Thursday 12 April 1660

This day, the weather being very bad, we had no strangers on board. In the afternoon came the Vice-Admiral on board, with whom my Lord consulted, and I sent a packet to London at night with several letters to my friends, as to my wife about my getting of money for her when she should need it, to Mr. Bowyer that he tell me when the Messieurs of the offices be paid, to Mr. Moore about the business of my office, and making even with him as to matter of money. At night after I had despatched my letters, to bed.

17 Annotations

First Reading

David Bell  •  Link

After showing Lambert (yesterday) about how he keeps a journal, this very bland entry almost reads like a demonstration piece.

steve h  •  Link

On this day in London

Monck was given a banquet at the Vintner's Hall and was in the audience for a "Musical Representation" called "Bacchus Festival, or, A New Medley." It ssems he was going from one trade hall to another and being entertained with theatrical pieces at most of them.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

"that he tell me when the Messieurs of the offices be paid"

Anyone care to enlighten/educate me (and others) about this? A check of the site using the search engine brought up no results for "messieurs" other than today's entry. Thanks!

vincent  •  Link

Visiting the source of funds( The Guilds). The Wealth of the land is here, needs the Political backing & financial help, I do suspect , the wine is nice, the Cheers are good, but crossing the palms with gold is better.These are the Chaps that make or break. Where are the Funds for the Expedition Etc.. Parliament? is it paying the bills?

Pauline  •  Link

"...the Messieurs of the offices..."
Todd, searching Google was quite a trip! (Do we mean "Measures of offices?") Let's pull back to what we have in Background:

"Robert [Bowyer] was an usher at the Exchequer," a fatherly advisor, and now the protector of Sam's wife.

So I would guess he means the gentlemen of the offices there at the Exchequer. Basically, "When is pay day?" This information would be necessary for Sam both in arranging funds for his wife and in knowing when his office receives funds. And how the latter gets funds to the former?

New idea that Sam has an office back in London. Suporting his position as Secretary to the commander of the fleet? Has Sam ended all employment with Downing?

Not everyone decides to keep a personal diary. I think Sam does for several reasons having to do with his foreseeing the possibilities of making something of himself and with the notion that these are historic times. But we must include that Sam does have an "gift" of language and how things roll off the tongue. People like Sam are often immitative of what strikes the ear. A phrase such as "Messieurs of the offices" is a bright connection made by this kind of "ear" between hearing the French and his experience of seeing these guys milling around the Exchequer.

Mary  •  Link

Sam's office

The entry for March 9th showed us that Sam has not actually abandoned his employment at the Exchequer; he has deputed Moore to substitute for him there in his absence. The salary of this position will therefore still be payable to Sam, but he has to make arrangements to pay an agreed proportion of that salary to Moore. Thus Sam has to 'make even with him as to money'.

Todd Bernhardt  •  Link

Thanks, Pauline and Mary!

As I read Pauline's post, I began wondering if Our Boy had actually left his previous post, and of course he hasn't (as confirmed by Mary). Thanks for clearing things up for me.

mw  •  Link

In agreement with Todd Bernhardt,
I enjoyed the posts of both Pauline and Mary. Thank you both.
Pauline your final parragraph is lovely. That fits my experience.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

I'm wondering if there's a connection between this definition from Bouvier's Law Dictionary (1856) and Sam's use of this word in the context of the exchequer.
"AU BESOIN. This is a French phrase, used in commercial law.
When the drawer of a foreign bill of exchange wishes as a matter
of precaution, and to-save expenses, he puts in the corner of the
bill, " Au besoin chez Messieurs or, in other words, " In case of
need, apply to Messrs. at __________ " ___________." 1 Bouv.
Inst. n. 1133 Pardess Droit Com. 208.

Nix  •  Link

"Messieurs" --

Paul, I don't think there's a connection, beyond the fact that French words pop up in English legal and commercial usage from time to time -- a hangover from the Conquest, and the several hundred years that legal business was conducted in "law French". I don't see a connection in the particular context.

WKW  •  Link

"Messieurs" perhaps just SP's French-influenced spelling of "Messrs."? How far back does that abbreviation go? Where is our Language Hat?

Emilio  •  Link

Confirmation for Pauline & Mary (w/ a twist)
L&M include a footnote that Sam is indeed asking about payday at the Exchequer. They transcribe "Messieurs" more straightforwardly as "masters," but in either language Sam is talking about the bosses rather than the common clerks. He's asking when Downing is paid, as an indirect way (perhaps) of enquiring when Downing will be dispensing his clerks their salaries.
His mind is a marvel - despite the direct style of the diary, I still wonder whether he ever approaches a question in a straight line.

Neil Cresswell  •  Link


Maybe the word came up/to mind in conversation with Mr. Bowers, with one of them alluding to a possible jocular implication of pretentiousness on the part of the persons being referred to? Sam. might merely be quoting it as an amusing reference. If he were a modern diarist, that would be a plausible explanation today. Would not that also hold true in 1660?

Pauline  •  Link

Let's remember that Sam's wife is French
A French father and an Irish mother, but she and her brother Balty spent part of their growing up years in France. And Balty has recently been aboard with Sam. Sam must have quite a familiarity with French words and sounds.

Emilio  •  Link

More on 'masters'
(Presented w/ fear and anxiety, as many out there won't like this . . .)
It turns out that Matthews (the transcriber of L&M) specifically describes how he chose to transcribe this word throughout the diary. Generally he would spell the word 'maister,' Sam's more common spelling, "except that shorthand symbols or non-arbitrary symbols which transliterate as 'mastr' are printed as 'master,' a spelling which Pepys sometimes uses in longhand." Apparently that pesky 't' is there in the shorthand, and Sam must have intended the word to be ordinary English rather than French.
It's tough to disbelieve the text that's sitting there in front of us, but we should also keep in mind that Henry Wheatley wasn't working from the manuscript that Sam wrote, but a transcript that wasn't always faithful. As Wheatley was editing, he also sometimes felt free to create new readings that were not even based on the transcript.
The safest course would thus be to not become too attached to particular turns of phrase we find in this version of the diary, if only that didn't take away so much of the fun of getting to know Sam. At the very least, though, we shouldn't be too surprised when evidence turns up that Sam himself didn't write the word that fits so perfectly in context.

mary  •  Link

Bravo, Emilio

A good, meaty entry that brings us all back from chasing rainbows.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"--to Mr. Bowyer, that he tell me when the masters of the offices be paid." -- so transcribe L&M.

Robert Bowyer was an Exchequer official. The masters of the offices were the senior officials, such as Downing, Pepys's employer. Since Pepys received his salary from Downing himself and not from the Exchequer, his letter to Bowyer may have been an indirect way of getting to know when he himself would be paid. (L&M note)

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