Sunday 23 August 1668

(Lord’s day). Up betimes, my head busy in my great letter, and I did first hang up my new map of Paris in my green room, and changed others in other places. Then to Captain Cocke’s, thinking to have talked more of what he told me yesterday, but he was not within. So back to church, and heard a good sermon of Mr. Gifford’s at our church, upon “Seek ye first the kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” A very excellent and persuasive, good and moral sermon. Shewed, like a wise man, that righteousness is a surer moral way of being rich, than sin and villainy. Then home to dinner, where Mr. Pelling, who brought us a hare, which we had at dinner, and W. Howe. After dinner to the Office, Mr. Gibson and I, to examine my letter to the Duke of York, which, to my great joy, I did very well by my paper tube, without pain to my eyes. And I do mightily like what I have therein done; and did, according to the Duke of York’s order, make haste to St. James’s, and about four o’clock got thither: and there the Duke of York was ready, to expect me, and did hear it all over with extraordinary content; and did give me many and hearty thanks, and in words the most expressive tell me his sense of my good endeavours, and that he would have a care of me on all occasions; and did, with much inwardness, —[i.e., intimacy.]— tell me what was doing, suitable almost to what Captain Cocke tells me, of designs to make alterations in the Navy; and is most open to me in them, and with utmost confidence desires my further advice on all occasions: and he resolves to have my letter transcribed, and sent forthwith to the Office. So, with as much satisfaction as I could possibly, or did hope for, and obligation on the Duke of York’s side professed to me, I away into the Park, and there met Mr. Pierce and his wife, and sister and brother, and a little boy, and with them to Mulberry Garden, and spent 18s. on them, and there left them, she being again with child, and by it, the least pretty that ever I saw her. And so I away, and got a coach, and home, and there with my wife and W. Hewer, talking all the evening, my mind running on the business of the Office, to see what more I can do to the rendering myself acceptable and useful to all and to the King. We to supper, and to bed.

22 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I did first hang up my new map of Paris in my green room "

L&M say Pepys had this map:


"heard a good sermon of Mr. Gifford's at our church, upon "Seek ye first the kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." "

Luke 12::31 KJV: "But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. "
The climax of a parable beginning @ Luke 12:15 to And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16 And he spake a parable unto them,…

Chris Squire  •  Link

I wonder how long elapsed between Mr P turning up with his hare, fresh of course, snared and strangled on Friday, sold on Saturday to be eaten on Sunday, and the party sitting down to eat it.

Quite a bit of work in between particularly for a cook who was not expecting it.

It may be that what Mr P bought was a hare pie, which only needed to be heated up.

Art perry  •  Link

A footnote on Aug 20 identifies the manuscript of this "Great Letter". Is the manuscript available online?

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"I did first hang up my new map of Paris in my green room..."

"We'll always have Paris..." Sigh. Makes me think of how that touching silly bit of phony French film on SNL with Gilda Radner years ago now breaks the heart to see it. Ah, well...If we knew how precious the days we have are... I can just see an innocent line like this breaking old Sam's heart as he reread the Diary that year of decision when the Diary's fate hung in the balance.

Mary  •  Link

"the least pretty that I ever saw her."

The repeated pregnancies are having their effect on Mrs. Pierce. Not so long ago Sam found her very attractive even when heavily pregnant, but no longer, it seems. There is also the question of the make-up that she has taken to wearing - anathema to Pepys. Could be that awareness of her declining looks has prompted her attempts at improving on nature with 'paint'.

languagehat  •  Link

"Makes me think of how that touching silly bit of phony French film on SNL with Gilda Radner years ago now breaks the heart to see it."

Actually, I'm pretty sure that was a bit of phony Italian film (and specifically a Fellini parody). But yes, touching indeed; I think of it often.

Jesse  •  Link

"righteousness is a surer moral way of being rich, than sin and villainy"

Seems like a tautology to me whether 'rich' is literal or figurative.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

The one flaw in Betty Pierce's defense against the Stuart court showing up, eh?

Claire  •  Link

Has anyone posted an explanation of the "paper tube" that Pepys employs to help his failing eyesight? Is there a lens in it?

Australian Susan  •  Link

Mr Pelling's hare.

Hare is always hung. (I well remember coming upon our cat in the larder on her tippiest tiptoes trying to reach the tempting object hanging out of her reach)

I agree it is odd that he turns up with the creature and they eat it at once. I suspect it may already have been hung and thus was ready for cooking - roast saddle of hare is deeeeeeliccccccccccciiiiiiiiiioussssssss! So is jugged hare in red wine. With juniper berries.

I think if Pelling had come armed with a pie (or even a pasty), Sam would have said so.

I think this is the first time Sam has remarked on eating this particular type of tasty game.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

'Charles II: August 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 516-565. British History Online…

Aug. 23. 1668
J. W[illiamson] to [Rob. Francis].

I am pleased with your diligence.
I thank Dr. Rhodes for the pie, which I desire may be sent to Lady Anderson.

Sir Philip Warwick's letter is in the Earl of Norwich's petition, with other papers to be despatched, which may be found in my desk.

I wish you to attend to read the Gazette to Lord Arlington whilst he is dressing, on the mornings it comes out.
I desire the Earl Northampton may be supplied with a newsletter, directed to

I hope to return in the fortnight.

Remember Mr. Chiffinch for a warrant for a buck, but not from Sir J. Robinson's woods.
[1-½ pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 245, No. 42.]
Williamson is staying at the Earl of Thurmond’s manor house at Billing, Northamptonshire.

Aug. 24. 1668
Daniel Furzer to the Navy Commissioners.

My accounts are returned for want of vouchers to every particular, which it is impossible for me to get;
I hope, after all my sufferings, you will not be too strict to expect that which no man in my condition can accomplish.

It is 14 months since the St. David went to sea, and the workmen, after long
expectation to be satisfied for their labour, dispersed to their habitations,
leaving themselves engaged in the country for provisions had,
and many of them through long attendance so far in debt that their wages will not satisfy debts for which I have passed my word.

The accounts were signed by the bearer and the clerk of the yard,
Hen. Gainsford, is a gentleman, and was recommended by the late Col. John Barrow, justice of peace.

My disappointment of money from you is such that I cannot put the provisions on board to be sent about, or do many other needful things;

if you will appoint a person to dispose of the offal timber in the yard, the charge may be soon quitted.
[2 pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 245, No. 43.]

Aug. 24. 1668
Wm. Sheldon, Clerk of the cheque, to [the Navy Commissioners].

At the weekly musters of the ordinary belonging to the King's ships here, never failed for the last 2 months of finding one warrant officer on board of each ship;
and at the monthly musters, there has been general appearance of the whole ordinary, including those belonging to the sink ships.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 245, No. 44.]
HA ... they never discharged the sailors after Medway?!?! I can hear the groan from the combined members of the Navy Board when this one came up for discussion.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Aug. 24. 1668
Royal Katherine, Downs.
Sir Jer. Smith to Williamson.

Upwards of 40 sail have passed through the Downs, outward bound.

A Danish vessel, laden with deals from North Bergen for Dover, was stranded on the Goodwins.
Sent boats to their assistance, but being an old vessel, her bilge came out, so that there was no possibility of getting her off.
Most of her lading and all her men were saved.

This day, according to sentence of a court martial, Richard Nicholls of the St. David was whipped from ship to ship through the fleet,
and towed ashore to Deal, for stealing a ticket from one of his ship's company.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 245, No. 45.]

Aug. 24. 1668
Rich. Bower to Williamson.

The Speedwell and French Victory, that went out with the Iceland fishery, have returned;
arrival of colliers, &c.

The news of an Algiers man-of-war having taken a Bristol ship has put me in fear, having sent my son for Leghorn;
he is now at Falmouth.

Tell me if there is any danger of his being taken, that I may call him home, or at least insure him and his adventure.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 245, No. 47.]
We have discussed maritime insurance before, but this sounds more like life insurance. Ideas, anyone?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Ooooops, the last two letters belong in tomorrow. Sorry

Eric the Bish  •  Link

Thanks San Diego Sarah. “Offal timber” was a new one on me; but this waste left over from squaring off round trunks clearly had a value; perhaps in construction on shore?

Eric the Bish  •  Link

… and my Shorter OED gives “offal” as an adjective which can also mean “rejected”. If this is the meaning here, and these pieces were simply too short, or the wrong shape, or otherwise unsuitable for use in a warship subject to all the stresses and strains of the sea and the enemy, then this timber would certainly have a value in another context, but it would need some administrative action to move it out of the “waste wood“ compound and get it sold.

Scube  •  Link

Sam very complimentary of the sermon. I believe that is not that common; that is, he finds more sermons boring or lazy than not. Wonder how many sermons he commented on through the diary and the tally on the "good" and "poor" sermons.

JB  •  Link

SDS - No apologies necessary, and thanks very much!

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... she being again with child, and by it, the least pretty that ever I saw her."

Poor lady was probably throwing up. Pepys seems to be happily oblivious to many of the more basic facts of life.

Mary K  •  Link

Second thoughts on poor Mrs. Pierce's lack of prettiness. Perhaps she's reached that 'fat-faced' stage of pregnancy in which finer features are blurred (temporarily, we hope) as weight-gain accelerates.

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