Samuel Pepys Diary 1661-extracts

The Complete Diary


Coronation of Charles II | Captain Holmes' Baboon |

| complete diary 1661

t the end of the last and the beginning of this year I do live in one of the houses belonging to the Navy office as one of the principall officers - and have done now about half a year. After much trouble with workmen, I am now almost settled - my family being, myself, my wife, Jane, Will Ewre, and Wayneman, my girl's brother.

Myself in a constant good health - and in a most handsome and thriving condition. Blessed be Almighty God for it. I am now taking of my sister Paulina to come and live with me. As to things of State - the King settled and loved of all. The Duke of Yorke lately matched to my Lord Chancellor's daughter, which doth not please many. The Queene upon her return to France - with the Princesse Henrietta. The Princesse of Orange lately dead, and we into mourning for her.

We have been lately frighted with a great plot, and many taken upon it and the fright of it not quite over. The parliament, which hath done all this great good to the King, beginning to grow factious, the King did dissolve it December 29 last - and another likely to be chosen speedily.

I take myself now to be worth 300l clear in money. And all my goods and all manner of debts paid, which are none at all.

January 28th

... and thence to the Theatre, where I saw again The Lost Lady, which doth now please me better than before. And here, I sitting behind in a dark place, a lady spat backward upon me by a mistake, not seeing me. But after seeing her to be a very pretty lady, I was not troubled at it at all....

February 5th

... I to Westminster-hall ... and there saw my Lord Treasurer ... go up to the Treasury Offices and take possession thereof. And also the heads of Cromwell, Bradshaw, and Ireton set upon the further end of the hall.

The heads were now set on poles on top of the south end with Bradshaw's in the middle, above the very part of the hall where he had presided in 1649 over the regicide court. They remained there as late as 1684 or 1688.

April 6th

Up among my workmen. Then to White-hall; and there at Privy Seale and elsewhere did business. And among other things, met with Mr Townsend, who told of his mistake the other day to put both his legs through one of his Knees of his breeches, and so went all day.

April 23rd

The Coronation of Charles II

July 2nd

To Westminster-hall and there walked up and down, it being term time. Spoke with several; among others, my Cosen Rogr. Pepys, who was going up to the parliament-house and enquired whether I had heard from my father since he went to Brampton - which I had done yesterday, who writes that my uncle is by fits stupid and like a man that is drunk, and sometimes speechless.

July 4th

... Called at my father's, and there I hear that my uncle Robt. continues to have his fits of stupefaccion every day, for 10 or 12 houres together.
From thence to the Exchange at night; and there went with my uncle Wight to the Mitre. And were merry; but he takes it very ill that my father would go out of town to Brampton on this occasion and would not tell him of it - which I endeavoured to remove, but could not.
Here Mr. Batesby the apothecary was, who told me that if my uncle had fprmerly had the Emerods (which I think he had) and that now they are stopped, he will lay his life that bleeding behind by leeches will cure him. But I am resolved not to meddle in it.
Home and to bed

July 6th

In this and succeeding entries Pepys refers to his uncle Robert's house at Brampton which is left first to his father then on his death to Pepys himself. He spent much time both in London and Brampton sorting out his uncle's affairs which included another cottage in Brampton and some land in Graveley and in Buckden.]
Waked this morning with news, brought me by a messenger on purpose, that my Uncle Robert is dead. - and died yesterday. So I rose, sorry in some respect; glad in my expectations in another respect. So I made myself ready. Went and told my Uncle Wight - my Lady - and some others thereof. And bought me a pair of boots in St Martins and got myself ready; and then to the post-house and set out about 11 or 12 a-clock, taking the messenger with me that came to me; and so we rode and got well by 9 a-clock to Brampton, where I find my father well. My uncle's corps in a coffin, standing upon joynt-stooles in the chimny in the hall; but it begun to smell, and so I caused it to be set forth in the yard all night and wached by two men. My aunt I find in bedd in a most nasty pickle, made me sick to see it. My father and I lay together tonight, I greedy to see the Will but did not aske to see it till tomorrow.

July 14th

At home, and Rob. Barnwell with us and dined. And in the evening my father and I walked round porthome and viewed all the fields, which was very pleasant. Then to Hinchingbrooke, which is now all in dirt because of my Lord's building, which will make it very magnificent. Back to Brampton and to supper and to bed.
Portholme was reputedly the largest meadow in England - c.300 acres

Hinchingbrooke was mainly Elizabethan-Jacobean in date. Parts, however, survived from the original medieval nunnery. The new work consisted mostly of the adition of two storeys to the west range, a new north-west corner, a kitchen in the north wing and a new staircase.

August 5th

Earley to Huntingdon. But was fain to stay a great while at Stanton [now Fenstanton] because of the rayne; and there borrowed a coat of a man for 6d, and so he rode all the way, poor man, without any. Stayed at Huntingdon a little, but the Judges are not yet come hither. So I went to Brampton and there find my father very well - and my aunt gone from the house; which I am glad of, though it costs us a great deal of money, viz l10.
Here I dined, and after dinner took horse and rode to Yelling to my Cosen Nightingales, who hath a pretty house here. And did learn of her all she could tell me concerning my business, and hath given me some light by her discourse how I may get a Surrender made for Graveley lands....

August 24th

At the office in the morning and did business. By and by we are called to Sir W. Battens to see the strange creature that Captain Holmes brought with him from Guiny; it is a great baboone, but so much like a man in most things, that (though they say there is a species of them) yet I cannot believe but that it is a monster got of a man and she-baboone. I do believe it already understands much English; and I am of the mind it might be tought to speak or make signs.

September 21st

[In Brampton] All the morning pleasing myself with my father; going up and down the house and garden with my father and my wife, contriving some lterations. After dinner ... I rode to Huntingdon; where I met Mr. Philips and there put my Bugden [Buckden] matters in order against the Court. And so to Hinchingbrooke, where My Branwell showed me the condition of the house, which is yet vey backward and I fear will be very darke in the Cloyster when it is done. So home and to supper and to bed - very pleasant and quiet.

November 2nd

This night my boy Wainman, as I was in my chamber, over-heard him let off some Gunpouder; and hearing my wife chide him below for it, and a noise made, I call him up and find that it was powder that he had put in his pocket, and a mach carelessly with it, thinking that it was out; and so the match did give fire to the powder and had burned his side and his hand, that he put into his pocket to put out the fire. But upon examination, and finding him in a lie about the time and place that he bought it, I did extremely beat him. And though it did trouble me to do it, yet I thought it necessary to do it.

December 31st

... I sat down to end my Journall for this year; and my condition at this time, by God's blessing, is thus:
My health (only upon ketching cold, which brings great pain in my back and making of water, as it use to be when I had the stone) very good, and so my wife's in all respects.
My servants, W. Hewer, Sarah, Nell, and Wayman. My house at the Navu Office. I suppose myself to be worth about 500l clear in the world, and my goods of my house my owne, and what is coming to me from Brampton when my father dies - which God defere. But my uncle's death, the whole care and trouble of all and settling of all lies upon me; which is very great because of law-suits, especially that with T. Trice about the interest of 200l - which I hope will be ended soon.
My chiefest thoughts is now to get a good wife for Tom - there being one offered by the Joyces, a cousin of theirs, worth 200l in ready money. I am also upon writing a little treatise to present to the Duke, about our privilege in te seas as to other nations striking their flags to us. But my greatest trouble is that I have for this lat half-year been a very great spendthrift in all manner of respects, that I am afeared to cast up my accounts, though I hope I am worth what I say above. But I will cast them up very shortly.
I have newly taken a solemne oath about abstaining from plays and wine, which I am resolved to keep acording to the letter of the oath, which I keepe by me. The fleete hath been ready to sail for Portugall, but hath lacked wind this fortnight. And by that means my Lord is forced to keep at sea all this winter till he brings home the Queen - which is the expectacion of all now - and the greatest matter of public talk.