Friday 3 January 1661/62

Lay long in bed, and so up and abroad to several places about petty businesses. Among others to Tom’s, who I find great hopes of that he will do well, which I am glad of, and am not now so hasty to get a wife for him as I was before. So to dinner to my Lord Crew’s with him and his Lady, and after dinner to Faithorne’s, and there bought some pictures of him; and while I was there, comes by the King’s life-guard, he being gone to Lincoln’s Inn this afternoon to see the Revells there; there being, according to an old custom, a prince and all his nobles, and other matters of sport and charge.

So home, and up to my chamber to look over my papers and other things, my mind being much troubled for these four or five days because of my present great expense, and will be so till I cast up and see how my estate stands, and that I am loth to do for fear I have spent too much, and delay it the rather that I may pay for my pictures and my wife’s, and the book that I am buying for Paul’s School before I do cast up my accompts.

17 Annotations

Pedro.   Link to this

"and while I was there, comes by the King's life-guard,"

The Lifeguards, the senior regiment in the British Army formed at the Restoration, but Sam may have seen the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards that had been raised again in 1661 after the problem with the "Fifth Monarchists".

RexLeo   Link to this

"...I am loth to do for fear I have spent too much, and delay it the rather that I may pay for my pictures and my wife’s, and the book that I am buying for Paul’s School before I do cast up my accompts."

Our Sam would not probably make the top ten of Jack welch's executive list ("Face reality and act uopn it!") but, wow, how human he sounds in these immortal words!

vicenzo   Link to this

This explains Eliza's thumping " mind being much troubled for these four or five days because of my present great expense,..."
Watch your pennies, the pounds will look after themselves, I wonder whom we should thank, for that great adage.

Carolyn Storrs   Link to this

Vincenzo, courtesy of Bartlett's "Familiar Quotations"--Philip Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, in "Letters to His Son" on Nov.6, 1747, "I knew once a very covetous, sordid fellow (William Lowndes}, who used frequently to say, 'Take care of the pence, for the pounds will take care of themselves.'"

daniel   Link to this

"my mind being much troubled for these four or five days because of my present great expense'

I had anticipated this confession. Sam is at heart a puritan but in manner and bearing a gallant.

Clement   Link to this

Expenses and the Golden Mean
So in the 3 days since resolving to find a wife for Tom, control his profligate spending and abstain from plays and wine, he has contravened 3 of 4, by his own account. (Doesn't mention wine, but would they really have "sat late at night at cards very merry" without it?)

Today he unabashedly reports buying pictures, and without segue reports troubled mind at his expenses.
Nosce te ipsum: "Know thyself" is ancient advice that Sam certainly learned at St Paul's, but I think daniel's observation is of a man who consciously plays his two minds against each other, to arrive at the golden mean--the "aurea mediocritas" that Sam just as certainly learned.

The act of proclaiming worry at his expenses is to illustrate to himself, God and posterity a genuflection toward the Puritan ideal of thrift.
But since Pepys' idea of a life well lived clearly takes him in a different, less austere direction, his proclamation seems superstitious, like the atheist who leaves his estate to the church, "just in case."
More than confession, his hand-wringing purchases an Indulgence to follow his strong impulses toward art and aesthetic experience, tempered with moderation.
As the wealth of this young man accumulates will he still feel the need to plead this humility?

Australian Susan   Link to this

"I am loth to do so for fear I have spent too much"
I am sure we can all relate to this as we fear to go online to check what our Mastercard/Visa statements are after Christmas! Very human, Sam! And I like his desire to hurry through the purchases he *really* wants to make - the portraits, the pictures and his gift to his old school, before he works out he can't really afford them - once the sober reality of his fortunes are writ down in ink, his puritan soul would not allow him to continue on the primrose path of dalliance and debt, but just at the moment, he can quieten his whispering conscience and buy, buy, buy.

Bardi   Link to this

Do we know what book Sam is donating to St. Paul's School?

David A. Smith   Link to this

"pay for my pictures and my wife's … before I do cast up my accompts”
In addition to all the psychological superego-id tussles chronicled in the preceding comments, Sam may also be grappling with something more pragmatic: the difference between accrual-basis and cash-basis accounting. He has contracted for the portraits, and he owes money for them, and he literally may not know how to think about an account payable, so he does the practical thing of clearing his capital expenditures (that’s what they are) before totting up the balance sheet.

David A. Smith   Link to this

"I am loth to do for fear I have spent too much"
And as Clement and Australian Susan have commented, Sam *is* of two minds about expenditure, and he swings emotionally back and forth, alternatively splurging and worrying, and worrying *while* he's splurging. He *does*, I think, know himself -- too well, and better than most of us! -- and he uses his periodic bouts of penitent accounting to ration his indulgences. "I can resist anything except temptation," Oscar Wilde.

dirk   Link to this

Do we know what book Sam is donating to St. Paul's School? - re Bardi

“In the morning to my Bookseller's to bespeak a Stephens's Thesaurus, for which I offer 4£, to give to Paul's School.”

Sam’s diary, Friday 27 December 1661.

Eric Walla   Link to this

Bardi, see the Dec 27th entry and ensuing annotations.

On the net worth/accounts payable question, is there any sense that Sam may be paying off notes when he computes his yearly valuation? I can see him cringing when he finds he hasn't quite the funds he thought, but I don't see it changing any of his debts. It might make sense, however, if he finds he must delay paying off certain notes depending on the balance sheet. Thus he may wish to pay off immediate obligations (painter and donation) for which he would otherwise look foolish and less than serious, while pursuing an extension on his paper debts.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Sam and Debt
Although I am only familiar with modern computer-based accounting (and wouldn't Sam have hated having to cope with VAT/GST!), Eric's post seems to make admirable sense, better than my credit card analogy. And, yes, Sam thinks 'saving face' important and would not like to be seen to have difficulties paying the painter and the tradespeople.

vicenzo   Link to this

Sam and Debt: It was purely a physical concept[money that is] goods[items] coin and chit[ious]and then some bartering [a for b]. Debt had to be paid off in cash or a chit by Lady day. It was the bane of all small store[Inn] keepers pre Credit Card days. There was a pre-cursor to the CC it was in UK called Hire Purchase [HP] a method to get monies from those that did not save or a mattress to keep coin of the realm. This CC has kept the factories in business for the last 50 years, inflation is trying to keep every one employed, now that England has A Trillion Quid in personnel debt. 'Tis why value of purchased items be worth zero except land, Governments cannot print that, exception being the Dutch.[zyder zee]

Sjoerd   Link to this

I can assure Vincent that owning a stamp-sized piece of dutch land 5 meters below sea level is not something to feel very confident over at the best of times. Maybe this is why - around the time we are discussing - it was in the netherlands that more "virtual" forms of ownership were developed. In 1657 Christiaan Huygens (1629 - 1695) published a book on games of chance, and Holland's political leader Johan de Witt used these ideas to set up life insurance schemes to "fill the coffers of state". The Dutch East India compagnie was the first to introduce stocks and bonds, also around this time.

vicenzo   Link to this

Sjoerd:Also at this time The Hollanders did rescue land for the landed of Huntington, I.E. that large bog[otherwise known as The Fens] between Huntington and Lincoln was converted [enclosed] and became that very fertile land for growing those very Dutch items called Tulips. It is also very unsettling to live in a house or tent with the river [eg the Ouse] being few feet above ones head. Tis why there are a few areas that have the name ' Holland' in their name. Of course it was really an excuse to look for King John's jewels that he lost when caught by an incoming tide, [he did fail to ask the locals why the ground was so wet].

Bill   Link to this

"he being gone to Lincoln’s Inn this afternoon to see the Revells there"

Evelyn also mentions this visit of the king to Lincoln's Inn, but enters into more detail. He writes, "I went to London, invited to the solemn foolery of the Prince de la Grange at Lincoln's Inn, where came the King, Duke, &c. It began with a grand masque, and a formal pleading before the mock Princes, Grandees, Nobles, and Knights of the Sun. He had his Lord Chancellor, Chamberlain, Treasurer, and other Royal officers, gloriously clad and attended. It ended in a magnificent banquet. One Mr. Lort was the young spark who maintain'd the pageantry." — Evelyn's Diary, January 1st, 1661-62.
---Wheatley, 1899.

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