Monday 6 August 1660

This morning at the office, and, that being done, home to dinner all alone, my wife being ill in pain a-bed, which I was troubled at, and not a little impatient. After dinner to Whitehall at the Privy Seal all the afternoon, and at night with Mr. Man to Mr. Rawlinson’s in Fenchurch Street, where we staid till eleven o’clock at night. So home and to bed, my wife being all this day in great pain.

This night Mr. Man offered me 1000l. for my office of Clerk of the Acts, which made my mouth water; but yet I dare not take it till I speak with my Lord to have his consent.

25 Annotations

First Reading

gerry  •  Link

What a thought by Sam b eing a little impatient I have to think this is very much a man/woman thing in that women care whatever is going on but men just want to get the whole thing over. Plus ca change etc.

vincent  •  Link

Tea and sympathy: At least He admits to himself that he had unkind thougths. I hope he took a little refreshment up a couple flights of stairs, before he went off (to make more money) to set the Bills straight : It so appears that he actually has two offices to work in, One at Seething lane "the navy" and the other at White Hall; He is a commuter now by "skulls" I guess, from the Tower to Palace. I wonder how long it takes him to traverse that distance.

chip  •  Link

It sounds almost as if, if Montagu is in agreement, Pepys will sell the post for that 1000l. This must be when Montagu tells him it is not the salary but the post that is worth something. I wonder what he intends to do with it. Does he have an eye to business? Tailoring like his father? It is refreshing to glimpse Pepys' honesty, at least with himself. It has happened to me at times. Some people just don't appreciate infirmities. Elizabeth is probably in great discomfort (and probably privately blaming Pepys for it). And he, impatient for sexual healing....

Nix  •  Link

A few months ago Samuel was happily living on L40 a year. If he could get L1,000 for the Clerk of the Acts post, and could invest it at 5%, he would have L50 a year -- forever -- and still have his Navy post and every other advantage he might accrue. A mighty tempting insurance policy.

David Bell  •  Link

I think the question of investing L1000 would have been seen rather differently in those days. There were not the stable, and safe, financial markets in those days, especially not long term.

What would have have invested in? About all that comes to mind is land, and that isn't something where you just collect the money as landlord.

I wonder if Montagu will explain some of this.

Mary  •  Link

The investment of £1000?

At this stage in English history, ‘investment’ at a percentage was better known as money-lending, was seen as very much a Jewish industry and was not well-regarded or regulated. Although Cromwell had proved far more tolerant of the Jewish community and its religion and lifestyle than earlier heads of state, the whole business of money-lending was viewed with great suspicion and disfavour. Pepys would not have been able to place his £1000 anywhere at an assured rate of interest. He would have had to speculate with it and he doesn’t look like a character to take risks with his capital, does he?

If he were to take the sum offered, other than placing it for safe-keeping with a goldsmith or burying it in the garden, he would probably have felt the need to convert it into plate, land or some other form of property and hope that inflation would protect its value.

fimm  •  Link

"....not a little impatient."
I wonder if Pepys means he is impatient because he spent time getting her medicines and they don't seem to be helping? Or is he impatient for her to get better? (As opposed to being impatient with her, if you follow the distinction.)

Mary  •  Link

Impatient, OED sense 3
'Uneasy or restless in desire or expectation' attested from the 16th Century. Perhaps this is what Pepys means, as Fimm suggests.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Just to clear up some potential confusion (see the Nix note above), his Clerk of the Acts job is his "Navy job". That's what Mr. Man wants in exchange for his L1000.

SP would have retained his job as deputy to Montagu in his post as one of the Clerks of the Privy Seal if Montagu had approved and SP had taken the deal. Right now the money is good at the Privy Seal with the rush of Restoration induced change but this is clearly a bubble and the pace will soon slow as the change in office holders works its way through the system.

J A Gioia  •  Link

Cromwell had proved far more tolerant of the Jewish community

Puritans placed much greater emphasis on study of the Old Testament than did the churches of Rome and England. The pilgrims who landed at Plymouth, Mass. dressed much like Hasidic Jews do today, both following the guide set down in Leviticus.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"which made my mouth water"
I wondered when Mr. Man would resurface! Once again, Pepys is demonstrating his business acumen and his social realpolitik:

1. If he takes the offer, he can (a) use it to buy property, which will give him a safe income (for no work!), and (b) go find another position, provided he retains Montagu's favor. He will have been given an intangible asset, flipped it into a huge tangible profit, and be able to do it again. That would be a huge win. My mouth is watering right alongside his ....
2. BUT Pepys understands that everything he has comes from Montagu, so he will not move without his benefactor's blessing.
3. Do we detect in Sam a whiff of suspicion that Mr. Man should be bidding against himself so anxiously? Is Man real? Does he have a hidden agenda? Is there downside for Sam in accepting? If anyone can sniff these out, Montagu can.

So Sam takes the offer seriously, but before committing himself at all he protects his flank, flatters his patron, and gains valuable insight. Smart.

Laura Brown  •  Link

I'm not sure how true it is that 'At this stage in English history, "investment" ... was seen as very much a Jewish industry.' There were no acknowledged Jews in Britain for nearly four centuries before Pepys' day. Edward I expelled them in 1290, and Cromwell readmitted them in 1655.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia (… ):

'Cromwell favored readmission of the Jews into England, partly in the hope of thereby fulfilling the Messianic prophecy, but mainly because they had aided him as "intelligencers," and he foresaw that, with their control of the Portuguese and Spanish trade, and their large commercial interests in the Levant, the Hamburg Bank, and the Dutch East and West Indies, they would be of service to him in his expansionist policy, and would bring wealth into the country.'

I was wondering earlier if this should be in the background info. I don't know how much contact Pepys had with the Jewish community, though.

Grahamt  •  Link

Re: Jewish Moneylenders:
desite Laura's comments about the lack of Jews in England, you only have to go back to Shakespeare and the "Merchant of Venice" or Marlowe's "The Jew of Malta" to see the prejudices current less than a hundred years before Pepys. I think Mary has a point: Usury (moneylending) was not seen as a genteel/gentile profession. This may have coloured Pepys' (and Sandwich's) opinions. We will see as the diary unfolds (but as it continues for 9 more years, I can guess that Samuel is not swayed!)

Laura Brown  •  Link

I hope it isn't too pedantic of me to point out that The Merchant of Venice and The Jew of Malta are set in Venice and Malta, not in England.

In the English imagination, Jews were undoubtedly still associated with moneylending (Jewish moneylenders are mentioned in the Magna Carta, which would have been a further reminder), but this is not the same as saying that moneylending was always associated with Jews.

It was because moneylending was considered distasteful that the Jews became associated with it, not the other way round. From 1179 the Church forbade Christians to engage in moneylending. Jews were exempt from this law, and had few other ways to make a living.

In 1275, 15 years before expelling the Jews, Edward I forbade them to engage in moneylending. By this time, according to the BBC History web site, he 'had developed a new system of banking using Italian cash advances.' (… )

Henry VIII legalised moneylending in 1543 (… ), and as the Jews had been expelled, English moneylenders would all have been Gentiles for the next century or so.

Eunice Muir  •  Link

Investing in Shipping was quite the thing in Pepy's day. Although we would now consider it a risky investment, financing a voyage to the East Indies or the Americas was a way to make an investor very rich, provided the ship got back home. At that time they were turning a blind eye to privateers and other such borderline adventurers, as long as the ships brought home the goods.

Mary  •  Link

Jews in England

Whilst perfectly true that there were no acknowledged Jews in England for the four centuries to this date, there were small but significant numbers, especially in the eastern counties, who either concealed their Judaism under a cloak of Christian camouflage or whose presence was winked at because they had scholarly or practical skills (e.g. in medicine)to offer. Those who protested most at their presence were the merchant classes who felt financially threatened by them. (See Ludovici's History of the Jews in England).

Money-lending was not considered a 'respectable' occupation and it certainly wasn't risk-free. Hence unlikely on both counts to be considered by Sam as a way of investing his putative

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Pepys's salary as Clerk of the Acts is currently £250 p.a. net (L&M Companion) and Barlow is consumptive. Mr Man is still offering little: 4 years' salary for the job itself?

£1000 would make Pepys a very minor investor in an overseas voyage;. Meanwhile there are the rest of his family to support.

Bryan  •  Link

Pepys' salary

I think the L&M Companion might have the figure wrong Terry. According the 7 July entry:
"To the Council Chamber, where I took an order for the advance of the salaries of the officers of the Navy, and I find mine to be raised to 350l. per annum."…

Robbix  •  Link

If his salary is £350 p.a. (or even £250 p.a.) why did Nix write that he was happily living on £40 per year?

Chris Squire UK  •  Link

34 years later SP would have found a safe and lucrative home for his £1000:

‘ . . [In 1694] the credit of William III's government was so low in London that it was impossible for it to borrow the £1,200,000 (at 8 per cent) that the government wanted.

In order to induce subscription to the loan, the subscribers were to be incorporated by the name of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England. The Bank was given exclusive possession of the government's balances, and was the only limited-liability corporation allowed to issue bank notes. The lenders would give the government cash (bullion) and issue notes against the government bonds, which can be lent again. The £1.2m was raised in 12 days; half of this was used to rebuild the navy . . ‘…

Gillian Bagwell  •  Link

Sam was living on 40L a year at the start of the diary, I think, only a few months ago.
Investing in shipping was risky. Back to "Merchant of Venice" again, it's because all the ships in which Antonio has invested money are wrecked that he owes money to Shylock.

Third Reading

MartinVT  •  Link

Note that the original conversation with Mr. Man (July 30) was fueled by Rhenish wine; this one by the good wines at Mr. Rawlinson's establishment, both over several-hour spans. Again, let's see what happens when Sam sobers up. I think that if Sam even brings it up with Montagu, my Lord will wisely point out that 1000L is less than three years salary for the Navy board clerk's post, so it is Man who will be earning a 35% return on his investment, courtesy of Sam, and Sam will have a hard time earning a single-digit return.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

A few points:

On August 4 the House of Commons read a Bill for the first time to reduce interest rates to 6 per cent -- so people were loaning each other money for interest.…

Currently Pepys has 3 jobs:
Clerk of the Acts at 350/. per year,
secretary to Sandwich at 50/. per quarter,
and clerk to one of the 4 Clerks of the Privy Seal (i.e. 3 months a year) at an unknown amount.
No wonder he was stressed and impatient for Elizabeth to get out of bed and bring order to his new household.
He's got Will Hewer in tow, but the little boy Will is probably running wild and giving Jane Booth all sorts of additional daily headaches.
Jane has her hands full cooking, cleaning and waiting on Elizabeth, without monitoring a pre-teen.

Lastly, ships were usually owned by a conglomerate. Traders would pool their money and buy, say 6, ships. If there were 6 traders, they would own 1/6 of each -- if one ship went down, no one would be bankrupted -- they would still own 1/6 of 5 more ships. If just one came home, they would be okay financially. If all 6 come home, they are wealthy.
Pepys knows lots of traders -- he'll have no trouble finding something profitably to do with his 1,000/.

"Does he have an eye to business? Tailoring like his father?" -- Pepys has an MA from Cambridge. He can read, write and debate current events in Latin. He's married to the daughter of a French aristocrat. While he appreciates good tailoring, I don't think he's picked up a pair of scissors or a needle in years.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"If there were 6 traders, they would own 1/6 of each -- if one ship went down, no one would be bankrupted -- they would still own 1/6 of 5 more ships. If just one came home, they would be okay financially. If all 6 come home, they are wealthy.
"Pepys knows lots of traders -- he'll have no trouble finding something profitably to do with his 1,000/."

Between these two paragraphs I omitted to give the rest of the trader's equation:
Many traders would then syndicate out his investment. If the ship went down, he lost nothing -- his investors lost it all. If the ship came home, he kept 50 percent of his profit.

They weren't stupid.

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