Monday 14 December 1668

Up, and by water to White Hall to a Committee of Tangier, where, among other things, a silly account of a falling out between Norwood, at Tangier, and Mr. Bland, the mayor, who is fled to Cales [Cadiz]. His complaint is ill-worded, and the other’s defence the most ridiculous that ever I saw; and so everybody else that was there, thought it; but never did I see so great an instance of the use of grammar, and knowledge how to tell a man’s tale as this day, Bland having spoiled his business by ill-telling it, who had work to have made himself notorious by his mastering Norwood, his enemy, if he had known how to have used it. Thence calling Smith, the Auditor’s clerk at the Temple, I by the Exchange home, and there looked over my Tangier accounts with him, and so to dinner, and then set him down again by a hackney, my coachman being this day about breaking of my horses to the coach, they having never yet drawn. Left my wife at Unthank’s, and I to the Treasury, where we waited on the Lords Commissioners about Sir D. Gawden’s matters, and so took her up again at night, and home to the office, and so home with W. Hewer, and to talk about our quarrel with Middleton, and so to supper and to bed. This day I hear, and am glad, that the King hath prorogued the Parliament to October next; and, among other reasons, it will give me time to go to France, I hope.

10 Annotations

Terry Foreman  •  Link

" a falling out between Norwood, at Tangier, and Mr. Bland, the mayor"

L&M seem to agree with Pepys's view of this quarrel between the military and the civilian authorities that wound up in a dispute over the right to issue licenses [skim a take] for the sale of wine. Bland wrote a wordy letter of complaint to Norwood, the Deputy-Governor; the latter wrote a "sprightly" letter to Ormond, appealing for his support.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Sir D. Gawden’s matters"

L&M cite Treasury records showing on this date both Gauden's new contract and his "Lent accounts" were dealt with.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

"Never did I see"

I find one of the pleasures of the diary comes from Sam's vivid reaction to experiences, often preceded in the diary by "never did I..." I see these reactions not as naivete, but as an expression of the intensity of his impressions and as one of his great strengths not only as a writer but also as an administrator and innovator in the Navy Office.

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Peccavi. Something to do with a sluggish server, I think.

Meanwhile, on reading "it will give me time to go to France,"
I could not help but bring to mind "--They order, said I, this matter better in France --"

Andrew Hamilton  •  Link

Darn. There I go again! At least version 2 has improved punctuation.

Stephen Walkley  •  Link

" coachman being this day about breaking of my horses to the coach, they having never yet drawn. "

Those were the days, when you had to run in a new vehicle.

john  •  Link

"breaking of my horses to the coach"

I wonder how old they were and of which sex.

Carl in Boston  •  Link

“Never did I see” .... That's a Pepys manner of thought. He often talks about something new as the finest in all the land, the rarest and bravest of them all. How lucky we are to be here, and read this, and see him do it again. With Pepys and his takes on wonderful things, you really have to be there to experience it, or be here reading about it.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

He fled to Cadiz?

"So happy to breathe the free air of Spain..." Bland beams to Spanish handlers.

"Do we drop him with the Inquistion or our own Court torturers?" one hisses to other.

Australian Susan  •  Link


So - Sam has paid a lot for horses which have never been trained as carriage horses! Sensibly he is leaving the coachman to train them. Horses usually hate having something rumbling along after them to begin with and try to run away from it. The coahman will probably get them used to first being on long reins - so he will harness them up and then walk behind them at some distance to get them trained in receiving commands from somewhere way behind them and in a pair. Then he will get them pulling a roller - a worked tree trunk which rolls smoothly. Only then will he risk harnessing them to Sam's precious coach.

The Coachman

We never learn his name, I think, because he is only ever employed as a coachman (just as it is usually "my boy"), whereas the female indoor servants tend to have less defined roles, so are differentiated by name, not job description. Similarly, Bess is always "my wife".

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