Monday 16 November 1663

Up, and being ready then abroad by coach to White Hall, and there with the Duke, where Mr. Coventry did a second time go to vindicate himself against reports and prove by many testimonies that he brought, that he did nothing but what had been done by the Lord Admiral’s secretaries heretofore, though he do not approve of it, nor since he had any rule from the Duke hath he exceeded what he is there directed to take, and the thing I think is very clear that they always did take and that now he do take less than ever they did heretofore. Thence away, and Sir G. Carteret did call me to him and discourse with me about my letter yesterday, and did seem to take it unkindly that I should doubt of his satisfaction in the bargain of masts, and did promise me that hereafter whatever he do hear to my prejudice he would tell me before he would believe it, and that this was only Sir W. Batten’s report in this business, which he says he did ever approve of, in which I know he lies. Thence to my Lord’s lodgings thinking to find Mr. Moore, in order to the sending away my letter of reproof to my Lord, but I do not find him, but contrary do find my Lord come to Court, which I am glad to hear and should be more glad to hear that he do follow his business that I may not have occasion to venture upon his good nature by such a provocation as my letter will be to him. So by coach home, to the Exchange, where I talked about several businesses with several people, and so home to dinner with my wife, and then in the afternoon to my office, and there late, and in the evening Mr. Hollyard came, and he and I about our great work to look upon my wife’s malady, which he did, and it seems her great conflux of humours, heretofore that did use to swell there, did in breaking leave a hollow which has since gone in further and further; till now it is near three inches deep, but as God will have it do not run into the bodyward, but keeps to the outside of the skin, and so he must be forced to cut it open all along, and which my heart I doubt will not serve for me to see done, and yet she will not have any body else to see it done, no, not her own mayds, and so I must do it, poor wretch, for her. To-morrow night he is to do it. He being gone, I to my office again a little while, and so home to supper and to bed.

22 Annotations

Terry F   Link to this

"Mr. Hollyard came, and he and I about our great work to look upon my wife's malady, which he did, and it seems her great conflux of humours, heretofore that did use to swell there, did in breaking leave a hollow which has since gone in further and further; till now it is near three inches deep, but as God will have it do not run into the bodyward, but keeps to the outside of the skin, and so he must be forced to cut it open all along,"

L&M cite a Pepys Club Occasional paper that diagnoses this as an abscess in the vulva that had become, first, an ischiorectal abscess, then a fistula, which would have been normal for surgeons to treat. This is still the case.- http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic2733.htm

Images - you are warned by Samuel Pepys - NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH. http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic2733.htm#target1

Terry F   Link to this

"and which my heart I doubt ["suspect"] will not serve for me to see done, and yet she will not have any body else to see it done, no, not her own mayds, and so I must do it, poor wretch, for her."

So he flees to his office to compose himself a bit, and so to bed.

Jeannine, are most of your questions answered?

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

"and so I must do it, poor wretch, for her."

Who better than you, Sam, who can empathize with the anguish and pain caused by an operation in the nether regions?

Poor Elizabeth. This is going to be painful and embarrassing.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

"and that this was only Sir W. Batten's report in this business, which he says he did ever approve of, in which I know he lies"

Can anyone help me parse this? Sam thinks Carteret is lying, I think ... but about what? Something to do with Batten, obviously, or the greater matter of the masts, but the "which he says he did ever approve of" throws me.

Bradford   Link to this

Other readers may agree, from experience, that at such times one would much rather undergo the trial yourself, than to watch it undergone by one you love, and you able to do little but provide moral support. Pepys does not shirk his duty, but who would blame him should he close his eyes.

jeannine   Link to this

Thanks Terry! Sounds miserable for Elizabeth. The Occasional Paper that L&M refer to was written by D'Arcy Power and quotes today's entry (and tomorrow's too) and states
"Mrs. Pepys has a long illness in the winter of 1663. It began, so far as I can ascertain, as an abscess in the vulva, thought I think that it may have been an ischio-rectal abscess, pointing perhaps, a little more anteriorly than is usual. It terminated in a fistula."
He also goes on to say that :
"I cannot find out when the abscess causing the fistula began, but so far back as 1661 there is an entry that she was suffering from some abdominal trouble, for on 12 May 1661, 'My wife had a very troublesome night this night and in great pain, but about the morning her swelling broke, and she was in great ease presently as she useth to be. So I put in a vent (which Dr. Williams sent me yesterday) into the hole to keep it open till all the matter be come out, and so I question not that she will soon be well again'.

It was some time before the abscess healed for on Midsummer Day Pepys went with his father
'and Dr. Williams (who is come to see my wife, whose soare belly is now grown dangerous as she thinks)" ....
There is, however, no further entry in regard to this illness of his wife, though it may have been the starting point of the subsequent fistula."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/archive/1661/05/
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/06/24/

Mary   Link to this

Who disapproves of whom?

I think Cartaret is saying that it was only ever Batten who was against the business. Cartaret asserts to Pepys that he himself always thought that it was perfectly all right. Sam confides to his diary that he is not deceived by these words and is of the opinion that Cartaret is lying.

It was 'the business' that Cartaret 'ever did approve of', not Batten's report. Pepys' use of relative pronouns can be confusing.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...and so I must do it, poor wretch, for her."

Good spouse, Sam.

I notice that although there's mention by Tomalin and so on that Bess suspects Sam passed something on to her there's no suggestion by Sam that she's accused or blamed him. I wonder if Mr. Hollier's been refuting such notions.

Martin   Link to this

Let's do lunch
Today one hopes Sam had his mid-day meal at home in order to check on and comfort the ailing Elizabeth, but it occurs to me that the frequency with which Sam is able to dine at home with the wife is a fine thing, rare today for workers of any kind.

Terry F   Link to this

The matter of the masts - Sir W. Batten vs. Mr. Pepys

See 14 November for the conflict - "Sir W. Batten desired to have the room cleared, and there he did acquaint the board how he was obliged to answer to something lately said which did reflect upon the Comptroller and him, and to that purpose told how the bargain for Winter's timber did not prove so bad as I had reported to the board it would. After he had done I cleared the matter that I did not mention the business as a thing designed by me against them, but was led to it by Sir J. Minnes, and that I said nothing but what I was told by Mayers the surveyor as much as by Deane upon whom they laid all the fault" ...and at end of the day wrote "a letter to Sir G. Carteret about the late contract for masts, wherein I have done myself right, and no wrong to Sir W. Batten." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/11/14/

Mary's interpretation of the awkward phrase and Carteret's disingenuity sounds right to me.

Terry F   Link to this

"Mr. Coventry did a second time go to vindicate himself...."

L&M are kind enough to reference 12 October, where - "Mr. Coventry of his own accord begun to tell the Duke how he found that discourse abroad did run to his prejudice about the fees that he took, and how he sold places and other things; wherein he desired to appeal to his Highness, whether he did any thing more than what his predecessors did, and appealed to us all...." etc. http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/10/12/

language hat   Link to this

"The Spell Against Spelling"

Forgive me for off-topicness, but I have to share the hilarious George Starbuck poem quoted in Language Log today. My excuse is that it includes the lines:

"And don't be surprised if it's the bowdlerized regularized paperback abridgment of Pepys
Because around here, gentlemen, we play for kepys."

And also it could be considered relevant to the discussions we've been having about orthography. So with that fig-leaf of justification, go have a look and a laugh:
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/arch...

aqua   Link to this

This entry be about ethics of fees, and other Baksheese ideas of lining ones pocket. Remember all monies be the kings, except that there have been a few changes in power and who controls the power over the people and money. The lauds [civil and spirtual] have their Magna Carta.
When is it Proper just to to have persuasion, inducement, enticement seduction or simple influence that my bit of knee be better than thou.
Those that failed to persuade that their knee [toilet seat] be better for the crown, is always mad that someone used their influence to get a knee up. Here Batten is unhappy that he will not be getting his share of the proceeds, unless he can find a loop hole in the thinking of his controller of funds.
The problem has never been solved satisfactorily to the loosers of the bid for contracts.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Coventrygate" and "Mastgate" grind on...

Seriously, I wonder who's gunning for Mr. C. "...a second time go to vindicate himself against reports..." and perhaps through him the Duke?

Bryan M   Link to this

On Masts, Timbers and Office Politics

There are two separate transactions involved in what seems to be an ongoing dispute between Sam on the one hand and Batten and Minnes on the other. One transaction is the £3,000 contract with Warren for masts negotiated by Sam. The other is a contract for timber (i.e. planks of timber) with Winter that appears to have been negotiated by Batten and Minnes. It is getting a little complicated so to recap:

The Masts

On September 9 Sam negotiated the mast contract with Warren which was approved by the Navy Board on September 10:
"Up betimes and to my office, and there sat all the morning making a great contract with Sir W. Warren for 3,000l. worth of masts; but, good God! to see what a man might do, were I a knave, the whole business from beginning to end being done by me out of the office, and signed to by them upon the once reading of it to them, without the least care or consultation either of quality, price, number, or need of them, only in general that it was good to have a store. But I hope my pains was such, as the King has the best bargain of masts has been bought these 27 years in this office."

However by September 21 there's trouble in the wind:
"and the rest gone to Chatham, viz.: Sir G. Carteret and Sir W. Batten, who has in my absence inveighed against my contract the other day for Warren's masts, in which he is a knave, and I shall find matter of tryumph, but it vexes me a little."

The next day Sam confirms his position with Warren:
"and after their visit I to my office, and after some discourse to my great satisfaction with Sir W. Warren about our bargain of masts, I wrote my letters by the post, and so home to supper and to bed."

By November 13 Sam has decided he has to counter Batten's attack:
"Here I staid making an end of a troublesome letter, but to my advantage, against Sir W. Batten, giving Sir G. Carteret an account of our late great contract with Sir W. Warren for masts, wherein I am sure I did the King 600l. service."

But on the 14th Sam's tone had changed; the letter was no longer "against" Batten:
"So after my business done I home, I having staid till 12 o'clock at night almost, making an end of a letter to Sir G. Carteret about the late contract for masts, wherein I have done myself right, and no wrong to Sir W. Batten."

The Timber

Winter's timber contract came to light on October 6:
"The next was, Mr. Chr. Pett and Deane were summoned to give an account of some knees which Pett reported bad, that were to be served in by Sir W. Warren, we having contracted that none should be served but such as were to be approved of by our officers. So that if they were bad they were to be blamed for receiving them. Thence we fell to talk of Warren's other goods, which Pett had said were generally bad, and falling to this contract again, I did say it was the most cautious and as good a contract as had been made here, and the only [one] that had been in such terms. Sir J. Minnes told me angrily that Winter's timber, bought for 33s. per load, was as good and in the same terms. I told him that it was not so, but that he and Sir W. Batten were both abused, and I would prove it was as dear a bargain as had been made this half year, which occasioned high words between them and me, but I am able to prove it and will. That also was so ended, and so to other business."

So here we see Sam launching a counter attack on Batten with Minnes being drawn into the conflict.

(This was also the Board meeting at which Minnes vouched for Cocke's account and was shown to be in error and Batten made a fuss about his pay.)

On November 14 the timber issue comes to a head and young Anthony Deane gets shafted:
"and after we had almost done, Sir W. Batten desired to have the room cleared, and there he did acquaint the board how he was obliged to answer to something lately said which did reflect upon the Comptroller and him, and to that purpose told how the bargain for Winter's timber did not prove so bad as I had reported to the board it would. After he had done I cleared the matter that I did not mention the business as a thing designed by me against them, but was led to it by Sir J. Minnes, and that I said nothing but what I was told by Mayers the surveyor as much as by Deane upon whom they laid all the fault, which I must confess did and do still trouble me, for they report him to be a fellow not fit to be employed, when in my conscience he deserves better than any officer in the yard."

It looks like Sam had to back down. That night he finishes of his letter to Carteret. Was the change in tone (i.e. no longer "against" Batten) due to the outcome of the meeting?
-- oo --

And so to an interpretation of today's entry:
"Thence away, and Sir G. Carteret did call me to him and discourse with me about my letter yesterday, and did seem to take it unkindly that I should doubt of his satisfaction in the bargain of masts, and did promise me that hereafter whatever he do hear to my prejudice he would tell me before he would believe it, and that this was only Sir W. Batten's report in this business, which he says he did ever approve of, in which I know he lies."

Carteret as Treasurer of the Navy is 2IC to the Duke on the Navy Board and is responsible for dealing with minor matters such as rampant corruption. Sam writes to him to formally defend his position regarding the mast contract, but Carteret is a little miffed that Sam should doubt that he (Sam) has Carteret's full confidence. In fact in the future before he believes a word said against Sam, Carteret will verify the true situation with Sam. It is Batten's report that contains the lies.

So I think we see that Sam has a powerful ally in Carteret but the conflict between Sam and Batten and Minnes smoulders on.

Mary   Link to this

On masts & timbers.....

Many thanks to Bryan for teasing out the development of this negotiation and argument.

Dan Jenkins   Link to this

Thank you, Bryan, on that wonderful explication. It clarifies quite alot for me.

aqua   Link to this

Ta ever so Bryan:
Please remember that all the Commissioners would like a Baronacy, but a fee of 1,095 L or 500 sovereigns in cash on the barrel and steady income from the land of a Thousand quid per annum would be required, so where would this reward come from ?
Recycled Tax payers money, His Majesty spent his prophets on the Ladies of the Hallways.
So by using the rules in place at the time, one could rise to thy level of incompetency and beyond.
Influence was reguired to get thy share of the circulating pennies, and get a Monopoly in one of enterprises of the Day.

jeannine   Link to this

Shiver me timbers, Bryan is the Mast-er of what's going on here-many thanks!

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

Jeannine, shouldn't that be "many planks"? ;-)

(You have my planks as well, Bryan. This info should be added to the Encyclopedia, but the question is, where? Under Government and Law --> Naval Equipment --> Masts? Money and Business --> Financial Transactions? Thoughts, anyone?)

indoctus   Link to this

"her great conflux of humours":

It could be said then but now it not be humorous,
1: full of grotesque or odd images.
2 Capricious; irregular; without any rule but the present whim.
3.pleasnt ; jocular
Humour; many meanings [9] under S. Johnson's Dict. Humour n.s. [humeur, Fr; humor L]
1. moisture
2. Phlegm,blood,choler and melancholy
3-9 etc.,
Quote: "In private, men are more bold in their own humours; and in consort, men are more obnoxious to others humours; therefore it is good to take both; Bacon's Essays

Bryan M   Link to this

Credit where credit is due

Phil's extraordinary work on this site makes it very easy to follow the links back and do a little cutting and pasting to get one's thoughts in order. I was as confused as anyone when I first read this entry.

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