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MOST NOTED OF SECRET DIARISTS AND GOSSIPS
(INTRODUCTORY NOTE) Pepys and his celebrated diary need little introduction. He kept this diary in shorthand from the year 1660 down to 1669 when the increasing weakness of his eyes compelled him to “forbear,” though as he pathetically expresses the deprivation, it “is almost as much as to see myself go into my grave.” During these ten years he wrote almost as many volumes; but most of the mass is of little value, so that almost all modern editions of Pepys are abridged. He kept track of every bit of scandal of the day, repeating each savory morsel again and again as he heard some new rumor. He makes almost daily entries of his work, his eating and drinking, his clothes, his finances, his petty squabbles with his wife, whom he most commonly refers to with a sort of affectionate pity as “the poor wretch."
The shorthand in which Pepys wrote was partly of his own designing so that he assumed no one else could read it, and his book thus acquires a peculiar value of perfect frankness. Unlike almost every other book in the world, even autobiographies, it was not written for other men's reading but only for the private memory of Samuel Pepys. In a way, it thus becomes almost a desecration to read some portions of Pepys' book; and we must remember that in applying to him the terms “petty gossip” and other names of reproach we are judging him by a method to which no other man in the world has ever been subjected. Even among autobiographers the others present to us only what they choose to present. To the world of his own day, which knew nothing of his diary, Pepys shone as an able and energetic government official who won high honor in the navy service and as a Member of Parliament. In scientific circles he rose to be President of the Royal Society and one of its most valued leaders.
The diary opens on the eve of the downfall of the Puritan government. Cromwell was dead, and no other was strong enough or bold enough to take his place. The mass of people were most of them very A, V.523
weary of the strict Puritan rule, and secret intrigues were afoot for the restoration of the exiled prince, afterward King Charles II.
PEPYS' DIARY 1660. BLESSED be God, at the end of the last year I was in very good health, without any sense of my old pain, but upon taking of cold. I lived in Axe Yard, having my wife, and servant Jane, and no other in family than us three.
The condition of the State was thus; viz. the Rump (the Parliament), after being disturbed by my Lord Lambert, was lately returned to sit again. The officers of the Army all forced to yield. Lawson 2 lies still in the river, and Monk s is with his army in Scotland. Only my Lord Lambert is not yet come into the Parliament, nor is it expected that he will without being forced to it. The new Common Council of the City do speak very high; and had sent to Monk their swordbearer, to acquaint him with their desires for a free and full Parliament, which is at present the desires, and the hopes, and the expectations of all. Twenty-two of the old secluded members having been at the House-door the last week to demand entrance, but it was denied them; and it is believed that neither they nor the people will be satisfied till the House be filled. My own private condition very handsome, and esteemed rich, but indeed very poor; besides my goods of my house, and my office, which at present is somewhat certain. Mr. Downing master of my office.*
Jan. 1 (Lord's day). This morning (we living lately in the garret,) I rose, put on my suit with great skirts, having not lately worn any other clothes but them. Went to Mr. Gunning's chapel at Exeter House, where he made a very good sermon upon these words :-“That in the fuliness of
1 Sufficiently known by his services as a Major-General in the Parliament forces during the Civil War, and condemned as a traitor after the Restoration, but reprieved and banished to Guernsey, where he lived in confinement thirty years.
* Sir John Lawson, the son of a poor man at Hull, rose to the rank of Admiral, and distinguished himself during the Protectorate; a: 1, though a republican in his heart, readily closed with the design of restoring the King. He was mortally wounded in the sca fight in 1665.
: George Monk, afterwards Duke of Albemarle.
“The office appears to have been in the Exchequer, and connected with the pay of the army.
de of a meant me in tand in hole
doing of it while dressed the . Dined at home circumcision
time God sent his Son, made of a woman,” &c.; showing, that, by “made under the law,” is meant the circumcision, which is solemnized this day. Dined at home in the garret, where my wife dressed the remains of a turkey, and in the doing of it she burned her hand. I stayed at home the whole afternoon, looking over my accounts; then went with my wife to my father's, and in going observed the great posts which the City workmen set up at the Conduit in Fleet-street.
2nd. Walked a great while in Westminster Hall, where I heard that Lambert was coming up to London: that my Lord Fairfax was in the head of the Irish brigade, but it was not certain what he would declare for. The House was to-day upon finishing the act for the Council of State, which they did; and for the indemnity to the soldiers; and were to sit again thereupon in the afternoon. Great talk that many places had declared for a free Parliament; and it is believed that they will be forced to fill up the House with the old members. From the Hall I called at home, and so went to Mr. Crewe's (my wife she was to go to her father's), and Mr. Moore and I and another gentleman went out and drank a cup of ale together in the new market, and there I eat some bread and cheese for my dinner
3rd. To White Hall, where I understood that the Parliament had passed the act for indemnity for the soldiers and officers that would come in, in so many days, and that my Lord Lambert should have benefit of the said act. They had also voted that all vacancies in the House, by the death of any of the old members, should be filled up; but those that are living shall not be called in.
4th. Strange the difference of men's talk! Some say that Lambert must of necessity yield up; others, that he is very strong, and that the Fifth-monarchy-men will stick to him, if he declares for a free Parliament. Chillington was sent yesterday to him with the vote of pardon and indemnity from the Parliament. Went and walked in the Hall, where I heard that the Parliament spent this day in fasting and prayer; and in the afternoon came letters from the North, that brought certain news that my Lord Lambert his forces were all for. saking him, and that he was left with only fifty horse, and that he did now declare for the Parliament himself; and that