official position of the English church in the 17th century.

However, the church establishment took the position that this was an idea that just shouldn't be discussed. It was too controversial, too hard for laymen to understand, and it tended to demoralize people. Charles I actually forbid clergy (some of whom were puritans) from preaching on predestination, and this was one of the things that infuriated his critics.

This is one reason that it's difficult for us to understand the 17th century point of view regarding religion. The idea that members of a congregation should be shielded from discussion of their own religion's doctrines is rather alien to us now.

Susan  •  Link

Charles I was the first English monarch raised entirely within the Anglican Church - the devestations wrought in England and Scotland by religious divisons were very recent history for him: he took his position as head of the Church of England seriously, but the Bishops thought him high-handed. Incidently, congregations are still shielded today. It is commonplace in theological colleges within the Anglican communion to express doubts about the reality of the virgin birth, but when the late Bishop of Durham mentioned this in public, there was an outcry which spilled over from the letters pages of the Anglican press into the secular press. Sometime after this, York Minster was struck by lightning and very badly damaged. Many people said this was God punishing his people for doubting the Bible. Quite amazing for the 1980s.

Laura K  •  Link

thanks to our own bishop

Thanks for your wonderful summary and explanation of religious life in Pepys' England. I have only a dim memory of the differences between Calvinists, Puritans, etc. It's understandably difficult for 21st C readers to keep their own religious orientations out of their interpretations. Your annotations are very helpful.

Re Sam's fear of discovery, we've seen no evidence of that. Remember how we all enjoyed the entry about Sam's auto-erotic adventure? No way he'd write that if he thought anyone was reading over his shoulder. He does like to comment on public opinion, but not necessarily because he's deciding which way to turn.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Unless, of course, you can't get hold of Shelton's book, which I do hope we track down soon
I have a copy of Shelton’s two books, “A Tutor to Tachygraphy, or Short-Writing (1642)” and “Tachygraphy (1647)” (published by the Augustan Reprint Society, Publication Numbers 145-146). Even with the books it’s difficult to go beyond conjecture about some aspects of the shorthand. I’ve come to the conclusion that without an intensive study of the Pepys manuscript it’s almost impossible to venture any conclusions about the editorial judgements made by L&M or Wheatley in the interpretation of the shorthand. Besides the variations introduced by SP, it’s often difficult to put the rules together into a coherent whole without more examples than are included in Shelton’s work.
Note: the books are published as facsimiles and supplemented by an extract of the diary itself for 1-4 September 1666. I tried to decipher the extract using the information in the book and had a difficult time of it. The facsimile copy is quite tiny and often indistinct. I’m really not sure if this relects on the quality of the original or the quality of the facsimile.

stewart cavalier  •  Link

The idea that members of a congregation should be shielded from discussion of their own religion’s doctrines is rather alien to us now.
Yes, but not so long ago many men wanted to shield women from unpleasant things like money and business that they shouldn't "bother their pretty heads about"

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Annotations in the encyclopedia entry for the Red Bull Theatre indicate that Killigrew's company used it.

john  •  Link

"his master fell about his ears and beat him so, that it put the whole house in an uprore." To answer jack's question, methinks this another example of the commonly accepted violence of the time; they laughed.

Gillian Bagwell  •  Link

The company of actors:
"The London Stage, 1660-1800," eds. Van Lennep et al., quotes Pepys's diary for this day and also says that Allardyce Nicoll's "A History Restoration Drama" "argues that George Jolly probably occupied the Red Bull in St. John's Street, Clerkenwell. When Richard Walden saw the Red Bull players at Oxford in July 1661, Anne Gibbs acted Dionysia in 'All's Lost by Lust.' It is possible that she played that role on this day. See Walden's 'Io Ruminans.' 1662."

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘clap . . Etymology: Middle English clappen . .
11. esp. To put (with promptitude or high-handedness) in prison or custody; to imprison, confine. Also simply to clap up ( †to clap fast ): ‘to imprison with little formality or delay’ (Johnson).
c1530 A. Barclay Egloges i. sig. F, Then art thou clappyd in the flete or clynke.
1581 J. Marbeck Bk. Notes & Common Places 667 The King caused him to be clapt in prison.
. . 1697 J. Potter Archæologiæ Græcæ I. i. xxvi. 142 Let him be clapt up in Gaol till he pays the whole . .
1843 T. Carlyle Past & Present ii. vi. 95 Some were clapt in prison.’

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Crofton, the great Presbyterian minister that had lately preached so highly against Bishops, is clapped up this day into the Tower. "

Zachary Crofton, a leader of the strict Presbyterians, held that episcopacy led straight to Rome, and had written two books supporting armed defense of the Covenant [… ]: CSPD 1660-1, pp. 530, 546. He was in custody until June 1662: ib., 1661-2, p. 399.. His arrest may have been provoked by the Puritans' victory in the London parliamentary elections three days before. Pepys's reference to his preaching probably relates to a sermon of the 19th, which had come to the notice of the government: ib., p. 537. Crofton later boasted that he had 'written one bishop silent who could not speak, and spoken another [Dr. Morley… ] dumb who could not write': ib., 1663-4, p. 357. (L&M footnote)

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... met my uncle Wight, and with him Lieut.-Col. Baron, who told us how Crofton, the great Presbyterian minister that had lately preached so highly against Bishops, is clapped up this day into the Tower. Which do please some, and displease others exceedingly."

Pepys understates the problem created by people like Dr. Crofton:

"The measures taken after Venner’s Jan. 1661 millenarian rising provoked a campaign in the pulpits [of the City of London], most of which were still occupied by the enemies of the Church of England.
"In his ‘subtle, witty’ preaching, little Dr. Crofton ceaselessly ‘banged’ the bishops, ‘which theme he doth most exquisitely handle’.
"Preparations for the 1661 election were made in a republican club under the direction of John Wildman and the political theorist [James] Harrington, and the management committed to Francis Jencks, a linen-draper of Cornhill."…

For those of you crying out for more Easter/Lent observances, now you see the problem!

Just 2 days ago Pepys told us: "The great talk of the town is the strange election that the City of London made yesterday for Parliament-men; viz. Fowke, Love, Jones, and …, men that are so far from being episcopall that they are thought to be Anabaptists; and chosen with a great deal of zeal, in spite of the other party that thought themselves very strong, calling out in the Hall, “No Bishops! no Lord Bishops!” It do make people to fear it may come to worse, by being an example to the country to do the same. And indeed the Bishops are so high, that very few do love them."

Off to the Tower with him!

徽柔  •  Link

How Presbyterians sunk since the Restoration! Last year they were still promising.
“In February 1660, it seemed that the presbyterian moment had finally arrived, after nearly two decades of reversals, frustrations and compromise. Addressing the re-assembled Long Parliament on 21 February, General Monck, de facto head of state, endorsed ‘moderate Presbyterian government, with a sufficient liberty for tender consciences’ as the most acceptable settlement of the church.”

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Letters in the State Papers, all dated from March 19th while London resounded from the councillors' election, show that Zachary Crofton had been a bit of a celebrity lately. "J.S." wrote that "Mr Crofton prosecuted his argument last Lord's day, and there were more people than could get into the church." J.S. also heard "that the Bishop [of Exeter] has published a large book against him". That he did, Anonymous letter No. 116 adds that it's catchingly entitled "Anti-Baal-Bench", and that Crofton "preaches against him [the bishop of Exeter, John Gauden] every Sunday night, with an infinite auditory, itching and applause". "Wm. Beauchamp" explains that Crofton "preaches that bishops are a human institution, and led to the papacy".

And so, that's a tad too much noise. Crofton didn't just preach, he wrote two books, "The fastening of St. Peter's Fetters by Seven Links or Propositions" and "Berith Anti-Baal" (Baal's the Vatican, for sure). They're not just rants on points of religion or against rival clerics, but, as the Solicitor General explains today (March 23) in a letter to the king's secretary, in case Nicholas isn't keeping up with the bishops' latest, Crofton "offers to prove, by Scripture, the people's power to be above that of the King". For that, obviously "he will deserve to be secured".

And so he's been. It's big enough to rate a mention in the French Gazette, in a dispatch dated April 7 (new style, March 28 old style): "le Sieur Zacharie Crofton, Ministre, a été mis dans la Tour, pour avoir écrit et presché contre le Gouvernement" [has been put into the Tower, to have written and preached against the Government].

From his cell, Crofton promptly petitions the King for pardon, protesting of his loyalty, of how he really wants to "share in the joy of the approaching happy coronation", and regretting "his late inconsiderate expression on matters out of his sphere". The books' printer, Ralph Smith, who's been dragged in as well, will write next month from (presumably) another cubicle that he was "not [even] privy" that Crofton's tract was in his press but, "being ill, allowed it to be printed in his name, for support of his family during the illness". That tear-jerker, plus bail, will soon allow Smith to get out, but Crofton's case is more complicated, and on May 6 another minister, Tho. Swadlin, will also write to the King, to ask for the return of "his poor Benefice of St. Botolph without Aldgate", from which he's been ejected by Cromwell and, ho-hum, "kept out by Zachary Crofton". Yep, looks like Zach's gonna miss the coronation.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.