Thursday 28 November 1661

At home all the morning; at noon Will brought me from Whitehall, whither I had sent him, some letters from my Lord Sandwich, from Tangier; where he continues still, and hath done some execution upon the Turks, and retaken an Englishman from them, of one Mr. Parker’s, a merchant in Marke-lane. In the afternoon Mr. Pett and I met at the office; there being none more there than we two I saw there was not the reverence due to us observed, and so I took occasion to break up and took Mr. Gawdon along with me, and he and I (though it rained) were resolved to go, he to my Lord Treasurer’s and I to the Chancellor’s with a letter from my Lord to-day. So to a tavern at the end of Mark Lane, and there we staid till with much ado we got a coach, and so to my Lord Treasurer’s and lost our labours, then to the Chancellor’s, and there met with Mr. Dugdale, and with him and one Mr. Simons, I think that belongs to my Lord Hatton, and Mr. Kipps and others, to the Fountain tavern, and there staid till twelve at night drinking and singing, Mr. Simons and one Mr. Agar singing very well. Then Mr. Gawdon being almost drunk had the wit to be gone, and so I took leave too, and it being a fine moonshine night he and I footed it all the way home, but though he was drunk he went such a pace as I did admire how he was able to go. When I came home I found our new maid Sarah1 come, who is a tall and a very well favoured wench, and one that I think will please us. So to bed.

  1. Sarah did not stay long with Mrs. Pepys, who was continually falling out with her. She left to enter Sir William Penn’s service.

19 Annotations

Bradford   Link to this

"In the afternoon Mr. Pett and I met at the office; there being none more there than we two I saw there was not the reverence due to us observed, and so I took occasion to break up and took Mr. Gawdon along with me,"

And having been dissed at work, went on a rip to show Them what we're made of. How much smarter are we, 341 years later.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Nobody there?
I don't quite understand this passage. If there was nobody at the office, as Sam says, then there was nobody to show him "due reverence." Does he mean there was nobody else important there? Or could Sam be making a joke?

vicente   Link to this

People of lower rank are usually not noticed by ones betters , seen or heard, 'tis why epaulettes and ribbons be needed. That is my take and my memories of the days, when one was hired help. {still do talk around the hoi polloi]

Australian Susan   Link to this

"due reverence"
I took that to mean that as only Sam and Mr Pett were there, the clerks didn't show them the deference Sam felt should have been shown to the Navy Board officers and was shown when the knighted officers were present. Sam shows his power by closing the office for the day.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...not the reverence due to us observed..." I wonder if it was Batten's and Minnes' and Penn's clerks giving Sam embarrassing lip in front of Commissioner Pett. I'd doubt Sam's own people would risk offending him.

Interesting that Elisabeth's servant problem is a little similar...She can't get them to pay her proper respect, at least by her lights, and judging by the footnote on Sarah, they notice that the neighbors hold titles.

PHE   Link to this

Split personality
It's interesting here that Sam, who is both proud to be an upstanding citizen, and embarassed at some of his own social antics (as well as critical of others form time-to-time), should take the time to describe the latter in so much detail in his diary - and without any sense of self criticism (in this case)- just happy to record the fun.

Pedro.   Link to this

"some letters from my Lord Sandwich, from Tangier;"

Does Sam get letters in chronological order from Sandwich?
If so Sandy has been in action in Tangier, as noted by Sam on the 24th Sep, and again recently. He will hand over to Lord Peterborough in January. But it seems he has had time to sail to Lisbon and back to see the big game of the bull, as noted on the 7th November.

Glyn   Link to this

"one Mr. Parker's, a merchant in Marke-lane.”

Is it a just a co-incidence that the freed man lived in Mark Lane, and Pepys went to a tavern in Mark Lane later that afternoon? If we look at the map, we see that Mark Lane is just a 5-minute walk from Pepys’ office, but I don’t remember him going there before.

Part of Pepys job was to get information faster than anyone else, and no news would travel faster than on a navy ship, so he would probably have got the news of Mr Parker’s liberation before Mr Parker’s friends and family did. I wonder if he went to the tavern in Mark Lane to pass on the good news, and join in any celebration.

By the way, talking of Pepys variations in spelling - here we have Mark and Marke Lane a few lines apart. Is this a mistake, or something to do with how the word was pronounced or inflected?

Glyn   Link to this

Correction: It appears that it wasn't Mr Parker who had been captured then freed but one of his employees ("one of Mr Parker's").

Stewart   Link to this

Glyn "retaken an Englishman"

I read this as an English SHIP, i.e. an English merchantman.

vicente   Link to this

Stewart's view seems to be the correct reading, it makes more sense.
When does noun modify another nown i.e an adjective, become a nown when it is already is a nown that should modify a missing nown.?

Glyn   Link to this

So we're talking sea battles, broadsides of cannon and hand-to-hand combat? That's a lot more interesting than Elizabeth quarrelling with her maid.

tc   Link to this

"...retaken an Englishman"

Probably not a raging battle, but more likely perhaps a slip-into-the-harbor-in-the-dark sortie, to hopefully catch the night harbor watch napping. Known later as "a cutting out expedition" if you follow your Nelson (via Aubrey-Maturin-O'Brian.)

RexLeo   Link to this

"...I found our new maid Sarah1 come, who is a tall and a very well favoured wench, and one that I think will please us. So to bed."

Which bed? one in the green room with the maids?

Australian Susan   Link to this

"retaken an Englishman"
I wonder if this was a merchant ship in the service of the Royal navy and that is why they went to the bother of retaking it, rather than letting Mr Parker sort himself out with payments, ransom, bribes etc to get his ship back. My ancestors were ship owners in Sunderland and had all their fleet requisitioned as supply vessels to the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Wars and lost the lot. Then the same thing happened in WWII - they got compensation that time though. Was the same thing happening at this time? Or not so well organised?

Paul Chapin   Link to this

none more there than we two
Thanks to Oz Sue for her interpretation of this sentence that puzzled me, which makes very good sense. The key is in the interpretation of the word "more", which must be understood here as meaning "of higher rank" or "more important", rather than simply as "more people" as I had thought.

vicente   Link to this

Favourite trick of the powers to be, take it. {requisioned}. Every thing from Iron railings , Leica cameras to Englishmen's Castle [ makes a nice bed and board for the sick or Hofficers worn out, signing chits], or Cathedral{ ST P's was used for stabling those crowd -pleasers or -breakers, 16 hands plus}.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Stabling horses in Cathedrals
This appears to have been a common practice whereever Parliamentary troops took a cathedral city (eg Lichfield). Was it done as a deliberate slight or affront to establishment churchgoers? Or simply practical - it was a secure place to keep a most valuable asset. Cavalry were the RAF of their day - the fast moving first strike troops and with out horses done for. Throughtout military history, dastardly deeds were done to enemy horses (hamstringing for example) or they were simply stolen or scattered. Sorry, this is off-topic.

Stewart   Link to this

"retaken an Englishman"

Most likely a short-sharp action at sea.

There was not a huge difference in this period between merchantmen and naval ships, but an encounter between a heavily armed and manned Royal Navy vessel and the London merchantman probably being sailed by a short-manned Turkish crew would have only one result, given the right wind direction.

On why ??? This was the very business of the English Navy - the protection of English trade, particularly again the Turk, whose captives would likely become galley slaves.

Prize money was not as formalized as in later periods, e.g. the Napoleonic Wars but still highly profitable for the captain and crew to recapture this ship and its cargo, as the owner would then pay them.

The principle protection against the depredations of the Turkish fleet in this period was the growing naval strength of the Knights of St. John based on Malta. While I am definitely and historically on their side, it was sometimes difficult to tell who were the real pirates.

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