Thursday 3 December 1668

Up betimes, and by water with W. Hewer to White Hall, and there to Mr. Wren, who gives me but small hopes of the favour I hoped for Mr. Steventon, Will’s uncle, of having leave, being upon the point of death, to surrender his place, which do trouble me, but I will do what I can. So back again to the Office, Sir Jer. Smith with me; who is a silly, prating, talking man; but he tells me what he hears, that Holmes and Spragg now rule all with the Duke of Buckingham, as to seabusiness, and will be great men: but he do prophesy what will be the fruit of it; so I do. So to the Office, where we sat all the morning; and at noon home to dinner, and then abroad again, with my wife, to the Duke of York’s playhouse, and saw “The Unfortunate Lovers;” a mean play, I think, but some parts very good, and excellently acted. We sat under the boxes, and saw the fine ladies; among others, my Lady Kerneguy, who is most devilishly painted. And so home, it being mighty pleasure to go alone with my poor wife, in a coach of our own, to a play, and makes us appear mighty great, I think, in the world; at least, greater than ever I could, or my friends for me, have once expected; or, I think, than ever any of my family ever yet lived, in my memory, but my cozen Pepys in Salisbury Court. So to the office, and thence home to supper and to bed.

11 Annotations

First Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

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

Dec. 3. Heuelius his Selenography [… ] Deld. to Mr. Hooke for the Societys Library. - the East India prsent was deliuerd to mr Hooke for the Repository --

Dr. Pope & mr. Hooke said tht Sr And. King had seen diuers amphisbenae in Spaine -- about the controuersy of Hugens & Gregory [quere Letter Book]. --

There was attempted the Expt. to shew that rebounding was caused by Springinesse with a brasse wire more or Lesse tense, but the apparatus being Defectiue, it was orderd that the Expt. should be repeated the next Day. --

It was moued that the book lately presented to the Society by Mr. Boyle Entitled A Continuation of new Expts. Physico mechanicall [… ] might be pervsed by some members of the Society whereupo mr Hooke hauing the booke in his hands was desired to doe this.…

Tony Eldridge  •  Link

"the favour I hoped for Mr. Steventon, Will’s uncle, of having leave, being upon the point of death, to surrender his place"
I assume that "surrender" in this context means "sell"? If he is on the point of death he is hardly going to ask for permission to merely retire.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The King's Virtuousi are still weighing Air!

The book lately presented to the Society by Mr. Robert Boyle is Entitled
*A continuation of new experiments physico-mechanical, touching the spring and weight of the air, and their effects wherein are contained divers experiments made both in compressed and also in factitious air, about fire, animals, &c. : together with a description of the engines wherein they were made.*

(The link above is to the full text, w/ engine images.)

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Tony Eldridge --"the favour I hoped for Mr. Steventon, Will’s uncle, of having leave, being upon the point of death, to surrender his place"
I assume that "surrender" in this context means "sell"? If he is on the point of death he is hardly going to ask for permission to merely retire.

See what you think Tony: apparently he was "trying to get permission to surrender his position to a nominee (so L&M). In 1663 he was a purser: he needed a qualified replacement.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... and saw “The Unfortunate Lovers;” a mean play, I think, but some parts very good, and excellently acted." Fourth time's the charm. He hated it the first three times.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Bodleian Library has a new exhibit, North Sea Crossings until April 22, 2022, which explores Anglo-Dutch relations from 1066 to the 1688 Glorious Revolution.

The exhibition reflects on the turbulent relationship and the hostility that was directed at Dutch migrant communities in England.

Yet the exchange of ideas through art, literature and trade continued through the Early Modern period, as shown by the patronage of Dutch portrait artists by both the Orange and Stuart dynasties.

Items on display include:
a 17th-century woodcut of Holland’s Leaguer, an Anglo-Dutch brothel in Southwark, which King James I frequented;

‘The Dutch Church Libel’ poem, which was pinned to the wall of a London church in 1593 and threatened Dutch settlers (many were refugees of religious persecution) with lethal violence, and reveals the suspicion that blighted society’s view of refugees, just as it does today;

A map of Oxfordshire, with inset street map of Oxford. The map was engraved by Jodocus Hondius in Amsterdam. The copper plate was sent to London for John Speed’s ‘The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine ’ (1612).

A Portolan chart of the North Sea between England, Holland and Flanders. It appeared first in the pilot guide Zeespiegel (The Sea Mirrour), published by Willem Janszoon Blaeu in 1623, and in the English translation in 1625.

There’s an account of the Great Fire of London which tells how suspicion for starting the fire fell on a Dutch baker, illustrating the suspicion and intolerance that occasionally characterized relations between the Netherlands and England at the time.

This antipathy led to three Anglo-Dutch Wars, which saw the two colonial powers slug it out for mastery of trade routes to their colonies, which highlights the importance of the Portolan chart of the North Sea between England, Holland and Flanders. Taken from the pilot guide Zeespiegel (The Sea-Mirrour), this useful document was first published by Willem Janszoon Blaeu in 1623, and in English translation in 1625.

Yet the umbilical connection between the two Protestant nations meant that in 1688 William and Mary of Orange acceded to the English throne.

There are European themes like Reynard the Fox, a medieval folk fable about a wily fox that spans English, Dutch, French and German folklaw.
In the Bodleian collections Reynard first appeared in the margins of manuscripts produced in medieval Flanders for the English market, and continued into the age of print with Caxton’s 1481 English translation of ‘The History of Reynard the Fox’, which Anglicized the Dutch and Flemish language.

Check out "Tibert the Cat bites off one of the priest’s testicles", a woodcut from Elizabeth Allde’s edition of ‘The Most Delectable History of Reynard the Fox’ (1629), with illustrations based on those of Wynkyn de Worde’s editions (1495 and 1515). Tibert was definitely a Protestant cat!…

Elisabeth  •  Link

Dr. Pope & Mr. Hooke said tht Sr And. King had seen divers amphisbenae in Spaine.

The amphisbaena has been described since antiquity as a serpent with a head at either end of its body (see Pliny, “Natural History”, 8:35). The modern classification Amphisbaenidae describes a family of legless burrowing reptiles found in South America and Africa which have, alas, just one head.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Today the Treasury commissioners signed off on no less than twenty two warrants for Dennis Gauden, awarding him a total of £12,000 for victualling (record at…). Serious moolah, and perhaps a nick-of-time result of Sam's hard work yesterday.

If so, the bureaucracy moved unusually fast, but 'twas about time, as we find, in a letter from Chatham to the Navy Coms, some Evidence that victualling was becoming a problem area indeed: Of the crew kept on the freshly docked Golden Hand, it is written: "Pray order the victualling of the 20 men, and fish instead of oatmeal, as the men would not eat it" (…). Yes, the ship is docked, but they're not going to work very hard on a lunch of oatmeal. And, the ship being docked, they don't have to eat the menu and can walk off the H.M.S. Oatmeal anytime.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Meanwhile, Sam wallows in self-satisfaction, the new coach smell, and Bess' lovingly arranged floral cushions. His own coach! His own bloody coach! He can go anywhere (well, almost, a stern mental image of My Wife corrects him). He can make it turn left, or turn right, at will (hmm, but not here of course, have to follow the ruts). He can, er, stretch his legs like this!

The coach enters one of the newly finished, straightened and paved sections of Fleet Street. Sam thumps the roof with his cane (no gentleman without a cane, if only as an ostensible roof-thumper). "Coachman! Faster! Let's make my baby's wheels throw sparks!"

Up above, bundled against the bitter cold in his leprechaun suit, the coachman does what he can and cracks his whip for effect. "Aye, m'lord. But, not with these horses, b'yer leave, m'lord, as we discussed".

The coach plods along. A cat, snoozing in the middle of the street, eyes its approach, licks a paw, stretches, and dodders away, sticking its tongue at the horses. A hackney zooms past, spraying mud, its daredevil driver yelling "Make way!" Soon the Pepyses are back in the twisting, muddy, rubble-strewn labyrinth that surrounds Seething Lane. The horses, smelling their new home, crawl slightly faster.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Earlier in the day, as Sam sat down to "The Unfortunate Lovers", Billy the coachman was joining the brasero set outside the theater where the other coachmen were stamping their feet and passing 'round the sack bottle against the cold. They whistle appreciatively at his beautiful green livery and toast it as the unwitting homage it seems to mother Ireland.

"So who's the new master?" "Any fun?" "Any scandal already?"

"Hey guys, I just got there. Some quill-pusher. Dull as a lead guinea. He tiptoes around his wife. Works in the Navy Office on Seething".

The words "Navy Office" bring a torrent of well-wishing and inquiries. "He can get that paper they give you to not get pressed? He can get my uncle's pension paid? He can get me to Virginia? You got a pass to enter the yards?" &c., &c.

In comes waltzing the smiling, affable man from the Benevolent Society for Coachmen's Needs. As always, he has a flask of much better sack, and in his faint Dutch accent offers "a good barber for your tooth-ache, a Hindoo balm for your bottom-sores, a free loan for your old Ma, your letters writ'n and sent to Kilkenny, a nice girl for your solace", in return for "jolly anecdotes, worthless discarded papers, a few seconds' perusal of house keys", &c., &c. Billy takes a swig of the free booze, wishes him good evening like the others, and nods to himself, pensively.

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