Friday 25 May 1666

Up betimes and to my chamber to do business, where the greatest part of the morning. Then out to the ’Change to speake with Captain [Cocke], who tells me my silver plates are ready for me, and shall be sent me speedily; and proposes another proposition of serving us with a thousand tons of hempe, and tells me it shall bring me 500l., if the bargain go forward, which is a good word. Thence to Sir G. Carteret, who is at the pay of the tickets with Sir J. Minnes this day, and here I sat with them a while, the first time I ever was there, and thence to dinner with him, a good dinner. Here come a gentleman over from France arrived here this day, Mr. Browne of St. Mellos, who, among other things, tells me the meaning of the setting out of doggs every night out of the towne walls, which are said to secure the city; but it is not so, but only to secure the anchors, cables, and ships that lie dry, which might otherwise in the night be liable to be robbed. And these doggs are set out every night, and called together in every morning by a man with a home, and they go in very orderly.

Thence home, and there find Knipp at dinner with my wife, now very big, and within a fortnight of lying down. But my head was full of business and so could have no sport. So I left them, promising to return and take them out at night, and so to the Excise Office, where a meeting was appointed of Sir Stephen Fox, the Cofferer, and myself, to settle the business of our tallys, and it was so pretty well against another meeting.

Thence away home to the office and out again to Captain Cocke (Mr. Moore for company walking with me and discoursing and admiring of the learning of Dr. Spencer), and there he and I discoursed a little more of our matters, and so home, and (Knipp being gone) took out my wife and Mercer to take the ayre a little, and so as far as Hackney and back again, and then to bed.

36 Annotations

First Reading

Australian Susan  •  Link

"...serving us with a thousand tons of hempe, and tells me it shall bring me 6500, if the bargain go forward, which is a good word...."

No, no, no! Don't get all excited. Sam is talking about rope. R-O-P-E. Our lad has not suddenly gone into drug dealing. Although sometimes his deals sail close to the wind even for the mores of his day and culture, and cause anxiety and sleeplessness, I don't think he would deal in illegal substances.

Terry W  •  Link

... it shall bring me 6500 ...
Is this a miss-scan? 6500 pounds is a HUGE amount of money for one deal.

Eric Walla  •  Link

6500? Maybe he isn't drug dealing, but he's certainly in line to get paid as though he is.

But AS's comment makes me wonder: would they have gotten around to criminalizing marijuana at this time?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

No sport? Knipp is 2 weeks from "lying-down" and you were hoping for 'sport'?

Hope springs eternal for our boy...

"But Mr. Pepys..."

"Just one little touch, Mrs. Knipp..."

"But my water just broke...Mrs. Pepys has gone for the doctor."

"Oh, pshaw, Mrs. Knipp...It's not as if you've anything else to do, lying there."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Cocke may have been smoking some of the hemp he's trying to deal.

cgs  •  Link

Important part of history and one of the biggest scandals
' of the tickets ..."

substance of hemp be real, equal to coming of the latest euro fighter in value and power of persuasion for the day , ships may have been smoke free but no hemp no sail.
Man has always found ways to skim the cream off the pot of gold, but the scum always leave its mark.

cgs  •  Link

Tars kept mum about the benefits of smoking in the birds nest.

hemp, n.

1. An annual herbaceous plant, Cannabis sativa, N.O. Urticaceæ, a native of Western and Central Asia, cultivated for its valuable fibre.

2. The cortical fibre of this plant, used for making cordage, and woven into stout fabrics.
4. A narcotic drug obtained from the resinous exudation of the Indian hemp; bhang; hashish.
1870 YEATS Nat. Hist. Comm. 195 Hemp is employed in other forms besides churrus as a narcotic.
marijuana, n.
[< Mexican Spanish mariguana, marihuana, of uncertain origin.
It has been suggested that the Spanish word is < Nahuatl mallihuan prisoner.
Forms in -j- appear to be an English innovation (attested later also in French): occasional recent examples in Spanish probably show English influence. Influence of a folk etymology from the Spanish personal name María-Juana or its familiar form Mari-Juana has frequently been suggested; if so this would appear to have occurred within English.]
1. a. A preparation of the cannabis plant Cannabis sativa subsp. indica, for use as an intoxicating and hallucinogenic drug; esp. a crude preparation of the dried leaves, flowering tops, and stem of the plant in a form for smoking.
The currency of the word increased greatly in the United States in the 1930s in the context of the debate over the use of the drug, the term being preferred as a more exotic alternative to the familiar words hemp and cannabis.

1894 Scribner's Mag. May 596/2 [The] ‘toloachi’, [and] the ‘mariguan’,..are used by discarded women for the purpose of wreaking a terrible revenge upon recreant lovers. 1918 Jrnl. Amer. Med. Assoc. 21 Dec. 2094/1 The symptoms being produced by smoking Mara Huiwane or marajuana are similar to those produced by the mescal plant. 1923 W. SMITH Little Tigress 102 The cockroach is unable to stagger around any more because he has no more marijuana to smoke. Marijuana is a form of drug that brings false heart to the user.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Eric Walla asks: would they have gotten around to criminalizing marijuana in Sam's time?

Answer: no. Marijuana criminalization started in the early 20th century. There is some controversy about the reasons, but the strongest evidence, in my view, supports the analysis that it was the result of racism and cultural warfare. See…
for a long, lively historical survey supporting this view.

Mary  •  Link

"called together ..... by a man with a home"

For "home" read "horn"

Mary  •  Link

The Cofferer

This was William Ashburnham. Three men involved in this meeting.

Mary  •  Link

Cocke's deal on hemp.

L&M note that Cocke was asking an inflated price of £57 per ton for this, making the whole deal worth £57,000. Nice work if you can get it.

SPOILER. However, he didn't get it. Price too high; he wanted the cost of shipping from Hamburg to be paid by the Navy; wanted other goods to be part of the deal; wanted preferential treatment when it came to payment and couldn't deliver before November at the earliest

In the end he was left with the cargo on his hands in November (by which time other hemp had become available) and was forced to sell at £4 less per ton than he originally demanded.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Cocke's deal on hemp

Evidently, from Mary's post, there was some form of competitive bidding. If so, what service could Sam perform worth L500? Wouldn't he look bad pushing is friend's bid if it was above market?

(Cocke may have not been far above market if he only had to cut his price 7 percent, but of course there were his other conditions.)

JWB  •  Link

Cave Canem
From 14th century, St Malo set out the dogs until 1770 when one killed a Fr. naval officer.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

above market hemp

Of course the "market" value of hemp depends on where it is, what the quality of the available stocks are or will be, and, as A. H. notes, what other bids there are -- all of which are subject to change over time -- which is why I suggested Cocke was selling hemp "futures".

Pete D  •  Link

Cannabis plants grown for hemp are grown as closely together as possible to make them long and stringy - the value is in the long fibrous stem, not the leaves - and tends also to be bred for fiber mass rather than drug content.

Processing hemp at the time would have involved water retting, ie soaking the stems of the plants in ponds for several weeks to essentially rot out the cellular tissue surrounding the fiber, before letting the mess dry and then mechanically beating the remaining dried tissue from the fibers before braiding it into cord or rope.

I have no idea how time sensitive this process is though, and wonder if Cocke was, as others have said, selling hemp futures connected to a crop he had invested in and whose yield he was essentially gambling on.

cgs  •  Link

The oversite man of old.
to coff [cough]up, very important job, now obsolete, having coffed up.

Obs. exc. Hist.
a. OF. coffrier, f. coffre COFFER: see -ER.]

1. A treasurer. Obs. exc. Hist.
famous Corporation of Europe.

b. An officer of the royal household of England, next under the controller; he had the oversight of the other officers. Hist.

2. One who makes coffers. Obs.
1401 Pol. Poems (1859) II. 109 Girdelers, coferers, ne corvysers, ne no manere of artificeris. c1515 Cocke Lorell's B. (1843) 10 Coferers, carde makers, and caruers.

coffer, v.1

[f. the n.: cf. F. coffrer.]

1. trans. To enclose in, or as in, a coffer; to lay up securely; to hoard, to treasure up. Obs. or arch.

To curl up, twist, warp. (intr. and trans.)

Kate  •  Link

I don't think any kind of drug was criminalised before the 20th century. You could buy laudanum (containing opium) over the counter in Victorian times.

cgs  •  Link

Never mentioned by the betters but could have indulged


[Arab. {hdotbl}ash{imac}sh dry herb, hay, the dry leaves of hemp powdered, the intoxicant thence prepared.]
The top leaves and tender parts of the Indian hemp (which in warm countries develop intoxicating properties) dried for smoking or chewing, in Arabia, Eqypt, Turkey, etc. Cf. BHANG, an Indian preparation of the same plant.

1598 W. PHILLIPS Linschoten I. (1885) II. 116 made in three sorts..The first by the Ægyptians is called Assis, which is the poulder of Hemp, or of Hemp leaves.

1613 PURCHAS Pilgrimage VI. viii. 502 A compound called Lhasis, one ounce whereof being eaten, causeth laughing, dalliance and makes one as it were drunken
b. attrib., as hashish-house, -insanity, -smoker.

1883 H. H. KANE in Harper's Mag. Nov. 944/1 (title) A hashish-house in New York. Ibid., A large community of hashish smokers.
1884 St. James Gaz. 22 Mar. 5/1 Intoxicating effects which recommend the drug to hashish-eaters in India.

cgs  •  Link

[a. mod.L. laudanum, used by Paracelsus as the name of a medicament for which he gives a pretended prescription, the ingredients comprising leaf-gold, pearls not perforated, etc. (Opera 1658 I. 492/2). It was early suspected that opium was the real agent of the cures which Paracelsus professed to have effected by this costly means; hence the name was applied to certain opiate preparations which were sold as identical with his famous remedy.
It is doubtful whether the word as used by Paracelsus was a fanciful application of laudanum a med.L. variant of LADANUM, or was suggested by laud{amac}re to praise or by some other word, or was formed quite arbitrarily.]

1. In early use, a name for various preparations in which opium was the main ingredient. Now only: The simple alcoholic tincture of opium.
1602-3 MANNINGHAM Diary (Camden) 46 There is a certaine kinde of compound called Laudanum..the virtue of it is very soueraigne to mitigate anie payne. 1643 SIR T. BROWNE Relig. Med. II. §12, I need no other Laudanum than this to make me sleep.


[< classical Latin opium opium (Pliny) < Hellenistic Greek {olenisacu}{pi}{iota}{omicron}{nu} poppy juice, opium < ancient Greek {olenis}{pi}{goacu}{fsigma} vegetable juice (< the same Indo-European base as Old Church Slavonic sok{ubreve} juice, Russian sok juice, Lithuanian sakai (plural) resin) + -{iota}{omicron}{nu}, diminutive suffix. Compare French opium (1690; 13th cent. in Old French in an isolated attestation; 15th cent. in Middle French as opion), Italian oppio (first half of the 14th cent.; also as {dag}opio), Spanish opio (1555).
The form opii reflects the Latin partitive genitive, which was commonly used in recipes and lists of substances; compare OPIE n.1
In form opio after Spanish opio.]

1. a. A reddish-brown strongly scented addictive drug prepared from the thickened dried latex of the unripe capsules of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, used illicitly as a narcotic, and occasionally medicinally as a sedative and analgesic.
a1398 ....

1577 J. FRAMPTON tr. N. Monardes Ioyfull Newes f. 40v, Thei dooe sell the Opio in their Shoppes,..and thei call it there emongst them selues Aphion.

1625 S. PURCHAS Pilgrimes II. ix. 1530 (side note) Anfion is a kind of herbe that makes drunke.

1662 J. DAVIES in J. A. de Mandelslo Trav. (1669) I. 29 He took Offion, or Opium.

1699 London Spy Apr. 7 Offer violence to your most pretious Lives, by taking..Opium.
1711 C. LOCKYER Acct. Trade India 43 Ophium is always deliver'd three chests to a Bahar.

2. Extended uses.

a. Something which soothes or dulls the senses; a stupefying agent.
1608 BP. T. MORTON Preamble Incounter 33 Stupified with that Opium of implicit faith and blinde deuotion.
1658 SIR T. BROWNE Hydriotaphia v. 74 There is no antidote against the Opium of time.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"I don’t think any kind of drug was criminalised before the 20th century,"

Well, it depends on what you mean by "drug." Tobacco was outlawed in various European states, and China, in the 17th century. Coffee was outlawed in several Islamic countries and Ethiopia in the 16th and 17th centuries, and of course Islam has always proscribed alcohol.

Harvey  •  Link

Drug use criminalised?
Not in Europe until Governments developed social consciences in the 20th century. Realising that a few people became addicted and destroyed themselves, the passed laws against it in order to solve the problem.
As usual Govt action had exactly the opposite effect from that intended.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

I don’t think any kind of drug was criminalised before the 20th century,”

The 'Opium' Wars were fought by the British in the C19th. because of China's enforcing their anti-drug laws of 1729, made because of the societal impact of increasing opium addiction, and prohibiting the import trade of the British merchants in India ...…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

St Malo dogs

James Howell, who visited this place in 1620, says, "This town of St. Malo hath one rarity in it; for there is here a perpetual garrison of English, but they are of English dogs, which are let out in the night to guard the ships,...and so they are shut up again in the morning."…
'St Malo dogs' were used also to guard the outer defenses of Tangier at this time: Routh, p,41. (Per L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" Captain [Cocke],...proposes another proposition of serving us with a thousand tons of hempe,"

Hemp was both expensive and difficult to come by. In the estimate drawn up in November 1666 for the fitting out of the fleet in the next spring it was by far the largest item. This offer of Cocke's met with many objections, chiefly from Coventry, because besides asking a high price (£57 a ton) and offering a later delivery date (November at earliest), Cocke demanded that other goods be taken with it, that the Navy be responsible for fetching it from Hamburg, and that he be given preferential treatment in payment. It is not surprising that for all his bribes (not only to Pepys, but also to Brouncker and his mistress) Cocxke should have failed. He found himself in difficulties with stuff on his hands, and in November, when other hemp had appeared on the market, agreed on a contract which gave him, in effect £4 less per ton. Pepys' reward was a piece of plate. (Per L&M note)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Opium, laudanum ... since doctors and "scientists" knew about these pain killers, why not use them? Did they have trouble sharing the information, and/or information getting lost. For instance, opium was brought back by the Crusaders ... but the information was forgotten (possibly the addiction outweighed the benefits, making it too dangerous?).

The East India Company was delivering opium by now. Who was using it?

In Pepys' time some doctors knewn about laudanum, because in ten years from now the physician Thomas Sydenham made a huge impact on society by publishing his recipe for laudanum, sharing his discovery worldwide.

As mentioned above, Paracelsus (1493-1541) was a Swiss physician who reintroduced opium and laudanum for medical use in Western Europe. He was so enthusiastic about the drug that he would always carry it with him calling it the "immortality stone." He thought "Among medicines offered by Almighty God to relieve human suffering none is so universal and effective as opium."

The term laudanum is used in the medical literature of the 17th century to define a drug of proven efficacy, and so many laudanum recipes were named after famous physicians. Some question whether or not Paracelsus' laudanum contained opium.

Sydenham's laudanum, on the other hand, was the major opium-containing formulation used in England in the 17th century, and in the Americas until the early 20th century. It contained opium, wine, beer, saffron, clove and cinnamon.

In the 18th century other preparations appeared. One famous one invented between 1702 and 1718 was Dover's Powder consisted of a blend of opium, salt, tartar, licorice and feveroot, and Paregoric (from Le Mort, professor at the University of Leyden).

A modified formulation, called Paregoric Elixir with opium, honey, camphor, anis and wine was published in the London Pharmacopoeia in 1721.

About the same time, another preparation known as Rousseau's laudanum was fashionable in Continental Europe.

However, opium's adverse effects were recognized, worrying even Sydenham.

In 1700, Londoner physician John Jones published "The Mysteries of Opium Reveal'd" which called attention to the risks of excessive use of this drug, admitting that adverse effects could be a consequence of residues not eliminated during preparation.

Two other books were written later in the 18th century about opium: George Young's "Treatise on Opium" in 1750, and Samuel Crumpe's "Inquiry into the Nature and Properties of Opium" in 1793. Both mentioned addiction and, more superficially, withdrawal symptoms. None of them suggested any restriction on opium either as drug or as a source of pleasure.

For more information, see…...

Since the information was widely known, why did operations continue to be done without pain killers?

Mary K  •  Link

non-use of opium in the operating theatre

Perhaps the danger of laudanum etc. having a depressing effect on the respiratory system was recognised earlier than we might think. You do need to keep the patient breathing and a heavy, one-off dose of an opiate might be risky.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Ahhh. Thank you Mary K. I'm uninformed about these things, but now you mention it, people with overdoses do stop breathing. Duh!

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

My appreciation of Mr. Moore the lawyer has gone up considerably.

David G  •  Link

Sam and family go out “to take the ayre a little” and they travel to Hackney and back, which is a journey of roughly 15 miles in total, hardly taking the ayre a little — that’s a four or five hour walk — unless they used a coach, in which case they aren’t really taking the ayre.

Nick Hedley  •  Link

" travel to Hackney and back, which is a journey of roughly 15 miles in total"
The historic village of Hackney is closer to Seething Lane than you may think. Nearer 5 miles round trip than 15.
I work occasionally in Crutched Friars, just round the corner from Seething Lane and in the summer, I munch a sandwich for lunch in the courtyard garden of St Olave's church, catching up with this blog. Very atmospheric and much recommended.

Mary K  •  Link

the air of Hackney ...

...would indeed have been refreshing after the air of London. It was a countrified district most notable for the smallholdings that supplied fresh produce to the city. Since Tudor times Hackney had been favoured as a location for substantial country houses and in Pepys time, although most of the aristocrats had moved on, the merchant class had taken to the area. The village boasted a notable tavern (The Mermaid), a bowling green and other country pleasures.

David G  •  Link

Responding to Nick’s helpful comment, it would make sense that Sam and family went to the edge of the borough of Hackney (assuming it was a borough back then), roughly two and a half miles each way. To get to central Hackney, Google Maps shows a journey of 5-6 miles each way by modern highway (well, modern-ish), hence the guess of 15 miles to and from Hackney via 17th century roads. But even a five mile walk — an hour and a half at least — makes me think that “taking the ayre” was different 350 years ago.

Mary K  •  Link

Whatever mileage is postulated, isn't it more likely that the Pepys's followed their normal pattern for similar evening outings and engaged a cab?

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