Thursday 5 May 1664

Up betimes to my office, busy, and so abroad to change some plate for my father to send to-day by the carrier to Brampton, but I observe and do fear it may be to my wrong that I change spoons of my uncle Robert’s into new and set a P upon them that thereby I cannot claim them hereafter, as it was my brother Tom’s practice. However, the matter of this is not great, and so I did it. So to the ‘Change, and meeting Sir W. Warren, with him to a taverne, and there talked, as we used to do, of the evils the King suffers in our ordering of business in the Navy, as Sir W. Batten now forces us by his knavery. So home to dinner, and to the office, where all the afternoon, and thence betimes home, my eyes beginning every day to grow less and less able to bear with long reading or writing, though it be by daylight; which I never observed till now. So home to my wife, and after supper to bed.

18 Annotations

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

re: Sam's failing eyesight

When I visited the Pepys Library in Cambridge recently, I was amazed at his small, meticulous writing, both in the Diary and especially on official writings. I suppose that paper was a more-precious commodity than it is now, so you had to use as much of it as possible. And, of course, we know our boy was a bit of a perfectionist, so this type of close work in dim lighting, over time, must have been responsible for his eye strain.

cumsalisgrano   Link to this

No crown ?"...I change spoons of my uncle Robert's into new and set a P upon them that thereby I cannot claim them hereafter,..."

Mary   Link to this

the changing of the spoons.

Is anyone clearer than I am about this question of Uncle Robert's spoons, the letter P and Sam's fears that he has done himself no good by following Tom's practice? If Sam had admitted to putting an R on the spoons (for RP, Robert Pepys) the passage would make better sense. Monograms usually embrace all initials, not just those of the surname.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

the changing of the spoons. -- and other money matters

"as it was my brother Tom's practice." SP is I assume concerned that his 'P' spoons (from Uncle Robert) will be confused with spoons or other plate similarly identified coming to his Father from Tom -- therefore on his father's death, in the absence of a unique identifier, SP will not be able to claim these particular spoons as his personal property, as Uncle Robert's residuary heir; therefore they will pass into his father's general estate.

He does seem to be more concerned about relatively small amounts of money, or money equivalent, matters of late. In past days Pepys has expressed opinions and emotions about his own money, I believe all of which are honest:-

"... we are like to receive some shame about the business of his bastarde with Jack Noble; but no matter, so it cost us no money."

About the 20 shilling collection for his brother:-
"God forgive my pride, methinks I think myself too high to take of him; ..."

To me this seems to do with the calculus of appearances; the general public knowing you disowned a family bastard no matter -- but it being thought that 20 shillings would come in handy by people that know you is affecting.

The statement on May 2nd.:-
" ... twenty pieces of new gold, a pleasant sight. It cheered my heart; ..."
I assume is describing his feelings about money "owed" - the percentage 'fee' is so customary that he sees himself deserving and entitled as money "earned."

Is Pepys problem with Batten that Batten takes money not just from the prosperous merchants but from everyone; asking for it in advance and making clear it is required before he will exert his influence whereas Pepys will do the best 'for the King' but then expects and accepts the customary payment afterwards. Or, might the the attitude to Batten be simple projection -- hence the intensity of his vilification of B and wife as generally 'corrupt;' similar sexual condemnations could be made of SP, that he is a whore-master (attempting to marry off Betty Lane; that he uses his wife to allure wealthy elderly male relatives), that he debauches the wives of the King's faithful dockyard employees ... Or is it all a matter of appearances -- part of the rage against Batten is that these matters are public knowledge, at least to the habitué's of the Exchange? Or, am I looking for rationality and consistency about an aspect of life, money, where such is almost never to be found?

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... meeting Sir W. Warren, with him to a taverne, and there talked, as we used to do, of the evils the King suffers in our ordering of business in the Navy, as Sir W. Batten now forces us by his knavery."

What prompted the above question is the unconscious irony of Pepys discussing Batten and his knavery with one principal source of Pepys illicit earnings that he has, knowingly and deliberately, concealed.

Australian Susan   Link to this

"Is Pepys problem with Batten that Batten takes money not just from the prosperous merchants but from everyone; asking for it in advance and making clear it is required before he will exert his influence whereas Pepys will do the best 'for the King' but then expects and accepts the customary payment afterwards."

I think this makes real sense.

Andy Keeler   Link to this

Or is Pepys problem with Batten simply that he is making more money than Pepys is!

Albeit by using means which our Sam professes not to stoop to.

jeannine   Link to this

"Or is it all a matter of appearances -- part of the rage against Batten is that these matters are public knowledge"

MR-I think that most of your thoughts (and Andy's too!) may all play together for Sam, he's jealous that Batten is getting more than he is, he's created an "excuse" for himself (he gets money after doing the King's work), and yes, he is a whoremaster in regards to setting up Mrs. Lane, etc. for his own purposes), but he tries to do so in a way that publicly appears "respectable." I think that Sam really struggles with the public perception which must be wholesome vs. the actual actions which are to fill his needs.

JWB   Link to this

If we take Sam's diary to be derivation of the Puritan diary, in which one searched one's conscience & life for sin & signs of God's grace, then we can see that w/ Restoration, service to God's representative on earth-the King-releaves one of that hard-to-bear burden. The spoils, as reward for doing what's best for the King, become a sign of one's grace. But Batten who serves himself and not the King, is judged graceless & must be anathematized.

Terry F   Link to this

JWB, a profound insight that explains SP's constant invocation of the interest of the King, whom I -- and perhapse not I alone, since the phrases have been much discussed -- have all too oft forgot stood in God;s stead -- as "The Last King"* of England with such unmitigated power. Thanks for that!!

*"The Last King" is the US title of the film that in the UK was titled "Charles II: The Power & the Passion" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0364800/

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

"Or, am I looking for rationality and consistency about an aspect of life, money, where such is almost never to be found?"

Michael, I think (as you suggest regarding Sam's relationship to Mrs. Lane) that sex also belongs in this question.

Sam clearly has rules in mind, and they seem to include both what he thinks he's allowed to do outside the strict Puritan rule and questions of appearance and propriety. In the case of money, he seems to believe he is entitled to a reward for driving the best bargain for the king, while Batten deserves condemnation for putting his own good above the king's. JWB's argument here seems correct even if one leaves out the religious angle. There may well be jealousy as Andy suggests, of Batten's luxurious life style, title and seat in Parliament, all of which put him above Sam in the pecking order, a fact which Batten in the past has seemed to stress. Sam's on the lookout for evidence of Batten's corruption because it would be good for Sam's standing, and in his view, for the Navy, if Batten could be forced from office. Sam's relationship with Warren is one I'd like to know more about. A somewhat benign assessment would be that Sam backs Warren because he undersells other timber merchants who have paid large bribes to Batten to get contracts. Warren shows gratitude to Sam for demonstrating to the Navy Board (to Batten's discomfort) that his timber is better value for money. It would appear that Sam's expectations of gratuities, at this stage of his career, are much more modest than Batten's demands. (Personal aside: I once found a way to cut $1 billion out of the U.S. defense budget, and felt that I should get a reward of, say, one mil -- 1/10th of one percent -- when it was adopted by Congress. I was, of course, disappointed. O for the good old days.)

Terry F   Link to this

In the House of Commons

Dividing Parishes.

Ordered, That Leave be given for the bringing in a General Bill for dividing Parishes, and erecting new Churches or Chapels, where the Parish Churches are not of Capacity to receive the Inhabitants: But that Care be taken that Encouragement be not thereby given for further new Buildings.

From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 6 April 1664', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667 (1802), pp. 544-45. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com... Date accessed: 06 May 2007.

Extending the reach of observance/conformity -- "erect" without "building"?

cumsalisgrano   Link to this

A very important biil came down from me lauds today :
Gaming.
A Bill, sent from the Lords, intituled, An Act to prevent deceitful and excessive Gaming, was read the Second time.

From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 6 May 1664', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667 (1802), pp. 558-59. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com.... Date accessed: 07 May 2007.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Terry, I parsed the apparent contradiction as meaning they wanted to see some more churches where needed, but not a lot of associated buildings such as parish halls, manses, etc. I have no idea whether that's right or not, but at least it makes the passage coherent.

cumsalisgrano   Link to this

Walker: Walks free after taking cap in hand and begs forgiveness and pays his fee:

Walker, who arrested Ly. Petre, discharged.
Whereas James Walker, who arrested the Lady Elizabeth Petre, Wife to the Lord Petre (contrary to the Privileges due to the Peerage of this Realm), was this Day brought to the Bar; and having, by his Petition, acknowledged his hearty Sorrow for his said Offence, was by this House reprehended for the same, and directed to make his Submission to the Lady Petre:
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said James Walker be, and is hereby, discharged of his present Restraint, paying his Fees.

From: 'House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 5 May 1664', Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11: 1660-1666, pp. 607-08. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com.... Date accessed: 07 May 2007.

Headline in the Wail:
Thom. Slaughter to be slaughtered by peers of the Realm :
Another PC, now faces his cumuppence for daring to clap irons on a lowely servant and have him in Klink.

Duke of Bucks, Privilege. Burhill his Servant arrested.

Upon Complaint to this House, "That Francis Burhill, a menial Servant to the Duke of Bucks, is arrested, contrary to the Privilege of Parliament, by Thomas Slaughter and Davis, Bailiffs, at the Suit of Henry Griffith, and is now a Prisoner in Compter in Woodstreat, London:"

Slaughter, Davis, & al. sent for.
It is ORDERED, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said Thomas Slaughter, and Davis and Henry Griffith shall be summoned to appear forthwith, upon Sight hereof, before the Lords in Parliament, to answer their said Offences; and that, at the same Time, the Keeper of The Compter, or his Deputy, shall bring the said Francis Burhill to this Bar, that so this House, hearing all Parties concerned, may give such further Order therein as shall be agreeable to Justice.
Adjourn.

From: 'House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 4 May 1664', Journal of the House of Lords: volume 11: 1660-1666, pp. 606-07. URL:
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com....

Date accessed: 07 May 2007

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"So home to my wife,.." Interesting and perhaps a little revealing that the second "So home..." following the mention of growing eye trouble is to Bess. Seeking comfort? Since we don't get much as to whether Bess is the nurturing nurse type or pretty much leaves Sam to fend in illness, even a little crumb like this may be helpful. Such little things make me suspect he gets fairly well drowned in care and attention...But it's hard to be sure.

Terry F   Link to this

John Evelyn's Diary this day:

I went with some company a journey of Pleasur on the Water, in barge, with Musick & at Mortlack had a greate banquet, returning late: The occasion was Sir Robert Carr now Courting Mrs. Bennet, sister to the secretary of state &c:

ftp://ftp.cac.psu.edu/pub/humanities/John_Evelyn/#Evelyn

Paul Dyson   Link to this

Dividing Parishes.

Some parishes at this time were very extensive. A good example is Halifax in Yorkshire which covered 124 square miles.

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