Wednesday 22 February 1664/65

Lay last night alone, my wife after her bathing lying alone in another bed. So cold all night. Up and to the office, where busy all the morning. At noon at the ’Change, busy; where great talk of a Dutch ship in the North put on shore, and taken by a troop of horse. Home to dinner and Creed with me. Thence to Gresham College, where very noble discourse, and thence home busy till past 12 at night, and then home to supper and to bed. Mrs. Bland come this night to take leave of me and my wife, going to Tangier.

20 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

On behalf of Dirk, who shares the following:

On 22 February, reacting to the goings-on in Africa, the Dutch issue a declaration that they will retaliate against British shipping. Conveniently the British interpret this as a Declaration of War.…

The English had been looking for an excuse to declare war themselves.
(See 17 Feb -… )
Technically they are now free to do just that. Given the communications delays of the 17th c, we'll have to wait 10 days: 4 March. If you want to look this up in other than British sources, you may have to search for 14 March (continental - Gregorian - calendar!)

Another technicality: the "act of war" (casus belli) the Dutch referred to to justify their retaliation was the attack by the British admiral Thomas Allin on the Dutch return fleet near Cadiz on 29 December 1664.
See also (unfortunately in Dutch only):…

Pedro  •  Link

"the attack by the British admiral Thomas Allin on the Dutch return fleet near Cadiz on 29 December 1664."

Or 19th of December English calendar!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Yes, Pedro: as the Dutch saw it, the first genuine act of war. Between Babel Fish and me, a quick (uncertain) translation of more of the Dutch:

"The end of the first English war (1652-1654) formed the beginning of a period of unprecedented economic prosperity for the Republic of the United Netherlands. The Republic itself emerged as the greatest commercial nation in the world.

"In England Dutch economic growth became regarded with envy. Initially it seemed that, with the death of Oliver Cromwell and the accession to the throne of King Charles II (1630-1685) in 1660, an era of friendly relations between the two major powers would come about. But in overseas areas English and Dutch interests regularly clashed. Important British persons insisted in the parliament and to the King that Dutch trade influences be repelled. This resulted in the conquest of Dutch property on the west coast of Africa by an English squadron in the summer of 1664, which was countered by a secret operation under command of Vice-Admiral Michiel de Ruyter. The actual war hostilities were begun by the English on 29 December 1664, when an English fleet under the command of Admiral Thomas Allin (1612 -?) near Cadiz undertook an attack on a Dutch fleet returning from the Mediterranean Sea. An official war declaration followed on 14 March 1665. The second English war (1665-1667) on was a reality. "

Patricia  •  Link

What's this? Now that Mrs. P is all nice & clean, she doesn't want to sleep with her (presumably) dirty husband? Wants to sleep on clean sheets and it's not washday, so she sleeps in the spare bed? I find it delightful to read of these customs now so foreign to us.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"... lying alone in another bed. So cold all night. "

Good to hear that Mrs. P has some useful purpose.

Australian Susan  •  Link

" cold all night..."

Should have taken the dog to bed with him.(or was that with Elizabeth, seeing as she had deprived herself of her human hot water bottle?)
Actually, hot water bottles existed in those days: stoneware vessels filled with hot water with a bung hole on the top and just the right size to put your feet against them, one each side of the bung. Also, there is the remedy of a brick heated in the oven and wrapped in rags or a warming pan used to heat the sheets before you get in. Circular shallow copper pan with hinged lid with holes in on long wooden handle. You place hot coals in the pan, close lid and then slide into the bed and move it about until sheets warm. This could result in sheets catching fire if operator of pan careless. Finally, you can always use a maid to warm up the bed for you. But i don't think we should encourage Sam to go down that primrose path of dalliance....

dirk  •  Link

Susan, in this photograph you see a pan of the type you decribe on the left wall, close to the bed. This picture was taken in a 16th c display house in Antwerp, Belgium.…

[Thanks, Terry!]

dirk  •  Link

A better picture of a similar pan:

A painting by Pieter de Hooch (contemporary of Pepys, living and working in Amsterdam) - Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Bed warmers
Warming pans: heating the bed with embers from the fire

Plain brass warming pan with turned wooden handle [foto image]

Hanging a warming pan near the hearth is not just a decorator's idea. The fireplace was always a sensible place for it, so it could easily be filled with glowing coals or wood embers before being taken away to warm the bed.

Using a hot stone or brick heated at the fireside is one way of carrying warmth from the hearth into bed. By the 16th century people were also taking pans filled with smouldering fuel from the fire itself. The well-known brass or copper warming pan on a handle was not the only way of doing this. There were also wooden frames designed to hold pots of fuel inside the bedclothes.…

Firenze  •  Link

I well remember stoneware jars for taking to bed at my grandparents. When I was grown up, and moved to another country, I would get strange looks from flatmates, when I would say, clutching conventional rubber hot-water bottle, that I was taking a jar to bed.

The insights into 17thC hygiene are fascinating: it seems that a bath is such a rare event that you have to lie down quietly to recover from it, as if it were an illness.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Interesting...Sam seems to try hard to avoid violence with Bess, apart from the occasional angry strike which she returns with hair pulls, clawing, and slaps. He's not inclined to force himself on her when she wants to be alone...The violent side of his sexuality seems increasingly focused on poor Mrs. Bagwell.

JWB  •  Link


Eliz.1st said to have bathed once a month("whether she needed to or not" usually included in accounts but primary source never given), while Louis XIV said to have gone all the way but twice in his long life.

Mary  •  Link

and, of course........

Napoleon's alleged injunction to Josephine,"Ne te baigne point avant que je revienne." [Do *not* take a bath before I get back.]

Australian Susan  •  Link

In the lovely (2nd) picture which dirk has found which shows a warming pan, it also shows a woman combing someone's hair for nits, which is another Pepysian domestic action. And I think the object on the right in the picture is a close-stool. This is a beautiful painting, a very intimate domestic scene.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Washing/not washing and sex.

And who can forget Kevin Kline in "A Fish called Wanda".

dirk  •  Link

Susan, I take it this is the scene you're referring to? (Some viewers, not used to European cinema, might find this offensive - be warned. I just think it's hilarious.)…

Ruben  •  Link

In Dirk's intimate picture (thank you Dirk) the bed warmer is hanging near the bed, not the fire.
I remember seeing a bed like this in Maarken, near Amsterdam (in those days an island, i.e. less tourists), in 1960.
The one in the picture has curtains, the one I saw had wooden doors, so it kept the cold outside.
In any case the best warming solution was the one found by King David, but who can afford that kind of treatment?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Dutch beds

When my father was in the Netherlands during the war (June 1944), he, as an officer, was billeted in a Dutch house and was intrigued to sleep in a bed in a sort of cupboard behind doors. He was rather thrown, however, by discovering that there was a lavatory in the corner of the room and people came in and out of the room to use it (both sexes) without bothering to find out if he was in the bed or not.
There is also a description of such a bed in the opening of Wuthering Heights, but this bed is built against a window. (W.H. Ch.3) ".. a large oak case, with squares cut out near the top resembling coach windows.....I...perceived it to be a singular sort of formed a little closet, and the ledge of a window, which it enclosed, served as a table. I slid back the pannelled sides, got in with my light, pulled them together again and felt secure..."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Royal Society today at Gresham College ­ from the Hooke Folio Online

Feb: 22. 1664/5. (comet of cutts). [… ]

There was tryd an expt. wth a comon seald weatherglasse [… ] placed in the condensing engine wth. a gage in it and the air being considerably compressed the liquor in the thermometer was not found to rise sensibly. another expt. was made to try what strength was requisite to force the air into the bones of small pipes filld with water or how much of the pressure of the air is taken off by its ingresse into smaller & smaller holes and it was found that the smaller holes did require the greater force to driue in the air and to force out the water.

There was also made an Expt. wth niter put in an earthen crys crusible vpon the fire, & sulphur being cast on the top of it, it gaue a very bright viuid flame (Sorbiers discourse about comet) plant nisi pesented) new optick glasses of Campani)

mr. Hooke gaue an account of a Dog that dyed after his spleen had been taken out, affirming that he had seen a kind of glandule grown on to a peice of the spleen that was Left. and that the liuer & cawle were altogether putrifyed (It was orderd that another dog by Dr Charlt & Dr Clark.)

mr. boyle propounds expts.chymicall in exhausted Recr:)

mr. Hooke produced a new small quadrant by himself contrived to make by the meanes thereof bothe Celestiall & terrestriall obseruations wth more exactnesse then by the Largest Instruments, that haue hitherto been publiquely known
this quadrant is only of 17 inches Radius being by the contriuance of a small rowler that moueth vpon the limb of it made soe accurate that each Degree is actually distinguisht into 60 minutes each of wch. minutes being about 1/3 of an inch Long is actually Diuided into 6 parts denoting euery 10 seconds in a minute. the sights are likewise soe contriued though but short as to be noe Lesse curious in Distinguishing the parts of a minute in the visible Object. the perpendicular also of the quadrant is soe contriued that though it exceed not much 3 foot in Length yet it can be adjusted by the meanes of an index soe exactly as if it were 60 foot Long. -…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"At noon at the ‘Change, busy; where great talk of a Dutch ship in the North put on shore, and taken by a troop of horse."

Many canards of this sort began to gain currency at this time. (L&M note)

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