Friday 20 October 1665

Up, and had my last night’s letters brought back to me, which troubles me, because of my accounts, lest they should be asked for before they come, which I abhorr, being more ready to give than they can be to demand them: so I sent away an expresse to Oxford with them, and another to Portsmouth, with a copy of my letter to Mr. Coventry about my victualling business, for fear he should be gone from Oxford, as he intended, thither. So busy all the morning and at noon to Cocke, and dined there. He and I alone, vexed that we are not rid of all our trouble about our goods, but it is almost over, and in the afternoon to my lodging, and there spent the whole afternoon and evening with Mr. Hater, discoursing of the business of the office, where he tells me that among others Thomas Willson do now and then seem to hint that I do take too much business upon me, more than I can do, and that therefore some do lie undone. This I confess to my trouble is true, but it arises from my being forced to take so much on me, more than is my proper task to undertake. But for this at last I did advise to him to take another clerk if he thinks fit, I will take care to have him paid. I discoursed also much with him about persons fit to be put into the victualling business, and such as I could spare something out of their salaries for them, but without trouble I cannot, I see, well do it, because Thomas Willson must have the refusal of the best place which is London of 200l. per annum, which I did intend for Tooker, and to get 50l. out of it as a help to Mr. Hater. How[ever], I will try to do something of this kind for them. Having done discourse with him late, I to enter my Tangier accounts fair, and so to supper and to bed.

13 Annotations

Australian Susan   Link to this

Poor Sam! Up till one last night getting the letters off and they get sent back. Presumably he missed the late night coach? Amazing really that he can expect everything to be running smoothly when you consider the effects the plague must have been having on day to day business.
I smiled wryly at the references to office politics: some things don't change. First the wanting to be ahead of demands with his papers and then the workload problem. Sam decides this is not the battle to fight with TW (wonder if this will come up again). There were comments yesterday that Sam is very good to Hayter (after his religious problems), but Sam certainly finds Mr H useful.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Team Pepys ever growing... One day Jamie may look round and see himself run by Sam's boys. Coventry must be pleased, though. His technocrat protege ever advancing.

Seriously, nice to see Sam so mindful of his guys... Must be tough keeping up with him but he returns the devotion with respect and consideration.

Jesse   Link to this

"but it arises from my being forced to take so much on me"

"Forced"? My guess would've been that it arises more to get some compensation from it. My recollection is that Pepys is usually honest about these things. Forced by circumstance perhaps.

Mary   Link to this

Forced by his own desire to have the administration run as smoothly and efficiently as possible and to be recognised for achieving this. He's reluctant to delegate, especially if this means involving men outside his own close and trusted colleagues. Certainly monetary reward comes into the question, but that doesn't seem to be the prime mover behind these long days and late hours.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

How much do we know about the source of funds to pay the clerks? It seems to me from this entry that at least a part of their compensation comes from Sam's pockets/profits. Then there is the revenue to be gained from specific appointments that Sam has the power to make or influence. It also seems to me that the rules for divvying the spoils of office are a bit like the rules for sharing prizes taken at sea -- a bit ad hoc at this time. Sam has to scramble in order to keep a good staff together, it may be.

Michael Robinson   Link to this

How much do we know about the source of funds to pay the clerks?

Appears there were official allowances approved by the Duke as Admiral which, in the first instance below at least, SP can allocate as he wishes:

"Mr. Coventry did move the Duke and obtain it that one of the clerkes of the Clerke of the Acts should have an addition of 30l. a year, as Mr. Turner hath, which I am glad of, that I may give T. Hater 20l. and keep 10l. towards a boy’s keeping. "
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1664/08/01/

and prior:-
"... Sir W. Pen took me into the garden, and there told me how Mr. Turner do intend to petition the Duke for an allowance extra as one of the Clerks of the Navy, which he desired me to join with him in the furthering of, which I promised to do so that it did not reflect upon me or to my damage to have any other added, as if I was not able to perform my place; which he did wholly disown to be any of his intention, but far from it. I took Mr. Hater home with me to dinner, with whom I did advise, who did give me the same counsel. ..."
http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/08/22/

Paul in Bristol   Link to this

"but it arises from my being forced to take so much on me"

My reading of this is more related to the others in the Clerks of the Navy office not being interested in properly carrying out their duties, resulting on Sam stepping up to do more.

Whatever his faults, he appears to be trying to fill the gap left by others.

jeannine   Link to this

"but it arises from my being forced to take so much on me, more than is my proper task to undertake'

Although Sam is saying he's forced to take on more, it reminds me of the saying that goes something like this, "if you want something done find the busiest person you know and ask them to do it". Some people have certain skill sets that just allow them to take on a lot, juggle it all and get results.

One of my pet peeves in life is having some situation where there is a task to be done and someone spends extensive hours complaining about the task to be done where they could just do the task in a fraction of the time spent fretting! Sam has a high organizational characteristic and ‘sees’ things in a manner that is neat and orderly so he usually manages to take some mess, pull things together and move them along quite efficiently. Alas, even he can be overburdened.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

John Evelyn's Diary (in lieu of Dirk's posting it)


20: This County [Kent] from Rochester to Maidstone by the Medway river, is very agreable, the downes & prospect:

Australian Susan   Link to this

I have to agree with Evelyn: that's where I used to live and very nice it is too!

I think there is an element in Sam's position of wanting to make sure he knows everything that's going on and, if possible, control everything in the office. At the bottom, he knows that he was socially inferior to everyone else in the Navy Office when he arrived and what keeps him there and gets him recognised and a gainer of more power and influence is his skill, attention to detail and willingness to put the hours in.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

That sense of inferiority AS mentions must also tie him to his clerks a bit...We practical men against the titles. Since he clearly gets on well with most of them, it's a source of strength rather than Sam trying to compensate for his origins by playing milord of the office.

JonTom in Cambridge   Link to this

"Poor Sam! Up till one last night getting the letters off and they get sent back. Presumably he missed the late night coach?"

I read it slightly differently, Ms. Susan: it reads to me like they didn't come back; he sent to fetch them back he could resend them by special courier.

He did indeed originally send them too late to make last night's coach (as in his writing yesterday about having "no chance of saving the post"), and he decided he couldn't bear the thought of them being delayed. He was determined that Parliament receive an accounting form him before they had a chance to demand it of him: "lest they should be asked for before they come, which I abhorr, being more ready to give than they can be to demand them"

cgs   Link to this

'Tis why Fedex be invented, there has always been a need to get thy message or goods to a recipient before they blow their stack.

"...so I sent away an expresse to Oxford with them..."

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