Saturday 15 November 1662

All the morning at the office sitting, dined with my wife pleasantly at home, then among my painters, and by and by went to my Civil Lawyers about my uncle’s suit, and so home again and saw my painters make an end of my house this night, which is my great joy, and so to my office and did business till ten at night, and so home and to supper, and after reading part of Bussy d’Ambois, a good play I bought to-day, to bed.

24 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Calm before the storm, Sam...If she guesses you didn't read that letter.

Moron, tonight of all nights is the night you go home early...With something she likes...and talk about how much stress the home work's been, how great that it's finally over, and how you understand her feelings.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

An earlier play of Chapman’s, to which the above is a sequal

Bussy D’Ambois: A Tragedie: As it hath been often presented at Paules. 1607. 4to.

with subsequent editions in 1646 & 1657.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"Flashback," December 30th. 1661

... and so home to Sir W. Pen, who with his children and my wife has been at a play to-day and saw “D’Ambois,” which I never saw. ...

Jeannine  •  Link

"a good play I bought to-day"....sounds like Sam has splurged on this play???? with all the talk of thriftiness, it's sort of surprising.

Eric Walla  •  Link

Splurge?! How dare you suggest such a thing. Sam is celebrating the completion of his home, made up just the way he wants it (well, until he gets another fancy in his head). He needed a new book to complement the new living space. You can almost see him glowing as he enters the refurbished room, seating himself in the newly positioned armchair, putting his feet up and cracking the new volume. Add a warming fire and his best girl at his side and I think you've hit Sam's particular vision of domestic bliss.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Lovely picture Eric! Also add in Jane combing the lice out of his hair.

Dave Bell  •  Link

The rooms will reek of paint for a few days yet, though I don't know just what ingredients they used in those days. A lot of white lead, probably, but paint is complicated stuff. Anyway, there's some solvent evaporating as it dries.

Jeannine  •  Link

Eric, "Splurge" you say, perhaps you forgot to add the part where Elizabeth's companion comes into join the family for a lovely cup of tea.... she enters gracefully dancing around the little collection combed out by Jane.....(great touch A. Susan!)

Terry F  •  Link

"Civil Lawyers"

L&M note: "The dispute about the will of Robert Pepys of Brampton would be settled by civil (i.e. ecclesiastical) lawyers in a church court, which had jurisdiction in testamentary matters. The case was in fact settled out of court:… "

I wonder when the name and the concept of the court changed from "ecclesiastical" to "civil"?

Terry F  •  Link

The Origins of Legal Institutions

"At the end of the thirteenth century in the majority of western European countries we find, in addition to a body of ecclesiastical lawyers, a legal profession of a civil character emerging. Except in France where it appeared in its own right this profession was at first subordinated to the great landlords of the feudal system. In England this was not so, for it was the churchmen who in that country held the great power in the courts until the latter part of the reign of Henry III. The organization of law as we know it in England dates from Edward I's time [1239 – 1307], when the legal personnel, except the Chancellor and the Keeper of the Rolls, became lay instead of clerical.

"In all countries of Western Europe during the fourteenth centuries, a fully organized legal profession with strict discipline and recognized ranks came into being. Judges by this time were in criminal cases usually answerable to the king alone, and in civil cases were more often than not deputies of the feudal lords only in name. In England judges were chosen from the Serjeants-at-Law, who were the members of the Order of the Coif, who were the original Pleaders in courts, had their own Inns, the Serjeants' Inns. Those ranking below the degree of the Coif were organized in the Inns of Court and Chancery, which attained their final form at this period.
- Excerpts from "A History of Legal Dress In Europe", W.N. Hargreaves-Mawdsley…

So the question of Bishops being members of the House of Lords, which Sam has discussed, and of which he disapproves, had a long history.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Thank you, Rex and Terry for illumination of different specialities! V. Interesting.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"Civil" -- two senses
The advocates in the ecclesiastical, (Canon Law) and civil courts, "Doctor's Commons," were all Doctors of Civil Law -- ie had been trained in Roman Law and procedure because of the strong Roman Law influence on these systems.

"The Court of Probate Act of 1857 gave common lawyers the possibility to practise in the areas which before had been the exclusive domain of civilians. For this reason the civilian legal profession died out"

Doctors' Commons, From Wikipedia,…'_Commons

The term civil law, as distinct from criminal, is used in a diferent sense and means laws between private persons rather than between the State, or the Crown, and private persons.

Terry F  •  Link

“Civil Lawyers" redux
There is no evidence so far that Pepys's Civil Lawyers were found in the "Doctors' Commons [which] was a society of lawyers practising civil law in London. Like the Inns of Court [Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple, and Middle Temple] of the common lawyers, the society had buildings....situated near St. Paul's Cathedral."
Alas the Doctors' Commons was eventually unable to compete with the Inns of Court due to the poor quality of its advocacy, a matter Pepys would have been keenly monitoring, wherever he hired a lawyer. "In the 19th century, the institution of Doctors' Commons and its members were looked upon as old-fashioned and slightly ridiculous. A satirical description of Doctors' Commons can be found in Charles Dickens' Sketches by Boz and also in his novel David Copperfield." All quotations from Doctors’ Commons, Wikipedia,…

Terry F  •  Link

The Latinity of English Civil Law is the mark of the learnedness of one of "the three black robes" of the original learned professions -- theology, law, medicine -- and not a sign of Roman Law training or influence per se.
A well-known example of a provision of Common Law that goes by a Latin name is *habeas corpus*, the "Great Writ", attested as early as 1305, whose enshrining in the Act of 1679, beyond the Diary, but provoked by events it attests to…

Terry F  •  Link

Likely Pepys's Civil Lawyers were in the Temple's Inner or Outer Courts, where he drops by frequently to discuss business as he ambulated through the interesection of Fleet Street and the Strand… We hear no comment from Pepys about visiting the Doctors’ Commons, though it is not far away.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Language can sometimes be used to illuminate, but in many instances it be used to obfuscate, thereby separating the majority from their wealth, health and rights to priviledges.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Civil Lawyers, Law and Testamentary Juristdiction

The members of Doctor's Commons posessed exclusive jurisdiction in testamentary matters until the Court of Probate Act in 1857. The suit being about a will, and in Pepys capacity as executor, it would be foolish to consult anyone other than a member of Doctor's Commons -- indeed a "Civil Lawyer " (diary text above) would not be found anywhere else.

If the following is insufficient to convince of the above and that Civil Law (as distinct from Common Law) was taught, post Reformation, at Oxford & Cambridge…

consult the standard modern history to Pepys' day:

Helmholtz, R. H.
The Oxford History of the Laws of England: The Canon Law & Ecclesiatstical Jurisdiction from 597 to 1640's
Oxford: OUP, 2004
"Testamentary & Probate Jurisdiction" pp. 387 - 432

Terry F  •  Link

The Doctors' Commons' purview made clear and therewith Pepys's Civil Lawyer's venue!

The earlier presentation thereof was undercut by the hash of Doctors’ Commons, From Wikipedia, which has been shown by this material to dearly need editing.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys worked until 10 at night, then home for supper, and then read a play before going to bed. I wonder who stayed up to feed him. It must have been after 1 a.m. when he hit the sack. That's a lot of candles, which were expensive. I wonder what Elizabeth was up to all that time. No wonder she was bored.

Clark Kent  •  Link

The Order of the Coif persists in the U.S. as a law school honorary society generally awarded to the top 10% of each graduating class at participating schools. It should not be confused with the likewise highly regarded lawyers' drinking club known as The Order of the Quaff.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ah, homophones! Thanks, Clark Kent. I had quaff down, but looked up coif.

A coif /ˈkɔɪf/ is a close fitting cap that covers the top, back, and sides of the head. ...Tudor (later Stewart in Scotland) and earlier coifs are usually made of unadorned white linen and tied under the chin. In the Elizabethan and early Jacobean eras, coifs were frequently decorated with blackwork embroidery and lace edging. Coifs were worn under gable hoods and hats of all sorts, and alone as indoor headcoverings.

Coifs were also worn by a now-defunct senior grade of English lawyer, the Serjeant-at-Law even after they became judges. A United States law school honor society, the Order of the Coif, is named after this use of the coif.

john  •  Link

Painters finishing this night: Painting by candlelight seems risky on various grounds (if he means it literally).

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