Monday 23 May 1664

Up and to the office, where Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, and myself met and did business, we being in a mighty hurry. The King is gone down with the Duke and a great crew this morning by break of day to Chatham. Towards noon I and my wife by water to Woolwich, leaving my wife at Mr. Falconer’s, and Mr. Hater and I with some officers of the yard on board to see several ships how ready they are. Then to Mr. Falconer’s to a good dinner, having myself carried them a vessel of sturgeon and a Lamprey pie, and then to the Yarde again, and among other things did at Mr. Ackworth’s obtain a demonstration of his being a knave; but I did not discover it, till it be a little more seasonable. So back to the Ropeyard and took my wife and Mr. Hater back, it raining mighty hard of a sudden, but we with the tilt kept ourselves dry. So to Deptford, did some business there; but, Lord! to see how in both places the King’s business, if ever it should come to a warr, is likely to be done, there not being a man that looks or speaks like a man that will take pains, or use any forecast to serve the King, at which I am heartily troubled. So home, it raining terribly, but we still dry, and at the office late discoursing with Sir J. Minnes and Sir W. Batten, who like a couple of sots receive all I say but to little purpose. So late home to supper and to bed.

17 Annotations

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...among other things did at Mr. Ackworth's obtain a demonstration of his being a knave..."

As in perhaps finding the house built of ship's timber and furnished with naval stores?

"...but I did not discover it, till it be a little more seasonable." As in, when one is safely away from the bosom of the Pett family?, Ackworth being a Pett brother-in-law.

***
What's with all the sudden desire to take Bess everywhere? A special treat to see the ships launched, perhaps? Or has Madame being letting our hero know she resents his behavior or lack thereof towards dear Uncle and this is a form of guilt appeasement?

jeannine   Link to this

May 23 letter believed to be from Sam to Mr. Coventry

[23 May 1664]
From "Further Correspondence of Samuel Pepys" edited by J.R. Tanner

"After receipt of his Highness's warrant about the 30 ships this morning and drawing out order pursuant thereto, I went down and spent the day at Woolwich and Deptford, where (not to deceive you) I do not find the least par of the vigour which I expected and the present juncture requires, but (quite otherwise) every thing done after the old rate, without life or forecast, in so much that the fitting of ships for receipt of victuals (which you seemed to [have] looked for [ere] this) will not I am sure at Deptford be effected before the week after next, and not much sooner at Woolwich. Want of men principally will keep the works back, -- I mean seamen and caulkers, the first of which may possibly be removed by a speedy nomination of commanders and masters who will look after it; the latter I doubt but nothing else but pressing, which you will find must speedily be thought on, and that not only for our use here but Sir William Penn writes unless we can send him 40 caulkers his matters will be mightily back...
[Postscript] Not one man appears at Deptford and Woolwich to desire entrance into the service, towards which their backwardness I am very apprehensive nothing hath contributed more than the late ill usage they have had from commanders of being turned ashore in the Downs after 2 or 3 weeks' worth gratis in rigging time upon expectation of employment."

Michael Robinson   Link to this

at Mr. Ackworth's obtain a demonstration of his being a knave;

Not the first time:-

"I did much business both at the Ropeyarde and the other, and on floate I discovered a plain cheat which in time I shall publish of Mr. Ackworth's."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/04/22/

cape henry   Link to this

"...there not being a man that looks or speaks like a man that will take pains, or use any forecast to serve the King, at which I am heartily troubled." This sentence amplifies one of the themes that the war news has inserted into Pepys thinking. By all appearances, he is himself springing to the task, while observing others going about business in the usual haphazard, self-serving manner.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"I did not discover it"
Here "discover" means "reveal," if anyone was wondering.

MissAnn   Link to this

I get the distinct impression that Sam would love to write up a Book of Procedures that all and sundry would adhere to or else. He never thinks that anyone else has the King's business at heart but only their own potential profits, without admitting that he is always looking for ways to make an extra shilling, or hopefully a pound, for himself. As with his jealousies regarding Bess and a certain dancemaster, his double-standards ring right through his day to day life.

andy   Link to this

there not being a man that ... will take pains, or use any forecast

this is the curse of project management.

My team and I were discussing this morning how the answer you get depends on the question you ask. Under pressure with litter on the street we're rebuilding, I asked "Why aren't the litter bins out?" and was told the answer, ie the manufacturers hadn't delivered them (8 weeks ago), still haven't (6,4 and 2 weeks ago). Then you ask "Where can you get temporary litter bins from?" and they find them and solve the litter problem until the new bins arrive. (It's a bit like the relationship/communications problem in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus).

Looks like Sam is finding the same issue in ship building. The people who build the ship aren't bothered about the impending war because nobody's told them how important they are to winning it and helped them find solutions. In the meantime they carry on in their own sweet way.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I see Admiral Sir Will P has not come in for much criticism lately. Grudging admission on Sam's part that Penn is doing rather useful work in this crisis?

***

"Jamie? What is it now? You look even more solemn than usual? You have your war, right? Where's that gung-ho 'we're going to war at last!' enthusiasm?"

"Sire...I've received reports on the state of the Navy from Coventry, Admiral Sir Will Penn, and Mr. Pepys." deep sigh...

"Really? Not so good, eh? Things seemed humming along the other day...?"

"Rather not, Sire. Too many of the ships are not fit for duty and we lack provision, armaments, and above all, men."

"Well, I'm sure your man Coventry and that hopping little minion of his...Peeps? And Admiral Penn will set things to rights. Just have them impress a few thousand rascals who've nothing better to do."

"Yes. I'm wondering, Sire...If it might be too late to negotiate with the Dutch...?"

"Oh? Sorry, old sport...No can do. They're not too pleased with Captain Holmes' Guinea antics, you know. Besides, Louis of France would never let us hear the end of it. Oh, now, Jamie...Don't let that perpetual gloom of yours bring down the whole Court. Why just last night Sir Charles and Barbara came up with a brilliant war plan for defeating those stolid burghers...Drew it in charcoal on my nightshirt. Steward? Bring my nightshirt from last night! A marvellous plan, Jamie...You'll love it..."

***

tel   Link to this

I am very apprehensive nothing hath contributed more than the late ill usage they have had from commanders of being turned ashore in the Downs after 2 or 3 weeks' worth gratis in rigging time upon expectation of employment."
Wonderful example of the arrogance of the ruling classes who assume that the poor will always be available for hard dangerous work and "we'll pay them when we feel like it". Not much changes, of course. Our present rulers show the same arrogance in different ways (exempting their expenses from public scrutiny, for example) and then wonder why fewer and fewer people can be bothered to vote.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"who like a couple of sots receive all I say but to little purpose"
So very frustating.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

frustrating

Bradford   Link to this

"like a couple of sots:" vividness of invective increases proportionately to impatience.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

Pressing the caulkers

Now if the pressing had been done in the time of Good Queen Anne, one could assume that those forced to caulk the hulks would have been dissenters, namely Presbyterians -- "Pressed by Teary Ann," as the charade has it.

PK   Link to this

Lamprey Pie

Those wanting to see a lamprey up close might like to join the river Walk at the Hay Festival (http://www.hayfestival.com/wales/quick.aspx?dat...). It is lamprey breeding season and they are making their way up river to the spawning grounds. (Hence they were available to be made into pies at this time of year, as the diary tells us.)

Xjy   Link to this

"but we with the tilt kept ourselves dry"

The glossary gives Anglo-Saxon "teld". Modern Swedish uses the same word ("tält") for tent. Mod German is "die Zelt". The t in Sam's day borrowed apparently from these cognates (Skeat).

No relation to "tilt" meaning "lean over".

Xjy   Link to this

Lamprey

From OF lamproie fr. Italian lampreda, from "lampetra" - lick-stone (Lat. lambere - lick, cf Eng. lap (milk), lip, lambent, labial, Gk. laptein) from its habit of sticking to rocks. (No relation to "lap" as in "lapel" or "lap-dog", which comes from a word meaning loose bit of cloth, fold, rag, apron, part of body covered by apron. Sanskrit "lamp/ramp", cognate with lobe, limbo, lapse, limp.)

For some reason an exchange from the Duchess of Malfi sticks in my mind:

Him: Women like that part, which like the lamprey, hath no bones...
Her: Fie, Sir!!
Him: I mean, the tongue...

pepf   Link to this

tilt - *die* Zelt

*das* Zelt (n. neutr.), if you please.
MHG zelt, OHG (gi)zelt, MLG (ge)telt, telde, ONord. tjald, cf. OE teldan (strong v.) - to cover.
Presumed derivation LL *tenda (from tendita (pellis), cf. Fr. tente, It. tenda, Span. tenda) converted to Germanic *telda.
[Kluge, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache]

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