Tuesday 28 August 1666

Up, and in my new closet a good while doing business. Then called on Mrs. Martin and Burroughs of Westminster about business of the former’s husband. Which done, I to the office, where we sat all the morning. At noon I, with my wife and Mercer, to Philpott Lane, a great cook’s shop, to the wedding of Mr. Longracke, our purveyor, a good, sober, civil man, and hath married a sober, serious mayde. Here I met much ordinary company, I going thither at his great request; but there was Mr. Madden and his lady, a fine, noble, pretty lady, and he, and a fine gentleman seems to be. We four were most together; but the whole company was very simple and innocent. A good-dinner, and, what was best, good musique. After dinner the young women went to dance; among others Mr. Christopher Pett his daughter, who is a very pretty, modest girle, I am mightily taken with her; and that being done about five o’clock, home, very well pleased with the afternoon’s work. And so we broke up mightily civilly, the bride and bridegroom going to Greenwich (they keeping their dinner here only for my sake) to lie, and we home, where I to the office, and anon am on a sudden called to meet Sir W. Pen and Sir W. Coventry at the Victualling Office, which did put me out of order to be so surprised. But I went, and there Sir William Coventry did read me a letter from the Generalls to the King,1 a most scurvy letter, reflecting most upon Sir W. Coventry, and then upon me for my accounts (not that they are not true, but that we do not consider the expence of the fleete), and then of the whole office, in neglecting them and the King’s service, and this in very plain and sharp and menacing terms. I did give a good account of matters according to our computation of the expence of the fleete. I find Sir W. Coventry willing enough to accept of any thing to confront the Generalls. But a great supply must be made, and shall be in grace of God! But, however, our accounts here will be found the true ones. Having done here, and much work set me, I with greater content home than I thought I should have done, and so to the office a while, and then home, and a while in my new closet, which delights me every day more and more, and so late to bed.

  1. The letter from Prince Rupert and the Duke of Albemarle to the king (dated August 27th, from the “Royal Charles,” Sole Bay) is among the State Papers. The generals complain of the want of supplies, in spite of repeated importunities. The demands are answered by accounts from Mr. Pepys of what has been sent to the fleet, which will not satisfy the ships, unless the provisions could be found “… Have not a month’s provision of beer, yet Sir Wm. Coventry assures the ministers that they are supplied till Oct. 3; unless this is quickened they will have to return home too soon … Want provisions according to their own computation, not Sir Wm. Coventry’s, to last to the end of October” (“Calendar,” 1666-67, p. 71).

22 Annotations

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...to the wedding of Mr. Longracke, our purveyor, a good, sober, civil man, and hath married a sober, serious mayde."

I translate this to mean in part...Not a Bagwell situation. But with Sam, one can never be sure.

"After dinner the young women went to dance; among others Mr. Christopher Pett his daughter, who is a very pretty, modest girle, I am mightily taken with her..." Seems odd that with a brilliant and important man like Pett present Sam keeps harping on the 'simplicity' and 'innocence' of the company. Should we take this to mean there may have been sophisticated, brilliant, talented, outstanding folks present but nobody big at Court?

"Yes, Bessie (She would be called Muffy in the US 300 years later) there are some very niiiccceee people here but nobody who's really...People, you know."

By the way, Chris?...Get your daughter away from that man...Quick.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...Sir William Coventry did read me a letter from the Generalls to the King, a most scurvy letter, reflecting most upon Sir W. Coventry, and then upon me for my accounts (not that they are not true, but that we do not consider the expence of the fleete), and then of the whole office, in neglecting them and the King’s service, and this in very plain and sharp and menacing terms."

What to do...What to do?

Ah... There...Sam grabs onto the guide who has led him through many a near-disaster.

"Aubry...For God's sake impart to me some measure of advice...Comfort..." thumbs "Way to Riches..."

Ah...

"Chapter Fifty-five...

"So thou hast had thy first disaster... Note that had thou avoided the offices of Supply in thy profession as related in Chapter Fifty-three, thine burden would be as nothing. Yet here thou sits...Rancor no doubt heaped upon thee by the powerful in thy affairs."

"Oh, Hugh...Too true, too true...Whatever shall I do...?"

"Take heart then, man and do not whine for the Lord's manifold mercy...It behooves thee to find salvation in thine own resources which raised thee to such heights. Above all gird thyself to meet all challengers with open account books (See Chapter Thirty-seven on double entry bookkeeping and the happy land of the Swiss) and..."

Paul Chapin   Link to this

RG, although "Mr. Christopher Pett his daughter" (i.e. Pett's daughter) was present at the wedding party, there's no indication in the entry that Pett himself was there.

Jesse   Link to this

"...upon me for my accounts (not that they are not true, but that we do not consider the expence of the fleete), and then of the whole office, in neglecting them and the King’s service"

Seems like Pepys is caught between the proverbial rock of finances being what they are and a hard place of the "Generalls" viz. their "scurvy letter." Frustrating no doubt but Pepys, really having nothing to hide, and with growing confidence in his position, is willing to lay his cards on the table ("our accounts here will be found the true ones") and let the chips fall where they may.

language hat   Link to this

"among others Mr. Christopher Pett his daughter"

This is standard usage of the time for "Mr. Christopher Pett's daughter" (based on a mistaken idea about the origin of the possessive suffix). I don't know if they actually said "his" when speaking or if it was just a fancy way of writing.

language hat   Link to this

The more I think of it the more likely I think it is that nobody actually said "his" when speaking, that it was purely a graphic flourish.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Even a Pett daughter if Chris hasn't shown is still a prominent citizen...My question is what are Sam's criteria for what constitutes "good society" now? I'm suspicious that while Evelyn would make the cut...Greatorex and even Hooke might not.

jeannine   Link to this

Sam and Rupert

Spolier. Sam already had a dislike for Rupert in the Diary to date and it's not clear where that actually came from (before the Diary perhaps?). Up until now Rupert probably hasn't really had any interactions with Sam to cause him to actually 'take note' of him in a serious fashion. Rupert is NOT one to be crossed.

Rupert is a dedicated 'soldier' and Sam is a dedicated 'administrator'. Both are trying to do the best that they can with the limits that they have (bad seamen, lack of provisions, funds, etc). To Jesse's point above, as Sam starts to lay his cards on the table he will find himself at greater odds with Rupert, which will be interesting to see unfold.

Louise H   Link to this

"not that they are not true, but that we do not consider the expence of the fleete"

I'm not sure I understand the nature of the dispute with Rupert. Rupert's saying Coventry and Pepys haven't sent enough supplies for the fleet. Pepys is confident their accounts will show they have. It this a dispute about how much the fleet really needs? I.e., is this about how much food & drink is needed per sailor (which was standardized I believe) or about how many sailors needed provisioning? Alternatively, do they agree on those things, and Rupert is accusing Coventry of sending less than is agreed, and Pepys is saying he's confident he can show that all that is agreed was sent? Or something else?

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

"Want provisions according to their own computation, not Sir Wm. Coventry’s, to last to the end of October”

I take it the generals disagree with Pepys (via Coventry)on the adequacy of the total supply, which could be due either to taking on larger numbers of men than the standard factors allow, or to the allowance per man.

Evidence from the diary suggests the generals took on more men than allowed for in the Navy Office's supply factors. Here is Sir William Coventry two days before the St. James's Day battle of July 25, commenting on the condition of the fleet:

"takes notice, which is worth notice, that the fleete hath lane now near fourteen days without any demand for a farthingworth of any thing of any kind, but only to get men. He also observes, that with this excesse of men, nevertheless, they have thought fit to leave behind them sixteen ships, which they have robbed of their men, which certainly might have been manned, and they been serviceable in the fight, and yet the fleete well-manned, according to the excesse of supernumeraries, which we hear they have."

http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1666/07/23/

cgs   Link to this

Anyone that has been in the supply business can tell you that there is big 'lossage' between paper pushers issuing requirements and the actuall arrival of supplies at required point of usage. Underestimating of actual versus perceived, deliveries starting out on the journey and ending up in another market, [be it one of the dull colors], losses in the holding depot vanishing out of a side door, spoilage, breakage.
What we are reading is the normal tale of "your department never mine" when in reality everyone contributes to the lack of supplies for the Tar on the ropes hawling sail.
The main reason is "doreme" or the poverty of Kings purse.
It sounds so simple 100 tars, 1 biscuit , 1 oz of cheese per day: 30 days x 100 x 1 oz of cheese gives 187.5 lbs of best Dubliner.

Then there is spoilage, how many mice are there etc.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I remember that Sam noted delays and problems with victualing earlier, to such an extent he feared losing Coventry's good opinion and that on a couple of occasions the victualing vessels had missed their tide or not gone out in time to reach the fleet. I wonder if Sam's records will confirm that port warehouses and supply ships were properly manned as of the present but the real truth is that supplies failed to reach the fleet in time and are often rotting away at port. Along of course with the likely wastage others have noted. Sam and Rupert are likely both in the right. The supplies were gathered and eventually sent out but much did not reach the fleet. Sounds like there's a job at sea for our administrator in sorting this all out. I'm surprised Coventry and the Duke or Sam himself haven't insisted Sam or someone go out to the fleet with some of the supply vessels and check on loss in transit long before this.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...called on Mrs. Martin and Burroughs of Westminster about business of the former’s husband."

Hmmn...Called on the favorite mistress and the widow he's been 'assisting' in exchange for 'favors'. Now why would Mrs. Burroughs be involved in Betty Martin's husband's business? Interesting too that Sam seems utterly unconcerned that these two should know each other. While it could be Sam's way of throwing Mrs. Burroughs a share in what business he gives the Martins, it could suggest that Betty M is fully aware that her friend sees other women and is quite comfortable about it; same being true of the widowed Mrs. B. I can't imagine they just smiled at each other and never discussed their good and prominent friend, the grand CoA, Pepys.

Of course it could all have been utterly innocent...

"Mrs. Martin...Mrs. Burroughs, of whose tragic recent loss I told you."

"Oh, yes...My poor lamb..."

"I was hoping Mrs. Martin that perhaps you and Mrs. Burrough, being in similar lines of trade, could work together to supply our sailors in some of the cloth and linen we so badly need."

"Oh, Mr. P..."

"And of course I thought your husband Mr. Martin would be just the man to coordinate such work..."

"He's such a grand man, Mr. P. is...Isn't he?"

"Oh, yes..." Mrs. Burroughs, fondly. "No man kinder to a lady in distress." Beaming smile to a beaming, avuncular Sam.

Uh-huh...Betty stares.

I thought so...

***

Robert Gertz   Link to this

Then again, perhaps less so...

"Well..." a blinking Betty M stares after the hurrying Pepys... "Must press on, ladies. Many...Thanks..." faint call, dying on the breeze of his rushed pace. "...that was so fast I'd bet we don't even get it into the Diary."

"Hardly worth it, anyways." Betty B notes with grin...Pulling up dress. "Though he got did get a two-fer today...And a decent discount, considering what he offered in trade."

"Aye...Well, he's a good soul in heart, love. Though as to the flesh...Perhaps a bit weak."

"He's probably off to his actress that Betty Knipp or that surgeon's wife, Mrs. Pierce...And I happen to know he's been at the home of a certain Betty Bagwell a bit too often for easy explanation."

"He's got his sights on that Mitchell girl now, I hear tell...Young Betty, the spirits' shopowner's wife. Does seem a bit hard on that pretty girl he's got at home." Martin shakes head.

"Well, that's it then..." Mrs Burroughs grins. "He clearly can't tell his Bettys apart. To our profit, anyway..."

"Well...He has been complaining about his eyes..." Martin smiles.

"Ha, ha, ha..."

***

Glyn   Link to this

Speaking personally, if I was criticised out of the blue by such people, then I know that my first reaction would be panic even if it was completely untrue. I doubt if I would be able to make a good response.

So I do admire Sam's coolness, and thick skin, when under fire.

cgs   Link to this

oh!!! my eye!! Betty Martin????? comes to mind

Alec   Link to this

I have just noticed that closet is spelt with two Ts in yesterday's missive. Is this an error by Sammy's scribe, Master Gyford - who, judging by Sammy's approach towards misbehaving servants, will soon get a sore whipping - or was Sammy inconsistent with his spelling?

alta fossa   Link to this

Samuell would 'emphazise' his points by written enunciation,e.g. fishin' as in fishing etc.
he rote as he tort, not having to 'relie' on spell checker and OED. Thus he was trying very hard to make sure we do not Google 'is thorts.

samples OED
Also 4-7 closett, 5-6 -ette, 6 claus(s)et, Sc. closat, 6-7 closset, 7 clossett. [a. OF. closet, dim. of clos:{em}L. clausum: see CLOSE n.1 and -ET1. In later Fr. applied exclusively to a small enclosure in the open air.]

1. a. A room for privacy or retirement; a private room; an inner chamber; formerly often = BOWER 2, 2b; in later use always a small room: see 4.
?1370 Robt. Cicyle 57 A slepe hym toke In hys closet.
-------
wc
7. Short for ‘Closet of ease,’ ‘water-closet’.
1662 GERBIER Princ. 27 A Closet of ease.

-----
1666 PEPYS Diary (1879) III. 422 Tom Cheffins..the king's *closett-keeper.

photo editing service   Link to this

I had read that the diaries were to be published and I am glad to have found them!

Claire L   Link to this

language hat: "This is standard usage of the time for “Mr. Christopher Pett’s daughter” (based on a mistaken idea about the origin of the possessive suffix)."

I thought this WAS the origin of the possessive suffix and was delighted to see it in action. ("Mr. Christopher Pett his daughter.") Can you please elucidate?

language hat   Link to this

The suffix goes back to Old English (e.g., scip 'ship,' genitive scipes) and has nothing to do with the possessive pronoun, but during the Renaissance they got it into their heads that it did (along with many other historically wrong ideas, like adding an -h- to "author") and so started writing it that way.

language hat   Link to this

Don't feel bad -- I thought the same thing until I started taking linguistics classes!

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