11 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

A letter of this day reporting a naval engagement is calendared

Captain John Johnson to Sandwich
Written from: Little Gift, off Galway

Date: 18 April 1665
Reports an engagement - lasting until nightfall - off the West Coast of Ireland with a Dutch man-of-war, which eventually escaped being a better sailer than the 'Little Gift'.


Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Thence to the office, where late very busy, but with some trouble have also some hopes of profit too."

"Deering? How'd it go?"

"Excellent, sir. Brother took notes."

Brother eagerly waves formerly concealed notebook.

"The facts, the figures...One thing I'll say for him, he's thorough in his work. Yes, with 'Mrs. Bagwell's' reports and testimony, I'd say we have everything needed to put a certain greedy and lecherous Clerk of the Acts with connections away for some time, along with some of said 'connections'. Even my Lord Sandwich won't protect him with this evidence."

"Yes. Well, I must say, though I approved this operation, I'm sorry to hear it." Coventry sighs. "Position just went to his head I suppose. But I did try to warn him that I was about cleaning up this administration."

"Pity about that little wife of his. Nelly will have to spill the beans during the trial, you know. The whole sordid details..."

"Yes... I thought him at least a wiser man if not more self-controlled. Ah, well. Oh, please convey my thanks to young Bagwell for his assistance. I know it must have been difficult. His service to Crown and Nation will be remembered. As will Miss Gwyn's. She more than fulfilled her duty on this one."

"A true trooper, Neily. Can't believe Pepys never recognized her. Not to belittle her talents but that Betterton is a true artist with costume and makeup."

Pedro  •  Link

Latest from the Intelligencer…

“The last news from the fleet speaks it to be increasing daily, and in such a condition already, that little more can be desired for the honour and advantage of it. His Royal Highness continues to keep the whole under his eye and care; observing so strict a regard for every circumstance which may import His Majesty’s service and the common interest of the Kingdom.”

(Memorials of Sir William Penn by his grandson Granville Penn)

andy  •  Link

to treat with him about hempe

not the smoking stuff, presumably... I seem to remember a debate in the Iluminati! trilogy by Robert Anton wilson about Washington though...

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"...a contract with Sir Edward this day about timber."

L&M cite the record of a supply of 400 oaks Pett had negotiated. These would have been from the Baltic, for which Sir Edward Dering was an agent.

dirk  •  Link

John Evelyn's diary today:

"To London, being now left the onely Commiss[ione]r to take all necessary orders how to exchange, remove, and keepe prisoners, dispose pf hospitalls, &c. the rest of the Commiss[ione]rs being gone to their severall districts, in expectation of a suddaine engagement."

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Terry -- does L&M give us any information explaining why Phil linked this reference to an Edward Deering, 2nd Bart MP and not our usual Baltic merchant employer of the great Peter Llewellyn?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

On November 22, 1664 Pepys wrote, "Captain Cocke is made Steward for sick and wounded seamen." -- i.e. Treasurer to the Commission for the Sick and Wounded Mariners and Prisoners of War, which was appointed for the duration of the Second Dutch War on October 25, 1665.

Details of John Evelyn's work as the Southeast Commissioner for the Sick and Wounded Mariners and Prisoners of War in general, and designing a hospital for their care in particular, see on this site the 24 letters Evelyn and Pepys exchanged during 1665-1666: http://www.pepysdiary.com/letters/

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In the period August 31, 1663 through January 29, 1666, when Roger Le Strange was the editor of both The Intelligencer and The Newes news-books, both were semi-official government publications. He was notorious for the strictness of his censorship, and enthusiasm for suppressing clandestine printing and enforcing orthodoxy. He maintained an active group of informers, and often led raids on unlicensed presses with an almost unseemly enthusiasm. Restoration news-books could be compared to Pravda rather than anything we understand as newspapers today. The Restoration press was far from 'free.'

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Thence to the office, where late very busy, but with some trouble have also some hopes of profit too."

If you'd been less busy war profiteering, Mr. Pepys, you could have joined hundreds of other Londoners watch a highway woman in Newgate gaol breathing her last by poison to avoid a trip to Tyburn tomorrow.

This Oxford Dictionary of National Biography report includes a note about how suicides were treated at burial which I have not heard anywhere else. Does anyone have information, either way?


Realizing the free version will disappear in 7 days, unless you have a subscription, here are the highlights:

The anonymous pamphlet "The High-Way Woman" is the only known biography of Marcy Clay and no other evidence has yet come to light to corroborate its story. but it describes how, at 15, Marcy left Dorset for London, where she met a some thieves who taught her the art of shoplifting, at which she excelled.

Marcy Clay returned to the south-west of England when she was too well-known in London for safety. She worked there for some years at the 'country trade', thieving her way around fairs and markets.

On reaching adulthood, Marcy Clay took up the 'more manly debaucheries' of highway robbery, in part because she was 'of a bold and daring spirit'.

It describes Marcy Clay‘s first robbery, undertaken to pay off a £30 debt, and how she continued to rob — in male disguise and well-mounted — because of 'how much easier her money came this way'.

Marcy, her biographer claims, committed numerous highway robberies, showed considerable personal courage, and acquired a reputation for herself in the south-west, where there was 'much talk of her'.

Apparently Marcy Clay felt better suited to the shoplifting life, and returned to London. Here she was arrested on four occasions, but managed to escape from prison each time.

Marcy Clay was condemned to be executed on 12 April, 1665, for an unspecified theft but swore that she would not be hanged. Therefore on the morning of 11 April, in Newgate gaol, she poisoned herself with '4 papers of white mercury'. It took her 12 hours to die, during which time hundreds of spectators came to watch her final agonies.

Marcy Clay was buried near the gallows at Tyburn on 14 April, 1665, with a stake through her bowels, as was customary in cases of suicide.


It's this stake through the bowels detail that has me surprised. I'm aware of quite a few suicides in the 17th century, but none have mentioned this "custom".

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