Wednesday 2 December 1663

My wife troubled all last night with the toothache and this morning.

I up and to my office, where busy, and so home to dinner with my wife, who is better of her tooth than she was, and in the afternoon by agreement called on by Mr. Bland, and with him to the Ship a neighbour tavern and there met his antagonist Mr. Custos and his referee Mr. Clarke a merchant also, and begun the dispute about the freight of a ship hired by Mr. Bland to carry provisions to Tangier, and the freight is now demanded, whereas he says that the goods were some spoiled, some not delivered, and upon the whole demands 1300l. of the other, and their minds are both so high, their demands so distant, and their words so many and hot against one another that I fear we shall bring it to nothing. But however I am glad to see myself so capable of understanding the business as I find I do, and shall endeavour to do Mr. Bland all the just service I can therein.

Here we were in a bad room, which vexed me most, but we meet at another house next. So at noon I home and to my office till 9 o’clock, and so home to my wife to keep her company, arithmetique, then to supper, and to bed, she being well of her tooth again.

16 Annotations

First Reading

Bradford  •  Link

There's nothing to cure toothache like adding to find out how much more you're worth this month than last. But is Sam likely to share that particular computation with Liz? Discuss.

Terry F  •  Link

Mr. Bland vs. Mr. Custis

Cf. 25 November "Mr. Bland came to me and had good discourse, and he has chose me a referee for him in a business,"…

A "referee" in this context seems to be something like a "second" in a duel, since Mr. Custis has Mr. Clerke as his referee.

cumgranosalis  •  Link

Referee [f. REFER v. + -EE1.]
2. Law. a. A person to whom (either alone or with others) a dispute between parties is referred by mutual consent; an arbitrator.

1. a. One appointed by Parliament to examine and report on applications for monopolies or letters patent. Obs.

1621 in Crt. & Times Jas. I (1848) II. 235 The Lords and Commons met in the afternoon, to consult what punishment to inflict upon monopolists, and the referees, who are in chiefest fault.

1640 Resol. Ho. Comm. in Rushw. Hist. Coll. III. (1692) I. 53 That the Patent for the Monopoly of Tobacco be forthwith brought into this House; And that the Referrees, to whom the Legality of this Patent was referred, attend the said Committee at the same time.

1663 in Milton's Wks. (1738) I. p. lxxxv, We have received your Letter..together with several Petitions,..all which we likewise transmitted to the Lords Referees.
b. One to whom the management or superintendence of something is entrusted.
c. A member of certain committees and courts appointed by the House of Commons to deal with private bills.

For details see Bonham-Carter's edition of May's Parl. Practice (1893) III. 726-8. Since 1868 the only Court of Referees has been one for deciding questions as to the locus standi of petitioners; the office of Referee on Private Bills ceased in 1902.

3. a. One to whom any matter or question in dispute is referred for decision; an umpire.1670
b. In games or sports 1840

Jesse  •  Link

"chose me a referee for him in a business"

I took his role as referee more as a personal mediator. Johnson's definition is 'one to whom anything is referred.' Given that their "their minds are both so high, their demands so distant" I'd think the referees would provide a bridge over the troubled waters, as it were.

Terry F  •  Link

On the model of what referees do suggested by Jesse (which makes sense), we can expect Messrs. Pepys and Clerke to meet however long it takes to negotiate a settlement; today the introductions and the differences are explored in brief.

Jesse  •  Link

"dispute about the freight of a ship"

I originally though this was an informal ("with him to the ... tavern") settlement approach. After reading Terry's commments I wonder whether this isn't a defined and established process for dispute resolution. A way to avoid the costs and troubles of going to court, similar to today's mediation processes, with Pepys, no doubt, expecting to be paid for his services.

alanB  •  Link

A sympathetic and understanding Sam ploughs on
Now Bess, what's 115 plus 115?
tooth hurty.
Good. Now 46 multiplied by 5?
tooth hurty
You really have got the hang of this arithmetique .. and 690 divided by 3?

cumgranosalis  •  Link

The coffee shop along with the Tavern, were the big business discussion areas, were neutral ground be ideal to settle trade. Business could not afford to set aside areas to be idle until required.

Miriam  •  Link

Does Mr. Pepys tells Mrs. Pepys what "he" is worth?

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"their minds are both so high, their demands so distant, and their words so many and hot against one another that I fear we shall bring it to nothing."

SPOILER -- L&M note the outcome of Mr. Bland vs. Mr. Custis is next Feb. 3:…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Apart from going to the local barber and getting the tooth pulled, what sort of care could Elizabeth expect? Did they know cloves deaden the pain? Did they have toothpaste and toothbrushes?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Ah - I used the search tool and found some of the answers to my own questions -- highlights from… :

17th century dentistry.

There were no dentists in London at this time that we would recognize as dentists. Barbers (later barber-surgeons) were 'operators for the teeth" who might ply their trade in a local market or at a fair. The first book written about dentistry in English was published in the mid-1680s

There was reluctance to extract teeth. Oil of cloves could be used to deaden the pain of a carious tooth and it was recognized cleaning teeth, notably to remove plaque, was a desirable practice. Cavities were thought to be caused by a 'worm.'

If you had an abscess, rich folk called in a practicing surgeon to consult on the matter, They may extract the tooth or lance an abscess to relieve the painful pressure. [Modern dentists, of course, will not remove a badly abscessed tooth until the infection has been reduced by the use of antibiotics].

It must have been agony waiting for the abscess to burst.

Nothing about toothbrushes of toothpaste yet.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

In those days people with toothache--and it must have been common--just had to grin and bear it. It must have been excruciating. They had opiates, though.

The toothbrush as we know it today was not invented until 1938. However, early forms of the toothbrush have been in existence since 3000 BC. Ancient civilizations used a "chew stick," which was a thin twig with a frayed end. These 'chew sticks' were rubbed against the teeth.
The bristle toothbrush, similar to the type used today, was not invented until 1498 in China. The bristles were actually the stiff, coarse hairs taken from the back of a hog's neck and attached to handles made of bone or bamboo.

* The first mass-produced toothbrush was made by William Addis of Clerkenwald, England, around 1780.

* Mass production of toothbrushes began in America around 1885.…

Clark Kent  •  Link

In Elizabeth Jenkins's quite excellent biography "Elizabeth the Great," is the following account of a dental problem experienced by the good queen:

" The toothache the queen had had since October, came in December to a raging climax that kept her without sleep for forty-eight hours. Elizabeth was forty-five, but she had never had a tooth pulled out, and combined with unwillingness to lose one was a shrinking from the operation itself. A meeting of the Privy Council was convened to deal with this emergency, at which the ministers listened to the opinion of a tooth-drawer called Fenatus. He told them it was possible to dress the tooth with a preparation of fenugreek that would make it fall out of itself, but in that case, great care had to be taken to protect the teeth on either side. What he recommended was immediate extraction by the ordinary method. The Council, having heard him, decided upon extraction to a man, and a body of them, taking a surgeon with them, waited on the exhausted queen. They had the advantage that among their number was Elizabeth's lifelong admirer John Aylmer, now Bishop of London. . . . The Council's view was repeated to the queen, and before she could open her lips to protest, Dr. Aylmer said to her that he had not many teeth left in his head, but such as he had were entirely at her service. The surgeon should now pull one of them out, and she would see that it was no such great matter. The surgeon then drew one of the bishop's teeth, and the queen consented to have her own taken out."

Good help like that is hard to find these days.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

From Eliza Picard, page 170/171:
"Diseases and Causalities this week" [3rd week of August 1664]
Abortive 5
Still borne 17
Stone 2
teeth 121
childbed 42
Christened 176

So 121 people died in one week from bad teeth in London. I was wondering why people died from being Christened, and then I realized that it was almost the total of the other causes combined ... presumably a few children died without benefit of clergy (which must include some called still borne).

Teeth and abscesses are dangerous -- we don't think about that any more.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.