Wednesday 30 September 1663

Rose very well, and my hearing pretty well again, and so to my office, by and by Mr. Holliard come, and at my house he searched my ear, and I hope all will be well, though I do not yet hear so well as I used to do with my right ear.

So to my office till noon, and then home to dinner, and in the afternoon by water to White Hall, to the Tangier Committee; where my Lord Tiviott about his accounts; which grieves me to see that his accounts being to be examined by us, there are none of the great men at the Board that in compliment will except against any thing in his accounts, and so none of the little persons dare do it: so the King is abused.

Thence home again by water with Sir W. Rider, and so to my office, and there I sat late making up my month’s accounts, and, blessed be God, do find myself 760l. creditor, notwithstanding that for clothes for myself and wife, and layings out on her closett, I have spent this month 47l.. So home, where I found our new cooke-mayde Elizabeth, whom my wife never saw at all, nor I but once at a distance before, but recommended well by Mr. Creed, and I hope will prove well. So to supper, prayers, and bed.

This evening Mr. Coventry is come to St. James’s, but I did not go see him, and tomorrow the King, Queen, Duke and his Lady, and the whole Court comes to towne from their progresse. Myself and family well, only my father sicke in the country.

All the common talke for newes is the Turke’s advance in Hungary, &c.

33 Annotations

First Reading

in aqua  •  Link

No earful of stones, stuck in the eustachian tube. Imagine ones cardiovascular Surgeon checking thee for a cornish toe.
" and by Mr. Holliard come, and at my house he searched my ear,..." [ 11th visit.]

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...there are none of the great men at the Board that in compliment will except against any thing in his accounts, and so none of the little persons dare do it: so the King is abused."

In an alternate universe, our former Roundhead, Rota Republican Club member might find this clear example of the worthlessness of government by king and aristocracy a clarion call to lead his fellow citizens in revolt.

But, then no time to write the Diary while becoming First Citizen of the New British Commonwealth.

Linda  •  Link

I wonder what was in those pills that Sam took?

Mary  •  Link

those pills.

Quite probably a laxative/purgative of some sort. ("Took two pills more in the morning and they worked all day and I keeped the house.") The belief was to linger for many years (and still does in some parts of the world) that almost any sickness can be helped along its way by a good purging.

alanB  •  Link

Is Sam admitting here to being one of the little people (visions here of Sam as a leprechaun t'be sure) or else why didn't Sam speak up? Lord Tiviott may be ripping off Rex but he gives his life next year for the cause.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

By inference,

Sam is one of the little people not being a milord. Now that you mention it, I occasionally have a vision of Sam as Sam, the hobbit.

As to the modern application of this text, consider the defense budget.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Yes, it's not like our modern world where whistleblowers are properly protected and honored for their courage and where bad war plans by politically ambitious leaders looking for easy wins are prevented from going into effect by wise and courageous staffers and representatives of the people.

Speaking of bad war plans, I wonder at how little we've heard of advanced planning from Sam. I should think we'd hear at least a hint that the Navy has a few general plans for defense and offense.

"War planning?" Charles stares at Coventry. "Why should we waste money on that? Everyone in Europe loves me, I'm the Merry Monarch."

"Yes, your Majesty. But as long as we do finance a Royal Navy and Army, we might want some plan of action prepared should need to employ them someday. The French or Dutch or Spanish might one day decide to challenge us...Or we, them."

"What do you think, Barbara?" Charles turns to Castlemaine who frowns at the thought of a potential diversion of funds from her to the Nation's defense.

"Terrible idea. Just tell them to go fight when you need to..."

"Hmmn...Well, perhaps Cromwell left an old plan or something we could use. Or how about that clever boy of Sandwich's you keep praising...Peeps, right? Can't he write up something on the quick that would do? Yes. Just keep it cheap, no need for a lot of costly meetings and such."

"Very cheap." Castlemaine emphasizes, stern look at the sighing Coventry.

Charles waves Coventry off...
Later that week...

"Well, Hewer? What do you think? My secret battle plan for the Royal Navy." Sam proudly shows a rather fancy glass-covering box holding a sheaf of documents.

Hmmn. Will eyes the box. "In case of War, break glass."


jeannine  •  Link

a leprechaun or a hobbit?
I think (?) I remember reading somewhere that Sam was about 5 feet tall. I'm not sure of where or how accurate this is. Have we ever figured out his stature before?

in Aqua  •  Link

Re: the little people vs big people or be it the masses vs the havit alls.
'tis why big egos have all of the fun till they blow it. Most of us will let others lead until they fail. The bio fedback of pleasure be what we like, the less mental pain.
Sam being in direct contact with those that be in charge, find that they put on their shorts the same way, that is they need a Waynmen too, then when Wayne absconds, he can still put on his own cap while the others moan. We all need biofeedback of sucess, which many do not get.

Bradford  •  Link

Surely Tomalin must mention his height, if it's not in the Companion. Seek, and ye shall find, and tell us too.

JWB  •  Link

"760 creditor"

~600 Sept, '61. That's ~13.5% per year.

JWB  •  Link

a low squat man

note 2, page 386, Tomalin: "...that he could stand under the arms of 'the great woman' of 6'5" which would make him about 5'1"."

Australian Susan  •  Link

Tomalin reckons Sam to be about 5 foot (150 cm). Not so odd then. Charles I was only 4ft 10inches, but no-one commented on his excessively short stature. On the contrary, when the future Charles II was on the run afterthe Battle of Worcester (1651), the wanted posters distributed emphasised what was seen to be as his great height: "above two yardes high" (i.e. over 6 foot). That was the oddness, not someone (his father) being what we would think of of v. short. Hobbits are 3 foot 6 inches, by the way. But the Great Took did make it to 4 foot and rode a horse, not a pony.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sorry JWB - posted simultaneously!!

JWB  •  Link

getting to depths of height

from "Science Daily" Sept 4, '04: "Men From Early Middle Ages Were Nearly As Tall As Modern People
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Northern European men living during the early Middle Ages were nearly as tall as their modern-day American descendants, a finding that defies conventional wisdom about progress in living standards during the last millennium.

"Men living during the early Middle Ages (the ninth to 11th centuries) were several centimeters taller than men who lived hundreds of years later, on the eve of the Industrial Revolution," said Richard Steckel, a professor of economics at Ohio State University and the author of a new study that looks at changes in average heights during the last millennium.

"Height is an indicator of overall health and economic well-being, and learning that people were so well-off 1,000 to 1,200 years ago was surprising," he said.

Steckel analyzed height data from thousands of skeletons excavated from burial sites in northern Europe and dating from the ninth to the 19th centuries. Average height declined slightly during the 12th through 16th centuries, and hit an all-time low during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Northern European men had lost an average 2.5 inches of height by the 1700s, a loss that was not fully recovered until the first half of the 20th century.

Steckel believes a variety of factors contributed to the drop – and subsequent regain – in average height during the last millennium. These factors include climate change; the growth of cities and the resulting spread of communicable diseases; changes in political structures; and changes in agricultural production.

"Average height is a good way to measure the availability and consumption of basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, medical care and exposure to disease," Steckel said. "Height is also sensitive to the degree of inequality between populations."

The study appears in a recent issue of the journal Social Science History.

Steckel analyzed skeletal data from 30 previous studies. The bones had been excavated from burial sites in northern European countries, including Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Great Britain and Denmark. In most cases, the length of the femur, or thighbone, was used to estimate skeletal height. The longest bone in the body, the femur comprises about a quarter of a person's height.

According to Steckel's analysis, heights decreased from an average of 68.27 inches (173.4 centimeters) in the early Middle Ages to an average low of roughly 65.75 inches (167 cm) during the 17th and 18th centuries.

"This decline of two-and-a-half inches substantially exceeds any height fluctuations seen during the various industrial revolutions of the 19th century," Steckel said.

Reasons for such tall heights during the early Middle Ages may have to do with climate. Steckel points out that agriculture from 900 to 1300 benefited from a warm period – temperatures were as much as 2 to 3 degrees warmer than subsequent centuries. Theoretically, smaller populations had more land to choose from when producing crops and raising livestock.

"The temperature difference was enough to extend the growing season by three to four weeks in many settled regions of northern Europe," Steckel said. "It also allowed for cultivation of previously unavailable land at higher elevations."

Also, populations were relatively isolated during the Middle Ages – large cities were absent from northern Europe until the late Middle Ages. This isolation in the era before effective public health measures probably helped to protect people from communicable diseases, Steckel said.

"It is notable that bubonic plague made its dramatic appearance in the late Middle Ages, when trade really took off," he said.

Steckel cites several possible reasons why height declined toward the end of the Middle Ages:

* The climate changed rather dramatically in the 1300s, when the Little Ice Age triggered a cooling trend that wreaked havoc on northern Europe for the following 400 to 500 years.

Colder temperatures meant lower food production as well as greater use of resources for heating. But many temperature fluctuations, ranging in length from about 15 to 40 years, kept people from fully adapting to a colder climate, Steckel said.

"These brief periods of warming disguised the long-term trend of cooler temperatures, so people were less likely to move to warmer regions and were more likely to stick with traditional farming methods that ultimately failed," he said. "Climate change was likely to have imposed serious economic and health costs on northern Europeans, which in turn may have caused a downward trend in average height."

Australian Susan  •  Link


As WWI took its grim toll of the young men of Britain, it was found necessary to lower height standards for the army as they just could not get men of what had been deemed to be reasonable height. (minimum height was 5foot 3inches). These men served in what were called Bantam battalions. This was probably due to appallingly low standards of nurtrition in the industrial slums of northern England.(but there were also Bantam Battalions formed from Canadian volunteers too).

Patricia  •  Link

Susan, are you saying that prior to the carnage of WWI, the result of centuries of European wars was that they selectively bred short people by recruiting only tall men (who then were killed in the war), leaving only short men to breed? I notice that, in fiction, all the aristocracy are tall. This cannot have been true.

Linda  •  Link

I've read that Napoleon, that old shorty, had a huge platoon of tall men who were all killed during his disasters in conquering the world and that is why there are now so many short people in France. It seems to be true. I am 5'7" and I tower over many people here.

Pedro  •  Link

“As WWI took its grim toll of the young men of Britain,”

“At first, the British Army refused to accept recruits under 5' 6" tall, and coalminers were exempt from call-up altogether. However, following a period of desperate carnage and heavy losses on the battlefields, the height restrictions was lowered.”

For the sad story of Will Stones see……

Australian Susan  •  Link

I don't think anyone bothered about height restrictions for either Army or Navy until WWI - and then the recruiters were shocked at the general poor health of those who came from industrial areas and had to revise their ideas of height downwards.
The Grenadier Guards (raised in 1656 by Charles II when in exile) used to have a height restriction to ensure they were all tall (something to do with Charles being so tall, I wonder?)They also had a characteristically tall uniform headpiece.

Gus Spie  •  Link

Regarding primary research on the height of Man during the Middle Ages and the 17th Century, consider that the researcher is basing conclusions on a subset of european man ... those who were actually buried.

I might ask for a skeptic to argue that a very large portion of the population never made it to the graveyards. Only the wealthy, better fed, portion of the populace were formally buried. The peasantry, the serfs, the common man would merit only the most informal of interments, if any at all. And thus never get surveyed by later generations that may wish to determine what was the state of Man during those days.

in aqua  •  Link

Until man made Machines came into general use and the gun [the size, sex and strength equilizer] Size always mattered. Size had clout in all walks of life. Brains had to be truly superior in order to overide force.
Pecking order was by force or the ability to enforce the rules by brains using purchased strength.
So it be natural for the lessers , that failed to eat enough and keep warm or cool, were on the most part unable to have the full potential reached. Luckerly the genes were able make exceptions, and out of the unfortunate ones, those with merit could survive, Luck played a part, the Americas allowed many to reach full potential by enjoying the fruits of the 12 Colonies.
Wars' task is to thin out populations of the strong, Famine the weak, and disease those that be unclean or those that over indulge, allowing others to have a chance at some of the booty of life.

Bradford  •  Link

Pepys and Keats were then about the same height (thanks, JWB and Susan---I had forgotten that the hobbits in the Fellowship really had to look Up to most of their comrades). Now it's the Dutch who are winning the tallness sweeps.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Height statistics were collected by those who were recruiting for the Army, so the figures are not just based on excavated burials. But most of those height figures for the Armies of Europe come from the 19th century. One French one - in the 1790s when miserable peasants were being co-opted for for Napoleon's armies, someone bothered to check their heights and record this, those provising an excellent resource. 75% were under 1.5m, but they were all taken.(A. Hovelacque, "La taille dans un canton ligure." Revue mensuelle de lécole d'anthropologie, Paris, 1896). Regiments closest to the monarch or ruler always recruited the tall ones: Guards regiments here and the equivalent in France, Prussia etc. A comedic touch on this: anyone remember Terry Gilliam's film, Time Bandits, when a frustrated Napoleon (irascibly and brilliantly portrayed by Ian Holm (5foot 4inches & aka Bilbo)) dismisses his generals because they are too tall(all played by towering actors) and enlists the time bandits themselves all played by real dwarf actors. After Sam's time, when Naval guns became bigger,small and wiry guncrew were preferred as they fitted into the tight spaces better and each crew had a "powder monkey" to fetch their gunpowder from the magazine: he was a small boy.

in aqua  •  Link

height statistics: visit a Sailing ship of the 18/19 century and visit the gun decks and there be bent backs for those that be in the upper height brackets, it be good for the Tars,Well heeled Hofficers be rarely makeing an unnessary visit unless, it be an ensign [middie] not yet fully grown.

Australian Susan  •  Link

If you go round the Victory at Portsmouth, you are shown the Map Room in which campaigns were plotted over the charts by the officers - this room had to have its ceiling raised so Capt Hardy could stand upright when he was given this command. He was 6'. Nelson was about 5'5".

celtcahill  •  Link


" Linda on Sun 1 Oct 2006, 5:00 am | Link
I wonder what was in those pills that Sam took? "

John Hall, Shakespeare's son-in-law was a Physician whose work was Published in Pepys' time. He Knew, here is a link to a true believer:…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"All the common talke for newes is the Turke’s advance in Hungary, &c."

The Austro–Turkish War (1663–1664) or fourth Austro–Turkish War was a short war between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman aim was to resume the advance in central Europe, conquer Vienna and subdue Austria.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"our new cooke-mayde Elizabeth, whom my wife never saw at all, nor I but once at a distance before, but recommended well by Mr. Creed, and I hope will prove well."

The Pepyses came to be very fond of Bess, who stayed until 6 March 1665, being promoted to uppermaid in 1664.

Tonyel  •  Link

Charles I really only 4'10"? Was that before or after......?

Bill  •  Link

[Scottish comedian] RONNIE Corbett, who has died aged 85 [31 March 2016], was one of Scotland’s biggest showbusiness stars, although not in the literal sense of course. He was five feet and one and a half inches, which he liked to point out was half an inch taller than Samuel Pepys and meant that he would have towered over Charlotte Bronte.

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