Saturday 24 June 1665

(Midsummer-day). Up very betimes, by six, and at Dr. Clerke’s at Westminster by 7 of the clock, having over night by a note acquainted him with my intention of coming, and there I, in the best manner I could, broke my errand about a match between Sir G. Carteret’s eldest son and my Lord Sandwich’s eldest daughter, which he (as I knew he would) took with great content: and we both agreed that my Lord and he, being both men relating to the sea, under a kind aspect of His Majesty, already good friends, and both virtuous and good familys, their allyance might be of good use to us; and he did undertake to find out Sir George this morning, and put the business in execution. So being both well pleased with the proposition, I saw his niece there and made her sing me two or three songs very prettily, and so home to the office, where to my great trouble I found Mr. Coventry and the board met before I come. I excused my late coming by having been on the River about office business. So to business all the morning. At noon Captain Ferrers and Mr. Moore dined with me, the former of them the first time I saw him since his corning from sea, who do give me the best conversation in general, and as good an account of the particular service of the Prince and my Lord of Sandwich in the late sea-fight that I could desire. After dinner they parted. So I to White Hall, where I with Creed and Povy attended my Lord Treasurer, and did prevail with him to let us have an assignment for 15 or 20,000l., which, I hope, will do our business for Tangier. So to Dr. Clerke, and there found that he had broke the business to Sir G. Carteret, and that he takes the thing mighty well. Thence I to Sir G. Carteret at his chamber, and in the best manner I could, and most obligingly, moved the business: he received it with great respect and content, and thanks to me, and promised that he would do what he could possibly for his son, to render him fit for my Lord’s daughter, and shewed great kindness to me, and sense of my kindness to him herein. Sir William Pen told me this day that Mr. Coventry is to be sworn a Privy Counsellor, at which my soul is glad. So home and to my letters by the post, and so home to supper and bed.

22 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"24th (Midsummer-day)."

"Solstitial celebrations still centre upon 24 June, which is no longer the longest day of the year....

"In Great Britain from the 13th century Midsummer was celebrated on Midsummer Eve (St. John's Eve, June 23) and St. Peter's Eve (June 28) with the lighting of bonfires, feasting and merrymaking.

United Kingdom

"In late fifteenth-century England, John Mirk of Lilleshall Abbey, Shropshire, gives the following description: "At first, men and women came to church with candles and other lights and prayed all night long. In the process of time, however, men left such devotion and used songs and dances and fell into lechery and gluttony turning the good, holy devotion into sin." The church fathers decided to put a stop to these practices and ordained that people should fast on the evening before, and thus turned waking into fasting (Festial 182).

"Mirk adds that at the time of his writing, "in worship of St John the Baptist, men stay up at night and make three kinds of fires: one of is clean bones and no wood and is called a "bonnefyre" [bonfire]; another is of clean wood and no bones, and is called a "wakefyre", because men stay awake by it all night; and the third is made of both bones and wood and is called, "St. John's fire" (Festial 182).

"These tradition largely fell to the Reformation, but persisted in rural areas up until the nineteenth century before petering out."…

Today (the 24th) is also a quarter day -- a day of reckoning, which Pepys is about on many scores.…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Is this the same Dr. Clerke from the famous Portsmouth trip who was something of a flea magnet? If so, may the good Dr. leave town posthaste.

So Moore and Creed are still in town, not to mention Povy? Old guard hanging tough for the moment.

Nix  •  Link

"I, in the best manner I could, broke my errand about a match" --

Samuel adds yenta to his resume.

dirk  •  Link

24th Midsummer Night

As already noted above, 24 June was traditionally celebrated as Midsummer Night, but it really wasn't...

Just a brief explanation:

In the Julian calendar the seasons started on the "quarter days": 25th of March, June, September, December (not on the 21st), which meant that the night 24/25 June was Midsummer Night. Theoretically at least, because there was a problem: because the Julian calendar had been inserting too many leap years over the past centuries the solstice which was supposed to fall on 25 June now fell (astronomically) on 11 June - so the "real" Midsummer Night would have been 10/11 June.

The Gregorian calendar reform on the continent had corrected for this by

1. "arbitrarily" choosing the 21st of March, June, etc as the new date the seasons were to begin, instead of the 25th (trying to break the link between Christmas and the heathen winter solstice celebration) - a difference of 4 days

2. subsequently dropping 10 days, so that the solstice now astronomically fell on the 21st

This makes for a difference of 10 + 4 days between the old Midsummer Night (24th Julian calendar) and the real one (21st Gregorian calendar = 11th Julian, British calendar)

A. De Araujo  •  Link

The 24th of June seems to have been celebrated as midsummer day in medieval Bavaria also:cf Richard Wagner's Die Meistersingers von Nurnberg; Johannes Tag

C.J.Darby  •  Link

"Up very betimes, by six" so presumably betimes means half six or seven. Anyone any ideas?

C.J.Darby  •  Link

St. Johns Eve is still celebrated along the west coast of Ireland and the islands off the west coast with the traditional bonfires. It is still a very strong tradition in these areas.

Res Ipsa  •  Link

How old is Jemimah at this point? Also, can someone refresh my memory? Isn't she the one with the neck deformity? I can't remember the details. Would this not make her a less desireable match? Or, does Sandwich's money make up for this?

Mary  •  Link

Mrs. Jemima was born in 1646.

Thus she is eighteen or nineteen at this point in 1665; a highly marriageable age.

With (apparent) wealth, position and breeding she looks a desirable match from almost every point of view. A minor problem with her neck is not likely to stand in the way of a suitable marriage. These are not sentimental times.

cgs  •  Link

Thanks for the bonny fire.
You will need extra good looks if thee be penniless.
Valuation of man, it be always his collection of chattels [Quids too help], rarely whats under the bonnet.

Nix  •  Link

In Southern Arizona, St. John's Day (Dia de San Juan) is the traditional beginning of the summer monsoon rainy season. No bonfires, though we currently have some lightning-caused brushfires --…

jeannine  •  Link

Spoiler, Spoiler, Spoiler! You are now warned, so no reporting me to the Spoiler Police (or I’ll pen a bad poem about you!!!)

Sometimes it’s hard to read books & biographies of the time and not have them rustling around in my mind as I read the Diary. The match of Philip Carteret and Jemima Mountagu is a delightful time in the Diary and this is (and will be) a wonderful couple. It is also a great match between the families, not only for the usual ‘political’ reasons with both men being in good standing with the King, but for financial reasons, as Sir George is quite well off, and Sandwich, well; let’s just say that his daughter will never want in the Carteret clan.

There is a truly wonderful thing that the young couple has going for them. They both have outstanding parents, who, although not perfect people in other ways, are really devoted to the well being of their children. These children are not ‘commodities’ to them, as is the case in many families where the kids are a means to wheel and deal to a better social position, income, etc. These parents love their children and are devoted to them. (Big spoiler). In the not too distant future, Philip will die on board with Sandwich, and Jemima will not live much longer after they die. At this point, Sir George and his wife will move in to ‘the kids’ house to parent their grandchildren. I distinctly remember reading about this in Carteret’s biography and being moved to tears, not only feeling for the loss of his son, but also the fact that in his old age he carried the parenting role (along with his wife) onto the next generation.

And, of course, on the other hand, there are many times I read Sam’s POV on these 2 men and want to whack him on the side of the head with his petty criticisms and comments. Sam really has only himself to think about and Elizabeth (when he remembers he’s married to her!). His self-absorption makes for a wonderful Diary and I thank him for it immensely, but, on the other hand, Carteret and Sandwich, despite any and all flaws, were warm, loving and devoted family men.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

jeannine, thanks for that heart-warming/-breaking tribute to these worthies, and bringing us down to earth and these particular people, at this time of great worry about the general populace and the stats of the Bills of Mortality and deaths by plague -- a bit aloft from the individual humanity of it all.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

Very informative Jeannine!by the way did the Carterets ever set foot in New Jersey?

jeannine  •  Link

"did the Carterets ever set foot in New Jersey?"

Not Sir George or his wife, but George sent his cousin Philip de Carteret who (over time) became governor. Also, for awhile, George’s second son the ‘black sheep”/”bad boy” of the family made his way there, got into trouble for awhile and then over time moved back to Jersey island to live out his life.

Pedro  •  Link

On this day the Queen mother leaves London.

Henrietta Maria had not been well since she returned to London, which had never suited her health. Now she became so unwell that she begged Charles to allow her to pay a visit to Bathes of Bourbon, which had always benefited her. She declared, however, that she would stay in London and die there, unless he promised that the little chapel she had built and used in Somerset House might remain open for the use of London Catholics. The King willingly consented and on June 24 she made her last journey from England.

(Davidson in her biography of Catherine)

Second Reading

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

The match between Philip and Jemima is also significant in that it's an alliance between a die-hard Royalist house, and a pragmatic Parliamentarian house - a symbol of reconciliation.

"there are many times I read Sam’s POV on these 2 men and want to whack him on the side of the head with his petty criticisms and comments"
I disagree with Jeannine here: Pepys' comments about the characters of his contemporaries ar a big part bof the value of the diary. Even when they're wrong, they give us insights into the relationships between the individuals concerned. Anyway, I find that most people analyse the personalities, faults etc of their friends anyway - we love people "warts and all" :)

John G  •  Link

What is 'yenta'??

Robin Peters  •  Link

I believe "Yenta" was the matchmaker in "If I was a rich man"

James Morgan  •  Link

St. John's Day is still widely celebrated in Spain and Portugal. I've seen enormous piles of old furniture, many stories tall, taken out for a bonfire in Burgos.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

'I find that most people analyse the personalities, faults etc of their friends anyway - we love people "warts and all" :)'

I'd go further, Sasha. As I get older, I find I love my friends because of their warts.

However, these are working relationships with neighbors and superiors, so it's good for Pepys to recognize the elements of the relationships in order to compensate / adjust / control / avoid upsets and let off steam in a safe place. I wish he would tell us why he thinks they are rogues, etc. It's emotional shorthand for some deep frustrations.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pedro has jumped the gun ... maybe he posted on the wrong date, or maybe today is the day Charles II gave permission for mom to go to France. But:

Pepys' Diary for 29 June 1665 records, "By water to Whitehall, where the Court is full of waggons and people ready to go out of town. This end of the town every day grows very bad with the plague ... Home, calling at Somerset House where all were packing up, too; the Queen-mother setting out for France this day ..."

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