Wednesday 11 March 1667/68

Up, and betimes to the office, where busy till 8 o’clock, and then went forth, and meeting Mr. Colvill, I walked with him to his building, where he is building a fine house, where he formerly lived, in Lumbard Street: and it will be a very fine street. Thence walked down to the Three Cranes and there took boat to White Hall, where by direction I waited on the Duke of York about office business, and so by water to Westminster, where walking in the Hall most of the morning, and up to my Lady Jem. in Lincoln’s Inn Fields to get her to appoint the day certain when she will come and dine with me, and she hath appointed Saturday next. So back to Westminster; and there still walked, till by and by comes Sir W. Coventry, and with him Mr. Chichly and Mr. Andrew Newport, I to dinner with them to Mr. Chichly’s, in Queene Street, in Covent Garden. A very fine house, and a man that lives in mighty great fashion, with all things in a most extraordinary manner noble and rich about him, and eats in the French fashion all; and mighty nobly served with his servants, and very civilly; that I was mighty pleased with it: and good discourse. He is a great defender of the Church of England, and against the Act for Comprehension, which is the work of this day, about which the House is like to sit till night. After dinner, away with them back to Westminster, where, about four o’clock, the House rises, and hath done nothing more in the business than to put off the debate to this day month. In the mean time the King hath put out his proclamations this day, as the House desired, for the putting in execution the Act against Nonconformists and Papists, but yet it is conceived that for all this some liberty must be given, and people will have it. Here I met with my cozen Roger Pepys, who is come to town, and hath been told of my performance before the House the other day, and is mighty proud of it, and Captain Cocke met me here to-day, and told me that the Speaker says he never heard such a defence made; in all his life, in the House; and that the Sollicitor-Generall do commend me even to envy. I carried cozen Roger as far as the Strand, where, spying out of the coach Colonel Charles George Cocke, formerly a very great man, and my father’s customer, whom I have carried clothes to, but now walks like a poor sorry sneake, he stopped, and I ’light to him. This man knew me, which I would have willingly avoided, so much pride I had, he being a man of mighty height and authority in his time, but now signifies nothing. Thence home, where to the office a while and then home, where W. Batelier was and played at cards and supped with us, my eyes being out of order for working, and so to bed.


34 Annotations

Christopher Squire  •  Link

Re: ' . . walks like a poor sorry sneake . . ' OED has:

‘sneak, n. 1. a. A sneaking, mean-spirited, paltry, or despicable person; one who acts in a shifty, shabby, or underhand manner.
. . 1677    W. Hughes Man of Sin ii. x. 159   The Devil,‥being baffled, packs away, like a silly Sneak as he was.’

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Colonel Charles George Cocke, formerly a very great man, and my father’s customer, whom I have carried clothes to, but now walks like a poor sorry sneake, he stopped, and I ‘light to him. This man knew me, which I would have willingly avoided, so much pride I had, he being a man of mighty height and authority in his time, but now signifies nothing."

"You there, boy..." No doubt a painful memory...

Still, Fortuna's wheel turns without regard, Sam. I'd beware "so much pride" lest you might one day be "a man of mighty height and authority in his time, but now signifies nothing."

Ralph Berry  •  Link

".....and eats in the French fashion all;"

Any thoughts as to what "the French fashion" was when it came to eating?

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

The French fashion.
I believe this was the startling new idea of serving the courses one after another so that they arrived hot at the table. Normally everything was produced simultaneously and people grabbed any combination they felt like.

Mary  •  Link

The French fashion.

This was to have one's meal served course by course (as we do today) rather than with all the dishes laid upon the table at the same time, for people to pick and choose at what took their fancy and in what order or combination of dishes. This latter fashion persisted well into the 19th century before giving way to the French fashion entirely. (Except, I suppose, for buffet meals, but that's another matter).

Serving a formal meal course by course required the attention of more servants than the all-at-once style if everyone was to be served promptly and this fact alone probably limited its appeal to all but the very comfortably off (or pretentious).

Larry  •  Link

Sic transit gloria mundi, eh Sam? Nothing as sobering as a life lesson with the morning coffee!

JWB  •  Link

"...Colonel Charles George Cocke, formerly a very great man, and my father’s customer,..."

and Thomas Paine's ancestor.

Ralph Berry  •  Link

The French fashion.

Thank you Tony and Mary. Interesting that several asian countries (unless westernised) still serve food in the traditional fashion.

arby  •  Link

As they do sometimes in Kentucky too, Ralph. Shaker Village does, as do some "country" restaurants. And "dinner" at noon for laborers on a farm during harvest is served that way. I'm getting hungry..

pepfie  •  Link

Another sneake.

OED citation for sneak, n. 1.a.: 1668 Pepys Diary 8 Mar., When all is done, he is a sneake; who owns his owing me £10‥and yet cannot provide to pay me.
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/03/08/
So, a Project Gutenberg misscan excepted, Sir Philip is either Wheatley's shirke or Latham & Matthews' sneake.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"He is a great defender of the Church of England, and against the Act for Comprehension, which is the work of this day, about which the House is like to sit till night. After dinner, away with them back to Westminster, where, about four o’clock, the House rises, and hath done nothing more in the business than to put off the debate to this day month."

Commons Journal
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/commons-jrnl/vol…

For the bill:
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/01/20/?c=539…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the King hath put out his proclamations this day, as the House desired, for the putting in execution the Act against Nonconformists and Papists"

Commons Journal
Proclamation against Papists, &c.
Resolved, &c. That Col. Sandys, Sir Thomas Meres, and Sir John Birkenhead, or any Two of them, do attend the Lord Keeper, and desire his Lordship to give Direction, that his Majesty's Proclamation, for putting the Laws in Execution against Papists and Nonconformists, be sent to this House; to the End the same may be delivered to the several Knights of the Shire; who are to take care for the speedy sending down and dispersing the same in the several Counties, Cities, and Boroughs of this Kingdom. http://www.british-history.ac.uk/commons-jrnl/vol…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Here I met with my cozen Roger Pepys, who is come to town"

L&M explain that as a supporter of the comprehension bill, he may have come up for this day's debate.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I to dinner with them to Mr. Chichly’s, in Queene Street, in Covent Garden. A very fine house, and a man that lives in mighty great fashion, with all things in a most extraordinary manner noble and rich about him, and eats in the French fashion all; and mighty nobly served with his servants, and very civilly; that I was mighty pleased with it: and good discourse. "

L&M: Thomas Chicheley was M.P. for Cambridgeshire; later (1670) Master-General of the Ordinance and a knight. He was rich but extravagant, and in 1686 was force to sell his country house in Wimpole, Cambs. Great Queen St was one of the most fashionable quarters of town.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I carried cozen Roger as far as the Strand, where, spying out of the coach Colonel Charles George Cocke,"

L&M: A High Court judge under the Commonwealth. His daughter had on 4 April 1663 attended Pepys's 'stone feast'.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" to Westminster, where, about four o’clock, the House rises, and hath done nothing more in the business than to put off the debate to this day month."

L&M: CJ, ix. 61; reports of debates in Grey, i. 110-15; Milward, pp. 214-22. For the bill see https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/01/20/#c539…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the King hath put out his proclamations this day, as the House desired, for the putting in execution the Act against Nonconformists and Papists,"

L&M: A proclamation enforcing the laws against conventicles, etc. was issued on 10 March: Steele, no 3514.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Here I met with my cozen Roger Pepys, who is come to town,"

L&M: As a supporter of the comprehension bill, he may have come up for this day's debate.

Fougasse  •  Link

'L&M: Thomas Chicheley was M.P. for Cambridgeshire; later (1670) Master-General of the Ordinance and a knight. He was rich but extravagant, and in 1686 was force to sell his country house in Wimpole, Cambs.'

Wimpole still stands and is now owned by the National Trust. Thomas Chicheley demolished the existing ancient manor house in the 1640's and built a splendid new house - parts of this survive in the Wimpole of today.
After his debts forced him to sell the house in 1686, it passed through several noble families and, by 1937, it was rented to Captain and Mrs Bambridge, who bought it in 1942. Elsie Bambridge was Rudyard Kipling's only surviving child. She bequeathed Wimpole to the National Trust on her death in 1976, by which point she was living frugally in only a few of the many rooms. It's been beautifully restored and - if we ever get to visit anywhere ever again - makes a great and fascinating place to visit.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

We have been slightly stumped at this letter from Sir W. Coventry, riffled today from Sam's desk:

-- "Mrs. Pley has written in despair of her assignments at Guildhall, on the Navy tallies; hopes there is not cause for so much despair as she shows; the burning of London cannot go so deep in the Royal Aid (for Guildhall is not concerned in the additional aid) as to hazard her money. Pray (...) inquire how much she is likely to lose." [State Papers No. 81.]

Guildhall is where tallies are paid (Sam has been there a couple times), and we take the reference to the Fire to mean that things aren't so bad that the trivial sums due Mrs. Pley can't be paid. The Royal Aid sounds like a welfare program but appears in other sources as the term for budget appropriations to Offices (e.g. at https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-treasury-bo… and https://www.british-history.ac.uk/commons-jrnl/vo…). The "additional aid" that Guildhall won't deal with is a bit obscure. And Coventry seems to think that poor fidgeting Mrs. Play still won't get the full value of her tallies anyway.

Mrs. Pley doesn't seem to have left another trace, unless she's related to George Pley, a sailcloth maker involved in the contract Sam was espied drafting just a couple days ago, which would be quite a strange coincidence. Amusingly in the html version of the State Papers she is mis-scanned as "Mrs. Pepys" - fancy that. The printed version scanned at https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=gCk5AQAAM… has to be the correct record; hurray for the printed version.

Kew Gardener  •  Link

Just a small correction to the notes above about dining in the French style; this was actually the style of serving all dishes at once. From Wikipedia:

"Service à la française ("service in the French style") is the practice of serving various dishes of a meal at the same time, with the diners largely helping themselves from the serving dishes. That contrasts to service à la russe ("service in the Russian style") in which dishes are brought to the table sequentially and served individually, portioned by servants.

Formal dinners were served à la française from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, but in modern times it has largely been supplanted by service à la russe in restaurants. Service à la française still exists today in the form of the buffet, and remains popular for small and large gatherings in homes, companies etc. It is also similar to the Chinese style of serving used for large groups in many Chinese restaurants."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_%C3%A0_la_f…

Gerald Berg  •  Link

I have not seen an 180 degree turn on an entry interpretation in the annotations until today! Happy weeding Kew.

john  •  Link

L&M disagree with Wikipedia. Under the heading of Food in the Companion is found: The French habit of serving a succession of courses was coming in during the diary period but was adopted by Pepys's household only for grand occasions.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Do we believe two professors who had studied Pepys and the 17th century for years, or Wikipedia?

This article compares the two styles and agrees with Kew Gardener, but note they are discussing 19th century service styles.
https://www.manuscriptcookbookssurvey.org/when-se…

The question is, what was "the French style" in the 17th century? I'm going to take L&M's word for it until I find 17th century evidence to the contrary.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

A dimension seems to be missing in our debate on whether the Service à la Française was a pell-mell buffet of all dishes landing simultaneously, or a sequential affair: It seems it was both. The Académie Française, for instance (at https://www.canalacademie.com/ida8859-Du-service-…) notes that a proper 17-18C dinner came in distinct "waves", starting with (1) hors d’œuvre/appetizers/soups and moving on to, (2) fish/meats in sauce, (3) entremets/roasts/salads, (4) meatpies/vegetables and finally (5) cheese and desserts. So it's a lot more structured and organized than a "buffet" or, indeed, a Chinese meal. Proantic, an antiquarian magazine, notes (in https://www.proantic.com/magazine/lheure-du-soupe…) that from France, or rather from Versailles, also came various show-off inventions such as silverware, china and saucepans. The point of all this, if you're an up-and-coming aristocrat: with each wave comprising four or eight dishes, the whirlwind of dozens to hundreds of dishes required a train of precisely choreographed footmen which were a good way of flaunting your ample means and the dazzling sophistication of your house. It should definitely have worked on Sam, he of the flagons and salt shakers (another modern invention). It also cluttered the table to the point of requiring guests, if they had plates at all, to hold or balance them on their knees.

Admittedly those are not primary sources. Maybe a 17C butler's manual is online somewhere. Slightly later paintings by Jean François de Troy such as "The Oyster Dinner" (1735, visible at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Oyster_Dinner) and (when taken at an extreme) Watteau's "Feast given after the coronation of Louis XV" (1722, https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:FeastCorona…) give an idea of the mess (and fun) this was. Surely England's galleries have even better examples to provide.

And if you couldn't afford all that, why then you weren't dining à la Française, you poor thing. The "Russian style", as it came in the 19th century, was about slightly less theater and flamboyance, room on the table for everyone to have plates and glasses, and meats and fish pre-cut in the kitchen or by a maître-d' on a side table. The secondary sources unhelpfully note that the tradition had already come to France from England before a Russian ambassador to Paris re-introduced it under his flag. We suspect the styles in 1668 were French and Not-French. Not-flamboyant traditions tend to go nameless.

Note that "What is the 'service à la française'" was such a hot topic that the University of Bordeaux had a colloquium with 40 participants about it in 2017 (www.unoeilensalle.fr/quest-ce-que-le-service-a-la…). They concluded it was about being nice to the customer. Historians specializing in the 21st century recall this to have been a key turning point of that obscure period.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

A touch more color on the "waves"' mechanics, as described by the Académie: With each wave, each of the 4-8 dishes in it would come in multiple copies, in plates to be shared by the nearest guests and which may have repeated at a certain interval (so there seemed to be even more). If empty they would be replaced, and after about 20 minutes they would all be removed as the next wave came in. So, assume 100 guests, 5 waves of 8 dishes each to be shared by groups of 20: maybe 200 plates to juggle with. Speed was also of the essence, the sources noting that even grand dinners lasted just around an hour, so on average one plate every 20 seconds. Plus the drinks. Plus the string quartet.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"What is the 'service à la française'" was such a hot topic that the University of Bordeaux had a colloquium with 40 participants about it in 2017.

Thanks for adding that, Stephane. At least we added our confusion to the general mayhem. You are a fount of information.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

They would not need so many tallys if there was more coin available. We've annotated before on the use of tokens from Inns, but here is Rupert's proposal to improve the economy:

[March 11.] 1668
Considerations proposed to Charles II by Prince Rupert and Hen. Howard of Norfolk, for making current farthings;
showing their necessity, the loss and inconvenience by private tokens in case of removals, &c., as appeared in the late fire of London;
also arguments for the model proposed by the Prince, as made of metals of the kingdom and difficult to counterfeit, rather than for farthings of copper, which would be very bulky, and being of intrinsic value, would yield no benefit to the King.
The proposers request to have the making of the farthings on reasonable terms, the Prince having invented the model, and Howard being son and executor of the late Earl of Arundel, who lost a lease of the farthing office for his loyalty.
[Signed, 2 pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 236, No. 77.]

March 11. 1668
Whitehall.
Entry of the above considerations and request,
and reference thereon to the Treasury Commissioners.
[S.P. Dom., Entry Book 18, pp. 291-293.]

March ? 1668
Proposal
to avoid the great disorders arising from the coinage of private tokens, and to meet the necessity for small moneys, by coining farthing tokens of copper of intrinsic value, deducting the expense of coinage, showing the great advantages to be derived there-from;
an officer to be appointed to provide the metal, regulate the quantities coined, and deliver them to the merchants.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 236, No. 78.]

'Charles II: March 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 262-320. British History Online
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers…

I wonder what one of Rupert's farthings would buy? Not much, judging by how much Pepys is paying for lunch these days. I suspect he's documenting the prices because inflation/shortages have hit London hard recently.

Bryan  •  Link

Tokens & Tally Sticks
Tokens and tally sticks were used at the opposite ends of the monetary spectrum.
Tally sticks were a type of financial instrument (something like an IOU) used for large transactions. For example on 24 May 1665 SP mentions "I to Colvill’s, thinking to shew him all the respect we could by obliging him in carrying him 5 tallys of 5000l. to secure him for so much credit he has formerly given Povy to Tangier". https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/05/24/

Tokens were used to overcome the shortage of small denomination coins and had a face value of a penny or less.
More on tokens (including images): Mr. Pepys' Small Change https://c17thlondontokens.com/

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... Captain Cocke met me here to-day, and told me that the Speaker says he never heard such a defence made; in all his life, in the House; and that the Sollicitor-Generall do commend me even to envy."

“There's not a thing on earth that I can name,
So foolish, and so false, as common fame.” – John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester – 1647- 1680

RSGII  •  Link

And how many of us have spoken for three hours to the House, or any other Parliament, that is, or will be, remembered 350 plus years later? Pretty nigh standard to meet.

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