Friday 4 August 1665

Up at five o’clock, and by six walked out alone, with my Lady Slanning, to the Docke Yard, where walked up and down, and so to Mr. Pett’s, who led us into his garden, and there the lady, the best humoured woman in the world, and a devout woman (I having spied her on her knees half an houre this morning in her chamber), clambered up to the top of the banquetting-house to gather nuts, and mighty merry, and so walked back again through the new rope house, which is very usefull; and so to the Hill-house to breakfast and mighty merry. Then they took coach, and Sir G. Carteret kissed me himself heartily, and my Lady several times, with great kindnesse, and then the young ladies, and so with much joy, bade “God be with you!” and an end I think it will be to my mirthe for a great while, it having been the passage of my whole life the most pleasing for the time, considering the quality and nature of the business, and my noble usage in the doing of it, and very many fine journys, entertainments and great company.

I returned into the house for a while to do business there with Commissioner Pett, and there with the officers of the Chest, where I saw more of Sir W. Batten’s business than ever I did before, for whereas he did own once under his hand to them that he was accountable for 2200l., of which he had yet paid but 1600l., he writes them a letter lately that he hath but about 50l. left that is due to the Chest, but I will do something in it and that speedily.

That being done I took horse, and Mr. Barrow with me bore me company to Gravesend, discoursing of his business, wherein I vexed him, and he me, I seeing his frowardness, but yet that he is in my conscience a very honest man, and some good things he told me, which I shall remember to the King’s advantage.

There I took boat alone, and, the tide being against me, landed at Blackwall and walked to Wapping, Captain Bowd whom I met with talking with me all the way, who is a sober man. So home, and found all things well, and letters from Dover that my Lord Hinchingbroke is arrived at Dover, and would be at Scott’s hall this night, where the whole company will meet. I wish myself with them. After writing a few letters I took boat and down to Woolwich very late, and there found my wife and her woman upon the key hearing a fellow in a barge, that lay by, fiddle. So I to them and in, very merry, and to bed, I sleepy and weary.

20 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"with the officers of the Chest, where I saw more of Sir W. Batten's business than ever I did before, for whereas he did own once under his hand to them that he was accountable for 2200l., of which he had yet paid but 1600l., he writes them a letter lately that he hath but about 50l. left that is due to the Chest, but I will do something in it and that speedily."

Sir W Batten has habitually appropriated Chatham Chest funds: see 19 October 1664 -- "Up and to my office all the morning. At noon dined at home; then abroad by coach to buy for the office “Herne upon the Statute of Charitable Uses,” in order to the doing something better in the Chest than we have done, for I am ashamed to see Sir W. Batten possess himself so long of so much money as he hath done."…

Recall, "The Chatham Chest was a fund set up around 1590 to pay pensions to disabled seamen. It was financed by members' contributions which were deducted from their pay, and has therefore been described as the world's first occupational pension scheme. The assets of the scheme were held in an actual chest which is also called the Chatham Chest." For the history of the difficulties of the CC and SPOILERS see… "The Chest's functions were largely transferred in wartime to the Commissioners of the Sick and Wounded," (Companion), of whom John Evelyn is the most active at this timer. Since being one of 19 named in 1662 to a commission of inquiry into the status of the Chest,… Pepys has long been concerned about Batten's fiduciary infidelities; this is his first clear declaration to act.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Like Your Job?
Here is Pepys, who has had a good day, and good week, and month as well. I happen to like my job, and thank God therefore. Here is Pepys going around without a Blackberry in his ear, with great variety in his daily life. Tis August, and we can smell the flowering phlox while driving through the woods to work.

Martin  •  Link

Frowardness, indeed.

Mary  •  Link


Adjective. Difficult to deal with, perverse, hard to please,disposed to go counter to what is reasonable or what is demanded, ungovernable. Today we might say bloody-minded.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Mighty merry, indeed...Though given the lady being a Lady and so devout perhaps not quite so merry as Sam might otherwise have been.

"So? You seem in good spirits. How did your business with Sir George go?"

"Oh...Just the usual. Not too bad. Lucky to get away." Sam, weary expression.

"He's been working you much too hard." Bess, sympathetically.

"Aye...Oh and Lady Sandwich stopped by...Sends her best. Thank Heaven she did, it was so dull and weary there. Nothing but business, office business, and war business the whole long time."

"Poor baby. Here, let me rub your shoulders, my poor sweetie."

"Ah, me...I think sometimes Bess, the work is getting a bit too much for me."

"My poor baby..."


"Oh and have a piece of wedding cake, my Lady's messenger brought. Her note said you forgot to take some in all the excitement. She was so sorry I wasn't well enough to come." shoves cake in face.


C.J.Darby  •  Link

"who is a sober man" this expression, although I know I am hearing it in the modern sense,always makes me titter, as if Sam was used to meeting drunk men all the time

Bradford  •  Link

"a devout woman (I having spied her on her knees half an houre this morning in her chamber)"

Two sightings, half an hour apart, or a sustained scrutiny unobserved?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Keen observation, C.J.Darby. Etymology Online has for sober
c.1300, "grave, serious, solemn," from O.Fr. sobre, from L. sobrius "not drunk, temperate," from se- "without" + ebrius "drunk," of unknown origin. Sense of "moderate, temperate," especially "abstaining from strong drink" is first attested 1338; meaning "not drunk at the moment" is from 1387. The verb meaning "to become sober" is attested from 1820 (usually with up). Sobersides "sedate, serious-minded person" is recorded from 1705.…


CGS  •  Link

Sober. my thought be a bit dull and dour.
who is a sober man. adjective oe a verb.

sober a
[a. OF. sobre (so mod.F., = It., Sp., Pg. sobrio), ad. L. s{omac}brius, which expresses the opposite of {emac}brius drunk: the ulterior etym. is doubtful. The French word is also the source of MDu. and Du., MLG. and LG. sober.]
Various senses of the word tend to pass into or involve each other, and it is frequently difficult to decide which of these was principally intended by the writer.

I. 1. a. Moderate, temperate, avoiding excess, in respect of the use of food and drink; not given to the indulgence of appetite.

1606 CHAPMAN Gentl. Usher iii, Shees as discreete a dame As any in these countries, and as sober, But for this onely humour of the cup. 1677 A. HORNECK Gt. Law Consid. v. (1704) 246 How the sober nation many times conquers the more debauched and vicious.

b. Of diet, etc.: Moderate, temperate; characterized by the absence of excess or indulgence.

1551 T. WILSON Logike (1580) 35 Sober diet is good. 1629 HINDE J. Bruen (1641) x. 33 And many other such naturall helpes may we use for our sober refreshing and delight.
c. Similarly of conduct, inclination, etc.

c. Similarly of conduct, inclination, etc.
2. a. Not addicted to the use of strong drink; habitually temperate in, or abstaining from, the use of alcoholic liquor; abstemious.
1382 WYCLIF...
1474 CAXTON Chesse II. i. (1883) 21 That the dronken men shold be punysshyd And the sobre men preysed.

3. a. Free from the influence of intoxicating liquor; not intoxicated; not drunk. Also fig.
1596 SHAKES. Merch. V. I. ii. 93 Very vildely in the morning when hee is sober, and most vildely in the afternoone when hee is drunke.

b. Fasting. Obs.{em}1

II. 4. a. Of demeanour, speech, etc.: Grave, serious, solemn; indicating or implying a serious mind or purpose.

1600 SHAKES. A.Y.L. V. ii. 76 Orl. Speak'st thou in sober meanings? Ros. By my life I do.
1633 P. FLETCHER Purple Isl. XI. ix, The Islands King with sober countenance Aggrates the Knights, who thus his right defended.

b. In the phrases in sober earnest or {dag}sadness.
Skelton Magnyf. 682 uses Sober Sadnesse as a name.

5. a. Quiet or sedate in demeanour; of grave, dignified, or discreet deportment; serious or staid in character or conduct.
1362 LANGL...
1596 SHAKES. Merch. V. III. ii. 78 What damned error, but some sober brow Will blesse it? 1632 MILTON Penseroso 32 Com pensive Nun, devout and pure, Sober, stedfast, and demure.

b. Of bearing, movement, etc.: Showing no trace of haste, impatience, or the like.
c1350 Will. Palerne

1597 SHAKES. 2 Hen. IV, IV. iii. 86 Our Newes shall goe before vs,..And wee with sober speede will follow you. 1697 DRYDEN Virg. Georg. II. 380 Legions..move to meet their Foes with sober Pace.

6. a. Of natural forces ({dag}animals), etc.: Quiet, gentle, peaceful.
1398 ...
1596 DALRYMPLE tr. Leslie's Hist. Scot. II. 242 Thay sayled with a sober and safte wind. a1605 MONTGOMERIE Cherrie & Slae 43 (Wreittoun), The aire was sober, soft and sweet. 1662 CHANDLER Van Helmont's Oriat. 117 Sober rains are great with young of dew.

b. Of actions: Free from harshness or violence.
1455 in Charters,

a1629 HINDE J. Bruen iii. 10 Sober and single dancing of men apart. 1726 DE FOE Hist. Devil I. ix. (1840) 102 He led a very religious and sober life.

8. a. Of a temperate or moderate disposition; not readily excited or carried away; of a calm, dispassionate judgement.

1662 STILLINGFL. Orig. Sacræ III. iv. §13 It is the constant acknowledgement of all sober inquirers into the original of the Greeks. 1685 WOOD Life 12 Aug., The phanatiques (nay, some sober men) thinke that this to bring in popery.

b. Not desirous of great things or high estate; humble, unambitious.
1659 HAMMOND On Ps. xxxix. 7. 210 Fit to be the matter of a sober mans ambition.

. a. Of colour, dress, etc.: Subdued in tone; not glaring, gay, or showy; neutral-tinted.
1596 SHAKES. Tam. Shr. I. ii. 132 Now shal my friend..offer me disguis'd in sober a schoole-master. 1603 KNOLLES Hist. Turks (1621) 832 Hungarians..attired in long sober garments of very fine purple cloth. 1667 MILTON P.L. IV. 599 Twilight gray Had in her sober Liverie all things clad.

10. a. Free from extravagance or excess.
1607 SHAKES. Timon III. v. 21 With such sober and vnnoted passion He did behooue his anger ere 'twas spent.

b. Moderate, sensible; free from exaggeration; not fanciful or imaginative.
1619 GORGES tr. Bacon's De Sap. Vet. 141 We must therefore with a sober and humble iudgement distinguish betweene humanitie and diuinitie. 1674 BREVINT Saul at Endor 115 They who will speak at a soberer rate, compare the Virgin to the Moon.

11. Guided by sound reason; sane, rational: {dag}a. Of persons. Obs.
1638 R. BAKER tr. Balzac's Lett. (vol. II) 24 They have painted mee..a mad man amongst the sober. 1657 R. CARPENTER Astrol. Ded., In a Bedlam-house the mad People have their sober Keepers. 1690 LOCKE Hum. Und. II. xxvii. (1695) 186 Humane Laws not punishing the Mad Man for the Sober Man's Actions

b. Of the mind, discourse, etc.
1651 HOBBES Leviath. I. viii. 36 If some man in Bedlam should entertaine you with sober discourse. 1672 SIR T. BROWNE Let. Friend §22 [They are] content to think they dye in good understanding, and in their sober senses.

III. 12. a. Of things: Small, insignificant, slight; paltry, trifling, poor. Chiefly Sc. ? Obs.
c1440 Alph. Tales ...
1643 MILTON Divorce II. xvi, When they cannot reap the sobrest ends of being together in any tolerable sort.

b. Moderate or few in number. Obs.
1647 CROMWELL in Stainer Sp. (1901) 44 Every *sober-spirited man.
1592 SHAKES. Rom. & Jul. III. ii. 11 Come ciuill night, Thou *sober suted Matron all in blacke.

sober v
I. trans.

1. a. To reduce to a quiet or gentle condition; to appease, pacify.c1375

b. To moderate, quieten (one's feelings), by the exercise of self-control. Also refl.
1390 GOWER
2. a. To render grave or serious.
1726 POPE
c. refl. To keep (oneself) temperate.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary (in lieu of Dirk)

4: ... I went to Wotton to carry my sonn & his Tutor Mr. Bohune, a fellow of New Coll: (& recommended to me by Dr. Wilkins & the President of Trinity Coll: in Oxford) for feare of the Pestilence still increasing both in Lond: & invirons:

matthew newton  •  Link

Anyone any info on the tides of the Thames?
It appears Sam was caught out today but I would have thought they would have been well known?

Australian Susan  •  Link

"...there found my wife and her woman upon the key hearing a fellow in a barge, that lay by, fiddle..."

Lovely picture that conjures up. Nice of Bess to meet him.

Pity Lord H couldn't have got back a few days earlier and been around for his sister's wedding.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the new rope house"

L&M: A wooden ropehouse and ropeway had been built earlier in the year.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

How nice of Lady Caroline Carteret Scott to invite Edward Montagu, Viscount Hinchingbrooke to visit with his newly-married sister and the rest of the Carterets at Scott’s Hall. Everyone is getting to know each other.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

It's funny now to think that Wotton House, Dorking, Surrey was not in the environs of London. But in 1665, Dorking was in the country, and the House was the center of the Wotton Estate and the seat of the Evelyn family.

It was John Evelyn’s birthplace (1620–1706), and he and his elder brother George created the first Italian Garden in England there. Work on the garden started in 1643, was completed by 1652,[1] and it is the house's most famous feature.[2]

1 - At Wotton on his brother's estate he and a relation George Evelyn introduced between 1643 and 1652 what was really the first Italian garden into England, terracing a steep hillside and fitting a little temple into the bottom of it." (Nairn, Pevsner & Cherry 1971, p. 42)

2 - Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1189814)". National Heritage List for England.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Anyone any info on the tides of the Thames? It appears Sam was caught out today ..."

My guess is that in normal times, this would not have been a problem. Many men who knew about boats were impressed into the navy some months ago. Now there are thousands of people who have recently died, more thousands sick or locked up in pest houses, and yet more thousands who have run away to the country. Manpower was probably the problem. Not many able bodied men who were left wanted to cross the river to London.

Hence Pepys' recent vow to impress the rascals who were unhelpful.

RSGII  •  Link

Thames tides. I don’t have local knowledge, but the published tide tables and current flows in the Thames below the modern London Bridge are quite formidable. Tides can have a maximum range of 25 feet and river velocities can vary from 2 to 7 knots, very difficult for a human propelled craft to handle. Of course the modern river has been substantially altered with embankments etc. so hard to know with any precision what the numbers were in Sams day. But may explain why those royal barges need so many rowers!

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

4 August, 1665. John Evelyn's Diary

I went to Wotton with my Son and his tutor, Mr. Bohun, Fellow of New College (recommended to me by Dr. Wilkins, and the President of New College, Oxford), for fear of the pestilence, still increasing in London and its environs.

On my return, I called at Durdans, where I found Dr. Wilkins, Sir William Petty, and Mr. Hooke, contriving chariots, new rigging for ships, a wheel for one to run races in, and other mechanical inventions; perhaps three such persons together were not to be found elsewhere in Europe, for parts and ingenuity.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Since Sir William Petty makes no further appearances in the offices of the Navy Board, I'll put this last information about his efforts to make English ships faster than everyone else's, and less dependent on the wind:

The name of Sir William Petty’s next experimental ship in 1664/65 was The Experiment, which was given to her at her launching.

The history of The Experiment is not clear, but it is known that she perished in a gale of wind in the Irish Channel, when many other vessels miscarried. Some of her crew were saved, but 17 men were lost with her, the date of this event being in 1665.

From that time onward the project slept – not only owing to its own misfortunes, but because Sir William lost money in Irish speculations and in the Great Fire of London.

Twenty years later, in 1683, ‘the fit of the double bottom, as he tells us, did return very fiercely upon him. His new vessel, however, performed as abominably as if built on purpose to disappoint in the highest degree every particular that was expected of her.’

We also know little of this vessel. Her name was the St. Michael, and she was the last of the type to be built.

Whether Sir William Petty had made radical departures from the previous design we do not know, but both Pepys and Sir Anthony Deane were prepared, not only to dispute every claim which Sir William made on her behalf, but to back their opinions to a substantial amount of money.

A copy of a model of The Experiment is shown in the ‘Life of Petty.’ The vessel was designed to look, on the broadside, like an ordinary craft. She appears to have been flat-bottomed, but of her rig we know nothing.

The model did not satisfy Sir William, for it showed only one deck, whereas the ship had two; but in general aspect it was at least approximately correct.

For more about Sir William Petty’s experimental ships, see…

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