Monday 9 September 1667

Up; and to the office, where all the morning, and at noon comes Creed to dine with me. After dinner, he and I and my wife to the Bear-Garden, to see a prize fought there. But, coming too soon, I left them there and went on to White Hall, and there did some business with the Lords of the Treasury; and here do hear, by Tom Killigrew and Mr. Progers, that for certain news is come of Harman’s having spoiled nineteen of twenty-two French ships, somewhere about the Barbadoes, I think they said; but wherever it is, it is a good service, and very welcome. Here I fell in talk with Tom Killigrew about musick, and he tells me that he will bring me to the best musick in England (of which, indeed, he is master), and that is two Italians and Mrs. Yates, who, he says, is come to sing the Italian manner as well as ever he heard any: says that Knepp won’t take pains enough, but that she understands her part so well upon the stage, that no man or woman in the House do the like. Thence I by water to the Bear-Garden, where now the yard was full of people, and those most of them seamen, striving by force to get in, that I was afeard to be seen among them, but got into the ale-house, and so by a back-way was put into the bull-house, where I stood a good while all alone among the bulls, and was afeard I was among the bears, too; but by and by the door opened, and I got into the common pit; and there, with my cloak about my face, I stood and saw the prize fought, till one of them, a shoemaker, was so cut in both his wrists that he could not fight any longer, and then they broke off: his enemy was a butcher. The sport very good, and various humours to be seen among the rabble that is there. Thence carried Creed to White Hall, and there my wife and I took coach and home, and both of us to Sir W. Batten’s, to invite them to dinner on Wednesday next, having a whole buck come from Hampton Court, by the warrant which Sir Stephen Fox did give me. And so home to supper and to bed, after a little playing on the flageolet with my wife, who do outdo therein whatever I expected of her.

17 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ormond to Ossory
Written from: Kilkenny
Date: 9 September 1667

... Is curious to know the reason of taking away the Seals from Lord Clarendon - presuming that some reason there is, proportionable to the extraordinaryness of the advice. ...

Will watch all opportunities to serve Sir Thomas Clifford. ...

Ossory will do well to meet any advances Sir William Coventry shall make with much kindness, & not over-hastily to believe the Duke concerned in what he shall say, on occasion of debates concerning Ireland, in which it is fit that Councillors should use freedom. ...

Ormond to Anglesey
Written from: Kilkenny
Date: 9 September 1667

... Since the King and Council have been pleased to hear so thoroughly the business of Barker, the writer does not doubt that they will find the judgment given here not so irrational, much less so ill-contrived as he would have it believed to be. Then, what shall come of the land is less the writer's care. ...

If there was good reason for sending for the Great Seal to Lord Clarendon, the writer is sure the custody of it could not be better placed than with Sir Orlando Bridgman. ...

Adds, at great length, particulars of various pending affairs, relating chiefly to the Army and Navy. ...

Bradford  •  Link

"various humours to be seen among the rabble that is there," including one Samuel Pepys, Esq. (Too bad he didn't have Elizabeth's vizard.)

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"And it's a vicious left hook on Shoemaker...Shoemaker is down. The referee is coming over to pull Butcher away. And it looks like this fight is all over, folks. The crowd is screaming for Shoemaker's blood. And I see we have a dignitary among us tonight, folks...The Clerk of the Acts of the Royal Navy, Mr. Samuel Pepys. Any words for the crowd on this terrific fight, Mr. Pepys?"

"Bess, will you stop?" Sam pulls at cloak. "I'm trying for incognito..."

Interesting the way Creed always pokes up at the oddest moments...I wonder at Sam leaving Bess in that mob, even with Creed's protection, though I suppose things weren't quite so crazy when he left.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...Harman’s having spoiled nineteen of twenty-two French ships, somewhere about the Barbadoes..."

Jesus...Wayneman sighs, clinging to a bit of floating jetsom from the French ship he'd tried to escape to from Hell on Earth...

The Royal Navy screws me again. Am I never to catch a break in this life from that bastard Pepys?

Christopher Squire  •  Link

Prize fighting meant boxing bare-knuckled.

‘bear-garden, a place originally set apart for the baiting of bears, and used for the exhibition of other rough sports, fig. a scene of strife and tumult;
1596 J. NORDEN Progr. Pietie (1847) 177 And go to the..*bear-gardens..where they lose their time..and offend the laws..of her majesty.
1687 SETTLE Refl. Dryden's Plays 33 Our Beargarden Duellers.
1743 WESLEY in Wks. 1782 I. 439 One of them having been a prize-fighter at the bear-garden.
1803 BRISTED Pedest. Tour II. 543 Squabbles and boxings..rendering the place more like a bear-garden than a hall of instruction.’ [OED]

cum salis grano  •  Link

prize fighting also meant fighting for monies, as noted "...a shoemaker, was so cut in both his wrists..."
'twas a knife of some kind, big as a cutlass maybe.

The butcher would know how to slice, the Shoemaker would be better with an awl.

cum salis grano  •  Link

oh! dear I thought you said to bed after a playing and said I flag eh a lot ... with my wife.
"...And so home to supper and to bed, after a little playing on the flageolet with my wife..."
flag this

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...after a little playing on the flageolet with my wife, who do outdo therein whatever I expected of her."

The incentive to Goodgroome seems to be working...Get that girl on You Tube at once, Sam. Bess Pepys and her sizzlin' flageolet would be sure to go viral.

In your face, Robert Louis Stevenson...

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Bulls and seamen and bears, oh my!

ONeville  •  Link

The Shoemaker's LAST contest. He won't be making any more shoes for awhile. Hope the prize money would compensate. Did they sometimes fight to the death?

Interesting that Sam uses the term shoemaker and not Cordwainer.

Don O'Shea  •  Link

cum salis grano: Considering the wordplay, I'm surprised...

"The butcher would know how to slice, the Shoemaker would be better with ... awl."

BYW, the entry describes a considerably different experience mixing bulls and bears.

Don McCahill  •  Link

> Did they sometimes fight to the death?

I doubt it, although I am sure it happened ... it happens today that a fighter can die of ring injuries.

More frequently the fight would be to knockout, I assume. I wonder if the sailors at the fight would boo and curse the decision to end the fight due to injuries, the way fans today do. (Usually because they have money on bets about the result).

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Hey, butcher boy! You can't fight worth a damn! Shoemaker was half your size!!"

Butcher, red-faced, glances to see where and who...

"Bess...The man just practically killed a man there."
Sam, hissing.

"That's right, you butcher!! You big lug! You come on over here and let a tailor's son pound you into the ground!!"

"Bessss...Time to go."

"Here's the tailor's son who'll knock you flat, you side of beef!! Go, get him, Sam'l. Don't worry, no one knows you here. Carve him up, honey. Make him scream for mercy."

"Yes, indeed, Pepys. Lets give the ole one-two for the Naval Office." Creed, smiling thinly.

"Naval Office?!!" several sailors turn.

"Yes, say hello to John Creed, Clerk of the Acts of the Royal Navy...In charge of victualling and pay all this past year." Sam, beaming...Grabbing an unwilling Bess and scurrying off as Creed is surrounded.

"Just a mo, tailor's son." the butcher blocks a fleeing Sam as Creed's cries for help fade in the din of howling sailors.

"Now we'll see some fighting." Bess assures the crowd gathering...As a single blow sends Sam flying back toward the bull house.

"Well, perhaps not..."


Australian Susan  •  Link


At this time, there were no national rules for bare knuckle contests. These did not come in until Jack Broughton (1704-89) introduced them.
"Previously conducted with more brawn than brain, and frequently raw slug-fests with very few rules, Broughton developed a system of parrying, "hitting away" (striking on retreat), stopping and barring blows, and his defence, according to contemporaries, was so complete as to render him nearly untouchable. His code of 7 rules formed guidelines for the sport until the London Prize Ring Rules (1838, which expanded upon Broughton's code). Broughton also was the inventor of the first boxing gloves, called "muffles", which were used in his boxing academy by his students to "effectually secure them from the inconveniency of black eyes, broken jaws and bloody noses...” They were never used in the professional prize ring." The present rules of boxing developed from the Marquess of Queensbury's rules of 1860. See
Under Broughton's rules, men fought until there was a "last man standing". In 1818, the poet John Keats (with a large party) travelled down to Sussex to see a famous prize fight which went to 34 rounds.

language hat  •  Link

"news is come of Harman’s having spoiled nineteen of twenty-two French ships, somewhere about the Barbadoes, I think they said; but wherever it is, it is a good service, and very welcome."

Is England at war with France?

Kevin Peter  •  Link

"Is England at war with France?"

Not since the peace treaty was signed between the English, French, and Dutch in Breda. The battle Sam is hearing about either took place before the peace treaty was signed, or took place after the treaty but before the naval forces in the Caribbean had received news of the treaty signing. It could take a while for news to circulate to and from faraway places.

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