Tuesday 15 August 1665

Up by 4 o’clock and walked to Greenwich, where called at Captain Cocke’s and to his chamber, he being in bed, where something put my last night’s dream into my head, which I think is the best that ever was dreamt, which was that I had my Lady Castlemayne in my armes and was admitted to use all the dalliance I desired with her, and then dreamt that this could not be awake, but that it was only a dream; but that since it was a dream, and that I took so much real pleasure in it, what a happy thing it would be if when we are in our graves (as Shakespeere resembles it) we could dream, and dream but such dreams as this, that then we should not need to be so fearful of death, as we are this plague time. Here I hear that news is brought Sir G. Carteret that my Lord Hinchingbrooke is not well, and so cannot meet us at Cranborne to-night. So I to Sir G. Carteret’s; and there was sorry with him for our disappointment. So we have put off our meeting there till Saturday next. Here I staid talking with Sir G. Carteret, he being mighty free with me in his business, and among other things hath ordered Rider and Cutler to put into my hands copper to the value of 5,000l. (which Sir G. Carteret’s share it seems come to in it), which is to raise part of the money he is to layout for a purchase for my Lady Jemimah. Thence he and I to Sir J. Minnes’s by invitation, where Sir W. Batten and my Lady, and my Lord Bruncker, and all of us dined upon a venison pasty and other good meat, but nothing well dressed. But my pleasure lay in getting some bills signed by Sir G. Carteret, and promise of present payment from Mr. Fenn, which do rejoice my heart, it being one of the heaviest things I had upon me, that so much of the little I have should lie (viz. near 1000l.) in the King’s hands. Here very merry and (Sir G. Carteret being gone presently after dinner) to Captain Cocke’s, and there merry, and so broke up and I by water to the Duke of Albemarle, with whom I spoke a great deale in private, they being designed to send a fleete of ships privately to the Streights. No news yet from our fleete, which is much wondered at, but the Duke says for certain guns have been heard to the northward very much. It was dark before I could get home, and so land at Church-yard stairs, where, to my great trouble, I met a dead corps of the plague, in the narrow ally just bringing down a little pair of stairs. But I thank God I was not much disturbed at it. However, I shall beware of being late abroad again.

21 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"what a happy thing it would be if when we are in our graves (as Shakespeere resembles it) we could dream"

resemble = "to represent, figure" (L&M Select Glossary).

Shakes. Hamlet, III, i

To die; to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ’Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die; to sleep;—
To sleep? Perchance to dream!

Carl in Boston  •  Link

"Perchance to dream" is said hastily, as in ... oops ...

To sleep--perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.

And Donald Duck continues as an aspiring actor:
Who would fardels bear,
And sink into the quagmire?

Tis the vacation season. All I hear are crickets.
Is anyone out there?

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... and promise of present payment from Mr. Fenn, which do rejoice my heart,..."

Presumably for Pepys, as a member of the board and friend of Cartaret, Fenn is to make an exception to his usual payment practice and hand over actual cash, rather than a negotiable banker's draft.

SP's 'White Book' note on Fenn's payment practices records how Fenn would not pay cash money but provided bills drawn on goldsmith/bankers which cost a minimum 2%, and on occasions between 10 and 15%, to negotiate with the Banker for actual cash -- Cartaret meanwhile providing the goldsmith/bankers with direct assignments on revenue (not just talleys, whose cash conversion schedule depends upon the inner workings of Exchequer) which would cover any cash due. The implication is that Fenn, rather than paying cash directly to contractors, splits this cash premium paid by a contractor with the goldsmith/bankers.

My own reading would suggest that Cartaret must be getting something as well since it is his assignment of revenue that is necessary for the process to work and allowing the bankers charging a 'cash premium' for a risk they do not in fact bear; presumably a percentage commission transfered to his own account at the goldsmith/banker. This would explain Cartaret's comment about 'cat skinning' of yesterday; he has his hand on the cash spigot that funds and re-pays the bankers for their negotiating and holding outstanding government notes, and other forms of navy debt, issued by the Navy board for all payments.

deepfatfriar  •  Link

". . . to my great trouble, I met a dead corps . . ."

There's a zombie joke to be made of that, but not by me.

JWB  •  Link

"...bankers charging a ‘cash premium’ for a risk they do not in fact bear..."

What do you think Backwell, on death bed, would say to that?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Poetic...But a hard-headed man our Sam...Couldn't even allow himself to dream bliss without dreaming it was a dream.

Ah, if only Jonathan Pryce were younger...

Sssssaaammm... (I'm sure Pepys would have loved that flying suit from the "Brazil" dream sequences).


So Sam has money (at interest, presumably) placed with Fenn? I wonder if this was his own idea or if all in the office were "heartily encouraged" to make loans to the King. Or was it perhaps unpaid back salary? In any case no wonder he gets so antsy about dear Fenn.

"Oh, Sam....Sam..."

"Barbara? Were you dreaming?"

"Sire? Dreaming? Ummn..."

"Who the devil is 'Sam'?"

Michael Robinson  •  Link

“…bankers charging a ‘cash premium’ for a risk they do not in fact bear…”

What do you think Backwell, on death bed, would say to that?

Spoiler -- Blackwell on his death bed might very well regret trusting the regime sufficiently that he allowed himself to be a clearing bank, reserve bank and de facto become the central banker for the Stewarts, the last resort for 'smoothing' the Exchequer's liquidity problems and also funding the regime's external specie payments. It was the equivalent of the unsecured sovereign debt, in various forms, he and the other London goldsmiths carried that hit them worst in the 'stop on the Exchequer' in 1672. Since there was no public market for talleys, the principal form of government obligation, the best the goldsmith/bankers could do to reduce their overall government credit risk was, when acting on behalf of tax farmers, to pass accumulated talleys back to the Treasury at face value rather than the actual cash collected and deposited with them. However this would only relieve the bankers temporarily and exacerbate the difficulties at the Exchequer, leading to the Exchequer issuing yet more talleys and having less specie for redemption. We have seen that by earlier this year, 1665, the talleys Pepys, as Tangier Treasurer, was given from the Exchequer were completely nonnegotiable for cash with any major London goldsmith/banker.

A goldsmith/banker could argue that the heavy premium charged to merchants for redeeming Navy debt was a way of covering for the uncertain risks the Bankers carried by being involved in government business in general. However Naval finance under Carteret and others who had access to direct assignments of revenue was pretty well managed, even in terms of the day innovative; Navy bills were marked for direct payment 'in course' by 1665 -- though that did require ultimately that revenue and expenditure were balanced over time. Following the example, Downing, as Secretary of the Treasury, was able to create a form of secured credit instrument directly against Poll Tax and Land Tax revenues and payable 'in course' by 1667, which created a simple form of manageable and negotiable national debt instrument, a major fiscal innovation.

The problem for government was the collection side of revenue, Parliament could make all the grants it wished but in fact actual revenue was speculative and notional leading to the liquidity problems at the exchequer which Charles and his minsters of the day 'resolved' by the stop on all Exchequer specie payments in 1672, forcing the larger goldsmith/bankers in turn to suspend payment and effectively bankrupting them.

When the Bank of England was established in 1694 a portion of the "capital", which formed the Government loan and the Bank's initial asset, was made up with talleys issued prior to 1672 -- perhaps the only way these could be finally redeemed since the Bank had also the power to issue notes against the notional capital.

andy  •  Link

and then dreamt that this could not be awake, but that it was only a dream;

I think I first came across this one in Aldous Huxley but can't remember exactly, however, see:


"Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Zhuangzi. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuangzi. But he didn't know if he was Zhuangzi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuangzi. Between Zhuangzi and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things. (2, tr. Burton Watson 1968:49)"



maybe it was the eroticism that tipped Sam's head.

Bradford  •  Link

Interesting that Pepys, who in general does not seem to prize Shakespeare highly when seen in the playhouse, knows "Hamlet" well enough to make this allusion, even though he does not cite particular words or phrases. Might he have had a quarto? How many times has he mentioned seeing it?

language hat  •  Link

"something put my last night’s dream into my head, which I think is the best that ever was dreamt"

That's our Sam!

Incidentally, the link for "Church-yard" is wrong -- the Companion volume to L&M says:

Churchyard Stairs. The landing-stairs at the foot of Churchyard Alley, Upper Thames St, immediately upstream of old London Bridge; now absorbed in the approaches to the present London Bridge.

JWB  •  Link

Michael Robinson
Thanks for your insight.
I believe the Dutch at this time financed their provincial admiralties directly with licenses on trade.

Phil Gyford  •  Link

Language Hat: Thanks for spotting that -- I've now corrected the link to Church-yard Stairs.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Might he have had a quarto?

SP first notes examining a Shakespeare on December 10th 1663:
"I could not tell whether to lay out my money for books of pleasure, as plays, which my nature was most earnest in; but at last, after seeing Chaucer, Dugdale’s History of Paul’s, Stows London, Gesner, History of Trent, besides Shakespeare, Jonson, and Beaumont’s plays, I at last chose Dr. Fuller’s Worthys, the Cabbala or Collections of Letters of State, and a little book, Delices de Hollande, with another little book or two, all of good use or serious pleasure: and Hudibras, both parts, ..."

and in July the following year:
" ..., and I home, calling by the way for my new bookes, viz., Sir H. Spillman’s “Whole Glossary,” “Scapula’s Lexicon,” and Shakespeare’s plays, which I have got money out of my stationer’s bills to pay for." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/07/07/

SP acquired on July 7th. 1664 either:-

Mr. William Shakespeares comedies, histories, and tragedies. Published according to the true original copies. The third impression.
London : printed [by Roger Daniel, Alice Warren, and another] for Philip Chetwinde, 1663.

or the subsequent ‘re-issue’:-

Mr. William Shakespear’s comedies, histories, and tragedies. Published according to the true original copies. The third impression. And unto this impression is added seven playes, never before printed in folio. viz. Pericles Prince of Tyre. The London prodigall. The history o Thomas Ld. Cromwell. Sir John Oldcastle Lord Cobham. The Puritan widow. A York-shire tragedy. The tragedy of Locrine.
London : printed [by Roger Daniel, Alice Warren, and another] for P[hilip] C[hetwind], 1664.

Spoiler -- Pepys had the habit of replacing his books with the latest edition and the Pepysian Library contains:-

Mr William Shakespear’s comedies, histories, and tragedies. Published according to the true original copies. Unto which is added, seven plays, never before printed in folio: viz. Pericles Prince of Tyre. The London prodigal. The history of Thomas Lord Cromwel. Sir John Oldcastle Lord Cobham. The Puritan widow. A Yorkshire tragedy. The tragedy of Locrine. The fourth edition.
London : printed for H. Herringman, and are to be sold by Joseph Knight and Francis Saunders, at the Anchor in the Lower Walk of the New Exchange, 1685.
PL 2635

There is no record of his having owned a 'quarto' of any play at any stage, however the diary by no means records all his book purchases; if he had owned one, following habit, he would probably have disposed of it at the time of or shortly after acquiring his copy of the 'third' folio.

Pedro  •  Link

On this day…

De Ruyter arrives at Buchan Ness, to the north of Aberdeen, and gathered information from various ships that the English fleet had passed several times close to his own. As the information was some days old it was impossible to gauge where they were, and so he decided to sail for Bergen.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sam's always been a fan of tragic Shakespeare-Othello and Hamlet especially. He once raved about Betterton's performance as the Dane. It seems to be the fantasy comedies like Midsummer that don't catch his fancy. Maybe Bottom and his comrade players hit too close to home.

I imagine Sam's the type who can appreciate great drama but has a weakness for special effects blockbusters if they're reasonably good ("Siege of Rhodes II", "Adventure of Five Hours", and other Pepys' favorites were probably the era's equivalent of "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones"). Then too it's possible many of the available Shakespeares outside a few of the great tragedies were pretty badly cut up and mangled versions.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"He once raved about Betterton’s performance as the Dane"

The passages RG alludes to:

" ... and then straight to the Opera, and there saw “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark,” done with scenes very well, but above all, Betterton did the prince’s part beyond imagination." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/08/24/

"And so to the Duke’s House; and there saw “Hamlett” done, giving us fresh reason never to think enough of Betterton." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/05/28/

Bradford  •  Link

Thanks, Michael and Robert, for researching and setting forth Pepys's "Hamlet" and Third Folio connections. Certainly the ownership of the latter bespeaks a sincere interest, however much or little individual productions may please him.

CGS  •  Link

folio vs quarto. folio full page vs full page folded in four. * nice quote at star *

[a. L. foli{omac}, abl. of folium leaf. Branch I proceeds from the med.L. use of the ablative in references, though in sense 2 the word may be a. It. foglio. In branch II the phrase in folio is either a. Lat. or a refashioning of the Italian in foglio. Cf. the use of in folio in Fr. both in sense 5b and as n. = sense 7.]

II. With reference to size.

5. in folio, a phrase signifying ‘in the form of a full-sized sheet folded once’. Orig. apprehended as a Latin phrase, used appositively or attributively; afterwards as consisting of an English prep. and n.
1644 EVELYN Mem. (1857) I. 89 That rare book in a large folio.

6. A sheet of paper when folded once. Also, {dag}such a sheet used for a specific purpose.

7. A volume made up of sheets of paper folded once; a volume of the largest size.
B. adj.

1. Formed of sheets or a sheet folded once; of the largest size; folio-sized. Often following the n.; cf. A. 5.

A. n.

1. The size of paper obtained by folding a whole sheet twice, so as to form four leaves. Originally and chiefly in in quarto. Also fig.
Quarto sizes range from 15 × 11 inches (approx. 38 x 28 cm) (imperial quarto) to 7 × 6 inches (approx. 19.7 x 15.2 cm) (pot quarto), according to the size of the original sheet.
Imperial paper sizes are no longer generally used in British paper manufacturing, although they form the basis of the sizes used in North America.

1640 H. GLAPTHORNE Wit in Constable II. sig. Diiiv, The rest were made But fooles in Quarto, but I finde my selfe An asse in Folio.
2. A book made of paper in this form; a quarto volume. Also attrib.
1642 T. FULLER Holy State III. xxv. 228 Those which they bought in Folio shrink quickly into Quarto's.
B. adj. (attrib.). Of paper: folded so as to form four leaves out of the original sheet; having the size or shape of a quarter-sheet; (of a book) printed on paper folded in this way or having this form; (of a work) published in quarto.

Chy  •  Link

Pepys here appears to be describing a lucid dream.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Chy: "Pepys here appears to be describing a lucid dream."

A lucid dream is any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. In relation to this phenomenon....In a lucid dream, the dreamer has greater chances to exert some degree of control over their participation within the dream or be able to manipulate their imaginary experiences in the dream environment. Lucid dreams can be realistic and vivid.


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