(Sunday). Up betimes, and to the office receiving letters, two or three one after another from Sir W. Coventry, and sent as many to him, being full of variety of business and hurry, but among the chiefest is the getting of these pressed men out of the City down the river to the fleete.
While I was hard at it comes Sir W. Pen to towne, which I little expected, having invited my Lady and her daughter Pegg to dine with me to-day; which at noon they did, and Sir W. Pen with them: and pretty merry we were. And though I do not love him, yet I find it necessary to keep in with him; his good service at Shearnesse in getting out the fleete being much taken notice of, and reported to the King and Duke [of York], even from the Prince and Duke of Albemarle themselves, and made the most of to me and them by Sir W. Coventry: therefore I think it discretion, great and necessary discretion, to keep in with him.
After dinner to the office again, where busy, and then down to Deptford to the yard, thinking to have seen Bagwell’s wife, whose husband is gone yesterday back to the fleete, but I did not see her, so missed what I went for, and so back to the Tower several times, about the business of the pressed men, and late at it till twelve at night, shipping of them. But, Lord! how some poor women did cry; and in my life I never did see such natural expression of passion as I did here in some women’s bewailing themselves, and running to every parcel of men that were brought, one after another, to look for their husbands, and wept over every vessel that went off, thinking they might be there, and looking after the ship as far as ever they could by moone-light, that it grieved me to the heart to hear them. Besides, to see poor patient labouring men and housekeepers, leaving poor wives and families, taking up on a sudden by strangers, was very hard, and that without press-money, but forced against all law to be gone. It is a great tyranny. Having done this I to the Lieutenant of the Tower and bade him good night, and so away home and to bed.
get the press out of the city
and they do not love us
who is looking
after the moon
I see patient laboring men
poor wives and strangers
against all tyranny
having one good night
Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 1 July 1666.