Tuesday 23 June 1668

Up, and all the morning at the office. At noon home to dinner, and so to the office again all the afternoon, and then to Westminster to Dr. Turberville about my eyes, whom I met with: and he did discourse, I thought, learnedly about them; and takes time before he did prescribe me any thing, to think of it. So I away with my wife and Deb., whom I left at Unthanke’s, and so to Hercules Pillars, and there we three supped on cold powdered beef, and thence home and in the garden walked a good while with Deane, talking well of the Navy miscarriages and faults. So home to bed.

17 Annotations

First Reading

Chris Squire  •  Link

‘Turberville, Daubeney (1612–1696), physician and oculist, . . at the urging of his mother, took up the special study of diseases of the eye. He gained considerable fame in the treatment of eye disorders; . . [his] medical prowess brought him to the attention of the royal court. When as a child [Princess] Anne suffered a dangerous eye inflammation that the court physicians were unable to cure, Turberville was sent for and was asked to treat her. This he did successfully, much to the shock of the court physicians, who thereafter detested him.

[His] skills also captured the attention of Robert Boyle, who communicated with him frequently until the end of his life about his own persistent eye disorders, and recommended him, in turn, to Samuel Pepys, who wrote about his own consultation with Turberville in his diary entry for 22 June 1668 . .

[He] died at Salisbury . . and was buried in Salisbury Cathedral, where there is an inscription on a mural tablet on the west wall. His epitaph was written by the astronomer Walter Pope, a grateful former patient. [he] divided his estate between a niece of his wife and his sister Mary, who had become very familiar with [his] techniques and recipes, and set up practice in London, where she acquired a good reputation as an oculist in her own right.’ [DNB]

jenny  •  Link

Does anyone have any information on what would have been prescribed for Sam's eyes?

Don McCahill  •  Link

To heck with the eyes ... I want to know what cold powdered beef is! Googling the term only brings up other 18th century literary references.

Claire Lee  •  Link

Don, click on the highlighted word "beef" for an explanation. To "powder" was to sprinkle with salt.

Clive Foden  •  Link

Powdered beef could be what my grandma (a butcher's wife) used to make and called potted beef. Basically it was a cheap cut, usually skirt, boiled mercilessly with onions until it collapsed in submission. The sieved powdered remains were then pressed with grated nutmeg into a small dish, some melted butter was drizzled on the top as a seal so it would keep. It was then eaten cold with buttered toast. (I really ought to make some (if I can stop dribbling!!)

Beginning to mention Deb quite a bit these days isn't he?

JWB  •  Link

"...and takes time before he did prescribe me any thing..."
Turbeerville! thou should'st be living at this hour. Today we have diagnosis by treatment.

Jenny  •  Link

I may have answered my own question. On consulting with Mrs Beeton I found the remedy for "sore eyes" used in 1859 was one part of strong citron ointment with three parts of spermaceti ointment. Used night and morning, placing a piece of the size of a pea in the corner of the eye. I doubt treatments would have changed dramatically between Pepys' time and Mrs Bs.

Jenny  •  Link

Thank you Lisa, that was very interesting indeed.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sorry this is late - playing catch-up.

Eye ointment - Mrs Beeton's recipe includes sperm whale oil. Would there have been enough of that around in the 17th c? I know there were whaling fleets in England at that time (e.g. Whitby) but would the supply be enough to make use of it in eye ointment?

Surely powdered beef is what we (Australia) called corned beef? A joint (usually silverside) which has been preserved in salt (no refridgeration) and boiled and usually served cold with mustard or hot with vegetables - typically chokoes in white sauce.

Wonderful to read that Mary Turberville (very Hardyesque name!) was able to be successful as an oculist in her own right.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Whaling fleets and sperm whale oil:

Of course, the Dutch had a monopoly on the market! In 1619 they had opened a summer camp which finally grew to about 15 buildings and 200 people just outside the arctic circle, and there they rendered the whales so the blubber could be sent back to the Netherlands for distribution.

The whales must have caught on, so by the 1640's they had changed their swimming habits and stayed out to sea.

For a wonderful example of "fake news" and how stories grow, plus the early history of whaling, see

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

For Pepys Diary purposes, it should be noted the Dutch abandoned the place in 1663 ... but for that century, the Dutch ruled the whale trade, supplying most of Europe with oil for lamps and whale bones for corsets and hoop-skirts. The Dutch navy safeguarded sailing routes against English, German, and French interlopers as Dutch whalers asserted exclusive rights to the best hunting grounds in the Arctic. The resulting near-monopoly allowed Dutch companies to keep prices artificially high and further gild their coffers.

The legacy of this Dutch Golden Age is recorded in maritime words like “maelstrom”, “skipper”, “cruise”, “iceberg” and “walrus”.

Batch  •  Link

Nice to have you back, Australian Susan. I was wondering what happened to you.
Lisa L. Thanks for the eye news.

Lisa  •  Link

Batch, you’re welcome. I sympathize in a very personal way with Pepys’ struggles with ‘dry eye’. I too suffered with it for many years. When the inflammation gets out of control the eyes do ache, as Pepys reports. Ulcers can form on the cornea and interfere with vision, but can heal when the inflammation recedes — perhaps that accounts for the ebb and flow of Pepys’ condition over time. In our day, Serious eye inflammation can be treated with steroid drops but this treatment can put the patient at risk for glaucoma. A much better option, cyclosporine (Restasis), which prevents eye inflammation and improves tearing, became available maybe 20 years ago, several centuries too late for Pepys.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

A new book about the Stuart century has been published, and even the perspective of the book review I found helpful. The more I read Pepys, about the Popish Plot, the infighting of the 1650's, the excesses of the Buckinghams, the perfidity of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, etc. the more disgust I feel. So I found it helpful to be reminded of the progress that was made ... in running water being supplied to London homes, and the inevitable moves towards democracy, largely brought about by the stubborness of the inhabitants of the City of London.

London and the 17th Century: The Making of the World’s Greatest City
Margarette Lincoln
Yale University Press 384pp £25

I particularly like the last line of the review: "But the city did not forget its revolutionary past and neither should we."

AMEN to that. What will the City do next?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

'Charles II: June 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 418-468. British History Online

June 23 1668
Deal Castle.
M. Wren to the Navy Commissioners.

When his Majesty came this morning to Sheerness, he resolved to go into the Downs, and arrived there about noon; he is now ashore there.

He has ordered Sir Thos. Allin to go for Portsmouth, with the Monmouth
and 3 others to be cleaned, and desires you to take care that their victuals may be got ready, so that their Straits' voyage may not be delayed.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, 17.]


June 23. 1668
Rich. Watts to [Williamson.]

His Royal Highness [the Duke of York] has arrived in the Downs, and brought money to pay all the ships in the Downs to within 3 months;

he will be sworn Lord Warden, &c., in Dover court tomorrow.

All the merchant ships outward bound have sailed westward.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, 5.]


June 23. 1668
The Monmouth, Downs.
Sir Thos. Allin to Williamson.

His Majesty and his Royal Highness have arrived in the Downs,
and intend to set sail for London tomorrow.
We were much surprised to see them.

The St. David and Success have also come in;

I shall speedily set sail to Portsmouth, to clear and victual for the Straits.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, 6.]

June 23. 1668
A. J. [Ben. Johnson] to Williamson.

The Roebuck has gone to Spithead to attend sailing orders;
the Francis is fitting for a cruise off Sally,
and the Royal Sovereign for Chatham.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, 4.]

June 23. 1668 Petition of the shipwrights and calkers at Chatham to the Navy Commissioners,
for their wages in arrear, that they may pay their creditors, and preserve their families from ruin;
have 2 years' due, and in March were appointed weekly work, and promised weekly pay, till they could receive their other money;
but having had nothing the last fortnight, they have come up to know their Honours' pleasure;
their families are denied trust, and cannot subsist.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, 11.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

June [23?] 1668
Earl of Anglesey to Sam. Pepys.

I have been with the workmen of Chatham Yard at the Treasury, Whitehall,
but with little effect, as the Treasury Commissioners cannot resolve of this or other matters till they have an answer to their long letter;

I told them the [Navy Commissioners] could not answer fully until his Royal Highness would let them know what ships should be at sea this year, and for how long;
and since this cannot be, I think it were good to answer the letter as fully as they can.

I have taken order to send more money to Chatham,
that yard may be paid by the end of the week,
when I shall pay off some of the most disorderly.

Pray direct the Chatham Yard men home.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, 12.]

June 23. 1668
Woolwich Ropeyard.
Wm. Bodham, clerk of the ropeyard, to the Navy Commissioners.

On news from Chatham, most of our men have absented themselves from work,
and I hear they do the like at the dock and at Deptford, because the weekly pay is not continued, and their creditors refuse to trust and further.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II 242, No. 13.]

June 23. 1668
Roger Eastwood, shipwright's assistant, to the Navy Commissioners.

Most of the shipwrights that live here have left their duty, and will not come to work, as they have no money to provide themselves and their families, and the chandlers will trust them no longer.
They say they must provide for their families where they may have ready money.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, 14.]

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