Saturday 18 April 1668

(Saturday). Up, and my bookseller brought home books, bound — the binding comes to 17s.
Advanced to my maid Bridget 1l.
Sir W. Pen at the Office, seemingly merry. Do hear this morning that Harman is committed by the Parliament last night, the day he come up, which is hard; but he took all upon himself first, and then when a witness come in to say otherwise, he would have retracted; and the House took it so ill, they would commit him. Thence home to dinner with my clerks, and so to White Hall by water, 1s.
and there a short Committee for Tangier, and so I to the King’s playhouse, 1s.
and to the play of the “Duke of Lerma,” 2s. 6d.
and oranges, 1s.
Thence by coach to Westminster, 1s.
and the House just up, having been about money business, 1s.
So home by coach, 3s.
calling in Duck Lane, and did get Des Cartes’ Musique in English, and so home and wrote my letters, and then to my chamber to save my eyes, and to bed.

16 Annotations

First Reading

Carl in Boston  •  Link

and oranges ... 1shilling. Sam eats oranges often at the theater, and I suppose fruit was readily available on the mainland. Not so on the British ships, where scurvy was rampant from lack of fruit and vitamin C. Eventually the sailors were issued limes for fruit, and scurvy was reduced. The sailors became "limeys".

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"You seem merry Admiral Sir Will?"

"How could I not be?...I'm cleared by the Parliament thanks to the Coventrys, there's a song in my heart, and Pepys is to be impeached tomorrow in my place...He having spent the past month trumpetting loud and long to all and sundry that he is the Naval Office. Poor me, just a fightin' man with no head for such things."

djc  •  Link

Not Limes but lemons were an effective cure for scurvy.


"Scurvy had been the leading killer of sailors on long ocean voyages; some ships experienced losses as high as 90% of their men. With the introduction of lemon juice, the British suddenly held a massive strategic advantage over their rivals, one they put to good use in the Napoleonic wars. British ships could now stay out on blockade duty for two years at a time, strangling French ports even as the merchantmen who ferried citrus to the blockading ships continued to die of scurvy, prohibited from touching the curative themselves.

The success of lemon juice was so total that much of Sicily was soon transformed into a lemon orchard for the British fleet. Scurvy continued to be a vexing problem in other navies, who were slow to adopt citrus as a cure, as well as in the Merchant Marine, but for the Royal Navy it had become a disease of the past.
So when the Admiralty began to replace lemon juice with an ineffective substitute in 1860, it took a long time for anyone to notice. In that year, naval authorities switched procurement from Mediterranean lemons to West Indian limes. The motives for this were mainly colonial - it was better to buy from British plantations than to continue importing lemons from Europe. Confusion in naming didn't help matters. Both "lemon" and "lime" were in use as a collective term for citrus, and though European lemons and sour limes are quite different fruits, their Latin names (citrus medica, var. limonica and citrus medica, var. acida) suggested that they were as closely related as green and red apples. Moreover, as there was a widespread belief that the antiscorbutic properties of lemons were due to their acidity, it made sense that the more acidic Caribbean limes would be even better at fighting the disease.

In this, the Navy was deceived. Tests on animals would later show that fresh lime juice has a quarter of the scurvy-fighting power of fresh lemon juice."

nix  •  Link

Lemons rather than limes? I'll have to reformulate my daily tot of grog.

Brian  •  Link

"Harman is committed by the Parliament last night"

Committed where--to the Tower by an angry Parliament?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"'Harman is committed by the Parliament last night'

Committed where—to the Tower by an angry Parliament?"

Or maybe Bedlam...For "...[taking] it all upon himself..."?

I'm reminded of that great Wild Wild West episode with the marvellous Anthony Zerbe as a little clerk/assistant who would be shadow dictator of first a territory and then, America... "It was me!!! It was me!!!"

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Yesterday in Grey's Debates:

Sir John Harman, upon recollection (having been in the Lobbey, and discoursed with this Sumpter, his servant, the sumes of his disorder being pretty well abated) said,] That Mr Brunkard used the Duke's name, in a commanding way, that he should slack sail.

[Mr Brunkard was allowed till Tuesday the 21st to make his Answer, and Sir John Harman, for prevaricating in his evidence, was ordered into custody.]…

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"to the play of the “Duke of Lerma,” 2s. 6d."

I.e. for a seat in the pit. (L&M)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"calling in Duck Lane, and did get Des Cartes’ Musique in English"

L&M: Lord Brouncker's translation of Descartes' Compendium: Renatus Des-Cartes excellent compendium of musick: with...animadversions thereupon. By a Person of Honour.(1653). Not in the PL. Pepys bought the original on 3 April…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Do hear this morning that Harman is committed by the Parliament last night, the day he come up, which is hard; but he took all upon himself first, and then when a witness come in to say otherwise, he would have retracted; and the House took it so ill, they would commit him."

L&M: CJ, ix. 82. This was in the course of the enquiry into the escape of the Dutch fleet after the battle of Lowestoft, June 1665. Harman had at first concealed from the Commons the fact that he knew the order to slacken sail was given to him in the Duke of York's name. His evidence was contradictory: he was said to have sat up the night before with his ship's company 'and was scarce sober . . . he looked disorderly': Grey, i. 140 n. He was acquitted and discharged on the 21st: CJ, ix. 86. See also Milward, p. 252; Marvell, ii. 72. Sandwich kept copies of Harman's examination and his answers: Sandwich MSS, App. ff. 188+.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Meanwhile, the press is having difficulties finding enough men to man this summer's diminished fleet:

April 18. 1668
Rich. Watts to Williamson.

Some seamen belonging to the service pressed a fiddling boy on Deal beach to go to sea with them;
the boy pretended he belonged to the marching company of yellow coats of Deal Castle;
but having nothing to show for it, they took his fiddle away, and were going to carry him also, when some soldiers fell upon the seamen, and in a little time all the seamen and soldiers were together by the ears;
many swords were drawn, and as many handspikes and boathooks, and before the town officers could come in, many pates were broken.
Several soldiers’ swords were taken away, but the officers’ diligence ended the quarrel.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 238, No. 141.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Hewer, deal with this ... I've got some important manuals to read":

April 18. 1668
The Sweepstakes
Capt. Fras. Courtenay to the Navy Commissioners.
Desires they will cause Ralph Goldsmith of Redriffe,
formerly a commander for the Barbados,
to deliver up 4l. 12s. and some clothes belonging to Rich. Boyle;
Goldsmith keeps them because Boyle, now entered on the Sweepstakes, will not go with him again.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 238, No. 136.]

April 18. 1668
Stroud. —–––– to Sam. Pepys.
Col. Middleton has promised the searcher’s place in Plymouth to John Fowler of our town;
we cannot give a good character of him; he is a thievish, drunken, idle fellow, and a thief both to King and country;
Goodman Nashby took 8l. worth of cordage from him at one time, and they shared it between them;
the boatswain of the Guelder de Ruyter sold the cordage and tar, and sent it to London.
I hope you will accept an honest man who has been recommended for the employment.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 238, No. 137.]

April 18. 1668
The Greenwich,
Buoy of the Nore.
Capt. Rich. Beach to the Navy Commissioners.
Is fully manned and has been ready to sail these 6 days, but his dry provision has lain aboard the vessels this week, and the masters will not bring it down without ready money;
asks them to hasten it.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 238, No. 138.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

James Butler, Lord Lt. of Ireland, probably spent part of the day with his accountants. (see tomorrow)

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

We think quite extraordinary this letter which Allin writes to Williamson today:

April 18. The Monmouth, Downs. Sir Thos. Allin to Williamson.
Thanks for his news. Your letters are taxed as high as if they came 100 miles, which will break me if I stay long here. When I rode admiral in the Downs, in Mr. O’Neal’s days, I had my letters free. I beg that letters passing between me and my correspondent, Edw. Pate, merchant of London, who receives all my letters from ships, may go free. I am not beholden to the packet-boat, my own boat carrying and bringing what I have. I paid 4d. for a letter which never was but 2d., and 1s. 4d. for a treble letter; my salary will not allow payments at these rates. [S.P. Dom., Car. II. 238, No. 143.]

Leave aside that Allin's salary "will not allow payments" that Sam flings about daily on oranges at the theater. But Allin is, as we know, an admiral and the main fleet commander in the Channel, where he's the one to deal with Capt. De la Roche, the other French, the Dutch, the Ostenders, and whatnot. Williamson is secretary to Arlington and serves as the government's human switchboard. When these two trade letters, it's not likely to be poetry. Maybe Williamson "his news" is the Gazette, but the triplicate letters Allin then mentions look like his official mail, and beside if someone needs the Gazette it's him. So Allin is telling us (1) he has to pay for his communications, or at least their overland portion, and (2) they move through nothing so official as "Edw. Pate, merchant of London, who receives all my letters from ships". Allin could swallow it as one of the costs of his charge, and pillage some French prize to make it up, except it's not the way anymore. He doesn't think it normal either. Sam certainly doesn't seem to pay or to rely on a friendly merchant for the Office's mail.

Liz  •  Link

Can’t understand the eating of oranges at the theatre. Messy business at the best of times!

Third Reading

Trevor M Randall  •  Link

Can’t understand the eating of oranges at the theatre.

In Sam’s case he may have been more interested in the procurement than the consumption…well, the oranges at least.

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