Friday 23 December 1664

Up and to my office, then come by appointment cozen Tom Trice to me, and I paid him the 20l. remaining due to him upon the bond of 100l. given him by agreement November, 1663, to end the difference between us about my aunt’s, his mother’s, money. And here, being willing to know the worst, I told him, “I hope now there is nothing remaining between you and I of future dispute.” “No,” says he, “nothing at all that I know of, but only a small matter of about 20 or 30s. that my father Pepys received for me of rent due to me in the country, which I will in a day or two bring you an account of,” and so we parted.

Dined at home upon a good turkey which Mr. Sheply sent us, then to the office all the afternoon.

Mr. Cutler and others coming to me about business. I hear that the Dutch have prepared a fleete to go the backway to the Streights, where without doubt they will master our fleete. This put to that of Guinny makes me fear them mightily, and certainly they are a most wise people, and careful of their business. The King of France, they say, do declare himself obliged to defend them, and lays claim by his Embassador to the wines we have taken from the Dutch Bourdeaux men, and more, it is doubted whether the Swede will be our friend or no. Pray God deliver us out of these troubles!

This day Sir W. Batten sent and afterwards spoke to me, to have me and my wife come and dine with them on Monday next: which is a mighty condescension in them, and for some great reason I am sure, or else it pleases God by my late care of business to make me more considerable even with them than I am sure they would willingly owne me to be. God make me thankfull and carefull to preserve myself so, for I am sure they hate me and it is hope or fear that makes them flatter me.

It being a bright night, which it has not been a great while, I purpose to endeavour to be called in the morning to see the Comet, though I fear we shall not see it, because it rises in the east but 16 degrees, and then the houses will hinder us.

12 Annotations

First Reading

jeannine  •  Link

“Journal of the Earl of Sandwich” edited by R.C. Anderson

23rd. Friday. About 6 at night or 5 minutes sooner I saw the Blazing Star again between the Whale’s Mouth and the River Eridanus, but his stream could not be seen because the full moon shone bright. Observed him then from Aldebaran - 24°03’, Whale’s Mouth - 14° 00’ Head of Erindanus - 23°00’, from Orion’s left shoulder - 27° 10’. Cooper observed his Meridian Altitude about 8 oclock at night, 34° 40’. In the Meridian Cooper found him from the Head of Erindanus - 23° 10’, from Orion’s Shoulder - 27° 18’, Aldebaran 23° 40’, Whale’s Mouth - 13° 15’. At 12 oclock from Caput Eridani -24° 00’, Orion’s Shoulder -27° 40’, Whale’s Mouth - 12°12’ , Aldebaran - 23° 35’.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... it is doubted whether the Swede will be our friend or no. Pray God deliver us out of these troubles!"

The Swedes, the regional power, or the Danes, a Dutch ally, could block access to the Baltic and prevent English access to the most important source of Naval supplies of all kinds that would be essential for the conduct of a war of any length.

See:-… (1655-61)… (1658)… (1660)

Michael Robinson  •  Link

The King of France, they say, do declare himself obliged to defend them,

Therefore removing the potential threat to the Dutch of of a French land invasion, making French ports potentially unavailable to English belligerent shipping and, not least, putting the French navy into play and making the balance of maritime forces very strongly in the Dutch favor.

cape henry  •  Link

Called to dinner by a despised and perilous superior, Pepys decides that it is because of his own rising status and power. Hope this episode makes it into the diary when it happens.

Pedro  •  Link

"The King of France, they say, do declare himself obliged to defend them,"

The King of France is obliged to Holland under the defensive Franco-Dutch Treaty of April 1662, and hence Charles is looking to portray the Dutch as aggressors. The King of France may not keep his word, he was also in a treaty with Spain while providing help for Portugal.

This is how Feiling sees France’s position in British Foreign Policy 1660-72…

England, like Holland, was in fact a pawn in Louis’ long preparation for a new attack on Spain. He wished to keep each dependant on himself; each to compete for his favour, without their economic competition ending in war, for each may serve his purpose...

Charles, deceived perhaps by the intricacy of French interests, was convinced that the worse he could expect was neutrality…

Indeed contemporary correspondence of the French ministers, like Louis’ memoranda, show that he felt himself in the horns of a dilemma, from which nothing but peace could save him…If he joined either belligerent, he risked driving the other into the extended arms of Spain, while neutrality would merely violate his pledges to Holland but mean economic ruin, since Holland was the carrier of France in the infancy of the French marine. He must , then, struggle for a peace even beyond the eleventh hour…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Bess ought to be the belle of the Batten's ball with that shiner.


Sam, Sir Will could just want to be a generous colleague and neighbor...

Or maybe he just wants everyone to get a good gander at Bess' eye...

andy  •  Link

because it rises in the east but 16 degrees

interesting how Sam could predict the location of a heavenly object at a particular time, not as normally described (using expressions called right ascension and declination), but relative to his own position on Earth, in azimuth and elevation. It's not as easy as you might think even if you have a model of the relative orbits of the Earth and the comet, and of course accept Copernicus. He must have had access to a sophisticated observatory and a means of calculating in some 3 dimensional trigonometry. There's a lot behind this observation.

Pedro  •  Link

"I hear that the Dutch have prepared a fleete to go
the backway to the Streights,"

The back way to the Streights. A long and dangerous route around Scotland and Ireland?

cgs  •  Link

back way, tried by the Spanish back aways. Very few got back to Cadiz.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Dined at home upon a good turkey which Mr. Sheply sent us," -- Merry Christmas from Hinchingbrooke.

Martin  •  Link

Comet: pace Andy, it's not in fact particularly difficult to predict the maximum elevation of a celestial object whose declination (elevation with respect to the celestial equator) is known. Just depends on latitude, as any navigator would have been able to tell Sam. Presumably the astronomers of the day knew the celestial co-ordinates of the comet, which would change, of course, but not so much from day to day as to make them useless. Or, of course, someone might just have measured the elevation recently and told Sam. Sandwich was making observations among others. The orbits of comets would not be solved for another generation or so.

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