Sunday 19 January 1661/62

(Lord’s day). To church in the morning, where Mr. Mills preached upon Christ’s being offered up for our sins, and there proving the equity with what justice God would lay our sins upon his Son, he did make such a sermon (among other things pleading, from God’s universal sovereignty over all his creatures, the power he has of commanding what he would of his Son by the same rule as that he might have made us all, and the whole world from the beginning to have been in hell, arguing from the power the potter has over his clay), that I could have wished he had let it alone; and speaking again, the Father is now so satisfied by our security for our debt, that we might say at the last day as many of us as have interest in Christ’s death: Lord, we owe thee nothing, our debt is paid. We are not beholden to, thee for anything, for thy debt is paid to thee to the full; which methinks were very bold words.

Home to dinner, and then my wife and I on foot to see Mrs. Turner, who continues still sick, and thence into the Old Bayly by appointment to speak with Mrs. Norbury who lies at (it falls out) next door to my uncle Fenner’s; but as God would have it, we having no desire to be seen by his people, he having lately married a midwife that is old and ugly, and that hath already brought home to him a daughter and three children, we were let in at a back door. And here she offered me the refusall of some lands of her at Brampton, if I have a mind to buy, which I answered her I was not at present provided to do. She took occasion to talk of her sister Wight’s making much of the Wights, who for namesake only my uncle do shew great kindness to, so I fear may do us that are nearer to him a great deal of wrong, if he should die without children, which I am sorry for. Thence to my uncle Wight’s, and there we supped and were merry, though my uncle hath lately lost 200 or 300 at sea, and I am troubled to hear that the Turks do take more and more of our ships in the Straights, and that our merchants here in London do daily break, and are still likely to do so.

So home, and I put in at Sir W. Batten’s, where Major Holmes was, and in our discourse and drinking I did give Sir J. Mennes’ health, which he swore he would not pledge, and called him knave and coward (upon the business of Holmes with the Swedish ship lately), which we all and I particularly did desire him to forbear, he being of our fraternity, which he took in great dudgeon, and I was vexed to hear him persist in calling him so, though I believe it to be true, but however he is to blame and I am troubled at it. So home and to prayers, and to bed.

42 Annotations

vicenzo  •  Link

There speaketh the man "...lately married a midwife that is old and ugly..." and after that hearty sermon too.

vicenzo  •  Link

Gambol or gamble for the shippers? "...that our merchants here in London do daily break, and are still likely to do so..." 'tis that only take a small piece of the action, like any good bettor [better?]. 1660's wall street.

vicenzo  •  Link

Here it seems that the days of "PC" not yet in vogue, mind first, or would it be mouth that has control. "...which he swore he would not pledge, and called him knave and coward ...". Of course there may a tad of Sam standing his ground because of the Majors appeal to the female of the species.

Clement  •  Link

Provocative and a bit disingenuous.
Sam clearly knew Holmes' mind about Minnes
and even agreed with him, as we read then and now.
It seems that that Sam's toast was really intended to keep Holmes out of their 'fraternity' (and further from his wife) by baiting him to proclaim himself at odds with their peer, Mennes, in front of Sir W. Batten.
Then Sam can't help but gloat "however he is to blame and I am troubled at it."
Oh, I doubt it, but a clever maneuver, and well executed.

Ruben  •  Link

Good point Clement!

AussieAnnie  •  Link

Did Uncle Wight lose 200/300 men or ships or pounds??? If it were men, did they have any right to "sup and be merry" - I think not!

Mary  •  Link

Presumably £200/300

It sounds as if Uncle Wight had taken a substantial share in a voyage which has come to grief as a result of piracy.

Mary  •  Link

22 ships taken, 11 of them English

according to an L&M footnote. On 27th January the Venetian ambassador reported that a further 2 Rnglish ships had been taken. Not surprising that London merchants were being bankrupted in these circumstances.

neven  •  Link

who lies at (it falls out) next door to my uncle Fenner's;… we were let in at a back door. —- How do you execute this maneuver in 1660’s? First, when did Sam realize whose neighbour is Mrs Turner? When he arrived? Or before? When he inquired about the whereabouts of the lady? Second, how did he signal he wanted to be let in at the back door? Did he simply turn into the alley?

Mary  •  Link

who lies (it falls out) .....

At a time when houses, shops etc. did not have street numbers but were defined as being "at the sign of the such-and-such" in a certain street, it would be easy to remain in ignorance of which house neighboured another, unfamiliar, one until one stood almost outside it.

It is Mrs. Norbury who proves to be Uncle Fenner's neighbour, not Mrs. Turner. Mrs. Turner is a friend of long standing and is often visited by the Pepyses.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Lord,we owe thee nothing,our debt is paid.We are not beholden to , thee for anything"
Seems pretty original to me! can we guess his religious tendency if any? would someone with a background in theology comment.

Nix  •  Link

"our debt is paid" --

I parse this to mean that the preacher is saying that those who "have interest in Christ's death" -- i.e., those who accept Christian doctrine -- need do nothing more to be saved on Judgment Day. But I readily admit to great ignorance of religion, and would welcome correction and elucidation by someone who knows better.

J Fortner  •  Link

"Lord,we owe thee nothing,our debt is paid. We are not beholden to thee for anything.”

It is common protestant belief and stated in the Bible (see esp Romans etc) that Christ died to pay our debt(s) to God for our sin(s). He is our kinsman redeemer, who finds that we have sold ourselves into slavery to the world and pays our price for us if we claim Him to be our Lord. This all refers to legal customs in the old testament in Israel - for a great analogy, read the book of Ruth. Jesus’ last words can be translated that the debt is paid in full. If we have a share in Christ (Many know John 3:16, but apparently few have read the following verses: Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.) then we are forgiven/our debt is covered. This is a very large subject and could take up thousands of words, but that is the basic synopsis.

I take it that Mr. Pepys didn’t think that it would be proper to speak to God in this bold way, but not that he doubted his own salvation.



dirk  •  Link

"my uncle hath lately lost 200 or 300 at sea"

Of course it's always hard to lose substantial amounts of money - but there were marine insurances at the time. Maritime insurance is supposedly an Italian invention (I haven't been able to find anything relevant on the www - but maybe I should have looked harder). In the 16th and 17th c this kind of insurance could normally be obtained in some specialized coffee shops in London, one of which was named after its owner: "Lloyds"...

vicenzo  •  Link

Insurance: Acts of Gods and Corsairs may not have be covered.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Lloyds of London
Vincent is right (as ever!) - even in the 20th century, Lloyds were refusing to insure against Acts of God (earthquake, tsunamis etc) or Turkish pirates! Not sure if this at present extends to pirates today who still exist - well in the waters to the north of us anyway. Us being Australia.
On the subject of the sermon: Sam's reaction puzzled me. I had always taken him to be pretty much a Calvinist and thus queasy about any of what we would now call high Church practices (although we did not establish whether he sang the liturgy or something else when joining in at the Abbey recently - singing the liturgy would be seen as high Church then) But here he is not feeling comfortable listening to Calvinist doctrine being preached. Sam is a puzzle sometimes, but that, of course, is one reason why we are all here reading him delightedly! Jim's comments are excellent - many thanks.

language hat  •  Link

"that our merchants here in London do daily break, and are still likely to do so"

“Break” here is ‘go bankrupt’; OED:

11. b. intr. (for refl.) To become bankrupt, to "fail" (commercially). Now less usual.

1596 SHAKES. Merch. V. III. i. 120 Hee cannot choose but breake. 1661-2 PEPYS Diary 19 Jan., Our merchants here in London do daily break. 1678 BUTLER Hud. III. III. 248 By which some Glorious Feats atchieve, As Citizens, by breaking, thrive. 1793 LD. SPENCER in Ld. Auckland’s Corr. (1862) III. 82 Hutchinson is going to break, and to show the world that honesty is the best policy. 1856 EMERSON Eng. Traits v. 89 In trade, the Englishman believes that nobody breaks who ought not to break. 1879 H. GEORGE Progr. & Pov. V. i. (1881) 250 A bank breaks.. and on every side workmen are discharged.

Mary  •  Link

Lloyds and insurance.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves (and Uncle Wight). Edward Lloyd did not open his coffee house on Tower Hill until 1687. Uncle W. may have made efforts to 'lay off' part of his risk in the voyage, but this won't have been done through Lloyds.

Glyn  •  Link

Can someone continue to explain the religious sermon? Was Mills talking about the doctrine of Original Sin, that all babies are born sinful, and that Christ's sacrifice ended that. In other words, salvation lies in your own actions in life or through the grace of God because you are starting with a clean sheet?

Glyn  •  Link

Dirk: "Of course it's always hard to lose substantial amounts of money” Au contraire, I have always found it ridiculously easy, but was Lloyds the very first of these insurance agencies or just the one that prospered?

I think I remember that Pepys made his first investment some months ago in a ship sailing to the East Indies, but he hasn’t mentioned it lately.

When’s he going back to the theatre or the pub again?

Grahamt  •  Link

"that our merchants here in London do daily break…”
Still in use in colloquial English as in being broke, i.e. bereft of funds.

vicenzo  •  Link

"piracy" still a popular trade in this 21st century, in the likes of the Straights like those of Malacca, Hormoz, Madagacy. Still many like to get wealth the old fashioned way.
'Break' still in vogue for the Kiddies as Papa breaks the Piggy bank, physically or figuratively.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Mills's Sermon
Mills is more likely to be referring to Calvinist theology rather than the doctrine of original sin (cf. Genesis 3: 22-24).Christ died to redeem humankind and by His one sacrifice obtaining everlasting life for humankind. Paul developed the theology of justification by faith alone in Romans. Often Paul is quoted out of context. You really need to read solid chunks of Romans to appreciate the development of his arguments, at least Chapters 5 to 10 as one complete passage. Calvinists developed from Paul's discussions in Romans, the doctrine of predestination - that from birth, God chooses you for everlasting life or everlasting torment and your actions cannot alter this. Calvinist theology with its rigidity and absolutes appealed to many in the 16th and 17th centuries in England and Scotland: in a human world alive with uncertainties as to diseases, death and disaster, they wanted certainities to shore them up. Mills seems to be using something of the same type of argument (see Romans 5, especially the first verses and v. 10: "we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son"). The argument about the potter and the clay have echoes of Jeremiah (Ch 18), where God speaks to Jeremiah using the analogy of God as potter and humankind as clay which needs to be reworked to be made good: "Just like clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hands, O house of Israel". Sam would certainly have received Calvinist-inspired faith instruction in his youth at Huntingdon School and at St Paul's School, but seems uneasy about Mills's sermon today, which, to my mind, seems strange. Sam, as ever, is a man of surprises.

dirk  •  Link

Maritime insurance

"Lombard merchants introduced maritime insurance to London in the 16th century and it flourished somewhat haphazardly around Lombard Street until the establishment of Lloyd's Coffee House where insurers and merchants met to trade risks."

"It is believed that at some time during 1688 Lloyd's Coffee House opened in Tower Street, London. The first mention of Lloyd's appeared in the late 1680s when an advertisement in the London Gazette offered “a reward of a guinea for information about stolen watches, claimable from Mr Edward Lloyd's Coffee House in Tower Street”. (…) After the English Civil War, the growing importance of London as a centre of trade led to a steady increase in the demand for insurance of ships and cargoes. Business in those days was conducted very informally. A merchant with a ship to insure would request a “broker” to take the policy from one wealthy merchant to another until the risk was fully covered. The broker's skill lay chiefly in ensuring that policies were underwritten only by people of sufficient financial integrity. People who could meet their share of a claim, if need be, to the full extent of their personal fortunes. At his coffee house, and until his death in 1713, Lloyd encouraged a clientele of ships' captains, merchants, ship owners and others with an interest in overseas trade.”

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...our debt is paid..." I'm a little surprised our Sam didn't jump at that one or at least show a hopeful interest in the idea that we owe God nothing at Judgement Day thanks to dear old JC.

Michael L  •  Link

I agree that the sermon sounds quite Calvinist. God's sovereignty is one of the the biggest distinctives of Calvinism, and the potter / clay motif is even today a favorite Calvinist device for stressing that. Cromwell and the Puritans were Calvinist, so this would be quite familiar language to Sam.

Perhaps his discomfort with the sermon is related to Sam's adult alliance with the Anglican / royalist side, and the preacher reminds him more of his youth?

vicenzo  •  Link

Sam is just a Practical man. Knows when to tack. Besides which, vino/teatro is more accommodating and fun than a Sermon on other mans' weakness for an aked head.

Pedro.  •  Link

"Turks do take more and more of our ships in the Straights,"


"He had high and important enterprises to perform before receiving the Queen. It was not until he had cleared the Med of the pirates that had done great mischief to the merchant vessels of all nations, taught Algiers and Tunis the respect that was due to the British Flag"

Agnes Strickland; Lives of the Queens of England.

tld  •  Link

Mills Sermon. I took this as evidence that Sam isn't bounded firmly in either Calvinist theology or Anglican (Liturgical) tradition. A person with a liturgical background and belief from the Anglican or Roman Catholic tradition would have just this amazement that Christ's Crucifixion is complete and sufficient payment for Man's Sins (Original and other).

I think Mills is using a small bit of hyperbole to demonstrate the power of Justification by Faith - Christ has paid the price, Man is cleansed of Sin and worthy of God's acceptance. Standing proudly in a belief in Christ (“…as many of us as have interest in Christ's death…”) makes Man totally acceptable to God is what Mills is saying. There is nothing else needed, desired, nor required. No Hail Mary's, no Rosaries, no Acts of Contrition, no purgatory, no Priests etc. - a singular belief in Christ is direct avenue to God in full. No Priests or other doctrine required beyond an acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

In Roman Catholic and liturgical tradition this is a very bold and unusual idea, thus the sacrament of Confession, praying for the intercession of Saints etc.

Overall, it appears to me that Sam isn’t really sure what doctrine and creed he believes - a very normal and understandable situation even today. Probably even harder when one has been brought up in the turmoil of the English Civil War when what you believed placed one on a side. Wasn’t Sam in University at the peak of all this? Not a good time to be questioning one's religious beliefs. Even now he is debating this in his diary with himself, I've seen no entries which reveal Sam having theological debates with any of his family, friends or acquaintances. This seems all so personal and secretive.

Not an expert on this theology but to me I think Sam is really more of a Deist who believes strongly in a God and Creator but hasn’t the proof and evidence to accept a total plan of worship. This Mills passage shows him between the Anglican and more Protestant traditions. If he were Anglican, this would have been totally unacceptable and strange and if Puritan this would have been a very core belief. He is still approaching religion with an open mind, but I doubt he'll come to a deep belief based on Faith. He'll only believe what can be rationalized to his mind in the end, and none of this will be settled by rationalization alone.

vicenzo  •  Link

Debate: Deist,atheism ,agnostic, Calvinist RC, Hi. Church- Anglican, Low church ,Puritan etc.,tis food for the times. If fading memory serves me , Sam and Mumsy had a interesting excange before she caused a distraction over the wiley maid and Papa ?
Only Recently did the Lords of the Church, get to have a say in who pays the bills.

J Fortner  •  Link

On the Sermon - Interesting discussion on Mr. Pepys' theology, but I haven't read any of his stuff since College days and just found this site the other day so I'm a little lost in the progression you are discussing.

Coming to it a little cold: It seemed to me that he was not really arguing against the theology in the sermon, but against the boldness or attitude implied in the sermon.

I think that a Reformed or Calvinist perspective would argue that you cannot truly say that one cannot change one's destiny for Salvation or Damnation by one's actions because (1) no act of ours could save us, and (2) being unsaved, one would not act against one's nature and so earn or attempt to earn salvation. If one cannot even choose to believe God by one's own strength (spiritual death) until one is brought to life by God according to His own pleasure, then there would be no ability to attempt to reconcile with God.

Not to change the subject too far, but an alternative Protestant view is that Christ was The Elect One and that we have the choice to either accept the free gift of Salvation - through Him - or reject it.

As to Catholicism - as a former RC, we were taught that Christ's sacrifice was efficient, but not sufficient. A believer is not saved by faith unto good works, but by faith and necessary good works, including the regular receipt of sacraments such as communion hosts, confesion, the mass, etc.

Anyway - what I thought made Sam uncomfortable with the sermon was the attitude - would someone who was saved by Christ's sacrifice from the damnation that another would have earned for the same sins in life then stand boldly before God and proclaim that nothing was owed! If you were truly saved and aware of the enormous debt of gratitude (at least) owed to an Almighty God who had reached down and plucked you from the edge of the pit into which you were sliding with no power in yourself to save yourself, it would seem a different attitude would be expected.



Australian Susan  •  Link

Thanks, Jim, thanks tld for your erudite contributions to this debate! I think tld's comment "I’ve seen no entries which reveal Sam having theological debates with any of his family, friends or acquaintances. This seems all so personal and secretive." most pertinent to Sam's mind:all this bothers him, but he is very cautious about discussing theology openly - at that time it was all too tied up with politics and could be fatal (as later - post Diary - history shows).

vicenzo  •  Link

back to Pirates: we firget the dreeded Morgan :Sir Henry Morgan (c. 1635 - August 25, 1688) was a privateer of Welsh birth, who made a name in the Caribbean as a leader of buccaneers and roughnecks , especially Jamaica the skirge of the Spanish Main.
Then be those flyers from Netherlands the Dutch corsairs (pechelingues) that raided the Spanish interests in the West Indies 1608-09 :
The Pirates of yester year and/or now are one and the same, looking for an easy money created by someone else. It was a good reason that Sam had a job because if trade did not need the peelers of the sea, the Carlos II of England etc., would have fired the lot.

Sjoerd  •  Link

All very well, but "pechelingues" seems to be short for "pidgin english language", so they cannot have been Dutch then, can they ? Our Dutch pirates would have used the "kings' english" while raiding british ships, i am sure.…

language hat  •  Link

"pechelingues" seems to be short for "pidgin english language"

I trust this is a joke. The linked article says no such thing. The question is whether the Spanish term pichelingues or pechelingues, of very disputed origin, referred to Dutch pirates specifically or (as the article suggests) the “scum of the earth”; I doubt they spoke English of any variety.

vicenzo  •  Link

"Our Dutch pirates would have used the "kings' english" while raiding british ships, i am sure.” Cor blime matey, Is that why Wiley came to town?

Sjoerd  •  Link

Dear Hat...No such thing ?

The article says:
"The word Pichingli (or Pichingle) is certainly an echo of the Pidgin English of the Far East."
"pidgin English, known as pichi, pichinglis or broken-inglis"

Otherwise do trust your first impressions about my comments

Bill  •  Link

"our merchants here in London do daily break"

To BREAK, to break in Pieces; also to turn Bankrupt.
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

I've heard that before insurance for shipments, shippers would break up their packs of goods and place them on different ships so if one went down, the whole shipment would not be lost. This could have been the precursor of insurance, which would have made such breaking up of shipments unnecessary. The cost of a lost shipment would be bourne by all who bought the insurance.

Tonyel  •  Link

Phil, congratulations on the new page design - very elegant and most helpful to aging eyes.

Nick Hedley  •  Link

"so I fear may do us that are nearer to him [i.e. Sam is nearer than Mrs Norbury] a great deal of wrong, if he [Uncle Wight] should die without children, which I am sorry for".
According to Phil's excellent family tree, Uncle Wight is Sam's father's half brother in that they shared the same father but had different mothers. On the other hand, Mrs Norbury was Uncle Wight's sister-in-law, being the full sister of Aunt Wight. This comment makes sense if "nearness" is measured only through the male line but not if Aunt Wight were also considered. It seems unfair to our modern eyes that Sam should expect that the property in a childless marriage should only go to the husband's side of the family. Or perhaps Sam is referring to the closeness of the social interaction between him and Uncle Wight as compared to Uncle Wight and Mrs Norbury.
Thanks Phil for the updated site (and family tree). It was excellent before but now is even better.

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