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.

15 Annotations

Clement   Link to this

"...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 to this

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 to this

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 to this

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 to this

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 to this

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 to this

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 to this

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 to this

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 to this

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 to this

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 to this

"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 to this

"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 to this

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 to this

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.

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