Pepys Diary erasure project

Up in the morning, my head mightily confounded with the great deale of business I have upon me to do. But to the office, and there dispatched Mr. Creed’s business pretty well about his bill; but then there comes W. Howe for my Lord’s bill of Imprest for 500l. to carry with him this voyage, and so I was at a loss how to carry myself in it, Creed being there, but there being no help I delivered it to them both, and let them contend, when I perceive they did both endeavour to have it, but W. Howe took it, and the other had the discretion to suffer it. But I think I cleared myself to Creed that it past not from any practice of mine. At noon rose and did some necessary business at the ‘Change. Thence to Trinity House to a dinner which Sir G. Carteret makes there as Maister this year. Thence to White Hall to the Tangier Committee, and there, above my expectation, got the business of our contract for the victualling carried for my people, viz., Alsopp, Lanyon, and Yeabsly.
And by their promise I do thereby get 300l. per annum to myself, which do overjoy me; and the matter is left to me to draw up. Mr. Lewes was in the gallery and is mightily amazed at it, and I believe Mr. Gauden will make some stir about it, for he wrote to Mr. Coventry to-day about it to argue why he should for the King’s convenience have it, but Mr. Coventry most justly did argue freely for them that served cheapest.
Thence walked a while with Mr. Coventry in the gallery, and first find that he is mighty cold in his present opinion of Mr. Peter Pett for his flagging and doing things so lazily there, and he did also surprise me with a question why Deane did not bring in their report of the timber of Clarendon. What he means thereby I know not, but at present put him off; nor do I know how to steer myself: but I must think of it, and advise with my Lord Sandwich.
Thence with Creed by coach to my Lord Sandwich’s, and there I got Mr. Moore to give me my Lord’s hand for my receipt of 109l. more of my money of Sir G. Carteret, so that then his debt to me will be under 500l., I think. This do ease my mind also.
Thence carried him and W. Howe into London, and set them down at Sir G. Carteret’s to receive some money, and I home and there busy very late, and so home to supper and to bed, with my mind in pretty good ease, my business being in a pretty good condition every where.

how to let them contend
how to clear myself
from any expectation of people

their promise left me raw

to free the flag in my hand
I carried it everywhere


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 16 July 1664.

Up, and to my Lord Sandwich’s; where he sent for me up, and I did give my Lord an account of what had passed with my Lord Chancellor yesterday; with which he was well pleased, and advised me by all means to study in the best manner I could to serve him in this business. After this discourse ended, he begun to tell me that he had now pitched upon his day of going to sea upon Monday next, and that he would now give me an account how matters are with him.
He told me that his work now in the world is only to keep up his interest at Court, having little hopes to get more considerably, he saying that he hath now about 8,000l. per annum. It is true, he says, he oweth about 10,000l.; but he hath been at great charges in getting things to this pass in his estate; besides his building and good goods that he hath bought. He says he hath now evened his reckonings at the Wardrobe till Michaelmas last, and hopes to finish it to Ladyday before he goes. He says now there is due, too, 7,000l. to him there, if he knew how to get it paid, besides 2000l. that Mr. Montagu do owe him. As to his interest, he says that he hath had all the injury done him that ever man could have by another bosom friend that knows all his secrets, by Mr. Montagu; but he says that the worst of it all is past, and he gone out and hated, his very person by the King, and he believes the more upon the score of his carriage to him; nay, that the Duke of Yorke did say a little while since in his closett, that he did hate him because of his ungratefull carriage to my Lord of Sandwich. He says that he is as great with the Chancellor, or greater, than ever in his life. That with the King he is the like; and told me an instance, that whereas he formerly was of the private council to the King before he was last sicke, and that by the sickness an interruption was made in his attendance upon him; the King did not constantly call him, as he used to do, to his private council, only in businesses of the sea and the like; but of late the King did send a message to him by Sir Harry Bennet, to excuse the King to my Lord that he had not of late sent for him as he used to do to his private council, for it was not out of any distaste, but to avoid giving offence to some others whom he did not name; but my Lord supposes it might be Prince Rupert, or it may be only that the King would rather pass it by an excuse, than be thought unkind: but that now he did desire him to attend him constantly, which of late he hath done, and the King never more kind to him in his life than now. The Duke of Yorke, as much as is possible; and in the business of late, when I was to speak to my Lord about his going to sea, he says that he finds the Duke did it with the greatest ingenuity and love in the world; “and whereas,” says my Lord, “here is a wise man hard by that thinks himself so, and would be thought so, and it may be is in a degree so (naming by and by my Lord Crew), would have had me condition with him that neither Prince Rupert nor any body should come over his head, and I know not what.” The Duke himself hath caused in his commission, that he be made Admirall of this and what other ships or fleets shall hereafter be put out after these; which is very noble. He tells me in these cases, and that of Mr. Montagu’s, and all others, he finds that bearing of them patiently is his best way, without noise or trouble, and things wear out of themselves and come fair again. But, says he, take it from me, never to trust too much to any man in the world, for you put yourself into his power; and the best seeming friend and real friend as to the present may have or take occasion to fall out with you, and then out comes all.
Then he told me of Sir Harry Bennet, though they were always kind, yet now it is become to an acquaintance and familiarity above ordinary, that for these months he hath done no business but with my Lord’s advice in his chamber, and promises all faithfull love to him and service upon all occasions. My Lord says, that he hath the advantage of being able by his experience to helpe and advise him; and he believes that that chiefly do invite Sir Harry to this manner of treating him.
“Now,” says my Lord,” the only and the greatest embarras that I have in the world is, how to behave myself to Sir H. Bennet and my Lord Chancellor, in case that there do lie any thing under the embers about my Lord Bristoll, which nobody can tell; for then,” says he, “I must appear for one or other, and I will lose all I have in the world rather than desert my Lord Chancellor: so that,” says he, “I know not for my life what to do in that case.” For Sir H. Bennet’s love is come to the height, and his confidence, that he hath given my Lord a character, and will oblige my Lord to correspond with him. “This,” says he, “is the whole condition of my estate and interest; which I tell you, because I know not whether I shall see you again or no.” Then as to the voyage, he thinks it will be of charge to him, and no profit; but that he must not now look after nor think to encrease, but study to make good what he hath, that what is due to him from the Wardrobe or elsewhere may be paid, which otherwise would fail, and all a man hath be but small content to him.
So we seemed to take leave one of another; my Lord of me, desiring me that I would write to him and give him information upon all occasions in matters that concern him; which, put together with what he preambled with yesterday, makes me think that my Lord do truly esteem me still, and desires to preserve my service to him; which I do bless God for.
In the middle of our discourse my Lady Crew came in to bring my Lord word that he hath another son, my Lady being brought to bed just now, I did not think her time had been so nigh, but she’s well brought to bed, for which God be praised! and send my Lord to study the laying up of something the more!
Then with Creed to St. James’s, and missing Mr. Coventry, to White Hall; where, staying for him in one of the galleries, there comes out of the chayre-room Mrs. Stewart, in a most lovely form, with her hair all about her eares, having her picture taking there. There was the King and twenty more, I think, standing by all the while, and a lovely creature she in this dress seemed to be.
Thence to the ‘Change by coach, and so home to dinner and then to my office. In the evening Mr. Hill, Andrews and I to my chamber to sing, which we did very pleasantly, and then to my office again, where very late and so home, with my mind I bless God in good state of ease and body of health, only my head at this juncture very full of business, how to get something. Among others what this rogue Creed will do before he goes to sea, for I would fain be rid of him and see what he means to do, for I will then declare myself his firm friend or enemy.

I have a secret hate
like a private sea

that taste of ships put out to rust
that anything other than desert

for a voyage to white hair and ill health
my head full of how to get rid
of my enemy


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 15 July 1664.

My mind being doubtful what the business should be, I rose a little after four o’clock, and abroad. Walked to my Lord’s, and nobody up, but the porter rose out of bed to me so I back again to Fleete Streete, and there bought a little book of law; and thence, hearing a psalm sung, I went into St. Dunstan’s, and there heard prayers read, which, it seems, is done there every morning at six o’clock; a thing I never did do at a chappell, but the College Chappell, in all my life.
Thence to my Lord’s again, and my Lord being up, was sent for up, and he and I alone. He did begin with a most solemn profession of the same confidence in and love for me that he ever had, and then told me what a misfortune was fallen upon me and him: in me, by a displeasure which my Lord Chancellor did show to him last night against me, in the highest and most passionate manner that ever any man did speak, even to the not hearing of any thing to be said to him: but he told me, that he did say all that could be said for a man as to my faithfullnesse and duty to his Lordship, and did me the greatest right imaginable. And what should the business be, but that I should be forward to have the trees in Clarendon Park marked and cut down, which he, it seems, hath bought of my Lord Albemarle; when, God knows! I am the most innocent man in the world in it, and did nothing of myself, nor knew of his concernment therein, but barely obeyed my Lord Treasurer’s warrant for the doing thereof. And said that I did most ungentlemanlike with him, and had justified the rogues in cutting down a tree of his; and that I had sent the veriest Fanatique that is in England to mark them, on purpose to nose him. All which, I did assure my Lord, was most properly false, and nothing like it true; and told my Lord the whole passage. My Lord do seem most nearly affected; he is partly, I believe, for me, and partly for himself. So he advised me to wait presently upon my Lord, and clear myself in the most perfect manner I could, with all submission and assurance that I am his creature both in this and all other things; and that I do owne that all I have, is derived through my Lord Sandwich from his Lordship. So, full of horror, I went, and found him busy in tryals of law in his great room; and it being Sitting-day, durst not stay, but went to my Lord and told him so: whereupon he directed me to take him after dinner; and so away I home, leaving my Lord mightily concerned for me.
I to the office, and there sat busy all the morning. At noon to the ‘Change, and from the ‘Change over with Alsopp and the others to the Pope’s Head tavern, and there staid a quarter of an hour, and concluded upon this, that in case I got them no more than 3s. per week per man I should have of them but 150l. per ann., but to have it without any adventure or charge, but if I got them 3s. 2d., then they would give me 300l. in the like manner. So I directed them to draw up their tender in a line or two against the afternoon, and to meet me at White Hall. So I left them, and I to my Lord Chancellor’s; and there coming out after dinner I accosted him, telling him that I was the unhappy Pepys that had fallen into his high displeasure, and come to desire him to give me leave to make myself better understood to his Lordship, assuring him of my duty and service. He answered me very pleasingly, that he was confident upon the score of my Lord Sandwich’s character of me, but that he had reason to think what he did, and desired me to call upon him some evening: I named to-night, and he accepted of it. So with my heart light I to White Hall, and there after understanding by a stratagem, and yet appearing wholly desirous not to understand Mr. Gauden’s price when he desired to show it me, I went down and ordered matters in our tender so well that at the meeting by and by I was ready with Mr. Gauden’s and his, both directed him a letter to me to give the board their two tenders, but there being none but the Generall Monk and Mr. Coventry and Povy and I, I did not think fit to expose them to view now, but put it off till Saturday, and so with good content rose.
Thence I to the Half Moone, against the ‘Change, to acquaint Lanyon and his friends of our proceedings, and thence to my Lord Chancellor’s, and there heard several tryals, wherein I perceive my Lord is a most able and ready man. After all done, he himself called, “Come, Mr. Pepys, you and I will take a turn in the garden.” So he was led down stairs, having the goute, and there walked with me, I think, above an houre, talking most friendly, yet cunningly. I told him clearly how things were; how ignorant I was of his Lordship’s concernment in it; how I did not do nor say one word singly, but what was done was the act of the whole Board. He told me by name that he was more angry with Sir G. Carteret than with me, and also with the whole body of the Board. But thinking who it was of the Board that knew him least, he did place his fear upon me; but he finds that he is indebted to none of his friends there. I think I did thoroughly appease him, till he thanked me for my desire and pains to satisfy him; and upon my desiring to be directed who I should of his servants advise with about this business, he told me nobody, but would be glad to hear from me himself. He told me he would not direct me in any thing, that it might not be said that the Lord Chancellor did labour to abuse the King; or (as I offered) direct the suspending the Report of the Purveyors but I see what he means, and I will make it my worke to do him service in it. But, Lord! to see how he is incensed against poor Deane, as a fanatique rogue, and I know not what: and what he did was done in spite to his Lordship, among all his friends and tenants. He did plainly say that he would not direct me in any thing, for he would not put himself into the power of any man to say that he did so and so; but plainly told me as if he would be glad I did something.
Lord! to see how we poor wretches dare not do the King good service for fear of the greatness of these men.
He named Sir G. Carteret, and Sir J. Minnes, and the rest; and that he was as angry with them all as me.
But it was pleasant to think that, while he was talking to me, comes into the garden Sir G. Carteret; and my Lord avoided speaking with him, and made him and many others stay expecting him, while I walked up and down above an houre, I think; and would have me walk with my hat on.
And yet, after all this, there has been so little ground for this his jealousy of me, that I am sometimes afeard that he do this only in policy to bring me to his side by scaring me; or else, which is worse, to try how faithfull I would be to the King; but I rather think the former of the two.
I parted with great assurance how I acknowledged all I had to come from his Lordship; which he did not seem to refuse, but with great kindness and respect parted. So I by coach home, calling at my Lord’s, but he not within.
At my office late, and so home to eat something, being almost starved for want of eating my dinner to-day, and so to bed, my head being full of great and many businesses of import to me.

love is fallen upon me
like cutting down a tree
to make better light

with my whole body
I appease my desire
to be nobody

but I see how fanatic tenants
would garden on so little ground
being almost starved


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 14 July 1664.

Up and to my office, at noon (after having at an alehouse hard by discoursed with one Mr. Tyler, a neighbour, and one Captain Sanders about the discovery of some pursers that have sold their provisions) I to my Lord Sandwich, thinking to have dined there, but they not dining at home, I with Captain Ferrers to Mr. Barwell the King’s Squire Sadler, where about this time twelvemonths I dined before at a good venison pasty. The like we had now, and very good company, Mr. Tresham and others.
Thence to White Hall to the Fishery, and there did little. So by water home, and there met Lanyon, &c., about Tangier matters, and so late to my office, and thence home and to bed.
Mr. Moore was with me late to desire me to come to my Lord Sandwich tomorrow morning, which I shall, but I wonder what my business is.

about the discovery of sand
the captain like any fish
did little but wonder


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 13 July 1664.

And so rose, called up by my Lord Peterborough’s gentleman about getting his Lord’s money to-day of Mr. Povy, wherein I took such order, that it was paid, and I had my 50l. brought me, which comforts my heart.
We sat at the office all the morning, then at home. Dined alone; sad for want of company and not being very well, and know not how to eat alone. After dinner down with Sir G. Carteret, Sir J. Minnes, and Sir W. Batten to view, and did like a place by Deptford yard to lay masts in. By and by comes Mr. Coventry, and after a little stay he and I down to Blackwall, he having a mind to see the yarde, which we did, and fine storehouses there are and good docks, but of no great profit to him that oweth them for ought we see.
So home by water with him, having good discourse by the way, and so I to the office a while, and late home to supper and to bed.

a rough gentleman
paid me for my heart

we sat alone and not alone
like a place to lay a wall


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 12 July 1664.

But betimes up this morning, and, getting ready, we by coach to Holborne, where, at nine o’clock, they set out, and I and my man Will on horseback, by my wife, to Barnett; a very pleasant day; and there dined with her company, which was very good; a pretty gentlewoman with her, that goes but to Huntington, and a neighbour to us in towne. Here we staid two hours and then parted for all together, and my poor wife I shall soon want I am sure.
Thence I and Will to see the Wells, half a mile off, and there I drank three glasses, and went and walked and came back and drunk two more; the woman would have had me drink three more; but I could not, my belly being full, but this wrought very well, and so we rode home, round by Kingsland, Hackney, and Mile End till we were quite weary, and my water working at least 7 or 8 times upon the road, which pleased me well, and so home weary, and not being very well, I betimes to bed.
And there fell into a most mighty sweat in the night, about eleven o’clock, and there, knowing what money I have in the house and hearing a noyse, I begun to sweat worse and worse, till I melted almost to water. I rung, and could not in half an houre make either of the wenches hear me, and this made me fear the more, lest they might be gag’d; and then I begun to think that there was some design in a stone being flung at the window over our stayres this evening, by which the thiefes meant to try what looking there would be after them and know our company. These thoughts and fears I had, and do hence apprehend the fears of all rich men that are covetous and have much money by them. At last Jane rose, and then I understand it was only the dogg wants a lodging and so made a noyse. So to bed, but hardly slept, at last did, and so till morning.

where will I go to hunt
our own hour together

I fell into the night
and melted almost to water

I could not hear and this made me fear
that there was some thief of noise


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 11 July 1664.

(Lord’s day). Up and by water, towards noon, to Somersett House, and walked to my Lord Sandwich’s, and there dined with my Lady and the children. And after some ordinary discourse with my Lady, after dinner took our leaves and my wife hers, in order to her going to the country to-morrow. But my Lord took not occasion to speak one word of my father or mother about the children at all, which I wonder at, and begin I will not.
Here my Lady showed us my Lady Castlemayne’s picture, finely done; given my Lord; and a most beautiful picture it is.
Thence with my Lady Jemimah and Mr. Sidney to St. Gyles’s Church, and there heard a long, poore sermon. Thence set them down and in their coach to Kate Joyce’s christening, where much company, good service of sweetmeates; and after an houre’s stay, left them, and in my Lord’s coach — his noble, rich coach — home, and there my wife fell to putting things in order against her going to-morrow, and I to read, and so to bed, where I not well, and so had no pleasure at all with my poor wife.

at war with the ordinary
with leaves and order

I wonder how poor Christ left the rich
to put things in order and so
to be so poor


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 10 July 1664.

Up, and at the office all the morning. In the afternoon by coach with Sir J. Minnes to White Hall, and there to a Committee for Fishing; but the first thing was swearing to be true to the Company, and we were all sworne; but a great dispute we had, which, methought, is very ominous to the Company; some, that we should swear to be true to the best of our power, and others to the best of our understanding; and carried in the last, though in that we are the least able to serve the Company, because we would not be obliged to attend the business when we can, but when we list. This consideration did displease me, but it was voted and so went.
We did nothing else, but broke up till a Committee of Guinny was set and ended, and then met again for Tangier, and there I did my business about my Lord Peterborough’s order and my own for my expenses for the garrison lately. So home, by the way calling for my Chaucer and other books, and that is well done to my mind, which pleased me well. So to my office till late writing letters, and so home to my wife to supper and bed, where we have not lain together because of the heat of the weather a good while, but now against her going into the country.

swearing to be true to the best of our power
we voted and did nothing else
we have not lain together
because of the heat
of her country


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 9 July 1664.

Up and called out by my Lord Peterborough’s gentleman to Mr. Povy’s to discourse about getting of his money, wherein I am concerned in hopes of the 50l. my Lord hath promised me, but I dare not reckon myself sure of it till I have it in my mind, for these Lords are hard to be trusted. Though I well deserve it. I staid at Povy’s for his coming in, and there looked over his stables and every thing, but notwithstanding all the times I have been there I do yet find many fine things to look on.
Thence to White Hall a little, to hear how the King do, he not having been well these three days. I find that he is pretty well again. So to Paul’s Churchyarde about my books, and to the binder’s and directed the doing of my Chaucer, though they were not full neate enough for me, but pretty well it is; and thence to the clasp-maker’s to have it clasped and bossed. So to the ‘Change and home to dinner, and so to my office till 5 o’clock, and then came Mr. Hill and Andrews, and we sung an houre or two. Then broke up and Mr. Alsop and his company came and consulted about our Tangier victualling and brought it to a good head. So they parted, and I to supper and to bed.

I dare not reckon myself sure
till I have it in my mind

the rusted table not pretty
my books not neat

the clasp of an hour or two
is brought to a head


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 8 July 1664.

Up, and this day begun, the first day this year, to put off my linnen waistcoat, but it happening to be a cool day I was afraid of taking cold, which troubles me, and is the greatest pain I have in the world to think of my bad temper of my health.
At the office all the morning. Dined at home, to my office to prepare some things against a Committee of Tangier this afternoon. So to White Hall, and there found the Duke and twenty more reading their commission (of which I am, and was also sent to, to come) for the Royall Fishery, which is very large, and a very serious charter it is; but the company generally so ill fitted for so serious a worke that I do much fear it will come to little.
That being done, and not being able to do any thing for lacke of an oathe for the Governor and Assistants to take, we rose.
Then our Committee for the Tangier victualling met and did a little, and so up, and I and Mr. Coventry walked in the garden half an hour, talking of the business of our masts, and thence away and with Creed walked half an hour or more in the Park, and thence to the New Exchange to drink some creame, but missed it and so parted, and I home, calling by the way for my new bookes, viz., Sir H. Spillman’s “Whole Glossary,” “Scapula’s Lexicon,” and Shakespeare’s plays, which I have got money out of my stationer’s bills to pay for. So home and to my office a while, and then home and to bed, finding myself pretty well for all my waistecoate being put off to-day.
The king is pretty well to-day, though let blood the night before yesterday.

this gun is afraid
of trouble and pain
my bad temper
reading and art
the company of a rose

I talk with it in a whole lexicon of blood


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 7 July 1664.