Friday 24 April 1663

Up betimes, and with my salt eel went down in the parler and there got my boy and did beat him till I was fain to take breath two or three times, yet for all I am afeard it will make the boy never the better, he is grown so hardened in his tricks, which I am sorry for, he being capable of making a brave man, and is a boy that I and my wife love very well. So made me ready, and to my office, where all the morning, and at noon home, whither came Captain Holland, who is lately come home from sea, and has been much harassed in law about the ship which he has bought, so that it seems in a despair he endeavoured to cut his own throat, but is recovered it; and it seems whether by that or any other persuasion (his wife’s mother being a great zealot) he is turned almost a Quaker, his discourse being nothing but holy, and that impertinent, that I was weary of him. At last pretending to go to the Change we walked thither together, and there I left him and home to dinner, sending my boy by the way to enquire after two dancing masters at our end of the town for my wife to learn, of whose names the boy brought word.

After dinner all the afternoon fiddling upon my viallin (which I have not done many a day) while Ashwell danced above in my upper best chamber, which is a rare room for musique, expecting this afternoon my wife to bring my cozen Scott and Stradwick, but they came not, and so in the evening we by ourselves to Half-way house to walk, but did not go in there, but only a walk and so home again and to supper, my father with us, and had a good lobster intended for part of our entertainment to these people to-day, and so to cards, and then to bed, being the first day that I have spent so much to my pleasure a great while.

37 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

"a boy that I and my wife love very well":
Funny, isn't it, that love is one of those things you can't beat into people.
Why didn't he play the guilt card, and the shame game?

"his discourse being nothing but holy, and that impertinent":
As neat a description of the behavior of what locals near the New Madrid Fault in mid-America called (1811-12) "earthquake Christians."

jeannine  •  Link

"being the first day that I have spent so much to my pleasure a great while."
Must be a strange definition of pleasure if you ask me! Whipping Wayneman, listening to an overly boring Quaker (in the making?) "holy discourse", blown off by expected company, takes for a walk, eats the "good" food that was for the company that didn't show, plays a little music and a game of cards and then goes to bed. Not exactly an A+ of a day. But, he finally does admit that Wayneman is "being capable of making a brave man, and is a boy that I and my wife love very well". Hmm, I wonder if he told him that instead of whipping him if it would have made any difference???

Bob T  •  Link

Salt Eel
A ropes end used to administer a beating.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Captain Holland who is lately come home from sea"
Strange man! Der Fliegende Hollander?

TerryF  •  Link

Salt Eel

Yo, Bob T! It seems that eelskins (where eels were handy) were used to flog boys at sea - where Wayneman finds himself betimes today.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Well, instead of beating Wayneman to a stupor, Sam could follow the modern practice of proving his love by shooting everyone...("I couldn't face losin' my [job, wife, family, hair] so I shot 'em all. Thank God I live in a country where a man can still keep an automatic weapon in his home.") Then suddenly deciding when time comes to put the gun in one's own mouth that he's proven his affection sufficiently.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Ok, so Sam's playing below... Bess is out seeking the unavailable cousins who presumably can dance... Mary Ashwell is dancing upstairs...By herself? With John? With Will and the maids?

Meanwhile...A cloud no bigger than a man's hand begins to cast its shadow over our Sam's contented existence.


So Capt. Holland found suicide is not painless and has got religion...In the extreme, courtesy Mama-in-law. Must make for quite a time aboard his contested vessel.

"So Mother says, Brother Pepys, that in God all possessions are beholden to no one man. So in that I cannot lose my vessel for I didst never truly own it. Which is great comfort to me, Brother Pepys."

"Yes, indeed Holland. If you will excuse me."

"I spy that thou are rather mindful of thy appearance, Brother Pepys, and have taken to decking thyself in fair apparel. I wouldst thou should come to know the Truth and..."

"Yes, yes. Well said, truly Captain. But I really must..."

"And Mother-in-law says..."

Who needs God to speak from a burning bush when one has Mother-in-law, Sam sighs to himself.

"...Things of this world are as dust. Words I took to heart, Brother Pepys."

"Yes. Tell me, Captain? Have you, by any chance, been troubled by...Oh...Discipline problems aboard your vessel recently?"

"Why, no, Brother Pepys. I leave discipline in the hands of the Lord and concentrate on bringing the Word to the lost souls of my men. We hold prayer service each morning and I can see that the men do rejoice in their hearts when that bell doth ring and..."

I'd rejoice in my heart too, I imagine if I had two hours off ship duty each morning...Sam sighs.

daniel  •  Link

"all the afternoon fiddling upon my viallin "

I shall show this entry to my (violin) students tomorrow.

dirk  •  Link

The Rev. Josselin

Remember the sick Mr Elliston on the 12th?…

This is the rest of the story...

13. god helped me out of a snare in a forfeited surrender, gave directions in Mr Ellistons business, I hope with effect about his debts

17. day. commended Mr Elliston to god who died the 18. a wet day, god gave us a timely return.

19. God good in manifold mercies, a sweet warm growing rain after cold east winds, the lord hasten the spring, god good to me in the word buried this week two old disciples.

20. preached Mr Ed. Ellistons funeral a good neighbour, god good to me in the word and in prayer. -- 24. present at the view of his just debts, for the payment whereof he made me one of his Trustees, and I found they are about 500li. the lord help me in my business, he left no issue. a good estate to his brothers.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Sam be maudlin over his classics ....Lucius Domitus Ahenobarbus "...After dinner all the afternoon fiddling upon my viallin ..."
Then there be that old adage spare the rod and spoil the boy.
When Sam has to exercise his lean ash on that rump, he does seem to be upset.
In my ill gotten youth, one of my fellow trouble makers could take the lash and smile and bring forth enragement, the ire of the thrasher to a point of boiling and nearing an rabid apoplexy, then another, just show him the long reed like rod and he would dissolve into a pile of dust as all the minerals quickly evaporated.

Don McCahill  •  Link

Whipping the boy.

No doubt Sam started off with the same words that my Dad did when he whipped me "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you."

I never saw it that way. I mean, which one of us is crying at the end of it all?

Martin  •  Link

As of the end of December, Sam was resolved to get rid of Wayneman, and on Dec. 27 said he would keep him just a week longer. He has said nothing further about this but apparently nothing is in the works. Out of his basic fondness for the boy he seems to have decided to try a little more tough love to see if he will reform.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"he being capable of making a brave man"
Judge not by ourselves, but by the seventeenth-century attitudes toward physical punishment and moral instruction. Whatever one thinks of his tactics, Sam is motivated to improve the lad, and the lad stays (yes, I understand his choices may have been limited).

TerryF  •  Link

What SP did to Wayneman was called 'correction.'

Pedro  •  Link

“yet for all I am afeard it will make the boy never the better”

Sam seems to imply that beating may be a trusted way, in those days, of improving the boy. Whether you agree with beating or not, I would love to know if Sam was subjected to the treatment in his youth. Sadly I think we will never find out.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

The Military Army/Navy had whippings,100 lashes etc. that were part of the punishment scheme until early 20th Century. Read Tom Brown Schooldays of fags et. al.

TerryF  •  Link

The status of the lash in the Navy

“You say that I am ignoring the time-honored traditions of the Royal Navy? And what might they be? I shall tell you in three words. Rum, buggery, and the lash! Good morning sirs.”
- Winston Churchill addressing the Sea Lords, 1912…

Bradford  •  Link

The proof, for all us moralists, will be whether Wayneman improves under this regime. So far he has not. If it fails, it is inadequate to its purpose. We shall see.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Much is made here of the terrible floggings administered to convicts in the early 19th century, but people need to remember that the colony was a military run establishment at the beginning, using military discipline and the floggings were the same as given to members of the Royal Navy at that time. Very brutal.

Jesse  •  Link

"did beat him till I was fain to take breath two or three times"

I just finished reading about Uriah Levy… who's "wish [was] that he be remembered for his singular efforts to abolish the barbarous punishment of flogging in the U.S. Navy, which resulted in Congressional approval of an anti-flogging bill in 1850."… . It's interesting how difficult his effort was and how one of his alternative punishments (more embarrassment than pain) was thought worse - honor you know. I wonder how many of us would be lulled by the status quo.

Paul Dyson  •  Link

salt eel
For an interesting, though very long, study of the educational use of corporal punishment see the following link. Section 3.5 deals with England up to the 18th Century.…

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Salt eel

My experience was with a different sort of salt eel. When I was a waterman on the Maryland Eastern Shore, my crab bait was the traditional pickled eel, chopped into 2-inch lengths, tied every foot or two to a mile-long line, and kept in a barrel of heavily salted water when not in use. The eel stank to high heaven but brought the crabs to the trotline.

Second Reading

Louise Hudson  •  Link

On Sunday, 22 April Pepys wrote, "and after walking with my wife in the garden late, to supper and to bed, being somewhat troubled at Ashwell’s desiring and insisting over eagerly upon her going to a ball to meet some of her old companions at a dancing school here in town next Friday, but I am resolved she shall not go" and here it is Friday, and not a word is written about the dancing school or whether he stopped Ashwell from going (or was he talking about his wife? It isn't clear.) Nevertheless, nothing has been said. Now he writes that Ashwell "danced above in my upper best chamber" so she's not at the ball. Anyone know what's going on?

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

The world was harsh in the seventeenth century. Sam would undoubtedly have been beaten at St Paul's. Military discipline, especially in the navy, was brutal for adults: Wayneman will grow up all too soon, and if Sam can't offer him a place, then the navy might be one of his few options.

Although the principle was established with the Cardwell reforms of 1868, flogging was not finally abolished in the British military until 1880. Even the Russians got there first, with Alexander II's "great reforms" of the 1860s.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Caning evidently persisted in the Royal Navy well into the 20th century.

Before receiving his punishment, the young man would be given a medical inspection ("the boy's buttocks are examined and his general physical condition observed" -- Admiralty, 1950). He was then marched to the ship's tailor to be fitted into a pair of extra-thin tropical-weight white cotton duck trousers, with -- at least on HMS Ganges -- no underwear allowed. (The Admiralty wrote in 1950 that the latter provision "allows the strokes of the cane to be as painful as need be". They seem not to have been following their own rules, because the King's Regulations in 1943 had amended the wording to "Caning on the breech, duck trousers with pants being worn", but perhaps this was intended to apply only to seagoing ships and not the training ships.)

Louise Hudson  •  Link

". . . and is a boy that I and my wife love very well."

I shudder to think what he would do to him if they didn't "love" him. Would he kill him?


". . being the first day that I have spent so much to my pleasure a great while."

Was it the beating he gave the boy that gave him so much pleasure?

A. Hamilton  •  Link

School I entered at age 13 in 1947 gave up flogging (hedmaster's two-inch leather belt) just two years before, in 1945 -- thankfully.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

"Was it the beating he gave the boy that gave him so much pleasure?"

It does help to read the full entry: it's very clear from the context what gave Sam the pleasure!

John Goldin  •  Link

I have been experimenting with processing the text of the Diary and looking for words in context. Here are all of the mentions of "viallin":

1660-03-06: ...upon a viall, and he a viallin, after dinner, and were...
1660-04-06: ...W. Howe and I to our viallins, the first time since we...
1660-04-10: playing on my viallin, my Lord and Sir R. Stayner...
1660-04-11: ...W. Howe and I at our viallins in my cabin, where Mr....
1660-11-21: ...and at night to my viallin (the first time that I have...
1661-04-27: ...where we had a harp and viallin played to us, and so home...
1661-06-06: ...pretty well upon the viallin, but, good God! how these...
1663-04-24: ...fiddling upon my viallin (which I have not done many...
1663-06-15: ...and there played on my viallin a good while, and without...
1663-06-17: ...(after half an hour's viallin practice after dinner) till...
1663-06-18: ...half an hour at my viallin, and then all the afternoon...
1663-07-22: ...his boy played on the viallin, a plain boy, but has a...
1663-08-21: ...a Theorbo viall and viallin as is in England. So to...
1666-06-18: ...a yeare or two on the viallin, and plays finely. But impartially...
1666-07-28: ...their servants upon the viallin some Scotch tunes only;...
1667-02-01: ...the base, and I upon my viallin, which I have not seen out...
1667-02-20: ...also how the King's viallin,---- Bannister, is mad that...
1667-07-08: ...and Greeting on the viallin. Then with my wife abroad...
1667-08-28: ...heard a little of their viallins' musick, and so home, and...

john  •  Link

Corporal punishment meted out to youngsters was accepted in society then (and part of many societies now) and has been discussed many times in the annotations. (On this and many other topics, Picard's wonderful book on Restoration London should definitely be read by all Pepysians.) The "strap" was common in my grade school in the mid-sixties and some of my school chums were whipped by their fathers. It was horrifying then and the memory still horrifies me.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

So did Cptn Holland really cut his throat or was it an almost, like his being a Quaker? Did he show off the scar to SP or hide it a la Clint Eastwood in Hang 'em High?

Sam got some exercise through being exercised. Must have really wailed on to run out of breath.

I wonder how the phrase "my boy" got started? Charlie Mingus in his autobiography refers to himself in such fashion.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

OED has:

‘eel < Old English ǽl . .
. . 1. d. salt eel: a rope's end used for flogging. Obs. [ < the use of an eel skin as a whip.]
1663 S. Pepys Diary 24 Apr. (1971) IV. 109 With my salt Eele went down in the parler, and there got my boy and did beat him.’

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