Thursday 9 July 1668

Up, and to the office, where sat all the morning, and after noon to the office again till night, mighty busy getting Mr. Fist to come and help me, my own clerks all busy, and so in the evening to ease my eyes, and with my wife and Deb. and Betty Turner, by coach to Unthanke’s and back again, and then to supper and to bed.

15 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

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

Iuly. 9. 1668. the expt of mixing [mercury] & [aqua fortis] . together was made . [mercury] weighd 1 1/2 [ounce] . [aqua fortis] 4 1/2 [ounce] the Ball in [aqua fortis] 131 graines the Solution of the [mercury] Lasted too long to make an end of the expt. at this meeting, the Issue of it was Referred to [nothing further here.]

The Curator proposed an expt. to try in an instrument for compressing air how much longer a bird would liue in the compressed air of a glasse than in the ordinary air of it accordingly a bird was put into the glasse with ordinary air at 6 minutes past 5 a clock & taken out at 30' when it began to be sick being taken out & recouered it was put in againe at 40' & 3/4 of the air was compresst vpon it in the space of 11 minutes by the gage. the bird was kept in this condensed air for 33'. and seemd to be very well but the Instrument not being stanch it was ordered the expt. should be repeated at the next meeting. soe as to prouide diuers glasses of seuerall dimensions and some birds of the same kind to see if there would be an aequall proportion between the time of the birds life & the quantity of the air in the glasses.

The curator affirmd that an expt had been formerly made by order of the Society as would appear by their Iournall where a burning Lamp Lasted much Longer in compressed than vncompressed air the amanuensis was orderd to find out that note against the next meeting.

(Rights Letter about the sandflood at Downham in Suffolk.[ ] about improued heath by Marling. the like in cornwall.Sr. Th: De Vaux about antiquitys at Ariconium) Mr Hoskins 2 tortois eggs.) Sr R Moray. old Almonack) oldenb: Letter to Curtius).…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Now let me understand this, son..." John Sr., blinking.

"You're giving up your position at the naval office..."

"And high time, too, father-in-law..." Bess, eagerly, "The strain wears on my poor Samuel night and day...It's destroying his eyesight almost as fully as his moral character...Hmmn. Something Biblical there, isn't there?"

Glare from John silencing her...

"Father..." Sam tries... "Let me explain again...Apart from my eyes, the Duke is on the reform warpath again and..."

"Oh, I understand well enough, boy. You're moving to Brampton...Permanently. To escape the hue-and-cry."

"Only partly, Pa."

"Sam'l has more important things in him than to reform the Royal Navy, father-in-law."

"Indeed...So you're going to write? Plays?" John stares at his idiot son. "The sort of nonsense that fellow Shakespeare churned out in hopes of making enough to live on?"

"I have a, hum, very small...(Very small, Bess nods)...fortune, Father. And whilst I do not claim Mr. Shakespeare's talent..."

"Sam'l is a marvelous writer, father-in-law. I had my doubts until he read me his Diary." Bess, enthused again...

"His diary..." John sighs. "And you want to put your diary on the London stage? In a play?"

"Not just one play, father-in-law...A series of plays...A cycle..." Bess, beaming. "The history of our daily lives..."

"Our daily lives? Christ, son...Even in a city like London who gives a damn about our daily lives? What are these plays to be about?"

Bess eyes Sam, arch look...Sam, a bit hesitant...

"Can I?" Bess, eagerly...


"They're about...Nothing...Father-in-law."

"Nothing?" John, dumbstruck. "Nothing, you say?"

"Exactly..." Bess, nodding...

"Is the French harlot having some kind of mental aberration?" John eyes Sam.


"Son...I don't know anything about playwriting or writing. But who in his right state of mind would go and pay good money to see plays of daily life which are about...Nothing?"

"It's a new form, Father...A chance for me to experiment artistically and creatively."

"And I'm the Muse." Bess, happily.

"The Muse inspiring Nothing...I think I can believe that." John, nodding.

"Father...If I could just make you see..."

"Well, there is lots of sex..." Bess notes. "Which didn't sit too well with me at first. But the work is so outstanding and human...And Sam'l's honesty so overwhelming...I couldn't help but be, well, overwhelmed. Plus I'm the Muse of the work."

"Right...Overwhelmed Muse...I got that." John, grimly. Then pondering...

"Sex, eh?"

"Tons..." Bess, nodding...

"Some..." Sam, nervously...

"Betterton wants to play Sam..." Bess, bubbling proudly... "And Neil Gwyn is already studying me..."

"Neil Gwyn? And lots of sex?" Hmmn...On the other hand, one should support creativity in one's children...

"I couldn't believe it myself..." Bess, grinning. "Didn't know he had it in him. Thought it's all poetic license, mostly."

"Overwhelmingly..." Sam, hastily...Careful look at dear old Dad...Who takes the desperate plea...

"Try reading the first in the series, father-in-law...All the way back to the Restoration in '60. Or just this new scene Sam'l wrote today. You won't be able to put it down." Bess offers manuscript to John.


"Penn at door...'Hello, Pepys.' 'Hello, Penn.' Sam replies."

"No, father-in-law...Some of that's stage direction, in the brackets. Try it like ths."

"'Hello....Pepys.'" coldly.

"'Hello....Pepys.'" John repeats, frowning.

"'Hello....Penn.'" Bess, even colder, with glare.

"Couldn't you go into bear-baiting or some other profitable venue, if you must try the entertainment industry, son?" John sighs.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"mighty busy getting Mr. Fist to come and help me, my own clerks all busy,"

"What did you do at the Navy Office today, dear?"

The Clerk of the Acts seems to have spent the morning trying to harness Sir W. Batten's clerk to work in the traces alongside the members of his own scribbleria.

"I was mighty bzbzbzbzbzbzbzbzbz, dear."

arby  •  Link

Sam would end up like Kramer in the "Master of his own domain" contest, he wouldn't last a day. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

'Charles II: July 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 469-516.…

July 9. 1668
John Powell to Willliamson.

The very tempestuous weather sets the country in fear of a bad harvest, as likely to prove prejudicial to the corn;
it has much hindered the seamen.
Several vessels bound for Ireland have lain here 6 weeks.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, No. 178.]

July 9. 1668
B.J. [Ben Johnson] to Williamson.

The fleet of merchant ships with the 2 Dutch convoys still remain at St. Helen's, the west wind blowing a storm.
The Nightingale has left for Spithead.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, No. 179.]

July 9. 1668
Hugh Salesbury to Williamson,

The Sovereign is ready to sail for Chatham,
and the ships under Sir Thos. Allin are making all possible haste.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, No. 180.]

July 9. 1668
The Mary, Portsmouth Harbour.
John Fowler [Judge Advocate] to the Navy Commissioners.

A court martial has been held on board the Mary
concerning the complaint of Thos. Collingwood, purser, Rob. Haughton, carpenter, and Thos. Cranmer, surgeon of the Francis frigate, against their commander, Capt. Wm. Burstow.

The Duke of York had ordered Sir T. Allin to try the case, but he being absent, it was referred to Capt. Rob. Clarke and the commanders present.

The Court found that their accusation was a malicious combination against the commander, and that they had perjured themselves and fallen under the 33rd article of the sea laws of war.
They were sentenced to lose their employments,
and be towed on shore at a boat's stern, to the Point gate at Portsmouth, a drum beating in the boat's head,
but their pay to be permitted to them to the day of the court martial, when they shall have passed their accounts.

They are to remain in irons aboard the Francis, until his Royal Highness's pleasure is returned.

I hope Mr. Hewer has moved you concerning my salary due.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242. No. 182.]

July 9. 1668
Sir. Wm. Coventry to Sam. Pepys.

In order to make the utmost use of assignments for satisfaction of merchants selling to the Navy, orders of the Exchequer on any other branch of the revenue, as well as those on the monthly tax being assignable by a special Act lately passed, an assignment now given to a merchant becomes absolutely his, and need never come into the Navy Treasury, but the assignment be given on delivery of the commodity.

To improve this, moneys assigned on the Customs or other branch of the revenue should be made in many small orders, applicable to the uses which Lord Anglesey may have accommodated to his own mind upon asking.
[1-½ pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, No. 183.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

July 9. 1668
SP Col. Hen. Osborne to Williamson.
If the reprieve for Wm. Miller is signed by the King, asks that it may be given to his mother.
The fees shall be paid, though she may not have money at present.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 242, No. 181.]

SPOILER: undated, so it might as well go here:
July. 1668
Warrant for reprieve of Wm. Miller,
convicted of robbery at Chelmsford.
Minute. [S.P. Dom., Entry Book 30, f. 74.]

… GERALD, happy now?

Nate Lockwood  •  Link

re: John Powell to Willliamson letter
"The very tempestuous weather sets the country in fear of a bad harvest, as likely to prove prejudicial to the corn; ..."

"Corn" does not refer to "Maize" which we Yanks call corn; is that correct?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Corn" does not refer to "Maize" which we Yanks call corn; is that correct?

Correct Nate: This corn is wheat.

The scythes are busy now ... They cut sheafs of corn from the outside of the field in towards the center, until they have a little "island" of standing corn in the middle of the field. All of a sudden the mice and rats break out, and the terrier dogs go to work. After the mass extermination of rodents, the villagers finish cutting the corn.

The sheafs are taken to the mill so the kernals are removed from the stalks. The stalks are baled and made into haystacks to provide winter fodder for the horses and cattle.

The haystacks must be kept dry, or the hay rots before the animals eat it ... on the other hand, it isn't unusual for haystacks to burn down because of internal combustion.

All those sailors and dockyard workers are needed down on the farm in July and August ... they must be agonizing about leaving before they are paid, or gambling on being paid soon so they can still help out at home this summer.

England's weather is notoriously local ... we see reports of that in these letters: in some places the rain has ruined the crops, in other places they are having a bumper crop.

I can still remember the heady smell of the harvest in Cornwall from my childhood. It's the best smell ever.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The millers must have kept good records: They kept the kernals and ground them into flour. They needed to know how much flour belonged to each farmer. They also needed to return the right amount of hay bales to each farmer.

I suspect the whole village cooperated to cutting one farmer's field are a time, so there must have been conversations about Joe's north 40 being ready, but Fred's and Harry's needing another week or two to riped.

I bet these were heated conversations.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... to the office, where sat all the morning, and after noon to the office again till night, mighty busy ..."

Apparently, for all Pepys' efforts over the years, there were a lot of loose ends to wrap up before the presentation on the masts accounts to the Brooke House Committee. You think they have to specify which ships received the masts? There would be years of records to go through for at least six shipyards.

Plus they need to document and file all the records accounting for the people paid off with this latest money -- you know someone will want to see that soon.
I'm still imagining what a cart of money looks like ... no wonder there were highwaymen. Life without banks, checks and credit cards, and only gold and silver coins is hard to imagine. I can see why Charles II recently told them to set up local strongholds for their tax collections, so less has to be transported.
(No, I can't find the reference. If/when I do, I'll add it.)

john  •  Link

"They also needed to return the right amount of hay bales to each farmer. "

And, presumably, the rightful hay as the quality can vary greatly. Mind, cows are not terribly fussy until they taste the good stuff.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


[July 9.] 1668
#1788. Gov. Wm. Lord Willoughby to the Lords of the Council.

Has formerly given an account of his government, but will now present them with a more perfect relation by his son William, experience and personal observation having better enabled him to do so.

Contains 100,000 acres, and renders not by two-thirds its former production by the acre;
the land is almost worn out, the thickets where cotton and corn are planted so burnt up that the inhabitants are ready to desert their plantations.
It is divided into 11 parishes, with ministers whose lives for the generality run counter to their doctrines, but not less than 60,000 souls, of which 40,000 blacks, whose different tongues and animosities have kept them from insurrection, but fears the Creolian generation now growing up and increasing may hereafter "mancipate" their masters.

The militia consists of six regiments of foot, two of horse, and a life guard, in all about 6,000;
the forts are few and none of the strongest, and for artillery no island in the universe of half such concernment is half so ill furnished:
the magazine was large, but was consumed with the town, and arms and ammunition are greatly wanting at Antigua, Montserrat, and Nevis.

The town was large and populous but very disorderly built; has ordered it to be rebuilt according to a form drawn by Commissioners, but finds a great averseness to it.

Has presented their Lordships by his son with the names of all in ecclesiastical, civil, and military offices.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Not inferior to Barbados in bigness, and in soil equaling the best of the Caribbees;
incomparable harbors;
his son Henry, Governor;
1,100 men on the island, formed into a regiment, but the greatest part want arms.
Without some privileges for a time it can never rise to any greatness, but once furthered by his Majesty's favor it will prove a second Barbados.
The land having been regained from the French, all old titles and claims were made void by an Act sent for his Majesty's confirmation, by which the grand quantities engrossed by former Governors and their favorites are free for settlers.
Has confirmed their lands to all present inhabitants, and passed an Act for 4½ per cent., but not to be collected till his Majesty's pleasure be known.
Also an Act for allowing 10 acres per head to settlers, and has appointed two places for towns adjoining the most commodious harbors, and reserved convenient lands for his Majesty's use near the best, called English harbor;
they will suddenly make great crops of tobacco and some sugar, and it would be of great concernment if the Royal [African] Company would order supplies of negroes, but one of the chiefest wants of all the islands is pious, learned, and orthodox divines.

About eight leagues to northward and in his son's government is Barbuda, half as big, and the most proper island in the Indies for cattle, horses, and sheep; it has been settled and deserted, but he has since resettled it.

Seven leagues leeward of Antigua, very fertile, and well re-settled; most of the inhabitants Irish;
first empowered one Stanley, an old planter, Governor, but has now commissioned Stapleton, Lt.-Col. to Sir Tobias Bridge, a gentleman of known valor and integrity and born in Ireland, and therefor understands the better to govern his countrymen.

Leeward of this island 14 leagues, which the late war and long settling have much decayed, and the late hurricane greatly injured;
the inhabitants were overburdened with ruined families forced thither for refuge during the war, and were exceedingly grateful and civil to the soldiers, even beyond their abilities;
the island is sickly and many chief settlers are removing for Antigua;
has continued Col. James Russell Governor.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Has sent home an account of his demand for St. Kitts,
and can now of two other voyages thither since to his Majesty's great charge.

Saba And Eustatia:
Within three and ten leagues of St. Kitts, lost in the late war;
Saba taken and planted by the French and Dutch, and
Eustatia by the Dutch.
These islands are very considerable to St. Kitts, especially Saba, which is of great strength and easily defensible by a few against vast numbers;
the French very lately, to avoid restitution to his Majesty, have put in a Dutchman Governor.

Far leeward of St. Kitts lies Anguilla,
on which are 200 or 300 English, mostly fled thither during the war;
'tis not worth keeping, and most would come off to Antigua could they get a passage;
Capt. Abraham Howell is Governor.

On an island called Tortola
are 80 Irish, English, and Welsh under the Dutch, who only want means to come off.
Concluded a peace with the Indians in March last, whereby his Majesty has a right to all the islands.

At San Domingo
has commissioned one Warner, "a Musteech," whose father was Governor of St. Kitts and his mother an Indian, and who has suffered exceedingly by the French for his loyalty to the English.

Sta. Lucia
is his Majesty's by purchase from the natives; has the conveyance;
it is about the bigness of Barbados;
covered with woods, and not above 60 Indians on it;
very unhealthful, and formerly planted by English, who almost all died there;
plenty of excellent timber, whereof the French carry great quantities to Martinique and Guadaloupe.

St. Vincents:
About the bigness of Barbados, and covered with wood;
inhabited only by Indians and blacks, who acknowledge themselves subjects to the King of England.
The Indians are turbulent and active; must always keep English among them to put them upon some warlike design against some nation on the main, the better to divert them from acting any mischief against the English colonies, for the French are frequently among them and ready to invite them to breach and blood;
must furnish them with toys and strong liquors for a while, for which, and for some of their periagoes (Indian boats), for which there is great necessity at Antigua, he must put his Majesty to some expense.

Concludes with a reiteration of what is necessary here:
Firstly, a fleet of nimble vessels, for dispersing orders to his dispersed government, gleaning up the many English from the French islands who are too poor to pay for their passages, and one good frigate for his own transport, and to justify his Majesty's flag on occasion.
Secondly, arms and ammunition.
Thirdly, some privileges for a time for Antigua, which might be made the emporium of the Indies by reason of its situation, harbors, and richness of soil.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


By his Majesty cherishing this island it is incredible what it might be;
and if some additions of cattle be put in Barbuda, a few years will find it the shambles for his Majesty's fleets sent here.

Had presented these and many other matters of concernment in person, had not his Majesty ordered his continuance in these parts.
7 pp. [Col. Entry Bk., No. V., pp. 115-121.]

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.