Wednesday 8 February 1664/65

Up and by coach to my Lord Peterborough’s, where anon my Lord Ashly and Sir Thomas Ingram met, and Povy about his accounts, who is one of the most unhappy accountants that ever I knew in all my life, and one that if I were clear in reference to my bill of 117l. he should be hanged before I would ever have to do with him, and as he understands nothing of his business himself, so he hath not one about him that do. Here late till I was weary, having business elsewhere, and thence home by coach, and after dinner did several businesses and very late at my office, and so home to supper and to bed.

22 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

More ships!! writes Mr. Coventry, but are there any for a special convoy?

William Coventry to Sandwich
Written from: St James's

Date: 8 February 1665

Shelfmark: MS. Carte 75, fol(s). 153
Document type: Holograph

Lord Bellasis being ready to start for Tangier, H.R.H. the Lord Admiral desires that Lord Sandwich would appoint three frigates for his passage and convoy.

http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/projects...

Australian Susan   Link to this

As yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, so today is Ash Wednesday, but no mention of going to Church on this day. Not part of mainstream Anglican practice at this time. It's very powerful being reminded of one's mortality with the priest saying "dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return" as you get an ash cross marked on your forehead. Might have given Sam pause for thought. But here he is today embroiled with Mammon, not God, beside himself with frustrated rage over being financially linked with a bunch of incompetents. Nothing gets Sam's goat like people doing their jobs badly.

cape henry   Link to this

"...if I were clear in reference to my bill of 117l. he should be hanged before I would ever have to do with him..." This is the crux of it. This matter has eaten away at Pepys as nothing else and it amplifies his distaste for Povey in like measure.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...as he understands nothing of his business himself, so he hath not one about him that do."

And there is a strange thing...Povy is a cultured, talented man with powerful connections who has done well in life so far. I doubt Lord Sandwich is any whiz at accounting himself...So why no Creed, Howe, or early Pepys or even a Hewer or a Hayter for Thomas? There must be many such hungry, able young men about town who'd gladly take on the job of "assistant" and quickly get the accounts in order. I still wonder if rather than incompetent Povy is perhaps too honest for his own, and more to Sam's wrathful point, Sam's, good.
***

"But we can't claim that for my Lord, Pepys. This shipment was never sent."

Arrggghh... Not again...

"Now as to these non-existent soldiers and these never-done repairs..."

dirk   Link to this

John Evelyn's diary today:

"Ash-Wednesday. I visited our prisoners at Chelsey Colledge, and to examine how the martial and suttlers behav'd. These were prisoners taken in the warr; they only complain'd that their bread was too fine. I dined at S[i]r Henry Herbert's, Master of the Revells."

It's somewhat unclear to me what exactly was the matter with the bread - "too fine"? It may mean that the bread wasn't "dark" or rough enough to the prisoners' taste (too "white"). Probably the prisoners would have been used to eating rough rye bread (the common bread for common people on most of the continent at the time), and I take it the bread the got from their British guards was "whiter" (less rough, and with less taste) than they were used to. Funny complaint though. Apparently they were well treated otherwise.

cgs   Link to this

'wot' be one man's escargo be another's winkle.
nurture vs nature.

cgs   Link to this

headline: ripoff
coal and wood are over priced,
tis wot the market can bear:
The Commons today
Wood and Coals Assize.

Ordered, That these Members following be added to the Committee to which the Matter was referred, to examine the Abuses in the Buying and Selling of Coal, Wood, and other Fuel;

then Medway must have ships.
A Mr. Pepis, did have his name on the bill making it easy for sailors to go up the Medway, to-day.

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?co...

Ralph Berry   Link to this

"...one of the most unhappy accountants.."

Is this the first time he has used the word "accountant"? I was under the impression the word did not come into general use to describe an occupation until sometime later. There has been much talk about Povey's accounts and Sam's own accounts but has there been reference to an "accountant"?

Mary   Link to this

accountant

OED: One who professionally makes up or takes charge of accounts: an officer in a public office who takes charge of the accounts. First recorded in 1593 in this sense.

The word had been in use for 100 years previously to describe someone who was accountable or responsible in Law for certain duties, though not necessarily financial ones.

Pedro   Link to this

“my bill of 117l. he should be hanged before I would ever have to do with him”

I think that Cape Henry and Robert have interesting points.

At times Sam lets things get to him to the point of obsession, as with his jealousy, and if we were not enlightened by the background knowledge we could get totally the wrong impression of Povey from the Diary.

We know that Sandwich has got into difficulties over his finances, but his knowledge of maths is excellent and can be applied to surveying, navigation and astronomy. He would not be first unable to apply to finance, and yet he is not lambasted as Povey.

Likewise Povey is a fellow of the Royal Society and a skilled mechanic, with great curiosity. Perhaps he is slow and more honest in his accounting and unable to think laterally enough to be creative like Samuel Pepys.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... who is one of the most unhappy accountants that ever I knew in all my life, and one that if I were clear in reference to my bill of 117l. he should be hanged before I would ever have to do with him, and as he understands nothing of his business himself, so he hath not one about him that do."

Might not this be SP's anxiety about being found out in a dubious transaction that Povey, and advisers, are insufficiently skilled as acountants to 'massage' in the appropriate manner?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Now, Tim...As you are Mr. Povy's chief assistant in the Tangier accounts I have decided to try and help Mr. Povy by instructing you."

"Many thanks, Mr. Pepys. But I have reviewed the accounts with Mr. Povy and they are correct."

Sigh...

"Yes. 'Correct' but not 'right', Tim. Let me begin at the beginning. One and one is...?"

"Two, sir. Of course. Sir, I am quite capable of..."

"No, Tim. One and one is one...For the King...And one for your employer...With a certain fraction agreed upon for you."

"Sir? But..."

"Now two and two is...?"

"Four, sir."

"Tim, Tim...Now please, attend sir. Two and two is two...For the King, one for your employer, and one for, generally, me...With again a certain agreed upon percentage from your employer to you, and, should you do a proper job and win my thanks, me. Unless, of course, one of the Lords on the Committee should demand a percentage in which case..."

"Sir...?"

"Timothy, higher mathematics may be difficult to master but..."

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Mr. Pepys, how could you have ever learnt such a system of accounting?" Tim, staring at Pepys' figures.

"Well...If you really must know, Tim. This is the way my wife does the kitchen accounts."

Terry Foreman   Link to this

accountant

Very infrequent so far in the Diary. Only 2 December 1662 was writ: "So to the office, where we sat as Commissioners for the Chest, and so examined most of the old accountants to the Chest about it". http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/12/02/

***
Patience, Michael R and Robert G: all will work out fine for nervous Pepys.

CGS   Link to this

"...difficulties over his finances,..." many of the lauded ones had to beg parliament to sell some land to pay debts or make provisions for their Heirs#*.

Be it a person or a company or organization, many cannot keep their accounts straight, not even financial institutions, full of accountants..
but we do get uppity when others make a mug of themselves. In any of the disciplines that one is brainwashed in.
Take spelling or ending a line of words with a preposition and a period [stop].?

#*Carr's Estate.

Ordered, That Robert Thirkill, Servant to Sir Robert Carr Baronet, do, on Friday next, attend the Committee to which the Bill for settling the Estate of the said Sir Robert Carr was committed, at Two of the Clock in the Afternoon, in the Speaker's Chamber; and to give his further Attendance as the Committee shall appoint.

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?co...

jeannine   Link to this

“Journals of the Earl of Sandwich” edited by R.C. Anderson

8th. Wednesday. Wind at South west. Early in the morning we saw the London and Montagu sail past the Knock and then by advice of a Council of War sailed with the fleet towards the Downs. About noon the Guernsey came to me with letters from Margate.
Another Council of War, and resolved to sail according to the proposition in Mr. Coventry’s letter. Executed accordingly.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Patience, Michael R and Robert G: all will work out fine for nervous Pepys."

Hmmmn...So, occasionally...As in the case of many a colonial empire...(Yes, the USA's included)...Crime does pay.

JWB   Link to this

Povey accountant:

Some evidence of his competency in letter to his brother Wm, Provost Barbados, quoted by Larry Dale Gagg in "Englishmen Transplanted: The English Colonization of Barbados", p 135: "...Thomas Povey...demanded letters with 'names and Sums that I may better understand how you proceed, and in what Condition my Affaires are.' He wanted a'Booke kept...and a transcript of everie payment and account quarterly sent to me...'"

http://books.google.com/books?id=ZkgDbKJWAV8C&p...

CGS   Link to this

There be one Mr. Auditor Povey from Hounslow that be an auditor, so there be another chef in the works, that be protected by one Protector of the people.
So Samuells thinking for getting the Tangier costs into the correct expense page vs income columns may quite modern for like today reading the summary of stock annual reports be a nightmare, trying to how the moneies got from the customer into the non tax expense page…

There be one Mr. Auditor Povey from Hounslow that be an auditor, so there be another chef in the works, that be protected by one Protector of the people.
So Samuells thinking for getting the Tangier costs into the correct expense page vs income columns may quite modern for like today reading the summary of stock annual reports be a nightmare, trying to how the moneies got from the customer into the non tax expense page...

Don McCahill   Link to this

> bread too fine

Perhaps this means insufficient leavening, and thus a dense and hard bread, without the normal holes and air spaces that make it light.

One can speed up the breadmaking process by skipping that 90 minute rise stage, and these are for prisoners, after all.

JWB   Link to this

CGS

Your Hounslow auditor may be Tom & Bill's pop.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Povey's pop (from the link to his name): "He was one of the sons of Justinian Povy, Auditor-General to Queen Anne of Denmark in 1614."

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