Diary of Samuel Pepys — Volume 69: November 1668

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In , Pepys had to prepare detailed answers to the committee's eight "Observations" on the Navy Board's conduct. In , he was forced to defend his own role. A seaman's ticket with Pepys' name on it was produced as incontrovertible evidence of his corrupt dealings but, thanks to the intervention of the king, Pepys emerged from the sustained investigation relatively unscathed.

Outbreaks of plague were not particularly unusual events in London; major epidemics had occurred in , , and He did not live in cramped housing, he did not routinely mix with the poor, and he was not required to keep his family in London in the event of a crisis. On 16 August he wrote:. Jealous of every door that one sees shut up, lest it should be the plague; and about us two shops in three, if not more, generally shut up.


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He also chewed tobacco as a protection against infection, and worried that wig-makers might be using hair from the corpses as a raw material. Furthermore, it was Pepys who suggested that the Navy Office should evacuate to Greenwich , although he did offer to remain in town himself. He later took great pride in his stoicism. In the early hours of 2 September , Pepys was awakened by his servant who had spotted a fire in the Billingsgate area.

He decided that the fire was not particularly serious and returned to bed. Shortly after waking, his servant returned and reported that houses had been destroyed and that London Bridge was threatened. Pepys went to the Tower to get a better view. Without returning home, he took a boat and observed the fire for over an hour. In his diary, Pepys recorded his observations as follows:. I down to the water-side, and there got a boat and through bridge, and there saw a lamentable fire. Poor Michell's house, as far as the Old Swan, already burned that way, and the fire running further, that in a very little time it got as far as the Steeleyard, while I was there.

Everybody endeavouring to remove their goods, and flinging into the river or bringing them into lighters that layoff; poor people staying in their houses as long as till the very fire touched them, and then running into boats, or clambering from one pair of stairs by the water-side to another. And among other things, the poor pigeons, I perceive, were loth to leave their houses, but hovered about the windows and balconys till they were, some of them burned, their wings, and fell down. Having staid, and in an hour's time seen the fire: The wind was driving the fire westward, so he ordered the boat to go to Whitehall and became the first person to inform the king of the fire.

According to his entry of 2 September , Pepys recommended to the king that homes be pulled down in the path of the fire in order to stem its progress. Accepting this advice, the king told him to go to Lord Mayor Thomas Bloodworth and tell him to start pulling down houses. Pepys took a coach back as far as St Paul's Cathedral before setting off on foot through the burning city. He found the Lord Mayor, who said, "Lord! I have been pulling down houses; but the fire overtakes us faster than we can do it. Later, he returned to Whitehall, then met his wife in St.

In the evening, they watched the fire from the safety of Bankside. Pepys writes that "it made me weep to see it". Returning home, Pepys met his clerk Tom Hayter who had lost everything. Hearing news that the fire was advancing, he started to pack up his possessions by moonlight. A cart arrived at 4 a. Many of his valuables, including his diary, were sent to a friend from the Navy Office at Bethnal Green.

By then, he believed that Seething Lane was in grave danger, so he suggested calling men from Deptford to help pull down houses and defend the king's property. Pen and I to Tower-streete, and there met the fire burning three or four doors beyond Mr. Batten not knowing how to remove his wine, did dig a pit in the garden, and laid it in there; and I took the opportunity of laying all the papers of my office that I could not otherwise dispose of. And in the evening Sir W.

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Pen and I did dig another, and put our wine in it; and I my Parmazan cheese, as well as my wine and some other things. Pepys had taken to sleeping on his office floor; on Wednesday, 5 September, he was awakened by his wife at 2 a. She told him that the fire had almost reached All Hallows-by-the-Tower and that it was at the foot of Seething Lane.

In the following days, Pepys witnessed looting, disorder, and disruption. On 7 September, he went to Paul's Wharf and saw the ruins of St Paul's Cathedral, of his old school, of his father's house, and of the house in which he had had his stone removed. The diary gives a detailed account of Pepys' personal life. He liked wine, plays, and the company of other people.

He also spent time evaluating his fortune and his place in the world. He was always curious and often acted on that curiosity, as he acted upon almost all his impulses. Periodically, he would resolve to devote more time to hard work instead of leisure. For example, in his entry for New Year's Eve, , he writes: Pepys was one of the most important civil servants of his age, and was also a widely cultivated man, taking an interest in books, music, the theatre and science.

He was passionately interested in music; he composed, sang, and played for pleasure, and even arranged music lessons for his servants. He played the lute , viol , violin, flageolet , recorder and spinet to varying degrees of proficiency. He was known to be brutal to his servants, once beating a servant Jane with a broom until she cried. Pepys was an investor in the Company of Royal Adventurers Trading to Africa , which held the monopoly in England on trading along the west coast of Africa in gold , silver , ivory and slaves.

Propriety did not prevent him from engaging in a number of extramarital liaisons with various women that were chronicled in his diary, often in some detail, and generally using a cocktail of languages English, French, Spanish and Latin when relating the intimate details. The most dramatic of these encounters was with Deborah Willet , a young woman engaged as a companion for Elisabeth Pepys. On 25 October , Pepys was surprised by his wife as he embraced Deb Willet; he writes that his wife "coming up suddenly, did find me imbracing the girl con [with] my hand sub [under] su [her] coats; and endeed I was with my main [hand] in her cunny.

I was at a wonderful loss upon it and the girl also Pepys first met Knep on 6 December He described her as "pretty enough, but the most excellent, mad-humoured thing, and sings the noblest that I ever heard in my life. Knep provided Pepys with backstage access and was a conduit for theatrical and social gossip.

When they wrote notes to each other, Pepys signed himself "Dapper Dickey", while Knep was " Barbry Allen " that popular song was an item in her musical repertory. The diary was written in one of the many standard forms of shorthand used in Pepys' time, in this case called tachygraphy and devised by Thomas Shelton. It is clear from its content that it was written as a purely personal record of his life and not for publication, yet there are indications that Pepys took steps to preserve the bound manuscripts of his diary.

He wrote it out in fair copy from rough notes, and he also had the loose pages bound into six volumes, catalogued them in his library with all his other books, and is likely to have suspected that eventually someone would find them interesting. This tree resumes, in a more compact form and with a few additional details, trees published elsewhere in a box-like form. Pepys' health suffered from the long hours that he worked throughout the period of the diary. Specifically, he believed that his eyesight had been affected by his work. Pepys and his wife took a holiday to France and the Low Countries in June—October ; on their return, Elisabeth fell ill and died on 10 November Pepys never remarried, but he did have a long-term housekeeper named Mary Skinner who was assumed by many of his contemporaries to be his mistress and sometimes referred to as Mrs.

In he became an Elder Brother of Trinity House and served in this capacity until ; he was Master of Trinity House in — and again in — In he was involved with the establishment of the Royal Mathematical School at Christ's Hospital , which was to train 40 boys annually in navigation, for the benefit of the Royal Navy and the English Merchant Navy. In he was appointed a Governor of Christ's Hospital and for many years he took a close interest in its affairs.

Among his papers are two detailed memoranda on the administration of the school. In , after the successful conclusion of a seven-year campaign to get the master of the Mathematical School replaced by a man who knew more about the sea, he was rewarded for his service as a Governor by being made a Freeman of the City of London. He also served as Master without ever having been a Freeman or Liveryman of the Clothworkers' Company He was elected along with Sir Anthony Deane , a Harwich alderman and leading naval architect, to whom Pepys had been patron since By May of that year, they were under attack from their political enemies.

Pepys resigned as Secretary to the Admiralty. They were imprisoned in the Tower of London on suspicion of treasonable correspondence with France, specifically leaking naval intelligence. The charges are believed to have been fabricated under the direction of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury.

They were released in July, but proceedings against them were not dropped until June Though he had resigned from the Tangier committee in , in he was sent to Tangier to assist Lord Dartmouth with the evacuation and abandonment of the English colony. After six months' service, he travelled back through Spain accompanied by the naval engineer Edmund Dummer , returning to England after a particularly rough passage on 30 March The phantom Pepys Island , alleged to be near South Georgia , was named after him in , having been first "discovered" during his tenure at the Admiralty.

From to , he was active not only as Secretary for the Admiralty, but also as MP for Harwich. He had been elected MP for Sandwich , but this election was contested and he immediately withdrew to Harwich. When James fled the country at the end of , Pepys's career also came to an end.


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  • He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in and served as its President from 1 December to 30 November Isaac Newton 's Principia Mathematica was published during this period, and its title page bears Pepys' name. There is a probability problem called the " Newton—Pepys problem " that arose out of correspondence between Newton and Pepys about whether one is more likely to roll at least one six with six dice or at least two sixes with twelve dice.

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    He was imprisoned on suspicion of Jacobitism from May to July and again in June , but no charges were ever successfully brought against him. After his release, he retired from public life at age He moved out of London ten years later to a house in Clapham owned by his friend William Hewer , who had begun his career working for Pepys in the admiralty. Pepys lived there until his death on 26 May He had no children and bequeathed his estate to his unmarried nephew John Jackson. Pepys had disinherited his nephew Samuel Jackson for marrying contrary to his wishes.

    Hewer was also childless and left his immense estate to his nephew Hewer Edgeley consisting mostly of the Clapham property, as well as lands in Clapham, London, Westminster and Norfolk on condition that the nephew and godson would adopt the surname Hewer. On the death of Hewer Edgeley-Hewer in , the old Hewer estate went to Edgeley-Hewer's widow Elizabeth, who left the acre hectare estate to Levett Blackborne, the son of Abraham Blackborne, merchant of Clapham, and other family members, who later sold it off in lots. Lincoln's Inn barrister Levett Blackborne also later acted as attorney in legal scuffles for the heirs who had inherited the Pepys estate.

    Pepys was a lifelong bibliophile and carefully nurtured his large collection of books, manuscripts, and prints. At his death, there were more than 3, volumes, including the diary, all carefully catalogued and indexed; they form one of the most important surviving 17th-century private libraries. The most important items in the Library are the six original bound manuscripts of Pepys's diary, but there are other remarkable holdings, including: Pepys made detailed provisions in his will for the preservation of his book collection.

    His nephew and heir John Jackson died in , when it was transferred intact to Magdalene College, Cambridge , where it can be seen in the Pepys Building. The bequest included all the original bookcases and his elaborate instructions that placement of the books "be strictly reviewed and, where found requiring it, more nicely adjusted".

    Motivated by the publication of Evelyn's Diary , Lord Granville deciphered a few pages. He laboured at this task for three years, from to , unaware until nearly finished that a key to the shorthand system was stored in Pepys' library a few shelves above the diary volumes.

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    Others had apparently succeeded in reading the diary earlier, perhaps knowing about the key, because a work of quotes from a passage of it. A second transcription, done with the benefit of the key, but often less accurately, was completed in by Mynors Bright and published in — Wheatley , drawing on both his predecessors, produced a new edition in [67] —, revised in , with extensive notes and an index.

    All of these editions omitted passages chiefly about Pepys' sexual adventures which the editors thought too obscene ever to be printed. Wheatley, in the preface to his edition noted, "a few passages which cannot possibly be printed. It may be thought by some that these omissions are due to an unnecessary squeamishness, but it is not really so, and readers are therefore asked to have faith in the judgement of the editor. Various single-volume abridgements of this text are also available.

    The Companion provides a long series of detailed essays about Pepys and his world. The first unabridged recording of the diary as an audiobook was published in by Naxos AudioBooks. On 1 January Phil Gyford started a weblog , pepysdiary. Steve Coogan played Pepys. The film Stage Beauty concerns London theatre in the 17th century and is based on Jeffrey Hatcher 's play Compleat Female Stage Beauty , which in turn was inspired by a reference in Pepys's diary to the actor Edward Kynaston , who played female roles in the days when women were forbidden to appear on stage.

    Pepys is a character in the film and is portrayed as an ardent devotee of the theatre. Hugh Bonneville plays Pepys. Pepys has also been portrayed in various other film and television productions, played by diverse actors including Mervyn Johns , Michael Palin , Michael Graham Cox and Philip Jackson. BBC Radio 4 has broadcast serialised radio dramatisations of the diary. In the s it was performed as a Classic Serial starring Bill Nighy , [70] and in the s it was serialised as part of the Woman's Hour radio magazine programme. A fictionalised Pepys narrates the second chapter of Harry Turtledove 's science fiction novel A Different Flesh serialised —, book form This chapter is entitled "And So to Bed" and written in the form of entries from the Pepys diary.

    The entries detail Pepys' encounter with American Homo erectus specimens imported to London as beasts of burden and his formation of the "transformational theory of life," thus causing evolutionary theory to gain a foothold in scientific thought in the 17th century rather than the 19th. Several detailed studies of Pepys' life are available. Arthur Bryant published his three-volume study in —, long before the definitive edition of the diary, but, thanks to Bryant's lively style, it is still of interest. In Richard Ollard produced a new biography that drew on Latham's and Matthew's work on the text, benefitting from the author's deep knowledge of Restoration politics.

    A Life , by Stephen Coote London: Thames and Hudson, The most recent general study is by Claire Tomalin , which won the Whitbread Book of the Year award, the judges calling it a "rich, thoughtful and deeply satisfying" account that unearths "a wealth of material about the uncharted life of Samuel Pepys".

    Samuel Pepys

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Clapham , Surrey , England. Diary of Samuel Pepys — Complete N. Diary of Samuel Pepys — Volume January Diary of Samuel Pepys — Volume February Diary of Samuel Pepys — Volume May Diary of Samuel Pepys — Volume March Diary of Samuel Pepys — Volume December Diary of Samuel Pepys — Volume July Diary of Samuel Pepys — Volume August Diary of Samuel Pepys — Volume September Diary of Samuel Pepys — Volume