Monday 22 April 1667

Up pretty betimes, my throat better, and so drest me, and to White Hall to see Sir W. Coventry, returned from Portsmouth, whom I am almost ashamed to see for fear he should have been told how often I have been at plays, but it is better to see him at first than afterward. So walked to the Old Swan and drank at Michell’s, and then to White Hall and over the Park to St. James’s to [Sir] W. Coventry, where well received, and good discourse. He seems to be sure of a peace; that the King of France do not intend to set out a fleete, for that he do design Flanders. Our Embassadors set out this week. Thence I over the Park to Sir G. Carteret, and after him by coach to the Lord Chancellor’s house, the first time I have been therein; and it is very noble, and brave pictures of the ancient and present nobility, never saw better. Thence with him to London, mighty merry in the way. Thence home, and find the boy out of the house and office, and by and by comes in and hath been to Mercer’s. I did pay his coat for him. Then to my chamber, my wife comes home with linen she hath been buying of. I then to dinner, and then down the river to Greenwich, and the watermen would go no further. So I turned them off, giving them nothing, and walked to Woolwich; there did some business, and met with Captain Cocke and back with him. He tells me our peace is agreed on; we are not to assist the Spanyard against the French for this year, and no restitution, and we are likely to lose Poleroone.1 I know not whether this be true or no, but I am for peace on any terms. He tells me how the King was vexed the other day for having no paper laid him at the Council-table, as was usual; and Sir Richard Browne did tell his Majesty he would call the person whose work it was to provide it: who being come, did tell his Majesty that he was but a poor man, and was out 400l. or 500l. for it, which was as much as he is worth; and that he cannot provide it any longer without money, having not received a penny since the King’s coming in. So the King spoke to my Lord Chamberlain; and many such mementos the King do now-a-days meet withall, enough to make an ingenuous man mad. I to Deptford, and there scolded with a master for his ship’s not being gone, and so home to the office and did business till my eyes are sore again, and so home to sing, and then to bed, my eyes failing me mightily.

21 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

John Evelyn's Diary

22d April, 1667. Saw the sumptuous supper in the banqueting-house at Whitehall, on the eve of St. George's day, where were all the companions of the Order of the Garter.

cape henry  •  Link

"...but I am for peace on any terms."And no wonder, because the next anecdote concerning the man who supplies the king with paper and who has never been paid a shilling gives us a glimpse of the tip of the iceberg.There is no doubt that there were many such "fortunate" merchants supplying Charles II.It was common practice for the nobility to pay their debts once a year, but Charles seems not to have been even that considerate of those that served him - or his Navy.

Eric Walla  •  Link

OK, I'll ask: "I did pay his coat for him." What does this mean?

Ruben  •  Link

“I did pay his coat for him.”
This is a reference coming from the Bible.
The Prophet Samuel had a new coat every year (as he was a growing teen) made by Hanna, his mother.
I presume Pepys wanted to point to the fact that he was attending the boy as his own mother would.

Mary  •  Link

Pulau Run (Pulo Run)

One of the smallest islands in the Banda Group in Indonesia, it was very important to the spice trade as a source of nutmeg and mace - only obtainable in the Bandas at this time. Later introduction of the tree to Ceylon eased this question of monopoly.

Mary  •  Link

"the watermen would go no further"

No indication of the reason for this refusal, though it seems harsh that they should have received no pay for the journey as far as Greenwich. Perhaps an incoming tide was running too strongly for them to carry on any further downstream.

Bryan M  •  Link

"and many such mementos the King do now-a-days meet withall, enough to make an ingenuous man mad."

Is Sam showing sympathy for his harried king, or harbouring treasonous thoughts?

ingenuous: 1598, from L. ingenuus "with the virtues of freeborn people, of noble character, frank," originally "native, freeborn," ... Online Etymology Dictionary

GrahamT  •  Link

"...the watermen would go no further. So I turned them off, giving them nothing..."
I read this as him not tipping them. I don't think he would get away with not paying the fare, especially as it is watermen, not -man.

LondonPaul  •  Link

“…the watermen would go no further. So I turned them off, giving them nothing…” Perhaps this is a previous take on "I'm not going south of the river Guv'" from a black cab driver today. Likewise not giving them a tip is the best way of getting back and I'm sure sure the watermen were enraged as are cabbies today. For fellow Pepysdiarlyholics A Gambling Man: Charles II and The Restoration by Jenny Uglow is an excellent book and sheds much light on Peype's world giving the background to what is going on at court, the war, the navy and even the paper man not being paid.

Mary  •  Link

The watermen.

Indeed, withholding the tip might make more sense. My reaction was prompted by the "turned them off" which has an air of peremptory finality. (Too much influenced by recollections of Shaw's Alfred Doolittle, perhaps).

Ralph Berry  •  Link

"One of the smallest Islands in the Banda group"

"Nathaniel's Nutmeg", a book by Giles Milton is a great account of British involvement in the spice islands and their bloody battles with the Dutch in the seventeenth century. In the end the British lost out to the Dutch in the East but they did gain New York in the West as a result. Although set mostly after the time of SP's diary it adds a lot to what we learn from Sam.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"I did pay his coat for him." I'd thought at first Sam meant he'd walloped him well. But as Tom had good excuse to be away, the kinder explanation sounds more likely.

"...peace on any terms."

Louis would like that.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"Then to my chamber, my wife comes home with linen she hath been buying of."

"Bess? Well, that's very...OW!!! Bess?! Bess!!! Not my new Turkey history!! Bess!!! Not the stone cut!!! Ohhhh...."

"Mrs. Martin...Doll Lane...And Mrs. Burroughs say 'Hello'!!!"

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

I haven't read "Nathaniel's Nutmeg," but have read Milton's "Samurai William," and found him (FWIW) to be an engaging and entertaining writer of history ... thanks for the recommendation, Ralph.

Don McCahill  •  Link

So what kind of paper does the King need at the council table? It is a bit premature for the Times to be delivered.

Mary  •  Link

The King's paper.

Paper (especially quality paper suitable for use by the King's Council) was still an expensive commodity. If the person responsible for its provision (John Woolley, Underkeeper of the Council Records) had been supplying it at his own expense since the date of the Restoration, it's not surprising that he could no longer afford to do so. One hopes that the Lord Chamberlain took care of the matter and arranged for the arrears to be paid.

CGS  •  Link

Getting a coat, part of the pay system of the times, when I had the Queens shilling I receive a new basic outfit each year as I would never have enough money to pay for it, latter they issued a clothing allowance.

Peeps would not want his hired help to look like a pauper that he was, would he.

Recompense for carrying out the Masters wishes have changed.

¨...she hath been buying of. ...¨
enough said.

This is an interesting information on trust of Diplomats, not covered in most elementary history booksbook

Ruben  •  Link

“I did pay his coat for him.” I’d thought at first Sam meant he’d walloped him well. But as Tom had good excuse to be away, the kinder explanation sounds more likely."

Well placed and timely slaps were part of a good education. Consider Pepys had no children of his own to "educate". We had already heard of some violent education in the household. So Sam cared for the wardrobe and for the education. Otherwise he would be considered not doing his duty by Tom's parents.

Jim  •  Link

When Sam states that the boy "had been to Mercer's" is it possible that he is talking about a cloth merchant (a mercer), and not Mary Mercer ?
Hence the statement about paying for the coat.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Ruben, you were probably right the first time:
PAY A COAT = to beat, chastise — (L&M Select Glossary)

cum salis grano  •  Link

pay a coat addendum to Ruben and T F OED:

pay, v.1
see 12c:
1667 S. PEPYS Diary 22 Apr. (1974) VIII. 176 Thence home, and find the boy out of the house and office..I did pay his coat for him.
to pay

10. trans. and intr. Naut. slang. to pay with the fore-topsail and variants: to leave without paying (one's debts or one's creditors).

12. trans. fig. To give what is due or deserved to (a person).

a. In a positive or neutral sense: to reward or recompense (a person) for his or her works, behaviour, character, etc. Also (occas.) intr.

b. In a negative sense: to give (a person) what is due or deserved in respect of his or her faults; to punish, chastise; to take revenge on. Now chiefly in to pay a person in his (also her) own coin and variants (cf. COIN n. 7b).

c. To strike, beat, or flog (a person); to punish by beating. Also: to overcome (a person) in a fight or contest. Brit. regional in later use.

13. trans. To give to a person (that which is due or deserved).

a. To inflict, bestow, give (punishment, a blow, etc.) as being deserved, or in return for something; to deliver (retribution). Sometimes with the recipient as second object.

to pay the rent (also death-rent) of: to kill.

to pay home


1. trans. To recompense or requite to the full amount. Chiefly in a negative sense: to punish as much as is deserved; to take revenge on.

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