Wednesday 5 February 1661/62

Early at the office. Sir G. Carteret, the two Sir Williams and myself all alone reading of the Duke’s institutions for the settlement of our office, whereof we read as much as concerns our own duties, and left the other officers for another time. I did move several things for my purpose, and did ease my mind.

At noon Sir W. Pen dined with me, and after dinner he and I and my wife to the Theatre, and went in, but being very early we went out again to the next door, and drank some Rhenish wine and sugar, and so to the House again, and there saw “Rule a Wife and have a Wife” very well done. And here also I did look long upon my Lady Castlemaine, who, notwithstanding her late sickness, continues a great beauty.

Home and supped with Sir W. Pen and played at cards with him, and so home and to bed, putting some cataplasm to my … which begins to swell again.

5 Feb 2005, 11:04 p.m. - daniel

" putting some cataplasm to my . . . . which begins to swell again." uh, oh. Is this the same unmentionable afliction from some months back?

5 Feb 2005, 11:48 p.m. - Pedro.

"Rule a Wife and have a Wife" I await to be enlightened about this play. Reminds me of the saying "What a life without a wife , and what a life with one."

5 Feb 2005, 11:58 p.m. - JWB

Cataplasm de jure

6 Feb 2005, 12:22 a.m. - Todd Bernhardt

re: "Rule a Wife and Have a Wife" By (who else?) John Fletcher (of "Beaumont and ..." fame), who wrote it in 1624. Here's what the Cambridge History of English and American Literature ( ) has to say about it: "Of all Fletcher's comedies, Rule a Wife And have a Wife is that which was most popular and kept the stage longest, and it is certainly a very good specimen of its kind. Its two plots are reasonably well connected, the characterisation is firm and good and several of the scenes, especially that in which Leon asserts himself, are, dramatically, very effective. The underplot is amusing, but less so than the novel of Cervantes from which it is taken.” Project Gutenberg, which attributes it to Beaumont and Fletcher, has the work here:

6 Feb 2005, 1:21 a.m. - JWB

Song of Rhine Wine "Then let us laugh & quaff right joyously This gift of Father Rhine! And give to all that sick or sorry be A cup of this same wine!" Claudius-"A poet(wrote Longfellow) who never drank Rhenish w/out sugar"

6 Feb 2005, 1:36 a.m. - john lauer

"...went in, but being very early we went out again," -- just a peril of going through life without clocks or a watch?

6 Feb 2005, 3:09 a.m. - vicenzo

job descriptions: I doth guess. "...myself all alone reading of the Duke's institutions for the settlement of our office, whereof we read as much as concerns our own duties, and left the other officers for another time. I did move several things for my purpose, and did ease my mind …” so it appears no nose out of joint.

6 Feb 2005, 1:54 p.m. - Robert Gertz

I notice Lady Penn doesn't seem to fit in much on these Sir Will P and Sam theater jaunts. Be interesting to know if Admiral Sir Will suggested Elisabeth's coming...

6 Feb 2005, 2:47 p.m. - gerry

L&M say that institutions is normally known as Instructions. My .... should read my testicle.

6 Feb 2005, 8:10 p.m. - Clement

"the Duke's institutions for the settlement of our office” The Duke was the same age as Sam, and while he seems to have had some natural skill for administration he failed later as a monarch. The officers here must have had some respect for his judgement, because we don’t hear the candid complaints that Sam occasionally made about ChasII’s actions. Any ideas who, if anyone, advised James at this point?

6 Feb 2005, 10:16 p.m. - Australian Susan

"failed later as a monarch" Largely over his inability to see how unacceptable his religous policy was: otherwise he seems to have been intelligent, certainly over Navy matters. He was always respected by Sam, but was deeply unpopular to the masses who only saw his intransigence over religious practices. There is a contemporary anecdote (from the 1680's) that Charles and James were walking in a public place despite a rumour of an assassination attempt against Charles. James expressed concern over his brother's seeming disregard for his personal safety. Charles is supposed to have replied to the effect that he wasn't worried, no-one was going to assassinate him as that would have meant having James as a King and no-one wanted that!

6 Feb 2005, 10:18 p.m. - Australian Susan

Sam's swelling "....." Might this have been a hydrocele? See

7 Feb 2005, 5:15 a.m. - Pauline

"I did move several things for my purpose, and did ease my mind." Is Sam saying that they were reading a draft and allowed to suggest amendments? "...notwithstanding her late sickness..." Lady Castlemaine is pregnant with the first of the children she will bear Charles, a son to be born in June. Wonder if Sam is referring to this "sickness"?

7 Feb 2005, 5:45 a.m. - Australian Susan

"I did move...." I read that as Pauline suggests: these instructions were open to amendment and Sam is very pleased that amendments he suggests, which are to do with his duties, are all agreed to by the others.

7 Feb 2005, 10:23 a.m. - Mary

The duke's Institucions. There's a long note here by L&M. These instructions (largely stereotyped) were issued by every High Admiral at the start of his term of office. The Instructions of 1662 (based largely on those of 1640) remained substantially in force until Nelson's day. Pepys preseved two Mss copies of them . Officially the Navy Board could only act within the terms so established or by obtaining a special warrant for additional powers, but in practice there tended to be more flexibility than this.

11 Dec 2014, 7:04 p.m. - Bill

"the Duke’s institutions for the settlement of our office" The Duke of York's letter "to the Principal Officers and Commanders of His Majesty's Navy," dated "Whitehall, January 28th, 1661-62," is printed in Penn's "Memorials of Sir W. Penn," ii. 265. The Instructions were a revisal and confirmation of the "Orders and Instructions" issued in 1640 by Algernon, Earl of Northumberland, then Lord High Admiral. Sir W. Penn had a hand in this revisal. ---Wheatley, 1899.

22 Jan 2015, 9:21 p.m. - Bill

"putting some cataplasm to my … " CATAPLASM, a Poultice of Herbs, Roots, Seeds, &c. ---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675.

1 Feb 2015, 4:32 p.m. - Bill

"and drank some Rhenish wine and sugar" From the Merchant of Venice: There is more difference between thy flesh and hers than between jet and ivory; more between your bloods than there is between red wine and rhenish. Therefore, for fear of the worst, I pray thee, set a deep glass of rhenish wine on the contrary casket, for if the devil be within and that temptation without, I know he will choose it.

5 Feb 2015, 8:23 p.m. - Sasha Clarkson

James failed as a King not only because of his religion and religious policy, but because he believed in the Divine Right of Monarchs, and tried to tear up the Restoration political settlement too. The Cavalier Parliament began as very loyal to Charles, but became more and more protective of its prerogatives and privileges as the years progressed. Eventually compromise was reached after the "Glorious Revolution", where William III reigned, according to Simon Schama, "as chairman of the board": the true successor to Oliver Cromwell.

6 Feb 2015, 12:35 a.m. - Margaret Rose

So who are the 2 Williams? I know one is Will Penn, but who is the other? And what about Sam's resolution not to go to the theatre? Or was that not to go as much....

6 Feb 2015, 1:57 a.m. - kenK

That's William Batten. Check the rollover and links in the text!

17 Feb 2015, 12:59 a.m. - Chris Squire UK

For ‘cataplasm’ see: