Tuesday 10 July 1666

Up, and to the office, where busy all the morning, sitting, and there presented Sir W. Coventry with my little book made up of Lovett’s varnished paper, which he and the whole board liked very well. At noon home to dinner and then to the office; the yarde being very full of women (I believe above three hundred) coming to get money for their husbands and friends that are prisoners in Holland; and they lay clamouring and swearing and cursing us, that my wife and I were afeard to send a venison-pasty that we have for supper to-night to the cook’s to be baked, for fear of their offering violence to it: but it went, and no hurt done. Then I took an opportunity, when they were all gone into the foreyarde, and slipt into the office and there busy all the afternoon, but by and by the women got into the garden, and come all to my closett window, and there tormented me, and I confess their cries were so sad for money, and laying down the condition of their families and their husbands, and what they have done and suffered for the King, and how ill they are used by us, and how well the Dutch are used here by the allowance of their masters, and what their husbands are offered to serve the Dutch abroad, that I do most heartily pity them, and was ready to cry to hear them, but cannot helpe them. However, when the rest were gone, I did call one to me that I heard complaine only and pity her husband and did give her some money, and she blessed me and went away.

Anon my business at the office being done I to the Tower to speak with Sir John Robinson about business, principally the bad condition of the pressed men for want of clothes, so it is represented from the fleete, and so to provide them shirts and stockings and drawers. Having done with him about that, I home and there find my wife and the two Mrs. Bateliers walking in the garden. I with them till almost 9 at night, and then they and we and Mrs. Mercer, the mother, and her daughter Anne, and our Mercer, to supper to a good venison-pasty and other good things, and had a good supper, and very merry, Mistresses Bateliers being both very good-humoured. We sang and talked, and then led them home, and there they made us drink; and, among other things, did show us, in cages, some birds brought from about Bourdeaux, that are all fat, and, examining one of them, they are so, almost all fat. Their name is [Ortolans], which are brought over to the King for him to eat, and indeed are excellent things.

We parted from them and so home to bed, it being very late, and to bed.

16 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...that my wife and I were afeard to send a venison-pasty that we have for supper to-night to the cook’s to be baked, for fear of their offering violence to it..."

Oh, God, no!

Well, at least the poor deer couldn't suffer anymore than it already had.

Sam must have been shocked not to take advantage of the situation...Though one would not put it past him to learn he's set up a rendezvous with the poor lady he gave money to.

Still, in fairness he did go and see about clothes for the men...Of course one might ask how much it would have cost him to have ordered more venison pasty and a few cheap food items and fed the ladies in the yard. Brought out a couple of small tallies and led them to the Exchange to dole out at least a little cash in the King's name...

Why who knows but that it might have led to...

Pepys, carried by throng of adorers to the Tower...Stormed even as he calls for calm.

"Hail Pepys, Lord Protector of England!"

"Now, now ladies..."

"Hurrah for the new Lord Protector!!"

"Please, now really..."

"Lord Protector or disembowel him!"


"Pepys, for God's sake...They've taken all the weapons here." Robinson, dragged out but spared for the moment at Sam's urging. "Accept...Lord knows you can't be worse than the current administration."
Then again...On the other hand...

Sam hastily summoned home as the crowd considers the beneficial aspects of pillage.

"Sam'l...Look what they've done to our poor pasty." Bess, horrified.

Crowds move on the housing area of the complex.

"They're ready to storm the house, Mr. P!" Jane, terrified.

"Maybe you better bring out that 1000Ls in gold you showed us and give it to them." Mary Batelier, a hair too loudly.

"Yeah...Definitely..." the crowd, unison.

"Or disembowel him...!"

"Sam'l, it's only money..." Bess pleads...


"Tis a far, far better thing I do..." Sam on hastily erected platform of debris from the office facing the butcher's wife with long knife firmly in hand.

"Pretty stupid, fellow. We're still gonna storm yer house and take yer gold." the butcher's wife notes. Sharpening blade a bit.

Hmmn...Perhaps I did let sentiment overwhelm reason.

"It's all right Sam'l!" Bess calls from the safety of a fast-moving coach fetched by Will Hewer. "Will and I have saved your gold and that odd journal of yours. I promise one day I'll learn to read it and treasure the memories you've left."


Nate  •  Link

"For centuries, a rite of passage for French gourmets has been the eating of the Ortolan. These tiny birds—captured alive, force-fed, then drowned in Armagnac—were roasted whole and eaten that way, bones and all, while the diner draped his head with a linen napkin to preserve the precious aromas and, some believe, to hide from God."

"Ortolans used to be netted in great numbers, kept alive in an artificially lighted, or darkened room to disrupt their feeding schedule, and fed with oats and millet. In a very short time they became enormously fat and were then killed for the gourmet French table. If, as is supposed, the ortolan be the miliaria of Varro, the practice of artificially fattening birds of this species is very ancient."


Carl in Boston  •  Link

my little book made up of Lovett’s varnished paper,
This could be an early instance of coated paper, like Marvelon coated with plastic. Then comes fabric coated with plastic for automobile convertible tops, which is an incredibly strong and waterproof fabric.

B Timbrell  •  Link

Carrying on from what Nate said about Ortolons being a treat for French gormets, just before he died the late President Mitterand of France had a final meal, with his friends and colleagues, and they ate ortolons.
It is said that this was the last meal the President ate.

Mr. Gunning  •  Link

I have never before, in my life, heard of anyone offering violence to a pasty!!

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"how ill they are used by us, and how well the Dutch are used here by the allowance of their masters, and what their husbands are offered to serve the Dutch abroad, that I do most heartily pity them"

L&M: The Navy Board ordered this day that 'speedy relief' for prisoners should be made (out of pay) 'without any trouble to be given to any of there [sic] relations in attendance here for the same': PRO , Adm. etc.

Clark Kent  •  Link

Speaking of venison pasties, the January 26-27, 2019, edition of the Wall Street Journal, p. D-6, had an article about the renaissance of savory pies in Great Britain. According to the article, "Ambitious pie recipes appear in the earliest British cookbooks, going all the way back to the 14th century . . . when a cook for King Richard II recorded over-the-top preparations like a Chastelet, which had a pastry casing shaped like a castle and was often served doused in flaming brandy so that the 'castle' burned as if under siege." The article gives props to the pies of the Holborn Dining Room in the Rosewood Hotel, the St. John, the Marksman, the Rochelle Canteen, the Wigmore in the Langham hotel, and the Windmill in Mayfair. It'll a full week the if I get back to the old sod.

Mary K  •  Link

Early pasties and pies.

In the most elaborate of the early savoury pies, the hard-crust pastry case was basically used as a casing to keep the contents well-enclosed (and hence moist) during the baking. It was not primarily intended for consumption.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The first published poet from the North American colonies, Anne Dudley Bradstreet (daughter of the 2nd Governor of Massachusetts, and wife of Simon Bradstreet who later also became a Governor of Massachusetts) had a dreadful day today. She owned a library of 800 books at her home in Andover, and watched it all go up in flames:

"Then, coming out, behold a space,
The flame consume my dwelling place," -- Anne Dudley Bradstreet of Andover, Mass., -- Verses upon the Burning of Our House, July 10, 1666.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Anne Bradstreet (March 20, 1612 – September 16, 1672), née Dudley, was the most prominent of early English poets of North America and first writer in England's North American colonies to be published. She is the first Puritan figure in American Literature and notable for her large corpus of poetry, as well as personal writings published posthumously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann…

Marquess  •  Link

I am surprised that the crafty knave didn't try and induce one of the women to offer up certain favours, in return for alleviating her husband's position. Thankfully he didn't sink so low.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"I to the Tower to speak with Sir John Robinson about business, principally the bad condition of the pressed men for want of clothes, so it is represented from the fleete, and so to provide them shirts and stockings and drawers."

Why did Pepys go to the Keeper of the Tower of London to get clothing for the impressed seamen? According to the Wikipedia entry in our Encyclopedia, Robinson had been a member of, and Master of, the Honorable Company of the Clothworkers in 1656.

Pepys may have described Robinson as one of the ‘fools’ about the Duke of York, and Robinson was probably ‘not so wise as King Solomon’, but his achievements were none the less genuine, and he was a wealthy Royalist who knew how to raise money and get things done.

An account of the aldermen of London prepared for Charles II described him as, "most industrious in the civil government of the City, watchful to prevent anything that might reflect any prejudice or dishonour upon the King’s Government, happy in dispatch of business, to the great contentment of the people."

Since Pepys had no money, needed clothing delivered in a hurry (the ordering of which was probably outside the purview of either of his official positions), then Robinson was a good person to talk it over with. Pepys has authorized payment for "slops" before -- but in this case he has no official requests from pursers with sizes and quantities attached by the sound of it.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

For a general look at how the Dutch prisoners-of-war and injured seamen of both navies were treated, see https://www.pepysdiary.com/encycl…

The original document did not break out what the situation was specifically in July 1666, but I'm guessing it was pretty grim, and they do say that as the government edged towards bankruptcy, the prisoners were starving.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Arlington to Ormonde
Written from: Whitehall
Date: 10 July 1666
Shelfmark: MS. Carte 46, fol(s). 331-332
Document type: Original; subscribed & signed

'Communicates further reports and rumours of the hostile movements and preparations of the Dutch, and of the French. Describes the rendezvous appointed, and the preparations made, for the defence of the English Coasts. ...

'Great quantities of men are daily sent down to the fleet, "but not such as please our generals, either as to their quantity or quality". ...

'Recommends to the Lord Lieutenant a suit of Sir Thomas Clifford, "who serveth his Majesty very eminently in his sphere", concerning wine-licenses in Ireland.'

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Kevin Dixon‎, a local historian who contributes to Torbay Undiscovered, Lost, Forgotten, Unloved! blog, reports finding evidence that:

"Between July 10 - 14, 1666, and again on October 20, 1666 a fleet of 'Guinea Ships' assembled in Torbay. This gathering was to celebrate the foundation of the West Africa Company.

"Those ships were on route to West Africa. The owners were an English mercantile, or trading, company set up by the Stuart family and City of London merchants.

"Originally known as The Company of Royal Adventurers Trading to Africa, its charter was issued in 1660 and gave it a monopoly over English trade along the West coast of Africa. With the help of the army and navy, it established forts on the African coast.

"While its original objective was the search for gold, in 1663 a new charter was issued - this included the trade in slaves.

"... the company fell into debt in 1667 and its activities were much reduced, ..." and he found no more local content until after the end of the Diary.

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