Tuesday 17 December 1667

Up, and to the office, where very busy all the morning, and then in the afternoon I with Sir W. Pen and Sir T. Harvy to White Hall to attend the Duke of York, who is now as well as ever, and there we did our usual business with him, and so away home with Sir W. Pen, and there to the office, where pretty late doing business, my wife having been abroad all day with Mrs. Turner buying of one thing or other. This day I do hear at White Hall that the Duke of Monmouth is sick, and in danger of the smallpox. So home to supper and to bed.

8 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ormond to Ossory
Written from: Dublin
Date: 17 December 1667

... There is nothing more necessary than that the writer should now have a perfect understanding of the many things in England which it may not be so convenient - either for the King's service or for the Duke's private concernments here - to write, as to speak of. ...

If Lord Ossory should not now come, he must put into cypher, or send by an express - or both ways - all that it is essential to communicate. ...


cum salis grano  •  Link

Walls [ so does the ether] have ears, and written words do have a habit of being read by a nosy parker, thus write only that that will not embarrass you later, else encode carefully.

JWB  •  Link

Just this evening read in Ellis's latest, "First Family", that in Mar. 1764 Boston reported 699 smallpox cases of which 124 died. John Adams had himself innoculated and while in quarantine, Abigail (they being @ the time engaged) sent him tobacco so that he could smoke his letters to her, rendering them safe.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

A dead link, JWB. But I found the following:

"The Google Ngram Viewer or Google Books Ngram Viewer is an online search engine that charts the frequencies of any set of search strings using a yearly count of n-grams found in sources printed between 1500 and 2019 in Google's text corpora in English, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, or Spanish." -- Wikipedia

This one may be working
"The Google Ngram Viewer displays user-selected words or phrases (ngrams) in a graph that shows how those phrases have occurred in a corpus. Google Ngram Viewer's corpus is made up of the scanned books available in Google Books. Typically, the X axis shows the year in which works from the corpus were published, and the Y axis shows the frequency with which the ngrams appear throughout the corpus. Users input the ngrams and then can select case sensitivity, a date range, language of the corpus, and smoothing."

I haven't become aware of a need for this service, but you never know.

James Morgan  •  Link

Thanks for the note about Google Ngram Viewer. I tried the terms plague, fire from 1660-1700 in English texts, and found as might be expected plague mentions declined after the 1665. Interestingly when I did the same search on French texts, plague had few hits. Perhaps I should have used a French term, but fire got hits in both sets of texts. Anyway, two minutes of playing around was entertaining. The viewer is at https://books.google.com/ngrams, and the "About Ngram Viewer" link at the bottom of the page has a very detailed explanation of the viewer for researchers.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Walls [so does the ether] have ears, and written words do have a habit of being read by a nosy parker, thus write only that that will not embarrass you later, else encode carefully."

And the Post Office regularly opened interesting-looking mail, as has been remarked before.

I am surprised Pepys didn't encode his mail during the war ... but perhaps the Navy had Departmental runners so his sensitive mail wasn't entrusted to the Post Office in the first case.

Pepys' old lecturer at Cambridge had been a cypher expert for Cromwell. You can access this book through your local American library

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