Friday 13 April 1660

This day very foul all day for rain and wind. In the afternoon set my own things in my cabin and chests in better order than hitherto, and set my papers in order. At night sent another packet to London by the post, and after that was done I went up to the lieutenant’s cabin and there we broached a vessel of ale that we had sent for among us from Deal to-day. There was the minister and doctor with us. After that till one o’clock in the morning writing letters to Mr. Downing about my business of continuing my office to myself, only Mr. Moore to execute it for me. I had also a very serious and effectual letter from my Lord to him to that purpose. After that done then to bed, and it being very rainy, and the rain coming upon my bed, I went and lay with John Goods in the great cabin below, the wind being so high that we were fain to lower some of the masts. I to bed, and what with the goodness of the bed and the rocking of the ship I slept till almost ten o’clock, and then— [continued tomorrow, P.G.]

23 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Per the Wheatley(1892), the word is "fain" which makes much more sense in the context.

David Bell  •  Link

Today, the partying isn't in Sam's cabin, but "the minister and the doctor" suggests that the apparent coolness towards Mr Ibbot (see… ) is an illusion arising from the complexities of indexing.

Perhaps, as well, the slightly different setting for this session has allowed for any passion there might be to cool a little?

Nix  •  Link

Pauline and Mary --

It didn't take him long to confirm you! And he's pulling rank to make sure Downing accepts it.

steve h  •  Link

Monck dines out again

From "The Diurnal of Thomas Rigg," another diary of the time. "His Excellency [Monk] with the council of state dines at one of the halls in London [Fishmongers], and by this time having dined at 9 of the chiefest halls in London; and at every hall after dinner there was a kind of stage play and many pretty antics, some the citizen and soldier, others the country Tom and city Dick, at many halls was dancing and singing, many shapes and ghosts and the like."

smeg  •  Link

Does anyone know how the mail worked back then? I guess the Royal Mail didn't exist then!!

mary  •  Link

The Royal Mail

was established as a royal monopoly in 1662, with the Postmaster General employing only those who were believed to be loyal to the King. Those letter-writers whose loyalties were suspect might find that their mail had been opened by the authorities en route. Thus the disaffected tended to send their mail by other routes ... private foot-posts, stage-coaches, carriers etc. This, and much more on the subject, can be found in Restoration London, by Liza Picard (Phoenix Press) on p.72ff.

Inland mail left the central General Post Office in London at 2 a.m. for the principal cities of England, Scotland and Wales; there were also authorised agents who would accept letters for later delivery to the central office. On arrival at the post town, letters were either re-despatched locally or collected by the addressee.

Perhaps someone can tell us if this same general system was in private operation before 1662.

David Bell  •  Link

The mail has been discussed before, and there was an official system running at this time. I think the "Royal Mail" bit was more of a re-naming that any major change.

The centre of the discussion then was about Sam's use of codes/ciphers in letters.

vincent  •  Link

"I had also a very serious and effectual letter from my Lord to him to that purpose."
Now this I do not fully comprehend: "to him" Mr Downing or Mr Moore.
Do hope some one with correct C.V. doth answer.

vincent  •  Link

"and there we broached a vessel of ale that we had sent for among us from Deal to-day"
This may be why I do comprehend, one drop too much maybe. Maybe an ake in the morning?

vincent  •  Link

"faro" fain yes but meaning compelled.
It fits but the connection does elude me.
The shorthand being in use after (a) yard(S) of ale maybe ?

Emilio  •  Link

Effectual letter and faro
The letter would be addressed to Downing I imagine. Not much Moore could do without the boss's approval.
As for "(fain) lowering the masts," it seems 'masts' might be used here as a metonymy for 'sails' - i.e., bundling up the sails to keep them from ripping, with one word used to stand in for a closely related one. On the other hand, I always thought they raised the sails to lash them around the spars, so does that interpretation make practical sense? Maybe it's just Sam's inexperience at sea showing here.

Richard Lacey  •  Link

This entry was posted on Friday, April 13, 1660, but though Pepys was mildly superstitious, there's no mention of bad luck. Was Friday the thirteenth considered unlucky? (If not, when and how did that superstition originate?)

vincent  •  Link

"Fri 13th he doth _rite this on sat morn (the 14th) before sleepin_ or was after a useful nap.
Emilio, you make a point, He was not quite with it I doth think, remember the vessel of ale.

Rick Ansell  •  Link

The masts of large vessels of the time (and later) were in sections. Each one was parallel to the one below for a distance.

Generally there were three sections, Lower, Top and Topgallent. The Courses (Fore Course, Main Course and Mizzen) were attached to the lower masts. The Topsails were attached to the Topmast and the Topgallent and Royal to the Topgallent mast.

When bad weather threatened the Topgallent mast would be struck (taken down) to reduce the unnecessary drag and preserve it from harm. It would be useless anyway, in high winds sail was reduced and the Topgallent and Royal were the weakest and most weakly supported sails. When very severe weather threatened the Topmasts would be struck. Likewise the Yards that supported the sails could be struck down on deck.

At anchor the was no need to use the sails so the masts and yards only served to give the wind something to push against, producing extra strain on the anchor which, if the force was enough, might drag (give way). In amongst the dangerous banks of the Goodwins you most definitely don't want a dragging anchor, once on a bank in high winds the ship could be beaten to pieces very rapidly.

Alan Morel  •  Link

Re: ...lowering the masts...

If high winds are expected and the vessel is anchored, then the upper third portion of a mast (the topgallant) would be 'struck', or disconnected from the bottom two-thirds of the mast, then lowered to the deck to be lashed safely.

MWright  •  Link

Friday The 13th

If I'm not mistaken, was derived from Good Friday being the ominous day that Jesus Christ died and "13" happening to be the number of attendees at the Last Supper. Certainly the Friday the 13th superstition was evolved but we've seen Sam's inclination to question matters revolving around religion. Whether or not he was fazed by it is unclear to me.

vincent  •  Link

Rick Ansell thanks

helena murphy  •  Link

The mail was wrought with various dangers, foul weather, delay, misplacement, and last but by no means least,surveillance or spies on the ground. Diplomatic and royal mail was always tampered with , which caused Lord Holles, British Ambassador in Paris in the 1660,s to write to Sir Henry Bennet, Secretary of State, "I have received yours of May 16th, I am confident a virgin, unviolated by the way, which it seems is not the portion of all that pass".

From Whitehall on November 21st 1662, Charles II writes to his sister in Paris, the Duchess of Orleans known as Madame: "I shall dispatch my Ld Garret tomorrow with my compliments to meete the K of france at Calais, by him I will make my earnest desires for Narmoutiers and Chalais pardon and in case I cannot obtaine it for both at least that I may have it for Narmoutiers as the least fauty. The Queen read to me last night your letter in which you feare that there is two of yours miscarried. I hope they are only lost by the post, for I never receaved any from you upon the subject you mention. What is past there is no helpe for, but for the future, write nothing by the post but what you would have know, for to my knowledge the letters are very often opened."

Narmoutiers and Chalais had been banished from France for duelling which Louis XIV had outlawed.

Hartmann, Charles II and Madame, Heinemann 1934

Glyn  •  Link

There was a fairly efficient system for sending letters by the public post, although they were always likely to be intercepted and read by the authorities. For that reason, Montagu and his servants would send their most confidential information privately.

If you had written a letter, you sent it to someone care of the 400 or so shops and coffee-houses in London that were licensed to handle them (they were known as “post houses”). Then messengers (“post men”) would collect the local mail and drop it off on their “regular routes”, or it would be sent to the London “sorting offices” for onward delivery.

If you want more detailed information, have a look at the Annotations for 12 February 1660:…

Second Reading

Dick Wilson  •  Link

With masts struck, and one assumes yards also, they are not going to get underway in a hurry, no matter what the emergency. The weather may be bad, but not so bad as to stop the coming and going of small craft carrying packets of mail, or vessels of ale. Let's hear a yo-ho-ho for the miserable tars that rowed boats about in foul weather, bringing ale to the quarterdeck. I'll bet they were thrilled with the duty.

HRW  •  Link

"And the rain coming upon my bed". Living conditions during inclement weather must have been deplorable.

Third Reading

mwainer  •  Link

A historic document signed by King Charles II, which helped complete the restoration of the British monarchy after the English Civil War, is up for auction and expected to fetch up to £600,000 ($749,000).…

Known as "The Declaration of Breda," the document was drafted by Charles II and his closest councilors in April 1660 to set out the terms under which he would take the throne after years in exile following the English Civil War and his father's execution

Five copies of the document were sent to England's centers of power -- the House of Commons, the City of London, the Army, the House of Lords and the Navy -- where they each helped gather key support for Charles II.

Three were lost, one is in the Parliamentary Archives, and the fifth, originally delivered to naval commander Edward Montagu, is now being offered for sale, Sotheby's said. The document is entering the public domain for the first time in nearly 40 years, after it was last sold at auction in 1985, the auction house added.

Montagu's secretary, the famous diarist Samuel Pepys, read aloud the declaration at a meeting of the fleet and later described this in his diary entry from May 3 1660.

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