Sunday 18 November 1666

(Lord’s day). Up by candle-light and on foote to White Hall, where by appointment I met Lord Bruncker at Sir W. Coventry’s chamber, and there I read over my great letter, and they approved it: and as I do do our business in defence of the Board, so I think it is as good a letter in the manner, and believe it is the worst in the matter of it, as ever come from any office to a Prince. Back home in my Lord Bruncker’s coach, and there W. Hewer and I to write it over fair; dined at noon, and Mercer with us, and mighty merry, and then to finish my letter; and it being three o’clock ere we had done, when I come to Sir W. Batten; he was in a huffe, which I made light of, but he signed the letter, though he would not go, and liked the letter well. Sir W. Pen, it seems, he would not stay for it: so, making slight of Sir W. Pen’s putting so much weight upon his hand to Sir W. Batten, I down to the Tower Wharf, and there got a sculler, and to White Hall, and there met Lord Bruncker, and he signed it, and so I delivered it to Mr. Cheving, and he to Sir W. Coventry, in the cabinet, the King and councill being sitting, where I leave it to its fortune, and I by water home again, and to my chamber, to even my Journall; and then comes Captain Cocke to me, and he and I a great deal of melancholy discourse of the times, giving all over for gone, though now the Parliament will soon finish the Bill for money. But we fear, if we had it, as matters are now managed, we shall never make the best of it, but consume it all to no purpose or a bad one. He being gone, I again to my Journall and finished it, and so to supper and to bed.

16 Annotations

Mr. Gunning   Link to this

I think that if Sam is looking down on us from Heaven, more than anything he would want us to acknowledge his great letter.

Sir William in a 'huffe' makes me grin.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I'd bet a lot of Dutch or French agents wouldn't mind getting their hands on that letter...

cape henry   Link to this

"...but consume it all to no purpose or a bad one." Pepys is ever the realist, ever the complete middle executive, pouring his energy into the bureaucratic vortex. Too busy today, as well, for one of his usual Sunday dalliances.

CGS   Link to this

Good News, Plague tables [London 3 Colchester 3] are available down in the Colne valley and a report of Kings stables be afire.

CGS   Link to this

"...when I come to Sir W. Batten; he was in a huffe, which I made light of, but he signed the letter, though he would not go, and liked the letter well...."

Huffer to me was a small piece of dough left over from bread making and baked with the bread and sold to us kids for a farthing, it was the sized less than 2" diam, it was good on a cold snowy morning on the way to getting ones brain washed.

huffe
A stronger meaning then than it be now now?
[3 or 4]?
huff, n.

1. A puff of wind; a slight blast. Obs. exc. in phr. huff and puff (in some contexts influenced by sense 2).
1600 Maides Metam. II. in Bullen O. Pl. I. 126 This takes fier like touch powder, and goes off with a huffe.

1668 H. MORE Div. Dial. V. xxix. (1713) 496 An Huff of Phancy, which ignorant giddy Men may call the Spirit.

2. a. A gust or sudden swell of anger or arrogance.
1599 SANDYS Europæ Spec. (1632) 47 Some of the ministers of Spaine in the huffe of their pride have not beene able to hold in.

the Spring, a difficult huff of quarrel..had fallen~out with his neighbour of Saxony.

b. A fit of petulance or offended dignity caused by an affront, real or supposed; esp. in phr. in a huff, to take huff.
(The quots. before 1757 are doubtful and may belong to prec.: this sense is not in J.)
[1684 Roxb. Ball. (1886) VI. 171 Jockey he wondred at Moggie's strange huff; But Moggy was jealous, and that was enough. 1694 DE LA PRYME Diary (Surtees) 45 Upon which, in a great huff, he left the college.]

3. Inflated opinion of oneself, and its display; arrogance, bluster, bounce, brag. Obs.
1611 COTGR, Palmer les cheveux des orgueilleux, to quell or abate, the huffe of the prowd. 1658 J. HARRINGTON Prerog. Pop. Govt. (1700) 231 Away with..this huff of Wisdom maintain'd by making faces. 1694 R. L'ESTRANGE Fables cxviii. (1714) 135 A Spaniard was Wonderfully upon the Huff about his Extraction.

4. One puffed up with conceit of his own importance, valour, etc.; one who blusters or swaggers; a hector, a bully. Obs.
1667 SOUTH Serm. (1823) I. 374 A company of lewd, shallow brain'd huffs.
1674 S. VINCENT Yng. Gallant's Acad. 91 No man is Valianter than our Huff in civil Company, and where he thinks no danger may come of it.

1678 Advice to Soldier in Harl. Misc. I. 479 To receive the laws of honour from the hectors and huffs of the town.

5. A puffing up or artificial raising. Obs.
1630 R. Johnson's Kingd. & C. 51 A better purchase than the Italian huffe of the shoulder [cf. huff-shoulders in 9].

huffer;
5. A puffing up or artificial raising. Obs.
1630 R. Johnson's Kingd. & C. 51 A better purchase than the Italian huffe of the shoulder [cf. huff-shoulders in 9].

Puzzled in Newcastle   Link to this

"when I come to Sir W. Batten; he was in a huffe, which I made light of, but he signed the letter, though he would not go, and liked the letter well. Sir W. Pen, it seems, he would not stay for it: so, making slight of Sir W. Pen’s putting so much weight upon his hand to Sir W. Batten, "

Can anyone clarify this? Is Batten "in a huffe" because Penn has ducked out of signing the letter?

And if Penn has ducked out of signing, then why does Sam let this go without one of his customary negative comments about Penn.

Don McCahill   Link to this

> making slight of Sir W. Pen’s putting so much weight upon his hand to Sir W. Batten

I read this that Pen used a huge signature that overlapped Batten's. Sort of a John Hancock. Other impressions?

Larry   Link to this

Is anyone aware of a copy of Sam's "great letter?"

Mary   Link to this

problems with signatures.

The cause of Batten's huff seems to be that, although Penn has emphasized the importance of his own signature on such a letter (laid great weight on his hand), he has also indicated that he is too important to wait (stay for) said letter to be brought to Batten's place.

Pepys seems to gain more immediate satisfaction in recording his smoothing over of Batten's ill-temper and getting his business finished than might be had in criticizing Penn yet again. Batten has already done the peevish bit - here comes Sam the facilitator.

Geoff Hallett   Link to this

On radio 3 last night Phil Langridge sang songs by John Blow of Pepys' time. It gave a great feeling of what they were listening to in those days. They were performed in 'pleasure gardens' of which Vauxhall was one that Sam visited in May 1662 with Elizabeth, two servants and a boy. Unfortunately he moved on because the suppers there were too expensive. He probably missed a treat.

jeannine   Link to this

• Is anyone aware of a copy of Sam’s “great letter?”
Larry, Sam’s ‘great letter’ is in the Further Correspondence of Samuel Pepys” edited by J.R. Tanner. It’s about 10 pages long and walks through the current dismal state of finances, including
1. The state of the supplies for the stores and the inability over the last 3 months to buy what they used to buy due to lack of payments to their vendors
2. The tradesmen who will no longer do business with them due to outstanding payments due to them
3. The forests and other areas where they have to only pay transportation costs (i.e. the trees are free) where they can’t even pay for the land and water carriage
4. The workmen in the yard, who will not perform a full day’s work, often for want of credit to buy food. There is a need to increase the numbers of men, but nobody will show up for the work as they know they won’t get paid.
5. The difficult situation of the supplying and dispatching of ships
6. The lack of the officer’s and seamen to perform their duties regarding the ‘safe keeping and refitting of their ships’ supposedly due to lack of pay

Sam then presents a spreadsheet with the itemized necessities for the next year’s material Provisions required, which amounts to £179,793. The original letter was signed by Brouncker, Mennes, Coventry, Batten, Harvey and Sam.

CGS   Link to this

Thanks Jeannine, helps to see the larger Picture.
The great State of California[h] should take note.

Bradford   Link to this

Songs by Blow, Croft, Daniel Purcell, Eccles, and others,
in the Radio 3 programme mentioned by Geoff Hallett, can be accessed through 19 November on the BBC iPlayer:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00ntfmk/C...

Pepys is indeed quoted in this segment of a series which repays hearing. (This year is the 350th anniversary of Purcell's birthday, 21 November 1695 the date of his early, much-lamented death.)

Todd Bernhardt   Link to this

Thanks, Jeannine. I was wondering if the "big signature" theory was correct or not. Now that we've seen it isn't, anyone have an answer for Puzzled's query (which I also am wondering about)?

Larry   Link to this

Thanks jeannine!

Australian Susan   Link to this

Re CGS's comment on huffer as a dialect word for a small loaf: "huffkin" is a dialect word (Sussex) for a variant on the English muffin.

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