Thursday 27 August 1668

[Continued from yesterday. P.G.] Knepp home with us, and I to bed, and rose about six, mightily pleased with last night’s mirth, and away by water to St. James’s, and there, with Mr. Wren, did correct his copy of my letter, which the Duke of York hath signed in my very words, without alteration of a syllable.1 And so pleased therewith, I to my Lord Brouncker, who I find within, but hath business, and so comes not to the Office to-day. And so I by water to the Office, where we sat all the morning; and, just as the Board rises, comes the Duke of York’s letter, which I knowing, and the Board not being full, and desiring rather to have the Duke of York deliver it himself to us, I suppressed it for this day, my heart beginning to falsify in this business, as being doubtful of the trouble it may give me by provoking them; but, however, I am resolved to go through it, and it is too late to help it now. At noon to dinner to Captain Cocke’s, where I met with Mr. Wren; my going being to tell him what I have done, which he likes, and to confer with Cocke about our Office; who tells me that he is confident the design of removing our Officers do hold, but that he is sure that I am safe enough. Which pleases me, though I do not much shew it to him, but as a thing indifferent. So away home, and there met at Sir Richard Ford’s with the Duke of York’s Commissioners about our Prizes, with whom we shall have some trouble before we make an end with them, and hence, staying a little with them, I with my wife, and W. Batelier, and Deb.; carried them to Bartholomew Fayre, where we saw the dancing of the ropes and nothing else, it being late, and so back home to supper and to bed, after having done at my office.

24 Annotations

First Reading

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...just as the Board rises, comes the Duke of York’s letter, which I knowing, and the Board not being full, and desiring rather to have the Duke of York deliver it himself to us, I suppressed it for this day, my heart beginning to falsify in this business, as being doubtful of the trouble it may give me by provoking them; but, however, I am resolved to go through it, and it is too late to help it now." In the audio version of the Diary, Brannaugh does a splendid job of conveying Sam's wavering mood here.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" my letter, which the Duke of York hath signed in my very words, without alteration of a syllable. "

L&M note "[t]his letter (Duke of York to Navy Board, 26 August) is one of Pepys's most masterly compositions, and proved to be the starting-point of several reforms. It traced the roots of maladministration to the failure of the Principal Officers to observe the Duke's Instructions of 1662 [… ], and blamed particularly the Comptroller (first and foremost), the Treasurer and the Surveyor. Pepys did not attribute any specific faults to himself. .The Duke altered nothing in the draft beyond omitting a single phrase. Copies both of the draft and of the letter (with covering letter) are in [the Pepysian Library] (in Gibson's hand...[and] in Hayter's) . Other copies are in Adm. Lib....BM Harl. [and two other repositories].

Peter Taylor  •  Link

It would appear that throughout the diary the concept of 'weekend' was unknown.

Chris Squire  •  Link

The concept did exist but not in the same sense s now:

‘week-end, n. 1. a. (with a and pl.). The end of a week; the holiday period at the end of a week's work, usually extending from Saturday noon or Friday night to Monday; esp., this holiday when spent away from home.
1638 in Victoria County Hist. Yorkshire (1912) II. 415/2 The greatest weight of the said exaction will fall upon very poor people‥who making every week a coarse kersey and being compelled to sell the same at the week end‥are nevertheless constrained to yield one half penny apiece.
1793 W. B. Stevens Jrnl. 27 Feb. (1965) i. 70 Wrote to Dewe that I would put on my seven league boots next weekend and stretch my course to Appleby.
1870 Food Jrnl. 1 Mar. 97 ‘Week-end’, that is from Saturday until Monday,—it may be a later day in the week if the money and credit hold out,—is the season of dissipation . . ‘ [OED]

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"to Bartholomew Fayre, where we saw the dancing of the ropes"

"Rope-dancing flourished in the open-air fairs and carnivals of medieval Europe. It prompted a mixture of wonder and contempt. Francis Bacon dismissed the ‘trickes of Tumblers, Funambuloes, Baladynes [theatrical dancers]’ as ‘[m]atters of strangenesse without worthynesse’ (Bacon 2000, 119). During the eighteenth century, a battle developed between the legitimate theatre and institutions like Sadler’s Wells, which, from 1740, had been staging the kinds of open-air or itinerant entertainments characteristic of gatherings like Bartholomew Fair. Rope-dancing and tumbling were a central part of ‘physical theatre defined in terms of frenetic movement, the tyranny of spectacular objects and the wizardry of quacks, freaks and charlatans’, which, by setting up home in permanent establishments, seemed to threaten legitimate culture (Moody 2000, 13). Rope-dancing often assisted the partitioning of legitimate from more dubious forms of theatrical entertainment: ‘when fairground entertainers began to establish permanent theatres in Paris in the late eighteenth century and the authorities wished to draw a clear legal line between them and the “legitimate” theatre, one of the common distinctions was that tumbling and rope-dancing were to be found in the minor houses’ (Carlson 1996, 84). In his 1800 Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth was still to be heard deriding those ‘who will converse with us as gravely about a taste for Poetry, as they express it, as if it were a thing as indifferent as a taste for rope-dancing, or Frontiniac or Sherry’ (Wordsworth 1974, I.139).

"For seafaring nations like the British and the French, the two nations in which tightrope walking has been most popular and most perfected, walking up and down ropes and cables has unignorable maritime associations; as in the space of the theatre, this kind of rigging turns terrestrial places into vertiginously mobile vessels. The bad reputations of fairground and popular performers made for a close association between dancing on a rope, and the mortal dancing at the rope’s end that was foreseen for many of its exponents."
*Man Is A Rope*, Steven Connor

cgs  •  Link

My weekend 70 yrs ago, started at 1800hr of 6pm Saturday to 6 am Monday , stores were not open after Sat 12 pm nor on Sunday.
60 hrs then 54 then 48 then 40. Now ?32?
Depending on economic level mine be at the bottom.
Times have changed

Robert Gertz  •  Link

I wonder if Sam means Knepp spent the night at his place...And if so, how Bess liked that? Not to mention how Chris Knepp liked that?


Or if Cocke believed for a second in Sam's indifference to his retaining his place?

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

Good to hear from you cqs!
I'm impressed by Sam's bustling around all day Wednesday, dancing at a party which goes on until 3am, up again at six and another full day's work plus a visit to the Fayre.
I can (just) remember having that sort of energy.

Teresa Forster  •  Link

Tony Eldridge pipped me to it - yes, glad to see you again, cgs.

Jesse  •  Link

"in my very words"

Words not exactly the same as ideas. Per the L&M note was Pepys merely articulate in transcribing the DoY's thoughts (ommiting any reference to himself as 'compensation' for his efforts)? Also the "great" letter seems yet another round of apportioning blame and only a(nother) 'starting point' of proposed reform.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The import of the words

Far from a minor office spat and rearranging of the deck chairs, the conduct of national defense, the largest aspect of the English military-industrial complex and the balance of power between the parliament and the monarchy -- the very constitution of the government -- during a time of war -- were at stake.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"met at Sir Richard Ford’s with the Duke of York’s Commissioners about our Prizes"

L&M say this has to do with ships taken by the Flying Greyhound… The Commissioners wanted to make sure the Duke got his cut -- his "tenths." A 10% finders' fee, a tithe of sorts.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

On August 27, 1668, Madame Minette gave birth to her fourth and last child. She was a daughter, Anne-Marie, who later became the first Queen of Sardinia.

Minette did not show too much interest in her children, partly because that was unfashionable, and partly because there were so many other things to do – like entertainments, and Monsieur hosted a lot of them, each better than the last and so elaborate and decadent that the Paris Gazette and Mercure lacked words to describe their gloriousness properly.
Madame shone brightly at these entertainments, dressed in the finest gowns and decked out in diamonds.

After each pregnancy, although they and the miscarriages had taken a toll on her looks and had weakened her health, Madame Minette was praised and admired.

The admiration of Armand de Gramont, Comte de Guiche was so obvious that Louis XIV noticed and asked his mistress, Louise de La Baume Le Blanc, Mademoiselle de La Vallière was what was going on. (She was a lady in waiting to Minette.)
Louise, Mademoiselle de Valliere knew all about Madame and Armand de Gramont, Comte de Guiche, but refused to tell, which led to the first big argument between the King and his mistress, and to Guiche being exiled.
Part of the problem was that Guiche also dared to ogle Louise.
(Minette’s flirtation with Guiche began in 1661 and lasted until Guiche was exiled in 1665.)

Madame Minette also had public flirtations with François VII de La Rochefoucauld, a good friend of Louis XIV.
Then there was Louis de Lorraine, Monsieur le Grand, another very good friend to the King. His attentions towards Madame nearly ended his marriage.
The Marquis the Vardes was eager to take Armand de Gramont, Comte de Guiche’s place, and even a member of the clergy, the Archbishop of Sens, showed quite an interest in Minette, as did Louis-Henri de Pardaillan de Gondrin, Louis de Rohan-Montbazon and the future Duc de Lauzun.

It became a sport for courtiers to note every glance Madame received, every glance she returned, and every fit of anger by Monsieur on the subject. The whole court talked about those flirtations, about lovers hidden behind screens when Monsieur surprisingly visited Madame, and how the gentlemen secretly entered her chambers disguised as servant women or left via the windows.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


In July, 1668 the flirtations and jealousies reached new heights. James Scot, Duke of Monmouth, was staying in France and was bold in the display of his affections for Madame his aunt, who was flattered by his attention.

When Moliére’s “George Dandin” was performed at Versailles, half the court was openly laughing about Monsieur, whose wife was cuckolding him.
(George Dandin is a rich peasant, who married the daughter of a poor nobleman, in exchange for some money, and bought himself a title afterwards. The daughter married him against her will and sees herself thus not inclined to act as a good wife should, instead she flirts and makes merry with other gentlemen. George asks his parents-in-law to help him and call their daughter to reason, but they make fun of him, as does his wife, his servants and the court. The latter because Monsieur George is unable to keep his wife from flirting. The play has a tragic end, as the wife and her lover treat him worse and worse, until he considers suicide because, with such an evil wife, it seems to be the only thing to do.)

Monmouth had to leave the court the next day. SEE…

So Monsieur and Madame were caught in an unhappy marriage with no escape, Monsieur accusing Madame of having lovers, Madame accusing Monsieur of treating her unfairly. The situation grew more and more tense.

Then Philippe, Chevalier de Lorraine entered the circus. He encouraged the humiliated Monsieur to make an end to Madame’s flirting. Spies were installed in her household and the Palais-Royal became the place of intrigues.

Madame Minette did not like the Chevalier because, as he became more important to Monsieur, Monsieur in turn became more distant to her.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Minette changed her attitude and gathered her forces, which was not easy. Monsieur had full control over her household, including who served in it and on what money was spent. Madame had to follow Monsieur wherever he went, no matter if she wanted to go or not, and she had to ask for his permission before she could go somewhere without him.

In the past, Monsieur had not been strict about that, but he changed now, and Madame was not pleased.

Nor did she have many supporters. The courtiers sided with Monsieur: after all, he could dismiss them with an elegant wave of a be-ringed hand, without any reason.

Minette could not trust her ladies or maids, because some were acting as spies for the Chevalier. If the ladies and maids did not cooperate, Monsieur had them replaced with women who would.

She could not count on the Comtesse de Soissons or the Princesse de Monaco anymore, and they both distanced themselves from her. The Comtesse did so because Madame was involved in the exile of Monsieur de Vardes, the Comtesse’s lover. The Princesse, who had been a good friend to Madame, did so because she liked the Chevalier, which led to plenty of arguments between them.

Madame could count on Daniel Cosnac, Monsieur’s former confessor. But Monsieur Cosnac fell into disgrace because he failed to talk Louis XIV into granting Monsieur a governorship, and rushed to Madame’s defense when an indecent pamphlet about her affair with Armand de Gramont, Comte de Guiche made the rounds.

Then Philippe, Chevalier of Lorraine, took over his responsibilities and did them better than Cosnac.

At the behest of Madame, Monsieur Cosnac asked Monsieur to make peace with his wife and to dismiss the Chevalier. That was a big mistake, because the Chevalier had little difficulty discrediting Monsieur Cosnac.

The Chevalier acquired some letters, most likely forged, and presented them to Monsieur, who may have known they were forged, which said Cosnac was plotting to have the Chevalier removed from Monsieur’s presence.
Cosnac was stripped of all offices he held in Monsieur’s Household and ordered to relocate to his diocese in Valence.

Madame protested furiously, but in vain.

The timing was awful because Monsieur Cosnac possessed letters written by the Chevalier of a compromising nature. The letters left with Cosnac and Madame needed to reclaim them.
Madame de Saint-Chaumont, someone Minette could trust, remained in contact with Cosnac and they agreed he would sneak into Saint-Denis, where he would meet Minette and give her the letters.
A visit to Saint-Denis, where Queen Mother Henrietta Maria was buried, was something Monsieur could not deny to Minette.

But of course things went terribly wrong.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Monsieur Cosnac was recognized and seized before he could meet Madame. He was exiled again, Madame de Saint-Chaumont with him, as a letter written by her was found on his person.
But Monsieur Cosnac had managed to hide the Chevalier letters before he was taken. {Sorry, I have no idea what became of them.}

Madame protested once again, in vain.
She asked Louis XIV to get involved, but he said he would not interfere in the matters of his brother’s household.

Minette turned to Charles II, and told him all about how badly she was treated in long letters. They exchanged letters nearly every week, in which they discussed everything.
Charles II wrote in English, Minette replied in French, because her English was awful.
He teased her about her admirers, and encouraged her not to give in to the “fantastical humours” of her husband (meaning Monsieur’s fits of jealously).

Madame’s letters convinced Charles II that Monsieur was a good-for-nothing and a pervert who chased young boys. But Charles could not help her … yet.
Monsieur had won the early battles, but the war was far from over.

Minette held the weakest cards in this game, but that changed as she once more became important to Louis XIV.
The King and his Ministers were secretly working on a treaty that would ally England to France.
Louis wanted to go to war with the Dutch and for that he wanted the assistance of the English. …

And that's what was going on behind the scenes as not reported in the Diary.
You can read up on the outrageous goings on at Versailles and what happens next at…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

'Charles II: August 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8. British History Online…

Aug. 27. 1668
Joseph Williamson to Rob. Francis.

I expect to hear to-night how far I am wanted at the office,
and what business awaits my return.
I will leave on Monday, and hope to be in London the next day.

I send a letter to Father Patrick, and beg a reply.
I will not trouble Mr. Chiffinch further about a warrant for a buck.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 245, No. 67.]
Williamson is staying at the Earl of Thurmond’s at Billing, Northants.

Aug. 27. 1668
Letter Office.
A. Ellis to Williamson.

The King of France has not recovered of his surfeit;
he has required M. de Lorraine to disband, for the quite of his neighbours.
The answer of the Duke is unsatisfactory;
he offers 6 regiments to his cousin the Prince of Aremberg, to secure Franche Comté, and gives assistance in money to his nephew, Prince Charles of Lorraine, to get the Crown of Poland, and to remove him further off.

The French King has remanded M. de la Hay from Constantinople.
He offers Don Pedro to become guarantee for the peace between Spain and Portugal.

The French letters deny the report that Candia is lost.

Don John is confined, and affairs look overspread with clouds.

Some think that the young King [of Spain] cannot live, and then that Crown must fall to pieces.

Nothing is so loud in the town as the ignorance of the French Ambassador's
lady to perform her audience with her Majesty;
she came so little instructed that when she arrived at the Queen, she knew not how to behave herself, but stood there till she was out of countenance, made her curtsey, and departed;
but the King, most fortunately meeting her, brought her back and instructed her to perform her career.

The Court is going to Bagshot,
his Royal Highness to the Cinque Ports,
and Lord Arlington to the Earl of Sunderland's in Northamptonshire.
[2 pages. S.P. Dom. Car. II. 245, No. 69.]
Ambassador Charles Colbert (1625 — 1696), brother of the Finance Minister. In 1664, he married Françoise Béraud, daughter of a rich banker, who brought with her the territory of Croissy, which name he took to be turned into a Marquisate in July 1676.
M. de Lorraine is Philippe, Chevalier of Lorraine, see PART 3 above.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Aug. 27. 1668
Roger Baker, purser of the Dartmouth, to the Navy Commissioners.

Vindications against the captain's complaint.
I received at Dover one month's provisions for 100 men, but the beef was all
cast as defective on a survey.
I was ordered to London by Sir Jer. Smith, to send down what provisions you
thought fit.
The victuals were sent safely, but the longboat being laden with wood, candles, and water, sank by the ship's side, and nothing was saved.

I desired the captain to supply my steward with 3l. to buy wood and candles
lost, and I would return it when he had intended and received my necessary

I have daily attended the victualler's agent for 16 days, but cannot obtain my
necessary money.
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 245, No. 76.]

Aug. 27. 1668
Rob. Francis to [Williamson].

The Duchess of Richmond will convey your compliments to the Duke at Cobham.

I think affairs do not require you before Monday.
Father Patrick sounded Lady [Arlington] about it, and she thought your absence might be dispensed with.

The King has returned 6 p.m. from hunting, and is dining with the Queen.

I met Father Patrick there, and Lord Arlington, coming in from the Commissioners of Trade in the Council Chamber, told Father Patrick that you would attend the King to Bagshot or Monday or Thursday next, but his lordship said he would write to you;

I have waited till 10 for his letter, but it has not come.
[3 pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 245, No. 68.]

Aug. 27. 1668
Sir Nic. Armorer to Williamson, Billing.

As the King is going a journey in a week,
Lord Arlington not being certain that he can wait upon him, has desired me to request you to be at home before then, so you should husband your time accordingly.

You may come through in a day, if met with Dick Talbot's coach at St. Alban's,
but you must send orders to bespeak it.

Neither Watt nor I can find a dancing dog, but will search the fair of Bartholomew, and if a dog be not found, a bear shall be.

I bless the dowager of Carlow Castle, and all she loves.
[2 pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 245, No. 70.]
According to this history of Carlow Castle, Ireland, the current owners of this
run-down place was the Earl of Thurmond … so once again the blessing was
on “Countess” Katherine O’Brien, Williamson’s future bride.…

Aug. 27. 1668
Letter office, London.
James Hickes to Williamson.

I disposed of the letters sent, and thank you for kind remembrances in the
one to Mr. Ellis, who is very much your servant.

There is a report that the French King is mad, and as he and his Queen have
been very ill, it is not impossible something may remain to bring down his

There is some sputtering on the Exchange that Candia is taken, but I hope
[S.P. Dom., Car. II. 245, No. 72.]

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Aug. 27. 1668
Letter of news
[from R. Francis to Williamson],
being extracts from letters calendared above, and from the following:

27 Aug. –– The Archbishop of St. Andrews is on his way for London.
To prevent all disorders for the future, they have completed their militia in Scotland, which is exercised every other day, and consists of 18,000 horse and foot, who will be ready on 24 hours' notice.

Some private disputes have happened in the north of Scotland,
between the Earls of Caithness Sutherland, Mackay, and the laird of Dunbeath, about the resetting of thefts, &c.,
and in a scuffle, one of them is said to have been killed, and others hurt.

The Duke of Orleans stands fair for the Election of Poland, and some say it will be his own fault if he misses it.

The Turks continue to storm the town of Candia in 4 places, and have resolved upon 2 more as soon as the Captain Bashaw shall come with fresh succour from Morea.
They possessed themselves of a half-moon at St. Andrew's Gate,
but were beaten out by the besieged with great loss, and particularly of a person of great quality amongst the Turks.
[2 pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 245, No. 73.]

Aug. 27. 1668
Letter of news [from Rob. Francis] to Mr. Saunders, Scarborough.

The Resolution and others have gone into Portsmouth to be paid off and
laid up.

Lord Willoughby's son is coming home in the Crown from Barbados.

The merchant ships have gone from Barbados to New England, having not freight enough, through the failure of the crop.

The order for disbanding Sir Toby Bridge's regiment in Barbados is confirmed,
and his Majesty is sending 90 great guns, 200 barrels of powder, 2,000 arms,
with swords, shots, &c., for strengthening the place.

The Dutch have resolved to have the Lunenburg forces paid and sent home.
The States of Holland will not meet until September,
and affairs are to stand without alteration till that time.

The commission concerning the Irish affairs was opened on the 20th at Essex House,
and summoned Sir Dan. Bellingham, deputy of the Earl of Anglesey, from Bleckingham House, and Sir James Sheen, Surveyor of Ireland, who is to give account into whose hands the lands are detained that were, by the Act of Settlement, invested in the King or his father.

The Commissioners continue the same as before, except that Sir Thos. Osborne is put in the place of Mr. Greenway.

The Duke of Richmond went to Dover on the 29th, to see things set in order for his Royal Highness, who starts on the last of the month, but not to stay long.

His Majesty expects him here on the 29th, and has deferred going to Hampton Court and taken the pleasure of hunting at Bagshot;

after spending some days there, he intends for Audley End, where beer, &c.,
is already laid in against October.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sir Dan. Harvey went ashore at Portsmouth Island, but put to sea the next tide.

The ship with Mr. Hinton, appointed Governor of Newfoundland, put into
Weymouth Road.

Letters from Dieppe lament the sad condition of Rouen, where the plague is broke into 190 houses, and seized 3 in the street, besides others, insomuch that all places are forbid any kind of commerce with them.

They are much dissatisfied in Flanders by the loss of their expectation of Don

The Spaniards send fresh supplies daily, but their forces do not increase, for
as many as they get they lose for want of pay.

The Venetian Ambassador has had his audience, but not his public entry.

The Leghorn letters report that Candia is not taken, but that they had received great losses by the besieged, and were beaten from some places.
The failure may cost the Grand Seignior his life, the people being brought low, and the country full of false money.

The French are nominating an Ambassador to go to Spain and Holland, for settling trade, particularly in the East and West Indies.

The Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's, notwithstanding the great loss they had by the fire, have made over part of their revenue to be employed in re-edifying the cathedral.

The death of the Bishop of Chester is much lamented.
He is said to have come to his end by tripping on his gown while going down
a mount in his garden and falling, when knife in his pocket ran into his side,
of which wound he died.
[2-¾ pages. S.P. Dom., Car. II. 245, No.74.]

Aug. 27. 1668
Order for a warrant

to pay to George Duke of Buckingham a pension of 1,000l. a year
as gentleman of the bedchamber.
[S.P. Dom., Entry book 30, f. 78.]

Scube  •  Link

Sam certainly can get by with little rest. wonder how he did it!

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