Sunday 5 April 1668

(Lord’s day). Up, and to my chamber, and there to the writing fair some of my late musique notions, and so to church, where I have not been a good while, and thence home, and dined at home, with W. Hewer with me; and after dinner, he and I a great deal of good talk touching this Office, how it is spoiled by having so many persons in it, and so much work that is not made the work of any one man, but of all, and so is never done; and that the best way to have it well done, were to have the whole trust in one, as myself, to set whom I pleased to work in the several businesses of the Office, and me to be accountable for the whole, and that would do it, as I would find instruments: but this is not to be compassed; but something I am resolved to do about Sir J. Minnes before it be long. Then to my chamber again, to my musique, and so to church; and then home, and thither comes Captain Silas Taylor to me, the Storekeeper of Harwich, where much talk, and most of it against Captain Deane, whom I do believe to be a high, proud fellow; but he is an active man, and able in his way, and so I love him. He gone, I to my musique again, and to read a little, and to sing with Mr. Pelling, who come to see me, and so spent the evening, and then to supper and to bed. I hear that eight of the ringleaders in the late tumults of the ‘prentices at Easter are condemned to die.1

  1. Four were executed on May 9th, namely, Thomas Limmerick, Edward Cotton, Peter Massenger, and Richard Beasley. They were drawn, hanged, and quartered at Tyburn, and two of their heads fixed upon London Bridge (“The London Gazette,” No. 259). See “The Tryals of such persons as under the notion of London Apprentices were tumultuously assembled in Moore Fields, under colour of pulling down bawdy-houses,” 4to., London, 1668. “It is to be observed,” says “The London Gazette,” “to the just vindication of the City, that none of the persons apprehended upon the said tumult were found to be apprentices, as was given out, but some idle persons, many of them nursed in the late Rebellion, too readily embracing any opportunity of making their own advantages to the disturbance of the peace, and injury of others.”

11 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Ormond to Arlington
Written from: Dublin
Date: 5 April 1668

Ossory informs Lord Arlington of the writer's determination to pass into England, and to leave him in the government [i.e., Ossory, Ormond's son, is to be Lord Deputy of Ireland when Ormond leaves]. The reasons for both are fitter for discourse, than for a letter, & to that they are referred. ...

... Lord Orrery makes very deep professions of his unalterable friendship for the writer. Yet, when the latter shall have spoken to Lord Arlington, he believes his Lordship will perceive that it is time for him to appear in England. ...

http://www.rsl.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/projects/ca...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"so to church, where I have not been a good while"

But Sam'l, what about last Sunday? http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/03/29/ So forgettable were the strange reader and strange preacher (and strange sermon), it may not have seemed like St. Olave's at all.

And before that, you'd not attended for a month.

Robin Peters   Link to this

"“It is to be observed,” says “The London Gazette,” “to the just vindication of the City, that none of the persons apprehended upon the said tumult were found to be apprentices, as was given out, but some idle persons, many of them nursed in the late Rebellion, too readily embracing any opportunity of making their own advantages to the disturbance of the peace, and injury of others.” ↩" Now known as rentamob and still active today.

john   Link to this

"the best way to have it well done, were to have the whole trust in one, as myself, [...] and me to be accountable for the whole, and that would do it"

I believe that the current buzzword is "ownership" and who else but he.

Don McCahill   Link to this

I wonder if "apprentices" simply was another way the 17th C people referred to young ruffians.

language hat   Link to this

"But Sam’l, what about last Sunday?"

He knows perfectly well he went to church that day. He doesn't mean that this is the first time he's been in a long time, he means that he hasn't been going regularly for a long time.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...were to have the whole trust in one, as myself, to set whom I pleased to work in the several businesses of the Office, and me to be accountable for the whole, and that would do it, as I would find instruments: but this is not to be compassed..."

Hmmn...Touch of hubris there, Samuel. What happens when Parliament wants a scapegoat and you are the One in Whom All Trust is Placed? Far better to run from behind the scenes, at least in these times, I should think. Besides...

"But Mr. Pepys...You've never even captained or served on a vessel, let alone studied naval design. I really don't think, sir..."

"Exactly. You don't think...I'm in charge here. This little business of naval design is something anyone with my incredible breadth of experience in matters naval can do. Observe..." Pulls out sketches.

"My wife's handiwork as to the artist but my own designs..."

"But sir? This sort of vessel could never be seaworthy. And as for the guns...One broadside and the ship would turn turtle."

"Nonsense, Deane. I've ordered fifty and they shall be afloat in six months."

Terry Foreman   Link to this

“the best way to have it well done, were to have the whole trust in one, as myself, […] and me to be accountable for the whole, and that would do it”

I gather certain paperwork sent to the Navy Office has not been dealt with due to a paper-routing problem and a disinclination of most of Pepys's fellow-officers to admit it falls within their bailiwick.

Methinks Pepys, longtime clerk -- more paperwork-friendly than the tars et al. with whom he works--, is simply musing on how much better things could be if he were the office-manager there.

Rex Gordon   Link to this

London's apprentices were notorious mischief-makers.

From "London: The Biography" by Peter Ackroyd:

The most striking example (of the energy and restlessness of urban life) comes from within the turbulent body of the apprentices, a peculiarly London phenomenon of young men who were bound by strict articles of agreement and yet managed to retain a high-spiritedness and almost feverish buoyancy which spilled over into the streets. They "wold ether bee at the taverne, filling their heads with wine, or at the Dagger in Cheapside cramming their bellies with minced pyes; but above al other times it was their common costome, as London prentises use, to follow their maisters upon Sundays to the Church dore and then to leave them, and hie unto the taverne." There are reports of various fights and "affrays," the common victims being foreigners, "night-walkers," or the servants of noblemen who were considered to take on the airs of their superiors. A declaration, in 1576, warned apprentices not to "misuse, molest, or evil treat any servant, page, or lackey of any nobleman, gentleman, or other going in the streets." There were often disturbances after football matches and three young men were put in the local prison for "outrageously and riotously behaving themselves at a football play in Cheapside." But drunken high spirits could turn into something more violent and threatening. Apprentices as well as artisans and children took part in the "evil May-day" riots of 1517, in which the houses of foreigners were ransacked. In the last decade of the sixteenth century there were still more outbreaks of riot and disorder but, unlike other continental cities, London never became unstable or ungovernable.

(By Sam's time) The image of the unruly young apprentice was a potent one, and as a result the civic authorities drew up tightly regulated and organised statutes of labour and discipline. Nothing could be allowed to disrupt commercial harmony. ... Apprentices were forbidden to muster in the streets, drink in the taverns, or wear striking apparel; they were, in addition, allowed only "closely cropped hair."

Alan Kerr   Link to this

three young men were put in the local prison for “outrageously and riotously behaving themselves at a football play in Cheapside.”

Plus ça change...

Bryan M   Link to this

““It is to be observed,” says “The London Gazette,” “to the just vindication of the City, that none of the persons apprehended upon the said tumult were found to be apprentices,..."

Tim Harris (The Bawdy House Riots of 1668, The Historical Journal (1986), 29: 537-556) argues that the size and duration of the riots suggest that they were a political protest motivated by grievances against the policy of religious persectution and against the Court. That fifteen of the ringleaders were charged with high treason suggests that the government also believed the event had a political dimension.

However, the riots were probably not the work of discontented supporter of the "late Rebellion". Harris concludes:
"Although it is impossible to disprove the theory that the riots had been instigated by republican agitators, the government itself seems to have found no firm evidence of this. On the other hand, we do know that the sort of people who were arrested were those very types whom we might expect to have most resented the decision to reimpose the laws against nonconformists, and there is no strong reason to doubt that the riots were a spontaneous (in the sense of self-organized) protest of lower status groups with specific politico-religious grievances."

As to whether "lower status groups with specific politico-religious grievances" constitute "rentamob", I'll follow language hat's advice and leave my present day political biases on my side of the keyboard.

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