Saturday 31 March 1660

This morning Captain Jowles of the “Wexford” came on board, for whom I got commission from my Lord to be commander of the ship. Upon the doing thereof he was to make the 20s. piece that he sent me yesterday, up 5l.; wherefore he sent me a bill that he did owe me 4l., which I sent my boy to Gravesend with him, and he did give the boy 4l. for me, and the boy gave him the bill under his hand. This morning, Mr. Hill that lives in Axe-yard was here on board with the Vice-Admiral. I did give him a bottle of wine, and was exceedingly satisfied of the power that I have to make my friends welcome. Many orders to make all the afternoon. At night Mr. Sheply, Howe, Ibbott, and I supped in my cabin together.

22 Annotations

First Reading

mwyler  •  Link

Any idea of how old this "boy" would have been?? I know children went to sea in the navy at a relatively young age, but Sam's "boy" wouldn't have been in the navy, would he?

kvk  •  Link

I do not have the exact date, but sometime around the end of the month Monck writes back to Charles and suggests that he move out of Spanish-controlled Brussels. England is still officially at war with Spain and it is not an appropriate place for the king to negotiate from. Charles will move to Breda, and he, Hyde, Ormonde and Edward Nicholas are probably at work right now on the Declaration of his terms for return.

Warren Keith Wright  •  Link

The biographical sketch of Pepys's footboy for this voyage, Eliezer or Ely Jenkins, has been moved to his own dedicated page; click on "boy" above. The circumstance of his hiring on March 14th (q.v.) would indicate that he was not in the navy; and his behavior later this same year(described in that blurb), indicates that he was indeed just a boy.

michael f vincent  •  Link

" boy age" at least 12yrs even in 1946
14yrs old boys went as cabin boys, school leaving age change that year in the u.k.

"Upon the ...the 20s. piece that he sent me yesterday, up 5l.; wherefore he ....give the boy 4l. for me, and the boy ..bill under his hand"
Once more raking in the cash.

Grahamt  •  Link

Buying commissions:
The £5 SP receives from Captain Jowles is apparently to pay for the commission of master of the Wexford. The subject of paying for commissions has been covered so I won't labour that, but what I find interesting is that Pepys sends his boy to get the note cashed straight away. Previously we read of notes that had been held and traded for months. Is this new found impatience because
a) SP thinks he himself might not return to cash the note?
b) he thinks Jowles might not live to honour the debt?
c) he doesn't trust Jowles?

David Bell  •  Link

The 5l from Captain Jowles

It's possible that sending the note is a safer way of handling the money, Pepys than then send somebody as his representative to collect the money, rather than both parties trusting the postal service.

We don't know what else the Captain wrote. He may well have suggested a couple of alternatives for cashing the note, if he or Sam were to suddenly put to sea.

Nix  •  Link

Captain Jowles' promissory note --

Perhaps it was a demand note, which means that it was payable immediately rather than at a specified later date. I think the desirability of cash rather than a note in Samuel's siatuation would be obvious: he will be at sea, or in foreign lands. There isn't much use for cash at sea, but there is in foreign seaports, where a note wouldn't have much value. And David Bell correctly notes that Jowles might not be a good prospect for collection: not necessarily because he is untrustworthy, but because he is in a risky line of work -- and one that keeps him moving around.

Dave Bell  •  Link

The April Fool annotation.

As those who checked email addresses will have noticed, I was the one who posted the spurious annotation this morning; All Fools' Day in the real world. Perhaps Sam will, one year or another, mention the occasion in his time. I hope nobody was offended.

This is an example of an old tradition of tall stories and practical jokes, not just limited to the English-speaking world. In France, I understand, the cry is "poisson d'Avril" instead of "April Fool" when the victim falls for the joke.

The English custom is that such jokes are only permissible before noon, although a certain tolerance has developed for such things as weekly magazines and broadcast media. A famous example was a TV report on the Italian spaghetti harvest, shown in the days when there wasn't TV in the morning.

My thanks to those who emailed compliments from around the world. While I confess to a slight regret that it was removed from the site so promptly, I cannot complain that it was removed. Any fault in this matter is mine alone; particularly my fault of not saving a copy...

Rick Ansell  •  Link

First posted in the 29th March entry in error:

Note that this wasn’t for a Commission as the _Master_ of the Wexford, it was as its Commander.

Whilst the commander of a merchant ship is, and was, the Master, at this date the Master was a separate post in the Navy. Commanders, being Gentlemen, didn’t necessarily have the skills and experience to navigate the ship, despite being in command. Commanders were Commissioned officers, i.e. they held a Commission.

The navigation etc. was done by the holder of a separate post, the Master. Like Saml he held a Warrant but wasn’t a Gentleman. On the 29th Saml and co. spent the late evening in the Masters cabin, socialising with someone with similar status aboard ship.

At this date the Lieutenants didn’t need to be seamen either. In later (post diary) years Saml Peyps esq. would have a hand in instituting minimum experience levels and formal examinations in seamanship for lieutenants. This was a (the?) major step in creating the truly professional career officer corps of later years.

BTW, I was wrong in an earlier post, in the 1700s the commissioned and more ‘gentlemanlike’ warrant officers, such as the Admirals Secretary, the Surgeon, the Purser, the Chaplain and the Master would have been members of the Wardroom mess. The ‘lower class’ warrant officers, such as the Carpenter and Bosun, would have messed separately. The Gunner presided over the Gunroom where the young and very young officers messed.

Alan McLeod  •  Link

April Fools

From CBC, it appears that April fools is after Sam. Persons who did not follow the new Gregorian calendar were considered being fools, as easily caught (in a trick) as "april fish" - "poisson d'avril!" is still what is said today in Quebec.

The English and their American colonies adopted the Gregorian Calendar in the middle of the eighteenth century:from…

Paul Chapin  •  Link

The absent April Fool
Sorry that those of us in the Western Hemisphere apparently slept through the entire lifespan of Dave Bell's April Fool annotation. Phil, any chance of posting it in a secure, well-lighted area so we can see what we missed?

Phil  •  Link

The excised annotations have gone forever. I know it might seem like me lacking a sense of humour, but I'm trying to keep this as a useful resource for people who don't have the time to distinguish between jokes and genuine information. And I'd prefer not to have to spend my time going through deleting spurious posts. Thanks.

Linda Camidge  •  Link

I have just tried the 2003 link above and yes, I'm afraid it has gone forever.

Second Reading

Bryan  •  Link

These diagrams are from A Ship of War, Cyclopaedia, 1728, Even though they were drawn nearly 70 years later I think they give a good idea of the ships Sam is sailing in.

The top diagram represents a third rate ship of the line, such as the Swiftsure (42 guns) in which Sam is currently sailing.

The Naseby (80 guns) is a first rate ship of the line similar to the lower diagram. Notice that the State Room (S) and the Ward Room (T) both have cannons in them. From the legend: "The State Room out of which the Bed Chamber and other Con...(illegible) for the Commander in Chief"; "The Ward Room. Allotted for Voluntier(?) and Land Officers".


There is also The Cuddy (R) just below the Poop Deck (P) "which is commonly divided for the Masters and Secretaries Officers". Would this be where our favorite secretary finds lodging?…

Dick Wilson  •  Link

Thanks, Bryan, that is useful. The warships of that day were boxes crammed with guns. How to accomodate VIP's in large numbers aboard one is a problem not easily visualized. Also, if they had gun crews of say, 5 men each, and enough crews to man half the guns at a time, an 80 to 90 gun ship like the Naseby would require 200 men, minimum. Total crew would likely run to 400 or more, given deckhands and topsail hands and cooks etc.. The noise, and stink, of so many people jammed together would be awful. Then add the general-at sea and his entourage, the vice-admiral and his staff plus support services and you are up over 500 very quickly. Now: welcome aboard the King, the Duke of York, their attendants and their attendants' servants (and a half dozen favorites) and it's a good thing it's a short trip! Does anyone know how many souls are aboard the Naseby at this time?

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

They live in the time before banks. Capt. Jowles was probably staying at an Inn -- where did he hide his gold? Much safer for him to get the money into Pepys' hands ASAP. But where is Pepys hiding it in his tiny cabin? (Maybe they hid it in their balloon pants -- just kidding!)


I'm struck by how little Creed has been on board, gladhanding, eating, getting instructions from Montagu, and making sure everyone knows he's in charge of the money.

LKvM  •  Link

Admiral Lord Nelson was twelve when he first went to sea.

Ashley Smith  •  Link
This is a link to a 3D animation of the construction/layout of HMS Victory from 1765. 100 years newer but still an old school wooden battleship. Incredible appreciation for the engineering detail and complexity for the time. The animation was only created on 11/3/23. I've watched it 3 times already.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Thank you, Ashley -- that was incredibly beautiful and helpful. Note: it took 8 men to fire a canon then. Which means the Naseby with 80 guns could have needed 640 men just to fire them, not the 5 Brian and Dick guessed at. Then they also needed men to sail the ship while the guns were going off. (I was on the Victory 20 odd years ago, and they had a demonstration of the noise of the guns firing. Every gunner must have been deaf quite quickly.)…

I'm guessing you're in the UK, meaning the animation was made released March 11 of this year. As I'm in the States I first read that to mean next November and did a double-take!

Ashley Smith  •  Link

Hi Sarah, Yes 11th March 2023 ! Sorry I forgot about the UK/US date switcharound thing.
Keep up the great posts.
The rigging section alone on the animation makes your mind boggle.

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