THE MAN AND THE DIARY
SAMUEL PEPYS was twenty-seven years old in 1660 when the Stuarts were restored to the throne of England, in the person of King Charles the Second. Therefore the prime of Pepys's life was passed during the Restoration period, and it is essential to understand that period as forming the background to his character.
It was an abnormal age, an age of turbulence and reaction, a backwater in the stream of English and human progress. From 1640 to 1660 the stern Puritan strain was dominant, typifying itself in the iron figure of Cromwell, striving to mould and force the human spirit into strict bands of conventional virtue, aiming at a high ideal, but aiming at it by harsh and artificial methods such as sooner or later drive the average man into hypocrisy and rebellion.
No doubt there was plenty of hypocrisy in England first, and then came the open rebellion. The average