Thursday 22 January 1662/63

To the office, where Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Minnes are come from Portsmouth. We sat till dinner time. Then home, and Mr. Dixon by agreement came to dine, to give me an account of his success with Mr. Wheatly for his daughter for my brother; and in short it is, that his daughter cannot fancy my brother because of his imperfection in his speech, which I am sorry for, but there the business must die, and we must look out for another.

There came in also Mrs. Lodum, with an answer from her brother Ashwell’s daughter, who is likely to come to me, and with her my wife’s brother, and I carried Commissioner Pett in with me, so I feared want of victuals, but I had a good dinner, and mirth, and so rose and broke up, and with the rest of the officers to Mr. Russell’s buriall, where we had wine and rings, and a great and good company of aldermen and the livery of the Skinners’ Company. We went to St. Dunstan’s in the East church, where a sermon, but I staid not, but went home, and, after writing letters, I took coach to Mr. Povy’s, but he not within I left a letter there of Tangier business, and so to my Lord’s, and there find him not sick, but expecting his fit to-night of an ague. Here was Sir W. Compton, Mr. Povy, Mr. Bland, Mr. Gawden and myself; we were very busy about getting provisions sent forthwith to Tangier, fearing that by Mr. Gawden’s neglect they might want bread. So among other ways thought of to supply them I was empowered by the Commissioners of Tangier that were present to write to Plymouth and direct Mr. Lanyon to take up vessels great or small to the quantity of 150 tons, and fill them with bread of Mr. Gawden’s lying ready there for Tangier, which they undertake to bear me out in, and to see the freight paid. This I did. About 10 o’clock we broke up, and my Lord’s fit [Malaria?? D.W.] was coming upon him, and so we parted, and I with Mr. Creed, Mr. Pierce, Wm. Howe and Captn. Ferrers, who was got almost drunk this afternoon, and was mighty capricious and ready to fall out with any body, supped together in the little chamber that was mine heretofore upon some fowls sent by Mr. Shepley, so we were very merry till 12 at night, and so away, and I lay with Mr. Creed at his lodgings, and slept well.

47 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

"his daughter cannot fancy my brother because of his imperfection in his speech, which I am sorry for, but there the business must die":

Lisp? Stammer? A problem then reckoned incurable, it would seem; and no clue in the Background or the Companion, unless someone with Tomalin can check if she hazards a guess?

Ah, Cap'n Ferrers, where ye been sae lang? "[W]ho was got almost drunk this afternoon" would in modern syntax suggest that someone helped him in this endeavor, but no doubt he did not require assistance.

Terry F  •  Link

Ague: A fever (such as from malaria) that is marked by paroxysms of chills, fever, and sweating recurring regular intervals. Also a fit of shivering, a chill. Hence, ague can refer to both chills and fevers.

Pronounced 'A-(")gyü with the accent solidly on the "A", the word "ague" is an example of how medical terminology changes with time. Not only are new terms introduced (with great speed these days) but old terms such as "ague" may decline in usage (become archaic) and eventually may be dropped entirely (be obsolete).

"Aigue" entered English usage in the 14th century, having crossed the channel from the Middle French "aguë". The word share the same origin as "acute." It descends from the Latin "acutus" meaning "sharp or pointed". A "fievre aigue" in French was a sharp or pointed (or acute) fever.…

jeannine  •  Link

Tom's speech impediment, Bradford-nothing in Tomilin or Ollard's biographies of Sam (except Tomlin mentions he had "speech problems and slowness"), but that's it. Rather sad.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Poor Tom.

Speech impediments were thought of as being linked with mental slowness, so presumably the young lady thought Tom was some idiot relative being foisted on her.

As someone with a speech impediment I can empathise with him. From my own experience, so much depends on the attitudes of those around you. If you are with people who ignore it, it really does tend to settle down and go away. No doubt Tom got worse when introduced to a prospective wife. Me, I was always worst when being introduced as a child or teenager,to yet another expert who was going to "cure" me.

Interesting that Sam never ever comments adversely on this, but just accepts it as part of his brother.

daniel  •  Link

"capt ferriers who was got almost drunk this afternoon, and was mighty capricious and ready to fall out with any body"

this doesn't surprise.

Terry F  •  Link

Bread from Plymouth to Tangier by ship?!

Had it not been the practice to send money to Tangier to buy victuals locally; yet it seems Mr. Gaudens has stores of bread sitting on the dock in Plymouth awaiting "vessels great or small to the quantity of 150 tons"?

Is Mr. Gaudens angling to be elected a FRC? conducting a large-scale experiment to discover penicillin?

Very puzzling and troubling.

dirk  •  Link

Bread to Tangier

Sam uses the word "bread" here, but this can't be anything like our modern bread. The trip to Tangier would take several weeks, and in the moist environment of the ship's hull bread would be completely worthless by the time it arrived.

Anybody any ideas?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I would guess the 'bread' was some form of hardtack that would last a while. (Though US Civil War soldiers and sailors did write of it as often so old that when broken into a cup of coffee the cup's surface would be full of weevils...Then again a good protein source for a sailor stuck out in the middle of nowhere.)
Hmmn...Sam does Bloomsday today what with the funeral, chasing after Povey, and what sounds like a rather drunken night party.

With a certain Captain perhaps ready to stand in for Blazes Boylan? I dunno Sam, I don't think I'd let Ferrers (drunk as a skunk or no) know I was sleeping abroad tonight, especially at Creed's, the fellow who was leering at his side all summer when he made his social calls at Brampton.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

A sailors lot be a sad one, cheap cheese [nice grubs there be to} ,and biscuit From Bread Lane and sent down to Plymouth , this be I dothe thinke in the form of a ruske.
For those that been to a Boarding House [5th rate hotel] back in early part of the 20th C, will remember the the toast that waiting for ye, many a time, I thought if be left overs from the Battle of Trafalgar

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Re: Spending monies in Tangiers, Local purchase would be difficult as the population of Tangiers be out of bounds to the Occupiers [they like to keep their fighting distance], and there be not enough organisation yet to be self sufficient. From Experience 300 years later, dealing with suffering locals, we relied on being supplied by the quarter master , who like to keep control as it be good for his wallet. Luckerly we had a first rate scrounger and chef who could turn the army tack [we still called it tack, it had to be dunck in any liquid preferbly alcholic.]into a feast.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Re: physical defect [actual or perceived]. The human dothe not like the out of the normal, it be not good for the raising of the next generation. The young of the species seek the perfect [actual or perceived] beast, only after a few years of exposure to reality of what is, to find that it not be so.[There be always exception, rare tho they may be].
The cover/facade has to be taken [may I say it] with grain of salt.

wildtubes  •  Link

Ships bread had a long and diverse history in the British Navy. The stories of Nelson's day about the practice of tapping the biscuit on the table so that the weevils and grubs (etc.) would have left it before eating are well documented.

However, many growing young midshipmen appreciated the extra protein afforded by the bugs and left them undisturbed so they could be eaten. The amount of food given these young men was usually insufficient for the amount of physical labour they performed

There are also reports of young officers and seamen eating the rats which infested the ships. YUM YUM.

Australian Susan  •  Link

One convict settlement in Tasmania (fictionalised in Gould's Book of Fish)was supplied with ship's biscuit and salt pork found to be three years' old. I think even the weevils may have given up on that. The victualling officers for the settlements were often corrupt and money got pocketed for supplies which never materialised or had rejects substituted. And yes, rats were a tasty extra in convict diet as well as Navy diet. Poor conditions were one of the reasons for the Bounty mutiny. They should have had a Sam!

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"the little chamber that was mine heretofore"
Does this mean that Sir John M. really did appropriate part of Sam's house for himself, as Sam was fearing a couple of months ago? Or is it some other chamber?

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"...supped together in the little chamber that was mine heretofore upon some fowls sent by Mr. Shepley, so we were very merry till 12 at night, and so away, and I lay with Mr. Creed at his lodgings, and slept well...."
I think he dothe mean [little chamber] the chamber he used to use in the good old days, when he failed to get back to Axe because of aked head?

Terry F  •  Link

Thanks all for depicting the victual tack of the British Navy; I had forgot.

(I meant, of course, to ask whether Mr. Gaudens was angling to be elected a *FRS*? by conducting a large-scale experiment to discover penicillin?)

Australian Susan  •  Link

"little chamber"
I think this means the place where he originally lived with Elizabeth after they were married, before he got the Axe Yard house.

J A Gioia  •  Link

It descends from the Latin “acutus” meaning “sharp or pointed”

allors, montagu - nozing more zan franch for pointee mountaine. zut!

language hat  •  Link

Of course J A Gioia is correct about the etymology; the interesting thing is that it does not appear to be a current French name -- there is only the town Montaigu (, from which the English name derives.

Glyn  •  Link

There seem to be some words in English that the French either never had or no longer use, at least "cul de sac" would be unknown in French (and American?) I believe; and whereas English-speaking tennis referees call out "love" (l'oeuf) the French referees say "zero". All of which has nothing to do with the Diary, apologies Phil.

Justin  •  Link

Au contraire with regard to 'cul de sac' (end of a bag) mon ami. It is still used in French slang where the phrase 'le cul' means, ahem, that part of a lady which forms a dead end.

Terry F  •  Link

salt pork

O, the hypertension!

“cul de sac” is in common use in North America, but I doubt the percentage of users of it who know what it means *literally* is very high -- but how many care about such useless things?

A. Hamilton  •  Link


From annotation by Vincent

"Navy victualler 1660_77 for which he was rewarded by rarely receiving money from the crown and was bankrupted in consequence. "

Another way the Treasurer is saving the King money.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Montague waiting for his ague

Sam as punster?

Pedro  •  Link

Today St Dunstan-in-the-East, and Goldsmiths on the 19th January.

Brewer's Phrase and Fable...

Dunstan (St.). Patron saint of goldsmiths, being himself a noted worker in gold. He is represented generally in pontifical robes, but carrying a pair of pincers in his right hand. The pontificals refer to his office as Archbishop of Canterbury, and the pincers to the legend of his holding the Devil by the nose till he promised never to tempt him again.

St. Dunstan and the devil.

Dunstan was a painter, jeweller, and blacksmith. Being expelled from court, he built a cell near Glastonbury church, and there he worked at his handicrafts. It was in this cell that tradition says the Devil had a gossip with the saint through the lattice window. Dunstan went on talking till his tongs were red hot, when he turned round suddenly and caught his Satanic Majesty by the nose. One can
trace in this legend the notion that all knowledge belonged to the Black Art; that the "saints" are always more than conquerors over the spirits of evil; and the singular cunning which our forefathers so delighted to honour.

stolzi  •  Link

"cul de sac"

Certainly known in the USA but pronounced with not a hint of French about it.

"Cul de sac" more likely to be used for an attractive end-of-road court with houses located around it, but a plain old road which goes nowhere is more commonly referred to as a "dead end."

Australian Susan  •  Link

About the funeral.
It seems that they had the get-together *before* the ceremony, whereas now we tend to have a gathering *after* the funeral. Or would there have been both in this instance? Would people have gathered, had their wine and received their mourning rings and then walked after the coffin to the church? And then had a proper wake after the committal?

Miss Ann  •  Link

I wonder if Tom stutters, after all having a brother like our Sam (so in control and controlling) could be complicit in any speech impediment. Although I would think "lisping" would be caused by a physical condition. He wouldn't have a hare-lip would he? Would that be something to turn off any possible bride-to-be? Pity Sam has not given us more to go on.

A.Hamilton  •  Link

speech impedimant

It will be somewhat more than 200 years before the lisp and stammer become a measure of refinement in English society.

E  •  Link

The little chamber appears to be at My Lord's house -- that is the last place mentioned in Sam's peregrinations, and at the start of the "little chamber" sentence there is the news that My Lord's fit was coming upon him -- so they were almost certainly somewhere close by. Then Sam sleeps in Mr Creed's lodgings, most likely in or near the big house.

You remember that Sam actually lived with his wife there in Montague's house when they were first married, without getting "official" agreement, and without being noticed? There was presumably a part of the building which was used for "white collar" employees.

The small chamber might have been Sam's bedroom at that time of his marriage or earlier in his career, but perhaps it was his office/study?

slangist  •  Link

18th century royal navy
had plenty o'biscuit jokes too. most famous quoted in "the fortune of war," #6 of p. o'brian's 20-volume "aubreyiad":

Two weevils crept from the crumbs. 'You see those weevils, Stephen?' said Jack solemnly.

'I do.'

'Which would you choose?'

'There is not a scrap of difference. Arcades ambo. They are the same species of curculio, and there is nothing to choose between them.'

'But suppose you had to choose?'

'Then I should choose the right-hand weevil; it has a perceptible advantage in both length and breadth.'

'There I have you, ' cried Jack. 'You are bit -- you are completely dished. Don't you know that in the Navy you must always choose the lesser of two weevils? Oh ha, ha, ha, ha!'

Pauline  •  Link

'the lesser of two weevils'
'you are completely dished'
good stuff this. Wish we had more clues to mid-17th century humor and and idiom and 'fad' talk.

Pauline  •  Link

that can be taken as not realizing that these quotes are 18th C. Meant similar clues, and more of 'em.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

The humour has to be distilled from the Plays and poetry of the time.
" Our galleries too, were finely us'd of late,
Where roosting Masques sat cackling for a mate:
They came not to see Plays but act their own,
And had not throng'd Audiences when we had none.
Our Plays it was impossible to hear,
The Honest Country Men were forc't to swear:
Confound you, give your bawdy prating o're,
Or Zounds I' fling you i' the Pit, you Bawling Whore.
Crownes epilogue to 'Sir Courtly Nice' descibing events caused by the appearance of "Fire Ship's" in the twelve or eighteen penny Galleries:

Pedro  •  Link

Soldier's diet in Tangier.

The soldiers’ diet was heroically unsuitable for Tangier. They existed on a diet of ship’s biscuit, salt beef or pork, dried peas, butter, cheese and oatmeal, with occasional supplements of fresh bread and dried fish. It bore no relation to the more appropriate rations of the speedily-evacuated Portuguese nor of the surrounding Moroccan population. Inappropriate for survival in a hot climate, this diet encouraged malnutrition and scurvy. The colony was notorious for the poor health of its soldiers and, consequently, for its high death rate. An undermanned garrison throughout the 1670’s meant extra duties for the those of the malnourished soldiers who could report for duty.


language hat  •  Link

"not realizing that these quotes are 18th C"

Actually, they're late 20th C, and O'Brian is inventing early-19th-C dialogue.

slangist  •  Link

cite the sources i cannot, but i have read that o'brian considered himself equally reporter and fabulist, having consulted the naval archives so extensively that almost every battle he describes came from a captain's dispatch of the time. accordingly his word usage has the tinge of authenticity, steeped in the vocabulary as he was, and may throw light back on earlier usages preserved. slang such as "bit" and "dished" may not have been known to our sam'l, but the preponderance of the evidence in o'brian's case is that neither did he did make them up. as for "weevils," it is variously attested in several sources as a common 18th century naval joke brought forward into the 19th. i believe o'brian said somewhere he was amazed at how many times he ran into it when reading archival records.

language hat  •  Link

"o’brian considered himself equally reporter and fabulist"

So he did, and his command of the period is impressive (and a little creepy, considering that he seems to have acted as if he were living in it late in his life). That doesn't change the fact that he's a late-20th-century writer imagining life and language a couple of centuries back; he's capable of making mistakes (I've caught him myself) and of making little jokes. I'm not denying he's a wonderful way to get a feel for the period, just that nobody should confuse citations from O'Brian for actual period uses.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Pedro's description of the diet available in Tangier and subsequent bad health effects could be transposed word for word as a description of what convicts and ships' crews were eating two hundred years later as Australia was developed. The Government and its victualling agents took a long time to learn about nurtition and health. See excellent book 'Scurvy' by Stephen Bown about these vexed questions. Amazon ref:…

Remember also about the longevity of this problem: scurvy contributed to the deaths of Capt Scott and his companions in 1912.

slangist  •  Link

indeed so, sir hat
obrian's usages are clearly suggestive rather than definitive. they have a slight degree more power than your or my suggestions owing to the massive research underlying them; but, still and all, not of our period...

jean-paul buquet  •  Link

re: cul- de -sac
Well i hope I am not the only French person enjoying this wonderful site and the great company. I take the liberty to assure everybody that "cul-de-sac" is a common French word, in fact THE word for "dead-end" as mentioned by Stolzl, and as such, used very often in daily conversation. In fact, a lot of French words are from the word "cul", starting with "culotte". Hope I did not disgress too much!

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

I trust not from the Latin culus, for la derriere, be it [sac] saccus for purse rather than sacer adj for sacred or forfeited:

Second Reading

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

One of JRR Tolkien's many philological jokes was to translate 'cul de sac' as 'Bag End' in his Middle Earth novels.

"cul" IS from Latin culus, and is often used profanely in French. (it was one of the first words my French friends taught me).

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Sam was in Montagu's service before his marriage, so it seems quite likely that he had a small closet somewhere: small by the standards of Whitehall Palace that is!

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘bear, v.1 < Common Germanic, and Aryan:
. . Phrasal verbs
to bear out . . to support, back up, corroborate, confirm . .
. . 1801 M. Edgeworth Forester in Moral Tales I. 204 You think, I suppose, that your friends..will bear you out . . ‘

‘bread, n. < Old English bréad . .
. . 6. Extended to various preparations of the composition or nature of bread.
. . †b. Sea-biscuit. Obs.
1651 Severall Proc. Parl. No. 84. 1289 We have taken..2 casks of Bread, and one barrel of Pease in one Vessel.
1746 in W. Thompson Royal Navy-men's Advocate (1757) 18 The all good, has been..long aboard . . ’

‘cul-de-sac, n < French = sack-bottom.
1. Anat. A vessel, tube, sac, etc. open only at one end, as the cæcum or ‘blind gut’; the closed extremity of such a vessel, etc.
1738 Med. Ess. & Observ. (ed. 2) IV. 92 An Infundibuliform Cul de Sac or Thimble-like cavity . .
2. A street, lane, or passage closed at one end, a blind alley . .
1800 A. Paget Let. 10 May in Paget Papers (1896) I. 201 This [i.e. Palermo] is such a cul de sac that it would (be) ridiculous to attempt sending you any news . . ’

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"and with the rest of the officers to Mr. Russell’s buriall, where we had wine and rings, and a great and good company of aldermen and the livery of the Skinners’ Company."

L&M: Robert Russell, sen ., ships'-chandler to the navy, was a Livery-man of the Skinners' Company, a common councilman and deputy of Tower Ward, and for at least 30 years a parishioner of St Dunstan-in-the-East.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.