Thursday 8 March 1659/60

To Whitehall to bespeak some firing for my father at Shott’s, and likewise to speak to Mr. Blackburne about Batters being gunner in the “Wexford.” Then to Westminster Hall, where there was a general damp over men’s minds and faces upon some of the Officers of the Army being about making a remonstrance against Charles Stuart or any single person; but at noon it was told, that the General had put a stop to it, so all was well again. Here I met with Jasper, who was to look for me to bring me to my Lord at the lobby; whither sending a note to my Lord, he comes out to me and gives me direction to look after getting some money for him from the Admiralty, seeing that things are so unsafe, that he would not lay out a farthing for the State, till he had received some money of theirs.

Home about two o’clock, and took my wife by land to Paternoster Row, to buy some Paragon for a petticoat and so home again. In my way meeting Mr. Moore, who went home with me while I ate a bit and so back to Whitehall again, both of us. He waited at the Council for Mr. Crew. I to the Admiralty, where I got the order for the money, and have taken care for the getting of it assigned upon Mr. Hutchinson, Treasurer for the Navy, against tomorrow. Hence going home I met with Mr. King that belonged to the Treasurers at War and took him to Harper’s, who told me that he and the rest of his fellows are cast out of office by the new Treasurers.

This afternoon, some of the Officers of the Army, and some of the Parliament, had a conference at White Hall to make all right again, but I know not what is done.

This noon I met at the Dog tavern Captain Philip Holland, with whom I advised how to make some advantage of my Lord’s going to sea, which he told me might be by having of five or six servants entered on board, and I to give them what wages I pleased, and so their pay to be mine; he was also very urgent to have me take the Secretary’s place, that my Lord did proffer me.

At the same time in comes Mr. Wade and Mr. Sterry, secretary to the plenipotentiary in Denmark, who brought the news of the death of the King of Sweden at Gottenburgh the 3rd of the last month, and he told me what a great change he found when he came here, the secluded members being restored. He also spoke very freely of Mr. Wades profit, which he made while he was in Zeeland, how he did believe that he cheated Mr. Powell, and that he made above 500l. on the voyage, which Mr. Wade did very angrily deny, though I believe he was guilty enough.

29 Annotations

First Reading

Keith Wright  •  Link

"Paragon": "heavy rich cloth, partly of mohair; a heavier version of 'Camelott'"---which was a "robust ribbed cloth made of wool or, more rarely, goat hair".
(Latham Companion, "Large Glossary").

Intriguing, as fabric names often are.

michael f vincent  •  Link

"general damp over men’s minds and faces upon some of the Officers of the Army "....
"the General had put a stop to it, so all was well again..."

do I note a whiff of disgruntlement?
There are the redundancies(Layed off, no severence pay I guess)
" who told me that he and the rest of his fellows are cast out of office"

Quite a day ?

Pauline  •  Link

" bespeak some firing for my father at Short’s.”
“…where he bade us to go home again, and get a fire against an hour after…” 3/6 entry.
Can someone clarify these uses of “fire”?

For the man whose uncle has said he will make him his heir and whose boss has praised him with love and the offer of every help to good position, a rich new petticoat for the wife! (Well, he did buy himself the catcall first.) Heady days for Sam.

Grahamt  •  Link

Re: ...bespeak some firing...
I think this means to order some fuel (coal, logs) for the fire. Bespeak is still in my dictionary of modern English, but is more often met in other tenses, such as bespoke (tailoring) and bespoken (engaged or ordered beforehand) though "spoken for" is now used more than bespoken in colloquial speech.
With no central heating, or gas or oil fires, then the making of fires, keeping them fed and acquiring the fuel was a constant worry, especially in a British winter. We know Pepys' father wasn't well off, so it appears Sam is being a dutiful son and buying fuel to prevent his parents from freezing.

Grahamt  •  Link

Zealand vs Zeeland
Odd that the spelling of the Danish region - Zealand - on the 4th february, has changed to Zeeland, the Dutch province today, though both referring to Denmark. Is this SP's inconsistent spelling, contemporary usage, or a transcription error?

David Bell  •  Link

Variant Spelling and Shorthand.

Without knowing how Sam's shorthand system worked, I can't be sure, but it does seem quite likely that words of similar sound could be confused.

It's also true that spelling was not so well-defined in that era.

Mary  •  Link

Fires and firing

I assume that the earlier instruction to 'get a fire against an hour after' meant that a fire should be lit now, in order that the room be warmed in time for the meeting an hour later. Even in mid-20th Century England it was not usual in most houses to light a fire in the sitting-room, for example, until shortly before the room was to be used; fuel was either expensive or in short supply and there was always the chance that a spark from an unattended fire might prove dangerous. I should be surprised if similar considerations did not apply in Sam's day.

Glyn  •  Link

Variant spellings in shorthand

As I understand it, the version of shorthand that Pepys used saved time by not having symbols for vowels as such - instead you struck a straight line through the previous letter symbol at a different position to represent a different letter (this is unclear but stay with me). Think of the symbol as a clock face: the letter A would be a straight line at 1 o'clock: the letter E would be a straight line at 3 o'clock. It would be very easy to put the mark somewhere in between so it would be ambiguous - Hence the confusion between A's and E's, and I's and O's that we've noticed before.

I'm fairly sure that Latham goes into this in his companion volume to the Diaries, so can anyone else check this out?

I agree that "firing" is probably just another name for firewood.

steve h  •  Link

Sam and preferment in the Navy

It's amazing how quickly naval job seekers (and the profits attending) have started to come Pepys's way. Two days ago a purser, paying (to whom exactly?) ten pounds, today someone who wants a friend to be appointed gunner (money not menationed, but likely some kind of favor in exchange). Then there is the suggested idea of sending servants on board and collecting their wages,"to make some advantage of my Lord’s going to sea." None of this seems to be seen as dishonest at the time, but it certainly would be seen now as interest-peddling.

Hhomeboy  •  Link

Steve: Patronage is what was going on at the admiralty...

The term for wielding or wheedling politically controlled contracts or procurements for personal advantag--either on one's own behalf or on behalf of friends or associates-- is usually referred to as "influence peddling."

As for profiting from jobs wherein the work is performed by lower-cost hirelings and the difference between "salaries" and what is paid out to the actual workers is split , well, that's an age-old practice...temp-agencies do it today, as do all manner of contractors; corrupt unions skim in this fashion all over the world.

john simmons  •  Link

Steve..."you scratch my back," etc.
Our Sam is being approached because the people around My Lord have seen him speaking to Sam on two different occasions, privately. Plus, he stopped and picked Sam up in his coach on the street. Someone of Montagu's rank and station were never "alone" in public. He would always have an entourage of servants, friends, place seekers and evan a few armed men in attendance. They all would be very aware of anyone Montagu might pay marked attention to.
Sam's promotion to secretary for the sea voyage would not have been a secret for very long. Anyone wanting a favor from Montagu would see a new opening with Sam, and favors in these days always included an "honorarium." It is the way business had been done since the beggining, Roundhead or Royalist, they all knew the value of the inside track. Appointments, contracts, a good word, all were worth something and a new world of opportunity is opening to Sam.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Is Sam being dishonest?

" to make some advantage of my Lord's going to sea, which he told me might be by having of five or six servants entered on board, and I to give them what wages I pleased, and so their pay to be mine..."

The way I'm reading this is that Holland is suggesting to Sam that he enter five or six *fictitious* servants on the paylist, and thus keep whatever salaries he assigns them ... am I way off the mark here? If I'm right, this seems a step or three beyond mere influence peddling...

Susanna  •  Link

Pepys and the Servants

I read this as saying that Montague asked Pepys to hire some servants for the voyage. It was traditional in Pepys day for the boss to get all the salary money and then dole it out to everyone else. (It was done this way in Pepys' own office at Westminster, where Downing had all the money and paid Pepys his share.) And on the next day, the 9th, Pepys, after taking the job, talks to Mr. Hawly about a post, and offers him £20 a year.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

re: Pepys and the Servants

I dunno, Susanna ... I don't remember any mention by Sam of a request by Montagu to hire servants ... and the way I read the entry of the 9th is that Sam has (at Montagu's direction) written a letter to Downing suggesting that Moore take Pepys' place while he's at sea w/Montagu, and that in the same letter he's managed to throw a bone to Hawly (an extra £20 per year). (It’s the “I did the same to Mr. Moore” language that leads me to believe that.) After all, Hawly is a peer of Pepys at his office and — I assume — making about the same as Sam, so I doubt he’d hire on as a servant.

Even if you’re right about Sam being tasked by Montagu (sorry for the businesspeak) to hire servants, isn’t he admitting that he seriously discussed (we don’t know if he agreed with the good Captain’s suggestion) lining his pockets by essentially lying to both the servants he’d hire and to Montagu?

c.short  •  Link

I believe packing the ship's roles with the names of people who would never set onboard was a common, somewhat tolerated form of graft in the British Navy.
A poor reference to be sure, but it's often mentioned in Patrick O'Brian's wonderful Aubrey/Maturin novels more than a century later.

Martin K. Foys  •  Link

OED: A person invested with full, unlimited, or discretionary powers or authority, esp. in regard to a particular transaction, as the conclusion of a peace or treaty; an envoy or ambassador deputed by his sovereign to act at his own discretion.

Martin K. Foys  •  Link

a general damp over men’s minds

“Damp” has an interesting usage here. It likely derives from an older usage of “damp” to indicate not moisture from humidity (a definition that does not become common until the 18th cent.) but rather a “visible vapour, fog or mist (OED #2). Here are two possible figural meanings for Pepys, from the OED:

4. A dazed or stupefied condition; loss of consciousness or vitality, stupor.


5. A state of dejection; depression of spirits.

Glyn  •  Link

Todd is right unfortunately. Sam is being asked to do something dishonest "because everyone else does it". Like when a rookie cop is told to accept bribes because otherwise it makes the rest look bad if he refuses. Pepys may need two or three staff while on board but certainly not "five or six".

So how do we feel about this? More importantly, what would his contemporaries have said at the time? What's the moral position here?

Nigel Pond  •  Link

Another example of Martin Foys' second meaning of "damp" is "fire damp" -- the explosive mixture of coal dust and gases that was the scourge of the mining industry before the Davey lamp was invented. IIRC miners used caged canaries as gas detectors.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

House of Commons Journal - 8 March 1660

Today's business is setting all in order and getting organized: Militia. Militia Commissioners. Peck's Claim. Lancaster, &c. County Palatine. Approbation of Ministers. Popish Recusants. Militia Commissioners. London Militia. Calling a Parliament. Letter read. Commissions for Judges. Sheriff of Bucks. Captain Stoakes. Commrs of Assessment.

Calling a Parliament.…

A Bill for Calling and Holding of a Parliament at Westminster the 25th Day of April 1660, was this Day read the First time.
Resolved, That this Bill be read a Second time.
Resolved, That this Bill be read the Second time To-morrow Morning, at Ten of Clock.

Bill  •  Link

Terry, thanks for these Journal entries. Keep it up please, where relevant.

Bill  •  Link

bespeak/bespoke is no longer part of American English

1. To order, or entreat any thing before hand. Swift.
2. To make way by a previous apology. Dryden.
3. To forebode. Swift.
4. To speak to; to address. Dryden.
5. To betoken; to shew. Addison.
---A Dictionary Of The English Language. Samuel Johnson, 1756.

Tripleransom  •  Link

"a general damp over men’s minds" This usage still survives in a slightly altered form as in "put a damper on the idea" meaning to discourage, or tone down. (or damp down)

Bill, bespoke at least is still used today in the US to mean custom made. i.e., a bespoke suit is one you order to be made for you.

Bill  •  Link

@Tripleransom, I suppose the term has entered American English but I think of it as an affectation. I agree with Wikipedia: "The term is generally more prevalent in British English; for example, StyleRocks "bespoke jewellery". American English tends to use the word "custom" instead."

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Then to Westminster Hall, where there was a general damp over men’s minds and faces upon some of the Officers of the Army being about making a remonstrance against Charles Stuart or any single person; but at noon it was told, that the General had put a stop to it, so all was well again."

At a general council at St James's this morning Monck refused to allow his officers to present this remonstrance [angry protest] to Parliament on the ground that in no circunstances should the civilian authority be constrained by the military [hence the mood of the military who took it they'd been thwartted by the M.P.'s]. In the afternoon he held a conference with a select number of officers and of M.P.'s at which he pacified the military leaders. [Monck made it clear that the 'stop' had been at his order and why.] The next day they were sent to their commands. (Per L&M footnote)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I to the Admiralty, where I got the order for the money, and have taken care for the getting of it assigned upon Mr. Hutchinson, Treasurer for the Navy, against tomorrow."

An imprest [authization for petty-cash] (8 March) for £500 for Mountagu 'on account of his entertainment as general at sea': CSPD 1659-60 p.530. (L&M)

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I met with Mr. King that belonged to the Treasurers at War and took him to Harper’s, who told me that he and the rest of his fellows are cast out of office by the new Treasurers."

Two new Receivers-General and Treasurers-at-War had been appointed on 2 February to administer (under the Army Committee) the revenue collected by the January assessment for the paymrnt of the armed forces: Firth and Rait, ii. 1405. They employed county receivers and treasurers, but King was presunably a servant in their central office. (L&M footnote)

Third Reading

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Navy commissioner Peter Pett, soon to become one of the Diary's major characters, makes an appearance in the State Papers today with a letter to Montague that we think a good illustration for the day's debate on naval appointments, and a showcase piece of the oiliest sort of 17th century favor-seeking:

After presenting Montague with a small gift - two ship models, the hobby which in 1667 is going to cost Pett so dearly - as "testimony of a grateful mind for those many great and undeserved favours plentifully vouchsafed to me and mine" (lowly worm that I am), Pett closes with "It is not good manners to give you the troble of importuning for employment for friends, especially considering how much you are tired of things of this nature, and far more weighty affairs being in hand". Oh yeah, Montague may have sighed at that point.

Pett continues after just a colon of a pause: ", else I should have craved leave to recommend Lieut. Rainborow, for his old employment in the Speaker, if not disposed of".

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

At this time, as Sam begins to enter his new naval administrative universe, it also seems fit to record for future reference a State Paper of March 6, which very usefully spells out the Navy's debts as of February 1. This comes to £1,284,452, including £694,112 already paid for victuals and salaries and an "estimate of the charge of setting forth and maintaining a fleet of 13,065 men, for 9 month's service, to end the last of October 1660" that comes to £470,340 - a grand £0.13 per man/day - plus £20,000 (only) for maintenance, the yards' expenses and salaries for the commissioners and other London HQ staff, and £100,000 for contingencies. Even if the money be paid (small detail) this seems tight to say the least. May we already bid you welcome to the Naval budget, Mr. Pepys - ha ha ha ha haaaar.

Log in to post an annotation.

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