Monday 20 March 1664/65

Up, Creed and I, and had Mr. Povy’s coach sent for us, and we to his house; where we did some business in order to the work of this day. Povy and I to my Lord Sandwich, who tells me that the Duke is not only a friend to the business, but to me, in terms of the greatest love and respect and value of me that can be thought, which overjoys me. Thence to St. James’s, and there was in great doubt of Brunkerd, but at last I hear that Brunkerd desists. The Duke did direct Secretary Bennet, who was there, to declare his mind to the Tangier Committee, that he approves of me for Treasurer; and with a character of me to be a man whose industry and discretion he would trust soon as any man’s in England: and did the like to my Lord Sandwich. So to White Hall to the Committee of Tangier, where there were present, my Lord of Albemarle, my Lord Peterborough, Sandwich, Barkeley, FitzHarding, Secretary Bennet, Sir Thomas Ingram, Sir John Lawson, Povy and I. Where, after other business, Povy did declare his business very handsomely; that he was sorry he had been so unhappy in his accounts, as not to give their Lordships the satisfaction he intended, and that he was sure his accounts are right, and continues to submit them to examination, and is ready to lay down in ready money the fault of his account; and that for the future, that the work might be better done and with more quiet to him, he desired, by approbation of the Duke, he might resign his place to Mr. Pepys. Whereupon, Secretary Bennet did deliver the Duke’s command, which was received with great content and allowance beyond expectation; the Secretary repeating also the Duke’s character of me. And I could discern my Lord FitzHarding was well pleased with me, and signified full satisfaction, and whispered something seriously of me to the Secretary. And there I received their constitution under all their hands presently; so that I am already confirmed their Treasurer, and put into a condition of striking of tallys;1 and all without one harsh word or word of dislike, but quite the contrary; which is a good fortune beyond all imagination. Here we rose, and Povy and Creed and I, all full of joy, thence to dinner, they setting me down at Sir J. Winter’s, by promise, and dined with him; and a worthy fine man he seems to be, and of good discourse, our business was to discourse of supplying the King with iron for anchors, if it can be judged good enough, and a fine thing it is to see myself come to the condition of being received by persons of this rank, he being, and having long been, Secretary to the Queene-Mother. Thence to Povy’s, and there sat and considered of business a little and then home, where late at it, W. Howe being with me about his business of accounts for his money laid out in the fleet, and he gone, I home to supper and to bed. Newes is this day come of Captain Allen’s being come home from the Straights, as far as Portland, with eleven of the King’s ships, and about twenty-two of merchantmen.

23 Annotations

Mark Dominus  •  Link

The Science Museum in London has some of these exchequer tally sticks:

The stick was notched with a pattern that indicated the amount paid: large notches for tens, smaller ones for units. Then the notched stick was split lengthwise. One half was kept for the Exchequer's records, the other half given to the payee as a receipt.

Pedro  •  Link

Newes is this day come of Captain Allen’s being come home from the Straights, as far as Portland, with eleven of the King’s ships, and about twenty-two of merchantmen.

On this day Allin is standing off Beachy…

“Tacked and stood in until near 2 and little wind. Came to the SE and the tide of ebb came away. We all anchored. Captain Parker had been into shore at Brighton and brought us the sad news of the London and a gazette that spoke of the kindness of the City London to build his majesty another and call her Loyal London…We heard the main fleet was in the Downs and about 12 we anchored. Calm all night.”

(Journals of Thomas Allin edited by Anderson)

andy  •  Link

a good fortune beyond all imagination.

it all rather depends on what's buried in the accounts...

Phil  •  Link

Pepys v's Brouncher. Our hero must have had something going for him to win Povy's job. Brouncher seems to have been a whiz at math and no slouch in accounting (ie the Keeper of the Privy Purse). There very well may have been some truth to his claim that the Duke of Yorke promised Povy's job to him. Clearly he was qualified.

So Pepys gets the job. S.P. must have had that L.Q. we hear about (Likeability Quotion). No doubt S.P. had some good skills himself when it came to accounting. Those accounting skills plus a white beard and a red suit, Brouncker had no chance. likely had nothing to do with math/accounting skills or L.Q. and every thing to do with Povy making more money on the deal with S.P. than Brouncker

Nate  •  Link

The post of Treasurer is a paid position, is it not?

Carl in Boston  •  Link

Brunkerd desists
I just read the encyclopedic annotation on Brunkerd, with his interests in higher mathematics and infinite series to approximate parabolas and so forth. No way could Brunkerd ever be an accountant. Never, never, never. The Duke of Mixture was absolutely right to throw his support behind a seasoned accountant to do accounting, especially one with a big accounting office staff to make the wheels of accounting turn.

JWB  •  Link

A confusion of Brouncher(d)s

Yesterday it was Henry the chess player.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

" White Hall to the Committee of Tangier, where there were present, my Lord of Albemarle, my Lord Peterborough, Sandwich, Barkeley, FitzHarding, Secretary Bennet, Sir Thomas Ingram, Sir John Lawson, Povy and I."

The roll is called.

Albemarle: "Pepys? Oh, yes. Nice busy little fellow. Why not?"

Peterborough: "Sandwich's man who passed my accounts? Good fellow, does what he's told."

Sandwich: "My servant Pepys? Certainly."

Barkeley: "Who? Oh, the one Jamie wants. Yes, whatever. Where's that saucy wench with my drink got to?"

FitzHarding: "So long as he does what he's told."

Secretary Bennet: "I have no opinion, my lords."

Ingram: "Quite, quite. Capital little fellow. When do we adjourn for dinner?"

Lawson, half asleep: "Damn the day I agreed with Montagu about letting that stupid fop Stuart...Ah, what? Oh, yes...Well, seeing as I'm headed for the Tower...Whoever."

Povy: "I may be an idiot but I'm not going to the Tower. Here's to my new best friend, Sam Pepys. Gentlemen, you may trust him implicitly as I do."

Pepys: "Thank you, Mr. Povy. (moron) Samuel Pepys, gentlemen...A man of awesome energy and brilliance, a true King's man, the most loyal and diligent servant after William Coventry the State has ever had. A man, sirs, for all seasons. Born without wealth or (many) connections, new and untried in administrative matters, Samuel Pepys immediately saw all that was lacking in the King's Navy and set to put it..."

Two hours later... Only Povy remaining...

"...And so I say to you gentlemen, that Samuel Pepys, esquire, a man of intellectual..."

"Pepys..." Povy sighs. "For God sakes, man...You're in and everyone's gone. An hour and a half ago..."

"Ah, carried the day did I?"

"Our agreement to kickback one-third of all Tangier treasury funds round the board didn't hurt." Povy notes.

Phil  •  Link

As Nate asks - is the Treasurer a paid position. I would think the Treasurer of the Navy is a political posting therefore the Treasurer is likely paid by the government of the day. The Treasurer of the Duke of Yorke's Rents and Revenues would likely be paid by the Duke of Yorke, and Treasurer of the Tangier slush fund I would think is again a government appointment. So I would say ya what ever Treasurer position S.P. is referring to in his diary of this day is a paid position.

What has me confused is if, once you hold the position, can you sell it or a part of it, or will it to a family member on your death? Can you buy the position from the Government or is it only commissions in the Navy that you could buy? And if you can buy it who would you actually give your money to - the Duke of Yorke, or the Parliment? How does Povy get away with making a deal with S.P. for the position, if Povy doesn't own the position? Perhaps it's as Carl in Boston scored it, Povy is supported in his choice of S.P. because Brunkerd could "never, never, never" be an accountant.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

What ho, Pepysians. It's Tax Time in the USA.
Povy was a disaster as an accountant, and not because he wasn't smart. Brunkerd would have been another disaster, smart as he was.
Most of the gut work of accounting they need is really bookkeeping, writing little details in a journal. Posting the details to an account. Summing the account and posting the weekly result at the bottom of the page to a general account. This is done by the clerks. The general account is looked at by Pepys the accountant, whose duties are above his six bookkeepers. Pepys carries around the summations and general conclusions in his head, and serves them up to milords, who live higher up the Pyramid of Knowledge (look at the back of a dollar bill, milords are higher up, closer to The Allseeing Eye). Milords decide if they are winning or losing. The job of accountant takes a different personality from a scientist, and well I might know, for I am a scientist.
I did my taxes once, found a mistake, found two more mistakes, and took my taxes to an accountant, The Sly Fox of Stoneham. He asked "What do you think of the government?" "I think they stink, they're no good, and the best that they can do is no d**n good". "Good, I can work with you". He saved me $500 immediately, and has done my taxes ever since, with no quibbles from the IRS.

Martin  •  Link

Paid position?
The other day Sam mentioned Povey's proposal that Sam take over the job at "half the profit". Wheatley, in "Samuel Pepys and the world he lived in", says that this meant Sam and Povey would divide the profits, going forward. At this stage it's unclear how the treasurer makes a profit from the committee's business.

"How does Povy get away with making a deal with S.P. for the position, if Povy doesn’t own the position?" (Phil)
Povy doesn't seem to have been able to just sell the job or grant it to Sam, there's been considerable lobbying and the transfer only took place "by approbation of the Duke" and by the "Duke's command".

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"At this stage it’s unclear how the treasurer makes a profit from the committee’s business."

Oh, I think we can all guess...

"More 'gloves' for you from Sir William Warren and Mr. Gauden regarding their Tangier business, sir." Hewer struggles to carry the bulging, over-stuffed gloves to Sam's desk.

"Put them with the 40 pound silver platter from Wood, Hewer. No, wait...That's a Navy office matter. Put them over by the box under the map of Tangier colony. And try to keep the gloves from tearing, Hewer. They're for Mrs. Pepys."

"Would be easier if I could empty them first, sir."

"Empty them of what, Hewer?" Sam, carefully hard stare.

"Of nothing, sir. Sorry, sir."

Phil  •  Link

I see it Martin. You know I read that and took a completely different meaning from it. I thought it was referring back to the issue of who gets to do the job Brunkerd or Pepys. That the Duke was formally ruling in favour of Pepys. I did not take it that the Duke of Yorke could award the job of Treasurer of the Navy, at least you would think the Duke could not have done it without approaval of the parliment. Also I didn't see Sam's name among the list of Treasurers of the Navy.

So the Treasurer position being referred to in this passage is more likely of the Duke's own Rents and Revenues which the Duke would have had sole authority over. Clearly that is what the passage is conveying. The Duke is accepting Povy's withdrawal and installation of Pepys.

Don't get old Martin, your mind sees a truth which your eyes did not communicate.

JWB  •  Link

Casus belli

"Trade was beginning, among the English, to be a matter of general concern; but notwithstanding all their efforts and advantages, their commerce seemed hitherto to stand upon a footing, which was somewhat precarious. The Dutch, who, by industry and frugality, were enabled to undersell them in every market, retained possession of the most lucrative branches of commerce; and the English merchants had the mortification to find, that all attempts to extend their trade were still turned, by the vigilance of their rivals, to their loss and dishonour. Their indignation encreased, when they considered the superior naval power of England; the bravery of her officers and seamen; her favourable situation, which enabled her to intercept the whole Dutch commerce. By the prospect of these advantages, they were strongly prompted, from motives less just than political, to make war upon the States; and at once to ravish from them by force, what they could not obtain, or could obtain but slowly, by superior skill and industry." David Hume, "Hist. of England" chapt 14,vol 6

Ruben  •  Link

This days we see how SP came closer to the Duke, a position he kept when the Duke became King. Here, today, we feel happy for SP, but beware! because today were sawn the seeds of his tour in the Tower apartments, many years from now.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

And there I received their constitution under all their hands presently; so that I am already confirmed their Treasurer, and put into a condition of striking of tallys; Milords want to get the business done, so they tell us, sometimes, maybe.
There are bookkeepers, and accountants, then there are General Business Managers like Pepys, who also are purchasing agents. His accounting is at the next level, of Big Bucks and Mo Money. Up there, the trickerations are not taught in school. Example, one accountant may value barrels tucked in the back of the warehouse as a valuable asset to be reclaimed by scientific work, valued at $2M. (We need it to be so, it must be so). The next accountant may say: "That ... Scrap ... What is it good for? Absolutely Nuthin' (Say it again, boom boom)." Repeat until the CEO sees the point, then say goodbye to your job. This saying about two year old inventory is an old saw, going back to the railroads in the 1950s, but it still goes on.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Dutch frugality

A Dutch pastor friend in his 70's avers it was said in his youth (and perhaps yet) that the Dutch are so frugal they can buy from a Jew and sell to a Scot and make a profit (no ethnic slurs intended, he assured me).

Pedro  •  Link

“to make war upon the States; and at once to ravish from them by force, what they could not obtain, or could obtain but slowly, by superior skill and industry.”

Of course the States needed to kick the Portuguese out of the Indies and West Africa by force before they were able to show their great talents, and to begin their Golden Century.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

W. Howe's money laid out in the fleet...

Hmmn? Were private individuals with excellent "connections" allowed to invest somehow in the Navy? Loaning money to the Navy at interest, perhaps? Or is it "Howe's money" only in the sense that he is administering it and therefore responsible for keeping proper accounts? My guess is it is a private transaction as Howe's own position seems to be simply that of being Sandwich's assistant unless it has something to do with Sandwich's official Wardrobe funds.

But if such private transactions are allowed to minor fellows like Howe...Why not Sam and where are his nervous jots regarding the danger of his investment? Plus Howe would be using up Sam's valuable time for some paltry sum...I'd think Sam would grumble.

Plus it could lead to...

"I don't know Mr. Pepys, but thats got all the earmarks of a run..." Hewer waves at the crowd by the office door.

"Sir John? Why are all the doors locked?" Sam opens up as the panicky-looking Minnes tries to wave him off... "Sam..."

"Come in, everybody. Howe, Moore...My Lady Castlemain, an honor...Sir Thomas, likewise. There are plenty of chairs, have a seat."

"Sam..." Minnes hisses.

"What's up here, Sir John?"

"Sam...The Royal Commissioners just came by. They called in our tallies and loans. I had to give them all our cash."

"All of it?"

"Every penny...And still not enough."

"Well...Howe, folks...What were you here about?"

"Pepys. I got 15 pounds invested in this here Navy and I want it." Howe, firmly.

"I have 1000." Lady Castlemaine, determined.

"Will...My Lady. You're thinking of this place all wrong. As if we had an advanced banking system. Your money's not here. It's in the Royal Charles and the Royal James. In the Deptford docks and our new Chatham faciliities. You've lent your money to the King and he'll pay you back when..."

"...When Hell freezes over!!" Castlemaine, raging. "I know him, I want my 1000 now!!"

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Will, did you get your money?" Creed entering the office, calls.

"Not yet."

"Well I did. From the French ambassador...He's paying Fifty percent on every note. Cash."

"Well?" Howe turns to Sam.

"Will, you have to stick to your agreement. Now just wait till Parliament votes the King funds and..."

"...Loses it all on gambling." Castlemaine sneers. "Any one parlez Francais?"

"Will, Sir Thomas, my Lady..." Sam, desperate. "I beg you not to do this. We can't hand the Navy over to the French."

"You need money?!" Bess from the door calls, Tom Edwards behind her, dragging one of Sam's chest...All turning.

"Good God!!" Sam, awakening from his nightmare of nightmares in a fierce sweat.

Bryan M  •  Link


Although the link above leads to Treasurer of the Navy, the position Povey handed over to Sam was Treasurer for Tangier (see the extract from Wheatley Sir George Carteret was Treasurer of Navy from 1660 to 1667.

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