Sunday 25 April 1669

(Lord’s day). Up, and to my Office awhile, and thither comes Lead with my vizard, with a tube fastened within both eyes; which, with the help which he prompts me to, of a glass in the tube, do content me mightily. So to church, where a stranger made a dull sermon, but I mightily pleased to looks upon Mr. Buckworth’s little pretty daughters, and so home to, dinner, where W. Howe come and dined with us; and then I to my Office, he being gone, to write down my journal for the last twelve days: and did it with the help of my vizard and tube fixed to it, and do find it mighty manageable, but how helpfull to my eyes this trial will shew me.

So abroad with my wife, in the afternoon, to the Park, where very much company, and the weather very pleasant. I carried my wife to the Lodge, the first time this year, and there in our coach eat a cheese-cake and drank a tankard of milk. I showed her this day also first the Prince of Tuscany, who was in the Park, and many very fine ladies, and so home, and after supper to bed.

15 Annotations

First Reading

Will Norton  •  Link

I know this has been said before, but is there any chance that we can start again from the beginning when then diary ends?

Personally I am going to miss the daily entries very much. I know that I can buy a copy of the diary, but I don't think it will have the same impact as a post online each day.

Would Phil accept to run the website for another few years?

Will Norton  •  Link

Thanks Jeannine, I had not seen that page.

Horace Dripple  •  Link

Twelve days' worth of journal entries? In my own diary many years ago, I found myself making entries at greater and greater intervals before stopping them altogether. Which leads me to suspect that Sam ends the diary not only because of his eye problems, but because of insufficient interest or boredom.

Bob  •  Link

A tankard of milk and cheese-cake.
Pepys apparently was not lactose intolerant.

JWB  •  Link

Sources differ, but only about 5% of northern Europeans are discomforted after eating dairy products.

Maurie Beck  •  Link

Like almost all dairying cultures, Northern Europeans have a mutation in the regulatory region upstream of the lactase (the enzyme that turns lactose in glucose) gene that keeps the gene on, producing lactase in adults. Similar mutations have occurred independently at least 2 other times in dairying cultures. The mutations were not identical, but all up-regulated the lactase gene and increased to high frequency in each culture.

Second Reading

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Will Hewer ushers Mr. Lead into Sam's office and closes the door. Lead opens the velvet-lined case he came with and pulls out a heavy contraption of leather, cardboard tubes and brass gears.

Sam, now a strange, tube-eyed creature, rearranges his periwig around the vizar's straps that encircle his head and swings his gaze around the room. Hewer coughs in his hand to disguise a laugh.

"Why, it is a bit heavier than I phantsi'ed, but the effect is... most remarkable, Mr. Lead. A very balm on my poor Eyes".

"And it comes with the features we discuss'd, Mr. Pepys".

"Yes", Sam says. "Now, Hewer, you may stay, but we are about to discuss Naval secrets. Eyes only, ha ha".

Lead reaches to the vizar near Sam's right ear and turns a tiny brass wheel, hidden behind one of the decorative mermaids. "Tweak this gear thusly, and the mirror rotates, and redirects your gaze to the side."

"So now you can ogle neighboring pews at church, without moving your head or letting anyone follow your gaze", Hewer immediately understands. "Most ingenious", he grunts with audible disapproval.

"Well, it's meant to let you inspect papers on the Dutchman's desk, or, er, perceive pyrate vessels without their knowing, or..."

Lead, continuing his demonstration, now gives a slight pull to the brass wheel, and clicking noises issue from the vizard's tubes. "Pull thusly, and the magnifying lenses now spring into action".

"Oooh", Sam now marvels, his gaze seemingly straight ahead at the door-knob, but in fact angled down to Hewer's beribboned shoes. "Every detail of your ankles is crystal-clear. Mr. Lead, you are a magician. Let's try this presently. Um, at church, why not".

"We call this model the Dull Sermon", Lead says. "You will have noticed many persons of quality in all of the better London churches have adopted it. There is now no dark corner for the Devil to hide unobserved."

"Of course", Sam says. "We philosophers understand each other at the merest hint. And, my vizard being so equipp'd, of course stays between us".

"We vizard-makers sell discretion and anonymousness, Mr. Pepys."

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Hewer having left to deal with the day's load of unpaid suppliers and late deliveries, Mr. Lead remains alone with Sam and pulls out some papers.

"You had mention'd some improvements for the Navy's consideration", Sam recalls.

"Indeed", Lead says, unrolling blueprints on Sam's desk. "By your leave, Mr. Pepys." The blueprint shows a vizar much like the one on Sam's head, but with a brass cage on top. "My efforts to train crows to recognize objects are successful. For a start I selected 'pretty young ladies', and specifically their denuded ankles and bosoms, as easier targets for the birds to figure out in a church's low-light environment. The crow does react every time, and already knows to, with its little beak, twist this lever here" - he points at detail No. 58 in the blueprint - "and to make the mirror swing in the correct direction. Crows, as you know, are remarkably sharp-ey'd".

"And protectors of the Kingdom", Sam adds.

"Of course, Mr. Pepys. If they can pick out the rosy glow of a bare wrist, imagine what they can do to, ah, er, an enemy fleet on the stormy Straits..."

"Say no more, Mr. Lead. I will speak to the Duke about a budget. I am confident he will support this".

"I must be frank, Mr. Pepys, the power of this Artificeal Intelligence augmentation to my vizar doth keep me awake of nights. Is it wise to unleash it on the World, without careful consideration of the Effects?"

"Hmm". Sam nods, making the tubes shake and rattle to Lead's slight concern. "How true. The Government will only employ this in an ethickal and responsible manner. But the French and the Dutch, Mr. Lead, would show no such restraint. Now, how much did you say your Researches might require?"

Tonyel  •  Link

A splendid invention Stephane !
I wonder why Google never thought of something similar.

Scube  •  Link

"So to church, where a stranger made a dull sermon, but I mightily pleased to looks upon" [well you know what he looked upon, if not whom] But seeing once again that the sermon was "dull," I did a word search on this incredible website to see how many times Sam referred to a "dull sermon." The answer surprised me - only 37. I am sure that Sam used other adjectives to describe less than satisfactory sermons, but even so, I had thought that he found at least half of the sermons "dull."

James Morgan  •  Link

I suppose one would have to have three categories, sermons described as dull or poor, those described in better terms, and those not described. I too have the impression tht dull or poor sermons were common.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"I showed her this day also first the Prince of Tuscany, who was in the Park, and many very fine ladies, and so home, ..."

No mention of his highness looking at the ladies in Cosmo's Diary:

On the morning of 25 April/5 May, 1669, having first heard mass, his highness gave audience to my Lord Ashley Cooper, Baron Ashley, and one of the king's privy counsellors; to Sir —— Spenser; to the king's master of the robes, Lawrence Hyde, second son of Edward, Earl of Clarendon, lord chancellor; to my Lord John Berkeley, Baron Berkeley; to Sir Elias Leighton; to Sir Brouncker, brother of Viscount Brouncker; to my Lord Orlando Bridgeman, Baronet, keeper of the seals; and to my Lord George Villars, Duke of Buckingham, one of the king's privy council; all of whom came to pay their court to him.

He also received Henry Neville, who frequently appeared to pay his respects to his highness, to whom he was already known, having been at the court of Tuscany, when on his travels in Italy.


The same attention was also shewn by my Lord Philip Howard and his brothers.
His highness then went to the queen's chapel at St. James's, and having taken a short ride, returned home at mid-day; when the Duke of Buckingham, with some of the other gentlemen who had been to visit him, dined with him.

After dinner he went out in his carriage to see the city, going as far as Lincoln's Inn Fields, one of the largest and handsomest squares in London, both in respect to the uniformity and the size of its buildings.

SEE LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS for this information:…

He next went to Southampton New Square, which is surrounded by buildings erected by the late Lord Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, Baron Wriothesley, lord treasurer;


and turning back again, repaired to Hyde Park, which was crowded, as usual, with carriages of ladies and gentlemen; and, towards the close of the day, alighting at St. James, on his return, he went to Whitehall, to the queen's closet, where his majesty renewed his invitation to his highness, to see the horse races.

He afterwards adjourned to the apartments of the Duchess of York, where he remained some time with the duke, and then returning home, supped and retired.



His highness, Cosmo, must be considered only as a traveler. Under his direction, the narrator of the records was Count Lorenzo Magalotti, afterwards Secretary to the Academy del Cimento, and one of the most learned and eminent characters of the court of Ferdinand II.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"So to church, where a stranger made a dull sermon" -- and Scube's other 36 entries.

Claire Tomalin (Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self) says of Pepys' post-diary life that he was a passionate believer in liberty of conscience.

He wrote in his will that he was content to die "in the profession of that faith, and in the practice of such worship, as I find established by the Law of my country, not being able to believe what I myself please, nor to worship God better than by doing as I would be done unto."

Clearly the cynicism born of his Popish Plot experiences (being accused of being a Catholic); his upbringing as a Puritan; his fears that the Non-Conformists would take over the government of Charles II, and their acceptance under William and Mary; his exposure to believing Catholics (namely Elizabeth and James II, but there were many others) throughout his adult years, leave him quite ambivalent as to God’s preferred religion under Queen Anne. He just wishes to be buried in whatever way the authorities prefer, and will worship God by following the Golden Rule, which should satisfy everyone.

He is a man of the Enlightenment. He has read books like Leviathan and Oceana. He knew James Harrington. He attended the Rota Club. No wonder he found all these sermons “dull”. They involved no original thinking.

Our first hint of this ambivilence is in the first year of the Diary when Sandwich tells Pepys that he is 'wholly Scepticall' in matters of religion. Pepys agrees with him privately with an 'as well as I.'

Later Pepys finds a thin congregation at Westminster Abbey, and writes, 'I see religion, be it what it will, is but a humour, and so the esteem of it passeth as other things do.'"

If Pepys really wanted a full-throated defense of the Church of England, he would have been attending St. Paul's in Covent Garden. But he doesn't.

He no longer lives in a world of Magical Thinking. He already lives in the Age of Reason.

I use to wonder why so many early modern philosophers were also mathematicians. Then I realized that if you train your brain to believe 2+2=4, etc., your brain will also develop a healthy skeptisism about unproveable stories. In order to believe maths and science solutions, you need to be able to repeat the experiment. Pepys can fit barrels into ships, and that requires calculus.

So why does he go to church at all? He has to, by law. This is where he often hears good music. This is where community announcements are read. To set a good example by using the Navy pews. But most of all, he goes to see and be seen, often in his latest Court outfit, with and without Elizabeth.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Phil Gyford interviews Kate Loveman at another place on this site. Now we near the end of the Diary it seems fitting to consider her take on Pepys religious beliefs:

"Pepys’s religious beliefs are a difficult question, so I’m going to take a few paragraphs to answer!

"On the one hand, there is a lot of evidence for Pepys’s taking religious commitments seriously: he was going to “Anglican” services before the Restoration, at a point when these were illegal; he regularly goes to church, often twice on Sundays; he thanks God for his health and for money; and in 1660 he argues with his mother in favour of ‘the Religion I was born in’ – apparently meaning the Church of England, as opposed to her more puritan inclinations. When he died in 1703, he did so with the last rites of the C of E.

"On the other hand, he is evidently not devout, skips communion for the entirety of the diary, makes numerous snarky comments about self-serving clergyman, and describes himself as agreeing with Lord Sandwich in being ‘wholly Scepticall’ about the authority of the Protestant churches (15 May 1660).

"My reading of all this is that Pepys believes God exists, but he is sceptical about the institutions that claim religious authority: in the 1660s, his church-going is much more about social obligation and sociability, rather than faith.

"There’s support for this interpretation from a document he wrote in the mid-1680s on the relationship between personal faith, church and state. Here he is profoundly sceptical about the claims of institutional religion to know divine truth and dictate beliefs; by this point, he also does not think the Bible is a clear source of God’s guidance. He concludes that, beyond the ‘plaine Morall Doctrine’ — which, he says, Christians, Jews, pagans and most religions agree on — little could be known. Therefore, a safe course was to follow the religion of the country. Personal beliefs did not have to tally with outward religious observance, and this was not blameworthy.

"Had Pepys voiced these statements publicly in the 1680s, they would certainly have led to him being called an ‘atheist’, because that term was used of anyone who seemed to attack the authority of Christianity, rather than just people who did not believe in God."…

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