Tuesday 5 January 1663/64

Up and to our office, where we sat all the morning, where my head being willing to take in all business whatever, I am afraid I shall over clogg myself with it. But however, it is my desire to do my duty and shall the willinger bear it. At noon home and to the ‘Change, where I met with Luellin, who went off with me and parted to meet again at the Coffeehouse, but missed. So home and found him there, and Mr. Barrow came to speak with me, so they both dined with me alone, my wife not being ready, and after dinner I up in my chamber with Barrow to discourse about matters of the yard with him, and his design of leaving the place, which I am sorry for, and will prevent if I can.

He being gone then Luellin did give me the 50l. from Mr. Deering, which he do give me for my pains in his business and what I may hereafter take for him, though there is not the least word or deed I have yet been guilty of in his behalf but what I am sure has been to the King’s advantage and the profit of the service, nor ever will. And for this money I never did condition with him or expected a farthing at the time when I did do him the service, nor have given any receipt for it, it being brought me by Luellin, nor do purpose to give him any thanks for it, but will wherein I can faithfully endeavour to see him have the privilege of his Patent as the King’s merchant. I did give Luellin two pieces in gold for a pair of gloves for his kindness herein.

Then he being gone, I to my office, where busy till late at night, that through my room being over confounded in business I could stay there no longer, but went home, and after a little supper to bed.


27 Annotations

Clement  •  Link

"...there is not the least word or deed I have yet been guilty of..." What a disclaimer!
I can well imagine seeing, "Milord" or "your Honor" at the end of that sentence.

"two pieces in gold for a pair of gloves" Should that be "and" or "in" a pair of gloves, or did he mean that he "purchased" a cheap pair of gloves from Luellin for a clearly inflated price? Do L&M have the same translation?
Lord, what lengths these men are going to to keep secret what are supposedly honest business dealings.

Eric Walla  •  Link

We have "heard" Sam make disclaimers about this money over the course of several posts now, but this one is so intricate and detailed that you would think either 1) he expects someone to read the diary, or 2) he is practicing to defend himself in court.

It may just be an expression of the efforts he has put into his vows lately, and the safety clauses and contingencies he seemed to be including there. In both cases, I imagine guilt lies at the root.

Clement  •  Link

Eric, we were clearly reading this similarly, but maybe both of your suggestions are correct, and he planned to offer his diary full of disclaimers as evidence on his behalf should he ever be brought to the dock. Seems unlikely. Guilt is quite a muse for Sam though.

tel  •  Link

Surely Sam is writing this for himself alone? He is still a Puritan, but also an ambitious social climber with an extended family to subsidise.
50l. is a considerable sum of money and would require an appropriate amount of self-justification.

Ruben  •  Link

Sam make disclaimers
I like Samuel's diary because of what it looks to me modern way of writing (compared to his contemporaries). He is direct, to the point and always interesting. But this "disclaimer", full of circumvention and farrago of words is similar to other diaries of his days.
For this reason, I feel, Eric and Clement are right. Samuel is here writing for others to see. Or may be, for God to see?

Mary  •  Link

two pieces of gold for a pair of gloves

I take it that Sam gives Luellin two pieces of gold that he may buy himself a pair of gloves. This is, as Sam states, a thank-you for Luellin's kindness in acting as go-between/cut-out in the matter of Deering's recognisance of £50.

Interesting that the money is specifically for gloves, which have long had a social/ceremonial significance in all kinds of matters that concern honour.

Ruben  •  Link

two pieces in gold for a pair of gloves
That's very cheap, I presume.
I remember Elizabeth received half a dozen pairs of gloves and more for a Valentine, some years ago, and not by her husband, so our Sam is not comiting himself to such a big expense.

Bryan M  •  Link

two pieces in gold for a pair of gloves

Two pieces of gold is probably two guineas (see Language Hat's annotation: http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/03/14/#c3091) , a reasonable sum.
My guess is that this is an extension of Sam's earlier disclaimer. Thus it isn't Luellin's share of the bribe, it becomes just a little something (a pair of gloves) for his kindness. These days we would say "for a drink".

Bob T  •  Link

two pieces in gold for a pair of gloves.
Instead of just giving him something for being a go between, he uses a euphemism. "Here, go buy yourself a pair of gloves".

Robert Gertz  •  Link

Sounds to me as if Sam is desperately trying to talk himself into believing everything in this arrangement is aboveboard, perfectly honorable, and commits him to Luellin in no way.

He's a young, eager man with a high personal sense of honor for all his evasions and this is a hard one to force down. In fairness to him, in many ways, despite his good fortune, he's in a tough situation-he has relatively modest savings still, there is no pension or old age insurance unless he purchases an annuity, he's got a large extended family counting on him. Further, the King seems increasingly reckless and risking his and his government's stability, Sam's position with his patron, Sandwich, is shaky, and he's antagonized all of his fellow officers, at least partly by trying to do his job properly. Add to that the fact that all the senior officials, even the most admirable man in the government, Coventry, seem to have at least part of a finger in the pie, some being quite cynical about grabbing all they can.

That Sam continues to try to preserve diligence and a sense of duty and honor is admirable. We can't doubt that he does try very hard to live up to tough moral standards and if he fails occassionally he also deserves regard for how close he comes. One hopes our current public officials try at least as hard; in many cases I would doubt it.

Xjy  •  Link

Gold smells all right, thinks Sam, sniffing the winde...

Goe, and catche a falling starre,
Get with child a mandrake roote,
Tell me where all past yeares are,
Or who cleft the Divels foot,
Teach me to hear Mermaides singing,
Or to keep off envies stinging,
And finde
What winde
Serves to advance an honest minde.

Bradford  •  Link

"my head being willing to take in all business whatever, I am afraid I shall over clogg myself with it": the danger of career-track burnout, a mere 343 years ago.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"go buy yourself a pair of gloves"
I think Bob T may be right, that this is just a way of presenting the gratuity, without actually committing the recipient to buying the gloves. I remember reading a detective/police novel set in New York in the 1940s or 1950s (and written at about that time, I believe) in which the comparable euphemism was "I'll buy you a hat," which meant I'll give you $25, about the cost of a new hat at that time.

djc  •  Link

Take care not to read modern (ie Victorian) attitides to public office into all this. At a time when a public office was commonly purchased and milked for all it's worth Pepys attitude in notably modern and professional. The concept of 'the state' nor of a independent civil service exists, he is a servant of the king. So long as he acts in the king's interest his concience is clear.
The diary itself is in many respects a debate with his concience, a substitute in some respects for what would undoubtedly be considered 'popish' confession.

Nix  •  Link

Samuel wouldn't have been writing this entry as an insurance policy. To produce it at some later date as evidence of his intentions would have required giving up the cipher -- and there are too many other damning (or at least embarassing) entries to permit that.

I read it as an exercise in convincing himself.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"To produce [the diary] at some later date as evidence of his intentions would have required giving up the cipher -- and there are too many other damning (or at least (or at least embarassing) entries to permit that. / I read it as an exercise in convincing himself."

Nix, the shorthand Pepys wrote in was published and widely used.
See http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/2428/
So your reading is the more likely.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I...with Barrow to discourse about matters of the yard with him, and his design of leaving the place, which I am sorry for, and will prevent if I can. "

Philip Barrow, Storekeeper at Chatham (for whose disputes with his colleagues see http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/05/21/#c53... ), was now threatening to resign unless given an extra clerk, and another labourer or two. Mainly through the influence of Pepys and Coventry he had his way. Pepys considered him 'a most well=meanneingman,, and one whose aptitude to a little peevishness I am soe farr from accompting any ill circumstance in him, that even in that very respect I should preferr him before another of less mettle that might be frightened or flattered to a breach of his trust.' (Pepys to Commissioner Pett, 16 February 1664). (Per L&M footnote)

Marquess  •  Link

Seems like Sam is trying to absolve himself in the most wordy terms of accepting a sweetner!

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... but will wherein I can faithfully endeavor to see him have the privilege of his Patent as the King’s merchant." I'm guessing that's the same tradition as we have today, when you see an official sign in a business window saying that they are purveyors to the Queen.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I think Sam used his diary in a number of ways. In this case he is confronting a number of moral dilemmas not covered in his ethics class at Cambridge, and the diary is a safe way of making himself think through the situation to make sure it meets "the smell test".

This situation is a bit like the doctor's oath: First, do no harm. No one was harmed here. Whether or not the patient was helped is a whole other question.

Now Pepys has fallen out with Creed by returning the dress as being an insufficient "thank you" for putting in hours of work and jeopardizing his position to push through those dicey accounts, Pepys doesn't have a BFF with whom to discuss the slippery slope.

The amount of psychic energy Pepys has devoted to this transaction makes me believe he was not generally "on the take" up until now. Yes, the occasional statue and dress came his way -- but they were clearly "thank you's" and not for resale. How his net worth grew so dramatically last month is still an open question for me.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... where my head being willing to take in all business whatever, I am afraid I shall over clogg myself with it. But however, it is my desire to do my duty and shall the willinger bear it. ... I to my office, where busy till late at night, that through my room being over confounded in business I could stay there no longer, but went home, "

Should that be [al]"though my room being over confounded in business" instead of through?

I was wondering when this was going to hit. He has been warned there is going to be another war with the Dutch ... Holmes is out there provoking it right now ... the Navy hasn't paid off the debt left them by Cromwell and Co. even though his boss lied last year when he told them it was paid off ... and Charles II is giving way too much money to Barbara Villiers Palmer, Duchess of Castlemaine. How do you prepare for war with no money?

The Navy Board members have two clerks each. The three Commissioners have two clerks each. That's 24 people to build an entire Navy on a war footing.

No wonder Sam was worried about Barrow quitting. A man of high standards in the dockyard was key to success.

So burnout? I don't think so, not yet ... more like panic and fear. Next we'll be hearing he can't sleep.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Is the Navy Board part of the Admiralty? Was there an Admiralty? What did they do for a living?

Our encyclopedia says, "In 1628, Charles I put the office of Lord High Admiral into commission and control of the Royal Navy passed to a committee in the form of the Board of Admiralty. The office of Lord High Admiral passed a number of times in and out of commission until 1709 ..." and I know James, Duke of York was Lord High Admiral in 1663, with Coventry, Monck and Sandwich as advisers (at least as of 1660).

I just checked my notes, and there are FOUR Navy Board members and three Commissioners -- that makes 21 people to prepare for a war, unless there was a functioning Admiralty office as well that I am not aware of.

Pepys' penny just dropped.

Robert Harneis  •  Link

Moral dilemmas - As one who many years ago was close to the construction industry, I think he is rehearsing the arguments to make sure it passes 'the smell test' as mentioned above but also to satisfy himself he hasn't missed anything, that there are no gaps in his justificatory armour. I remember so well my boss saying to me about fifty years ago 'my boy, it is very simple, a bootle of whisky is a present, a case of whisky is a bribe'. Or as somebody else a bit more sophisticated put it 'make sure everything that goes in the file passes the judge test. How would a judge interpret what is written there in five years time?'

More generally, there is a type of personality that cannot get his head round a problem without writing it out and this is not a problem he can chat through with a mate or his wife. General de Gaulle, a solitary man of action but also a witer if ever there was one, said of himself that he had to write down a concept to fully grasp it. As Sarah says above, Sam used the diary in a number of ways and this was one of them.

Ed  •  Link

Sam going through a 17th century version of the 'Daily Mail' test (familiar to all modern civil servants).

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

Re: ‘ .. . I shall over clogg myself with it . . ’

‘clog, v. < clog n. Known since 14th cent.; derivation obscure.
. . 3. a. fig. To load, burden, encumber, hamper.
. . 1618 E. Elton Complaint Sanctified Sinner vi. 115 Clogged with the yoke and burden of their sinnes . .
b. fig. To hinder, impede, obstruct (actions).
1679 R. South Serm. Several Occasions 56 The Devotion of men is apt to be clogged by such Ceremonies . . ‘
(OED)

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