Monday 1 October 1660

Early to my Lord to Whitehall, and there he did give me some work to do for him, and so with all haste to the office.

Dined at home, and my father by chance with me.

After dinner he and I advised about hangings for my rooms, which are now almost fit to be hung, the painters beginning to do their work to-day. After dinner he and I to the Miter, where with my uncle Wight (whom my father fetched thither), while I drank a glass of wine privately with Mr. Mansell, a poor Reformado of the Charles, who came to see me.

Here we staid and drank three or four pints of wine and so parted.

I home to look after my workmen, and at night to bed.

The Commissioners are very busy disbanding of the army, which they say do cause great robbing. My layings out upon my house in furniture are so great that I fear I shall not be able to go through them without breaking one of my bags of 100l., I having but 200l. yet in the world.

19 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Brewster  •  Link

which are now almost fit to be hung
L&M: "Wallpapers were not widely used until well into the 18th century."

Paul Brewster  •  Link

the painters beginning to do their work today
L&M: "William Brewer's bills ... for 'divers painted workes' at the Navy Office and at several lodgings there including Pepys's, ... amount to over £50. Pepys’s house was clear of the painters by Christmas Day.”

Paul Brewster  •  Link

which they say do cause great robbing
L&M: "'Nov. 1660. Great robings of houses and highways in and about London.' Albermarle on 28 August had issued an order forbidding soldiers to create disturbances at theatres. ..."

Roger Arbor  •  Link

Poor Samuel, only doubled his ready cash in 9 months- and a new house to boot. Wonder where he kept the bags of gold? Walking round the City, I often wonder about the caches lying under our feet. Buried for safe keeping? I am reminded of Mr Lorry in Dickens- "Tale of Two Cities", wondering of ?? plate stored away among the neighbouring cesspools, and evil communications corrupted (sic) its good polish in a day or two". Will ‘hung’ then mean hung with tapestries?

maureen  •  Link

Hangings might have been real tapestry - wildly expensive but could be second-hand - cloth woven or painted to give the vague impression of tapestry, embroideries or tooled leather at this time. From the text, painted cloth seems to be a real possibility. Any real experts out there?

Mary  •  Link

'fit to be hung...'

Possibly with tapestries, but more likely with painted cloths or simply with fabric. According to Picard, suitable fabrics ranged from cheap, linen-based fabrics with a woven design to very expensive silks, satins, velvets, damasks and brocades. Bright colours were favoured. A small spoiler follows: in 1663 Sam will record,"bought my wife a Chink: that is, a painted Indian calico [i.e. chintz] for to line her new study, which is very pretty".

A further possibility for reception rooms was coloured and gilded embossed leather panels.

Dave Bell  •  Link

A minor note on paint -- this was not the modern pre-mixed paint from the DIY store. The painters mixed the paints themselves.

The info I have is terribly out of period, but the exterior paints of 75 years ago were made up from a white lead base, with the colouring mixed in by hand, and the colours could fade quite rapidly when exposed to sunlight, changing colour as well as intensity.

Another example of how many things are so much easier today...

Barbara  •  Link

Even though Pepys is worried about the amount he is spending, am I correct in thinking that is that this is only for furniture, hangings, fittings etc? It seems to me that all the costs of renovation, painting, etc are borne by the Navy Office.

David A. Smith  •  Link

"some work to do for him, and so with all haste"
A new day, a more chipper diarist!
Especially when contrasted with the preceding few, this entry clarifies that Sam thrives on two things: (1) attention from my lord Montagu/ Sandwich, and (2) work, busy-ness, the hustle and bustle of professional life. These lodestars govern his economic prospects, his social station, but more, I think, his sense of self-worth. (He's not the first young man to define himself by his newly-heady job.) Send him to fetch a bone, and he fairly slathers with anticipation ....

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

"Mr. Mansell, a poor Reformado of the Charles"

That is, a discharged officer from the Royal Charles.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

Bill  •  Link

"one of my bags of 100l."

So now we find out what the form the money takes that Sam has been raking in. Cold, hard cash. As I calculated earlier, one Silver Crown weighs about one ounce, and each is 1/4 of a (monetary) pound. So a bag of 400 of them would weight about 25 (physical) pounds. Gold would weigh less but probably not too much in circulation at this stage of the Restoration. So Sam has the equivalent of 50 (physical) pounds of silver!

Dick Wilson  •  Link

With so many different types of coinage in use, Gresham's Law was dreadfully effective in driving relatively more valuable coinage out of circulation and into places like Pepys' cellar.

Matt Newton  •  Link

Here we staid and drank three or four pints of wine and so parted.

Would that be 3 or 4 each?
Anyone know the alcoholic content of wine? Were there laws covering it's strength?

Third Reading

RM  •  Link

"the painters beginning to do their work today"

If the walls had been refurbished with a lime based plaster it will be several days or even weeks before they are fully hardened off and dry, so the house probably felt distinctly damp at this time.

Before they are fully dry the walls could have been finished off with a top coat of skim tinted with pigment made from pulverised rock (presumably the painters job mentioned) and which could be skillfully burnished to create an effect of polished marble or granite, or left unburnished for a matt effect.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Thanks, RM. The polished walls must have been beautiful.

It must have been difficult to live in the building while this was going on. Between the plasterers and the painters, the Pepys couldn't touch a wall for several weeks, so their furniture and clothing must have been in the middle of the rooms, covered by drop cloths.

I'm surprised they aren't sleeping in the office at this point.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Gresham's Law for us non-financial folk:

Sir Thomas Gresham lived from 1519 to 1579 and -- amongst other things -- wrote about the value and minting of coins while working as a financier.

Gresham's Law is a principle that states that "bad money drives out good."
The law observes that legally overvalued currency will drive legally undervalued currency out of circulation.

The law observes the effects of currency debasement.

Same man who started the Royal Exchange and Gresham College, which continues today providing free education to anyone who walks into a lecture, or looks them up on line:………

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

You're going to have to get used to Pepys having angst about money. He is surrounded by poverty.
There are disabled sailors and soldiers, and poor widows and orphans from the Civil Wars everywhere.
Elizabeth's father was a nobleman in France, and he is reduced to -- well, Pepys never quite tells us that, but we gather it isn't good.
His mother came from a good family, and his father is clearly connected, and while John Snr. has a business and a house large enough for a family, he clearly has nothing saved for 'retirement'.
And who will they look to when things go downhill? Pepys.
There's no social security net or national health care. You're on your own.

Plus the Restoration is far from a done deal -- the reestablishment of the Church of England is unpopular, having unemployed bands of soldiers who have no other skill than fighting roaming around, and heavy taxation combine to make England ripe for trouble still.

And so, yes, "Send him to fetch a bone, and he fairly slathers with anticipation" -- that's true. He needs to become competent and irreplaceable fast, and realizes there's hugh potential at the Navy Board if he can catch on quickly enough. Sandwich is his ticket to freedom.

And those two bags of silver are all he's got if the unemployed soldiers and their Puritan noble friends get the upper hand again.
It's also all Elizabeth has if he dies suddenly from smallpox.

We don't normally live with these basic levels of insecurity these days. We take the peaceful transfer of power from administration to administration for granted. We take penicillin for granted.
A couple of years of COVID and the January 6 uprising have given me an appreciation of the anxiety Pepys lived with all the time.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"The Commissioners are very busy disbanding of the army, which they say do cause great robbing."

Another example of how the payoffs did not go well, and what Charles II did about it, from
Citation: BHO Chicago MLA
'Venice: October 1660', in Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 32, 1659-1661, ed. Allen B Hinds (London, 1931), pp. 199-211. British History Online…

Oct. 15. 1660 N.S. -- 5 Oct. O.S.
Senato, Secreta.
Dispacci, Inghilterra.
Venetian Archives.

222. Francesco Giavarina, Venetian Resident in England, to the Doge and Senate.

"While the first regiments disbanded readily obeyed the royal commands, some others which they wished to dismiss this week in the more remote counties objected and were mutinous, the privileges and blandishments offered to the soldiers not sufficing to restrain their insolence and their immoderate appetites, as they believe they will do better by staying on than disbanded, no matter what trade they take up.
To compel obedience and prevent further confusion his Majesty issued orders to all the lords lieutenant to put their several militias on foot at once, and with this done promptly there is no doubt they will serve as a check on those who want to introduce dissension."

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