Saturday 4 January 1667/68

Up, and there to the office, where we sat all the morning; at noon home to dinner, where my clerks and Mr. Clerke the sollicitor with me, and dinner being done I to the office again, where all the afternoon till late busy, and then home with my mind pleased at the pleasure of despatching my business, and so to supper and to bed, my thoughts full, how to order our design of having some dancing at our house on Monday next, being Twelfth-day.

It seems worth remembering that this day I did hear my Lord Anglesey at the table, speaking touching this new Act for Accounts, say that the House of Lords did pass it because it was a senseless, impracticable, ineffectual, and foolish Act; and that my Lord Ashly having shown this that it was so to the House of Lords, the Duke of Buckingham did stand up and told the Lords that they were beholden to my Lord Ashly, that having first commended them for a most grave and honourable assembly, he thought it fit for the House to pass this Act for Accounts because it was a foolish and simple Act: and it seems it was passed with but a few in the House, when it was intended to have met in a grand Committee upon it. And it seems that in itself it is not to be practiced till after this session of Parliament, by the very words of the Act, which nobody regarded, and therefore cannot come in force yet, unless the next meeting they do make a new Act for the bringing it into force sooner; which is a strange omission. But I perceive my Lord Anglesey do make a mere laughing-stock of this Act, as a thing that can do nothing considerable, for all its great noise.


12 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ossory to Ormond
Written from: [London]
Date: 4 January 1668

The King appears to bestow great favour and trust upon the Duke of Buckingham, who takes part in all the secret Councils, and treats with all the foreign Ministers. Sir William Coventry's credit appears to be diminished, as well by his non-attendance at one of the Chief debates for prosecuting Clarendon as by the great addresses he makes to the Duke of York, which give offence to "the violent party, now most prevalent, and looked upon as meritorious for pursuing Clarendon".

Notices various matters of personal talk at Court, and in town.

http://www.rsl.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/projects/cart…

A. Fagin  •  Link

Wow, what an incredible description of the discussion of this Act. Fast forward to 2011 and we might be reading the same about today's American congress. Perhaps all politicians.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

On the twelfth day of Christmas my husband gave to me...A roomful of dancers, groping guests to avoid, rival ladies to frown at, his jealousy to fend off, angry servants to deal with, invitations to send, a feast to prepare, shopping to do, an old gown to dress up, a house to cleanup, his worries about Parliament to comfort, and no diamond locket to replace Will Hew-er's

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"it seems it was passed with but a few in the House, when it was intended to have met in a grand Committee upon it."

On 18 December 1667 it had been remitted to a select committee instead of to a Committee of the Whole: LJ, XII. 175-6. (L&M note)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"And it seems that in itself it is not to be practiced till after this session of Parliament, by the very words of the Act, which nobody regarded, and therefore cannot come in force yet, unless the next meeting they do make a new Act for the bringing it into force sooner; which is a strange omission."

L&M: A mistake; the Committee began work later in this month:
https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/01/22/

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"House of Lords did pass it because it was a senseless, impracticable, ineffectual, and foolish Act; and that my Lord Ashly having shown this that it was so to the House of Lords, the Duke of Buckingham did stand up and told the Lords that they were beholden to my Lord Ashly, that having first commended them for a most grave and honourable assembly, he thought it fit for the House to pass this Act for Accounts because it was a foolish and simple Act: and it seems it was passed with but a few in the House, when it was intended to have met in a grand Committee upon it."

Anthony Ashley-Cooper and George Villiers play the House of Lords for fools; so they do not protect Charles II and James from this very personal investigation.

Why on earth does Anglesey think nothing will come of these extensive enquiries? They've evicted the Lord Chancellor already.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

The mailbag delivered to the Office today contained the usual chaos ("I couldn't keep my appointment 'coz I was arrested by this guy who was a prisoner on my ship when we were forced to the coast of Guinea", &c., &c.) and this letter personally to Sam:

From St. John Steventon, clerk of the cheque, in Portsmouth, January 4: (...) Most of the Milford's men, despairing of pay, have left the ship without license; but having marked them as runaway, they begin to return. Asks whether to re-enter them, or continue them by removing the R, and only checking them for the absent time.

The "R" mark of infamy on the roster... How do you remove it, truly? A strike of the quill would still leave it visible. An eraser will leave a tell-tale Abrasion. Gotta burn the whole book, is what.

And more reports of Theft of Ropes, of course. Ropes and cables are an incredibly hot commodity, ropeyards strategic facilities to be protected or broken into, a rope stolen from the ship something worth informing Westminster and a crime to be sternly punished. Sam has enjoyed this from the hemp-side but, ah, if ropes could talk...

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Entertaining as your writing is, Stephane, please would you include the links so we can judge your interpretations for ourselves? Thanks.

But your question on how to remove an ink R made with a quill was a challenge.

Maybe it wasn't an ink R?

Maybe St.John Steventon, clerk of the cheque in Portsmouth, used primitive pencils?

Facts are obscure when we go back 600 years, but we know that when a tree fell over in Borrowdale, Cumberland, people noticed that under that tree was an igneous rock layer with protruding veins of a dark gray metallic-looking substance. The locals thought it looked just like lead. But this was pure carbon. It was graphite.

They found the new material made a darker mark on paper than lead, which had been used in styluses since Roman times. So they called it black lead.

People cut the graphite into chunks and put it into sticks that could be used to write. They wrapped the sticks in paper or string and sold them on the street. This new tool was called the pencil (derived from pencillum, the Latin for a fine brush).

In the early 1600s it is thought a woodworker in Keswick had the idea of enclosing this black lead in wood. A rectangular wooden stick was chopped in half lengthwise. A groove was cut into one of the halves to make room for a slim stick of black lead. The three pieces were then glued together. The result was a rectangular writing implement and the world's first real wooden pencil.

These new wood casing, probably made from cedar, could be carved and sharpened with a knife as the black lead shortened. Thus the phrase "sharpen your pencil".

But soon "black lead" became valuable — it is also an ingredient in cannonballs. The English government wanted its cut, so it took control of the Borrowdale black lead deposit and set up mines with notoriously strict oversight; workers were searched at the end of each day to prevent stealing. (I'm guessing this was the Civil Wars era.)

By 1752, the government passed a law declaring the theft of black lead a felony.

Black lead/graphite deposits were found in Europe, but the English mines produced the hardest and darkest black lead in the world. England became the leading pencil and graphite producer.

The government made rigorous efforts to conserve its black lead/graphite supply, only mining for about 6 weeks every 5 years to avoid extracting too much, according to Henry Petroski's The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance.

By the late 1700s, the old-fashioned lead-alloy stylus was hardly used. Other than the pen (more elegance and permanent), black lead pencils became the writing tool of choice.
https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/a2156…

Now to investigate the other half of the question: erasing the R.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

People have always tried to correct mistakes made while writing, long before the eraser was invented.

To remove marks from the paper, originally they used tablets of rubber or wax.

To remove ink from parchment or papyrus they used bits of rough stone like sandstone or pumice.

In Japan, they used soft bread.

It was not until 1770 that a natural rubber made from plants was found to be an eraser. That was the year, Edward Nairne, an English engineer, picked up a piece of rubber and discovered that it can erase pencil markings.

He started selling rubbers -- until then known as “gum elastic” or “caoutchouc” -- and the name 'rubber' came from the act of rubbing, and was given to the “gum elastic” or “caoutchouc” somewhere between 1770 and 1778.

This kind of eraser didn’t work well: it crumbled when used and in time disintegrated, it was sensitive to weather conditions, and worst of all, it smelled awful.

The solution to these problems came in 1839 when Charles Goodyear invented the method of curing the rubber - vulcanization.

So the answer to Stephane's question seems to be that St. John Steventon scrubbed his graphite R with some wax.
http://www.historyofpencils.com/writing-instrumen…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

We have evidence that Pepys used a pencil in 1665:

"3 Albemarle. He had written to E on 9 October (see A4 note 6), advising E about where to collect money and also to instruct him to forward an enclosure to Brouncker and Mennes. It is probable that this is what is referred to here. The MS also bears, by the address, a pencilled note (by E?) ‘with to read’. P went to see Albemarle on 13 October (diary)."

https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/10/12/#c260…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Maybe it's not Pepys on second thoughts ... might be John Evelyn? Anyways, for those who could afford them, pencils were in. I think they were sold on the street along with oranges.

Deep Thought  •  Link

And 600 years on, pencils are still made in Keswick, the market town just up the road from Borrowdale in England's lake district
https://www.derwentart.com/en-gb/c/about/company/…

Growing up in the UK in the 60's Lakeland was the name of the leading brand of pencils. Every kid would have a set of the colouring pencils as a birthday present at some time.
Now, from San Diego Sarah's post, I know why.
Thanks

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