Thursday 17 August 1665

Up and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon dined together upon some victuals I had prepared at Sir W. Batten’s upon the King’s charge, and after dinner, I having dispatched some business and set things in order at home, we down to the water and by boat to Greenwich to the Bezan yacht, where Sir W. Batten, Sir J. Minnes, my Lord Bruncker and myself, with some servants (among others Mr. Carcasse, my Lord’s clerk, a very civil gentleman), embarked in the yacht and down we went most pleasantly, and noble discourse I had with my Lord Bruncker, who is a most excellent person. Short of Gravesend it grew calme, and so we come to an anchor, and to supper mighty merry, and after it, being moonshine, we out of the cabbin to laugh and talk, and then, as we grew sleepy, went in and upon velvet cushions of the King’s that belong to the yacht fell to sleep, which we all did pretty well till 3 or 4 of the clock, having risen in the night to look for a new comet which is said to have lately shone, but we could see no such thing.

12 Annotations

First Reading

Michael Robinson  •  Link

"Short of Gravesend it grew calme, and so we come to an anchor, ..."

Later, and grander, gathering but a view of a royal yacht (rigged similarly to the Bezan) showing the upstream view from the middle of Gravesend reach:

van de Velde, the Younger,
'The Mary', Yacht, Arriving with Princess Mary at Gravesend in a Fresh Breeze, 12 February 1689 (BHC0328)

"The painting shows the scene viewed from the middle of Gravesend Reach looking upstream to the west and to Northfleet. The tower of Gravesend church is visible in the extreme left background with Tilbury in the distance."…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Yesterday a fatalistic "...when I am dead...". Today the glooms are shaken off and the ole love of life, complete with the old scientific curiosity, returns with a catered dinner and a delightful ride on the government yacht. It will be interesting to see what actual if any business of the office is intended. In any case whoever came up with the idea of this badly needed outing (Sam, Batten, Minnes, or Bruncker) is to be commended.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"a new comet which is said to have lately shone"

Searching the heavens for auspices was all the rage and a serious matter; L&M's source, Dr. D.J. Schove, states flatly that someone had seen a meteor.

CGS  •  Link

,"...[sleep] which we all did pretty well till 3 or 4 of the clock, having risen in the night to look for a new comet which is said to have lately shone, but we could see no such thing...."
Halley will born this year, to give rise to study of this phenomenon,meanwhile the populace gets the jitters .

CGS  •  Link

S Pepys mentions comets 21,23,24,27 Dec 64, then 1 March, 6 April and now 17 Aug.
Was to-days comet a meteor?

"Threatening the world with Famine, Plague and War: To Princes, Death! To Kingdoms, many Crosses; To all Estates, inevitable Losses! To Herdsmen, Rot; to Plowmen, hapless Seasons; To Sailors, Storms, To Cities, Civil Treasons!"

De cometis by John Gadbury, London, 1665

The comets of 64 & 65 be a subject discussed by Oldenburg and Spinoza and the discussion on "dothe Comet goe in straight lines "[Kepler].
see problem of Hevelius and Auzout…

CGS  •  Link

there be now known 1000 [mille] Comets

todays, not on the list
of great ones…] commets

Gregorian Calendar 17 Century big ones…
1618/Nov/16 67 1618/Nov/08 0.40 1618/Dec/06 0.36 1618/Nov/29 0-1 (1618 W1)

1664/Nov/17 75
1664/Dec/04 1.03
1664/Dec/29 0.17
1664/Dec/29 -1 (1664 W1)

1665/Mar/27 24
1665/Apr/24 0.11
1665/Apr/04 0.57
1665/Apr/20 -1 (1665 F1), 10

1668/Mar/03 27
1668/Feb/28 0.07
1668/Mar/05 0.80
1668/Mar/08 1-2 (1668 E1)
1668/Mar/05 0.80

1668/Mar/08 1-2 (1668 E1)
1680/Nov/23 88 1680/Dec/18 0.01 1680/Nov/30 0.42 1680/Dec/29 1-2 (1680 V1), 11
1682/Aug/15 41 1682/Sep/15 0.58 1682/Aug/31 0.42 1682/Aug/31 0-1 1P/Halley
1686/Aug/12 34 1686/Sep/16 0.34 1686/Aug/16 0.32 1686/Aug/27 1-2 (1686 R1)
Comets in Ancient Cultures

by Noah Goldman
U. Maryland, College Park Scholars

Comets have inspired dread, fear, and awe in many different cultures and societies around the world and throughout time. They have been branded with such titles as "the Harbinger of Doom" and "the Menace of the Universe."…

Pedro  •  Link


If there is a comet about Sandwich normally makes an observation, but of this one he says nada.

On this day he is anchored in sight of Scarborough Castle 4 leagues off shore in 32 fathom.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

The cosy evening scene aboard the yacht puts Conrad in my mind

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Charles II paid for lunch (by which I think they were given food from Whitehall which would go bad otherwise) ... then off on the King's yacht to lie on his velvet cushions to look at the stars. A nice day out for the boys. Bonding at its best. I hope the Court is enjoying themselves as much in Salisbury.

Tonyel  •  Link

I wonder if Charles II knew that he paid for it? This sounds like the boys 'borrowing' the boss's yacht for an outing, knowing that the boss is a long way away.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I agree, Tonyel ... "But your Majesty, we needed to get away from the smog in London to see the new comet, and the yacht needed a trial after some maintenance, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. We did discuss business while we were drinking your wine and eating your deer. Pepys is sorry about the fat drippings on the velvet pillow he used, aren't you Pepys?" Yada yada yada.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.