10 Annotations

First Reading

Phil  •  Link

A footnote elsewhere says of Pierce: "Husband of pretty Mrs. Pierce. After the Restoration James Pearse or Pierce became Surgeon to the Duke of York, and he was also Surgeon-General of the Fleet."

Pauline  •  Link

"for gossip and good company"
Gleaned from Claire Tomalin's biography:
Close friend to Sam throughout his adult life. He was Montagu's surgeon aboard the Naseby and went on to become surgeon to the Duke of York (James) in 1660. As such, he was a source of information about what was going on in the royal court. Sam relied on this friendship "for gossip and good company."

Tomalin spells it Pearse.

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Family members

James and Elizabeth Pearse have a son, James, and a daughter, Betty. The children are mentioned, each more than a dozen times, late in the diary.

The index volume (11) of the Latham & Matthews edition of the diary also lists an Andrew Pearse (a/k/a "Pierce"), a much lesser friend of Pepys's, but doesn't say he's related to James.

L&M also spell the name "Pearse."

Pauline  •  Link

from L&M Companion
"....From being surgeon on the 'Naseby' (c. 1658-60) he rose to become Surgeon-General of the Fleet in both the Second and Third Dutch Wars, and was responsibnle for the introduction of hospital ships and other reforms, such as the use of medical records which ensured that the wounded received appropriate treatment ashore.....the report he wrote in 1687 on the treatment of the sick and wounded is the most important 17th-century statement about the organization of the naval medical service. (Pepys kept a copy in his library.)"

Second Reading

julian payne  •  Link

Samuel Pepys was a friend of James Pearse as is known from his diary and my ancestry shows
that my paternal grandmother was a descendant.One also lived at Hatley St. George Park in Cambridgeshire..

JCH  •  Link

Just located this. https://liveicomgrshot.blob.core.…
Would any of you Pepysians know or hazard a guess which address, of the three mentioned at the end of the article in James's will, he and the beauteous Mrs Pearce might have been living at, during the years of the Diary? If he left the Clerkenwell house to his wife, it suggests that might have been the family home.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

This description of a naval surgeon and Anglo-Irish relations from 150 years after Pepys gives you some idea of how difficult this occupation was.

"A word about surgeons. For a modern reader, the title evokes respect. These are cool-under-pressure miracle workers who can clean out a heart and rewire nerve endings. In the 1800s, not so much. This was pre-Ether Dome, a time not altogether removed from the barber-surgeon days; in the absence of anesthesia, most surgeons were essentially brawlers, burly guys who could hold you down or knock you out while they sawed and sewed. They often came from the lower classes ... Although the profession was trying to set up a system of accreditation, most of the public still viewed surgeons as a cross between butchers and sideshow performers, and they weren’t far wrong.

"As it happens, Nelson’s surgeon, William Beatty, was exceptionally competent.
At Trafalgar, 96 of 102 casualties treated by Beatty survived, including 9 of 11 amputees. For context, battlefield statistics collected in 1816 found amputations' mortality rate in the best case scenario was 33 percent, and in less optimal conditions more like 46 percent. Beatty was not working in the best case scenario, according to Nelson’s Surgeon by by Laurence Brockliss, John Cardwell, and Michael Moss. He was in a small, poorly-lit cabin on a ship under attack, and then in a hurricane. To make matters worse, he was understaffed. Beatty’s staggering survival rate is all the more remarkable when you remember that Pasteur’s work on germ theory and Lister’s development of antiseptic surgery wouldn’t happen for another 50 years.

"Beatty was also Irish at a time when Anglo-Irish relations were complicated. Although the two countries were firmly joined by the Acts of Union 1800 (creating the still-used Union Jack flag), that firmer union was a direct response to the Irish Rebellion of 1798, which was in turn a response to English brutality in Ireland. So although almost a quarter of the British seamen at Trafalgar were Irish, they were largely confined to the lower ranks. Meanwhile, there were plenty of Irish fighting on the French side, a whole legion of them waiting to invade the British Isles. Ireland was about as unified as Afghanistan."

The fact that there was a surgeon on every ship was a result of the Spithead and Nore mutinies by sailors of the Royal Navy in 1797. The men of the Royal Navy refused to sail to confront Napoleon until they got major concessions about food, surgeons, and beatings.

For Pepys Diary purposes, surgery was much better in 1787 than it was in 1665, and Anglo-Irish relations were about the same.


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The French Navy also employed surgeons.

Around 1640, the first surgeons sailed on French ships; small hospital ships (fluyts) sailed with squadrons; and a naval hospital opened in Marseille.
Soon after, a royal order required sea captains to take on board a good surgeon to tend to the ship’s company.

The Tonnay-Charente naval hospital (40 beds), the first of its kind in France, was founded in the Saint-Éloi Priory in 1666.

The life of an 18th-century sailors was dangerous:
If he escaped death and mutilation in battle, he still faced accidents, malnutrition, dysentery, typhus, and many other ills, all of which accounted for many more deaths than enemy action.
Scurvy alone — the “plague of the sea” — killed tens of thousands of sailors in the navies of European nations.

In France, the royal navy contracted civilian doctors to care for its sailors until the 1700s, but in the second half of the 18th century they started a navy medical service.

Naval battles, epidemics, ignorance of hygiene, and crowding aboard ship meant that injuries were common and diseases rife.

Outbreaks of disease were common in crowded marine conditions, notably during the transport of troops or slaves: “malignant fevers,” typhus, dysentery, pneumonia, dermatoses, typhoid. Hygiene was woeful. Rationing of fresh water meant sailors could wash neither their bodies nor their clothes. They slept cramped, unhygienic quarters. Bilge water stagnated in the hold, a sort of nautical cesspool and breeding ground for insects. Poor preservation of food and drinking water, lack of space for foodstuffs, often led to shortages at sea.

Atlantic crossings were interminable, since a squadron could sail no faster than its feeblest laggard. With no ports of call to provide supplies, want of fresh produce led to vitamin deficiencies, first and foremost scurvy.

Unlike Spanish sailors (who were issued with warm woolen clothes), French mariners were given slow-drying linen garments which soon wore out.
Captains reported that by the end of a long voyage, their men were in rags, chilled by rain and cold.
On arrival, the sailors, their immune defenses already weakened, fell victim to endemic and parasitic diseases.

In the mid-18th century, the mortality rate aboard squadrons making the 2 to 2-1/2 month crossing of the Atlantic to the West Indies was an estimated 0.5% to 17.2%, and the morbidity rate ranged from 5.4% to over 32%.
These rates depended on age (cabin boys were more resistant) and position (officers were four times less likely to die at sea than ordinary seamen), as well as time of year, length of crossing, crowding (number of sailors per unit area of deck space), and the type of expedition.

Surgeon Pearse had his hands full.

Excerpted from an article about the 18th century French Navy:

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.