Monday 23 November 1663

Up and to Alderman Backwell’s, where Sir W. Rider, by appointment, met us to consult about the insuring of our hempe ship from Archangell, in which we are all much concerned, by my Lord Treasurer’s command. That being put in a way I went to Mr. Beacham, one of our jury, to confer with him about our business with Field at our trial to-morrow, and thence to St. Paul’s Churchyarde, and there bespoke “Rushworth’s Collections,” and “Scobell’s Acts of the Long Parliament,” &c., which I will make the King pay for as to the office; and so I do not break my vow at all. Back to the Coffee-house, and then to the ‘Change, where Sir W. Rider and I did bid 15 per cent., and nobody will take it under 20 per cent., and the lowest was 15 per cent. premium, and 15 more to be abated in case of losse, which we did not think fit without order to give, and so we parted, and I home to a speedy, though too good a dinner to eat alone, viz., a good goose and a rare piece of roast beef. Thence to the Temple, but being there too soon and meeting Mr. Moore I took him up and to my Lord Treasurer’s, and thence to Sir Ph. Warwick’s, where I found him and did desire his advice, who left me to do what I thought fit in this business of the insurance, and so back again to the Temple all the way telling Mr. Moore what had passed between my Lord and me yesterday, and indeed my fears do grow that my Lord will not reform as I hoped he would nor have the ingenuity to take my advice as he ought kindly. But however I am satisfied that the one person whom he said he would take leave to except is not Mr. Moore, and so W. Howe I am sure could tell him nothing of my letter that ever he saw it. Here Mr. Moore and I parted, and I up to the Speaker’s chamber, and there met Mr. Coventry by appointment to discourse about Field’s business, and thence we parting I homewards and called at the Coffeehouse, and there by great accident hear that a letter is come that our ship is safe come to Newcastle. With this news I went like an asse presently to Alderman Backewell and, told him of it, and he and I went to the African House in Broad Street to have spoke with Sir W. Rider to tell him of it, but missed him. Now what an opportunity had I to have concealed this and seemed to have made an insurance and got 100l. with the least trouble and danger in the whole world. This troubles me to think I should be so oversoon. So back again with Alderman Backewell talking of the new money, which he says will never be counterfeited, he believes; but it is deadly inconvenient for telling, it is so thick, and the edges are made to turn up. I found him as full of business, and, to speak the truth, he is a very painfull man, and ever was, and now-a-days is well paid for it. So home and to my office, doing business late in order to the getting a little money, and so home to supper and to bed.

27 Annotations

Bradford   Link to this

"With this news I went like an asse presently to Alderman Backewell and, told him of it, . . . Now what an opportunity had I to have concealed this and seemed to have made an insurance and got 100l. with the least trouble and danger in the whole world. This troubles me to think I should be so oversoon."

"oversoon": "from to have 'overseen oneself', failed to see the proper course to take"---Companion Large Glossary.

But is this a description of what it seems---insurance fraud?---and "Nobody will notice or think such a thing of Me, not Me, not Me"?

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Insurance fraud?
Not exactly, as I understand the term. What Sam is saying is that he could pretend to have purchased insurance for the ship, gotten reimbursed from the Treasury for the purchase, and with the ship safe in port no claim would be made that would show that no insurance had been bought. However, I get the sense that Sam is expressing his amazement at how easy it would be to pull off such a trick, not expressing his intention or his wish to do so himself.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

oversoon
Or maybe not. As I reread the passage, it sounds more like Sam is mad at himself for not having grasped the possibility before running "like an asse" to tell others that the ship is in.

cumgranosalis   Link to this

OED: oversoon
[< OVER- + SOON adv.]
A. adv. Too soon; too quickly or readily (obs.). a1400 (c1303)

1634 W. TIRWHYT tr. J. L. G. de Balzac Lett. 97 Having over-soone desired them.
1671 H. MORE Let. 13 June in Conway Lett. (1992) vi. 336 The Coache was gone before I came, though I had oft stayed for other passengers longer than that, which made loath to come ouersoone.
B. adj. Untimely, too early. Obs. rare. a1586
Temptation, Just temptation.
Besides which, he did not want to pay such a high premium, save him from justifying the expenditure.
Also he got his books for his office paid for.

cumgranosalis   Link to this

So there be a LLoyds forerunner at the 'change and the nearby Coffee house for hedging ones bets, on the vaguaries of ice bergs and other acts of nature.

Terry F   Link to this

The vow's also monetized - no breaking it, no fine.

"I...bespoke 'Rushworth's Collections,' and 'Scobell's Acts of the Long Parliament,' &c., which I will make the King pay for as to the office; and so I do not break my vow at all."

Larry Bunce   Link to this

Lloyd's
In the book "London" by Edward Rutherfurd, it says coffee houses became specialized as to clientele.
Lawyers hung out in one, Doctors in another. Insurance men hung out in a coffee house named "Lloyd's."

Mary   Link to this

"he is a very painfull man"

i.e. one who takes great pains in his work.

adam w   Link to this

Graft
Sam's thoughts have dwelt on the getting of money over the past few days - his uncertainty over Sandwich's reaction preying on his mind & sense of his own security, maybe?
His reaction seems reckless, though - insurance scams, alienating potential allies (Creed), fiddling expenses (wood carving, books). Not the way to become an esteemed mandarin, surely.
And just why would the navy office need "Rushworth's Collections," and "Scobell's Acts of the Long Parliament," &c.? Not a difficult scam to see through. But maybe Sam knows that no-one else in the office pays the same attention to detail as he does, so it will not be noticed.

alanB   Link to this

So the hemp shipment was overdue and Sir W Rider fearing the worst decides to take out insurance at short notice. I would have thought that this would have been a matter dealt with before the ship departed. Had the vessel gone down, 20% would have been better than the total loss. Why the hesitancy to broker a deal?

Don McCahill   Link to this

> Why the hesitancy to broker a deal?

Because the price was higher than expected. It is like going to a store when you are told you can spend $20 on something, and find that the cheapest are $30. You have to go back to the boss and ask for approval for the extra $10.

Sam was looking for (the Duke??) to get approval when he heard the ship was in, and there was no longer a need.

Don McCahill   Link to this

Not the duke, but Rider

Ruben   Link to this

Lloyd's

Lloyd's came to life a quarter of a century later, so for the time being, the probable correct answer about the insurance crowd is Mr. WithaPinchofSalt annotation.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Ah, there you are Pepys! Thank God for your diligence, man!"

"Sir William?"

"The hemp ship, Pepys! Word's just come from Newcastle. It went down last night like lead at anchor during a high sea from the storm there. Thank God you had the insurance secured yesterday. Coventry and the Duke were so relieved. They'd like you to send the policy over immediately."

"Pepys?" Sir William stares at the unconscious form on the ground.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...I went to Mr. Beacham, one of our jury, to confer with him about our business with Field at our trial to-morrow..."

?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Begging your pardon, your Honor. May I make an inquiry of one of the principals?"

"Certainly, Mr. Beacham."

"Mr. Pepys, sir? Should we be finding Mr. Field guilty on all counts or leave a few out, sos to look more fair, sir?"

"Oh, the whole score, Beacham...As we agreed yesterday."

"Quite, sir. Just wanted to be sure, sir."

"Your Honor?!" a staring Fields cries.

David A. Smith   Link to this

"like an asse ... and seemed to have made an insurance"
As Bradofrd and Paul Chapin have observed, Sam realizes in a flash that he could have pocketed a tidy sum at minimal cost, and kicks himself for not having done so. But this can be seen another way.
Sam's success has been in part that he is (a) a faithful steward of the crown, seeking good results for his principals even if he can make a bit of vig here and there, and (b) a reliable reporter of events. If he were to start trading on insider information in this way, his credibiltiy as a reliable reporter would wane. In other words, when you convert inside knowledge into cash, you spend your reputation -- which in fairly short order shuts off your access to inside information, and your position, and everything that goes with it. In the long run, that would be *much* more costly.
There's no indication Sam has yet thought of this, but he may.

Terry F   Link to this

Jury-tampering?

"...I went to Mr. Beacham, one of our jury, to confer with him about our business with Field at our trial to-morrow..."

I had the same Q., Robert. I believe thia has occurred before. Pepys is quite blasé about this - I guess the law has changed.

The Mollusc   Link to this

Real world verdicts...

Just like today, juries would be in the same courtroom as the protagonists, and would make their minds up based on the 'facts' of the case.

Naturally, the capacity of the accused to do harm to jury members and their families would never be an issue, nor would good looks, fame, wealth and power have any bearing on the result ...again just like today!

Terry F   Link to this

History of anonymous juries [in the US]

Anonymous juries are a relatively new phenomenon. The first fully anonymous jury empaneled in the United States was in the 1977 trial of drug kingpin Leroy Barnes in New York City. The court believed Barnes presented an unusually dangerous risk to the jurors and it took the extraordinary measure of hiding their identities. (United States v. Barnes)...,By the mid-1990s, however, some courts used anonymous juries regularly....

Why anonymous juries are used
The primary arguments in favor of anonymous juries are to avoid jury tampering, protect juror safety and alleviate juror stress. However, courts also consider anonymous juries due to media interest in a case.
http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:mlQokl794w4...

Bradford   Link to this

"and so I do not break my vow at all."

Which wins, the letter, or the spirit? That depends on what the heart wants and can get away with at the moment.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Do we know (I've lost track) if this jury is to try Field or is it a Grand Jury to find if there is a case to answer? (like a commital hearing nowadays) If it is still at the Grand Jury stage, speaking to the members of that (who are a regular set) is rather different from speaking to someone who is to find someone guilty or not.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

business with Field at our trial to-morrow,...

From the prior annotations the actions by Field against Pepys and, spearately, the Board are for wrongful arrest and are "at law," ie. civil actions in the common law courts.

Today's action is that by Battern, on behalf of the Board, against Field and is in the Court of Exchequer on a charge of slander, but is also a "trial at law," rather than in equity.

Neither are criminal matters either in form or substance.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Thanks for the infomation, Michael. So what I said doesn't apply at all as that is for criminal matters, not civil.

cumgranosalis   Link to this

"...one of our jury..." the jury mostly went along with the Judge using the judge's guidelines, although here I can see some [tampering?]inducement? The jury was made up of peop;e of substance i.e. men of some property, was it not?

Michael Robinson   Link to this

talking of the new money,...it is so thick, and the edges are made to turn up.

"By the time of the restoration of Charles II in 1660, milling machines were poised to take over the minting of coins. Initially hammered coins continued in production together with some milled twopence and penny coins. From 1662 onwards the production of hammered coins ceased and henceforth all coins were machine made. In 1662 first the silver crown was minted, to be followed in 1663 by a gold coin valued initially at 20 shillings, and two other silver coins, the halfcrown and shilling."

British early milled coins: The Change to a Milled Coinage
http://www.predecimal.com/p7early_milled.htm

Nix   Link to this

And just why would the navy office need "Rushworth's Collections," and "Scobell's Acts of the Long Parliament," &c.? --

I don't see a problem with Samuel charging these to the office. They are reference books that would have direct use in sorting out the mandate and authority of the Navy Office. They didn't have law libraries, much less Lexis/Nexis, to consult in those days.

The title of Scobell's Acts is self-explanatory. Rushworth compiled "The first great collection of English state papers". http://www.bartleby.com/217/0801.html

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