Tuesday 16 May 1665

Up betimes, and to the Duke of Albemarle with an account of my yesterday’s actions in writing. So back to the office, where all the morning very busy. After dinner by coach to see and speak with Mr. Povy, and after little discourse back again home, where busy upon letters till past 12 at night, and so home to supper and to bed, weary.

15 Annotations

First Reading

Phil  •  Link

With the demands of the Duke and the war effort, along with Povy and Tangier problems, it's no wonder that Sam's work days are running together here. The odd trip to the theatre must re-set his mind and energy levels. This seems to be his success formula which you do tend to see in modern day executives.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary this day (in lieu of a post of it by Dirk)

[May] 16: To Lond to consider of the poore Orphans & Widdows made by this bloudy beginning, & whose Husbands & Relations perished in the London fregat: whereof 50 Widdows, & of them 45 with child:

See 8 March 1664/65 "This morning is brought me to the office the sad newes of “The London,” in which Sir J. Lawson’s men were all bringing her from Chatham to the Hope, and thence he was to go to sea in her; but a little a’this side the buoy of the Nower, she suddenly blew up. About 24 [men] and a woman that were in the round-house and coach saved; the rest, being above 300, drowned: the ship breaking all in pieces...."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"8 March 1664/65" is of course Pepys's Diary's report of the horrid events some of whose dire human consequences John Evelyn sets about to ameliorate.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"50 Widdows, & of them 45 with child.."

Am I being too cynical to suggest that this seems rather a high number? Presumably, you got more as a widow with orphan(s) than without.......

Pedro  •  Link

“50 Widdows, & of them 45 with child..”

Taking Mrs P, who had 11 children in 14 years, then perhaps the figure may be right?

Australian Susan  •  Link

"With child" does not mean "having children"- it means being pregnant - *that's* why I find it suspicious!

Pedro  •  Link


I don’t think this is much of a SPOILER…

Rodger, in his Command of the Ocean says that another commission was set up in February 1666 to distribute gratuities to the widows of those killed in action, on a scale ranging from £200 to the widow of a Captain of a First Rate, down to £5 for the widow of an ordinary seaman in a Sixth Rate.

He lists various compensation for loss of body parts, but I do not see any mention of orphans.

dirk  •  Link

“With child” does not mean “having children”- it means being pregnant

Yes, Susan, it means that now. But did this phrase have the same meaning in 1665 - I wonder... Language hat?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

“With child”

The translators of the Authorised Version (1611) used
“With child” clearly meaning pregnant, see Matthew 1 vv. 18-23:

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us

language hat  •  Link

Yes, it's always had that meaning. OED:

Pregnant. Hence "to get ("beget" obs.) with child"; "to go with child".
c1175 Cott. Hom. (Morris) 227 Hi.. wurth mid cylde. [...] a1300 Cursor M. 2605 Agar was made wit child. [...] 1480 CAXTON Chron. Eng. ccxlviii. 317 She sayd that she was with child. 1597 SHAKES. 2 Hen. IV, V. iv. 10 If the childe I now go with, do miscarrie. 1603 --- Meas. for M. I. ii. 74 For getting Madam Iulietta with childe. 1611 BIBLE Matt. i. 18 Shee was found with childe of [...] the holy Ghost. 1651 JER. TAYLOR Holy Living iv. 327 Women great with child. [...]

Pedro  •  Link

“With child” does not mean “having children”- it means being pregnant.

Quite right, that is why I quoted Mrs P as an example. If she had 11 children in 14 years then, if my maths is right, then she would be “with child” for around 60% of this time.

If Mrs P was a good example the figure of widows “with child” could be nearer 30 than 45, but that’s for the statisticians!

CGS  •  Link

"...with an account of my yesterday’s actions in writing..."
not all surly just the provisions et al.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

""...with an account of my yesterday’s actions in writing..."
not all surly just the provisions et al."

CGS, that may have been what Pepys needed to report to Albemarle. L&M note in the Calender of State Papers Domestic 1664-5, pp. 365-7 the correspondence arranging for a supply of victuals to last until the end of August.

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Let's suppose that "with child" is used loosely, meaning "pregnant, or just having given birth". Then we might use Mrs Pepys (11/14) as an estimated proportion of the number of women one might expect to be in this situation. Using the 95% confidence interval for this proprtion yields a rough estimate of [33, 45] women out of 50 widows of child bearing age who might be expected to be in this state. In truth it's rather more complicated of course, but it's neither inconceivable (ha ha) nor incredible that 45 of these widows might have been "with child" in this loose sense.

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Sasha: you can’t just invent new meanings for common English phrases in this cavalier fashion. If ‘with child’ could have had this loose sense, someone would have spotted it in print and told the OED, which gives 18 examples of the use of ‘with child’ to mean ‘pregnant’.

‘ . . P1. with child.
a. Pregnant. Hence to get with child, to go with child . .
. . 1701 G. Farquhar Sir Harry Wildair i. 10 In the matter of five Days he got six Nuns with Child, and left 'em to provide for their Heretick Bastards.

†b. In extended use, of ground, trees, ships with swelling sails, etc. Obs.
. . 1577 B. Googe tr. C. Heresbach Foure Bks. Husbandry ii. f. 105 In the spring, all trees are as it were with childe.

c. fig. . . (b) eager, longing, yearning (to do something).
Now only in historical contexts.
. . 1660 S. Pepys Diary 14 May (1970) I. 138 I sent my boy—who, like myself, is with child to see any strange thing . . ‘

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