Thursday 23 February 1664/65

This day, by the blessing of Almighty God, I have lived thirty-two years in the world, and am in the best degree of health at this minute that I have been almost in my life time, and at this time in the best condition of estate that ever I was in — the Lord make me thankfull.

Up, and to the office, where busy all the morning. At noon to the ’Change, where I hear the most horrid and astonishing newes that ever was yet told in my memory, that De Ruyter with his fleete in Guinny hath proceeded to the taking of whatever we have, forts, goods, ships, and men, and tied our men back to back, and thrown them all into the sea, even women and children also. This a Swede or Hamburgher is come into the River and tells that he saw the thing done.1 But, Lord! to see the consternation all our merchants are in is observable, and with what fury and revenge they discourse of it. But I fear it will like other things in a few days cool among us. But that which I fear most is the reason why he that was so kind to our men at first should afterward, having let them go, be so cruel when he went further. What I fear is that there he was informed (which he was not before) of some of Holmes’s dealings with his countrymen, and so was moved to this fury. God grant it be not so!

But a more dishonourable thing was never suffered by Englishmen, nor a more barbarous done by man, as this by them to us.

Home to dinner, and then to the office, where we sat all the afternoon, and then at night to take my finall leave of Mrs. Bland, who sets out to-morrow for Tangier, and then I back to my office till past 12, and so home to supper and to bed.

18 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"This day, by the blessing of Almighty God, I have lived thirty-two years in the world"

Happy Birthday, Samuel Pepys!!

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Thirty Two Years Old
and has done all this, and seen all this, and grabbed all this,
more than we ALL have done.
Oh well, you got to do, what's right for you
And I've got what's right for me.
But it's nice to see,
What things can be.
Whether one should do them or not
is a question not so hot.

dirk  •  Link

Don't believe everything a Swede or a Hamburger says... ;-)

Nothing is worse in war than rumours. As we can read in the footnote, similar things are tould about the British in Holland...

dirk  •  Link

Meanwhile John Evelyn is busy "networking" - his diary entry for today:

"I was invited to a greate feast at Mr. Rich's (a relation of my Wife's, now Reader at Lincol's Inn); where was the Duke of Monmouth, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishops of London and Winchester, the Speaker of the House of Commons, divers of the Judges, and severall other greate men."

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"nor a more barbarous done by man"
Evidently history was not one of the subjects Sam studied at Cambridge. The worst excesses of the Spanish Inquisition were less than a century in the past, as were the hunting and persecution of witches, primarily in Germany.

One of the three principal methods of torture of the Spanish Inquisition, incidentally, was the toca, or tortura de agua, what we now call waterboarding. { Just thought I'd mention that.

Martha Wishart  •  Link

What? It's Sam's birthday, and he's not out carousing with la femme?

Mary  •  Link

the tale of Dutch atrocities.

An L&M footnote records that, such was the strength of feeling aroused in London by this tale, that a guard had to be set at the Dutch ambassador's residence.

JWB  •  Link

Rectilinear cephali
Looking at de Ruyter's portrait, you realize that the sobriquet has basis in reality & not derived from the shape of any protective head gear worn in combat by 20th C. middle-european tribes.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Here I've been celebrating my son's upcoming birthday by hosting one party and taking my daughter to another, and neglecting Samuel's! Though belated by 343 years, my wishes are heartfelt, good sir.

Strange that there's no mention at all of a celebration of any sort...

CGS  •  Link

To many birthdays to forget or to remember, To celebrate one of the survivors, mothers be worn out.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"This a Swede or Hamburgher is come into the River and tells that he saw the thing done."

The informant was a Dutchman named Petersen, posing as a Swede, and he alleged that de Ruyter disposed of 1500 in this way: CSPVen. 1664-6, pp. 85 n., 90. His tale -- soon disproved (… ) -- caused such feeling that a guard had to be put on the Dutch ambassador's house: The Intelligencer, 27 February, p. 136. In April the English envoy at The Hague reported stories told there of the English in W. Africa 'frying Dutch men by the fire': qu. Lister, iii. 374. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"What I fear is that there he was informed (which he was not before) of some of Holmes’s dealings with his countrymen, and so was moved to this fury"

For Robert Holmes's attack on the Dutch in W. Africa, see… and… He was held in custody, in the Tower, and on parole, between January and March 1665 while charges of exceeding his instructions were investigated at the instigation of the Royal African Company. He had seized not only forts but property, and had sent Dutch traders packing back to Holland. Cf. CSPD 1664-5, p. 170.; R. Ollard, Man of War, pp. 129-31. (L&M note)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Strange that there's no mention at all of a celebration of any sort..."

Two years ago Pepys splurged and took Elizabeth to two plays in one night to celebrate his 30th birthday (and news that he wasn't about to be arrested). It was also just before Lent and all sorts of Vows kicked in for that. Last year there was a note like today's.

Birthdays don't appear to be a big deal, unless you're the King.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Atrocity stories are an inevitable part of wartime propaganda, and soon degenerates to "Let's do unto them what we know they would do to us if they could"

I am reminded of this quotation from Frank Herbert's 'Dune Messiah'

"Atrocity has no excuses, no mitigating argument.

Atrocity never balances or rectifies the past.
Atrocity merely arms the future for more atrocity.
It is self perpetuating upon itself - a barbarous form of incest.

Whoever commits atrocity also commits those future atrocities thus bred."

RSGII  •  Link

A toast to you Mr Pepys and your many accomplishments and extraordinary network of friends and associates. And for your willingness to candidly share your faults and weaknesses. Cheers also to Mr Gyford for doing this for us. I try to read this day by day to experience your life as you did. We may be better educated than you were but few, if any, can match your accoplishments by Thirty Two.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

RSGII: ' . . We may be better educated than you . . '

Really? How's your Latin, your Greek, French, Spanish, and Italian? Where did you go to school?, to college . . ? Tell us about your personal library of 3000 books, with catalogued by you . .

Talk about unmerited conceit!

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I'm not so sure about Pepys' French. I suspect he spoke it better than he writes it.

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