Bible thumper

Up before three o’clock, and a little after upon the water, it being very light as at noon, and a bright sunrising; but by and by a rainbow appeared, the first that ever in a morning I saw, and then it fell a-raining a little, but held up again, and I to Woolwich, where before all the men came to work I with Mr. Deane spent two hours upon the new ship, informing myself in the names and natures of many parts of her to my great content, and so back again, without doing any thing else, and after shifting myself away to Westminster, looking after Mr. Maes’s business and others. In the Painted Chamber I heard a fine conference between some of the two Houses upon the Bill for Conventicles. The Lords would be freed from having their houses searched by any but the Lord Lieutenant of the County; and upon being found guilty, to be tried only by their peers; and thirdly, would have it added, that whereas the Bill says, “That that, among other things, shall be a conventicle wherein any such meeting is found doing any thing contrary to the Liturgy of the Church of England,” they would have it added, “or practice.” The Commons to the Lords said, that they knew not what might hereafter be found out which might be called the practice of the Church of England; for there are many things may be said to be the practice of the Church, which were never established by any law, either common, statute, or canon; as singing of psalms, binding up prayers at the end of the Bible, and praying extempore before and after sermon: and though these are things indifferent, yet things for aught they at present know may be started, which may be said to be the practice of the Church which would not be fit to allow.
For the Lords’ priviledges, Mr. Walter told them how tender their predecessors had been of the priviledges of the Lords; but, however, where the peace of the kingdom stands in competition with them, they apprehend those priviledges must give place. He told them that he thought, if they should owne all to be the priviledges of the Lords which might be demanded, they should be led like the man (who granted leave to his neighbour to pull off his horse’s tail, meaning that he could not do it at once) that hair by hair had his horse’s tail pulled off indeed: so the Commons, by granting one thing after another, might be so served by the Lords. Mr. Vaughan, whom I could not to my grief perfectly hear, did say, if that they should be obliged in this manner to, exempt the Lords from every thing, it would in time come to pass that whatever (be [it] never so great) should be voted by the Commons as a thing penall for a commoner, the contrary should be thought a priviledge to the Lords.
That also in this business, the work of a conventicle being but the work of an hour, the cause of a search would be over before a Lord Lieutenant, who may be many miles off, can be sent for.
And that all this dispute is but about 100l.; for it is said in the Act, that it shall be banishment or payment of 100l..
I thereupon heard the Duke of Lenox say, that there might be Lords who could not always be ready to lose 100l., or some such thing.
They broke up without coming to any end in it.
There was also in the Commons’ House a great quarrel about Mr. Prin, and it was believed that he should have been sent to the Towre, for adding something to a Bill (after it was ordered to be engrossed) of his own head — a Bill for measures for wine and other things of that sort, and a Bill of his owne bringing in; but it appeared he could not mean any hurt in it. But, however, the King was fain to write in his behalf, and all was passed over. But it is worth my remembrance, that I saw old Ryly the Herald, and his son; and spoke to his son, who told me in very bad words concerning Mr. Prin, that the King had given him an office of keeping the Records; but that he never comes thither, nor had been there these six months: so that I perceive they expect to get his imployment from him. Thus every body is liable to be envied and supplanted.
At noon over to the Leg, where Sir G. Ascue, Sir Robt. Parkhurst and Sir W. Pen dined. A good dinner and merry. Thence to White Hall walking up and down a great while, but the Council not meeting soon enough I went homeward, calling upon my cozen Roger Pepys, with whom I talked and heard so much from him of his desire that I would see my brother’s debts paid, and things still of that nature tending to my parting with what I get with pain to serve others’ expenses that I was cruelly vexed. Thence to Sir R. Bernard, and there heard something of Pigott’s delay of paying our money, that that also vexed me mightily. So home and there met with a letter from my cozen Scott, which tells me that he is resolved to meddle no more with our business, of administering for my father, which altogether makes me almost distracted to think of the trouble that I am like to meet with by other folks’ business more than ever I hope to have by my owne. So with great trouble of mind to bed.

I inform myself in the names
and natures of many parts of her
my fine and binding Bible

like the man who hair by hair
pulled the grief out
of his own head

but I could not hurt the bad
words that keep a body
planted in desire


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 13 May 1664.

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