Wednesday 1 April 1663

Up betimes and abroad to my brother’s, but he being gone out I went to the Temple to my Cozen Roger Pepys, to see and talk with him a little; who tells me that, with much ado, the Parliament do agree to throw down Popery; but he says it is with so much spite and passion, and an endeavour of bringing all Non-conformists into the same condition, that he is afeard matters will not yet go so well as he could wish.

Thence back to my brother’s, in my way meeting Mr. Moore and talking with him about getting me some money, and calling at my brother’s they tell me that my brother is still abroad, and that my father is not yet up. At which I wondered, not thinking that he was come, though I expected him, because I looked for him at my house. So I up to his bedside and staid an hour or two talking with him. Among other things he tells me how unquiett my mother is grown, that he is not able to live almost with her, if it were not for Pall.

All other matters are as well as upon so hard conditions with my uncle Thomas we can expect them.

I left him in bed, being very weary, to come to my house to-night or tomorrow, when he pleases, and so I home, calling on the virginall maker, buying a rest for myself to tune my tryangle, and taking one of his people along with me to put it in tune once more, by which I learned how to go about it myself for the time to come.

So to dinner, my wife being lazily in bed all this morning. Ashwell and I dined below together, and a pretty girl she is, and I hope will give my wife and myself good content, being very humble and active, my cook maid do also dress my meat very well and neatly.

So to my office all the afternoon till night, and then home, calling at Sir W. Batten’s, where was Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Pen, I telling them how by my letter this day from Commissioner Pett I hear that his Stempeese he undertook for the new ship at Woolwich, which we have been so long, to our shame, in looking for, do prove knotty and not fit for service. Lord! how Sir J. Minnes, like a mad coxcomb, did swear and stamp, swearing that Commissioner Pett hath still the old heart against the King that ever he had, and that this was his envy against his brother that was to build the ship, and all the damnable reproaches in the world, at which I was ashamed, but said little; but, upon the whole, I find him still a fool, led by the nose with stories told by Sir W. Batten, whether with or without reason. So, vexed in my mind to see things ordered so unlike gentlemen, or men of reason, I went home and to bed.

33 Annotations

First Reading

dirk  •  Link

The Rev. Josselin today

"begun to pull down the old parlour end, the weather very cold"

This annotation *not* for its contents -- but this being one of the *very* few diary entries by the good old Rev that doesn't mention God!

So, yes, Josselin can write in a more matter-of-fact style...but only briefly.

JWB  •  Link

Anyone know when American Live Oak first hit upon to use as stem posts, as in "Old Ironsides"?

TerryF  •  Link

masts of New England znc xtem posts

27 November 1662
An anntation that L&M note that New England had first been the source of haval supplies in the 1650s, and by the 1660's the Navy Board obtained most of its larger masts from there.…

Why couldn't the same have appled ti stem posts?

TerryF  •  Link

masts of New England and stem posts

Sorry about the spelling; I didn't Preview with care

Australian Susan  •  Link

We have examples here of Sam's love of order, neatness,& correct and appropriate behaviour - the sort of character traits which will lead him to have all his books bound the same (when he can afford it) and have purpose-built bookcases made. And thus preserve the Diary!

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

not a joke : The House..." Preventing Popery.
The House then, according to the Order made on Monday last, took into Debate the Matter upon the Bill to prevent the Growth of Popery.
Resolved, &c. That the Bill to prevent the Growth of Popery be re-committed to the former Committee, upon the present Debate: And that the Provisoes brought in, and such other Provisoes as shall be offered, be referred to the Consideration of the same Committee: And the Committee is hereby revived: And they are to sit Tomorrow at Two of the Clock in the Afternoon: And no other Committee to sit then."

From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 1 April 1663', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667 (1802), pp. 461-62. URL:…. Date accessed: 02 April 2006.

King speaks out in writing"....: It may be, the general Jealousy of the Nation hath made this Address necessary:.......... then see above URL.

Interesting comment.
NB. no distractions:

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Stem Posts, Live Oak, etc.

Timbers from live oaks felled by hurricane Katrina are being re-cycled for restoration of the Charles W. Morgan at Mystic Seaport, CT.

Katrina trees will get new life on historic ship --- Netscape Gadgets & Tech
"Live oak in the age of wooden ships was the best available ship timber; it is strong and dense and more importantly it grows in gentle curves that are almost analogous to the frames in a ship's structure. So it's really excellent material for shipbuilding," said Quentin Snediker, shipyard director at Mystic Seaport."…

I understand that in wooden ship construction hardwood, being less susceptible to rot, was traditionally used below the waterline. From observing the old trees haled out of the woods on the farm on which I live it is going to be very difficult indeed to find a trunk broad enough, with few side limbs, to produce a sufficient length of hardwood without knots. I would assume that this would be why the Navy would guard so jealously their rights to old growth oak from the New Forest and begin planting for harvesting.

The northern latitude New England pines, a softwood, were prized as masts for their flexibility, because of the density they were less likely to split in storms – such pines were sourced also in and via the Baltic. I may be repeating a prior post, but in the age of wooden walls and sail timber, mast timber in particular, was the limiting logistic factor for any nation that wished to build a blue water fleet. In Pepys’ frustration at the end of this entry one perhaps sees his awareness of the seriousness of these issues: it was his administrative, financial and logistical skill and foresight “as a man of reason” that was an essential foundation of the superiority of the English navy of Napoleonic times.

Mary  •  Link

"I looked for him at my house"

John Pepys probably thought that he would get a more peaceful initial welcome at Tom's premises; in addition to its being his own old home, he knows that Sam wants to discuss accounts with him, not an easy subject.

Ruben  •  Link

In my ignorance I was sure that live oak is the opposite of dead oak, but when I checked that I found that live oaks may be dead!
Thank you Michael Robinson for the moving story of the Katrina trees.
I visited the Museum at Mystic Port some years ago and I think they do a wonderful job.
Those who want more info and a pic on Live Oaks may open:…

Australian Susan  •  Link

When Captain [actually he was Lieutenant then] Cook came to Australia, one of the things he noticed was the pines on Norfolk Island: he thought they could be used as masts and that flax could be grown on the island to provide canvas: an Antipodean pitstop for the Navy. Alas, the Norfolk Pines grow rapidly in the hot and wet climate and thus make poor masts: they split far too easily. And the climate proved too hot and wet for flax plants. So it never took off. Nice idea though. Sam would have approved of Cook's practical nature.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

"...I hear that his Stempeese he undertook for the new ship at Woolwich, which ..." The bible of the Times has no mention of Stempeese [Stem piece] The story of building a ship from keel to cut a finger be Chap 2 of the The Sailors Grammar.
"...The Keel: The first and lowest Timber in a fhip is the Keel, to which is fafstened all the reft; this a great tree or more, hewn to the proportion of her burden, laid by a right line in the bottom of the Docks or Stocks. At one end is Skarfed into the Stem, which is a great timber wrought compaffing, and all the butt-ends of the planks forwards are fixed to it. The Stern poft is another great Timber, which is let into the Keel at the other end fomewhat sloping, ......

TerryF  •  Link

So, in Water Writ, do you agree with Phil Gyford?…

L&M disagree with the definition provided by Wheatley and instead say “The stempiece was the main vertical timber of the bow [of a ship].”

From stem to stern, as the saying is.

TerryF  •  Link

Methinks ^The Sailors Grammar* disagrees with L&M

ergo Phil, but you better preserve the phrase, "From stem to stern", that I added.

Bradford  •  Link

"calling on the virginall maker, buying a rest for myself to tune my tryangle, and taking one of his people along with me to put it in tune once more, by which I learned how to go about it myself for the time to come."

rest: "wrest, tuning hammer (i.e. key)"---Companion Large Glossary.

Pepys does not mention where he would get his base pitch to tune the tryangle from; and given the complexity of equal temperament, it is not a job one would lightly undertake by ear.

A wooden pitchpipe "with a variable and graduated stopper, which when blown gives any desired note of the scales as marked on the stopper," did not come into use until the middle of the next century. Even the tuning forks that come with your standard piano-tuning gear were not developed until 1711. (The New Grove has details on all this.)

Any other Early Music folk out here whose period performance practice extends to contemporary tunings?

Gordon  •  Link

Tuning pins are still called "wrest pins" today.

Almost no-one wanted equal temperament on a keyboard instrument back then; they couldn't stand the wide major thirds. Pepys would have been shown meantone, which is not at all difficult to set by ear. The phrase "for the time to come" even suggests that he only intended to touch up the instrument between complete tunings.

As for a reference pitch, whatever he already used for his lute and viol would have sufficed.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

"All other matters are as well as upon so hard conditions with my uncle Thomas we can expect them."

First time I've seen this construction; to the modern ear/eye the second "as" is misplaced and should follow "Thomas":

All other matters are, as well, upon so hard conditions with my Uncle Thomas AS we can expect them.

Nate  •  Link

Stem piece: "Nautical The curved upright beam at the fore of a vessel into which the hull timbers are scarfed to form the prow."

It would be the part of the ship that, on the water line, cuts into the water. It's usually not really vertical but "raked". It's the most forward part of the ship, then, that's not not used for rigging a sail such as the jib.


Bradford  •  Link

Thanks, Gordon, for the expert clavier advice. ("Equal" slipped in by mistake---never try to post on a complex technical topic while under a tornado warning.) Maybe a trusted recorder might have provided domestic pitch?

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

Unfortunately with recorders it is difficult to blow a true note. They can still be helpful though for people with a good ear.

jeannine  •  Link

"it is difficult to blow a true note"
Wim... alas, that doesn't prevent some random little child from blowing a LOUD and quite aggravating note at some ungodly hour of the morning as a loving wake up call for the family ....oh the little life delights Sam has least Ashwell seems well over that initial learning stage and is capable of adding some enjoyable tunes to the family time....which believe me is a blessed place for any family to finally arrive at!

Gordon  •  Link

Actually, recorders and flageolets make very good pitchpipes - as long as you only need one pitch (see Bruce Haynes, A History of Performing Pitch), so Pepys had all he needed.

Australian Susan  •  Link

In the modern orchestra, an oboe is used to give an A for people to tune to in a final pre-performance tune-up. Is a flageolet a precursor of an oboe?

Good breath control is needed to get a true note from either a reeded or unreeded wind instrument - or you get the squeaks and squarks referred to by Jeannine. Children get better, however, and, as an empty nester, one of the things I miss most is hearing my daughter playing clarinet or sax or piano. Although we are blessed now with all sorts of electronic ways to listen to music, to my mind's ear, nothing beats live music. Lucky old Sam, dosing off in the evenings with a glass of wine listening to Ashwell playing delicate airs on the virginalls.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

You are quite right Susan. It is difficult to imagine the time that music was only heard if it was 'live'; because of records and CD's we have also become extremely critical of music played, which makes life hard on misicians, especially on amateurs.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

re: "Live music" The Chrystal set [first Radios] changed the world, in that people being not perfect, disliked being told that they be off tune, so that they stopped buying the Piano Forte, and all the other musical instruments for doing it thy self entertainment. Perfection might be a good thing but it stops the ordinary from trying. We now purchase pleasure in all its forms rather than try do thyn own thing, due to peer pressure and the critique of being less than meeting the perfect, along with it be easier to buy than DO.
Fortunately when under the influence of imbibing ales etc., we now have Karoke?

Gordon  •  Link

Susan: see…
See also…

The oboe gets to set the pitch for orchestras today because it is considered to be the least flexible, among standard orchestral instruments, in terms of its overall pitch. "Standard", of course, no longer includes recorders or keyboard instruments!

Bruce Haynes (op. cit., p 18-21) quotes several writers from the 17th and early 18th centuries on the use of specialized recorders as pitchpipes, including a letter from a harpsichord maker to a new owner. Just a slight variation produced the variable pitchpipes mentioned above by Bradford.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

JWB-- Stempeese
Anyone know when American Live Oak first hit upon to use as stem posts, as in "Old Ironsides"?

Michael Robinson's answering link to Live Oak deserves an update:

Live oak wood is hard, heavy, and difficult to work with, but very strong. In the days of wooden ships, live oaks were the preferred source of the framework timbers of the ship, using the natural trunk and branch angles for their strength. The frame of USS Constitution was constructed from southern live oak wood harvested from St. Simons Island, Georgia, and the density of the wood grain allowed it to survive cannonade, thus earning it the nickname "Old Ironsides". Even today, the U.S. Navy continues to own extensive live oak tracts.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I'm guessing Ashwell was ready to move ... where? ... so Pepys Snr. could have the new bedroom? Seems to me Pepys is still a bedroom short.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

The Southern live oak or simply "Live Oak" (Quercus virginiana) is an evergreen (or nearly so) oak tree native to the southeastern United States. The tree is a common sight in states like Virginia, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana.

We also have Live Oaks in Southern California called quercus agrifolia.

JayW  •  Link

"All other matters are as well as upon so hard conditions with my uncle Thomas we can expect them."
A Hamilton : I read this as:
"All other matters are as well as we can expect them, given the hard conditions demanded by my uncle Thomas. "

Sue Nicholson  •  Link

Re bedrooms at Seething Lane:
SPOILER. The clearest indication comes in the entry for 2nd March 1669 when Sam held the only major house party of the diary period. A large family gathering descended upon Seething Lane for one night only and Sam lists the various sleeping arrangements:

Cousin Pepys and his wife in our blue chamber
Cousin Turner, her sister and The. in our best chamber
Bab., Betty and Betty Turner in our own chamber
Myself and my wife in the maid’s bed which is very good
Our maids in the coachman’s bed
The coachman with the boy in his settle bed
And Tom where he uses to lie (in a little room off the Hall?)

Gerald Berg  •  Link

Most citations for the reason orchestral tuning is done from an oboe has to do with tone. IE Very few harmonic overtones. At A 440 the oboe cuts through the orchestral sound mass whereas other instruments tend to blend making it difficult for a trumpet (let's say) to hear the pitch clearly. You would be reduced to everyone waiting turns at the 'tuning fountain'.

Of course nowadays, even piano tuners use electronic tuners and what with equal temperament everything sounds, paradoxically, equally out of tune.

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

A "live oak" is one that is not seasonally deciduous; it has green leaves all year long. Where there are several species of oaks 'live oak' may be contrasted with "black oak" which are seasonally deciduous and, at least in Southern California, really do look black in the winter. In California live oaks are said to have year around access to water whereas black oaks may not and consequently drop their leaves in the colder, dry, early winter. Quercus agrifolia leaves are small and stiff, which are adaptations to our hot dry summers and fall. Live oaks can grow at any time of year so have the potential of growing larger than their cousins.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘ stem-piece n. (see quots.).
c1860 H. Stuart Novices or Young Seaman's Catech. (rev. ed.) 67 What is the stem piece for? It lies between the knight heads, and strengthens that part of the ship which the bowsprit passes through.
1875 E. H. Knight Pract. Dict. Mech. 2373 Stem-piece (Shipbuilding), a piece in front of the stem, into which the main piece of the head is stepped.’

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