Saturday 30 April 1664

Up and all the morning at the office. At noon to the ‘Change, where, after business done, Sir W. Rider and Cutler took me to the Old James and there did give me a good dish of mackerell, the first I have seen this year, very good, and good discourse. After dinner we fell to business about their contract for tarr, in which and in another business of Sir W. Rider’s, canvas, wherein I got him to contract with me, I held them to some terms against their wills, to the King’s advantage, which I believe they will take notice of to my credit. Thence home, and by water by a gally down to Woolwich, and there a good while with Mr. Pett upon the new ship discoursing and learning of him. Thence with Mr. Deane to see Mr. Falconer, and there find him in a way to be well. So to the water (after much discourse with great content with Mr. Deane) and home late, and so to the office, wrote to, my father among other things my continued displeasure against my brother John, so that I will give him nothing more out of my own purse, which will trouble the poor man, but however it is fit that I should take notice of my brother’s ill carriage to me. Then home and till 12 at night about my month’s accounts, wherein I have just kept within compass, this having been a spending month. So my people being all abed I put myself to bed very sleepy. All the newes now is what will become of the Dutch business, whether warr or peace. We all seem to desire it, as thinking ourselves to have advantages at present over them; for my part I dread it. The Parliament promises to assist the King with lives and fortunes, and he receives it with thanks and promises to demand satisfaction of the Dutch. My poor Lady Sandwich is fallen sick three days since of the meazles. My Lord Digby’s business is hushed up, and nothing made of it; he is gone, and the discourse quite ended. Never more quiet in my family all the days of my life than now, there being only my wife and I and Besse and the little girl Susan, the best wenches to our content that we can ever expect.

28 Annotations

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

"We all seem to desire it, as thinking ourselves to have advantages at present over them; for my part I dread it."

Smart man, our Sam.

cape henry   Link to this

"We all seem to desire it... for my part I dread it."

What an interesting and perplexing sentence. We know, in large measure, what factors sustained the desire side of this equation, but I think many of us would like to know more about the dread. Really, beyond his financial stake in Sandwich, we can only speculate about what he might mean - and he doesn't say.

Terry F   Link to this

"wherein I have just kept within compass, this having been a spending month."

Pepys is worth what he was worth March 31 when he reported "to my great content find myself worth above 900l." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/03/31/

That surely includes money entrusted to Sandwich that is now perhaps beyond easy recovery in the event of an early war and should Sandwich be at sea. I'm surprised Pepys records nothing about this concern, given the imminence of the war.

language hat   Link to this

"I think many of us would like to know more about the dread."

Isn't it obvious why anyone who had lived through the Civil War might dread war?

cape henry   Link to this

"why anyone...might dread war." Well perhaps, and it's an interesting point. But presumably a war with the Dutch would be a very different kind of conflict than the Civil War, likely fought mainly at sea, and offering Pepys no obvious ideological or physical risks. It may well be as simple as TB's 'smart' comment above. Dread, though, is a complex word. Does he dread the extra work? The impact on his income? Or, as LH seems to suggest, the undifferentiated horror of it? That's why I thought the whole sentence so powerful and intriguing: The contrast between desire and dread.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

The fleet's unprepared and top-heavy with idiot ex-Cavaliers while the experienced Cromwellians rot...

There's no strategic plan spelled out and the King seems uninterested in developing one...

The Dutch are a tough foe, as Sam's study must have taught him and he's no doubt gotten an earful from Deane and Pett and others about Dutch skill in shipbuilding and handling...

Coventry seems secretly to have turned against the war. And if he's worried...

Add that to Civil War memories and no wonder Sam's dreading things...

Terry F   Link to this

"The contrast between desire and dread."

The sentence in question struck me as complex in another way. Pepys first seems to count himself among the "we" who desire the war in the public chat, then stands in his dread -- inwardly -- against it.

I wonder how many others among the "we" felt the same?

cumsalisgrano   Link to this

Civil warre be a dreadful one [modern sense] 1 in 59 it is reputed to have fallen to the clash of Ideals and be resting in the fields of Glory, more than the WW1. No wonder the population had dread of warre with full of Awe for the Saber.
Too Many Royalists want to prove that they have Valor.

Mary   Link to this

for my part I dread it.

Wasn't it the Duke of Wellington, apropos the Battle of Waterloo, who remarked that, although he couldn't say for sure that he had won the battle, he knew damn' well who would have lost it?

Sam knows that the navy is by no means ready to undertake a war at sea; he is well aware that he is making a name (and an income) for himself in the business of naval supply and organisation; he knows that he is making enemies whilst doing so. A large part of his fear must be that, as well as risking his capital if Sandwich is killed in battle, his own position and employment will be severely threatened if the adventure goes badly ..... the Old Guard will close ranks and he risks being hung out to dry.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Or perhaps the dread includes a healthy realization of who could end up bearing the brunt of blame...

Parliamentary Committee on the Conduct of the War...

"So you say, Your Grace...You and His Majesty actually knew nothing about anything going on regards the daily running of the Navy?"

"That is correct, sir. That was the province of our Naval Office. We relied on them completely."

"Sir George..." The Committee Chairman addresses Carteret. "So you say you and Sir William Penn, Sir William Batten, and Sir John Minnes had little to do with the daily running of the office. That all the duties required were to be carried out by the Clerk of the Acts, one Samuel Pepys and his staff?"

"That is absolutely correct, Mr. Chairman. Pepys was in full charge. The Nation's trust was placed in him."

"Sir William Warren...You are quite sure Mr. Pepys accepted moneys from you in considering your masts and other items for the Navy?"

"Well...Yes, a small token of appreciation between friends. Though Warren New England masts are the best in the world...And remain available at a bargain price to His Majesty."

"But he did accept moneys from you? As he did from a number of others?"

"Heh, heh...Well..."

"So we hang this Pepys for failing to provision and arm the Navy?" The Chairman asks his fellow members.

"Sounds good to me." "Very nice and tidy." "Draw and quarter him, give the people a decent show." "Lets get on with it, I'm meeting Sir Will Warren for lunch to discuss our new contract..." Penn notes.

"Pepys, author of our defeat, to hang!" boys proffering newssheets, shouting as they run about in the streets.

"Sam'l?" an anxious Bess leans over to a suddenly woken, sweating Pepys. "What's wrong, darling?!"

***

Ruben   Link to this

...War is lost...Sandwich is out of Royal favor, out of the Wardrobe and all his people out of job.
Pepys lives in Brampton and works part time at Huntingdon...no big library...no Royal Academy...no Newton and Evelyn correspondence...no European tour...
Bess survives him...
Better than live an ordinary life, in Pepys place, I would choose Robert's hanging proposition (in spite I understand only Admirals were hanged now and then to encourage the others...).

Mary   Link to this

That was exactly the point that I was making, RG.

The 'officious little Pepys' could prove a useful scapegoat for the more illustrious members of the Navy Office and Sam is apprehensive of his own potential vulnerability,

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

re: dread

Today -- the fourth anniversary of "Mission Accomplished" -- is a good day to remember all of the reasons one should dread war. I'm sure Sam, as an expert insider, realizes better than most the hubris and insuffiencies in the administration's war "plan" -- as well as (as others have pointed out) the potential for loss of life and capital. And for what? Nothing.

As Santayana said, those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Mission accomplished!

Martin   Link to this

"for my part I dread it"
He mentions this in the context of going to sleep; it must have kept him awake for a while. Usually there is not much after "then to prayers and to bed", but today there's a little stream-of-consciousness about the impending war, Parliament, the King, Lady Sandwich, Digby, and then "Never more quiet in my family all the days of my life than now" -- reflecting, it seems to me, that what he dreads is how a war will likely upset the domestic tranquility of both the nation and the little Pepys household.

jeannine   Link to this

"but today there's a little stream-of-consciousness about the impending war, Parliament, the King, Lady Sandwich, Digby, and then "Never more quiet in my family all the days of my life than now" -- reflecting, it seems to me"

Martin-it's also the end of the month, when Sam usually summarizes the "state of the union" in his entry, so I'd assumed that the running on of these issues is related to that. I would imagine that Sam would also dread the need to quickly pull together the materials needed for the war in time (masts, tarr, timber, hemp, etc.). In the "usual course of business" he has to put up with inefficient vendors, office politics, etc. (and his own growing desire to get a cut in the action). So, in the political dance he may realize he'll go from the Fred Astair of the Navy to the Ginger Rodgers --, dancing backwards and in high heels to a much faster tempo.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

And such dread of being the fall guy might explain a few things...

"Very well, Pepys...Have it your own way." Penn puts down the latest contract voided by the efforts of our diligent CoA. Another few thousand saved for His Majesty.

"You're not really going to just let him his way...?" Batten stares as Pepys retires, victorious again, to his inner sanctum. Minnes at his side, frowning...

"Are you kidding?" Sir Will P grins. "It's the one way to be sure he'll sign them. And a few more of these signed by our dear Samuel and there'll be but one target for Parliament should things go south in this war. At least as far as my affairs are concerned."

Hmmn...Batten and Minnes eye each other.

"Oh, Pepys." Batten knocks at the door of the "sacred presence". "I've been reconsidering that mast deal with Wood..."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

And such dread of being the fall guy might explain a few things...

"Very well, Pepys...Have it your own way." Penn puts down the latest contract voided by the efforts of our diligent CoA. Another few thousand saved for His Majesty.

"You're not really going to just let him have his way...?" Batten stares as Pepys retires, victorious again, to his inner sanctum. Minnes at his side, frowning...

"Are you kidding?" Sir Will P grins. "It's the one way to be sure he'll sign them. And a few more of these signed by our dear Samuel and there'll be but one target for Parliament should things go south in this war. At least as far as my affairs are concerned."

Hmmn...Batten and Minnes eye each other.

"Oh, Pepys." Batten knocks at the door of the "sacred presence". "I've been reconsidering that mast deal with Wood..."

cumsalisgrano   Link to this

Dinnae forget the cheese and bikkeys. Who gets that percentage, according to the Smiths Dictionary, the Victuallers get a third of the captured loot, and who is it that hands over the old decrepid worn out nags of boats to be used as fire ships?
The big monies be in supplying the stale rusks and watered down beer.
Those that have dread [total respect] of warre, then there are those that be affeared [it be their carcasse on the rigging] then there those that be counting their 'prophets'.

Maurie Beck   Link to this

War is a dicey proposition, what with the knowns and unknowns, regardless of which side is better prepared. If not for the fates, the English might speak Spanish.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...wars and lechery...Nothing else holds fashion..."

Pedro   Link to this

"If not for the fates, the English might speak Spanish."

Sounds a little like what my old Pot and Pan used to say...

"If your aunt had had ***** she'd have bin your uncle."

Australian Susan   Link to this

"Besse and the little girl Susan, the best wenches to our content that we can ever expect."

Well, of course, it's all in the names.... (my middle name is Elizabeth).

Seriously, Sam seems to be much harking on the delights of a quiet domestic life in contrast to the "alarums and excursions" of his work life. But when war comes it will bring inflation, scarcities of luxury imported items and a general increase in household expenses. Sam will not be pleased to be served poor fare and listen to grumblings about being kept short by his wife.

Bob Blair   Link to this

'for my part I dread it.'

The war in preparation would be the _second_ Dutch war. The details of the first, in Cromwell's time, were doubtless very familiar to Pepys. He would recall that the English were spanked at Plymouth and Dungeness, and were probably saved only by bad weather a couple of times early in the war. And he knew the Dutch would have a long memory of the famine caused by the English blockade in 1654, not to mention the humiliating political conditions of the peace *. Plus, Blake was long gone and de Ruyter was rested and ready. There were plenty of reasons for dread, I think.

[* Actually, I'm not sure that Pepys would know about the political terms. They were supposed to be secret.}

Michael Robinson   Link to this

I put myself to bed very sleepy. ... for my part I dread it.

Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Σιβυλλα, Τι θελεις; respondebat illa: αποθανειν θελω

language hat   Link to this

MR's quote of the epigraph to Eliot's "Waste Land", itself quoting Petronius's Satyricon, means:
"For once I saw with my own eyes the Cumean Sibyl hanging in a jar, and when the boys asked 'what do you want?' she answered 'I want to die'."

(I confess I don't see the relevance here, but I thought I'd help out those without the benefit of a Classical Education.)

jeannine   Link to this

LH -Thanks for the translation. I thought MR's quote meant that I needed to get my eyes checked.

Pedro   Link to this

Eliot's "Waste Land"

Thanks to Google, an insight to the above. I thought it might be Double Dutch.

http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true...

Glyn   Link to this

In the defense of the King - Robert Gertz's analysis of a committee of enquiry after the war is highly amusing and in many ways possibly accurate. From our own experience we know that heads will roll if a war goes badly, and the Navy Office will have questions to answer.

However, King Charles will do his best to protect Pepys rather than throw him to his enemies. RG's trial made me grin though.

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