Saturday 21 February 1662/63

Up and to the office, where Sir J. Minnes (most of the rest being at the Parliament-house), all the morning answering petitions and other business. Towards noon there comes a man in as if upon ordinary business, and shows me a writ from the Exchequer, called a Commission of Rebellion, and tells me that I am his prisoner in Field’s business; which methought did strike me to the heart, to think that we could not sit in the middle of the King’s business. I told him how and where we were employed, and bid him have a care; and perceiving that we were busy, he said he would, and did withdraw for an hour: in which time Sir J. Minnes took coach and to Court, to see what he could do from thence; and our solicitor against Field came by chance and told me that he would go and satisfy the fees of the Court, and would end the business. So he went away about that, and I staid in my closett, till by and by the man and four more of his fellows came to know what I would do; I told them stay till I heard from the King or my Lord Chief Baron, to both whom I had now sent. With that they consulted, and told me that if I would promise to stay in the house they would go and refresh themselves, and come again, and know what answer I had: so they away, and I home to dinner, whither by chance comes Mr. Hawley and dined with me.

Before I had dined, the bayleys come back again with the constable, and at the office knock for me, but found me not there; and I hearing in what manner they were come, did forbear letting them know where I was; so they stood knocking and enquiring for me.

By and by at my parler-window comes Sir W. Batten’s Mungo, to tell me that his master and lady would have me come to their house through Sir J. Minnes’s lodgings, which I could not do; but, however, by ladders, did get over the pale between our yards, and so to their house, where I found them (as they have reason) to be much concerned for me, my lady especially.

The fellows staid in the yard swearing with one or two constables, and some time we locked them into the yard, and by and by let them out again, and so kept them all the afternoon, not letting them see me, or know where I was. One time I went up to the top of Sir W. Batten’s house, and out of one of their windows spoke to my wife out of one of ours; which methought, though I did it in mirth, yet I was sad to think what a sad thing it would be for me to be really in that condition. By and by comes Sir J. Minnes, who (like himself and all that he do) tells us that he can do no good, but that my Lord Chancellor wonders that we did not cause the seamen to fall about their ears: which we wished we could have done without our being seen in it; and Captain Grove being there, he did give them some affront, and would have got some seamen to have drubbed them, but he had not time, nor did we think it fit to have done it, they having executed their commission; but there was occasion given that he did draw upon one of them and he did complain that Grove had pricked him in the breast, but no hurt done; but I see that Grove would have done our business to them if we had bid him. By and by comes Mr. Clerke, our solicitor, who brings us a release from our adverse atturney, we paying the fees of the commission, which comes to five marks, and pay the charges of these fellows, which are called the commissioners, but are the most rake-shamed rogues that ever I saw in my life; so he showed them this release, and they seemed satisfied, and went away with him to their atturney to be paid by him. But before they went, Sir W. Batten and my lady did begin to taunt them, but the rogues answered them as high as themselves, and swore they would come again, and called me rogue and rebel, and they would bring the sheriff and untile his house, before he should harbour a rebel in his house, and that they would be here again shortly.

Well, at last they went away, and I by advice took occasion to go abroad, and walked through the street to show myself among the neighbours, that they might not think worse than the business is. Being met by Captn. Taylor and Bowry, whose ship we have hired for Tangier, they walked along with me to Cornhill talking about their business, and after some difference about their prices we agreed, and so they would have me to a tavern, and there I drank one glass of wine and discoursed of something about freight of a ship that may bring me a little money, and so broke up, and I home to Sir W. Batten’s again, where Sir J. Lawson, Captain Allen, Spragg, and several others, and all our discourse about the disgrace done to our office to be liable to this trouble, which we must get removed.

Hither comes Mr. Clerke by and by, and tells me that he hath paid the fees of the Court for the commission; but the men are not contented with under 5l. for their charges, which he will not give them, and therefore advises me not to stir abroad till Monday that he comes or sends to me again, whereby I shall not be able to go to White Hall to the Duke of York, as I ought.

Here I staid vexing, and yet pleased to see every body, man and woman, my Lady and Mrs. Turner especially, for me, till 10 at night; and so home, where my people are mightily surprized to see this business, but it troubles me not very much, it being nothing touching my particular person or estate.

Being in talk to-day with Sir W. Batten he tells me that little is done yet in the Parliament-house, but only this day it was moved and ordered that all the members of the House do subscribe to the renouncing of the Covenant, which is thought will try some of them.

There is also a bill brought in for the wearing of nothing but cloth or stuffs of our own manufacture, and is likely to be passed.

Among other talk this evening, my lady did speak concerning Commissioner Pett’s calling the present King bastard, and other high words heretofore; and Sir W. Batten did tell us, that he did give the Duke or Mr. Coventry an account of that and other like matters in writing under oath, of which I was ashamed, and for which I was sorry, but I see there is an absolute hatred never to be altered there, and Sir J. Minnes, the old coxcomb, has got it by the end, which troubles me for the sake of the King’s service, though I do truly hate the expressions laid to him. To my office and set down this day’s journall, and so home with my mind out of order, though not very sad with it, but ashamed for myself something, and for the honour of the office much more. So home and to bed.

48 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

"Commission of Rebellion" -

"The name of a writ issuing out of chancery, generally directed to four special commissioners named by the plaintiff, commanding them to attach the defendant wheresoever he may be found within the state as a rebel and contemner of the law, so as to have him in chancery on a certain day therein named. This writ may be issued after an attachment with proclamation and a return of *non est inventus*" ("he/she is.not found") - (Law) The [words written by] the sheriff on a writ, when the defendant is not [to be] found in his [bailiwick.]…

Australian Susan  •  Link

Nice to see that the Battens, despite some petty ill-will, stand by our Sam in his hour of need! What a wonderful picture of Mungo scurrying about with messages and then Sam, presumably with Mungo, lugging a ladder over the fences to get safely into the Battens' house. And how human of him to be able to see the ridiculous side of having to talk across the space between windows to Elizabeth.
By the way, all this information should give us a clearer view of the layout of the houses and office.

language hat  •  Link

What an entry!
What novelist could invent this scary-but-ludicrous Keystone Kops-cum-FBI harassment, the daring escapes, the taunts... and of course that marvelous insult "rakeshame." OED:

One who covers himself with shame; an ill-behaved, disorderly, or dissolute fellow. (Common in 17th c.)
1599 Broughton's Lett. v. 15 It is an easie matter for euery rakeshame to reuile an innocent. [...] 1682 A. BEHN City Heiress 39 Marry you! a Rakeshame.. without Money or Credit. [...] c1840 WHITTIER Tales & Sk., Dr. Singletary vi, There's not a more drunken, swearing rakeshame in town than Tom Osborne.

Hence rake-shamed a., disreputable, disgraceful. Obs.
1635 Long Meg of Westminster (1816) 6 Away, you foule rake-sham'd whore, quoth he. 1662-3 PEPYS Diary 21 Feb., These fellows, which are called the commissioners, but are the most rake-shamed rogues that ever I saw in my life.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"but are the most rake-shamed rogues that ever I saw in my life"
C'mon Sam, the Men are just doing their job! (;-)

WILLEM  •  Link


Robert Gertz  •  Link

Humorous and tragic as Sam notes. One can see how helpless and humiliated he feels, the one untitled senior figure Fields feels it reasonably safe to harass. Still, despite this reminder of how ephemeral the security he feels in his position is, Sam has powerful help at hand and if I were Fields I'd be leaving for France...Fast.

Gotta respect the arresting commissioners, they stuck to their guns despite the threat of the King's name...

Be nice to hear Bess' take on the whole thing. One assumes she was terrified but reassured by Sam's "mirthful" conversation and later calm back at home...

Calm back at home...



Ummn...Bess stares, eyeing Mary and Will Hewer who look back at her.

All trying to avoid looking at their distinguished lord and master.

Currently outfitted in one of Bess's older housedresses.

"That should do. All I need now is a hair piece and I can get over to the Duke's tomorrow."


"Hmmn? Oh, Mary, go to Sir Will Batten's and ask if I could borrow one of my Lady's wigs. Now Bess tomorrow morning when we head out, I'm your new companion...Bess? What?"

Ummn. "It's a very courageous and dutiful thing for you to go out like this in such danger, Sam'l." Bess solemnly notes.


"Just. You eh...look lovely, Sam'l. I could never make that dress work so well." giggle.

"Well, I was selected to play a beauty once you know." Proud quick preen to the mirror, curtsy back to the group who applaud.

"As for you, Hewer...One more smile and you go tomorrow with us as the maid."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Next day...

"Lovely lass." one of the surly commissioners now positioned on the road from the Naval Office compound eyes Sam alongside Bess in their halted carriage.

"My new companion. She is beautiful, no? Why just yesterday the famous Captain Grove was ready to kill or be killed for her." Bess notes with sweet smile.

Knock it off...Sam hisses as they are waved on.

"What are you so upset about? Batten and Grove throwing themselves in harm's way for you, you seductress, and I'm the one who had no Valentine ready to die for me, sacre Dieu. 'Sides, you're a lady's companion...Keep your place."


A. Hamilton  •  Link

"What an entry!"

Words out of me mouth! I'll be chewing on the clues in this one (including the houses layout) for a while, I think.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Part of the Keystone cop effect, be that the constables be nervous about the status of Priviledges that have got many a upholder of the law in more trouble for offending a person of priviledge.
Searching the houses of politics, one finds that a minor servant of an priviledge person has more rights that exceed the arrester.

Terry F  •  Link

"fees of the commission, which comes to five marks"

How much, pray tell, would that be? (I ask finding the current Background info of no help)
Evidently pocket-change?

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Very leery world be that of Privilege.
UPON reading the humble Petition of John Tissar; Ordered, That all Proceedings upon the Order for the Commitment of the said John Tissar, Michaell Mohun, Nicholas Burt, Charles Hart, Robert Shotterell, William Cartwright, Walter Clunn, and William Wintershall, to the Custody of the Serjeant at Arms, for a Breach of Privilege objected against them, in serving Sir Henry Herbert with Process of Subpæna out of the Court of Chancery, be stayed: And that it be referred to the Committee of Privileges, to take the Petition into Consideration; and to examine the Matter, and report it to the House: And the Persons beforenamed are upon Summons to attend the Committee: And, upon their Report, such further Order shall be taken as shall be just.
Ordered, That the Bill * * * *.

From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 27 January 1662', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667 (1802), pp. 351-52. URL:…. Date accessed: 22 February 2006.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

According to Large Glossary: Mark , be Token, or as money 13s.4d or 2/3rds of a pound sterling [easterling][5 marks= L 3/6/8-, a years wage for some]
"...we paying the fees of the commission, which comes to five marks, and pay the charges of these fellows, which are called the commissioners, but are the most rake-shamed rogues that ever I saw in my life..."

Terry F  •  Link

Woolen Cloth.
Resolved, &c. That a Committee be appointed to prepare and bring in a Bill for the Redress of the Falsities and Abuses in making Woolen Cloth, and other English Manufactures; and to enjoin the Wearing of them by the Subjects of this Kingdom; viz. Sir Hen. Bennett, Sir Courtney Poole, Sir Cliff. Clifton, Sir Robert Atkyns, Mr. Mountague, Sir Rich. Ford, Mr. Jones, Sir Bain. Throckmorton, Sir Fra. Goodrick, Mr. Clifford, Sir Cha. Harbord, Sir Wm. Doyley, Mr. Wm. Coventry, Sir Wm. Tompson, Sir James Smith, Sir Edm. Peirce, Colonel Sandys, Sir Rich. Temple, Mr. Wm. Sandys, Mr. Birch, Sir John Denham, Sir Cha. Hussey, Mr. Fane, Mr. Bulteele, Mr. Dennis, Lord Gorge, Sir Lan. Lake, Mr. Lewis, Sir Tho. Lee, Mr. Geo. Clarke, Sir Nic. Crispe, Mr. Croke, Sir Fra. Hen. Lea, Mr. Vaughan, Sir Tho. Wendy, Mr. Seymour, Mr. Knight, Mr. Garway, Sir Solomon Swale, Sir Phil. Warwick, Mr. Jolly, Sir Geo. Cartwright, Lord Fanshaw, Mr. Crouch, Mr. Coventry, Sir Tho. Meres, Mr. Jones, Sir Tho. Allen, Sir Edward Walpoole, Mr. Hungerford, Mr. Streete, Sir Theo. Biddulph, Sir John Birkinhead, Sir Tho. Fanshaw: And all the Members of this House, that shall come, are to have Voices at the Committee: And they are to meet on Monday next, at Two of the Clock in the Afternoon, in the Star Chamber: And to send for Persons, Papers, and Records.

From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 21 February 1663', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667 (1802), p. 438. URL:…. Date accessed: 22 February 2006.

For those who follow the Diary there are several familiars named to this Committee to resist the globalising forces of entrepreneurial captialism (as Karl Marx would call it in London in 1848), predecessor to others that would propose legislation mandating minimum percentages of British entertainment fare, etc.

Mary  •  Link

"I .... did forbear letting them know where I was."

This wry statement marks the point at which an awkward but orderly situation begins the slide into Keystone Cops territory.

Sam may have written this report late at night, but he certainly gave some thought to the shape of his narrative.

andy  •  Link

there I drank one glass of wine

I'd have had the whole bottle!

Pedro  •  Link

"and Captain Grove being there, he did give them some affront,"

And if Captain Ferrers had also been there?

alanB  •  Link

..Wot a picture, wot a photograph...And there's Lizzie wispering across the open windows "You've certainly gone beyond the pale now Sam"

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

Don't **** with Mr Field!
He's certainly got everyone on the run - like poking an ants' nest with a stick. Sometimes, embarrassing a slightly pompous civil servant (sorry Sam) is the quickest way to settle a dispute.

J A Gioia  •  Link

[capt. grove] would have got some seamen to have drubbed them, but he had not time

oh where is stout capt. ferrers when one needs him, eh? he would have pounced on those base rogues in a trice, taught them to trifle with the king's navvy.

a glorious entry, a splendid day. i see more gilbert and sullivan in it than keystone cops, but the whole cast was magnificent!

Roy Feldman  •  Link

"With that they consulted, and told me that if I would promise to stay in the house they would go and refresh themselves, and come again, and know what answer I had: so they away, and I home to dinner..."

When I read that, I could almost hear Pepys saying, "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk..."

What rubes these rake-shamed mortals be.

jeannine  •  Link

Keystone Cops, Gilbert and Sullivan...
I have stuck in my mind Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins--dancing across the rooftops with the chimney sweeps with song, dance, big smiles and incredible fancy footwork...... now we know Sam can sing but perhaps we'll need to sign him up for dancing lessons so that he can play himself in the musical version!

Stolzi  •  Link

"Here I staid vexing"

Interesting use of the verb which we now use only in the transitive form ("I was vexed", "he vexed me.")

R. O. Curtis  •  Link

"... and so home with my mind out of order..."
So this whole incident appears to be just barely cloaked in legitimacy... a group of guys, armed with some sort of writ, and no doubt fortified by the refreshment they took while awaiting Sam's response, proceed to chase him and his employers all over London until they evidently get tired or bought off... Meanwhile, no less a potentate than the Lord Chancellor himself suggests that the proper response from Sam et al would be to round up a few sailors to fall about the ears of this ever-growing claque of constables, drunks, and warrant-wavers. Meanwhile, the mysterious Field is sitting somewhere off in Wapping, cackling to himself no doubt...

Glyn  •  Link

Mungo is the black servant Mingo whom we've met earlier (and who will become a lighthouse keeper):…

Coincidentally one of the occasions was almost exactly 2 years ago on St Valentine's Day when he joked with Pepys, so he's been with Batten for some time.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

I see there is an absolute hatred never to be altered there,... which troubles me for the sake of the King’s service

The intrusion of office politics ( Sir Wm. and Lady Batten tattling to Mr. Coventry on Commissioner Pett for allegedly calling the king a bastard and the clubbing together of Batten and Minnes) adds to the farcical tone of the day. My guess is that Coventry and the Duke will shrug it off, Pett being of much more value to them and the Navy than Batten (who is about to be charged with defrauding the Chest) and Minnes, an aged supernumerary. Besides, they may well think, Pett has got it more or less right.

Terry F  •  Link

"Minnes, an aged supernumerary"

Aged? A. Hamilton, he's only 64 years old, the seniot man in the shop, but not old enough to retire.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Theres was no retirement in those days, ye kept thy day job as long as possible, but get enough monies together until thy displease the power group [or gout be too painful to get into a coach for thy ride to the Ordinary] and then with luck get to sit on your country estate, watching the milk maids a milking.

Terry F  •  Link

Actually, Mennes (sic) likely turns 64 later this year.

Aye, in Aqua Scripto, you are again correct - the reference to "retirement" at 65 was my sad jest for those of us in this day and age who lack a country estate with milkmaids a-milking to watch.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Some of you may remember that Koo Stark (once a girlfriend of Prince Andrew)used the same method as Sam to escape the papparazzi clustered round her front door.

mick dunn  •  Link

Mennes age. He could be regarded as fairly seriously aged given that the average life expectancy during the period for males was less than 40. Memebers of his class would presumably survive longer on average though so perhaps the median life expectancy would be more useful in this regard source conf-5-03/life-expectancy-0403.pdf

language hat  •  Link

"average life expectancy during the period for males was less than 40"

Such statistics are generally useless, since they include the vast numbers of infant deaths. What one wants is an idea of how long someone who made it to, say, 21 was likely to live, and I suspect it was well over 64 -- but I'd like to know.

Lynn  •  Link

I've had a quick glance at my own family tree, and some people (born in the reign of Charles II) lived to their 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s. Haven't got many details for this era, but it just goes to show .......

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Life expectancy: The Poor [or the working and under nourised groups] had in insufficient food and warmth, [clothing and Housing] and the London town be a very poor environment [e.g.. Toxic Smoke fires and sewage], there fore will die off faster from all those diseases that we now have reduced to a minor irritation. [ solutions found for the Poxes, and fleas]
The Wealthy ones could refresh their lungs by going down to their hideaways[ and watch their vetches grow] in the country like Walthamstowe, Richmond and even Depford.
Country folk, who failed to live in the swamps of Essex would live longer,as long they had the food, but so many escaped to the big smoke for a chance at the growing wealth,thereby paying the price of suffering the raging diseases [see Thesaurus for the list]
Going thru the Family tree, I found the average age be 84 yrs, and it was in the nineties for many that survived the adversities of life such as playing 'ero.
There be so reasons for failing to get over the many hurdles of life.
This be the age of many changes in survival, new foods, chance to make money by travelling the world of new starts.

Glyn  •  Link

Even though London is an unhealthy environment, the city population is constantly growing. The only way that can happen is that immigration exceeds the death rate: immigrants from the countryside are constantly arriving to seek their fortune in the big city, often as apprentices.

So there's probably a strong gender imbalance with most of the arrivals being young males in their teens and 20s, because respectable young females of that age-range wouldn't be let out of the house unless for marriage (Pepys's sister Pall) or to go to work for respectable families such as the Pepys.

And that may explain why there appear to be an awful lot of brothels in London.

Nix  •  Link

Keystone Cops, Gilbert and Sullivan…

Actually, it reads more like Dickens to me.

laura k  •  Link

why there appear to be an awful lot of brothels in London

There were also a lot of brothels because there were very few options for women and girls to support themselves. Orphans, widows, girls born into poverty, girls cast out of their homes - all often had to turn to prostitution. This is still the case in many parts of the world.

This is also why losing a position as a domestic servant, without proper references, could be so devastating. It easily could mean life on the streets.

Shawn  •  Link

"but only this day it was moved and ordered that all the members of the House do subscribe to the renouncing of the Covenant, which is thought will try some of them."

Not to detract from Pepys' personal history, but here is a matter of real national importance. The League and Covenant taken September 25, 1643 by the Parliament during the civil war established a Presbyterian system for the Church of England (thereby uniting it with the church of Scotland and enlisting the help of the Scots against the Royalist). The Covenant was publicly burnt by the common hangman at the Restoration, but many puritan extremist still held to the Presbyterian system (as opposed to the Episcopalian) of church government and this measure introduced in Parliament today was designed to weed those puritans out and expose them.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Commission of Rebellion" -

A writ used to secure the appearance of a defendant, abolished in 1860. It was now issued by the Court of Exchequer Pleas in Field's action against the Navy Board. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"met by Captn. Taylor and Bowry, whose ship we have hired for Tangier, they walked along with me to Cornhill talking about their business, and after some difference about their prices we agreed"

The contract was dated 20 February. The William and Mary (Capt. John Taylor, part owner, and John Bowry, master) was to be hired to carry goods at 25s. a ton. (L&M note) This was a "non-navy charge" as Pepys classified it.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Being in talk to-day with Sir W. Batten he tells me that little is done yet in the Parliament-house, but only this day it was moved and ordered that all the members of the House do subscribe to the renouncing of the Covenant, which is thought will try some of them."

Shawn, you correctly note the importance of such a vote, but there is no trace of any such order in the journals of the House. Presumably it was a vote passed by the Committee of Elections and Privileges appointed on the 18th; it never became law. Renunciation of the presbyterian Covenant of 1643 was already required of municipal officers by the Corporation Act (1661) and of the clergy by the Act of Uniformity (1662). The Covenant had been publicly burnt by order of the Commons in May 1661. (L&M note)

Bill  •  Link

"and bid him have a care"

A phrase that's an affectation on my side of the Atlantic. Current dictionaries list "have a care" as British and "old-fashioned." Not very old-fashioned, I think, there are millions of hits on Google. (Even after "have a care in the world" is excluded.)

To have a care, prendre soin, prendre garde. [take care, beware]
---A short dictionary English and French. G. Miège, 1684.

have a care the honey-bag break not
---Midsummer Night's Dream

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘care, n.1 , < Common Germanic: Old English caru . . . . 3. c. to have a care . .
. . 1600 Shakespeare Midsummer Night's Dream iv. i. 14 Good Mounsieur haue a care, the honybagge breake not.
. . 1876 W. Black Madcap Violet xviii. 161 ‘Have a care, Jack!’ Peter called out.’

Extinct in modern British English.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

“Covenants, without the sword, are but words and of no strength to secure a man at all.” -- Thomas Hobbes (1588 -1679) – Leviathan

Kyle in San Diego  •  Link

"satisfy the fees of the Court" does this mean pay a bribe to the judge? I'm pretty sure S uses the word 'fee' as synonymous with 'bribe'.

Third Reading

A.M.  •  Link

One of my absolute favorite entries so far! I still think there is some missing context--with respect to the 'man' who acts as an ordinary man but who clearly becomes more and more menacing returning with a constable and bailiffs. I suspect that these men were in some respect rogue (perhaps akin to a modern day bounty hunter) and certainly this picture enlarges as the day and the drama unrolls. Was pleasantly surprised to see the Battens offering assistance and shouting offenses to the bailiffs. All in all, quite the day. Splendid.

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