Saturday 16 July 1664

Up in the morning, my head mightily confounded with the great deale of business I have upon me to do. But to the office, and there dispatched Mr. Creed’s business pretty well about his bill; but then there comes W. Howe for my Lord’s bill of Imprest for 500l. to carry with him this voyage, and so I was at a loss how to carry myself in it, Creed being there, but there being no help I delivered it to them both, and let them contend, when I perceive they did both endeavour to have it, but W. Howe took it, and the other had the discretion to suffer it. But I think I cleared myself to Creed that it past not from any practice of mine. At noon rose and did some necessary business at the ‘Change. Thence to Trinity House to a dinner which Sir G. Carteret makes there as Maister this year. Thence to White Hall to the Tangier Committee, and there, above my expectation, got the business of our contract for the victualling carried for my people, viz., Alsopp, Lanyon, and Yeabsly; and by their promise I do thereby get 300l. per annum to myself, which do overjoy me; and the matter is left to me to draw up. Mr. Lewes was in the gallery and is mightily amazed at it, and I believe Mr. Gauden will make some stir about it, for he wrote to Mr. Coventry to-day about it to argue why he should for the King’s convenience have it, but Mr. Coventry most justly did argue freely for them that served cheapest. Thence walked a while with Mr. Coventry in the gallery, and first find that he is mighty cold in his present opinion of Mr. Peter Pett for his flagging and doing things so lazily there, and he did also surprise me with a question why Deane did not bring in their report of the timber of Clarendon. What he means thereby I know not, but at present put him off; nor do I know how to steer myself: but I must think of it, and advise with my Lord Sandwich. Thence with Creed by coach to my Lord Sandwich’s, and there I got Mr. Moore to give me my Lord’s hand for my receipt of 109l. more of my money of Sir G. Carteret, so that then his debt to me will be under 500l., I think. This do ease my mind also. Thence carried him and W. Howe into London, and set them down at Sir G. Carteret’s to receive some money, and I home and there busy very late, and so home to supper and to bed, with my mind in pretty good ease, my business being in a pretty good condition every where.

30 Annotations

Terry F   Link to this

"Mr. Creed's business"

This is the familiar matter of "Creed's accounts"

Pepys did Creed a considerable accounting favor. He argued for the honoring of contingency and petty-cash claims made by Creed as Deputy-Treasurer of the Fleet in the Mediterranean under Sandwich in 1660-61. The first discourse of "Mr. Creed's accounts" that Pepys records is 28 March 1661 http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1661/03/28/

21 November 1663 Creed gave him ""a very noble parti-coloured Indian gowne for my wife....I went by coach to Ludgate, and, by pricing several there, I guess this gowne may be worth about 12l. or 15l.. But, however, I expect at least 50l. of him."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/11/21/

cape henry   Link to this

"...I do thereby get 300l." Or what we today would refer to as a kickback. This brings us back to the discussion of where the line is drawn on these matters. Pepys seems to imply that because he has arranged "the cheapest price" for the victualing (at what price to the sailors' health?)he is somehow unlike the thieving varmint, Batten, and his ilk.

MissAnn   Link to this

Since Sam worked through his initial loss of Bess to Brampton he has spent so much time writing in his diary, quite voluminous entries of late. I wonder what we've missed out on recently which the shorter entries?

MissAnn   Link to this

I'm set to wondering what we might have missed out on recently with the shorter entries prior to Bess' departure to Brampton -- now Sam seems to pour everything into his diary and we appear to be getting so much more of everything - not just the impending war and its preparations but all the court intrigues and more personal contacts with the hierarchy. Even though it takes a little more of my lunchtime to read the entries it is so much more entertaining.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

"and there I got Mr. Moore to give me my Lord's hand for my receipt of 109l. more of my money of Sir G. Carteret, so that then his debt to me will be under 500l., I think"

Can anyone help me parse this? Does it somehow relate to the bill of imprest?

Australian Susan   Link to this

The 300 pounds. I think I would regard that as commission rather than kickback: Sam certainly seems to differentiate between what he gets (reasonable commission?) and what Batten et al take (kickback?). Sam seems quite clear in his mind that what he does is within the bounds of the system, but others are outside it.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...and by their promise I do thereby get 300l. per annum to myself, which do overjoy me; and the matter is left to me to draw up."

Hmmn...The equivalent of one's whole salary (350-100 to Mr. Barlow) in one "commission"-nice.

tg   Link to this

300 pounds is an extraordinary sum. His official wages are 50 pounds a year, no? Surely his moral mettle is being tested but he is blinded by the sudden brightness.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

His official wages are 350L oer annum minus 100Ls to Mr Barlow a former CoA who had attempted to recover his old office and came to a deal with Sam. But seeing as 300Ls is more than his salary, it sure is an enormous fee. Still in his defense, Coventry certifies that it's the cheapest bid.

As for the bit with Coventry demanding the Deane timber report, it's looking mighty rocky out there Sam. Best to keep off both sides and steer a middle course...Carefully. Something is afoot, surely Coventry knows the Duke's dad-in-law Clarendon is upset about the marking of his trees for cutting. And while William Coventry is an able and determined public servant, he's no fool.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I wonder...Were Howe and Creed hoping to use my Lord's bill for 500L as credit for themselves? Surely they couldn't hope to actually take any of the 500 without Sandwich asking serious questions.

"Wight, advance me 50Ls to put into friend Iuduco's sugar smuggling scheme. Collateral? My dear Wight, I have here Lord Sandwich's personnal Bill of Imprest for 500Ls."

Hmmn... "Creed, might I borrow that a moment? Believe me, it would be worth 50Ls to me."

"Niece, see here...Lord Sandwich's very own Bill of Imprest for 500Ls. You see, my offer is quite real. Would you perhaps care to...Reconsider my previous suggestion?"

"Uncle, whilst I do appreciate your coming so post-haste to Brampton... By the way, Mr. Creed? Do you have business here?"

"Of the most urgent..." Creed notes politely, carefully eyeing the Bill.

"...However, I do fear, Uncle, that I must reject your suggestion...Hartily. Say?...Is that really Lord Sandwich's? Well, might I borrow it? I mean of course in return for my willingness to say nothing of this second sordid episode to my good Aunt and your having my company...Both of you dear gentlemen...Back to London?"

Hmmn?...Wight and Creed stare.

Sordid? Second? I thought he wanted to get her to use her influence with Pepys on some fish provisioning scheme, Creed thinks.

London...Posthaste...

"My Lady. You remember I told you how my poor Sam was so troubled by that 700Ls of ours...All we have in the world...Being in bond to cover my Lord's debt. And now dear Mr. Creed here has my Lord's bill of Imprest for 500L. It being such a trivial sum for you and my Lord, if you could possibly see your way clear to letting us have it, it would so ease my poor Sam's mind."

"Oh, I'm sure we can find 500Ls to send to Lord Sandwich, dear girl." Jem beams. "By all means keep it for our sweet and beloved cousin's sake with my blessing."

"Sam! Lookee!" Bess enters in triumph, waving...

"Bess? What are you doing home? And what have you got there?"

andy   Link to this

most justly did argue freely for them that served cheapest.

I take it this means that the winning bid was the cheapest too. But even if it's cheapest doesn't mean it's the best value, Sam, you can't salve your conscience that way.

A fascinating radio programme last week on BBC Radio 4 about cartels in the building industry - see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/file_on_4...

A business cartel arrange for all bidders to a contract bar one to put up an exorbitant bid, so that the remaining one looks cheap by comparison. But in fact it still offers poor value because it is inflated by the kickback needed to payoff the cartel. Then another member of the cartel gets the next tender, and so on. This is true in both the public and private sectors and is of course corrupt and illegal.

Mark Time   Link to this

"Mr. Creed's business"

Pepys received £20 from Creed on 18th July 1664. He was singularly unimpressed :

"...however, this is better than nothing, and now I am out of expectation and shall henceforth know how to deal with him."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Hmmn...Sam seem singularly untroubled by pangs of conscience.

Like Daffy Duck, "Consequences, schmonsequences just so long as I'm rich." (...Or not headed to the Tower).

***

"...carried for my people..."

Hmmn...Whatever happened to the King's interest? To those fiery complaints against Batten and "his people"? Sam may honestly believe his friends offer the best deal but it's a damned slippery slope when one starts identifying oneself with one set against others.

Not as if much has changed of course...

language hat   Link to this

"I think I would regard that as commission rather than kickback: Sam certainly seems to differentiate between what he gets (reasonable commission?) and what Batten et al take (kickback?)."

He certainly does, but why would you accept his view? We all like the fellow, but he's as susceptible to self-justifying rationalizations as the rest of the species. I'm sure every corrupt official who ever lived could give you a touching explanation as to why his particular peculations are justified. I see no reason to regard Sam's massive under-the-table payments as anything but kickbacks.

Bradford   Link to this

Has someone researched what these lucky Navy folk were fed under this winning low-ball contract, and how well the King's interest were served by serving those victuals?

JWB   Link to this

kickback/commision

We've enter into the dabate vs. legal positivists & legal naturalists and as Hobbes, thought to be founder of the positivist notion, is of Sam's time I think historians, as opposed to moralists, should side with him and judge Sam innocent of corruption.

Pedro   Link to this

"Has someone researched what these lucky Navy folk were fed under this winning low-ball contract, and how well the King's interest were served by serving those victuals?"

If I recall The Army of Charles II by Childs has some information of the victualling of Tangier. I will post later when I have the book.

JWB   Link to this

Prudent man test

No matter the outcome-when the victuals pass the lips, the test of Sam's culpability would be in the examination of the contract itself. Are the figures true, reflecting the current market and state of shipping & storage? Would a prudent man reasonably expect a good outcome?

PK   Link to this

In some service industries it has been the norm to be paid a percentage of the cost of the contracts that you administer as a fee (engineering, architecture etc). You calculate the cost of the works and your fee may be 2 or 10% (whatever is negotiated). This is not a kickback or bribe but a way of calculating a fair fee (which is related to the volume of work). It is the professionals'lot, under this system, to be forever working, on behalf of the client to make the job cheaper and so, perversely make their fee smaller. (Which in my experience they do with some integrity). This is not an exact parallel but does suggest that a fee related to contracts may be fair and entirely respectable. (Provided it is open and agreed by all parties).

Pedro   Link to this

(The Army of Charles II by Childs)...The Garrison of Tangier.

Sir Hugh Chomley considered that the bad diet which had to be endured in Tangier and the suffering of the soldiers in general "gave so bad an impression of the place among the Commons of England, that they heard nothing with more detestation than being sent to Tangier, which they esteemed no better than an ill prison, from which They could only hope to be freed by the grave." (Memoirs)

Private men lived on a diet of ship's biscuit, salt beef, dried peas, butter, cheese and oatmeal, with the occasional variety of fresh bread and dried fish. The provisions were sent from England by contractors who purchased their rights from the Lords Commissioners for Tangier, but even if the correct amount was shipped, there was no guarantee that the stores would actually reach their destination, due to shipwreck and Corsairs. Neither was Sir Denis Gauden, the contractor for victuals during most of the life of the garrison, in the habit of dispatching generous quantities.

(Of course the officers fared a little better!)

Michael Robinson   Link to this

it has been the norm to be paid a percentage

Certain offices, for example Carteret as Navy Treasurer, had small commissions on the volume of business, poundage, added to the annual 'base' salary by the Crown; but not the ones Pepys held at the time.

Pepys appears merely to be following Sandwich's advice on getting the job:

"This morning my Lord (all things being ready) carried me by coach to Mr. Crew's, (in the way talking how good he did hope my place would be to me, and in general speaking that it was not the salary of any place that did make a man rich, but the opportunity of getting money while he is in the place)... "
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/08/16/

jeannine   Link to this

"Certain offices, for example Carteret as Navy Treasurer, had small commissions on the volume of business, poundage, added to the annual 'base' salary by the Crown; but not the ones Pepys held at the time."

And, Carteret's arrangement for his three pence poundage was approved by the King and 'publicly' known. I doubt that Sam's one off arrangements were either King approved or shared on a public platform.I am inclined to agree with Language Hat that "We all like the fellow, but he's as susceptible to self-justifying rationalizations as the rest of the species", (except of course, "rest of the species" would never apply to any of us!)

language hat   Link to this

"(Provided it is open and agreed by all parties)."

Ay, there's the rub. Like jeannine, I see no evidence that this is the case. Mind you, I'm not calling for Sam to be put in the stocks and flogged -- I imagine it was pretty routine peculation for the day, and by and large taken for granted, like similar skimming under (say) Boss Tweed in the 19th century (and Tweed could justly say that he had beautiful, lasting buildings to show for his activity, even if they cost more than they would otherwise) -- but I don't think it was open and agreed by all parties.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

No, I don't quite see this little deal bearing up well if exposed to King and Parliament. Though Charles might laugh it off privately ("only 300?"), in public I think we'd see swift and harsh punishment. Coventry would certainly not tolerate it and even Sandwich however much sympathy he might feel would surely abandon Sam to the Parliament's howls of rage.

***

Certainly more likeable despite his flaws and human weakenesses than say, Dick Cheney... And after all, we've just seen how exposed and fragile his hold on success and comfort is. Clarendon could have reduced him to nothing on a whim while taking a turn in that lovely little park of his. It's understandable if regretable that his scruples might waver on a chance to secure his and Bess' future, especially if he can argue to himself that he's done his utmost to secure a good contract.

Hopefully he will one day (yes, spoiler...He will be going to Tangier in about 20 years to help dismantle the base) be required to live on those Tangier victuals himself for a bit.

Though he probably came well supplied with his own fare...

Terry F   Link to this

"Mr. Coventry...is mighty cold in his present opinion of Mr. Peter Pett for his flagging and doing things so lazily there."

The Extra Commissioner of the Navy shares Pepys's view of the Navy Commissioner in Chatham.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Well, maybe if Peter got a 300Ls kickback...

Cumsalisgrano   Link to this

The Aristolians vs. Hobbsians: Tis 'uman nature to help those that help thee with a sweetner.
1: the golf course, where it be discussed the value of mast, and how to win a putt full of gold.
2. hints on which stock will be in vogue.
Sell thy house and get a better one in exchange without the morgage..
3: baksheesh is only for the doorman to let the Lobbyist get into the lobby, but those that live there, are always dropping their hanky and loosing a 3 week stay at the nice convention, with all mod con.

Winston Churchill tried in '42 to get the food and supplies sent for the the Army out of the Souks of Cairo and other Locations, and down to Tobruk.
He recognised and budgeting for larger amount knowing that most of it would fall off the transport before the intended could get a sniff.

Remember back when our boy, be getting monies for the nameless /headless staff for writing up the orders to keep Sandwiches ships up to snuff.

There always be an angle to better thy self, the only time it is found out [there is always a new wrinkle] is when thee stiff another that should? be on the share.
Perks be the job benefit.

Today one must have space and distance between give and take, but give and take be the game..

Pedro   Link to this

"with Mr. Coventry in the gallery, and first find that he is mighty cold in his present opinion of Mr. Peter Pett for his flagging and doing things so lazily there,"

Mr. Coventry sowing the seeds he can reap if this war goes pear shaped?

"After this loss, to relish discontent,
Someone must be accused by punishment.
All our miscarriages on Pett must fall:
His name alone seems fit to answer all. "

The scapegoating of Pett in 1667 was satirized by Marvell: (Posted by Michael Smith)...

http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/708/

Robert Gertz   Link to this

And Sam will be fervently grateful that poor Pett winds up the scapegoat.

After all, it's only a few letters to make it "Pepys".

1667...

"Well someone must pay for this shocking disaster, Parliament and Nation are howling for blood...And I prefer it not be mine or those of my titled closest official." Charles notes. "So, then? Who in the Naval Office has some reasonably responsible position but doesn't have a title? I see. Well, it hardly matters. Pett, Pepys. Rupert you pick one."

pepf   Link to this

“Mr. Creed’s business”

As far as I remember the official business (Creed's account concerning exchange rates for pieces of eight) and his inofficial gain of 500£ thereby is settled to Sir G. Carteret's chagrin
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/07/04/
if we discount Pepys' blighted hopes of a substantial share (50£) as a kickback
"This evening I made an end of my letter to Creed about his pieces of eight, and sent it away to him."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/02/04/
which were renewed by their shaky reconciliation.
"...and that he would reckon himself obliged to show the same ingenuous acknowledgment of my love and service to him as at the beginning he ought to have done..."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/02/12/

Now he's doing "a good turn", dispatching and probably doctoring another one of Creed's bills in hope of getting the expected 50£ at last ("the business I wot of") before Creed will go to sea again ("... as he acquits himself to me I will willingly do.").

"and at night weary home, where Mr. Creed waited for me, and he and I walked in the garden, where he told me he is now in a hurry fitting himself for sea, and that it remains that he deals as an ingenuous man with me in the business I wot of, which he will do before he goes. But I perceive he will have me do many good turns for him first, both as to his bills coming to him in this office, and also in his absence at the Committee of Tangier, which I promise, and as he acquits himself to me I will willingly do. I would I knew the worst of it, what it is he intends, that so I may either quit my hands of him or continue my kindness still to him."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/06/24/

Log in to post an annotation.

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