Saturday 21 March 1662/63

Up betimes and to my office, where busy all the morning, and at noon, after a very little dinner, to it again, and by and by, by appointment, our full board met, and Sir Philip Warwick and Sir Robert Long came from my Lord Treasurer to speak with us about the state of the debts of the Navy; and how to settle it, so as to begin upon the new foundation of 200,000l. per annum, which the King is now resolved not to exceed. This discourse done, and things put in a way of doing, they went away, and Captain Holmes being called in he began his high complaint against his Master Cooper, and would have him forthwith discharged. Which I opposed, not in his defence but for the justice of proceeding not to condemn a man unheard, upon [which] we fell from one word to another that we came to very high terms, such as troubled me, though all and the worst that I ever said was that that was insolently or ill mannerdly spoken. When he told me that it was well it was here that I said it. But all the officers, Sir G. Carteret, Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, and Sir W. Pen cried shame of it. At last he parted and we resolved to bring the dispute between him and his Master to a trial next week, wherein I shall not at all concern myself in defence of any thing that is unhandsome on the Master’s part nor willingly suffer him to have any wrong. So we rose and I to my office, troubled though sensible that all the officers are of opinion that he has carried himself very much unbecoming him. So wrote letters by the post, and home to supper and to bed.

18 Annotations

Leslie Katz   Link to this

not to condemn a man unheard

In volume 3 of his Institutes at 35, published not long before Pepys's time, Sir Edward Coke stated that the principle that no man was to be judged unheard was a principle of divine justice. Rhadamanthus, the cruel judge of Hell, punished before he heard, "But far otherwise doth Almighty God proceed".

Pepys was in good company.

TerryF   Link to this

"-- which he told me that it was well it was here that I said it."

So L&M transcribe Captain Holmes's suggestion of a duel - 'if we were abroad, these be fighting words'.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

I'm not quite sure
whose side the other officers are on. I'm guessing from the context that "he has carried himself very much unbecoming him" refers to Cooper, the Master, who we must remember owed his position to Sam's influence. But then the "cried shame of it" seems to refer to Holmes's not-so-veiled threat of a duel. It's unlike Sam to put himself openly on the opposite side of the fence from the prevailing opinion. And it's interesting to note that he insists that he is taking a stand on proper procedure, not on the merits of the case.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"But all the officers, Sir G. Carteret, Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, and Sir W. Pen cried shame of it.."

Note all those "Sir"s. Rather nice to have high-powered backing in such a sit, eh Samuel? One can just see Holmes eyeing the room of titles...And slowly backing down.

***
"And then?" an eager Bess with Ashwell and Mary hanging...

Will Hewer dutifully keeping mum...Though unable to suppress the occasional eye roll.

"Then I took that rogue Holmes by the collar and I said... 'Rogue, how dare ye speak in such an ill-manner to one of the King's officers.'...And Sir George and the Sir Wills and Sir John all cried out in my favor, so I dragged the scoundrel bodily to the door and sent him sprawling."

"Ah." a beaming Bess, nodding firmly.

"Well, I'd best off to my chamber and finish up. Ladies..." a happy Sam struts off.

"Ma'am?" Ashwell eyes Bess.

"Not a word of it after 'I spoke for the Master'." Bess shakes her head. "But as far as you and Mary are concerned, every word the God's truth. And wipe that smile off your face, Will Hewer. Sam'l did defend the poor man, right?"

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I imagine it would have been quite easy for Sam to have said nothing and let poor Cooper be discharged without a hearing. Kudos, Samuel.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"it was here that I said it"
Said what? not to condemn a man unheard?

dirk   Link to this

"it was here that I said it"

I read this as a reference to:
"the worst that I ever said was that that was insolently or ill mannerdly spoken" -- which could indeed qualify as an insult, sufficient to result in a duel in the oh so sensitive 17th c.

I wonder what Sam's reaction would have been, had he been challenged to a duel here? He's the proud owner of a (ceremonial) sword, but would he have been able to use it? Could he have been challenged, given his status and position?

TerryF   Link to this

The referent of "it was here that I said it” is the preceding clauses, as Dirk has it, methinks, supported by the L&M reading, their " - which" falling just where his does.

Tony Eldridge   Link to this

"as well it was here that I said it".
This sounds the equivalent of our modern Parliamentary Privilege where an MP can accuse others of all sorts of things as long as it is said in the House of Commons. Once outside, the usual libel laws still apply.

Glyn   Link to this

"Up betimes"

He is now in a sequence of getting "up betimes" nowadays but what does it mean? Is this, getting up early, or before daybreak?

A. Hamilton   Link to this

interesting to note that he insists he is taking a stand on proper procedure, not on the merits

Whatever works. Reading the background notes on Cooper leads me to think (a) that Pepys regards himself as a patron of this man and (b) that Cooper has serious faults as a master. Defending on the merits may well be a losing case; better to insist on proper procedure and put the choleric Capt. Holmes on the defensive.

Carmen   Link to this

Re: Betimes

According to Webster's Unabridged: Betimes = seasonably; in good season or time; before it is late. Also listed as a synonym for "early"

Pauline   Link to this

'better to insist on proper procedure'
I agree with your reading, A. Hamilton. Remember how excited Sam was to be learning Mathematics from Cooper and how assiduous Cooper was in teaching him. The tie is personal.

The "sirs" may well be crying shame at both Holmes and Sam--at the heat of the exchange.

JWB   Link to this

Asleep betimes?
After viewing Holmes portrait by Lely (Jeannine link), I wonder how Sam slept this night.

TerryF   Link to this

"a duel in the oh so sensitive 17th c."

They were Cavaliers, weren't they?!
Recall "how Mr. Edward Montagu hath lately had a duell with Mr. Cholmely" ,
6 August 1662 http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/08/06/

They were not alone, not then and there, but also across the Pond where, later, "What had really happened...was that the gentlemanly idea, driven from England by Cromwell, had taken refuge in the South and fashioned for itself a world to its heart's desire: a world singularly polished and mellow and poised, wholly dominated by ideals of honor and chivalry and *noblesse* -- all those sentiments and values and habits of action which used to be, especially in Walter Scott, invariably assigned to the gentleman born and the Cavalier." The Mind of the South (Vintage) by W.J. Cash, p. 9. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679736476/

Hence, I suppose the oath of office of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky [was County of Virginia Colony} that affirms not having engaged in a duel or abbetted one. http://www.erniefletcher.com/inaugural/

Leslie Katz, you provided us a very fine lead for the annotations to today's entry, but this one hardly lives up to Sir Edward Coke.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"After viewing Holmes portrait by Lely (Jeannine link), I wonder how Sam slept this night."
Possibly, but note that the fellow in the portrait holding the scary-looking sword is actually Holles; Holmes is the more benign-looking one. See my annotation following Jeannine's at http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/930/

linda   Link to this

I’m not quite sure
whose side the other officers are on. I’m guessing from the context that “he has carried himself very much unbecoming him” refers to Cooper, the Master, who we must remember owed his position to Sam’s influence.

celtcahill   Link to this

" I’m not quite sure
whose side the other officers are on."

Their own and their own authority as shared by Pepys, being an officer of the navy in such a setting. Sam is that much one of them, and their disapproval likely what saved him lon enough for Holmes to let it go.

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