Tuesday 20 October 1663

Up and to the office, where we sat; and at noon Sir G. Carteret, Sir J. Minnes, and I to dinner to my Lord Mayor’s, being invited, where was the Farmers of the Customes, my Lord Chancellor’s three sons, and other great and much company, and a very great noble dinner, as this Mayor —[Sir John Robinson.]— is good for nothing else. No extraordinary discourse of any thing, every man being intent upon his dinner, and myself willing to have drunk some wine to have warmed my belly, but I did for my oath’s sake willingly refrain it, but am so well pleased and satisfied afterwards thereby, for it do keep me always in so good a frame of mind that I hope I shall not ever leave this practice. Thence home, and took my wife by coach to White Hall, and she set down at my Lord’s lodgings, I to a Committee of Tangier, and thence with her homeward, calling at several places by the way. Among others at Paul’s Churchyard, and while I was in Kirton’s shop, a fellow came to offer kindness or force to my wife in the coach, but she refusing, he went away, after the coachman had struck him, and he the coachman. So I being called, went thither, and the fellow coming out again of a shop, I did give him a good cuff or two on the chops, and seeing him not oppose me, I did give him another; at last found him drunk, of which I was glad, and so left him, and home, and so to my office awhile, and so home to supper and to bed.

This evening, at my Lord’s lodgings, Mrs. Sarah talking with my wife and I how the Queen do, and how the King tends her being so ill. She tells us that the Queen’s sickness is the spotted fever; that she was as full of the spots as a leopard which is very strange that it should be no more known; but perhaps it is not so. And that the King do seem to take it much to heart, for that he hath wept before her; but, for all that; that he hath not missed one night since she was sick, of supping with my Lady Castlemaine; which I believe is true, for she [Sarah] says that her husband hath dressed the suppers every night; and I confess I saw him myself coming through the street dressing of a great supper to-night, which Sarah says is also for the King and her; which is a very strange thing.

16 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

"the Farmers of the Customes"

Apparently not the collecters of customs tax, as I supposed; but, L&M suggest, those who tend the farm "leased by Sir Job Harby, Sir John Woltonholme, Sir John Jacob, Sir Nicholas Crispe, Sir John Harrison and Sir John Shaw".

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"She tells us that the Queen's sickness is the spotted fever; that she was as full of the spots as a leopard"

Could the queen have the measles?

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"I did give him a good cuff or two on the chops, and seeing him not oppose me, I did give him another"

HAHAHAHA ... that's our Sam! Our pragmatic pugilist, for whom discretion is the better part of valor, etc....

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"that the Queen's sickness is the spotted fever"
Most likely Typhus; we've discussed it before.

jeannine  •  Link

"Could the queen have the measles?"
Todd, None of Catherine's biographers/historians have given this fever a definitive diagnosis. Some have thought that it was the result of a miscarriage (puerperal fever, like what killed Jane Seymour -Henry VII's wife)while some have thought perhaps a more general "spotted fever" which might have been the lingo of the day for a variety of illnesses. It easily could have been a typhus as A. De Araujo suggests too. I would think that somewhere in history there would be more concrete notes about this as it was clearly a critical period in her life (and that of Charles), but if so, apparently nobody has discovered that yet.

JWB  •  Link

"the Farmers of the Custome"

Charter for the Province of Pennsylvania-1681

"Provided, that the said William, Penn and his heires, and the Lieutenants and Governors for the time being, shall admits and receive in and about all such Ports, Havens, Creeks, and Keyes, all Officers and their Deputies, who shall from time to time be appointed for that Purpose by the Farmers or Commissioners of our Customes for the time being"


Robert Gertz  •  Link

"at last found him drunk, of which I was glad..."

As in, he will not be coming round to challenge or perhaps lurk in some corner.

Oh, well. Our boy did do the right thing and defended our Bess' honor without thinking. And being our sensible lad then allowed his well-developed self-preservation gene to kick in.

Though you couldn't resist showing off for Bess with one more sock, eh Sam? I'll bet we hear of a very pleasant morning session tomorrow.

"Oh...Mipor lil Katie...T'was a purty lil' thing in tha' carriage..." the drunken dishelved lout in his fine but muddy and bedraggled clothing staggers off, moaning...

Sam shaking fist at the wretch... "Be off with ye, rogue!"

"Sam'l?!" Bess calls, in no little fear. "Sam'l!! Come back here!!"

"Bess? Are you all right, dearest? Good man, there." Sam acknowledges the worthy couchman who seems a tad disturbed.

Well, upsetting experiences will...

"But Sam'l. Wasn't that...?" Bess drops to a whisper.

"Wasn't that...who, dear?" Sam unable to hear her nervous hiss.

Wait...Whoa. His amazing memory kicks in, too late to save but right on time to torment him.


"T'was his Majesty, sir." the couchman confirms the fear gripping our hero's noble heart. "I did hear he was most distracted what with the poor Queen's illness. Sorry, sir. I didn't recognize him till you'd..."

"Sam'l?..." Bess stares, horrified.

"Doubt ye have cause for concern, sir. I think him quite well out of it, sir." the couchman notes comfortingly to the struck-dumb, blankly staring Sam.

I wonder if the Sultan could use a good naval administrator...Immediately, he thinks.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Nice conceit, Mr. Gertz, but I thinks Sam's arms is too short to box with God, er, Charles (even if he was drunk...)

Kevin Peter  •  Link

Wow, Pepys gives someone a pounding with his fists. That's not the sort of behaviour I normally associate with him. I'm so used to reading about him learning or engaging in less physical activities that it's quite a delight to read about him give someone who was harassing his wife "a good cuff or two on the chop". I was particularly amused that when he saw no opposition he punched the fellow another time for good measure.

Kevin Peter  •  Link

"...and a very great noble dinner, as this Mayor --[Sir John Robinson.]-- is good for nothing else."

If I recall correctly, the mayor of London has been mentioned several times by Sam so far, and I have yet to hear Sam say anything good about the mayor. Sam seems to be of the firm opinion that the mayor is a useless turd.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"And that the King do seem to take it much to heart, for that he hath wept before her"

He that was never known to mourn,
So many kingdoms from him torn,
His tears reserved for you, more dear,
More prized, than all those kingdoms were!
For when no healing art prevailed,
When cordials and elixirs failed,
On your pale cheek he dropped the shower,
Revived you like a dying flower.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Farmers of the Customes" -- Terry, you were right before you were wrong. "Farmer" didn't necessarily mean working the land. You 'harvested' tithes, fees, etc. I've not found a definition, but here's a description of how Paul Pinder earned an income a little before Pepys:

"In 1624 or 1625 Pindar received ... a grant from the king of the alum farm, at an annual rental of 11,000l. This manufacture had been introduced into England in the reign of James I by an Italian friend of Pindar's, and Pindar himself applied a large amount of capital in the development and support of the works. His lease of the farm appears to have expired in 1638–9, but he is found claiming rights in the farm as late as 1648 (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. pp. 18 a, 30 b). On 6 Dec. 1626 Pindar was appointed one of the ‘commissioners to arrest all French ships and goods in England,’ and from 1626 till about 1641 he was one of the farmers of the customs. About March 1638–9 he lent to the exchequer 50,000l., and in a news-letter of April 1639 it is stated that his recent loans had mounted up to 100,000l., ‘for this Sir Paul never fails the king when he has most need’ (cf. Carew, Hinc illæ Lachrymæ, p. 23). The money appears to have been lent to the exchequer at interest at the rate of eight per cent. per annum, and on the security of the alum and sugar farms and other branches of the revenue, which, however, after the death of Charles I were diverted to other uses."

You mention Sir Nicholas Crispe, who was not leasing any farmland, I can assure you. But those six men may have together leased the Customs "Farm".

In the above, 'farms' is used instead of more helpful nouns like factory, business, collective, or monopoly. And them that leases the 'farms' from the King are called farmers, and reap the benefits. Everyone gets his cut.
For more about Paul Pinder: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Pi…

ALUM - noun from Chemistry.
1. Also called potash alum, potassium alum. a crystalline solid, aluminum potassium sulfate, K 2 SO 4 ⋅Al 2 (SO 4) 3 ⋅24H 2 O, used in medicine as an astringent and styptic, in dyeing and tanning, and in many technical processes.
2. one of a class of double sulfates analogous to the potassium alum, as aluminum ammonium sulfate, having the general formula R 2 SO 4 ⋅X 2 (SO 4) 3 ⋅24H 2 O, where R is a univalent alkali metal or ammonium, and X one of a number of trivalent metals.
3. (not in technical use) aluminum sulfate.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

"This evening, at my Lord’s lodgings, Mrs. Sarah talking with my wife and I how the Queen do, and how the King tends her being so ill."

It looks as if "pronounitis" goes back as at least far as the 17th century, and it shows no sign of dissipating. I don't know whether to feel good or bad about it.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘ . . the Farmers of the Customes, my Lord Chancellor’s three sons . . ‘

‘farmer, n.2 < Anglo-Norman . .
1. a. One who undertakes the collection of taxes, revenues, etc., paying a fixed sum for the proceeds.
. .1659 B. Harris tr. J. N. de Parival Hist. Iron Age ii. i. xviii. 205 Questioning the Farmers of the Custom-house, for levying Tunnage and Poundage.
. . 1788 J. Priestley Lect. Hist. v. lxiii. 508 Taxes are raised..by means of farmers who advance the money as it is wanted . . ‘

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