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from the dignity of the parent stem. In point of fact, Pepys' father was a tailor. Samuel, the subject of this memoir, was his eldest surviving son, and was born on the 23d of February, 1632. He was educated in the metropolis at St Paul's school, from whence he moved in 1651 to Trinity, and subsequently to Magdalene college, Cambridge. Haviny, we presume, completed his education, his next step was to take unto himself a wife; and, with less prudence than he usually displayed, he selected a girl of fifteen, well-descended, and very
beautiful, but pennyless as himself. Years after, when he had risen to almost affluent circumstances, we find that one morning he “Lay long in bed, talking with pleasure with my poor wife, how she used to make coal fires and wash
my foul clothes with her own hand for me, poor wretch." Fortunately for Pepys, he had an influential cousin, Sir Edward Montague, afterwards earl of Sandwich, who gave him shelter and some sort of employment in his own house, and to whose patronage Pepys owed his prosperity. He accompanied Sir Edward in his expedition to the Sound in 1658, and on his return was promoted to an office in the exchequer connected with the payment of the army.
Up to this period Pepys had probably entertained opinions not very favourable to the restoration. This may easily be gathered from hints in his diary. On the 15th of July, 1665, he “Met with Sir James Bunch. This is the time for you,' said Bunch, that were for Oliver heretofore ; you are full of employment, and we poor cavaliers sit still and can get nothing,' which was a pretty reproach, I thought, but answered nothing to it, for fear of making it worse."? But the time had now come when such sentiments would be an effectual bar to any rise in life, and Pepys was too prudent and pliable a man to let his conscience mar his fortune. It was in 1660 that he began his diary, and it is extremely interesting to peruse the little notices which he has set down of passing events—many of them indeed mere straws, but indicative of the quarter to which the wind was now veering. In one place we are told that Barebones' windows were horribly broken last night; then again, that the butchers at the maypole in the Strand rang a peal with their knives when they were going to sacrifice their rump,—that the king's arms were set up here and there, and the mercers were privately making a statue of the king,—that a great bonfire is made in the exchange, and people call out God bless King Charles the Second!' and finally comes the great fulfilment of all these signs, when amidst an infinite crowd of people and horsemen, and with shouting and joy beyond all imagination, the king arrives. Pepys was on board the vessel which conveyed the king to this country, and his narrative of the voyage is very amusing
As soon as things were brought into some state of order, Pepys was made clerk of the acts of the navy, and in this post he acquitted himself with great credit. The business-talents and the diligence which he displayed, rapidly recommended him to the favour of the duke of York,
' A rather ludicrous passage to the same effect occurs in his diary of November 1st, 1660. “Here dined with us two or three more country gentlemen, among the rest Mr Christmas, my old school-fellow, with whom I had much talk. He did remember that I was a great Roundhead when I was a boy, and I was much afraid that he would have remembered the words that I said the day the king was beheaded, (that were I to preach upon him, my text would be, • The memory of the wicked shall rot,') but I found afterwards that he did go away from school before that time."
with whom, as head of the navy, Pepys had frequent opportunities of intercourse. He seems, indeed, to have exerted himself with the most laudable industry. Through his exertions new regulations were introduced into the management of the navy and dockyards, the rapacity of the contractors was checked, and care was taken that the state suffered from none but royal peculation. Though the comparison of Pepys to Agricola be ridiculous, he did at least resemble him in one point, “ diligentissima conquisitione fecit, ne cujus alterius sacrilegium respublica, quam Neronis, sepssiset." During the time when London was so awfully ravaged by the plague, Pepys was the only officer in the navy department who ventured to remain in London, and of this memorable visitation, as well as of the great fire, he has left us some very curious particulars. In 1668, he, along with the other persons connected with the admiralty, was charged in the house of commons with having been guilty of such gross neglect in his department as had led to De Ruyter's success in his expedition against Chatham. The duty of conducting the defence devolved on Pepys, and, in consequence, he makes a speech
of three hours and a half in length at the bar of the house, and with so much eloquence, that he and his colleagues are unanimously acquitted. We have in his diary a most amusing scene of anxiety before, and gratified vanity after the delivery of his great oration. Altogether, the passage is so good, that we must extract sonie portion of it; premising, however, that in all probability Pepys' friends had previously entertained no great opinion of his rhetorical powers, and on finding that he played his part better than was expected, took occasion, from his evident self-gratulation, to launch out into a strain of extravagant compliment. Before making the speech he seems to have been very nervous.
“ And to comfort myself,” says he, “ did go to the Dog and drink half a pint of mulled sack, and in the hall did drink a dram of brandy at Mrs Hewlett's; and with the warmth of this did find myself in better order as to courage, truly.”
The following day his honours shower down on him in a perfect torrent. “6th. Up betimes, and with Sir D. Gauden to Sir W. Coventry's chamber, where the first word he said to me was, 'Good morrow, Mr Pepys, that must be speaker of the parliament-house,' and did protest I had got honour for ever in parliament. He said that his brother, that sat by him, admires me; and another gentleman said that I could not get less than £1000 a year if I would put on a gown and plead at the chancery bar. But, what pleases me most, he tells me that the solicitor-general did protest that he thought I spoke the best of any man in England. My Lord Berkeley did cry me up for what they had heard of it; and others, parliament-men there about the king, did say that they never heard such a speech in their lives delivered in that man
From thence I went to Westminster-hall, where I met with Mr George Montague, who came to me, and kissed me, and told me that he had often heretofore kissed my hands, but now he would kiss my lips, protesting that I was another Cicero, and said all the world said the same of me. Mr Godolphin; Mr Sands, who swore he would go twenty miles at any time to hear the like again, and that he never saw so many sit four hours together to hear any man in his life as there did to hear me. Mr Chichly, Sir John Duncombe, and every body do say that the kingdom will ring of my abilities, and that I have done myself right for my whole life ; and so Captain Coke and others of my friends say that no man had ever such an opportunity of making his abilities known. And, that I may cite all at once, Mr Lieutenant of the Tower did tell me, that Mr Vaughan did protest to him, and that he in his liearing said so to the duke of Albemarle, and afterwards to Sir William Coventry, that he had sat twenty-six years in parliament and never heard such a speech there before; for which the Lord God make me thankful! and that I may make use of it, not to pride and vain-glory, but that, now I have this esteem, I may do nothing to lessen it.”
Pepys certainly took some pains to fulfil his prayer, for although he afterwards held a seat in parliament for a number of years, he contented himself with the laurels he had already won, and never ran the risk of tarnishing their lustre by another display. In 1669, he was obliged, by a weakness of his eyes, to discontinue his diary. He now made a tour through France and Holland, shortly after returning from which, his wife, to whom he seems to have been steadily attached, died. Through the interest of the duke of York, he stood, about this time, candidate for Aldborough, but the interest of the popular party was stronger than had been anticipated, and he was defeated. In 1673 he was chosen member for Castle-Rising, but here again he was unfortunate, for the house of commons was so zealously protestant, that they turned him out on a groundless charge of popery. Had they said that he was a careless Gallio, who loved his own interest better than any religion, the accusation would have worn a greater semblance of truth. When the duke of York, in consequence of the passing of the test act, retired from the management of the admiralty, Pepys was taken into the inmediate service of the king, and advanced to the post of secretary for the affairs of the navy. This advancement was followed by an awkward charge of his having been concerned in communicating intelligence to the French, with whom we were then at war, and he was in consequence committed to the Tower; but we may presume him innocent, as he was discharged for want of evidence after a short imprisonment. In 1680, on a change being made in the constitution of the adniiralty, he was dismissed from office, though not in accordance with the king's wishes ; and his continuance out of place was not of long duration, as in a few years afterwards he was sent on the Tangiers expedition, and appointed to his former post of secretary. This office he filled till the revolution. When that great event took place, it was not to be expected that much consideration should be shown for one who had been so tried and intimate a friend of the exiled monarch. It is a singular proof of the estimation in which James held him, that when news was brought of the landing of the deliverer, the king—who was then sitting to Sir Godfrey Kneller for a picture intended as a present to his faithful secretary-with the utmost sang froid commanded the artist to proceed, “ that his good friend might not be disappointed.” Not content with depriving him of all his offices, the revolution party, for whose fears it must be allowed circumstances gave some warrant, committed him to the Gatehouse prison ou suspicion of disaffection, but he was speedily released on pleading ill health, and it does not appear that the charge was ever afterwards noticed. Though he had retired into the shades of private life, he was still looked upon, and frequently consulted, as an oracle in the management of the navy. His retirement was spent in a more dignified manner than the pursuits and
events of his previous life would have led us to anticipate. In correspondence with literary men of the day, in association with learned friends, and in the collection of a fine library, he found sufficient to occupy his time. He had been president of the Royal society in 1684, and after that time had been in the habit of having a conversazione every Saturday evening at his own residence, to which he attracted some of the most learned members of that body. Evelyn appears to have been a pretty constant attendant, as indeed he was one of the most intimate friends our ex-secretary had, and expressed great regret when Pepys was obliged by ill-health to discontinue them. In the year 1700 he was persuaded to remove from town for the benefit of country air, and accordingly went to reside at Clapham in the house of an attached friend and former dependant, who paid to him all possible attention. He had laboured for some years under attacks of the stone, for which in his early days he had undergone an operation. Of course it was in vain to hope that a drive on Clapham-common would remove this terrible disorder. After lingering for three years, he expired on the 26th of May, 1703. The property which he left behind him was much smaller than was anticipated, much of his estate having been dissipated by his hospitality, his mania for rare books, and the careful education he had bestowed on his nephews. His books and manuscripts he bequeathed to Magdalene-college, of which he had been a member. They are well known to literary men under the title of the Pepysian collection.
Pepys is one of those instances occasionally to be met with, of men destitute of extraordinary merit, but pushed forward by circumstances to a prominence which others of much higher desert strive vainly to obtain. This distinction he owes to his diary, but we are not sure that it is a distinction which many will envy. His diary begins in 1660, and spreads over a period of nine or ten years. He commenced it originally for the purpose of having a record of his most private thoughts and feelings, and to make himself perfectly secure that the contents should be known to no eyes but his own, he wrote it in a peculiar cypher. Of course we have his genuine and candid feelings, and his equally impartial notices of passing events, for no man could be such a fool as to tell lies to himself. Unfortunately in some respects for the author's memory, the secret of this cypher was discovered, and a translation of the diary was given to the world some years ago. The records which he kept of his life and actions were so exceedingly minute, that the editor was compelled to omit many passages as too trivial, or otherwise unfit to meet the public eye. Enough, however, remains to make it one of the most entertaining books of gossip in the world; and, indeed, we question whether any language can furnish its equal. No man writing for the public will write with perfect honesty. He may reveal enough of himself, as Rousseau did, to show that he is a scoundrel, but he never will knowingly consent to make himself ridiculous. The selfish feelings,—the interest we take in insignificant matters,—the incongruity of our emotions frequently with those which custom or propriety dictates, the little pieces of self-flattery which we whisper to our own ears-are things which we cannot reveal, even to a friend, and much less therefore to a mocking public. Boswell has approached more nearly to our author in this respect than any other writer with whom we are
acquainted, but he follows at a long interval. To the student of character it presents an ample field of observation. Pepys united with a very fair proportion of private honour and integrity, the most complete apathy as to any thing like public spirit or public principle. Diligent in business—by no means, so far as we can see, given to peculationexact in performing the duties of his office-anxious that all in his department should be executed skilfully and honestly—he seems to have dreamed of no other public virtue; and while the duke was pleased, or Sir William Coventry satisfied, he was well content. It is idle to talk, as one or two have done, of his possessing high principle.
The information obtained from his diary is more amusing than instructive, and more curious than useful. Nearly all that he mentions relating to public affairs was already known, and his evidence is therefore principally valuable as affording fresh testimony, and that the testimony of an eye-witness, to the truth of our histories. There are, too, some interesting notices not readily to be met with elsewhere ; such, for instance, as the following narrative of the death of the young, high-minded, all-accomplished, Sir Henry Vane.
“ 14th. About 11 o'clock, having a room got ready for us, we all went out to the Tower-hill ; and there, over against the scaffold, made on purpose this day, saw Sir Henry Vane brought. A very great press of people. He made a long speech, many times interrupted by the sheriffe and others there; and they would have taken his paper out of his hand, but he would not let it go. But they caused all the books of those that writ after him to be given the sheriffe, and the trumpets were brought under the scaffold that he might not be heard. Then he prayed, and so fitted himself and received the blow; but the scaffold was so crowded that we could not see it done. He had a blister, or issue, upon his neck, which he desired them not to hurt. He changed not his colour or speech to the last, but died, justifying himself and the cause he had stood for; and spoke very confidently of his being presently at the right hand of Christ; and in all things appeared the most resolved man that ever died in that manner.”
Besides this, there are a number of passages scattered up and down the work, which introduce to us in one way or another almost all the distinguished men of the time, and we gain a more intimate, or, su to speak, personal knowledge of the great lord-chancellor, Clarendon, when he is led down stairs, “having the gout,” and talks with Mr Pepys
most friendly, yet cunningly,” for an hour, than from the most elaborate dissertation on his character. The king, he tells us, spoke worse than any man he ever heard in his life. In another part, we find the king drinking the duke of York's health on his knees, “and then all the company; and having done it all fell a crying for joy, being all maudlin and kissing one another; the king the duke of York, and the duke of York the king, and in such a maudlin pickle as never people were: and so passed the day." Yet these were the times of right divine and passive obedience !
The following passage is valuable as the evidence of a contemporary, and may help to put to silence the ignorance of the foolish men who annually rejcice over the happy restoration in church and state. “It is strange how every body do now-a-days reflect upon Oliver and commend him, what brave things he did, and made all the neighbour princes