Thursday 29th September 2005

By Dirk Van de putte

It all started with Jeannine’s remark that “it would be interesting to flow-chart [Sam’s] office politics/friendships to see who liked whom, who stuck up for whom, etc…”

Pepys Sociogram
Click to see a larger version

Now, several weeks later, we are finally in a position to present our “sociogram”. The purpose of this graph is to visualise Sam’s network of professionally important relationships. In order to qualify, each of the indiviuals represented in this diagram has to be (a) in direct personal contact with at least one of the others (on speaking terms), and (b) significant in terms of the interactive decision making process — in short what sociologists describe as “significant others”.

Any two people in the graph who have such a relationship are connected by a line. (When such a line is not there, that doesn’t necessarily imply that no such connection existed. It simply means that we have no information about it.)

A blue line stands for a “good” relationship (confidence, trust), and a red line for a “bad” relationship (lack of confidence, mistrust). Particularly intense relationships are drawn in heavier lines, either “good” (friendship, or bordering on friendship) or “bad” (anywhere from profound dislike to outright hatred).

A sociogram like this can be very instructive. It indicates the most likeky “path of least resistance” that may be followed to “lobby” one of the people in the graph. It also shows who is vital to the network — those who have a large number of lines connecting them to the others. It is evident from the diagram that our Sam is one of them, which in real life is rightfully reflected in his rising status.

The information on which this diagram is based, doesn’t come from the diary alone — many other sources were also consulted. Jeannine provided a lot of this extra information, and Terry F and Australian Susan also did their share. The graph was constructed by myself, on the basis of these inputs, with the help of the freeware program KrackPlot 3.3 — and some inspired tinkering with several drawing programs.

Suffice it to say that the sociogram as it stands represents a snapshot of the professional network connections around the person of Samuel Pepys as per August 1662, in as far as we were able to reconstruct it with at least an acceptable degree of likelihood — not absolute certainty: sometimes there’s very little to go on, and our interpretation of the few known facts may not be the only one possible!

Still, we think that we have provided a useful instrument for the dedicated annotator, who sometimes may get lost among the many people who seem to play a more or less important role in Sam’s professional life. We may even decide to repeat this exercise at (ir)regular intervals, when we find that Sam’s “social chart” has changed significantly.

10 Comments

Bradford   Link to this

Awesome. If one Saves the enlarged version it can be printed off neatly on one page for handy reference, tucking into the Companion or Tomalin, &c. One hopes, Dirk, that when the blueprints of the Navy Office are squared up, you can present those to us as well.

dirk   Link to this

Honour to whom it is due...

I just want to point out that all I did was make this into a decent drawing.I myself provided only some very elementary information, based on the diary. Most of the really interesting stuff came from Jeannine, and Susan and Terry.

A. Hamilton   Link to this

Great chart. It forces one to think about the relationships that appear, and to consider whether they are all either good or bad. It would be nice to see a third color to trace the more ambivalent relationships. I have in mind Coventry-Montague, York-Montague, Pepys-Penn and Pepys-Downing. (On the latter, I seem to recall that Pepys found Downing a hard task-master and disapproved of his duplicity in delivering some regicides from Holland
to England.)

Jeannine   Link to this

"All either good or bad"

A. Hamilton -- Probably best to look at the chart as if the majority of the time they were as noted, unless bold, then almost 100% (like Clarendon-Castlemaine -pure hatred all the time). The fluidity of the relationships, the politics surrounding people as they maneuvered up the ranks (or tried to, etc.)is unending. Any group of people that interacted with Charles II had a hard task as he was not at all consistent in his loyalties, policies, etc. The constant fluctuations within the courts were well known.
Ollard, in his biography "Pepys" sums it up like this (spoilers):
"What makes the contemplation of Pepys, either in general or in detail, so dizzying is that the interlocking circles of his nature revolve too fast for the eye to distinguish a clear and individual moment. It is like watching an electric egg-whisk. Pepys is the life of the office, the right hand of the navy. Coventry says so, Albemarle confirms it. But Pepys is also corrupt. He is, further,a factious and disloyal colleague-witness a hundred entries in the Diary, notably those concerning Sir William Penn. But, as we shall see, he is also a tenaciously loyal colleague--witness his lifelong relationship with Hewer-and the man who time and again defends the office when it is under attack. He is a demon for efficiency and reform:yet no one watches more closely or understands more profoundly the dynastic nature of the Navy Office--witness Sir George Carteret's allying himself by marrying a son to one of Sandwich's daughters and a daughter to a (supposed) illegitimate son of Prince Rupert, that alarming, uncompomising, unpredictable figure. Sandwich and Coventry, Penn and Batten, Monck and Rupert, the King and the Duke, patrons, colleagues, politicians, admirals, princes, all these forces are constantly in a state of flux, constantly acting on each other, and yet must be severally and collectively, held in equilibrium to promote the career of Samuel Pepys. So viewed, this is how the Diary views it, this looks like a full-time job. But not at all. There is theatre, books, music, lust, social pleasures and social obligations, all the hundred and one themes already touched on, whirring round at full speed without, apparently, ever getting in each other's ways" (p. 129)
No chart can clearly assign values to human relationships without fluctuations over time and events, but this attempts to set the overall stage upon which Pepys plays within the Navy.

dirk   Link to this

Re - A. Hamilton

The following is the information I have (from Jeannine), in a summarized form.

Coventry-Montague:

"Coventry was no friend of Sandwich

Michael L   Link to this

Thanks, this is very informative. Just one nit, though:

"... those who have a large number of lines connecting them to the others. It is evident from the diagram that our Sam is one of them...."

This is not so certain. Since we are building from information given by Sam alone, I would expect that his own personal contacts are mentioned far more commonly in the diary than do connections between others. Also, Sam's primary patron (Montague) would be expected to be the gateway to those above Sam, so it is also not surprising to see his role also mentioned so much by Sam.

Still, it this is a fascinating chart, and this is a handy reference to have when reading the diary.

Jeannine   Link to this

Michael,

Actually alot of the information did not come from Sam alone but rather from the biographies about Sam, Clarendon, Sandwhich, Charles II, etc. and Percival Hunt's Essay on Sam entitled "A Principal Officer", "Pepys and William Penn", etc. which focused on his Navy and other relationships. When we did the chart we looked at the major relationships stemming from Sam that may have been pertinent to him. We focused on the "above relationships" of the higher ups to give an indication of where Sam fit into the hierarchy and then the side relationships (Moore, Ford, Warren, etc) which could possibly concern him but perhaps were not an issue to men of the status of Carteret, Sandwich, Clarendon, etc. To use a popular phrase of today the chart fits into the category of "it's all about me" with Sam as the focus.

Michael L   Link to this

Jeanine: that makes sense. I withdraw what I said (except for the nice things -- they still stand). And thanks again -- it is a cool chart.

Glyn   Link to this

Yet most of Pepys's superiors seem to be operating at one level of society only, whereas Pepys can start the day having a morning drink with some coachdrivers or builders, or joking with some washerwomen, and end it giving a naval briefing to the king. He does seem to be an inter-connector or conduit to a wide range of society (both high and low).

meklorka   Link to this

Glyn: that's what's so interesting about Pepys and his diaries - they really capture the spirit of a time in which class mobility had just become truly possible. Pepys is really able to capture that feeling as not only is he upwardly mobile in the class structure, but outwardly as well - his social circle doesn't merely change, it expands.

Log in to post a comment.

If you don't have an account, then register here.