Saturday 28 July 1666

Up, and to the office, where no more newes of the fleete than was yesterday. Here we sat and at noon to dinner to the Pope’s Head, where my Lord Bruncker and his mistresse dined and Commissioner Pett, Dr. Charleton, and myself, entertained with a venison pasty by Sir W. Warren. Here very pretty discourse of Dr. Charleton’s, concerning Nature’s fashioning every creature’s teeth according to the food she intends them; and that men’s, it is plain, was not for flesh, but for fruit, and that he can at any time tell the food of a beast unknown by the teeth. My Lord Bruncker made one or two objections to it that creatures find their food proper for their teeth rather than that the teeth were fitted for the food, but the Doctor, I think, did well observe that creatures do naturally and from the first, before they have had experience to try, do love such a food rather than another, and that all children love fruit, and none brought to flesh, but against their wills at first.

Thence with my Lord Bruncker to White Hall, where no news. So to St. James’s to Sir W. Coventry, and there hear only of the Bredah’s being come in and gives the same small account that the other did yesterday, so that we know not what is done by the body of the fleete at all, but conceive great reason to hope well.

Thence with my Lord to his coach-house, and there put in his six horses into his coach, and he and I alone to Highgate. All the way going and coming I learning of him the principles of Optickes, and what it is that makes an object seem less or bigger and how much distance do lessen an object, and that it is not the eye at all, or any rule in optiques, that can tell distance, but it is only an act of reason comparing of one mark with another, which did both please and inform me mightily. Being come thither we went to my Lord Lauderdale’s house to speake with him, about getting a man at Leith to joyne with one we employ to buy some prize goods for the King; we find [him] and his lady and some Scotch people at supper. Pretty odd company; though my Lord Bruncker tells me, my Lord Lauderdale is a man of mighty good reason and judgement. But at supper there played one of their servants upon the viallin some Scotch tunes only; several, and the best of their country, as they seemed to esteem them, by their praising and admiring them: but, Lord! the strangest ayre that ever I heard in my life, and all of one cast. But strange to hear my Lord Lauderdale say himself that he had rather hear a cat mew, than the best musique in the world; and the better the musique, the more sicke it makes him; and that of all instruments, he hates the lute most, and next to that, the baggpipe.

Thence back with my Lord to his house, all the way good discourse, informing of myself about optiques still, and there left him and by a hackney home, and after writing three or four letters, home to supper and to bed.


27 Annotations

Glyn  •  Link

St James’s Day battle / Tweedaagse (25 - 26 July 1666).

OK, let’s summarise now that’s the battle is over and Pepys and his fellow Londoners are beginning to hear the results.

Since early in the month the Dutch fleet had been blockading the Thames and, if possible, hoping to attack the English naval installations on the Medway and elsewhere. On 22 July the English fleet sailed out to confront them under the joint command of Albemarle and Prince Rupert in a line of ships that was 10 miles long (16 km long).

The Dutch commanders believed that their fleet was stronger but were mistaken: there were 72 Dutch ships against 87 better-armed and equipped English ships (thanks Sam, even though munitions aren’t your concern), and the prevailing wind caused the Dutch ships to have problems getting into an efficient formation.

The battle separated into two self-contained fights. The rear squadrons led by Sir Jeremy Smith and Cornelis Tromp fought their own private battle which the Dutch won convincingy. However, “the Dutch main body suffered an unequivocal defeat, though de Ruyter with his customary skill brought it home without disastrous losses (only two ships were taken, but four admirals were killed). On their return he accused Tromp of desertion, unleashing a quarrel so venomous that as a consequence Tromp was dismissed from the service”. (Quote from “The Command of the Occean” by N.A.M. Rodger)

So again, neither side has scored a knock-out blow.

Daniel E  •  Link

An early record of tone deafness in Lord Lauderdale? I'm guessing that few 'Scotchmen' would admit to a dislike of the bagpipes! (Though such a sentiment is entirely understandable)

Eric Walla  •  Link

Lord Lauderdale could possibly be suffering from amusia, defined as "the inability or inhibited ability of the brain to process music." The neurologist Oliver Sacks highlights the condition in his book, "Musicophilia." See him talk about it at
www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPRW0wZ9NOM

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"how much distance do lessen an object, and that it is, and that it is not the eye at all, or any rule in optiques, that can tell distance, but it is only an act of reason comparing of one mark with another"

I assume Lord Brouncker has rejected binocular cues (from "the eye") and may be seen by Pepys as referring to any of several -- esp. the first four -- of the 10 monocular cues involved in depth perception (I say this as a 43-year monocular)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_perception

***
Glyn, very nice summary of the St James’s Day battle / Tweedaagse -- and more evenhanded than either side will have it.

Patricia  •  Link

"he can at any time tell the food of a beast unknown by the teeth. " I wonder what Dr. Charleton would make of the teeth of the black bear, especially its enormous canines? We spent an hour or so last Spring watching a huge male bear grazing in a beaver meadow near our campsite. Best not to be so puffed up about what you know, Dr. Charleton. Then YOU won't end up eating crow!

ticea  •  Link

"But strange to hear my Lord Lauderdale say himself that he had rather hear a cat mew, than the best musique in the world... and that of all instruments, he hates the lute most, and next to that, the baggpipe."

I agree w/Lord Lauderdale - I DESPISE bagpipes!

Maurie Beck  •  Link

Nature’s fashioning every creature’s teeth according to the food she intends them; and that men’s, it is plain, was not for flesh, but for fruit, and that he can at any time tell the food of a beast unknown by the teeth. My Lord Bruncker made one or two objections to it that creatures find their food proper for their teeth rather than that the teeth were fitted for the food, but the Doctor, I think, did well observe that creatures do naturally and from the first, before they have had experience to try, do love such a food rather than another, and that all children love fruit, and none brought to flesh.

A little coevolutionary biology thrown in, along with a fair amount of messiness, between diet and mouth parts. Many carnivores (e.g. canids, viverids, mustelids, but not felines) include fruit in their diet, as Patricia noted above.

As far as children preferring fruit to meat, perhaps generally that is true, but I know a little girl that loves sausage "fruit" above an apple or a banana.

Mary  •  Link

"put six horses into his coach"

A coach and six represents conspicuous consumption. Must have been quite a handful for the coachman to manage in the narrow London streets.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" ... some Scotch tunes only; several, and the best of their country, as they seemed to esteem them, by their praising and admiring them: but, Lord! the strangest ayre that ever I heard in my life, and all of one cast. ..."

*Spoiler* Composers who worked on 'Scotch' tunes include Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, Weber, Clementi, Pleyel, and not least Mendelssohn etc., etc. SP probably was familiar with the baroque 'Lombard' rhythm of a stressed semiquaver followed by a dotted quaver (rather than the longer note preceding the shorter) known as a 'Scotch snap.'

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...about getting a man at Leith to joyne with one we employ to buy some prize goods for the King..."

Sounds a bit odd...Why would prize goods have to be purchased for the King? (Presumably Sam means for the Navy in the King's name?) Perhaps it should read "from the King"?

Mr. Gunning  •  Link

That other famous sufferer of Amusia (and 'Scotchmen'): Dr. Johnson.

Dr. Johnson was observed by a musical friend of his to be extremely inattentive at a concert, whilst a celebrated solo player was running up the divisions and subdivisions of notes upon his violin. His friend, to induce him to take greater notice of what was going on, told him how extremely difficult it was. "Difficult do you call it, Sir?" replied the Doctor; "I wish it were impossible."

classicist  •  Link

'All children love fruit, and none brought to flesh but against their wills at first'. Sounds odd to us as we watch our kids tuck into sausages and chicken nuggets, but I believe the childcare experts of the time recommended holding back on real food for children for quite some time. (I believe Antonia Fraser discusses this in her biography of Charles I: it may have contributed to his childhood rickets.) A seven-year-old fed on milksops and pottage probably would regard meat with horror--particularly in the un-pre-packaged form in which it was sold in the 17th C.

Nix  •  Link

"and that of all instruments, he hates the lute most, and next to that, the baggpipe" --

Reminds me of lines gathered from musicians I have known:

From the lutenist -- "I've been playing the lute for about twelve years. Actually, playing for eight and tuning for four."

From the piper -- "The sweetest sound in the world is bagpipes ... fading into the distance." "A Scottish gentleman is one who can play the bagpipes ... but doesn't."

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Scotch snap -- notes inégales

Its a form of performance ornamentation to equally written notes most frequently discussed with little consistency in the French theoretical treatises from c. 1600 onward -- it sounds a little like swing or other jazz syncopation -- applied by performers to what, (only French music or music written in the French style, or composers known to have had contact with French trained performers?), when and how much when not written out is a question that quickly can bring musicologists and 'historically informed' performers to blows. Even my relatively bland statement could count as 'fighting words' to some.

http://books.google.com/books?id=Ivd4aaKk_VMC&pg=…

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"he hatest he lute most"
Had he heard Hamza al Din or them yemenite oud players he would have changed his mind for sure.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

Nature’s fashioning every creature’s teeth according to the food she intends them

How near Dr. Carleton was to a theory of natural selection, and yet how far. Give him a star for observing differences in mammal's teeth and relating them to food choice. But his conjecture that human teeth were made for fruit was miscast. Had he proposed that they were made for eating softer foods than consumed by cows or tigers,such as food that had been cooked, like the venison pastry he was eating, he would have been on a track that could have led him -- in 1666 -- to the most recent hypothesis concerning human evolution,the importance of changes in the human body from before the discovery of fire to afterward as described in "Catching Fire: How Cooking Made us Human," by Richard Wrangham, Basic Books, N.Y., 2009 -- a book really worth the reading.
Carleton lacked important parts of the intellectual framework that led to the theory of evolution, such as the knowledge of changing life forms documented by 18th century paleontology.
Still it is exciting to see how the enquiring spirit of the age was beginning to pose the questions that led to the great discoveriesthat were to follow.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Here we sat and at noon to dinner to the Pope’s Head, where my Lord Bruncker and his mistresse dined and Commissioner Pett, Dr. Charleton,"

Commissioner Peter Pett has spent the entire battle in London ... not at his post in Chatham. Yet he was upset that Penn would be in charge of his outpost at Sheerness ... why wasn't that desertion?

James Morgan  •  Link

I would imagine Pett is a civilian, not partofthenay or under military discipline, and that in any case would the navy yard be threatened by the battle? The 17th Century was pretty far from the 20th century concept of total war.
Though since I'm just reading The Command of the Ocean now, so I may find I'm wrong. I think the Dutch did attack the navy yard at some point in the diary, or at least the ships there and it seem to have come as a surprise to the English.

Robert Harneis  •  Link

Interested to hear that you are a fellow monocular Terry. Annoying condition before modern surgery but has the advantage that often you need spectacles much later than most.

john  •  Link

Dentition is a fascinating subject. Bears, as do many others, including us, have non-specialised teeth. (They graze upon awakening from hibernation to awaken their guts. Our molars do well with mast.) But the fruit of Pepys's day would not have been as soft as today.

john  •  Link

Robert, I have been monocular for only 20y, long after needing spectacles.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"I would imagine Pett is a civilian, not part of the navy or under military discipline, and that in any case would the navy yard be threatened by the battle?"

At Chatham Navy Yards, Commissioner Peter Pett ruled a modern industrial complex:

In the mid-17th century, shipbuilding was a large-scale industry in a still largely rural society where manufacture was almost entirely based on small, family-sized businesses.

Chatham shipyard employed 800 people in 1665, at a time where there was only a couple of dozen towns of more than 5,000 people in England. Shipbuilding was large scale, high-technology and required people with both technical and managerial skill to lead them. This technical manager fits well into our concept of post-industrial revolution, or even entirely modern industry, but is harder to place in Stuart England.

Pett was a superb shipbuilder, but his people skills were known to be lacking. Charles and James should be firing him right now for allowing the chaos before this last sailing ... but history tells us they did not.

For more about the Pett family, and shipbuilding in general, https://eagleclawedwolfe.wordpress.com/2012/05/01…

And yes, Chatham was one of the Dutch targets; the ability to refit ships was incredibly important, as outlined above ... only the wind saved them this time around. The wind helped win the St. James Day battle as well. But you can't count on the wind.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pett being in London now would be the equivalent of the manager of the Spitfire factory being in the bunker with Churchill during the Battle of Britain, instead of being at the factory. Were the new ships/aircraft being built be of immediate use? Probably not. But being prepared with spare parts to patch up the damaged existing ones would be crucial.

That's why Penn was sent to Sheerness ... he would need nails, spars, masts, sails, cork, ropes and tar, etc. etc. sent down the Medway every day so he could do the quick turn arounds.

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