Wednesday 12 February 1667/68

Up, and to the office, where all the morning drawing up my narrative of my proceedings and concernments in the buying of prize-goods, which I am to present to the Committee for Accounts; and being come to a resolution to conceal nothing from them, I was at great ease how to draw it up without any inventions or practise to put me to future pain or thoughts how to carry on, and now I only discover what my profit was, and at worst I suppose I can be made but to refund my profit and so let it go. At noon home to dinner, where Mr. Jackson dined with me, and after dinner I (calling at the Excise Office, and setting my wife and Deb. at her tailor’s) did with Mr. Jackson go to find my cozen Roger Pepys, which I did in the Parliament House, where I met him and Sir Thomas Crew and Mr. George Montagu, who are mighty busy how to save my Lord’s name from being in the Report for anything which the Committee is commanded to report to the House of the miscarriages of the late war. I find they drive furiously still in the business of tickets, which is nonsense in itself and cannot come to any thing. Thence with cozen Roger to his lodgings, and there sealed the writings with Jackson, about my sister’s marriage: and here my cozen Roger told me the pleasant passage of a fellow’s bringing a bag of letters to-day, into the lobby of the House, and left them, and withdrew himself without observation. The bag being opened, the letters were found all of one size, and directed with one hand: a letter to most of the Members of the House. The House was acquainted with it, and voted they should be brought in, and one opened by the Speaker; wherein if he found any thing unfit to communicate, to propose a Committee to be chosen for it. The Speaker opening one, found it only a case with a libell in it, printed: a satire most sober and bitter as ever I read; and every letter was the same. So the House fell a-scrambling for them like boys: and my cozen Roger had one directed to him, which he lent me to read. So away, and took up my wife, and setting Jackson down at Fetter Lane end, I to the old Exchange to look Mr. Houblon, but, not finding him, did go home, and there late writing a letter to my Lord Sandwich, and to give passage to a letter of great moment from Mr. Godolphin to him, which I did get speedy passage for by the help of Mr. Houblon, who come late to me, and there directed the letter to Lisbon under cover of his, and here we talked of the times, which look very sad and distracted, and made good mirth at this day’s passage in the House, and so parted; and going to the gate with him, I found his lady and another fine lady sitting an hour together, late at night, in their coach, while he was with me, which is so like my wife, that I was mighty taken with it, though troubled for it. So home to supper and to bed. This day Captain Cocke was with the Commissioners of Accounts to ask more time for his bringing in his answer about the prize goods, and they would not give him 14 days as he asks, but would give only two days, which was very hard, I think, and did trouble me for fear of their severity, though I have prepared my matter so as to defy it.


19 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"it only a case with a libell in it, printed: a satire most sober and bitter as ever I read; and every letter was the same. So the House fell a-scrambling for them like boys: and my cozen Roger had one directed to him, which he lent me to read."

L&M say this was probably "Vox et lacrimae Anglorum: or The True Englishman's complaints to their representatives in parliament, humbly tendered to their serious consideration at their next sitting", dated 6 February. "It complained of everything from heavy taxation to the King's mistresses, and called for the abolition of monopolies, the relief of debtors, encouragement of husbandry, and justice against 'perfidious Clarendon'. A committee was appointed the following day to discover the author, printerand publisher..., but nothing seems to have come of it."

The 16-page pamphlet of verse has since been identified as a posthumous work of George Wither. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Wither
http://search2.library.utoronto.ca/UTL/index?N=0&…

---

Michael Robinson  •  Link

" The bag being opened, the letters were found all of one size, and directed with one hand: a letter to most of the Members of the House. ... The Speaker opening one, found it only a case with a libell in it, printed: a satire most sober and bitter as ever I read; and every letter was the same. "

L&M suggest this was:
[Wither, George, 1588-1667.]
Vox & lacrimæ Anglorum: or, The true English--mens complaints, to their representatives in Parliament. Humbly tendred to their serious consideration at their next sitting, February the 6th. 1667/8.
[London? : s.n.], Printed in the year 1668.
8vo, 16 p. ; In verse. Place of publication conjectured by Wing.
Wing (CD-Rom, 1996), W3208A
reprinted, "The second edition, with marginal remarks explaining the historical passages." Wing (CD-ROM, 1996), W3209
No copy of either edition in the PL.

It complained of everything from heavy taxation to the King's mistresses, and called for the abolition of monopolies, the relief of debtors, encouragement of husbandry, and justice against 'perfidious Clarendon.'

Spoiler. A committee was appointed the following day to discover author, printer and publisher, but nothing substantial resulted.

Mary  •  Link

"which is so like my wife that I was mighty taken with it, though troubled for it."

I think that Sam is saying that he was mighty taken with the likeness to his wife, but troubled that Houblon's wife was left waiting in her coach, in the dark, in an unfamiliar street (albeit with a companion). i.e. the first "it" refers to the likeness and the second "it" to her uncomfortable situation. However, it's not absolutely clear whether it is Mrs. Houblon or the fine lady who bears the striking resemblance to Elizabeth.

It's not the best constructed sentence that he has ever written.

Phoenix  •  Link

"I found his lady and another fine lady sitting an hour together, late at night, in their coach, while he was with me, which is so like my wife, that I was mighty taken with it, though troubled for it."

I read it as Pepys recognising in a stranger a situation common with Elizabeth, that is waiting patiently and uncomfortably (if not late at night in a coach - but who knows?) to be driven home while he is ostensibly doing business. Seeing it in another is a troubling reminder of his own behaviour.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I think I agree Houblon's wife's patient waiting reminded him uncomfortably of Bess'. More so perhaps that Houblon, though perhaps inconsiderate, was not,despite a naturally sophisticated, elegant manner that Sam so much aspires to, up to anything.

Spoiler...

Sam and Sarah Houblon are destined to become great friends...Interesting that he sees something of Bess in her.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I see another trip to Unthankes in the near future...Perhaps even something a bit more substantial in the Bessie's gift department. There is an honest sincerity in Sam's love for Bess that is very touching at times, despite his behavior at other times. I suspect there are many who, in the privacy of a personal diary, would reveal quite a bit less real feeling toward a spouse or supposed loved one despite an outward show of emotion or care.

Mary  •  Link

ladies in waiting.

Phoenix and Robert's interpretations are certainly plausible. My only cavil is that Elizabeth is usually left waiting for Sam somewhere that she might well enjoy spending time - Unthankes, The New Exchange or perhaps with her parents or friends. (She and Sam did miss one another at the theatre the other day, but that was scarcely a matter of neglect). I don't recall that she has ever been left hanging around at a late hour outside someone else's house in the dark on a cold, February night.

Of course, she waits for Sam for hours to come home to dinner, supper or what you will, but that's another matter.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The madcap Commons

Too bad Grey's Debates aren't begun this month until a brief entry for tomorrow.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I wondered why Mrs Houblon and her companion din't come into Sam's house and sit with Bess and be entertained (wine, biscuits?) whilst the men did their business. I assume that the "take up my wife" meant Sam brought her home. Was it that Mr H said the 17thc equivalent of "I'll be 5 minutes" to the ladies and then Sam and he got chatting and the time went on to be an hour? The coachman was probably discreetly armed with a cosh (sand-filled leather walloper) in case of muggers, but yes, not very pleasant to be left to chit chat (no light to do anything else) for an hour.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Thence with cozen Roger to his lodgings, and there sealed the writings with Jackson, about my sister’s marriage:"

L&M: Abstract (12 February) in Magd. Coll. Jackson MSS 1: between John Jackson on the one part and John Pepys, sen., and Samuel Pepys on the other.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

We are advised from Plymouth this day (by https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=gCk5AQAAM…) that two French men-of-war departed from Looe and Fowey in Cornwall, having taken 160 soldiers, and then "dealt rudely" with some English vessels. Odd but... No. We disgress. Ships come and ships go, 'tis as ordinary as the French being insolent. Surely nothing larger will come from the incident. Pray forgive the interruption.

Scube  •  Link

Looking for a spoiler: Must our noble hero give up his hard(ly) earned prize money? Suspense is killing me.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Since I don't want you to check out permanently, Scube, I suggest going to the SEARCH bar, type in PRIZE and hit GO.

That'll bring up a nugget from every mention of a prize in the Diary, with a link to the day. Pay attention to just the nuggets dated from here out, and select the days that seems likely until you find out. Please do not post the answer. (After the last 4 years, my tolerance for dealing with politically-motivated stress is incredibly high.)

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

L&M suggest the bag of "letters" was a post-humous pamphlet from George Wither.

"George Wither, Wither also spelled Withers (born June 11, 1588, Bentworth, Hampshire, Eng. — died May 2, 1667, London), English poet and Puritan pamphleteer, best remembered for a few songs and hymns." -- The Brittanica

Wither was a man of his times; hard to measure after 400 years. In the 1620's he waged a long campaign against the Stationers' Company trying to establish copyright principles. He and King James worked in a friendly competition on a book of Psalms, and Princess Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia was an early sponsor and gave him jewels and plate. He started writing prophesies in the 1620's, and continued until his death in May 1667. Cromwell gave him the keys to his personal library. He was one of the 11 officials who disposed of the Court artworks, and was the caretaker of Charles I's personal library for a time. He was an officer in the Parliamentary Army, and garrisoned Farnham Castle until ordered to abandon it. He was constantly writing pamphlets and commentaries on how to do things better, and was considered a Leveller. He paced the halls of the House of Commons for years, submitting ideas. He was in an out of the Tower, sometimes rich for years at a time, but more often living in the Savoy to avoid his creditors.

The Britannica quote above shows they have a poor idea of his importance:
The https://www.britannica.com/biography/George-Wither

But the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has a long biography of George Wither and the influence of his writing, pointing out that extracts from his prophetic works were reprinted during the 1680s, finding a new audience with the Glorious Revolution of 1688–9, in collections such as Richard Baxter's Poetical Fragments (1681) where he praised ‘Honest George Withers’ for his popular prophecies and ‘plain Country-honesty’.
These qualities were condemned by John Dryden in his Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1668).
In Jonathan Swift's 'Battle of the Books' and Alexander Pope's 'Martinus Scriblerus and Dunciad', Wither's name became synonymous with the popular press and religious enthusiasm.
Among Wither's early biographers it was Aubrey who displayed sympathy towards George Wither.
Thomas Percy's inclusion of ‘Shall I wasting in despair’ and extracts from 'Faire-Virtue in Reliques of Ancient English Poetry' (1765) sparked a Wither revival. Admirers included Charles Lamb, Robert Southey, Samuel Coleridge, and John Clare.
Lamb's essay ‘The Poetical Works of George Wither’ recuperated Wither as a forebear to the Romantic poets.
Coleridge praised the ‘nobler principles, and profounder truths’ of 'Vox pacifica' in his 'On the Constitution of the Church and State'.
http://www.oxforddnb.com/public/lotw/3.html
(You need a subscription)

He doesn't sound like a Puritan hack of a few songs to me.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys had a copy of a George Wither book about the 1625 plague in his Library. I suspect Pepys liked what he read.

The 1625 plague in London provided inspirational for Wither's ‘Historie of the pestilence’ (MS 1999, Pepys Library, Magdalene College) which was presented as a New Year's gift to King Charles in 1626.

The plague experience of 1625, also appeared in Wither's 1628 'Britain's Remembrancer', a voluminous poem on the subject, interspersed with denunciations of the wickedness of the times, and prophecies of the disasters about to fall upon England. It reflects on nature of poetry and prophecy, explores the fault lines in politics, and rejects tyranny of the sort the king was denounced for fostering.

It took over two years for Wither to print 'Britain's Remembrancer' (1628). The preface describes how he had to print each sheet with his own hand ‘because I could not get allowance to do it publikely’, and it was published without a licence and sold by John Grismond, one of the ‘friendly’ stationers.

These difficulties are usually ascribed to Wither's quarrel with the Stationers' Company, but it may also have been his determination to witness the truth that caused problems with the authorities:
John Eyre in a letter dated June 1640 recalled that when 'Britain's Remembrancer' came out it ‘was then and still is, forbid the press’.

'Britain's Remembrancer' has vivid descriptions of the effect of plague on the life of Londoners. Yet it was its prophetic dimension that secured its immediate popularity. George Wither later claimed that at least 4,000 copies of the first impression were published and that soon afterwards ‘Some eminent persons’ tried to secure for him ‘the office of their City Remembrancer, then void … though it took not effect’.
Its prophecies were still being reprinted in the late 17th century.

Prophecy enabled Wither to comprehend his personal circumstances in terms of a broader historical pattern. From the start he styled himself as an Old Testament scourge righteously denouncing the reprobate.

This voice was subtly modified after his first imprisonment, when Wither started to adopt the role of Protestant martyr, drawn out of John Foxe's 'Actes and Monuments, who boldly speaks the truth in the face of persecution by corrupt and hostile authorities and exults in his own punishment and suffering'.

His style of prophetic works is fluid and discursive, and has an immediacy which gives the impression the author is reacting to events as they are unfolding and speaking to an audience which is similarly politically engaged. His prophecies are directed at a wide social spectrum, reaching out even to ‘those illiterate persons, whose Voices are, usually, given by an implicit faith’.

http://www.oxforddnb.com/public/lotw/3.html
(You need a subscription)

john  •  Link

"at worst I suppose I can be made but to refund my profit and so let it go."

I wonder how much Elizabeth is aware of the Committee for Accounts.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"I wonder how much Elizabeth is aware of the Committee for Accounts."

My guess is quite a lot ... in a couple of days she'll probably get a nice Valentine's Day gift from Pepys to quietly hide away in her vanity next to her pearls and watch.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Quietly ...

Feb. 12. 1668
Margate.
John Smith to Williamson.

The colliers are all gone northward;

the yacht that carries Sir John Trevor for Dieppe has gone by.

One of his Majesty’s hawks, with his name, arms, &c., was taken up on the island at Minster by Edw. Harnett.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 234, No. 161.]

@@@

Feb. 9. 1668
Request to Williamson
to get signed a passport for 12 horses which Charles II is sending into France to Sir [John] Trevor, to present them to Marquis Turenne.
They have already left London, and will embark at Rye.
[French. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 234, No. 122.]

@@@

I wonder if Sir John Trevor embarked from Rye with the horses? That would explain why he is going to Dieppe.
https://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/5855/#c55…

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