Friday 21 March 1661/62

With Sir W. Batten by water to Whitehall, and he to Westminster. I went to see Sarah and my Lord’s lodgings, which are now all in dirt, to be repaired against my Lord’s coming from sea with the Queen. Thence to Westminster Hall; and there walked up and down and heard the great difference that hath been between my Lord Chancellor and my Lord of Bristol, about a proviso that my Lord Chancellor would have brought into the Bill for Conformity, that it shall be in the power of the King, when he sees fit, to dispense with the Act of Conformity; and though it be carried in the House of Lords, yet it is believed it will hardly pass in the Commons. Here I met with Chetwind, Parry, and several others, and went to a little house behind the Lords’ house to drink some wormwood ale, which doubtless was a bawdy house, the mistress of the house having the look and dress. Here we staid till noon and then parted, I by water to the Wardrobe to meet my wife, but my Lady and they had dined, and so I dined with the servants, and then up to my Lady, and there staid and talked a good while, and then parted and walked into Cheapside, and there saw my little picture, for which I am to sit again the next week. So home, and staid late writing at my office, and so home and to bed, troubled that now my boy is also fallen sick of an ague we fear.

38 Annotations

First Reading

A. Hamilton  •  Link

The Act of Conformity was also known as the Act of Uniformity (1662). It is one of four penal acts developed during the chancellorship of Edward Hyde, known as the Clarendon Code.The best succinct link I could find is:…

Clarendon himself was less concerned about non-conformism than "his" acts implied.He had promised important church offices to non-conformists to smooth the way for the Restoration, and wanted to preserve political flexibility for the King by allowing a Royal waiver of the requirement to use only the Book of Common Prayer.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

troubled that now my boy is also fallen sick of an ague we fear.

Nothing to do but pray and mutter spells:

From OED: abracadabra [L.; origin unknown. Occurs first in a poem by Q. Serenus Sammonicus, 2nd c.] A cabalistic word, formerly used as a charm, and believed to have the power, when written in a triangular arrangement, and worn round the neck, to cure agues, etc....

1696 Aubrey Misc. 105 Abracadabra, a Mysterious Word, to which the Superstitious in former times attributed a Magical power to expel Diseases, especially the Tertian-Ague, worn about their neck.... 1860 T. A. G. Balfour Typ. Charac. Nat. 118 Abr

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Nothing to do...

Without the Jesuit powder, that is.

john lauer  •  Link

"my boy", his usual mention of Wayneman Birch.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"the mistress of the house having the look and the dress"
Now how would our Sam know *that*, I wonder! What would "the look and the dress" consist of? Much make-up and cleavage and bright garments?

vicenzo  •  Link

This little act of with me or agin me of Charles son of Head less Carlos is a major issue of Contention of the various factions of the Land.

Bill for Uniformity of Worship.
Next, this House took into Consideration the Bill concerning Uniformity in Public Worship, formerly reported from the Committee. And, upon the Second Reading of the Alterations and Provisos, and Consideration thereof, it is ORDERED, That this House agrees to the Preamble, as it is now brought in by the Committee.
And the Question being put, "Whether this Book that hath been transmitted to this House from the King shall be the Book to which the Act of Uniformity shall relate ?"
It was Resolved in the Affirmative.

A Proviso from the King to be inserted in it.
Then the Lord Chancellor acquainted the House with a Proviso recommended from the King, to be inserted in this Bill of Uniformity; which his Lordship read.
And it was commanded that the same should be read again; and it is ORDERED, That the further Debate of this Business is deferred until To-morrow Morning.

From: British History Online
Source: House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 17 March 1662. Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11, ().
URL:… of Worship
Date: 22/03/2005

Jesse  •  Link

wormwood ale at the "bawdy house"

Quite a change from yesterday. I posted a link to a recipe. "Wormwood ale has been described as stimulating, mildly hallucinegenic ... and highly intoxicating." Does sound tempting. Doesn't *seem* to have had much effect on our hero as he carries on quite normally for the rest of the day. False advertising?

Mary  •  Link

"Sarah and my lord's lodgings"

I can't place this Sarah. Any suggestions?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Usually, when Sam refers to someone female without any kind of title (Mrs, Lady, etc,) but obviously is familiar with them, he is referring to a servant of his or his family's. This is who I assumed this Sarah to be. Any other ideas from anyone? As Mary has access to L&M (lucky her - I keep dropping hints to my family and leaving printouts from Amazon on the fridge.....) - as I was saying, as Mary has access to L & M, presumably there is no mention there.

Australian Susan  •  Link

A later thought - the Sandwich housekeeper?

A. Hamilton  •  Link

the Sandwich housekeeper

A fair conjecture. There are two Sarahs in recent diary entries (1) the "tall and very well favored wench" who went to work for Elizabeth Pepys in November and more recently has been ill with the ague and (2) "Mrs. Sarah" of the Sandwich household, whose brother Archibald, "my lady's butler" died last November. Pepys does not alway use the honorific "Mrs." for the Sandwich household person, with whom he frequently dines. But the association here of the name Sarah with "my Lord's lodgings" makes it clear which person he means.

A. Hamilton  •  Link


Another guess -- the Sandwich cook (or shd that be the sandwich maker)?

Thomas Burns  •  Link

I find it puzzling that Bristol, a convert to Catholicism, would disagree with Clarendon on his opposition to this act.

J A Gioia  •  Link


a literature professor of mine once observed how the first four letters of the alphabet appear in ABraCaDabra, and, from that, supposed the spell was once meant to invoke the power latent in the written word.

JWB  •  Link

Anti-ague folk remedy. Still has life today @WHO.

Ruben  •  Link

Mr. Q. Serenus Sammonicus wrote the word more than a thousand years before the Kabala was imagined.
This magic word has nothing to do with Hebrew.
You have to make terrible contortions to attribute Hebrew significance to this strange and magic word.
Considering that Serenus was a kind of Greek-Egyptian, I suggest that the word has something to do with old Egyptian enchantments. Maybe in his days the word was already thousands of years old and no one remembered what it meant...

Diphi  •  Link

Wormwood was used for centuries as a moth repellent, general pesticide, and a worming agent for people and animals. And it was also a flavoring used in absinthe, a green colored liquor that is now illegal in most countries and was known as the Green Fairy.

More info on absinthe here:…

JWB  •  Link

Wormwood again
This reminds me of Sam's drinking the "China Ale" with Capt. Ferrers last fall. Wonder if he has ague symptoms or taking as a preventative? And note wormwood's association with demimonde 2 C's before fin de siecle.

A. Hamilton  •  Link


Ah, dueling authorities again!

The OED entry seems to be using the word in its secondary meaning of "having a private or mystical sense, mysterious." I would agree that it was a poor choice of adjective. The following site:…
says the word has gnostic origins. Some scholars assert that a mystical and secret interpretation of Jewish scripture existed in the pre-Christian era and trace the roots of cabala and gnosticism to the same philosophical origins. But what do I know?

A. Hamilton  •  Link

write in haste, repent at leisure

Under the entry "cabala" above my first use of the word "word" refers to "cabalistic" as used in the OED definition of "abracadabra." My second use refers to
"abracadabra." Professor Snape would give me a failing grade for getting my spell all wrong.

vicenzo  •  Link

This little act upset many of the protesting Protestants, spiritualy and economicaly "...But gradual as the changes were they did not fail to provoke hostility; two malcontents, John and Elizabeth Dicks, were reported to have said, after attending service at the abbey towards the close of the year 1661, that to see the people bow to the altar made their hair stand on end, for it was mere mountebank play. ..."

From: British History Online
Source: Benedictine monks: St Peter's abbey, Westminster. A History of the County of London: Volume I, William Page (editor) (1909).
URL:… 1662
Date: 22/03/2005

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Back in Nova Eboracum
"having the look and the dress"
and most likely some other cues too,some subtle and others not so subtle; after all it is said to be the oldest profession.

JWB  •  Link

"The Act of Uniformity, passed in 1662, and aimed at the Puritans, did not include the colonies in its operation; and the course of events proved that the influence of the home authorities was thenceforth to be on the side of toleration in so far as America was concerned." Adams, James Truslow.
"The Founding of New England."…

Australian Susan  •  Link

Charles II & the Act of Uniformity

What Charles, it seems, most wanted to avoid was more disruption, dissent, Civil War and arousing the kind of opposition which led to his father's troubles. He sees dissenters as troublemakers, not as people having a reasonable alternative to the episcopal type of Christianity the Act sought to reimpose everywhere. Charles is probably at this time a closet Catholic, but equally, he has no intention of seeming to give favour to Catholics - that way also leads to danger (as proved true when his brother took the throne). Like his predecssor alomost exactly a hundred years before ,Elizabeth, Charles is trying to keep the peace - in a religious and civil sense.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Are we confusing cabal with The Kabbalah?

Nix  •  Link

Abracadabra --

Very mysterious origins:

Abracadabra is considered to be the most universally adopted phrase that is pronounced in other languages without translation.

One hypothesis about the source of the word is Aramaic: Avrah KaDabra which means I will create as I speak. Due to its universal acceptance, it has been speculated by Bible-believers that the word predates the confusion of languages granted at the Tower of Babel in biblical times.

It is now commonly used as an incantation by magicians. In ancient times, however, the word was taken much more seriously as an incantation to be used as a cure against fevers and inflammations. The first known mention was in De Medicina Praecepta by Serenus Sammonicus, physician to the Roman emperor Caracalla, who prescribed that the sufferer from the disease wear an amulet containing the word written in the form of an inverted cone:


This, he explained, diminishes the hold of the spirit of the disease over the patient. Other Roman emperors, including Geta and Alexander Severus, were followers of the medical teachings of Serenus Sammonicus and are likely to have used the incantation as well.

There is also the view that Abracadabra derives from the Hebrew, ha-brachah, meaning "the blessing" (used in this sense as a euphemism for "the curse") and dabra, an Aramaic form of the Hebrew word dever, meaning "pestilence." They point to a similar kabbalistic cure for blindness, in which the name of Shabriri, the demon of blindness, is similarly diminished. Other scholars are skeptical of this origin and claim that the idea of diminishing the power of demons was common throughout the ancient world, and that Abracadabra was simply the name of one such demon.

Some point to the Hebrew words ab ("father"), ben ("son"), and ruach hacadosch ("holy spirit").

Some have argued that the term may come from the Arabic Abra Kadabra, meaning 'let the things be destroyed' or from the Aramaic abhadda kedhabhra, meaning 'disappear like this word'. Rather than being used as a curse, the Aramaic phrase is believed to have been used as a means of treating illness.

It has also been claimed that the word comes Abraxas, a Gnostic word for God (the source of 365 emanations, apparently the Greek letters for Abraxas add up to 365 when deciphered according to numerological methods).

See also: Hocus Pocus, presto and Avada Kedavra (a Harry Potter reference).…

Second Reading

bw  •  Link

"Abracadabra is considered to be the most universally adopted phrase that is pronounced in other languages without translation."

After "okay".

Clark Kent  •  Link

In these (supposedly) more enlightened times, absinthe is once again available in many parts of the U.S.--nasty by itself, but it does jazz up a martini.

Bill  •  Link

ABRACADABRA, a Word used as a Charm against Agues
---An Universal Etymological English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1675

john  •  Link

Bill, where may one fine the 1675 edition of Bailey? Searching only revealed much later editions.

Bill  •  Link

I'm a little, no very, embarrassed. The following, Google's bibliographic information, was wrong. The title page was misread as this reviewer note (overlooked by me) stated: "The title page indicates that this is the Twenty First Edition and the publication date on that page was misread as 1675 instead of 1775 due to a faded Roman numeral." Mea culpa.

Title An Universal Etymological English Dictionary: Comprehending the Derivations of the Generality of Words in the English Tongue ... And Also a Brief and Clear Explication of All Difficult Words ... Together with a Large Collection and Explication of Words and Phrases Used in Our Ancient Statutes ...
Author Nathan Bailey
Publisher R. Ware, W. Innys and J. Richardson, J. Knapton ... [and 12 others], 1675
Original from Columbia University
Digitized Aug 18, 2009
Length 944 pages

Bill  •  Link

The first edition was 1721, the earliest online with Google Books seems to be the 2nd edition, 1724… I'll use that in the future.

The Internet Archive has a number of editions.

(I have found in my travels that older books available in some countries on Google Books are not always available in others.)

Lex Lector  •  Link

Evra : I shall create
Cadabera : as I speak: Hebrew, my phonetic spelling. Surely: "In the Beginning was the Word..."
The storyteller Roi Gal - Or posits that early written language was all consonants; that vowels were the speaker's breath that gave words life, therefore magically transformative and of the Spirit - and Not To Be Written Down! Abracadabra! (or, as Sooty used to say, "Izzy-Wizzy: Let's Get Busy") Absinthe! the taste of Wormwood...but that's Artemisia Absinthium, not quite the same as artemisia vulgaris, flavouring the beer, also called "mugwort" - or "Chernobyl" in Ukrainian..... Absinthecadabra! ("Mug" for the beer-vessel, or the drinker? Cured the ague, among other things, said - I believe - Culpeper)

Terry Foreman  •  Link


Artemisia absinthium (wormwood, grand wormwood, absinthe, absinthium, absinthe wormwood,[4] mugwort, wermout, wermud, wormit, wormod[5]) is a species of Artemisia native to temperate regions of Eurasia[6] and Northern Africa and widely naturalized in Canada and the northern United States.[7] It is grown as an ornamental plant and is used as an ingredient in the spirit absinthe as well as some other alcoholic beverages. (Large Glossary)…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"....the great difference that hath been between my Lord Chancellor and my Lord of Bristol, about a proviso that my Lord Chancellor would have brought into the Bill for Conformity, that it shall be in the power of the King, when he sees fit, to dispense with the Act of Conformity; and though it be carried in the House of Lords, yet it is believed it will hardly pass in the Commons."

L&M: The Bill of Uniformity (ultimately passed on 19 May) was now being debated, and this was proviso, introduced by Clarendon, would have allowed, to those ministers who wanted it, freedom not to wear the surplice, and (in the baptismal service) freedom to omit the sign of the cross. It was one of the concessions to moderate Presbyterians which Clarendon now favored and which Bristol opposed in a series of bitter speeches on 19-21 March. The account of the Venetian Resident (21 March) is almost the same as Pepys's: 'Even if it should be carried by virtue of the authority of the Chancellor, who, though no Presbyterian, supports that party because it is strong, to have it on his side in case of need, there is not the smallest sign that it would be passed by the Commons, on account of the animosity of the majority there against the Presbyterians, and of their rancour against the Chancellor . . .': CSPVen. 1661-4, pp.134-5. The proviso passed the Lords on 9 April and was defeated in the Commons on the 22nd. For Clarendon's attitude, see G.R. Abernathy in Journ. Eccles. Hist., 11/55+.

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