Saturday 11 January 1661/62

My brother Tom came to me, and he and I to Mr. Turner the Draper’s, and paid 15l. to him for cloth owing to him by my father for his mourning for my uncle, and so to his house, and there invited all the Honiwood’s to dinner on Monday next. So to the Exchange, and there all the news is of the French and Dutch joyning against us; but I do not think it yet true. So home to dinner, and in the afternoon to the office, and so to Sir W. Batten’s, where in discourse I heard the custom of the election of the Dukes of Genoa, who for two years are every day attended in the greatest state; and four or five hundred men always waiting upon him as a king; and when the two years are out, and another is chose, a messenger is, sent to him, who stands at the bottom of the stairs, and he at the top, and says, “Va. Illustrissima Serenita sta finita, et puede andar en casa.” — “Your serenity is now ended; and now you may be going home,” and so claps on his hat. And the old Duke (having by custom sent his goods home before), walks away, it may be but with one man at his heels; and the new one brought immediately in his room, in the greatest state in the world. Another account was told us, how in the Dukedom of Ragusa, in the Adriatique (a State that is little, but more ancient, they say, than Venice, and is called the mother of Venice, and the Turks lie round about it), that they change all the officers of their guard, for fear of conspiracy, every twenty-four hours, so that nobody knows who shall be captain of the guard to-night; but two men come to a man, and lay hold of him as a prisoner, and carry him to the place; and there he hath the keys of the garrison given him, and he presently issues his orders for that night’s watch: and so always from night to night. Sir Wm. Rider told the first of his own knowledge; and both he and Sir W. Batten confirm the last.

Hence home and to read, and so to bed, but very late again.

34 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Hence home and to read, and so to bed, but very late again."

One may assume he noted the 'very late' as Beth got after him again?

15 pounds for mourning clothes cloth? Sounds a bit steep for the time, John.

Alan Bedford  •  Link

"Dukedom of Ragusa, in the Adriatique" is these days known as Dubrovnik.

A little background can be found at:…

And a little lighter version at:…
In another century and change, Ragusa will become the first country to recognize the United States of America.

At the time of Pepys' Diary, however, they were paying annual tribute to the Ottoman Empire, despite the "Libertas" on their flag.

Bradford  •  Link

Any way of ascertaining if these two tall tales were true, whether of their "own knowledge" or not?

dirk  •  Link

"if these two tall tales were true?"
- re Bradford

I haven't been able to ascertain whether these tales are (were) true, but at least the one about the Venetian Doge (Duke) doesn't sound unlikely.
More about the Doge and his function:……

The simple fact of choosing your ruler must have sounded really outlandish to Sam and his contemporaries, as would have our modern day ideas about democracy. Remember that in Sam's time sovereign power was supposed to be God given.

vicenzo  •  Link

a little more on Dalmatia:…
These two Salts have been around doing business with Venice and Genoa. Genoa was a great visiting place for those that were on their educational tour of the better things of life. Venice was a very wealthy place , and those that have the gold, usually love to flaunt, not unlike the royals and the Lord Mayor and other popinjays, they rather spend it on show of how great they be, rather than give to the great unwashed and undeserving.

Clement  •  Link

"Another account was told us, how..."
I think I just received that forwarded email again last week.

Giovanna  •  Link

Dirk - Sam is talking about the Doge of Genoa, another of the maritime states, and not the venetian Doge. The story is true, the Genoa Doge was elected for two years only - had to bring his own furniture and household with him when he moved in and leave immediately once the two years was up. The venetian Doge was elected for life. Incidentally they both had to sustain all court expenses from their own pockets, it was a prestige that only men from wealthy families could enjoy.

Xjy  •  Link

Ragusa -- Dubrovnik
My favourite place. The diplomatic tradition (keeping the Turks at arm's length, and the Venetians too (heh)), and the Venetian secret society and fraternity (and religiosity) traditions are alive and well. How else could a tiny town manage to absorb such huge floods of tourists (as in the 70s and 80s) and still keep its dignity and character? Might even survive the barbaric civil war and the despicable Balkanization.

LCrichton  •  Link

Was in Dubrovnik last year and visited the gardens of Trsteno - a wonderful renaissance garden creaated by one of the wealthy merchant princes of Ragusa. Whilst now slightly (but attractively) shabby, it gives an idea of some of the wealth of the merchants, - there are orchards, gardens, a clifftop summer house, a villa, an acqueduct bringing water from the mountains to irrigate the garden, a fountains and grotto with statues of Neptune and (added when it was a horticultural research unit under Tito) an arboretum. The arboretum was partially burned during the war but has now recovered. Well worth a visit if you 're in Dubrovnik……

adam w  •  Link

Duke of Genoa
'Illustrissima Serenita sta finita, et puede andar en casa'
Am I right in thinking that the first part of this sentence is Italian, but the second is more like Spanish? Is this my confusion, Pepys's, or the Genoese?

Giovanna  •  Link

Italian or spanish. Could be 17th century genoese dialect (they had better relations with Spain than with the other maritime cities) but I am inclined to believe that it is "lingua franca" - pepys version.

gerry  •  Link

Adam. L&M footnote that Sam uses a mixture of Spanish and Italian.Also that Venice was the older city.

Mary  •  Link

£15 for cloth for mourning clothes.

This would have covered the provision of mourning clothes not simply for John alone, but also for other members of the family who needed to show due respect to the memory of the departed Uncle Robert.

Clement  •  Link

Doge of Genoa, per Giovanna
"In Genoa the institution of the doge dates from 1339. At first he was elected without restriction and by popular suffrage, holding office for life; but after the reform effected by Andrea Doria in 1528 the term of his office was reduced to two years. At the same time plebeians were declared ineligible, and the appointment of the doge was entrusted to the members of the great and the little councils, who employed for this purpose a machinery almost as complex as that of the later Venetians. The Napoleonic Wars put an end to the office of doge at Genoa."…
Very interesting posts and links today, into new areas (for me) of the 17th c.
I'm still highly suspicious of stories from old seamen though.

Maurie Beck  •  Link

Ragusa - Dubrovnik

There was a good piece on Dubrovnik in the Smithsonian magazine a few months back. It was shelled by Serb forces during the civil war, but is now well on its way to recovery.

Sjoerd  •  Link

On April 22nd the Dutch Republic will sign a treaty with Louis XIV "with offensive and defensive characteristics" as the dutch sources state. It is remarkable that this information is available in London at this time. Unless I mixed up the two calendars again.

Ken  •  Link


I'm ancient enough to remember that 15/- meant 15 shillings, not pounds. There were 20 to the pound, so that's 75p these days.

Dan  •  Link

Re: 15/-
Hadn't occurred to me that it was a scanning error converting / to "l" but shillings makes more sense.
The OCR (Optical Character Recognition) program would try to map images to letters and common punctuation, so / and - would have been 'read' as italicized 'l' and '.'. Thanks Ken.

dirk  •  Link

Doge - re Giovanna

You're right of course. Sam (or rather Sir Rider) is referring to Genoa, and not Venice. My mistake. I was confused by the reference to Venice a couple of lines further down.

dirk  •  Link

Evelyn's diary today:

"I dined this day at Arundell-house, where I heard excellent Musique, performed by the ablest Masters both French & Eng, on Theorba, Viols, Organs & Voices as an Exercise against the comming of the Queene, as purposly composd for her chapell &c: After which my Lord Aubignie (her Majesties Almoner to be) shewed us his elegant Lodging; & his wheele-chaire for Ease & motion, with divers other Curiosities, especialy a kind of artificial Glasse or Porcelan adorned with relievoes of Past, hard & beautifull: My L: Aubigny, bro: to the Duke of Lenox, was a person of good sence, but wholy abandoned to Ease & effeminancy &c. I received of Sir Peter Ball (the Queenes Attourney) a draught of an Act, against the nuisance of the Smoke of Lond, to be reformed by removing severall Trades, which are the cause of it, & indanger the heal[t]h of the K: & his people &c: which was to have ben offered to the Parliament, as his Majestie commanded:”

john lauer  •  Link

15£ or 15/-
If we are to believe this is a possibly common scanning error/confusion, how many times in the past two years have we been similarly misled?

Mary  •  Link

15£ or 15/-

L&M text gives l. (i.e abbreviation for pounds) rather than / (for shillings) and I would rather trust that reading.

upper_left_hand_corner  •  Link

Fifteen pounds for mourning cloth ...

Not out of line if used for many people's clothing (and tailoring).

Back then material was expensive and labor cheap. Nowadays it's frequently the opposite.

Ken  •  Link

15£ or 15/-
Oops, first contribution to this site and I goofed. I foolishly read a small L and a dot as a slash and a dash. Serves me right for having my text size too small.

On closer examination it is of course an L, meaning pounds.

vicenzo  •  Link

"Oops": no problem. One should never assume[ASS U ME], it is always better to question, than to let an item slide.
The most important element is to keep the mind open and expand, and ask questions.

vicenzo  •  Link

To clarify my view: I thought it be it be good to express that point. It brought out another view point.
as it was pointed out by Horace in Ars Poetica, 25
When I try to be brief , I speak nonsense.Else it goes like this
'Brevis esse laboro obscurus fio.'

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Commons' concern that the originals of the Acts of Parliament remain in its custody

Printer no[t] to have Originals.

Upon Information given to this House, That the Clerk of the Lords House did permit the Original Rolls of Acts of Parliament to be carried to the Printer; and that they were there ripped in Pieces, and blotted and abused, and were in Danger to be embezzled or altered;

Resolved, That a Message be sent to the Lords, to desire them to give Order, that the Original Rolls of Acts of Parliament be kept in the Office, and not delivered to the Printer; but that true Copies be delivered to him, from the Roll, fairly written, and carefully examined and attested: And Dr. Birkinhead is to carry up this Message.…

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Sir William Turner was from a prominent North Yorkshire family, and greatly increased their wealth. An eponymous collateral descendant founded Sir William Turner's Grammar school near Redcar.…

Catharine  •  Link

"and there invited all the Honiwood’s to dinner on Monday next. "
So the greengrocer's apostrophe is not a modern phenomenon, then!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"£15 for cloth for mourning clothes."

The moutning was for Robert Pepys of Brampton (d. July 1661). William Turner the draper (Sheriff of London and knight, 1662; Lord Maypt 1668-9) was a relativw of Pepys by marriage. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"so to his house, and there invited all the Honiwood’s to dinner"

L&M note these were the brothers who lodged at Tom's.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Doge of Genoa (Latin: Januensium dux et populi defensor, "Genoese Duke and People's Defender") was the ruler of the Republic of Genoa, a communal republic and a state of the Holy Roman Empire, from 1339 until the state's extinction in 1797. Originally elected for life, after 1528 the Doges were elected for terms of two years.[1] In actuality, the Republic (or Dogate) was an oligarchy ruled by a small group of merchant families, from whom the doges were selected.…

NOT the Duke of Genoa.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"So to the Exchange, and there all the news is of the French and Dutch joyning against us; but I do not think it yet true."

L&M: They were negotiating a treaty of commerce and mutual defence which was concluded on 17/27 April.

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