Tuesday 25 April 1665

At the office all the morning, and the like after dinner, at home all the afternoon till very late, and then to bed, being very hoarse with a cold I did lately get with leaving off my periwigg.

This afternoon W. Pen, lately come from his father in the fleete, did give me an account how the fleete did sayle, about 103 in all, besides small catches, they being in sight of six or seven Dutch scouts, and sent ships in chase of them.

24 Annotations

First Reading

Michael L  •  Link

Interesting, the humor theory of medicine. I wonder if Pepys ever wondered why all the short-cropped periwigg-free Roundheads weren't continually hacking, snuffling and wiping their noses?

Nate  •  Link

I wonder if Pepys ever wondered why all the short-cropped periwigg-free Roundheads weren’t continually hacking, snuffling and wiping their noses?

Perhaps they were!

JWB  •  Link

If you can't stand the pollen, stay out of the Parke late April.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"did give me an account how the fleete did sayle, about 103 in all, besides small catches, they being in sight of six or seven Dutch scouts, and sent ships in chase of them"

How evocative an image is that? It must have been something to see...

CGS  •  Link

No wonder the English like hunting with hounds,it reminds them of the good old days of Sail.
Baying, bucking of the saddle, the hunting horn then good old gallop before whoaing at the local for a refreshing dutch brew of larger.

Pedro  •  Link

“did give me an account how the fleete did sayle”

Looking in the Journals of Montagu and Allin, both edited by Anderson, a short summary of events of the past few days may be of interest…

On the 21st the Fleet had sailed after being in sight of Orford Ness.

On the 23rd the was a Council of War to deliberate how to dispose of the Fleet, and it was decided to ride at anchor being about 12 leagues NW by N from Texel. The purpose was to try to provoke the Dutch to come out of Texel and attrap Dutch ships homeward bound. (It was assumed that De Ruyter was somewhere around Scotland.)

Two scouts would be in sight of Texel, two upon Vlie and two more to the NE, returning every 24 hours to give account.

On the 25th another Council of War was called to decide whether to weigh anchor and stand within sight of the shore. Lawson was for and Penn, not only for, but for anchoring 2 or 3 days in their sight. Sandwich was against but “submitted to better judgements”.

For the record Sandwich thought that nothing would be gained by a show of strength as the Dutch were fully aware of this already, it would hinder them coming out to engage, the Fleet would be more prone to accident by storm, and it would reduce the ability to hinder De Ruyter and incoming merchants.

Ruben  •  Link

for those interest in this war, see:
The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783, by A. T. Mahan
Introduction and especially the second chapter. Old book, very interesting.

JWB  •  Link

"Old book, very interesting."

Said to have been Kaiser Bill's favorite.

DougS  •  Link

I like how, on the 24th, Sam isn't quite sure how he has picked up a cold but thinks it may be "by my pulling off my periwigg so often."

Today, though, he's sure that it's because he's left it off!

A neat display of a typical thought process: how even wrong ideas begin to coalesce and then harden with the passage of a bit of time and are finally accepted as truth.

The wonderful illumination of everyman humanity across a range of experiences . . . .

And there's an extra richness, because Sam had contact with so many different kinds of people, and he held a high and complex position -- and at an interesting/important time in history.

Robert Gertz: When are you going to write a screenplay for the first REALLY GOOD Pepys movie?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

A. T. Mahan, Influence of Sea Power (1890) "Old book, very interesting"

T'would be hard to understate the influence of the work on the first half of the C 20th. -- even though, as Julian Corbett one of the very influential strategists of the time was the first to observe, Mahan, working only from secondary sources, was neither a good historian nor, with his fixed Jomniniam 'principles' and no knowledge of the German literature, a good strategist.

The work is cited and discussed still:-

The legacy of Mahan for the 21st century

"Sea Power and China's Development," in translation, by a leading consultant to the Chinese People's Liberation Army:-

Michael Robinson  •  Link

For 'Jomniniam' above read 'Jominian.' Apologies.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

On the American side to name a few influenced by Mahan-Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Chester Nimitz, Ernest King...And as Michael Robinson notes Mahan still has great credit today despite his lapses.


Thanks Doug but such a task requires a good writer. However now that unfortunately "Rome" is over, Bruno Heller and Jonathan Stamp might be available for the great miniseries it deserves. Hmmn...Think Colin Farrell as Sam? And that Charlotte Gainsbourg might consider Bess? Colin Firth of course as Montagu.

Now see what you've started...

Pedro  •  Link

“Mahan, working only from secondary sources, was neither a good historian…”

For our purposes I think the reference to “a good historian” is most relevant, and in the coming months we may be able to judge for ourselves.

dirk  •  Link

John Evelyn's diary:

"To Lond, return’d that Evening. I had a dangerous fall out of the Coach in Covent Garden, going to my Bro[ther] but without harme, The Lord be praised:..."

JWB  •  Link

Julian Corbett

Choice remarks from an historical novelist. For all Crobett & Jackie Fisher's carping, strategies used both by Britain & Germany in World War I were Mahan's-concentrate capital ships and maintain "fleets-in-being".

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Julian Corbett -- Choice remarks from an historical novelist.

"One of the first and still one of the greatest of naval historians, whose interpretations continue to set the tone of debate today." Rodger 'Safeguard of the Sea' 1997/8, p.623. Corbet's three naval novels preceded a dozen works of history and the editing of six volumes for the Navy Records Society including: ‘Papers Relating to the Navy during the Spanish War 1585 – 1597’ (1898); ‘Drake and the Tudor Navy’ (1898, 1899, 2nd.); Corbett ed., 'Fighting Instructions, 1530-1816' (1905); Corbett ed., 'Signals and Fighting Instructions 1776 - 1794' (1909); 'England in the Seven Years' War: A Study in Combined Strategy' (1907); ‘England In the Mediterranean : A study of the Rise and Influence of British Power within the Straits 1603 – 1713’ (1904, 1917, 2nd.); ‘The Campaign of Trafalgar’ (1910, 1919, 2nd.) etc., etc.

All were all works of history based in the scrutiny of archival and primary source materials and established a new standard in naval historical writing. These certainly form a more than adequate basis for Corbett’s observation on Mahan's idiosyncratic and relatively narrow reading of naval history.

However there can be absolutely no doubt of the power of Mahan's drama of clashing fleets of big powerful ships in blue water, his role as an advocate in the US and influence in Germany and Japan, in providing a strategic rationalization for the massive national investment required by a particular kind of powerful navy -- and the continuing use by some today of Mahan’s work for the identical purpose.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Matthew Mcfadyen as Creed, Cillian Murphy as Will Hewer, Jack Thompson as Penn and Rufus Sewell to reprise his role as Charles.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" W. Pen, lately come from his father in the fleete, did give me an account how the fleete did sayle, about 103 in all, besides small catches, they being in sight of six or seven Dutch scouts, and sent ships in chase of them."

The names of the English ships are in Sandwich, pp. 195-8. For the fleet's movements, see CSPD 1664-5, p. 170. (L&M note)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... a refreshing dutch brew of larger."

Noooo, not these Dutchmen. Pepys never mentions drinking Gin, so there is no Encyclopedia place for this information: Gin emerged in England in varying forms at the beginning of the 17th century, and at the time of the Restoration it enjoyed a brief resurgence. There were some 400 small Dutch and Flemish distillers in Amsterdam alone by 1663. The formation by King Charles I of the Worshipful Company of Distillers, where members had the sole right to distil spirits in London and Westminster and up to 21 miles beyond, improved both the quality of English gin and its image; it also helped English agriculture by using surplus corn and barley. Dutch gin, known as jenever, or Madam Geneva, was distilled with barley. English troops fighting in the Thirty Years War discovered this drink, which is the origin of the phrase “Dutch Courage.” For more information, see http://www.ginvodka.org/history/g…

Tonyel  •  Link

"Ne'er cast a periwigg 'til May is out"

No, it doesn't quite work, does it?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"To complete his education, Admiral Sir William Penn decided to enter William in one of the four Inns of Court to study law. He was enrolled at Lincoln's Inn in February 1665, but his legal studies were soon interrupted by a short voyage on the "Royal Charles" with Sir William, ..."

But Sir William got him off the ship to carry the report back to London before anything serious happened. So William Jr. returned to his studies at Lincoln's Inn.


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

William Penn Jr. functioned as an emissary between Admiral Sir William Penn and Charles II, then returned to his law studies. Worrying about his father in battle he wrote, "I never knew what a father was till I had wisdom enough to prize him ... I pray God ... that you come home secure." [30]

30 Hans Fantel, William Penn: Apostle of Dissent, William Morrow & Co., New York, 1974, p.6, ISBN 0-688-00310-9, p. 59

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