Thursday 3 August 1665

Up, and betimes to Deptford to Sir G. Carteret’s, where, not liking the horse that had been hired by Mr. Uthwayt for me, I did desire Sir G. Carteret to let me ride his new 40l. horse, which he did, and so I left my ‘hacquenee’ —[Haquenee = an ambling nag fitted for ladies’ riding.]— behind, and so after staying a good while in their bedchamber while they were dressing themselves, discoursing merrily, I parted and to the ferry, where I was forced to stay a great while before I could get my horse brought over, and then mounted and rode very finely to Dagenhams; all the way people, citizens, walking to and again to enquire how the plague is in the City this week by the Bill; which by chance, at Greenwich, I had heard was 2,020 of the plague, and 3,000 and odd of all diseases; but methought it was a sad question to be so often asked me. Coming to Dagenhams, I there met our company coming out of the house, having staid as long as they could for me; so I let them go a little before, and went and took leave of my Lady Sandwich, good woman, who seems very sensible of my service in this late business, and having her directions in some things, among others, to get Sir G. Carteret and my Lord to settle the portion, and what Sir G. Carteret is to settle, into land, soon as may be, she not liking that it should lie long undone, for fear of death on either side. So took leave of her, and then down to the buttery, and eat a piece of cold venison pie, and drank and took some bread and cheese in my hand; and so mounted after them, Mr. Marr very kindly staying to lead me the way. By and by met my Lord Crew returning, after having accompanied them a little way, and so after them, Mr. Marr telling me by the way how a mayde servant of Mr. John Wright’s (who lives thereabouts) falling sick of the plague, she was removed to an out-house, and a nurse appointed to look to her; who, being once absent, the mayde got out of the house at the window, and run away. The nurse coming and knocking, and having no answer, believed she was dead, and went and told Mr. Wright so; who and his lady were in great strait what to do to get her buried. At last resolved to go to Burntwood hard by, being in the parish, and there get people to do it. But they would not; so he went home full of trouble, and in the way met the wench walking over the common, which frighted him worse than before; and was forced to send people to take her, which he did; and they got one of the pest coaches and put her into it to carry her to a pest house. And passing in a narrow lane, Sir Anthony Browne, with his brother and some friends in the coach, met this coach with the curtains drawn close. The brother being a young man, and believing there might be some lady in it that would not be seen, and the way being narrow, he thrust his head out of his own into her coach, and to look, and there saw somebody look very ill, and in a sick dress, and stunk mightily; which the coachman also cried out upon. And presently they come up to some people that stood looking after it, and told our gallants that it was a mayde of Mr. Wright’s carried away sick of the plague; which put the young gentleman into a fright had almost cost him his life, but is now well again.

I, overtaking our young people, ’light, and into the coach to them, where mighty merry all the way; and anon come to the Blockehouse, over against Gravesend, where we staid a great while, in a little drinking-house. Sent back our coaches to Dagenhams. I, by and by, by boat to Gravesend, where no newes of Sir G. Carteret come yet; so back again, and fetched them all over, but the two saddle-horses that were to go with us, which could not be brought over in the horseboat, the wind and tide being against us, without towing; so we had some difference with some watermen, who would not tow them over under 20s., whereupon I swore to send one of them to sea and will do it. Anon some others come to me and did it for 10s. By and by comes Sir G. Carteret, and so we set out for Chatham: in my way overtaking some company, wherein was a lady, very pretty, riding singly, her husband in company with her. We fell into talke, and I read a copy of verses which her husband showed me, and he discommended, but the lady commended: and I read them, so as to make the husband turn to commend them. By and by he and I fell into acquaintance, having known me formerly at the Exchequer. His name is Nokes, over against Bow Church. He was servant to Alderman Dashwood. We promised to meet, if ever we come both to London again; and, at parting, I had a fair salute on horseback, in Rochester streets, of the lady, and so parted.

Come to Chatham mighty merry, and anon to supper, it being near 9 o’clock ere we come thither. My Lady Carteret come thither in a coach, by herself, before us. Great mind they have to buy a little ‘hacquenee’ that I rode on from Greenwich, for a woman’s horse. Mighty merry, and after supper, all being withdrawn, Sir G. Carteret did take an opportunity to speak with much value and kindness to me, which is of great joy to me. So anon to bed. Mr. Brisband and I together to my content.

27 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I left my ‘hacquenee’ behind"

HACKNEY (from Fr. haquenee, Lat. equus, an ambling horse or mare, especially for ladies to ride; the English "hack" is simply an abbreviation), originally a riding-horse. At the present day, however, the hackney (as opposed to a thoroughbred) is bred for driving as well as riding (see Horse: Breeds). From the hiring-out of hackneys, the word came to be associated with employment for hire (so "a hack," as a general term for "drudge"), especially in combination, e.g. hackney-chair, hackney-coach, hackney-boat. The hackney-coach, a coach with four wheels and two horses, was a form of hired public conveyance (see Carriage).…

Australian Susan  •  Link

Isn't Sam having a wonderful time! Everyone thinking highly of him, taking his advice, lending him the equivalent of a sports car ("his new 40l. horse") , hearing a nice scary tale about the plague, using his power to threaten and get his way (although I would have had my doubts about risking an expensive horse swimming across the Thames), being flattered by Lady C about his original horse (equiv. of a Toyota Corolla, maybe), meeting pretty lady whom he gets to flirt with and then kiss in Rochester High St, flattered by Sir G and finally another nighttime chin-wag with new best friend, Brisbane. No wonder he's "mighty merry". Who cares that hundreds are dying all around him. Not our Sam. Reminds me of all the people who "had a good war". They just practiced selective memory and consciousness. Somehow, I just really wanted him to fall in the Thames mud, red silk suit, gold lace and all.(OK, he prob. wasn't wearing this today).

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Well, Sam could solemnly stalk about in rags, muttering that God has turned His or Her face away from England, but that would hardly do much good. Carteret, a sober and clever man is not fretting, nor his lady who was concerned enough for their friend Sam to offer him a bottle of plague water earlier. Even our compassionate Lady Sandwich is more concerned with her daughter and the family's success. I think we must see this more like the Cold War where we all knew a devasting nuclear war might break out at any moment but we lived our lives, cried at romances and tragedy, and laughed at comedy. We thought of it but we couldn't live, trembling at the thought of it every moment. Sam does and (spoiler)

...Will reflect on the plague in thoughtful, even moving ways, but he accepts as a sensible man that there is nothing he can do on a day-to-day basis. And he is not a doctor, nor a particularly charitable person, though on occasion he does what he feels he can. Nice as it would be to see the plague raise a profound change in him, Sam's way, to get on with life as it has been lived and to live as normally as one can, I think, is the only way to live and remain sane at such times.

On the other hand, for Bess' sake, I agree...It would have been great if he'd landed in the muck in that suit right in the middle of some pompous farewell to the Carterets or Lady Sandwich.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"this week by the Bill [of Mortality]; which by chance, at Greenwich, I had heard was 2,020 of the plague, and 3,000 and odd of all diseases"

L&M cite the Bill of Mortality for 25 July-1 August as showing 3,014 total burials.

Paul Chapin  •  Link


Once again I learn something from this blog. I had always assumed a direct linguistic relationship between the horse/carriage called "hackney" and the London borough of the same name.

Not at all. The etymology of the horse sense (no pun intended) is as Terry has shown above (actually a little more complicated, per the OED, but not in a way that matters here). The Borough of Hackney, on the other hand, describes the history of its name as follows: "The actual name 'Hackney' was first recorded in 1198 AD and is probably derived from an island or a raised place in a marsh (an 'ey') in the vicinity of the River Lea, together with the name of a Dane called Haca or Hacon, who owned it."

As Language Hat has reminded us occasionally, assumed or folk etymologies are often highly prone to error.

CGS  •  Link

Do not forget the bit about poking one's nose where it not be wanted, he could have got a flea in his ear.

dirk  •  Link

From the Carte Papers, Bodleian Library…

Sir Thomas Clifford [afterwards Lord Clifford of Chudleigh] to Sandwich

Written from: Onboard H.M.S. Revenge, near {Jettefoare}
Date: 3 August 1665

Communicates the incidents of his voyage, and of the attack on the Castle of Bergen and on a fleet of Dutch merchantmen which had taken refuge in the Harbour of Bergen. "The issue was the place was too hot for us, and, after three hours dispute, our hawsers and cables ... being ... mostly shot asunder, we drove off ... to [re]fit our ships". Adds particulars of a subsequent council of war, and of a treaty with the Governor.

tyndale  •  Link

Summary of today's 'Newes,' omitting the articles that already appeared in the Intelligencer:

London, August 1 - A bit of editorial: "It would require a Volume apart, to trace our Neighbors the Hollanders through all their Impostures; and in truth it is but suitable to report the Fact of the Warr, with the same fidelity as they ahve done the ground and cause of it." Then recalls last week's story that they celebrated the battle of Lowestoft in Leghorn before hearing what really happened.

Madrid, July 15 - Dutch did the same thing - celebrating their presumed victory - in Spanish cities; Lord Bellasis (Tangier Governor) may come to agreement with Guyland; various rumors about the Spanish army.

Magdeburg, July 17 - The two Dukes of Lunenburgh are likely to come to an agreement, they only have to decide how to partition their territories.

Bruges, August 7 - Flemish admiral defeated a Turkish squadron in a sea battle (doesn't say where); trade is doing well, and many Dutch are coming here to avoid being drafted.

Paris, August 4 - "There passed an Arrest of Parliament on the 29th of July last, in favour of the Censure of Sorbon, and in defence of the Opinions and Rights of the Gallican Church, in opposition point blanck to the resolution of his Holiness touching the said Censure... other Niceties also on foot, which gie us an apprehension of a dangerous Rupture;" Queen mother of France not well; the plague in Provence.

Newcastle, July 25 - Coast is clear of pirates; 'the Drake frigate' evaded a Dutch squadron.

Portsmouth, July 30 - On Friday the King and Queen parted at Farnham Castle; the Queen went on to Salisbury and the Kind came here. They say he will go to the Isle of Wight tomorrow for a short stay. He surveyed the naval stores here; the health of the city is better than it usually is this time of year; king has given orders to set up pest houses; he has also taken measures against fire by having some thatched houses covered, "which is a matter worthy of his Royal care in a place of this importance to the whole Kingdome."

Bourdeaux, July 29 - This afternoon "the S. Peter of this place, Michael Brouse Master" arrived with news about the Dutch India fleet: they are richly laden, had no idea the countries were at war, altered their course so they might find De Ruyter; conjecture that they will take the Northern route and put into Norway.

Paris, August 8 - Queen Mother of France is better; Queen mother of England is returned from being treated at Versailles; much talk about the arming of the Bishop of Munster, they say king Louis will press the Dutch to give him satisfaction so he doesn't have to resort to force, though the Dutch minister here knows the Dutch don't usually go for that; fleet under the command of the Duke of Beaufort left Toulon.

Rotterdam, August 7 - No certain news about the English fleet or De Ruyter, but we do know about the Dutch India fleet in Bergen, and the English will probably go after it; fleet expected to sail within ten days; Huygens came back from Gelderland, and Boreel from Middleburg, and will get on board the fleet; "Out of France we have little of comfort, and indeed little of certainty."

Hague, August 7 - Somewhat sarcastic account of general dissatisfaction with the recent changes to the state navy; Prince Maurice expecting instructions to lead an army to the frontier with Germany, to fact the Bishop of Munster; inconsistent reports about De Ruyter.

Plymouth, July 30 - English frigates will soon clear the seas of Dutch capers.

Salisbury, August 1 - The queen arrived Saturday, "presented the Mayor with a very fair pair of Silver Flagons;" and the king arrived today at noon, and was received by the mayor and corporation; the Earl of Pembroke attending on the king.

Ipswich, August 1 - English prisoners are treated badly in Holland, and the Dutch reply to this charge that Dutch prisoners are also treated badly; but this is a lie, and is disproved by "a paper" called A Manifesto, of the Dutch Prisoners in Colchester, Ipswich, and Woodbridge, "the copy whereof you shall receive by the next;" the town is free from plague.

Hull, July 31 - Conflicting reports received about the fleet.

Portsmouth, August 1 - The King went to the Isle of Wight yesterday "in his Pleasure Boats" and met with coventry on the Lizard; part of a group conveying material to the fleet; after viewing the castles and trained bands, when back and then to Salibury on horseback.

London, August 2 - Plague deaths are fewer within the walls, but including the out-parishes have increased; "being left sowewhat thin of people by reason of the present Visitation, the Royall Exchange is shut up for a while according to the practice of former times once in so many years," Parliament is prorogued until October 3.

Terry Foreman  •  Link


"In military science, a blockhouse is a small, isolated fort in the form of a single building. It is intended to serve as a defensive strongpoint against any enemy which does not possess siege equipment or, in modern times, artillery...."…

language hat  •  Link

Thanks very much for these news summaries, tyndale!

CGS  •  Link

Tyndale: second LH's thanks helps to understand the times.

CGS  •  Link

more on block house OED
Blochhaus’) is quoted by Grimm 1557 and 1602; the Du. blokhuis is in Kilian 1599; Fr. blocus, generally considered to be the same word, and orig. in same sense, is quoted by Littré in the 16th c. (cf. BLOCCUZ). So far as evidence goes, the Eng. is thus the earliest; but we should expect it to be of Du. or Ger. origin. In any case the sense was not originally (as in modern notion) a house composed of blocks of wood, but one which blocks or obstructs a passage. The history and age of the Ger. blockhaus and F. blocus require more investigation.]

1. a. orig. A detached fort blocking or covering the access to a landing, a narrow channel, a mountain pass, a bridge, or other strategical point. b. In later use: An edifice of one or (formerly) more storeys, constructed chiefly of timber, loop-holed and embrasured for firing.
1512 Act 4 Hen. VIII, i. §1 Nother pile blokhouse ne Bulwork is made to greve or annoye theym at theyr landyng.

c. slang. A prison.
[cf. 1624 CAPT. SMITH Virginia III. xi. 85 To stop the disorders of our disorderly Theeues..built a Blockhouse.]

Ozstu  •  Link

.....and took some bread and cheese in my hand;

A sandwich from the Sandwich kitchen?

Pedro  •  Link

Dirks' Carte Papers

Ollard, in his biography of Montagu, quotes as a footnote the report that Clifford wrote on his voyage home in Teddiman's flag ship.

He says that Clifford’s relationships with Teddiman and Sandwich were excellent, and that Clifford testifies to Sandwich's thoroughness in making preparations for the attack on Bergen.

dirk  •  Link

John Evelyn's diary

"Came his Grace the Duke of Albemarle, L. Generall of all his Majestie's Forces, to visite me, and carried me to dine with him."

This entry is not from the usual source, normally used by Terry and myself…
but from…
Both sources don't always agree. Usually the differences are minor details related to spelling, punctuation etc; sometimes the dates differ for certain entries, in which case the first source appears more trustworthy.

Paul Dyson  •  Link


The term "Hackney Carriage" is still to be found, I think, on the licence plate of any London Taxi (Black Cab) and in other British cities and towns.…

"A hackney or hackney carriage (also called a cab or hack) is a carriage or automobile kept for hire.[1] A livery carriage superior to the hackney was called a remise.[2] In the United Kingdom, the name hackney carriage refers to a taxicab licensed by the Public Carriage Office in Greater London or by the local authority (non-metropolitan district councils or unitary authorities) in other parts of Great Britain, or by the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland.

The word is still the official term used by city authorities to refer to taxicabs in certain parts of the United States, such as Boston."

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"anon come to the Blockehouse, over against Gravesend"

It is known that temporary defences were constructed at Tilbury in the 14th and 15th centuries, in order to defend the shipping route along the River Thames to London and the strategic ferry crossing to Gravesend on the opposite bank.... The first permanent fort at Tilbury, the West Tilbury Blockhouse, was a D-shaped blockhouse built in 1539 as part of King Henry VIII's fortification programme against the threat of invasion from France; it was initially called the 'Thermitage Bulwark', because it was on the site of a hermitage dissolved in 1536. The Tilbury blockhouse was designed to cross-fire with a the blockhouses at Higham and Milton, positioned on the other side of the river.…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"to Deptford to Sir G. Carteret’s"

An official residence in the royal dockyard.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I let them go a little before, and went and took leave of my Lady Sandwich, good woman...,having her directions in some things, among others, to get Sir G. Carteret and my Lord to settle the portion, and what Sir G. Carteret is to settle, into land, soon as may be, she not liking that it should lie long undone, for fear of death on either side."

"To settle the portion" or jointure, sc. the amount settled by a husband on his wife in exchange for the dowry brought by her at marriage. It was intended to outlive him to provide her support in her widowhood. Lady Sandwich, mother of the bride, is very aware of the danger the plague poses.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" get Sir G. Carteret and my Lord to settle the portion, and what Sir G. Carteret is to settle, into land, soon as may be, she not liking that it should lie long undone, for fear of death on either side."

Sir George Carteret to Sandwich
Written from: Deptford
Date: 2 August 1665

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 75, fol(s). 323-4
Document type: Holograph

Assures his Lordship that his "greatest joy is accomplished... by the marriage of our children". Looks upon that match as the greatest of all temporal blessings ever received by him at God's hands. Tomorrow the writer & Lady Carteret are to "meet our young people at Gravesend to carry them down to Scots Hall in Kent, where part of my family is already; a healthfull place & out of the way of infection". Mentions his intention to make a settlement on Lady Jemima, "something greater than is mentioned in those articles between your Lordship and me ... This I do out of my abundant care of that sweet Lady".

Samuel Pepys to Sandwich
Written from: Navy Office
Date: 7 August 1665

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 75, fol(s). 327-8
Document type: Holograph

States the happy circumstances attendant on the marriage of Lady Jemima Montagu with Mr Carteret as being "the only occurrence ... I ever met with, begun, proceeded on and finished with the same uninterrupted excess of satisfaction to all parties". Reports his having sent a ship of 36 guns, to fetch Lord Hinchinbrooke from Calais, who proceeded to join the bridal party at Scots Hall. Adds his advice to Lord Sandwich "to quicken the settlement of the money matters on both sides". Mentions that "the Plague is now, more or less, got into most corners of the Kingdom".…

Carteret increased the jointure beyond the original agreement to £12,000, and by 9 August c. £6,000 was in the hands of 'honest Mr. Pepys' (to use his phrase). (Per L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link


History of the Licensed London Taxi

The first black taxi in London was the hackney coach in the 17th Century. The name comes from hacquenée, the French term for a general-purpose horse. It literally means “ambling nag”. In 1625 there were as few as 20 available for hire, operating out of inn yards. In 1636, the owner of four hackney coaches brought them into the Strand outside the Maypole Inn, and the first taxi rank had appeared. A tariff was established for various parts of London, and his drivers wore a livery, so they would be easily recognisable. ‘Hackney Carriage’ is still the official term used to describe taxis.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Rochester, Kent -- John Middleton, 1st Earl of Middleton was governor of Rochester from 1663 to 1667, and Lieutenant-General of the Kent militia.

Gad’s Hill, near Rochester on the London Road, was a dangerous and notorious spot for highwaymen. Many famous people were robbed there, including ambassadors, dukes and many seafarers journeying to London from the coastal ports. Because of its reputation, Shakespeare even featured it as the location for the robbery of Sir John Falstaff in Henry IV.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Because of its reputation, Shakespeare even featured [Gad's Hill] as the location for the robbery of Sir John Falstaff in Henry IV."

Gad's Hill is where Falstaff commits the robbery that begins Shakespeare's Henriad trilogy (Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2 and Henry V).…

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re:  I left my ‘hacquenee’ —[Haquenee = an ambling nag fitted for ladies’ riding.]— behind

‘hackney, n. and adj. . .
. . Probably < the name of Hackney, formerly a village in Middlesex . . probably with reference to supply of horses from the surrounding meadows.

Re: ‘ . . Then down to the buttery . . ‘

‘buttery, n.Old French . .
a. A place for storing liquor; but the name was also, from an early period, extended to ‘the room where provisions are laid up’ (Johnson). 
. . 1665   S. Pepys Diary 3 Aug. (1972) VI. 180   Then down to the buttery and eat a piece of cold venison-pie . . ‘


Jonathan V  •  Link

" ... so we had some difference with some watermen, who would not tow them over under 20s., whereupon I swore to send one of them to sea and will do it."

Just a bit vindictive here, eh, Sam? I'm curious if we'll hear the outcome of this. This points up the coldheartedness of the era - potentially dooming a man to a life (short?) at sea for simply wanting more shillings to perform a hard service.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

It didn't take much to be impressed, Jonathan. Be an orphan, or take a drink at the wrong pub on the wrong evening, or be found guilty of something ... paying people a regular wage to serve is a principle that is generations away.

The New Model Army was the first to pay its soldiers and promise not to impress ... and they found they couldn't afford to keep their promises so in 1659/1660 part of the problem was that the Army refused to disband until Parliament paid up.

Admiral Lawson was beloved by his Parliamentary sailors because he wanted the same commitments for them ... but never got Parliament to agree. Running the Navy without impressment was beyond anyone's imagination.

Vindictive? Coldhearted? The 17th century couldn't afford to be anything else. Congress hadn't shown them how to cook the books and fight an endless war on an unfunded deficit so the grandchildren can pay for it. Which system is more honorable?

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