Tuesday 2 June 1663

Up and by water to White Hall and so to St. James’s, to Mr. Coventry; where I had an hour’s private talk with him. Most of it was discourse concerning his own condition, at present being under the censure of the House, being concerned with others in the Bill for selling of offices. He tells me, that though he thinks himself to suffer much in his fame hereby, yet he values nothing more of evil to hang over him for that it is against no statute, as is pretended, nor more than what his predecessors time out of mind have taken;1 and that so soon as he found himself to be in an errour, he did desire to have his fees set, which was done; and since that he hath not taken a token more. He undertakes to prove, that he did never take a token of any captain to get him employed in his life beforehand, or demanded any thing: and for the other accusation, that the Cavaliers are not employed, he looked over the list of them now in the service, and of the twenty- seven that are employed, thirteen have been heretofore always under the King; two neutralls, and the other twelve men of great courage, and such as had either the King’s particular commands, or great recommendation to put them in, and none by himself. Besides that, he says it is not the King’s nor Duke’s opinion that the whole party of the late officers should be rendered desperate. And lastly, he confesses that the more of the Cavaliers are put in, the less of discipline hath followed in the fleet; and that, whenever there comes occasion, it must be the old ones that must do any good, there being only, he says, but Captain Allen good for anything of them all. He tells me, that he cannot guess whom all this should come from; but he suspects Sir G. Carteret, as I also do, at least that he is pleased with it. But he tells me that he will bring Sir G. Carteret to be the first adviser and instructor of him what to make his place of benefit to him; telling him that Smith did make his place worth 5000l. and he believed 7000l. to him the first year; besides something else greater than all this, which he forbore to tell me. It seems one Sir Thomas Tomkins of the House, that makes many mad motions, did bring it into the House, saying that a letter was left at his lodgings, subscribed by one Benson (which is a feigned name, for there is no such man in the Navy), telling him how many places in the Navy have been sold. And by another letter, left in the same manner since, nobody appearing, he writes him that there is one Hughes and another Butler (both rogues, that have for their roguery been turned out of their places), that will swear that Mr. Coventry did sell their places and other things. I offered him my service, and will with all my heart serve him; but he tells me he do not think it convenient to meddle, or to any purpose, but is sensible of my love therein. So I bade him good morrow, he being out of order to speak anything of our office business, and so away to Westminster Hall, where I hear more of the plot from Ireland; which it seems hath been hatching, and known to the Lord Lieutenant a great while, and kept close till within three days that it should have taken effect. The term ended yesterday, and it seems the Courts rose sooner, for want of causes, than it is remembered to have done in the memory of man. Thence up and down about business in several places, as to speak with Mr. Phillips, but missed him, and so to Mr. Beacham, the goldsmith, he being one of the jury to-morrow in Sir W. Batten’s case against Field. I have been telling him our case, and I believe he will do us good service there. So home, and seeing my wife had dined I went, being invited, and dined with Sir W. Batten, Sir J. Minnes, and others, at Sir W. Batten’s, Captain Allen giving them a Foy‘ dinner, he being to go down to lie Admiral in the Downs this summer. I cannot but think it a little strange that having been so civil to him as I have been he should not invite me to dinner, but I believe it was but a sudden motion, and so I heard not of it. After dinner to the office, where all the afternoon till late, and so to see Sir W. Pen, and so home to supper and to bed. To-night I took occasion with the vintner’s man, who came by my direction to taste again my tierce of claret, to go down to the cellar with him to consult about the drawing of it; and there, to my great vexation, I find that the cellar door hath long been kept unlocked, and above half the wine drunk. I was deadly mad at it, and examined my people round, but nobody would confess it; but I did examine the boy, and afterwards Will, and told him of his sitting up after we were in bed with the maids, but as to that business he denies it, which I can [not] remedy, but I shall endeavour to know how it went. My wife did also this evening tell me a story of Ashwell stealing some new ribbon from her, a yard or two, which I am sorry to hear, and I fear my wife do take a displeasure against her, that they will hardly stay together, which I should be sorry for, because I know not where to pick such another out anywhere.

  1. This reminds one of the prosecution of Sir. Francis Bacon of an earlier century. Queen Elizabeth established then, for the first time, salaries for government officers, that they need not provide a living for themselves by selling offices and services. D.W.

35 Annotations

TerryF   Link to this

Sale of Offices.

Sir Charles Hussey reports from the Committee to which the Bill to discover, punish, and prevent Frauds, and Abuses in the Buying and Selling of Offices, was committed, several Amendments to be made to the Bill: Which he read, with the Coherence, in his Place; and delivered the same in at the Clerk's Table: Which Amendments were read the First and Second time; and, upon the Question, severally agreed to.

The Committee having left several Blanks in the Bill; viz. a Blank for Commissioners to execute the Powers of the Act; Two Blanks touching Penalties to be inserted; and a Blank for Allowances for Officers, to the Consideration of the House.

The House took the Matter upon the First of the Blanks in the Bill touching Commissioners to be appointed to execute the Powers of the Act, into Debate.

The Question being put, That the Commissioners shall be named by the King's Majesty;
It was resolved in the Affimative.\

Resolved, &c. That the Bill be re-committed to the former Committee; to peruse the same; and to alter it so, as it may be left to the King's Majesty to appoint Commissioners, to execute the Powers of the Act: And they are to meet this Afternoon at Two of the Clock, in the Speaker's Chamber.

From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 2 June 1663', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667 (1802), pp. 496-97. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com.... Date accessed: 02 June 2006.

TerryF   Link to this

"so to Mr. Beacham, the goldsmith, he being one of the jury to-morrow in Sir W. Batten's case against Field. I have been telling him our case, and I believe he will do us good service there."

Isn't this a species of jury-tampering?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_tampering

Lurker   Link to this

"To-night I took occasion I was deadly mad at it (—) but nobody would confess it;"

LH: Does "took occasion" with here mean get into a fight with, or something else?

So, would the cellar door be like a Bilco door these days?

Someone who'se been here longer: This the first time he (or anyone) has been "deadly mad" ? And is this supposed to mean so mad he'd just die, or ticked enough to kill someone?

"and examined my people round, but nobody would confess it;"

Hmm, I wonder exactly how much of an interrogation this was, especially with Pepys being "deadly mad"?

Interesting ideas go flitting through my head, but I'll have to leave it for Gertz to show us the way...

TerryF   Link to this

Lurker, I'm no LH, but put "took occasion" in context:

"To-night I took occasion with the vintner’s man, who came by my direction to taste again my tierce of claret, to go down to the cellar with him to consult about the drawing of it"

"I took occasion" seems to mean "I took advantage of the opportunity", a view of the idiom confirmed here http://www.allwords.com/word-rise%20to%20the%20...

As to "deadly mad," he's clearly very angry at having been burgled, and there may have been assault (threats of violence), but no battery.

Nix   Link to this

jury-tampering --

Yes, it could be jury tampering under today's law, though there would be some question whether it was an attempt at corrupt influence, as opposed to simply trying to find out the person's sympathies and predilections. "A person commits jury tampering if, with intent to infleunce a juror's vote, opinion, decision or other action in a case, such person directly or indirectly, communicates with a juror other than as a part of the normal proceedings in the case." Arizona Revised Statutes 13-2807 -- http://www.azleg.state.az.us/FormatDocument.asp...

Anyway, in those times jurors were not expected to be ignorant of the facts or unfamiliar with the parties. As we have seen in connection with Samuel's collection of fees and receipt of gifts, concepts of proper official conduct were fluid in those days; pristine neutrality is a much more recent concept.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Jury Tampering

I think the jury referredto here is a Grand Jury convened to examine a matter to see if it should go before the Courts, not a criminal jury to decide guilt or otherwise. England no longer has a Grand Jury system, but it was still in use in the late 18th century when the system was abused in the pre-trial of the London Corresponding Society in the rabid anti-French atmosphere at the time. I think it was that which caused the system to be revised. So talking to a member of a Grand Jury is not the same as trying to influence a member of a jury in a criminal matter.

language hat   Link to this

"took occasion"

I agree with TerryF, he took [the] occasion [of the vintner's man being there] to go down to the cellar with him to consult about how to draw the wine.

Oh, how I'd love to have seen his reaction on discovering the unlocked door... and then the missing wine... a great scene for a movie!

TerryF   Link to this

" the missing wine… a great scene for a movie!"

Perhaps it's been made? There was Humphrey Bogart as Captain Queeg....

TerryF   Link to this

The missing wine and Humphrey Bogart as Samuel Pepys.

in Aqua Scripto   Link to this

Juries were expected to reinforce the judge, if that failed, they the jury would be punished, til they be of the same opinion as the judge.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I think if I'd found someone had tapped above half my expensive claret I'd be rather "deadly mad" too.

Hmmn...Wayneman would be a likely culprit but didn't Susan the maid have a drinking problem?
***

"Half yer wine thereabouts gone, sir. Shockin', sir." the vintner's man sighs.

"Well, at least they didn't get the uranium ore we were smuggling out in some of the bottles." Sam notes. "Our Grand Master Issac is now certain with it he can develop a super weapon to make the Priory of Sidon invincible and allow the heirs of Christ to take their rightful throne."

"Uh, sir. Methinks we got trouble." the man lifts one bottle. "1660 where it should by rights be '58'. And look there, sir." He points to a corner where a nearly hidden piece of broken bottle and a few grains of ore can be seen...Nearly hidden under what appears to be a woman's scarf.

"That scarf...I..."

"Sir?"

"Nothing...It must have been one of the maids. Let me deal with this."

"Extreme prejudice's what's required here, sir."

"I'm aware of what's required. Leave it to me."

***

A quick and surprising journey to Brampton a day later, leaving all at home puzzled...

But Sam must consult with the one person tough enough to deal with the crisis...

"Mother? Be ye awake?"

Margaret frowning from the cover...First a new stone troubling her, now this. And she can guess the cause. "Samuel?"

"Mother...I am married to a Papist agent. She's discovered our uranium supply, that treacherous... She and that Pembleton... Oh, when I think of her and her clinging kisses... Oh, when the Grand Master learns..."

"Now, boy. Aye, I see it all now. I knew there was something suspicious about that girl's taste for dancin'..." Margaret nodded. "One moment, boy", she rises, reaches under her nightskirt, gives a slight groan and a moment later pulls from under her skirt a huge stone which she tosses into the fire.

"That's the way to handle the stone, boy."

"Yes, Mother."

"Aye,I thought that French hussy was up to somethin' but I figured she was just leading ye by the nose fornicatin' with the lad. Well...This will bear some serious thinkin'. We'll have to proceed against her with care soas not to let the Priority know. Fortunately for now, we're protected by the magnitude of your stupidity, boy."

"Yes, Mother."

***

Bradford   Link to this

For someone as (understandably) anxious about the security of his property (where is all the money that he's worth in the world hidden?), one would almost expect Pepys to make the rounds of the locks every night, or at least every week---but "I find that the cellar door hath long been kept unlocked." Did this fact emerge during the interrogations? Or was the dangling padlock dusty?

Lurker   Link to this

Thanx LH et al.

I wonder if someone about the house was making free with the stuff and unlocked the door to give an alibi?

Also, it may (I don't know, he may have contradicted this when I wasn't paying attention) have been the responsiblility of someone else (Or everyone else thought it was everyone else's responsibility) who never bothered to check/always left it like that...

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Interesting that Coventry seems so anxious to justify himself to Sam. Though he was probably as much rehersing his defense, I imagine he's well aware (and worked at becoming so) how much of a father figure he's become.

And Pepys is likely one of those he's grooming to become a future King's man for Jamie's technocrat circle of advisors. Wouldn't do to let this bright young man becomed disillusioned sooner than need be.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Sam is obviously flattered to be taken into Coventry's confidence. It seems to me that Coventry would have few people he could trust and unburden himself to, but Sam has proved discreet before, so gets the benefit (?) of Coventry's unravelling of his problems.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"and above half the wine drunk"
An amateur job obviously; it should always be replaced with water; my suspicions fall on Susan( she could not help it)or the boy.

Jacqueline Gore   Link to this

The Suspects:

Two main groups-

Those who might sell (as well as drink)
the stolen wine.
Those who would be more likely to simply tipple.

Naturally all suspects overlap to some degree.

Potential sellers

Mary Ashwell. Well-educated, certain position in the house as Bess' companion which might allow her some limited authority among the lesser servants. Has not been in the house long but has an impeccable reputation from her position as a teacher. Recently accused of petty thief by Mrs. Pepys. Likely to harbor a certain degree of resentment toward both Bess and Sam. Potential contacts with buyers unknown.

William Hewer. Pepys' chief assistant, very likely to be entrusted with keys and to have authority among the lesser servants. Well educated, in constant contact with merchants and the well-do who would certainly be interested in good claret. Known for the occasional spark of resentment and rebellion at Sam's reminders of the more servile aspects of his apprentice's position.

Elisabeth Pepys. Spouse and mistress of the household. Reasonably well-educated, some outside contacts with tradesmen, merchants, etc. Very anxious to acquire cash for aged parents and ner-do-well brother and for self. Accused of having committed petty acts of cash theft for family's sake in past. Harbors resentment, though apparently devoted to Pepys.

All lesser servants excepting Wayneman:

Contacts with tradesmen, etc. Less educated but aware of the value of good wine. Limited access to keys but some have been around long enough to have used the keys and know where they are kept or perhaps made a copy or learned to defeat the padlock.

Wayneman-(Poor kid. Already convicted by some I see) Probable contacts with tradesman and others in the city. Intelligent enough to know good wine is valueable. Likely occasionally entrusted with keys and familiar with the padlock. Mischevious and curious enough to try defeating said padlock. Rebellious at times, harbors strong resentment at Pepys.

The drinkers

Ashwell, Hewer, Bess are under fairly constant public scrutiny and unlikely to escape notice should they be drinking heavily. Though Bess could be keeping a supply for her monthly sessions. In general they'd be more likely to be sellers.

The lesser servants excepting Susan and Wayneman. Probably would imbibe if they could but none but Susan has been recorded as a heavy drinker and they are generally under Pepys' scrutiny. Though they would have private moments to get plastered it's more likely they'd be sellers.

Susan-Heavy drinker, definitely an alcoholic. Probably had occasional access to keys and wine cellar. Frequently disappeared to go for 'tavern runs' which could have covered her trips to the cellar.

Wayneman-Never noted as a heavy drinker, unlikely to be able to conceal his drinking. I see him as more a seller and distributor to friends.

(Robert, you're becoming-Notorious.)

Mary   Link to this

Another suspect might be Sarah,

the maid who was dismissed in December 1662 and who almost immediately went to work for the neighbours (Sir Wm. Penn and family).

Pedro   Link to this

The Suspects:

Meanwhile in Brampton, Margaret and John Pepys discuss their £50 per annum over a nice bottle of claret.

Pedro   Link to this

The Suspects:

Meanwhile not far away, old Penn raises a tankard of claret in a toast…

This night I sent another letter to Sir W. Pen to offer him the return of his tankard upon his leaving of 30s. at a place where it should be brought.

http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/09/02/

TerryF   Link to this

I'm a bit foggy about who's doing what here:

"I went, being invited, and dined with Sir W. Batten, Sir J. Minnes, and others, at Sir W. Batten’s, Captain Allen giving them a Foy’ dinner, he being to go down to lie Admiral in the Downs this summer. I cannot but think it a little strange that having been so civil to him as I have been he should not invite me to dinner, but I believe it was but a sudden motion, and so I heard not of it."

Who's departing to be Admiral in the Downs?
To whom has Samuel been so civil, etc.? I take it Batten, who on Sunday did not invite Mr. Pepys to join the Knights at his son's child's christening? http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/05/31/

A. Hamilton   Link to this

These appear to be new charges against Coventry from disgruntled cCavaliers seeking appointment as captains.

Sam knows Coventry sold offices in 1660, having heard from indignant Commissioner Pett: Diary, Sept. 6, 1660:

“At Whitehall I met with Commissioner Pett, who told me how Mr. Coventry and Fairbank his solicitor are falling out, one complaining of the other for taking too great fees, which is too true. I find that Commissioner Pett is under great discontent, and is loth to give too much money for his place, and so do greatly desire me to go along with him in what we shall agree to give Mr. Coventry, which I have promised him, but am unwilling to mix my fortune with him that is going down the wind.”
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/09/06/

PegH   Link to this

"I went, being invited..."
TerryF, I was also puzzled. I took it that Sir W. Batten invited Sam to a dinner that was given at his (Batten's) house by Capt. Allen, who was going to "lie Admiral" (and what means that?). Sam had been nice to Allen and couldn't think why Allen hadn't invited him, but excused him because it was a last minute shindig, and since it was chez Batten, appropriate that Batten invite him. Maybe it had nothing to do with the christening? As for that, I thought it was Batten Jr. who neglected the invite. I could be wrong, would love to be unconfused about this and many other subjects.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Suspects eh?

You know I hate to say but it could have been Bess. She’s been arguing with Ashwell and making accusations which tends to be a sign someone’s caught her at something. She certainly needs extra money for the old folks and Balty, plus her pauper aristocrat father probably would appreciate a decent bottle of wine every now and then. Also she seems to have taken to sleeping in a bit more recently which might suggest after first grabbing the occasional bit for sale or Papa, she’s started tippling a little, has found it helps get her though the day, and then got careless (or was nearly caught and had to run) with the padlock.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Of course I like the idea of Maggie and John putting one over on their cheapskate son...Tom naturally the man on spot.

Not to mention Sir Will P finally getting revenge for the infamous tankard incident.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

lie Admiral

I agree with PegH about the social situation.

This use of lie seems to covered by OED definitions 5 (c) ("[to be] engaged in some specified occupation") and 11 (a) ("Naut. Of a ship : to be stationed in a berth or anchorage) for "lie, v 1." I infer that the use implies transience. Capt. Allen is being posted to a position as admiral but not to the (permanent) rank of admiral. Admiral of the Downs sounds like a responsible position. According to the National Maritime Museum, the area of the coast of Kent was a gathering place for merchant fleets (hence a tempting target for pirates) and in later years one of the main positions for defending the Channel coast.

"The Downs is the area of sea lying between the Kentish town of Deal (Great Britain) and the Goodwin Sands, and was a very important anchorage for merchant shipping during the age of sail."

http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/conWebDoc.17883

Lurker   Link to this

"the infamous tankard incident" ?

Gus Spier   Link to this

To me it sounds more likely that negligence left the cellar door unlocked, rather than skullduggery among the servants or spouses. I imagine that then, as now, the street people know every unlocked door in the city. What was the most recent party at the Pepys? Can you not see Sam hurrying down the stairs? He's anxious to protect his persona and reputation and not have the guests mumping about discontentedly about a niggardly feast where there's not even enough wine to wash down the pasty?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Notorius? So someone caught me, thanks Ms. Gore.

Anyway to end this alternative existence ripoff...

"Bess. Why didn't you reply to my note through Wayneman?"

"Oh, Pembleton. Margaret and Sam found out about us discovering the uranium. They're terrified the Grand Master and the Priory will find out. They've been poisoning me. I'm to be finished off when I head out to Brampton tomorrow...For my health."

"And poor Wayneman got the Clarence treatment in one of Sam's wine casks."

"Mr. Pembleton.", a glaring Sam, a frowning Margaret by his side. "What are you doing with my wife?"

"I'm taking her to an apothecary to get the poison out of her, Pepys."

"Samuel?" a distinguished-looking man in perriwig emerges from the parlor looking up to where the four on the stairs are coming down...Creed, Howe, Greatorex, and several others now beside the man. "Is anything wrong?"

"Go ahead and tell your Priory friends what's up, Pepys. They're waiting." Pembleton hisses as the four stop.

"Samuel..." Margaret eyes him.

"I'm not afraid to die." Sam puts on a brave front...Belied a bit by his trembling knees.

"Well, now's your chance."

"Sam...You must speak to them." Margaret tries.

"Samuel?"

"Uh, yes Newton. Uh, poor Bess here just had an attack in her room. Mr. Pembleton found her. We're taking her to an apothecary."

"Good, good. I'm glad she is going. You should not have waited so long."

"Need any help, Pepys?" Creed eyes him suspiciously.

"Oh, no. We're fine. Hewer, call a coach!" The four are on the ground floor now, moving to the front door. Margaret breaking off from the group as Sam moves to open the door.

"Aren't you going Mrs. Pepys?" Creed asks.

"Why? There is no need. Samuel will contact us here later." she notes quietly, eyeing her son.

"Oh, yes. We'll send a messenger."

"Coach's here, sir!" Hewer comes to them. They move to the couch, Pembleton helping Bess in with Sam lifting her from behind, then starting to climb in. Pembleton suddenly kicking him back and off into the mud.

"Sorry, Pepys. No room in the coach for you."

"No, no. Wait! But you must take me! Wait, wait!!" he stumbles a bit after the fast-departing coach.

"Samuel." Creed calls from the door, the Priory circle staring coldly at the forlorn Pepys, covered in mud.

"Would you step inside a moment? We'd like to talk to you."

ignis fatuus   Link to this

Rank: just because ye wear the stip[e]s, pips, braid or the red moldings of a General Rank, it could be very Tempory, only held for the duration of need. It be a bit of a let down when thy return to thy substantive rank/position, from the glories of the acting one.

dirk   Link to this

"the infamous tankard incident"

28 August 1661:
"This day I counterfeited a letter to Sir W. Pen, as from the thief that stole his tankard lately, only to abuse and laugh at him."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/08/28/

1 September 1661:
"After dinner to Sir W. Batten’s, where I found Sir W. Pen and Captain Holmes. Here we were very merry with Sir W. Pen about the loss of his tankard, though all be but a cheat, and he do not yet understand it; but the tankard was stole by Sir W. Batten, and the letter, as from the thief, wrote by me, which makes: very good sport."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/09/01/

2 September 1661:
"This night I sent another letter to Sir W. Pen to offer him the return of his tankard upon his leaving of 30s. at a place where it should be brought. The issue of which I am to expect."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/09/02/

9 September 1661:
"Thence home, and found Sir Williams both and much more company gone to the Dolphin to drink the 30s. that we got the other day of Sir W. Pen about his tankard."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/09/09/

12 September:
"It being late I took leave, and by link home and called at Sir W. Batten’s, and there hear that Sir W. Pen do take our jest of the tankard very ill, which I am sorry for."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/09/12/

Jacqueline Gore   Link to this

Robert, if as your little bit suggests, Pembleton looks like Cary Grant, I may be taking lessons in the afterlife.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Our water writer is now writ in fire!

Patricia   Link to this

Maybe Mrs. P uses the wine for pain relief during her "months."

ignis fatuus   Link to this

A few pews be available for me laud with cash, just a nice miserable donation please. Do not tel[l] the constable.
Available for any rich digger or leveller , or even a spice merchant
"...at present being under the censure of the House, being concerned with others in the Bill for selling of offices..."
Lord Levy greeting Tony Blair at a fundraising function (from BBC News) ... "Honours police arrest Lord Levy", BBC News, January 30, 2007. ...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Levy
more to the story
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/481...
and
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4812822.stm

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