Wednesday 27 April 1664

Up, and all the morning very busy with multitude of clients, till my head began to be overloaded. Towards noon I took coach and to the Parliament house door, and there staid the rising of the House, and with Sir G. Carteret and Mr. Coventry discoursed of some tarr that I have been endeavouring to buy, for the market begins apace to rise upon us, and I would be glad first to serve the King well, and next if I could I find myself now begin to cast how to get a penny myself. Home by coach with Alderman Backewell in his coach, whose opinion is that the Dutch will not give over the business without putting us to some trouble to set out a fleete; and then, if they see we go on well, will seek to salve up the matter. Upon the ‘Change busy. Thence home to dinner, and thence to the office till my head was ready to burst with business, and so with my wife by coach, I sent her to my Lady Sandwich and myself to my cozen Roger Pepys’s chamber, and there he did advise me about our Exchequer business, and also about my brother John, he is put by my father upon interceding for him, but I will not yet seem the least to pardon him nor can I in my heart. However, he and I did talk how to get him a mandamus for a fellowship, which I will endeavour. Thence to my Lady’s, and in my way met Mr. Sanchy, of Cambridge, whom I have not met a great while. He seems a simple fellow, and tells me their master, Dr. Rainbow, is newly made Bishop of Carlisle. To my Lady’s, and she not being well did not see her, but straight home with my wife, and late to my office, concluding in the business of Wood’s masts, which I have now done and I believe taken more pains in it than ever any Principall officer in this world ever did in any thing to no profit to this day. So, weary, sleepy, and hungry, home and to bed. This day the Houses attended the King, and delivered their votes to him: upon the business of the Dutch; and he thanks them, and promises an answer in writing.

29 Annotations

JWB   Link to this

"...upon the business of the Dutch..."
For a mercantilist analysis England v Netherlands see:
"Brief Observations Concerning Trade and Interest of Money"
Josiah Child
1668

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/econ/trade.htm

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"mandamus"
"A writ issued by a superior court ordering a public official or body or a lower court to perform a specified duty" cf www.answers.com; I am guessing from latin= we order.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

with Sir G. Carteret and Mr. Coventry discoursed of some tarr that I have been endeavouring to buy, for the market begins apace to rise upon us, and I would be glad first to serve the King well, and next if I could I find myself now begin to cast how to get a penny myself.

Sam's apparent corruption.

I sense it is the way of the world in his day, with obscure rules to be felt out carefully (cf his condemnation of the way Sir William Batten thrives), and not at all likely to pass muster with we who are schooled in the evil of appearance of conflicts, front running, accepting gifts, bribery and all the other ills of preferential procurement and preferential investment.

Terry F   Link to this

"This day the Houses attended the King..."

King appoints to be attended.

A Message from the Lords, by Sir William Childe and Sir Justinian Lewin;

Mr. Speaker, The Lords have sent us to acquaint you, That they have sent to his Majesty: And that his Majesty hath appointed to receive both Houses, in the Banqueting House at Whitehall, this Afternoon at Two of the Clock.

The Messengers being again called in, Mr. Speaker did acquaint them, That the House had agreed with the Lords, to wait on his Majesty in the Banqueting House, at Two of the Clock this Afternoon.

From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 27 April 1664', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667 (1802), pp. 550-51. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com... Date accessed: 28 April 2007.

"...and delivered their votes to him: upon the business of the Dutch; and he thanks them, and promises an answer in writing."

cape henry   Link to this

"clients" - meaning seamen to be paid. This word sort of jumped out at me, and indeed, it is the first time Pepys has used it since March of 59/60. Also interesting that his "head began to be overloaded." Though no telephones were ringing insistently as he tried to concentrate, one can imagine the general hubub of a gang of sailors anxious to be receive their money.

cape henry   Link to this

"...whose opinion is that the Dutch will not give over the business without putting us to some trouble to set out a fleete; and then, if they see we go on well, will seek to salve up the matter." Prior to every war there are men such as Alderman, turning hope into opinions.

cape henry   Link to this

*Alderman Backewell*

Pedro   Link to this

Thanks JWB for the above site, and Child's opinion in I668

"This in my poor opinion, is the CAUSA CAUSANS of all the other causes of the Riches of that people; and that if Interest of Money were with us reduced to the same rate it is with them, it would in a short time render us as Rich and Considerable in Trade as they are now, and consequently be of greater dammage to them, and advantage to us, then can happen by the Issue of this present War..."

Child describes the many great attributes of the people of the United Provinces, but the Dutch East and West Indian Companies certainly used warlike means to create their "Golden Century".

Along the West Coast of Africa the Dutch were determined to dominate and control all African Trade by capturing Portuguese forts along the Coast. In the Indies the Dutch took Columbo and Cochin by force from the Portuguese, and outmaneuvened them in Indonesia. Their aim was to create a monopoly and dominate shipping, and used ruthless means of exploitation to secure the trade in the ''Spice Islands"

It seems that, in adapting the Dutch tactics, the English would come to replaced the Dutch.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

"Prior to every war there are men such as Alderman, turning hope into opinions."

Si argumentum requiris, circumspice

Bradford   Link to this

"my head began to be overloaded": Pepys might well have understood our phrase "information overload," then, since "information" entered the language in the 14thC.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Sailors scrambling for their pay, prices skyrocketting, insiders seeking to scoop up a penny or two...Sure sounds like war.

In fairness to Sam and the naturally anxious saiors, I remember the attitude my parents and aunts admitted to me was uppermost with most they knew at the outbreak of World War II...Thank God for a war (over there), there'll be jobs and the hard times will be over.

***

I notice Sam makes no mention of his fellow officers' activities. Surely Batten, Penn, and even poor ole Minnes must be scurrying about with the war looming...I wonder if Sam prefers not to admit, even to himself, that the Sirs Will have more important duties and greater responsibilities than the Clerk of the Acts in this crisis.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Naturally anxious sailors...The war crisis must have been getting to me.

Terry F   Link to this

"I wonder if Sam prefers not to admit, even to himself, that the Sirs Will have more important duties and greater responsibilities than the Clerk of the Acts in this crisis."

E.g., going to sea; but one does what one can, and one doesn't do what one can't. Perhaps, Robert, he doesn't see "this crisis" as changing the pecking-order at which he chafes daily, including this day, when none of the Sirs is concerned with the "clients."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Actually, Terry I'm thinking in terms of responsibilities at the office. While it's certainly true Sam rarely gives us detailed information as to what exactly Batten and Penn are doing at the office from day to day unless they get in his way, I'm curious that he makes no reference to their activities during this time. I've always been suspicious that he prefers not to suggest they are his superiors and doing a lot of the final approvals, issuing most of the command orders to captains, and so forth, and now with war on the horizon I can't imagine they're simply sitting at home, leaving everything to him. Sam may be getting more and more control of the day-to-day work by being Johnny-on-the-spot at the office but he is at best only one of the officers of the Naval Office and the junior one at that.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

more important duties and greater responsibilities

Surely without logistic support - victualing in particular - it would not be possible to put any fleet to sea, let alone maintain it for a campaigning season. I believe at this time sailing orders, etc. would be issued, under the crown prerogative, by/from the Lord High Admiral; Coventry in his various roles would be the formal link between the fighting and supply functions.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Dutch ... will seek to salve up the matter.

The only direct political reporting we have been privy to from the Diary text is Downing's letter to Coventry in the entry of April 13th. :-
"he assures him that the Dutch themselves do not desire, but above all things fear it, ..." and continues to discuss why the Dutch would not put up a good fight.
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/04/13/

On the basis of Downing's letter it would seem completely reasonable to conclude that the Dutch will back down without a major fight.

Pepys is pretty close to the heart of the English pol/mil apparatus, certainly he now knows all the major players personally. What, to me, is surprising is that there appears to be no evidence of an overall strategy; for example a diplomatic initiative to Denmark and/or Sweden to close the Baltic, the major source of critical supply for both combatants, to the Dutch and ensure access to the English; laying in supplies in advance, preparing the casks of salt pork had to take place in the autumn for them to survive the rigors of sea and be at all eatable -- this suggests that any major provisioning for a lengthy coastal blockade would need to be prepared for at least nine months ahead.

We know that Pepys used the exchange as a source of current information, the Dutch could do the same and would be well aware in advance of any English preparations for war just in terms of buying the necessary supply for a campaign. Might not the absence of evidence of these obvious preparations lead the Dutch also, to conclude that their enemy was not serious?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Pepys is pretty close to the heart of the English pol/mil apparatus, certainly he now knows all the major players personally. What, to me, is surprising is that there appears to be no evidence of an overall strategy; for example a diplomatic initiative to Denmark and/or Sweden to close the Baltic, the major source of critical supply for both combatants, to the Dutch and ensure access to the English; laying in supplies in advance, preparing the casks of salt pork had to take place in the autumn for them to survive the rigors of sea and be at all eatable -- this suggests that any major provisioning for a lengthy coastal blockade would need to be prepared for at least nine months ahead."

Exactly... But while I've argued that this suggests the Stuarts are going to war on a rather slapdash basis, it also could hint at the possibility that Sam is simply not willing to tell us frankly that he is still not in the inner circle and privy to such top information. Further it may suggest that even at his office, for all his busy and effective work, he is not yet the one handling the key policy jobs which remain firmly in the hands of the Sirs Will P and B. He may proudly note each pat on the head by Coventry and even York, but in the end it will be Batten and Penn who handle the major decisions however justified he may be in his dislike of their handling of affairs.

Again, that's just my supposition and it may be that Sam is running everything while the others dither and swap Civil War stories but...

Michael Robinson   Link to this

may be that Sam is running everything

Robert, perhaps we are talking at cross purposes but I think the Navy Board is solely administrative and not a body that sets policy -- they work within the framework of the Duke's Instructions which Pepys copied some years back with his usual industry and probably has gained a sub-clause by sub-clause understanding of what to the rest a closed book. His initial fight based on his research into precedent and the instructions was to be accepted by the other officers as an equal member of the Board and not a mere recording secretary. From what we have read in the past six months it seems clear to me that Pepys is completely outside the policy apparatus at this time (as are Penn and Batten also) and only reporting his observations of public events and private conversations, Coventry's dresser and a stage hand rather than an actor.
"... one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; withal, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed almost ridiculous--
Almost, at times, the Fool."

In the context of the Navy Board's procurement business it seems to me that Pepys has made a considerable power grab over the past years, based on his detailed acquisition of knowledge and his willingness to learn the skill of bookkeeping aided by the energy of his youth and naked ambition; Penn, Batten et al. are established men with less to gain and on the downward side of the age/experience curve. I think the big final "showdown" was the mast contract, in the end removed from Wood, Batten's son-in-law, and given to Warren, Pepys "patron." The Clerk of Acts has grabbed the Controller's (Mennes) and Surveyor's (Batten) functional roles, primarily to the determent of Batten.

Based on what we know of him I am certain Pepys is busy running hither and yon - presenting himself and probably seeing himself as busy in the King's service and, God willing his own - but not realizing how his brusk "just the facts, I will get out my own measuring ruler, I know more than you who has been doing this for your life " manner does not endear him to others. What we know also, reading between the lines of his own account, is that he possesses limited "people skills;" has considerable "self consciousness," little awareness of how others might perceive his behavior and tends to see people principally in terms of their significance to him and his objectives, and in black and white rather than gray.

So I do accept his description of himself running about as the master of every detail from the glazier's contracts onward, perceived probably by others as a self important busybody, and with the other members of the board saying to themselves "If the officious b*r wants to take on all the work, let him."

** Spoilers **

Penn acts later as York's major tactical adviser, but that is in an operational context and has nothing at all to do with his role as a supplementary Commissioner on the Navy Board. When push comes to shove and the board have to explain to Parliament "where did all the money go" it is only Pepys who is competent to take on the job, and Pepys who is called in by Downing at Treasury to elucidate the Navy Treasurer's, Cartaret's, accounts.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

suggests the Stuarts are going to war on a rather slapdash basis,

This is, I think, exactly what Coventry and Pepys are aware of; the Stuarts have not thought thought through the initial preparations, let alone the medium and long term substantial financial and logistic requirements, necessary to fight a Naval war with a major financial and maritime power which has repeatedly demonstrated when necessary the ability to effectively employ sea power at the limits of the known world.

Th Stuarts and their courtiers remember "We beat them the last time" but forget that this was only after a number of defeats, that both sides were exhausted and had effectively over-run their financial and logistical resources and in the ensuing years that the Dutch, though without central organization, were certain to have adopted in their own manner the two wining English innovations, large purpose-built warships with a heavy armament and the "line of battle."

cumsalisgrano   Link to this

Warre is the natural state of man, the Stuarts now have monies, some from the Sun King, so feel free to go and get more, as Holmes has done well to, every one forgets that warre, even then, impoverishes both sides, ah! but there be still be lands to be got, to put all excess bodies that have been creating a disturbances to work, to get all that sugar and rum and all things nice like spice. There be lots of folks hanging around to be pressed [like grapes] to hang up the sails, there be enough baccy to keep the lads fumigated.

Pedro   Link to this

Coventry the main man.

"Among other things, geography dictated that much of the navy was based close to London. This had obvious advantages for the individuals or boards who exercised the powers of the Admiralty, and for the subordinate Navy Board, which handled routine administration matters."

(Gentlemen and Tarpaulins by Davies.)

Coventry seems to be the only one on the Navy Board that is really in the Know. He is personal secretary to the Duke of York and on the Guinea committee, drafting the instructions for Holmes. Jeannine has suggested that there is a bit of a snake in Coventry's character, and a Salty background remark says...

"He was made Extra Commissioner in June 62; Having the Ear of Prince James, Coventry as his secretary of the Navy, changed and charged the atmosphere in the Diary. Cat amongst the pigeons,"

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

Thank you, Michael, for that masterly summation of the situation and the character of our main source of information.

Pedro   Link to this

War planning.

Someone who has not been mentioned in despatches, concerning war planning, is the Secretary of State Arlington. He was pro-war and competing for the ear of the King with the anti-war Clarendon.

He had a particular love and interest in Spain, and would therefore be anti-Dutch. He had Catholic tendencies, knowledge of foreign affairs, and a private staircase to the royal apartments.

He planned and was chiefly responsible for attack on the Smyrna fleet.

Gained from limited access of Google books... Felling, British Foreign Policy 1660-1672...

Clarendon..." A peace with Holland would disappoint the Spaniards expectation of a rupture between us, and likewise that of the seditious and discontented party at home; it would compose the minds of men who do still apprehend new troubles, revive the deadness of trade, and encourage foreign investment."

The governments' first approaches for discussion concerning Anglo-Dutch relations faltered in I659, but in February 1660 Downing renewed them, and the States professed their general readiness for discussion.

When Charles reached the Hague he declared his personal wish for an Alliance, and the despatch of a Dutch embassy was resolved on before he sailed...Embassy reached England in November, and began in high hopes,..

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Privy Council Committee on Foreign Affairs. 1660 -1667.

List of all members:-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarendon_Ministry

Sir Henry Bennett, Bt., appointed Secretary of State for the Southern Department 20 October 1662; created Baron Arlington 1665; created 1st earl of Arlington 22nd. April 1672 [Dates from the RHS 'Handbook of British Chronology,' 1961, which differ from those in the wikipedia articles ]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Bennet%2C_1s...

"Before 1782, the responsibilities of the two British Secretaries of State were divided not based on the principles of modern ministerial divisions, but geographically. The Secretary of State for the Southern Department, the more senior Secretary of State, was responsible for Southern England, Wales, Ireland, the American colonies (until 1768), and relations with the Roman Catholic and Muslim states of Europe. The more junior Secretary of State for the Northern Department was responsible for Northern England, Scotland, and relations with the Protestant states of Northern Europe."

Terry F   Link to this

Duties and responsibilities

"The Navy Board was in charge of the building and maintenance of ships and dockyards, the ordering of stores such as food, guns and ammunition as well as paying the sailors and dockyard workers. At this period the Navy was the biggest spending department of government, even in peacetime. Pepys's job as clerk to the Navy Board was to attend its meetings, record decisions and prepare letters for signing and despatch." http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.20917

So the (British) National Maritime Museum. Pepys is involved in these all, no? He is not comptroller (Mennes), who cared for the flow of funds; surveyor (Batten), who oversees the runnibg of the yards; or commissioner (e.g., Penn), who has general oversight; but he (Pepys) does seem to be redefining larger the job of Clerk of the Acts.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

Duties and responsibilities -- Pepys is involved in these all, yes.

With great respect to the National Maritime Museum, the general statement on the web-site differs from the details in the standard modern authority on Pepys and English Naval administration, Knighton 'Pepys & The Navy' (2003)pp. 49-55, also Rodger 'Command of The Ocean'(2004/05) pp. 97-98; though succinct, the statement is not an entirely accurate summary of Pepys job as defined in the Duke's Instructions of February 1662, (the Clerk was not just a recording secretary but a full member with authority equal to that of every other member) let alone as actually conducted.

"The Duke's Instructions required the Clerk to keep a record of all contracts, and in April of 1662 Pepys and Hatyer set about compiling an alphabetical index to those made since the Restoration. The Instructions also said the Clerk was to 'present' contracts (and other business) to the Board, and Pepys understood this to mean he should 'draw the heads thereof.' At a meeting in June 1662 Penn accused Pepys of thereby poaching the Comptroller's business. [http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/06/03/]... Menne's imperfect exercise of his duties was a continuing problem."

[By controlling the agenda of meetings and the outline drafting of contracts, Pepys controls, in effect, the substance; this his first major 'play.' Hence the merchants begin to come to him directly. MR]

"From 1662 onwards Pepys is seen to take an increasing part in contract business. Often merchants would come to Pepys directly with their tenders. ... He contested bids from those he considered rogues, especially if they were supported by Batten. ... In June 1662 he drew up a major contract for 500 tons of hemp ... because it remained 'secret' the final version had to be written out in full by Pepys himself. ..."
Knighton @ pp 50, 51

[By late 1663, when its clear Pepys can successfully take on Batten directly over his son-in-law's major mast contract, the big merchants come directly to Pepys offering 'gratuities.' MR ]

Flow of Funds

"In spite of Menne's complete failure to check any detail of Warren's vouchers, Pepys scrutinized them carefully and got several disallowed. There were aspects of his dealings which could not have borne public scrutiny , but he could honestly claim to be serving the King, saving him money and tightening up the naval administration."
Roger p. 98

[Note also Pepys 'facilitation' of the passage of Creed's account for payment]

[Pepys by late 1663 has a 'lock' on the negotiation, the substance of and the performance/payment side of contracts therefore ensuring continued attention from the contractors. MR]

Running of the Yards

"He began to make his mark in other areas. No satisfactory record was kept of hours worked in the Dockyards, and Pepys was determined to introduce one. ... Pepys therefore designed a new form of 'call book, ' sending a sample down to Deptford just before Christmas 1662. Cowley [Clerk of the Cheque] was asked to use it for the next quarter, and to mention any useful refinements before Pepys ordered a batch printed.
Knighton p. 49

One very recent example:-
" ... and to the King's yard again, and there made good inquiry into the business of the poop lanterns, wherein I found occasion to correct myself mightily for what I have done in the contract with the platerer, and am resolved, though I know not how, to make them to alter it, though they signed it last night, ... This morning betimes came to my office to me boatswain Smith of Woolwich, telling me a notable piece of knavery of the officers of the yard and Mr. Gold in behalf of a contract made for some old ropes by Mr. Wood, and I believe I shall find Sir W. Batten of the plot (vide my office daybook)."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/04/08/

guns and ammunition -- not within the Admiralty, hence not a part of the Navy Board's jurisdiction

"The Ordinance Board was continued in 1660, officially on its pre-Civil War footing of independence, though in practice it was much inferior in status to the Admiralty, especially an Admiralty headed by the Duke of York, and also the Treasury. Since the artillery train of the army only occasionally took the field, and the engineers were still a small body of civilian consultants, the Board's work was overwhelmingly the supply of guns and warlike stores to the Navy and to forts (which used the same pattern of guns and equipment as ships and belonged to the naval branch of the Ordinance service.) Probably some administrative friction would have been avoided if the Board had been subject to the Admiralty, as in the 1650's, but it seemed to work efficiently ..."
Roger @ p 107.

language hat   Link to this

Thanks very much, Michael -- that was extremely helpful.

Pedro   Link to this

Board of Ordnance

Seconded, and for Board of Ordnance see Pauline's annotation from L&M...

http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/5016/

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"a full member with authority equal to that of every other member"

Under the Instructions of 1662 Pepys possessed general authority as one of the four designated 'Principal Officers,' Treasurer, Comptroller, Surveyor and Clerk of the Acts of the King's Ships.

Did Pepys and his clerks do 'everything?' No, on the grounds of physical impossibility. But he simply took control anywhere and everywhere any documentation was involved, substantially increased the requirements for documentation at every point in operations, and at the same time used his general authority to intervene, review and question any aspect of the work of the other Principal Officers, while being able to determine what, and when, matters were brought before the full board for discussion.

With the attitude "...glad first to serve the King well, ...I believe taken more pains in it than ever any Principall officer in this world ever did ..." he must have been very close to the professional colleague from hell.

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.