Wednesday 31 March 1669

Up, and by water to Sir W. Coventry’s, there to talk with him about business of the Navy, and received from him direction what to advise the Duke of York at this time, which was, to submit and give way to the King’s naming a man or two, that the people about him have a mind should be brought into the Navy, and perhaps that may stop their fury in running further against the whole; and this, he believes, will do it. After much discourse with him, I walked out with him into St. James’s Park, where, being afeard to be seen with him, he having not leave yet to kiss the King’s hand, but notice taken, as I hear, of all that go to him, I did take the pretence of my attending the Tangier Committee, to take my leave, though to serve him I should, I think, stick at nothing. At the Committee, this morning, my Lord Middleton declares at last his being ready to go, as soon as ever money can be made ready to pay the garrison: and so I have orders to get money, but how soon I know not.

Thence home, and there find Mr Sheres, for whom I find my moher of late to talk with mighty kindness; and particularly he hath shewn himself to be a poet, and that she do mightily value him for. He did not stay to dine with us, but we to dinner; and then, in the afternoon, my wife being very well dressed by her new maid, we abroad, to make a visit to Mrs. Pickering; but she abroad again, and so we never yet saw her. Thence to Dancre’s, and there, saw our pictures which are in doing; and I did choose a view of Rome instead of Hampton Court; and mightily pleased I shall be in them. Here were Sir Charles Cotterell and his son bespeaking something; both ingenious men. Thence my wife and I to the Park; and pretty store of company; and so home with great content the month, my mind in pretty good content for all things, but the designs on foot to bring alterations in the Office, which troubles me.

22 Annotations

First Reading

Allen Appel  •  Link

It troubles me when it does not end, "So to bed." Sometimes I wonder if I'm not a little too involved with S. Pepys.

Jenny  •  Link

@ Allen

I think we are all a "little too involved with S Pepys". I'm dreading the end of the diary.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

being afeard to be seen with him, he having not leave yet to kiss the King’s hand, but notice taken, as I hear, of all that go to him, I did take the pretence of my attending the Tangier Committee, to take my leave, though to serve him I should, I think, stick at nothing.

Sam is torn between fear of the King's displeasure and admiration for Coventry.

DiPhi  •  Link

Yes, the turn of the calendar's page to April makes my heart heavy as the end approaches. What a great ride it's been, with all you guys as well as Sam and Elizabeth!

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"to Dancre’s, and there, saw our pictures which are in doing; and I did choose a view of Rome instead of Hampton Court"

See 22 January this year: "I met with Mr. Dancre, the famous landscape painter..., and he took measure of my panels in my dining-room, where, in the four, I intend to have the four houses of the King, White Hall, Hampton Court, Greenwich, and Windsor."…

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Ah, Mr. Sheres. Let us hope Sam has at least one good fit of jealousy over Bess' poetical engineer...Lord knows the girl deserves a little payback.

"'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day...Thou are more fair and more temperate'...Bess?"

"Oh, Mr. Sheres writes so elegantly."

"Oh, brother...Bess, that's Shakespeare."

"Yes...Who cares?"

"Fine then...'Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom'..."

"That's nice, Sam'l...Anyway next Mr. Sheres writes..."

Mary  •  Link

"Thou art more lovely and more temperate" is the line; "fair" doesn't scan. Also "impediment" (singular) is the correct reading.

Pedantic? Yes, but these misquotations are badly out of tune.

AnnieC  •  Link

Thank you, Mary. I don't know why pedantry has such a bad name. Without it, scholarship would be all over the place.

Australian Susan  •  Link

I think RG may have misquoted the first sonnet extraction on purpose to show that Sheres can't even get his stolen poetry right and that Bess doesn't notice as she is so flattered by the attention. But, yes it should be impediment in sonnet 116. And I echo LH's sentiment!

Second Reading

psw  •  Link

I love all you pedants and allow me to say again: the erudition of these pedants impresses me greatly. Gracias.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Thence home, and there find Mr Sheres, for whom I find my moher of late to talk with mighty kindness; and particularly he hath shewn himself to be a poet, and that she do mightily value L&M:him for."

L&M: Henry Sheres published several books, mostly in prose. Of his published verse there survives A song in the play call'd Oroonoko (1700), composed for Southern's play in 1696.

Regertz  •  Link

Exactly AS. It is easy to look up the exact Shakespeare.

Regertz  •  Link

Though of course “exact “ Shakespeare is a misnomer.,

Regertz  •  Link

Though as my old boss would insist, Will would’ve got the scan right at least.

Tonyel  •  Link

Regertz, delighted to learn that you are still hovering in the background. Are you planning a third trip around, Phil permitting?

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

The State Papers' end-of-the-month bundle of miscellany (at…) provides a welcome glimpse of the faceless crowd of MyPeople drudges, of the sort that Sam used to have lunch with (though not so often anymore, meseems) without ever naming them. This in the form of a blank warrant from "Whitehall" to the Treasurer of the Chamber, "for a payment to John Birtby, Ant[hony] Ryder, and John Gauntlett, clerks of the Privy Council, for their pains in writing above 1,000 circular letters, and other letters and orders, as directed by the Navy Commissioners during the late war, and by the committees for the sickness, fire of London, &c." With an enclosed list of letters written since September 1663, some in as many as 68 copies.

Hang in there John Anthony & John, it's only a wait of 237 years until Chester Floyd Carlson, inventor of the photocopier, is born in what is now the barely imagined wilderness of the Pacific northwest. Let's assume an average of 10 copies, 2 pages per document and six-day weeks, and it's only about four pages per day for each of you, but those have to be blot-free, and there will have been rush-orders and monster documents. "68 copies" may well correspond to orders that had to be routed to every deployed ship, and so perhaps not so infrequent. Evidently the bureaucracy has also churned out well above 1,000 documents in 5.5 years.

But wait a minute; so the Navy sends its stuff to the Privy Council for copying? "Aye", Sam whispers from the netherworlds; "in those gilded halls they have the nimblest, marble-whitest harpsichord-player hands. The Office only gets former seamen with calluses and rope-mangled fingers. Some have been known to eat the quills and drink the ink".

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Thence my wife and I to the Park; ..."

With a new, sporty chariot, he and Elizabeth wanted to be seen at the Tour in Hyde Park, driving around the 'Ring' so they could be seen, especially at Easter time. Evidently no one noteable was there today, but as John Gadbury’s London Diary says, it was "Pleasant with gentle winds." Afternoons like that in March should not be wasted.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Cosmo, the future Grand Duke of Turin, visits Dorchester on his way to London today.

I've standardized the spelling of names I know, corrected scanning errors I could figure out, and increased the number of paragraphs. I apologize if I guessed incorrectly:
I've standardized the spelling of names I know, corrected scanning errors I could figure out, and increased the number of paragraphs. Sometimes I got confused making the N.S./O.S. date conversions, so I apologize if they are wrong:


From Hinton St. George we went to dine, on March 31/10 April, 1669, at Dorchester, passing through the villages of Crewkerne, Southprad [SOUTH ROAD?], Maiden Newton and Frampton.
Having passed Crewkerne, which is about 3 miles from Hinton St. George, they reentered the county of Dorset, of which Dorchester is the capital.


As soon as his highness rose from table, he was congratulated by the mayor and all the magistracy in black dresses, this being the distinction between the cities and towns, the former only having the privilege of using red gowns.

[ The mayor of Dorchester 1668/9 was Joseph Seward… ]

When the magistrates were gone, his highness mounted his horse with his attendants, and with a retinue composed of many of the inhabitants of the town, and was conducted by the mayor to see a celebrated antiquity, 2 miles distant, called the Roman Camp, and, by the English, Fossway, it being an ancient tradition that the Roman armies, who subdued this country, were there reduced to straits on a certain occasion.

A little more than 2 musket shots from the place is seen an elevated mound of earth, more than twice the height of a man, of an oval form, which served for a theatre, as the inhabitants have a notion, judging not only from the shape as before-mentioned, but from its having an inclination or declivity similar to that of theatres.

It appears rather that this might be an advanced post, it being betwixt the camp and the town, and having, as they say, a subterraneous passage, by which it communicates with it; moreover, another similar enclosure of a circular form, situated in another direction with respect to the larger fortification, appears to favor this supposition.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


At last you reach the camp, which, instead of being composed of earth conveyed thither, appears very clearly to have been an isolated mountain, and cut all round into three tiers of very high entrenchments, distinct from each other, with wide ditches between.


The shape cannot be exactly ascertained, appearing for the most part circular; but in some places the angles may be clearly perceived, yet without one's being able accurately to distinguish the plan. There are in all 2 entrances; before each of which the three tiers of entrenchments are multiplied into numerous other fortifications, which served perhaps better to secure the ingress, as it is at present the custom to conceal the gates of fortresses behind a double halfmoon.

Hillocks of earth, which are reported to have been monuments of Roman soldiers and captains, are scattered all over the surrounding country, and extend to the distance of 30 miles in every direction.

From this fortification, his highness descended into the plain, through which runs the small river Frome, whose waters contain abundance of most excellent trout.

Their mode of angling here is very different from the common one; for, where our fishermen hold the hook still for a long time in the same place, these keep it in continual motion, darting the line into the water like the lash of a whip, then drawing it along a few paces, they throw it in afresh; repeating this operation till the fish is caught.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

PART 3 - 146

His highness, on his return home, found the captain of a troop of horse belonging to the militia of the county, who had been called together to escort the person and baggage of his highness on the following day

He was admitted to pay his respects to his highness, who invited him to supper with the gentlemen of his train

Dorchester stands on an inclined plane; it is not large, nor surrounded with walls, nor a place of much trade, nor handsome: it contains altogether only from 10,000 to 12,000 inhabitants; so the county, of which it is the capital, would deserve a better.

The foundation of the soil may be said to be entirely of flint-stone, but so covered with earth, that perhaps more beautiful pasture cannot be found in all England. The cattle are in consequence innumerable; and from them the gentry of the county derive the chief part of their revenues.

The whole of the country is uneven, but open; and the meadows are not so naked, but that coppice-wood is frequently to be seen, particularly in the valleys, which, being almost all of them watered by frequent and copious pools, or rather by small rivulets, produce very green pastures, perpetually covered with cattle.


On this account, the dwellings seem more thinly scattered than in the counties of Devonshire and Somerset, in proof of the prodigious quantity of cattle, it is said, that, in a circuit of 3 miles round Dorchester, they reckon above 40,000 head of oxen and sheep.

My Lord Charles Stuart, Duke of Richmond, superintends the government of the county of Dorset, in the capacity of governor and lieutenant.

[ Charles Stewart, 3rd Duke of Richmond, 6th Duke of Lennox – see… ]

Dorchester is the residence of the sheriff, a royal minister; and, every 3 months, the judges and deputies of the parliament and of the county come thither. These together compose the judicature, after the same form as is universally adopted in each of the 52 counties into which the kingdom is divided, for the expediting both of civil and criminal affairs; such as appeals, &c. &c.; the common jurisdiction of the place being in the hands of its own magistracy, over which the mayor presides.

[ Dorchester’s history can be traced back to the Iron Age. Maiden Castle, the huge and complex Iron Age fort, is just outside the town. Marvel at the sheer scale of the earthworks which were built with primitive tools. The Romans built a town here in AD 43 (Durnovaria) and you can see reminders of Dorchester’s Roman past in the County Museum and the Roman Town House. For more info, see… ]



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