Tuesday 24 November 1668

Up, and at the Office all the morning, and at noon home to dinner, where Mr. Gentleman, the cook, and an old woman, his third or fourth wife, come and dined with us, to enquire about a ticket of his son’s, that is dead; and after dinner, I with Mr. Hosier to my closet, to discourse of the business of balancing Storekeeper’s accounts, which he hath taken great pains in reducing to a method, to my great satisfaction; and I shall be glad both for the King’s sake and his, that the thing may be put in practice, and will do my part to promote it. That done, he gone, I to the Office, where busy till night; and then with comfort to sit with my wife, and get her to read to me, and so to supper, and to bed, with my mind at mighty ease.

10 Annotations

Robert Gertz   Link to this

The third or fourth wife and the son who's dead...It gets hard to keep track I guess.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"I with Mr. Hosier...to discourse of the business of balancing Storekeeper’s accounts, which he hath taken great pains in reducing to a method...that [should] be put in practice, and will do my part to promote it."

L&M note that Francis Hosier, having lately served as an accountant in the office of Navy Treasurer and studied the complexity of balancing storekeepers' accounts -- involving many goods and services both at home and abroad -- proposed a method of accounting, that Pepys presented to the Brooke House Committee, which was adopted in March 1669. http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1669/03/07/

Mark S   Link to this

@Robert Gertz "It gets hard to keep track I guess."

Hard for Pepys to keep track, anyway. Probably Mr Gentleman (who wasn't a gentleman) told them a long story at dinner about his family life... "I was married to so-and-so, and then she died, and then my son went to sea, then I married so-and-so, and then such-and-such happened... etc."

I'm sure it's Sam who lost track of how many wives he had, not the man himself. :-)

Don McCahill   Link to this

Remember that at this time many women died in childbirth, resulting in men with several wives. Divorce was unheard of, except for Kings and such.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

Terry, thanks. I did take note when Sam praised the method of another man. Accountancy the dawn of technocracy? Foreshadow of C. P. Snow and The New Men!

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Andrew, thanks for putting Pepys's tribute to What will be call "the Hosier method" in a larger context. You also remind us that Pepys is an accountant in so many ways: he takes account of events; he keeps financial, moral and political accounts; and, in his Journall, provides a many-layered account.

Andrew Hamilton   Link to this

Well, as W.B. Yeats wrote in "Under Ben Bulben,",

Measurement began our might

Australian Susan   Link to this

When a woman went into labour, she had a one in three chance of dying. This continued well into the 19th century. No wonder Queen Mary of Scotland was urged to make her will when she first felt labour pains. No-one wanted Scotland to be in even more of a mess if she had died intestate.

Jane Austen, for example, lost all of her first sisters-in-law to childbed deaths, except Henry's wife - who had no children. Some of the brothers remarried.

Background Lurker   Link to this

"When a woman went into labour, she had a one in three chance of dying."

In the past the maternal mortality ratio was tragicly high but one in three is an overestimate.

From "Childbirth in Early America" http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/historyonline/...

"Childbirth in colonial America was a difficult and sometimes dangerous experience for women. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, between 1 percent and 1.5 percent of all births ended in the mother's death as a result of exhaustion, dehydration, infection, hemorrhage, or convulsions. Since the typical mother gave birth to between five and eight children, her lifetime chances of dying in childbirth ran as high as 1 in 8."

The maternal mortality ratio for England in the seventeenth century would have been similar.

Australian Susan   Link to this

BL - thanks for this! I got my information from a BBC prog about the 18th century. You can't even trust the BBC. Tsk! Tsk!

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