Wednesday 6 April 1664

Up and to my office, whither by and by came John Noble, my father’s old servant, to speake with me. I smelling the business, took him home; and there, all alone, he told me how he had been serviceable to my brother Tom, in the business of his getting his servant, an ugly jade, Margaret, with child. She was brought to bed in St. Sepulchre’s parish of two children; one is dead, the other is alive; her name Elizabeth, and goes by the name of Taylor, daughter to John Taylor. It seems Tom did a great while trust one Crawly with the business, who daily got money of him; and at last, finding himself abused, he broke the matter to J. Noble, upon a vowe of secresy. Tom’s first plott was to go on the other side the water and give a beggar woman something to take the child. They did once go, but did nothing, J. Noble saying that seven years hence the mother might come to demand the child and force him to produce it, or to be suspected of murder. Then I think it was that they consulted, and got one Cave, a poor pensioner in St. Bride’s parish to take it, giving him 5l., he thereby promising to keepe it for ever without more charge to them. The parish hereupon indite the man Cave for bringing this child upon the parish, and by Sir Richard Browne he is sent to the Counter. Cave thence writes to Tom to get him out. Tom answers him in a letter of his owne hand, which J. Noble shewed me, but not signed by him, wherein he speaks of freeing him and getting security for him, but nothing as to the business of the child, or anything like it: so that forasmuch as I could guess, there is nothing therein to my brother’s prejudice as to the main point, and therefore I did not labour to tear or take away the paper.

Cave being released, demands 5l. more to secure my brother for ever against the child; and he was forced to give it him and took bond of Cave in 100l., made at a scrivener’s, one Hudson, I think, in the Old Bayly, to secure John Taylor, and his assigns, &c. (in consideration of 10l. paid him), from all trouble, or charge of meat, drink, clothes, and breeding of Elizabeth Taylor; and it seems, in the doing of it, J. Noble was looked upon as the assignee of this John Taylor. Noble says that he furnished Tom with this money, and is also bound by another bond to pay him 20s. more this next Easter Monday; but nothing for either sum appears under Tom’s hand. I told him how I am like to lose a great sum by his death, and would not pay any more myself, but I would speake to my father about it against the afternoon. So away he went, and I all the morning in my office busy, and at noon home to dinner mightily oppressed with wind, and after dinner took coach and to Paternoster Row, and there bought a pretty silke for a petticoate for my wife, and thence set her down at the New Exchange, and I leaving the coat at Unthanke’s, went to White Hall, but the Councell meeting at Worcester House I went thither, and there delivered to the Duke of Albemarle a paper touching some Tangier business, and thence to the ’Change for my wife, and walked to my father’s, who was packing up some things for the country. I took him up and told him this business of Tom, at which the poor wretch was much troubled, and desired me that I would speak with J. Noble, and do what I could and thought fit in it without concerning him in it. So I went to Noble, and saw the bond that Cave did give and also Tom’s letter that I mentioned above, and upon the whole I think some shame may come, but that it will be hard from any thing I see there to prove the child to be his. Thence to my father and told what I had done, and how I had quieted Noble by telling him that, though we are resolved to part with no more money out of our own purses, yet if he can make it appear a true debt that it may be justifiable for us to pay it, we will do our part to get it paid, and said that I would have it paid before my own debt.

So my father and I both a little satisfied, though vexed to think what a rogue my brother was in all respects. I took my wife by coach home, and to my office, where late with Sir W. Warren, and so home to supper and to bed.

I heard to-day that the Dutch have begun with us by granting letters of marke against us; but I believe it not.

32 Annotations

First Reading

Nix  •  Link

"and by Sir Richard Browne he is sent to the Counter" --

Counter, n. (Spelled, also, "Compter.") The name of two prisons formerly standing in London, but now demolished. They were the Poultry Counter and Wood Street Counter.

Black's Law Dictionary (Rev. 4th ed. 1968)

Australian Susan  •  Link

Poor Sam! Having dealt with one family problem yesterday with the Joyce wrongful arrest, now we have a complication left by Tom - what next?!

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Dutch have begun with us by granting letters of marke against us

The English informal, and disavowable, aggression is being met by the Dutch in a similarly disavowable manner.

Pedro  •  Link

"letters of marke"

"...and it was customary in wartime to give any merchant-ship master who requested it a letter of marque, or commission, which allowed him to wage war against the enemy (at his own risk and expense) as though his vessel was a ship of war. It was in effect a licence which would ensure that the ship named in it and her crew were not treated as pirates if they were captured. Such a ship was called a privateer (from "private man-of-war"); the men on board were called privateers men."

(From Pope's biography of Sir Henry Morgan)

AussieRene  •  Link

Nowadays I daresay that we are lucky, to the extent that our debts die with us, unlike in Samuel's time.

jeannine  •  Link

"the other is alive; her name Elizabeth'

I have a twinge of modern day sadness here I must admit. Perhaps some flattery to Sam's Elizabeth as that is the name of the child (did Tom name her???)
Of note, Sam doesn't express ANY interest to see the child. Perhaps denial that it's Tom's, anger that it may be a financial burden, etc. As we know Sam and Elizabeth will never have children, one could only wish that Sam's world situation would allow him to welcome this one into his home.... and heart.....

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"Elizabeth Taylor"
Indeed Jeannine,maybe if she looked like Tom(I am thinking of the Habsburgh,Casa D'Austria,chin)they could have adopted her,but methinks Sam doesn't care about children and besides he does not want any trouble with the ugly mother.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I don't think it would have shaken Sam's world that much to have taken his niece Elizabeth (Pepys) "Taylor" (cute) in. He would have been commended for a kind heart and could easily have answered any sneers against him.

Strange how the servant dropped from being clever and capable during Tom's final days to being an ugly jade. Further, it wasn't she...Though she had opportunity...Who went to Sam with the sad story.

It is curious that Tom may have named his daughter after Bess... I suspect he was very fond of his sis-in-law.

Mary  •  Link

"our debts die with us"?

Surely not. Claims continue to be made against the estate of the deceased, not least by government agencies.

Paul Dyson  •  Link

"the business of his getting his servant...with child"

How common this is likely to have been in all ages and circumstances! A maid, however much she was "an ugly jade", in a single man's household is surely very vulnerable, and maybe not just to him. And what is likely to have happened to the unfortunate child, viewed by all as an inconvenience and a commodity?

jeannine  •  Link

"And what is likely to have happened to the unfortunate child, viewed by all as an inconvenience and a commodity?"
Spolier -In Helen Heath's book of Sam's family letters she speculates (and probably with good reason) that the child died some time in the first year or so of her life.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Samuell's version of " this business (or this ****) stinks" Or I smell a rat?
"...I smelling the business..."

Pedro  •  Link

Paternoster Row.

Although a little later than Sam's time the Book of Days says of the Lord Mayor's Show...

Royalty generally viewed the show from a balcony at the corner of Paternoster Row, as depicted in the concluding plate of Hogarth's 'Industry and Idleness,' which gives a vivid picture of this 'gaudy day' in the city. Afterwards Mr. Barclay's house, opposite Bow Church, was chosen for the same purpose.

For the plate...…

Terry F  •  Link

"a pretty silke for a petticoate for my wife"

Recompense for the physical and mental pain of one nose-pinch.

AussieRene  •  Link

Mary...A bit hard to claim on a deceased estate when they die penniless but leave heaps of debt. You cannot claim against kin when the debtor is both dead and dead broke.

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

'...the business of his getting his servant, an ugly jade..."
Jade OED 2. A term of reprobation applied to a woman. Also used playfully, like hussy or minx.
Also Sc. 8 jad, 9 jaud. [Of unknown origin; often assumed to be a doublet of YAUD (Icel. jalda mare), but app. without reason.]

1. A contemptuous name for a horse; a horse of inferior breed, e.g. a cart- or draught-horse as opposed to a riding horse; a roadster, a hack; a sorry, ill-conditioned, wearied, or worn-out horse; a vicious, worthless, ill-tempered horse; rarely applied to a donkey.
a1680 BUTLER Rem. (1759) II. 495 The swiftest Race-horse will not perform a long Journey so well as a sturdy dull Jade.
b. Sometimes used without depreciatory sense, playfully, or in generalized sense: = Horse.
c. Rarely applied to a man.....:

[ad. ON. ugglig-r to be feared or dreaded, f. ugga UG v.: see -LY1.
The forms iglic in Gen. & Ex. 2918 and igly in the Harl. MS. of Chaucer Clerk's T. 673 are difficult to account for.]
A. adj.
1. Having an appearance or aspect which causes dread or horror; frightful or horrible, esp. through deformity or squalor.
amongst 8 variations .

Ruben  •  Link

"You cannot claim against kin when the debtor is both dead and dead broke."
You can claim. Legally you get nothing of your claim, but the smear has a smelly effect on the family of the diseased (shame on the Pepyses!).
So you get a blackmail problem, that you cannot solve in court.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

So Dad has now sunk to affectionate, if mildly contemptuous, "poor wretch" status?

A little daughter minus the discomforts of pregnancy might have been a better present than a silk petticoat, Sam. I wonder if you ever did tell Bess about her niece.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"'Poor wretch'?" Bess eyes Sam. "You called your father 'poor wretch'...My team of endearment?"

Ummn... "I..."

Terry F  •  Link

"[My father] desired me that I would speak with J. Noble, and do what I could and thought fit in it without concerning him in it."

John Pepys had evidently already said his good riddance to J. Noble.

cape henry  •  Link

This is indeed one of those vexations that Sam worried about at the death of Tom.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Those pearly gates...

Sam faces the Board...As in final judgement...

But, a merciful, loving Bess has cleared him as a husband with many faults but geniunely loving...Good ole Coventry has noted him as better than most on the corruption thing. Several ladies of his "acquaintance" have admitted their own faults in the matter, Mrs. Lane quite enthusiastically. Even a(spoiler)...

certain Ms. W. has let him off. Looks like a few hundred years in Purgatory and a little problem of what to do with a certain Ms. S. and ole Sam passes...

And best of all, his Diary is a best-seller according to St. Peter (a surprisingly talkative fellow, actually...Bit conceited but all-in-all a useful source of info...)

However...Someone else has come to put her two cents' worth into the pan.

"Uncle Sam?! Burn in Hell, you child-abandoning bastard!!" an angry young adult Elizabeth Taylor...

"Niece?" Hmmn, she did turn out rather attractive...Well...But did she actually reach adulthood...And have the good manners never to impose upon him?

"I died that year, but was reincarnated about 300 years later." she explains before he can ask. "Here..." tosses him a small box. "It's a DVD of 'Cleopatra'...Sorta like a play but you'll have freakin' Eternity to find out all about it! Cause your punishment will be to watch it all day, everyday in Hell...Forever! Hope you like me as Cleo, Unk...Bye!"

"St. Peter?!"

"Innocent babes have the final decision, Samuel...Ought to have considered that in 1664, sorry."

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

An update of the link to the Hogarth image of the Lord Mayor's Show of 1747.

As Pedro said: "Royalty generally viewed the show from a balcony at the corner of Paternoster Row, as depicted in the concluding plate of Hogarth's 'Industry and Idleness,' which gives a vivid picture of this 'gaudy day' in the city."

This page now The Lord Mayor's Show in Art & literature begins with an image of a painting of the parade on the Thames by Canaletto (also 1747).…

Ivan  •  Link

I am a little muddled by comparing today's entry with the entry for the 14th March 1664. Was the "mayde" with whom Sam discoursed a great while alone on the 14th and told him "many passages of her master's practices", in fact the "ugly jade, Margaret", mother of Tom's two children? If not, she seems remarkably well informed. She is correct about the blackmail attempts and knows the name "Cave". She finds suspicious Tom "sitting up two Saturday nights, one after another, when all were a-bed, doing something to himself; which she now suspects what it was but did not before."

I am not sure what she is implying. Self abuse? Self surgery as one annotator suggested or something else entirely? Are these the words of a wronged woman or of information gleaned in the servants' quarters?

All the moneys being demanded, the bonds and assigns being arranged for the upbringing of poor Elizabeth Taylor, make this a very murky tale. Sam, as usual, is determined not to spend any more money than he is absolutely forced to do.

Louise Hudson  •  Link

Such a sad story. I suppose Sam and Elizabeth could have taken the child in, but perhaps that was not the done thing. If Tom was the father, Sam and Elizabeth would have been the child's uncle and aunt. Pal would have also been the child's aunt. Instead the child probably died from neglect, as so many illegitimate babies did in those days. It would take nearly another 100 years for London to get its first foundling hospital (Coram's) not that countless babies didn't still die of neglect, but it helped a little. Coram's is now open to the public as a museum. Worth a visit.

Marquess  •  Link

Margaret "an ugly jade" alas no portrait exists!

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Tom’s first plott was to go on the other side the water and give a beggar woman something to take the child. They did once go, but did nothing, ..."

Does this mean they intended to go to Ireland or France and pay off someone to take the child? "the other side of the water" doesn't sound like the Thames.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Definition of scrivener from Merriam-Webster:
noun pronounced: scriv·en·er \ˈskriv-nər, ˈskri-və-\
1: a professional or public copyist or writer : scribe
2: notary public

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Easter Sunday is 10 April 1664 -- so the money is due Monday, April 11. All this tension probably gave Sam "wind". This Easter could be very expensive for Sam, what with William Joyce's adventures so far unresolved, and Mr. Noble's "debt".

Mary K  •  Link

"the other side of the water"

This will surely have been Southwark, the other side of the Thames from the City of London. In the mid 17th century it was still an area with a very dubious reputation; somewhere where an unwanted child could easily be "lost." As well as its continuing popularity as an area for bull-baiting, bear-baiting etc. (and the concomitant activities of gambling, thuggery and robbery) it was also viewed by the city authorities as a "nest of fanatiques" much favoured by foreign immigrants of uncertain political aims. In 1664 there was a proposal that a new bridge should be constructed across the Thames so as to enable the soldiery more rapid access to the south bank of the Thames for the quick suppression of "sectaries."

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘ . . I smelling the business, . . ’

‘smell, v. < Early Middle English . .
. . 2. a. To perceive as if by smell; esp. to detect, discern, or discover by natural shrewdness, sagacity, or instinct; to suspect, to have an inkling of, to divine.
. . 1668 S. Pepys Diary 30 Aug. (1976) IX. 295 Lord Brouncker, who I perceive, and the rest, doth smell that it came from me, but dare not find fault with it . . ‘
Re: ‘ . . he had been serviceable to my brother . . ’
‘serviceable, adj. < Old French . .
. . 3. a. Of persons: Profitable, useful.
1660 F. Brooke tr. V. Le Blanc World Surveyed 280 A dead man is often more serviceable to the living, than the living themselves . . ‘



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