Tuesday 17 April 1660

All the morning getting ready commissions for the Vice-Admiral and the Rear-Admiral, wherein my Lord was very careful to express the utmost of his own power, commanding them to obey what orders they should receive from the Parliament, &c., or both or either of the Generals.1 The Vice-Admiral dined with us, and in the afternoon my Lord called me to give him the commission for him, which I did, and he gave it him himself.

A very pleasant afternoon, and I upon the deck all the day, it was so clear that my Lord’s glass shewed us Calais very plain, and the cliffs were as plain to be seen as Kent, and my Lord at first made me believe that it was Kent. At night, after supper, my Lord called for the Rear-Admiral’s commission, which I brought him, and I sitting in my study heard my Lord discourse with him concerning Deking’s and Newberry’s being put out of commission. And by the way I did observe that my Lord did speak more openly his mind to me afterwards at night than I can find that he did to the Rear-Admiral, though his great confidant. For I was with him an hour together, when he told me clearly his thoughts that the King would carry it, and that he did think himself very happy that he was now at sea, as well for his own sake, as that he thought he might do his country some service in keeping things quiet. To bed, and shifting myself from top to toe, there being J. Goods and W. Howe sat late by my bedside talking. So to sleep, every day bringing me a fresh sense of the pleasure of my present life.

22 Annotations

First Reading

Glyn  •  Link

"my Lord’s glass shewed us Calais very plain, and the cliffs were as plain to be seen as Kent, and my Lord at first made me believe that it was Kent"

The ship was anchored in Kent yesterday, so today it must be sailing in the English Channel far enough into the sea for the land to be almost out of sight. I envy him being in a sailing ship out to sea on a pleasant Spring afternoon.

Calais, France and Kent are about 20 miles apart, so the Naseby must be at least 10 miles out at sea. Not very far perhaps, but enough to make it a pleasant sea voyage.

Glyn  •  Link

shifting myself from top to toe

TO SHIFT: To change one's own or another's clothing, dress in fresh clothing (Oxford English Dictionary)

Reference in the Footnote to the Duke of York: This is King Charles's brother James, who would many years later become King James II.

Glyn  •  Link

I sitting in my study heard my Lord discourse with (the Rear-Admiral) ... on what sounds like very confidential matters.

Either (a) Montagu has a very loud, and indiscreet voice (which I personally doubt); or (b) the wooden walls are very thin; or (c) Sam has his ear to the wall, trying to hear as much as possible. But would his character allow him to deliberately eavesdrop on his superiors?

But it's very interesting that Montagu is more open with Pepys than with one of his best friends (if true) and that Montagu is making jokes with him. I think that Samuel has a talent for making genuine friendships.

As evidence of this, take a look at the BACKGROUND INFORMATION: PEOPLE section - Phil has now put more than 120 (!) names there of people who have appeared in the Diary in less than four months (!). And there must be many more who have appeared in the Diary but don't merit their own entry. It's an amazing testament to Pepys ability to network - I am sure that most people here would struggle to put as much as half that number into their own diaries for the last four months, and Pepys isn't even trying.

chip  •  Link

And equally interesting who is not mentioned. Cromwell had just died in Septempber of 1658 and to my knowledge, SP has never mentioned him. How fleeting is fate! Thanks Helena for the insight. Curious it was under Cromwell that mandatory church attendance was both abolished and reinstated, all in Pepys' youth.

Pauline  •  Link

"...shifting myself from top to toe..."
Glyn, I like your definition, but still read it as Sam shifting his head to the opposite end of the bed than has been customary (and his feet going along with the shift) to better get some sleep while John and Will natter on.

This Newberry must be a person and not the ship Newbury that Deking lost post on? It didn't sound two days ago like the Newbury was being "put out of commission."

"...he might do his country some service in keeping things quiet..."
I would guess "quiet" means that Montagu, like Monck, is reading the political entrails for signs of which contender for national governance can most peaceably be brought in and find peaceable acceptance. And Montagu shows an astuteness in his care to "express the utmost of his own power, commanding them to obey what orders they should receive from the Parliament, &c.," and following up (in the footnote) with having the decisions he makes ratified by the legitimate power when established.

Roger Miller  •  Link


It was Blake who was to come out of the ship called the Newbury to be replaced by Capt Coppin according to the entry two days ago.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Newberry/Newbury? ... Deking/Daking/D. King?

As if to further complicate matters, the version of Wheatley that I'm looking at has the following phrase "heard my Lord discourse with him concerning D. King's and Newberry's being put out of commission". Now Deking has been replaced by a D. King. Yet another odd confusion attributable to the known problems of dealing with shorthand? It seems strange to have occurred within a day/page of each other.

Another odd question, the link for Deking on the site points to Daking.

Does anyone have any idea who this fellow(s) really is/are?

Emilio  •  Link

Who's where?
I just put in an anno for 15 April based on footnotes from L&M. In a nutshell, their reading is:
- Dekings was taken from the Worcester, replaced by Blake, and assigned to convoy duty;
- Coppin was taken from the Langport and brought to the Newbery to take Blake's place;
- confusingly, a second captain, Newberry of the Plymouth, had also been making trouble; Sam doesn't mention him on the 15th, but apparently he's also been replaced.
These are muddy waters no matter which way we go, but I would definitely stick with L&M over Wheatley, since they generally provide more detailed and systematic information. Can anyone find anything on Newberry or the Plymouth that might help to clear all this up?

Gus Spier  •  Link

Was it not also the custom (according to O'Brian novels) to refer to naval captains by the names of their commands? Thus, when Newbury is put out of commission, it remains ambiguous whether one refers to the vessel or the commander.

Nix  •  Link

Eavesdropping --

Taking up Glyn's comment, I don't think Samuel would scruple at listening through the wall. Beyond his evident and boundless curiosity, he is an ambitious young man, and his future is hitched to Montague. Anything he can pick up about "My lord's" thinking is very valuable to him -- and, in turn, makes him more responsive and hence more valuable to Montague.

Beyond that, I'd guess the partitions between the cabins are pretty thin!

David Bell  •  Link

I would be very wary of over-using the naval fiction centred on the wars against Napoleon as a source of detailed info on the Navy of Pepys' time. My own browsing of the web shows the latter half of the 17th century as being a time of great change.

Having said that, the later ships did have quite thin partitions between the upper-deck cabins, which were, with the furniture, struck down into the hold when the ship was cleared for action.

Vincent  •  Link

"Listening" in :Don't forget the scuttle(scuttlebut) the modern navy still uses the skuttle to get from deck to deck (Not to shuttle back and forth). Remember our SP is a very good listenner to words and to the vibes,very political attuned

Emilio  •  Link

Captain shuffle, one last time
The L&M Companion agrees that Blake came from the Newbury to replace Dekings (Capt. George Daking) of the Worcester. For Coppin, it notes only that Capt. John Coppin held commands in the 1st and 2nd Dutch Wars, and was killed in action in 1666. Perhaps he has just been given his first command, as had been suggested on the 15th.
Relating to Capt. Newberry, things only become more unclear. Citing the Calendar of State Papers, the Companion describes him as Captain Richard Newbery, who was dismissed from the Portland, not the Plymouth. He was recommended to command a frigate in 1653, which (per the invaluable http://www.battleships-cruisers.c… site) was the year both the Plymouth and the Portland were built, both by Taylor of Wapping.
The more I look for details, the more uncertain they become. At this point I give up.

cy  •  Link

Captain John Coppin was a veteran and senior captain in the Commonwealth navy.

1644 Captin of Hired merchant 'Elizabeth and Anne'
1645 to 1649 Captain of 6th Rate 'Greyhound'
1650-1651 Captain of 4th rate 'Amity'
1651 to 1652 Captain of 3rd rate 'Entrance'
1652 Captin of 3rd rate 'Speaker' at the Battle of 'Kentish Knock' where he lost a leg.
1656 Returned to sea as captain of 'Langport' (renamed Henrietta at the Restoration)
in 1666 Killed at the Four Days Battle while in command of the 2nd Rate St. George.

The rate of a ship was important, the higher the number the smaller the vessel and the less you got paid. E.g. a 1st rates captain was paid £21 per month in 1653, a 6th rates only £7.

From notes for a new Naval website

Second Reading

Dick Wilson  •  Link

I read "to shift" the same way Glyn read it, not Pauline. He changed his clothes, underwear and socks and cap too. Changing clothing was an occasion important enough to get a mention in the diary, like his being "trimmed". These gentlemen were nothing if not ripe. It was probably worse aboard ship, where they were short of fresh water for bathing, not that they used much wash water on themselves, ashore. I guess it would have been his boy's duty to wash the clothes he had taken off. Where the kid would work, whether he used soap, and where to hang out the stuff to dry -- these are more mysteries. I suspect that the only way the boy and his clothing got washed was when he came on deck during foul weather.

John Wheater  •  Link

Shift: I tend towards Pauline's interpretation, that for some reason he changed his position.

A thorough change of every stitch sits oddly with the associated presence of his companions.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"So to sleep, every day bringing me a fresh sense of the pleasure of my present life."

Whenever I go to sea, on a sailboat or a ferry or whatever, I find feelings of peace and wellbeing, with the wind in my hair and the sun on my face. The world is reduced to the here-and-now, and my troubles are left behind on the quayside. I think Pepys is experiencing something like that. No past regrets, no future fears.

MartinVT  •  Link

"shifting myself from top to toe" — extremely slight spoiler: On 29 September, 1663, Sam will use this exact same phrase, describing how he got thoroughly soaked while apparently unclogging the gutters during a severe downpour, and then came in, dried himself, and "shifted myself from top to toe" when he went to bed. Over the years, he will mention shifting himself as changing clothes on a number of other occasions. So I think that's what he did tonight, and then sat to talk with his companions.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Martin, changing clothes must have been difficult. Outfits were pinned, tied, buttoned and buckled together -- no zippers or discrete hooks and eyes. Getting everything tucked in at the back and lined up correctly took some doing.

For instance, ladies' sleeves were not attached to the bodice, so they could be changed for a different look or color scheme. (Don't know about men's sleeves.)

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

Tomorrow April 18, my lord Montagu will send to the Admiralty a report on his meeting with vice-admiral Lawson (which the State Papers will preserve at https://books.google.fr/books?id=…). Perhaps it's not the only one but, surprise, all he talks about is "the mackerel fishery", and the escorts he's sending here and there to protect the fishing fleet.

Somehow we're not surprised that Sam, whatever his reasons for writing the Diary - aide-mémoire on the political currents, edification of future generations - focuses on who's in/who's out, rather than on the mackerel. But the mackerel matters, because the people want fish, and the wars of northern Europe make it tricky to get. Montagu mentions deployments from Newfoundland to Gibraltar - where "the ship that goes in June had best be a [hired] Flemish vessel". Later generations will lament their roast having come all the way from New Zealand, but already the global food trade requires all the resources of the Royal Navy and of the beautiful mappamundi that may have adorned the Admiral's cabin, and rule Britannia.

Small bombshell in that letter of April 18: "I have discoursed concerning the mackerel fishery with Vice-Adm. Lawson", Montagu writes, "who says there is an agreement settled beyween him and the Ostenders, that the fresh fishers on either side shall receive no interruption (...) and need no convoy". Wow. So the Ostenders, a notch above being a bunch of pyrates but still privateers in service to whoever pays most or rules Ostend (currently Dutch rebels to Spanish rule, if we're not mistaken) have "an agreement" with an English vice-admiral. How we would have lik'd to be a fly on the wall when that was haggled over.

Curiously the letter doesn't mention the Baltic, where Montagu had dispatched an escort a couple of weeks ago (see https://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/…). There the herring swim in a war zone. On April 9 (new style, late March for Sam) a report from Copenhagen, cited in the French Gazette dated May 1 (at gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k6, page 386) said "the Swede, who are still absolute on the Baltic sea, capture all the Vessels they meet, except those of the United Provinces [the Dutch; "les Süédois, qui sont, touſjours, abſolus sur la mer Baltique, enlèvent tous les Vaiſseaux qu'ils rencontrent, à la réſerve de ceux des Eſtats Généraux des Provinces Vnies"]. On April 13 another report from Cologne (ibid., page 368) will confirm that "the Dutch and the Swede", while observing a truce, "have made themselves such absolute masters of the Baltic Sea, that no Vessel may pass without falling into their hands" ["les Holandois & les Süédois: qui (...) s'eſtoyent rendus maiſtres ſi abſolus de la Mer Baltique, qu'aucun Vaiſſeau n'y pouvoit paſſer ſans tomber entre leurs mains"].

Stephane Chenard  •  Link

And England is not a neutral party in this situation: while the bosses in London are sorting themselves out, the ambassadors of England and France in Denmark are mediating the end of the Second Northern War, between Denmark, Sweden and Holland. Right now, the Gazette reports from Cronenbourg (ibid., page 387) they're putting pressure on Denmark. A mis-step, and no more mackerel. Montagu, directing these fareway fleet movements from the Naseby through the paper flow in Sam's "study" ('coz now he's got a "study"), is an important cog in this tangle of fish and diplomats.

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