Wednesday 26 February 1667/68

Up, and by water to Charing Cross stairs, and thence to W. Coventry to discourse concerning the state of matters in the Navy, where he particularly acquainted me with the trouble he is like to meet with about the selling of places, all carried on by Sir Fr. Hollis, but he seems not to value it, being able to justify it to be lawful and constant practice, and never by him used in the least degree since he upon his own motion did obtain a salary of 500l. in lieu thereof. Thence to the Treasury Chamber about a little business, and so home by coach, and in my way did meet W. Howe going to the Commissioners of Accounts. I stopped and spoke to him, and he seems well resolved what to answer them, but he will find them very strict, and not easily put off: So home and there to dinner, and after dinner comes W. Howe to tell me how he sped, who says he was used civilly, and not so many questions asked as he expected; but yet I do perceive enough to shew that they do intend to know the bottom of things, and where to lay the great weight of the disposal of these East India goods, and that they intend plainly to do upon my Lord Sandwich. Thence with him by coach and set him down at the Temple, and I to Westminster Hall, where, it being now about six o’clock, I find the House just risen; and met with Sir W. Coventry and the Lieutenant of the Tower, they having sat all day; and with great difficulty have got a vote for giving the King 300,000l., not to be raised by any land-tax. The sum is much smaller than I expected, and than the King needs; but is grounded upon Mr. Wren’s reading our estimates the other day of 270,000l., to keep the fleete abroad, wherein we demanded nothing for setting and fitting of them out, which will cost almost 200,000l., I do verily believe: and do believe that the King hath no cause to thank Wren for this motion. I home to Sir W. Coventry’s lodgings, with him and the Lieutenant of the Tower, where also was Sir John Coventry, and Sir John Duncomb, and Sir Job Charleton. And here a great deal of good discourse: and they seem mighty glad to have this vote pass, which I did wonder at, to see them so well satisfied with so small a sum, Sir John Duncomb swearing, as I perceive he will freely do, that it was as much as the nation could beare. Among other merry discourse about spending of money, and how much more chargeable a man’s living is now more than it was heretofore, Duncomb did swear that in France he did live of 100l. a year with more plenty, and wine and wenches, than he believes can be done now for 200l., which was pretty odd for him, being a Committee-man’s son, to say. Having done here, and supped, where I eat very little, we home in Sir John Robinson’s coach, and there to bed.

17 Annotations

chris   Link to this

"..how much more chargeable a man's living is now more than it was heretofore." What an interesting little glimpse of seventeenth century intuitions about global inflation. Does anyone have an estimate about the actual worth of "100l. a year"? Thanks to Tarantino we have a better guage of inflation than "wine and wenches" in the ubiquitous "Big Mac"

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"the House... having...got a vote for giving the King 300,000l., not to be raised by any land-tax."

Grey's Debates
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?co...

Commons Journal
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?co...

This was merely a recommendation and not the approval of an appropriation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appropriation_bill , which L&M note will be voted by the House of 6 March. http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/03/06/

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"Duncomb did swear that in France he did live of 100l. a year with more plenty, and wine and wenches, than he believes can be done now for 200l., which was pretty odd for him, being a Committee-man’s son, to say."

L&M note "'Committee-men' were members of the committees which had, during most of the puritan revolution, displaced J.P.'s, the traditional [governing authorities] of the shires. But Pepys was mistaken in thinking...Duncombe's father was one of them".

Christopher Squire   Link to this

‘chargeable, adj.
. . †4. Burdensome (as a tax or payment); costly, expensive. Obs. (Formerly the most frequent meaning.)
. . 1618–29    in J. Rushworth Hist. Coll. (1659) I. App. 15   The Innes and Victualling-houses in England are more chargeble to the Travellers, then in other Countreys.
. . 1706    R. Estcourt Fair Example ii. i. 20   Oxford is a chargeable Place, Sir, there is no living there without it [money].’ [OED]

The relative [not 'actual'] worth of £1 then in today's money is somewhere between £100 and £1000, depending on how you do the comparison. There is no single correct answer.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"after dinner comes W. Howe to tell me how he sped"

SPEED : to succeed (L&M Select Glossary)

andy   Link to this

with more plenty, and wine and wenches, than he believes can be done now for 200l., which was pretty odd for him

should the cost of wenching be included in the Retail Price Index?

Christopher Squire   Link to this

‘Speed v. Old English spédan
I. 1.a. intr. Of persons: To succeed or prosper; to meet with success or good fortune; to attain one's purpose or desire. Now arch.
. . 1647    N. Bacon Hist. Disc. Govt. 14   They‥sent for ayde where they were most like to speed for the present, and left the future to look to it selfe.
a1688    J. Bunyan Israel's Hope Encouraged in Wks. (1855) I. 614   Wouldst thou be a man that would pray and prevail? Why, pray to God in the faith of the merits of Christ, and speed . . ‘

‘ . . 6. a. trans. To further or assist (a person); to cause to succeed or prosper. Also refl. Now arch.
. .  b. In the phrase God speed me, thee, etc., or variations of this. (Cf. God-speed n.)
. . 1526    Bible (Tyndale) Matt. xxviii. 9   Iesus mett them sayinge: God spede you.
. . 1616    Shakespeare Richard III (1623) ii. iii. 6   Neighbours, God speed [1597 Good morrow neighbours].’
[OED]

JWB   Link to this

...faster than Jack Robinson('s coach)?

Wikipedia lists under etymology of phrase "faster than you can say Jack Robinson: "Another version is that Sir John (Jack) Robinson, the Constable of the Tower of London, held at the same time a judiciary appointment in the nearby City of London, and could and did condemn a felon in the City, then have him transported to the Tower where he commanded the execution, the whole process being done 'faster than you can say Jack Robinson'."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Robinson_(myt...

language hat   Link to this

"Having done here, and supped, where I eat very little"

It's probably time for my semiannual reminder that "eat" was used as a past tense, pronounced /et/, in Pepys' day.

GrahamT   Link to this

Re:"pronounced /et/, in Pepys’ day."
and still is though the spelling has changed:
From OED:
ate
(ɛt, occas. eɪt)

pa. tense of eat v.

(I believe the second pronunciation is more common in the US)

tld   Link to this

"... to lay the great weight of the disposal of these East India goods, and that they intend plainly to do upon my Lord Sandwich."

This business is all still confusing to me. But I wonder if the people pressing here were Cromwell supporters and this is a way to get back at Sandwich for switching sides and gaining favor of the King back at the start of the diary?

This type of payback happens all the time in government.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

“… to lay the great weight of the disposal of these East India goods, and that they intend plainly to do upon my Lord Sandwich.”

L&M note these are the prize goods taken by Sandwich 18 September 1665. "Great spoil, I hear, there hath been of the two East India ships, and that yet they will come in to the King very rich;...." http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1665/09/18/

Sandwich is suspected of "breaking bulk" or pilferage, a felony.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_bulk_(law)

djc   Link to this

should the cost of wenching be included in the Retail Price Index

Well the present government would like a happiness index.

Michelle Wyllie   Link to this

Chris, the National Archives website has a currency converter which can be found at http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency/def.... According to that converter, in 1660 "100l a year" was worth £7677 and ten years later it was worth £8305 in our money.

Australian Susan   Link to this

EAT ATE

I say "ate" as if it was spelt "eight" not to rhyme with "yet".

GrahamT   Link to this

EAT ATE

We were corrected at school if we ever read ate as "eight". We always said it "et" in normal speech, just as the OED says, (and eaten was "etten", but that's a northern thing) but when learning to read you tend to read words according to the rules you have been taught - the exceptions come later.

nix   Link to this

So "Godspeed" has nothing to do with velocity? The things one learns from this site!

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