Thursday 14 May 1668

Up, and to the office, where we sat all the morning, and at noon home to dinner with my people, but did not stay to dine out with them, but rose and straight by water to the Temple, and so to Penny’s, my tailor’s, where by and by by agreement Mercer, and she, to my great content, brings Mrs. Gayet, and I carried them to the King’s house; but, coming too soon, we out again to the Rose taverne, and there I did give them a tankard of cool drink, the weather being very hot, and then into the playhouse again, and there saw “The Country Captain,” a very dull play, that did give us no content, and besides, little company there, which made it very unpleasing. Thence to the waterside, at Strand bridge, and so up by water and to Fox-hall, where we walked a great while, and pleased mightily with the pleasure thereof, and the company there, and then in, and eat and drank, and then out again and walked, and it beginning to be dark, we to a corner and sang, that everybody got about us to hear us; and so home, where I saw them both at their doors, and, full of the content of this afternoon’s pleasure, I home and to walk in the garden a little, and so home to bed.

16 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

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

may. 14. 1668. Dr. King brought in this Account of the expt. orderd to be made by himself & mr Hooke in priuate of filling the Lungs of a Dog full of air and keeping the same air wthout the admission of any fresh air. It was desired the same persons would Repeat the Expt. & then let the Dog lye 2 or 3 minutes longer when they should Iudge him as much dead as they did this time that the tryall might be beyond exception -

mr Hooke made an Expt. of Staticks to shew the penetration of liquors. first there was a ball of glasse poisd in the air, weighing 302 1/2 graines. the same in fair water weighed 150 7/8 graines. in oyle of vitriol [ Sulfuric acid ]. 24. gr. in an aequall mixture of oyle of vitriol & water 73 1/2 graines. Orderd that a Full account be brought in writing by the Curator.

(mr Boyle suggested mixtues of oyle of aniseed & salet oyle. oyl of vitriol
[… ] & SV. of [mercury] & [aqua fortis] . and pretended he had made expts. of this kind formerly.
A committee for Examining Dr. Wilkins Book
[… ]
Bp. Sarum [… ]. Brereto. Boyl Aerskin wallis holder. Wren neil merret Henshaw Ball Ray Hoskins Pope Haak Hook…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sam seems opting for safer pleasures these last days of freedom...Preparing for Bess' return or did the incident at Mitchell's remind him there could be consequences to his behavior? Interesting that he seems to much prefer to relax in the company of a friendly woman even when in "good boy" mode than say Creed, with whom he always seems to be in cautious competition.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Though...He never did say what was in that "tankard of cool drink"...


Robert Gertz  •  Link

"You're sure these will do the trick, Hooke?"

"In a tankard of cool drink. Wait one minute. Brrr...Up..." Hooke makes gesture... "Right up the wall...Then, twenty or thirty minutes later, pow..." backhand slam... "Right down again...And out for the evening."

"Without a memory...?" stern look.

"Without a memory..."

"Ah, Natural Philosophy...What an age we live in, Hooke."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"he seems to much prefer to relax in the company of a friendly woman"

Might this be a matter of fashionable accessorizing? a show he is NOT on the hunt? or...?

djc  •  Link

The attraction of Mercer (and Mrs. Gayet?) is, I think, that they can sing. A slave to beauty and music as he describes himself on more than one occasion herein. Note the discontent at not finding any fashionable company at the playhouse, whereas at Fox-Hall "we to a corner and sang, that everybody got about us to hear us".

Mary  •  Link

Exactly so, DJC.

See also the entry for May 11th. Mercer is a valuable partner in music-making and this protects her from grosser approach.

andy  •  Link

and to Fox-hall, where we walked a great while,

From Fox-hall came, Vauxhall, and from the great railway interchange there, the Russian word for Railway Interchange (or big railway station/terminus)- (pronounced Voksal): Воксал.

language hat  •  Link

"the Russian word for Railway Interchange (or big railway station/terminus)- (pronounced Voksal): Воксал"

Actually, it's вокзал [vokzal], with a z. It was traditionally pronounced as written, with an unusual /o/ in an unstressed syllable, but it's now normalized to /vak'zal/.

language hat  •  Link

"From Fox-hall came, Vauxhall"

Wikipedia expands on this: "It is generally accepted that the etymology of Vauxhall is from the name of Falkes de Breauté, the head of King John's mercenaries, who owned a large house in the area which was referred to as Faulke's Hall, later Foxhall, and eventually Vauxhall." There's also an interesting discussion of the Russian word (which "had been known in the Russian language with the meaning of 'amusement park' long before the 1840s"):…

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

They need an Irishman to lift the ships in the Medway!?

May 14. 1668
Indenture between the Navy Commissioners and Hen. Nicoll, of Kilmaiden, Waterford,
whereby the latter obliges himself, at his own cost, to clear the Medway of wrecks, according to the schedule annexed, in 6 months.

The Navy Commissioners, by virtue of the order of the Lord High Admiral, are to supply 4 vessels named with all necessaries, of which a list is annexed, but to provide no further supplies, even if there shall be occasion for them.

Nicoll is to preserve the vessels, and to return them on the finishing of the work, or to be accountable for the damage.

In consideration of the said work, he is to receive 300/. upon the sealing of the indenture, and 100/. upon finishing the work, besides the right to dispose of such part of the wrecks as he can save,
except guns, shot, and anchors, which are to be returned to his Majesty.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 10.]
Schedule of provisions on board the ships mentioned in the indenture.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 10I.]
Schedule of 14 vessels sunk or wrecked in the Medway, as mentioned in the indenture.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 10II.]

May 14. 1668
Rich. Watts to [Williamson].

Sir Thos. Allin has sailed in his ketch for London, his wife being very sick.
Sixty ships are in the Downs.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 19.]

May 14. 1668
Capt. John Man to Williamson.

Two ships have come into the road,
one, the St. John of Ostend, having 4 or 5 companies of Spanish foot from Galicia for Ostend;
the captains are much troubled at the conclusion of peace, being soldiers of fortune, and fearing their trade will fail.

The other, a Newcastle vessel taken by the Dutch in the late war, but now belonging to a merchant of London, has a Dutchman aboard who has been a slave in Turkey, and who has brought over a tiger of so gentle a nature that the men of the ship play with him as if he were a dog.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 22.]

'Charles II: May 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 369-418. British History Online…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Parliament is correct in thinking smuggling has increased because of the new tax on wine:

May 14. 1668
John Paige to Williamson.

I made inquiry for a person going to Spain or Paris, and can only find a Frenchman for Rouen, who will take all care of the packet, and it will be remitted for Paris, if this way will do.

The masters of the Leghorn ships deny having any cheeses for you,
but the case of wine is aboard, and will be delivered tomorrow.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 21.]

You'd think by now Williamson could get a letter to Paris without much trouble.

May 14. 1668
R. M. [Rob. Mein] to Williamson.

The 4 murderers [McGregor and his associates] are executed, their hands being cut off before death, and are put on iron pikes above the gallows, where they hang in chains, between Leith and Edinburgh.

They all confessed their share in the murder of the Laird of Muresk, but said they were deceived by the Earl of Aboyne, who promised to secure their lives if they would keep silence, and ordered them, under pain of banishment, to apprehend the laird and his son, condemn them, and put them to death.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 17.]

For more about the 1666 murder of John Lyon, Laird of Craigston and Laird of Muiresk (1590 – 1666) see…

Charles Gordon, 1st Earl of Aboyne (c1638 - March 1681). The fourth son of George Gordon, 2nd Marquess of Huntly and Lady Anne Campbell, he was created 1st Earl of Aboyne and 1st Lord Gordon of Strathaven and Glenlivet by Letters Patent on 10 September 1660.
Charles Gordon married secondly, Elizabeth Lyon, daughter of John Lyon, 2nd Earl of Kinghorne (1596 – 1646) and Lady Elizabeth Maule, on 28 August 1665 of Glamis, Angus, Scotland.…

It appears the Earl ordered the killing of the Laird because they both wanted the same lands.

Batch  •  Link

It has been suggested elsewhere (pardon, but I don't have the source at hand) that Sam is a bass. If so, I feel that he must be a bass-baritone because a baritone voice and baritone parts are more likely to harmonize with sopranos like Mercer (or mezzos, if she is a mezzo). A baritone voice is just more versatile than a bass voice, and Sam definitely has shown versatility in his singing with Knepp, Mercer, his "boy," and others.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Why, Sir Joseph Williamson works so hard, he can't have a case of wine now and then? And in this case, it looks to be legit, because Mr. Google our learned bookseller has records of John Paige being a wine merchant, of long standing and (we're sure) impeccable licenses. As for the "packet" to Paris, didn't Allin recently remark that even his official reports went through a trusted merchant? Even if we'd still really like to know what's in the packet.

But stranger still is this other letter, written today to Sir Joseph:

Dr. Rob. Sharrock to Williamson. If advised, I will try one chemical experiment to mercurify a trunk, in spite of the proverb ex quolibet ligno, &c., but I mean only to put a little mercury into that caput mortuum, our present head, so as to make him not so intolerably heavy in the doing of his duty and the desire of the society. The paper enclosed contains the first lines of the proposal, but it will cease if you disapprove. I beg your advice and assistance, reminding you of our former joint relation to the furnace; you may guess what clients I and my friends will be in any weightier matter, if opportunity call for it. [S.P. Dom., Car. II. 240, No. 18.]

What an Age indeed. Williamson's "relation to the furnace" - his involvement with alchemy - isn't a total surprize in a future president of the Royal Society, but it seems to have been buried deep, and the biographies at hand limit his philosophicall interests to history and other humanities. Maybe his retorts blew up, or the pursuit is deemed too unseemly (of course there's Newton, but he's special), and anyway he certainly found easier ways to make gold.

Dr. Sharrock is known as a botanist, but the experiment he so gingerly submits for approval and joint venture involves, not just a "trunk", but a capuut mortum - a dead head, bad enough, but the mercurifycation is supposed to make that dead head, or its dead owner, "do his duty and the desire of society"? That seems even darker than the Society's present Shelleyesque expts. with doggs. It ties bizarrely with the proverb, "ex quolibet ligno non fit Mercurius", not from any block of wood can you make a statue of Mercury. And is there a subtle hint of menace - to one of the most powerful men in the kingdom - in this reminder of Williamson's old furnace, and of "my friends"..? It's all a bit much to unpack, in a letter from a gentle botanist to a bureaucrat who likes legal history.

If Williamson approves, Sam may soon have to deal with zombie seamen half made of wood, and leaking mercury.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Robert Sharrock (1630–1684) was an English churchman and botanist.

He is now known for "The History of the Propagation and Improvement of Vegetables by the Concurrence of Art and Nature" (1660), for philosophical work directed against Thomas Hobbes, and as an associate of Robert Boyle F.R.S.

He became Archdeacon of Winchester, in the final year of his life.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

May 14. 1668
Reference to the Treasury Commissioners of the petition of George, Viscount Grandison, Edw. Villiers, and Baptist May,
for certain lands and tenements concealed from his Majesty, at a reasonable rent.
[S.P. Dom., Entry Book 18, p. 305.]
George Villiers, 4th Viscount Grandison (1618-1699) and Edward Villiers are both uncles to Barbara Villiers Palmer, Countess of Castlemaine (for whom these payments are most likely intended -- why Baptist May is included, I have no clue).
Charles II will funnel funds to her through these two men for the rest of his life. Barbara Villiers Palmer may no longer be his mistress, but they stayed in touch, if only for the sake of the children.
My Lady Castlemaine, Being a Life of Barbara Villiers, Countess of Castlemaine, afterwards Duchess of Cleveland -- By Philip IV Sergeant, B.J.,
Page 152…

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