Monday 6 May 1661

Up by four o’clock and took coach. Mr. Creed rode, and left us that we know not whither he went. We went on, thinking to be at home before the officers rose, but finding we could not we staid by the way and eat some cakes, and so home.

Where I was much troubled to see no more work done in my absence than there was, but it could not be helped.

I sent my wife to my father’s, and I went and sat till late with my Lady Batten, both the Sir Williams being gone this day to pay off some ships at Deptford.

So home and to bed without seeing of them.

I hear to-night that the Duke of York’s son is this day dead, which I believe will please every body; and I hear that the Duke and his Lady themselves are not much troubled at it.

29 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"which I believe will please every body;and I hear that the Duke and his Lady themselves are not much troubled by it" They were married in September and the child was born in October and dies 7 months later; of their 8 children only 2( the future Queens ) survived; what I don't understand is why is everybody so pleased?

Vicente  •  Link

'twas from wrong side of the bed. Everybody was counting the days.

Eric Walla  •  Link

This is an extension of Sam's earlier statement about James, only applied to the offspring. The Protestant population lived in fear of a royal return to Catholicism. Thus the gladness he expressed earlier that Charles would soon marry (and produce an heir, so he thought) is continued when another potential Catholic heir is lost. The child's death, leaving only girls, reduced the danger ... so much for the best laid plans.

Vicente  •  Link

Eric: True, return to Roman Rule was more dangererous than the Protesting Bishop rule. It would be hard for the City Merchants to be paying off the Vatican and King.

Stephen Taylor  •  Link

Little did they know that Charles 2nd was a closet Catholic, something he was clever and politically astute enough to hide until his deathbed I believe.

Jackie  •  Link

The baby was born under a question mark. At the time, the marriage was under dispute and the Duke of York had persuaded friends to lie and say that they'd had affairs with Anne Hyde. The timiing was too tight and, given that the child was in line for the throne, could have caused problems.

Politically it was helpful that the child died. Personally, it was probably more of a disaster to the couple.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

It now appears Sam and company had their own coach (someone commented on this the other day), otherwise Mr Creed would not have ridden.

Emilio  •  Link

"much troubled to see no more work done in my absence than there was"

Now that sounds about right--it was probably a good idea for Sam to be at home watching the workmen as much as he has been.

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

At least he's philosophical about it though - 'but it could not be helped.'

David A. Smith  •  Link

"the Duke of York's son is this day dead”
Amplifying Stephen’s comments: Charles II was probably a Catholic for less than an hour of his life.
In a scene worthy of a Jacobean morality play, he was converted on his deathbed by the same Catholic priest who had played a key role in helping his escape after the Battle of Worcester.
Aside from the several witness to the deathbed conversion — and if he was a Catholic before, why have a conversion rather than simply extreme unction? — there is actually no evidence to suggest that he was personally an ‘unofficial’ Catholic before then - or even that he had fundamentally Catholic beliefs. He began his life fairly ignorant of the differences between Protestant (Anglican) and Catholic doctrine, and spent his latter reign mainly quelling mobs who equated Popery with royal absolutism. His conversion, like Jefferson’s deathbed emancipation of his household slaves, seems to have come upon him as a flash of inspiration when, for that brief time, he could cease being a political leader and ask himself a question I suspect he had, up to then, dared not ask himself.

JWB  •  Link

...and I hear that the Duke and his Lady...
Psychological projection.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"which I believe will please every body"
At this date, not even James, Duke of York, is a Catholic (speculation is he converted in 1672). Though his good lady Anne was a commoner, she was the daughter of firmly Royalist, firmly Protestant, Edward Hyde, Charles II's faithful and effective Lord Chancellor. The child's legitimacy is questionable because James and Anne were formally married on 3 Sep 1660, but may have been married in Breda the year before. As to whether Sam is projecting, he is close enough to the royal household that the DUke and Duchess's views may well have been common knowledge.

JWB  •  Link

"I hear tonight..."
Sam's only been gossiping with Lady Batten.

Michael  •  Link

"will please every body"
I understand the political implications and everything, and I realize that this "timely" death has removed a possible source for trouble later on. And there was already some discussion on the role of children in 17th century society. And still: the report of this and of the parents reaction does sound extremely cold. If this were Shakespeare and fiction (and not Pepys and real life) I would assume that some foul play had to be part of it. The parents don't seem to be troubled, and everybody is better off politically. Except the poor baby.

Eric Walla  •  Link

I think JWB has it right ...

... Sam's been gossiping, and the rumor he hears is that the Duke and Duchess of York "are not much troubled by it." Again, with the position Sam (and society) seems to hold of James, the drift of the rumor serves to play into and magnify his lack of feeling and character, making the King's brother ever more unfit for the role of monarch.

It is noteworthy that Sam, as chronicler, makes sure once again to record the context as hearsay rather than simply stating, "They didn't care one whit about the boy."

Vicente  •  Link

"He began his life fairly ignorant of the differences between Protestant (Anglican) and Catholic doctrine,"
'Tis he who wields the final power, as King and Head of his own organisation, he only answers to his own conscience,but as A loyal Catholic, he has to answer to Rome, and Charles was no Dummy and had seen how his cousin was controlled by the leading clerics, was not about to give up Supreme Power, until the after life came a calling. [bad enough, argueing with Parliament]

dirk  •  Link

parents attitude vs deceased children

There was a "lively" debate on this issue ref. the diary entry for 1 January 1660/1661.

For those interested:…

Australian Susan  •  Link

David A. Smith
Anglicans are not Protestants! (but I thought the rest of your comments were spot on: there is no evidence James was Catholic at this time and we must remember that both of James's daughters who reigned after him were not brought up as Catholics - only his son by his second wife was - the future 'Old Pretender")

Mary  •  Link

Charles was no dummy.

Equally, he was prepared to undertake to return to the Catholic church at some unspecified time in the future (Secret Treaty of Dover, 1670) in order to secure financial and material support from France in the conflict with The Netherlands. It's noteworthy that the treaty nowhere promised that Charles would bring England back into the Catholic fold; he promised only for himself and, eventually, fulfilled his promise. In the event, the Treaty of Dover brought him less advantage than he had hoped for.

Stephen Taylor  •  Link

"of their 8 children only 2( the future Queens ) survived; what I don't understand is why is everybody so pleased”
Unfortunately I believe this to be untrue. There was also James Edward, decried by many around the time as the ‘warming pan baby’ who was nevertheless almost son and heir to James II. Political expediency won the day in the end though…….

tony t.  •  Link

"of their 8 children only 2 (the future Queens) survived...". Unfortunately, Stephen, you are the one in error here. James Edward was only a half-brother to the two Queens as the future James II remarried.

Jackie  •  Link

The survival rate of the Royal Nursery was shocking. Basically, the higher in society a baby, the more that the doctors of the time tried to medicalise those first few years of life. Unfortunately, the doctors knew next to nothing then and seemed to kill their patients as often as not (the way Charles II eventually met his end is sobering in this regard).

When James Edward was born, his doctors decreed that the most poisonous thing that could possibly be given to the newborn was a woman's milk and tried to wean him immediately onto a gruel-based mixture, while dosing him with large doses of medicine for the good of his health. He survived because his mother insisted against the protest of the doctors that a wet nurse had to be found. The doctors all protested that any newborn should be fed anything so dangerous to his health as milk.

The death rates in the rooyal household had a significant effect upon events n the near future. Mary and Anne only survived because daughters were less important than sons, so their first years were less subject to doctors.

Also, the royal nursery was open to the public and even in times of smallpox people walked in and out at will. Several babies died of plague as not even the doctors thought that people who'd been exposed to disease should be kept from mixing with the royal children.

vicente  •  Link

Big egos and little knowledge doth prove dangerous.

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

Anglicans and Protestants
It is certainly true that many Anglicans today consider themselves Catholics (and many others consider themselves Protestants, and some, like me, consider themselves something of both). However, this is all following the Oxford movement and the Anglo-Catholic revival of the 19th Century. I am quite sure that 17th Century Anglicans would loudly "protest" that they were Protestant. For example, I found on the 'net, the text of the English Coronation Oath from 1689, wherein the monarch swears to maintain the "Protestant reformed religion established by law" (i.e. the Church of England).

vicente  •  Link

Whereas the late King James the Second, by the assistance of divers evil counselors, judges, and ministers employed by him, did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the protestant religion, and the laws and liberties of this kingdom.

Second Reading

Louise Hudson  •  Link

It's been wisely said that the Church of England saved the English from Chrisrianity (attributed to William Empson, though I can find no documentation).

jude cooper  •  Link

Interesting point, Jackie. The fact that girls were less valuable and less doctored, led to their greater survival, and ability to take power is something to ponder on...

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Re David Smith's 2004 post: If memory serves, Jefferson freed only 5 of the approximately 150 people he owned.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I hear to-night that the Duke of York’s son is this day dead, which I believe will please every body;

L&M: The baby Charles Stuart, designated Duke of Cambridge, born on 22 October 1660, the first of eight children of the marriage, was buried this day in Westminster Abbey. Both the Duke of York and his secret marriage were unpopular. Cf.…

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