Thursday 16 November 1665

Up, and fitted myself for my journey down to the fleete, and sending my money and boy down by water to Eriffe, —[Erith]— I borrowed a horse of Mr. Boreman’s son, and after having sat an houre laughing with my Lady Batten and Mrs. Turner, and eat and drank with them, I took horse and rode to Eriffe, where, after making a little visit to Madam Williams, who did give me information of W. Howe’s having bought eight bags of precious stones taken from about the Dutch Vice-Admirall’s neck, of which there were eight dyamonds which cost him 60,000l. sterling, in India, and hoped to have made 2000l. here for them. And that this is told by one that sold him one of the bags, which hath nothing but rubys in it, which he had for 35s.; and that it will be proved he hath made 125l. of one stone that he bought. This she desired, and I resolved I would give my Lord Sandwich notice of. So I on board my Lord Bruncker; and there he and Sir Edmund Pooly carried me down into the hold of the India shipp, and there did show me the greatest wealth lie in confusion that a man can see in the world. Pepper scattered through every chink, you trod upon it; and in cloves and nutmegs, I walked above the knees; whole rooms full. And silk in bales, and boxes of copper-plate, one of which I saw opened. Having seen this, which was as noble a sight as ever I saw in my life, I away on board the other ship in despair to get the pleasure-boat of the gentlemen there to carry me to the fleet. They were Mr. Ashburnham and Colonell Wyndham; but pleading the King’s business, they did presently agree I should have it. So I presently on board, and got under sail, and had a good bedd by the shift, of Wyndham’s; and so, … [Continue tomorrow. P.G.]

11 Annotations

Michael L   Link to this

"Pepper scattered through every chink, you trod upon it; and in cloves and nutmegs, I walked above the knees; whole rooms full."

What a vivid description -- it really makes you feel like you can see it all with him. And his non-standard sentence structure (very choppy, almost list-like syntax) makes his description sound all the more breathless with Sam's excitement at being within such a world of wonders.

Given Sam's evident lust for riches, walking through such immense wealth must have made an especially deep impression on him.

cape henry   Link to this

"Pepper scattered through every chink, you trod upon it; and in cloves and nutmegs, I walked above the knees; whole rooms full. And silk in bales, and boxes of copper-plate, one of which I saw opened."

What a "vivid description," indeed. I got a powerful olfactory sensation from it. Even the silk and the copper plate would have exuded powerful smells. Wonderful stuff here.

Glyn   Link to this

He is walking through a treasure house - that pepper is amazingly expensive.

"after having sat an houre laughing with my Lady Batten and Mrs. Turner, and eat and drank with them," A lot of his contemporaries would be uncomfortable spending so much time with women, but Pepys genuinely likes being in their company. Or am I wrong, hasn't he always been dismissive and critical of Mistress Batten?

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"W. Howe’s having bought eight bags of precious stones taken from about the Dutch Vice-Admirall’s neck, of which there were eight dyamonds which cost him 60,000l. sterling, in India, and hoped to have made 2000l. here for them."

*Spoiler*
L&M note Howe's plunder will turn out to yield far less: see http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/01/24/

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Pepys has Sandwich via Howe wading through the booty.

L&M say that, according to a letter from Pepys to Sandwich of 20 November, Howe "used Sandwich's seal to authorize the sale" and had also taken spices [presumably "breaking bulk," which was private looting] "allegedly for Sandwich's table." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/11/20/

Mary   Link to this

60,000l. sterling in India ....

Even without Terry's note and *spoiler*, this strikes one as a tale that has grown in the telling and may prove to be an exaggeration.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Hope he didn't wear the good suit knee-deep in cloves and nutmeg... What a great image and a great day, ending with a chance to show his pull via Charlie/Jamie, requistioning a ride.

I wonder if he filled a pocket or two for the home table.

Eadwacer   Link to this

The Eriffe/Erith change in pronunciation is interesting, I guess it wasn't just street urchins who used ff back then.

FJA   Link to this

"I walked above the knees; whole rooms full."

Shall we take "knees" to refer to Sam's knees, which would have made for difficult walking/wading, or the knees of the ship, which I think is the bend in each rib of the ship and thus provides a point of reference for those who knew those ships as to the level to which the spices were either lying loosely, or some still in their bags but other bags broken and the contents spilled out, thus filling the chinks?

cgs   Link to this

FJA You have a great point, meaning this be filling the well of the ship, there being no inside skin, i.e. below the lowest actual decking

dirk   Link to this

From the Carte Papers, Bodleian Library
http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/projects...

George, Duke of Albemarle, to Sandwich
Written from: Cockpitt

Date: 16 November 1665

Thinks his Lordship has done well in the sending-in of the Great Ships, and expresses his hope that there will be moneys to pay them off speedily. Adds, with reference to the convoy for the Hamburgh merchant-fleet; "the cloth-ships that are to go thither are of great consequence to the people of the country, to enable them to pay their taxes; and I think they [the convoy] will have a very good opportunity to do it, while the squadron is abroad". ...

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