Friday 12 January 1665/66

By coach to the Duke of Albemarle, where Sir W. Batten and I only met. Troubled at my heart to see how things are ordered there without consideration or understanding. Thence back by coach and called at Wotton’s, my shoemaker, lately come to towne, and bespoke shoes, as also got him to find me a taylor to make me some clothes, my owne being not yet in towne, nor Pym, my Lord Sandwich’s taylor. So he helped me to a pretty man, one Mr. Penny, against St. Dunstan’s Church. Thence to the ‘Change and there met Mr. Moore, newly come to towne, and took him home to dinner with me and after dinner to talke, and he and I do conclude my Lord’s case to be very bad and may be worse, if he do not get a pardon for his doings about the prizes and his business at Bergen, and other things done by him at sea, before he goes for Spayne. I do use all the art I can to get him to get my Lord to pay my cozen Pepys, for it is a great burden to my mind my being bound for my Lord in 1000l. to him. Having done discourse with him and directed him to go with my advice to my Lord expresse to-morrow to get his pardon perfected before his going, because of what I read the other night in Sir W. Coventry’s letter, I to the office, and there had an extraordinary meeting of Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, and Sir W. Pen, and my Lord Bruncker and I to hear my paper read about pursers, which they did all of them with great good will and great approbation of my method and pains in all, only Sir W. Pen, who must except against every thing and remedy nothing, did except against my proposal for some reasons, which I could not understand, I confess, nor my Lord Bruncker neither, but he did detect indeed a failure or two of mine in my report about the ill condition of the present pursers, which I did magnify in one or two little things, to which, I think, he did with reason except, but at last with all respect did declare the best thing he ever heard of this kind, but when Sir W. Batten did say, “Let us that do know the practical part of the Victualling meet Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Pen and I and see what we can do to mend all,” he was so far from offering or furthering it, that he declined it and said, he must be out of towne. So as I ever knew him never did in his life ever attempt to mend any thing, but suffer all things to go on in the way they are, though never so bad, rather than improve his experience to the King’s advantage. So we broke up, however, they promising to meet to offer some thing in it of their opinions, and so we rose, and I and my Lord Bruncker by coach a little way for discourse sake, till our coach broke, and tumbled me over him quite down the side of the coach, falling on the ground about the Stockes, but up again, and thinking it fit to have for my honour some thing reported in writing to the Duke in favour of my pains in this, lest it should be thought to be rejected as frivolous, I did move it to my Lord, and he will see it done to-morrow. So we parted, and I to the office and thence home to my poor wife, who works all day at home like a horse, at the making of her hangings for our chamber and the bed. So to supper and to bed.

16 Annotations

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Having the titled boys give him a little shove around seems good for Sam's character, given his considerate thought for poor Bess at end. Still Minnes, Batten, and even Penn have all clearly come to respect our lad's ability. It can't be easy for a tough, experienced commander like Admiral Sir Will to bear Sam's snide cracks and hints that he's incapable...And not just in office administration, however careful Sam may be about making them in his presence.

Sam, it would be nice if you followed up that kind thought by taking your hard-working girl out somewhere.

cgs   Link to this

"...falling on the ground about the Stockes, but up again..."

The Gods dothe speke

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

Ah, office politics through the centuries ... now, when I tell my staff, " 'twas ever thus," I'll be able to cite this fantastic entry as proof.

I love Sam's honesty when it comes to Penn's criticisms (basically, "some of what he suggested went over my head, plus he got me on a couple of things") and his bitterness about Batten -- working in an organization full of "we've always done it that way"-ers, Lord! How I can relate.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Penn actually praises Pepys's work and refuses to be part of an effort by Batten to take other measures:

"but at last with all respect did declare the best thing he ever heard of this kind, but when Sir W. Batten did say, “Let us that do know the practical part of the Victualling meet Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Pen and I and see what we can do to mend all,” he was so far from offering or furthering it, that he declined it"

Quite a victory for Sam, even if he's nettled.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

Ah ... yeah, I realize that Penn came around to Pepys' vision, after picking at it a bit, but I read the "he" in the passage above as Batten. So, in my reading, Batten's saying, "Let's form a committee [excluding Sam] with those who *really* know victualling, to further study this," thereby ensuring the proposal's delay and possible death (or its virtual death, since the committee might change it beyond Sam's intent). Hence Sam's bitter pronouncement about Batten ("So as I ever knew him never did in his life ever attempt to mend any thing, but suffer all things to go on in the way they are, though never so bad, rather than improve his experience to the King’s advantage"), and his attempt to sidestep Batten by requesting Brouncker to bring it up directly with the DoY.

language hat   Link to this

"I do use all the art I can to get him to get my Lord to pay my cozen Pepys, for it is a great burden to my mind my being bound for my Lord in 1000l. to him."

Could someone explain this for those of us who have a hard time keeping Sam's financial dealings straight?

Mary   Link to this

the £1000 loan.

see http://www.pepysdiary.com/archive/1661/03/30

Pepys got his cousin Thomas to loan Sandwich £1000 on the joint surety of Samuel,his Uncle Robert and milord himself. The sum has been outstanding for nearly five years and, given that Sandwich's stock seems to be going down, our lad is getting increasingly bothered about it.

This was Thomas Pepys "The Executor", also known as "Hatcham Pepys". He seems to have been a wealthy man, probably a merchant or businessman of some sort.

A.Hamilton   Link to this

Who's "he"

The sentence Todd and I have been deconstructing offers two possibilites after the introduction of Batten into the discussion. "He" in the following clause could be Batten, as Todd suggests: "he was so far from offering or furthering it, that he declined it." If so then all the other references to he and him refer to Batten, and "it" refers to Sam's paper. But the alternative reading that all these references to "he" and "him" refer to Penn is given strength by the clause that follows: "that he declined it and said, he must be out of towne." I doubt this clause could refer to Batten, who has just made a proposal for action that does not suggest he will be "out of towne." If not Batten, it must refer to Penn, and "it" in the quotation must refer to Batten's proposal, which Sam doesn't seem to bridle at. The rest of the discussion, then, also refers to Penn, and seems to me to be of a piece with Sam's oft-expressed antagonism to the admiral.

Phoenix Rhys   Link to this

Thank you Charles for establishing your credentials.

JonTom in Massachusetts   Link to this

Hmmm. I parse the passage about the "extraordinary meeting" somewhat differently than y'all:

"extraordinary meeting of Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Batten, and Sir W. Pen, and my Lord Bruncker and I to hear my paper read about pursers, which they did all of them with great good will and great approbation of my method and pains in all, .."

They all loved it, except...

"only Sir W. Pen, who must except against every thing and remedy nothing,"

that idiot Penn who must oppose every propoasl but suggest no better alternatives.

"did except against my proposal for some reasons, which I could not understand, I confess, nor my Lord Bruncker neither"

I couldn't even make sense his purported reasoning for his objections. And they didn't make sense to Lord Brounker either.

"but he did detect indeed a failure or two of mine in my report about the ill condition of the present pursers which I did magnify in one or two little things, to which, I think, he did with reason except,"

But Brouncker did make some good points about a few minor flaws, which I was able to address, because /he/, at least, is a good judge of men.

"but at last with all respect did declare the best thing he ever heard of this kind,"

And at the end Brounker declared it was the best thing ever.

"but when Sir W. Batten did say, 'Let us that do know the practical part of the Victualling meet Sir J. Minnes, Sir W. Pen and I and see what we can do to mend all,'"

Furthermore, when Batten said, "Let's meet further so that we can address the remaining (i.e. that knave Penn's) objections ...

"he was so far from offering or furthering it, that he declined it and said, he must be out of towne."

that idiot, as usual, couldn't be bothered to actually offer any better suggestions.

"So as I ever knew him never did in his life ever attempt to mend any thing, but suffer all things to go on in the way they are, though never so bad, rather than improve his experience to the King’s advantage."

Which is just like him, because he's an idiot, a knave, and, further more, a knavish idiot.

Bradford   Link to this

"my poor wife, who works all day at home like a horse, at the making of her hangings for our chamber and the bed."

Cannot recall Pepys ever using this figure of speech-comparison before; but it summons up an irresistible anachronistic image of a mare wearing a Jane Austen mobcap seated at a sewing machine doing up draperies with her front hooves.

Robin Peters   Link to this

My take on the hangings for the chamber was towards new curtains for the windows and now seem to include the bed as well. Walls in an upper class dwelling would be lined out with wainscot panelling in oak or pine rather than plastered and in later period would have tapestries or printed wallpaper but mounted on light wooden framework rather than glued to the wail as in modern times.

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

re: "him"

This is tough, especially given that the punctuation is not Sam's! Do L&M punctuate this long sentence any differently?

JonTom, the only disagreement I have w/your parsing is that I think Penn was the one who did declaring Sam's proposal "he best thing he ever heard of this kind," rather than Brouncker.

I do see your and A's points about Penn. I guess I was originally seeing a full stop after the quote I give above, and assumed that the focus then turned to Batten, whom Sam has also disparaged as corrupt, incompetent, etc. Plus, from my own experience in office politics, I've too often seen pledges to "further study the proposal" as a passive-aggressive way of killing it ("Let's study this further by forming a committee, but oh -- can't do that too soon, as I'll be out of town anyway," etc.)

Terry Foreman   Link to this

L&M punctuate it this way:

"to hear my paper read about pursers, which they did all of them, with great good will and great approbation of my method and pains in all; only Sir W. Penn, who must except against every thing and remedy nothing, did except against my proposal, for some reasons which I could not understand, I confess, nor my Lord Brouncker neither. But he did detect, indeed, a failure or two of mine in my report about the ill-condition of the present pursers, which I did magnify in one or two little things; to which I think he did with reason except. But at last with all respect did declare the best thing he ever heard of this kind; but when Sir W. Batten did say, “Let us that do know the practical part of the Victualling meet Sir J. Mennes, Sir W. Penn and I, and see what we can do to mend all,” he was so far from offering or furthering it, that he declined it and said, he must be out of town."

Terry Foreman   Link to this

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

12 After much, & indeede extraordinary mirth & cheere, all my Brothers, our Wives & Children being together, & after much sorrow & trouble during this Contagion, which separated our families, as well as others, I returned to my house, but my Wife went back to Wotton, I not as yet willing to adventure her, the Contagion, though exceedingly abated, not as yet wholy extinguish’d amongst us:

language hat   Link to this

Thanks, Mary. I'd be nervous too!

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