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has posted 198 annotations/comments since 1 January 2021.

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About Thursday 17 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

The public entry of Venetian ambassador Piero Mocenigo wasn't a small thing, by the way. He describes it at length (in document 348, dated September 28 - Gregorian - at https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-paper…): 40 coaches carrying Piero, Anglesey, Arundel and hundreds of courtiers, parading for 3 miles, a 20-gun salute, a big State dinner, the works. The convoy, going all over the place to show off while trying to stick to the least ruined parts of London, may have passed by the Office's neighborhood before dropping everyone off at the barges. But Sam wasn't invited despite all the connections he could have used (HM, HRH, the Navy, Tangiers, Evelyn, or maybe he was and declined). Our intrepid reporter also didn't go sightsee despite his attraction for the royal glitter, and stuck to his paperwork, then was busy with girls and the theater.

About Saturday 26 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Not-so-fast. It seems a bit early for Gauden to pop the bubbly, because, says our summary of the Order in Council, he still has to "tak[e] into co-partnership within 15 days 2 other fit and responsible persons approved by the King". So the job is so big that he needs two subcontractors; no surprise there, but how come, after all these weeks of negotiations, that he has to be given (or at any rate, is given) two weeks to produce them and get them approved? It looks like, after getting four bids, checking and re-checking them, and the Council spending an hour on it, all we have is a price and very likely Sam's kickback, but not a lot of visibility or confidence on how the Gauden Corp. will pull it off.

Sam and Dennis are kicking back, with mutual toasts and winks aplenty. "So when can I phant'sy meeting your two mysterious partners, Dennis? Less than two weeks, I trust". Gauden, after another sip: "Oh, have no concern, Mr. Pepys. All's in hand. They'll be on time. The Dutch are very reliable". Sam chokes on his bubbly and almost drops his glass: "Dutch??" "Well, aye. Good butter in those biscuits. 'Twas either them or Soleiman General Supply in Constantinople, to meet those prices. What's the problem? The French buy everything from them too".

In case you wonder if there would be any bubbly in any case - yes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Champagne says as of 1668 it was flowing in London, and "the English were among the first who saw the tendency of Champagne to sparkle as a desirable trait".

About Friday 25 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Re-reading this Society's lively debate of 2011 on the merits of private contractors vs. civil servants, we also wonder if we're likely to hear the same in the salons of 1668 (this gives us a good excuse to put on our best wig and go sample the port). Because, as HRH's kind sentiments attest, the King, to whom England by the grace of God personally belongs, doesn't have either contractors or a civil service, he has servants. He can kick them around, and their letters show often enough that he pays them out of compassion, when they end up invoking a feudal obligation that's often been buttressed by actual military service, not clause 3.5A in some contract supposed to bind him. Sam with his competitive tenders (did he have compliance matrices?) and the Navy as one big centralized enterprise were just ahead of their time.

About Friday 25 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Thomas Povey may not have been the brightest bulb in Sam's opinion, but he wrote "I have seen the wonders of the Peak, wherein I travelled underground; and beautiful Chatsworth, glorious in its structure" - why, that sounds like Coleridge. Evelyn was right to call him "a nice contriver of all elegancies" (as we see in https://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/5263).

Williamson was clearly expected to chucke at his vignettes of those second-tier earls and dukes Povey toured, for whatever motive; he seems to have been on a mission, unaddressed in his letter. So what could be this mysterious Peak he beheld, with its mine or (if England had any) tunnel? How was the wife of William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle and author of Sam's favorite comedy "Sir Martin Mar-all", the "Queen of Sheba"?

About Thursday 24 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

We also like, in today's State Papers, No. 143, a petition to the King from two French bakers, Adrian le Pore and Sam. Caron, who want the bakers guild, who wants to shut them down 'coz they're foreigners, to leave them alone because "their trade (...) is for their countrymen only, and (...) not to the disadvantage of any English baker".

Which implies that there's enough French in London to sustain a French bakery, and that they'd rather shop there than at an English bakery (this we understand, religion apart - English bread, pfwargh). And it's been like this since Henry VIII, one of whose century-old laws they invoke. But if you're English and throw a French dinner, of the fashionable sort that so impressed Sam a few months ago (to the point of rigging one up too, if memory serves) - how do you get the right bread, then? If, poor you, you don't have a French cook to send to the French bakery? Do you then don a fake French moustache, and a fake Inspector-Clouzeau accent? ("I will tekk zis nice baguette oveur zere, plize"). Of course Sam could send Betty.

About Thursday 24 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Blount/Hull and Granger don't make it easy on us by having such bland names. A "padder" was, dictionaries inform us, a thief who stole on foot, so little more than a pickpocket; small fry. Note that you had to be a bit crazy to do it in London during the plague; maybe he just robbed empty houses, like everyone else. Then he graduated to stealing mail, a capital crime from which photo IDs and barred checks were later to remove all the fun.

He didn't make it to our favorite encyclopedia of villains, the Newgate Calendar, or in any other record which our bookseller Mr. Google has at hand. But so did Thomas Lympus, who had also planned to decamp to France but was caught and hung by the neck in 1739 - the Calendar, written in the mid-19C, sighs on this occasion that "the security now given to our mail-coaches render[s] an open attempt on them impracticable, unless sustained by a whole band of robbers" [https://www.exclassics.com/newgate/ng194.htm, with a nice engraving]. So also did Huffey White and Richard Kendall, executed in 1813, after stealing "from the Leeds mail (...) a bill of exchange for £200 which became due on the following day", a real case of simultaneous good/bad luck [https://www.exclassics.com/newgate/ng634.htm]. A quick search of http://www.britishexecutions.co.uk for keyword "mail" recalls around 70 of these sad stories through the mid-19C.

But not Blount et al. We hope they'll surface in some future State Paper, because hey, they didn't just steal letters of exchange but forged them to up the value; put stuff back in the next day's bag to be undiscovered, which shows some brains; potentially had a way of getting into the House of Commons; had that French connection (ha!), valuable in itself in these post-war months when the Quality is settling bills for its manors in Normandy, and quite a few money orders must be crossing the Channel; and - what's this? Arresting them would be a "particular service to" my lord Arlington? Now that's piquant. Now that's another level. What did Blount get his hands on that so annoys the secretary of State, at such an interesting time in England's relation with France?

About Monday 14 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

More on "le bouquet", of Colbert spreading plague as well as cash: Sir Richard Bulstrode caught the rumor as well, and two days ago (on September 12) debunked it in his own diary: "The report of the sickness being in the French ambassador's house is found to have noe ground, one page haveing only happened to dye after a sickness, as the ambassador says, of many weekes, and all his family not haveing now one sick person in it" (https://archive.org/details/bulstrodepapers00buls…, page 60).

So, all's fine. "Noe ground". Colbert, on Leicester House's doorstep, thanks the assembled newsmen, declines requests to show his groin and armpits, and hands everyone a purse. We're all a bit hair-triggered, though, uh? As a reminder though, you can't catch the sickness by handling money.

About Monday 7 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

More material has come to our attention on how and when to send bags of cash to Portsmouth. In his Memoirs, Sir Richard Bulstrode MP will write on September 10 that the King, having planned to swing by Portsmouth on the next day, "appointed 10,000 pounds to be immediately sent down to pay off the Guards there, and accordingly the money was ordered to be sent down in cartes, under a safe guard, to be there this day at farthest".

So cartes, not coaches. And the yards aren't the only place in Portsmouth where the money's raining this week - assuming it's not all the same £10,000, and Clifford's "yards" are indeed the shipyards and not Bulstrode's "Guards", or vice versa. And we have to admire His Majestie's astuteness, in visiting a place just after (aye, not before!) everyone has been paid off, especially everyone holding a musket. With the royal visit, the Portsmouth taverns must have been interesting indeed.

Sir Richard's papers are in Mr. Google's book-shop at https://archive.org/details/bulstrodepapers00buls…, unfortunately in an Inconvenient format; this at their page 60.

About Thursday 17 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

No wonder HRH passed the file to Wren (York, shaking head in disbelief after scanning a few lines: "Mr. Wren, is that truly what common Members of the Publick do all day?" "Why yes, your royal highness, in the King's service of course". "How droll. Have more chocolate, Wren, it's way more than one poor duke can drink"). And yea, imagine how some of those guys, now retired to the farm in far Somerset with a peg-leg, gangrene, PTSD and overdue pay, may have reacted to some deskbound Admiral in London asking for how many sausages they had really truly signed off 4 years ago.

About Thursday 17 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Thank you again JWB of 2011, wherever you be now, for giving Penn a voice and his rightful right to respond. Often has the Admiral, seen here through Sam's eyes mainly, been treated by our Society as a buffoon, a false rogue, a bad host and a Thrower of Shite Over the Leads. We say Justice, Justice for Admiral Sir Will!

The "Memorials of the Professional Life and Times of Sir William Penn, Knt.", two volumes, totalling well over 1,000 pages, published in 1833 by his great-grandson Granville Penn, owes much to Sam, quoting whole pages of the Diary where alas, Penn didn't have the foresight (or the time) to write his own (except apparently during his glorious Caribbean service), but Granville makes it clear what a false rogue this Pepys too, in his ruthless betrayals of the man who had taught him his job; check out pages 486-489 in particular, on Sam concealing evidence to deflect the prize-ships inquiry from Sandwich to Penn back in April.

Anyway. At pages 514-519, does Penn's response to the Great Letter appear in full. It's a monument of grovelling, for which York surrounded as he must have been with grovellers and genuflections, must have had little patience indeed, also featuring a lot of whining and excuses about poor health, and assurances of dutiful office attendance and "stay[ing] on the post-nights until the letters were signed". It's not very Admiral-like, unless it's an admiral standing at attention before his minister (they can tremble just like lieutenants before admirals, a very pretty sight).

It does add color on Penn's drudge work: "I could not get books", then was constantly interrupted, then had to "cast every book twice, many whereof have six or eight victuallings (...) and many of them two or three voyages in the same book, which are reckoned but for one account". On pursers, "the death of many, and the cashiering of others, which occasions great confusion in the accounts", for whatever reason. "I have passed, for service foreign and domestic, three hundred and thirty accounts of pursers; for doing which, I have been forced to examine, at the least, a thousand certificates; beside several, after examination, I have totally rejected; and many of the former I have been forced to return twice, some thrice, before they arrive at the punctuality necessary. The returning of which certificates (by reason of the remote habitation of several of the officers who were required to certify matter-of-fact more clear)", &c. &c., woe is Penn.

About Monday 24 August 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

The contract had better be finalized soon (and spoiler: it won't, it's gonna drag for days) for the Gazette, in No. 287 has already printed this

*******************************************
Advertiſement

The Lords Commiſsioners of His Majesties Treaſury, having by His Majeſties Command, upon Conſideration, the making of a New Contract for the Victualling of His Majeſties Navy, have thought fit to publish that they will be ready to receive the Propoſals of any able and ſufficient Undertakers, on Thursday being the 20th of August inſtant at Three of the Clock in the Afternoon; and in the meantime, ſuch as are desirous to undertake the ſaid Victualling, may repair to Sir George Downing, and ſee the Conditions under which it is to be performed; that ſo they may the better propoſe the doing the same at reaſonable rates.
********************************************

And ſo, here they must be lining up, the hopeful Undertakers, in their best doublets and rental wigs and with their bribes (nay) gifts (nay) samples in hand; at least those who needed the Gazette to know, since this notice appears for the first time in an issue that contains articles datelined through August 25, and the real players may have been discussing their Propoſals in Sir George's backroom over his fine port for a few days.

Or maybe not. "Williamson was hasty", Downing would say, "we do not yet have the making of a New Contract. We'll get back in touch! Yes, do leave a case of your ſamples along with your card". And notice it's the Treasury that invited everyone, to a party which it's actually the Navy Board that's organizing; no wonder there was a mixup.

And maybe there won't be such a riot of Undertakers at Sir George's door anyway. The Navy must have quite a reputation for bankrupting its suppliers, and could mainly attract the naive and the especially crooked ("'reaſonable rates', we said!") Unless (as we suspect) everyone in England is already in debt to everyone else; the Navy, in actually paying after a few years, is in fact a better deal than most of the Quality; and "supplier to His Majeſties Navy" (or "battle-tested against the slimy Dutch") is a label worth paying for ("If my biscuits don't spoil? Why, our boys depend on 'em from Barbadoes to Bombay!")

About Tuesday 15 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

And so on and on, for over an hour, while the clerks in the next room strain to listen and not to laugh out loud, on a day when Sam was roused at 3 and got up at 5 for no good reason.

Then poor Mrs. Daniel shows up, unaware of her poor timing. "I leave you to your discussion grope", Penn says, holding the door for the lady as she fumbles a half-curtsey. "I mean group. Your servant, madam. Have fun".

No wonder she doesn't get the loaner if Sam doesn't get Das Thing, as he brutally tells the Diary. And the quid pro quo is rarely so explicit as today, with the Thing exposed in plain English as a jewel on a cushion of folderol – the unusually rich mix of language suggests how exasperated Sam still was when he recalled the episode and wrote it out.

Or is it that, notwithstanding Mrs. Daniel's open-mindedness (she knows the frailty of men), there is just no Opportunity? Penn waits outside ten minutes, then winks at the clerks and cracks the door open: "And Pepys, I forgot to ask... Oh, sorry. I'll come back later!"

About Tuesday 15 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Penn's letter is indeed a rare example of the Admiral at work, but it should be entirely representative of what he does, which is, as "controller of victualling accounts", to nitpick over invoices which Sam has approved (see the job description at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controller_of_Victu…). What an exalting occupation, if you happen to not like the Clerk of the Acts very much; one even wonders if the enmity was known and played a role in Penn's appointment.

And so, today, when the whole office still quietly seethes over Sam's Great Letter - he ratted them out to HRH, then everyone had to think (argh) and write out a report with correct spelling and no inkspots (urgh) - Penn chooses to put his nose into, for instance, ships belonging to Sam's crony William Warren - check out his Encyclopedia entry (https://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/1748) and decide if it's likely to be a random target.

This is followed by a bunch of open-ended queries which could require a lot of archive boxes to be dredged out and explored, indeed (if, that is, archive boxes had yet been invented). Provisions to *all* merchant ships to Barbadoes (and on what grounds, pray tell, do those have to be "stopped"?)

"Dead pursers". Sam shakes his head. "Sir", he tells Penn in the stiff tone reserved for him in particular, "I regret to inform your Lordship that this office, as may surprise any tourist who wanders in by accident, does not get a card when a purser, of which the King's Navy has hundreds, marries, or passes away. We're not their mommies".

Penn continues: "Sir, I also believe that some beverage wine was delivered to, er, some of those ships, would you have some records documenting that, Mr. *Clerk* [heavy emphasis]? Do feel free to say no, it's common knowledge that your record-keeping is, ah, sometimes a bit rushed. Which we understand, it's a lot of work to cram between plays..."

Recall that shambolic archiving was, from all that the other Commissioners had to say in their replies to the Great Letter, the only charge that stuck on Sam enough to make the Diary - and indeed, there are few worse insults you can aim at a bureaucrat.

A snicker from Sam: "Sir, you 'believe' that ships receive 'beverage wine'? Your belief is entirely correct; this has to show your keen naval expertise. In fact, *all* of His Majesty's vessels receive wine, and many other things besides. Care you to make your query more specific? My clerks are busy fellows, they do have 90,000 sailors to manage. And alas, we sometimes lose records to the rats that escape from your kitchen".

About Monday 14 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Piero, in his other letter of this day (No. 341), also continues to whine on how hard it is to get England to do anything about the siege of Candia. This time, it's that, after working so hard to get a public audience with Charles (he already had a private meeting where Charles made excuses, but obviously that's not what he's in London for), it all got cancelled when the court went on its tour of the provinces. Aaargh! Here, Piero flatters himself in thinking that it was all to dodge him: "It looks as if the absence of the Court is only to lose time for my offices to get a decision [on sending ships against the Turk] before the departure of the ships with the Dutch troops". The States have promised to send some, and Piero counted on one-upmanship by Charles; in your dreams only, amico mio.

His Venetian Excellency tells himself stories and he knows it: In his second letter (No. 342, mistakenly referenced in our preceding annotation as No. 340, sorry about that) he relates that the royal trip out of town was in part for the big-time ceremony where York was appointed Lord High Admiral, a sure sign this York has a big future (you betcha): "The duke of Hiorch has been declared General of the Cinque Ports".

Ha ha, the "duke of Hiorch". Has Piero ever seen his name in print, or does England keep its documents so jealously? We are tempted to put this together with this otherwise completely unrelated, but delightful, private letter which also appears in today's State Papers [S.P. Dom Car II. 246, No. 51]. The Papers' editors also thought it such a savoury piece of 17C style that they excerpted rather than summarized it. A "J. Aldrich" apparently offers to correct his uncle's lamentable orthograph: "for it grieves a man's heart to hear (besides the manifest damage that accrues to his Majesty's English from the reading of false spellings) how sadly people are forced, with great hazard to their own teeth and their friend's ears, to pick out of your letters such words as would challenge even Wales itself for harshness. I beg fair writing for the sake of the University your mother (...)"

On th' other hand, orthograph - what a strange modern notion, do you meane a ſingle Way of writing that should enſlave our Wits to some man's Rule? A sign of the Age, that young people should fancy Systems of that sort, but then, it's all about Systems and Classifications now, isn't it.

About Monday 14 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

In the State Papers written out today there is also this one, which gives us a rare glimpse into Leicester House, where France is splashing out on its extravagant embassy: "Privy seal for 30 tuns of wine, half French, half Spanish, for Sieur Colbert, the French Ambassador" [Entry Book 30, f.80b.]

Mon Dieu! A tun, Dr. Wikipedia informs us at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tun_(unit), is 252 gallons, or 952 liters - so yes, that's over 28,000 liters which M. Colbert will have at his disposal to get his points across to visiting courtiers, console himself of diplomatic reversals, or (the King's wine tax being what it is) indulge in a li'l bit of business on the side if he (or his butler) should phant'sy that.

Today apparently, the claret would be more for consolation. Our friend Piero Mocenigo, the Venetian ambassador, favors us with two of his voluminous letters to the Doge and Senate; in one (No. 340, at https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-paper…) he updates the intelligence he had provided a week ago (see https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/09/07/#c554…) on Colbert's proposals to King Charles. They included (a) selling Tangiers to France - alas, "money has not sufficed to remove the obstacles" to that, Piero writes (either the price wasn't right, or Charles ain't what you all think); and (b) to make France and England mutually exclusive trading partners; though "strenuously urged", that outlandish idea was rejected as "it would cause a fundamental disturbance" (you bet, imagine how Spain and the Dutch would react).

More bad news: Piero says Colbert is lobbying the king to let Clarendon return. Seriously? Does he understand how radioactive is the disgraced former Lord Chancellor? The latter, after boucing all over France and supposedly being kicked out to far Lorraine, is now in Montpellier - which should be a lovely exile at this time of year, but from where he "succeeded in persuading" Louis XIV that, back in London, he could be, er, "advantageous" to French interests.

And to top it all, and with an eye on the plague news from Rouen that Sarah relayed yesterday, "it is stated that the death of some servants of the Ambassador Colbert has no other origin than the arrival at his house of persons coming from the suspected parts". C'est le bouquet!

About Saturday 12 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

And the "Caveat in favour of Dr. Killigrew, that nothing pass concerning the rectory of St. Olave's, Southwark": Nice to get some news about the neighborhood from the State Papers for a change, rather than the usual Office stuff or geopolitics, but how frustratingly brief is that notice - we're not even told who it's from. If given in 2021 the caveat would likely be to protect the rectory from some predatory development (e.g., from that bloke on Seething Lane who's been looking all over to build a garage for his future coach). This being 1668, we phant'sy that it's Killigrew the theatre owner who wants to use it to store props. Recall that good buildings are scarce and exceedingly in demand in post-Fire central London, and there's construction projects all around, too. Maybe someone more savvy on the church's history will know?

Anyway, the rectory did survive whatever the caveat was about. So did its relief of St. Olave, with a great big axe in hand and trampling a fallen king - check it out at https://www.pinterest.com/pin/210472982557007512, and wonder what impure thoughts it may have given Sam, who had seen Charles I's head roll on the floor of the Banqueting House (he did, didn't he) if he passed it on his way to Another Dull Sermon.

A note: the church's website (https://saintolave.com) says that its Sunday service (at 11 am BST) is currently broadcast on Zoom, allowing Pepsyans from Tokyo to Tierra del Fuego to attend like they're Sam (sermon any good today?) And, speaking of the rector, on this very day the rectory's current tenant, the Rev'd Canon Arani Sen, has (re-) posted a thoughtful Reflection on Sam and the plague (at https://saintolave.com/news-item/samuel-pepys).

About Saturday 12 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

The French privateers taking 80 British vessels last month: We are much intrigued. Nothing of this surfaced in either the colonial papers, but of course it's not a comprehensive record of everything that passed, and communication with the colonies can easily take over a month. Maybe in the Gazette? We're still behind in our stack of Gazettes.

More to the point, it's puzzling because, right now in 1668, the French and English privateers generally work hand-in-hand against Spain. Henry Morgan, in the huge fleet he assembled earlier in the year for the raids against Spain to keep it from taking Jamaica, had 200 Frenchmen (his after-action report is linked to an annotation we made yesterday, see https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1668/09/11/#anno…). And it's not just the privateers - the co-operation is State policy at the highest levels, France's great Peace with Spain be damned. France's rationale was that Spain, in denying all access to its own colonies, infringed on freedom of navigation; also, as a pirate might tell us before making us walk the ol' plank, "we're not in Europe here".

This will soon change. Next year, in June 1669, Louis XIV will ask for a review on whether to keep supporting the French privateers at Tortuga (his letter, in French, is at http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=gcfr&…). Tortuga, a small island of some infamy that's close to Jamaica, was full of English privateers who kept an eye on the colony that Admiral Penn helped conquer. It will all start to fall apart in 1670 when Charles will sign the treaty of Madrid to make peace with Spain in the Caribbean, but for now the partnership is quite real and profitable. A fascinating source on this is "The Economic and Military Impact of Privateers and Pirates on Britain’s Rise as a World Power", a recent MA thesis by Trevor John Whitaker that is available at https://repository.asu.edu/attachments/227318/con…

So what about these 80 vessels? It could be out-of-work Ostenders, now doing their own thing against all comers in the Channel, but if so it seems a lot, and is sure to show up in the Gazette; besides the Ostenders weren't some freewheeling pirates either, and Ostend is now one of the Flemish ports which France owns and controls. Or, if they were taken in the Caribbean, it could have something to do with a split between Morgan and his French crews, who became disaffected over the meagre loot they got from the sack of Puerto Principe (in Cuba) in March, and because Morgan hung one of their mates after one drunken fight too many. Morgan's bio at Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Morgan), which on these events is sourced to the later memoirs of a French Morgan-friend-turned-enemy named Exquemelin, says the French returned to Tortuga. It still seems unlikely that the "positions open" notice board there would have included a lot of jobs against British ships.

About Friday 11 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Indeed, it is. It was but recent, so we thought the cross-referencing superfluous, and nothing but Mr. Pepys' own closet being so Well-Ordered as this website, entries are always conveniently found with the search box. But you can never cross-reference enough.

About Friday 11 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Recall our discussion of a few days ago, on the ongoing tiff with the French concerning the Caribbean colony of St. Christopher, for which the frogs ask that various outstanding costs be paid them before it's devolved back to the Crown under the treaty of Breda. The solution was expected to come, like so many Prodigies, from M. Colbert the French ambassador.

His Excellency has now obliged, with a letter soberly labelled "M. Colbert to the King of Great Britain". Interesting in itself, as it's not so often that a document emerges from Leicester House (the letter is No. 1840 at https://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-paper…). We learn from him that the ideas floated in late July, of just selling or trading off the damn island, were in fact "approved by his Majesty and Council", and are reassured that, to France, this "seems most proper" indeed.

But also that it would be fine "that the French be reimbursed their charges for keeping and clothing the English prisoners in the islands belonging to the French King", as the French governor had demanded, because, in fact, "Lord Willoughby", the British governor of Barbados, had already "engaged his word that satisfaction should be made". We didn't know that. Very noble and gentlemanly on Willoughby's part. And, given how the rest of government was left to pick up the pieces, also, apparently, a total blank check he handed the French - but what's more aristocratic than a blank check?

From the same quarters, we can't resist anyone wishing for a bit more Action to check out paper No. 1838: It's a long after-action report, on recent rampage against the Spanish to keep them from grabbing Jamaica, from Henry Morgan. Aye, the pyrate. Well, former pirate, given how he's a privateer and "Admiral Morgan" now, so he has to write reports just like Sam, which pyrats don't have to do.

About Monday 7 September 1668

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

On the inns not having change: Yea, but they would have shillings - one-fifth of a crown. Sam hands them over aplenty when visiting taverns, and Charles mills them almost every year. At around 5.5 grams, they would come to the same weight in silver, but now it's 200,000 coins to distribute - no way.

How much is a pint in Portsmouth anyway? This website (https://footguards.tripod.com/08HISTORY/08_costof…), which lists prices for the purpose of accurately re-enacting the mid-1700s, says fourpence (1/15th of a crown, if we're not mistaken) for a quart (0.9 liter). A study in the Economic History Review (doi:10.1111/1468-0289.00167) estimates 1 penny for a quart in the early 17th century.

So, if you're from out of town and can't use the tokens, bring some friends, or pay a round, or drink your 15 to 60 liters, because sorry guv, I don't have change on a crown. Right, guys?