Thursday 16 January 1667/68

Up, after talking with my wife with pleasure, about her learning on the flageolet a month or two again this winter, and all the rest of the year her painting, which I do love, and so to the office, where sat all the morning, and here Lord Anglesey tells us again that a fleete is to be set out; and that it is generally, he hears, said, that it is but a Spanish rhodomontado; and that he saying so just now to the Duke of Albemarle, who come to town last night, after the thing was ordered, he told him a story of two seamen: one wished all the guns of the ship were his, and that they were silver; and says the other, “You are a fool, for, if you can have it for wishing, why do you not wish them gold?” — “So,” says he, “if a rhodomontado will do any good, why do you not say 100 ships?” And it is true; for the Dutch and French are said to make such preparations as 50 sail will do no good. At noon home to dinner with my gang of clerks, in whose society I am mightily pleased, and mightily with Mr. Gibson’s talking; he telling me so many good stories relating to the warr and practices of commanders, which I will find a time to recollect; and he will be an admirable help to my writing a history of the Navy, if ever I do. So to the office, where busy all the afternoon and evening, and then home. My work this night with my clerks till midnight at the office was to examine my list of ships I am making for myself and their dimensions, and to see how it agrees or differs from other lists, and I do find so great a difference between them all that I am at a loss which to take, and therefore think mine to be as much depended upon as any I can make out of them all. So little care there has been to this day to know or keep any history of the Navy.

10 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

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

Ian: 16. 1667/8. The curator produced the new weather glasses one open the other close for obseruing the various pressures of the air at sea in order to predict alterations of weather. had he was ordered to see an other made very accurately to be recommended to some carefull seaman to be carried to sea & to make obseruations therewith.

The same produced a module of his New Cider Engine wth. a Addition of a contriuance of cutting the apples, this the curator was desired
to Consider of & to indeauour to adde it to this contriuance (Ld Brereton that Dryd fruit being fermented with water would yeald as much liquor and as strong as the Iuice of new fruit & that 6ll of Raisons fermented wth a Gallon of water would make a drink as strong as sack and keep good a 12 month [In margin]+

The Curator produced his new contriuance of promoting the Vibrations of pendules soe as to preuent all checks which he affirmed they haue been prouided against by noe Inuention hitherto he was desired by Ld Barkley to haue such a one made for him. & by the Society to bring in as soon as he could the Descript & shcemes of this Instruments as well as of the other two produced before vizt. sea weather glasses & syder Engine.

Mr. Townley desired to haue somewt grauen on the micrometer Vt Ricardus Townly dono dedit Regiae Society Die 2 Ian: 1667. order was giuen to the curator to see this desire fulfilld

(Colepresse Letter about tides. Slate of Cornwall) Allens account of Hermaphrodite) about French History of Royall Society. Expt. for N.D. shining fish and wood. Horse eyes for finding the cause of blindness of horses.)…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

What a pity Bess' work hasn't survived. On the other hand, perhaps it sits in some forgotten collection waiting to be found.


"'Jones. Men will kill for it...Men like you and me.' Well?..."

"I don't know Bess...I doubt an 'Indiana Jones and the Lost Works of Elisabeth Pepys' will find a major audience."

(Spoiler...Yeah I know, it probably all burned with the Seething Lane house in '73. But one can hope...No one thought they'd ever find that film of "Metropolis" with most of the missing footage.)

Of course while we're wishing...How about a Diary and collection of literary works by Elisabeth Pepys, 150 ships for Sam and his navy, world peace, and a pony.

arby  •  Link

Or a coach.

john  •  Link

"to my writing a history of the Navy, if ever I do."


Grahamt  •  Link

Better than that; from our perspective, he changed the history of the Navy.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

Right. I've read somewhere that naval historians regard the diary as a minor embarrassment, a youthful indiscretion on the part of the greatest architect of the Royal Navy.

Christopher Squire  •  Link

' . . Pepys had long intended to compile a naval history . . The scale of the proposed work gradually lengthened, and many books and notes were acquired with this distant prospect in view. Enforced leisure from 1679 to 1684 had allowed for further research, Evelyn providing much arcane knowledge from his own store. Pepys's renewed leisure, ample means, and reasonable health during the 1690s seemed likely to generate the great work, but it never came. The Memoires of 1690 were his only publication. The subsequently printed Naval Minutes, a commonplace book of matters historical and contemporary, gives some hint of the scope though not the arrangement of Pepys's intended survey.

. . His name was not forgotten in the navy, where many of his ‘establishments’ and administrative practices remained in use into Nelson's era and beyond; Barham in particular spoke highly of him. It was known that his library was rich in maritime history and other scholarly matters, but that it might contain more was unsuspected.

The seemingly impenetrable shorthand of the six volumes marked ‘journal’ discouraged examination until . . the successful publication of Evelyn's diary (1818) prompted Magdalene to have Pepys's manuscript deciphered . . ' [DNB]

Glyn  •  Link

Click on the link for a highly respected recent history of the navy from the 1600s to the 1800s - our lad gets numerous approving mentions.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

If I recall correctly, Tomalin has a theory that Pepys' failure to write a history of the Navy may have contributed to his decision to leave the Dairy in with the other volumes he contributed to Cambridge (after he re-read the Diary during a spot of bad health in the '90s, and realized what an accomplishment it was). Thank goodness for us that he did!

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