Re: [pepysdiary] Decoded Roger Morrice diary reveals dark days of C17
- Michael R,
Thanks very much for the word. The publication of the Entring Book has
been much-awaited indeed! If it were not in copyright it would be a
wonderful blog to follow on the end of PepysDiary.
At 04:13 AM 8/5/2007 +0000, you wrote:
> Decoded Roger Morrice diary reveals dark days
>By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Sunday Telegraph
>Last Updated: 2:15am BST 05/08/2007
># Extracts: Entring Book of Roger Morrice
>Freak weather, prisoners held without trial, bishops behaving badly:
>it's the stuff of everyday news. Except these are not 21st-century
>reports, they are 17th-century ones.
>It has taken seven years - at least two longer than expected - and the
>collaboration of six leading international academics to extract these
>stories of life in the late Stuart period from the "diary" of Roger
>Morrice, a Puritan cleric-turned-lobby correspondent.
>Prof Mark Goldie, decoded Roger Morrice diary reveals dark days
>Prof Mark Goldie with his recently published set of 'The Entering Book
>of Roger Morrice 1677-1691'
>His Entring Book, which lay forgotten for 300 years in a small
>research library in London, was unearthed in 2000, but this week the
>journal, hailed as "the most important unpublished British diary of
>the later 17th century", will be published.
>The work has been compared in importance to that of Samuel Pepys.
>The research team, led by Mark Goldie, of Cambridge University, has
>sifted through 1,500 pages, which amounts to nearly one million words
>of 17th-century English. This includes 40,000 words written in an
>archaic shorthand, critical of the monarch of the day, Charles II,
>which had to be decoded by a specialist.
>"It is a huge source of material that will play a very significant
>role in helping historians and students understand the period," said
>Mr Goldie. "It shows England in a very different mood to the Pepys
>diary, which was celebrating getting rid of the Puritans."
>Morrice's diary begins in 1677 and ends in 1691, covering the reigns
>of Charles II, James II, and William III and Mary II. He depicted a
>darker England thrown into a great crisis of "popery and arbitrary power".
>His writing was shaped by his personal experiences. Born in 1628, he
>became vicar of Duffield in Derbyshire in 1658, but was expelled from
>his parish four years later after Charles II returned from exile,
>introducing the high church Restoration era that persecuted and jailed
>Morrice moved to London where he became a de facto investigative
>journalist, relying partly on the gossip of the popular coffee houses
>and on a well-placed source in the king's privy council whose name was
>hidden in his coded writing.
>"Like all journalists, Morrice needed good sources and he was lucky to
>have a very leaky secretary on the privy council called Richard
>Collings," said Mr Goldie.
>Morrice's sources enabled him to provide unique accounts of events of
>great historical significance, including the death of Charles II.
>"On Thursday night a priest came up the back way. It was believed by
>all that he confessed the king, gave him extreme unction and that His
>Majesty died a papist."
>In the diary, he writes of the persecution faced by those who refused
>to abide by the laws of the Stuart state and established Church,
>particularly against those, such as the Quakers and Puritans, who
>"Eleven young men and women were seized at a chapel and convicted,
>fined and jailed, where they are put to hard labour," he wrote.
>Other passages cover issues that are just as relevant today,
>discussing law, religion, terrorism or weather.
>"The government has violated the fundamental laws of the kingdom and
>advanced arbitrary power and infringed liberty and property and
>judges convict offenders without any trial by juries," he writes on
>January 23, 1679.
>Describing the detention of those suspected of plotting against the
>king, on October 16, 1684, he tells of the case of one unfortunate
>victim where the soldiers were ordered to "keep him from sleeping,
>which they did without intermission for nine or 10 days. When he was
>ready to die the balls of his eyes swollen as big as tennis balls
>they tormented him by the thumbs".
>Elsewhere he reveals the debauched lifestyle of some of the country's
>most senior clergy: "The Bishop of London has lain in a bawdy house."
>He describes how in the winter of 1683-84 the Thames froze so hard
>that coaches travelled across the ice, an ox was roasted and bear
>baiting and other sports were held on the river's surface.
>Frances Henderson, who deciphered Morrice's code, said: "He clearly
>found it important to conceal his sources and developed a very
>effective shorthand code."
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