Saturday 27 February 1663/64

Up, but weary, and to the office, where we sat all the morning. Before I went to the office there came Bagwell’s wife to me to speak for her husband. I liked the woman very well and stroked her under the chin, but could not find in my heart to offer anything uncivil to her, she being, I believe, a very modest woman. At noon with Mr. Coventry to the African house, and to my Lord Peterborough’s business again, and then to dinner, where, before dinner, we had the best oysters I have seen this year, and I think as good in all respects as ever I eat in my life. I eat a great many. Great, good company at dinner, among others Sir Martin Noell, who told us the dispute between him, as farmer of the Additional Duty, and the East India Company, whether callicos be linnen or no; which he says it is, having been ever esteemed so: they say it is made of cotton woole, and grows upon trees, not like flax or hempe. But it was carried against the Company, though they stand out against the verdict. Thence home and to the office, where late, and so home to supper and to bed, and had a very pleasing and condescending answer from my poor father to-day in answer to my angry discontentful letter to him the other day, which pleases me mightily.

26 Annotations

Lawrence   Link to this

"Before I went to the office there came Baggwell's wife to speak for her husband"
Before? where was Elizabeth?, or was this between his back door and the office door?, so she caught him in the yard outside? Sam obviously wasn't worried about Elizabeth, or anyone else seeing!

alanB   Link to this

Chin up. Something tells me that Mr Gertz is about to enjoy a field day with Mrs Bagwell- indirectly, that is. Sam needs the oysters.

Lawrence   Link to this

"Bagwell's wife",
he just had! to put a remembrance of this encounter in his Journal, I think she's a bit of a looker!

cumsalisgrano   Link to this

"... liked the woman very well and stroked her under the chin, but could not find in my heart to offer anything uncivil to her, she being, I believe, a very modest woman...." modest ? in clothing or in speech?
under the chin: Eh ?

Terry F   Link to this

Pepys has been angling for "Bagwell's wife" for a while

We first read of her and her husband at Deptford i9 July 1663
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/07/09/
when we learned that Pepys had framed a resolve to seduce her at some point, "forcing her to come to the office again," where she had been earlier -- presumably with her husband, whom I envision as one of the sailors, etc., with whose plight Pepys had been sympathetic; that Pepys had done them favors earlier for which they thank him; that Bagwell, a carpenter, had worked to refurbish Sir W. Penn's quarters (on SP's recommendation?).

Will Robert Gertz provide Bagwell's wife a first or Christian name? L&M say none is known.

Bryan M   Link to this

"as farmer of the Additional Duty"

Sir Martin was not engaged in farming of the agricultural variety. He was a tax farmer.

From the Wikipedia:
'Tax farming is not identical with privatised tax collection, where private individuals or groups collected taxes and give them to the state in return for a fee. Tax farming is speculative, meaning that the private individual or group must invest their own money initially to pay off the tax debt, against the hope of collecting a larger sum subsequently (hence "farming").'
URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_farming

cumsalisgrano   Link to this

Modern Governments be returning Civil Service jobs back to the common [private] work sector, after Pepys instigated ways of ensuring that the majesties got due diligence from the collectors of monies. There is present day talk of going back to tax collecting by the private sector.
Tax farmer, percentage cut be not less than 10% plus expenses, I dothe thinke, anyone have the figures.
This was the part of the revolution.Always follow the money trail.
The Century of Revolution by C Hill has nice piece [p45] on how the Crown got its funds to play the field.
King wanted to choose who should pay and Parliament said they be the ones to choose who would ante up.
It was noted that the House of Commons could buy the Upper house 3 times over [p13]
Charles had a hard time getting his hands on the custom farmers funds, as so much be lost in shifting of illegible accounts and those expenses were increditable.
Politics be the art of getting thy money from my sachet into thy pocket [those that be liberal with my coin and then there are those that be conserving their coin]..

cumsalisgrano   Link to this

Tax farming [ job only good for honest gents] a practice ended in 1643, but brought back in 1662. Petty (P 187) remarked that the government only received aprox half of the funds raised, [my suspicion too, where there be monies there be some one trying to secure it for their own pocket]
The Cavalier Parliament saw the error its ways.
Custom farm collecting was abandoned in 1671, Excise in 1683. Thus started the Civil Service in full swing at its best to give us Thomas Paine years later.
It was actually started under that dreaded man Cromwell [obviously a bad idea to have paid employees of the state, collect monies, not a job for the middling sort, only good for 'onest Gents only] , and expanded in 1671 .
Finance pages 185- 189 Century of Revolution 1603 1714 C Hill

Clement   Link to this

Ignoring Sam's lechery for a moment I think it's remarkable that a woman would be out and about promoting her husband's career, and this was apprently unremarkable to Sam.
It's been noted before, and I wonder what Mr. Bagwell had to do with this.

As for her name I suspect "Shirley Ida."

Ruben   Link to this

"...whether callicos be linnen or no; which he says it is, having been ever esteemed so: they say it is made of cotton woole, and grows upon trees, not like flax or hempe"
This conversation happened some 50 years after the initial cultivation of cotton in the colonies!
Our planet was much larger in those days.

Mary   Link to this

calico vs. linen

An L&M footnote tells that there was a 5% difference in the duty payable on these fabrics. This argument had been rumbling on since 1649 and would still remain unsettled in 1667.

Pedro   Link to this

"But it was carried against the Company, though they stand out against the verdict."

It seems that the farmer wishes to use the term linnen in a general sense?

Firenze   Link to this

And is Bagwell's wife acting on her own initiative, or has he sent her? Is he, in fact, pimping her in exchange for work?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I think Firenze while we'll probably all sympathize with the lady, Mr. Will Bagwell is or will be very soon pimping her far more directly than Sam with Bess and Uncle Wight. He clearly has seen that Sam likes his wife.

Spoiler...

On the other hand, there will be the question of whether Mrs. B. is quite as innocent as she appears. I know it will raise many a "discussion" in future and for myself I tend to believe in Sam's judgement of character so that he will condemn himself by his conclusion that she is genuinely "honest" and virtuous.

Thank God Sam didn't have his oyster dinner before meeting the lady.

***
Reflect, Samuel...In another universe.

"Mrs. Pepys came to see me to plead for my cousin Pepys." Sandwich notes to Howe. "My, I do find her quite the beauty, however annoying the little fool of a husband is. Imagine the idiot selling the place I'd got him at the Naval Office for a few hundred pounds. Still, a lovely thing that girl. Perhaps, Howe you might find some bit of work for the fellow? He is, after all, rather clever in some things. Anything to keep her coming by till I can have a chance at her."

"My lord." Howe, bowing...

***

"Well, Samuel?" The Lord Jehovah grimly to a nervous Pepys facing judgement for his greatest crime...l'affair Bagwell.

Ummn...

Damn...Why didn't I tighten the vows on this one?

"I was cuter than Uncle Wight..." he tries lamely.

***

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Ah, that Molly Bagwell...God, Hewer, that is one fine woman. I did a modest bit of caressing today, nothing too rough just yet but I bet in time..."

Sam blinks...Will eyeing him.

"Good God! Was my Uncle Wight visiting today?! I must get home!!"

Mary   Link to this

New research on 16/17th century Barbary pirates.

(This doesn't really belong here, but I cannot immediately find a suitable site for it).

A report in today's Daily Telegraph tells that scientists claim to have solved the mystery of how the Barbary pirates of the 16th and 17th centuries were able to sail INTO the wind in square riggers and so escape after preying on shipping in the western Mediterranean.

Very briefly, the answer lay in rigging five sails at the front of the vessel so as to mimic the geometry of a huge, triangular lateen sail, and to rig a series of square sails on yard arms behind them. The foresails gave lift and the square sails gave thrust.

The newspaper article (including elegant photograph of a full-scale training ship so rigged, the Pelican) can be found at the following, enormously long, address.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?mx?x...

Rex Gordon   Link to this

To see ourselves as others see us ...

By the end of the year (spoiler) Sam will be embarked on a carefully planned affair with Mrs Bagwell, who was urged to it by Mr Bagwell, hoping for business and promotion. Oddly, Sam apparently makes no connection between Bagwell's pimping of his wife and his own attitude toward his uncle's interest in Bess, which he encourages in the hope of a generous bequest.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

calico cotton v. linen

Fascinating vignette. The merchants had the facts right. But the tax farmer seems to have had precedent for his ruling. According to one source, buckram, often linen-based, was also known as calico. http://www.renaissancewoman.net/realmofvenus/se...
Sir Martin was also taking the more popular stand, since the cheap Indian cotton undercut British fabrics. I don't know how this particular dispute came out (Mary says it was unsettled in 1667) but at the turn of the century, in 1700,England banned the importation, use and wear of Indian cotton cloth. According to Wikipedia, "Printed calicos were especially popular among women who were termed the 'Calico Madams'. The ban failed, and was strengthened in 1720 (known as the 'Calico Act', it was repealed in 1774). It almost destroyed the Indian textile industry, and India was forced to buy British textiles." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calico_(fabric)

Jacqueline Gore   Link to this

"...I tend to believe in Sam's judgement of character so that he will condemn himself by his conclusion that she is genuinely "honest" and virtuous."

"By the end of the year (spoiler) Sam will be embarked on a carefully planned affair with Mrs Bagwell, who was urged to it by Mr Bagwell, hoping for business and promotion."

Sounds awful, fellas. But fascinating. Robert, I expect lots of fill-in.

Pedro   Link to this

"But it was carried against the Company, though they stand out against the verdict."

From Encyclopædia Britannica it is interesting to note...

An English expedition visited Kozhikode (Calicut) in 1615, but not until 1664 did the British East India Company found a trading post there.

Calicut,..City, northern Kerala state, southwestern India. It is situated on the Malabar Coast, 414 miles (666 km) west-southwest of Madras by rail. A once-famous cotton-weaving centre, it is remembered as the place of origin of calico, to which it gave its name (i.e., Calicut). The place was an early focus for Arab traders, who first settled there in the 7th century

Terry F   Link to this

"Molly Bagwell"

Good, Robert - at least a tag not, like Betty, a byname of Elizabeth, but of Mary (to keep it in the Holy Family).

cumsalisgrano   Link to this

Tax rate of imports be linnen [lynen]
.From the rates of Merchandise ...Act of tonnage & poundage [1660]
sample
Linnen cloth or.Callicoes. Cambricks.Callicoes fine or course ye peecex s.
the halfe peece cont.
six ells & ½ j li.
the peece cont. 13 ells ij li.

URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com...
There was even a 5.0 L fine for being buried in Linnen rather than good English Wool[1666] then came the winding sheet. now it be nice felled and trim tree product.

cumsalisgrano   Link to this

lynnen vs wool vs calicoe or clothe, 'tis why we need a lawyer, before thee can give it to thy Taylour, it must trimmed of excess prophet.

for the above:
Burying in Shirt, &c. made other than of Wool; Penalty £5.; Distress on Goods of the Party interred, or of Persons offending.
For the Encouragement of the Woollen Manufactures of this Kingdome and prevention of the Exportation of the Moneyes thereof for the buying and importing of Linnen

From: 'Charles II, 1666: An Act for Burying in Woollen onely.', Statutes of the Realm: volume 5: 1628-80 (1819), p. 598. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com.... Date accessed: 28 February 2007.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Before I went to the office there came Bagwell's wife..."

Whoa, back up...

She came to the house? Was Bess there? Oh, for a time portal just to see Bess' expression when and if Mrs B. came aknockin' at the door and Sam "welcomed" her in...To his closet, perhaps?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Mrs. Pepys, good morrow. I'm here to throw meself at your dear husband for my husband's advancement."

"Nice to see you again, Mrs. Bagwell. Yes, I'm just off for a round of the same with our wealthy uncle. Wearying thing, it is but one must do one's bit for the family's good." Pulls Mrs B. back...

"Just a friendy word of advice, Moll...Well, two. I hope you understand that if you've the pox on you and should pass it on, I will kill you. But what I really wanted to say was...Go slow with him. My boy fancies hisself the great lover and he does have a good spunkiness to him but he's really a bit shy with the ladies. So give him a little time...Play the virtuous innocent a while. Well..." sigh... "I'm off to be pawed all day by Jack Falstaff minus the great wit."

Terry F   Link to this

"the best oysters I have seen this year, and I think as good in all respects as ever I eat in my life"

FWIW, the first time Pepys qualifies "ever in my life" with "I think."

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