Wednesday 3 March 1668/69

Up, after a very good night’s rest, and was called upon by Sir H. Cholmly, who was with me an hour, and though acquainted did not stay to talk with my company I had in the house, but away, and then I to my guests, and got them to breakfast, and then parted by coaches; and I did, in mine, carry my she-cozen Pepys and her daughters home, and there left them, and so to White Hall, where W. Hewer met me; and he and I took a turn in St. James’s Park, and in the Mall did meet Sir W. Coventry and Sir J. Duncomb, and did speak with them about some business before the Lords of the Treasury; but I did find them more than usually busy, though I knew not then the reason of it, though I guess it by what followed to-morrow. Thence to Dancre’s, the painter’s, and there saw my picture of Greenwich, finished to my very good content, though this manner of distemper do make the figures not so pleasing as in oyle. So to Unthanke’s, and there took up my wife, and carried her to the Duke of York’s playhouse, and there saw an old play, the first time acted these forty years, called “The Lady’s Tryall,” acted only by the young people of the house; but the house very full. But it is but a sorry play, and the worse by how much my head is out of humour by being a little sleepy and my legs weary since last night. So after the play we to the New Exchange, and so called at my cozen Turner’s; and there, meeting Mr. Bellwood, did hear how my Lord Mayor, being invited this day to dinner at the Reader’s at the Temple, and endeavouring to carry his sword up, the students did pull it down, and forced him to go and stay all the day in a private Councillor’s chamber, until the Reader himself could get the young gentlemen to dinner; and then my Lord Mayor did retreat out of the Temple by stealth, with his sword up. This do make great heat among the students; and my Lord Mayor did send to the King, and also I hear that Sir Richard Browne did cause the drums to beat for the Train-bands, but all is over, only I hear that the students do resolve to try the Charter of the City. So we home, and betimes to bed, and slept well all night.

19 Annotations

First Reading

Chris Squire  •  Link

‘reader n. . . 4. b. In the Inns of Court and formerly in the Inns of Chancery: a lecturer in law. Readers in the Inns of Court were appointed to deliver long explanatory dissertations on statutes, to which both students and dignitaries were invited. Such ‘readings’ were considered authoritative, and could be cited in legal and legislative rulings . .
1665 S. Pepys Diary 3 Mar. (1972) VI. 49 Mrs. Turner‥takes it mightily ill I did not come to dine with the Reader, her husband.
1695 R. Atkyns Enq. Jurisdict. Chancery sig. Aiii, His Great Grandfather living in the time of King Henry VII. and they all have, in their several turns, undergone the Charge and Labour of Readers of Lincolns-Inn . .
1881 Encycl. Brit. XIII. 88/2 The function of ‘reader’ involved the holder in very weighty expenses, chiefly by reason of the profuse hospitality dispensed,—a constant and splendid table being kept during the three weeks and three days over which the readings extended . . ‘ [OED]

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The still-unresolved jurisdictional dispute in the Inner Temple Pepys reports

"The feast in March, 1669, was distinguished by a very different procedure. The Lent reader, Sir Christopher Goodfellow, having invited the lord mayor to it, that dignitary thought proper to assert his authority, by entering with his (the civic) sword up. The students, jealous of the rights of their precincts, pulled it down, and forced him to go and stay all the day in a private chamber, until the reader could get the young gentlemen to dinner, when his lordship retreated out of the Temple by stealth, "with his sword up." Pepys, who tells the story (iv. 113), says that this made great heat among the students, who resolved to try the charter of the City; a threat which was executed, not by the students, but the king, thirteen years after. Complaints being made to his majesty by the lord mayor, the case was heard before the council, and the ringleaders appearing and arguing the matter, the king, on consultation, thought fit to suspend the declaration of his pleasure thereon, till the right and privilege of bearing up the lord mayor's sword within the Temple should be determined by law.1 But no settlement of the question is recorded. The only other reader's feast which is noted is that of Sir Francis Pemberton in 1674, who, Mr. Serjeant Chauncy says, kept a "noble table.""…

Mary  •  Link

"though I knew not then the reason of it, though I guess it by what followed to-morrow."

An original spoiler delivered by the diarist himself? Not quite, but a specific pointer to his practice of writing up two or more days' entries at a time.

pepfie  •  Link

" she-cozen Pepys and her daughters" would have been Esther Pepys b. Dickenson and her stepdaughters Barbara and Betty, I presume, and not Jane Turner b. Pepys with daughters The. and Betty as Phil's mouse-over suggests. The latter is consistently called cousin Turner (v.s. line 19/20).

"...I guess it by what followed to-morrow."
As we all know since Niels Bohr's København conference at the latest it is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future, so Mary's analysis of a diary update some days later is preferable to a rare case of clairvoyance.…

"...but a sorry play, and the worse by ... my legs weary since last night."
Who would have thought sore muscles could be detrimental to the quality of a play?

Phil Gyford  •  Link

Well caught pepfie - I was momentarily confused there. I've corrected the links now.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Today the younger people in London were not only spoilers at the Temple

"“The Lady’s Tryall” [was] acted only by the young people of the house;"

I.e. by the junior members of the company (L&M note) who were generally less experienced and paid less.

Jmacg  •  Link

"she-cousin" is a curious term, but it's meaning is very clear and it probably saves a few words if you want to specify the gender. My wife claims it's sexist and she may be right, but who's to say the term "he-cousin" wasn't used as well?

Nicolas  •  Link

“she-cousin”: I think the masculine is assumed so you’d never see “he-cousin”. The modifier “she” here indicates the exception. In modern usage I’ve seen “she-wolf” and “she-bear” but never in reference to a person. In Roman mythology Romulus and Remus were raised by a she-wolf.

Nicolas  •  Link

Pepys claims to have had “a very good night’s rest” but how could he have if he didn’t get to bed till 2am and then felt sleepy during the play?

Mary K  •  Link

Lucky Nicolas, never to have come across a "she-devil" in modern times.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Aye, Sir William Coventry would be well advis'd to get busy:

March 3. Warrant to James Beck, serjeant-at-arms, to apprehend Sir William Coventry, and convey him to the Tower for having sent a challenge to the Duke of Buckingham.
March 3. Warrant to Sir John Robinson, Lieutenant of the Tower, to receive Sir William Coventry.

State Papers,…. C'mon, Sam, you told us on Monday that all of London knew about it, how can you not be connecting ye dots presently. How can Sir William himself be so blinde as not to be half-way to France already.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

On the Mall, Sam's coach encounters that of Sir William Coventry, in which servants are busy stuffing bags and travel-cases.

"I say, Sir William, good-morrow! What a happy surprise", Sam exclaims, still high from last night's revels.

Coventry, in his coach, starts almost to the ceiling and drops a booklet, "100 usefull French sentences for All Situations". "Why, yes, Mr. Pepys. I'm afraid..."

"Have you seen those papers the East India Company wants to introduce at the Treasurers' this day fortnight, my lord? I have a rebuttal with me already, if you have but a minute" - Coventry twitches, gestures to the servants to hurry it, scans the Mall in all directions - "it's only twelve pages. To begin with..."

"Yes, yes, very good Pepys. We'll discuss". Grabs Sam's proferred papers, stuffs them in Sir Duncomb's lap, who almost spills the bag of coins he was tying up. "Now if you will excuse us..."

"I was hoping, Sir William, that you would honor my humble house when leisure allows you. I have now but the most admirable collection... No? Some coffee or chocolate at yonder house at least".

"Mr. Pepys, I have an even grander idea. A masque! As in Venice".

"Why, Sir William, I never suspected... Shall we say, next week?"

"Nay, why delay our pleasure? Right now! Know you, I always fant'sied being a coachman". Coventry starts shrugging off his coat. "Your coachman's green livery is the talk of London, you know? Let me trade clothes with your man and drive your beautiful coach in his stead".

Sam is about to give his enthusiastic support to the project - this must be some new Italian fad at Court, a show of support for Candia! But Hewer cuts in, "Alas, my lord, we're late to the theater already. Mr. Pepys' wife is unstinting, as you may know! Farewell now, my lords" Knocks the ceiling, "Billy! Let's move!"

Billy cracks his whip smartly and bewildered Sam sees Coventry's coach recede in the distance. Why, is that searjant Beck, with a detachment of the Watch, whom they just passed trotting in the other direction?

Scube  •  Link

Any further thoughts or insights as to the Sword Up bit with the mayor? Sounds like students were a bit rebellious, even then, but stuffing the Lord Mayor in an office all day. Surprised if there wasn't some repercussion.

Nick Hedley  •  Link

The Temple was originally the headquarters of the Knights Templars but they were disbanded and, in 1608, King James I granted the Temple to the two Inns of court, Inner and Middle Temple. He stipulated that the Inns should provide the accommodation and education of those studying and following the professions of the law.
The Lord Mayor of London presides over the City of London and, for example, presides nominally over the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey, and indeed the Old Bailey cannot sit unless one of the Sheriffs of the City is in residence. To this day, the Lord Mayor walks in procession preceded by a sword carrier, who carries a large ceremonial sword pointing upwards to show his authority. Temple is located within the City.
This protest is therefore a turf dispute as to whether the Lord Mayor holds sway in the Temple or whether the Temple is self governing under the rights granted to them in 1608 by the monarch. The Lord Mayor entering the Temple with his sword pointing upwards indicated his thoughts on the matter and the students disagreed.

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

It seems there are different views on whether the Lord Mayor was, as Sam puts it, "forc[ed] to go" into that closett, and sequestered there by the proud students. John Bulstrode, in his diary (at…, page 102) says upon the mayor's entry with his sword, "the gentlemen of the house (...) begun soe great a disturbance that they would not suffer his Lordship to proceed, soe as betaking himselfe to a gentleman's chamber in the house where he was obliged to stay all the day". So the mayor "betook himselfe" and went to sulk, leaving at 7 "with his sword up, without any dinner". He wasn't necessarily frog-marched and thrown into that room.

And serjeant Beck with his watchmen, if they were trotting as we phant'sied, may have been headed to the Temple but not to grab Coventry, because Bulstrode also informs us that the latter won't be arrested until tomorrow morning, March 4. The warrants against Coventry, dated this day, must have been signed after a Council meeting held tonight, perhaps more or less at the same time as the mayor, his mood foul and his stomach rumbling, was slinking out of his hideaway. Why, we say, can't everyone just relax?

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

On the Lord Mayor just "betaking himself" to a sulk, rather than being "forced to go": Venetian ambassador Piero Mocenigo begs to differ with our more benign assessment, and relates the incident in his weekly intelligence as a very big deal, big enough that the Doge and Senate should know:

Serious trouble was narrowly averted here these last evenings owing to the readiness of the people to revolt. This was because when the lord mayor, who has the office and charge of governing the city, entered the college of the Templars who are all gentlemen students, these last claimed as a privilege of that place, that they should lower the sword carried before him by the justiciar. When he objected to do this, they took away the sword and detained the mayor ignominiously for some hours in the College as a prisoner. As the people were gathering their forces on his behalf the king found it necessary to send the guards to put down the tumult. By their efforts the young gentlemen were persuaded to let the lord mayor go, and peace was restored; and so with great ease a fire was extinguished that might very easily have renewed the fire of London with the worst consequences.

(Letter of 15 March 1669,…)

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