Friday 6 April 1660

This morning came my brother-in-law Balty to see me, and to desire to be here with me as Reformado, which did much trouble me. But after dinner (my Lord using him very civilly, at table) I spoke to my Lord, and he presented me a letter to Captain Stokes for him that he should be there. All the day with him walking and talking, we under sail as far as the Spitts. In the afternoon, W. Howe and I to our viallins, the first time since we came on board. This afternoon I made even with my Lord to this day, and did give him all the money remaining in my hands.

In the evening, it being fine moonshine, I staid late walking upon the quarter-deck with Mr. Cuttance, learning of some sea terms; and so down to supper and to bed, having an hour before put Balty into Burr’s cabin, he being out of the ship.

16 Annotations

First Reading

Jenny Doughty  •  Link

'This afternoon I made even with my Lord to this day, and did give him all the money remaining in my hands.'

I take this to mean that Pepys accounted to 'his lord' for all the funds he had handled on his lord's behalf over the previous few weeks. One wonders if there was ever a ledger in which he wrote his accounts. It seems to have been too complex a business for most people to hold in their heads.

language hat  •  Link

This is a fine little entry.
The last sentence, in particular, is beautifully balanced, explanatory clauses balanced on the fulcrum of a semicolon. I love "learning of some sea terms"!

Rick Palley  •  Link

Just wanted to thank Phil and all the regulars for this great site; I don't know how many people out there check in on Sam regularly, but reading the daily entries and informative posts has become an enjoyable ritual for me. Until now, all I knew about Pepys was from reading Mount's "Jem (and Sam)".
What do you Pepys buffs think about that book?

Mary  •  Link

Pepys' accounts

In reply to Jenny's query, the introduction to Vol.1 of the L&M edition makes it clear that Pepys was a compulsive list-maker and record-keeper. It was his ability to collect, marshall and use information, as much as anything else, that led to the subsequent success of his career in naval administration. It would be surprising if he did not keep accurate accounts for Mountagu (and for himself) in these early days of such potentially valuable employment.

bchan  •  Link


In modern naval usage, the quarter-deck (now spelled simply "quarterdeck") is not an actual deck; it's the part of the ship designated used for ceremonies, such as official and other comings and goings. It's where the main gangway to the pier is located. Ranking officers are "piped aboard" there, arriving on board ship via the quartedeck where they are flanked by a ceremonial detail (the "side boys", one of whom is indeed equipped with a bo's'uns pipe).

In Pepys day, the quarterdeck was often an actual part of the ship: "The 'half-deck' was half the length of the ship, and the 'quarter-deck' was half the length of the half-deck." [Source:]

Rick Ansell  •  Link

Ok, I'm basing this description on my knowledge of ships of the late 1700's / early 1800's so there may be minor errors. Its a long one, sorry...

On ships without a Poop (more on that later) the Quarterdeck would stretch from the stern to some point abaft the Mainmast. Here the deck at this level would change from a complete covering to two narrow gangways each side of the ship which ran forward to the forward section of full deck, the forecastle. The front edge of the Quarterdeck was the 'Break of the Quarterdeck'. The area of the main deck below the galleries was the Waist

Exactly how far forward the quarterdeck went depended on the ship, some smaller ships had no Waist and the Break of the Quarterdeck was a notional line.

Beneath the Quarterdeck was usually the 'Great Cabin', occupied by the Admiral or Captain as events demanded, forward of which were various subsidiary cabins, some allocated for the Great mans use, others housing his staff or officers. The front bulkhead of these cabins usually stopped short of the Break, leaving a 'porch' type area. This was the (or a) Half deck.

On the Quarterdeck was the wheel, the Binnacle housing the Compasses and, usually, the upper part of the main Capstan. The Quarterdeck was the ships command centre. It was the equivalent of todays Bridge. Only officers were allowed on it without having a specific duty to perform. This was where the Officer of the Watch stood and, in battle, the 'Command Team', including Captain and Admiral.

On larger ships there was a raised portion behind the Quarterdeck, The Poop. This housed cabins and usually had a half deck. With an Admiral aboard the Captain suite of cabins would be here, with a few key officers housed forward of this. For example, on HMS Victory, the Master had a cabin under the Half Deck, giving him immediate access to the wheel and Captain. The deck over this, the Poop deck, would be where the signal team worked.

Hhomeboy  •  Link

Jem and Sam...

Neo-con Thatcherite and anti-Catholic professional Englisher Ferdie Mount's 1999 novel about duelling diarists--n'eer do well Jem vs. social climbing Sam--is a vivid entrée into the Restoration age mindset and a must read for would-be Pepysians.

Although Mount's Sam is neither plaintive (obs.) protagonist nor three-dimensional biographical subject à la Beryl Bainbridge's brilliantly evocative "According to Queeney", Jem is nonetheless a gem...Imagine an obsessively one-sided rivalry à la Martin Amis's "The Information" set in mid-17th century London....with the fictionalized Jeremiah Mount fixated upon revenge against Pepys.

"historical/biographical fiction" is most often considered a lesser literary genre but I am not at all surprsied "Jem and Sam" has fomented renewed interest in Sam's diaries.

Rainer Doehle  •  Link

In the evening, it being fine moonshine

Again the moon. That night they had a waxing moon just around half moon, slowly going down at the Western horizon. A clear moonlit evening sky at sea must have been a nice view.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"This afternoon I made even with my Lord to this day,..."

To make even is "to balance or settle" an account. (Larger Glossary, L&M Companion)

Pepys was balancing the account with Mountague "to this day"!

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"W. Howe and I to our viallins"

You did bring an instrument -- that will make you very popular.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

April 4, 1660: "At night, my Lord resolved to send the Captain of our ship to Waymouth and promote his being chosen there, which he did put himself into a readiness to do the next morning."

Apparently Cuttance hasn't left yet???

LKvM  •  Link

Nice description of the quarterdeck by Rick Ansell. It might be appropriate here to note that the ride on a ship is much, MUCH smoother the farther aft one is. That's why Nelson and his ilk had their cabins way aft, under the quarterdeck. (On sailboats, the berths under the cockpit are called quarterberths.)
Re the rough ride at the bow end of a ship, see Richard Henry Dana's biographical novel *Two Years Before the Mast* about his 1834 two-year trip around Cape Horn as a low-ranking seaman who bunked in the plunging, uncomfortable area "before the mast," i.e., forward between the bow and the mast.
Also, I would like to know more about Balty's reason for showing up uninvited, not to mention his status as a Reformado and why it troubled Sam. Was Balty an embarrassment?

Scube  •  Link

SDH - given your great expertise, do you have any insight re: LKvM's question? Puzzled me as well.

Edwin  •  Link

I expect others may have mentioned them along the way, but just in case - the Aubrey/Maturin books by Patrick O'Brian, although set more than a century later, are wonderful for their depictions of life on board British naval vessels (and for many other reasons). More modern, but perhaps still relevant as an account of sailing aboard a working tall ship, The Last Grain Race by the incomparable Eric Newby is well worth a read.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I think you're crediting me with great expertise??? The only insight I have on Pepys' and Balty's relationship is from Balty's biography.

Jeannine tells us Elizabeth was born 23 October 1640. None of our notes seem to say if Balty was older or younger (I suspect younger, just because of his behavior). So in 1660 he was roughly 20 years old. Maybe 17 -- maybe 23. Jobs are hard to find. The Army isn't hiring. He has no education that we know of. He's just a poor, healthy young male with French claims to the nobility.

It's very presumptuous of him to just turn up at the ship of one of England's two Generals-in-Chief and ask for employment for which he has no qualifications or experience that we know of.
Montagu -- who is not related to Balty and owes him nothing -- very graciously hosts him to a meal and apparently Balty did not embarrass himself. Pepys fortunately could park him in the missing clerk's bunk, and since then Balty has made himself useful.
Hopefully, Captain Stokes will find a spot for Balty, and he will continue to behave himself.

I posted L&M's take on him…

Scube  •  Link

SDS - thanks and yes it was certainly you who I was crediting with great expertise (as well as insightful posts).
As to the Patrick O'Brian books, the playing of the violins is certainly evocative.

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