Thursday 11 January 1665/66

Up and to the office. By and by to the Custome House to the Farmers, there with a letter of Sir G. Carteret’s for 3000l., which they ordered to be paid me. So away back again to the office, and at noon to dinner all of us by invitation to Sir W. Pen’s, and much other company. Among others, Lieutenant of the Tower, and Broome, his poet, and Dr. Whistler, and his (Sir W. Pen’s) son-in-law Lowder, servant —[lover]— to Mrs. Margaret Pen, and Sir Edward Spragg, a merry man, that sang a pleasant song pleasantly. Rose from table before half dined, and with Mr. Mountney of the Custome House to the East India House, and there delivered to him tallys for 3000l. and received a note for the money on Sir R. Viner. So ended the matter, and back to my company, where staid a little, and thence away with my Lord Bruncker for discourse sake, and he and I to Gresham College to have seen Mr. Hooke and a new invented chariott of Dr. Wilkins, but met with nobody at home! So to Dr. Wilkins’s, where I never was before, and very kindly received and met with Dr. Merritt, and fine discourse among them to my great joy, so sober and so ingenious. He is now upon finishing his discourse of a universal character. So away and I home to my office about my letters, and so home to supper and to bed.

16 Annotations

cgs  •  Link

Samuell be harvesting: "...By and by to the Custome House to the Farmers, there with a letter of Sir G. Carteret’s for 3000l., which they ordered to be paid me. ..."
1. a. One who undertakes the collection of taxes, revenues, etc., paying a fixed sum for the proceeds.
c1385 CHAUCER..
6. a. One who undertakes to perform (a specified work or service) at a fixed price.

farm n2.....
1. A fixed yearly amount (whether in money or in kind) payable as rent, tax, or the like (as opposed to a rent, tax, etc., of variable amount, e.g. one calculated at a certain proportion of the produce). Also rent and farm. Obs.

2. a. A fixed yearly sum accepted from a person as a composition for taxes or other moneys which he is empowered to collect; also, a fixed charge imposed on a town, county, etc., in respect of a tax or taxes to be collected within its limits. Cf. FARM v. Obs. exc. Hist.
c1386 ...
b. The letting-out of public revenue to a ‘farmer’; the privilege of farming a tax or taxes. Obs. exc. Hist......
1667 PEPYS Diary 3 Aug.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"... his [Wilkins'] discourse of a universal character."

Wikipedia explains this sense of 'character':

'In the essay, Wilkins defines his "real character", which is a new orthography for the English language that resembles shorthand, and his "philosophical language" which is based on an early classification scheme or ontology (in what would later become the computer science meaning of the term).'

for more.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"3000Ls? What 3000Ls?"

"Among others, Lieutenant of the Tower, and Broome, his poet, and Dr. Whistler, and his son-in-law..."

So was this entourage, complete with poet laureate, Penn's or did the poet form part of Sir John Robinson's motley crew? It's fun to picture Admiral Sir Will in lordly pose with Sam fuming as Broome recites a panegyric on the capture of Jamaica...


"So you say this chariot is propelled by heated water in the form of steam, Dr. Wilkens?"

"Indeed, Mr. Pepys. You know, I actually got the idea from your father-in-law, Mr. Marchant de St. Michel."

"My who?"

"Isn't he your father-in-law? Your wife introduced us while you were in Greenwich."

"Oh, that Marchant de St. Michel. Really? My father-in-law's idea? Hmmn...Perhaps we could try a ride another day, doctor."

"Too late, I'm afraid. Boiler's already fired up..."

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: Broome, his poet

Could Python have been thinking of Sam?
"Yes, a poet is essential for complete home comfort, and all-year round reliability at low cost. We in the East Midlands Poet Board hope to have a poet in every home by the end of next year."

Ruben  •  Link

"new invented chariott of Dr. Wilkins"
those curious to know what kind of chariot Dr. Wilkins, the founder of the Royal Society had invented, will have a good time reading about it in:
I presume he built his "sailing chariot" and not the "submarine chariot" or the "flying chariot" he describes. (see page 175 of the book). There is also an ilustration of the chariot.
In the same book find some of his other works about cryptography and mechanics. All very interesting. There is also a drawing of the sailing chariot.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Oh! Penn, Mighty Wielder of England's sword, Defender of the Realm. With gallant crew, did he storm Jamaica's shore and seized it from the Spanish ..."

Oh, God...Sam sighs.

"OH! Penn...When England was in deep despair, like a Triumph...ant Hero of antique Rome..." Broome continues his sweeping saga...

"Remember thou are mortal..." Minnes whispers loudly.

For which God we give praise that this too must pass...he hisses to Sam.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Well?" Minnes eyes Batten...

"Fifty-one stanzas of 'Mightier Than the Sword is Penn' versus another twelve choruses of 'Beauty Retire' at Pepys'?" Sir Will sighs. "I think I'll be finding some excuse to stay home."

"This is why you people so rarely hear of me at anyone else's home." Minnes addresses us with smile.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Does that mean you didn't like Lady Batten's revision of "Hamlet" the other night?" Batten looks at Minnes. Minnes sighing to us...

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Wilkens's philosophical language

"Work on philosophical languages was pioneered by Francis Lodwick (A Common Writing, 1647; The Groundwork or Foundation laid (or So Intended) for the Framing of a New Perfect Language and a Universal Common Writing, 1652), Sir Thomas Urquhart (Logopandecteision, 1652), George Dalgarno (Ars signorum, 1661), and John Wilkins (An Essay towards a Real Character, and a Philosophical Language, 1668). Those were systems of hierarchical classification that were intended to result in both spoken and written expression. In 1855, English writer George Edmonds modified Wilkins' system, leaving its taxonomy intact, but changing the grammar, orthography and pronunciation of the language in an effort to make it easier to speak and to read.[1]

"Gottfried Leibniz created lingua generalis in 1678, aiming to create a lexicon of characters upon which the user might perform calculations that would yield true propositions automatically; as a side-effect he developed binary calculus.

"These projects aimed not only to reduce or model grammar, but also to arrange all human knowledge into "characters" or hierarchies. This idea ultimately led to the Encyclopédie, in the Age of Enlightenment. Leibniz and the encyclopedists realized that it is impossible to organize human knowledge unequivocally as a tree, and so impossible to construct an a priori language based on such a classification of concepts. Under the entry Charactère, D'Alembert critically reviewed the projects of philosophical languages of the preceding century."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Philosophical languages were but one form of attempts at logical classification that grew in the 17th century. Taxonomies -- biological classification -- was another.

A good read about this development is Michel Foucault's *The Order of Things* (original title: *Les Mots et les choses*, French for *Words and Things*) published in 1966 in both languages.

cgs  •  Link

It is amazing how many people were thinking outside of the box, and not regurgitating the same old, my thinking, it could be all those spices upsetting the brain equilibrium. They got brainwashed with the standard verbiage and they be sports in the works of nature, or those be leaching at the court of pleasure rather than repopulating with old Norman clones...

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"to the Custome House to the Farmers, there with a letter of Sir G. Carteret’s for 3000l., which they ordered to be paid me."

"3000Ls? What 3000Ls?"

Per L&M: the 3000Ls paid to Pepys by order of Sir G. Carteret's letter (as good as a warrant, including a small fee for him, of course) -- the first fruits of the new method of paying bills. See

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"with my Lord Bruncker for discourse sake, and he and I to Gresham College to have seen Mr. Hooke and a new invented chariott of Dr. Wilkins, but met with nobody at home!"

The Royal Society did not meet until February 21st, having had a specially long recess on account of the plague. At the previous meeting on June 28th, 1665, " Mr. Hooke was ordered to prosecute his chariotwheels, watches, and glasses during the recess." At the [first regular weekly] meeting of March 14th, "The President inquiring into the employments in which the members of the Society had been engaged during their long recess, several of those who were present gave some account thereof, viz., Dr. Wilkins and Mr. Hooke, of the business of the chariots, viz., that after great variety of trials they conceived that they brought it to a good issue, the defects found since the chariot came to London being thought easy to remedy," &c. (Birch's " History of the Royal Society," vol. ii., p. 66). (Henry B. Wheatley footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Dr. now upon finishing his discourse of a universal character."

The link to it: L&M note this scheme to produce a universal written language seems to have attracted vwet little support. Pepys himself later found fault with the chapter on 'Naval Relation' : for his critique see Naval Minutes, p. 177.

For the content of Wilkins' chapter on 'Naval Relation' see:

Phil C.  •  Link

A particularly fascinating entry - what an amazing period Pepys diary records!

Gerald Berg  •  Link

With you on the that Phil C.! A society on the verge of producing geniuses in all sorts of guises. Were it not for Newton, our Mr Hooke of this night might be better remembered than he is.

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