Monday 29 February 1663/64

Up and by coach with Sir W. Pen to Charing Cross, and there I ‘light, and to Sir Phillip Warwick to visit him and discourse with him about navy business, which I did at large and he most largely with me, not only about the navy but about the general Revenue of England, above two hours, I think, many staying all the while without, but he seemed to take pains to let me either understand the affairs of the Revenue or else to be a witness of his pains and care in stating it. He showed me indeed many excellent collections of the State of the Revenue in former Kings and the late times, and the present. He showed me how the very Assessments between 1643 and 1659, which were taxes (besides Excise, Customes, Sequestrations, Decimations, King and Queene’s and Church Lands, or any thing else but just the Assessments), come to above fifteen millions. He showed me a discourse of his concerning the Revenues of this and foreign States. How that of Spayne was great, but divided with his kingdoms, and so came to little. How that of France did, and do much exceed ours before for quantity; and that it is at the will of the Prince to tax what he will upon his people; which is not here. That the Hollanders have the best manner of tax, which is only upon the expence of provisions, by an excise; and do conclude that no other tax is proper for England but a pound-rate, or excise upon the expence of provisions. He showed me every particular sort of payment away of money, since the King’s coming in, to this day; and told me, from one to one, how little he hath received of profit from most of them; and I believe him truly. That the 1,200,000l. which the Parliament with so much ado did first vote to give the King, and since hath been reexamined by several committees of the present Parliament, is yet above 300,000l. short of making up really to the King the 1,200,000l., as by particulars he showed me.1 And in my Lord Treasurer’s excellent letter to the King upon this subject, he tells the King how it was the spending more than the revenue that did give the first occasion of his father’s ruine, and did since to the rebels; who, he says, just like Henry the Eighth, had great and sudden increase of wealth, but yet, by overspending, both died poor; and further tells the King how much of this 1,200,000l. depends upon the life of the Prince, and so must be renewed by Parliament again to his successor; which is seldom done without parting with some of the prerogatives of the Crowne; or if denied and he persists to take it of the people, it gives occasion to a civill war, which may, as it did in the late business of tonnage and poundage, prove fatal to the Crowne. He showed me how many ways the Lord Treasurer did take before he moved the King to farme the Customes in the manner he do, and the reasons that moved him to do it. He showed the a very excellent argument to prove, that our importing lesse than we export, do not impoverish the kingdom, according to the received opinion: which, though it be a paradox, and that I do not remember the argument, yet methought there was a great deale in what he said. And upon the whole I find him a most exact and methodicall man, and of great industry: and very glad that he thought fit to show me all this; though I cannot easily guess the reason why he should do it to me, unless from the plainness that he sees I use to him in telling him how much the King may suffer for our want of understanding the case of our Treasury. Thence to White Hall (where my Lord Sandwich was, and gave me a good countenance, I thought), and before the Duke did our usual business, and so I about several businesses in the house, and then out to the Mewes with Sir W. Pen. But in my way first did meet with W. Howe, who did of himself advise me to appear more free with my Lord and to come to him, for my own strangeness he tells me he thinks do make my Lord the worse. At the Mewes Sir W. Pen and Mr. Baxter did shew me several good horses, but Pen, which Sir W. Pen did give the Duke of York, was given away by the Duke the other day to a Frenchman, which Baxter is cruelly vexed at, saying that he was the best horse that he expects a great while to have to do with. Thence I to the ‘Change, and thence to a Coffee-house with Sir W. Warren, and did talk much about his and Wood’s business, and thence homewards, and in my way did stay to look upon a fire in an Inneyard in Lumbard Streete. But, Lord! how the mercers and merchants who had warehouses there did carry away their cloths and silks. But at last it was quenched, and I home to dinner, and after dinner carried my wife and set her and her two mayds in Fleete Streete to buy things, and I to White Hall to little purpose, and so to Westminster Hall, and there talked with Mrs. Lane and Howlett, but the match with Hawly I perceive will not take, and so I am resolved wholly to avoid occasion of further ill with her. Thence by water to Salsbury Court, and found my wife, by agreement, at Mrs. Turner’s, and after a little stay and chat set her and young Armiger down in Cheapside, and so my wife and I home. Got home before our mayds, who by and by came with a great cry and fright that they had like to have been killed by a coach; but, Lord! to see how Jane did tell the story like a foole and a dissembling fanatique, like her grandmother, but so like a changeling, would make a man laugh to death almost, and yet be vexed to hear her. By and by to the office to make up my monthly accounts, which I make up to-night, and to my great content find myself worth eight hundred and ninety and odd pounds, the greatest sum I ever yet knew, and so with a heart at great case to bed.


29 Annotations

Terry F  •  Link

"W. Howe...did of himself advise me to appear more free with my Lord and to come to him, for my own strangeness he tells me he thinks do make my Lord the worse."

Pepys fails to recognize the like of what he had himself urged Sandwich: come in from the country and attend Court....

Terry F  •  Link

Betty not to be toused again? Surely not!!

"...so to Westminster Hall, and there talked with Mrs. Lane..., but the match with Hawly I perceive will not take, and so I am resolved wholly to avoid occasion of further ill with her."

What is the "further ill" Pepys now resolves to avoid occasion of with Betty Lane, whom, L&M note, Hawley had been wooing these four years?

jeannine  •  Link

Happy Leap Year! Don't forget to read the 28th and the 29th entries!

God love Sam. If I had to listen to a 2 hour discourse on taxes I think I'd either die of boredom on the spot, or perhaps record it and play it at night to help me fall asleep! Not only does he listen, but he seems captivated by the discussion!

jeannine  •  Link

"and there talked with Mrs. Lane and Howlett, but the match with Hawly I perceive will not take, and so I am resolved wholly to avoid occasion of further ill with her....."

the missing line goes on to say:

...until I can find some other fool to pawn her off to and provide cover for me if she gets pregnant....

Robert Gertz  •  Link

The mechanics of how things really work, Jeannine...Sam knows he's standing on the edge of getting inside the inner circle of those who actually make things run.

***
The "further ill" is good ole Sex, Terry. Sam was afraid recently he'd gotten Mrs L pregnant when he went all the way and has resolved for the moment to move away from that cliff.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...was given away by the Duke the other day to a Frenchman, which Baxter is cruelly vexed at, saying that he was the best horse that he expects a great while to have to do with."

And with that, the fate of the Stuart dynasty was sealed.

1688...

"And back in 1664 he gave away the best horse England had ever seem to a Frenchie..." an older but not forgetful Baxter notes to the milling, muttering mob...

Stares of consternation...

It was one thing for the bastard to turn Papist...But to give the finest horse in England to...

Even the Palace Guard eye each other...

The bloody son of a...

"William!!! William!!!" angry fists in the air. Rocks fly.

***

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"that our importing lesse than we export, do not impoverish the kingdom, according to the received opinion"
Why would the conventional wisdom be that a positive balance of trade is a bad thing, impoverishing the kingdom? I thought that achieving and maintaining a positive balance of trade was the very basis of mercantilist theory.

Paul Chapin  •  Link

"and so with a heart at great case to bed"
Clearly a scanning error for "great ease"

Jesse  •  Link

"...without parting with some of the prerogatives of the Crowne..."

Evidence here of an incremental evolution towards a constitutional monarchy. "... and he persists to take it of the people, it gives occasion to a civill war..." No taxation w/o representation, or possibly a pure political power grab by Parliment w/a philosophical fig leaf. Whatever, an interesting discussion during the early Restoration.

andy  •  Link

and that I do not remember the argument, yet methought there was a great deale in what he said

and I sympathise, Sam, I could never get my head around economics either, and indeed failed it at GCSE O level (aged 16) and never recovered!

Bryan M  •  Link

"though it be a paradox, and that I do not remember the argument, yet methought there was a great deale in what he said."

Still a common answer to many an economics exam question.

Paul, the self evident truth of cutting edge economic theory often escapes the masses. Mercantilist theory, which Sir Phillip was most likely expounding on, would have been fairly esoteric at the time.

The alternative view might have been if you export 1000 bales of wool (and one damned fine horse) and import only 50 barrels of wine, then materially you are so much the worse off.

Bradford  •  Link

"to my great content find myself worth eight hundred and ninety and odd pounds":

Is this the first time Pepys has been so inexact about his worth? Or did he have some little ambiguity in his, so to speak, checkbook register which he did not have the time or patience to ferret out?

Sjoerd  •  Link

which, though it be a paradox, and that I do not remember the argument, yet methought there was a great deale in what he said.

A perfect bit of Bertie Wooster, i would say ?

language hat  •  Link

"like a foole and a dissembling fanatique"

I understand the "foole" and the "fanatique," but why "dissembling"? Surely he didn't think they were faking their godly gratitude at having 'scaped death?

andy  •  Link

and so with a heart at great case to bed

presumably "at great ease";

possibly "dissembling" is another transcription error from his shorthand.

Billy  •  Link

Taxes!

This was a great entry and I can see why Pepys was entranced, can't you? Someone has pulled back the curtain to show him macroeconomics in the real world. Pepys sees in detail how decisions relating to personal expenditures can impact governments and history. Amazing.

Terry F  •  Link

"Lord! to see how Jane did tell the story like a foole and a dissembling fanatique, like her grandmother, but so like a changeling, would make a man laugh to death almost, and yet be vexed to hear her."

I read Pepys's' comment as his judgment of the (in)credibility of Jane's professions, given her overwrought affect that he regards as feigning, as put on, as not herself, hence "changeling" -- and, like the "fanatiques's" testimony, surely a pose. I take it Jane's grandmother was a religious enthusiast.

Our Sober Hero has his limits, and isn't exactly Mr. Empathy here.

Pedro  •  Link

"was given away by the Duke the other day to a Frenchman, which Baxter is cruelly vexed at,"

The King calls to James...

"James I am about to innaugurate a race at Newmarket called the Newmarket Town Plate, and it will be rid for on the second Thursday in October for ever. I fully expect that my horse will win."

Pedro  •  Link

"would make a man laugh to death almost"

But would it be enough to make a dog laugh?

Dan  •  Link

"reported to the Commons that the average revenue of Charles I., from 1637 to 1641 inclusive, had been 895,819l., and the average expenditure about 1,110,000l.."

It were ever so...
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." Dickens

cumsalisgrano  •  Link

Dissembler had a differing meaning OED: "... how Jane did tell the story like a foole and a dissembling fanatique, like her grandmother, but so like a changeling, would make a man laugh to death almost, and yet be vexed to hear her...."

dissembling OED That dissembles; deceiving; hypocritical. 1526

The action of the verb DISSEMBLE; dissimulation.
c1500
1643 MILTON Divorce II. viii, The perpetuall dissembling of offence.

1701 ROWE Amb. Stepmoth. II. i. 468 Flattery, the meanest kind of base dissembling.
Dissemble :
1. trans. To alter or disguise the semblance of (one's character, a feeling, design, or action) so as to conceal, or deceive as to, its real nature; to give a false or feigned semblance to; to cloak or disguise by a feigned appearance.
1513

1665 MANLEY Grotius' Low C. Warres 715 Among the Bodies..was found a Woman, who had dissembled her Sex, both in courage and a military Habit.

2. To disguise. Obs
3. To pretend not to see or notice; to pass over, neglect, ignore.
b. with clause: To shut one's eyes to the fact.

1596 SHAKES. Tam. Shr. II. i. 9 Tel Whom thou lou'st best: see thou dissemble not.

1671 MILTON P.R. I. 467 The subtle fiend..Dissembled, and this answer smooth return'd. .........

Maurie Beck  •  Link

"The alternative view might have been if you export 1000 bales of wool (and one damned fine horse) and import only 50 barrels of wine, then materially you are so much the worse off."

Yes, but you would quickly have forgotten after drinking the wine. Reality is what you make it.

I loved the part on taxes. How much, how little. It sounds like the Dutch have only one tax and might have found a place with the Republicans in the U.S. today.

Howe

All Howe has done is give Sam bad advice. I'm surprised Sam, being the clever fella he is, does not run when he sees Howe coming. It is hard to know Howe's mind. Being in Sandwiche's household and knowing his Lord's folly, did he get Sam to write the letter, also knowing that whomever wrote the letter might suffer, but that the letter must be written?

Pedro  •  Link

"That the Hollanders have the best manner of tax, which is only upon the expense of provisions, by an excise;"

Boxer's book, The Dutch Seaborne Empire, gives a detailed insight to taxation in the United Provinces at this time. One observation he quotes is by a W. Carr (an Englishman) who says...

"Should we in England be obliged to pay the taxes that are here imposed, there would be rebellion upon rebellion. And yet after all that is here paid, no man can bake his own bread, nor grind his own corn, or brew his beer, nor dare any man keep in his house a hand-mill, although it be to grind mustard or coffee"

(Seems the grass is always greener)

djc  •  Link

that our importing lesse than we export, do not impoverish the kingdom
L&M suggest this is in regard to the import/export of bullion rather than goods in general and refer to the entry 27 jan 1665.
But the argument there seems to me more general not really confined to bullion: essentially that wealth is not the storing up of goods and possesions but the circulation of money; "where money is free, there is great plenty". A free market then.

It seems we can blame the Dutch for the invention of VAT.

Australian Susan  •  Link

Sam has found a soul mate! He was truly entranced by his economics lecture today. Wonder if he will keep up with this friendship. And maybe try to explain it to Elizabeth with reference to household economics (which is the root of the word after all). Cue Mr Gertz for dialogue......?
As with djc above, my first thought was - so we can blame the Dutch for VAT (or GST as it is here!).

Pedro  •  Link

Meanwhile in Tangier...

Advancing up the lines, the Moors tried another unsuccessful assault, but, in doing so, Guyland's personal standard was planted on the rampart of the British trenches. Captain Edward Witham led out a party of the Tangier Horse and captured the psychological token, which led the Moors deserting the field pleading that it was the time of Ramadan.

(The Army of Charles II BY John Childs)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"That the Hollanders have the best manner of tax, which is only upon the expence of provisions, by an excise; and do conclude that no other tax is proper for England but a pound-rate, or excise upon the expence of provisions."

Introduced into England in 1643 and covering over half a dozen commodities, the excise after the Restoration was reduced to a charge on drinks (including coffee and tea but excluding wine). In Holland it was a small charge levied on a wide variety of goods. In 1673 Sir William Temple reckoned that the consumption of a single dish in a Dutch tavern might involve 30 separate excises. Many English commentators argued that a general excise was the most productive and least painful of taxes. (Per L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"if denied and he persists to take it of the people, it gives occasion to a civill war, which may, as it did in the late business of tonnage and poundage, prove fatal to the Crowne. "

Parliament refused to give Charles I the customary grant for life of tonnage and poundage (customs dues), both in 1625 at the beginning of the reign and in 1641 on the eve of the civil war. (L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"a very excellent argument to prove, that our importing lesse than we export, do not impoverish the kingdom, according to the received opinion:"

The argument here presumably concerned the import and export of bullion, not trade in general. Cf. http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/01/27/
(L&M footnote)

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