Friday 18 November 1664

Up and to the office, and thence to the Committee of the Fishery at White Hall, where so poor simple doings about the business of the Lottery, that I was ashamed to see it, that a thing so low and base should have any thing to do with so noble an undertaking.

But I had the advantage this day to hear Mr. Williamson discourse, who come to be a contractor with others for the Lotterys, and indeed I find he is a very logicall man and a good speaker.

But it was so pleasant to see my Lord Craven, the chaireman, before many persons of worth and grave, use this comparison in saying that certainly these that would contract for all the lotteries would not suffer us to set up the Virginia lottery for plate before them, “For,” says he, “if I occupy a wench first, you may occupy her again your heart out you can never have her maidenhead after I have once had it,” which he did more loosely, and yet as if he had fetched a most grave and worthy instance. They made mirth, but I and others were ashamed of it.

Thence to the ’Change and thence home to dinner, and thence to the office a good while, and thence to the Council chamber at White Hall to speake with Sir G. Carteret, and here by accident heard a great and famous cause between Sir G. Lane and one Mr. Phill. Whore, an Irish business about Sir G. Lane’s endeavouring to reverse a decree of the late Commissioners of Ireland in a Rebells case for his land, which the King had given as forfeited to Sir G. Lane, for whom the Sollicitor did argue most angell like, and one of the Commissioners, Baron, did argue for the other and for himself and his brethren who had decreed it. But the Sollicitor do so pay the Commissioners, how four all along did act for the Papists, and three only for the Protestants, by which they were overvoted, but at last one word (which was omitted in the Sollicitor’s repeating of an Act of Parliament in the case) being insisted on by the other part, the Sollicitor was put to a great stop, and I could discern he could not tell what to say, but was quite out. Thence home well pleased with this accident, and so home to my office, where late, and then to supper and to bed.

This day I had a letter from Mr. Coventry, that tells me that my Lord Brunkard is to be one of our Commissioners, of which I am very glad, if any more must be.

25 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

On behalf of Dirk, from the Carte Calendar

[An Order] by the Committee of his Majesty's ... Privy Council, for the affairs of the Admiralty & Navy [for the arrest of all ships & vessels, belonging to the States-General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands]

Written from: Whitehall

Date: 18 November 1664

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 33, fol(s). 725
Document type: Copy…

Terry F  •  Link

"[An Order] by the Committee of his Majesty’s … Privy Council, for the affairs of the Admiralty & Navy [for the arrest of all ships & vessels, belonging to the States-General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands]"

Sotto voce, war is declared?

Patricia  •  Link

occupy = to have sexual intercourse
Hugh Rawson's Dictionary of Euphemisms & Other Doubletalk says "So tarred was 'occupy' by its secondary, euphemistic meanings that it was virtually banned from polite English in any sense at all for almost 200 years. As early as 1597, William Shakespeare noted what was happening in Henry IV, Part 2 'A captain! God's light, these villains will make the word as odious as the word "occupy," which was an excellent good word before it was ill-sorted...' " Rawson also quotes the OED thus: "The disuse of this verb in the 17th and most of the 18th c. is notable. Against 194 quots. for 16th c., we have for 17th only 8, outside the Bible of 1611 (where it occurs 10 times) and for 18 c. only 10, all of its last 33 years. ...This avoidance appears to have been due to its vulgar employment...."
Myself, I think it's lousy as a euphemism. It sounds disgusting to my ears to refer to sexual relations in this way.

Terry F  •  Link

Spoiler: The "great and famous cause between Sir G. Lane and one Mr. Phill. Whore [Philip Hore]" will be settled in 1671. See the Carte Calendar

An Order by the King in Council for the registration of an agreement made by Sir George Lane with Philip Hore
Written from: Whitehall

Date: 1 February 1671

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 118, fol(s). 239
Document type: Note, by T. Carte, from a MS. belonging to Sir J. Vesey…

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

My Lord Craven

Would likely not have ventured such a crude and sexual analogy only four or five years earlier. "I and others were ashamed of it," says Sam, perhaps reflecting his non-conformist upbringing and its continuing hold on public morality. I notice his shame at my lord's crudity does not bring to his mind his own recent quite shameful sexual adventure. In his behavior Sam seems as libertine as the court he serves, but in his reactions he remains a small p puritan. Cognitive dissonance in action?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... would not suffer us to set up the Virginia lottery for plate before them ..."

The Virginia Company of London under its third charter, 1611 (… ) was given the power to hold lotteries to resolve its financial problems -- despite repeated and notorious use of the privilege the Company was a dismal financial failure.…

[One of the promotional broadsides appears to be the first published images of named and identifiable native Americans:-
Vrginia Company of London. A declaration for the certaine time of dravving the great standing lottery
Imprinted at London : By Felix Kyngston, for VVilliam VVelby, the 22. of Februarie. 1615 [i.e. 1616]
1 sheet ([1] p.). Contains six illustrations in vignettes at head of text, two of which represent Engraved portraits of two Virginia Indians, Eiatintomino and Matahan. STC (2nd ed.), 24833.8 Unique copy; Society of Antiquaries, London.]

Bradford  •  Link

Having not brushed up on my bawdy Shakespeare lately, this once-prevalent use of "occupy" comes as news; but the strangest thing about Craven's unwise analogy is that he had to fetch it in from pretty far off, and it doesn't seem a particularly good fit for the case he wishes to make. Having thought up a clever remark, some folk will seize any excuse to drag it into conversation. A "Craven" fellow indeed.

JWB  •  Link


Thanks Patiricia. Of couse "intercourse" itself has fallen into that rut. "Rut" also covered. "Covered" is also... Man's mind is so "cravenly" occupied.

James in Illinois  •  Link

Patricia--thanks for your informative post concerning "occupy."

JWB--your post reminds me of the lyric to an old Tom Lehrer tune--"when correctly viewed, everything is lewd."

Paul Dyson  •  Link


Like so may English words, good and bad, this has a Latin derivation. "occupare" has the meaning of "take over", "get possession of" rather than "occupy" in our modern sense. But there's a military connotation, just as an "occupied" country has been invaded, taken over and now has to put up with the enemy forces. So the Craven analogy is, for today, very un-PC, and perhaps so even for Sam, although he may have been ashamed, just possibly, out of conscience. English seems to have endless possibilities for "double-entendre", for the more harmless examples of which TV lovers might look at repeats of "Are you being served?", "'Allo, 'Allo" among others.

language hat  •  Link


Another word that is perfectly innocuous to our ears but suffered the same fate as "occupy" during about the same period is "converse":

1536 BELLENDEN Cron. Scot. (1821) I. p. xix, This Albyne, with her fiftie sisteris.. conversit with devillis in forme of men, and consavit childrin. 1611 COTGR. s.v. Rifflarde. 1656 S. WINTER Serm. 45 They may lawfully converse together as man and wife. [...] 1749 FIELDING Tom Jones VI. x, That wench with whom I know he yet converses. 1760 C. JOHNSTON Chrysal (1822) III. 31 Liberty.. to converse with as many females as he pleased.

Similarly "conversation":

c1511 1st Eng. Bk. Amer. (Arb.) p. xxvii, The men hath conuersacyon with the wymen, who that they ben or who they fyrst mete. 1594 SHAKES. Rich. III, III. v. 31 His Conuersation with Shores Wife. 1649 BP. HALL Cases Consc. IV. v. 445 After a conjugall conversation. 1697 POTTER Antiq. Greece IV. xii. 298.

(The latter persisted in legal usage in the phrase "criminal conversation" (abbreviated "crim. con.") = "adultery."

Carl in Boston  •  Link

I and others were ashamed of it,” says Sam
I have been embarrassed by higher ups (rich and spoiled ones too) saying coarse and disagreeable notions as if I and the plant workmen around me would be amused or as if this were our natural bent. It is not. They wish to be part of the rough and ready crowd, I suppose, but it misses the point. The workmen, and I (a professional), wish to be taken as equals by the square and on the level and this crass talk is more a putdown than a equalizer. In this sense, Sam is right not to be amused. Harrumph, indeed, how dare they. I have always taken care of business and treated people as WORTHY equals by means of worthy discourse, and they appreciate it.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

If Sam "and others were ashamed of" the Lord's craven remarks, then why does he say "it was so pleasant"?

Paul Chapin  •  Link


Todd, the same question occurred to me. A possible answer is found in OED's definition #4 of "pleasant":

†4. Amusing, laughable, ridiculous, funny. Obs.
1583 T. Stocker Civ. Warres Lowe C. i. 15 With such other like pleasant iestes. 1604 E. G[rimstone] D'Acosta's Hist. Indies i. xiv. 47 From our Peru+they might well bring gold, silver, and pleasant monkies. 1688 S. Penton Guard. Instruct. (1897) 43 It was pleasant to see how my Son trembled to see the Proctour come in. 1716 Addison Freeholder No. 9 313 The most pleasant Grievance is still behind. 1760 Foote Minor ii. Wks. 1799 I. 260 They took him off at the play-house some time ago; pleasant, but wrong. Public characters shou'd not be sported with.

Chy  •  Link

The annotators appear to have here missed the subtlety of Sam's reporting of Lord Craven's rude simile. Sam reports the turn of phrase, using the term 'occupy' in its base sense, but notes that Lord Craven had spoken "more loosely" than he had written it. In other words it is Sam who employs the term 'occupy', where Lord Craven had used even looser, baser language than Samuel could bring himself to write. Your imaginations must fill in the rest.

pppatholog  •  Link

"...these that would contract for all the lotteries would not suffer us to set up the Virginia lottery for *plate* before them,"

Contrary to the link to *silver plate* here, the plate above seems to be another OED variant of *plat* which has been discussed at length.

plat, n.3 also (6 plate), 6–7 platt(e.
A collateral form of plot n., which arose early in the 16th c., app. under the influence of plat n.2

†3. fig. A plan or scheme of the actual or proposed arrangement of anything; an outline, a sketch; also, arrangement, disposition. Cf. plot n. 4. Obs.

†4. A plan of action or proceeding in some undertaking; a scheme, design; = plot n. 5. Obs.

cf. the alternative link to plate/plat and the water scribe's annotation (cum grano salicylis):…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Third Charter of Virginia; March 12, 1611 updated URL

Ancl for the more effectual Advancing of the said Plantation. We do further, for Us, our Heirs, and Successors, of our especial Grace and Favour, by Virtue of our Prerogative Royal, and by the Assent and Consent of the Lords and others of our Privy Council, GIVE and GRANT, unto the said Treasurer and Company, full Power and Authority, free Leave, Liberty, and Licence, to set forth, erect, and publish, one or more Lottery or Lotteries...&c…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"This day I had a letter from Mr. Coventry, that tells me that my Lord Brunkard is to be one of our Commissioners, of which I am very glad, if any more must be."

In a letter of 12 November Coventry had written that Sir W. Rider was 'in nomination' for the post. But, as both Coventry and Pepys realised, there were objections to the appointment of merchants to the Board. Brouncker's warrant was issued in 12 November and his patent on 7 December. His appointment was perhaps welcome to Pepys because of his ability as a ship-designer and mathematician. He was President of the Royal Society, 1552-77. (L&M note)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... which he did more loosely, ..."

I can't remember Pepys ever swearing, or reporting on someone swearing, before. But I know they did it. I searched our word program for the F-bomb, and he never used that either, as a noun, verb, advert, adjective or exclamation in the whole ten years.

Swearing was probably against the Blasphemy Laws, but a friend tells me they swore in French to get around that technicality.

Can anyone enlighten me?

LKvM  •  Link

Trenchant apprehension, Chy.

RSGII  •  Link

Swearing then as now was likely considered a sign of low class behavior. In my experience, very senior folk have to very careful about when they use swear words or off color stories least they lose the respect of their collegues and subordinates as here. I have seen it happen more than once. Selective use on the other hand can have very considerable impact. Eisenhower was reportedly very good at this in private meetings.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

I wonder how Mr. Hore would feel about Sam’s misspelling his name for our future edification? Definitely preoccupied!

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Swearing, since we rarely have to swear an oath (to tell the truth in court, for example), is hard to explain. Likewise cursing is a challenge, since we no longer wish evil spells on our enemies. I leave explanations to the more erudite:

Mark Twain said “under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer,” and people have been swearing as long as they’ve been praying.
What is considered “cursing” or “swearing” has always depended on what was taboo at the time, whether it be blasphemous or simply crude. These off-limits words and topics have also shifted over time.

The original curses are probably English terms from the Bible, when “swearing” was used to refer to false promises or lies, such as when someone claims to do something that is not possible. These were considered vain oaths, and this “swearing” would sometimes be made in God’s name.
Some of the earliest expletives were phrases referencing religion, such as “by God’s bones,” “God’s nails,” or anything to do with God that wasn’t a literal and sincere oath.
Frequently curse words originated from combining 2 or more taboo words together to obscure the literal meaning, creating a new slang term. E.G. “gadzooks” was a curse used in place of “God’s hooks,” and by the 1600s, the word “zounds” — a shortening of “God’s wounds” — appeared in Shakespeare’s Othello and King John.

The phrase “four-letter word” began as a euphemism in the 1920s: Of the 84 common American English swear words, 29 have 4 letters, including the most popular three:
“Damn” appeared as a verb in the 13th century, meaning “to condemn,” and was used as an exclamation starting in the 17th century.
The “F-word” was preceded by another 4-letter word in the 10th century: “sard,” which described the same act.
The myth that today’s F-word derived from an acronym, either “fornication under consent of the king” or “for unlawful carnal knowledge,” is wrong. The expletive probably came from the Middle Dutch “fokken,” Norwegian “fukka,” or Swedish “focka,” all of which mean several things, including “to copulate.”
Another theory traces the word to the Indo-European term “peuk,” meaning “to prick.”
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded use of the modern F-bomb was in 1503, in a Scottish poem, although the word was likely used earlier.

The 4-letter word beginning with “sh” has had several meanings through the ages. It was used to mean “an obnoxious person” in 1508, but the early version of the word wasn’t 4 letters; it began as the Old English curse “scite.”
In Latin, “scite” means shrewdly, cleverly, or skillfully.
By 1934, when it was used in Henry Miller’s novel Tropic of Cancer, the modern version of the word had evolved to mean “stuff,” regardless of quality.

Exerpted from…

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