Thursday 27 April 1665

[Navy Office]

27 April 16651


From a letter this day come to my hand from a Shipp of ours (the little Guift)2 that in a Conflict with a Hollander on the Irish Coast (wherein shoe though much over matched hath acquitted her selfe very well) hath had severall Men wounded, who are putt on shoare for care at Galloway, give me leave to aske you whether any Provision for sick and wounded men is made in Ireland, not with respect to theis Men only, but to the future ocasions in Generall which wee may Probably have of useing it there. You will Pardon this enquiry from one that hath soe little Right to offer you trouble as

Your humble servant


Source: NMM Letter-Book 8, 199 (copy in P’s hand). Used by permission of the National Maritime Museum. This is the earliest letter in the sequence of correspondence which could be located, and was oddly omitted by Tanner (1929; it perhaps went unnoticed because E’s name is tucked tightly into the bottom left corner of the page). It is implicit, though, from the content of this letter that P had some personal knowledge of E. P had certainly witnessed and recorded E’s paper on bread-making at the Royal Society on the preceding 1 March (diary) but does not mention E by name. Prior to that both had recorded their presence (diaries) at the launching of the double-bottomed Experiment at Deptford on 22 December 1664.

It may also be noted that Evelyn, Clifford, Reymes, and Doyly signed a document dated 24 November 1664 addressed to the Commissioners of the Navy, in which they requested details of ships at sea to restrict claims for relief of the sick and wounded to those “as shall really suffer in His Majesties service”. The document was endorsed by P (Sotheby’s Catalogue for 24 July 1995, Lot 488).

  1. MS: ‘27 Aprill 1665’ in lower left margin. P was at the Navy Office all day (diary).
  2. Sic. This is almost certainly the Gift, also known as the Gift Minor. It was a 16-gun vessel, originally the Spanish Bon Jesus, captured in 1658 and sold in 1667. Its name distinguished it from the Gift Major, a 40-gun French ship captured in 1652 (Colledge 1987).

2 Annotations

Terry Foreman   Link to this

Robert Gertz keenly observed of the Diary entries “I can’t remember Sam ever calling himself “Samuel Pepys”.”

More evidence of this is provided by the letters to John Evelyn, which are signed “S:P” as above or “SPepys”.

Terry Foreman   Link to this

"It is implicit, though, from the content of this letter that P had some personal knowledge of E."

Also Pepys had been "unanimously elected, and admitted" a Fellow of the Royal Society 15 February 1665. *The history of the Royal Society of London for improving of natural knowledge from its first rise...*, Volume 2, p. 13. By Thomas Birch.
(Cf. the Hooke Folio Online: "Feb: 15... Mr. Pepys nomine contradiente Elect & Admitted." ), after which, it was the custom to dine and discuss (this day "to the Crowne Taverne, behind the ‘Change, and there my Lord [Brouncker] and most of the company to a club supper...."

P's and E's diaries recorded their presence 15 March 1665 for the "experiment of trying to poison a dog with some of the Macassar powder in which a needle had been dipped" (Birch, “History,” vol. ii., p. 23):

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