Samuel Pepys Diary March 1662

The Complete Diary


March 1st. This morning I paid Sir W. Batten L40, which I have owed him this half year, having borrowed it of him. Then to the office all the morning, so dined at home, and after dinner comes my uncle Thomas, with whom I had some high words of difference, but ended quietly, though I fear I shall do no good by fair means upon him. Thence my wife and I by coach, first to see my little picture that is a drawing, and thence to the Opera, and there saw "Romeo and Juliet," the first time it was ever acted; but it is a play of itself the worst that ever I heard in my life, and the worst acted that ever I saw these people do, and I am resolved to go no more to see the first time of acting, for they were all of them out more or less. Thence home, and after supper and wrote by the post, I settled to what I had long intended, to cast up my accounts with myself, and after much pains to do it and great fear, I do find that I am 1500 in money beforehand in the world, which I was afraid I was not, but I find that I had spent above L250 this last half year, which troubles me much, but by God's blessing I am resolved to take up, having furnished myself with all things for a great while, and to-morrow to think upon some rules and obligations upon myself to walk by. So with my mind eased of a great deal of trouble, though with no great content to find myself above L100 worse now than I was half a year ago, I went to bed.

2nd (Lord's day). With my mind much eased talking long in bed with my wife about our frugall life for the time to come, proposing to her what I could and would do if I were worth L2,000, that is, be a knight, and keep my coach, which pleased her,
[Lord Braybrooke wrote, "This reminds me of a story of my father's, when he was of Merton College, and heard Bowen the porter wish that he had L100 a-year, to enable him to keep a couple of hunters and a pack of foxhounds."]
and so I do hope we shall hereafter live to save something, for I am resolved to keep myself by rules from expenses. To church in the morning: none in the pew but myself. So home to dinner, and after dinner came Sir William and talked with me till church time, and then to church, where at our going out I was at a loss by Sir W. Pen's putting me upon it whether to take my wife or Mrs. Martha (who alone was there), and I began to take my wife, but he jogged me, and so I took Martha, and led her down before him and my wife. So set her at home, and Sir William and my wife and I to walk in the garden, and anon hearing that Sir G. Carteret had sent to see whether we were at home or no, Sir William and I went to his house, where we waited a good while, they being at prayers, and by and by we went up to him; there the business was about hastening the East India ships, about which we are to meet to-morrow in the afternoon. So home to my house, and Sir William supped with me, and so to bed.

3rd. All the morning at home about business with my brother Tom, and then with Mr. Moore, and then I set to make some strict rules for my future practice in my expenses, which I did bind myself in the presence of God by oath to observe upon penalty therein set down, and I do not doubt but hereafter to give a good account of my time and to grow rich, for I do find a great deal more of content in these few days, that I do spend well about my business, than in all the pleasure of a whole week, besides the trouble which I remember I always have after that for the expense of my money. Dined at home, and then up to my chamber again about business, and so to the office about despatching of the East India ships, where we staid till 8 at night, and then after I had been at Sir W. Pen's awhile discoursing with him and Mr. Kenard the joiner about the new building in his house, I went home, where I found a vessel of oysters sent me from Chatham, so I fell to eat some and then to supper, and so after the barber had done to bed. I am told that this day the Parliament hath voted 2s. per annum for every chimney in England, as a constant revenue for ever to the Crown. [This is fumage or smoke money which was later repealed as being "not only a great oppression to the poorer sort, but a badge of slavery upon the whole people, exposing every man's house to be entered into and searched at pleasure by persons unknown to him."]

4th. At the office all the morning, dined at home at noon, and then to the office again in the afternoon to put things in order there, my mind being very busy in settling the office to ourselves, I having now got distinct offices for the other two. By and by Sir W. Pen and I and my wife in his coach to Moore Fields, where we walked a great while, though it was no fair weather and cold; and after our walk we went to the Pope's Head, and eat cakes and other fine things, and so home, and I up to my chamber to read and write, and so to bed.

5th. In the morning to the Painter's about my little picture. Thence to Tom's about business, and so to the pewterer's, to buy a poore's-box to put my forfeits in, upon breach of my late vows. So to the Wardrobe and dined, and thence home and to my office, and there sat looking over my papers of my voyage, when we fetched over the King, and tore so many of these that were worth nothing, as filled my closet as high as my knees. I staid doing this till 10 at night, and so home and to bed.

6th. Up early, my mind full of business, then to the office, where the two Sir Williams and I spent the morning passing the victualler's accounts, the first I have had to do withal. Then home, where my Uncle Thomas (by promise and his son Tom) were come to give me his answer whether he would have me go to law or arbitracon with him, but he is unprovided to answer me, and desires two days more. I left them to dine with my wife, and myself to Mr. Gauden and the two knights at dinner at the Dolphin, and thence after dinner to the office back again till night, we having been these four or five days very full of business, and I thank God I am well pleased with it, and hope I shall continue of that temper, which God grant. So after a little being at Sir W. Batten's with Sir G. Carteret talking, I went home, and so to my chamber, and then to bed, my mind somewhat troubled about Brampton affairs. This night my new camelott riding coat to my coloured cloth suit came home. More news to-day of our losses at Brampton by the late storm.

7th. Early to White Hall to the chappell, where by Mr. Blagrave's means I got into his pew, and heard Dr. Creeton, the great Scotchman, preach before the King, and Duke and Duchess, upon the words of Micah:--" Roule yourselves in dust." He made a most learned sermon upon the words; but, in his application, the most comical man that ever I heard in my life. Just such a man as Hugh Peters; saying that it had been better for the poor Cavalier never to have come with the King into England again; for he that hath the impudence to deny obedience to the lawful magistrate, and to swear to the oath of allegiance, &c., was better treated now-a-days in Newgate, than a poor Royalist, that hath suffered all his life for the King, is at White Hall among his friends. He discoursed much against a man's lying with his wife in Lent, saying that he might be as incontinent during that time with his own wife as at another time in another man's bed. Thence with Mr. Moore to Whitehall and walked a little, and so to the Wardrobe to dinner, and so home to the office about business till late at night by myself, and so home and to bed.

8th. By coach with both Sir Williams to Westminster; this being a great day there in the House to pass the business for chimney-money, which was done. In the Hall I met with Serjeant Pierce; and he and I to drink a cup of ale at the Swan, and there he told me how my Lady Monk hath disposed of all the places which Mr. Edwd. Montagu hoped to have had, as he was Master of the Horse to the Queen; which I am afraid will undo him, because he depended much upon the profit of what he should make by these places. He told me, also, many more scurvy stories of him and his brother Ralph, which troubles me to hear of persons of honour as they are. About one o'clock with both Sir Williams and another, one Sir Rich. Branes, to the Trinity House, but came after they had dined, so we had something got ready for us. Here Sir W. Batten was taken with a fit of coughing that lasted a great while and made him very ill, and so he went home sick upon it. Sir W. Pen. and I to the office, whither afterward came Sir G. Carteret; and we sent for Sir Thos. Allen, one of the Aldermen of the City, about the business of one Colonel Appesley, whom we had taken counterfeiting of bills with all our hands and the officers of the yards, so well counterfeited that I should never have mistrusted them. We staid about this business at the office till ten at night, and at last did send him with a constable to the Counter; and did give warrants for the seizing of a complice of his, one Blinkinsopp. So home and wrote to my father, and so to bed.

9th (Lord's day). Church in the morning: dined at home, then to Church again and heard Mr. Naylor, whom I knew formerly of Keye's College, make a most eloquent sermon. Thence to Sir W. Batten's to see how he did, then to walk an hour with Sir W. Pen in the garden: then he in to supper with me at my house, and so to prayers and to bed.

10th. At the office doing business all the morning, and my wife being gone to buy some things in the city I dined with Sir W. Batten, and in the afternoon met Sir W. Pen at the Treasury Office, and there paid off the Guift, where late at night, and so called in and eat a bit at Sir W. Batten's again, and so home and to bed, to-morrow being washing day.

11th. At the office all the morning, and all the afternoon rummaging of papers in my chamber, and tearing some and sorting others till late at night, and so to bed, my wife being not well all this day. This afternoon Mrs. Turner and The. came to see me, her mother not having been abroad many a day before, but now is pretty well again and has made me one of the first visits.

12th. At the office from morning till night putting of papers in order, that so I may have my office in an orderly condition. I took much pains in sorting and folding of papers. Dined at home, and there came Mrs. Goldsborough about her old business, but I did give her a short answer and sent away. This morning we had news from Mr. Coventry, that Sir G. Downing (like a perfidious rogue, though the action is good and of service to the King, yet he cannot with any good conscience do it) hath taken Okey, Corbet, and Barkestead at Delfe, in Holland, and sent them home in the Blackmore. Sir W. Pen, talking to me this afternoon of what a strange thing it is for Downing to do this, he told me of a speech he made to the Lords States of Holland, telling them to their faces that he observed that he was not received with the respect and observance now, that he was when he came from the traitor and rebell Cromwell: by whom, I am sure, he hath got all he hath in the world,--and they know it too.
[Charles, when residing at Brussels, went to the Hague at night to pay a secret visit to his sister, the Princess of Orange. After his arrival, "an old reverend-like man, with a long grey beard and ordinary grey clothes," entered the inn and begged for a private interview. He then fell on his knees, and pulling off his disguise, discovered himself to be Mr. Downing, then ambassador from Cromwell to the States-General. He informed Charles that the Dutch had guaranteed to the English Commonwealth to deliver him into their hands should he ever set foot in their territory. This warning probably saved Charles's liberty.--M. B.]

13th. All day, either at the office or at home, busy about business till late at night, I having lately followed my business much, I find great pleasure in it, and a growing content.

14th. At the office all the morning. At noon Sir W. Pen and I making a bargain with the workmen about his house, at which I did see things not so well contracted for as I would have, and I was vexed and made him so too to see me so critical in the agreement. Home to dinner. In the afternoon came the German Dr. Kuffler, to discourse with us about his engine to blow up ships. We doubted not the matter of fact, it being tried in Cromwell's time, but the safety of carrying them in ships; but he do tell us, that when he comes to tell the King his secret (for none but the Kings, successively, and their heirs must know it), it will appear to be of no danger at all. We concluded nothing; but shall discourse with the Duke of York to-morrow about it. In the afternoon, after we had done with him, I went to speak with my uncle Wight and found my aunt to have been ill a good while of a miscarriage, I staid and talked with her a good while. Thence home, where I found that Sarah the maid had been very ill all day, and my wife fears that she will have an ague, which I am much troubled for. Thence to my lute, upon which I have not played a week or two, and trying over the two songs of "Nulla, nulla," &c., and "Gaze not on Swans," which Mr. Berkenshaw set for me a little while ago, I find them most incomparable songs as he has set them, of which I am not a little proud, because I am sure none in the world has them but myself, not so much as he himself that set them. So to bed.

15th. With Sir G. Carteret and both the Sir Williams at Whitehall to wait on the Duke in his chamber, which we did about getting money for the Navy and other things. So back again to the office all the morning. Thence to the Exchange to hire a ship for the Maderas, but could get none. Then home to dinner, and Sir G. Carteret and I all the afternoon by ourselves upon business in the office till late at night. So to write letters and home to bed. Troubled at my maid's being ill.

16th (Lord's day). This morning, till churches were done, I spent going from one church to another and hearing a bit here and a bit there. So to the Wardrobe to dinner with the young Ladies, and then into my Lady's chamber and talked with her a good while, and so walked to White Hall, an hour or two in the Park, which is now very pleasant. Here the King and Duke came to see their fowl play. The Duke took very civil notice of me. So walked home, calling at Tom's, giving him my resolution about my boy's livery. Here I spent an hour walking in the garden with Sir W. Pen, and then my wife and I thither to supper, where his son William is at home not well. But all things, I fear, do not go well with them; they look discontentedly, but I know not what ails them. Drinking of cold small beer here I fell ill, and was forced to go out and vomit, and so was well again and went home by and by to bed. Fearing that Sarah would continue ill, wife and I removed this night to our matted chamber and lay there.

17th. All the morning at the office by myself about setting things in order there, and so at noon to the Exchange to see and be seen, and so home to dinner and then to the office again till night, and then home and after supper and reading a while to bed. Last night the Blackmore pink [A "pink" was a form of vessel now obsolete, and had a very narrow stern. The "Blackmoor" was a sixth-rate of twelve guns, built at Chatham by Captain Tayler in 1656.] brought the three prisoners, Barkestead, Okey, and Corbet, to the Tower, being taken at Delfe in Holland; where, the Captain tells me, the Dutch were a good while before they could be persuaded to let them go, they being taken prisoners in their land. But Sir G. Downing would not be answered so: though all the world takes notice of him for a most ungrateful villain for his pains.

18th. All the morning at the office with Sir W. Pen. Dined at home, and Luellin and Blurton with me. After dinner to the office again, where Sir G. Carteret and we staid awhile, and then Sir W. Pen and I on board some of the ships now fitting for East Indys and Portugall, to see in what forwardness they are, and so back home again, and I write to my father by the post about Brampton Court, which is now coming on. But that which troubles me is that my Father has now got an ague that I fear may endanger his life. So to bed.

19th. All the morning and afternoon at my office putting things in order, and in the evening I do begin to digest my uncle the Captain's papers into one book, which I call my Brampton book, for the clearer understanding things how they are with us. So home and supper and to bed. This noon came a letter from T. Pepys, the turner, in answer to one of mine the other day to him, wherein I did cheque him for not coming to me, as he had promised, with his and his father's resolucion about the difference between us. But he writes to me in the very same slighting terms that I did to him, without the least respect at all, but word for word as I did him, which argues a high and noble spirit in him, though it troubles me a little that he should make no more of my anger, yet I cannot blame him for doing so, he being the elder brother's son, and not depending upon me at all.

20th. At my office all the morning, at noon to the Exchange, and so home to dinner, and then all the afternoon at the office till late at night, and so home and to bed, my mind in good ease when I mind business, which methinks should be a good argument to me never to do otherwise.

21st. With Sir W. Batten by water to Whitehall, and he to Westminster. I went to see Sarah and my Lord's lodgings, which are now all in dirt, to be repaired against my Lord's coming from sea with the Queen. Thence to Westminster Hall; and there walked up and down and heard the great difference that hath been between my Lord Chancellor and my Lord of Bristol, about a proviso that my Lord Chancellor would have brought into the Bill for Conformity, that it shall be in the power of the King, when he sees fit, to dispense with the Act of Conformity; and though it be carried in the House of Lords, yet it is believed it will hardly pass in the Commons. Here I met with Chetwind, Parry, and several others, and went to a little house behind the Lords' house to drink some wormwood ale, which doubtless was a bawdy house, the mistress of the house having the look and dress: Here we staid till noon and then parted, I by water to the Wardrobe to meet my wife, but my Lady and they had dined, and so I dined with the servants, and then up to my Lady, and there staid and talked a good while, and then parted and walked into Cheapside, and there saw my little picture, for which I am to sit again the next week. So home, and staid late writing at my office, and so home and to bed, troubled that now my boy is also fallen sick of an ague we fear.

22nd. At the office all the morning. At noon Sir Williams both and I by water down to the Lewes, Captain Dekins, his ship, a merchantman, where we met the owners, Sir John Lewes and Alderman Lewes, and several other great merchants; among others one Jefferys, a merry man that is a fumbler, and he and I called brothers, and he made all the mirth in the company. We had a very fine dinner, and all our wives' healths, with seven or nine guns apiece; and exceeding merry we were, and so home by barge again, and I vexed to find Griffin leave the office door open, and had a design to have carried away the screw or the carpet in revenge to him, but at last I would not, but sent for him and chid him, and so to supper and to bed, having drank a great deal of wine.

23rd (Lord's day). This morning was brought me my boy's fine livery, which is very handsome, and I do think to keep to black and gold lace upon gray, being the colour of my arms, for ever. To church in the morning, and so home with Sir W. Batten, and there eat some boiled great oysters, and so home, and while I was at dinner with my wife I was sick, and was forced to vomit up my oysters again, and then I was well. By and by a coach came to call me by my appointment, and so my wife and I carried to Westminster to Mrs. Hunt's, and I to Whitehall, Worcester House, and to my Lord Treasurer's to have found Sir G. Carteret, but missed in all these places. So back to White Hall, and there met with Captn. Isham, this day come from Lisbon, with letters from the Queen to the King. And he did give me letters which speak that our fleet is all at Lisbon; and that the Queen do not intend to embarque sooner than tomorrow come fortnight. So having sent for my wife, she and I to my Lady Sandwich, and after a short visit away home. She home, and I to Sir G. Carteret's about business, and so home too, and Sarah having her fit we went to bed.

24th. Early Sir G. Carteret, both Sir Williams and I on board the Experiment, to dispatch her away, she being to carry things to the Madeiras with the East Indy fleet. Here (Sir W. Pen going to Deptford to send more hands) we staid till noon talking, and eating and drinking a good ham of English bacon, and having put things in very good order home, where I found Jane, my old maid, come out of the country, and I have a mind to have her again. By and by comes La Belle Pierce to see my wife, and to bring her a pair of peruques of hair, as the fashion now is for ladies to wear; which are pretty, and are of my wife's own hair, or else I should not endure them. After a good whiles stay, I went to see if any play was acted, and I found none upon the post, it being Passion week. So home again, and took water with them towards Westminster; but as we put off with the boat Griffin came after me to tell me that Sir G. Carteret and the rest were at the office, so I intended to see them through the bridge and come back again, but the tide being against us, when we were almost through we were carried back again with much danger, and Mrs. Pierce was much afeard and frightened. So I carried them to the other side and walked to the Beare, and sent them away, and so back again myself to the office, but finding nobody there I went again to the Old Swan, and thence by water to the New Exchange, and there found them, and thence by coach carried my wife to Bowes to buy something, and while they were there went to Westminster Hall, and there bought Mr. Grant's book of observations upon the weekly bills of mortality, which appear to me upon first sight to be very pretty. So back again and took my wife, calling at my brother Tom's, whom I found full of work, which I am glad of, and thence at the New Exchange and so home, and I to Sir W. Batten's, and supped there out of pure hunger and to save getting anything ready at home, which is a thing I do not nor shall not use to do. So home and to bed.

26th. Up early. This being, by God's great blessing, the fourth solemn day of my cutting for the stone this day four years, and am by God's mercy in very good health, and like to do well, the Lord's name be praised for it. To the office and Sir G. Carteret's all the morning about business. At noon come my good guests, Madame Turner, The., and Cozen Norton, and a gentleman, one Mr. Lewin of the King's LifeGuard; by the same token he told us of one of his fellows killed this morning in a duel. I had a pretty dinner for them, viz., a brace of stewed carps, six roasted chickens, and a jowl of salmon, hot, for the first course; a tanzy [Tansy (tanacetum), a herb from which puddings were made. Hence any pudding of the kind.] and two neats' tongues, and cheese the second; and were very merry all the afternoon, talking and singing and piping upon the flageolette. In the evening they went with great pleasure away, and I with great content and my wife walked half an hour in the garden, and so home to supper and to bed. We had a man-cook to dress dinner to-day, and sent for Jane to help us, and my wife and she agreed at L3 a year (she would not serve under) till both could be better provided, and so she stays with us, and I hope we shall do well if poor Sarah were but rid of her ague.

27th. Early Sir G. Carteret, both Sir Williams and I by coach to Deptford, it being very windy and rainy weather, taking a codd and some prawnes in Fish Street with us. We settled to pay the Guernsey, a small ship, but come to a great deal of money, it having been unpaid ever since before the King came in, by which means not only the King pays wages while the ship has lain still, but the poor men have most of them been forced to borrow all the money due for their wages before they receive it, and that at a dear rate, God knows, so that many of them had very little to receive at the table, which grieved me to see it. To dinner, very merry. Then Sir George to London, and we again to the pay, and that done by coach home again and to the office, doing some business, and so home and to bed.

28th (Good Friday). At home all the morning, and dined with my wife, a good dinner. At my office all the afternoon. At night to my chamber to read and sing, and so to supper and to bed.

29th. At the office all the morning. Then to the Wardrobe, and there coming late dined with the people below. Then up to my Lady, and staid two hours talking with her about her family business with great content and confidence in me. So calling at several places I went home, where my people are getting the house clean against to-morrow. I to the office and wrote several letters by post, and so home and to bed.

30th (Easter day). Having my old black suit new furbished, I was pretty neat in clothes to-day, and my boy, his old suit new trimmed, very handsome. To church in the morning, and so home, leaving the two Sir Williams to take the Sacrament, which I blame myself that I have hitherto neglected all my life, but once or twice at Cambridge.
Dined with my wife, a good shoulder of veal well dressed by Jane, and handsomely served to table, which pleased us much, and made us hope that she will serve our turn well enough. My wife and I to church in the afternoon, and seated ourselves, she below me, and by that means the precedence of the pew, which my Lady Batten and her daughter takes, is confounded; and after sermon she and I did stay behind them in the pew, and went out by ourselves a good while after them, which we judge a very fine project hereafter to avoyd contention. So my wife and I to walk an hour or two on the leads, which begins to be very pleasant, the garden being in good condition. So to supper, which is also well served in. We had a lobster to supper, with a crabb Pegg Pen sent my wife this afternoon, the reason of which we cannot think; but something there is of plot or design in it, for we have a little while carried ourselves pretty strange to them. After supper to bed.

31st. This morning Mr. Coventry and all our company met at the office about some business of the victualling, which being dispatched we parted. I to my Lord Crew's to dinner (in my way calling upon my brother Tom, with whom I staid a good while and talked, and find him a man like to do well, which contents me much), where used with much respect, and talking with him about my Lord's debts, and whether we should make use of an offer of Sir G. Carteret's to lend my Lady 4 or L500, he told me by no means, we must not oblige my Lord to him, and by the by he made a question whether it was not my Lord's interest a little to appear to the King in debt, and for people to clamor against him as well as others for their money, that by that means the King and the world may see that he do lay out for the King's honour upon his own main stock, which many he tells me do, that in fine if there be occasion he and I will be bound for it. Thence to Sir Thomas Crew's lodgings. He hath been ill, and continues so, under fits of apoplexy. Among other things, he and I did discourse much of Mr. Montagu's base doings, and the dishonour that he will do my Lord, as well as cheating him of 2 or L3,000, which is too true. Thence to the play, where coming late, and meeting with Sir W. Pen, who had got room for my wife and his daughter in the pit, he and I into one of the boxes, and there we sat and heard "The Little Thiefe," a pretty play and well done. Thence home, and walked in the garden with them, and then to the house to supper and sat late talking, and so to bed.