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Title: Samuel Pepys and the World He Lived In

Author: Henry B. Wheatley

Release date: April 14, 2016 [eBook #51757]

Language: English



E-text prepared by MWS, Fay Dunn,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
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Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive/American Libraries. See


Transcriber’s Note

Several unusual characters are used in this book, notably scribal abbreviations (e.g. Ꝑ, Ꝭ, ꝉ) in Appendix II. If these are being displayed as empty squares, try using a different font to view the book. If changing font does not correct the problem, the reader should consult the text file version. If the characters are not properly displayed in the text file version, the reader should consult the original page images noted above.

A transcriber's note at the end of the book provides details about the changes that were made and includes a list of the illustrations.





Nell Gwyn

Samuel Pepys





“His Diary is like a good sirloin, which requires only to be basted with its own drippings.”—Athenæum, 1848, page 551.

Second Edition.










Decorative Capital T

This little book does not need any long Preface, as the title sufficiently explains the object aimed at. Although the various subjects referred to in the “Diary” are annotated in the different editions, there is in none of these any complete analysis of the entire work or of the incidents of Pepys’s life.

I have endeavoured in the following pages to draw together some of the most interesting incidents of the “Diary” relating both to Pepys’s life and to the manners of his time, and also to illustrate them from other sources. I have used the best edition of the “Diary,” by the Rev. Mynors Bright; but in order that this book may form a companion to all editions I have referred[vi] to the date of the entries rather than to the volume and page. It must therefore be understood that the passages referred to when not met with in the other editions will be found among the hitherto unpublished matter of that of Mr. Bright. It has been my endeavour to illustrate the contents of this entertaining work more completely than has previously been attempted, and several of the circumstances of Pepys’s life are here brought prominently forward for the first time. I may add that the whole of the present volume was printed off before the appearance of the excellent article in the July number of the “Edinburgh Review” (1880), as otherwise it might be supposed that certain points had been suggested by that article. I have, however, availed myself of its pages to make a correction of a small matter in the Index.

Mr. T. C. Noble has kindly sent me, since the completion of this book, a copy of Pepys’s original marriage certificate from the Registers of St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster, and I therefore insert it here to complete the account in Chapter I. [vii]“Samuell Peps of this parish Gent & Elizabeth De Snt Michell of Martins in the ffeilds Spinster. Published October 19th, 22nd, 29th [1655] and were married by Richard Sherwyn Esqr one of the Justices of the Peace of the Cittie and Lyberties of Westmr December 1st. (Signed) Ri. Sherwyn.”

The pronunciation of Pepys’s name has long been a disputed point, but although the most usual form at the present day is Peps, there can be little doubt that in his own time the name was pronounced as if written Peeps. The reasons for this opinion are: (1) that the name was sometimes so spelt phonetically by some of his contemporaries, as in the Coffee-house paper quoted in the “Diary” (ed. Mynors Bright, vol. vi. p. 292): “On Tuesday last Mr. Peeps went to Windsor,” &c.; (2) that this pronunciation is still the received one at Magdalene College, Cambridge; and (3) that the present bearers of the name so pronounce it.

In conclusion, it is my pleasing duty to express here my best thanks to those friends who have kindly assisted me in my work. Chief among these are Professor Newton, F.R.S., who, as Fellow of Magdalene College, facilitated my inquiries respecting the Pepysian Library, Mr. Pattrick, Senior Fellow and President of the College, Mr. Pepys Cockerell, Mr. George Scharf, F.S.A., Mr. Richard B. Prosser, of the Patent Office, who communicated the documents[viii] relating to Mrs. Pepys’s father, and Colonel Pasley, whose List of the Secretaries of the Admiralty, &c., in the Appendix will be found of great value, not merely in illustrating Pepys’s life, but as a real addition to our information respecting the history of the Navy.

H. B. W.

5, Minford Gardens, W.,
September, 1880.

P.S. Since the first publication of this book I have received an interesting letter from Mr. Walter Courtenay Pepys, a member of the Cottenham branch of the Pepys family, who, while agreeing with the statement above as to the Diarist’s pronunciation, reminds me that his branch have pronounced the name as “Pep-pis” for at least one hundred years. In favour of this pronunciation Mr. Pepys adds that the French branch, which is now settled at La Rochelle, but came from Languedoc and originally from Italy (where the name exists as “Peppi”), now spell the name [ix]“Pepy.”




Preface   v
Chap. I. Pepys before the Diary 1
II. Pepys in the Diary 16
III. Pepys after the Diary 46
IV. Tangier 63
V. Pepys’s Books and Collections 77
VI. London 100
VII. Pepys’s Relations, Friends, and Acquaintances 116
VIII. The Navy 128
IX. The Court 159
X. Public Characters 183
XI. Manners 199
XII. Amusements 217
XIII. Conclusion 232
Appendix I. Portraits of Pepys 237
II. Schemes of Alexander Marchant, Sieur de St. Michel (Mrs. Pepys’s Father) 241
III. Pepys’s Manuscripts at Oxford 251
IV. Musical Instruments 252
V. Pepys’s Correspondents 254
VI. List of Secretaries of the Admiralty, Clerks of the Acts, &c., drawn up by Colonel Pasley, R.E. 266
VII. Plays which Pepys saw acted 289
Index   297







“He was a pollard man, without the top (i. e. the reason as the source of ideas, or immediate yet not sensuous truths, having their evidence in themselves; or the imagination or idealizing power, by symbols mediating between the reason and the understanding), but on this account more broadly and luxuriantly branching out from the upper trunk.”—Coleridge’s MS. note in his copy of the “Diary” (Notes and Queries, 1st S. vol. vi. p. 215).

Decorative Capital S

Samuel Pepys was the first of a well-established stock to make a name in the outer world, but since his time the family can boast of having had amongst its members a Court physician, a bishop, and a lord chancellor.

The earliest recorded Pepys was named Thomas, and appears, on the authority of the Court Rolls of the manor of Pelhams, in Cottenham,[2] to have been bailiff of the Abbot of Crowland’s lands in Cambridgeshire, in the early part of the reign of Henry VI.[1] From that time the family flourished, and there seems to be some reason for believing that certain members enriched themselves with the spoils of the abbey lands in the time of Henry VIII.

Before the Diarist became known, one of the most distinguished members of the family was Richard Pepys, created Lord Chief Justice of Ireland by Charles I. When the King was executed, Richard resigned his office; but he enjoyed the favour of Cromwell, and resumed the place. As he did not die until 1678, it is strange that there should be no allusion to him in the “Diary.”

The branch from which Samuel was descended had not much money; and his father, being a younger son, came to London and became a tailor. This descent in the social scale has caused much misapprehension, and his enemies did not forget to taunt him on his connection with tailoring; but it is a well-accredited axiom that trade does not injure gentry. Some remarks of Pepys himself upon his family have been greatly misunderstood. Referring to the non-appearance of any account of the Pepyses in Fuller’s “Worthies,” he writes:—“But I believe, indeed, our family were never considerable.”[2] Dr. Doran paraphrased this into: [3]“Let others say of his family what they might: he, for his own part, did not believe that it was of anything like gentle descent.”[3] This is a pure blunder, for Pepys merely meant that none of the family had made much mark; and he would have been very indignant had any one told him that they were not gentle.

Samuel, the fifth child of John and Margaret Pepys, was born on February 23rd, 1632, either at Brampton, a village near Huntingdon, or in London. There is something to be said in favour of each supposition, but, as the registers of Brampton church do not commence until the year 1654,[4] the question cannot now be definitely settled. We have Pepys’s own authority for the statement that his father and mother were married at Newington, in Surrey, on October 15th, 1626.[5] The register of marriages of St. Mary, Newington, has been searched, but the name of Pepys occurs neither in the years 1625, 1626, nor in 1627,[6] and Mrs. John Pepys’s maiden name is still unknown. In early youth, Samuel went to a school at Huntingdon, as appears by a passage in the “Diary” (March 15th, 1659–60), where he writes: “I met Tom Alcock, one that went to school with me at Huntingdon, but I had not seen him this sixteen years.” He seems to have spent his youth pretty equally between town and country, for on one occasion, when he was walking over the fields to Kingsland, he remembered[4] the time when, as a boy, he lived there, and “used to shoot with my bow and arrow in these fields.”[7] When he left Huntingdon he entered St. Paul’s School, and remained there until he had reached the age of seventeen. In after life, on the occasion of an official visit to Mercers’ Hall, he remembered the time when he was a petitioner for his exhibition.[8] He was a stout Roundhead in his boyish days, and this fact was remarked upon, to his great chagrin, in after years, by his friend and schoolfellow Mr. Christmas. He went to see the execution of Charles I. at Whitehall, and made himself conspicuous by saying on his return that, were he to preach upon the event of the day, he should select as his text the verse: “The memory of the wicked shall rot.” He was in some fear that Mr. Christmas might remember this also, but he was happy to find that that gentleman had left school before the incident occurred.[9] Pepys always took a lively interest in the welfare of his school, to which references are frequently made in the “Diary.”

In 1650, his name occurs as a sizar on the boards of Trinity College, Cambridge; but before going to reside at the University, on March 5, 1650–51,[10] he was entered at Magdalene College, having probably been led to make the change by the greater inducements held out to him by the latter college. Here he was elected[5] into one of Mr. Spendluffe’s scholarships in the following month; and two years later, on October 14, 1653, he was preferred to one on Dr. John Smith’s foundation. His father was at this time described as a citizen of London.

Little is known of Samuel’s academic career, during which he does not appear to have gained much distinction; and remarks in various parts of the “Diary” show that his conduct was not such as became a Puritan. The College books can be brought as a witness against him, for we learn from that source that, on October 21st, 1653, “Peapys and Hind were solemnly admonished ... for having been scandalously over-served with drink the night before.” Still, we must not jump to the conclusion that his time was entirely wasted, for he evidently carried into his busy life a good stock of classical learning. It was while he was at the University that he made the acquaintance of the learned Selden, from whom he borrowed the collection of ballads which formed the basis of the famous Pepysian collection. He relates that, while at Cambridge, he wrote a romance entitled, “Love a Cheate,” which he tore up on the 30th of January, 1663–64. This work of destruction must have been performed with some feelings of regret, for he tells us that he rather liked the tale, and wondered that he had ever been able to write so well. His previous literary performances had consisted in the concocting of some anagrams upon Mrs. Elizabeth Whittle, afterwards the wife of Sir Stephen Fox.[11] It is not recorded at what[6] time Pepys left college, but it must have been either in 1654 or 1655. He was made Master of Arts by proxy, in June, 1660, the grace being passed on the 26th of that month.

On the 1st of December, 1655,[12] when he was still without any settled means of support, Pepys married Elizabeth St. Michel, a beautiful and portionless girl of fifteen. Although there is extant a letter from Balthasar St. Michel to Pepys (dated from Deal, February 8th, 1673–74), in which the history of Mrs. Pepys’s family is set forth, Lord Braybrooke was contented with the information on her monument, and merely added that she was educated in a convent, which in point of fact she was not. The letter alluded to was printed as far back as the year 1841,[13] and yet I cannot find that the history contained in it has ever been used by the biographers of Pepys. What is even more remarkable than Lord Braybrooke’s silence respecting it, is the fact that the Rev. John Smith, who published the letter, overlooked it when he wrote his introduction. Mons. St. Michel was of a good family in Anjou, but having turned Huguenot at the age of twenty-one, when in the German service, his father disinherited him, and he was left penniless. He came over to England in the retinue of Henrietta Maria, on her marriage with Charles I., as one of her Majesty’s gentleman carvers; but the Queen dismissed[7] him on finding out that he was a Protestant, and did not go to mass. Being a handsome man with courtly manners, he gained the affections of the daughter of Sir Francis Kingsmall (lately left a widow by an Irish squire), who married him against the wishes of her family, and, with £1,500 which they raised, the newly-married couple started for France, in the hope of recovering, if possible, some part of the family estates. Unhappily, they were taken prisoners at sea, with all their goods, by the Dunkirkers, and when released they settled at Bideford, in Devonshire. Here, or near by, Elizabeth and Balthasar and the rest of the family were born.

In course of time they all went to France, and the father, in command of a company of foot, assisted at the taking of Dunkirk. He occupied his time with propositions of perpetual motion and other visionary schemes, and consequently brought himself and all dependent upon him to the brink of poverty. While he was away from Paris, some devout Roman Catholics persuaded Madame St. Michel to place her daughter in the nunnery of the Ursulines. The father was enraged at this action, but managed to get Elizabeth out of the nunnery after she had been there twelve days. Thinking that France was a dangerous place to live in, he hurried his family back to England, and shortly afterwards Elizabeth married Pepys. Her father was greatly pleased that she had become the wife of a true Protestant; and she herself said to him, kissing his eyes, [8]“Dear father, though in my tender years I was by my low fortune in this world deluded to popery by the fond dictates thereof, I have now (joined with my riper years, which give me more understanding) a man to my husband too wise, and one too religious in the Protestant religion, to suffer my thoughts to bend that way any more.”

There are several references in the “Diary” to Mrs. Pepys’s father and mother, who seem never to have risen out of the state of poverty into which they had sunk. On May 2, 1662, Mons. St. Michel took out a patent, in concert with Sir John Collidon and Sir Edward Ford,[14] for the purpose of curing smoky chimneys; but this scheme could not have been very successful, as a few months afterwards he was preparing to go to Germany in order to fight against the Turks.[15] Pepys gave him some work to do in 1666, and Mrs. Pepys carried the account-books that he was to rule; but such jobs as these must have given him but a sorry living, and in the following year he again proposed to go abroad. Pepys sent him three jacobuses in gold to help him on his journey.[16] We hear nothing more of either father or mother, with the exception of an allusion to their pleasure at seeing the prosperous state of their daughter[17]—a prosperity in which they certainly did not share.

This account of Mrs. Pepys’s parentage has led us away from the early days of Pepys, when, with improvident passion, he married his young[9] wife; and we will therefore return to the year 1655. Early marriages were then far from uncommon, and Mrs. Pepys’s beauty was considered as forming a very valid excuse for the improvidence of the match. There seems to be some reason for believing that she was of a dark complexion, for her husband on one occasion was mad with her for dressing herself according to the fashion in fair hair.[18] Sir Edward Montagu, who was Pepys’s first cousin one remove (Samuel’s grandfather and Sir Edward’s mother being brother and sister), gave a helping hand to the imprudent couple, and allowed them to live in his house. The Diarist alludes to this time, when, some years afterwards, he writes of how his wife “used to make coal fires, and wash” his “foul clothes with her own hand,” in their little room at Lord Sandwich’s.[19]

Samuel does not appear to have lived with his father after he had grown up, and as old John Pepys was not a very thriving tradesman, it seems likely that Montagu had previously assisted his young kinsman. Indeed, it was probably under his patronage that Samuel went to the University.

The Diarist seems to have held some official position in the year 1656, because on Thursday, August 7th, a pass was granted “to John Pepys and his man with necessaries for Holland, being on the desire of Mr. Samll. Pepys.”[20] John Pepys had probably long been in the habit of going[10] backwards and forwards to Holland, for Samuel writes (January 24th, 1665–66): “We went through Horslydowne, where I never was since a little boy, that I went to enquire after my father, whom we did give over for lost coming from Holland.” Whether these journeys were undertaken in the way of business, or whether they had any connection with Montagu’s affairs, we cannot now tell. That Samuel acted as a sort of agent for Montagu, we have evidence; and among the Rawlinson Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library is a memorandum of the payment to him on General Montagu’s part for the ransom of the Marquis of Baydez (22nd January, 1656–57).

On March 26th, 1658, he underwent an operation for the stone, a disease that seems to have been inherited. The operation was successfully performed, and ever after he made a practice of celebrating the anniversary of this important event in his life with thanksgiving.

In 1659 he accompanied Sir Edward Montagu in the “Naseby,” when that admiral made his expedition to the Sound; and he was very surprised to learn afterwards how negotiations had been carried on of which at the time he was quite ignorant. This is not the place for a history of the various stages that led to the Restoration, but a passing allusion to one of these may be allowed here, as the particulars are given in the “Diary.” When Sir Edward Montagu left England for the Sound, he said to the Protector Richard, on parting with him, that [11]“he should rejoice more to see him in his grave at his return home, than that he should give way to such things as were then in hatching, and afterwards did ruin him.”[21] Finding the condition of affairs in England hopeless, Montagu took advantage of this expedition to correspond with Charles II.; but he had to be careful and secret, for his fellow-plenipotentiary, Algernon Sidney, who suspected him, was an enemy.[22] Pepys’s remark on finding out what had been going on under his nose was, “I do from this raise an opinion of him, to be one of the most secret men in the world, which I was not so convinced of before.”[23]

On Pepys’s return to England he was employed in the office of Mr., afterwards Sir George, Downing, as a clerk of the Exchequer connected with the pay of the army, and soon afterwards commenced to keep the “Diary” which we now possess.

The account of the incidents of Pepys’s early life must be more or less fragmentary, as they can be obtained merely from occasional allusions; and it is only in the next chapter, in which we see Pepys in the “Diary,” that we can obtain any full idea of the man as painted by himself. Before passing on to this part of our subject, it will be well to set down a few notes on the “Diary” as a book. The book has thrown such a flood of light upon the history and manners of the middle of the seventeenth century, that we are apt to forget the fact that before the year 1825 the world knew nothing of this man of gossip. Yet so ungrateful are we to our benefactors, that the publication of the[12]Diary” did an immense injury to the writer’s reputation. Previously he was known as a staid, trustworthy, and conscientious man of business; as a patron of science and literature, and as a President of the Royal Society. Jeremy Collier says, he was “a philosopher of the severest morality.” Since 1825 we have been too apt to forget the excellence of his official life, and to think of him only as a busybody and a quidnunc.

When Pepys’s library was presented to Magdalene College, Cambridge, by his nephew, John Jackson, in 1724, there were, among the other treasures, six small volumes of closely-written MS. in shorthand (upwards of three thousand pages in all), which attracted little or no notice until after the publication of Evelyn’s “Diary.” Then it was that the Hon. and Rev. George Neville, Master of the College, drew them out of their obscurity, and submitted them to his kinsman, the well-known statesman, Lord Grenville, who had as a law student practised shorthand. Lord Grenville deciphered a few of the pages, and drew up an alphabet and list of arbitrary signs. These were handed to John Smith, an undergraduate of St. John’s College, who undertook to decipher the whole. He commenced his labours in the spring of 1819, and completed them in April, 1822—having thus worked for nearly three years, usually for twelve and fourteen hours a day.[24] What was remarkable[13] in all this was, that in the Pepysian library there rested a little volume which contained the account of Charles II.’s escape after the battle of Worcester, taken down in shorthand by Pepys from the King’s dictation, and written out by himself in long-hand. Here, therefore, was the key that would have unlocked the “Diary” quite overlooked. Lord Braybrooke made the statement that the cipher used by Pepys “greatly resembled that known by the name of Rich’s system;” but this was misleading, as the system really adopted was the earlier one of Thomas Shelton. Mr. J. E. Bailey, F.S.A., communicated a very valuable paper, “On the Cipher of Pepys’s Diary,” to the Manchester Literary Club in 1876, in which he gave particulars of the various old systems of shorthand, and expressed the opinion that Pepys made himself familiar with Shelton’s “Tachygraphy[25] while a student at Cambridge. The earliest edition of Rich’s “Pen’s Dexterity” was published in 1654, while in 1642 Shelton could refer to twenty years’ experience as a shorthand-writer. When the Rev. Mynors Bright was about to decipher the [14]Diary” afresh, he consulted Shelton’s book, a copy of which, with other works on shorthand, is preserved in the Pepysian Library. Mr. Bright informs us that, “When Pepys wished to keep anything particularly concealed, he wrote his cipher generally in French, sometimes in Latin, or Greek, or Spanish. This gave me a great deal of trouble. Afterwards he changed his plan and put in dummy letters. I was quite puzzled at this, and was nearly giving up in despair the hope of finding out his device, but at last, by rejecting every other letter, I made out the words. It would have been better for Pepys’s credit if these passages could not have been deciphered, as all of them are quite unfit for publication.”

Pepys was a great lover of shorthand, and he was always ready to invent a character, as it was then called, for a friend. He used the art in drafting his public and private letters; and although he was forced to discontinue his “Diary” in 1669, on account of the weakness of his eyesight, he continued its use throughout his life.

We learn from the “Diary” itself some particulars of how it was written. The incidents of each day were dotted down in short, and then the writer shut himself up in his office to fill up all the details. Sometimes he was in arrear: thus we read, on January 1st, 1662–63, “So to my office to set down these two or three days’ journal;” on September 24th, 1665, “Then I in the cabin to writing down my journal for these last seven days to my great content;” and on November 10th, 1665, [15]“Up and entered all my journal since the 28th of October, having every day’s passage well in my head, though it troubles me to remember it.”

Lord Braybrooke, who first introduced the “Diary” to the public, had no very accurate notions of the duties of an editor; and he treated his manuscript in a very unsatisfactory manner. Large portions were omitted without explanation, and apparently without reason; and although much was added to succeeding editions, still the reader might well say—

“That cruel something unpossess’d
Corrodes and leavens all the rest.”

The third edition, published in 1848, contained a large mass of restored passages, amounting, it is said, to not less than one-fourth of the entire work. Some fresh notes were added to the fourth edition, published in 1854; but no alteration of the text was made beyond “the correction of a few verbal errors and corrupt passages hitherto overlooked.” Subsequent editions have been mere reprints of these. In 1875 appeared the first volume of the Rev. Mynors Bright’s entirely new edition, with about one-third of matter never yet published, all of which was of the true Pepysian flavour. Here was a treat for the lovers of the “Diary” which they little expected.

Having traced the particulars of Pepys’s life to the year 1659, and described the way in which the “Diary” was written, and the means by which it first saw the light, I will now pass on to notice, in the next chapter, the chief personal incidents recorded in the book itself.







“An exact Diary is a window into his heart that maketh it: and therefore pity it is that any should look therein but either the friends of the party or such ingenuous foes as will not, especially in things doubtful, make conjectural comments to his disgrace.”—Prynne’s Remarks on Abp. Laud.

Decorative Capital O

On the 1st of January, 1659–60, Samuel Pepys (then in his twenty-seventh year) commenced to write his famous “Diary.” If, as seems more than probable, he had previously kept a journal of some kind, all traces of it are now lost; and our earliest glimpses of the circumstances of his life are to be obtained only from the “Diary,” which is by far the most remarkable book of its kind in existence. Other men have written diaries and confessions, but they have been intended either for the public or at least for a small circle of friends to see. This “Diary” was only intended for the writer’s eye. He wrote it in secret, and when he unguardedly told Sir William Coventry in the Tower that he[17] kept a diary, he was sorry for his indiscretion immediately afterwards. Pepys has been likened to the barber of King Midas, who relieved his mind by communicating to a bundle of reeds the fact that his master had the ears of an ass; and assuredly no other writer has so unreservedly stripped his soul bare. It is, therefore, only fair to bear in mind what is said in the motto at the head of this chapter, and not to forget that very few could bear the accusing witness of such a truthful record of thoughts as well as actions as is here. The “Diary” extends over nearly ten eventful years in the history of England, and contains a voluminous record of both public and private events. The fascination of Pepys’s garrulity is so great, that most of those who have written about him have found it difficult to restrain their praise within bounds. A writer in the “Athenæum” (apparently the late Peter Cunningham) was quite carried away by his subject when he wrote—“He has the minuteness of Dee and Ashmole without their tediousness, the playfulness of Swift in his best moments without his prejudice and his party feelings, and a charm over Byron and Scott, and, indeed, above all other memorialists that we can call to mind, in that his Diary was kept without the slightest view to publication.”[26]

I will now first note some of the chief circumstances of Pepys’s life during the period covered by the “Diary,” and then say something about his character as it is painted by himself.

When we are first introduced to Pepys he is[18] living in Axe Yard, Westminster, with very small means of support, but making so good a show that he is esteemed rich. His family consists of himself, his wife, and servant Jane. During the frosty weather they have not a coal in the house, and he is forced to dine at his father’s, or make himself as comfortable as he can up in the garret. That the larder is not very plentifully supplied is seen by the fact that, on the 1st of February, he and his wife dine on pease pudding, and on nothing else. At one time he has not money enough in the house to pay the rent, but soon afterwards he finds himself worth £40 which he did not expect, and is therefore afraid that he must have forgotten something. On the 16th of January, Mr. Downing (in whose office he then was) asked our Diarist, in a half-hearted way, whether he would go to Holland, and gave him the impression that his services could be dispensed with. At this time political affairs were in the greatest confusion, and no one knew what opinions to hold with profit to himself. Thus, William Symons said that “he had made shift to keep in, in good esteem and employment through eight governments in one year, and then failed unhappy in the ninth, viz., that of the King’s coming in.”[27]

As in times of anarchy every one wishes to talk, the Rota, or Coffee Club founded by James Harrington, the author of “Oceana,” was found to be a congenial resort by those who wished to express their opinions on passing events. The principle of the club was political, and the plan[19] formed there for the government of the country was, that every official should be chosen by ballot. Every year a third part of the House of Commons were to “rote out by ballot,” and no magistrate was to continue in his position more than three years. Other than politicians attended the meetings, and many distinguished men, such as Dr. Petty, Dr. Croon, Sir William Poultney, and Cyriack Skinner, were to be found in the evening at the Turk’s Head, in the New Palace Yard. The room was usually as full as it would hold, and Aubrey gives it as his opinion that the arguments heard in Parliament were flat as compared with those delivered at the Rota Club. The object of worship was the ballot-box, and the company sat round an oval table, which had a passage in the middle for Miles, the landlord, to deliver his coffee. Pepys paid his eighteen-pence on becoming a member of the club, on the 9th of January, 1659–60, and he frequently attended after this. If the following can be considered as a good illustration of proceedings, there must have been considerable divergence in the opinions of the members:—[20]“I went to the Coffee Club and heard very good discourse; it was in answer to Mr. Harrington’s answer, who said that the state of the Roman government was not a settled government, and so it was no wonder that the balance of property was in one hand, and the command in another, it being therefore always in a posture of war; but it was carried by ballot, that it was a steady government; so to-morrow it is to be proved by the opponents that the balance lay in one hand and the government in another.”[28] On the 20th of February, Pepys writes: “After a small debate upon the question whether learned or unlearned subjects are best, the club broke up very poorly, and I do not think they will meet any more.” After the Restoration Harrington was put in the Tower, and then removed to Portsea Castle. His imprisonment turned him mad, so that he fancied his perspiration turned sometimes to flies and sometimes to bees, but all his hallucinations were inoffensive. One of the first steps taken by Monk towards obtaining a free Parliament was the admission of the secluded members who had been previously purged out. Pepys describes the marching-in of these men on the 21st of February, and specially notices Prynne’s “old basket-hilt sword.” The editors of the “Diary” might have illustrated this by an amusing passage from Aubrey’s “Lives.” It appears that as the members were going to the House, Prynne’s long rusty sword “ran between Sir William Waller’s short legs, and threw him down;” which caused laughter, as Aubrey takes care to add. About this time Pepys seems to have discerned the signs of the times, for we find him, on a visit to Audley End, drinking the health of the King down in a cellar.[29] Sir Edward Montagu now comes to the front, and is intent upon benefiting his kinsman. Pepys hopes to be made Clerk of the Peace for Westminster, but finds the place already promised to another. Montagu offers him the post of Secretary to the Generals at Sea, which he joyfully accepts;[21] and he receives his warrant on the 22nd of March. The following day sees the party on board the “Swiftsure” at Longreach, where Pepys receives a letter directed to “S. P., Esq.,” and this superscription seems to have delighted him greatly, for he says, “of which God knows I was not a little proud.” On the 30th inst. Montagu and his people went on board the “Naseby,” which was the ship in which he had gone to the Sound in the previous year. They remain for a time in the neighbourhood of Deal, and on the 3rd of May the King’s declaration and letter to the two generals is received by Montagu, who dictates to Pepys the words in which he wishes the vote in favour of the King to be couched. The captains all came on board the “Naseby,” and Pepys read the letter and declaration to them; and while they were discoursing on the subject he pretended to be drawing up the form of vote, which Montagu had already settled. When the resolution was read, it passed at once; and the seamen all cried out, “God bless King Charles!” a cry that was echoed by the whole fleet. A little piece of Pepys’s vanity (and perhaps shrewdness also) here peeps out, for he tells us that he signed all the copies of the vote of the Council of War, so that if it should by chance get into print his name might be attached to it.[30] The English fleet lies off the Dutch coast about the middle of May, and our Diarist avails himself of the opportunity to visit the Hague and some of the chief towns of Holland. The Dukes of York and Gloucester came on board the “Naseby” on the[22] 22nd inst., and the King followed them on the following day, when the opportunity of his visit was taken to change the objectionable names of the ships. The “Naseby” became the “Charles,” the “Richard” the “James,” the “Speaker” the “Mary,” and the “Lambert” the “Henrietta.”

“The Naseby now no longer England’s shame,
But better to be lost in Charles his name.”[31]

Pepys takes the opportunity, when the Duke of York is on board, to bespeak his favour; and is overjoyed at the Duke calling him Pepys. On the 25th the King lands at Dover, and is received by Monk. Pepys tells how the mayor presented the King with a handsome Bible, which he received, and told the people that “it was the thing he loved above all things in the world!”

The 5th of June was Pepys’s last day on board, and he was awoke about three o’clock in the morning by the pouring into his mouth of the water with which the people above were washing the deck; and he was forced to rise and sleep leaning on the table. He returned to shore better off than he had originally left it, as he took care to make use of his opportunities by getting men made captains, and by obtaining gratuities for the favours. Fortune continued to smile upon him, for he had not been many days back in London when Sir Edward Montagu, now a Knight of the Garter, and in high favour with the King, obtained for him the promise of the place of Clerk of the Acts. On the[23] 28th of June he clears himself of his old office under Sir George Downing, and is glad to part from this stingy fellow, as he calls him. On the following day he gets his warrant, but is much cast down when he learns that his predecessor, Mr. Barlow, is still alive, and coming up to town to look after the place. General Monk’s wife wishes the clerkship to be given to Mr. Turner, of the Navy Office; but Montagu’s influence secures it for Pepys. Turner then offers to give Pepys £150 to be joined with him in the patent, but this is refused. Pepys is kept in a great state of excitement respecting Barlow for a time. He hears that he is a sickly man, and on July 17th he agrees to give him £100 a year out of his raised salary. This payment continued until February, 1664–65, when Barlow died. Pepys’s remarks on the death are particularly characteristic: “For which God knows my heart, I could be as sorry as is possible for one to be for a stranger, by whose death he gets £100 per annum, he being a worthy honest man; but when I come to consider the providence of God by this means unexpectedly to give me £100 a year more in my estate, I have cause to bless God, and do it from the bottom of my heart.”[32]


Now, our Diarist has become a man of importance, as one of the principal Officers of the Navy, and Montagu consequently asks him to dinner for the first time.[33] Yet he has not much faith in his power to keep the place; and when a Mr. Man offers him £1,000 for it, his mouth waters, and he would gladly take the money if his patron would agree.[34] On the 23rd of July he takes the oaths as a Clerk of the Privy Seal, which he does not expect to be a very profitable office; but he soon finds himself making about £3 a day,[35] in addition to his regular salary at the Navy Office. Being settled at his house in Seething Lane, attached to the office, he is glad to get his little house in Axe Yard off his hands, which he does on the 17th of September, receiving £41 for his interest in it. About this time he is sworn as a justice of the peace, and he is “mightily pleased” at the honour, although he confesses that he is wholly ignorant of the duties.[36]

There were great doings at the coronation of Charles II. in the following year, and the “Diary” is full of particulars respecting it. Pepys and a party went to a shop in Cornhill to see the procession when the King passed from the Tower to Whitehall, and while they waited they partook of “wine and good cake.”[37]


On the next day Pepys gets into Westminster Abbey to see the coronation, and sits patiently in a scaffold from a little after four until eleven. Afterwards he goes into Westminster Hall, sees the banquet, and returns home to bed with the feeling that he will “never see the like again in this world.” Next morning he wakes with his “head in a sad taking through the last night’s drink.”[38]

Sometimes the Clerk of the Acts has a great deal of business to get through, and he always sticks to his work manfully. By going to the office early and staying late he was often able to spare the afternoons for the theatre. Day after day he gets up and is at his desk at four o’clock in the morning;[39] but this hard work is varied by some idle days. On June the 5th the Officers of the Navy play at bowls and drink and talk. Pepys takes his flageolet, and plays upon the leads. Sir William Penn comes out in his shirt-sleeves, and there is more drinking and talking, the result of which is, that Pepys goes to bed nearly fuddled, and wakes up the next morning with an aching head.

A very important event in the life of the Diarist occurred in the following month. His uncle, Robert Pepys, dies, and a small property at Brampton, worth about £80 per annum,[40] comes into the possession of old John Pepys, not, however, without some litigation on the part of some members of the family. As his father has no money, Samuel takes all the business affairs into his own hands, and seems to consider the property as his own. When he[26] learns the news, on the 6th of July, 1661, he posts down to Brampton, leaving London between eleven and twelve o’clock in the morning, and arriving there about nine o’clock at night. When he gets to his uncle’s house he is very uncomfortable, from the badness of the food and drink, and the biting of the gnats; but although he is nearly out of his wits, he appears contented, so as not to trouble his father. He has much work of arrangement to get through, and he remains nearly sixteen days away from London. When he returns he gives out among his most distinguished friends and acquaintances that he has had an estate of £200 a year in land left him, beside money, “because he would put an esteem upon himself.”[41]

Pepys acknowledged to two weaknesses, of which he tried to cure himself by means of vows—not, however, with a very successful result. The first weakness was a too great addiction to the bottle, and the second a too frequent attendance at theatres. On July 26th, 1661, we find him making this confession: “Having the beginning of this week made a vow to myself to drink no wine this week (finding it unfit me to look after business), and this day breaking of it against my will, I am much troubled for it; but I hope God will forgive me!” On Michaelmas Day, 1661, he took so much wine that he “was even almost foxed,” so that he “durst not read prayers for fear of being perceived by my servants in what case I was.” Next year, on the same day, he finds that his [27]“oaths for drinking of wine and going to plays are out,” and so he resolves to take some liberty, “and then fall to them again.” On December 30th, 1662, we find him writing: “After dinner drinking five or six glasses of wine, which liberty I now take till I begin my oathe again.”[42]

On October 29th, 1663, he drinks some hippocras, which consists of wine mixed with sugar and spices, under the belief that he is not breaking his vow, because it is “only a mixed compound drink, and not any wine.” Sir Walter Scott likened this piece of casuistry to that of Fielding’s Newgate chaplain, who preferred punch to wine because the former was a liquor nowhere spoken against in Scripture.

It is necessary now to return to the date at which we broke off to follow our hero’s vows. He sums up his blessings on February 23rd, 1661–62, in these words: “I am 29 years of age, and in very good health, and like to live and get an estate; and if I have a heart to be contented, I think I may reckon myself as happy a man as any is in the world, for which God be praised.” Yet, on the next day, he is troubled to part with £5 for five weeks’ music-lessons; and soon afterwards he complains at his father spending £100 a year.[43] Although he was of a saving turn, he could clearly see that it was wise to spend money while he could enjoy the results of his spending, and alludes to this on two[28] separate occasions. On May 20th, 1662, he writes: “But though I am much against too much spending, yet I do think it best to enjoy some degree of pleasure now that we have health, money, and opportunity, rather than to leave pleasures to old age or poverty when we cannot have them so properly.” Four years after this we find the same idea in other words: “The truth is I do indulge myself a little the more in pleasure, knowing that this is the proper age of my life to do it; and out of my observation that most men that do thrive in the world do forget to take pleasure during the time that they are getting their estate, but reserve that till they have got one, and then it is too late for them to enjoy it with any pleasure.”[44]

About this time Pepys is sworn a younger brother of the Trinity House, is made a burgess of Portsmouth, is troubled with a lawsuit by one Field, signs warrants as a justice of the peace, and is appointed one of the Commissioners for the Affairs of Tangier. This business with Field, which was connected with the office, gives him much annoyance. At one time he is in fear of being taken by the bailiffs,[45] and at another he is in such terror that the falling of something behind a door makes him start with fright.[46]

About the middle of the year 1662 he engages the services of Mr. Cooper, mate of the “Royal George,” of whom he intends to learn mathematics; but his early attempts do not appear to have been very ambitious, for he begins by[29] learning the multiplication-table. In the following year, he and Mrs. Pepys learn to dance, and he thinks he shall be able to manage the coranto well enough. He grudges the cost, however, particularly as he is forced by his oath to give half as much more to the poor.[47]

The mixture of extravagance and frugality that is constantly exhibited in the “Diary” is most amusing, particularly in the case of clothes. Thus, when he hears that the Queen is ill, he stops the making of his velvet cloak until he sees whether she lives or dies.[48] In spite of this forethought, he finds, on casting up his accounts, that he spent £55 on his own clothes, although, as a set-off against this large sum, Mrs. Pepys’s clothes only cost £12. This love of fine clothes is continually peeping out, and it has been suggested that he inherited it with the tailor blood of his father. A better reason, however, may be found in the fact that at one time he was very poor, and “forced to sneak like a beggar” for want of clothes; so that, now he is in funds, he tries to make up for his former deficiency, and resolves to dress himself handsomely.[49]

A few years after this he expresses himself as ashamed of the shabbiness of his clothes, when he wished to speak to the King but did not like to do so, because his linen was dirty and his clothes mean.[50]

At the end of the year 1663, Pepys performed a duty in a way that did him great credit. Sir Edward Montagu, now Earl of Sandwich, is[30] taken ill, and, on his recovery, he goes for change of air to Chelsea. After a time it gets abroad that he dotes upon one of the daughters of his landlady, and neglects his duties. On the 9th of September, 1663, Mr. Pickering tells Pepys of all this, and we therefore read in the “Diary:” “I am ashamed to see my lord so grossly play the fool, to the flinging-off of all honour, friends, servants, and everything and person that is good, with his carrying her abroad and playing on his lute under her window, and forty other poor sordid things, which I am grieved to hear.” Pepys determines to be silent, as he learns that the Earl will not bear any allusion to his doings. Still his mind continually reverts to the matter, and in the end he decides to write a letter of counsel to his patron.[51] When this is sent, he continues for some time to be anxious as to the manner in which the Earl is likely to receive it. Nothing is, of course, said when the two meet, and there is for a time a coldness between them; but at last they return to their old relations with each other, and Lord Sandwich, having left Chelsea, is seen in the world again.

Pepys’s habit of sitting up late, reading and writing by candlelight, begins to tell upon his eyesight; and in January, 1663–64, he finds it fail him for the first time. In October, 1664, he consults the celebrated Mr. Cocker as to the best glass to save his eyes at night; but they continue to trouble him, and he proposes to get[31] some green spectacles.[52] How the eyesight got weaker, so that the “Diary” had to be discontinued, we all know to our great loss.

On one occasion Mr. Coventry talks with Pepys on the need for a history of the navy of England, and then suggests that he should write a history of the late Dutch war. Pepys likes the idea, as he thinks it agrees with his genius, and would recommend him much to the authorities;[53] but he succeeded in doing this without writing the history. On the 10th of March, 1663–64, he was appointed one of the assistants of the Corporation of the Royal Fishery, of which the Duke of York was the Governor; his commission as Treasurer of the Tangier Committee is signed on the 18th of April, 1665; and in October of the same year he obtains the appointment of Surveyor-General of the Victualling Office. Besides these tangible proofs of his success in life were the expressions of esteem made use of in respect to him by men in authority. The Duke of York told him that he highly valued his services,[54] and the Duke of Albemarle said that he was the right hand of the navy.[55]

Pepys quite deserved these words of praise, and moreover continued to deserve them, for during the whole period of the Dutch war he did his best to provide what was required for the navy, and while the plague was devastating London he alone remained at his post. His straightforward common-sense shows out strongly during the course of the Great Fire. From the[32] 2nd of September, 1666—when the servants wake him to tell of the burning which they saw in the city—to the 7th, when he visits the ruins, we have a lively picture of the whole scene in the pages of the “Diary.” On the Sunday Pepys goes to Whitehall, and tells the King and the Duke of York of what he had seen. He says that unless his Majesty will command houses to be pulled down, nothing can stop the fire. On hearing which, the King instructs him to go to the Lord Mayor, and command him to pull down houses in every direction. Sir Thomas Bludworth, the Lord Mayor, seems to have been but a poor creature; and when he heard the King’s message, “he cried like a fainting woman, ‘Lord! what can I do? I am spent: people will not obey me. I have been pulling down houses, but the fire overtakes us faster than we can do it.’” On the 4th inst. there seemed to be little hope of saving the Navy Office, unless some extraordinary means were taken with that object. Pepys therefore suggested that the workmen from Woolwich and Deptford Dockyards should be sent for to pull down the houses round them. Sir William Penn went to see after the men, and Pepys wrote to Sir William Coventry for the Duke of York’s permission. In the letter he remarks that the fire is very near them, both on the Tower Street and Fenchurch sides; and that unless houses are pulled down, there are little hopes of their escape. The next day Penn sends up the men, who help greatly in the blowing-up of houses; and to this action Pepys mainly attributes the stoppage of the fire. He[33] then goes up to the top of Barking church, and there he saw “the saddest sight of desolation”—“everywhere great fires, oil-cellars, and brimstone and other things burning.” He then walks through the town, the hot ground almost burning his feet, till he comes to Moorfields, which he finds full of people, “the poor wretches carrying their goods there, and everybody keeping his goods together by themselves.”

During the period of fright, when he expected the office to be destroyed, he sent off his money, plate, and best things to Sir W. Rider, at Bethnal Green, and then he and Penn dug a hole in the garden, in which they put their wine and Parmezan cheese. On the 10th of September, Sir W. Rider lets it be known that, as the town is full of the report respecting the wealth in his house, he will be glad if his friends will provide for the safety of their property elsewhere.

About the time of the Great Fire, Pepys had saved a large sum of money, and was making a good income; so we find his thoughts running on the advantage of keeping a private coach, as he is ashamed to be seen in a hackney coach.[56] It was not, however, until more than a year after this that he actually bought his carriage, and we find that he spent £53 on the coach,[57] and £50 on a fine pair of black horses.[58] He was very proud of the appearance of his carriage, but his enemies made some capital out of the proceeding, and protested that he throve on the distresses of others.


In these days of banks and other means for the deposit of money, it is not easy to realize the difficulties of men who possessed money in the seventeenth century. Pepys sent some down to Brampton to be buried, but his wife and father did the business entrusted to them so badly that he was quite wild and uneasy with fears that it might be found by others.[59] Therefore, at the first opportunity, he goes down himself to see after his treasure; and the description of the hunt after it is certainly one of the most entertaining passages in the “Diary.”[60] He and his father and wife go out into the garden with a dark lantern, and grope about a long time before they come on the trace. Then they find that the bags are rotten, and gold and notes are all spread about and covered with dirt, the latter being scarcely distinguishable. Then there is a gathering of it up to be washed, and in the end not much is lost, although throughout the proceedings Pepys is in dread that the neighbours will see and hear what is going on.

We now come to the consideration of one of the most important incidents in the life of the Diarist—that is, his great speech at the Bar of the House of Commons. When peace was concluded with the Dutch, and the people had time to think over the disgrace which this country had suffered by the presence of De Ruyter’s fleet in the Medway, they naturally looked round for someone to punish. It was the same feeling, only in a much intensified degree, which found expression at the time of[35] the Crimean war in the cry, “Whom shall we hang?” A Parliamentary Committee was appointed in October, 1667, to inquire into everything relating to this business, at Chatham. Pepys is warned to prepare himself, as there is a desire to lay the blame upon the Commissioners of the Navy, and a resolution “to lay the fault heavy somewhere, and to punish it.”[61] He therefore gives as clear a statement as possible, and satisfies the Committee for a time; but for months afterwards he is continually being summoned to answer some charge, so that he is mad to “become the hackney of this Office in perpetual trouble and vexation, that need it least.”[62] Then breaks out a storm in the House of Commons against the Principal Officers of the Navy, and some members demand that they be put out of their places. The result is, that they are ordered to be heard in their own defence at the Bar of the House. The whole labour of defence falls upon Pepys, and he sets to work with a will to collect his evidence, and to display it in the most satisfactory manner. He is somewhat annoyed that the other officers can do little to help him; but he is proud that they, in spite of themselves, must rely upon him. The eventful day (5th March, 1667–68) at last arrives, and, having first fortified himself with half a pint of mulled sack and a dram of brandy, our Diarist stands at the Bar with his fellow-officers. But here we must use his own words, for it would be presumptuous to paraphrase the vivid account he himself gives:—“After[36] the Speaker had told us the dissatisfaction of the House, and read the Report of the Committee, I began our defence most acceptably and smoothly, and continued at it without any hesitation or loss, but with full scope, and all my reason free about me, as if it had been at my own table, from that time (about twelve o’clock) till past three in the afternoon; and so ended without any interruption from the Speaker; but we withdrew. And there all my Fellow-officers and all the world that was within hearing, did congratulate me, and cry up my speech as the best thing they ever heard; and my Fellow-officers were overjoyed in it.” The orator was congratulated on every side, and the flattery he received is set down in the “Diary” in all good faith. Sir William Coventry addresses him the next day with the words, “Good morrow, Mr. Pepys, that must be Speaker of the Parliament-house;” and the Solicitor-General protests that he spoke the best of any man in England. One man says that he would go twenty miles to hear such another speech; and another, although he had sat six-and-twenty years in Parliament, had never heard anything like it before; and there is much more to the same effect.

I do not find that Pepys ever distinguished himself by another speech, although he sat for several years in the House of Commons; and there is therefore reason to doubt his oratorical powers. In fact, it is easy to explain the secret of his success, for he was speaking on a subject that he thoroughly understood to an audience that understood it but imperfectly. Still we[37] must give Pepys due credit for his achievement. He had a bad case, and yet he seems to have converted his audience. It was here that his clear-headedness and remarkable powers of arrangement were brought into play, and having at the same time his whole soul in the matter, he easily carried his hearers with him.

The praises he received raised up a strong desire in his breast to become a Parliament-man. He hints at this design on the 5th of December, 1668, and again, on the 19th of February, 1668–69, he opens the matter to his friend, Sir William Coventry, who likes the idea mightily, and promises to speak about it to the Duke of York. A few more months, and his eyes—which already, as we have seen, had given him trouble—become so much worse that he begins to think seriously of taking rest. On the 16th of May, 1669, he draws up a rough copy of a petition to the Duke of York for leave of absence for three or four months. A few days after, the Duke takes him to the King, who expresses his great concern at the state of his eyes, and gives him the leave he desires.[63] On the 31st of May, 1669, the pen that has written so[38] much to amuse us is put to the paper for the last time; and the “Diary” ends with these words of deep but subdued feeling:—“And thus ends all that I doubt I shall ever be able to do with my own eyes in the keeping of my Journal, I being not able to do it any longer, having done now so long as to undo my eyes almost every time that I take a pen in my hand; and therefore whatever comes of it I must forbear; and therefore resolve, from this time forward to have it kept by my people in longhand, and must be contented to set down no more than is fit for them and all the world to know; or if there be any thing, which cannot be much, now my amours are past, and my eyes hindering me in almost all other pleasures, I must endeavour to keep a margin in my book open, to add here and there, a note in short-hand with my own hand. And so I betake myself to that course, which is almost as much as to see myself go in to my grave: for which and all the discomforts that will accompany my being blind, the good God prepare me!” The “Diary” is one of the most curious of psychological studies, and surely no other man has so relentlessly laid bare his secret motives. When he does a good action from a good motive, he cannot forbear to add a dirty little motive as well. There is no posing for effect, such as the writers of confessions adopt, and herein consists the chief charm of the book.

I cannot pretend to draw the character of the Diarist, for he has done that himself in his own vivid manner; but a few of his leading characteristics may be set down here. Two of the most[39] prominent of these characteristics are his money-grubbing and his love of women.

1. Money-grubbing. His paramount anxiety is to get money, and we find him constantly making up his accounts in order to see how much better off he is this month than he was in the last. He takes care that no opportunity of money-getting shall be allowed to slip, and he certainly succeeds in his endeavours; for whereas, at the opening of the “Diary,” he is only worth about £40, he makes £3,560 in the year 1665, while his salary as Clerk of the Acts remains at £350. In the following year he only made £2,986.[64]

The same prudent habits that made Pepys so careful in casting up his accounts induced him to[40] make a new will as changes were required. On the 17th of March, 1659–60, he bequeathed all that he possessed (but this was not very much at that time) to his wife, with his French books, the other books being left to his brother John. Another will was made on August 10th, 1665, because the town was so unhealthy “that a man cannot depend upon living two days.” We have fuller particulars of the will of May 27th, 1666, by which Pall Pepys, the Diarist’s sister, was to have £500, his father £2,000, and his wife the rest of his estate—“but to have £2,500 secured to her though by deducting out of what I have given my father and sister.” Another will was prepared in the following year, by which Pepys left all he possessed to be equally divided between his wife and father.[65]

2. Admiration for women. Some of the oddest passages in the “Diary” grew out of this trait in Pepys’s character; and one can only marvel that he thought it well to set down such passages on paper. When he came to Gravesend, after Charles II.’s landing, he kissed “a good handsome wench,” because she was the first he had seen for a great while;[66] and, at another time, the widow of a naval officer came to see him, apparently on business, when he had “a kiss or two of her, and a most modest woman she is.”[67] His gallantry was so great as even to cause him to kiss the mouth of Katherine of Valois, whose body was exposed at Westminster Abbey. He seems to have performed this act[41] with great content, for he notes particularly that on his birthday, February 23rd, 1668–69 (being then thirty-six years of age), he “did first kiss a queen.” Although he was always ready to kiss the ladies he met, his admiration was often quite disinterested; this was peculiarly the case with regard to the two Court beauties, the Duchess of Richmond and the Countess of Castlemaine, to neither of whom, apparently, he ever spoke. There is an odd little entry which he made on the 9th of September, 1668, that well illustrates this feeling of his. The Duke of Richmond wanted to consult Pepys about his yacht, and sent for him to his lodgings in Whitehall. Pepys hoped to have seen the Duchess, but found that she was in the country; so he adds, “I shall make much of this acquaintance, that I may live to see his lady near.” But the Clerk of the Acts’ chief admiration was lavished upon the worthless Countess of Castlemaine. He is always delighted when he can get a glimpse of her; and he usually finds the play to be insipid if she does not grace the theatre with her presence. Even the sight of her clothes gives him pleasure, for he tells us that one day, in passing the Privy Garden at Whitehall, he saw her smocks and linen petticoats hanging out to dry, and it did him good to look upon them.[68]

Pepys was a pretty regular attendant at church, and he seems to have enjoyed a good sermon; but his chief delight was to look about for pretty women: thus, on the 26th of May, 1667, he went (alone, by-the-bye) to St. Margaret’s[42] Church, Westminster, and there, he says, “Did entertain myself with my perspective glass up and down the church, by which I had the great pleasure of seeing and gazing at a great many very fine women; and what with that, and sleeping, I passed away the time till sermon was done.”

Our hero was very fond of pretty Betty Michell, and would take some trouble to get a sight of her; and there is a most ludicrous passage in the “Diary” in which he describes a mistake he made once at church. He went again to St. Margaret’s, in hopes of seeing Betty, and stayed for an hour in the crowd, thinking she was there “by the end of a nose” that he saw; but at last, to his great disgust, the head turned towards him, and it was only her mother; he naturally adds, “which vexed me.”[69] Although he gave his wife much cause to be jealous, he was inclined, without any cause, to be jealous of her; and, from his own account, he seems often to have treated her in a very boorish manner. One would have liked to have read the lady’s account of the constant little squabbles which occurred; but Pepys was not of the same opinion, for on one occasion, when he found a paper which his wife had written on the “disagreeables” of her life, he burnt it, in spite of her remonstrances.[70]

Pepys’s nature was singularly contradictory, and in summing up the chief points of his character, we can do little more than make a catalogue of his various qualities, giving the bad ones first, and[43] then enumerating the good ones as a set-off. Thus, he was unfaithful to his wife, and a coward, yet he knew his faults, and could try to amend them. He was vain, ignorant, credulous, and superstitious; yet he had scholarly tastes, and his orderly and business habits were so marked that they alone would point to him as a man out of the common run. He was mean, and yet he was also generous. This seems a harsh verdict, but it can easily be proved to be true, and we will proceed to notice the several points seriatim.

As to his unfaithfulness, his own description of his conduct towards several women makes it probable; but, in the instance of Deb Willett, there can be no doubt. This episode, which occurred in October and November, 1668, is by far the most painful one in the “Diary.”[71] Pepys appears to have been infatuated, and, in spite of his struggles, he fell. He repented, and prayed fervently in his chamber that he might not fall again. He resolved not to give any new occasion for his wife’s jealousy, and he found great peace in his mind by reason of this resolution.[72]

He was a coward, for on one occasion he was so angry with the cookmaid that he kicked her. He was not sorry for doing this, but he was vexed that Sir William Penn’s footboy saw him, and would probably tell the family.[73]

His vanity may be taken for granted, as every line of the “Diary” shows it. He was ignorant[44] of history, for he expected to find an account of England’s dominion on the sea in “Domesday Book.”[74] As to his credulity, he appears to have believed everything that was told him, however absurd. His superstition is shown in his belief in charms and in most of the popular delusions of his time; and also by his subterfuges, as when he opens a letter, and does not look at it until the money has fallen out, so that he may be able to say that he saw no money in the paper, if he should be questioned about it.[75]

He was mean, for he grudges money for his wife, while he spends liberally on himself; he is stingy to his father, and dislikes lending money to the benefactor from whom all his prosperity originally came. Yet he could be singularly generous at times. He gave £600 to his sister Paulina as her marriage portion;[76] and, after quarrelling with his wife because she had spent twenty-five shillings on a pair of earrings without his leave,[77] he pays £80 for a necklace which he presents her with.[78] Of his scholarly tastes and business habits we shall have an opportunity of saying somewhat further on.

Perhaps, on the whole, the most remarkable characteristic of the man was his total want[45] of the imaginative faculty. Here was one who had been well educated, and had kept up his learning through life; who had an artistic taste, and was a thorough musician; who could not so much as understand true wit or the higher poetry. “Midsummer Night’s Dream” was insipid and ridiculous to him,[79] and he found “Hudibras” so silly that he was ashamed of it.[80]

I must leave my readers to answer the question why it is that, in spite of all that has been said, Pepys can stand the ordeal through which we have passed him; and why it is that, with all his faults, we cannot put his book down without some sort of affection for the man?








“Truly may it be said that this was a greater and more grievous loss to the mind’s eye of his posterity, than to the bodily organs of Pepys himself. It makes me restless and discontented to think what a Diary, equal in minuteness and truth of portraiture to the preceding, from 1669 to 1688 or 1690, would have been for the true causes, process, and character of the Revolution.”—Coleridge’s MS. note in his copy of the “Diary” (“Notes and Queries,” 1st S. vol. vi. p. 215).

Decorative Capital W

We have seen in the previous chapter how Pepys wrote the last line of his “Diary” on the 31st of May, 1669; and how, by the physical defect which had then increased to alarming proportions, we have suffered what Coleridge calls “this grievous loss.” In treating of Pepys’s life after the “Diary,” we at once find the difference between dealing with a few isolated facts and condensing from the living record of the man’s own life. Moreover, Pepys as painted by his friends and as painted by himself, appears like two different men. The question is—would[47] the highly-respected Secretary of the Admiralty and the dignified President of the Royal Society have proved himself of the same nature as was the officious Clerk of the Acts if the “Diary” had been continued for some twenty or more years? or did time and domestic affliction mellow and settle the somewhat turbulent affections of the Diarist? There seems to be some reason for taking the latter view, and it is probable that, when he attained a more mature age, the dross of meanness was refined away, leaving the native ore of generosity pure and undefiled. When Pepys had obtained his leave of absence, he set out on a tour through France and Holland, accompanied by his wife. He carried with him on his journey the love which he always evinced for the occupation of his life, and he attempted to improve his knowledge of nautical affairs, making at the time collections respecting the French and Dutch navies. Some months after his return he spoke of his journey as having been “full of health and content,” but no sooner had they returned to London than his wife became seriously ill with a fever. The disease took a fatal turn, and on the 10th of November, 1669, Elizabeth Pepys died, at the early age of twenty-nine years, to the great grief of her husband. She died at their house in Crutched Friars, and was buried in St. Olave’s Church, where Pepys erected a tablet to her memory.

Mrs. Pepys occupies so prominent a position in the “Diary,” and her husband, in spite of his faults, was so truly fond of her, that we must believe her death gave him a shock from which[48] he would be long in recovering. He had no child nor near connection to be with him, and therefore, after this sad event, the whole current of his home life must have been changed.

In this same year, 1669, Sir Robert Brooke, member of Parliament for the borough of Aldborough, in Suffolk, died, and Pepys came forward as a candidate to fill his place. The Duke of York was favourable, and used all his influence to obtain the return of the Clerk of the Acts, but without success. When the election came on, Pepys was in distress, and his loss prevented him from taking part in the proceedings; so that, in spite of all that friends could do for him, he was defeated, and John Bence was elected on the 9th of November. In the following year he quarrelled with Sir James Barkman Leyenburg, the Swedish Resident in this country, and a duel between them was only prevented by an order from the King, given in a letter from Matthew Wren to Pepys, commanding him not to send or receive a challenge. This incident is not easy to be understood, as from what we know of Pepys he was not a man who would be very wishful to rush into a hostile encounter. Lord Braybrooke suggests that, as Leyenburg married the widow of Sir William Batten, the quarrel may have related to some money which was owed to Pepys by Batten, and for which the widow was liable; but this suggestion can only be taken for what it is worth.

We do not know the exact date of Pepys’s appointment to the Secretaryship of the Admiralty, but in a document found among his manuscripts,[49] and dated November 3, 1672, he is described as holding that office.[81] When he was thus raised in his official position he was able to obtain his old place of Clerk of the Acts for his own clerk, Thomas Hayter, and his brother, John Pepys, who held it jointly. The latter does not appear to have done much credit to Samuel. He took holy orders in 1666,[82] and was appointed clerk to the Trinity House in 1670. When he died, in 1677, he was in debt £300 to the corporation, which Samuel had to pay.

The Right Honourable Francis North

Engraved by R. Cooper.

The Rt. Hon. Francis North,
Lord Keeper, Guildford.

Pepys’s kind patron and kinsman the Earl of Sandwich died heroically in the naval action in Solebay, and on June 24, 1672, his funeral was performed with some pomp. There were eleven earls among the mourners, and Pepys, as the first among “the six Bannerrolles,” walked in the procession. This same year there was some talk of the elevation to the peerage of Sir Robert Paston, M. P. for Castle Rising, and the Duke of York at once thought of Pepys as a candidate for his seat. The influence of Lord Howard, who had done what he could at Aldborough, was pre-eminent at Castle Rising; and James at once spoke to him to obtain his interest. Lord Howard was, however, in somewhat of a fix, for according to a letter which Thomas Povey wrote Pepys on August 31st, 1672, [50]“he stands engaged to the King for Sir Francis North, to the Duchess of Cleveland for Sir John Trevor, her counsel and feoffee, and to the Duke for” Pepys. Time, however, got the peer out of his dilemma. First of all, Sir Robert Stewart, a Master of Chancery and the other member for the borough, died, and Trevor was elected in his place; then North was put in for King’s Lynn; and lastly, when Paston was created Viscount Yarmouth, Pepys was chosen to succeed him, on the 4th of November, 1673. Mr. Offley, his unsuccessful opponent, petitioned against the return, and the Committee of Privilege determined the election to be void; but Parliament being prorogued shortly afterwards, before any decision had been come to by the House, Pepys was permitted to retain his seat. The journals of the House[83] contain a full account of the proceedings, which chiefly consisted of evidence respecting a frivolous charge made against Pepys. It was reported that a person of quality (who turned out to be Lord Shaftesbury) had seen an altar with a crucifix upon it in his house. When called upon, Shaftesbury denied that he had ever seen “an altar in Mr. Pepys’s house or lodgings; as to the crucifix,” he said he had “some imperfect memory of seeing somewhat which he conceived to be a crucifix.”[84] Pepys stood up in his place and flatly denied “that he had ever had any altar, or crucifix, or the image or picture of any saint whatsoever in his home from the top to the bottom of it.”[85] He further explained what might have given cause for the aspersion. [51]“Because he could not go much abroad, he has made his home as pleasant to himself as he could, embellishing it with painting. He has a small table in his closet, with a Bible and Common Prayer-book upon it, and ‘The Whole Duty of Man,’ a bason and an ewer, and his wife’s picture over it, done by Lombard. This is the whole thing talked of for an altar.”[86]

It appears from the endorsement of a letter from Balthasar St. Michel to Pepys, to which allusion has already been made, that the latter was actually charged with having turned Mrs. Pepys from a Protestant to a Roman Catholic. Pepys therefore obtained from her brother an account of the fortunes of their family, which shows the utter absurdity of any such imputations.[87] He was always a true Protestant, although there is some reason for believing that Mrs. Pepys was a Catholic at heart.[88] On the passing of the Test Act, in 1673, the Duke of York resigned all his employments; and the Admiralty being put in commission, Pepys, as secretary, was brought in immediate correspondence with Charles II.

In 1677[89] he was elected Master of the Clothworkers’ Company, when he presented a richly-chased silver cup, which is still used at their dinners. He was not long allowed to remain in peace, for the charge of popery, which was first made in 1673, was frequently repeated,[52] and in 1679 he was accused, on the depositions of Colonel John Scott, of betraying the navy, by sending secret particulars to the French Government; and also of a design to dethrone the King and extirpate the Protestant religion. He and Sir Anthony Deane were committed to the Tower under the Speaker’s warrant on May 22nd, and Pepys’s place at the Admiralty was filled up by the appointment of Thomas Hayter. When the two prisoners were brought to the bar of the King’s Bench on the 2nd of June, the Attorney-General refused bail; but subsequently they were allowed to find security for £30,000. At length, after several months of delay, it was found that Colonel Scott refused to acknowledge to the truth of the original deposition; and the prisoners were relieved from their bail on February 12th, 1679–80. Scott turned out to be a blackguard. He is said to have cheated the States of Holland out of £7,000, in consequence of which he was hanged in effigy at the Hague, in 1672; and in 1681 he fled from England to escape from the law, as he had been found guilty of wilful murder for killing a coachman. James, a butler, previously in Pepys’s service, confessed on his deathbed, in 1680, that he had trumped up the whole story relating to his former master’s change of religion at the instigation of Mr. Harbord, M.P. for Launceston, a leading enemy of Pepys.[90]

Evelyn visited Pepys in the Tower, and expressed his belief in the unjustness of the charge. While he was in custody Pepys kept[53] up a correspondence with the Duke of York, who was then abroad, and he received an application from a Mr. D’Oyly for a loan of £50; but he was obliged to answer that he himself had been forced to borrow £100 from friends, to pay his fees and defray his expenses while in durance. It is impossible not to respect Pepys for his conduct towards James when the Royal Duke was in disgrace. He certainly made enemies by his action, and one of these was Andrew Marvell, who is reputed to have published a “Black Book” entitled, “A List of the principal labourers in the great design of Popery and arbitrary Power,” which contains the following vituperative entry: “Castle Rising—Samuel Pepys Esquire, once a taylor, then a serving man to Lord Sandwich, now Secretary to the Admiralty, got by passes and other illegal wages £40,000.” We know these assertions to be untrue, but they probably did the victim as much harm as if they had been true.

Pepys was chosen by the electors of Harwich as their member in the short Parliament that sat from March to July, 1679, his colleague being Sir Anthony Deane; but both members were superseded in the next Parliament, that met on the 17th of October, 1679.

In 1680 Pepys attended on Charles II. at Newmarket, and there he took down, from the King’s own mouth, the narrative of his escape after the Battle of Worcester, which now remains in the Pepysian Library, both in shorthand and longhand.

Sir Thomas Page, the Provost of King’s College, Cambridge, died in August, 1681; and[54] S. Maryon, a Fellow of Clare, wrote at once, suggesting that Pepys was a fit and proper person for the post, and urging him to apply to the King for it. Pepys replied that he believed Colonel Legge (afterwards Lord Dartmouth) wanted to get the office for an old tutor. Although he pretended unfitness, he evidently liked the idea; and in a letter to Legge, while recommending an early application for the tutor, he expresses himself as willing to take the Provostship if the tutor cannot get it. He also promises, if he should be chosen, to give the whole profit of the first year, and at least half of that of each succeeding year, to “be dedicated to the general and public use of the college.”[91] In the end Dr. John Copleston was appointed to the post.

In May, 1682, Pepys accompanied the Duke of York to Scotland, and narrowly escaped shipwreck by the way. Before letters could arrive in London to tell of his safety, the news came of the wreck of the “Gloucester” (the Duke’s ship), and of the loss of many lives. His friends’ anxiety was relieved by the arrival of a letter which Pepys wrote from Edinburgh to Hewer on the 8th inst., in which he detailed the particulars of the adventure. The Duke invited him to go on board the “Gloucester,” but he preferred his own yacht, in which he had more room, and in consequence of his resolution he saved himself from the risk of drowning. On the 5th of May, about five in the morning, the frigate struck upon the sand called “The Lemon and the Oar,” about sixteen leagues from the mouth[55] of the Humber, through the carelessness of the pilot, it was said. The Duke and his party were all asleep at the time, and after they were awoke it is supposed that they remained so long on board in the hope of saving the ship, that more men were drowned than otherwise need have been. It is said that the sinking sailors gave a loud huzza for the Duke, although they perhaps owed their deaths to an error of judgment on his part. Pepys writes that, had the said wreck occurred two hours earlier, and the accompanying yachts been at the distance they had previously been, not a soul would have escaped. Pepys on his arrival in Edinburgh was allowed by the Duke to attend one or two of the councils, and he was greatly struck with the union of absoluteness and gentleness by which James maintained his authority. He then made a tour through some of the Scottish towns with Colonel Legge, being most pleased with the “beauty and trade” of Glasgow. The people were not to his liking, for he writes to Hewer: “The truth is, there is so universal a rooted nastiness hangs about the person of every Scot (man and woman) that renders the finest show they can make nauseous, even among those of the first quality.”[92]

The time was now coming when Pepys was to be again employed officially, and on July 30, 1683, he left London for Portsmouth, in order to join his old friend Colonel Legge (now Lord Dartmouth) in his expedition to Tangier for the purpose of demolishing that place. Pepys kept a journal of his proceedings, which is now[56] in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and has been printed by the Rev. John Smith in his “Life, Journals, &c., of Pepys.” As the next chapter is devoted particularly to Tangier, it is not necessary to do more here than remark that, although this journal is of considerable interest, it falls very far short of the naïveté and charm of the original “Diary.” On March 29th, 1684, Lord Dartmouth and his party (including Pepys) arrived in the English Channel.

Shortly after this, Charles II. made some further alterations at the Admiralty, and appointed Pepys to his old place of Secretary, possession of which he kept until the Revolution, when friends of the banished prince were not likely to be in favour. This same year he was elected President of the Royal Society, an office which he held for two years, apparently with credit to himself and general satisfaction to the Fellows. He certainly was not a scientific man, but at that period most of the subjects discussed could be understood by an intelligent man; and Pepys had a sincere love for curious learning which made him peculiarly fitted to act the part of an imitation Mecænas. In 1685 Charles II. died, and James came to the throne. We have already seen how Pepys was a spectator at Charles’s coronation, now he was to take the position of an actor. We find that he marched in the procession at James’s coronation, immediately behind the King’s canopy, as one of the sixteen barons of the Cinque Ports. A Parliament was summoned to meet on the 19th of May, and Pepys was elected both by the burgesses[57] of Harwich and by those of Sandwich. He chose to serve for Harwich, and Sir Philip Parker, Bart., was elected to fill his place at Sandwich. This Parliament was dissolved by proclamation, July 2nd, 1687, and on August 24th, the King declared in Council that another Parliament should be summoned for November 27th, 1688, the writs to bear date September 5th; but they were recalled on news being received of the Prince of Orange’s design. On December 10th, James ordered those writs which had not been sent out to be burned; and the same night, on his going away from Whitehall, he threw the Great Seal into the water. The Rev. Alexander Mills, a friend of Pepys, wrote to him from Sandwich in July, 1687, after the news of the dissolution had arrived, to say that he thought that Pepys might again be chosen if he felt inclined to stand for the town. In the next few months a great change had come over public affairs, and when the Convention Parliament was called together in January and February, 1689–90, Pepys found no place in it. In 1688 he had some correspondence with the Mayor of Harwich respecting the removal of the Custom-house from Ipswich to Harwich, and his chances of election seemed good at that time; but a few months changed all that, and the corporation did not care to be represented by an official of the late King: so when the election came on, someone called out in the street, “No Tower men, no men out of the Tower!” His public career was closed soon after this, for an order was made out by the Commissioners of the Admiralty on the 9th of[58] March, 1688–89, commanding him to give up his books, &c., to Phineas Bowles, the newly-appointed Secretary of the Admiralty. He still retained hopes of a return to public life, and on the 8th of February, 1689–90, he wrote to the proud Sir Edward Seymour for “his interest anywhere, by which I might compass an election” for the new Parliament.[93] What Seymour’s answer was we do not know, but we do know that a few months afterwards (June, 1690) Pepys was committed to the Gate-house at Westminster, upon pretence of his being affected to King James; but he was soon permitted to return to his own home on account of ill-health. On this occasion four stanch friends—Sir Peter Palavicini, Mr. James Houblon, Mr. Blackburne, and Mr. Martin—were bail for him. Soon after, he published his “Memoirs of the Navy,” to show what he had done for its improvement and government, but although he was on all sides looked up to as the greatest authority on naval affairs, he continued, even in 1692, to apprehend some fresh persecution.

Pepys had never been a healthy man, and as years began to tell upon him he suffered much. One day, when he was at Tangier, he was frightened by the old swimming in the head coming over him, and this made him melancholy.[94] In December, 1686, he was again troubled with pain night and day, caused by the complaint for which he was successfully operated upon before the “Diary” commences. In a letter to his[59] brother-in-law, St. Michel, he expresses the opinion that a general decay of his stomach and system will soon bring his life to an end; but he had several years still to live.

About this time Pepys secured the services of a Mrs. Fane as his housekeeper, and of her he wrote, in 1689: “I do not believe that a more knowing, faithful, or vigilant person, or a stricter keeper at home (which is to me a great addition)—a person more useful in sickness as well as health, than Mrs. Fane is, can anywhere be found. As such I esteem and love her with all my heart, and should ever desire to keep her acquaintance, friendship, and neighbourhood.” But—and this is a very important reservation—Mrs. Fane had a very disagreeable temper, as her victim goes on to say: “She hath a height of spirit, captiousness of humour, and bitterness and noise of tongue, that of all womankind I have hitherto had to do withal, do render her conversation and comportment as a servant most insupportable.”[95] He parted with her once, but Mrs. Skinner prevailed upon him to receive her again. At last, after forbearance for three years and a-half, she was obliged to leave finally. Mr. James Houblon pleaded for her, but when he heard the above explanation, he was unable to say more.

In 1700, Pepys removed from York Buildings to what his friend Evelyn calls his “Paradisian Clapham.” Here he lived with his old clerk and friend, William Hewer, but his infirmities kept him constantly in the house.


The eminent Dr. John Wallis, Savilian Professor of Geometry in the University of Oxford, was highly esteemed by Pepys, who had known him for many years as one of the most distinguished Fellows of the Royal Society. In 1701, therefore, the Diarist matured a scheme which did him the greatest credit. He sent Sir Godfrey Kneller down to Oxford to paint the old man’s portrait; and, when it was finished, he presented the picture to the University of Oxford, and received in exchange a Latin diploma thanking him in gorgeous language for his munificence. Pepys explained to Kneller that it had long been his wish to provide from the painter’s hands a means of “immortalizing the memory of the person—for his fame can never die—of that great man and my most honoured friend, Dr. Wallis, to be lodged as an humble present of mine, though a Cambridge man, to my dear aunt, the University of Oxford.”

So much for the donor. The painter, on his part, was proud of his work, and assured Pepys that he had never done a better picture, if so good a one, in his life before.

In the following year all was over with both Wallis and Pepys. On the 26th of May, 1703, Samuel Pepys, after long-continued suffering, breathed his last, in the presence of the learned Dr. George Hickes, the non-juring Dean of Worcester, who writes as follows of the death-bed: [61]“The greatness of his behaviour, in his long and sharp tryall before his death, was in every respect answerable to his great life; and I believe no man ever went out of this world with greater contempt of it, or a more lively faith in every thing that was revealed of the world to come. I administered the Holy Sacrament twice in his illnesse to him, and had administered it a third time but for a sudden fit of illness that happened at the appointed time of administering of it. Twice I gave him the absolution of the church, which he desired, and received with all reverence and comfort, and I never attended any sick or dying person that dyed with so much Christian greatnesse of mind, or a more lively sense of immortality, or so much fortitude and patience, in so long and sharp a tryall, or greater resignation to the Will which he most devoutly acknowledged to be the wisdom of God: and I doubt not but he is now a very blessed spirit, according to his motto, mens cujusque is est quisque.”

It was found necessary to have a post-mortem examination of his body, when a nest of seven stones, weighing about four and a-half ounces, was found in the left kidney, which was entirely ulcerated. His constitution generally, however, appears to have been strong. The body was brought from Clapham, and buried in St. Olave’s Church, Crutched Friars, on the 5th of June, at nine o’clock in the evening, in a vault close by the monument erected to Mrs. Pepys.

John Jackson, Pepys’s nephew, sent a suit of mourning to Evelyn, and expressed his sorrow that distance and his correspondent’s health would prevent him from assisting at the holding-up of the pall.

It appears from a list printed at the end of[62] Pepys’s correspondence, that mourning was given to forty persons, and that forty-five rings at 20s., sixty-two at 15s., and sixteen at 10s. were distributed to relations, godchildren, servants, and friends; also to representatives of the Royal Society, of the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, of the Admiralty, and of the Navy Office. The bulk of the property was bequeathed to John Jackson, the son of Mrs. Jackson, the Pall Pepys of the “Diary;” but the money which was left was much less than might have been expected. In spite of all his public services, which were universally acknowledged, he received neither pension nor remuneration of any kind after his enforced retirement at the Revolution. Public men in those days, without private property, must have starved if they had not taken fees, for the King had no idea of wasting his money by paying salaries. At the time of Pepys’s death there was a balance of £28,007 2s.d. due to him from the Crown, and the original vouchers still remain an heirloom in the family.








“And with asphaltick slime broad as the gate
Deep to the roots of hell the gather’d beach
They fasten’d: and the mole immense wrought on
Over the foaming deep high-arch’d: a bridge
Of length prodigious.”—Paradise Lost, x. 298–302.
Decorative Capital P

Pepys was so intimately connected with the government of Tangier during the twenty-two years it remained in the possession of the English, that it seems necessary, in a memoir of him, to give some account of the history of the place during that period.

Tangier is a seaport, on a small bay or inlet of the Straits of Gibraltar, which affords the only good harbour for shipping on the sea-board of Morocco, an extent of coast of about 900 miles. The town was early coveted by the Portuguese, and in 1437 their army attacked it, but were defeated beneath the walls. On this occasion Dom Fernando, the King’s brother, was left behind as a hostage. A treaty of peace[64] was concluded, but the stipulations not being executed, the Moors threw Dom Fernando into prison, where he died. The prince’s body was treated with insult, and hung up by the heels over the city walls. A few years later this unworthy conduct was revenged, for in 1463, the Portuguese being successful in battle, Alonzo V. took the town from the Moors. For two centuries the Portuguese kept possession, but about the period of our Restoration they found the place somewhat of an encumbrance, and were anxious to obtain a desirable alliance against their enemies the Spaniards, by transferring it to another power. In November, 1660, Thomas Maynard, British Consul at Lisbon, writing to Sir Edward Nicholas, says, that the King of Portugal would part with Tangier to England on reasonable terms.[96]

Catherine of Braganza

Shortly afterwards the Portuguese ambassador in London proposed the Infanta Katharine, daughter of that Duke of Braganza who became King of Portugal as Joam IV., as a wife for Charles II., offering at the same time a portion of half a million pounds sterling (“almost double what any King [of England] had ever received in money by any marriage”),[97] and in addition a grant of a free trade in Brazil and the East Indies, and the possession of Tangier and the Island of Bombay. The ambassador observed that these two places “might reasonably be valued above the portion in money.”[98] It was supposed that the possession of Tangier would[65] be of infinite benefit to England and a security to her trade, and the Earl of Sandwich and Sir John Lawson were consulted respecting the proposed acquisition. Lord Sandwich said that if the town were walled and fortified with brass, it would yet repay the cost, but he only knew it from the sea. Lawson had been in it, and said that it was a place of that importance, that if it were in the hands of Hollanders they would quickly make a mole, which could easily be done. Then ships would ride securely in all weathers, and we could keep the place against the world, and give the law to the trade of the Mediterranean.[99] The Portuguese were delighted at the prospect of a marriage between the Infanta and Charles, and after a few hitches the treaty was concluded, but some murmurs were heard against the delivery of Tangier into the hands of heretics. Dom Fernando de Menezes, the Governor, entreated the Queen Regent to spare him the grief of handing over the city to the enemies of the Catholic faith. He was given to understand that, if he obeyed instructions, a marquisate would be conferred upon him, but if he continued to resist he would be dismissed. Upon this, Dom Fernando threw up his command.

Lord Sandwich was instructed to take possession of Tangier, and then convey the Infanta and her portion to England. Although the Queen Regent sent a governor whom she had chosen as one devoted to her interest, and sure to obey her commands, yet Clarendon affirms[66] that he went to his government with a contrary resolution.[100] This resolution, however, was frustrated by the action of the Moors. A few days only before Lord Sandwich arrived, the Governor marched out of the town with all the horse and half the foot of the garrison, and fell into an ambush. The whole party were cut off, and the Governor and many of his chief men were killed. The town was so weak that, when Lord Sandwich arrived at this conjuncture, he was hailed as a deliverer from the Moors. He conveyed the remainder of the garrison into Portugal, and Henry, second Earl of Peterborough, with the English garrison, entered the town on the 30th of January, 1662, as the first Governor from England.

Now began a system of mismanagement worthy of the disorganized condition of public affairs. A commission was appointed for the purpose of carrying on the government of Tangier in London, and constant meetings were held. None of the commissioners knew anything of the place, and they were quite at the mercy of the governors and deputy-governors who were sent out. Pepys was placed upon the commission by the influence of Lord Sandwich, and John Creed was appointed secretary.[101] Thomas Povey, the treasurer, got his accounts into so great a muddle, that he thought it wise to surrender his office to Pepys, on condition of receiving half the profits, which he did on[67] March 20, 1664–65. This treasurership and the contract for victualling the garrison of Tangier were sources of considerable profit to our Diarist. At one of the earliest meetings of the committee, the project of forming a mole or breakwater was entertained. A contract for the work to be done at 13s. the cubical yard was accepted, although, as Pepys writes, none of the committee knew whether they gave too much or too little (February 16, 1662–63); and he signed the contract with very ill will on that score (March 30, 1663). When the accounts were looked into on April 3, 1663, it was found that the charge for one year’s work would be as much as £13,000. Two years after this, the committee agreed to pay 4s. a yard more, and the whole amount spent upon the mole was found to be £36,000 (March 30, 1665). The wind and sea exerted a very destructive influence over this structure, although it was very strongly built, and Colonel Norwood reported in 1668 that a breach had been made in the mole which would cost a considerable sum to repair. As Norwood was an enemy of a friend of his, Pepys at once jumps to the conclusion that he must be a bad man (February 22, 1668–69). The second Earl of Carnarvon said that wood was an excrescence of the earth, provided by God for the payment of debts, and Sir W. Coventry, in a conversation with Pepys, applied this saying to Tangier and its governors. It is not always safe to take for granted all that our Diarist says against the persons he writes about, but there must have been some[68] truth in the indictment he drew up against all those who undertook the government of Tangier. When Lord Peterborough received the place from the Portuguese, a book was given to him which contained a secret account of all the conduit-heads and heads of watercourses in and about the town. This book was always given from one governor to another, but was not to be looked at by anyone else. When Lord Peterborough left, he took the book away with him, and on being asked for it always answered that he had mislaid it and could not recover it. Colonel Kirke told Pepys in 1683 that the supply of water was greatly reduced by the want of this information.[102] In 1666 Pepys had applied the adjective “ignoble” to Lord Peterborough’s name, on account of his lordship’s conduct in regard to money matters. On December 15, 1662, Andrew Lord Rutherford and Earl of Teviot, Governor of Dunkirk until its surrender to the French, was appointed Governor of Tangier in succession to Lord Peterborough, who was recalled. He was a brave but rash man, and made a practice of going out of the town into the country without taking proper precautions. In May, 1664, he was surveying his lines after an attack by the Moors, when he and nineteen officers were killed by a party of the enemy in ambush. Pepys called him a cunning man, and said that had he lived he would have undone the place; but in 1683, Dr. Lawrence told Pepys that his[69] death was a great misfortune, for he took every opportunity of making the place great, but without neglecting himself.[103] John Lord Bellassis was the next governor, and he was said to be corrupt in his command.

The deputy-governors were no better than their superiors. Of Colonel Fitzgerald, Pepys writes, on October 20th, 1664, he is “a man of no honour nor presence, nor little honesty, and endeavours to raise the Irish and suppress the English interest there, and offend every body.” Certainly, when he sees him on August 7th, 1668, he is pleased with him and his discourse. Pepys’s opinion of Colonel Norwood we have already seen; but none of the governors rose to the height of villany exhibited by Colonel Kirke, whose name is condemned to everlasting infamy in the pages of Macaulay.

The further history of Tangier, previous to its final destruction, can be put into a few words. In January, 1668–69, Lord Sandwich proposed that a paymaster should be appointed at Tangier, and suggested Sir Charles Harbord for the post; but the Duke of York said that nothing could be done without Pepys’s consent, in case the arrangement should injure him in his office of treasurer. Our Diarist was much pleased at this instance of the kindness of the Duke, and of the whole committee towards him.[104]

Henry Sheres, who accompanied Lord Sandwich to Spain, and afterwards became a great[70] friend of Pepys, was paid £100, on January 18th, 1668–69, for drawing a plate of the Tangier fortifications. In the same year (1669), the great engraver, Hollar, was sent to Tangier by the King to take views of the town and fortifications. Some of these he afterwards engraved, and the original drawings are in the British Museum.

In 1673 a new commission was appointed, and Pepys and Povey were among the commissioners.[105] Two years afterwards the vessel in which Henry Teonge was chaplain anchored in Tangier Bay; and in the “Diary” which he left behind him he gives a description of the town as it appeared to him. The mole was not then finished, and he found the old high walls much decayed in places. He mentions “a pitiful palizado, not so good as an old park pale (for you may anywhere almost thrust it down with your foot);” but in this palisade were twelve forts, well supplied with good guns.

In 1680, Tangier was besieged by the Emperor of Morocco, and Charles II. applied to Parliament for money, so that the place might be properly defended. The House of Commons expressed their dislike of the management of the garrison, which they suspected to be a nursery for a Popish army. Sir William Jones said: “Tangier may be of great importance to trade, but I am afraid hath not been so managed as to be any security to the Protestant religion;” and William Harbord, M.P. for Thetford, added:[71] “When we are assured we shall have a good Protestant governor and garrison in Tangier, I shall heartily give my vote for money for it.”[106]

A most unworthy action was at this time perpetrated by the Government. Not having the support of Parliament, they were unable to defend the place with an adequate force; and they chose the one man in England whose brilliant career rivals those of the grand worthies of Elizabeth’s reign to fight a losing game.

The Earl of Ossory, son of the Duke of Ormond, was appointed Governor and General of the Forces; but, before he could embark, he fell ill from brooding over the treatment he had received, and soon after died. Lord Sunderland said in council that “Tangier must necessarily be lost; but that it was fit Lord Ossory should be sent, that they might give some account of it to the world.”

The Earl left his wife at their daughter’s house, and came up to London. Here he made a confidant of John Evelyn, who records in his “Diary” his opinion of the transaction. It was not only [72]“an hazardous adventure, but, in most men’s opinion, an impossibility, seeing there was not to be above 3 or 400 horse, and 4000 foot for the garrison and all, both to defend the town, form a camp, repulse the enemy, and fortify what ground they should get in. This touch’d my Lord deeply that he should be so little consider’d as to put him on a business in which he should probably not only lose his reputation, but be charged with all the miscarriages and ill success.”[107] It was on this man that Ormond pronounced the beautiful eulogy, “I would not exchange my dead son for any living son in Christendom!”

In August, 1683, Lord Dartmouth was constituted Captain-General of his Majesty’s Forces in Africa, and Governor of Tangier, being sent with a fleet of about twenty sail to demolish and blow up the works, destroy the harbour, and bring home the garrison; but his instructions were secret. Pepys received the King’s command to accompany Lord Dartmouth, but without being informed of the object of the expedition. In a letter to Evelyn, Pepys tells him, “What our work is I am not solicitous to learn nor forward to make griefs at, it being handled by our masters as a secret.” When they get to sea, Lord Dartmouth tells Pepys the object of the voyage, which the latter says he never suspected, having written the contrary to Mr. Houblon.[108] On September 17th they landed at Tangier, having been about a month on their voyage. All the doings on board ship, and the business transacted on shore, are related with all Pepys’s vivid power of description in his “Tangier Journal.” The writer, however, has become more sedate, and only once “the old man” appears, when he remarks on the pleasure he had in “again seeing fine Mrs. Kirke,”[109] the wife of the Governor. We are told that “the tyranny and vice of Kirke is stupendous,”[110] and the [73]“Journal” is full of the various instances of his enormities. Macaulay, however, with that power of characterization which he so eminently possessed, has compressed them all into his picture of the leader of “Kirke’s lambs.”

Pepys was now for the first time in the town with the government of which he had been so long connected, and he was astonished at its uselessness. Day by day he finds out new disadvantages; and he says that the King was kept in ignorance of them, in order that successive governors might reap the benefits of their position. He complains that even Mr. Sheres was silent for his own profit, as he might have made known the evils of the place ten years before.[111]

In a letter to Mr. Houblon, he gives his opinion that “at no time there needed any more than the walking once round it by daylight to convince any man (no better-sighted than I) of the impossibility of our ever making it, under our circumstances of government, either tenable by, or useful to, the crown of England.” He adds: “Therefore it seems to me a matter much more unaccountable how the King was led to the reception, and, afterwards, to so long and chargeable a maintaining, than, at this day, to the deserting and extinguishing it.”[112]

On the other side Mr. Charles Russell wrote to Pepys from Cadiz, deprecating the destruction of Tangier, and pointing out the advantages of possessing it.[113] Sheres also showed Pepys a paper containing the ordinary objections made[74] against the mole, “improved the most he could, to justify the King’s destroying it,” and added that he could answer them all.[114]

When the work of destruction was begun, it was found that the masonry had been so well constructed that it formed a protection as strong as solid rock. The mining was undertaken piecemeal, and it took six months to blow up the whole structure. The rubbish of the mole and the walls was thrown into the harbour, so as to choke it up completely. Still the ruined mole stands, and on one side the accumulated sand has formed a dangerous reef.

On the 5th of March, 1683–84, Lord Dartmouth and Pepys sailed out of Tangier Bay, and abandoned the place to the Moors. Shortly afterwards the Emperor of Morocco (Muly Ismael) wrote to Captain Cloudesley Shovel: “God be praised! you have quitted Tangier, and left it to us to whom it did belong. From henceforward we shall manure it, for it is the best part of our dominions. As for the captives, you may do with them as you please, heaving them into the sea, or destroying them otherways.” To which Shovel replied: [75]“If they are to be disowned because they are poor, the Lord help them! Your Majesty tells us we may throw them overboard if we please. All this we very well know; but we are Christians, and they bear the form of men, which is reason enough for us not to do it. As to Tangier, our master kept it twenty-one years; and, in spite of all your force, he could, if he had pleased, have continued it to the world’s end; for he levelled your walls, filled up your harbour, and demolished your houses, in the face of your Alcade and his army; and when he had done, he left your barren country without the loss of a man, for your own people to starve in.”[115]

According to Pepys’s account Tangier was a sink of corruption, and England was well rid of the encumbrance. He describes the inhabitants as given up to all kinds of vice, “swearing, cursing and drinking,” the women being as bad as the men; and he says that a certain captain belonging to the Ordnance told him that “he was quite ashamed of what he had heard in their houses; worse a thousand times than in the worst place in London he was ever in.” Dr. Balaam, a former Recorder, had so poor an opinion of the people of the place, that he left his estate to a servant, with the caution that if he married a woman of Tangier, or one that ever had been there, he should lose it all.[116]

Yet Tangier was positively outdone in iniquity by Bombay, which Sir John Wyborne calls “a cursed place.”[117] These were the two acquisitions so highly rated when Charles II. married the Infanta of Portugal.

In spite of all disadvantages, one of the greatest being that ships of any size are forced to lie out far from shore, Tangier is still a place of some importance as the port of North Morocco. The description of the town given by Sir Joseph[76] Hooker[118] answers in most particulars to that written by Teonge two centuries before. It stands on the western side of a shallow bay, on rocky ground that rises steeply from the shore, and the cubical blocks of whitewashed masonry, with scarcely an opening to represent a window, which rise one above the other on the steep slope of a recess in the hills, give the place a singular appearance from the sea. On the summit of the hill is a massive gaunt castle of forbidding aspect, and the zigzag walls which encompass the city on all sides are pierced by three gates which are closed at nightfall.








“A snapper-up of unconsidered trifles.”
Winter’s Tale, act iv. sc. iii.
Decorative Capital P

Pepys desired that his name might go down to posterity, but he could little have foreseen the fame that it has attained in the nineteenth century. The mode he took to keep it alive was the bequeathment of his library and collections to a time-honoured foundation; and there is every reason to believe that he would have strongly objected to the publication of his “Diary.” Now that that book has been published, we all see the full-length figure of the man; but his character might also have been read in the Pepysian library at Magdalene College, Cambridge; and this latter exhibition of him has been much longer before the public. Comparatively little interest was, however, taken in it until after the appearance of the deciphered “Diary,” when his name at once sprang into fame.


The library was left, in the first instance, to the Diarist’s nephew, John Jackson, but with a special proviso that it should on no account be dispersed. Pepys refers in his memorandum to “the infinite pains and time and cost employed in my collecting and reducing the same to the state it now is” in. He is particularly solicitous “for its unalterable preservation and perpetual security against the ordinary fate of such collections, falling into the hands of an incompetent heir and thereby being sold, dissipated or imbezzled.” Jackson was allowed a certain latitude in the disposal of the collections after his death. They were to be placed at one of the Universities, but Cambridge was to be preferred to Oxford. A private college was to be chosen rather than the Public Library, and of colleges Trinity or Magdalene were to be given the preference over the others. Of these two colleges (on the boards of each of which Pepys’s name had been entered), Magdalene, at which he received his education, was to have the preference. The college which did not receive the gift was appointed visitor, and if at the annual inspection any breach of covenant occurred, the library became forfeited to it.

A fair room was to be provided for the library, and no other books were to be added, save those which Jackson might add in distinct presses. The whole was to be called “Bibliotheca Pepysiana,” and the sole power and custody over it was to be vested in the master of the college for the time being.[119]


Magdalene College was founded by Lord Chancellor Audley, who vested for ever the right of nominating to the mastership in the possessors of Audley End. At the time that Pepys was a student the buildings were far from extensive, and consisted of the first court alone. The foundation of the second court was laid in 1677, and Pepys’s “Correspondence” contains a letter from Dr. Hezekiah Burton, asking for the contribution already promised towards the new buildings; and another from John Maulyverer in 1679, thanking for money lent for the same purpose, and referring to a bond. A fellow-collegian of Pepys was John Peachell, afterwards Vicar of Stanwick, Prebendary of Carlisle, and Master of the College in 1679. He does not appear to have been altogether an estimable man, for in 1677 (May 3) Pepys felt half ashamed to be seen in his company because of his red nose; and according to Lord Dartmouth’s manuscript notes on Bishop Burnet’s “History of his own Time,” there was cause for this rubicundity, as Archbishop Sancroft rebuked him for setting an ill example in the University by drunkenness and other loose behaviour. Dr. Peachell had his good points, however, for in 1687 he was suspended from his mastership and deprived of his vice-chancellorship for refusing to admit Alban Francis, a Benedictine monk, to the degree of Master of Arts without taking the prescribed oaths. It appears from a letter to Pepys that he greatly feared the Earl of Suffolk, who was then owner of Audley End, would be content to have him removed in order to obtain the privilege of nominating[80] a successor, but he was fortunate in being restored to his office in the following year.

Pepys never forgot a friend, and a month before this restoration he induced Lord Dartmouth, on his appointment to the command of the fleet, to ask Peachell to be his chaplain, with authority over all the other chaplains. In 1690 the Master of Magdalene died of starvation brought about by a four days’ fast which he prescribed himself as a penance after the archbishop’s admonition; and when he afterwards tried to eat he could not.

The master at the period of Pepys’s death was Dr. Quadring, and in the college chest are two letters written by Jackson to him to inform him of the will of the deceased respecting the library. It was not, however, until 1724, on the death of Jackson, that the three thousand volumes of which the library consisted were, with the original bookcases, removed to the college, and deposited in the new buildings which Pepys had assisted to build. The old inscription, “Bibliotheca Pepysiana,” which was set up at the time, is still to be seen on the front in the second courtyard.

The library is of the greatest interest, and a mere enumeration of some of the treasures contained in it is enough to whet the appetite of the least ardent among the lovers of old books. To mention first the manuscripts:—there are the various papers collected by Pepys for his proposed “Navalia;” a “vast treasure of papers” lent by Evelyn, but never returned to their owner; seventeen letters from Henry VIII. to Anne Boleyn, copied at Rome from the originals[81] in the Vatican, 1682; a collection of papers relating to Charles II.’s escape from Worcester; a journal of the proceedings of the Duke of Monmouth in his invading of England, with the progress and issue of the rebellion attending it, kept by Mr. Edward Dummer, then serving the train of artillery employed by his Majesty for the suppression of the same; and a Survey (made by order of the Admiralty) of buildings and encroachments on the River of Thames, from London Bridge to Cuckold’s Point, 1684–1687. The Maitland MS., which contains an excellent collection of Scottish poetry, and is named after Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington, Lord Privy Seal and Judge in the Court of Session (b. 1496, d. 1586), who formed it, is also worthy of special mention. How the two volumes of which it consists came into Pepys’s possession is not recorded. Selections from them were printed by Pinkerton in 1786.

Among the choice articles that should have some notice, however inadequate, are the pocket-book constantly used by Sir Francis Drake, and that of James II., described as follows by Pepys himself:—“My Royal master K. James ye 2d. Pocket Book of Rates and Memorandums during ye whole time of his serving at ye Seas as Lord High Admiral of England, vizt., from May, 1663, to his laying down his commission, May, 1673.” Another great curiosity is the original “Libro de Cargos as to Provisions and Munic̃ons of the Proveedor of the Spanish Armada, 1588,” with a hole right through, for the purpose of hanging it up in the ship.


Besides all the papers on naval affairs in the Pepysian Library, there is a series of fifty volumes of Pepys’s manuscripts in the Rawlinson Collection in the Bodleian Library. How these papers came into the possession of Rawlinson is not known.

What gives a special interest to the Library is the fact that it still remains in exactly the same condition as Pepys left it, the books being in the original cases, arranged in the order which he had fixed. There are several entries in the “Diary” relating to the arrangement and cataloguing of the books; thus on December 17th, 1666, we read:—“Spent the evening in fitting my books, to have the number set upon each, in order to my having an alphabet of my whole, which will be of great ease to me.” He employs his brother John to write out the catalogue “perfectly alphabeticall,”[120] but he afterwards finishes it off with his own hand.[121] He was very particular as to the books he admitted into his catalogue, so when he bought in the Strand “an idle rogueish French book, ‘L’escholle des filles,’” he resolved, as soon as he had read it, to burn it, “that it might not stand in the list of books nor among them, to disgrace them if it should be found.”[122] He had, at a later time, a similar feeling with regard to Lord Rochester’s poems, and in a letter dated Nov. 2, 1680, he directs Hewer to leave the volume in a drawer, as it is written in a style which he thought unfitted it for mixing with his other books. He[83] adds that as the author (who had just died) was past writing any more poems so bad in one sense, he despaired of any man surviving “to write so good in another.”[123] When I was looking over the Library I made a point of seeing whether this book had found a place at last on the shelves, and I discovered it there; but with sad hypocrisy it stood in false colours, for the lettering on the back was “Rochester’s Life.”

The books were numbered consecutively throughout the Library, and, therefore, when re-arranged, they needed to be all renumbered. All hands were pressed into this service; and we read that on the 15th of February, 1667–68, Pepys himself, his wife, and Deb Willett, were busy until near midnight “titleing” the books for the year, and setting them in order. They all tired their backs, but the work was satisfactory, though, on the whole, not quite so much so as the previous year’s job had been.

On account of this constant changing, each book contains several numbers, sometimes as many as six; and the last, which is the one by which the books are still found, is in red ink.

The books are arranged in eleven curious old mahogany bookcases, which are mentioned in the “Diary,” under date August 24th, 1666, and which gave the Diarist so much pleasure, when they were sent home quite new by Mr. Sympson, the joiner and cabinet-maker. The presses are handsomely carved, and have handles fixed at each end; the doors are formed of little panes of glass; and, in the lower divisions, the glass[84] windows are made to lift up. The books are all arranged in double rows; but, by the ingenious plan of placing small books in front of large ones, the letterings of all can be seen. Some have tickets on the outside, and this practice is mentioned in the “Diary,” where we read: “To my chamber, and there to ticket a good part of my books, in order to the numbering of them for my easy finding them to read as I have occasion.”[124]

The word “arranged” has been several times used in this chapter; but it must not be understood as implying any kind of classification, for the books are merely placed in order of size. This arrangement, however, has been very carefully attended to; and, in one instance, some short volumes have been raised to the required height by the help of wooden stilts, gilt in front.

The classification was to be found in the catalogues; and, as Pepys increased in substance, he employed experts to do this work for him. One of these was Paul Lorrain, the author of several tracts and sermons, who was employed in copying manuscripts, and making catalogues of books and prints. A letter from this man, written on October 12th, 1700, to explain the nature of the work he then had in hand, is printed in the correspondence of Pepys.

There are numerous entries in the “Diary” relating to the binding of certain books; and a single glance at the Library as it now exists would show any one experienced in the matter that Pepys paid great attention to this most important point in the proper preservation of a[85] library. As early as May 15th, 1660, he showed this taste by buying three books solely on account of the binding; and on January 18th, 1664–65, he went to his bookseller to give directions for the new binding of a great many of his old books, in order that his whole studyful should be uniform. Nearly all the books are bound in calf, although some are in morocco and some in vellum.

Pepys came to the resolution in the year 1667 that he would not have any more books than his cases would hold; so when, on the 2nd of February, 1667–68, he found that the number of books had much increased since the previous year, he was forced to weed out several inferior ones to make room for better. He had previously written: “Whereas, before, my delight was in multitude of books, and spending money in that, and buying alway of other things, now that I am become a better husband, and have left off buying, now my delight is in the neatness of everything.”[125] This plan he continued to practise throughout his life, generally to the improvement of the character of his library, but not always so.

When I was allowed the privilege of looking through the Library, I came upon a list of books headed “Deleta, 1700.” The entries in this list are most curious. To each title is added a note, such as these: “Ejected as a duplicate,” “Removed to a juster place,” “To give way to the same reprinted,” “To give way to a fairer edition.”

As the “Diary” is full of notices of books[86] purchased, I felt interested to know which of them had been weeded out after they had been bought, and which had been thought worthy to remain on to the end.

The following is the result of these inquiries in a few instances, chosen from the poets:—On the 8th of July, 1664, Pepys went to his bookseller about some books; from his shop he went on to the binder, to give directions as to the binding of his “Chaucer;” “and thence to the clasp-makers, to have it clasped and bossed.” Reposing in a quiet corner of the Pepysian Library is Speght’s edition of 1602, which is the identical copy referred to, and here, therefore, we have an example of the books that remained. It is in a plain calf cover, unlettered, “full neat enough,” with brass clasp and bosses.

This evident attempt to do honour to the memory of

“That renownmed Poet
Dan Chaucer, well of English undefyled,
On Fame’s eternall beadroll worthie to be fyled,”

is an incident of the more interest, in that Chaucer is almost the only great poet that Pepys was able to appreciate. Sir John Minnes, the wit, taught him to love England’s grand old singer. These two men were constantly brought together in the fulfilment of business duties, and Pepys writes “among other things Sir J. Minnes brought many fine expressions of Chaucer, which he doats on mightily.” To this he adds as his own opinion, “and without doubt he is a very fine poet.”[126]


That this is not a mere passing remark is evident, for on August 10th, 1664, he actually quotes a line from “Troilus and Cressida,” a most unusual practice with this “matter-of-fact” man. He goes to visit the famous Cocker, and has an hour’s talk with him on various matters. “He (Cocker) says that the best light for his life to do a very small thing by (contrary to Chaucer’s words to the Sun, ‘that he should lend his light to them that small seals grave’)[127] it should be by an artificial light of a candle, set to advantage, as he could do it.”

I very much fear that the quotation did not spring up into Pepys’s own mind, but that it was suggested by Cocker, who was “a great admirer, and well read in all our English poets.” More than thirty years after this, Pepys still remained one of Chaucer’s warmest admirers, and we have it on the best authority that we owe Dryden’s modernization of the “Character of a Good Parson” to his recommendation.[128]


To return, however, to the Pepysian Library. On the 7th of July, 1664 (the day before he went to the binder about Chaucer), Pepys bought “Shakespeare’s Plays.” This probably was the third edition, which had just appeared; though it might have been either the first folio of 1623, or the second folio of 1632; but whichever of these three it happened to be, it was replaced in after years by the fourth folio of 1685, which is now in the collection. Although “Paradise Lost” was first published in 1667, we find no notice either of it or of its author in the “Diary.”

John Milton

John Milton.

Engraved by H. Meyer from a Drawing by Mr. Cipriani, in the Possession of the Rev: Dr. Disney.

Published April 16, 1810, by T. Cadell & W. Davies, Strand London.


The Library contains the collected edition, in three folio volumes, of Milton’s Works, published at London by John Toland in 1698, but stated in the title-page to be published at Amsterdam. Pepys probably thought it wise to have nothing to do with any of the publications of so dangerous a man as Milton before the period of the Revolution; and a curious letter from Daniel Skinner to Pepys, dated from Rotterdam, November 19th, 1676, shows that a man might be injured in his public career by the rumour that he had the works of Milton in his possession. Skinner agreed with Daniel Elzevir, the last of that learned race, to print at Amsterdam certain of Milton’s writings which the poet had left to him. In the meantime a surreptitious edition of some State Letters appears, or as Skinner puts it, “creeps out into the world.” When Sir Joseph Williamson, the Secretary of State, is informed of this, and is asked to give a licence for the proposed authentic edition, he replies that “he could countenance nothing of that man’s (Milton) writings.” Upon this, Skinner gives up his scheme, and lends the papers to Williamson, but he gets shabby treatment in return, for on his arrival in Holland he finds that those likely to employ him have been warned against him as a dangerous character.[129]

The last instance of Pepys’s weeding-out process shall be “Hudibras,” and it is the most curious of all. On the 26th of December, 1662, we read in the “Diary:” [90]“To the Wardrobe. Hither come Mr. Battersby; and we falling into a discourse of a new book of drollery, in verse, called ‘Hudebras,’ I would needs go find it out, and met with it at the Temple: cost me 2s. 6d. But when I came to read it, it is so silly an abuse of the Presbyter Knight going to the warrs, that I am ashamed of it; and by and by meeting at Mr. Townsend’s at dinner, I sold it to him for 18d.” The book is dated 1663, and could only have been published a few days when Pepys bought and sold it at a loss of one shilling.

Warned by his previous experience, he would not buy the second part when it came out, but borrowed it “to read, to see if it be as good as the first, which the world cry so mightily up, though it hath not a good liking in me, though I had tried but twice or three times reading to bring myself to think it witty.”[130]

He still remained uneasy, and tried to appreciate the fashionable poem, so that on December 10th, 1663, he thought it well to buy both parts and place them in his library. Twenty years after this he was still doing his best to find “where the wit lies,” for we find by the “Tangier Diary” that he read the first two books on board ship during the voyage out.[131]

The edition of “Hudibras” in the Library is that of 1689, so that the earlier editions must have been exchanged for it.

It does not say much for the literary taste of the man who tried in vain to appreciate “Hudibras,” that he found Cotton’s “Scarronides, or Virgile Travestie,” “extraordinary good.”[132]

The Library contains many very valuable[91] volumes; as, for instance, there are nine Caxtons, and several Wynkyn de Wordes and Pynsons, but the chief interest centres in the various collections.

First and foremost among these are the five folio volumes of old English Ballads, which contain the largest series of broadside ballads ever brought together; the next in size being the well-known Roxburghe Collection, now in the British Museum.

Pepys has written on the title-page of his volumes: “Begun by Mr. Selden: Improved by ye addition of many Pieces elder thereto in Time, and the whole continued down to the year, 1700, When the Form till then peculiar thereto, vizt., of the Black Letter, with Picturs, seems (for cheapness sake) wholly laid aside, for that of the White Letter, without Pictures.”

The Ballads are arranged under the following heads:—1. Devotion and Morality. 2. History, true and fabulous. 3. Tragedy, viz. murders, executions, judgements of God. 4. State and Times. 5. Love, pleasant. 6. Love, unfortunate. 7. Marriage, cuckoldry. 8. Sea: love, gallantry, and actions. 9. Drinking and good fellowship. 10. Humorous frolics and mirth. The total number of Ballads is 1800, of which 1376 are in black letter. Besides these there are four little duodecimo volumes, lettered as follows: Vol. 1. Penny Merriments. Vol. 2. Penny Witticisms. Vol. 3. Penny Compliments; and Vol. 4. Penny Godlinesses.

Other collections are lettered “Old Novels,” “Loose Plays,” and “Vulgaria.” There are six[92] folio volumes of tracts on the Popish Plot, four quarto volumes of Sea Tracts, and a collection of News-Pamphlets for six years, that is, from January 1st, 1659–60, to January 1st, 1665–66, the time of the commencement of the Gazettes. Pepys was the first person to collect prints and drawings in illustration of London topography. These he left to his nephew, who added to the collection, and two thick folio volumes therefore came to the College with the other treasures.

Pepys’s collections have a special interest, because he collected his books himself, knew all about them, and registered them with loving care. His various catalogues and indexes are marvels of neatness, and living as he did in a pre-bibliographical age, he deserves the greatest credit for the judgment exercised in their production. In the fifth volume of the little collection of books on Shorthand, there is an index of authors, with dates of publication and references to the volume in which each will be found; and the following, which is the title of one of the appendixes to the catalogue, will show how much labour was willingly expended in the production of these helps to research: “A chronological Deductions of the Variations of Stile (to be collected from ye Alphabet of my books) in ye language of England between ann. 700 & ye attempt last made towards its refinement by Sir Philp Sidney in his ‘Arcadia,’ between 1580 and 1590.”

Neatness and the love of accuracy were ruling passions with Pepys, and when a catalogue was filled up with additional entries he had it re-arranged[93] and copied out. On “A Catalogue and Alphabet to my books of Geography and Hydrography, 1693–95,” is the following memorandum: “Before this Index be transcribed far to collect and alphabet the particulars contained in the List of additional Books inserted at the end, and that being done To incorporate both them and the four particular Indexes preceding into the Principal, and so as to unite the whole.”

This is an interesting list: “Bibliotheca Nautica, 1695. Catalogue of Authors (the perfectest I can arrive at) upon the art and practice of Navigation, with a Chronological Catalogue of the most eminent Mathematicians of this Nation, Antient and Modern, to the year 1673.” Some papers show how all this was arrived at, thus: “Memorandum, to look over ye Epistles and Prefaces to all the Bookes in this Collection, of which I am not maister, and ye other allsoe, and apply what is usefull through ye whole.” Mr. Mount, “son-in-law and successor to the late Mr. Fisher, master of the ancient shopp and our only magazine of English Books of Navigation at the Postern on Tower Hill,” prepared a list, and tried to answer Pepys’s queries. The Diarist was well known to all the booksellers, and he doubtless was a good customer, although he must have troubled them sometimes with his fastidiousness. A note intended for Mr. Mount may be looked upon as a good sample of many more such memorandums, “To get me the ‘Invention of ye Art of Navigation,’ a fair one for ye dirty one I bought of him.”

Robert Scott, the famous bookseller of Little[94] Britain, when sending Pepys four scarce books, the total cost of which was only £1 14s., writes, “But without flattery I love to find a rare book for you.” Herringman, of the “Blue Anchor,” at the New Exchange in the Strand, Joseph Kirton, of St. Paul’s Churchyard, who was ruined by the Fire of London, and Bagford, the title-robber, were some among the booksellers with whom Pepys had dealings.

Pepys was not a producer of marginalia, but some of his books contain an occasional note of interest; thus, in Cotton’s “Compleat Gamester” (1674), “cocking” is described at page 206 as a “game of delight and pleasure,” and Pepys added a manuscript note in the margin, “of barbarity.” Not only does this give us Pepys’s opinion of the sport very pithily, but it also illustrates a passage in the “Diary,” where he describes his visit to the cock-fighting in Shoe Lane, and says he soon had enough of it.[133]

All the books in the Library have a bookplate in the inside cover. These are of different design, two having Pepys’s portrait (one large and the other small), and one having S. P. and two anchors interlaced. Dr. Diamond writes in “Notes and Queries,” that he once met with a large quantity of these bookplates in four varieties. Two were beautifully engraved by Faithorne, as is supposed, and two were by White. Some of them had a rough margin, and others were cut close up to the mantle on the arms.[134]

The motto which Pepys adopted, Mens cujusque is est quisque, was criticized by some of the[95] Admirals in 1690, and the Diarist desired his friend Hewer to point out to them, through Mr. Southerne, that it was a quotation from Cicero’s “Somnium Scipionis,” and that the thought was derived from Plato and wrought upon by St. Paul. The whole passage is, “Tu vero enitere, et sic habeto te non esse mortalem, sed Corpus hoc. Nec enim is est quem forma ista declarat; sed mens cujusque is est quisque, non ea figura quæ digito monstrari potest.

In concluding this notice of the Pepysian Library, it will be necessary to say a few words about the Musical collections. Pepys was not a mere amateur in music, but understood both theory and practice thoroughly, and he found consolation from it when troubles came upon him.[135] On November 2nd, 1661, he tried “to make a song in praise of a liberal genius,” which he took his own to be, but the result did not prove to his mind; and on March 20th, 1668, he endeavoured to invent “a better theory of music than hath yet been abroad.”

We have references in the “Diary” to four songs which he composed, and a notice of one which he only attempted.[136] On January 30th, 1659–60, he sang Montrose’s verses on the execution of Charles I. beginning,—

“Great, good, and just, could I but rate,”

which he had set to music. He composed “Gaze not on Swans,” on the 11th of February,[96] 1661–62; but his grand achievement was the setting to music of the song,

“Beauty retire; thou doest my pitty move,
Believe my pitty, and then trust my love,” &c.,

from Davenant’s Second Part of “The Siege of Rhodes,” (act iv. sc. 2). Mrs. Knipp sang the song so well that the composer is forced to exclaim, that it seems to be a very fine song, and Captain Downing, “who loves and understands music,” “extols it above everything he had ever heard.”[137] Further evidence of the pride of the composer is seen in the fact that he had his portrait painted with the music of “Beauty retire” in his hand.

On April 6th, 1666, he began “putting notes” to Ben Jonson’s song,

“It is decreed—nor shall thy fate, O Rome!
Resist my vow, though hills were set on hills,”

but he did not finish it until November 11th, 1666. He thought himself that it was even better than “Beauty retire,” but the opinion of others is not given.

In the Pepysian Library is a volume of music, entitled, “Songs and other Compositions, Light, Grave and Sacred, for a single voice adjusted to the particular compass of mine; with a thorough base on ye ghitare, by Cesare Morelli,” which contains, among others, “Beauty retire,” “It is decreed,” and “To be or not to be.” We find in the “Diary” that on November 13th, 1664, Pepys was learning to recite this speech of Hamlet.


In the present day, when few instruments besides the piano are heard in private houses, it is somewhat surprising to find how many were familiar to our ancestors in the seventeenth century, and a note of some of these will perhaps be thought interesting.

The lute was a favourite instrument when Pepys was young, and a good lutenist was in high esteem among his fellows. Lady Wright’s butler gave Pepys a lesson or two, and in the first two years of the “Diary,” there are several references to the hours the Diarist spent in practising; but for a time he was unable to play, as his lute was in pawn. Various forms of the violin were much used by Pepys, who rose by candlelight on the 3rd of December, 1660, and spent his morning in fiddling, till it was time to go to the office.

He and Mr. Hill were engaged for an hour or two in stringing a theorbo; and, on another occasion, he had it mended at a cost of twenty-six shillings. The flute and flageolet were always handy, as he could put them in his pocket, and use them as occasion required, particularly if he were in the neighbourhood of an echo. He mentions the guitar twice in the “Diary,” but did not play on it, as he thought it a bauble. He afterwards altered his opinion, for he expressly charges Morelli, the arranger of his musical papers, to set a certain French song to the guitar; and, as may be seen above, many others were treated in the same way.[138] He is at one[98] time angry with The. Turner because she will not give him a lesson on the harpsichord; and afterwards he buys a spinet.[139]

I here end the portion of this book which deals with the life of Pepys himself.

The “Correspondence” discovers a more dignified character than the “Diary,” but we cannot say for certain whether, if we had a diary of the later years, we should not read such a confession as this on the 27th of January, 1666–67:—“Went[99] down and sat in a low room (at Sir Philip Warwick’s), reading ‘Erasmus de scribendis epistolis,’ a very good book, especially one letter of advice to a courtier, most true and good, which made me once resolve to tear out the two leaves that it was writ in, but I forbore it.”








“I have vow’d to spend all my life in London. People do really live no where else; they breathe and move and have a kind of insipid dull being, but there is no life but in London. I had rather be Countess of Puddle-dock than Queen of Sussex.”—T. Shadwell’s Epsom Wells, 1676.

Decorative Capital H

Having concluded that portion of our subject which relates more particularly to the personal character of Pepys, we now pass on to the general consideration of the component parts of the world he lived in. As Pepys was a thorough Londoner, and as most of the circumstances related in the “Diary” refer to London, I propose to commence with a notice of some parts of the capital at the time of the Restoration.

The almost constant use of the River as a highway is a marked feature of the habits of the time, which is illustrated by the fact that Pepys makes a point of mentioning that he went to a place “by land,” when from some cause or other[101] he did not take a boat; thus, on March 8th, 1659–60, we read, “Home about two o’clock, and took my wife by land to Paternoster Row, to buy some paragon for a petticoat, and so home again.” When Pepys was appointed Clerk of the Acts, and he was settled in his house in Seething Lane, he found that a constant communication was necessary between the Navy Office in the City, and the Admiralty at Whitehall. In his frequent journeys by boat from place to place, he often stopped at Blackfriars, in order to visit Lord Sandwich at the “Wardrobe,” where the royal clothes were kept. Sometimes, when there were shows and pageants on the Thames, it was no easy matter to get a boat, and on the occasion of the Queen’s coming to town from Hampton Court, when her barge was attended by ten thousand barges and boats, Pepys in vain tempted the watermen with a bribe of eight shillings.[140] One of the chief dangers of boat traffic was found in “shooting” London Bridge, and it was generally considered good policy to get out of the boat and pass from side to side on foot instead of going through the arches. One Sunday night,[141] however, our Diarist passed through the “rapids,” and did not like the sensation he experienced. [102]“And so to Whitehall to Sir G. Carteret, and so to the Chappell, where I challenged my pew as Clerke of the Privy Seale, and had it, and then walked home with Mr. Blagrave, to his old house in the Fishyard, and there he had a pretty kinswoman that sings, and we did sing some holy things, and afterwards others came in, and so I left them, and by water through the bridge (which did trouble me) home, and so to bed.” It was not, however, much safer on the bridge than under it, for on one occasion Pepys nearly broke his leg there. He had been in Southwark, spending the evening at the well-known inn, the “Bear at the bridge foot,” and when he wished to get home he could not find his coach, so he was forced to go over the bridge through the darkness and the dirt. His leg fell into a hole, although there was a constable standing by to warn persons away from the dangerous spot. At first he thought his leg was broken, but when he was pulled up he was found not to be much hurt.[142]

One of the advantages which our forefathers possessed over us, was to be found in the nearness of the fields and country lanes to their offices and shops. Pepys often indulged himself in a walk or a romp over the grass, in places that are now covered with bricks. On July 29th, 1669, he writes: “I dined, and in the afternoon, with Dick Vines and his brother Payton, we walked to Lisson-greene and Marybone and back again.” On October 9th, 1660, he says, “I met with Sir W. Pen again, and so with him to Redriffe by water, and from thence walked over the fields to Deptford, the first pleasant walk I have had a great while.” One Sunday he goes to Clerkenwell Church, and walks home across the fields.[143] At another time he takes the air in the fields beyond St. Pancras.[144] There[103] is, however, another side to this pleasing picture; for these places were not always safe, and the pleasure-seekers were sometimes alarmed. One day Pepys and a friend were walking from Chelsea into town, when they were joined by a companion, and we read that, “coming among some trees near the Neate houses he began to whistle, which did give us some suspicion, but it proved that he that answered him was Mr. Marsh (the Lutenist) and his wife, and so we all walked to Westminster together.”[145] In the following year Pepys walked from Woolwich to Rotherhithe on a fine moonshiny night, but he was accompanied by three or four armed men.[146] It gave him much satisfaction to be thought of enough importance to have such an escort provided for him unasked.

So much for the country parts near the town, but the streets appear to have been even less safe after dark. Those who wanted to find their way had to carry links,[147] as those without them fared but badly. The gates of the City were shut at night, but this had the effect of shutting in some of the ill-disposed as well as in shutting out others. Pepys and his party on coming home one night from the play found the gates closed. He goes on to say in the “Diary,” [104]“At Newgate we find them in trouble, some thieves having this night broke open prison. So we through and home; and our coachman was fain to drive hard from two or three fellows which he said were rogues that he met at the end of Blowbladder Street.”[148]

A London mob has never been famed for politeness, and we do not gain a very pleasing view of those in Pepys’s day from some of the entries in the “Diary.” On the 27th of November, 1662, the Russian Ambassador entered the city, and the trained bands, the King’s Life Guards, and wealthy citizens clad in black velvet coats with gold chains were ready to receive him. Pepys did not see the Ambassador in his coach, but he was pleased with the “attendants in their habits and fur caps, very handsome, comely men, and most of them with hawks upon their fists to present to the King.” He adds, however, “But, Lord! to see the absurd nature of Englishmen, that cannot forbear laughing and jeering at everything that looks strange.”

The high road of Newgate Street was formerly crowded in a most inconvenient degree by the shambles of the butchers, and our Diarist once got into trouble while driving past them. The account of this adventure is amusing, from the ease with which he got out of his difficulty. “My coach plucked down two pieces of beef into the dirt, upon which the butchers stopped the horses, and a great rout of people in the street, crying that he had done him 40s. and £5 worth of hurt; but going down I saw that he had little or none; and so I give them a shilling for it, and they were well contented.”[149]

The following is a good sample of the quarrels that were constantly occurring; there being no authority to put a stop to such exhibitions.[105] “Great discourse of the fray yesterday in Moorfields; how the butchers at first did beat the weavers (between whom there hath been ever an old competition for mastery), but at last the weavers rallied and beat them. At first the butchers knocked down all for weavers that had green or blue aprons, till they were fain to pull them off and put them in their breeches. At last the butchers were fain to pull off their sleeves, that they might not be known, and were soundly beaten out of the field, and some deeply wounded and bruised; till at last the weavers went out triumphing, calling £100 for a butcher.”[150] Moorfields, now occupied by Finsbury Square and Circus and the surrounding streets, was at this time one of the chief recreation grounds outside the City walls. It was partly given up to the laundresses and bleachers; and boxers and cudgel-players found in it a congenial sphere for their amusements. On an emergency, the troops were mustered on the fenny ground.

None of Pepys’s days passed without a visit to some tavern, for a morning draught, or a pint of wine after dinner. The notice of these little jovialities has preserved to us the names of several old inns, such as the Star, Half Moon, Harp and Ball, Swan, Bull Head, Plough, Lion, Cock, Greyhound, Globe, Mitre, Cardinal’s Cap, King’s Head, Hercules Pillars, Trumpet, &c. We read in the “Diary,” that on March 6th, 1659–60, there was a friendly meeting at one of these places: [106]“While we were drinking, in comes Mr. Day, a carpenter in Westminster, to tell me that it was Shrove tuesday, and that I must go with him to their yearly club upon this day, which, I confess, I had quite forgot. So I went to the Bell, where were Mr. Eglin, Veezy, Vincent, a butcher, one more, and Mr. Tanner, with whom I played upon a viall and viallin, after dinner, and were very merry, with a special good dinner, a leg of veal and bacon, two capons and fritters, with abundance of wine.” On January 10th, 1659–60, Pepys “drank a pint of wine at the Star, in Cheapside,” and on May 24th, 1662, he took his “morning draft” at the same house. These entries show how rapidly our forefathers went from place to place, and how little they thought of the distance between the City and Westminster; this facility being evidently caused by the water carriage. On a certain day Pepys starts from Axe Yard, drinks his morning draught with a friend, at the Sun, in Chancery Lane, and then goes to Westminster Hall. At noon he visits the Swan, in Fish Street; then goes back to Westminster, looking in at the Coffee Club and the Hall before going home.[151] The Swan, in Old Fish Street, is mentioned in an inquisition held before the mayor and aldermen in 1413, as “The Swan on the Hoop.” The house was destroyed in the Great Fire, but was rebuilt and advertised to be let in the “Spectator” of April 25th, 1712.

King Street, Westminster, was full of inns. Pepys’s favourite haunt was the Leg, where an ordinary was held. On December 6th, 1660, he and Mr. Moore went there, and “dined together on a neat’s tongue and udder.” Again, on April[107] 6th, 1661, “with Mr. Creed and More to the Leg, in the Palace, to dinner, which I gave them, and after dinner I saw the girl of the house, being very pretty, go into a chamber, and I went in after her and kissed her.” Two other King Street taverns were visited by Pepys, in July and August, 1660—viz., the Sun and the Dog. These houses of entertainment are both noted as haunts of Ben Jonson, in Herrick’s Address to the Shade of “Glorious Ben.”

“Ah, Ben!
Say how or when
Shall we, thy guests,
Meet at these lyric feasts
Made at the Sun,
The Dog, the Triple Tun?
Where we such clusters had
As made us nobly wild, not mad!
And yet such verse of thine
Outdid the meat, outdid the frolic wine.”

Another Sun, that behind the Exchange, was a famous house frequented by Pepys; it was rebuilt after the Fire by John Wadlow, the host of the Devil Tavern, and son of the more famous Simon Wadlow whom Ben Jonson dubbed “Old Sym, the King of Skinkers.” Pepys often went with his colleagues to the Dolphin, and drank “a great quantity of sack” there. On April 25th, 1661, he “went to an ordinary at the King’s Head, in Tower Street, and there had a dirty dinner.” On June 21st, of the same year, we read, “This morning, going to my father’s, I met him, and so he and I went and drank our morning draft at the Samson, in Paul’s Churchyard.” On October 9th, he went after[108] the theatre “to the Fleece tavern, in Covent Garden, where Luellin, and Blurton, and my old friend, Frank Bagge, was to meet me, and there staid till late, very merry.” This was the chief tavern in Covent Garden, but being the resort of bullies, it obtained a very unenviable notoriety. The Green Dragon, on Lambeth Hill, the Golden Lion, near Charing Cross, the Old Three Tuns at the same place, and the Pope’s Head, in Chancery Lane, are among the other taverns mentioned by Pepys. The Rhenish Wine-house, in the Steelyard, Upper Thames Street, was a favourite resort, and is frequently mentioned by the old dramatists. Pepys went there sometimes, but he more often visited another house so called in Cannon Row. All kinds of drinks were alike agreeable to our Diarist, and he did not even disdain “mum,” a strong beer brewed from wheat, which was once popular and sold at special mum-houses.

These constant visits to taverns were not very conducive to temperate habits of life, and we therefore read much of the midday revellings of the business men. One day, Pepys being a little more sober than Sir W. Penn, has to lead that worthy knight home through the streets, and on another occasion he resolves not to drink any more wine,—a rash vow which he forthwith breaks. Sometimes with amusing casuistry he tries to keep his vow to the letter while he breaks it in the spirit; thus, to allude again to the characteristic entry, on October 29th, 1663, we read, [109]“Went into the Buttery, and there stayed and talked, and then into the Hall again; and there wine was offered, and they drunk, I only drinking some hypocras,[152] which do not break my vow, it being, to the best of my present judgement, only a mixed compound drink, and not any wine. If I am mistaken, God forgive me! but I hope and do think I am not.”

We have seen Pepys dividing his time pretty equally between the City and Westminster, and doing official work in both places. In Westminster Hall he was on friendly terms with all the shopkeepers who formerly kept their little stalls in that place, and most of the watermen at the different stairs, who recognized his genial face, were emulous of the honour of carrying him as a fare. There is an entry in the “Diary” which records a curious custom amongst the stationers of the Hall. Pepys went on January 30th, 1659–60, to “Westminster Hall, where Mrs. Lane and the rest of the maids had their white scarfs, all having been at the burial of a young bookseller.”

Two of the most important events in the history of Old London,—viz., the Plague and the Fire,—are very fully described in the “Diary.”

On the 7th of June, 1665, Pepys for the first time saw two or three houses marked with the red cross, and the words “Lord have mercy upon us” on the doors; and the sight made him feel so ill at ease that he was forced to buy some roll tobacco to smell and chew. Then we read of the rapid increase in the numbers of those struck down; of those buried in the open Tuttle-fields[110] at Westminster; and of the unfriendly feelings that were engendered by fear.

Pepys remained either in town or in its neighbourhood during the whole time of the raging of the pestilence; and on the 4th of September, 1665, he wrote an interesting letter to Lady Carteret, from Woolwich, in which he said: “The absence of the court and emptiness of the city takes away all occasion of news, save only such melancholy stories as would rather sadden than find your ladyship any divertissement in the hearing. I have stayed in the city till above 7,400 died in one week, and of them above 6,000 of the plague, and little noise heard day or night but tolling of bells; till I could walk Lumber Street and not meet twenty persons from one end to the other, and not fifty upon the Exchange; till whole families, ten and twelve together, have been swept away; till my very physician, Dr. Burnet, who undertook to secure me against any infection, having survived the month of his own house being shut up, died himself of the plague; till the nights, though much lengthened, are grown too short to conceal the burials of those that died the day before, people being thereby constrained to borrow daylight for that service; lastly, till I could find neither meat nor drink safe, the butcheries being everywhere visited, my brewer’s house shut up, and my baker, with his whole family, dead of the plague.”

He then relates a romantic incident which had just occurred, and a note of which he also inserted in his “Diary:” [111]“Greenwich begins apace to be sickly; but we are, by the command of the king, taking all the care we can to prevent its growth; and meeting to that purpose yesterday, after sermon with the town officers, many doleful informations were brought us, and, among others, this, which I shall trouble your ladyship with the telling. Complaint was brought us against one in the town for receiving into his house a child brought from an infected house in London. Upon inquiry, we found that it was the child of a very able citizen in Gracious Street, who, having lost already all the rest of his children, and himself and wife being shut up, and in despair of escaping, implored only the liberty of using the means for the saving of this only babe, which, with difficulty, was allowed, and they suffered to deliver it, stripped naked, out at a window, into the arms of a friend, who, shifting into fresh cloathes, conveyed it thus to Greenwich, where, upon this information from Alderman Hooker, we suffer it to remain.”

On the 20th of this same month of September we read in the “Diary:” “But, Lord! what a sad time it is to see no boats upon the River, and grass grows all up and down White Hall court, and nobody but poor wretches in the streets.” And on October 16th, Pepys is told that, in Westminster, “there is never a physician, and but one apothecary left,—all being dead.”

In the following January, the question of attending to the overcrowded churchyards had begun to agitate the public mind; and those who lived in their immediate neighbourhood[112] were anxious that they should be covered with lime.[153] Not many months after this the greater portion of the city had become a void.

On the 2nd of September, 1666, Pepys was called up at three o’clock to see a fire; but not thinking much of it, he went to bed again. When, however, he got up, he found that about 300 houses had been burnt in the night. All were now busy in moving their property from place to place; and the women worked as hard as the men in doing what was needed. Some almost incredible instances of meanness are recorded in the “Diary,” respecting those rich men who gave shillings grudgingly to those who saved their all. Alderman Starling, whose house was saved by the Navy Office men, while the next house was burning, gave 2s. 6d. to be divided among thirty of them, and then quarrelled with some that would remove the rubbish out of the way of the fire, on the score that they came to steal. Sir William Coventry told Pepys of another case which occurred in Holborn. An offer was made to one whose house was in great danger, to stop the fire for a sum that came to about 2s. 6d. a man, but he would only give 1s. 6d.[154]

Clothworkers’ Hall burnt for three days and nights, on account of the oil in the cellars; and so intense was the heat caused by extension of the fire over a large space, that the ground of the City continued to smoke even in December.[155]

Moorfields was the chief resort of the houseless[113] Londoners, and soon paved streets and two-storey houses were seen in that swampy place, the City having let the land on leases of seven years.

It was said that this national disaster had been foretold, and the prophecies of Nostrodamus and Mother Shipton were referred to.

Sir Roger L’Estrange, the Licenser of Almanacs, told Sir Edward Walker that most of those that came under his notice foretold the fire, but that he had struck the prophecy out.[156] Lady Carteret told Pepys a curious little fact, which was, that abundance of pieces of burnt papers were driven by the wind as far as Cranborne, in Windsor Forest; “and, among others, she took up one, or had one brought her to see, which was a little bit of paper that had been printed, whereon there remained no more nor less than these words: ‘Time is, it is done.’”[157]

It is well known that the unfortunate Roman Catholics were charged with the crime of having set London on fire, and there appears to have been a very sufficient reason why the people should persist in affirming this fable. The judges determined, in the case of disputed liability between landlord and tenant, that the tenants should bear the loss in all casualties of fire arising in their own houses or in those of their neighbours; but if the fire was caused by an enemy they were not liable. As one poor man was convicted and hanged for the crime, it was held that the landlords must be mulcted.[158][114] Public opinion shifted about in this matter, for we read that on September 16th, 1667, Pepys saw “a printed account of the examinations taken, touching the burning ... showing the plot of the Papists therein, which it seems hath been ordered to be burnt by the hands of the hangman, in Westminster Palace.”[159]

London remained in ruins for many months, and as late as April 23rd, 1668, Pepys describes himself as wearily walking round the walls in order to escape the dangers within. At last new streets of houses arose from the ruins, but, unfortunately, in spite of the proposals of Wren, Hooke, and Evelyn for erecting a handsome and well-arranged city, the old lines were in almost every case retained.

A passage in the “Diary” in which Pepys remarks on the great streets “marked out with piles drove in the ground,” and expresses the opinion that, if ever so built, they will form “a noble sight,” would seem to show that at one time a better plan of building was contemplated.[160]

Had the plan suggested in Parliament by Colonel Birch been carried out, great difficulties would have been avoided. His proposal was, that the whole ground should be sold and placed in trust. Then the trustees were to sell again, with preference to the former owners, by which[115] means a general plan of building might have been adopted; but an unequalled opportunity of making London into a fine city was let slip.[161]

At one time it was supposed that the Fire would cause a westward march of trade, but the City asserted the old supremacy when it was rebuilt.

Soon after the conclusion of the “Diary,” Pepys left the Navy Office, and the latter years of his life were spent partly in York Buildings and partly at Clapham. It was after the Restoration that the West End grew into importance, and the house at the foot of Buckingham Street, from the windows of which Pepys could look out upon the river, was not built when the Diarist was settled in Crutched Friars. It was erected upon part of the site of York House, whose last resident was the worthless Buckingham:—

Beggar’d by fools, whom still he found too late,
He had his jest, and they had his estate.”

This house, in which Pepys was pleased to find “the remains of the noble soul of the late Duke of Buckingham appearing, in the door-cases and the windows,”[162] was sold by his son and demolished in 1672.

As Pepys left London so it remained in its chief features for more than one hundred years, and it was not until the beginning of the present century that the vast extension of the town to the north and south began to make itself felt.







“If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life he will soon find himself left alone; a man should keep his friendship in constant repair.”—Dr. Johnson.

Decorative Capital F

Family feeling was strong in Pepys, and we therefore find him in constant communication with persons in all degrees of relationship. These relations varied greatly in social position, from the peer to the little shopkeeper. Thus we find that one Pepys was a Lord Chief Justice of Ireland; another a Member of Parliament; another a Doctor of Divinity; another a goldsmith, and another a turner.

In later life, when Pepys had risen greatly in social importance, the relations were not so much associated with, and a more distinguished circle of friends make their appearance. This gradual dropping away of the relations may[117] have been caused by decrease of the family, for the Diarist on one occasion writes: “It is a sad consideration how the Pepys’s decay, and nobody almost that I know in a present way of increasing them.”[163]

The members of Pepys’s immediate family have already been alluded to, and we have seen how his father, John Pepys, the tailor, retired to Brampton in 1661. The old man died in 1680, and desired by his will that all the lands and goods left him by his brother Robert should be delivered up to his eldest son. He also left £5 to the poor of Brampton, and 40s. to the poor of Ellington, and the remainder of his property to be divided amongst his three children—Samuel and John and Paulina Jackson. John, however, died before him.

Of the numerous cousins who figure in the “Diary,” the Turners and the Joyces are the most frequently referred to. Serjeant John Turner and his wife Jane, who lived in Salisbury Court, were not very highly esteemed by Sir William Baker, who called the one a false fellow and the other a false woman, and Pepys does not appear altogether to have disliked hearing him say so.[164]

Their daughter Theophila was, however, a favourite with Pepys, and on March 3, 1662–63, she showed him his name on her breast as her valentine, “which,” he observes, “will cost me 20s.” Four days afterwards he bought her a dozen pairs of white gloves.

The Joyces were never much liked by Pepys, but at one time he thought it well to be friends[118] with them, as he writes on the 6th of August, 1663,—“I think it convenient to keep in with the Joyces against a bad day, if I should have occasion to make use of them.” William Joyce was good-natured, but Pepys wearied of his company because he was “an impertinent coxcomb” and too great a talker. As is often the case with our Diarist, he gives a different character of the man on another occasion. He writes, “A cunning, crafty fellow he is, and dangerous to displease, for his tongue spares nobody.”[165]

Anthony Joyce was in business, and on one occasion he supplied Pepys with some tallow, payment for which he was unduly anxious about, so that the purchaser was vexed.[166] Anthony gave over trade in 1664, but was ruined by the Fire; and afterwards kept the “Three Stags” at Holborn Conduit. William was greatly disgusted when his brother became a publican. Pepys says he ranted about it “like a prince, calling him hosteller and his sister hostess.”[167]

In January, 1667–68, Anthony threw himself into a pond at Islington, but being seen by a poor woman, he was got out before life was extinct. “He confessed his doing the thing, being led by the devil; and do declare his reason to be, his trouble in having forgot to serve God as he ought since he came to this new employment.”[168] He died soon after this, and his friends were in great fear that his goods would be seized upon on the ground that he was a suicide. Pepys[119] used all his influence to save the estate, and obtained the King’s promise that it should not be taken from the widow and children. Those who were likely to benefit by the confiscation gave much trouble, and managed to stop the coroner’s verdict for a time. At last, however, the widow’s friends on the jury saved her from further anxiety by giving a verdict that her husband died of a fever. “Some opposition there was, the foreman pressing them to declare the cause of the fever, thinking thereby to obstruct it; but they did adhere to their verdict, and would give no reason.”[169]

Kate Joyce (Anthony’s widow) was a pretty woman, and caused Pepys some trouble. She had many offers of marriage, and after a short period of widowhood she married one Hollingshed, a tobacconist.[170] Pepys was disgusted, and left her to her own devices with the expression, “As she brews let her bake.”

Mrs. Kite, the butcher, was another of Pepys’s aunts whose company he did not greatly appreciate. He was, however, her executor, and at her death he calls her daughter ugly names, thus: “Back again with Peg Kite, who will be I doubt a troublesome carrion to us executors.”[171] A few days after she is called “a slut,”[172] and when she declares her firm intention to marry “the beggarly rogue the weaver,” the executors are “resolved neither to meddle nor make with her.”[173]


Few of these family connections were left when Pepys himself died, for in the long list of persons to whom rings and mourning were given the following relations only are noticed:—Samuel and John Jackson, sons of Pall Jackson (born Pepys), the two nephews; Balthazar St. Michel, brother-in-law, and his daughter Mary; Roger Pepys, of Impington, Edward Pickering, Tim Turner, the minister of Tooting; Mr. Bellamy, Mr. and Mrs. Mathews, Dr. Montagu, Dean of Durham; and the Earl of Sandwich.

Dr. Daniel Milles, the minister of St. Olave’s, Hart Street, was one of Pepys’s life-long acquaintances—we can hardly call him friend, for the Diarist never seems to have cared much for him. We read how he “nibbled at the Common Prayer,” then how he took to the surplice, and gradually changed from the minister under the Commonwealth to the Church of England rector under Charles. A year or two after he ought to have been accustomed to the Prayer-Book, he made an extraordinary blunder in reading the service. Instead of saying, “We beseech Thee to preserve to our use the kindly fruits of the earth,” he said: “Preserve to our use our gracious Queen Katherine.”[174] In 1667 he was presented to the rectory of Wanstead, in Essex, and in order to qualify him for holding two livings at the same time, he was made one of the Duke of York’s chaplains.[175]

It is often amusing to notice how frequently Pepys changed his opinion of certain persons: for instance, in 1660, he calls Mr. Milles [121]“a very good minister,”[176] while in 1667 he styles him “a lazy fat priest.”[177]

Two men who occupy a considerable space in the “Diary” are the two clerks, Thomas Hayter and William Hewer. Most of those who were in anyway connected with Pepys were helped on by him in the struggle of life, and his clerks were no exception to this rule. Hayter was appointed Clerk of the Acts in 1674, and Secretary of the Admiralty in 1679; and subsequently Hewer was a Commissioner of the Navy and Treasurer for Tangier. Some of those whose fortunes had been made by Pepys turned out ungrateful when their patron was out of power; but Hewer continued to be a comfort to the old man to the last.

Allusion has already been made to Pepys’s helpers in the arrangement of his books and papers, and therefore much need not be said about them here. While the “Diary” was being written, Pepys obtained help from his wife and brother-in-law and servants; but when he became more opulent he employed educated men to write for him. One of these was Cesare Morelli, an Italian, recommended by Thomas Hill. He arranged Pepys’s musical papers, and in 1681 he acknowledged the receipt of £7, which made a total of £85 17s. 6d. received from Pepys during a period extending from November 4th, 1678, to August 13th, 1681.[178] This friendship, which does Pepys much credit, caused him some trouble, as Morelli was a Roman[122] Catholic, and the zealots falsely affirmed that he was also a priest.

Pepys early made the acquaintance of Dr. Petty, who was a member of the Rota Club; and he frequently mentions him and his double-bottomed boat (named “The Experiment”) in the “Diary.” Many anecdotes are told of Petty by Aubrey—how he was poor at Paris, and lived for a week on three pennyworth of walnuts; how, while teaching anatomy at Oxford, he revived Nan Green after her execution, and how he obtained the Professorship of Music at Gresham College by the interest of Captain John Graunt, author of “Observations on the Bills of Mortality.” At the Restoration Petty was knighted, and made Surveyor-General of Ireland, where he gathered a large fortune. Pepys considered Sir William Petty to be one of the most rational men that he ever heard speak with tongue;[179] and he was also an excellent droll. The latter character was proved when a soldier knight challenged him to fight. He was very short-sighted; and, having the privilege of nominating place and weapon for the duel, he chose a dark cellar for the place, and a great carpenter’s axe for the weapon. This turned the challenge into ridicule, and the duel never came off.

Petty was a prominent Fellow of the Royal Society, and about 1665 he presented a paper on “The Building of Ships,” which the President (Lord Brouncker) took away and kept to himself, according to Aubrey, with the remark, that [123]“’twas too great an arcanum of State to be commonly perused.” Aubrey also relates an excellent story apropos of the Royal Society’s anniversary meeting on St. Andrew’s Day. The relater had remarked that he thought it was not well the Society should have pitched upon the patron of Scotland’s day, as they should have taken St. George or St. Isidore (a philosopher canonized). “No,” said Petty, “I would rather have had it on St. Thomas’s Day, for he would not believe till he had seen and put his fingers into the holes, according to the motto, Nullius in verba.”

Among the City friends of Pepys, the Houblons stand forward very prominently. James Houblon, the father, died in 1682, in his ninetieth year, and was buried in the church of St. Mary Woolnoth, his epitaph being written in Latin by Pepys. His five sons are frequently mentioned in the “Diary,” but James and Wynne were more particularly his friends, and were among those who received mourning rings after his death. In 1690, when Pepys was committed to the Gate-house, and four gentlemen came forward to bail him, James Houblon was one of these four.[180]

Alderman Backwell, the chief goldsmith of his time, had many dealings with Pepys, who went to him at one time to change some Dutch money, and at another to weigh Lord Sandwich’s crusados.[181] Probably our Diarist was rather troublesome[124] at times, for once he bought a pair of candlesticks, which soon afterwards he changed for a cup, and at last he obtained a tankard in place of the cup. In 1665 there was a false report that Backwell was likely to become a bankrupt; but in 1672, on the closing of the Exchequer, the King owed him £293,994 16s. 6d., and he was in consequence ruined by Charles’s dishonest action. On his failure many of his customers’ accounts were taken over by the predecessors of the present firm of Child and Co., the bankers.

We shall have occasion to allude in the next chapter to some of those who were brought in contact with Pepys in the way of business; but it is necessary to say a few words here about two men who were both official acquaintances and personal friends. Sir Anthony Deane was one of the most accomplished shipbuilders of his time, and a valuable public servant, but he did not escape persecution. A joint charge of betraying the secrets of the British navy was made against Pepys and Deane in 1675. In 1668 Deane had held the office of shipwright at Portsmouth, and afterwards he was appointed a Commissioner of the Navy. In 1680 he resigned his post, but in 1681 he again formed one of the new Board appointed by James II., and hoped to help in improving the condition of the navy, which was then in a very reduced state. After the Revolution he sought retirement in Worcestershire, and the two old men corresponded and compared notes on their states of mind. Deane wrote to Pepys: [125]“These are only to let you know I am alive. I have nothing to do but read, walk and prepare for all chances, attending this obliging world. I have the old soldier’s request, a little space between business and the grave, which is very pleasant on many considerations. As most men towards their latter end grow serious, so do I in assuring you that I am,” &c.[182] Pepys replied: “I am alive too, I thank God! and as serious, I fancy, as you can be, and not less alone. Yet I thank God too! I have not within me one of those melancholy misgivings that you seem haunted with. The worse the world uses me, the better I think I am bound to use myself. Nor shall any solicitousness after the felicities of the next world (which yet I bless God! I am not without care for) ever stifle the satisfactions arising from a just confidence of receiving some time or other, even here, the reparation due to such unaccountable usage as I have sustained in this.”[183]

Mr. (afterwards Sir Henry) Sheres is frequently referred to in the latter pages of the “Diary,” but the friendship which sprang up between him and Pepys dates from a period subsequent to the completion of that work. Sheres accompanied the Earl of Sandwich into Spain, where he acquired that Spanish character which clung to him through life. He returned to England in September, 1667, carrying letters from Lord Sandwich. Pepys found him “a good ingenious man,” and was pleased with his discourse.

In the following month Sheres returned to[126] Spain, being the bearer of a letter from Pepys to Lord Sandwich.[184] Subsequently he was engaged at Tangier, and received £100 for drawing a plate of the fortification, as already related.[185] He was grateful to Pepys for getting him the money, and had a silver candlestick made after a pattern he had seen in Spain, for keeping the light from the eyes, and gave it to the Diarist.[186] On the 5th of April, 1669, he treated the Pepys household, at the Mulberry Garden, to a Spanish olio, a dish of meat and savoury herbs, which they greatly appreciated.

On the death of Sir Jonas Moore, Pepys wrote to Colonel Legge (afterward Lord Dartmouth) a strong letter of recommendation in favour of Sheres, whom he describes “as one of whose loyalty and duty to the King and his Royal Highness and acceptance with them I assure myself; of whose personal esteem and devotion towards you (Col. Legge), of whose uprightness of mind, universality of knowledge in all useful learning particularly mathematics, and of them those parts especially which relate to gunnery and fortification; and lastly, of whose vigorous assiduity and sobriety I dare bind myself in asserting much farther than, on the like occasion, I durst pretend to of any other’s undertaking, or behalf of mine.”[187] Sheres obtained the appointment, and served under Lord Dartmouth at the demolition of Tangier in 1683. He appears to have been knighted in the following year, and [127] to have devoted himself to literature in later life. He translated “Polybius,” and some “Dialogues” of Lucian, and was the author of a pretty song. His name occurs among those who received mourning rings on the occasion of Pepys’s death.

Raleigh said, “There is nothing more becoming any wise man than to make choice of friends, for by them thou shalt be judged what thou art.” If so, it speaks well for Pepys that the names of most of the worthies of his time are to be found amongst his correspondents. Newton and Wallis stand out among the philosophers; the two Gales (Thomas and Roger), Evelyn, and Bishop Gibson among antiquaries and historians; Kneller among artists; and Bishop Compton and Nelson, the author of the “Festivals and Fasts,” among theologians.

The letters of some of these men have been printed in the “Correspondence” appended to the “Diary,” and in Smith’s “Life, Journals, and Correspondence of Samuel Pepys;” but many more still remain in manuscript in various collections.








“Our seamen, whom no danger’s shape could fright,
Unpaid, refuse to mount their ships for spite,
Or to their fellows swim on board the Dutch,
Who show the tempting metal in their clutch.”
Marvell’s Instructions to a Painter.
Decorative Capital O

Our literature is singularly deficient in accounts of the official history of the navy. There are numerous books containing lives of seamen and the history of naval actions, but little has been written on the management at home. The best account of naval affairs is to be found in the valuable “Tracts” of the stout old sailor Sir William Monson, which are printed in “Churchill’s Voyages.”[188]

Sir William was sent to the Tower in 1616, and his zeal in promoting an inquiry into the state of the navy, contrary to the wishes of the Earl of Nottingham, then Lord High Admiral,[129] is supposed to have been the cause of his trouble.

The establishment of the navy, during a long period of English history, was of a very simple nature. The first admiral by name in England was W. de Leybourne, who was appointed to that office by Edward I., in the year 1286, under the title of “Admiral de la Mer du Roy d’Angleterre,” and the first Lord High Admiral was created by Richard II. about a century afterwards. This word “admiral” was introduced into Europe from the East, and is nothing more than the Arabic amir-al[189] (in which form the article is incorporated with the noun). The intrusive d, however, made its appearance at a very early period. The office of “Clerk of the King’s Ships,” or “of the Navy,” afterwards “Clerk of the Acts of the Navy,” is in all probability a very ancient one, but the first holder of the office whose name Colonel Pasley, R.E.,[190] has met with, is Thomas Roger or Rogiers, who lived in the reigns of Edward IV., Edward V., and Richard III. In the third volume of Pepys’s MS. “Miscellanies” (page 87)[130] is an entry of an order, dated 18th May, 22 Edw. IV. (1482), to the Treasurer and Chamberlain of the Exchequer, to examine and clear the account of “our well beloved Thomas Roger, Esq., Clerk of our Ships.” In Harleian manuscript 433, which is believed to have belonged to Lord Burghley, there is a register of grants passing the Great Seal during the reigns of Edward V. and Richard III., and No. 1690 contains the appointment of “Thomas Rogiers to be clerc of all maner shippes to the King belonging.” It has no date, but is very probably a reappointment by Richard III. on his assumption of the crown.

The navy owes much to Henry VIII., who reconstituted the Admiralty, founded the Trinity House, and established the dockyards at Deptford, Woolwich, and Portsmouth. The origin of the board of “Principal Officers and Commissioners of the Navy,” commonly called in later times “the Navy Board,” dates from his reign. His predecessors had usually themselves managed whatever naval force they possessed, assisted by their Privy Council, and by the officer already alluded to, who was styled “Clerk” or “Keeper” of the King’s ships, but in Henry’s time the rapidly increasing magnitude and importance of the navy rendered a more complete and better organized system of management necessary. To supply this want several new offices were created, and before Henry’s death we find, in addition to the Lord High Admiral and the Clerk of the Ships, a Lieutenant (or Vice-Admiral), a Treasurer, a Comptroller, and a Surveyor of the[131] Navy,[191] as well as a Keeper of the Naval Storehouses at Erith and Deptford.[192] A few years later we meet with a “Master of the Ordnance of the Ships.” This last office, which had been held by Sir William Woodhouse, was granted by Philip and Mary in 1557 to William (afterwards Sir William) Winter in addition to that of Surveyor, to which he had been appointed by Edward VI.[193]

Each of these officers must have received some sort of instructions for his guidance, but no general code of rules for the administration of the navy was framed until after the accession of Elizabeth, who issued, about 1560, a set of regulations for “the Office of the Admiralty and Marine Causes,” with the following preamble:[194]—“Forasmuch[132] as since the erection of the said office by our late dear father Henry VIII., there hath been no certain ordinance established so as every officer in his degree is appointed to his charge: and considering that in these our days our navy is one of the chiefest defences of us and our realm against the malice of any foreign potentate: we have therefore thought good by great advice and deliberation to make certain ordinances and decrees, which our pleasure and express commandment is that all our officers shall on their parts execute and follow as they tender our pleasure, and will answer to the contrary.”

Then follows a list of the several officers at that time forming the Board, viz.:—

1. The Vice-Admiral.
2. The Master of the Ordnance and Surveyor of the Navy: one officer.
3. The Treasurer.
4. The Comptroller.
5. The General Surveyor of the Victuals.
6. The Clerk of the Ships.
7. The Clerk of the Stores.[195]

The officers were to meet at least once a week at the office on Tower Hill, to consult, and take measures for the benefit of the navy, and were further directed to make a monthly report of their proceedings to the Lord Admiral.

The particular instructions which follow are brief, and by no means explicit:—

1. The Master of the Ordnance is to take care to make the wants of his department known to the Lord Admiral in good time, and he is to obtain the signatures of three of his colleagues every quarter to his books and accounts, which are then to be submitted to the Court of Exchequer.

2. The Treasurer is to make no payments except on the warrant of at least two of his colleagues, and his books are to be made up and certified by a similar number of the officers every quarter.


3. The Surveyor-General of the Victuals is to have his issues warranted, and his accounts certified in the same manner. He is to take care always to have in store a sufficient stock of victuals to supply a thousand men at sea for one month at a fortnight’s notice.

4. The Surveyor, Comptroller, Clerk of the Ships, and Clerk of the Stores are to see the Queen’s ships grounded and trimmed from time to time, and to keep them in such order that upon fourteen days’ warning twelve or sixteen sail may be ready for sea, and the rest soon after. They are to make a monthly report of the state of the ships to the Vice-Admiral and the other officers.

5. The Clerk of the Ships is to provide timber and other materials for building and repairing ships.

6. The Clerk of the Stores is to keep a perfect record of receipts and issues: the latter to be made on the warrant of at least two of the officers.

This most interesting and important document is concluded in the following words:—

“Item, our pleasure and commandment is that all our said officers do agree in one consultation, and all such necessary orders as shall be taken amongst them from time to time to be entered in a ledger book for the whole year, to remain on record.

“The assistants not to be accounted any of our head officers, but yet to travel in our courses when they shall be thereunto commanded or appointed by our Lord Admiral or Vice Admiral, or other our officers.


“Item, our mind and pleasure is that every of our said officers shall see into their fellows’ offices, to the intent that when God shall dispose His will upon any of them they living may be able, if we prefer any of them, to receive the same.

“These our ordinances to be read once a quarter amongst our officers, so as thereby every of them may the better understand his duty, and to be safely kept in our Consultation house at Tower Hill.”

We will now return to Sir William Monson, who, in his “Naval Tracts,” answers the question what kind of men are to be chosen for the various offices. He suggests that “the Comptroller’s and Clerk’s places be reduced into one, who should be an experienced clerk, long bred in the office.... Provided always, that besides their experience and abilities to perform the active part of His Majesty’s service, these men be of good substance and esteem in their estates.”

Such a rule as this would have excluded Pepys from the service, as he knew nothing of the navy when he was made Clerk of the Acts. He soon, however, made himself master of his business, and at the time of his death he was esteemed the greatest authority on naval affairs. In illustration of Monson’s recommendation, it may be remarked that in 1585 the two offices of Clerk and Comptroller were held by the same man, William Borough.

The salaries received by the various officers are set down by Monson as follows:—


Treasurer 220 13 4  
Comptroller 155 6 8  
Surveyor 146 6 8  
Clerk 102 3 4 [196]

Although the salary of the Clerk of the Acts is here put at over one hundred pounds, yet the ancient “fee out of the Exchequer,” which was attached to the office, did not amount to more than £33 6s. 8d. per annum, and this sum is specially set forth in Pepys’s patent.

In July, 1660, the salaries of the officers of the navy (with the exception of that of the Treasurer) were advanced, Pepys’s being raised to £350.[197] The salary of the Treasurer remained the same, but this was but a small part of his emoluments, which amounted in all to several thousand pounds a year.[198]

In the Pepysian Library there is preserved the pocket-book of James II., from which I have been allowed to extract the following memorandum of salaries:—

Treasurer of the Navy 220 13 4  
Comptroller 500 0 0  
[136]Surveyor 490 0 0  
Clerk of the Acts 350 0 0  
Three Commissioners at £500 and one at 350 0 0  
Messenger to the Admiralty 20 0 0  

When the Duke of Buckingham was assassinated, in 1628, the office of Lord High Admiral was for the first time put into commission. All the great officers of State were Commissioners, and Edward Nicholas, who had been secretary to Lord Zouch and to the Duke of Buckingham, was appointed Secretary of the Admiralty.

During the Commonwealth both the Admiralty and the Navy Office were administered by bodies of Commissioners. The offices of Comptroller, Surveyor, and Clerk of the Acts were abolished, and although the Treasurer remained, he was not a member of the Navy Board. Robert Blackburne, who was Secretary to most of the Commissions of the Admiralty, entertained Pepys after the Restoration with an account of the doings of the members. He told him that Sir William Penn got promotion by making a pretence of sanctity; and he then mimicked the actions of the Commissioners, who, he affirmed, would ask the admirals and captains respecting certain men, and say with a sigh and a casting up of the eyes, “Such a man fears the Lord;” or, “I hope such a man hath the Spirit of God.”[199]

At the Restoration the Duke of York was[137] appointed Lord High Admiral, and all powers formerly granted to the Admiralty and Navy Board were recalled.[200] By the Duke’s advice a committee was named to consider a plan proposed by himself for the future regulation of the affairs of the navy; and at a court held on July 4th, 1660, three new commissioners (John Lord Berkeley, Sir William Penn, and Peter Pett) were appointed to assist the four principal officers. Pett was to be employed at Chatham dockyard, but the other two had no special duties assigned to them, although their appointment gave them equal power with the original members when they attended at the Board. As there was at this time no half-pay, these appointments were considered as affording a convenient means of granting a comfortable subsistence to an admiral when not at sea. Lord Clarendon strongly disapproved of this innovation, and attributed the idea to Sir William Coventry, who wished[138] to reduce the power and emoluments of the Treasurer.[201]

In January, 1661–62, James Duke of York issued Instructions which were founded on those drawn up by the Earl of Northumberland, Lord High Admiral from 1638 to 1644, and remained in force until the reorganization of the Admiralty at the beginning of the present century.

It is here necessary to stop a moment for the purpose of noticing Pepys’s relation to these Instructions. Before the publication of the “Diary” it was supposed that he was the chief author of the Rules. In the first Report of the Commissioners of Naval Revision (13th June, 1805) it is distinctly stated that he drew them up under the direction of the Duke, and even Lord Braybrooke makes the claim in regard to Pepys’s authorship. This is an error, and Colonel Pasley points out that at the date of the issue of the Regulations Pepys was by no means on intimate terms with James. Even two years later (4th March, 1633–34) he writes, “I never had so much discourse with the Duke before, and till now did ever fear to meet him;” but what really settles the matter is, that under date February 5th, 1661–62, Pepys writes: “Sir G. Carteret, the two Sir Williams, and myself all alone reading of the Duke’s institutions for the settlement of our office, whereof we read as much as concerns our own duties, and left the other officers for another time.” The latter of these important passages was not printed by Lord[139] Braybrooke, and is only to be found in the Rev. Mynors Bright’s transcript.[202]

The Navy Office, as we see from the “Diary,” was by no means a happy family. Each officer was jealous of his fellow, and this jealousy was somewhat fostered by the duties enjoined. Pepys constantly complains of the neglect by his colleagues of their several duties, and when the Duke of York returned from his command at the end of the first great Dutch war, he found the office in the greatest disorder. This caused the preparation of the Diarist’s “great letter” to the Duke, which is referred to in the “Diary,” on November 17th, 1666. A still more important letter, on the same subject, written by Pepys, but purporting to come from the pen of the Duke of York, was not prepared until nearly two years after this.[203] We learn from the “Diary” all the stages of progress of this letter, the effect it produced when read out at the office,[204] and the way in which the officers prepared their answers.[205] In his allusion to this letter, Lord Braybrooke again does some injustice to James, for he writes: “We even find in the ‘Diary,’ as early as 1668, that a long letter of regulation, produced before the Commissioners of the Navy by the Duke of York as his own composition, was entirely written by the Clerk of the Acts.”


Colonel Pasley very justly observes, in commenting on this view of the Lord High Admiral’s position:—“There is nothing unusual or improper in a minister, or head of a department, employing his subordinates to prepare documents for his signature, and in this particular instance it was evidently of importance that the actual author should remain unknown. Not only was Pepys himself most anxious to avoid being known in the matter, but it is obvious that the authority and effect of the reprimand and warning would have been much lessened, if the other members of the Board had been aware that the Duke had no other knowledge of the abuses of the office than what Pepys told him. It seems from the ‘Diary,’ that about 1668 Pepys first obtained the complete confidence of the Duke—a confidence which he always after retained and never abused. It is evident from numerous remarks in his manuscripts that Pepys had the highest respect for James’s opinion in naval matters. In fact, the mutual respect and friendship of these two men was equally honourable to both, and it is a mistake to endeavour to magnify one at the expense of the other.”

The letter referred to is in the British Museum,[206] and as it is of considerable interest in the life of Pepys, it will be worth while to devote a small space to a few notes on its contents.

James refers to his former letter of January[141] 2nd, 1661, sent with the “Instructions,” as well as to that of March 22nd, 1664, and, after some general remarks, he points out the particular duty of each officer, finishing with remarks on their joint duties as a Board. The letter is drawn up in so orderly a manner, and discovers so thorough a knowledge of the details of the office, that there is little cause for surprise that the officers suspected Pepys to be the author. Article by article of the “Instructions” are set down, and following each of them are remarks on the manner in which it had been carried out. It is very amusing to notice the tact with which our Diarist gets over the difficulty of criticizing his own deeds. The Duke is made to say that although he has inquired as to the execution of the office of Clerk of the Acts, he cannot hear of any particular to charge him with failure in his duty, and as he finds that the Clerk had given diligent attendance, he thinks that the duty must have been done well, particularly during the time of the war, when, in spite of the work being greater, the despatch was praiseworthy. Yet he would not express further satisfaction, but would be willing to receive any information of the Clerk’s failures which otherwise might have escaped his knowledge. The officers were informed that an answer was required from each of them within fourteen days. When these answers were received, Pepys set to work to write a reply for the Duke to acknowledge. Matthew Wren, the Duke’s secretary, smoothed down the language of this letter[207] a[142] little, but it still remained a very stinging reprimand. These two letters form, probably, the most complete instance of a severe “wigging” given by the head of an office to his staff.

We will now return to the consideration of the business management of the navy, and it is necessary for us to bear in mind that the offices of the Admiralty and of the Navy Board were quite distinct in their arrangements. The Navy Board formed the Council of the Lord High Admiral, and the Admiralty was, originally, merely his personal office, the locality of which changed with his own change of residence, or that of his secretary. It was at one time in Whitehall, at another in Cannon Row, Westminster; and when Pepys was secretary, it was attached to his house in York Buildings.

When, however, there was a Board of Admiralty in place of a Lord High Admiral, the Admiralty Office became of more importance, and the Navy Office relatively of less.

According to Pepys, there was some talk of putting the office of Lord High Admiral into commission in the year 1668,[208] but it was not so treated until June, 1673, when the Duke of York laid down all his offices. The Commissioners on this occasion were Prince Rupert, the three great officers of State, three dukes, two secretaries, Sir G. Carteret, and Edward Seymour (afterwards Speaker of the House of Commons); and Pepys was the secretary. Before the commission passed the Great Seal, the King did the business through the medium of Pepys.[209]


Lords of the Admiralty were occasionally appointed to assist the Lord High Admiral, or to fill his place while he was abroad. Pepys refers to such Lords on November 14th, 1664, and in March of the following year he remarks: “The best piece of news is, that instead of a great many troublesome Lords, the whole business is to be left with the Duke of Albemarle to act as Admiral.”[210]

These lords were not properly commissioners, as a commission was only appointed by the King when the office of Lord High Admiral was vacant, but they formed a deputation or committee appointed by the Admiral to act as his deputies.

Pepys was with the Duke of York previous to the reinstatement of the latter as Lord High Admiral, he returned to the office with his patron, and he continued secretary until the Revolution, when he retired into private life. On the Duke’s accession to the throne a new board was formed and the navy was again raised to a state of efficiency.

Pepys was Clerk of the Acts from 1660 to 1672, that is, during the whole period of the “Diary,” and three years afterwards. He was succeeded by his clerk, Thomas Hayter, and his brother John Pepys, who held the office jointly. As already stated, Pepys was promoted to be Secretary of the Admiralty in 1672, and continued in office until 1679, when he was again succeeded for a time by Hayter. We know comparatively little of him in the higher office, and it is as Clerk of the Acts that he is[144] familiar to us. With regard to this position it is necessary to bear in mind that the “so-called” clerk, as well as being secretary, was also a member of the Board, and one of the “principal officers.” On one occasion Pepys met Sir G. Carteret, Sir J. Minnes, and Sir W. Batten at Whitehall, and when the King spied them out, he cried, “Here is the Navy Office!”[211]

I have already mentioned that the principal officers were superseded during the Commonwealth. Again, in 1686, they were suspended, and the offices were temporarily placed under a body of equal commissioners.

The Navy Office, where Pepys lived during the whole period over which the “Diary” extends, was situated between Crutched Friars and Seething Lane, with an entrance in each of these places. The ground was originally occupied by a chapel and college attached to the church of Allhallows, Barking, but these buildings were pulled down in the year 1548, and the land was used for some years as a garden plot.

In Elizabeth’s reign, when the celebrated Sir William Wynter, Surveyor of Her Majesty’s Ships, brought home from sea much plunder of merchants’ goods, a storehouse of timber and brick was raised on this site for their reception. In course of time the storehouse made way for the Navy Office, a rather extensive building, in which the civil business of the navy was transacted until the last quarter of the eighteenth century. On July 4th, 1660, Pepys went with Commissioner Pett to view the houses, and was very pleased[145] with them, but he feared that the more influential officers would shuffle him out of his rights. Two days afterwards, however, he went with Mr. Coventry and Sir G. Carteret to take possession of the place; still, although his mind was a little cheered, his hopes were not great. On July 9th, he began to sign bills in his office, and on the 18th he records the fact that he dined in his own apartments.

Pepys’s house was a part of the Seething Lane front, and that occupied by Sir William Penn was on the north side of the garden, a house which was afterwards occupied by Lord Brouncker.[212] When the new Somerset House was finished, the Navy Office was removed there, and the old buildings in the city were sold and destroyed.

In course of time the work of the navy could not be properly carried out with the old machinery, and, at last, the Admiralty Office, which had largely grown in importance, swallowed up the Navy Office. By an Act of Parliament, 2 William IV., the principal officers and commissioners of the navy were abolished, as were also the commissioners for victualling the navy; and all power and authority was vested in the Admiralty.

I have attempted to give in a few pages as clear an account as possible of the kind of machinery by which the navy was governed, and I now propose to pass rapidly in review a few of the points raised by Pepys. To do more than glance at some of these would[146] require a volume. The “Diary” is filled with information respecting the office and the petty squabbles of the officers, and we obtain from it a gloomy notion of the condition of the navy. In fact, it would be hardly possible to believe the wretched details if we had them from a less trustworthy authority. The whole system of money-getting was unsatisfactory in the extreme, and the officers of the navy were often expected to perform the task of making bricks without straw. The Treasurer, not being able to get money from the Treasury, floated bills, and these were often in very bad repute. We read in the “Diary,” that on August 31st, 1661, the bills were offered to be sold on the Exchange at 10 per cent. loss; and on April 14th, 1663, things were even worse, for it was reported that they were sold at a reduction of 15 per cent. In December of the latter year Pepys could hardly believe the evidence of his ears when he learned the “extraordinary good news,” that the credit of the office was “as good as any merchant’s upon Change;” but these bright days did not last long. Parliament being very dissatisfied with the way in which the money was spent by the officers of the navy, appointed, a few years afterwards, a commission to look into the accounts. This gave Pepys much trouble, which he did not relish, and we find him busy in making things as pleasant as possible during the latter part of 1666. He was in “mighty fear and trouble” when called before the committee, the members of which appeared to be “in a very ill humour.” Three years after this he drew up[147] a letter to the Commissioners of Accounts on the state of the office, a transcript of which, addressed to “H. R. H. the Lord High Admiral,” and dated January 8th, 1669–70, is now in the library of the British Museum.[213]

One of the most unsatisfactory divisions of the naval accounts related to the pursers. Pepys was early interested in the Victualling Department, out of which he afterwards made much money; and on September 12th, 1662, we find him trying “to understand the method of making up Purser’s Accounts, which is very needful for me and very hard.” On November 22nd, 1665, he remarks that he was pleased to have it demonstrated “that a Purser without professed cheating is a professed loser twice as much as he gets.” Pepys received his appointment of Surveyor-General of the Victualling Office chiefly through the influence of Sir William Coventry, and on January 1st, 1665–6, he addressed a letter and “New Yeares Guift” on the subject of pursers to his distinguished friend. He relates in the “Diary” how he wrote the letter, and how Sir William praised his work to the Duke.[214]

The want of money led to other evils that brought the greatest discredit upon the Navy Office. The tickets that were given to the men in place of money, were received with the greatest disgust, and during the time of the Dutch war the scarcity of sailors was so great[148] that a wholesale system of pressing was resorted to. We learn that on June 30th, 1666, Sir Thomas Bludworth, the Lord Mayor, impressed a large number of persons wholly unfit for sea, and when we are further told that some of them were “people of very good fashion,” it is not surprising that Pepys should call the Mayor “a silly man.”

So great was the disgust of the unpaid men, that during the war with Holland English sailors positively preferred to serve in the ships of the enemies of England rather than fight for their own country, and when the Dutch were in the Medway English voices were heard from Dutch ships.[215]

The seamen were not likely to learn much good from their superiors, for throughout the whole fleet swearing, drinking, and debauchery were rampant.[216]

A great part of the evils arose from the appointment of so-called “gentlemen captains,” men who were unacquainted with maritime affairs, and treated the sailor captains with contempt, calling them tarpaulins, a name which now only remains to us in the reduced form of tar. This evil was well known in the reign of Elizabeth, and was pointed out by Gibson, who wrote memoirs of the expeditions of the navy from 1585 to 1603,[217] and all readers are familiar[149] with Macaulay’s remarks on the same subject. Captain Digby, a son of the Earl of Bristol, and one of these “ornamental officers,” after he had been in the fleet about a year expressed the wish that he might not again see a tarpaulin have the command of a ship.[218] These useless captains, who could make bows, but could not navigate a ship, raised the ire of old Nan Clarges, otherwise Duchess of Albemarle, who “cried out mightily against the having of gentlemen captains with feathers and ribbands, and wished the king would send her husband to sea with the old plain sea captains that he served with formerly, that would make their ships swim with blood, though they could not make legs as captains now-a-days can.”[219]

The common custom of employing indiscriminately land officers as admirals, and naval officers as generals, often led to disasters. There can be no doubt of the bravery of Monk and Rupert, but when on shipboard they made many blunders and endangered the safety of the fleet.

All this confusion caused dire disasters, which culminated in the presence of the hostile Dutch fleet in our rivers; a national disgrace which no Englishman can think of even now without a feeling of shame. While reading the [150]Diary,” we are overwhelmed with the instances of gross mismanagement in naval affairs. Many of the men whose carelessness helped to increase the amount of rampant blundering were, however, capable of deeds of pluck and bravery. In one of the engagements with the Dutch, Prince Rupert sent his pleasure-boat, the “Fanfan,” with two small guns on board, against the Dutch admiral, De Ruyter. With great daring, the sailors brought their little boat near, and fired at De Ruyter’s vessel for two hours, but at last a ball did them so much damage that the crew were forced to row briskly to save their lives.[220]

Another instance of bravery more deserving of honour is that recorded of Captain Douglas, of the “Royal Oak,” who had received orders to defend his ship at Chatham. This he did with the utmost resolution, but, having had no order to retire, he chose rather to be burnt in his ship than live to be reproached with having deserted his command. It is reported that Sir William Temple expressed the wish that Cowley had celebrated this noble deed before he died.[221]

Pepys tells us that on July 21st, 1668, he went to his “plate-makers,” and spent an hour in contriving some plates for his books of the King’s four yards, and that on the 27th of the same month the four plates came home. They cost him five pounds, and he was in consequence both troubled and pleased.

No account of the state of the navy in Charles[151] II.’s time, however short, would be complete without some notice of the four dockyards (Chatham, Deptford, Portsmouth, and Woolwich), which necessarily occupy a very prominent place in the “Diary.” Chatham yard was founded by Queen Elizabeth, and it remained under the special charge of the Surveyor of the Navy until a Special Commissioner was appointed in 1630. This explains a passage in the “Diary” which has not hitherto been illustrated. When, in April, 1661, Sir William Batten, the Surveyor of the Navy, and Pepys were on a visit to Chatham, they went “to see Commissioner Pett’s house, he and his family being absent, and here I wondered how my Lady Batten walked up and down, with envious looks, to see how neat and rich everything is, saying that she would get it, for it belonged formerly to the Surveyor of the Navy.”[222] The first Commissioner was Phineas Pett, who died in 1647, and was succeeded by his son, Peter Pett, who figures so frequently in the “Diary.” Peter was continued in office at the Restoration, but he was suspended in 1667 in consequence of the success of the Dutch attack upon Chatham. He was sent to the Tower and threatened with impeachment, but, although the threat was not carried out, he was never restored to office. The appointment remained in abeyance for two years after, when, in March, 1669, Captain John Cox, the master[152] attendant at Deptford, was made resident Commissioner at Chatham. In January, 1672, he was appointed flag captain to the Duke of York, in the “Prince,” without vacating his office at Chatham, was knighted in April, and killed at the battle of Solebay in May, all in the same year.

The Hill-house that Pepys visited for the first time on the 8th of April, 1661, is frequently mentioned on subsequent pages of the “Diary.”[223] The “old Edgeborrow,” whose ghost was reported to haunt the place, was Kenrick Edisbury, Surveyor of the Navy from 1632 to 1638. Pepys does not seem quite to have appreciated the story of the ghost which was told him as he went to bed after a merry supper, although he affirms that he was not so much afraid as for mirth’s sake he seemed.[224] In the “Memoirs of English Affairs, chiefly Naval, from the year 1660 to 1673, written by James, Duke of York,” there is a letter from James to the principal officers of the navy (dated May 10th, 1661), in which he recommends that the lease of the Hill-house should be bought by them, if it can be obtained at a reasonable rate, as the said house “is very convenient for the service of his Majesty’s Navy.”[225]

After the defeat of the Spanish Armada, Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins advised[153] the establishment of a chest at Chatham for the relief of seamen wounded in their country’s service, and the sailors voluntarily agreed to have certain sums “defalked” out of their wages in order to form this fund. In July, 1662, Pepys was told of the abuse of the funds, and advised to look into the business.[226] At the end of the same year a commission was appointed to inspect the chest,[227] but the commissioners do not seem to have done much good, for in 1667 there was positively no money left to pay the poor sailors what was owed to them.[228] After a time the property became considerable, but unfortunately the abuses grew as well. In 1802 the chest was removed to Greenwich, and in 1817 the stock is said to have amounted to £300,000 consols.

Deptford dockyard was founded about the year 1513. Pepys made occasional visits to it, and on one occasion he and Coventry took the officers (of whose honesty he had not a very high opinion) by surprise. On June 16th, 1662, he mentions going to see “in what forwardness the work is for Sir W. Batten’s house and mine.” He found the house almost ready, but we hear no more of it in the subsequent pages of the “Diary.”

Portsmouth dockyard was established by Henry VIII., but it did not hold a foremost position until, in the reign of William III., Edmund Dummer contrived a simple and ingenious method of pumping water from dry[154] docks below the level of low tide, which enabled Portsmouth for the first time to possess a dry dock capable of taking in a first-rate man-of-war. It was Dummer who also designed and constructed the first docks at Plymouth.[229]

Sir Edward Montague first chose Portsmouth as the place from which to draw his title, but he afterwards gave the preference to Sandwich.

When Pepys visited Portsmouth in May, 1661, he was very pleased with his reception by the officers of the dockyard, who treated him with much respect.

Although the date of the foundation of Woolwich dockyard is not recorded, it is known to have been of considerable importance in Henry VIII.’s reign. It figures very frequently in the “Diary.”[230]

Very soon after Pepys was settled in his office, he thought it advisable to give his attention to the question of the British dominion of the seas,[155] and he made a special study of Selden’s “Mare Clausum.” He intended to write a treatise on the rights of the English flag, and present it to the Duke of York. His reason for doing this was that it promised to be a good way to make himself known.[231] The right of making foreign vessels strike their sails to the English flag had been insisted upon from early times. Selden’s work, in which the case was strongly urged, met therefore with great favour. Charles I. made an order in council that a copy should be kept in the council chest, another in the Court of Exchequer, and a third in the Court of Admiralty. The upholders of this right triumphed when, in the treaty of peace with the Dutch (February 9th, 1674), the States-General confessed that to be a right which before had been styled courtesy, and they agreed that not only separate ships, but whole fleets should strike sails to any fleet or ship carrying the king’s flag.[232] John Evelyn argued strongly in favour of England’s right to the dominion of the sea in his “Navigation and Commerce” (1674), but he privately confessed to Pepys that he did not consider there was any sufficient evidence of the right.[233]

We must now turn our attention to the Diarist’s colleagues at the Navy Office, and it is here very needful to caution the reader against putting implicit faith in all the adverse remarks that fill[156] the “Diary.” It is a curious fact that, with the exception of Sir William Coventry, scarcely any of the officers come off with a good character. Pepys held Coventry in profound respect, and was never prouder than when he received a word of praise from him, and yet we do not obtain a very favourable idea of the secretary to the Duke of York from other writers, and in the pages of Clarendon we are presented with a very adverse character of him.

Those officers with whom Pepys came most in contact were Sir George Carteret, the Treasurer; Sir Robert Slingsby and Sir John Minnes, successive Comptrollers; Sir William Batten and Colonel Thomas Middleton, successive Surveyors; and Sir William Penn and Lord Viscount Brouncker, additional Commissioners.

Pepys did not hold Carteret in much esteem, and we read constant disparaging remarks respecting him, such as that on one occasion he wanted to know what the four letters S. P. Q. R. meant, “which ignorance is not to be borne in a Privy Counsellor,”[234] but after Sir George’s son had married a daughter of Lord Sandwich, and he had thus become a near connection of Pepys’s family, we read of “his pleasant humour,” and are told that he is “a most honest man.” Sir Robert Slingsby died in 1661, and therefore does not occupy a very prominent position in the “Diary,” but Pepys grieved for his loss.

Sir John Minnes was better known as a wit than as a sailor, and it was he who taught Pepys to appreciate Chaucer. He does not, however,[157] come off very handsomely in the “Diary.” Captain Holmes called him “the veriest knave and rogue and coward in the world,”[235] and Sir William Coventry likened him to a lapwing, who was always in a flutter to keep others from the nest.[236] Pepys himself, after a few quarrels, hints pretty plainly that he was an old coxcomb, a mere jester or ballad-monger, and quite unfit for business.

We are told of Sir William Batten’s corruption and underhand dealing,[237] of his knavery,[238] and of his inconsequent action in objecting to lighthouses generally, and then proposing one for Harwich;[239] but Pepys’s two chief enemies were Sir William Penn and Lord Brouncker.

Sir William Penn and Pepys were much thrown together, and were alternately very friendly and very jealous of each other. When Pepys first associated with Penn, he found him sociable but cunning, and ever after the pages of the “Diary” are filled with vituperation respecting this successful admiral. Considering the eminent position of William Penn the son, as a leader among the Quakers, it is curious to note that before the Restoration, and when Monk was coming from the North, it was reported that Penn, the father, had turned Quaker.[240] In May, 1660, Charles II. wrote to Monk: “I have so good an opinion of General Penn, that if you had not recommended him to me I would have taken care of all his interests;”[241] and we cannot[158] doubt that he possessed some eminent qualities of which we learn nothing in the “Diary.”

Lord Brouncker was a good mathematician in his own day, and his name has come down with credit to ours as the first President of the Royal Society, but his portrait as painted by Pepys is far from a pleasing one—let us hope that it was not a true likeness. He was not a rich man, for his mother was a gamester, and his father a land-lacking peer, and he was probably not over particular as to the means he took to obtain money. We may believe this, however, without agreeing with Pepys that he was “a rotten-hearted, false man.”[242] Aubrey says that the following lines were written on his parents:—

“Here’s a health to my Lady Brouncker, and the best card in her hand;
And a health to my Lord her husband, with ne’er a foot of land.”[243]

These were some of the men who helped to carry on the work of the English navy. It would have been well for the fame of most of them if Pepys had never put pen to paper.








“And when he was beat,
He still made his retreat
To his Clevelands, his Nells, and his Carwells.”
Marvell’s Ballad on the Lord Mayor and Aldermen.
Decorative Capital T

The Court of Charles II. was not unlike that of Comus, for drunkenness and vice reigned supreme in both. Pepys’s “Diary” forms a valuable antidote to the Grammont “Memoirs,” because in the latter work the pictures are drawn in rose colour, while in the former we see the squalid poverty that accompanied the wasteful extravagance. In the courts of most of our sovereigns statesmen have borne an important part, but at the Restoration the court was formed of wits and beautiful women only. Then statesmen moved in the outer circles, and were laughed at by those who dwelt in the inner ones. Grammont relates that the Earl of Arlington was one day offering his humble services[160] and best advice to Miss Stewart, to assist her in conducting herself as King’s mistress, a situation “to which it had pleased God and her virtue to raise her!” He had only just begun his speech, “when she recollected that he was at the head of those whom the Duke of Buckingham used to mimic; and as his presence and his language exactly revived the ridiculous ideas that had been given her of him, she could not forbear bursting out into a fit of laughter in his face, so much the more violent as she had for a long time struggled to suppress it.” It is not to be supposed that Pepys could know much of the inner circle of the court, but still there was much gossip about those who composed it, and he sets down many tales in his “Diary” respecting the doings of the too celebrated ladies. Several of the stories which were supposed to have owed much to the lively imaginations of Counts Hamilton and Grammont, are corroborated by Pepys.[244] The wild frolic of Miss Jennings and Miss Price, to which allusion will be made later on in this chapter, is not overlooked by Pepys.[245] Miss Jennings was not singular in her freak, and Bishop Burnet relates that about the year 1668, the King and Queen and all the court went about disguised in sedan chairs to houses where they were not known. On one occasion the Queen’s chairmen, not knowing who she was, left her alone, and she had to get back to Whitehall[161] as best she could in a hackney coach or in a cart. The same masqueradings went on in the country as in town; and in 1670 the Queen, the Duchess of Richmond, the Duchess of Buckingham, and some others, disguised themselves as country lasses, in red petticoats, waistcoats, &c., in order to visit the fair at Audley End. The grand ladies and their companions overacted their parts, and were soon discovered, so that they were glad to escape as best they could from the crowd that gathered round them.

Frances Jennings, Duchess of Tyrconnel

Pepys seems to have held the vulgar opinion that the great people ought to converse in a more distinguished tone than ordinary mortals, and he constantly remarks on the commonplace character of the King’s talk. On October 26th, 1664, there was a launch at Woolwich, attended by the King and his Court, which is fully described by our Diarist, who remarks: “But Lord! the sorry talke and discourse among the great courtiers round about him, without any reverence in the world, but so much disorder. By and by the Queene comes and her Mayds of Honour; one whereof Mrs. Boynton, and the Duchesse of Buckingham had been very sicke coming by water in the barge (the water being very rough); but what silly sport they made with them in very common terms, methought was very poor and below what people think these great people say and do.”

On the 15th of November, 1666, there was a grand ball at court, that day being the Queen’s birthday; and Pepys and his wife went to see the dancing, which they found very tiresome.[162] The ladies, however, were pleasant to look upon, and their dresses very rich; so we read in the “Diary:” “Away home with my wife, between displeased with the dull dancing and satisfied with the clothes and persons.”

These ladies owe much of their fame to the series of portraits which still exists to show a later age the outward forms that charmed the men of two centuries ago. We are told in the Grammont “Memoirs” that, “the Duchess of York being desirous of having the portraits of the handsomest persons at court, Lely painted them, and employed all his skill in the performance; nor could he ever exert himself upon more beautiful subjects. Every picture appeared a masterpiece; and that of Miss Hamilton appeared the highest finished: Lely himself acknowledged that he had drawn it with a particular pleasure.” Next to the deshabille, in which most of these ladies are arranged, the most noticeable feature in these portraits is the soft, sleepy eye—a supposed beauty that was attained to after a considerable amount of practice:—

“—— on the animated canvas stole
The sleepy eye, that spoke the melting soul.”

Mrs. Hyde, the first wife of Henry Hyde, afterwards second Earl of Clarendon, had by long practice given such a languishing tenderness to her looks, that we are told by Hamilton, “she never opened her eyes but like a Chinese.” In spite of all this softness, many of these women were in the habit of swearing “good mouth-filling oaths”—a practice thoroughly in character [163]with the general grossness of manners and language at Charles’s court. When looking at these portraits of the beauties, we must not think of them all as the mistresses of the King and Duke of York, for some remained pure in this corrupt atmosphere. “La belle Hamilton” was one of these, and the description both of her mind and person by her husband, the Count de Grammont, forms such an exquisite portrait in words that, although well known, I venture to transfer it to my pages:—“Miss[164] Hamilton was at the happy age when the charms of the fair sex begin to bloom; she had the finest shape, the loveliest neck, and most beautiful arms in the world; she was majestic and graceful in all her movements; and she was the original after which all the ladies copied in their taste and air of dress. Her forehead was open, white, and smooth; her hair was well set, and fell with ease into that natural order which it is so difficult to imitate. Her complexion was possessed of a certain freshness, not to be equalled by borrowed colours: her eyes were not large, but they were lively, and capable of expressing whatever she pleased: her mouth was full of graces, and her contour uncommonly perfect: nor was her nose, which was small, delicate, and turned up, the least ornament of so lovely a face. In fine, her air, her carriage, and the numberless graces dispersed over her whole person, made the Chevalier de Grammont not doubt but that she was possessed of every other qualification. Her mind was a proper companion for such a form: she did not endeavour to shine in conversation by those sprightly sallies which only puzzle; and with still greater care she avoided that affected solemnity in her discourse, which produces stupidity; but without any eagerness to talk, she just said what she ought, and no more. She had an admirable discernment in distinguishing between solid and false wit; and far from making an ostentatious display of her abilities, she was reserved, though very just in her decisions: her sentiments were always noble, and even lofty to the highest extent, when there was occasion; nevertheless, she was less prepossessed with her own merit than is usually the case with those who have so much. Formed as we have described, she could not fail of commanding love; but so far was she from courting it, that she was scrupulously nice with respect to those whose merit might entitle them to form any pretensions to her.”

On the 25th of July, 1666, Pepys went to Whitehall to see the King at dinner, and thought how little he should care to have people crowding about him as they were round his Majesty. He adds, “Among other things it astonished me to see my Lord Barkeshire waiting at table, and serving the King drink, in that dirty pickle as I never saw man in my life.”

There is a good story told of Grammont which is apropos of the above. One day, when the King dined in state, he made the Count remark that he was served upon the knee, a mark of respect not common at other courts. “I thank your Majesty for the explanation,” answered Grammont; [165]“I thought they were begging pardon for giving you so bad a dinner.”

I have already remarked on the poverty that went hand-in-hand with extravagance, and this is well illustrated by one or two entries in the “Diary.” In April, 1667,[246] the King was vexed to find no paper laid for him at the Council table. Sir Richard Browne called Wooly, the person who provided the paper, to explain the reason of the neglect. He told his Majesty that he was but a poor man, and was already out of pocket £400 or £500, which was as much as he was worth; and that he could not provide it any longer without money, not having received a penny since the King’s coming in. Evelyn corroborated this, and told Pepys that several of the menial servants of the court lacked bread, and had not received a farthing of wages since the Restoration.[247]

Shortly afterwards the King was found to want personal linen, and Mr. Ashburnham, one of the Grooms of the Bedchamber, rated the wardrobe-man very severely for this neglect. Mr. Townsend pleaded that he wanted money, and owed the linendraper £5,000. He further told Pepys that the grooms took away the King’s linen at the end of the quarter as their fee, whether he could get more or not.[248] Hence the great want.

Charles II. was one of the most worthless of our monarchs, and the most beloved. The responsibility of all evils, troubles, or crimes, was laid upon his advisers, his mistresses, and anyone but upon himself, by his loving subjects. His readiness of access, and good-humoured freedom of manner charmed all who came in[166] contact with him. “Unthinkingness” was said by Halifax to be one of his characteristics, and Rochester uses the expression, “Unthinking Charles;” yet this was more an apparent than a real characteristic. Like most indolent men, he tried to get his own way, and he was one of the earliest to find out that if the people are allowed their way when they are in earnest, they will let their governors do as they wish at other times. It has been said that the strongest resolve he ever formed was a determination not to go on his travels again; therefore he never opposed a strong popular movement. He sought, however, every opportunity of turning the movement to his own advantage, if there were any possibility of doing so.

Charles was fit to be the head of his court, for he was among the wittiest there. He was a good teller of a story, and fond of exhibiting his talent. Walpole proposed to make a collection of his witty sayings, and Peter Cunningham carried out this idea in “The Story of Nell Gwyn.”

Curiously enough, Pepys held a very poor opinion of the King’s power in this respect. On one occasion he says Charles’s stories were good, although “he tells them but meanly.”[249] At another time he alludes to “the silly discourse of the King.”[250]

The Diarist must surely have been prejudiced, for the general opinion on this point, and the stories that have come down to us, are against him. That was a happy distinction[167] made by Charles when he said of Godolphin, then a page at court, that he was never in the way, and never out of the way. Of the King’s natural abilities there can be no doubt. He took an intelligent interest in the formation of the Royal Society, and passed many hours in his own laboratory. Pepys visited this place on January 15th, 1668–69, and was much pleased with it. He saw there “a great many chymical glasses and things, but understood none of them.”

The King was fond of seeing and making dissections,[251] and the very month he died he was engaged in some experiments on the production of mercury.

His greatest fault was want of faith, for he believed neither in the honour of man nor the virtue of woman; and, as a consequence, he lived down to his debased views. His religion always sat lightly upon him, but such as it was it was not that of a Protestant. James II. told Pepys, in a private conversation, that Charles had been a Roman Catholic some long time before his death.[252]

Charles’s relations with women were singularly heartless. His conduct towards his wife was abominable, although when in her company he was usually polite. On the occasion of her serious illness, when she was like to die, he conjured her to live for his sake, and Grammont hints that he was disappointed when she took him at his word.

The Queen, although not beautiful, was pleasing[168] in appearance, and the King appears to have been satisfied with her when she arrived in England, for he wrote to Clarendon, that her eyes were excellent and her voice agreeable, adding, “If I have any skill in physiognomy, which I think I have, she must be as good a woman as ever was born.” A few days after he wrote to the Chancellor in these words, “My brother will tell you of all that passes here, which I hope will be to your satisfaction. I am sure ’tis so much to mine that I cannot easily tell you how happy I think myself, and I must be the worst man living (which I hope I am not) if I be not a good husband. I am confident never two humors were better fitted together than ours are.”[253] Yet shortly after writing thus, he thrust his abandoned mistress, Lady Castlemaine, upon this virtuous wife; so that from his own mouth we can condemn him. Pepys reports a sharp answer (“a wipe,” he calls it) which the Queen made to the favourite. Lady Castlemaine came in and found the Queen under the dresser’s hand, which she had been for a long time. “I wonder your Majesty,” says she, “can have the patience to sit so long adressing?”—“I have so much reason to use patience,” says the Queen, “that I can very well bear with it.”[254]

Clarendon was charged with choosing Katherine because he knew that she could not bear children to the King, but this was a most foul calumny. She was naturally most anxious to be a mother, and in her delirium she fancied that [169]she had given birth to a boy, but was troubled because he was ugly. The King, being by, said, “No, it is a very pretty boy.” “Nay,” says she, “if it be like you it is a fine boy indeed, and I would be very well pleased with it.”[255]

The Duke of York was pre-eminently a man of business, and there remains little to be added here to what has been already said in the chapter on the Navy. He did not shine at Court, and his conduct there is amusingly described in the Grammont “Memoirs,” apropos of his fancy for “la belle Hamilton:”—“As hunting was his favourite diversion, that sport employed him one part of the day, and he came home generally much fatigued; but Miss Hamilton’s presence revived him, when he found her either with the Queen or the Duchess. There it was that, not daring to tell her what lay heavy on his heart, he entertained her with what he had in his head: telling her miracles of the cunning of foxes and the mettle of horses; giving her accounts of broken legs and arms, dislocated shoulders and other curious and entertaining adventures; after which, his eyes told her the rest, till such time as sleep interrupted their conversation; for these tender interpreters could not help sometimes composing themselves in the midst of their ogling.”

It is not necessary to enter fully into the history of the Duke’s amours, but one curious incident in his life may be noticed here. In the year 1673 he had a passion for Susan, Lady Bellasys, widow of Sir Henry Bellasys, K.B. (who fell in a [170]foolish duel with Tom Porter,[256]), and, although she was a Protestant, he gave her a promise of marriage, after having tried in vain to convert her to the Roman Catholic faith. When her father-in-law, John, Lord Bellasys, who was a Roman Catholic, heard of this, he, fearing that she would convert the Duke, and thus spoil all hope of introducing the Roman Catholic religion into England, went to the King and told him of his brother’s matrimonial intentions. Charles thereupon prohibited the marriage.[257]

After James came to the throne, his daughter Mary, Princess of Orange, expressed a desire through Monsieur d’Alberville to know the chief motives of his conversion; and in reply he wrote her a full account of the circumstances that led to it. He tells her that he was bred a strict Church of England man, “And I was so zealous that way, that when the Queen my mother designed to bring up my brother, the Duke of Gloucester, a Catholic, I, preserving still the respect due to her, did my part to keep him steady to his first principles; and, as young people often do, I made it a point of honour to stick to what we had been educated in, without examining whether we were right or wrong.”[258]

Anne Hyde, then in the household of the Princess of Orange, was contracted to the Duke of York on November 24th, 1659, and was[171] secretly married to him at Worcester House, on September 3rd, 1660. There is a good story told by Locke, in his “Memoirs of Lord Shaftesbury,” which shows how shrewd that nobleman was: “Soon after the Restoration the Earl of Southampton and Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, having dined together at the Chancellor’s, as they were returning home Sir Anthony said to my Lord Southampton, ‘Yonder Mrs. Anne Hyde is certainly married to one of the Brothers.’ The Earl, who was a friend to the Chancellor, treated this as a chimæra, and asked him how so wild a fancy could get into his head. ‘Assure yourself’ (replied he) ‘it is so. A concealed respect (however suppressed) showed itself so plainly in the looks, voice, and manner wherewith her mother carved to her, or offered her of every dish, that it is impossible but it must be so.’ My Lord Southampton, who thought it a groundless conceit then, was not long after convinced, by the Duke of York’s owning her, that Lord Ashley was no bad guesser.”[259]

An infamous conspiracy was formed by Sir Charles Berkeley and others to induce the Duke to deny his marriage by accusing his wife of immoral conduct. Although the Duke in the end acted honourably by her, he did not dismiss the miscreants who lied in the basest manner. There seems reason to believe that a few years afterwards she did carry on an intrigue with Henry Sidney, afterwards Earl of Romney, and Pepys alludes to the rumours respecting this on [172]November 17th, 1665, January 9th, 1665–6, and October 15th, 1666. Peter Cunningham sums up the evidence on the point as follows:—“There cannot, I think, be any doubt of the intrigue of the Duchess of York (Anne Hyde) with Harry Sidney, afterwards Earl of Romney, brother of Algernon Sidney and of Waller’s Sacharissa. See on what testimony it rests. Hamilton more than hints at it; Burnet is very pointed about it in his History; Reresby just mentions and Pepys refers to it in three distinct entries and on three different authorities.”[260]

Pepys tells us that the Duchess sat at her husband’s council, and interfered with business,[261] and the fact that she was the master was generally acknowledged. On one occasion the King called his brother “Tom Otter,” alluding to the henpecked husband in Ben Jonson’s “Epicene, or the Silent Woman.” Tom Killegrew threw the sarcasm back upon the King with telling effect, by saying, “Sir, pray which is the best for a man to be, a Tom Otter to his wife or to his mistress?”[262] it being well known that Charles was the slave of Lady Castlemaine.

Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland

The Duchess possessed great abilities, and readily adapted herself to her exalted position. Burnet says of her that she [173]“was a very extraordinary woman. She had great knowledge, and a lively sense of things. She understood what belonged to a princess, and took state upon her rather too much.”

The next personage of importance at court was Mrs. Palmer, afterwards Countess of Castlemaine and Duchess of Cleveland, who figures so largely in the “Diary.” It is greatly to the credit of Lords Clarendon and Southampton that they would have nothing to do with the King’s favourite. Burnet tells us that the former would let nothing pass the Great Seal in which she was named, and the latter would never suffer her name to appear in the Treasury books. The King usually held a court at his mistress’s lodgings before going to church, and his ministers made their applications there, but Clarendon and Southampton were never to be seen in her rooms.

Clarendon opposed her admission to the post of Lady of the Bedchamber to the Queen, and would not allow his wife to visit her; in consequence he made an implacable enemy who did not rest until she had compassed his disgrace.

On July 26th, 1662, Pepys heard that when the mistress’s name was presented by the King to his wife, the Queen pricked it out of the list. On February 23rd, 1662–63, he heard that the King had given to Lady Castlemaine all the Christmas presents made him by the peers; and that at a court ball she was much richer in jewels than the Queen and Duchess both together. Although our Diarist was a devoted admirer of the lady, he is forced to call this [174]“a most abominable thing.”

Lady Castlemaine was a woman of the most abandoned profligacy, and, moreover, of bad manners as well as bad morals. In the Grammont “Memoirs” she is described as “disagreeable from the unpolished state of her manners, her ill-timed pride, her uneven temper and extravagant humours.” Pepys knew her only in the distance, and was infatuated with her beauty; at one time he fills his eyes with her, which much pleases him,[263] and at another he “gluts himself with looking at her.”[264] The sight of her at any public place was quite sufficient to give him pleasure, whatever the entertainment might be, and his admiration was extended to everything which was in any way connected with the King’s mistress.

The greatest beauty at the court of Charles II. was Frances Stuart, who was most assiduously followed by the King. She was the exact opposite of Lady Castlemaine, being as much a lady as her rival was ill-mannered, and as foolish as the other was clever. Her portrait is admirably painted in the Grammont “Memoirs,” thus:—“She[175] was childish in her behaviour and laughed at everything, and her taste for frivolous amusements, though unaffected, was only allowable in a girl about twelve or thirteen years old. A child however she was in every other respect, except playing with a doll: blind man’s buff was her most favourite amusement: she was building castles of cards, while the deepest play was going on in her apartments, where you saw her surrounded by eager courtiers, who handed her the cards, or young architects, who endeavoured to imitate her.”

Frances Stuart, Duchess of Richmond

Her relations with the King were of a very risky character, and scandal made very free with her good fame. Pepys took it for granted after hearing the common report that she was the King’s mistress;[265] yet Evelyn told him on April 26th, 1667, that up to the time of her leaving the court to be married there was not a more virtuous woman in the world. A passage in the “Diary” (Nov. 6th, 1663) exhibits very strongly the low state of morality at court. Lord Sandwich told Pepys “how he and Sir H. Bennet, the Duke of Buckingham and his Duchess, was of a committee with somebody else for the getting of Mrs. Stewart for the King, but that she proves a cunning slut, and is advised at Somerset House by the Queen mother, and by her mother, and so all the plot is spoiled and the whole committee broke.” By the early part of the year 1667 Mrs. Stewart’s position had become quite untenable, and to escape from the King’s importunities she accepted the proposal of marriage made to her by the Duke of Richmond. The King threw all the obstacles he could in the way of the marriage, and when the lovers escaped and were united he exhibited the greatest chagrin. Pepys relates a story[266] that Charles one Sunday night took a pair of oars and rowed secretly to Somerset House in order to get sight of the Duchess, who was then living there. The garden door not being open, he is [176]said to have clambered over the wall, “which is a horrid shame!”

The Duke was afterwards appointed ambassador to Denmark, and died at Elsinore, December 21st, 1672. After the death of her husband the Duchess lived at court and attached herself to the person of the Queen. In the latter years of her life she remained in seclusion dividing her time between cards and cats. She died in 1702, and by her last will left several favourite cats to different female friends with legacies for their support.

“But thousands died without or this or that,
Die and endow a college or a cat.”[267]

Among the lesser lights of the court was Elizabeth, Countess of Chesterfield, who figures so prominently in the Grammont “Memoirs.” The scandal there related did not escape the open ears of Pepys, who on the 3rd of November, 1662, first hears that the Duke of York is smitten with the lady; that the Duchess has complained to the King, and that the Countess has gone into the country. The Earl is not mentioned here, but on January 19th, 1662–3, the Diarist obtained fuller particulars, and learnt that Lord Chesterfield had long been jealous of the Duke. Pepys calls the Countess “a most good virtuous woman,” and evidently considers the husband’s conduct in carrying off his wife to his seat in Derbyshire as caused by a fit of ungrounded jealousy. The day after Lord Chesterfield had seen his wife talking with the [177]Duke of York, he went to tell the latter how much he felt wronged, but the Duke answered with calmness, and pretended not to understand the reason of complaint. The story of the bas verds that forms so prominent a feature in the Grammont account is not alluded to by the Diarist, but these brilliant coloured stockings introduced by the Countess, seem to have become fashionable subsequently, for on the 15th of February, 1668–9, Pepys bought a pair of green silk stockings, garters, and shoe-strings, and two pairs of jessimy gloves to present to his valentine.

The career of pretty Margaret Brook, who married Sir John Denham on the 25th of May, 1665, was a short one. On the 10th of June, 1666, Pepys hears that she has become the Duke of York’s new mistress, and that she declares she will be owned publicly. On November 12th of the same year he hears of her serious illness, an illness that terminated in death.

At this time rumours of poisoning were easily put into circulation, and some supposed that Lady Denham was murdered by her husband. Others whispered that the Duchess of York had poisoned her with powder of diamonds, but when her body was opened after death, as she had desired it should be, no sign of poison was found.[268]

One of the most brilliant of the maids of honour, and, to her credit be it said, one of the few virtuous ladies at court, was Frances Jennings,[178] the eldest sister of Sarah, afterwards Duchess of Marlborough. The Duke made advances to her, which she repulsed coolly. He could not believe in his defeat, and plied her with love-letters. It was not etiquette for her to return them to him, so she affected unconsciousness, and carelessly drawing out her handkerchief allowed these royal effusions to fall upon the floor for anyone who chose to pick up. The King now laid siege to the beauty, but was equally unsuccessful as his brother had been. In the Grammont “Memoirs” there is a full account of the lady’s freaks, and Pepys managed to hear of one of them:—“Mrs. Jennings, one of the Duchess’s maids, the other day dressed herself like an orange wench, and went up and down, and cried oranges; till falling down, or by some accident, her fine shoes were discerned, and she put to a great deal of shame.”[269] This is but a bald account of the adventure so graphically described by Hamilton, who makes the object of Miss Jennings’s disguise to be a visit to the famous German doctor and astrologer in Tower Street. Rochester assumed this character and the name of Alexander Bendo at the same time, issuing a bill in which he detailed his cures, and announced his powers of prophecy. This was on the occasion of one of the wild young Lord’s escapes from court, but we are not told its date. Hamilton is silent on this point, but Pepys’s corroboration of one part of the adventure helps to date the other.

Frances Jennings was loved by the dashing [179]Dick Talbot, who was accounted the finest figure and the tallest man in the kingdom, but she offended him by her partiality for the lady-killer Jermyn. She was soon disgusted by this empty coxcomb, and in 1665 was married to George Hamilton, brother of the author of the Grammont “Memoirs.” After the death of Hamilton, the widow married her first lover Talbot, afterwards created Duke of Tyrconnel. Subsequent to the death of her second husband, she visited London, and hired a stall at the New Exchange in the Strand, where, dressed in a white robe and masked with a white domino, she maintained herself for a time by the sale of small articles of haberdashery. Thus her second and more notorious adventure caused her to be known as the “White Milliner.”

This notice of the ladies of the Court of Charles II. may be concluded with a brief mention of the two actresses,—Nell Gwyn and Moll Davis.

Pepys’s first mention of the former is under date April 3rd, 1665, where he calls her “pretty witty Nell.” He was always delighted to see her, and constantly praises her excellent acting, yet sometimes he finds fault, for instance—“Nell’s ill-speaking of a great part made me mad.”[270] She disliked acting serious parts, and with reason, for she spoilt them.[271] Pepys mentions on January 11th, 1667–68, that the King had sent several times for Nell, but it was not until some time after that she left the stage finally, and became a recognized mistress of the King. [180]Peter Cunningham tells us, in his “Story of Nell Gwyn,” that had the King lived she would have been created Countess of Greenwich. James II. attended to his brother’s dying wish: “Do not let poor Nelly starve,” and when she was outlawed for debt he paid her debts. Her life was not a long one, and she died of apoplexy in November, 1687, in the thirty-eighth year of her age.

Moll Davis it is well known charmed the King by her singing of the song, “My lodging is on the cold ground,” in the character of the shepherdess Celania in Davenant’s “Rivals,” a play altered from “The Two Noble Kinsmen,” and the Duke of Buckingham is said to have encouraged the King’s passion for her in order to spite the Countess of Castlemaine. She was also a fine dancer, and greatly pleased Pepys on more than one occasion. On March 7th, 1666–67, he expresses the opinion that her dancing of a jig in boy’s clothes was infinitely better than that of Nell Gwyn. About a year after this, when Moll Davis had been “raised” to the position of King’s mistress, she danced a jig at court; and the Queen being at this public exhibition of one of her rivals in her own palace, got up and left the theatre.[272]

After the ladies come the male courtiers, but these butterflies of the court do not figure very prominently in the “Diary.” Rochester is occasionally mentioned, as is Henry Jermyn rather oftener. Buckingham appears more frequently, but then he set up for a statesman. He was one of the most hateful characters in history, [181]and as one reads in the “Diary” the record of his various actions, the feelings of disgust and loathing that they inspire are near akin to hatred. He gave counsel to the King at which Charles recoiled; he showed himself a coward in his relations with Lord Ossory, and his conduct towards his wife proves that he was not even a gentleman. Grammont calls Buckingham a fool, but he was more of a knave than a fool, for he was too clever for us to be able to despise him. He seems to have exerted the fascination of the serpent over those around him, and the four masterly hands that have drawn his portrait evidently thought it worthy the devotion of their greatest care. Walpole says of these four famous portraits: “Burnet has hewn it out with his rough chisel; Count Hamilton touched it with that slight delicacy that finishes while it seems but to sketch; Dryden caught the living likeness; Pope completed the historical resemblance.”[273]

In conclusion, some mention must be made of those who did not take a prominent position at court, but who nevertheless exerted considerable influence in that corrupted circle, such as the Chiffinches, Bab May, and Edward Progers, with all of whom Pepys had constant communication. Thomas Chiffinch was one of the pages of the King’s bedchamber, and keeper of his private closet. He died in 1666, and was succeeded in his employments by his brother William, who became a still greater favourite of the King than Thomas, and was the receiver of [182]the secret pensions paid by the court of France to the King of England. Progers had been banished from Charles’s presence in 1650, by an Act of the Estates of Scotland, “as an evil instrument and bad counseller of the King.” Baptist May, Keeper of the Privy Purse, had a still worse rebuff than this, for when he went down in state as the court candidate for Winchelsea, he was rejected by the people, who cried out that they would have “No court pimp to be their burgess.”[274] It would not be fair, however, to throw all the obloquy upon these understrappers, for we have already seen that the bearers of historical names could lend themselves to perform the same duties.


  • [244] Peter Cunningham has a note in his “Story of Nell Gwyn,” “on the Chronology of the English portion of De Grammont’s Memoirs.”
  • [245]Diary,” Feb. 21, 1664–65.
  • [246]Diary,” April 22, 1667.
  • [247] April 26, 1667.
  • [248] Sept. 2, 1667.
  • [249]Diary,” Jan. 2, 1667–68.
  • [250] Dec. 2, 1668.
  • [251]Diary,” May 11, 1663.
  • [252] Smith, vol. ii. p. 264.
  • [253] Lister’s “Life of Clarendon,” vol. iii. p. 197.
  • [254]Diary,” July 3, 1663.
  • [255]Diary,” Oct. 26.
  • [256] Mentioned by Pepys, July 29, Aug. 8, 12, 1667.
  • [257] “Burnet’s Own Time,” i. 353. The lady afterwards married a gentleman of fortune named Fortrey, and died in 1713.
  • [258] James’s letter is printed in “Smith’s Life, &c., of Pepys,” vol. ii. p. 322.
  • [259] Quoted, Lister’s “Life of Clarendon,” ii. 72 (note).
  • [260]The Story of Nell Gwyn,” p. 197 (note).
  • [261]Diary,” Jan. 27, 1667–68.
  • [262] July 30, 1667. Mrs. Otter thus addresses her husband in Act iii. Sc. 1: “Is this according to the instrument when I married you, that I would be princess and reign in my own house, and you would be my subject and obey me?”
  • [263]Diary,” July 23, 1661.
  • [264] Aug. 23, 1662.
  • [265]Diary,” Feb. 8, 1662–63; May 18, 1663; April 15, 1666.
  • [266] May 18, 1668.
  • [267] Pope’s “Moral Essays,” Epistle iii.
  • [268] Lord Orrery to the Duke of Ormond, Jan. 25, 1666–67. (Orrery, “State Papers,” fol. 1742, p. 219.)
  • [269]Diary,” Feb. 21, 1664–65.
  • [270]Diary,” Nov. 11, 1667.
  • [271] Dec. 26, 1667.
  • [272]Diary,” May 31, 1668.
  • [273]Royal and Noble Authors.”
  • [274]Diary,” Oct. 21, 1666.






“So violent did I find parties in London, that I was assured by several that the Duke of Marlborough was a coward, and Mr. Pope a fool.”—Voltaire.

Decorative Capital I

In dealing with the public characters at the time of the Restoration, the two men who were mainly instrumental in bringing that event about—Monk and Montagu—must needs be given a prominent place.

George Monk, Duke of Albemarle, was a singularly unheroic character. He was slow and heavy, but had a sufficient supply of good sense, and, in spite of many faults, he had the rare good fortune to be generally loved.[275] He was so popular that ballads were continually being made in his praise. Pepys said there were so many[184] of them that in after times his fame would sound like that of Guy of Warwick.[276]

Aubrey tells us that Monk learned his trade of soldiering in the Low Countries, whence he fled after having slain a man. Although he frequently went to sea in command of the fleet, he always remained a soldier, and the seamen laughed behind his back when instead of crying “Tack about,” he would say “Wheel to the right or left.” Pepys tells a story of him to the same effect: “It was pretty to hear the Duke of Albemarle himself to wish that they would come on our ground, meaning the French, for that he would pay them, so as to make them glad to go back to France again; which was like a general, but not like an admiral.”[277]

Monk was fond of low company; both he and his vulgar wife were quite unfit for high—I cannot say refined—society, for there was but little refinement at court. Ann Clarges had been kind to Monk when he was a prisoner in the Tower, and he married her out of gratitude. She had been previously married to Thomas Ratford, of whose death no notice was given at the time of the marriage, so that the legitimacy of Christopher, afterwards second Duke of Albemarle, was seriously questioned. Aubrey relates a story which cannot well be true, but which proves the general feeling of doubt respecting the point. He says that Thomas Clarges came on shipboard to tell Monk that his sister had had a child. Monk cried out, “What is it?” and on hearing the answer, “A boy,” he said, [185]“Why, then, she is my wife.” Pepys was told a tale by Mr. Cooling which corroborates the opinion expressed on the company kept by the Duke. “Once the Duke of Albemarle, in his drink, taking notice as of a wonder that Nan Hide should ever come to be Duchess of York. ‘Nay,’ says Troutbeck, ‘ne’er wonder at that; for if you will give me another bottle of wine, I will tell you as great, if not a greater miracle.’ And what was that, but that our dirty Bess (meaning his Duchess) should come to be Duchess of Albemarle?”[278]

Sir Edward Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, was in every respect the opposite of Monk. He was a courtier and a gentleman, but he did not manage to gain the popularity of his great contemporary, nor to retain such as he did at one time possess. As Pepys’s great patron his name naturally occupies a very prominent position in the “Diary,” and as such he has already been frequently alluded to in these pages. He appears to have been a very agreeable man, but so easy and careless in business matters that he was continually in want of money. In 1662 Pepys found that he was above £7,000 in debt, and his enemies soon after gave out that his debts amounted to £100,000. At any rate, his finances were so often in an unsatisfactory state that Pepys had a special dislike to lending his money in that quarter. Three years afterwards he had grown very unpopular, and [186]“it was purposed by some hot-heads in the House of Commons, at the same time when they voted a present to the Duke of York, to have voted £10,000 to the Prince, and half-a-crown to my Lord of Sandwich; but nothing came of it.”[279] It was, therefore, well for him when he obtained an honourable exile by being appointed ambassador to the court of Spain, as there he was held in high esteem. His enemies, however, were not satisfied, and they continued to attack him during his absence. Whatever his faults, and they were probably many, Lord Sandwich was by far the most able naval commander of his time, so that the nation had a heavy loss when he was killed in the naval action against the Dutch at Solebay, in May, 1672.

Prince Rupert, as the cousin of the King, naturally held a prominent position in the State, but he did not gain much credit from the undertakings he was thrust into. His fame as a brilliant, though rash, soldier, was gained during the troubles of his uncle’s reign, and not from anything he did after the Restoration. He was out of place on board ship, although he is said to have displayed immense bravery and much skill in the sea-fight against the Dutch, from August 11th to 13th, 1673. His interest in science and mechanical art appears to have been real, and to him we owe the invention or introduction into England of mezzotinto engraving, and the introduction of

... “that glassy bubble
That finds philosophers such trouble,
Whose least part cracked, the whole does fly,
And wits are cracked to find out why.”


The Prince’s courage was so patent to all that his friends were rather surprised to find that when he was very ill and like to die, “he had no more mind to it than another man;” so they came to the rather lame conclusion that “courage is not what men take it to be—a contempt of death.”[280]

Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon


The next great public character was Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, who for the few years before his fall was the greatest man in the kingdom. Public opinion has been much divided as to his merits. In spite of many very evident faults, he certainly exhibited on several occasions a high-minded spirit. He would not consent to do any business with the King’s mistresses, and Burnet says that he “kept a register of all the King’s promises, and of his own, and did all that lay in his power afterwards to get them performed.” His disposition was rather ungracious, and he made many enemies, who attacked him with success when the King was tired of him. Clarendon was very dictatorial with Charles, and sent him such missives as this, “I pray be at Worcester House on Sunday as soon as may be.” On one occasion he fixed eight o’clock in the morning, for Lord Broghill to have an audience with the King, who did not think the arrangement quite fair, and wrote, “You give appointments in a morning to others sooner than you take them yourself, but if my Lord Broghill will come at nine, he shall be welcome.”

On the institution of the Royal Society, Lord Clarendon was appointed visitor for life, but after his death the position was to be held by[188] several high officers, by reason of their offices. Sprat, in his “History of the Royal Society,” specially thanks the Lord Chancellor, Attorney-General, and Solicitor-General, for their assistance in the preparation of the charter; a proof, says Sprat, of the falsehood of the reproach that law is an enemy to learning and civil arts.

One day in July, 1664, Lord Sandwich told Pepys that Lord Clarendon was very displeased with him for being forward in the cutting down of trees in Clarendon Park; so the Diarist sought an interview with the Lord Chancellor in order that he might soothe the great man, and he was successful in his endeavour.[281]

Clarendon Park, near Salisbury, was crown-land mortgaged by Charles I. for £20,000, and granted by Charles II. to the Duke of Albemarle subject to this mortgage, and with the right to the timber reserved to the Crown. Lord Clarendon bought the place of Albemarle, and his complaint against the Commissioners of the Navy was, that while they had all the royal forests at command, they chose to spoil the beauty of his property. He further affirmed that he had no intention to contest the King’s right, nor to defraud the Crown of timber; but complained that at the very time the Commissioners sent down a person to mark standing timber for felling, there was a large quantity of wood belonging to the Crown lying on the estate unappropriated, which had been “felled divers years” before.[282]

Two of Pepys’s patrons—Sir George Downing[189] and Sir William Coventry—are frequently mentioned in the “Diary;” the first almost always with some expression of dislike, and the other invariably in terms of respect. He sometimes describes his whilom master as “a stingy fellow,”[283] and laughs at his ridiculous pieces of thrift, “and niggardly manner of entertaining his poor neighbours.”[284] At another time he calls him “a perfidious rogue” for betraying former friends;[285] still, he could appreciate Downing’s business capabilities, and when setting down the fact that the Commissioners of the Treasury had chosen Sir G. Downing for their secretary, he added, “I think, in my conscience, they have done a great thing in it, for he is active and a man of business, and values himself upon having of things do well under his hand; so that I am mightily pleased in their choice.”[286] At this time Pepys had forgotten the constant causes of annoyance which Downing had given him, and he could afford to be magnanimous in acknowledging his enemy’s good qualities. I have already remarked that Sir William Coventry stands out prominently as the only person who is noticed in the “Diary” in terms of unqualified praise. Other men of the time did not equally admire him, so that it is not easy to come to a just estimation of his character.

Poor Pepys was placed in an awkward predicament on one occasion when he was on a visit to Hampton Court, owing to the enmity between Coventry and Lord Sandwich. He was pleased [190]when the latter asked him to come privately to his lodgings, but adds, “Lord! to see in what difficulty I stand, that I dare not walk with Sir W. Coventry for fear my Lord or Sir G. Carteret should see me; nor with either of them, for fear Sir W. Coventry should.”[287]

When Clarendon fell, in 1667, it was thought likely that Coventry would succeed him as virtual prime minister. His quarrel, however, with the Duke of Buckingham put him out of favour with the King and out of office; so that, although he survived until 1686, he never again took a prominent part in political affairs.

Arthur Annesley, afterwards Earl of Anglesey, is called by Pepys “a grave, serious man,”[288] and “a very notable man,”[289] but he does not appear to have been a very friendly one. Although he was under obligations to Sir Edward Montagu’s family, he took the opportunity, when the thanks of Parliament were voted to Montagu, to quash the motion which was made to give him a reward.[290] He was made Treasurer of the Navy in 1667, in succession to Sir George Carteret, and in the following year when he answered the Duke of York’s letter, he bid the Duke call for Pepys’s books,[291] in hopes that the Clerk of the Acts might get a reprimand. A peace seems afterwards to have subsisted between the two, for in 1672 Lord Anglesey signed himself in a letter to Pepys, “Your affectionate friend and servant.”


Sir Thomas Osborne, subsequently Viscount Dunblane, Earl of Danby, Marquis of Carmarthen, and Duke of Leeds, was appointed joint Treasurer of the Navy, with Sir Thomas Littleton, to succeed Lord Anglesey. This appointment was greatly disliked by the Duke of York and the officers of the navy, who looked upon the two men as spies set to watch them. Pepys calls Osborne a creature of the Duke of Buckingham’s,[292] and at another time says he is a beggar “having £11 or £12,00 a year, but owes about £10,000.”[293] It is clear that the Diarist did not foresee the great figure Osborne was about to make in the world; a rise somewhat due to his own parts, and much to the favour of the King. When Charles made him Lord High Treasurer, he told him that he ought to take care of himself, for he had but two friends in England. This startled Osborne, until his majesty explained himself by saying that he (the King) was one, and the other was the Treasurer’s merits.[294]

Joseph Williamson, who rose from a college tutorship to the office of Secretary of State, has a few words of praise given to him in the “Diary.” He was the son of a clergyman, and in early life is said to have acted as secretary to a member of parliament. He graduated at Oxford as a member of Queen’s College, and in December, 1661, was appointed Keeper of the State Paper Office. About the same time [192]he was Latin Secretary to the King, an office the reversion of which had been promised to John Evelyn. In 1666 Williamson undertook the superintendence of the “London Gazette,” and in 1672 obtained the post of Clerk to the Privy Council, on the resignation of Sir Richard Browne, when he was knighted. The King had many years before promised to give the place to Evelyn, but in consideration of the renewal of the lease of Sayes Court, the latter parted with it to Williamson. Honours now came thick upon the new-made knight. He was Plenipotentiary at the Congress of Cologne in 1673 and 1674, and on his return to England was made Principal Secretary of State, a position which he held for four years. He was President of the Royal Society in 1678, and married Catherine Stuart, daughter of George, Lord Aubigny, and widow of Henry O’Brien, Lord Ibracken, eldest son of the Earl of Thomond, in 1682. He died in 1701, and was buried in the Duke of Richmond and Lennox’s vault in Henry VII.’s Chapel, by right of his wife’s connection with the Duke of Lennox.

The widow’s eldest son by her first husband, Donald O’Brien, was lost in the wreck of the “Gloucester” in 1682, and he is mentioned in a letter of Pepys to Hewer, written from Edinburgh on May 8th of that year. The will of the father contains the following very remarkable paragraph:—“I[193] conjure my son Donatus O’Brien, to honour and obey his King in whatever he commands that is not contradictory to the Holy Scripture and Protestant religion, in which I conjure him (upon pain of my curse) not only to continue himself, but to advise his brothers and sisters to do the same; and that he never marry a Papist; and that he take great care if ever God bless him with children (which I trust he will many) to breed them strictly in the Protestant religion. I advise him to cherish the English on his estate, and drive out the Irish, and especially those of them who go under the name of gentlemen.”[295]

Before passing on to make a final note on some of the celebrated sailors alluded to in the “Diary,” a place must be found for one of the most eccentric women that ever lived—Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle. Pepys writes, “the whole story of this lady is romance, and all she does is romantic.”[296] Every one who came in contact with her fooled her to the top of her bent. Evelyn likened her to Zenobia, the mother of the Gracchi, Vittoria Colonna, besides a long line of other celebrities, and when she “took the dust” in the park she was followed and crowded upon by coaches all the way she went, so that nobody could come near her.[297]

Her husband’s play, “The Humourous Lovers,” was, Pepys says, “the most silly thing that ever came upon a stage,”[298] and also “the most ridiculous thing that ever was wrote,”[299] yet she and the Duke were “mightily pleased with it, and she at the end made her respects to the players from her box, and did give them thanks.”

On the 30th of May, 1667, the Duchess made[194] a visit to one of the meetings of the Royal Society, when various fine experiments were shown for her entertainment. She was loud in her expressions of admiration as she was led out of the room by several noblemen who were among the company present. There had been great debate among the philosophers as to the advisability of inviting the lady, for many believed that the town would be full of ballads on the event. Her footmen were habited in velvet coats, and she herself appeared in antique dress, so that there is no cause for wonder that people came to see her as if she were the Queen of Sheba. Mrs. Evelyn drew a very lively picture of the Duchess in a letter to Dr. Bohun: “I acknowledge, though I remember her some years since, and have not been a stranger to her fame, I was surprised to find so much extravagancy and vanity in any person not confined within four walls.... Her mien surpasses the imagination of poets or the descriptions of romance heroine’s greatness; her gracious bows, seasonable nods, courteous stretching out of her hands, twinkling of her eyes, and various gestures of approbation, show what may be expected from her discourse, which is airy, empty, whimsical, and rambling as her books, aiming at science difficulties, high notions, terminating commonly in nonsense, oaths, and obscenity.” Pepys’s summing up of the Duchess’s character is shorter, but accords well with Mrs. Evelyn’s opinion—he says she was “a mad, conceited, ridiculous woman.”[300]


In a book written by a man so intimately connected with the navy as Pepys was, it is not surprising that mention should occur pretty frequently of sailors and soldiers who commanded at sea.

In the great victory over the Dutch in 1665, the Earl of Falmouth, Lord Muskerry, and Richard Boyle, second son of the Earl of Burlington, were all killed by one shot, as they were standing on board the “Royal Charles,” close by the Duke of York, into whose face their blood spurted. The Earl appears very frequently in the “Diary” as Sir Charles Berkeley, Lord Berkeley, Lord Fitzharding, and Earl of Falmouth, and he was to have been created a Marquis had he lived. Charles II. shed a flood of tears when he heard of his friend’s death, but Pepys tells us that none but the King wished him alive again.[301]

Lord Clarendon put in a few bitter words the most thorough condemnation of the man. He said, “few had observed in him any virtue or quality which they did not wish their best friends without.” The various allusions to Lord Falmouth in the “Diary” quite bear out this character, and yet because he was Sir William Coventry’s friend we are told of “his generosity, good nature, desire of public good, and low thoughts of his own wisdom; his employing his interest in the king to do good offices to all people, without any other fault than the freedom he do learn in France of thinking himself obliged to serve his king in his pleasures.”[302]


A much greater national loss which took place in this engagement was the death of the famous admiral Sir John Lawson. This chief among the “tarpaulins” was well known to Pepys, as he was the vice-admiral under Sir Edward Montagu at the time when Charles II. was brought over by the fleet. He is described as the same plain man as ever after all his successes,[303] yet an enemy called him a false man, and the greatest hypocrite in the world.[304] When Lawson died, Pepys could not but acknowledge that the nation had a loss, although he was not sorry, because the late admiral had never been a friend to him.[305] In the great engagement against the Dutch of the 3rd of June, 1665, Opdam’s ship blew up, and a shot from it, or rather a piece of iron, wounded Lawson on the knee, from which he never recovered. The national loss is expressed in one of the “Poems on State Affairs.”[306]

“Destiny allowed
Him his revenge, to make his death more proud.
A fatal bullet from his side did range,
And battered Lawson; oh, too dear exchange!
He led our fleet that day too short a space,
But lost his knee: since died, in glorious race:
Lawson, whose valour beyond Fate did go,
And still fights Opdam in the lake below.”

In October, 1666, there was a rumour that Sir Jeremy Smith had killed Sir Robert Holmes in a duel, and Pepys was not sorry to hear it, although he soon found that report did not tell [197]true.[307] Holmes was very unpopular, and Andrew Marvell called him the “cursed beginner of the two Dutch wars;” describing him as “first an Irish livery boy, then a highwayman, now Bashaw of the Isle of Wight,” who had “got in bonds and by rapine £100,000.”[308]

Sir Jeremy Smith was befriended by the Duke of Albemarle, when Holmes delivered articles of accusation against him to the King and Cabinet, and he suffered no ill from the vengeance of his enemy, for in 1669 he was appointed a Commissioner of the Navy in place of Sir William Penn. Pepys was able to find an epithet for him, and although he liked him fairly well, he called him “an impertinent fellow.”[309]

This slight notice of some of the sailors of the Restoration period may well be closed by a relation of the remarkable action of certain seamen at the funeral of Sir Christopher Mings. Mings, like Lawson, was of poor extraction, and, like him, grew up a worthy captain. He was wounded in the face and leg in an engagement with the Dutch, and shortly afterwards died of his wounds. Pepys and Sir William Coventry attended the funeral, and on their going away, [198]“about a dozen able, lusty, proper men came to the coach side with tears in their eyes, and one of them that spoke for the rest begun and said to Sir W. Coventry, ‘We are here a dozen of us that have long known and loved and served our dead commander, Sir Christopher Mings, and have now done the last office of laying him in the ground. We would be glad we had any other to offer after him, and revenge of him. All we have is our lives; if you will please to get His Royal Highness to give us a fireship among us all, here is a dozen of us, out of all which choose you one to be commander, and the rest of us, whoever he is, will serve him; and if possible do that that shall show our memory of our dead commander and our revenge.’” When this speech was finished Coventry was much moved, and Pepys could scarcely refrain from tears.[310] What became of these worthy men we are not told.


  • [275] “The blockhead Albemarle hath strange luck to be loved, though he be, and every man must know it, the heaviest man in the world, but stout and honest to his country.”—“Diary,” Oct. 23, 1667.
  • [276]Diary,” March 6, 1667.
  • [277] April 4, 1667.
  • [278]Diary,” Nov. 4, 1666.
  • [279]Diary,” Nov. 6, 1665.
  • [280]Diary,” Jan. 15, 1664–65.
  • [281]Diary,” July 14, 1664.
  • [282] Lister’s “Life of Clarendon,” vol. iii. p. 340.
  • [283]Diary,” June 28, 1660.
  • [284] Feb. 27, 1666–67.
  • [285] March 12, 1661–62.
  • [286] May 27, 1667.
  • [287]Diary,” Jan. 28, 1665–66.
  • [288] Dec. 3, 1664.
  • [289] July 9, 1667.
  • [290] June 19, 1660.
  • [291] Sept. 16, 1668.
  • [292]Diary,” Oct. 29, 1668.
  • [293] Feb. 14, 1668–69.
  • [294] Sir John Williamson’s “Letters” (Camden Society), vol. i. p. 64.
  • [295] See that monument of learning and research, Chester’s “Westminster Abbey Registers,” 1875, p. 194 (note).
  • [296]Diary,” April 11, 1667.
  • [297] May 1, 1667.
  • [298] March 30.
  • [299] April 11, 1667.
  • [300]Diary,” March 18, 1668.
  • [301]Diary,” June 9, 1665.
  • [302] August 30, 1668.
  • [303]Diary,” Jan. 12, 1662–63.
  • [304] Nov. 9, 1663.
  • [305] June 25, 1665.
  • [306] Vol. i. p. 24.
  • [307]Diary,” Oct. 31, 1666.
  • [308]Seasonable Argument,” 1677.
  • [309]Diary,” May 10, 1669.
  • [310]Diary,” June 13, 1666.






“The king’s most faithful subjects we,
In’s service are not dull,
We drink to show our loyalty,
And make his coffers full.
Would all his subjects drink like us,
We’d make him richer far,
More powerful and more prosperous
Than all the Eastern monarchs are.”
Shadwell’s The Woman Captain.
Decorative Capital N

No passages in the “Diary” are more valuable than those from which we can gather some idea of the manners of the time in which Pepys lived. It is chiefly, in fact, on account of the pictures of the mode of life among the men and women of the middle classes portrayed in those passages that the book has attained its immense popularity. History instructs, while gossip charms, so that for hundreds who desire to learn the chronicle of events, thousands long to hear how their ordinary fellow creatures lived, what they ate, what they wore, and what they did.


Pepys liked good living, and he was careful to set down what he ate, so that we are able to judge of his taste. This is what he calls a “pretty dinner”—“a brace of stewed carps, six roasted chickens and a jowl of salmon hot, for the first course; a tanzy and two neats’ tongues, and cheese the second.”[311] A good calf’s head boiled with dumplings he thought an excellent dinner,[312] and he was very proud of a dinner he gave to some friends, which consisted of “fricasee of rabbits and chickens, a leg of mutton boiled, three carps in a dish, a great dish of a side of a lamb, a dish of roasted pigeons, a dish of four lobsters, three tarts, a lamprey pie (a most rare pie), a dish of anchovies, good wine of several sorts and all things mighty noble and to my great content.”[313] He was very indignant when Sir W. Hickes gave him and his fellows “the meanest dinner (of beef, shoulder and umbles of venison, which he takes away from the keeper of the forest, and a few pigeons, and all in the meanest manner) that ever I did see, to the basest degree.”[314] Pepys liked all kinds of pies, whether they contained fish or swan, but there was one pie in particular that was filled with such a pleasant variety of good things that he never tasted the like in all his life.[315] On two several occasions he records his appreciation of a joint which sounds strange to modern ears—viz., boiled haunch of venison.[316] At special seasons he was in the habit of partaking of the diet appropriate[201] to the festival: thus on Shrove Tuesday he ate fritters,[317] and at Christmas mince pies[318] or plum porridge,[319] plum pudding not having been at that time invented. The meat taken with these sweets was sometimes the orthodox beef, but it was more often something else, as on Christmas day, 1660, when it consisted of shoulder of mutton and chicken.

Breakfast was not formerly made an ordinary meal, but radishes were frequently taken with the morning draught. On May 2nd, 1660, Pepys had his breakfast of radishes in the Purser’s cabin of the “Naseby,” in accordance with the rule laid down by Muffet in his “Health’s Improvement” (1655), that they “procure appetite and help digestion;” which is still acted upon in Italy.

Ale-houses, mum-houses, and wine-houses abounded in all parts of London, and much money must have been spent in them. The charges seem to have been high, for Pepys relates how on one occasion the officers of the navy met the Commissioners of the Ordnance at the Dolphin Tavern, when the cost of their dinner was 34s. a man.[320] We are not told how much Sir W. Batten, Sir W. Penn, and Pepys had to pay when they ordered their dinner at the Queen’s Head at Bow, and took their own meat with them from London.[321]

There is abundant evidence in the “Diary” of the prevalent habits of deep drinking, and [202]Pepys himself evidently often took more than was good for him. Men were very generally unfit for much business after their early dinners; thus Pepys tells of his great speech at the bar of the House of Commons that it lasted so long that many of the members went out to dinner, and when they came back they were half drunk.[322] Sir William Penn told an excellent story which exhibits well the habits of the time. Some gentlemen (?) drinking at a tavern blindfolded the drawer, and told him that the one he caught would pay the reckoning. All, however, managed to escape, and when the master of the house came up to see what was the matter, his man caught hold of him, thinking he was one of the gentlemen, and cried out that he must pay the reckoning.[323] Various drinks are mentioned in the “Diary,” such as mum (an ale brewed with wheat), buttered ale (a mixture of beer, sugar, cinnamon, and butter), and lamb’s wool (a mixture of ale with sugar, nutmeg, and the pulp of roasted apples), among other doctored liquors. Such stuff as this does not indicate a refined taste, and the same may be said when we find that wine was also made up for vitiated palates. On June 10th, 1663, Pepys goes with three friends to the Half Moon Tavern, and buys some sugar on the way to mix with the wine. We read of Muscadel, and various kinds of sack, as Malago sack, raspberry sack, and sack posset, of Florence wine, and of Navarre wine. Rhine [203]wines must have been popular at this time, if we may judge from the numerous Rhenish wine-houses spread about the town. Amongst Pepys’s papers was found a memorandum on the dangers England might experience in the event of a war with France. Lord Dartmouth proposed that we might ruin the French by forbidding their wines, “but that he considers, will never be observed with all our heat against France. We see that, rather than not drink their wine, we forget our interest against it, and play all the villanies and perjuries in the world to bring it in, because people will drink it, if it be to be had, at any rate.”[324] What Lord Dartmouth thought to be impossible was practically effected by the Methuen treaty in 1703, after the signing of which French wines were driven out of the English market for many years by Spanish wines, and it was long thought patriotic to drink port.

Pepys liked to be in the fashion, and to wear a newly-introduced costume, although he was displeased when Lady Wright talked about the great happiness of “being in the fashion, and in variety of fashions in scorn of others that are not so, as citizens’ wives and country gentlewomen.”[325] The Diary is full of references to new clothes, and Pepys never seems so happy as when priding himself upon his appearance and describing the beauties of velvet cloaks, silk coats, and gold buttons. In 1663, he found that his expenses had been somewhat too large, and that the increase had chiefly arisen from expenditure on[204] clothes for himself and wife, although, as already remarked, it appears that Mrs. Pepys’s share was only £12, against her husband’s £55.[326] In fact, our Diarist was at one time rather mean in regard to the money he allowed his wife, although afterwards he was more generous, and even gave £80 for a necklace of pearls which he presented to her.

One of the strangest attempts to fix a fashion was made by Charles the Second, who soon, however, tired of his own scheme. In 1661, John Evelyn advocated a particular kind of costume in a little book entitled “Tyrannus, or the Mode.” Whether the King took his idea from this book, or whether it originated in his own mind we cannot tell, but at all events, on the 17th of October, 1666, he declared to the Privy Council his “resolution of setting a fashion for clothes which he will never alter.” Pepys describes the costume in which Charles appeared on the 15th of October in the following words:—“A long cassock close to the body, of black cloth and pinked with white silk under it, and a coat over it, and the legs ruffled with black rib and like a pigeon’s leg, ... a very fine and handsome garment.” Several of the courtiers offered heavy bets that Charles would not persist in his resolution of never altering this costume, and they were right, for very shortly afterwards it was abandoned. The object aimed at was to abolish the French fashion, which had caused great expense, but in order to thwart his brother of England’s purpose, the King of France ordered all his footmen to put on the English [205]vests.[327] This impertinence on the part of Louis XIV., which appears to have given Steele a hint for his story of Brunetta and Phillis in the “Spectator,” caused the discontinuance of the so-called Persian habit at the English Court.

There are occasional allusions in the “Diary” to female dress. Thus, on October 15th, 1666, Lady Carteret tells Pepys that the ladies are about to adopt a new fashion, and “wear short coats above their ancles,” in place of the long trains, which both the gossips thought “mighty graceful.” At another time Pepys was pleased to see “the young, pretty ladies dressed like men, in velvet coats, caps with ribands, and with laced bands, just like men.”[328] Vizards or black masks appear to have come into general use, or rather were revived by the ladies about 1663. By wearing them women were able to sit out the most licentious play with unblushing face. We read that Pepys and his wife went to the Theatre Royal on June 12th of that year:—“Here I saw my Lord Falconbridge and his Lady, my Lady Mary Cromwell, who looks as well as I have known her, and well clad; but when the House began to fill she put on her vizard, and so kept it on all the play; which of late is become a great fashion among the ladies, which hides their whole face.” After the play Pepys and Mrs. Pepys went off to the Exchange to buy a vizard, so that the latter might appear in the fashion.

The custom of wearing the hat indoors is more than once alluded to in the “Diary,”[329] and[206] on one occasion Pepys was evidently much elated by the circumstance that he was in a position to wear his hat—“Here it was mighty strange to find myself sit here in Committee with my hat on, while Mr. Sherwin stood bare as a clerk, with his hat off to his Lord Ashly and the rest, but I thank God I think myself never a whit the better man for all that.”[330] This practice, which still exists in the House of Commons, was once universal, and in the statutes of the Royal Society the right of addressing the meeting with his hat on was reserved to the president, the other members being expected to uncover on rising to speak. A few years after the above committee meeting, it became the fashion of the young “blades” to wear their hats cocked at the back of their heads.[331] This obtained the name of the “Monmouth cock,” after the popular Duke of Monmouth, and according to the “Spectator,” it still lingered in the west of England among the country squires as late as 1711. “During our progress through the most western parts of the kingdom, we fancied ourselves in King Charles the Second’s reign, the people having made little variations in their dress since that time. The smartest of the country squires appear still in the Monmouth cock.”[332]

Gloves were then, as now, looked upon as an appropriate present to a lady, and Pepys often bought them for this purpose. On October 27th, 1666, he gave away several pairs of jessimy or [207]jessemin gloves, as Autolycus says, “gloves as sweet as damask roses;” and on January 25th, 1668–69, he was vexed when his wife wanted him to buy two or three dozen perfumed gloves for her. Those who did not wear these useful coverings laid themselves open to remark, as we read of Wallington, a little fellow who sang an excellent bass, that he was “a poor fellow, a working goldsmith, that goes without gloves to his hands.”[333] The use of muffs by men became common after the Restoration, and continued till Horace Walpole’s day, and even later. November, 1662, was a very cold month, and Pepys was glad to wear his wife’s last year’s muff, and to buy her a new one. The long hair worn by the cavaliers was superseded soon after the Restoration by the use of wigs. Pepys went on the 29th of August, 1663, to his barber’s to be trimmed, when he returned a periwig which had been sent for his approval, as he had not quite made up his mind to wear one, and “put it off for a while.” Very soon afterwards, however, he ordered one to be made for him;[334] and then he had his hair cut off, which went against his inclination. The new wig cost three pounds, and the old hair was used to make another.[335] This last only cost twenty-one shillings and sixpence to make up, and the peruque-maker promised that the two would last for two years.[336] The Duke of York very soon followed the fashion set by his subordinate, and put on a wig for the first time on February 15th, 1663–4. These magnificent[208] ornaments, which look so grand in the portraits, were very apt to get out of order, and on one occasion Pepys had to send his wig back to the barber’s to be cleansed of its nits. No wonder he was vexed at having had it sent to him in such a state.[337] On May 30th, 1668, he came to an agreement with his barber to keep his wigs in good order for twenty shillings a year. It is remarkable that people did not return to the sensible fashion of wearing their own hair after the plague, when there must have been great dread of infection from this source. Pepys bought a wig at Westminster during the sickness, and was long afraid to wear it. He adds, “it is a wonder what will be the fashion after the plague is done, as to periwigs, for nobody will dare to buy any hair, for fear of the infection, that it had been cut off the heads of people dead of the plague.”[338]

Before passing on to consider some other customs, a word should be said on the practice of wearing mourning. When the Duke of Gloucester died, it is related that the King wore purple, which was used as royal mourning. At the same time Mrs. Pepys spent £15 on mourning clothes for herself and husband.[339] We are told how the whole family went into black on the death of the elder Mrs. Pepys,[340] and we have very full and curious particulars of the funeral of Thomas Pepys. For this occasion Samuel had the soles of his shoes blacked, which seems a rather odd kind of mourning![341]


The engagement between Philip Carteret and Lady Jemimah Montagu gave the Diarist considerable employment, and from the long account he has written on it we gather that he was very proud of such assistance as he was able to give. Carteret was a shy young man, and needed much instruction, as to how he should take the lady’s hand, and what he should do. The whole description is very droll, but too long to quote here. Pepys made the best of the affair, but he evidently thought his protégé a very insipid lover. The wedding took place on July 31st, 1665, the bride and bridegroom being in their old clothes, but Pepys was resplendent in a “new coloured suit and coat trimmed with gold buttons, and gold broad lace round his hands, very rich and fine.” This is the account of what occurred after supper:—“All of us to prayers as usual, and the young bride and bridegroom too; and so after prayers soberly to bed; only I got into the bridegroom’s chamber while he undressed himself, and there was very merry till he was called to the bride’s chamber, and into bed they went. I kissed the bride in bed, and so the curtains drawn with the greatest gravity that could be, and so good night. But the modesty and gravity of this business was so decent that it was to me, indeed, ten times more delightful than if it had been twenty times more merry and jovial.”

There are several allusions in the “Diary” to the custom of scrambling for ribbons and garters at weddings, and Pepys expresses himself as not pleased when favours were sent to others after Lord Hinchingbroke’s wedding, and he was[210] overlooked.[342] At this time wedding rings were not the plain and inelegant things they are now, but were frequently ornamented with precious stones, and almost invariably had a motto engraved upon them. Pepys’s aunt Wight was “mighty proud” of her wedding ring, which cost her twelve pounds, and had been lately set with diamonds.[343]

It is not necessary to remark that there was a considerable laxity of manners during the period with which we are now dealing, as this is pretty well known, but one or two passages in the “Diary” may, perhaps, be alluded to here. On one occasion Mrs. Turner, the wife of a serjeant-at-law, while dressing herself in her room by the fire, took occasion to show Pepys her leg, which she was very proud of, and which he affirms was the finest he had ever seen.[344] At another time, Pepys went to Lady Batten’s, when he found her and several friends very merry in her chamber; Lady Penn flung him down upon the bed, and then herself and the others came down one after another upon him. He might well add, “and very merry we were.”[345]

This laxity of manners is invariably laid to the demoralizing effect of the Restoration, but it is evident from this portion of the “Diary,” which was written before that event, that it was as usual for men to visit ladies in their bedrooms before Charles II. “returned to take possession of his birthright,” as it was afterwards. Thus we read that on February 24th, 1659–60, Pepys[211] took horse at Scotland Yard, and rode to Mr. Pierce, “who rose, and in a quarter of an hour, leaving his wife in bed (with whom Mr. Lucy, methought, was very free as she lay in bed); we both mounted and so set forth about seven of the clock.” This remark probably offended Lord Braybrooke’s modesty, for it appears for the first time in Mr. Mynors Bright’s edition.

There are several passages in the “Diary” which are of interest, as showing how our ancestors travelled. Although travelling by coach was a very slow operation, much ground could be got over in a short space of time on horseback. On the 6th of July, 1661, Pepys set out for Brampton about noon, and arrived there at nine o’clock at night; having ridden at the rate of about nine miles an hour, with allowance for stoppages for refreshment.

The first great improvement in coach-building was made soon after the Restoration, when glass-coaches were introduced. The Comte de Grammont did not approve of the coach made for the King, and therefore ordered from Paris an elegant and magnificent calash, which was greatly admired, and cost him two thousand louis.

There were some who did not appreciate the improved carriages, and were alive to the evils that were caused by the change. [212]“Another pretty thing was my Lady Ashly’s speaking of the bad qualities of glass-coaches, among others the flying open of the doors upon any great shake; but another was that my Lady Peterborough being in her glass-coach with the glass up, and seeing a lady pass by in a coach whom she would salute, the glass was so clear that she thought it had been open, and so ran her head through the glass!”[346]

It is a curious instance of the survival of terms in popular language that certain carriages were styled glass-coaches even within living memory.

Although the hours kept by “society” in Charles II.’s reign were considerably earlier than those now adopted, and Pepys often went to bed by daylight,[347] yet people did sit up very late sometimes. On the 9th of May, 1668, the House of Commons sat till five o’clock in the morning to discuss a difference that had arisen between them and the House of Lords. One night Pepys stayed at the office so late that it was nearly two o’clock before he got to bed,[348] and at another time the servant got up at the same hour to do the week’s washing.[349] The watchman perambulated the streets with his bell and called out the hours, so that when Pepys was sitting up to fill up the entries in the “Diary,” he often heard the cry “Past one of the clock, and a cold, frosty, windy morning,”[350] or some similar information.

It is not easy to settle with any great accuracy the respective values of money at that time and at present, as many things were considerably cheaper, but others were dearer. Bab May said that £300 per annum was an ample income for a country gentlemen; a remark that was repeated by Marvell, and increased by him to £500. The gentry did not like this criticism, [213]but it shows at least that money had a much greater purchasing power then than now. In the winter of 1666–67 the farmers were very unfortunate, and many were forced to become bankrupts, so that property previously bringing in £1,000[351] suddenly became worth only £500. The wages of a cookmaid were £4 a year, which Pepys thought high,[352] and a coach cost £53,[353] but a beaver hat was charged as high as £4 5s.[354] Twenty-five pounds was paid for a painted portrait, and £30 for a miniature, and £80 for a necklace of pearls. Cherries were sold at two shillings a pound,[355] oranges at six shillings a dozen, and dinners at an ordinary varied from seven shillings to a guinea.

There are so many little items in the “Diary” which are of interest as illustrating old customs, some of which still exist, and others which have died out, that it would be quite impossible to allude here even to a fraction of them. One or two instances, therefore, gathered at random, must be sufficient. Pepys on several occasions mentions the custom of “beating the bounds” in the various parishes on Ascension Day or Holy Thursday, when a boy was in some cases beaten, or, as in Dorsetshire, tossed into a stream, in order to impress very forcibly upon his memory the locality of the parish boundaries. At one time he writes, [214]“This day was kept a holy-day through the town; and it pleased me to see the little boys walk up and down in procession with their broomstaffs in their hands, as I had myself long ago gone,”[356] and at another, “They talked with Mr. Mills about the meaning of this day, and the good uses of it; and how heretofore, and yet in several places, they do whip a boy at each place they stop at in their procession.”[357] Allusion has already been made to the mixed motives that drew Pepys to church, and how he often attended more to the pretty faces in the congregation than to the words of the preacher. He had high authority for his conduct in the demeanour of the court, and he himself tells us how, while Bishop Morley (of Winchester) was preaching on the song of the angels, and reprehending the mistaken jollity of the court, the courtiers “all laugh in the chapel when he reflected on their ill actions and courses.”[358]

There is comparatively little in the “Diary” about the Nonconformists, although in the early part of his career Pepys was more favourable to their claims than to those of the conforming clergy. He was once induced to give five shillings to a parson among the fanatics, who said a long grace like a prayer, and was in great want, although he would willingly have done otherwise. His aunt James, “a poor, religious, well-meaning, good soul,” told him that the minister’s prayers had helped to cure him when he was cut for the stone.[359]

We have a curious peep into a rustic church[215] which Pepys and his cousin Roger attended on the 4th of August, 1662: “At our coming in, the country people all rose with so much reverence; and when the parson begins, he begins ‘Right worshipful and dearly beloved,’ to us.”

There are several allusions in the “Diary” to various punishments in vogue at the time. In 1663, the parish of St. Olave’s was supplied with a new pair of stocks “very handsome,” and one Sunday, a poor boy who had been found in a drunken state by the constable, was led off “to handsel them.”[360] It was formerly the custom to punish offenders on the spot where their crimes had been committed; thus, on February 18th, 1659–60, two soldiers were hanged in the Strand for their mutiny at Somerset House. The bodies of the criminals were frequently allowed to hang in some conspicuous spot until they rotted away; and on April 11th, 1661, Pepys and “Mrs. Anne” “rode under the man that hangs upon Shooter’s Hill, and a filthy sight it is to see how his flesh is shrunk to his bones.” London must have exhibited a ghastly appearance when the heads of traitors were stuck up on the city gates, on Temple Bar, Westminster Hall, and other public places. The heads and the limbs were covered with pitch, and remained in their elevated position for years, until in many cases they were blown down by the wind. Pepys once found the head of a traitor at the top of one of the turrets of Westminster Abbey.[361] Some of Charles I.’s judges received an easier punishment. William Monson, the “degraded” Earl of Castlemaine,[216] Sir Henry Mildmay, and Robert Wallop were sentenced to imprisonment for life, and to be drawn on sledges with ropes round their necks from the Tower to Tyburn and back, on the anniversary of the late King’s execution. Pepys met the three sledges on Tower Hill on the 27th of January, 1661–62.

If called upon in the character of a judge to sum up the case against the people of England in respect to their manners after the Restoration, I think it would be but fair to say that these were better than those of their rulers. It was not until after the Revolution, when the vices of Charles’s court had had time to pollute the children of the men who brought him back, that the lowest depths of immorality were reached.


  • [311]Diary,” March 26, 1662.
  • [312] Nov. 1, 1663.
  • [313] April 4, 1665.
  • [314] Sept. 13, 1665.
  • [315] Nov. 14, 1661.
  • [316] Sept. 9, 1662; Dec. 28, 1667.
  • [317]Diary,” Feb. 26, 1660–61.
  • [318] Dec. 25, 1666.
  • [319] Dec. 25, 1662.
  • [320] June 20, 1665.
  • [321] March 14, 1667.
  • [322]Diary,” March 5, 1667–68.
  • [323] Oct. 9, 1660. This is one of the additions in Mr. Mynors Bright’s edition.
  • [324] Smith’s “Life, Journals, &c., of Pepys,” vol. ii. p. 202.
  • [325]Diary,” Dec. 3, 1661.
  • [326]Diary,” Oct 31, 1663.
  • [327]Diary,” Nov. 22, 1666.
  • [328] July 27, 1665.
  • [329] Jan. 21, 1660–61.
  • [330]Diary,” Jan. 17, 1664–65.
  • [331] June 3, 1667.
  • [332]Spectator,” No. 129.
  • [333]Diary,” Sept. 15, 1667.
  • [334] Oct. 30, 1663.
  • [335] Nov. 3, 1663.
  • [336] Nov. 13, 1663.
  • [337]Diary,” July 18, 1664.
  • [338] Sept. 3, 1665.
  • [339] Sept. 17, 1660.
  • [340] March 27, 1667.
  • [341] March 18, 1663–64.
  • [342]Diary,” Jan. 17, 1667–68.
  • [343] Dec. 4, 1668.
  • [344] Jan. 3, 1664–65.
  • [345] April 12, 1665.
  • [346]Diary,” Sept. 23, 1667.
  • [347] June 12, 1662; July 1, 1662.
  • [348] Jan. 30, 1664–65.
  • [349] March 12, 1659–60.
  • [350] Jan. 16, 1659–60.
  • [351]Diary,” Feb. 27, 1666–67.
  • [352] March 26, 1663.
  • [353] Oct. 24, 1668.
  • [354] June 27, 1661.
  • [355] “When cherries were first introduced into England they cost as much as 20s. a pound.”—Buckle’s “Common-place Book,” vol. ii. p. 395.
  • [356]Diary,” May 23, 1661.
  • [357] April 30, 1668.
  • [358] Dec. 25, 1662.
  • [359] May 30, 1663.
  • [360]Diary,” April 12, 1663.
  • [361] Oct. 21, 1660.






“The shows of things are better than themselves,
How doth it stir this airy part of us
To hear our poets tell imagin’d fights,
And the strange blows that feigned courage gives.”
The Tragedy of Nero.
Decorative Capital I

In dealing with the amusements of Pepys’s day, we find how pre-eminent a position the theatre held in popular esteem. The presentation of a new play was looked upon as an event of the greatest moment, and the various appearances of favourite actors were chronicled in the “Diary” with considerable regularity.

Immediately after the Restoration, two companies of actors were organized, who acted at two different houses: one theatre was known as the King’s house, and the other as the Duke’s house. Sir William Davenant obtained a patent for his company under the name of “The Duke’s servants,” and as he had succeeded during the[218] Commonwealth in performing certain dramatic pieces under cover of a musical accompaniment, his theatre was sometimes known as “The Opera.” A patent for “The King’s servants” was granted to Tom Killigrew, whose house was for distinction’s sake called “The Theatre.” Pepys has registered as many as 145 plays which he saw acted, some of them several times over, and there is every reason to believe that he saw many more during the period over which the “Diary” extends, that he has omitted to mention.[362] When the theatres were first opened, the old plays were revived until the living dramatists had time to produce new ones, but several of the old masterpieces held their ground for many years. Among the revived dramatists were Marlowe, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Ford, Massinger, and Shirley. In the whole of Evelyn’s “Diary,” Hamlet is the only play of Shakespeare which the author mentions as having seen acted, and his observation upon this is that “now the old plays begin to disgust this refined age, since his Majesty’s been so long abroad.”[363] Yet, in the one month of December, 1660, Pepys had seen two distinct plays of Shakespeare, and after the date of Evelyn’s entry, he saw Henry IV., Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Merry Wives, Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry VIII.,[219] Macbeth, Othello, Taming of a Shrew, and Tempest, which proves that Shakespeare was more generally appreciated than is usually supposed. Here we have eleven plays, which is the largest number of plays by one dramatist, with the exception of Fletcher, whose separate productions and joint ones with Beaumont number as many as twenty-four. Shirley comes next with nine, then Ben Jonson with five, Ford with two, and Massinger with the same number. We have already seen how little Pepys appreciated Shakespeare’s genius, but it seems as if he could not enough express his delight in the plays of Ben Jonson. He describes the “Alchymist” as “a most incomparable play,”[364] and the “Silent Woman” as “the best comedy, I think, that ever was wrote;”[365] of “Every Man in His Humour,” he writes, “wherein is the greatest propriety of speech that ever I read in my life.”

Although some of the actors had gained experience on the stage of Charles I.’s reign, most of them were novices, and it is therefore remarkable to find such an array of talent at both houses.

Most of the old players were attached to the King’s company. Hart, Mohun, and Burt were all fine actors, and they had acted female parts before the suppression of the theatre, but Betterton, one of the greatest actors that ever lived, was a host in himself and the mainstay of the Duke’s house. Pepys was never tired of lauding his powers, and delighted in seeing him [220]act. His Hamlet was “beyond imagination,”[366] and his Henry V. “incomparable.”[367] Mrs. Knipp was one of those actresses of whom little or nothing is known outside the “Diary,” but who makes a considerable figure there. Pepys was very partial to this free-and-easy lady, and when we read of his behaviour to her we need not be surprised to find Mr. Knipp alluded to as a “jealous-looking fellow.”[368] This is the place to expose a cruel slander against a worthy man, which Pepys has embalmed in his pages and which has not been corrected by the editors. Pepys having occasion to mention Anne and Beck Marshall, the well-known actresses, he sets down that Mrs. Pierce told him how they were the daughters of Stephen Marshall, the great Presbyterian, and then reports Nell Gwyn’s often-quoted speech to Beck as to the difference in the education of the two; the latter being “a Presbyter’s praying daughter.”[369] With such an authority it is not surprising that Lord Braybrooke should reproduce the statement in a note to another passage,[370] but on investigation the whole bubble bursts. Stephen Marshall died on the 19th of November, 1655, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. At the date of his will his wife was dead, and five of his daughters were already married, three of them at least to clergymen. The remaining daughter, Susan, who was unmarried, must have been more than twenty-one years of age at the time of her[221] father’s death, as she proved his will. These important facts were discovered by Colonel Chester, and set forth in his remarkable volume, “Westminster Abbey Registers.” It did not concern the Colonel to discover the parents of Anne and Rebecca, but he proved very conclusively that they were not the children of the Rev. Stephen Marshall. Another blunder is made in the “Memoirs of Count Grammont,” where “Roxolana” in Davenant’s “Siege of Rhodes,” is confused with “Roxana” in Lee’s “Rival Queens,” and in the notes it is inferred that one of these Mrs. Marshalls was seduced by Aubrey de Vere, last Earl of Oxford, of that name. The “Roxolana” who was deceived by Lord Oxford with a false marriage, was Elizabeth (or Frances) Davenport, who is frequently mentioned by Pepys.

At the revival of the stage after the Restoration, a more lavish expenditure on scenery and dresses became common. Pepys tells us that when Ben Jonson’s “Catiline” was acted at the King’s House, Charles II. gave the actors £500 for robes which were required.[371] We also learn that “the gallants do begin to be tired with the vanity and pride of the theatre actors, who are indeed grown very proud and rich.”[372] But a few years afterwards, when Pepys stepped up to Harris’s dressing-room after the play, he observed “much company come to him and the wits, to talk and to assign meetings.”[373] When Kynaston was beaten by Sir Charles Sedley for[222] imitating him, the manager of the King’s theatre was forced to read Kynaston’s part in “The Heiress,” much to the disadvantage of the vraisemblance of the play. Pepys writes, “but it was pleasant to see Beeston come in with others supposing it to be dark, and yet he is forced to read his part by the light of candles, and this I observing to a gentleman that sat by me, he was mightily pleased therewith, and spread it up and down.”[374] Pepys had occasional talks with Tom Killigrew on the state of the stage, and heard from him of the scheme for setting up a nursery of young actors in Moorfields, where plays should be acted; “but four operas it shall have in the year, to act six weeks at a time; where we shall have the best scenes and machines, the best music and everything as magnificent as in Christendom.” For this purpose Killigrew “sent for voices and painters and other persons from Italy,”[375] but all this fine project came to naught, and two years afterwards he explained to Pepys all that he had done for the theatre and what he proposed still to do. He said [223]“that the stage is now by his pains a thousand times better and more glorious than ever heretofore. Now wax-candles and many of them; then not above 3 lbs. of tallow: now all things civil, no rudeness anywhere; then, as in a bear-garden: then, two or three fiddlers; now, nine or ten of the best: then, nothing but rushes upon the ground, and everything else mean; now, all otherwise: then, the Queen seldom, and the King never would come; now, not the King only for state, but all civil people do think they may come as well as any.”[376]

The theatres were open in the afternoon, three o’clock being the usual hour for performance, and the plays were therefore acted by daylight during the summer. The roof consisted of skylights made of thin glass, which let the wet into the pit in times of heavy rain. Pepys felt the inconvenience on one occasion, and he wrote: “Before the play was done it fell such a storm of hail, that we in the middle of the pit were fain to rise, and all the house in a disorder.”[377] A few years after this the very same inconvenience was experienced. “A disorder in the pit by its raining in from the cupola at top,” and this must often have happened.[378]

When plays were acted at court, the performances took place at night, probably because the actors were then free after acting at the theatres. Sometimes even the King had to wait, as we read, “after all staying above an hour for the players, the King and all waiting, which was absurd, saw ‘Henry V.’ well done by the Duke’s people, and in most excellent habits, all new vests, being put on but this night.... The play continued till twelve at night.”[379]

It is here necessary to guard readers of the “Diary” against a mistake very easily fallen into in respect to the various theatres, as the editors have given no explanation to guide them. Davenant’s, or the Duke’s, company occupied[224] the old “Cockpit” in Drury Lane for a short time after the Restoration, until they removed to Lincoln’s Inn Fields, in the spring of 1662. Now Pepys frequently mentions the plays acted at the Cockpit, but these were performed at night, and apparently the Cockpit alluded to was the one at Whitehall, not that in Drury Lane. This seems evident by an entry under date Nov. 20, 1660: “I found my Lord in bed late, he having been with the King, Queen and Princess at the Cockpit all night, where General Monk treated them; and after supper a play;” because the Duke of Albemarle lived at the Cockpit in St. James’s Park. Peter Cunningham mentions in the “Handbook of London,” that he found in the records of the Audit Office a payment of xxxli. per annum, “to the Keeper of our playhouse called the Cockpitt, in St. James’s Park,” but he gives no further particulars and does not appear to have noticed how far the entries in the “Diary” illustrate this appointment. On December 1st, 1662, the Duke’s company acted before the King at the Cockpit, and January 5th, 1662–63, the King’s company acted in the same place, but Pepys did not think the latter at all equal to “the Duke’s people.”

All the entries in the “Diary” relating to the stage require more investigation than they have yet received, as the notes of the editors are quite insufficient. We have seen how the allusions to the “Cockpit” in the years 1660–62, might either refer to the Duke’s theatre or to the Court theatre, and the same confusion might easily be made in respect to the Lincoln’s Inn[225] theatre. Pepys says that on November 20th, 1660, he and Mr. Shepley went “to the new play-house near Lincoln’s Inn Fields (which was formerly Gibbon’s tennis-court).” This was the home of the King’s company from 1660 till 1663, when they went to Drury Lane. As already stated, the Duke’s company removed to Portugal Street in 1662, so that for a short period the two rival theatres were close together in the neighbourhood of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. Pepys visited all parts of the house, and did not much care where he sat so that he got in: thus on November 7, 1667, he was “forced to sit in the side balcony over against the music-room, close by my Lady Dorset and a great many great ones;” and some years before he was somewhat troubled to be seen by two or three of his clerks, who were in the half-crown box, while he was in an eighteenpenny place.[380] The price of a pit seat was 2s. 6d., and in spite of the inconvenience of the place in wet weather, it was frequented by people of fashion; for instance, the Duke of Buckingham sat there, and was surrounded by Lord Buckhurst, Sir Charles Sedley, Sir George Etherege, and other poets;[381] and “a company of fine ladies” was not absent.[382] But even at that time “citizens, ’prentices and others” jostled their betters. Pepys writes: [226]“I do not remember that I saw so many, by half, of the ordinary ’prentices and mean people in the pit at 2s. 6d. apiece as now; I going for several years no higher than the 12d. and then the 18d. places, though I strained hard to go in when I did.”[383] The theatres were generally crowded, and on special occasions it was difficult to find a place. When Etherege’s “She Would if She Could” was first acted, 1,000 persons were turned away because there was no room in the pit an hour before the performance commenced.[384] An ingenious plan for keeping seats which was in vogue for many subsequent years is mentioned by Pepys. On May 2, 1668, he writes: “To the Duke of York’s play house at a little past twelve, to get a good place in the pit for the new play, and there setting a poor man to keep my place, I out and spent an hour at Martin’s, my bookseller’s, and so back again, where I find the house quite full. But I had my place.”

When the theatre built for the King’s company in Drury Lane, was opened in 1663, Pepys found some faults in the construction, one of these being the narrowness of the passages in and out of the pit. He did not approve also of the placing of the orchestra under the stage, by which means the basses could not be heard at all, and the trebles very faintly.[385]

Pepys does not mention Fop’s Corner in the King’s theatre, a name which recalls the better-known Fop’s Alley of Her Majesty’s Opera House, but it is alluded to in Dryden’s epilogue spoken at the new house in Drury Lane on March 26th, 1674:

“So may Fop Corner full of noise remain,
And drive far off the dull attentive train.”


Pepys does, however, tell us how loudly people of fashion talked. One day Sir Charles Sedley had a merry discourse with two ladies, which prevented the Diarist from hearing any of the play. His feelings were divided between pleasure in hearing the wit and annoyance in losing the play.[386] The manners of most of the audience, as exhibited in several little traits, were far from commendable, but it would be difficult to equal the following incident, which is related as if there were nothing particularly unladylike in it: “I sitting behind in a dark place [in the theatre], a lady spit backward upon me by mistake, not seeing me, but after seeing her to be a very pretty lady, I was not troubled at it at all.”[387]

One of the institutions of the theatre was Orange Moll, who is frequently mentioned in the “Diary.” The orange girls stood with their backs to the stage, and the beaux in the pit broke jests with them. One of these women tried to impose upon Pepys by affirming that she had delivered a dozen oranges to some ladies in a box in accordance to his order, “which was wholly untrue, but yet she swore it to be true.” He denied the charge, and would not pay, but for quiet bought four shillings’ worth of oranges at 6d. apiece.[388] This was the usual price, as we learn from the prologue to Mrs. Behn’s “Young King,” 1698:—

“Half crown my play, sixpence my orange cost.”

The mistress or superior of these women was named, for distinction, Orange Moll.

Pepys makes a passing allusion to the old[228] practice of placing the notices of performances on posts, but the editors have left the passage without explanation. He writes: “I went to see if any play was acted, and I found none upon the post, it being Passion week.”[389] This is well illustrated by an anecdote:—“Master Field, the player, riding up Fleet Street a great pace, a gentleman called him, and asked what play was played that day? He (being angry to be stayed upon so frivolous a demand) answered that he might see what play was to be played upon every post. I cry you mercy (said the gentleman) I took you for a post you rode so fast.”

The other amusements mentioned by Pepys sink into insignificance by the side of the theatre, but a short enumeration of some of them may be given here. The cock-pit, in Shoe Lane, was a well-known place of resort for sporting men, and Pepys went to see some cock-fighting there, but he soon had enough of it, although he was glad to have seen “the strange variety of people.”[390] He went on one occasion to the Bear Garden, on the Bankside, “and saw some good sport of the bull’s tossing of the dogs: one into the very boxes,” but he did not much like the company, and on the whole he thought it “a very rude and nasty pleasure.”[391] At another time he went to the same place to see a prize fight, but being ashamed to be seen, he went in a back way (getting among the bulls, and fearing to be too near the bears) and sat with his cloak before his face.[392]

Pepys did not practise athletic sports himself,[229] but he liked to see them practised by others. He was a spectator at a very serious fencing-match where the combatants cut each other rather severely both in the head and legs.[393] The King was a good player at tennis, but Pepys thought it “a loathsome sight” to see his play “extolled without any cause at all.”[394] Charles was in the habit of weighing himself before and after a game, and on a certain occasion he lost four and a-half pounds. The best players in England were said to be Prince Rupert, Bab May, Captain Cooke, and Mr. (afterwards Sir Thomas) Chicheley.[395] Pepys liked a game of bowls, because he could play it with the ladies;[396] and he sometimes condescended to have a game at ninepins.[397] Gaming ran high at Court, and we are told that Lady Castlemaine played £1,000 and £1,500 at a cast, winning £15,000 one night, and losing £25,000 on another night.[398] No wonder Bishop Morley denounced this excess in play, and specially commented on the groom-porter’s conduct in one of his sermons before the Court.[399]

There are several references in the “Diary” to games of cards, but in most instances the particular game played is not mentioned. Cribbage, handycap (a game like loo), and gleek (played by three persons with forty-four cards), are, however, all specially alluded to.[400]


Pepys played at shuttlecock on January 11th, 1659–60; at shuffle (or shovel) board on July 30th, 1662, and on April 1st, 1665, and at tables or backgammon on September 11th and 16th, 1665. Among the minor amusements must be mentioned the crying of forfeits,[401] blindman’s buff,[402] and crambo or tagging of rhymes.[403]

Dancing was in high repute, and Pepys describes the various balls pretty fully. On the 31st of December, 1662, there is some lively dancing at Whitehall. The King (a good dancer) opens the ball with the Duchess of York, and the dancing commences with the Bransle or “brawl,” of Shakespeare and Gray. Then follows the swift coranto, and the country dances. When the King stood up, all the ladies, even the Queen herself, rose. A few years later a gallant company again meet at the palace, and the same order of proceeding is followed. First comes the brawl, then the coranto, and last of all a dance from France, which the King calls the “new dance.”[404]

Pepys learns the coranto himself in May, 1663, and two years afterwards he disputes with Captain Taylor on the best way of dancing it.[405] At first Pepys’s Puritan leanings led him to look rather unfavourably upon dancing, but in the end he became tolerably fond of it. On January 6th, 1667–68, he had a party for which he engaged four fiddlers at a cost of £3, and everything went off very satisfactorily in consequence.[231] All that Pepys has to say about amusements is to be found in the “Diary,” for his letters contain no information respecting the stage or the balls at Court. This is only another indication of how much we have lost by the discontinuance of the “Diary,” for it is scarcely possible to believe that the man who exhibited so absorbing an interest in the proceedings of the theatre, should suddenly have ceased to visit it.


  • [362] These entries are of so much importance in dramatic history, as giving definite dates for the performance of the various plays, that I have thought it well to give a complete list in the Appendix.
  • [363] Evelyn’s “Diary,” Nov. 26, 1661.
  • [364]Diary,” June 22, 1661.
  • [365] Sept. 19, 1665.
  • [366]Diary,” Aug. 24, 1661.
  • [367] Aug. 13, 1664.
  • [368] Dec. 8, 1665.
  • [369] Oct. 26, 1667.
  • [370] Feb. 1, 1663–64.
  • [371]Diary,” Dec. 11, 1667.
  • [372] Feb. 23, 1660–61.
  • [373] April 29, 1668.
  • [374]Diary,” Feb. 2, 1668–69.
  • [375] Aug. 2, 1664.
  • [376]Diary,” Feb. 12, 1666–67.
  • [377] June 1, 1664.
  • [378] May 1, 1668.
  • [379] Dec. 28, 1666.
  • [380]Diary,” Jan. 19, 1660–61.
  • [381] Feb. 6, 1667–68.
  • [382] March 31, 1660–61.
  • [383]Diary,” Jan. 1, 1667–68.
  • [384] Feb. 6, 1667–68.
  • [385] May 8, 1663.
  • [386]Diary,” Feb. 18, 1666–67.
  • [387] Jan. 28, 1660–61.
  • [388] May 11, 1668.
  • [389]Diary,” March 24, 1662.
  • [390] Dec. 21, 1663.
  • [391] Aug. 14, 1666.
  • [392] Sept. 9, 1667.
  • [393]Diary,” June 1, 1663.
  • [394] Dec. 28, 1663; Jan. 4, 1663–64.
  • [395] Sept. 2, 1667.
  • [396] May 1, 1661.
  • [397] April 28, 1660.
  • [398] Feb. 14, 1667–68.
  • [399] Dec. 25, 1662.
  • [400] Cribbage, Jan. 2, 1659–60, May 15, 1660; handycap, Sept. 19, 1660; gleek, Jan. 13, Feb. 17, 1661–62.
  • [401]Diary,” Feb. 4, 1660–61.
  • [402] Dec. 26, 1664.
  • [403] May 19, 1660.
  • [404] Nov. 15, 1666.
  • [405] April 23, 1665.






“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter.”
Ecclesiastes xii. 13.
Decorative Capital N

Now that all the divisions of our subject have been discussed, there is little to add in a concluding chapter. We have seen Pepys in his poverty, when he and his wife struggled to keep up a decent appearance with an empty larder and a fireless grate at home. We have seen the sudden change, when he became rich and increased his expenses with an ever-present sense of the effect of his movements upon the outer world. And, lastly, we have seen how he lived to an honoured old age, and passed out of life as a worthy example of virtue and honour. We have peeped into some of his dearly-loved books, and seen how the “Bibliotheca Pepysiana” helps to illustrate the character of its founder.

Having thus looked at the man as he lived, we passed on to his surroundings. First, we[233] dealt with the town he loved and knew so well, then made the acquaintance of the relations and friends that surrounded him, and lastly, tried to understand the arrangements of the office where he spent so large a portion of his life. This was the inner circle. The frequenters of the Court and the public characters with whom he came into occasional contact or knew only from observation at a distance, formed the outer circle of his life.

Byron, in allusion to the question, “Where is the world?” asked by Dr. Young at the age of eighty, cried out:—

Where is the world of eight years past? ’Twas there—
I look for it—’tis gone, a globe of glass
Crack’d, shiver’d, vanish’d, scarcely gazed on, ere
A silent change dissolves the glittering mass.
Statesmen, Chiefs, Orators, Queens, Patriots, Kings,
And Dandies, all are gone on the wind’s wings.”

Yet we may point to the pages of Pepys’s “Diary,” and say that there the globe is still whole, and that there men and women of nearly three times eighty years ago live and move before our eyes.

In taking leave of the official, the gossip, the musician, and the man of letters, I can only express the hope that these pages may be found a useful companion to one of the most interesting books in the English language.



I. Portraits of Samuel Pepys.
II. The Schemes of Alexander Marchant, Sieur de St. Michel (Mrs. Pepys’s Father).
III. Pepys’s Manuscripts at Oxford.
IV. Musical Instruments.
V. Pepys’s Correspondents.
VI. List of the Officers of the Navy.
VII. Plays which Pepys saw Acted.







Decorative Capital P


1. Savill (a painter in Cheapside). 1661. See “Diary,” Nov. 23.

Jan. 6, 1661–62: “I sent my lute to the Paynter’s, and there I staid with him all the morning to see him paint the neck of my lute in my picture, which I was not pleased with after it was done.”

Pepys appears to have sat to this same painter for a miniature or “picture in little,” which cost £3. See “Diary,” Feb. 20, 1661–62, June 11, 1662.

Jan. 28, 1661–62: “The Paynter, though a very honest man, I found to be very silly as to matter of skill in shadows, for we were long in discourse, till I was almost angry to hear him talk so simply.”

2. John Hales. 1666.

March 17, 1666: “This day I began to sit, and he will make me, I think, a very fine picture. He promises it shall be as good as my wife’s, and I sit to have it full of shadows, and do almost break my neck looking over my shoulder to make the posture for him to work by.”


March 30, 1666: “To Hales’s, and there sat till almost quite darke upon working my gowne, which I hired to be drawn in: an Indian gown.”

April 11, 1666: “To Hales’s, where there was nothing to be found to be done more to my picture, but the musique, which now pleases me mightily, it being painted true.”

This picture was bought by Peter Cunningham, at the sale of the Pepys Cockerell collection in 1848, and it was purchased by the trustees of the National Portrait Gallery in 1866. The eyes look at the spectator, and the face is turned three-quarters to the left. The music is Pepys’s own song, “Beauty Retire.”

“There is a similar picture belonging to Mr. Hawes, of Kensington, which Mr. Scharf, the Keeper of the National Portrait Gallery, thinks is either a replica or a good old copy.”—Rev. Mynors Bright’s edition of the “Diary,” vol. iii. p. 423 (note).

Walpole mentions Hales in his “Anecdotes of Painting,” and says that he lived in Southampton Street, Bloomsbury, and died there suddenly in 1679.

3. Sir Peter Lely. Pepysian Library, Magdalene College, Cambridge.

4. Sir Godfrey Kneller. Andrew Pepys Cockerell, Esq. This picture was lent to the First Special Exhibition of National Portraits, 1866, and was numbered 950.

5. Sir Godfrey Kneller. The Royal Society.

6. Sir Godfrey Kneller. Hall of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

7. A small portrait attributed to Kneller, representing a seated figure; with a globe in one corner, and a guitar (or lute) and compasses on a table, and a ship in the distance at sea. Mr. Scharf suggests the possibility of this being the portrait by Savill described above (No. 1), and this suggestion seems highly probable. Mrs. Frederick Pepys Cockerell.

8. Anonymous. 1675.


“The picture is beyond praise; but causes admiration in all that see it. Its posture so stately and magnificent, and it hits so naturally your proportion and the noble air of your face, that I remain immovable before it hours together,” &c. T. Hill to Pepys, Lisbon, July 1, 1675.—Smith’sLife of Pepys,” vol. i. p. 161.

9. The picture by Verrio at Christ’s Hospital, of James II. on his throne receiving the mathematical pupils of the school, contains a portrait of Pepys. The original drawing for the picture by Verrio is in the possession of Andrew Pepys Cockerell, Esq.


1. Robert White. Kneller, painter. Portrait in a carved oval frame, bearing inscription SAM. PEPYS. CAR. ET. JAC. ANGL. REGIB. A. SECRETIS. ADMIRALIÆ. Motto under the frame, “Mens cujusque is est quisque.” Large book-plate.

2. Robert White. Kneller, painter. Portrait in an oval medallion on a scroll of paper. Motto over his head, “Mens cujusque is est quisque;” underneath the same inscription as on No. 1. Small book-plate.

These two engravings are described by Granger.

3. J. Bragg. Kneller, painter. Frontispiece to vol. i. of the first edition of the “Diary,” 1825 (4to.). “From the original in the possession of S. P. Cockerell.” Picture described as No. 7, now in the possession of Mrs. Frederick Pepys Cockerell.

4. J. Bragg. Kneller, painter. Frontispiece to vol. i. of the second edition of the “Diary,” 1828; much worn in the third edition, 1848. “From the original picture in the possession of S. P. Cockerell.” Picture described as No. 4, now in the possession of Andrew Pepys Cockerell, Esq.

5. W. C. Edwards. Kneller, painter. Frontispiece to vol. i. of the fourth edition of the “Diary,” 1854. From the same original as the preceding article.


6. Charles Wass. Walker, painter. In Smith’s “Life, Journals, and Correspondence of Pepys,” vol. i. 1841, said to be in the collection of the Royal Society, but this is a mistake.


1. From the portrait by Kneller (No. 4), series of photographs published by the South Kensington Museum under the superintendence of the Council of the Arundel Society.

2. From Edwards’s engraving of Kneller’s Portrait, “Diary,” ed. Mynors Bright, vol. i. 1875.

3. From Hales’s Portrait (No. 2), “Diary,” ed. Mynors Bright, vol. iii. 1876.


The following extracts from the “Diary” refer to a bust which was made for Pepys:—

Feb. 10, 1668–69: “So to the plaisterer’s at Charing Cross that casts heads and bodies in plaister: and there I had my whole face done; but I was vexed first to be forced to daub all my face over with pomatum: but it was pretty to feel how soft and easily it is done on the face, and by and by, by degrees how hard it becomes, that you cannot break it, and sits so close, that you cannot pull it off, and yet so easy, that it is as soft as a pillow so safe is everything where many parts of the body do bear alike. Thus was the mould made; but when it came off there was little pleasure in it, as it looks in the mould, nor any resemblance whatever there will be in the figure when I come to see it cast off.”

Feb. 15, 1668–69: “To the plaisterer’s, and there saw the figure of my face taken from the mould: and it is most admirably like, and I will have another made, before I take it away.”






Decorative Capital T

The unpractical schemes of Mons. St. Michel are alluded to on pages 7–8 of this book, but the editors of the “Diary” have taken no pains to obtain any information respecting him, and his name even does not appear in the “Diary.” Lord Braybrooke suggests, without any justification for the suggestion, that Mrs. Pepys’s mother had married again (see “Diary,” March 29th, 1667).

Pepys was wrong in the date of the patent, which is numbered 138, and Sir Edward Ford’s name does not appear in it. Sir John Colladon, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, was naturalized by Charles II., and appointed one of the Physicians to the Queen.

St. Michel’s name evidently puzzled the man who drafted the patent. The following is a copy of the original patent:—

Charles the Second, by the grace of God, &c., to all to whom these psents shall come, greeting

Whereas we are informed that John Colladon, Doctor in Phisicke, and Alexander Marchant, of St. Michall, have, with much paines and charge, found “A way to pvent and cure the Smoakeing of Chimneys, either by stopping the Tunnell[242] towards the Top, and altering the former Course of the Smoake, or by setting Tunnells With Checke within the Chimneyes;” wch Invenc̃on soe found out as aforesaid was never publickly exercised or made vse of in anie of our kingdomes or dominions: And whereas the said John Colladon and Alexander Marchant have humbly besought vs for their better incouragemt to exercise and put in practice the said Invenc̃on, that wee would be gratiously pleased to graunt vnto them, the said Joh. Colladon and Alexander Marchant, our Lr̃es Patents of Priviledge for the sole vse and benifitt thereof, for the time and terme of fowerteene yeares, according to the statute in that case made and provided.

Nowe knowe ye, therefore, that we, of our princely inclinac̃on, being willing to incourage and promote works of this nature, and to give all due and fitting incouragemt to the inventers of such arts as may be of publicke vse and benifitt, of our especiall grace, certeine knowledge, and meere moc̃on, and vpon the humble petic̃on of the said John Colladon and Alexander Marchant, have given and graunted, and by these psents, for vs, our heyres and successors, doe give and graunt vnto the said John Colladon and Alexander Marchant, their executors, administrators, and assignes, speciall licence, full power, priviledge, and authoritie, that they and every of them, by themselves, their or anie of their deputie or deputies, servants, workmen, or assignes, at all times and from time to time hereafter, dureing the terme of yeares hereafter in these psents expressed, shall and lawfully may vse, exercise, imploy, and enioy the said newe Invenc̃on in and throughout all our realmes and dominions, and every or anie of them, in such manner as to them or anie or either of them, in their or anie of their discrec̃ons shall seeme meet, and shall and may have and enioy the sole benifitt and advantage comeing or ariseing by reason thereof, dureing the terme of yeares hereby graunted; and to the end, the said John Colladon and[243] Alexander Marchant, their executors, administrators, and assignes, and every of them, may the better enioy the full and whole benifitt and the sole vse and exercise of the Invenc̃on aforesaid, wee doe by these psents, for vs, our heyres and successors, require and streightly cōmaund all and every person and persons, bodyes politicke and corporate, of whatsoever qualitie or degree, name or addic̃on, they be, that neither they nor anie of them, dureing the terme of yeares hereby graunted, either directly or indirectly, doe or shall vse or put in practice the said Invenc̃on, soe by the said John Colladon and Alexander Marchant attained vnto or invented as aforesaid, nor doe or shall counterfeit, imitate, or resemble the same, nor doe or shall make anie addition therevnto, or substracc̃on from the same, whereby to ptend themselves the inventors or devisors thereof, without the licence, consent, or agreement of the said John Colladon and Alexander Marchant, their executors, administrators, or assignes, in writeing vnder their hands and seales, first had and obteined in that behalfe, vpon such paines and penalties as can or may be inflicted vpon such offendors for their contempt of this our cōmaund in that behalfe, and further to be answerable to the said John Colladon and Alexander Marchant, their executors, and administrators, and assignes, according to lawe and justice, for their damages thereby susteined; to have and to hold all the said licences, powers, privileges, and authorities hereby graunted as aforesaid vnto them, the said John Colladon and Alexander Marchant, for & dureing the terme of fowerteene yeares from the makeing of these psentꝬ next ensueing, and fully to be compleate and ended, according to the statute in such case made and provided. And further, wee doe by these psents, for vs, our heyres and successors, give and graunt vnto the said John Colladon and Alexander Marchant, their executors, administrators, and assignes, full power and authoritie that they and every of them, their, every or anie of theyr deputies, servantꝬ, and agents,[244] or anie of them, haveing first obteined a warrant in this behalfe from the Lord Cheife Justice of the Courte of King’s Bench for the time being, may, with the assistance of a constable or anie other lawfull officer, at convenient times in the day, dureing the terme aforesaid, and in lawfull manner, enter into and make search in anie houses or other places where there shall be iust cause of suspic̃on, for discovering and findeing out all such persons as shall, within the terme of fowerteene yeares aforesaid, imitate or cause to be imitated, or shall vse or put in practize the said Invenc̃on, by the said John Colladon and Alexander Marchant invented and found out as aforesaid, that soe such offenders may be proceeded agt, and punished according to theyr demeritts, and theyr invenc̃ons and works tending to the ends aforesaid then and there found, to be seized upon, broken in peeces, and defaced, and the materialls thereof left in the hands and custodie of some constable or officer, to be disposed in such manner and forme as wee, our heyres and successors, shall from time to time direct and appoint. And further, wee doe by these psens, for vs, our heyres and successors, will, authorize, and require all and singuler justices of the peace, mayors, sheriffes, bayliffes, constables, headboroughes, and all other officers and ministers whatsoever, of vs, our heyres and successors, for the time being, that they and every of them respectively, be from time to time dureing the said terme hereby graunted, in theyr respective places, favouring, aydeing, helping, and assisting vnto the said John Colladon and Alexander Marchant, theyr executors, administrators, and assigns, and to theyr and every of their deputy and deputies, servantꝬ and agents, in and by all things in and about the accomplishment of our will and pleasure herein declared, and in the exercise and execuc̃on of the powers and privileges herein and hereby graunted, or menc̃oned to be graunted, as aforesaid. And moreover, wee will and cōmaund by these psents, for vs, our heyres and [245]successors, that our said officers and ministers, or anie of them, doe not molest, trouble, or interrupt the said John Colladon and Alexander Marchant, or either of them, theyr or either of theyr executors, administrators, or assignes, or theyr or either of theyr deputie or deputies, servants, or agents, or anie of them, in or about the use or exercise of the said Invenc̃on, or in any matter or thing concerneing the same. Provided alwayes, that if at anie tyme dureing the said terme of fowerteene yeares, it shall be made appeare vnto vs, our heyres or successors, that this our graunt is contrary to lawe, or piudiciall or inconvenient, and not of publicke vse or benifitt, then vpon significac̃on and declarac̃on thereof to be made by vs, our heyres or successors, these our Lr̃es Patents shall forthwith cease, determine, and be vtterly voyde to all intents and purposes, and the same not to be vsed, exercised, or imployed, anie thing herein-before menc̃oned to the contrary notwithstanding. Provided further, that in case it shall be found or made appeare that the said Invenc̃on is not a newe Invenc̃on of the said John Colladon and Alexander Marchant, as to the publicke vse and exercise thereof within this our kingdome of England, then at all tymes from thenceforth these psents shall cease, determine, and be voyde, anie thing in these psents before conteined to the contrary notwithstanding. Provided alsoe, that these our Lr̃es Patents, or anie thing herein conteined, shall not extend, or be construed to extend, to give priviledge to the said John Colladon and Alexander Marchant, or either of them, their or either of theyr executors, administrators, or assignes, or anie of them, to vse, or imitate any invenc̃on or worke found out or invented by anie other person or persons, and publickly exercised within these our said relmes, or anie the dominions or territories therevnto belonging, vnto whom wee have alreadie graunted our like Lr̃es Patents of Priviledge for the sole vse, exercise, and benifitt thereof; it being our will and pleasure that the said John Colladon and [246]Alexander Merchant, their executors, administrators, and assignes, and all and singuler other person and persons to whom we have alreadie graunted our like Lr̃es PatentꝬ of Priviledge as aforesaid, shall distinctly vse and practize their severall Invenc̃ons by them invented and found out, according to the true intent and meaneing of the said severall and respective Lr̃es Patents, and of these psents. And lastly, wee doe by these psents, for vs, our heyres and successors, graunt vnto the said John Colladon and Alexander Merchant, their executors, administrators, and assignes, that these our Lr̃es Patents, or the inrollmt thereof, shall be in and by all things good, valid, sufficient, and effectuall in the lawe, according to the true intent & meaneing thereof, and shall be taken, construed, and adiudged most favourable and benificiall for the best benifitt and advantage of the said John Colladon and Alexander Marchant, theyr executors, administrators, and assignes, aswell in all courts of record as elsewhere, notwithstanding the not full and certeine describeing the manner and quality of the said Invenc̃on, or of the matialls thereof, or of the true and certeine vse and benifitt thereof, and notwithstanding anie other defecte, incerteintyes, or imperfecc̃ons in these psents conteined, or anie act, statute, ordinance, provision, proclamac̃on, or restreint to the contrary thereof, in anie wise notwithstanding.

“In witnes, &c. Witnes the King at Westm̃, the

“Second day of May.

Ꝑ br̃e de privat. sigill.,” &c.

In 1665 St. Michel was again anxious for a patent. The following is a copy of a petition preserved among the State Papers in the Record Office:—

“To the Kings most Excellt Matie.

“The humble petic̃ion of Major Allexandr Marchant aꝉs de St. Michell upon the River Couanon neare the Towne of Bauge in Anjou in France Esqe. Sheweth—


“That yor petr hath invented the two following publick conveniences, first, for a generall forme how to keepe alwayes cleare water in ponds to wash horses, sweete & with as little Mudd in the bottome as the Owner thereof shall wish, if hee follow the direct modell of yor Mte petr so being no Mudd Stincks (as now it is) a horse may safely bee washed in it & drinke there. Fire with it may be extinguished if accidents should happen, the stirring then being not noysome wch now is so much, that in Somer time may cause an increase of the plague. All which Evills may bee prevented with as little charge to the owner as in the old fashion, so great inconveniences are (by the filthiness of these waters) contracted to horses with losses both to rich & poore especially those of the Army although Farriers for their gains, Ostlers to save themselves a Labour of going to the River doth mainteyne stincking water good to heale horses, but are convinced by the Argumt: That the King having nowhere (as his Mty may) the most stinking ponds to wash his Mte horses (if that were good) that through the Three Kingdomes by Rivers side & other sweete water where horses doe goe to Drink, no such corrupt ponds are erected to enter them in it, coming out of the cleare water.

“All these things considered of yr Mtie yr petr beseecheth yor Royall pleasure for a patent for this publick goode for 14 years that hee may manifest it. And that yr Mtie bee pleased to have incerted in the said patent that nobody whatsoever may not for the space of the said 14 yeares use the said invention without your petr Lycense under his hand & Seal or the hand & Seale of his Deputyes in any part of yor Mte Dominions, wherein many ponds for cattle being so full of Mudd that there remaineth no room for water, without often great charges or Labour ill spent, Fish ponds also may bee so ordered. And that your petr may find no obsticle in receiving what hee shall contract[248] for, with the severall partyes who shall make use of his said Modell.

“Your petr further sheweth as to his second publick Convenience That hee hath also invented, That by Moulding (or by rubbing bricks ready made in a Mould of ruffe Stone) to any proportion of externall ornamt for building as that being sooner ready then them that wich are carved & with great wast, Labour, time & cost spent.

“Your Mties petr: humbly desires yor Royall Graunt also for it, And that it may bee inserted in the recited patent, that nobody may make none, nor cause none to bee made by yr petrs Invention of what proporc̃on or Figure whatsoever to bee moulded or rubbed, but by Lycence of yor petr: in the space of the said 14 yeares the patent also bearing what forfeiture yor Mate may thinke just, & as also for the former demand that the discoverers of Transgressing, yor Mate patent agt: this publick good may find some encouragemt.

“And yor petr shall pray,” &c.

The petition was referred to the Attorney-General.

“Att ye Court at Whitehall, June 2, 1665.

“His Maty is graciously pleased to referre this Petic̃on to Mr. Attorney Genrall to consider of this petitioners suit & ye nature of ye invencon, & to certify his Mty what his Opinion is upon it. And then his Mty will be glad to signify his further Pleasure for ye encouragemt of a publicke Good.


The Attorney-General reported as follows:—

“May it please yor most Excellent Majty.

“In obedience to yor Majties referrence I have considered of this petic̃on, & conferred with the petr thereopon. And in case the perticulers therein menc̃oned to bee invented by him bee new Invenc̃ons[249] (as for any thing yett appeareing to mee they are) Yor Majty, if soe graciously pleased, may grant the peticonr the sole use & benefitt thereof for fourteene yeares according to the statute in that behalfe made.

“And such Grants usually have a provisor therein which render the same void in case the thing granted bee not a new Invention within the meaneing of that statute.

“Which I humbly submitt to yor Majties further pleasure.


The result was a warrant for a patent.

St. Michel’s Invenc̃on.

“Whereas Major Alexander Mercht aꝉs St. Michaell has by his long travailes, study, paines, & charges found out an invenc̃on or way for to keep ye water that is in ponds wherein people wash their horses & in other ponds wholsome sweet & with little or noe mudd in ye botome as also a way for ye moulding, grinding or rubbing of bricks in any forme or shape wtsoever fit for the internall & externall ornamt of any buildings within any of these Our Dominions. And whereas the sd. Alex. Marchant aꝉs St. Michael hath humbly besought us yt Wee would bee graciously pleased to grant unto him Our Lr̃es Patents of licence & priviledge for ye sole use & benefit of his severall Invenc̃ons for ye terme of 14 yeares according to ye statute in such case made & provided. Our &c: containing our Grant, licence or priviledge unto ye sd Alexander Merchant aꝉs St. Michael of ye sole use & benefit of his sd s̃rall invenc̃ons within these Our Realmes & Dominions for ye terme of 14 yeares according to ye statute in yt behalfe made with such powers clauses & provisoes as are usually incerted in grants of like nature.

Snd. &c. ye 7th of July, 1665.

“To Our Attorney Genr̃all.



Not contented with curing smoky chimneys, purifying water, and moulding bricks, St. Michel proposed in 1667 to raise submerged ships, and to prevent others from being submerged.

“Propositions dedicated to the King by Alex. Marchant, Sieur de St. Michel sur Couanon les Bauges, in Anjou, Captain and Major of English troops in Italy and Flanders, offering to show that he can draw up all submerged ships; can prevent others from being submerged; has discovered King Solomon’s gold and silver mines, much vaster than those discovered by Columbus, and now much fuller than they were in that King’s time. He wishes to satisfy His Majesty on his first proposition, lest the other should be deemed unworthy an audience.”—Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1667, pp. 252–3.

What a curious comment upon this statement of the discovery of gold and silver mines is to be found in the following extract from the “Diary”:—

March 29, 1667: “4s. a week which his (Balty St. Michel’s) father receives of the French Church is all the subsistence his father and mother have, and about 20l. a year maintains them.”







Decorative Capital C

Chapter V. p. 82.—Pepys’s manuscripts in the Rawlinson Collection at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, are very fully described in the “Oxford Catalogue of Manuscripts,” and the Rev. W. D. Macray’s Index to the same. Besides the letters from various persons which are noted further on in the list of Pepys’s correspondents, are a large number of copies of letters from Pepys himself. The other papers are described as (1) Naval and Official, (2) Personal and Miscellaneous. In the first class are various notes on the state of the navy at different periods, questions respecting shipbuilding, memorials, minutes, and reports. In the second class are accounts of expenses, bonds, inventories, lists of books, &c.; and in both classes are papers of considerable interest for the purpose of elucidating the particulars of Pepys’s life. Besides the above there are papers relating to other members of the family.







Decorative Capital C

Chapter V. p. 98.—The following notice of old musical instruments will help to illustrate some of Pepys’s allusions:—

“The lute about three hundred years ago was almost as popular as is at the present day the pianoforte. Originally it had eight thin catgut strings arranged in four pairs, each being tuned in unison; so that its open strings produced four tones; but in the course of time, more strings were added. Until the sixteenth century twelve was the largest number, or rather, six pairs. Eleven appear for some centuries to have been the most usual number of strings: these produced six tones, since they were arranged in five pairs and a single string. The latter, called the chanterelle, was the highest. According to Thomas Mace, the English lute in common use during the seventeenth century had twenty-four strings, arranged in twelve pairs, of which six pairs ran over the finger-board and the other six by the side of it. This lute was therefore, more properly speaking, a theorbo. The neck of the lute, and also of the theorbo, had frets consisting of catgut strings tightly fastened round it at the proper distances required for ensuring a chromatic succession of intervals.... The lute was made of various sizes according to the purpose for which it was intended in performance. The treble[253] lute was of the smallest dimensions, and the bass lute of the largest. The theorbo, or double-necked lute, which appears to have come into use during the sixteenth century, had, in addition to the strings situated over the finger-board, a number of others running at the left side of the finger-board, which could not be shortened by the fingers, and which produced the bass tones. The largest kinds of theorbo were the archlute and the chitarrone.

“The most popular instruments played with a bow at that time [1659] were the treble-viol, the tenor-viol and the bass-viol. It was usual for viol players to have ‘a chest of viols,’ a case containing four or more viols of different sizes. Thus Thomas Mace, in his directions for the use of the viol, ‘Musick’s Monument,’ 1676, remarks: ‘Your best provision and most complete, will be a good chest of viols six in number, viz., two basses, two tenors, and two trebles, all truly and proportionably suited.’ The violist, to be properly furnished with his requirements, had therefore to supply himself with a larger stock of instruments than the violinist of the present day.

“That there was, in the time of Shakespeare, a musical instrument called recorder is undoubtedly known to most readers from the stage-direction in ‘Hamlet’: ‘Re-enter players with recorders.’ But not many are likely to have ever seen a recorder, as it has now become very scarce.”—Engel’s Musical Instruments (S. K. M. Art Handbooks), pp. 114–119.







Decorative Capital C

Chapter VII.—The following is a list of those friends and acquaintances whose letters to Pepys are still extant. The greater proportion of the letters are at Oxford, but some printed in the “Diary” are at Cambridge.

[The date is that of the letter. B. affixed shows that the MS. is in the Bodleian Library; S. that the letter is printed in Smith’s “Life, &c., of Pepys;” and P. that it is printed in the Correspondence attached to the “Diary.”]






Of the Secretaries of the Admiralty, and Principal Officers of the Navy; viz., Treasurers, Comptrollers, Surveyors, Clerks of the Acts, and Commissioners of the Navy at Chatham; to the beginning of the 18th century. (Compiled by Colonel Pasley, C.B., R.E.)

Decorative Capital F

From the middle of the 16th to the end of the 17th century, Chatham was by far the most important of the English naval stations, and the Commissioner resident there had from the first a seat and vote at the Board in London—a privilege which was not extended to his colleague at Portsmouth until a much later date. The rise of the latter port dates from the alliance with the Dutch, and war with France which followed the accession of William and Mary, and which made it necessary to establish a first-class naval yard at a less distance from the French coast than Chatham. The same cause led to the construction of a dry dock at Plymouth. See “Edmund Dummer,” in the list of Surveyors of the Navy.

The figures in the first column represent the year of appointment, when that can be ascertained. The prefix “circ.” implies that the person named in the second column is known to have held the office at the time stated, although the date of first appointment is not known. In some cases the only date that can be found is that of an order to the[267] Attorney-General to prepare letters patent; sometimes that of the patent itself; sometimes of a warrant to execute the office, notwithstanding that the patent is not yet passed; and occasionally that of a letter from some person at Court informing his correspondent that the King or Queen has signed such and such a patent. It has been thought better, therefore, to state only the year of appointment, as the insertion in lists of this kind of the month and day tends to give them a delusive appearance of accuracy.

The scantiness of MS. records before the Revolution arises from the practice which existed of retiring Officers taking away with them their office books and papers, which they regarded as their own property. This was put a stop to in the Dockyards by a Navy Board Order of the 18th August, 1692. Unless otherwise stated, the manuscripts in the following lists are in the British Museum.



From the first placing of the Office of Lord High Admiral in Commission to the commencement of the 18th century.

Note.—An asterisk (*) before the name of a titled office-holder signifies that the title (knighthood or other) was conferred upon him during his tenure of that office.

Date of Appointment. Name. Authority. Lord High Admiral.
1628 Edward Nicholas. Cal. Stte Papers (Domestic Series). In Commission.
Nicholas had been Secretary to Lord Zouch, Warden of the Cinque Ports, and afterwards to the Duke of Buckingham, Lord High Admiral. On the assassination of the latter, in 1628, the office of Lord High Admiral was for the first time entrusted to a body of commissioners instead of to an individual, and Nicholas was appointed Secretary of the Admiralty. When the Earl of Northumberland was appointed Lord High Admiral, ten years later, Nicholas ceased to hold any office immediately connected with the Navy, but retained the post of Clerk of the Council. He [269]was afterwards knighted, and became Secretary of State to Charles I., and (after the Restoration) to Charles II.
1638 Thomas Smith. Cal. St. Pap. Earl of Northumberland.
1643 ——?   Earl of Warwick.
1645 ——?   A Committee of both Houses of Parliament.
1648 ——?   Earl of Warwick again.
I have not met with any record of the names of the Secretaries during the period from 1643 to 1649.
1649 Robert Coytmor. Cal. St. Pap. A Committee of the Council of State.
1652 Robert Blackborne. Cal. St. Pap. Commissioners appointed by Act of Parliament.
Blackborne had previously held the office of Secretary to the “Navy Committee,” a Committee of the House of Commons. The precise relations existing between the numerous committees and commissions at this period are not very clear.
1653 Robert Blackborne. Cal. St. Pap. Commissioners appointed by Act of the Convention.
1654 Robert Blackborne. Addit. MS. 18,986, fo. 150 (Letter to Blackborne from Commissr. Pett). Do. by Patent of the Protector Oliver.
1658 Robert Blackborne. Admiralty Orders and Instructions, 1656 to 1658 (Admiralty Library MS.). Do. by Patent of the Protector Richard.[270]
1659 Robert Blackborne. Addit. MS. 9,302, fo. 183 (List of Officers and Salaries of the Admiralty and Navy before the Restoration) Commissioners appointed by the Rump.
Blackborne continued to hold the office of Secretary until the appointment of the Duke of York as Lord High Admiral in July, 1660. He is frequently mentioned by Pepys.
1660 *Sir William Coventry. From “Mr. Hewer’s account of the Secretaries of the Admiralty from King Charles II.’s restoration to King James II.’s withdrawing, December, 1688.

(MS. in Pepysian Collection, “Naval Minutes.”)
Duke of York.
1667 Matthew Wren. Duke of York.
1672 Sir John Werden. Duke of York.
1673 Samuel Pepys. King Charles II, with a Commission.
1679 Thomas Hayter. In Commission.
1680 John Brisband. In Commission.
1684 Samuel Pepys. King Charles II. (assisted by the Duke of York).
1685 Samuel Pepys. King James II.
1688 Samuel Pepys. Prince of Orange.
1689 Phineas Bowles. In Commission.
1690 James Sotherne. Luttrell, ii p. 10. In Commission.
1694 William Bridgman. Luttrell, iii. p. 341. In Commission.[271]
1695 William Bridgman and Josiah Burchett, joint Secretaries Haydn’s “Book of Dignities.” In Commission.
The date of the joint appointment is taken from Haydn, but the fact is proved by Admiralty letters in the Chatham Dockyard Records, which about this time bear the signature sometimes of Bridgman and sometimes of Burchett as Secretary.
1698 Josiah Burchett, alone. Luttrell, iv. 396. In Commission.
1702 Josiah Burchett.   Earl of Pembroke.
1702 Josiah Burchett, George Clark, joint. Luttrell, v. 176. Prince George of Denmark.
1705 Josiah Burchett, alone. Luttrell, v. 605. Prince George of Denmark.
1708 Josiah Burchett.   Earl of Pembroke.
1709 Josiah Burchett.   In Commission.
Note.—Mr. Burchett continued to hold this office until 1742, when he retired. (“British Chronologist,” 29th Oct., 1742.)



To the commencement of the 18th century.

Date of Appointment. Name. Authority.
circ. 1546 Robert Legg. Harleian MS. 249.
The first paper in this volume of the Harleian Collection is a “Confession taken of 23 of the crediblest forfathers at Deptford-Strande the 29th day of October (anno R. R. Hen. VIII. 38vo.) consernynge the taking of the Gallye Blancherd, in the presens of Sir Thomas Cleire, Lieuftennaunt, Robert Legg Esq. Treasourer, Will. Brocke, Comptroller, Benjamin Gonson, Surveour, and Rich Brocke, Capitaigne of the Kynges Majesties Gallye Subtill.” I have not found any record of the date of Legg’s appointment.
1549 Benjamin Gonson. Additl. MSS. vol. 9295, fo. 56.
1577 Benjamin Gonson and *Sir John Hawkins, joint. Additl. MSS. vol. 9295, fo. 56.
1578 Sir John Hawkins, alone. Cal. St. Papers.
1595 Vacant. Cal. St. Papers.
On Sir John Hawkins’s death in 1595, Roger Langford, his deputy, was appointed to do the duty of Treasurer, with the title of “Paymaster of Marine Causes,” pending the appointment of a new Treasurer, which did not take place till 1598.
1598 *Sir Fulke Greville.[406] Cal. St. Pap.
1604 Sir Robert Mansell. Cal. St. Pap., and Phineas Pett’s Autobiography.
1618 Sir William Russell. Cal. St. Pap.
1627 *Sir Sackville Crowe, Bart. Cal. St. Pap.[273]
Sir Sackville Crowe was one of the Special Commissioners appointed in 1618 by James I. to inquire into abuses in the navy. In 1627 Sir W. Russell was superseded in his favour, but three years later he was charged with misappropriation, or embezzlement, and was compelled to resign, when Russell was reinstated.
1630 Sir William Russell, again. Cal. St. Pap.
1639 Sir William Russell, and *Sir Henry Vane, joint. Cal. St. Pap.
1642 Sir Henry Vane, alone. Forster, “Statesmen of the Commonwealth.”
1651 Richard Hutchinson. Cal. St. Pap.
Hutchinson had been Deputy Treasurer to Sir H. Vane, whom he succeeded as Treasurer in 1651. He continued to hold that office until the Restoration. He is several times mentioned in Pepys’s “Diary.”
1660 Sir George Carteret. Pepys, &c.
Sir George Carteret had been Comptroller of the Navy before the Civil War.
1667 Earl of Anglesey. Duke of York’s Memoirs, p. 235.
1668 Sir Thomas Osborne, Bart., Sir Thomas Littleton, Bart., joint. Duke of York’s Memoirs, p. 236.
1671 Sir Thomas Osborne, alone. Duke of York’s Memoirs, p. 236.
The patent of Sir Thomas Osborne (afterwards Duke of Leeds) to be sole Treasurer is printed in the Duke of York’s “Memoirs of the English Affairs,” pp. 235–238. It recites and revokes the appointments of 1667 and 1668.
1673 Edward Seymour. Collins’s “Peerage of England” (Sir E. Brydges’ edition), vol. i. p. 195.[274]
Afterwards Sir Edward Seymour, Bart. The Duke of Somerset and the Marquis of Hertford are descended from him.
1681 Viscount Falkland. Luttrell, vol. i. p. 76.
Lord Falkland died in 1694. (Luttrell, iii. 317.)
1689 Edward Russell. Collins’s “Peerage,” vol. i. p. 283.
A distinguished naval commander. Afterwards Earl of Orford, which title became extinct at his death.
1699 Sir Thomas Littleton, Bart. Luttrell, v. 521.
Died in 1710. (Luttrell, vi. 530.)
1710 Robert Walpole. Luttrell, vi. 534.
Afterwards Prime Minister and Earl of Orford.


  • [406] Afterwards Lord Brooke.


To the commencement of the 18th century.

Date of Appointment. Name. Authority.
circ. 1514 John Hopton. Cal. of Letters, &c., Henry VIII.
Hopton certainly held the office of Comptroller in 1514, but I have been unable to ascertain the date of his appointment. He died about 1524.
circ. 1542 John Osburne. Byng MSS. vol. x.[407] Admiralty Library (Pepys’s Naval Collections).[275]
circ. 1546 William Brock. Harleian MS. 249, No. 1.
1562 William Holstock. Cal. St. Pap.
circ. 1585 William Holstock and William Borough, joint. Lansdowne MS. 43, No. 33.
At this period (1585) W. Borough was Clerk and Comptroller of the Ships, but as Holstock certainly retained the office of Comptroller till 1589, I presume they must have held it jointly.
circ. 1590 William Borough, alone. Cal. St. Pap.
After 1589 Holstock’s name appears no more at the foot of certificates or other papers connected with the navy recorded in the Calendars of State Papers, and it is probable that he died or retired then, leaving Borough sole Comptroller. The latter died about the end of 1598. (Cal. St. Pap.)
1598 Sir Henry Palmer. Cal. St. Pap.
1611 Sir Guilford Slingsby. Cal. St. Pap.
1631 Sir Henry Palmer, junior. Cal. St. Pap.
1639 Sir Hen. Palmer, jun., and Capt. George Carteret,[408] joint. Cal. St. Pap.
1642 In abeyance. Addit. MSS. vol. 9311, fo. 188.[276]
In 1642 the Parliament abolished the offices of Comptroller, Surveyor, and Clerk of the Acts, and constituted instead of them a Board of equal Commissioners. The Treasurer remained, but was no longer a member of the Navy Board.
1660 *Sir Robert Slingsby. Cal. St. Pap.; Pepys’s Diary.
The Navy Board in its old form was re-established at the Restoration.
1661 Sir John Minnes. Pepys’s Diary.
1671 Sir Thomas Allen. Duke of York’s Instructions (MS. Admiralty Library).
Died in 1685. (Luttrell, i. p. 358.)
1685 Sir Richard Haddock. Addit. MS. 9322.
1686 In abeyance. Pepys’s Memoir.
The principal officers (except the Treasurer) were suspended, and the office placed temporarily under the charge of a body of equal Commissioners, as described in Pepys’s “Memoir.”
1688 Sir Richard Haddock, restored. Pepys’s Memoir.
Special Commission revoked, and former officers restored.
1715 Sir Charles Wager. Byng MSS. vol. 13 (Admiralty Library).


  • [407] This volume contains a transcript of part of Pepys’s Naval Collections in the Library of Magdalene College, Cambridge. It comprises some extracts from Lord Clarendon’s copy of the Council Books of King Henry VIII. from 1541 to 1543, one of which records a letter being written to Mr. Stanhopp and John Osburne, “Comptroller of the King’s H.’s Ships.” I cannot find the date of his first appointment.
  • [408] Afterwards Sir George Carteret, Treasurer of the Navy.



To the commencement of the 18th century.

Date of Appointment. Name. Authority.
circ. 1546 Benjamin Gonson. Harleian MS. 249. (See Robert Legg, Treasurer.)
Gonson was appointed Treasurer of the Navy in 1549.
1549 *Sir William Winter. Addit. MS. 5752, fo. 6b.
Letters Patent of Philip and Mary, dated 2nd Nov. 1557, recite a patent of Edward VI. appointing William Wynter to be “Surveyor of our Ships,” and go on to appoint him “Master of our Ordnance of our Ships,” in addition to the Surveyorship. He continued to hold the joint offices for many years—certainly till 1589, perhaps later. The date of his death is uncertain.
1598 *Sir John Trevor. Cal. St. Pap.
1611 *Sir Richard Bingley. Phineas Pett’s Autobiography.
1616 *Sir Thomas Aylesbury. Cal. St. Pap.
1632 Kenrick Edisbury. Cal. St. Pap.
This is the “Old Edgborough,” whose ghost was supposed to haunt the Hill House at Chatham. (Pepys’s Diary, 8th April, 1661.) He died in 1638.
1638 William Batten. Cal. St. Pap.
Afterwards Sir William. (See 1660 below.)
1642 In abeyance. Addit. MSS. vol. 9311 fo. 188.
A body of Commissioners appointed by Parliament instead of the principal officers.
1660 Sir William Batten, restored. Cal. St. Pap., and Pepys’s Diary.[278]
Died in 1667.
1667 Colonel Thomas Middleton. Pepys’s Diary, 10th Dec. 1667.
See Middleton in List of Commissioners at Chatham, 1672.
1672 *Sir John Tippetts. Duke of York’s Instructions (MS. in Admiralty Library).
1686 In abeyance. Pepys’s Memoir.
1688 Sir John Tippetts, restored. Pepys’s Memoir.
1692 Edmund Dummer. Luttrell, ii. 522.
In the British Museum (King’s MS. 40) there is an interesting account by Dummer of a tour made by him in the Mediterranean on board H.M.S. “Woolwich” in 1682–84. The volume contains many plans and drawings. In the reign of William III., Dummer contrived a simple and ingenious method of pumping water from dry docks below the level of low tide, which enabled Portsmouth for the first time to possess a dry dock capable of taking in a first-rate man-of-war, previously regarded as impracticable, owing to the small rise of tide there as compared with that at Woolwich, Deptford, Chatham, and Plymouth. He also designed and constructed the first docks at Plymouth. (See Harl. MS. 4318; Lansdowne MS. 847; King’s MSS. 40, 43.)
1699 Daniel Furzer. Luttrell, iv. 556.
1715 Jacob Acworth. Byng Collection, vol. xiii. (MS. in Admiralty Library).



To the commencement of the 18th century.

Date of Appointment. Name. Authority.
circ. 1482 Thomas Roger, or Rogiers. Pepys’s “Miscellanies” (MS.) and Harleian MS. 433.
The office of “Clerk of the King’s Ships,” or of the Navy, afterwards “Clerk of the Acts of the Navy,” is in all probability a very ancient one; but the first holder of the office whose name I have met with is Thomas Roger or Rogiers, who seems to have held it in the reigns of Edward IV., Edward V., and Richard III. In the third volume of Pepys’s MS. “Miscellanies,” p. 87, is an entry of an order dated 18th May, 22nd Edward IV. (1482), to the Treasurer and Chamberlain of the Exchequer to examine and clear the account of “our well beloved Thomas Roger Esq. Clerk of our Ships.” Harleian MS. 433 (supposed to have belonged to Lord Burghley) is a register of grants, &c., passing the Privy Seal, &c., during the reigns of Edward V. and Richard III., with some entries of other reigns. No. 1690 is the appointment of “Thomas Rogiers to be Clerc of all maner shippes to the King belonging.” It has no date, but is very probably a reappointment by Richard III. on his assumption of the throne.
Temp. Henry VII. William Comersale. “Letters and Papers, Henry VIII.,” vol. i. p. 48.
Temp. Henry VII. 1509 Robert Brigandyne, or Brikenden.
“Privy Seal 28 July 1509 for Robert Brikenden to be Keeper or Clerk of the King’s Ships in the Realm of England, with 12d. a day for himself,[280] and 6d. a day for his Clerk, in the same manner as William Comersale,—out of the customs of Exeter and Dartmouth.”
    “Letters and Papers, Henry VIII.,” vol. iii. pt. 2, p. 1263.
“Grant 21 April 1523:—Rob. Briganden, of Smalhed, Kent, alias of Portesmouth. Release, as Clerk of the King’s Ships to Henry VII. and Henry VIII., and purveyor of Stuffs and timber for the same.”
From these two documents it appears that Brigandyne’s appointment as Clerk of the Ships in 1509 was a reappointment on the accession of Henry VIII., and that he had held the same office under Henry VII. after Comersale, who may very probably have succeeded Rogiers.
Brigandyne’s name appears very frequently in connection with naval matters down to October, 1525, after which there is no mention of him in the Calendar of letters and papers.
1526 Thomas Jermyn, or Germyn. “Letters and Papers, Henry VIII.,” vol. iv. pt. 1, p. 954.
Patent 1526, April 3rd. Thomas Jermyn, Yeoman of the Guard and Crown, to be Keeper or Clerk of the Navy, and Keeper of the Dock at Portsmouth, with 12d. a day, and 6d. a day for a Clerk, out of the issues of the Ports of Exeter and Dartmouth.
From this date to 1530 there are numerous entries connected with Jermyn’s accounts as Clerk of the Ships.
circ. 1540 Sir Thomas Spert. Pepys’s “Miscellanies,” vol. vii. (MS. at Magdalene College).
This volume of the “Miscellanies” includes a collection of payments made to the navy between [281]1537 and 1541. Amongst these are regular half-yearly payments at the rate of £33 6s. 8d. to “Sir Thomas Spert, Clerke of the King’s Ships.”
circ. 1563 George Winter. Addit. MSS. vol. 5752.
This volume contains an order of Queen Elizabeth, dated 16th July, 1563, to Lord Clinton, Lord High Admiral, to deliver certain stores to George Winter, “Clerk of our Ships.” I have been unable to find the date of his appointment to this office, which he continued to hold till his death in 1581. His epitaph in Dyrham Church, Gloucestershire, is printed in Bigland’s Collection. He was brother to Sir William Winter, Surveyor of the Navy and Master of Sea Ordnance.
circ. 1585 William Borough. Lansdowne MS. 43, No. 33.
In February of this year Borough was Clerk and Comptroller: see his letter of this date (Feb. 1584, meaning no doubt 1585 as years are counted now) to Lord Burghley (Lansd. MSS. 43, 33) beginning, “To the righte honnorable the L. Burghley Lord Highe Treasourer of Englande—your suppliant William Borough Clarke and Comptroller of her Matie Shippes,” &c. The paper is endorsed, “A dewtifull declaration, February Ano. 1584. By William Borough Clarke and Comptroller of her Matie Navie.” It is an original letter, the body written in a very neat hand of the period, and signed by Borough himself in a different, but also very neat, hand. As William Holstock was certainly Comptroller at this time, and had been so for more than twenty years, it is probable that he and Borough held that office jointly, whilst Borough also performed the functions of Clerk of the Ships. (See List of Comptrollers.) As Winter died in 1581, and Borough had certainly been Clerk for some time before the date of his letter, [282]it is probable that he immediately succeeded Winter.
circ. 1600 *Sir Peter Buck. Phineas Pett’s Autobiography.
As Borough died in 1598 (Cal. St. Pap.), it is probable he was succeeded about that time by Peter Buck; but the first occasion on which I find the name of the latter mentioned as Clerk of the Ships is in the year 1600, by Phineas Pett. Sir Henry Palmer certainly succeeded Borough in the Comptrollership in 1598 (Cal. St. Pap.). Buck died in 1625. He had been for some years Clerk of the Cheque at Chatham before his appointment to the Board. He is mentioned by Pepys as one of his predecessors (“Diary,” 14 Dec. 1660), who was not a little proud of his office having once been held by a knight. Lord Braybrooke, in his note to this entry, says that Buck was Secretary to Algernon Percy, Earl of Northumberland; but Buck was Clerk of the Navy at least two years before the Earl was born, and died when the latter was only twenty-three years of age.
1625 Dennis Fleming. Cal. St. Pap.
1638 Dennis Fleming and Thomas Barlow, joint. Cal. St. Pap.
1642 In abeyance. Addit. MSS. vol. 9311 fo. 188.
A body of Commissioners appointed by Parliament instead of the principal officers.
1660 Samuel Pepys.  
Lord Braybrooke, in his note to the entry of the 27th June, 1660, quotes Pepys’s patent, in which Fleming and Barlow’s joint patent is recited and revoked, and Pepys was appointed Clerk of the Acts at a salary of £33 6s. 8d. per annum. But this amount was only the ancient “fee out of the Exchequer” which had been attached to the office [283]for more than a century. Pepys’s salary had been previously fixed at £350 a year. Lord Braybrooke says, in a note to 9th Feb. 1664–65, that “Barlow had previously been Secretary to Algernon, Earl of Northumberland, when High Admiral;” but he was appointed Clerk of the Acts two months before the Earl became Lord High Admiral. Barlow had, however, been in his service at an earlier date, and had been appointed by the Earl Muster-Master of the Fleet under his command in 1636. (Cal. St. Pap.)
1674 Thomas Hayter and John Pepys, joint. Addit. MSS. vol. 9307.
When Pepys was promoted to be Secretary of the Admiralty, he was succeeded in the office of Clerk of the Acts by his clerk and his brother jointly.
1677 Thomas Hayter and James Sotherne, joint. Orders and Warrants, 1676–78 (MS. in Admiralty Library).
Sotherne was appointed “one of the Clerkes of ye Acts of our Navy Royall,” in the place of John Pepys “lately deceased:” 12th March, 1676–77.
1679 James Sotherne, alone.  
Hayter was promoted to be Secretary of the Admiralty when Pepys was thrown into prison.
1686 In abeyance. Pepys’s Memoir.
Special temporary Commission appointed, and the principal officers suspended.
1688 James Sotherne, restored. Pepys’s Memoir.
Special Commission revoked.
circ. 1690 Charles Sergison.  
Sotherne was made Secretary of the Admiralty in January, 1690, and it is probable that Sergison immediately succeeded him. The Letter-books of [284]the Navy Board at Chatham show that he held the office in 1691, and held it until 1719.
1719 Tempest Holmes. Byng Collection, vol. xiii. (MS. in Admiralty Library).


From the first establishment of that office in 1630 to the commencement of the 18th century.

Date of Appointment. Name. Authority.
1630 Phineas Pett. Phineas Pett’s Autobiography (Addit. MS. 9298).
This interesting MS., in Pett’s own handwriting, contains full details of the life of the celebrated builder of the “Royal Sovereign,” or “Sovereign of the Seas,” from his birth in 1570 until 1637, when it breaks off abruptly. It is endorsed, in a much later handwriting: “The life of Comr. Pett’s father, whose place he did enjoy.” A few leaves are wanting, but their contents are supplied by a complete transcript in the Harleian MS. 6279, in which, however (as well as in another transcript in the Pepysian Library), the orthography is somewhat modernized, and the handwriting is that of the latter part of the 17th century. Extracts from a copy of the Harleian transcript are printed in “Archæologia,” vol. xii.
Pett died in 1647, at Chatham. Having submitted[285] to the Parliament in 1642, he retained his office until his death in 1647.[409]
1647 Peter Pett. Addit. MSS. vol. 9306 (Navy Board Letter-book), shows that in Nov. 1648, Peter Pett held this office.
I have not met with Peter Pett’s original appointment, but I have no doubt that he immediately succeeded his father Phineas, on the death of the latter in 1647. He was continued in the same office after the Restoration. In 1667, in consequence of the Dutch attack on Chatham, he was superseded, sent to the Tower, and threatened with impeachment. The threat was not carried out, but he was never restored to office.
1667 Vacant.  
No new appointment was made for nearly two years after Pett’s removal.
1669 *Sir John Cox. Pepys’ Diary: Narborough’s Diary.
Cox was master of the Duke of York’s flagship, “Royal Charles,” in the victory over the Dutch Admiral Opdam, 3rd June, 1665. Was captain of the “Sovereign” in the three days’ battle with the Dutch fleet in June, 1666. Master Attendant at Deptford in 1667. Resident Commissioner at Chatham, March, 1669. Appointed, 15th Jan. 1672, Flag-Captain to the Duke of York in the “Prince,” without vacating his office at Chatham. Knighted by King Charles II., on board the “Prince,” at the Nore, on the 27th April. Killed at the Battle of Sole Bay, on the 28th May in the same year.
(See “Diary” of Captain John Narborough[286] (afterwards Sir John), whilst serving as First Lieutenant on board the “Prince.” It is amongst the Pepysian MSS. at Magdalene College, and there is a transcript in the Admiralty Library.)
1672 Colonel Thomas Middleton. Duke of York’s Instructions (MS. in Admiralty Library).
Colonel Middleton was one of the Commissioners of the Admiralty appointed by the Rump in January, 1660. Engaged in the West India trade after the Restoration (see Duke of York’s “Memoirs,” p. 9). Appointed Commissioner at Portsmouth in 1664, and Surveyor of the Navy in 1667. Removed to Chatham as Resident Commissioner in June, 1672. Died in December of the same year.
1672 *Sir Richard Beach. Duke of York’s Instructions (MS. in Admiralty Library).
Captain of H.M.S. the “Crown” in February, 1663. Served at sea till 1672, in which year he captured an Algerine man-of-war. Appointed Resident Commissioner at Chatham in Dec. 1672, and transferred to Portsmouth in the same capacity in 1679. Removed to the Board in London as Comptroller of Victualling Accounts in 1690. Died in May, 1692.
1679 *Sir John Godwin. Addit. MS. 9312.
Served in the navy as a lieutenant, and subsequently in the Victualling Department. Appointed Commissioner at Chatham in Dec. 1679; removed to the Board in London, March, 1686; died in 1689.
1686 Sir Phineas Pett. Pepys’s Memoirs.
Son of Peter Pett, shipbuilder, of Ratcliffe, and grand-nephew of Phineas Pett, the first Commissioner[287] at Chatham. Appointed Master Shipwright at Portsmouth in June, 1660, and transferred to Chatham in the same capacity in the following month. Dismissed for misbehaviour in office on the 25th Sept., 1668, but restored three months afterwards on making submission and surrendering his patent. Promoted to the Board in London as Comptroller of Victualling Accounts on the 5th August, 1680, and knighted by the King on the same day. Transferred to Chatham as Commissioner in 1686. Dismissed on account of his political opinions on the accession of William and Mary.[410]
1689 *Sir Edward Gregory. Admiralty Orders, 1688–9 (MS. in the Public Record Office).
Served as a purser in the navy in 1662–3. Succeeded his father as Clerk of the Cheque in Chatham Yard in Feb. 1665, which office he resigned after holding it nearly twenty years. Appointed Commissioner at Chatham on the 20th April, 1689. Knighted by William III. in Jan. 1691. Retired on a pension of £300 a year in June, 1703. Died in 1713.
1703 Captain George St. Lo. Chatham Records.
Attained the rank of captain in 1682. When in[288] command of the “Portsmouth,” in 1689, was captured with his ship, and taken into Brest severely wounded. In 1693 he published a tract, entitled, “England’s Safety or a bridle to the French King.” In the same year he was appointed a member of the Navy Board. Transferred to Plymouth as Commissioner in 1695, and from thence to Chatham in 1703. Superseded on the accession of George I., in 1714, by the omission of his name from the new patent for the Navy Board.


  • [409] Chatham Parish Register, quoted in “Archæologia,” vol. xii. p. 284.
  • [410] Note respecting Sir Phineas Pett.—There were so many shipbuilders of the name of Phineas Pett, that it is often difficult to trace the history of any one of them. In February, 1660, Phineas Pett, son of John Pett, and grandson of Commissioner Phineas Pett, being then Assistant-Master Shipwright at Chatham, petitioned to be promoted, and was appointed Master Shipwright at Chatham in the same month. But it would appear that the appointment was revoked, or never carried into effect, for in the following July we find Phineas Pett, “of Ratcliffe,” who had been appointed Master Shipwright at Portsmouth in June, transferred to Chatham in the same capacity. And in September Phineas Pett, Assistant-Master Shipwright at Chatham, was suspended from office on the accusation of having, when a child, spoken contemptuously of the King! For this offence he was dismissed in the following month.






Decorative Capital C

Chapter XII.—Pepys was not very careful in setting down the titles of the plays he saw, and in many instances he quotes the second titles alone. This caution must be remembered by those consulting the following list:—





The titles of Chapters are printed in italics.

Decorative Capital AAdmiral, introduction of the word into English 129
Admiral (Lord High), the office first put in commission 136
Admiralty (The), relation of the office to the Navy Board 142, 145
—— Secretaries of, list 268
Almanacs foretell the Fire of London 113
Albemarle (George Monk, Duke of) 31, 183
Albemarle (Duchess of) 184
—— her disgust at the ways of the “gentlemen captains” 149
Aldborough, members of Parliament for 48
Amusements 217–231
Anglesey (Earl of) 190
Arlington (Earl of) laughed at by Miss Stewart 159
Ascension day, custom of beating the bounds on that day 213
Athenæum” on the charm of the “Diary 17
Audley End, visit of the queen and grand ladies to the fair at 161
Axe Yard, Pepys’s home there 24
Backwell (Alderman), the goldsmith 123
Bailey (J. E.), his paper on the Cipher of the “Diary 13
Balaam (Dr.), his opinion of Tangier 75
Ballads, Pepys’s collection of 90 [298]
Barlow (Thomas), Pepys’s predecessor as Clerk of the Acts 23
Batten (Sir William) 157
Batten (Lady), married to Sir James B. Leyenburg 48
Bear at the Bridge foot 102
Beating the bounds 213
Bellasys (John, Lord), Governor of Tangier 69
Bellasys (Susan, Lady) 169
Bence (John), M.P. for Aldborough 48
Berkeley (Sir Charles), afterwards Earl of Falmouth 171, 195
Betterton, Pepys’s admiration for 219
Binding of Pepys’s books 84
Birch (Colonel), his proposal for the rebuilding of London after the Fire 114
Blackburne (Robert), Secretary of the Admiralty 136, 269
Bludworth (Sir Thomas), a poor creature 32
Bombay a more iniquitous place than Tangier 75
Booksellers employed by Pepys 93
Brampton, Pepys’s money buried there 34
—— parish registers 3
Braybrooke (Lord) as an editor 15
—— his censure on James II. 139
Breakfasts, Pepys’s 201
Bright’s (Rev. Mynors) edition of the “Diary 15
British dominion of the seas 154
Brook (Margaret), afterwards Lady Denham 177
Brooke (Sir Robert), M.P. for Aldborough 48
Brouncker (Lord) 158
Buckingham (Duke of) 180
—— his mimicry 160
—— his Duchess 161
Buckingham House in the Strand 115
Burton (Dr. Hezekiah) 79
Butler’s “Hudibras” in the Pepysian library 89
Cambridge, Pepys’s name on the boards of Trinity College 4
—— Pepys entered at Magdalene College 4
Cards, games at 229
Carriage-building, improvements in 211
Carteret (Sir George) 156, 273 [299]
Carteret (Philip), his marriage with Lady Jemimah Montagu 209
Castle Rising, members of Parliament for 49
Castlemaine (Countess of) 168, 172, 173
—— Pepys’s admiration for her 41
Catalogues made by Pepys 82, 92
Characters (Public) 183–198
Charles II., his coronation 24
—— his own account of his escape after the Battle of Worcester 53
—— viciousness of his Court 159
—— his character 165–169
Chatham dockyard 151
—— Commissioners of the Navy resident at 284
Chaucer, Pepys’s appreciation of 86
Chest (The) at Chatham 152
—— removed to Greenwich 153
Chesterfield (Elizabeth, Countess of) 176
Chiffinch (Thomas) 181
Chiffinch (William) 181
Church, Pepys’s behaviour at 214
Clapham, Pepys moves there 59
Clarendon (Edward Hyde, Earl of) 187
—— displeased with Pepys 188
Clarendon Park, the timber at 188
Clarges (Ann), afterwards Duchess of Albemarle 184
Clerk of the Acts, an ancient office 129
—— list of holders of the office 279
Clothworkers’ Company, Pepys elected Master 51
Clothworkers’ Hall, burning of 112
Cocker (Edward), the writing master 30, 87
Cockfighting, Pepys’s opinion of 94, 228
“Cockpit,” plays acted there 223
Coleridge, quotations from 1, 46
Cooper (Mr.), teaches Pepys mathematics 28
Costume, varieties of, after the Restoration 203
Cottenham, the Pepyses of 1
Cotton’s Scarronides appreciated by Pepys 90
Court (The) 159–182
Coventry (Mr., afterwards Sir William) 32, 36, 37, 189, 197, 270 [300]
Coventry (Mr., afterwards Sir William) suggests that Pepys should write a history of the Dutch war 31
—— Pepys’s respect for him 156
Cox (Sir John) 151, 285
Creed (John), Secretary to the Commissioners of Tangier 66
Crowland (Abbot of), his lands in Cambridgeshire 2
Cunningham (Peter), on the charm of the “Diary 17
—— his story of Nell Gwyn referred to 160, 172
Dancing at Court 230
Dartmouth (Lord) 54, 55, 80
—— sent out to destroy Tangier 72
Davenant’s (Sir William) company of actors 217
Davis (Moll) 179
Deane (Sir Anthony) 53, 124
Denham (Lady) 177
Deptford dockyard 153
Diary,” account of the 11
Dinners, Pepys’s opinion upon 200
Dockyards, the four 150
Domesday Book 44
Douglas (Captain), his bravery 150
Downing (Sir George) 188
—— Pepys’s connection with him 11, 18, 23
D’Oyly wants to borrow money from Pepys 53
Drinking, habits of deep 201
Dryden recommended by Pepys to modernize Chaucer 87
Dummer (Edmund), constructer of the first docks at Plymouth 81, 153, 278
Dutch in the Medway 149
Dutch war, Pepys proposes to write a history of the 31
“Ecclesiastes,” quotation from 232
Edisbury (Kenrick), the “old Edgeborrow” of the “Diary 152, 277
Evelyn (John) visits Pepys in the Tower 52
—— his defence of England’s right to the dominion of the sea 155
Evelyn’s (Mrs.) picture of the Duchess of Newcastle 194
Falmouth (Sir Charles Berkeley, Earl of) 171, 195
[301]Fane (Mrs.), Pepys’s housekeeper 59
Fashion, Charles II.’s attempt to fix the 204
Field, Pepys’s lawsuit with 28
Fitzgerald (Col.), Deputy Governor of Tangier 69
Flag (English), rights of 155
Fox (Lady), Pepys’s anagrams upon her name when Mrs. Whittle 5
Gaming at Court 229
Gibson’s “Memoirs of the Navy” 148
“Gloucester” (The), wreck of 54
Gloves, use of perfumed 206
Grammont, Memoirs of 159, 160, 162, 163, 164
Greenwich, plague there 110
Grenville (Lord), his help in deciphering the “Diary 12
Gwyn (Nell) 179
Hales’s portrait of Pepys 237
Hamilton (Miss) 162, 163, 169
Harbord (Sir Charles) suggested as paymaster for Tangier 69
Harbord (William), M.P. for Launceston 52
—— his opinion of the government of Tangier 70
Harrington (James) and his Rota Club 18
Harwich, Pepys elected M.P. for 57
—— is unpopular there when out of favour at Court 57
Hats worn indoors 205
Hayter (Thomas) appointed Clerk of the Acts 49, 121, 283
—— Secretary of the Admiralty 270
Henry VIII., what he did for the Navy 130
Hewer (William) 121
—— Pepys lives with him 59
Hickes (Dr. George) attends Pepys’s death-bed 60
Hill-house (The), at Chatham 152
Hippocras, not wine, but a mixed drink 27, 109
Hollar’s views of Tangier 70
Holmes (Sir Robert) 196
Houblons (The), friends of Pepys 58, 59, 72, 73, 123
Hours of going to bed 212
Howard (Lord) 49
Huntingdon, Pepys goes to school there 3
Hyde (Anne), wife of the Duke of York 170
Hyde (Mrs.) 162 [302]
Inns, abundance of, in London 201
Jackson (John), Pepys’s nephew 61, 73
James II., previously Duke of York 31, 37, 49, 58
—— his relations with Pepys 22, 138
—— his connection with the Countess of Chesterfield 176
—— —— with Lady Denham 177
—— —— with Frances Jennings 178
—— his character 169
—— his wife Anne 170
—— his conversion to Roman Catholicism 170
—— shipwreck of his ship “The Gloucester” 54
Jennings (Frances), afterwards Duchess of Tyrconnel 160, 179
Johnson (Dr.), quotation from 116
Jones (Sir William), M.P., his opinion of the government of Tangier 70
Jonson (Ben), Pepys’s admiration of 219
Joyce (Anthony), his misfortunes and death 118
Joyce (Kate) 119
Joyce (William), an impertinent coxcomb 118
Katherine (Queen) 168
—— her marriage portion 64
Katherine of Valois, her body at Westminster Abbey 40
Killigrew’s company of actors 218
King Street, Westminster, full of inns 106
King’s College, Cambridge, Pepys suggested for Provost 53
Kingsmall (Sir Francis), grandfather of Mrs. Pepys 7
Kirke (Colonel), Deputy Governor of Tangier 68, 69, 72, 73
Kite (Mrs.), and her daughter Peg 119
Kneller’s (Sir Godfrey), portrait of Dr. Wallis 60
—— portraits of Pepys 238
Knipp (Mrs.), the actress 220
Lawson (Sir John) 196
—— his opinion of Tangier 65
Leeds (Duke of) 191, 273
Legge (Colonel), afterwards Lord Dartmouth 54, 55, 72, 80
Lely’s (Sir Peter), portrait of Pepys 238
—— portraits of the beauties of the Court 162
Leybourne (W. de), the first English Admiral 129 [303]
Leyenburg (Sir James B.), Pepys’s quarrel with him 48
Lincoln’s Inn, theatres in 224
London 100–125
—— the Plague 109–112
—— the Fire 31, 112–115
—— rebuilding of 114
—— prints of, collected by Pepys 92
London Bridge, danger of “shooting” it 101
Lorrain (Paul), a cataloguer employed by Pepys 84
Magdalene College, Cambridge, Pepys’s library there 77
Maitland MS. at Cambridge 81
Man (Mr.) offers to buy the place of Clerk of the Acts 24
Manners 199–216
Marshall (Stephen), not the father of Anne and Beck Marshall 220
Maryon (S.) 54
Marvell (Andrew), his attack on Pepys 53
—— “Instructions to a Painter,” quoted 178
—— “Ballad on the Lord Mayor and Aldermen,” quoted 159
Masks worn by ladies 205
Maulyverer (John) 79
May (Baptist) 182
Michell (Betty), Pepys’s admiration for her 42
Milles (Dr. Daniel), the minister of St. Olave’s 120
Mills (Rev. Alexander) 57
Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” quotation from 63
—— works in the Pepysian Library 88
Mings (Sir Christopher), loved by his sailors 197
Minnes (Sir John) 156, 276
—— teaches Pepys to love Chaucer 86
Moll (Orange), at the theatre 227
Money, value of, in Pepys’s day 212
Monk (George), afterwards Duke of Albemarle 31, 183
Monson (Sir William), his Naval Tracts 128, 134
Montagu (Sir Edward), afterwards Earl of Sandwich, 9, 10, 20, 24, 29, 49, 65, 154, 185
—— first chose Portsmouth for his title when offered an earldom 154 [304]
Montague (Lady Jemimah), her marriage with Philip Carteret 209
Moorfields full of people after the Fire 33
—— the fights there 105
—— its state after the Fire 112
Moors turned out of Tangier 64
—— take possession of the place again 74
Morelli (Cesare) 121
Mourning, use of 208
Muffs, use of, by men 207
Muly Ismael, Emperor of Morocco 74
Musical instruments referred to in the “Diary 97, 98, 252–253
“Naseby,” Pepys in the 10, 21
—— its name is changed to “Charles” 22
Navy (The) 128–158
—— lists of the officers of the 266
Navy Board, origin of 130
—— composition in the reign of Elizabeth 131
—— instructions 132
—— salaries of the officers 135
—— Commissioners during the Commonwealth 136
—— re-arrangement of the Board at the Restoration 137
—— their want of money 146
Navy Office in Crutched Friars 144
—— attempts to save it from being burnt 32
Nero (Tragedy of), quotation from 217
Newcastle (Margaret, Duchess of) 193
Newgate Street, the butchers there 104
Nonconformists, Pepys’s opinion of the 214
Northumberland (Algernon, Earl of) 23 (note)
Norwood (Colonel), Deputy Governor of Tangier 67, 69
O’Brien (Donald), his father’s will 192
Offley petitions against Pepys’s election as M.P. for Castle Rising 50
Oranges, price of 227
Osborne (Sir Thomas), afterwards Duke of Leeds 191, 273
Ossory (Earl of), appointed Governor of Tangier 71
[305]Page (Sir Thomas), Provost of King’s College, Cambridge 53
Pasley (Colonel), his assistance to the author 129, 140 (note)
—— his lists of the Officers of the Navy 266
Paston (Sir Robert), afterwards Viscount Yarmouth 49
Peachell (Dr.), Master of Magdalene College 79
Penn (Sir William) 25, 32, 157
—— his house at the Navy Office 145
Pepys (Mrs. Elizabeth), her marriage to Samuel Pepys 6, 9
—— squabbles with her husband 42, 44
—— her death 47
—— her religion 51
Pepys (John), Samuel’s brother 49
—— joint Clerk of the Acts with Thomas Hayter 143, 283
Pepys (John), Samuel’s father 3, 9
—— his will 117
Pepys (Margaret), Samuel’s mother 3
Pepys (Paulina), Samuel’s sister, he gives her a marriage portion 44
Pepys (Richard), Lord Chief Justice of Ireland 2
Pepys (Robert), Samuel’s uncle, his death 25
Pepys (Samuel), “Pepys before the Diary 1–15
—— “Pepys in the Diary 16–45
—— “Pepys after the Diary 46–62
—— antiquity of his family 1
—— his birth, Feb. 23, 1632–3, and parentage 3
—— his education 3–5
—— a Roundhead as a boy 4
—— admonished for being drunk 5
—— his romance, “Love a Cheate” 5
—— made Master of Acts by proxy 6
—— his marriage to Elizabeth St. Michel 6, 9
—— operation for the stone 10
—— accompanies Sir Edward Montagu to the Sound 10
—— Clerk of the Exchequer 11
—— uses Shelton’s system of shorthand in writing his “Diary 13
—— how he wrote his “Diary 14
—— tells Sir W. Coventry how he kept a diary 16
—— living in Axe-yard 18
—— a member of the Rota Club 19
[306]—— accepts the post of Secretary to the Generals at Sea 20
Pepys (Samuel) is pleased at being addressed as “Esq. 21
—— goes on board the “Naseby” 21
—— is made Clerk of the Acts 22
—— his relation to the Instructions for the Navy Office 138
—— takes possession of his house at the Navy Office 144
—— his feelings on Barlow’s death, by which he gained £100 a year 23
—— takes the oaths as a Clerk of the Privy Seal 24
—— is sworn a justice of the peace 24
—— goes to Brampton to see after the property left by his uncle 26
—— his vows 26
—— thinks it wise to spend while he can enjoy life 27
—— proposes to write on the British dominion of the seas 154
—— sworn a younger brother of the Trinity House 28
—— is made a burgess of Portsmouth 28
—— is appointed a Commissioner for Tangier 28
—— learns mathematics and dancing 28, 230
—— remonstrates with the Earl of Sandwich on his conduct 29
—— his eyesight begins to fail 30
—— —— gets worse 37
—— thinks of writing a history of the Dutch war 31
—— is appointed an assistant of the Corporation of the Royal Fishery 31
—— Treasurer of Tangier 31, 66, 69
—— Surveyor-General of the Victualling Office 31
—— his connection with the Victualling Department of the Navy 147
—— is useful during the period of the Plague and the Fire of London 31
—— sets up a carriage 33
—— buries his money at Brampton 34
—— his letter on the state of the office 139–142
—— his criticism on himself in the letter 141
—— his letter to the Commissioners of Accounts 147
—— his great speech at the bar of the House of Commons 34
[307]—— ends the “Diary 38
—— his tour through France and Holland 47
—— his wife dies 47
—— is a candidate at Aldborough for election as a Member of Parliament 48
—— he quarrels with Sir J. B. Leyenburg 48
—— is appointed Secretary of the Admiralty 48
—— is one of the mourners at Lord Sandwich’s funeral 49
—— is elected Member for Castle Rising 50
—— charges of Popery made against him 50
—— Commissioner for Tangier 70
—— elected Master of the Clothworkers’ Company 51
—— is committed to the Tower 52
—— is elected Member for Harwich 53
—— takes down from Charles II.’s dictation the account of the King’s escape after the battle of Worcester 53
—— is suggested as a candidate for the provostship of King’s College 54
—— accompanies the Duke of York to Scotland, and is nearly shipwrecked on the way 54
—— goes on an expedition to Tangier 55, 72
—— his Tangier Journal 56, 72
—— reappointed Secretary of the Admiralty 56
—— elected President of the Royal Society 56
—— takes part in James II.’s coronation 56
—— elected for Harwich and Sandwich 57
—— close of his public career at the Revolution 57
—— committed to the Gate House at Westminster 58
—— publishes his “Memoirs of the Navy” 58
—— parts with his housekeeper, Mrs. Fane 59
—— settles at Clapham 59, 115
—— has a portrait of Dr. Wallis painted for Oxford by Kneller 60
—— his death 60
—— post-mortem examination 61
—— his frequent journeys on the river 101
—— a lover of good living 200
—— his love of dress 29, 203
—— his money-grubbing 39
—— admiration for women 40
[308]—— his unfaithfulness to his wife 43
—— his credulity 44
—— is both mean and generous 44
—— want of the imaginative faculty 45
—— account of his portraits and bust 237–240
—— his different wills 40
—— mourning rings given to his friends 62
—— his motto 94
—— his songs 95
—— his books and collections 77–99
—— his manuscripts at Oxford 251
—— his relations, friends, and acquaintances 116–127
—— his correspondents 254
Peterborough (Henry, 2nd Earl of), first English governor of Tangier 66, 68
Pett’s (Commissioner Peter) house at Chatham 151
—— his threatened impeachment 151, 285
Pett (Phineas), Commissioner of the Navy 284
Pett (Sir Phineas), Commissioner of the Navy 286–287
Petty (Sir William) 22
Plays which Pepys saw acted 218, 289
Portsmouth dockyard 153
Portuguese delivery of Tangier to England 64
Posts, announcement of plays placed on 228
Povy (Thomas), Treasurer for Tangier 49, 66
Pressing for the Navy 148
Progers (Edward) 181
Prynne’s remarks on Abp. Laud, quotation from 16
—— his rusty sword in the way 20
Punishments in Pepys’s day 215
Purser’s accounts 147
Quadring (Dr.), Master of Magdalene 80
Rawlinson MSS. at Oxford 82
Rich’s shorthand not used by Pepys 13
Richmond (Duke of) 175
Richmond (Duchess of) 160, 161, 174
—— Pepys’s admiration for her 41
Rings (mourning), given at Pepys’s death 62
[309]Roger or Rogiers (Thomas), Clerk of the King’s Ships 129, 279
Romney (Earl of), his intrigue with the Duchess of York 171
Rota Club 18
“Roxana” and “Roxalana” confused together 221
Royal Society, Charles II.’s connection with it 167
—— Petty’s suggestion for the Anniversary Meeting 123
—— Pepys elected President 56
—— visit of the Duchess of Newcastle to 194
Rupert (Prince) 186
—— his boat the “Fanfan” 150
Russian Ambassador, his entry into London 104
Rutherford (Andrew, Lord), Governor of Dunkirk and afterwards of Tangier 68
Ryder (Sir W.), his house at Bethnal Green full of valuables after the Fire 33
Sailors (English) on board Dutch ships 148
St. Michel (Alexander Marchant, Sieur de), father of Mrs. Pepys, his schemes 6–8, 241–250
St. Michel (Balthasar), letter to Pepys, giving an account of his family 6, 51
St. Michel (Elizabeth), afterwards Mrs. Pepys 6, 9, 42, 44, 47, 51
St. Paul’s School, Pepys educated there 4
Sandwich, Pepys elected M.P. for 57
Sandwich (Earl of) 9, 10, 20, 24, 154, 185
—— takes possession of Tangier 65
—— his stay at Chelsea 29
—— his funeral 49
Savill’s portrait of Pepys 237
Scotch, Pepys antipathy to the 55
Scott (Colonel John), his charge against Pepys 52
Seething Lane, Pepys’s house there 24
Selden’s “Mare Clausum” 155
Seymour (Sir Edward), Pepys applies to him for his interest 58
Shadwell’s (T.), “Epsom Wells,” quotation from 100
—— “The Woman Captain,” quotation from 199
Shaftesbury (Earl of), his shrewdness 171
[310]—— his frivolous charge against Pepys[411] 50
Shakespeare’s “Winter’s Tale,” quotation from 77
—— acting of his plays after the Restoration 218
—— edition of his plays in the Pepysian Library 88
Shelton’s Tachygraphy 13
Sheres (Sir Henry), employed at Tangier 69, 73
—— his friendship for Pepys 125
Shorthand, Pepys a lover of 14
—— Pepys’s collection of books on 92
Shovel (Sir Cloudesley), his answer to Muly Ismael 74
Skinner (Daniel), papers of Milton possessed by him 89
Smith (Sir Jeremy) 197
Smith (John), the decipherer of the “Diary 12
—— “Life, Journals, &c., of Pepys,” alluded to 56 passim
Stewart (Frances), afterwards Duchess of Richmond 41, 160, 161, 174
Stockings, green silk, fashionable 177
Symons (William), his political misfortunes 18
Sympson (Mr.), the maker of Pepys’s bookcases 83
Tangier 62–76
—— Lord Dartmouth’s expedition to 55
—— the mole built 67
—— —— destroyed 73
Tarpaulins v. “Gentlemen captains” 148
Taverns frequented by Pepys 105–108
Tennis, Charles II. a proficient at 229
Teviot (Earl of), Governor of Dunkirk and afterwards of Tangier 68
Thames (River), as a highway 100
Theatres after the Restoration 217
Tickets given to the sailors in place of money 147
“Tom Otter,” Charles II. calls the Duke of York by this name 172
Travelling on horseback and by coach 211
Turner (Mr.), of the Navy Office, wishes to be made Clerk of the Acts 23
Turner (Serjeant John), and his wife 117 [311]
Turner (Mrs.) shows her leg to Pepys 210
Turner (Theophila) 117
Verrio’s portrait of Pepys 239
Voltaire, quotation from 183
Wallis (Dr.), his portrait 60
Wedding customs 209
Westminster Hall, the stationers of 109
Whittle (Elizabeth), anagrams upon, by Pepys 5
Wigs, fashion of wearing 207
Willett (Deb.), Pepys’s liaison with her 43
Williamson (Sir Joseph) 191
Wines drunk in Pepys’s time 202
Woolwich dockyard 154
Wren (Matthew) 141, 270
Wynter (Sir William) 131, 144, 277
York Buildings, Pepys’s house there 115


  • [411] The charge was not so frivolous after all, for the writer of an article on the “Diary” in the “Edinburgh Review” for July, 1880, points out that although Pepys denied publicly that he ever possessed a crucifix, he positively states in the “Diary” that he had one. See July 20, August 2, and November 3, 1666. I ought to have noted this, as the facts are given in the Index to the “Diary.”




Transcriber’s Note

The illustrations which were included as plates in the original have been moved near to the text they illustrate.

Footnotes have been moved to the end of chapters.

Variant spelling, inconsistent hyphenation and irregular punctuation are retained, but, in a few cases, missing punctuation has been added for consistency, e.g. after abbreviations, and to match quotation marks.

On page 109 the date on which Pepys first notices signs of the plague was originally printed as the 7th of June, 1667; the year has been changed to 1665.

In the index the page number (31) for the entry “Pepys thinks of writing a history of the Dutch war” has been added.

The five portraits of court ladies did not have captions in the original, but the names of the subjects are included in the following list of illustrations: