Thursday 6 September 1660

To Whitehall by water with Sir W. Batten, and in our passage told me how Commissioner Pett did pay himself for the entertainment that he did give the King at Chatham at his coming in, and 20s. a day all the time he was in Holland, which I wonder at, and so I see there is a great deal of envy between the two.

At Whitehall I met with Commissioner Pett, who told me how Mr. Coventry and Fairbank his solicitor are falling out, one complaining of the other for taking too great fees, which is too true.

I find that Commissioner Pett is under great discontent, and is loth to give too much money for his place, and so do greatly desire me to go along with him in what we shall agree to give Mr. Coventry, which I have promised him, but am unwilling to mix my fortune with him that is going down the wind.

We all met this morning and afterwards at the Admiralty, where our business is to ask provision of victuals ready for the ships in the Downs, which we did, Mr. Gauden promising to go himself thither and see it done. Dined Will and I at my Lord’s upon a joint of meat that I sent Mrs. Sarah for.

Afterwards to my office and sent all my books to my Lord’s, in order to send them to my house that I now dwell in. Home and to bed.

9 Annotations

First Reading

chip  •  Link

PER L&M, the banquet Batten makes sure to get paid for was on 28 May when the King reviewed the fleet. Also, there was no establishment of fees fixed by the Admiral until April 1661; now and later the matter caused much dispute. The solicitor (Fairbanke) was an intermediary between Coventry and those who sought favours of him. Finally, Denis Gauden was victualler of the Navy. The ships were the Dartmouth and Happy Return, about to go to the Canaries, and the Plymouth bound for Constantinople with the new English ambassador. The Duke of York had on the 3rd ordered them to be victualled. Pepys seems to inspire the kind of confidence a superior respects since Batten and Pett are confiding in him so. I do not get who is going down the wind that Pepys does not want to mix his fortune with. Also why does he send the books to his Lord's? Why not just send them to his house?

Mary  •  Link

Pepys' books

L&M reads, "afterwards to my house and sent all my books to my Lord's, in order to send them to my house...."

Pepys goes to the old, Axe Yard, house and sends his books from there to Sandwich's house before they are further removed to the Seething Lane house. At Seething Lane Pepys has the joiners in (on 4 Sept. they were flooring the dining-room) so he probably prefers to keep his precious books somewhere clean and out of the way of workmen until the renovation has been finished.

Mary  •  Link

Commissioner Pett

would appear to be the one that Pepys sees as going down the wind. Back in the early 1650s, under the Comonwealth, Pett had already been accused of large-scale corruption and embezzlement, charges that were dropped on the outbreak of war in 1652. With these latest runours of venality making the rounds, Pepys probably fears that Pett is up to his old, alleged, tricks and may not last long in office.

Pauline  •  Link

"unwilling to mix my fortune with him that is going down the wind."
What is not clear to the movers and shakers Sam moves among is that the Pett family has staying power based on the importance (and dominance) of their shipworks, despite having been outspoken against the crown and having supported Cromwell. A harbinger here amid the reversal from commonwealth to monarchy of where future power will lie - the powerful industrial family.

August 23
"it was moved that Phineas Pett (kinsman to the Commissioner) of Chatham, should be suspended his employment till he had answered some articles put in against him, as that he should formerly say that the King was a bastard and his mother a whore."

September 5
"to a Master of Chancery to give Mr. Stowell his oath, whereby he do answer that he did hear Phineas Pett say very high words against the King a great while ago."

David A. Smith  •  Link

"unwilling to mix my fortune with him that is going down the wind"
While picking up exactly the same line Pauline did, I'm looking at the converse: Sam's discretion. Pett has put the arm on him for a show of solidarity, which Sam elected to promise, evidently without meaning to. Discretion and duplicity -- already, life in Restoration politics is going to be far from dull!

Second Reading

Tonyel  •  Link

"his solicitor are falling out, one complaining of the other for taking too great fees, which is too true."

Some things don't change.

Third Reading

MartinVT  •  Link

"20s. a day all the time he was in Holland, which I wonder at"

"wonder at" — meaning he is amazed, impressed, admiring, sees it as a wonder, perhaps envious. Not today's sense of questioning, being curious. (Admiration aside, though, Sam is careful not to get to deeply connected with Pett in his dealings with Coventry.0

"him that is going down the wind"

Older dictionaries list "down the wind" as meaning "decaying; declining; in a state of decay." Sam uses the expression in this sense on at least one other occasion in the diary. If you wanted to avoid the stench of something decaying, you made sure to remain upwind of it, since the stench of decay travels down the wind.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"Dined Will and I at my Lord’s upon a joint of meat that I sent Mrs. Sarah for."

That's a good way of seeing his old girlfriend,
having somewhere prestigious to eat so he can avoid eating with the Navy Board (in case they invite OR did not invite Pepys, either way could be compromising/embarrassing),
not have stories sent to Sandwich about him taking freebies,
and of impressing Will Hewer that he, too, had connections (especially if they ate in the dining room, not downstairs in the kitchen. Since Pepys doesn't boast of being in the dining room, I suspect it was with the servants).

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Thought of another good reason to gift Mrs. Sarah a joint of meat:

Pepys needed her agreement to the delivery of books later that day.
Presumably, such a delivery of resaleable merchandise would have to be locked up until Seething Lane was ready for their delivery. And she held the keys for every door in Sandwich's Whitehall apartments.

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