Tuesday 30 June 1668

Up, and at the Office all the morning: then home to dinner, where a stinking leg of mutton, the weather being very wet and hot to keep meat in. Then to the Office again, all the afternoon: we met about the Victualler’s new contract. And so up, and to walk all the evening with my wife and Mrs. Turner in the garden, till supper, about eleven at night; and so, after supper, parted, and to bed, my eyes bad, but not worse, only weary with working. But, however, I very melancholy under the fear of my eyes being spoiled, and not to be recovered; for I am come that I am not able to read out a small letter, and yet my sight good for the little while I can read, as ever they were, I think.

18 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ormond to Ossory
Written from: Whitehall
Date: 30 June 1668

Yesterday, the writer was unable to come to any certain judgment how far he could depend on Lord Arlington, in the event of a declared enmity with the Duke of Buckingham. Now, he feels secure that Arlington will in the first place endeavour to prevent an attack from Buckingham; failing that, he will give seasonable notice; finally, he will assist, with all the interest he has in the writer's defence against it.

Arlington has been very jealous [= fearful] lest the writer should join with those whom he suspects of designing to bring back Clarendon; more doubtful [ = fearful] still that Sir W. Coventry might gain the writer to his, or "the Duke [of York]'s party". Now, these doubts are cleared, without giving Arlington any cause to think that the writer had abandoned his friendship to Clarendon, or would be found wanting in duty to the King. ...


Terry Foreman  •  Link

"a stinking leg of mutton"
Maybe innocent, perhaps not:
"flesh of sheep used as food," late 13c., from O.Fr. moton "ram, wether, sheep" (Fr. mouton), from M.L. multonem (8c.), probably from Gaulish *multo-s, acc. of *multo (cf. O.Ir. molt "wether," Mid-Breton mout, Welsh mollt). Transf. slang sense of "food for lust, loose women, prostitutes" (1510s) led to extensive British slang uses down to the present day for woman variously regarded as seeking lovers or as lust objects. http://www.etymonline.com/index.p…

Jenny  •  Link

High summer in London. I think we can be pretty certain it was a "stinking leg of mutton".

NJM  •  Link

Such a shame about the eyesight problem isn't it ? You almost want to reach back in time and tell him it can be resolved, poor Sam.
By the way for those of you not in London the reading of extracts from the diary at Dr. Johnson's house last week was wonderful - despite a burglar alarm on a nearby building sounding through half of it ! - if you ever get the chance do see it. Well worth any time or expense.
In the building of the period it was easy to be transported back !

GrahamT  •  Link

The use Terry cites is in use today in the slang phrase: "Mutton Dressed as lamb", i.e. an older woman dressed younger than her years to attract a younger man, perhaps.
However I agree with Jenny as to its literal meaning here.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...stinking leg of mutton..." Yum. But have the chamber pots standing by, Jane.

DiPhi  •  Link

NJM, I'm curious to know what modern science would be able to do for Sam's eyesight. Is he just nearsighted, and a pair of well calibrated glasses would fix him up, or is something else going on with him? Every time he mentions his eyes, I start getting early DTs!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Pepys’ eye trouble —-
From Vol X “Companion” to the “Diary” by Latham and Matthews (1983): “It is generally agreed that the nature of Pepys’ eye trouble was a combination of long sight [farsightedness or hyperopia] and astigmatism.” Both of these problems are easily corrected today by eye glasses. Such glasses were not really available in Pepys’ day. Posted by Allen http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclo…

Mary  •  Link

Many thanks for the reference to this enthralling paper.

pepfie  •  Link

"...generally agreed... ...easily corrected today..."

Judging by the ophthalmological paper linked by both LisaL http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1… and Larry Bunce http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1…
The Big Brown Eyes of Samuel Pepys
Graham A. Wilson, MBChB, FRANZCO; Amanda P. Field, BOptom, MCOptom; Susannah Fullerton, MSc
Arch Ophthalmol. 2002;120:969-975.
neither "generally" nor "easily" do seem to be the case.

Second Reading

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 30. 1668
Sir John Mennes to the Navy Commissioners.

I find most of the men at the dock idle for want of materials, particularly the calkers, for whom there is no more occasion.
I beg direction for discharge of them, and of as many shipwrights as money can be had to pay off; the calkers will take about 1,400/.

I will pay the Charles and Defiance tomorrow, and the tickets the day after.

It is better husbandry to retrench the growing charge on all the ships, before payment of any of the tickets;
yet as his Royal Highness was so strict, I shall proceed as aforesaid, unless you give your joint concurrence to the contrary.

I want to know whether rigging, cables, &c., shall be brought ashore, that it may be done before the men are discharged;
I beg despatch of the lists of tickets sent up to you.

The officers of the yard desire their wages on the ordinary, as the extra book will be paid for the last quarter.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, No. 76.]

June 30. 1668
Thos. Hobbes to Williamson.

I send the book containing the words concerning heresy which you mislike, and which may be left out without trouble,
but I see no cause of exception against them, and desire they may stand, unless the rest of the book cannot be licensed whilst they stand.

They are; "Some men may perhaps ask whether nobody was condemned and burnt for heresy during the time of the High Commission. I have heard there were; but they who approve such executions may peradventure know better grounds for them than I do. But those grounds are well worthy to be inquired after."
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, No. 79.]

June 30. 1668
B.J. [Ben Johnson] to Williamson.

The Monmouth and others of the fleet formerly designed for the Straits under Sir Thos. Allin are turning in, being ordered to be refitted.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, No. 80.]

June 30. 1668
Hugh Salesbury to Williamson.

Sir Thos. Allin with his ships is expected at Spithead;
the Fairfax will be launched today;
all haste is making to fit out the Royal Sovereign.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, No. 81.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Thomas Hobbes is now 80 years old.

SPOILER: In 1668 Thomas Hobbes finishes "Behemoth", a history of the years 1640 and 1660, and submits it to Charles II for publication, but it is denied.

The manuscript will finally be published in 1682, three years after Hobbes' death.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

And no conversation about Pepys' eye problems can go without a 2020 link to David James Harries' paper he wrote for The Journal of Dry Eye and Ocular Surface Disease, entitled ‘Pepys’s Eyes: A Modern Answer to an Old Conundrum?’.

Also well worth your time: https://www.pepysdiary.com/news/2…

Batch  •  Link

Did they actually eat "stinking" meat?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Yes, Batch, they did.
My great grandfather used to hang game until it was "ripe" in the basement, and it was then considered a very desirable dinner. Go figure. Since they were all constipated from not eating veggies, they might not have suffered as we would today.
My father told me that story many time, shaking his head in disbelief.

This has happened to Pepys before, and wasn't considered a big deal then either: https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/…

Bryan  •  Link

Did they actually eat "stinking" meat?

Looks like it, but apparently there were limits. SP records on 26 June 1662:
"... and then took Commissioner Pett home to dinner with me, where my stomach was turned when my sturgeon came to table, upon which I saw very many little worms creeping, which I suppose was through the staleness of the pickle." bon appétit, Commissioner Pett.


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