Wednesday 14 March 1659/60

To my Lord, where infinity of applications to him and to me. To my great trouble, my Lord gives me all the papers that was given to him, to put in order and give him an account of them. Here I got half-a-piece of a person of Mr. Wright’s recommending to my Lord to be Preacher of the Speaker frigate. I went hence to St. James’s and Mr. Pierce the surgeon with me, to speak with Mr. Clerke, Monk’s secretary, about getting some soldiers removed out of Huntingdon to Oundle, which my Lord told me he did to do a courtesy to the town, that he might have the greater interest in them, in the choice of the next Parliament; not that he intends to be chosen himself, but that he might have Mr. G. Montagu and my Lord Mandeville chose there in spite of the Bernards. This done (where I saw General Monk and methought he seemed a dull heavy man), he and I to Whitehall, where with Luellin we dined at Marsh’s. Coming home telling my wife what we had to dinner, she had a mind to some cabbage, and I sent for some and she had it. Went to the Admiralty, where a strange thing how I am already courted by the people. This morning among others that came to me I hired a boy of Jenkins of Westminster and Burr to be my clerk. This night I went to Mr. Creed’s chamber where he gave me the former book of the proceedings in the fleet and the Seal. Then to Harper’s where old Beard was and I took him by coach to my Lord’s, but he was not at home, but afterwards I found him out at Sir H. Wright’s. Thence by coach, it raining hard, to Mrs. Jem, where I staid a while, and so home, and late in the night put up my things in a sea-chest that Mr. Sheply lent me, and so to bed.

25 Annotations

David Bell   Link to this

I have annotated the matter of the two MPs for Huntingdonshire in the background section on Parliament.

Note the reference to Sam getting the book of proceedings and the seal from Mr. Creed. Having the seal gives Sam a great deal of power to issue official documents, in My Lord's name. This is important stuff, and no wonder Mr. Creed has been put out of sorts by the change.

Though if Sam were to abuse the power it would reflect badly on Montagu.

Eric Walla   Link to this

Shocking! My Lord fully expects ...

... his secretary to take care of his paperwork. Sam looks to soon find out the difference between being an average clerk and a man of some duty and influence. The transformation should be quite instructive. I hope he chose his own clerk well.

Keith Wright   Link to this

"Here I got half-a-piece of a person of Mr. Wright’s recommending to my Lord to be Preacher of the Speaker frigate."
Does that mean Pepys could find only half of the fellow's paperwork? (Arranging an unsorted heap of seventeenth-century job applications might have challenged even orderly Sam.) Or, more likely, was the man much shorter than the current norm?
(The transcription appears accurate, according to "The Shorter Pepys.")

Pauline   Link to this

"..got half-a-piece of a person..."
Keith, you are silly. Obviously the man (or woman) Mr. Wright recommended as Preacher of the Speaker gave Sam a half-hearted handshake or half of his left ear--or of some other "piece."

M.Stolzenbach   Link to this

Tomalin insists throughout on the value in those days of what we would now call "influence-peddling" and reject as unethical.

I took "half-a-piece" to be some money, a little tip for helping in some way the "person" whom Mr. Wright had recommended to be Preacher of the Speaker frigate.

I.e., in this sentence "half-a-piece of..." means "half-a-piece [of gold perhaps?] from..."

but I could be wrong.

Hhomeboy   Link to this

What a difference a day makes...

"...I went hence to St. James’s and Mr. Pierce the surgeon with me, to speak with Mr. Clerke, Monk’s secretary, about getting some soldiers removed out of Huntingdon to Oundle, which my Lord told me he did to do a courtesy to the town, that he might have the greater interest in them, in the choice of the next Parliament; not that he intends to be chosen himself, but that he might have Mr. G. Montagu and my Lord Mandeville chose there in spite of the Bernards….”

So Sam is now confirming the transfer of Monk’s soldiers so that Montagu can control the local electorate at his county seat vis a vis the just issued election writs.

Now that there are no encumbrances, the royalists plan to ensure the soldiers don’t block the return to parliament of two MP’s from Huntingdon upon whose support the King will be able to count.

We know the Montagus already out- influenced Cromwell in the fen country at the start of the long Parliament but who the devil are the
“Bernards”?

Hhomeboy   Link to this

What a difference a day makes, part deux:

"...Went to the Admiralty, where a strange thing how I am already courted by the people. This morning among others that came to me I hired a boy of Jenkins of Westminster and Burr to be my clerk. This night I went to Mr. Creed’s chamber where he gave me the former book of the proceedings in the fleet and the Seal.”

He scarcely has the seal in his possession and already Sam is besieged and beseeched, able to dispense admiralty largesse as he sees fit.

No wonder the Creeds are crestfallen.

language hat   Link to this

half a piece
means half a sovereign or guinea; OED:

Popularly applied to an English gold coin; orig. to the unite of James I, and afterwards to the sovereign, and guinea, as the one or other was the current coin. Hence "half-piece". The Unite was issued in 1604 as = 20 shillings; but was raised in 1612 to 22 shillings.

1616 B. Jonson Devil an Ass i. i. 5 I'll warrant you for halfe a piece. 1618 Featly Clavis Myst. xxxii. (1636) 426 All our crownes and soveraines, and pieces, and halfe pieces, and duckatts and double duckatts are currant but to the brim of the grave. 1659-60 Pepys Diary 14 Mar., Here I got half-a-piece of a person of Mr. Wright's recommending to my Lord to be Preacher of the Speaker frigate. 1700 B. E. Dict. Cant. Crew, Job, a Guinea, Twenty Shillings, or a Piece.

Alan Bedford   Link to this

We may call it "influence peddling" and "unethical" but remember, at this point, Parliament is dissolved and there is not much in the way of a national government in England. Monck controls some, but not all, of the army. Monck may support re-establishment of the monarchy, and we know that a significant number of soldiers oppose the monarchy. That England has not descended into anarchy at this point is surprising.

Clearly, people are willing to bribe anyone who appears to be either in a position of power, or at least in a position to influence those in power. Same suddenly has the appearance of power. "Half a piece" may not sound like much, but it was about half a week's salary at Sam's former job!

KVK   Link to this

I don't think the soldiers are being removed from Huntingdon to prevent them from blocking the election. It sounds as though the soldiers are being quartered in Huntingdon (which provincial towns hated) and Montagu is having them removed so he can claim credit for doing the town a service in the next election. In boroughs where there were real electoral contests, MPs were expected to come through for their constituents in ways like this.

Re Influence Peddling - this is something about which we just have to shed our ideas of how politics works. England did not have a centralized bureaucratic government where civil servants were hired by the state. It was governed largely by the provincial gentry, and the national ethos was that the gentry, by their very nature, had the right to govern.

The ability to buy an office demonstrated that you either were a man of substance - with the right to govern - or were talented enough to attract a patron among the governing class.

Pauline   Link to this

"...we just have to shed our ideas ..."
KVK, very well said.

As to moving the army out of Huntingdon, we may have had evidence of the worry about having the army encamped in your village in Mrs. Jem's concern for her mother when the Monck's army came down from the north. ("Search" though I may, I could not pinpoint this entry.)

Nix   Link to this

"'Bribe' is such an ugly word" (to quote from any number of B movies).

We shouldn't forget that, like haggling, it is how business (public and private) is STILL done in most of the world.

steve h   Link to this

"a dull heavy man"

Pepys unimpressed characterization of Monk is in line with Macaulay's in his History of England, written without benefit of the diaries:

"George Monk, was himself the very opposite of a zealot. ...with very slender pretensions to saintship, [he]had raised himself to high commands by his courage and professional skill. ...His nature was cautious and somewhat sluggish; nor was he at all disposed to hazard sure and moderate advantages for the chalice of obtaining even the most splendid success."

Hhomeboy   Link to this

KVK & Pauline...

I defer to yr. electoral interpretations re: removing billetted soldiers from the county seat...but my pt. was that it is Sam who is sealing such deals with Monk's man--a huge step up when we review Sam's daily duties and errands of the past few months.

M.Stolzenbach   Link to this

Good information on "half-a-piece," LanguageHat!

Perhaps it should be submitted to Phil for the Background Annotations page on Money?

Emilio   Link to this

"Mr. Clerke, Monk's secretary"
Now there's a man who's seemingly been doomed to his job since birth. I hope his qualifications fit the position as well as his name does - do we know any more about him, o fortunate owners of the Companion volume?
And poor Monk! From the person Pepys chased around town desperate to see to "a dull heavy man," all in just over a month. Personally, I find courage, professional skills, and caution (not to mention ongoing concern for his men) to be admirable traits in a general. His qualities certainly shine next to the ambition and dash of My Lord Lambert, for instance.

Lance   Link to this

Wife wants cabbage and gets it.
Someone earlier remarked that no veggies ever seem to make their way into Sam's diet (and there's no indication he partook of the cabbage). Is this the first mention of "green stuff"?

Roger Miller   Link to this

Interest

I recently read an biography of Nelson by Terry Coleman in which he explains the operation of interest or influence in the right places in the British navy. It is a century or more after our period but probably not much had changed.

Nelson got on to the first rung of the naval ladder when he was taken to sea as a midshipman by his uncle Captain Maurice Suckling. Captain Suckling became comptroller of the navy and head of the navy board. As head of the navy board Suckling had particular influence with the first lord of the admiralty who was the fount of interest in the navy. This meant that Suckling was in a position to get almost anything he wished for his nephew. And the first lord's name? It was the fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu.

Sandwich maintained patronage books titled 'Appointment of Officers' in which he recorded the names of those recommended for or seeking promotion together with details of those making the recommendations and the outcomes. Everyone knew how the system worked and Sandwich went so far as to document it. So all these people seeking help from Pepys in finding positions wouldn't have considered that they were doing anything underhand. It was simply the way things were done.

Before Nelson could get a commission as a lieutenant he needed to take an examination. This was conducted by the navy board, traditionally by three captains. And who chaired the examining board? It was Captain Suckling. Nelson passed. The best kind of interest to have was that based on family relationships. How quickly would Pepys have progressed if he had not been Edward Montagu's cousin?

As Nelson's career developed he reached a position where others expected him to exert influence on their behalf. An example was his elder brother William who was a clergyman. Coleman describes William as 'a boorish, grasping scoundrel'. He was a chaplain with Nelson in the Caribbean and procured a pay certificate from Nelson stating that he had served fifteen months longer than he had. This has something in common with the ploy suggested to Pepys almost as soon as he received the job offer from Montagu, of employing servants on board ship and retaining part of their pay. Some bending of the rules seems to have been almost expected.

William appears to have spent most of his life trying to turn the interest he had from being the brother of a national hero into posts or cash. He eventually was the recipient of the earldom that had been denied Nelson in his lifetime.

This is the Nelson biography: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/074755...
Warning for English readers: This book should be avoided by those who prefer to believe that their national heroes always have exemplary characters.

Pauline   Link to this

Roger, here's a connection for
"Before Nelson could get a commission as a lieutenant he needed to take an examination."

[Tomalin p297] Pepys was pushing through his own ideas for the navy. In December 1677 he put forward the most notable of these. It was a proposal that no one should be appointed as lieutenant until he had served for three years, received a certificate from the captian and passed an examination in navigation and seamanship at the Navy Office....the first examination took place early the next year...Pepys had made history at a stroke, bringing about a revolution in the way the navy was run, fired by his belief that education and intelligence were more useful to the nation than family background and money; and that however gallant and courageous "gentlemen" captains might be, the service needed to be professionalzied."

wembley   Link to this

But anyone who is a fan of Patrick O'Brian (and y'all should be!) knows that passing for Lieutenant was not so much the problem - to become a Captain you had to be appointed to a ship! (and then to become a Post-Captain...)

Patronage - it's just a reference (character) isn't it? Like going to public school..

francesca   Link to this

Could "old Beard" also be one that is courting Pepys for a job, perhaps as the 'Preacher of the Speaker frigate', since Pepys was taking him to see 'my Lord'? But then Pepys doesnt write about what happens with 'old Beard' who seems to have disappeard. Thankfully we have some great annotators here who help to unravel the entries of Pepys' life; you have made Pepys and the 17th century more 'real' then if I had read the diary on my own. Thankyou all for your efforts, research, discussions, and entries.

Mary   Link to this

old Beard

Perhaps this is the Beard/Bird (spelling varies) cited by the Companion as the Huntingdon carrier. His regular practice was to arrive in London upon a Wednesday and depart again for Huntingdon on a Thursday.

If this is he, then it's not surprising that Sam should take him to Mountagu's place; there might well have been letters, packets etc to carry into the country

David Quidnunc   Link to this

"How I got rich by honest graft"

George Washington Plunkitt (1842-1924), a bigwig in New York City's famously corrupt Tammany Hall organization, was something of a political philosopher of graft and let himself be quoted by journalist William L. Riordon, who published "Plunkitt of Tammany Hall" in 1905. Plunkitt makes some interesting distinctions:

"I've told you how I got rich by honest graft. Now let me tell you that most politicians who are accused of robbin' the city get rich the same way.

"They don't steal a dollar from the city treasury. They just seen their opportunities and they took them. That is why, when a reform administration comes in and spends half a million dollars in tryin' to find the public robberies they talked about in the campaign, they don't find them.

"The [budget] books are always all right. The money in the city treasury is all right. Everything is all right. All they can show is that the Tammany heads of departments looked after their friends, within the law, and gave them what opportunities they could to make honest graft. Now, let me tell you that's never goin' to hurt Tammany with the people. Every good man looks after his friends, and any man who doesn't isn't likely to be popular. If I have a good thing to hand out in private life, I give it to a friend. Why shouldn't I do the same in public life?"
http://www.uhb.fr/faulkner/ny/plunkitt.htm

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Phil's Encyclopedia link and my annotation to Mr. Bird
http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/1767/#c4...

Mr Beard (or Bird), the Huntingdon carrier. The name, spelt Beard, occurs in the registers of St Mary's and of All Saints, Huntingdon. Possibly the carrier was Thomas, who was married at All Saints in 1627. (L&M Companion)

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Alan Bedford posted this: "We may call it "influence peddling" and "unethical" but remember, at this point, Parliament is dissolved and there is not much in the way of a national government in England."

However it is also true that Parliament's Commons sat today (and will tomorrow) and passed this bill:
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?co...

Calling a new Parliament:

Mr. Annesley reports from the Committee appointed to withdraw, Amendments to the Clause tendered to the Bill for Calling and Holding of a Parliament at Westminster, the 25th of April 1660: Which were twice read; and, upon the Question, agreed unto.

Ordered, That this Bill be ingrossed.

Ordered, That it be referred to Mr. Attorney-General, Mr. Annesley, Colonel Morley, Mr. Leehmere, Mr. Foxwist, Mr. Say, Mr. Oxenden, Serjeant Glyn, Sir Edward Partridge; or any Three of them; presently to withdraw, and prepare a Clause for directing the Writs for Election of Members to serve in Parliament, for the Cinque-Ports; with the saving of all Men's Rights.

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