Monday 24 February 1661/62

Long with Mr. Berkenshaw in the morning at my musique practice; finishing my song of “Gaze not on Swans,” in two parts, which pleases me well, and I did give him 5l. for this month or five weeks that he hath taught me, which is a great deal of money and troubled me to part with it. Thence to the Paynter’s, and set again for my picture in little, and thence over the water to Southwark to Mr. Berkenshaw’s house, and there sat with him all the afternoon, he showing me his great card of the body of musique, which he cries up for a rare thing, and I do believe it cost much pains, but is not so useful as he would have it. Then we sat down and set “Nulla, nulla sit formido,” and he has set it very finely. So home and to supper, and then called Will up, and chid him before my wife for refusing to go to church with the maids yesterday, and telling his mistress that he would not be made a slave of, which vexes me. So to bed.

26 Annotations

First Reading

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"his great card of the body of musique"
Music Notation?

Lorry  •  Link

And chid him before my wife - this probably means 'chided him before my wife'.

BradW  •  Link

telling his mistress that he would not be made a slave of, which vexes me.

I'm curious about what is known about the concept of "rights" in the 1660's. Would Will have put their disagreement in terms of his "right" not to be dictated to, and would Sam have had a different view of what "rights" Will had? Or would the term and concept of rights been unfamiliar in this interpersonal context, until "The Rights of Man" was published a century later?

Put another way, just what might Will have said, "You have no right to tell me what to do on a Sunday morning" (the likely modern protest, at least in the States)? Or did he compare his treatment to a "slave" because it was hard back then to talk about levels of freedoms and rights without resorting to specific examples?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Considering Brad W's thread... I think the very fact that Will argues for his rights and will not 'be made a slave of' suggests the concept of personal rights exists in some form. Sam's view that he can order Will to attend church as he desires is not that exceptional even today among some employers and certainly wouldn't be unusual a century or so ago.

In fairness to Sam, he seems to be as annoyed that Will spoke harshly to Beth as anything else, making a point of rebuking him in front of her.

A tiny bit of light on Beth and Will's relationship...She seems to have insisted on her privileges as Mistress in this instance and perhaps he resented it all the more because it came from her... Could it be she felt nervous and wanted to put Will in his place?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

He would not be made a slave of

If Will Hewer was a formal apprentice of Pepys as a Clothworker the reciprocal obligations of master and apprentice would be detailed in an indenture describing the nature of the "servitude." At the end of the term, probably seven years, Will would be "Free" of the Company and a Freeman of the City of London, again having very specific and detailed rights.

In this sense Will certainly has specific rights and also obligations. For more details see:-…

Australian Susan  •  Link

It is not so bad at the moment, but later on in Charles's reign non-conformity in churchgoing became dangerous: the situation was similar to the McCarthy era in the USA. Sam is doing Will a good turn in insisting on church attendance, though neither of them know this yet. In the future being able to prove long time good conforming church going was a great help when the accusations flew around.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

The English Bill of Rights, 1689

Personal rights deriving from custom or forms of tenure have existed in England from at least the early mediaeval period. Other principles of just treatment of people, similar in content to "rights" but not in conceptual underpining, were derived from Christian theology.

However these are very different in conceptual structure from those of the later eighteenth century -- though of course the American revolutionaries justified thier use of the concept of rights by reference to Magna Carta and the "traditional" rights of Englishmen, etc.

For the full text of the English Bill of Rights of 1689 see ...…

Miss Ann  •  Link

If "She seems to have insisted on her privileges as Mistress in this instance ..." as Robert Gertz supposes, one must assume that her "privileges" differ somewhat from Sam's assumed "privileges" as "Master" with the maids ...

Kal  •  Link

"set again for my picture in little"

Does this mean that Savill is painting a miniature for Sam ?

Robert de Montfermeil  •  Link

Regarding today's entry, would anyone know if "Gaze not on Swans" is available on CD? I would love to hear Sam's version!

JohnT  •  Link

The only google references I can find to "nulla, nulla sit formido" are to this diary or to a poem in a Quebec newspaper in February 1785 apparently called " Cantilenia". It translates something like , " let there be no, no fear (while Cupid is blind) "…

Mary  •  Link

Will's pride has been hurt. He occupies a slightly awkward position in the household, acting partly as Sam's clerical assistant (professional gofer) and partly as his manservant (domestic). Had he been asked to escort Elizabeth to church there might have been no problem, but being detailed off simply to go to church with the maids (i.e. the purely domestic servants, and women to boot) he feels insulted and is provoked to angry words. This ruffles Elizabeth's feathers and so, inevitably in such a situation, Sam's too.

Rex Gordon  •  Link

"...great card of the body of musique"

Per L&M, Sam is referring to a single-sheet guide by Berkenshaw entitled "Rules and Directions for composing in Parts". Today it might be called "Songwriting for Dummies".

Stolzi  •  Link

English Bill of Rights

Thanks for this; it makes particularly interesting reading to an American as it has phrases familiar to us:

" the right of the subjects to petition"


"the freedom of speech "


"That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted;"

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

To KAL: yes, probably Savill, who did oil paintings of Sam and Elizabeth, is also making miniatures (at the National Portrait Gallery quite a few can be seen. Most of them under pieces of cloth so to be spoilt by the direct light).

DK Johnson  •  Link

While Will may have spoken out anger, it is important to remember that he was not using a figure of speech, but, (however angrily,) drawing a distinction between himself and others in a very different form of service.

Put this together with Michael Robinson's commentary, and this looks more like a negotiation. Will believes his terms of service do not embrace an instruction to accompany the maids to church, and the Pepys do. Will raises the stakes by suggesting that only the basest of servants would be subject to such an instruction.

As Robert Gertz points out, Will is certainly exaggerating, but we see an indication of the impulse that would inspire Will's spiritual decendants (including my own ancestors) to find homes in colonies around the globe.

vicenzo  •  Link

"Personal rights deriving from custom or forms of tenure have existed in England from at least the early mediaeval period. Other principles of just treatment of people, similar in content to "rights" but not in conceptual underpining, were derived from Christian theology.”
CUSTOM be the Operative word.
The Magna charter was only done because [king] John stuck it to his Barons, although the Mob would love to believe it, to be for them. The Custom was to Bow [wow] low, ‘tis why there be Inter regnum to change the custom, but that be only for the disenfrancised landed ones, now the Clergy be back and trying to enforce the old CUSTOMS but there were still some of the less priviledge that would not doth a cap, The Parliament of Lauds be now debatting how to get these Simpletoms be made to show their respect to ones Elders. Luckily for many, there be a land of opportunity where some did try to find the freedoms spoken about by the betters.
A good read be some of C.Hills works, but for many of the well healed it be too left in thinking. Read some of Nursery rhymes of the times in order to get a feel of the value of a dogs body. Those that failed to be birthed with a silver spoon between the lips would find out the meaning of Common Law and Customs. There are too many modern examples of man attemt at using custom justice.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"not be made a slave of..." Part of my point was I suspect Will was hurt because Elisabeth made such a point of insisting, suggesting that up to now they've had a fairly free and easy relationship. Now she is becoming the great Mrs. Pepys, likely Lady Pepys someday, and may feel that poor Will must recognize his place...And perhaps shelve any fantasies he's had of her.

Not suggesting Beth herself has taken any liberties...In fact she may be simply be trying to avoid potential problems, realizing Will is getting a little too fond of her.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: "Will is getting a little too fond of her"

Robert, what evidence do you have of this?

JWB  •  Link

Will to church?
Will's uncle is Quaker. Earlier I speculated when Sam chid him for not taking off his hat, that Will was assuming Quaker ways. Perhaps he doesn't want to go to church but would rather go to meeting.

Pauline  •  Link

Will to church?
I wondered what role was played by Sam's *in loco parentis* position with Will--if he felt an obligation to expect churchgoing on behalf of Will's father; so JWB's comment is of interest.

Also wondered if Sam and Elizabeth preferred that their maids be accompanied to church (in their own absence) for the respectability this confers, and again their obligations in having "parental" control of the maids.

vicenzo  •  Link

Tell me! what young man would enjoy taking a [uninterested in his charms] female to a service, when he would rather be free to chat up a girl of interest without the encumbrance of another female. The Aisle of a church be not only for the Prayerful ones but also be a source of social exchange, 'tis why a young female should hide her charms and hair beneath a covering, so that the lads should keep their thoughts on a higher ideal.
"But Mistress I have my beedy eye on this very cute becoming lassy, and ... "

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"re: "Will is getting a little too fond of her"

Robert, what evidence do you have of this?”

The key word in the rest “she may be simply” was “may”…I’m merely speculating. Will is close to her in age, has been living with them, and he has on occasion taking to strutting a bit what was the cloak thrown back episode and all. I think it’s likely he’s very fond of her…Likely they’ve shared a laugh or two at Sam’s expense…And she may be feeling it’s time she reminded him of his place. Whether or no he (or she) harbors secret fantasies, he’s bound to resent someone he considers a friend and confidant suddenly setting boundaries and issuing orders.

But it’s just speculation. We’ll see if there’s anything more to it as time goes on.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link


Fugit aetas, et faccssit:
Forma decor deflorescit:
Faelix calix, et amores
Procul abigant maerores:
Da Basia, Chloe, vinum Puer,
Dies it, praesenti frnar:
Nulla, nulla sit formido,
Quamvis Caecus sit Cupido,
Per Maeandros et Errores,
Palpat viam ad Mxrores.
Fugit jEfas et facessit,
Forma decor deflorescit,
Da Basia, Chloe, vinum, Puer,
Dies it, praesenti fruar.

Time impatient flits away,
Charms of beauty soon decay:
Love and wine, the foes to grief,
For those sorrows bring relief:

Kiss, then Chloe, kiss, my lass;
Fill, my boy, the sparkling glass;
We'll the present hour employ,
And secure the flitting joy;
Fear not, fear not Cupid blind,
Though he's wanton, he is kind:
Dread not then his pointed dart,
Which gives the pleasure with the smart;
Through thorny mazes he will rove,
Yet he soothes the way to love:
Then though time should flit away,
Then though beauty should decay,
Kiss me, Chloe,—kiss again,
For we will not live in vain;
We'll not think what time may bring,
But of life enjoy the spring:
While we thus our time improve,
We shall live an age of love.…

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Re JWB's comment: I have seen no evidence anywhere that Robert Blackburne was a Quaker. Although George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends (ie Quakers) was highly regarded by Cromwell personally, the Friends as a body were a thorn in the side of both Protectorate and Restoration governments. I think it highly unlikely therefore that if Blackburne had been a Quaker he would have been appointed Secretary of the Admiralty, or been interested in the post. Actually, all the evidence is that Blackwell was an orthodox Puritan: Quakers were something else entirely, and attracted equal hostility from all sides. It is even less likely that Will Hewer had had any Quaker sympathies: it would have completely incompatible with his station and subsequent career.

Hewer is now 20ish, not quite an adult in law. Pepys and Elizabeth are effectively in loco parentis to a young man at a difficult age, who is "feeling his oats". Will is Pepys' dependent, living under his roof. Despite there being less of an age gap, there would have been a flavour of "don't speak to your mother like that" in Sam's remonstrance.

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