Tuesday 26 March 1667

Up with a sad heart in reference to my mother, of whose death I undoubtedly expect to hear the next post, if not of my father’s also, who by his pain as well as his grief for her is very ill, but on my own behalf I have cause to be joyful this day, it being my usual feast day, for my being cut of the stone this day nine years, and through God’s blessing am at this day and have long been in as good condition of health as ever I was in my life or any man in England is, God make me thankful for it! But the condition I am in, in reference to my mother, makes it unfit for me to keep my usual feast. Unless it shall please God to send her well (which I despair wholly of), and then I will make amends for it by observing another day in its room. So to the office, and at the office all the morning, where I had an opportunity to speak to Sir John Harman about my desire to have my brother Balty go again with him to sea as he did the last year, which he do seem not only contented but pleased with, which I was glad of. So at noon home to dinner, where I find Creed, who dined with us, but I had not any time to talk with him, my head being busy, and before I had dined was called away by Sir W. Batten, and both of us in his coach (which I observe his coachman do always go now from hence towards White Hall through Tower Street, and it is the best way) to Exeter House, where the judge was sitting, and after several little causes comes on ours, and while the several depositions and papers were at large reading (which they call the preparatory), and being cold by being forced to sit with my hat off close to a window in the Hall, Sir W. Pen and I to the Castle Tavern hard by and got a lobster, and he and I staid and eat it, and drank good wine; I only burnt wine, as my whole custom of late hath been, as an evasion, God knows, for my drinking of wine (but it is an evasion which will not serve me now hot weather is coming, that I cannot pretend, as indeed I really have done, that I drank it for cold), but I will leave it off, and it is but seldom, as when I am in women’s company, that I must call for wine, for I must be forced to drink to them. Having done here then we back again to the Court, and there heard our cause pleaded; Sir [Edward] Turner, Sir W. Walker, and Sir Ellis Layton being our counsel against only Sir Robert Wiseman on the other. The second of our three counsel was the best, and indeed did speak admirably, and is a very shrewd man. Nevertheless, as good as he did make our case, and the rest, yet when Wiseman come to argue (nay, and though he did begin so sillily that we laughed in scorn in our sleeves at him), yet he did so state the case, that the judge did not think fit to decide the cause to-night, but took to to-morrow, and did stagger us in our hopes, so as to make us despair of the success. I am mightily pleased with the judge, who seems a very rational, learned, and uncorrupt man, and much good reading and reason there is heard in hearing of this law argued, so that the thing pleased me, though our success doth shake me. Thence Sir W. Pen and I home and to write letters, among others a sad one to my father upon fear of my mother’s death, and so home to supper and to bed.

13 Annotations

First Reading

Michael L  •  Link

"I only burnt wine, as my whole custom of late hath been, as an evasion, God knows, for my drinking of wine"

"Burnt wine" is brandy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandy_%28wine%29

Sam is following to the letter his oath against drinking wine by instead drinking brandy. Whether his oath was intended to avoid alcohol or save money, this is surely worse than avoiding wine in the first place!

Bradford  •  Link

"I will make amends for it by observing another day in its room," i.e., in its place---an expression which persisted another century and across the Atlantic: it shows up repeatedly in the writings of John Adams.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I thought "burnt wine" meant mulled wine?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Michael L’s link has it that “Brandy (from brandywine, derived from Dutch brandewijn—”burnt wine”) is a spirit produced by distilling wine, the wine having first been produced by fermenting grapes.”

One can get tipsy from that.

Mary  •  Link

"that I drank it for cold"

Yes, one of those "for medicinal purposes" excuses; thanks to Sam we all know how treacherous getting a little chilled (or one's feet wet) can be in 17th century London.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...as well as his grief for her is very ill..." If I remember right, our first clear proof of John's affection for Meg.

"...it is but seldom, as when I am in women’s company, that I must call for wine, for I must be forced to drink to them."

They're brutal these women.

"But ladies...I have a solemn vow not to..."

"Oh, look at the little wuss who can't match us glass for glass..." "Dress 'im up in baby clothes, the little lambkin." "'ere's how, little wuss." "I know how." "'im, I mean."

"Bess...Lady Penn."

"What kind of a miserable excuse for a husband have I...Hic...Got?"

"Oh, very well. But upon my soul, God bear witness..."

"Drink or force it down his wuss throat!"

"Mrs. Pierce, please..."

"That better be real wine and not that miserable burnt. Bess, sniff the glass."

"Mon Dieu, I'll not sniff our good wine." Bess downs glass from Sam's hand in one gulp. "All right."

"Thanks." Sam hisses as Bess wipes mouth.

"You owe me, wuss one." hiss back.


Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"after several little causes comes on ours,"

This concerned the Lindenbaum (Capt. Jean-François Vlaming), a Swedish shipwhich had been captured id-January by the privateer the Flying Greyhound (Capt. Edward Hogg: hired by Pepys, Penn and Batten). She had been on her way from Bordeaux to Ostend with a cargo mostly of wine. The Swedes claimed that the cargo, being carried in a neutral ship and owned by a Stockholm merchant, could not be adjudged prize. The case went to appeal. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" to Exeter House, where the judge was sitting,"

L&M: In the court of Admiralty: prize cases seem mostly to have been tried at Exeter House. The judge was Sir Leoline Jenkins.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary - Living at home at Saye's Court, Deptford.

26 March, 1667. Sir John Kiviet dined with me. We went to search for brick-earth, in order to a great undertaking.


WHATEVER claims Sir Christopher Wren may possess to be considered the originator of the Thames Embankment, it is hardly fair to leave out of sight those which belong to Sir John Kiviet. The latter gentleman was a refugee from Rotterdam who came to England in 1666, and possessed some of the ingenuity of his brother-in-law, Admiral Van Tromp.

It does not appear how soon after the Fire of London it occurred to Sir John Kiviet to propose a river embankment, but as early as 2 December, 1666, we find him examining the soil of the foreshores with a view to discovering whether it was suitable for making clinker-bricks.

On the 6 March, 1667 John Evelyn definitely proposed to Lord Chancellor Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon: "Monsieur Kiviet's undertaking to wharf the whole river of Thames, or Key, from the Temple to the Tower, as far as the fire destroyed, with brick, without piles, both lasting and ornamental."

We may presume it was favorably received by Lord Clarendon, as upon the 22 March, 1667 John Evelyn had audience with Charles II with reference to building the Quay, and a few days later Sir John Kiviet and the Diarist "went in search for brick earth in order to a greate undertaking."

No further mention is made of the theme, and we may conclude it was abandoned either 'on account of the unpopularity of the inventor' (whose Dutch extraction would at that time have been a natural bar to success), or of the fall of Clarendon at the ignominious close of the Second Anglo-Dutch War.

At any rate, Sir John Kiviet has some right to divide the honors with Christopher Wren, although, in view of the work completed, we cannot regret that its execution was reserved for later times.


Gerald Berg  •  Link

Queen Dollalola:
(Though I already half seas over am)
If the capacious goblet overflow
With arrack-punch - 'fore George! I'll see it out;
Of run and brandy I'll not taste a drop.
King Arthur:
Though rack, in punch, eight shillings be a quart,
And rum and brandy be no more than six,
Rather than quarrel you shall have you will.

Henry Fielding: Tom Thumb the Great 1725

Third Reading

Trevor M Randall  •  Link

Sir Leoline Jenkins - Ah another Llewellyn spelling.

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