Thursday 27 August 1668

[Continued from yesterday. P.G.] Knepp home with us, and I to bed, and rose about six, mightily pleased with last night’s mirth, and away by water to St. James’s, and there, with Mr. Wren, did correct his copy of my letter, which the Duke of York hath signed in my very words, without alteration of a syllable.1 And so pleased therewith, I to my Lord Brouncker, who I find within, but hath business, and so comes not to the Office to-day. And so I by water to the Office, where we sat all the morning; and, just as the Board rises, comes the Duke of York’s letter, which I knowing, and the Board not being full, and desiring rather to have the Duke of York deliver it himself to us, I suppressed it for this day, my heart beginning to falsify in this business, as being doubtful of the trouble it may give me by provoking them; but, however, I am resolved to go through it, and it is too late to help it now. At noon to dinner to Captain Cocke’s, where I met with Mr. Wren; my going being to tell him what I have done, which he likes, and to confer with Cocke about our Office; who tells me that he is confident the design of removing our Officers do hold, but that he is sure that I am safe enough. Which pleases me, though I do not much shew it to him, but as a thing indifferent. So away home, and there met at Sir Richard Ford’s with the Duke of York’s Commissioners about our Prizes, with whom we shall have some trouble before we make an end with them, and hence, staying a little with them, I with my wife, and W. Batelier, and Deb.; carried them to Bartholomew Fayre, where we saw the dancing of the ropes and nothing else, it being late, and so back home to supper and to bed, after having done at my office.

  1. A copy of this letter is in the British Museum, Harl. MS. 6003. See July 24th, ante, and August 29th, Post. In the Pepysian Collection are the following: An Inquisition, by his Royal Highness the Duke of York, when Lord High Admiral of England, into the Management of the Navy, 1668, with his Regulations thereon, fol. Also Mr. Pepys’s Defence of the same upon an Inquisition thereunto by Parliament, 1669, fol. — B.

13 Annotations

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...just as the Board rises, comes the Duke of York’s letter, which I knowing, and the Board not being full, and desiring rather to have the Duke of York deliver it himself to us, I suppressed it for this day, my heart beginning to falsify in this business, as being doubtful of the trouble it may give me by provoking them; but, however, I am resolved to go through it, and it is too late to help it now." In the audio version of the Diary, Brannaugh does a splendid job of conveying Sam's wavering mood here.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

" my letter, which the Duke of York hath signed in my very words, without alteration of a syllable. "

L&M note "[t]his letter (Duke of York to Navy Board, 26 August) is one of Pepys's most masterly compositions, and proved to be the starting-point of several reforms. It traced the roots of maladministration to the failure of the Principal Officers to observe the Duke's Instructions of 1662 [ http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1662/02/05/#c27387 ], and blamed particularly the Comptroller (first and foremost), the Treasurer and the Surveyor. Pepys did not attribute any specific faults to himself. .The Duke altered nothing in the draft beyond omitting a single phrase. Copies both of the draft and of the letter (with covering letter) are in [the Pepysian Library] (in Gibson's hand...[and] in Hayter's) . Other copies are in Adm. Lib....BM Harl. [and two other repositories].

Peter Taylor   Link to this

It would appear that throughout the diary the concept of 'weekend' was unknown.

Chris Squire   Link to this

The concept did exist but not in the same sense s now:

‘week-end, n. 1. a. (with a and pl.). The end of a week; the holiday period at the end of a week's work, usually extending from Saturday noon or Friday night to Monday; esp., this holiday when spent away from home.
1638 in Victoria County Hist. Yorkshire (1912) II. 415/2 The greatest weight of the said exaction will fall upon very poor people‥who making every week a coarse kersey and being compelled to sell the same at the week end‥are nevertheless constrained to yield one half penny apiece.
1793 W. B. Stevens Jrnl. 27 Feb. (1965) i. 70 Wrote to Dewe that I would put on my seven league boots next weekend and stretch my course to Appleby.
1870 Food Jrnl. 1 Mar. 97 ‘Week-end’, that is from Saturday until Monday,—it may be a later day in the week if the money and credit hold out,—is the season of dissipation . . ‘ [OED]

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"to Bartholomew Fayre, where we saw the dancing of the ropes"

"Rope-dancing flourished in the open-air fairs and carnivals of medieval Europe. It prompted a mixture of wonder and contempt. Francis Bacon dismissed the ‘trickes of Tumblers, Funambuloes, Baladynes [theatrical dancers]’ as ‘[m]atters of strangenesse without worthynesse’ (Bacon 2000, 119). During the eighteenth century, a battle developed between the legitimate theatre and institutions like Sadler’s Wells, which, from 1740, had been staging the kinds of open-air or itinerant entertainments characteristic of gatherings like Bartholomew Fair. Rope-dancing and tumbling were a central part of ‘physical theatre defined in terms of frenetic movement, the tyranny of spectacular objects and the wizardry of quacks, freaks and charlatans’, which, by setting up home in permanent establishments, seemed to threaten legitimate culture (Moody 2000, 13). Rope-dancing often assisted the partitioning of legitimate from more dubious forms of theatrical entertainment: ‘when fairground entertainers began to establish permanent theatres in Paris in the late eighteenth century and the authorities wished to draw a clear legal line between them and the “legitimate” theatre, one of the common distinctions was that tumbling and rope-dancing were to be found in the minor houses’ (Carlson 1996, 84). In his 1800 Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth was still to be heard deriding those ‘who will converse with us as gravely about a taste for Poetry, as they express it, as if it were a thing as indifferent as a taste for rope-dancing, or Frontiniac or Sherry’ (Wordsworth 1974, I.139).

"For seafaring nations like the British and the French, the two nations in which tightrope walking has been most popular and most perfected, walking up and down ropes and cables has unignorable maritime associations; as in the space of the theatre, this kind of rigging turns terrestrial places into vertiginously mobile vessels. The bad reputations of fairground and popular performers made for a close association between dancing on a rope, and the mortal dancing at the rope’s end that was foreseen for many of its exponents."
*Man Is A Rope*, Steven Connor http://www.stevenconnor.com/rope/

cgs   Link to this

My weekend 70 yrs ago, started at 1800hr of 6pm Saturday to 6 am Monday , stores were not open after Sat 12 pm nor on Sunday.
60 hrs then 54 then 48 then 40. Now ?32?
Depending on economic level mine be at the bottom.
Times have changed

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I wonder if Sam means Knepp spent the night at his place...And if so, how Bess liked that? Not to mention how Chris Knepp liked that?

***

Or if Cocke believed for a second in Sam's indifference to his retaining his place?

Mary   Link to this

The Duke's Theatre.

The link below gives an image of the theatre that would have been familiar to both Pepys and Knepp.

http://www.westminster.gov.uk/services/librarie...

Tony Eldridge   Link to this

Good to hear from you cqs!
I'm impressed by Sam's bustling around all day Wednesday, dancing at a party which goes on until 3am, up again at six and another full day's work plus a visit to the Fayre.
I can (just) remember having that sort of energy.

Teresa Forster   Link to this

Tony Eldridge pipped me to it - yes, glad to see you again, cgs.

Jesse   Link to this

"in my very words"

Words not exactly the same as ideas. Per the L&M note was Pepys merely articulate in transcribing the DoY's thoughts (ommiting any reference to himself as 'compensation' for his efforts)? Also the "great" letter seems yet another round of apportioning blame and only a(nother) 'starting point' of proposed reform.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

The import of the words

Far from a minor office spat and rearranging of the deck chairs, the conduct of national defense, the largest aspect of the English military-industrial complex and the balance of power between the parliament and the monarchy -- the very constitution of the government -- during a time of war -- were at stake.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"met at Sir Richard Ford’s with the Duke of York’s Commissioners about our Prizes"

L&M say this has to do with ships taken by the Flying Greyhound http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/10396/ The Commissioners wanted to make sure the Duke got his cut -- his "tenths." A 10% finders' fee, a tithe of sorts.

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