Wednesday 9 November 1664

Called up, as I had appointed, by H. Russell, between two and three o’clock, and I and my boy Tom by water with a gally down to the Hope, it being a fine starry night. Got thither by eight o’clock, and there, as expected, found the Charles, her mainmast setting. Commissioner Pett aboard. I up and down to see the ship I was so well acquainted with, and a great worke it is, the setting so great a mast. Thence the Commissioner and I on board Sir G. Ascue, in the Henery, who lacks men mightily, which makes me think that there is more believed to be in a man that hath heretofore been employed than truly there is; for one would never have thought, a month ago, that he would have wanted 1000 men at his heels. Nor do I think he hath much of a seaman in him: for he told me, says he, “Heretofore, we used to find our ships clear and ready, everything to our hands in the Downes. Now I come, and must look to see things done like a slave, things that I never minded, nor cannot look after.” And by his discourse I find that he hath not minded anything in her at all. Thence not staying, the wind blowing hard, I made use of the Jemmy yacht and returned to the Tower in her, my boy being a very droll boy and good company. Home and eat something, and then shifted myself, and to White Hall, and there the King being in his Cabinet Council (I desiring to speak with Sir G. Carteret), I was called in, and demanded by the King himself many questions, to which I did give him full answers. There were at this Council my Lord Chancellor, Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Treasurer, the two Secretarys, and Sir G. Carteret. Not a little contented at this chance of being made known to these persons, and called often by my name by the King, I to Mr. Pierces to take leave of him, but he not within, but saw her and made very little stay, but straight home to my office, where I did business, and then to supper and to bed. The Duke of York is this day gone away to Portsmouth.

24 Annotations

Pedro   Link to this

On this day the 9th November…

The Committee of the Navy is to meet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, about sea affairs or oftener.

Ordered, that a boat be sent down every day, to return and receive an account of His Majesty’s ships now fitting for sea and provisions, equipage etc.

(From the Memorial to Sir William Pen by his grandson Granville Penn)

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

Not a little contented

Sam makes the most of his royal audience (and many a jealous courtier stands in the shadows?)

Pedro   Link to this

"Sir G. Ascue…Nor do I think he hath much of a seaman in him:"

Well it takes one to know one. Only Bishop Burnet can match Sam for character assassination.

Terry F   Link to this

"I was called in, and demanded by the King himself many questions, to which I did give him full answers. "

One wonders what the many questions were. L&M offer no conjecture.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Interesting how Sam never presses his luck with Mrs. Pierce...Though of course James does his best to keep la belle Pierce occupied. Both the good doctor and Madam Pierce seem easy-going and he not intimidating. Is she just too high up on the social scale to take the risk or might this indicate Sam requires some faint hint of interest on the lady's part to act? Certainly way back at Portsmouth he seemed attracted enough to her, despite his grumblings at her multiple pregnancies. Perhaps underneath her friendly, open manner is a very firm bar our hero knows better than to risk crossing...? It does seem as if the Pierces, aware of the risk her beauty imposes at Charles' court, affect a tolerant, sophisticated air while carefully making sure no King or courtier gets a chance.

"Elizabeth, the good news is our fortune is made. I'm to be court surgeon."

"Oh, James. And?"

"The bad news is you'll have to be pregnant constantly until I retire if you don't want the King and his friends all over you."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Gay says she wants to suggest perhaps Sam is just too good a friend to meddle with a friend's wife but can't write it with a straight face.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Mrs. Pierce
Well, Sam may simply not have been all that attracted to her. He admired her (universally noted) beauty, but found her personal habits too slovenly for his taste. Remember how he called her the "veriest slattern" a while back. Having never had a child himself, Sam clearly didn't appreciate how a house full of them can daunt even the most fastidious soul.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Command performance
Sam, unexpectedly and without preparation, is called on to report to the King and his Cabinet, the most powerful people in the land. That's the sort of thing that can make or break a career in an hour. Sam obviously feels that he acquitted himself well, and while we have no corroborating opinion from those present (as far as I know), that would seem to be consistent with his continuing rise in power and influence. All of his careful attention to the multiple details of making the navy function well, together with his articulate expression, equipped him well for this challenge. Bravo!

JWB   Link to this

Ascue & Carteret

Ascue served under Blake who took Jersey from Carteret in '51. That they should appear on this page, in this manner is rather artful.

Pedro   Link to this

“for one would never have thought, a month ago, that he would have wanted 1000 men at his heels. Nor do I think he hath much of a seaman in him: for he told me, says he, “Heretofore, we used to find our ships clear and ready, everything to our hands in the Downes. Now I come, and must look to see things done like a slave, things that I never minded, nor cannot look after.”

Ayscue is the Vice-Admiral in the Blue Squadron of Sandwich, and therefore I presume he means men for that squadron and not the Henry. In the fleet list of April 1665 the Henry, under Ayscue, is a 2nd rate and carries 430 men. The Charles and the James held 550 and 500 men, being the largest carriers.

Could Sam be reacting to the fact that Ayscue is, in as many words, saying that he is an officer, and under the Commonwealth all this was prepared by the administration?

JWB   Link to this

"a month ago"
Oct. 4 1664 "...this morning Sir W. Pen went to Chatham to look: after the ships now going out thence, and particularly that wherein the Duke and himself go. He took Sir G. Ascue with: him, whom, I believe, he hath brought into play."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Interesting contrast to the usual image Sam gives of Charles to find the King not only fully aware of the best administrative expert in his Naval Office but asking a horde of detailed questions.
***

I don't know as to Mrs. Pierce. I can't imagine plump Betty Martin (nee Lane) a model of cleanly decorum and I suspect if Sam thought he had a chance he wouldn't hesitate. What's really interesting to me is she may indicate the social line he feels as yet he can't let his libedo cross. Just a bit out of his league, at least for a casual dalliance. That may change as he rises still higher. I'd bet if we could see her point of view, we'd find she treats Sam as an amusing, even charming, if still somewhat awkward little fellow but no one she'd seriously consider.

And of course, perhaps under the charm and sophistication, a very devoted wife and mother who makes it quite, if charmingly, clear she's not interested.

Ruben   Link to this

1) Samuel Pepys is a serious citizen, that will do his duty as ordered by the "better persons" of his.
He is no coward. I am sure that if Sandwich would tell him to come with him to war, he would not hesitate. Still, it looks to me that for some good reason, everyone involved wants Pepys in his office and not at sea. He was good at what he was doing (boring paperwork and the like, not very adventoursome). Do not forget his humble origins, meaning that he had not a military education, he never had a horse he could call his and he probably would be better with a stick than with a sword.
2) Female-Male relationship: There is a matter of money and pecking order involved in all sexual relation. Betty was OK, the Bagwell's wife was OK. They did not cost much to entertain, if at all, and no one could blame him (except for God and his wife) in taking advantage of any opportunity in his way. But a higher design would involve social consequences Pepys could not afford. It would cost him a lot of money and the "social credit and respectability" he was all this time trying to accumulate.
This will pay off in friendship with the best cientific minds of his time, if not of all times.
We know that later in life (after our diary) he continued his relationship with the other sex with the same line of conduct.

Ruben   Link to this

more on Pepys and war:
I did not find a good reference yet, but I presume that in those days, a Captain payed for his expenses when at his Majesty's service. More than that, may be he payed to be appointed!
The reward was the glory and a higher place in the social order. Sometimes, if you were lucky, you got a better title than the one you inherited.
If you got a ship, all the other sailors were in reality your servants, except for some "boys" sent by their families to learn the job on the spot and considered special cases.
I presume you got a better ship, paying more to the one in charge of this matter, including bribes directly taken by the King himself.

Ruben   Link to this

Sorry!
Samuel Pepys is a loyal SUBJECT.
(not citizen...)

language hat   Link to this

"(not citizen…)"

Well, he was a citizen in several senses current at the time (OED):

1. An inhabitant of a city or (often) of a town; esp. one possessing civic rights and privileges, a burgess or freeman of a city.
[...] 1512 Act 4 Hen. VIII, c. 9. §2 Citezens of Cities and Burgeys of boroughes and Townes. [...] 1596 SHAKES. Tam. Shr. IV. ii. 95 Pisa renowned for graue Citizens. a1674 CLARENDON Hist. Reb. III. xv. 472 You, the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses, of the House of Commons. a1699 A. HALKETT Autobiog. (1875) 20 Furnished by an honest Cittisen. 1782 COWPER Gilpin i, John Gilpin was a citizen Of credit and renown. [...]

c. A townsman, as opposed to a countryman.
1514 BARCLAY Cyt. & Uplondyshm. Prol., Faustus accused and blamed cytezyns, Amyntas blamed the rurall men agayne. 1845 S. AUSTIN Ranke's Hist. Ref. II. 209 Both citizens and peasants are tired of it. [...]

d. A civilian as distinguished from a soldier; in earlier times also distinguished from a member of the landed nobility or gentry. Johnson says ‘a man of trade, not a gentleman’.
1607 SHAKES. Cor. III. iii. 53 When he speakes not like a Citizen You finde him like a Soldier. 1871 [see CITIZENHOOD].

2. A member of a state, an enfranchised inhabitant of a country, as opposed to an alien; in U.S., a person, native or naturalized, who has the privilege of voting for public offices, and is entitled to full protection in the exercise of private rights.
[...] 1538 STARKEY England 46 The nombur of cytyzyns, in euery commynalty, Cyty, or cuntrey. 1633 MASSINGER Guardian V. iv, To save one citizen is a greater prize Than to have killed in war ten enemies.

(Incidentally, nobody knows how the -z- got into Anglo-French citeseyn, -zein, since the Old French forms were citeain, citehain, citein, citeen, citien, citain (later citeyen, citoyen).

cgs   Link to this

Military academy there be none,it was on the job training , if thee were shie of a nickel then thee got the front line or hoisting the top sail, if thee had a few coins then thee came with thy horse and pick thy colonel who would entice the 600 men to form ranks and be known as the colonell of the regiment, and regiment be known as "joe blows dinderheads".

Same be for the ship, The Man with with gold had the clout who would if smart hire some competent sailor to run the deck while he enjoyed the cooks best efforts. [again there be many exceptions.]

The amateurs ruled the the players, the system worked right up to the Battle of Britain when a few privileged ones failed to get back to the club with sufficient funds to down stiff shot of whiskey.
Then training started in earnest along with simulators to reduce the casualty rate.
It was a case of catch as catch can.

Our Samuell saw the foolishness of this scheme and saw from the "inter Regnum " that trained men from common folk were winners over most of the inept silver spooned ones, [ there be always exceptions like young Churchill [ future Q. Anne's buddy] learning how to say nice things to those that could get him a nice fighting position later]

Money may be worshiped and he who has it, should be adulated, but when the can[n]on balls start flying, then it takes more than intuition to survive than kissing a ring or two.

Ruben   Link to this

Subject vs. Citizen
A citizen may be a free citizen, but a subject, well... is always bound to something or someone.
THAT is the reason I tried to change the word I used in my annotation.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Coward, no, merely cautious and sensibly, many would say, little eager for the bubble reputation. And he is most useful where he is. But there are many good fellows being torn from their wives and families by his press gangs who'd no doubt like a chance to trade places. And our boy will, with rare exception, never be one known for his willingness to risk all for Nation or friend, his bravery in facing the operation that freed him from pain and poverty not withstanding.

***
Tomalin suggests that Sam probably longed to have the social grace and 'polish' to deal smoothly with and win ladies like Elizabeth Pierce and even the grand Castlemaine but never quite mastered it. As I noted above, it's interesting to see just where the line fell over which he would not, could not cross. I suspect with Mrs. Pierce, and perhaps even Lady Batten, he's increasingly right on the edge, hesitantly, nervously pondering the 'what if I jumped?' question. I also wonder if he tends to paint himself just a bit 'smoother' in his encounters with such ladies than he actually was.

language hat   Link to this

"THAT is the reason I tried to change the word I used in my annotation."

Yeah, I understood why you changed it and wasn't arguing with you, I just wondered how the word was used back then and thought I'd share the information.

Australian Susan   Link to this

"Military academy there be none,"

Sam realised the need for this and encouraged boys to be trained in mathematics and navigation at the Christ's Hospital School he became a patron of.

Ding   Link to this

"I and my boy Tom by water with a gally down to the Hope, it being a fine starry night. Got thither by eight o’clock,"..."Thence not staying, the wind blowing hard, I made use of the Jemmy yacht and returned to the Tower"..."Home and eat something, and then shifted myself, and to White Hall, and there the King being in his Cabinet Council"

Sam never seems to stick to much of a working timetable, which, I'm guessing, is a fabrication of a later age, but is it just me, or is Sam (not to mention the King & his council) working pretty late into the night here?

Ruben   Link to this

"working pretty late into the night"
A starry night...is it that early, considering that days had become shorter? I do not think so.
And what does it mean "eight o'clock" in Samuel's days? Every city had his "local time"...

cgs   Link to this

"And what does it mean “eight o’clock” in Samuel’s days? Every city had his “local time”…"
The Sun dial be in the moon light [maybe]
As there be a few clock dials around, so twelve hours be post noon [the sun being over yard arm ] or ante noon or time for lunch. " “eight o’clock”", be eighth hour of the clock face. So he be down at the Hope in pitch dark [with a twinkle here and twinkle there] before the morning star fades.
The milk maids had finished sitting on a three legged stool and be ready to start a churning.

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