Saturday 8 December 1666

Up, and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon home to dinner, and there find Mr. Pierce and his wife and Betty, a pretty girle, who in discourse at table told me the great Proviso passed the House of Parliament yesterday; which makes the King and Court mad, the King having given order to my Lord Chamberlain to send to the playhouses and bawdy houses, to bid all the Parliament-men that were there to go to the Parliament presently. This is true, it seems; but it was carried against the Court by thirty or forty voices. It is a Proviso to the Poll Bill, that there shall be a Committee of nine persons that shall have the inspection upon oath, and power of giving others, of all the accounts of the money given and spent for this warr. This hath a most sad face, and will breed very ill blood. He tells me, brought in by Sir Robert Howard, who is one of the King’s servants, at least hath a great office, and hath got, they say, 20,000l. since the King come in. Mr. Pierce did also tell me as a great truth, as being told it by Mr. Cowly, who was by, and heard it, that Tom Killigrew should publiquely tell the King that his matters were coming into a very ill state; but that yet there was a way to help all, which is, says he, “There is a good, honest, able man, that I could name, that if your Majesty would employ, and command to see all things well executed, all things would soon be mended; and this is one Charles Stuart, who now spends his time in employing his lips … about the Court, and hath no other employment; but if you would give him this employment, he were the fittest man in the world to perform it.” This, he says, is most true; but the King do not profit by any of this, but lays all aside, and remembers nothing, but to his pleasures again; which is a sorrowful consideration. Very good company we were at dinner, and merry, and after dinner, he being gone about business, my wife and I and Mrs. Pierce and Betty and Balty, who come to see us to-day very sick, and went home not well, together out, and our coach broke the wheel off upon Ludgate Hill. So we were fain to part ourselves and get room in other people’s coaches, and Mrs. Pierce and I in one, and I carried her home and set her down, and myself to the King’s playhouse, which troubles me since, and hath cost me a forfeit of 10s., which I have paid, and there did see a good part of “The English Monsieur,” which is a mighty pretty play, very witty and pleasant. And the women do very well; but, above all, little Nelly; that I am mightily pleased with the play, and much with the House, more than ever I expected, the women doing better than ever I expected, and very fine women. Here I was in pain to be seen, and hid myself; but, as God would have it, Sir John Chichly come, and sat just by me. Thence to Mrs. Pierce’s, and there took up my wife and away home, and to the office and Sir W. Batten’s, of whom I hear that this Proviso in Parliament is mightily ill taken by all the Court party as a mortal blow, and that, that strikes deep into the King’s prerogative, which troubles me mightily. Home, and set some papers right in my chamber, and then to supper and to bed, we being in much fear of ill news of our colliers. A fleete of two hundred sail, and fourteen Dutch men-of-war between them and us and they coming home with small convoy; and the City in great want, coals being at 3l. 3s. per chaldron, as I am told. I saw smoke in the ruines this very day.

24 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Pepys throws trenchers, on the sly diddles women not his wife and sees plays while others higher-up try to take charge. Letters:

Arlington to Ormond
Written from: Whitehall
Date: 8 December 1666

"We are troubled," says the writer, "at a proviso, brought into the House of Commons yesterday, at the reading of the Poll Bill, and carried for a commitment by thirty six voices, importing an account to be made, by Commissioners of that House, of all moneys received since the beginning of the war, upon the two royal aids; money arising by prizes; and three months' assessment upon the Militia Bill; etc.; - which expresseth a manifest distrust of the management thereof ... It falls unhappily out that, at this time especially, our enemies abroad as well as those at home, should have cause to conclude there is such a diffidence & dissension among us."

... There is no confirmation of the report of the Spaniards having seized Cazale; ... or of riots in Holland, or attempts upon De Witt's person. It is certain they are heartily weary of the war ...…

Dukes of York to Ormond
Written from: Whitehall
Date: 8 December 1666

Is informed that Major Nicholas Bayliffe, Governor of the Isle of Boffin, has seized some goods from the ship Katherine belonging to the Lord High Admiral in right of his office. Desires the Lord Lieutenant's countenance for those who may apply to him, in maintaining that right. ...…

Ormond to Arlington
Written from: Kilkenny
Date: 8 December 1666

Particulars concerning: (1) A proposed grant to Sir John Stephens & others of the sole making of pan-tiles
[ ] in Ireland; (2) Measures of precaution taken, and to be taken, against disaffected persons in the north of Ireland. ...…

Mr.Gunning  •  Link

" this warr"

I would love to know what accents Londoners had in the 17th century.

'Warr' suggests a west country or a Norfolk accent.

"I saw smoke in the ruines this very day."

December and stll the city smoulders.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"'There is a good honest able man, that I could name, that if your Majesty would imploy and command to see all things well executed, all things would soon be mended; and this is one Charles Stuart -- who now spends his time in imploying his lips and his prick about the Court, and hath no other imployment.'"

So transcribe L&M this sarcastic indictment of the Merry Monarch himself.

Walkley  •  Link

Chaldron? 25 kilos of Coal (trebles cost £7.90 this weekend -Doubles (smaller) would have cost £6.90)

cape henry  •  Link

"...a pretty girle, who in discourse at table told me the great Proviso passed the House of Parliament yesterday..." And so, for a moment or two, I thought, wow! pretty and extremely well informed. But alas.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

L&M note the colliers were dispersed by the Dutch, but none taken; bad weather drove some back to Newcastle. Next 6 March Pepys will report the chaldron price of coal up to £4. SPOILER: The Medway attack has consequences: prices of Fuel, light, and textiles were dearer in 1666-7 than at any other time in the late 17th century.

A. Hamilton  •  Link

I too was taken with the well-informed Miss Pierce and had to re-read the passage when I came to "he."

Listened to some "theatah" folks gossip last night; I think Sam would have fit right in.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Betty, Betty, and Betty...Well, our Bess. Must make for a bit of confused fun at table.

"Pepys, many thanks for a fine dinner. If you ever lay a hand on my daughter I will surgically remove yours, you know. We should meet to discuss the bill in detail and lets do this again sometime."


"Thanks. Yes."

To be fair, judging by his failure to pursue whilst alone in coach, Sam seems to have settled things with Betty Pierce without confiding to us. At some point either she or James must have made it clear she was off limits or possibly Sam's own social regulator kicks in to say "hands to thyself".

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Pepys?! Pepys!! Samuel Pepys? Come out of that corner, man and sit with me. Pepys, what are you about...War take a holiday or something?. Ah, just joking my friend."


"Samuel Pepys, Clerk of the Acts of the King's Navy, ladies...Giving himself a little pre-Christmas treat of a play. All work and no play, eh, Samuel? Look at him, the busiest man in England they say. What would they said now if they could see you here, eh Pepys?"

Glyn  •  Link

Mr Gunning: others are the experts on pronunciation, not me (where's Languagehat when you need him?) but I think it's generally agreed that they spoke with some kind of West Country - style accent. They certainly didn't speak like BBC newsreaders. One piece of evidence are some of the puns that Shakespeare wrote. For example, rhyming "raisins" and "reasons" only works with a West Country/Irish accent.

Mary  •  Link

Pepys's accent.

I should imagine that Pepys spoke like the Londoner that he, essentially, was. Shakespeare came from the West Midlands (Warwickshire) so his rhymes/puns are by no means an infallible guide to the speech of the 'Golden Triangle' (London-Oxford-Cambridge) of the 17th century.

CGS  •  Link

Accents of London town : it be an amalgam of tones, as the City was home to all the disenfranchised and merchants of the known world rivaling Amsterdam for diversity. There be flower girls from the sticks singing their wares to the rich merchants from every known port. The poets of the time like Rochester would be a good indication of diction as words have to strike a cord with the purse strings, The Plays where the words would have to trip of the tongue with casual ease.

Quotes from "Song Love Arm'd": by Aphra Behn
a Kentish girl 1640-89
"Love in fantastic triumph sat,
Whilst bleeding hearts around him flow'd,
For whom fresh pains he did create,
And strange tyrannic power he shew'd;
From thy bright eyes he took his fire,
Which round about in sport he hurl'd;
But 'twas from mine he took desire[br} Enough to undo the amorous world."

Her first play be so modern in name
The Forced Marriage


To the Fair Clarinda

Who made love to me, Imagin'd more than woman.

Fair lovely Maid, or if that Title be
Too weak, too Feminine for Nobler thee,
Permit a Name that more Approaches Truth:
And let me call thee, Lovely Charming Youth.
This last will justifie my soft complaint,
While that may serve to lessen my constraint;
And without Blushes I the Youth persue,
When so much beauteous Woman is in view.
Against thy Charms we struggle but in vain
With thy deluding Form thou giv'st us pain,
While the bright Nymph betrays us to the Swain.
In pity to our Sex sure thou wer't sent,
That we might Love, and yet be Innocent:
For sure no Crime with thee we can commit;
Or if we shou'd - thy Form excuses it.
For who, that gathers fairest Flowers believes
A Snake lies hid beneath the Fragrant Leaves.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Thou beauteous Wonder of a different kind,
Soft Cloris with the dear Alexis join'd;
When e'er the Manly part of thee wou'd plead,
Thou tempts us with the Image of the Maid,
While we the noblest Passions do extend
The Love to Hermes, Aphrodite the Friend

(The rest of "To the Fair Clarinda")

CGS  •  Link

Pepis accent: note that many of his words, the endings are emphasized like Samuell or fleete
I not be one to critique being .... but

OED 'as a nice bit on aiches:

OED on aitch
[a line or two]
1573-80 BARET Alv., H which corruptly wee name Ach..we in England haue great need of it.

1599 SHAKES. Much Ado III. iv. 56 Mar. For a hauke, a horse, or a husband? Beat. For the letter that begins them all, H.

hostess, n.
2. spec. a. A woman who keeps a public place of lodging and entertainment; the mistress of an inn. Also in archaic phr. mine hostess.

[a. OF. ostesse (12th c. in Littré), mod.F. hôtesse, f. (h)oste HOST n.2: see -ESS.]

1. A woman that lodges and entertains guests.

...1632 T. DELONEY Thomas of Reading xi. (ed. 6) Hjb, Beholding his Oast and Oastesse earnestly.

[< French hôtel HOSTEL n.1 Compare earlier HOSTEL n.1
This word is among those in which pronunciation of initial /h/ is a relatively late development in British English (see general discussion at H n.), and the pronunciation /{schwa}{shtu}{sm}t{ope}l/ is still sometimes found, as is use with the indefinite article an (see A adj.).]

1. Originally and chiefly with reference to France or French-speaking countries: a large private residence, a town mansion. Now chiefly hist.

CGS  •  Link

Maybe, just maybe Surgeon Pierce did not want poor Betty contaminated, but he knew that his Mistress knew how to handle PP.

"...So we were fain to part ourselves and get room in other people’s coaches, and Mrs. Pierce and I in one,..."

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Perhaps Sam felt that an entry describing how he whimpered like a child while a pregnant Mrs. Pierce bent his arm back behind or held a scalpel to his stone wound until he agreed that "No doth mean no" was beneath his dignity to note. In any case...However she and/or James did it...He seems to have got the message.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

It is interesting though where and how Sam draws the line. Naturally he wouldn't want a man like James Pierce complaining about him in court. Meg Penn though considerably above Sarah Udall, Betty Martin, Betty Burroughs, Mrs. Bagwell, and poor Betty Michell in social status, is partially a matter of revenge and seems rather willing to accept his advances...Though a dangerous game if Admiral Sir Will learns of it. Poor Knipp as an actress isn't too high up the ladder and seems so desperate for affectionate attention.

A pity he can't content himself with the rather large group of local ladies who seem to find him appealing...At least charming and fun to be with, if not the man of their dreams. Those of us who love Bess can't help sighing at his philanderings but it's when he haunts Betty Mitchell, forces himself on Bagwell and Burroughs, or molests little Tooker that he gets rather sad and creepy.

CGS  •  Link

"...A pity he can’t content himself ..." 'tis why man gets caught out, {M.O.} it be called the MORE gene.
'tis why man walks, cannot carry enough grub in his mouth.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"It is a Proviso to the Poll Bill, that there shall be a Committee of nine persons that shall have the inspection upon oath, and power of giving others, of all the accounts of the money given and spent for this warr."

L&M: The voting was 119-83. There was doubt whether parliament could properly authorize the administration of oaths to the servants of the King. According to Milward (pp. 48, 56), it was Garroway who introduced the proposal to tack the provision on to the poll bill: cf. CJ, viii. 659. In the event a separate bill was introduced but never passed. The King appointed his own commission of enquiry. See ; CTB, vol. ii, pp. xlii-xlvi. Pepys's informant was Pearse, the Duke of York's surgeon and Groom of the Bedchamber to the Queen.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" Sir Robert Howard, who is one of the King’s servants, at least hath a great office, and hath got, they say, 20,000l. since the King come in"

L&M: Howard (the dramatist; M.P. for Stockbridge, Hants.), as well as enjoying other court emoluments, had been Serjeant-Painter to the King (1660-3) and Clerk of the Patents in Chancery (1660-4), surrendering each office to a purchaser. See H. J. Oliver, Sir R, Howard, pp. 38-9, 40. With two others , he had lent £20,000 to the King in 1665: ib. , p. 124. But he was a constant critic of the government in parliament.

Log in to post an annotation.

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