Thursday 14 November 1667

At the office close all the morning. At noon, all my clerks with me to dinner, to a venison pasty; and there comes Creed, and dined with me, and he tells me how high the Lords were in the Lords’ House about the business of the Chancellor, and that they are not yet agreed to impeach him. After dinner, he and I, and my wife and girl, the latter two to their tailor’s, and he and I to the Committee of the Treasury, where I had a hearing, but can get but 6000l. for the pay of the garrison, in lieu of above 16,000l.; and this Alderman Backewell gets remitted there, and I am glad of it. Thence by coach took up my wife and girl, and so home, and set down Creed at Arundell House, going to the Royal Society, whither I would be glad to go, but cannot. Thence home, and to the Office, where about my letters, and so home to supper, and to bed, my eyes being bad again; and by this means, the nights, now-a-days, do become very long to me, longer than I can sleep out.

27 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The Royal Society today at Arundel House — from the Hooke Folio Online

Nou: 14. 1667. Heuelius letter. Oct. 21. 67. of his cometography almost finisht. desires Longest telescopes and a full description of it formerly promised by mr Hooke and of applying telescopicall sights to sextants thereby the better to regulate and assist
[In margin]Vz the sight in the measuration of the Distances of starrs.
The company though good that these desires should be complyed wth. as much as might be and did particularly desire mr Hooke to be mindfull of his promise concerning those sights

(Dr. Lower account of tying iugulars) of perforating diaphrame) Expt. of making blood circulate from Iugular artery to Iugular veine on the same side. succesfull) The curator Related that his expt. for making the blood of a dog passe from one side to another without passing through the Lungs had not succeeded in the ways he had tryd hitherto but that he had thought of another method which he would further consider. he was desired to giue in writing the particulars of the operation & what hinderd the same (Dr. Lower account of Ductus chiliferus by which the blood chyle [ ] passes to the heart.

mr Hookes account of townlys Instr: read & orderd to be registred together wth. the schemes. it was also orderd that one of the Astronomicall Instr: for diuiding a foot into many thousand parts as contriued by mr. Hook should be made by mor Heuelius at the charge of the society. and sent to him as from them by mr Oldenburg.

mention being made that nouember the 20th next there would be an horizontall Eclipse of the moon.
[… ] It was ordered that Mr Ball & Mr Hook: Should make Obseruations accordingly. (mr. Collins his Account of the double Horizontall Dial & the reuerse…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Arlington to Sandwich
Written from: Whitehall
Date: 14 November 1667

States that the time of the Commissioners of the Treasury "hath been so taken up in the Parliament, ever since it sate, that they have dispatched very little business, which is the best excuse I can give for your disappointment."

Adds that the Count of Molina [Spanish Ambassador at London] offers nothing that ought to engage England in the assistance of Spain. ... The debate on the impeachment of Lord Clarendon "silenceth all other news".…

Ruben  •  Link

"making blood circulate from Iugular artery to Iugular veine on the same side. succesfull"

This people did not understand yet what the circulatory and respiratory system of our body did (or that of other similar animal bodies) and that was the reason to try this experiment.
The "Iugular artery" was probably what we call today the Carotid Artery, and the dog had to live with only one side supply of arterial blood to his brain. It probably was alive for a time but became hemiplegic, because of the sudden unilateral obstruction of the blood suply. This was probably considered a "succesfull" result...
This kind of experiment was admirable but impossible to understand without having a clear idea of blood circulation, including capilary circulation (that did not yet exist for them) or gas interchanges, the very word gas not yet in use in spite of having the concept of gas been invented by a Dutch a few years before.
As I once annotated, only hundred years ago was all this process understood "for good" by the experiments (still with dogs) of another Royal Society member: Dr. Ernest Starling, a genious in physiology.

Ruben  •  Link

I must annotate here, that one of the most important contribution of the "philosophers" of Pepys times was that they did not refer to "authorities" of the past, but to experiments they designed by themselves, a concept still very revolutionary and modern in the days of our diary.

cum salis grano  •  Link

If it was not for this curiosity of this generation and later ones and kept to the standards of Greek/Roman era, there would be no transplants or pacemakers or intravenous feeding or any other modern life saving methods, a nice blood clot would keep the population at a rational level as we would not have the knowledge and the non invasive techniques of the Modern curious man.. [just being sarky]

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I would only note that the Greeks, if not the Romans, were also great experimental thinkers though they lacked the technology to press into the developments of Sam's time. While there is still debate over how truly "frozen" the so-called Middle Ages were in science and philosophy, even the era of Aristotle's dominance saw a great deal of innovation, development, and what we would call attempts at scientific thought by the likes of such figures as Roger Bacon. I'm inclined to agree with some modern historians that the real problem was not a lack of curiosity or brilliance or flexibility of mind but the endless disruptions during the period after the western Roman Empire's fall and the eastern Empire's fight for survival against the new Muslim power. Wherever a stable power...The Frankish Empire, the stronger period of the Caliphate, the Italian city-states of the Renaissance...Developed and communication over large regions was possible, scientific development occurred. Sam is lucky to live in a time of relative peace, with war somewhat more formalized and stable governments allowing rather sophisticated intercommunication and some degree of stability and prosperity.

GrahamT  •  Link

lugular appears to be a mis-scan of iugular = jugular.
The two veins in the neck are still called jugulars, (as in "going for the jugular") but the arteries are now call carotids, as Ruben says above.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ancient Alexandria is well-known for a range of experiments, however what was "frozen" thereafter was the mindset of the learned, save for a few riskers as noted by RG: "Though a few ancient atomists such as Lucretius challenged the teleological viewpoint of Aristotelian ideas about life, teleology (and after the rise of Christianity, natural theology) would remain central to biological thought essentially until the 18th and 19th centuries. In the words of Ernst Mayr, "Nothing of any real consequence in biology after Lucretius and Galen until the Renaissance."[30] Aristotle's ideas of natural history and medicine survived, but they were generally taken unquestioningly.[31]""…

Paracelsus (1493-1541) might be named as an antecedent of the Royal Society: his view that ailments owe to poisons seems to animate several of their experimental pursuits.…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I still go with the doubters as to the lack of risk-takers, etc. I think we underestimate the vibrancy and depth of mind in what we call the Middle Ages in particular. With communication so limited and any organized government, let alone institutional centers of learning, often disrupted, the institutions (such as existed after the Roman collapse) may have been unable to develop or pass on new knowledge effectively but I think it's a mistake to fall to quickly into the trap of assuming the way of thinking was the chief hinderance to advancement. In a microcosm, we can compare the devastating effects of the Thirty Years War in Germany to developments in France, England, and Holland where, although bitter wars were fought as well, the devastation was less complete and the developing nation-states and their insitutions were much better able to cope and maintain the transmission of knowledge. And of course in our modern world, communication and transmission of information had made all the difference in turning backward states into global competitors over the 50 years. I'll agree there was a tendency to fall back on Aristotle, etc, but I think I follow the theory that without stable communication and order, advances could not be easily transmitted...Greek science spread because the Greek and more importantly, Roman imperial institutions existed to spread it, as also occurred with Christianity. Aristotle and Galen after all had been planted throughout the Empire by Roman institutions and there was a collective memory that when the imperial system was reduced to fragments could still provide instruction in their teachings. New learning required an opportunity for transmission and stable institutions to pass it on. Probably we're much closer on this than we seem, Terry, and I'm just glossing the surface, but my primary arguement is that I simply don't believe humans have changed that much in their thinking or approach to understanding the world but we have become better able to transmit and preserve new ideas. Anyway, a fascinating topic and some excellent work is out there now.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"has made...over the past 50 years..." Never post and review data at the same time.

steve sutton  •  Link

"my eyes being bad again; and by this means, the nights, now-a-days, do become very long to me, longer than I can sleep out."
Sam has always been a hard worker. Rising early and working late. I can see him lying awake at night. Not able to read or write due to his poor vision in low light conditions. It must frustrate him to no end.
So much to be done and not enough light in the day to do it.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Robert, there seem to be two issues: 1) whether experimental science flourished in the Middle Ages; 2) if not, why not?

You seem to think a case for the intellectual "vibrancy" of the period is made by suggesting (geopolitical) reasons it was impeded.

It's always been the case that credentials matter. In the Middle Ages one showed them all the more when they were scarce -- even after the rise of universities (scholasticism) -- by hewing to the ancients. Abelard was a "risker".

"Viele schlafen, einer spricht, dass nennt man eben Unterricht" (Translation: "Many sleep, one person speaks, that's instruction." -- old German saying.)

cum salis grano  •  Link

the use of i,j,y at this time, were not set in concrete thus a perusal of the OED shows the versatility in spelling and how to use the letters of the Alphabet with how words were spelt in school or heard and not spelling not taught,
along with v, double u or u the f look alike for s.

cum salis grano  •  Link

Another major factor never mentioned, the change in diets of so many people, sugars, stimulants, tea, coffee,fruits, vegetables, all effect the body as foreign bodies and make the body come up with new solutions to fight the this new invasion, thus aggravating the brain.
Along with under educated getting other ideas not popular with the ruling majority by reading banned books printed by the typesetter. The powers failed to keep all knowledge under lock and key.

classicist  •  Link

Elizabeth Eisenstein in 'The Printing Press as an Agent of Change' points out the (often neglected) influence of printing on scientific discovery: before printing, all tables and diagrams were at the mercy of scribal errors, and could not be assumed to be accurate. Scribes also tended not to copy books which were hard to sell, which meant that such works weren't widely disseminated. This helps to account for things like the total failure of the ancient world to take up, e.g., Archimedes' invention of a form of calculus.
It's also true, though, that the Greeks were much keener on theory than experiment--viz Aristotle's notorious dictum that women have fewer teeth than men.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

No, Terry, the case is presented by the achievements of the era (and better by others). The impediments provide a possible explanation for why men and women with the same ability and genius of latter eras were not able to form the critical mass necessary for their work to progress. I don't dismiss the heavy hand of the ancients on scientific thought but I agree with some historians it's been overrated next to the physical difficulties posed by limited communication and access. The development of scientific thought went hand-in-hand with the development of new methods of disseminating information and improved communication. I think there were as many geniuses and bold thinkers in 800ad per percentage of the population but science is a collaborative process, even in the work of outstanding geniuses and when there aren't even the rudiments of an educational system as for long after the fragmentation of west Rome and no reasonable means of disseminating information acquired and knowledge gained, it's difficult to expand the knowledge base and form the community needed to share and distribute knowledge. In spite of this the Middle Ages saw great strides in agriculture, industry, exploration, and as communication improved and stability was achieved, scientific thought. In this sort of climate even acquiring a knowledge of Aristotle and Galen were major accomplishments but I think not necessarily as stifling and strait-jacking to the mind as has been thought. It's communication that makes Sam Pepys the man of the world he is...A cut-off Sam would be as brilliant but far less able to stimulate and utilize that brilliance.

Getting off topic, back to you, Samuel.

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Print & 'scientific' discovery

Anyone interested in the topic in general, and particularly as relates to England in the C17th., should take a look at this specialist study, Adrian Johns, 'The Nature of the Book; Print & Knowledge in the Making' Chicago, 1990.…

(Though her work was and is much praised, Eisenstein wrote in the main from secondary sources and without a deep and extensive acquaintance with the physical objects she was discussing. Most of her arguments rely upon a set of assumptions about books and printing that may be true about books produced post circa 1750, and later, but are directly contradicted by survivals and evidence from the earlier periods. Johns discusses these problems at length.)

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

To add my own small peep to this chorus of frogs (brekekekex coax coax), and admitting I'm neither scientist nor scholar, it is my impression that the high intellectual achievements of the Middle Ages were concerned with ontology and logical deduction, and that the great question was man's place in the natural order, seeking to link him though the great chain of being to God, a question framed in part by Earth-centered, Ptolmaic cosmology. I think there was a major psychological shift in the focus and aspirations of philosophers that occurred around the beginning of the 17th century, that was driven by improvements in man's ability to closely observe heavenly motion (granting that man's curiosity about his role in nature is a constant between the two eras), and that led to the slow conviction that "we'd better look at these questions again." So Donne,

And new philosophy calls all in doubt,
The element of fire is quite put out,
The sun is lost, and th'earth, and no man's wit
Can well direct him where to look for it.
And freely men confess that this world's spent,
When in the planets and the firmament
They seek so many new; they see that this
Is crumbled out again to his atomies.
'Tis all in pieces, all coherence gone,
All just supply, and all relation;

A condition that was intolerable. And so, eventually, and not so much later, Newton.

Thus I subscribe more to Terry's view than to Robert's, again granting that there were minds as clever in 1200 as in 1650. The framework for man's age-old questions had changed, and the changes were forced by man's improved technical ability to make inquiry of nature.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

'... the Count of Molina [Spanish Ambassador at London] offers nothing that ought to engage England in the assistance of Spain. ... The debate on the impeachment of Lord Clarendon "silenceth all other news".'

Seems to me Arlington is being careful about what he says to Sandwich, apart from telling him that he is no longer needed in Madrid. No mention of lining up witnesses to testify against him, or that he is being recalled to face a Parliamentary Committee (Sandwich must know this is inevitable after any war, but not that it is hostile). And Pepys seems to be in no hurry to warn him either.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"[Creed] and I to the Committee of the Treasury, where I had a hearing, but can get but 6,000l. for the pay of the garrison, in lieu of above 16,000l.; and this Alderman Backewell gets remitted there, and I am glad of it."

The pay for the Tangier garrison is 10,000l. short? I suppose Alderman Edward Backwell's ability to move the funds to Tangier saves the Navy money, but nevertheless ... who would want to serve in such a dangerous place if you don't get paid?

I was just reading our Encyclopedia notes on Backwell and he seems to be a fascinating character and of great international financial service to the Commonwealth, Charles II, Louis XIV and others for decades. I bet he knew where quite a few bodies were buried.

SPOILER: Backwell's another man who will be ruined by the Stop of 1672; I knew it was a scandal that ruined Britain's credit for decades, and bankrupted the financiers. Charles had to be really desperate to sacrifice someone of Backwell's character and service.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys is worried that his reputation is being harmed by being seen at the theater too much ... but Elizabeth and Willet seem to have taken up residence at Unthank's? Elizabeth must be buying a whole new winter wardrobe.

The contrast in the way Pepys is spending money these days on consumable goods (as compared to his pre-Plague parsimony) and the economies in government spending are stark.

We know Sandwich, Brouncker, Penn and Lady Batten are all in financial difficulties. Even if Pepys is still making a profit every month, I think I'd be less conspicuous about advertising that right now, as he is low man on the totem pole at the upcoming investigative hearings -- they could give him up in a heart beat.

It puzzles me that Pepys never reports on gossip brought home by the ladies. Everyone who was anyone went to Unthank's, including Lady Castlemaine ... unless Elizabeth is spying and he isn't reporting information on purpose (Robert's stories must be getting to me!).


I'm glad he took the clerks home for a venison pasty lunch. A good way to use the doe he was given, and something that would be appreciated as they had had a bad couple of weeks working while the alterations were being made in the office. Adding columns of figures while a carpenter saws is hard.

JayW  •  Link

There was an interesting programme on Channel 4 about Restoration London last night (14-11-2020) in which Professor Alice Roberts mentioned Samuel Pepys several times. One comment made to her was that it was the introduction of coffee (which led to minds being stimulated rather than suffering the effects of the morning draught of beer) which boosted the scientific discoveries at the Royal Society.

JayW  •  Link

Thanks Terry. That wasn’t the one I meant though - it was a TV programme, part of a series called ‘Britain’s Most Historic Towns’.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... it was the introduction of coffee (which led to minds being stimulated rather than suffering the effects of the morning draught of beer) which boosted the scientific discoveries at the Royal Society..."

JayW, earlier in the diary there are a couple of annotations along these lines:

cgs on 20 Aug 2009
Questions and the seeking of answers.
Why did it take [the Royal Society] so long to ask in depth so many questions?

I dothe thinke all those spices and sugars, beans, coffee, Lima, teas, claret, Nell's China oranges, mole tangerines, et al did modify the gray matter.

CGS has made this point several times over the years. It wasn't just the coffee ... the sugar and generally better nutrition changed people's brains and bodies. In 1666 some people are even vegetarians (but don't tell Pepys).

While people stopped drinking small beer for breakfast a century or more ago, I think that was caused by clean water being more readily available and mothers wanting their children to do well at school, not an overwhelming concern for adult creativity. Small beer just sort of became obsolete over time. Coffee, sausages and toast smelled better. (Which also required universally better kitchens and more disposable income for food.)

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