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.

9 Annotations

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.]…

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

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