Wednesday 16 November 1664

My wife not being well, waked in the night, and strange to see how dead sleep our people sleep that she was fain to ring an hour before any body would wake. At last one rose and helped my wife, and so to sleep again. Up and to my business, and then to White Hall, there to attend the Lords Commissioners, and so directly home and dined with Sir W. Batten and my Lady, and after dinner had much discourse tending to profit with Sir W. Batten, how to get ourselves into the prize office or some other fair way of obliging the King to consider us in our extraordinary pains. Then to the office, and there all the afternoon very busy, and so till past 12 at night, and so home to bed. This day my wife went to the burial of a little boy of W. Joyce’s.

18 Annotations

Terry F   Link to this

"the Lords Commissioners"

Does anyone know whether Pepys's reference is to these?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lords_Commissioners

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Ah, the Prize Office...Nothing like making war pay (for those in the right places anyway).

Jenny   Link to this

I note that Sam didn't get up to help his wife!

jeannine   Link to this

“The Navy White Book” from “Samuel Pepys and the Second Dutch War” (transcribed by Matthews and Knighton, edited by Latham)

Novembr 16. 1664. Observed upon the charge in building the Royall Katharine, begun May 1662 and ended Octob. 1664.

Whereas the estimate of the carpentry and caulkery of the ship was given in and signed to by us …..2250£.
I find by the book, as I have caused it to be kept, and as the clerk of the cheque hath by my desire cast it up and given me under his hand -- as follows –

[Sam had a little table which can’t be duplicated in the annotation properly but the info follows~~ note that rates are in £]

Shipwrights employed in building her 5094
Shipwrights employed in laying ways
& c. for the launching of her 0300
Caulkers 0126

[Sam totaled this to be 5520£]

Vide no 7 [blank]

Vide no 8 He reports it 1200£ less. Q. the reason of it?
Dec. 23. 1664 –having spoken with him he tells me that the first he made only by estimate and the latter by exact computation from the book.

Vide no 9 An abstract of the provisions expended in the new ship.

jeannine   Link to this

“The Navy White Book” from “Samuel Pepys and the Second Dutch War” (transcribed by Matthews and Knighton, edited by Latham)

Nov. 16. 1664. Considerable in the circumstances of Sir W. Batten’s opposing of Sir Warren’s knees and complaining about bad knees in his Deptford yard. It is to be remembered that in the beginning, when we were first thinking of contracting with Sir W.W. about his knees, we were mightily opposed to Sir W. B. that the knees of roots were not as good as those of the arms; nay, Nr Chr Pett was got in word or writing to say the same. But being afterwards informed, we sent down to see them and found them so good as in Aug. 63, I to contract for 50 loads, reserving the power to ourselves, if we needed them, to have 50 more. These we had, and in July 64 contracted for 200 loads more, having a liberty given us to have our instruments to go and mark them, and none else to be brought down. These were all brought to Woolwich and the new 2nd-rate ship [The Royal Katherine] almost wholly built with them, and Mr Pett commended them to me many times, saying they were worth 3£. 10s. per load between man and man [on average] and the better than they proved he never saw any, nor was any fault found with them all the time that Sir W. B. was in the yard during the whole time of their lying there while the ship was building.
Again, in Sept, 64 we contract for 100 loads more to be taken and marked by our own instrument, out of 1000 loads of timber – part of which was brought in at Deptford, being of the same timber with what was formerly, and marked by the same man that heretofore did it, who is no ordinary labourer (as Sir W. B. says) but an able shipwright, as Pett and others tell me, and hath been a master of the yard many years ago, and able to judge of timber as any man in England.
However, Sir W.B. finds bad ones in Deptford yard, and bad they were indeed. But Sir W.W.’s instruments will swear that they are the very same that were marked by the King’s officers. Now Sir W.B. would needs have somebody go thither after the Woolwich man had been there and marked them, and Meres should be the man, but not to go alone, though I urged [it] – which in my conscience he would not suffer, because then he would be the sooner suspected, but I do verily believe that Meres (though Deane did go along with him for colour) did spitefully mark some of these on purpose at this time. For now, because Mr Castle hath a ship loading of Ribadeuz knees come, and the better to put the gloss upon his (which indded are good, or at least well hewed and well looked), these are found out – not before nor any stir afterwards [editor note-not as the result of the disputes caused by Batten insisting on Castle’s being awarded the contract] , that we had contracted for Castle’s.

Timber-measurer’s knavery. But one thing is most strange- that being down at Deptford yard, I did take notice of them thinking of nothing, and demanded the measurer what the contents of such a piece was; he told me so much, and that it was one of Sir W.W.’s knees, and showed me that he head measured it and measured it –telling me too ( and also Sir J. M. had said a little before, that he had the answer given him by him) that he doth make abatement where the timber is not well hewed away. But now when the pursuit comes, they all answer that they indeed did receive them, but it was upon a Sunday, only to keep them from being carried away in the River, and that they never intended to receive them.
We pay 4£. 15s. for Castle’s knees, which is known to cost him 3£. 8s. Now I am told that upon Comr Pett’s seeing them the other day, he caused one of them to be hewed, and the grain of it did show that it was not among knees, but a forked piece which now appears a standard [a straight piece] – but with quarter of the strength that must break another this will be broke in the joint, it being not knit as standards are that grown in natural knee.

AussieRene   Link to this

And it continues to this day Robert G....the main war nowadays is about oil.

Australian Susan   Link to this

Jeannine's quotation shows Sam's day-to-day work and also his attention to detail, sticking to a task , quick grasp of essentials and ferreting out of bits and pieces of information. Insightful! Fleshing out his laconic comments in the diary. thank you!

Pedro   Link to this

De Ruyter's prize position.

"He did not neglect his own interests, when he went on expeditions to the Barbary Coast he requested the states general to let him have his due prize money, whether the prizes had been taken in his presence or, in his absence, by ships under his command. From the profits that resulted from such expeditions he was able considerably to increase the possessions he had aquired in the course of his mercantile career. In his riper age he was a wealthy man…"

(Life of Admiral De Ruyter by Blok)

Cactus Wren   Link to this

"I note that Sam didn’t get up to help his wife!"

Maybe it was a female problem, something he didn't feel equipped to help her with personally?

Linda F   Link to this

Sam's not helping his wife: perhaps this involved tasks that Sam really could not do (stir hearth/boil water/warm bricks/prep poultice/ find kitchen?). Sam and Elizabeth seem to have expected a servant momentarily (unless he is being arch, he does not suggest that any had heard but ignored the bell).

[ASIDE/ POST-DIARY SPOILER?:]
At the moment, Sam shows neither conscience nor compunction on account of yesterday's disgusting liaison, and writes dispassionately of poignant deaths that do not touch him: conjoined twins, men lost at sea, today "a little boy" whose funeral Elizabeth attended. These entries fall so close to the anniversary of Elizabeth's future death that it is impossible not to look to the grief awaiting him. Jeannine's excellent linked article on Elizabeth gives life to her memory, and insight into Sam, as surely as the memorial that he erected at St. Olave's, photographed and shared by other Pepysians, speaks aloud in stone.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"Fleshing out his laconic comments in the diary"
Right, and maybe that helps to explain the laconicity (is that a word?) of the diary as to the details of his busy days at the office - after writing it all down in the office during the day, he wasn't inclined to repeat it at home in the evening.

jeannine   Link to this

"Sam’s not helping his wife"

As an odd juxtaposition, Sam seemingly isn't jumping in to assist here. Several of Queen Catherine's biographers mention a situation (can't recall the exact dates and too tired to go digging for specifics, but you'll get the point).. anyway, the story goes like this. On one of those not so common nights when Charles was actually sleeping with Catherine, she fell ill and woke up vomiting. He got up, took care of her, pulling the coverings back, helping her, etc. and then moved her to his clean side of the bed. He then got servants to come assist her. He left to go back to his bedroom for the rest of the night but came back several times during the night to check on her. Quite a different picture than what Sam paints for us tonight and a rare glimpse of the King in a very caring and humane light.

Linda F   Link to this

Jeannine, thanks. Wonder if Sam did help Elizabeth in the limited way that he could while waiting for servants, but did not mention it: neither of them slept again until after the servant came. (That is also quite touching about Charles II and Queen Catherine.)

Robert Gertz   Link to this

It likely Sam did what he could till the girls came but was a bit helpless in such affairs. Whatever else he may be, he's always been attentive in Bess' illnesses.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

It's likely Sam did what he could till the girls came but was a bit helpless in such affairs. Whatever else he may be, he's always been attentive in Bess' illnesses.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

It's likely Sam did what he could till the girls came but was a bit helpless in such affairs. Whatever else he may be, he's always been attentive in Bess' illnesses.

Pedro   Link to this

Profit in war.

"...Equally for many was the prospect of exploiting war for private profit: Pepy's friend, the shipbuilder Anthony Deane, believed that the throng of solicitants for the naval office sought to enrich themselves by taking prizes, rather than fight the nation's enemies. The navy therefore suffered from the same over-confidence and arrogance which also manifested itself in the courtier's optimistic assumptions that the King would be able to save a substantial ammount of the £2.5m voted by Parliament for the running of the war, and that even greater profit would accrue from Dutch prizes.

(Gentlemen and Tarpaulins by J D Davies)

Pedro   Link to this

Also from the above source...

"In Charles II’s reign, captains could usually expect half the value of the prize and its contents, although allocations did vary; any goods or valuables in the great cabin were reserved for the captain, while the seamen were free to get what else they could between decks. Captains of the smaller ships were at a clear advantage, as their vessels were employed on cruising and convoy duties and were therefore more likely to encounter enemy warships or merchantmen than those in the main fleet."

Log in to post an annotation.

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