Thursday 2 April 1663

Up by very betimes and to my office, where all the morning till towards noon, and then by coach to Westminster Hall with Sir W. Pen, and while he went up to the House I walked in the Hall with Mr. Pierce, the surgeon, that I met there, talking about my business the other day with Holmes, whom I told my mind, and did freely tell how I do depend upon my care and diligence in my employment to bear me out against the pride of Holmes or any man else in things that are honest, and much to that purpose which I know he will make good use of. But he did advise me to take as few occasions as I can of disobliging Commanders, though this is one that every body is glad to hear that he do receive a check.

By and by the House rises and I home again with Sir W. Pen, and all the way talking of the same business, to whom I did on purpose tell him my mind freely, and let him see that it must be a wiser man than Holmes (in these very words) that shall do me any hurt while I do my duty. I to remember him of Holmes’s words against Sir J. Minnes, that he was a knave, rogue, coward, and that he will kick him and pull him by the ears, which he remembered all of them and may have occasion to do it hereafter to his owne shame to suffer them to be spoke in his presence without any reply but what I did give him, which, has caused all this feud. But I am glad of it, for I would now and then take occasion to let the world know that I will not be made a novice.

Sir W. Pen took occasion to speak about my wife’s strangeness to him and his daughter, and that believing at last that it was from his taking of Sarah to be his maid, he hath now put her away, at which I am glad.

He told me, that this day the King hath sent to the House his concurrence wholly with them against the Popish priests, Jesuits, &c., which gives great content, and I am glad of it. So home, whither my father comes and dines with us, and being willing to be merry with him I made myself so as much as I could, and so to the office, where we sat all the afternoon, and at night having done all my business I went home to my wife and father, and supped, and so to bed, my father lying with me in Ashwell’s bed in the red chamber.

27 Annotations

First Reading

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

for I would now and then take occasion to let the world know that I will not be made a novice.
A fascinating insight - Sam is no physical hero in the style of all the sea-dogs around him, but he has the courage of his convictions and sense of duty.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Alas, poor Sarah...We knew her gossipy mouth, Sir Will. No doubt you and Lady Penn experienced it too.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"this day the King hath sent to the House his concurrence wholly with them against the Popish priests, Jesuits, &c., which gives great content..."

"Oh, yes. I am so very happy to give the fanatical maniacs who called my mother a Papist whore and cut my sainted father's head off full license to torment Catholics to their dear little hearts' content." Charles signs with beaming flourish...

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

But Charles's good night sleep be a good Papist.
Money Talks: Grand Pa, rather have the Kingdom by being a Protesting one and not go with his boy friend's Catholick ways than go along with His GG Mater [Mary Q o' Scots], she had already lost her chance at the Crown, being strung up for claiming the Crown or where it be a Papist Problem and all of Father Allen's and his students messing in the Eliza's balliwick.
Lesson: Neck or Grub, King John failed that test[Magna Carta thing], along with a few others.
Choice in life: Discretion be the better part of valor or Test thy beliefs in the beyond. [Politicks]

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Hear be the reply: Charles R
Answer to Representation.
HIS Majesty having seriously considered and weighed the humble Representation and Petition of his Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, and the great Affection and Duty with which the same was presented unto him; and after having made some Reflections upon Himself, and His own Actions; is not a little troubled, that his Lenity and Condescensions towards many of the Popish Persuasion, which were but natural Effects of His Generosity and Good-nature, and after having lived so many Years in the Dominions of Roman Catholick Princes, and out of a just Memory of what many of them had done and suffered in the Service of his Royal Father, of blessed Memory, and of some eminent Services performed by others of them towards His Majesty Himself, in the Time of His greatest Affliction, have been made so ill Use of, and so ill deserved, that the Resort of Jesuits and Priests, into this Kingdom, hath been thereby increased; with which his Majesty is, and hath long been, highly offended: And, therefore, His Majesty readily concurs with the Advice of His Two Houses of Parliament; and hath given Order for the Preparing and Issuing out such a Proclamation as is desired; with the same Clause, referring to the Treaty of Marriage, as was in the Proclamation, which, upon the like Occasion, issued out, upon the Advice of both Houses of Parliament, in the Year 1640: And His Majesty will take further care, that the same shall be effectual, at least to a greater Degree than any Proclamation of this Kind hath ever been: And his Majesty further declares, and assures both His Houses of Parliament, and all His loving Subjects of all His Dominions, That, as His Affection and Zeal for the Protestant Religion, and the Church of England, hath not been concealed, or untaken Notice of in the World; so He is not, nor ever will be, so solicitous for the settling His own Revenue, or providing any other Expedients for the Peace and Tranquillity of the Kingdom, as for the Advancement and Improvement of the Religion established; and for the using and applying all proper and effectual Remedies, to hinder the Growth of Popery: Both which He doth, in Truth, look upon as the best Expedient to establish the Peace and Prosperity of all His Kingdoms.
Given at Our Court at Whitehall, the First Day of April 1663, in the Fifteenth Year of Our Reign.
Thanks for Message.
Resolved, &c. That the humble Thanks of this House be returned to the King's Majesty, for his gracious Message.
Resolved, &c. That the Concurrence of the Lords be desired to this Vote: And that Mr. Solicitor General do go to the Lords, to desire their Concurrence.

From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 2 April 1663', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667 (1802), pp. 462-64. URL:…. Date accessed: 03 April 2006.

Aaron  •  Link

I can only assume this bussiness with Holmes is what leads to the possible duel between the two. The strong words of "knave, rogue, coward" are not to be taken lightly. Rogue and coward when used in relation to a gentleman, esspecially one within the military could mean some serious problems down the road.
His wife's strangeness isn't all that strange for the times. John Milton by this time is broke and has been married 3 times to women who would get along quite well with Mrs. Pepys; although, it is ironic that this behavior becomes the norm and male expression of marriage issues becomes faux pas.

Pauline  •  Link

"...I to remember him of Holmes’s words against Sir J. Minnes, that he was a knave, rogue, coward, and that he will kick him and pull him by the ears.."
Sounds like Sam is reminding Penn that Holmes used these words agains Minnes and in the future it is to Penn's " owne shame to suffer them to be spoke in his presence without any reply" other than what Sam "did give him, which, has caused all this feud." Staking out the moral high ground and putting the maul in Penn's hand.

tonyt  •  Link

'Up by very betimes'.
I wonder what the distinction was between this and 'Up betimes' (which we discussed in the annotations for 23rd March 1662/3)? My guess is that this was earlier - when it had only just started to get light.

Harry  •  Link

Up by very betimes’

Does betimes mean early, in which case "very betimes" could mean very early? or does it relate to sunrise, where "very betimes" would mean in the very early stages of sunrise, at barely first light?

Stolzi  •  Link

His Majesty

doesn't care nearly as much about getting his revenues, as he does about firmly establishing Protestantism.

Tell us another one, Charlie!!

Stolzi  •  Link

Poor Sarah, indeed...

being made the football of the great.

R. O. Curtis  •  Link

"...take as few occasions as I can of disobliging Commanders..."
Yet another piece of advice that one would do well to heed even today!

Bradford  •  Link

The fine art of "telling [your] mind freely," within carefully chosen limits, to those you know will broadcast it hither and yon with a minimum amount of effort on your part. As useful in a great city as in a small town.

TerryF  •  Link

Pauline, No reply to Holmes "which, has caused all this feud” was recorded in the Diary entry of 7 December 1661 , so perhaps this sentence should be reconsidered? I find the last clause of it puzzling.

Pauline  •  Link

"...without any reply but what I did give him, which, has caused all this feud."
I think Sam is saying that his reply in standing up to Holmes has made the feud, and that it is necessary to stand up to the kind of lambasting that Holmes gave Minnes--a neccesary feud-causing, and honor to him who did stand up and reply.

The "without any" is telling Penn that no other reply, and especially NOT replying, meets the case.

I also think Sam is spinning the altercation between himself and Holmes into its best light for his reputation. The words may have been in heat and in quick retort, now Sam is mopping up and calmly giving out the good sense and honor of standing up to Holmes.

Terry, that we don't know what Sam actually replied to Holmes is part and parcel of making our way as best we can.

dirk  •  Link


If one accepts the meaning "by time" -- i.e. "on time" -- for "betimes", then "very betimes" would mean "very much on time" -- i.e. earlier than required.

This meaning of "betimes" would correspond fully to the meaning of the obsolete Dutch (my language) word "bijtijds". To me this makes sense.

birdie  •  Link

"betimes" - Dirk, we have been through this once before. The root of the word is "between times", i.e., between night and day (dawn).

Here is a repeat of my earlier annotation on the subject - Many older words and expressions in the English language are similar to their Scandinavian equivalents. Old Swedish words for “early” are “arla” and its synonym “bittida”. They are still used in some expressions even though “tidig” today would be the most common translation for “early”.

Of course, “arla” has the same root as the English “early”. Its synonym “bittida” ("betimes" in English) literally means “between times". Today it is most often pronounced and spelled "bitti".

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

Dirk, 'bijtijds' is an old Dutch word, but not obsolete at all. It is still used often enough.

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

And the meaning is 'in time' or even 'earlier than expected'.

Peter  •  Link

Woe betide......?

language hat  •  Link


There is no need to guess about the meanings of words (especially based on the meanings of vaguely similar words in other languages); that's what dictionaries are for. The word means 'At an early hour, early in the morning' (OED).

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Yes, indeed.

BETIMES, early, in season.
---An Universal English Dictionary. N. Bailey, 1724.

Bill  •  Link

"He told me, that this day the King hath sent to the House his concurrence wholly with them against the Popish priests, Jesuits, &c., which gives great content, and I am glad of it."

The House of Commons represented to the King, that his declaration of Breda contained no promise to the Presbyterians and other Dissenters, but only an expression of his intentions, upon the supposition of the Parliament's concurrence; that even if the Nonconformists had been entitled to plead a promise, they had entrusted this claim as well as all their other rights and privileges, to the House of Commons, who were their representatives, and who now freed the King from that obligation; that it was not to be supposed, that his Majesty and the Houses were so bound by that declaration as to be incapacitated from making any laws, which might be contrary to it; that even at the King's restoration, there were laws of uniformity in force, which could not be dispensed with but by act of Parliament; and that the indulgence proposed would prove most pernicious both to Church and State, would open the door to schism, encourage faction, disturb the public peace, and discredit the wisdom of the legislature. The King did not think proper, after this remonstrance, to insist any farther at present on the project of indulgence.

In order to deprive the Catholics of all hopes, the two Houses concurred in a remonstrance against them. The King gave a very gracious answer; tho' he scrupled not to profess his gratitude towards many of that perswasion, on account of their faithful services in his father's cause and in his own. A proclamation, for form's sake, was soon after issued against Jesuits and Romish priests: But care was taken, by the very terms of it, to render it ineffectual. The Parliament had allowed, that all the foreign priests, belonging to the two Queens, should be excepted, and that a permission for them to remain in England should still be granted. In the proclamation, the word foreign, was purposely omitted; and the Queens were thereby authorized to give protection to as many English priests as they should think proper.
---The History of Great Britain. David Hume, 1759.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

TerryF is correct in saying Sam is reminding Penn of Holmes' tirade about Mennes taking place on December 7, 1661 (see, writing a Diary can come in useful years later when one needs details about things!):

"... by water to the office, when I found Sir W. Pen had been alone all the night and was just rose, and so I to him, and with him I found Captain Holmes, who had wrote his case, and gives me a copy, as he hath many among his friends, and presented the same to the King and Council. Which I shall make use of in my attempt of writing something concerning the business of striking sail, which I am now about. But he do cry out against Sir John Minnes, as the veriest knave and rogue and coward in the world, which I was glad to hear, because he has given out bad words concerning my Lord, though I am sorry it is so. "

Up until now I had been assuming Sam's outrage was all about the meeting of Saturday, March 23, 1663: "... Captain Holmes being called in he began his high complaint against his Master Cooper, and would have him forthwith discharged. Which I opposed, not in his defence but for the justice of proceeding not to condemn a man unheard, upon [which] we fell from one word to another that we came to very high terms, such as troubled me, though all and the worst that I ever said was that that was insolently or ill mannerly spoken. When he told me that it was well it was here that I said it. But all the officers, Sir G. Carteret, Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, and Sir W. Penn cried shame of it. At last he parted and we resolved to bring the dispute between him and his Master to a trial next week, wherein I shall not at all concern myself in defence of anything that is unhandsome on the Master’s part nor willingly suffer him to have any wrong."

SPOILER ALERT: Capt. Holmes crossed many people throughout his career. It's a pity Sam wasn't able to nip it in the bud here ... he certainly seems to be trying.

Bryan  •  Link

"It's a pity Sam wasn't able to nip it in the bud here ... he certainly seems to be trying."

I somehow think that Capt. Holmes wasn't the type of guy who would allow his bud to be nipped. The title of Richard Ollard's biography of Holmes was "Man of War". Here's an excerpt from the back cover: "Adventurous, energetic, combative and unscrupulous, Robert Holmes first attracted the attention of Prince Rupert as a young cavalry officer in the Civil War. As a Royalist exile, he accompanied the Prince first into the French service and then, in one of the strangest and most romantic episodes in naval history, on a cruise that carried the Royalist colors -- no longer flying in England -- to Portugal, the Mediterranean, West Africa and the West Indies."

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘betimes, adv. < betime v. + adverbial genitive -s; compare beside, besides.
. . 2. spec. At an early hour, early in the morning.
. . 1535 Bible (Coverdale) Josh. vii. 16 Iosua gat him vp by tymes in the mornynge.
a1616 Shakespeare Twelfth Night (1623) ii. iii. 2 Not to bee a bedde after midnight, is to be vp betimes.
1663 S. Pepys Diary 1 Sept. (1971) IV. 293 Up pretty betimes and after a little at my Viall, to my office.’

‘beˈtime | bitime, v.
. . a. intr. To betide.’

‘betide, v.
. . 1. a. intr. To happen, befall. Only in 3rd pers. and often impers. . . ‘

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