Saturday 10 September 1664

Up and to the office, where we sate all the morning, and I much troubled to think what the end of our great sluggishness will be, for we do nothing in this office like people able to carry on a warr. We must be put out, or other people put in. Dined at home, and then my wife and I and Mercer to the Duke’s house, and there saw “The Rivalls,” which is no excellent play, but good acting in it; especially Gosnell comes and sings and dances finely, but, for all that, fell out of the key, so that the musique could not play to her afterwards, and so did Harris also go out of the tune to agree with her. Thence home and late writing letters, and this night I received, by Will, 105l., the first-fruits of my endeavours in the late contract for victualling of Tangier, for which God be praised! for I can with a safe conscience say that I have therein saved the King 5000l. per annum, and yet got myself a hope of 300l. per annum without the least wrong to the King. So to supper and to bed.

19 Annotations

Terry F   Link to this

A List of all His Majesty's Ships, now at sea, or ["and" in MS.] fitting forth ...

Date: 10 September 1664

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 75, fol(s). 218-219

Total of ships at sea, 69, with 8,719 men. Total of ships now fitting for sea, 22.
http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/projects...

Cum Grano Salis   Link to this

we sate [ L. sat, satis enough: cf. SATIATE v.]
sate:
1. to satisfy (any appetite or desire) fully.
2. to fill to excess; surfeit; glut.
[Origin: 1595-1605; var. of obs. sade to satiate, OE sadian (akin to sad), perh. influenced by satiate]

--Synonyms 1. satiate, fill. 2. gorge, stuff.
that could explain the sluggishnest.

"...where we sate all the morning, and I much troubled to think what the end of our great sluggishness will be..."
but it be explained by Evelyn.
sat/sate:
1666 PEPYS Diary 17 Mar., This day I began to sit; and he will make me, I think, a very fine picture
a1700 EVELYN Diary 28 June 1641, I..sate to one Vanderborcht for my picture in oyle.

Matt Lee   Link to this

I initially read this as "sat". Does someone with an L&M need to compare the transcriptions, or am I being too picky about spelling?

Terry F   Link to this

Matt Lee, you read it aright. CGS is at play in the OED. L&M transcribe it this way: "Up and to my office, where we sat all the morning."

Cum Grano Salis   Link to this

"Sate" was very common usage for "sat" in the 1600's ala OED:

They dothe like to emphasized their syllables, no dropping of 1st and last endings, 'h[aitch} not 'aitch' , 'ing' not 'in', the 'T' be clearly enunciated, 'tis my take.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"I much troubled to think what the end of our great sluggishness will be, for we do nothing in this office like people able to carry on a warr." That's ok, Sam, it's always that way...Even the Nazis ended up surprising historians to learn how unready they really were for a major war despite their strutting. I imagine the situation's no better at the Hague...And they've had two severe defeats already, even if word of New Amsterdam's fall won't come for a bit yet.

***
"...for which God be praised! for I can with a safe conscience say that I have therein saved the King 5000l. per annum, and yet got myself a hope of 300l. per annum without the least wrong to the King."

Well, in that case Sam, don't keep such joyful news to yourself. Run to Court at once and let them know what a brilliant young fellow is running the admistrative end of naval affairs. Why I see a knighthood, doubtless, when Jamie and Charles learn of your shrewd care of them and their affairs.

"Silly fellow...I would have kept at least a 1000 for myself." Charles, shaking head. "Well, pity and all that but you do understand Pepys, we must keep up appearances...Parliament gets all huffy about such things, you know. Proceed with the execution." Languid wave of hand.

Jamie, at least, a bit more distressed. Silly thing to have lose a bright young fellow like Pepys over...

But...

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... the first-fruits of my endeavours in the late contract ..."

Had 'first fruits' become a colloquial expression by Pepys' day and lost any popular sense of a religious offering or a 'tithe' for Church use? Or is there a suggestion in Pepys use of the term that he has come to conceptualizes his rake off on contracts as a part of the 'divine order' of the world; rather than as isolated, individual and distinct gifts that evidence God's personal grace which his comments in prior entries would suggest.

cape henry   Link to this

"...for we do nothing in this office like people able to carry on a warr." Several who contribute here have noted the lack of general, determined effort vis a vie 'the warr' as Pepys has described it. This is no doubt partly due to human nature, of course. But I have wondered, and I think others have as well, if we were not applying our more 'modern' standards of efficiency to the situation as it has been presented. Now we see that Pepys is concerned enough to think the group is not capable of such an undertaking - though I think there is some hyperbole on his part in this statement. At any rate, it is always interesting to come upon his answer to a standing set of questions raised in this forum.

Cum Grano Salis   Link to this

Samuell must be so pleased that he listened to me Laud, and not sell this sinecure position for 500 smackers, but turn it into a prosperous endeavor. He never visioned this amount vigourish be available to one who never took his vows of a clergy man, like so many of his refectory on the Granta.

Cactus Wren   Link to this

As late as 1849 (although this may have been a deliberately archaic usage), Matthew Arnold used the "sate" formation in "The Forsaken Merman": "Once she sate with you and me/On a red gold throne in the heart of the sea/And the youngest sate on her knee".

Paul Dyson   Link to this

" ... the first-fruits of my endeavours in the late contract ..."

Michael, perhaps 1 Corinthians 15:20, in the King James Version which Sam would know, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept" gives an indication of what Sam is thinking. In this verse the implication seems to be that there will be more to follow after the "firstfruits", although the Greek word used is the same as that in other biblical verses where sacrifices are meant. In the Old Testament the meaning is generally a sacrifice from people to God of the first part of a crop to be harvested. Pepys is maybe thinking of it as coming from God to him! Like so many words and phrases from the KJV over the centuries it has begun to enter the English language but not always with precisely the original meaning. P G Wodehouse books are a mine of such usages.

Mark Geraghty   Link to this

"...especially Gosnell comes and sings and dances finely, but, for all that, fell out of the key, so that the musique could not play to her afterwards, and so did Harris also go out of the tune to agree with her. "

Easily done, I'm afraid. At a recent concert we had to end a number a third higher after the soloist decided to change key mid solo. Put quite a strain on us poor singers I can tell you. Quite what an orchestra would do I can't imagine.

Bradford   Link to this

Or might "first-fruits" have an established usage before the KJV commission settled on it, so that the religious connotation comes after?---though the notion of wealth as a favor from God is, as we know, congenial to Pepys and widespread elsewhere, except perhaps among the poor.
The passage from Corinthians pointed out by Paul D. came immediately to mind from its use in "Messiah" which, alas, Pepys had no occasion to hear. While alive. Which leads us to the musical poser from Mark G.:
Might the orchestra just stop playing and let the voices finish as best they may? I once accompanied a choir whose rendition of a folk-tune arranged by Brahms sank lower and lower in pitch, compared to the piano, till it wound up sounding like bi-tonal Bartok.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"first-fruits" have an established usage before the KJV

It was used, as Paul Dyson says, in the translation of I Corinthians 15 in the 1539 "Great Bible" and quoted in the burial service in every 'Prayer Book' from the first of 1549 onward:-

"CHRISTE is rysen from the dead, and become the fyrst fruites of them that slepte. For by a manne came death, and by a manne came the resurreccion of the dead. For as by Adam all dye, even so by Christ shall all be made alyve, but every man in hys owne ordre. The firste is Christe, then they that are Christes, at hys comming. ..."

With the exclamation "for which God be praised!" Pepys clearly thinks invoking God essential -- however, in part facetiously and punning on a later part of the same passage "For the trumpe shall blowe, and the dead shall ryse incorruptible, and we shall be chaunged." -- I wondered if his sense had shifted from gifts being individual instances of God's grace to 'rake offs,' like resurrection, being part of the way God's world is ordered and organized for the righteous. It very well could have entered the language already as a colloquialism lacking any sense of a tithe or similar taken as a right, divine or legal.

Pedro   Link to this

"the lack of general, determined effort vis a vie 'the warr' as Pepys has described it."

I think one of the problems is that Sam, at the present, is not really in the know. He only gets fed bits of information by Coventry. J. D. Davies in his book Gentlemen and Tarpaulins says that in the autumn of 1664 preparations for war were well advanced.

Terry's annotation shows...

"Total of ships at sea, 69, with 8,719 men. Total of ships now fitting for sea, 22."

As far as ships are concerned this is a total of 91, and the Fleet List for April 1665 shows about 107, some of which are merchantmen. At that point some regard the English and Dutch fleets to be evenly matched.

The manpower is another question and we have seen from Sam that pressing on a small scale started in June 1664, and we will no doubt here more of this. But manpower may be a problem for both sides.

Pedro   Link to this

"pressing on a small scale started in June 1664,"

"And then up to the Duke, and was with him giving him an account how matters go, and of the necessity there is of a power to presse seamen, without which we cannot really raise men for this fleete of twelve sayle, besides that it will assert the King's power of pressing, which at present is somewhat doubted, and will make the Dutch believe that we are in earnest."

http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/06/04/

Cum Grano Salis   Link to this

"...the first-fruits of my endeavours in the late contract for victualling of Tangier,..."
From the OED as well as early Biblical connections

English and Hebrew
"You shall bring the First-Fruits of your Land to the House of Hashem your G-d..." (Shemot 23,19)

http://www.ou.org/chagim/shavuot/bring.htm

20 mil. refs: here be another source
OED:

1. The fruits first gathered in a season; the earliest products of the soil; esp. with reference to the custom of making offerings of these to God or the gods.
1382 WYCLIF Num. xviii. 12 What euer thing thei shulen offre of first fruytis to the Lord.

1483 Cath. Angl. 132/1 Firste Frute, primicie.
1535 COVERDALE Lev. ii. 14 Yf thou wilt offre a meatofferynge of the first frutes vnto ye Lorde.

1667 MILTON P.L. XI. 435 Thither anon A sweatie Reaper from his Tillage brought First Fruits.
.....
2. transf. and fig. The earliest products, results, or issues of anything; the first products of a man's work or endeavour.
1597 HOOKER Eccl. Pol. V. lvi. (1611) 309 The first fruites of Christs Spirit.

1653 WALTON Angler 56 It is a good beginning of your art to offer your first-fruits to the poor.

1677 WALLER Loss Dk. Camb., As a First-fruit, Heaven claim'd that Lovely Boy; The next shall live, and be the nation's joy.
............

3. Eccl. and Feudal Law. A payment, usually representing the amount of the first year's income, formerly paid by each new holder of a feudal or ecclesiastical benefice, or any office of profit, to some superior.
The first-fruits of the English bishoprics and other benefices were paid before the Reformation to the Pope, afterwards to the Crown: see ANNATES.

c1380 WYCLIF Wks. (1880) 66 It is symonye to..{ygh}eue hym [the Pope]..{th}e frystefruytes for {ygh}ifte of a chirche.

c1394 P. Pl. Crede 729 {Th}ey [freres] freten vp {th}e fu[r]ste-froyt.
1545 BRINKLOW Compl. 2b, Of first frutes, both of benefices and of lordes landes.

1587 HARRISON England II. i. (1877) I. 24 Our first fruits, which is one whole yeares commoditie of our living.

1622 BACON Hen. VII, 16 The King did vse to rayse them [Bishops] by steps; that hee might not loose the profit of the First-fruits.
1710 SWIFT Let. to Harley 7 Dec. Wks. 1841 II. 455 The first-fruits paid by all incumbents upon their promotion amount to £450 per annum. 1767 BLACKSTONE Comm. II. 67 The king used to take..the first fruits, that is to say, one year's profits of the land.

4. attrib., as first-fruit offering; first-fruits-book, a record of first-fruits.
1655 FULLER Ch. Hist. I. x. vii. §2 That there were in England foure thousand five hundred Benefices with Cure, not above ten, and most of them under eight pounds in the first fruits-book.

1695 CONGREVE Love for L. Prol. 25 We..bring this day The first fruit offering of a virgin play.

Hence first-fruit v. trans., to offer or pay as first-fruits; first-fruitable a. (nonce-wds.).

1621 BP. R. MONTAGU Diatribæ 465 It was giuen them in charge, to first-fruit their Tenths..of whatsoeuer the ground brought forth. Ibid. 302 Euery herbe was Titheable..and if so, then shew reason why not first-fruitable also.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... our great sluggishness ..., for we do nothing in this office like people able to carry on a warr..."

Since the total of ships at sea or fitting is now 91, with his routine visits to all the yards (except Portsmouth), the Exchange and rushing about in general Pepys has to be aware of the extent of the additional activity on his patch; it would be unlike him not to have exact numbers available to hand even if the procurement paper work is not flooding through the board. I assume the usual suspects are to blame, Batten, et al.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

"wealth as a favor from God is ... widespread elsewhere, except perhaps among the poor."

"More deprived regions yield proverbs of a quite Beckettian mordancy. "When you've made a good soup, the Devil comes and shits in it." "If only God were a decent man."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?view...

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