Sunday 24 September 1665

(Lord’s day). Waked, and up and drank, and then to discourse; and then being about Grayes, and a very calme, curious morning, we took our wherry, and to the fishermen, and bought a great deal of fine fish, and to Gravesend to White’s, and had part of it dressed; and, in the meantime, we to walk about a mile from the towne, and so back again; and there, after breakfast, one of our watermen told us he had heard of a bargain of cloves for us, and we went to a blind alehouse at the further end wretched dirty seamen, who, of the towne to a couple of poor wretches, had got together about 37 lb. of cloves and to 10 of nutmeggs, and we bought them of them, the first at 5s. 6d. per lb. and the latter at 4s.; and paid them in gold; but, Lord! to see how silly these men are in the selling of it, and easily to be persuaded almost to anything, offering a bag to us to pass as 20 lbs. of cloves, which upon weighing proved 25 lbs. But it would never have been allowed by my conscience to have wronged the poor wretches, who told us how dangerously they had got some, and dearly paid for the rest of these goods. This being done we with great content herein on board again and there Captain Cocke and I to discourse of our business, but he will not yet be open to me, nor am I to him till I hear what he will say and do with Sir Roger Cuttance. However, this discourse did do me good, and got me a copy of the agreement made the other day on board for the parcel of Mr. Pierce and Sir Roger Cuttance, but this great parcel is of my Lord Sandwich’s. By and by to dinner about 3 o’clock and then I in the cabbin to writing down my journall for these last seven days to my, great content, it having pleased God that in this sad time of the plague every thing else has conspired to my happiness and pleasure more for these last three months than in all my, life before in so little time. God long preserve it and make me thankful) for it! After finishing my Journal), then to discourse and to read, and then to supper and to bed, my mind not being at full ease, having not fully satisfied myself how Captain Cocke will deal with me as to the share of the profits.

21 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"And we went to a blind alehouse at the further end of the towne, to a couple of wretched dirty seamen, who, poor wretches, had got together...."

So L&M, who clarify what seems in part a scribal or mayhap a printing error in Wheatley's text

deepfatfriar   Link to this

". . . 37 lb. of cloves and to 10 of nutmeggs, and we bought them . . ."

A lifetime supply and then some......

A. Hamilton   Link to this

what does L&M make of this ill-punctuated passage?

"then I in the cabbin to writing down my journall for these last seven days to my, great content, it having pleased God that in this sad time of the plague every thing else has conspired to my happiness and pleasure more for these last three months than in all my, life before in so little time. God long preserve it and make me thankful) for it! After finishing my Journal), then to discourse..."

Michael Robinson   Link to this

what does L&M make of this ill-punctuated passage?

L&M text:-

"And then I in the cabbin to writing down my journall for these last seven days, to my great content -- it having pleased God that in this sad time of the plague, every thing else has conspired to my happiness and pleasure, more for these last three months than in all my, life before in so little time. God long preserve it, and make me thankful for it. After finishing my Journal, then to discourse ..."

The printed dash (--) is 'long' and therefore part of the Mss. text, as are the stops (.); the commas are editorial.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... we bought them of them, the first at 5s. 6d. per lb. and the latter at 4s.; and paid them in gold; ..."

L&M note that at the time the Lord Steward's department was paying 13s. 4d. a pound for cloves and 8s. for nutmeg.

However in fairness to SP, the sailors are getting immediate cash-in-hand, at a time of real cash shortage, and not a promise of future payment which the sailors would have little or no leverage to enforce & certainty not against the Royal Household.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

L&M " ... than in all my, life before ..."

should read: " ... than in all my life before ..."

Apologies; I simply do not 'see' errors on screen as easily or rapidly as on paper.

CGS   Link to this

"...we went to a blind alehouse at the further end wretched dirty seamen..."

blind ale house mentioned twice before.
for other carrying ons [Mrs. Goldsborough, another be Bagwell] where guilty geezer should not be noticed by the local constable
A nice dark place without light to see the color of to to stuff that fell over-board while unloading . So typical of dockland features.
They had no qualms about getting 'sumeut' for pennies on the quids.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

Is Sam buying stolen merchandise?

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... about 37 lb. of cloves and to 10 of nutmeggs, ..."

Given the quantities this does sound like part of the bulk cargo that is supposed to go to auction, rather than the odds and ends that might be found amongst a Dutch seaman's possessions 'tween decks.' I suppose if the issue were ever raised the argument could/would be made that one of the Dutch seamen was making his own trading investment that was entirely separate from the material in the holds: presumably SP has the whit to discard and destroy a.s.a.p. the original bags the spices came in.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Michael, how do we know these seamen were Dutch?

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I wonder if the seamen were from Sandwich's fleet and this meant that my Lord had allowed a partial distribution of the prizes among some of the ordinary sailors who'd participated in the action. If so, a decent gesture in the midst of this increasingly sordid grabbing...Though a shame the men had no better guidance in selling their shares if that was the case.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

how do we know these seamen were Dutch?

Sorry if I was not clear. The seamen from whom SP is purchasing are native English crew (I assume SP would have noted their ethnicity otherwise) who have obtained the quantity of spices: "poor wretches, who told us how dangerously they had got some, and dearly paid for the rest of these goods," -- in context I take 'dearly paid' to be in risk to life and limb not cash, the origin of the goods a captured Dutch merchant ship.

For the spices to be legitimately owned by the seamen vendor's as 'prize goods' they had to have come ultimately from the tween-decks and have been a part of the possessions of the crew of the captured Dutch ship (See Pedro, http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/09/23/#c25... ) -- since SP's 'blind alehouse' purchase from 'a couple of wretched dirty seamen' is to be honest and above board the goods have originally to have been part of the personal possessions of a Dutch seaman, Dutch in the sense of the country for whom they sailed and not necessarily the actual nativity of the particular anonymous individual. The quantity of spices would seem far too large for personal use, therefore the anonymous Dutch seaman in question has to have been running his own private import trade.

If, however, the bag(s) were to match those from the Dutch ship's hold it would strongly suggest the goods had not been acquired as 'legitimate prize' by the vendors but were a portion of the captured cargo that had grown legs when 'bulk' had been broken and, consequently, SP would be purchasing and dealing in stolen goods.

Martin King   Link to this

It appears from this entry that Sam carried his journal around with him, or did he write it on odd scraps of paper and do a "fair copy" later?

Michael Robinson   Link to this

or did he write it on odd scraps of paper and do a “fair copy” later?

L&M, in their extended introductory discussion of the Diary text in vol. i, suggest the note taking during the day then making up the final entries. In their edition they provide notes indicating additions, interpolations, changes and deletions to the Diary text and note how relatively rare these are, if of any significant content rather than just correcting or clarifying the short-hand.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

" ... one of our watermen told us he had heard of a bargain of cloves for us, ..."

Not a mention of SP voluntarily offering the waterman a penny or shilling of facilitation or introductory commission on the transaction, similar to those SP finds essential for himself to secure efficiency and economy in the management of the King's business, at the least a small financial expression of his appreciation for the information about the 'bargain'; clearly SP has more to learn from the lips of Sir William Warren rather than directly from his own experience over years now of merchants great and small bearing unsolicited gifts in cash and kind.

JWB   Link to this

OED endowed:

Any insight as to why we have both "wherry" & "ferry"?

DiPhi   Link to this

Am I reading it right that the seamen told him the bag weighed 20 pounds but it turned out to be 25? And that, rather than allowing them to cheat themselves, Sam paid them for the full 25?

One of the things I appreciate about Sam is that, even though he is hugely interested in increasing his personal worth, he doesn't cheat other people, especially those of the working class.

E   Link to this

I had a moment of wondering why Sam did not write up his diary more often in these times of plague mixed with financial dealings. But of course this was his secret diary, and he presumably had a a folder of proper financial documentation which would be available for the executors of his will if it came to that. Less proper transactions might be recorded by telling one or two trusted friends -- but how many of Sam's dealings were so shady by the standards of the time that he wouldn't write them down unencrypted?

Not writing up the diary daily does imply that he saw it as a private document to refer to later -- no point if there would be no "later" for him. Had he had thoughts of someone else potentially publishing the diary, would he not have made more effort to make what might be his last entries more full of high-flown sentiments?

CGS   Link to this

wherry be the boat that be used and ferry be the location of carrying man or beast or spuds or pilfered spices.
.

“wherry” & “ferry
[Etymology obscure; perh. f. WHIRR with suggestion of rapid movement.]

1. A light rowing-boat used chiefly on rivers to carry passengers and goods.
1443

1666 PEPYS Diary 13 Sept., My pictures and fine things, that I will bring home in wherrys.
\
2. A large boat of the barge kind: see quots. local.
a1589

interesting
3. A large four-wheeled dray or cart without sides. local.
1881 [see wherry driver in 4].

ferry, n.1

[f. the vb.; its late appearance seems to exclude the supposition that it is a. ON. ferja of equivalent formation. Cf. Du. veer, MHG. vere, ver, mod.G. fähre in same sense.]

1. A passage or crossing. Obs.
c1425

2. esp. A passage or place where boats pass over a river, etc. to transport passengers and goods.
c1440

3. a. Provision for the conveyance of passengers, etc. by boat from one shore to the other.
c1489
'

b. = FERRY-BOAT.
1590 SPENSER F.Q. II. vi. 19 She soon to hand Her ferry brought.

1596 SHAKES. Merch. V. III. iv. 53 Bring them I pray thee..to the common Ferrie Which trades to Venice.

1701 Lond. Gaz. No. 3722/1 The French had sunk divers Ferries and other Boats in the River.

4. Law. The right of ferrying men and animals across a river, etc., and of levying toll for so doing.
1721

JWB   Link to this

Thanks CGS. Under impression wherry derived from ferry. Assume ferry's related to the basic german verb fahren (umlautted Fahre being Ger. for ferry). Whether there's a connection to "wear" as in wear ship...?

CGS   Link to this

Is some one buying stolen goods? nae....nae,
they were found in the scupper matey, finders keepers.
There be no proof of shenanigans.
There always a hole in the sacks made from cheap sack cloth. Not even the very olde Baily could convict on the available evidence, no matter what we suspect when offered interesting merchandise that could come from a Spice ship.

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